BIG NEWS: John Bolton Confirmation Battle Really, Really Dead

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bolton bush.jpg
The last pre-election loophole through which John Bolton’s confirmation might have snuck through the Senate Foreign Relations Committee was at 2:15 this afternoon at a previously called “business meeting” of the Committee.

That meeting has been cancelled
— and with it even the dimmest chance of John Bolton being confirmed as US Ambassador to the United Nations.
Some have said that another effort could be mounted during a lame duck session of Congress, but there are several Republicans who will not feel bound by the White House in that circumstance; Dems as well — who will vote against cloture on the floor of the Senate were it to get out of Committee then.
So, it’s over. Wow.
John Bolton might agree to serve as the uncompensated Ambassador to the UN in a second recess appointment, or might agree to serve as a recess appointed political deputy at the UN and made “acting Ambassador and Chief of Mission” at a pay cut.
Either way, Ambassador Bolton will fill his term as the only unconfirmed Ambassador at the United Nations in American history.
For the record, I do believe that John Bolton has strengths as a public servant. Those who have opposed him should in fact know that he has done some good things for this country. I strongly disagree with his international views and his brand of diplomacy, but there are other jobs in the Bush administration that I would support John Bolton for.
It is time to say that. I hope that Ambassador Bolton, in the next few months, works at trying to leave a legacy that is constructive regarding America’s engagement with the UN.
But this battle seems now to be definitively, completely at an end.
Wow. I’m amazed that those concerned about this appointment have really won — twice.
— Steve Clemons

Comments

59 comments on “BIG NEWS: John Bolton Confirmation Battle Really, Really Dead

  1. william says:

    Awesome read, thanks for that. My mate sent me here cause he is a big fan. Looks like i have to bookmark too.

    Reply

  2. ET says:

    Steve, Congratulations on seeing your efforts come to fruition. Well-deserved! Bravo!

    Reply

  3. Rick Howe says:

    A little late here, but wished to second what the last commenter, burro, said. Thanks for all the effort you put into covering this story.
    As to the first commenter, Steve Duncan, there’s another aphorism more apropriate to the situation here than the one you refer to about “counting chickens.” I am thinking of the “chickens come home to roost” adage.

    Reply

  4. burro says:

    Mr. Clemons, I really can’t think of any blogger who focused interest more clearly or stayed on task with more perserverence then you have in doggedly explaining why John Bolton wasn’t fit to serve as anything but the illegitimate squatter he currently is. Take pride in your accomplishment and know that you used your writing skills and your Patriot’s heart to make a real and very worthwhile difference. You did the work. If the time has come to do so, sign off on Bolton any damn way you please.

    Reply

  5. erichwwk says:

    Steve writes:
    “But this battle seems now to be definitively, completely at an end.”
    Not quite. Lara Rozen points us to “Columbia U’s Michael Roston says President Bush may use a presidential signing statement issued last year to authorize payment of a salary to UN ambassador John Bolton even after a second recess appointment.”
    And @ http://tinyurl.com/n2rrw we read:
    Perhaps the Bush administration would argue in response that the Senate never “voted not to approve the nomination” – in fact, it simply failed to bring the nomination to a vote, and that’s not the president’s fault.
    But, this being the presidency of the unitary executive, they are taking it a step farther. On November 30, 2005, President Bush issued a ‘presidential signing statement’ noting the following:
    Section 809 seeks to prohibit the expenditure of funds for the salaries of “any person for the filling of any position for which heor she has been nominated after the Senate has voted not to approve the nomination of said person.” The executive branch shall construe this provision in a manner consistent with the President’s constitutional authority to make recess appointments.

    Reply

  6. Frank says:

    I look forward to McCain’s response when Bush executes another signing statement after this latest insult to the constitution re detainees’ rights.. McCain becomes even more of a tragic figure in the history of this senate, with his continued and sickening sycophantic response to Bush’s “torture” bills.
    As to Steve’s surprising “fold” over Bolton, I guess the term “swarmy” decried by POA. is as appropriate a description of his commentary as any. The political nicetys exhibited after this “virtual” defeat is what is wrong with the more liberal inclined in this country. It is a weakness not appreciated by those who are thought knowledgable about how much damage to our country’s values Bolton and his ilk have done.

    Reply

  7. Eli Rabett says:

    Steve, you made a major mistake leaving words of praise for Bolton. Given past history Bolton and friends are going to show them down your throat ad infinitum. At some point you will learn your lesson to our cost.

    Reply

  8. Dan Kervick says:

    Steve wrote:
    *”For the record, I do believe that John Bolton has strengths as a public servant. Those who have opposed him should in fact know that he has done some good things for this country. I strongly disagree with his international views and his brand of diplomacy, but there are other jobs in the Bush administration that I would support John Bolton for.”*
    Maybe Secretary of Torture? Policy Director for the Office of Humiliation and Denigration?
    Seriously Steve, sometimes bad is just bad. It’s not necessary to balance off every critical statement or appraisal with a departing gesture of good will and a few kind words. In some cases, that sends entirely the wrong message, as would any decision to install Bolton in any position of responsibility in our government. Bolton is simply unfit to serve.
    Among the things that have caused our closest allies such consternation, and swelled the cresting global wave of global anti-Americanism, appropriately emphasized in the Princeton Project Report, is the view people around the world have come to hold of not just the Bush administration – which is broadly seen as criminally radical – but the degree of centrist and opposition support the administration has been able to garner along the way for its misdeeds and bad actors. That has lead them to wonder whether the problem with America is not just ananomalous administration backed by a few zealots, but something deeper and broader. You just performed a great service in helping the country sack John Bolton – a walking exemplar of everything wrong with this administration. Don’t undermine the good effect by sending out mixed messages. Sometimes its the conciliatory tone which is “inappropriate”.

    Reply

  9. American Firster says:

    It’s not over til it’s over and the eliteist cowboy and his Israeli firster thugs will once again pull a
    Code Red or Mission Accomplished parade at the announcement of the death of bin laden. The red carpet has already been rolled out, they’re just waiting for the game plan to be enacted. Same ol’, same ol’!

    Reply

  10. Jay C says:

    Not to want to add to the general pile-on: but Steve: what exactly makes you think that even a certainty of John Bolton’s lack-of-confirmation by the Senate is all that much of a “victory” when there are so many scenarios floating around about how President Bush can use bureaucratic trickery to have Bolton continue in his same job (paid or not) and avoid having to have one of the country’s most important diplomatic postings confirmed by Congress, as per the Constitution?
    As pointed out above, John Bolton as US UN Amb. as a sort of unpaid, unconfirmed “assistant” can only (like Bolton himself) be a terrible embarrassment to the US – and would, IMO, only demonstrate to the UN, and the rest of the world, the level of official American contempt for international institutions than has been the hallmark of the Bush 43 Adminstration.

    Reply

  11. steambomb says:

    Damn it! I still want to know who this Bolton bastard was spying on using the NSA in the process. I think it was a few politicians.

    Reply

  12. Easy E says:

    Flush it down the toilet for god sakes.

    Reply

  13. Eli Rabett says:

    While one should speak no evil of the dead, you don’t have to praise them either.

    Reply

  14. Pissed Off American says:

    By the way Steve, I DO appreciate your efforts to get Bolton out of a position he should have NEVER have held. You have done us all a service.
    But you don’t move the kitchen trash to the living room. You take it outside and haul it to the dump.

    Reply

  15. Pissed Off American says:

    “Anyway, don’t expect from me nasty victory bleating when we have finally won.”
    Posted by Steve Clemons
    We have “finally won” when Bush and his band of criminals are languishing in a federal prison. And if that event never occurs, this nation is not what it claims to be.
    And Bolton is a rabid asshole that deserves NONE of my respect. If you think Bolton is deserving of ANY POSITION in my country’s service you are out of your ever loving mind. What the hell is the matter with you Steve? Sometimes I swear you are just as smarmy as these bastards in the White House are.
    BTW, what exactly did we “win”. Thats like saying the black citizens of New Orleans “won” because “Brownie” got fired. Do you really think the NEXT ambassador to the UN is going to do anything other than do the President’s bidding?

    Reply

  16. Pissed Off American says:

    “But John McCain says we need a tough guy like Mr. Bolton in the UN! I don’t mean to snark, but it’s difficult to write in a straightforward manner about this. Off-topic, but I’m still waiting for some insight and explanation about why McCain could be good for this country.”
    Yeah, and once I asked Steve WTF Reid had done to merit Steve’s respect and adoration, and Steve was too busy at the time to respond, and said he would respond at a later date.
    I’m still waiting.

    Reply

  17. Pissed Off American says:

    “I strongly disagree with his international views and his brand of diplomacy, but there are other jobs in the Bush administration that I would support John Bolton for.”
    You gotta be kidding me. Unless, of course, Cheney is looking for a new senior level Muslim Sodomizer and Water Boarder.

    Reply

  18. Steve says:

    You can email President Bush, VP Cheney, Congressional Leaders & Rush Limbaugh from my homepage… Check it out here…….
    http://www.geocities.com/capitolhill/8889

    Reply

  19. Emanuel B says:

    This to me illustrates politics at its finest and I applaud all those who have found the temerity to act like adults in this fight. Mr. Clemons and others deserve a note of thanks for keeping their eyes on the ball here. Bolton was beyond wrong to represent this country on the international stage but not necessarily to represent THIS administration on some level.
    The divisive rhetoric of binary thinking has spread into every pocket of our politics and it is undoubtedly a major challenge for us as a nation to overcome. A more nuanced, pragmatic approach is what is needed in our Government and this is a huge step in the right direction.

    Reply

  20. MG says:

    Steve:
    CONGRATULATIONS! Let’s hope your assessment is 100% accurate and that they will fail to keep Bolton at the UN.
    Thanks for taking this fight on and handling it so elegantly. See you tomorrow,
    MG

    Reply

  21. Angvil says:

    I admit that I’m a no good nasty venomous person early in the morning high on caffeind reading the political blogs and getting all wound up about the enemy within. I’m just a schlub screaming my outrage, and should try to refrain from ripping into gentleman Steve, but he sometimes throws me such a softball that tweaks my early morning rage that I can’t help myself a vent full blow the built up steam of the morning read.
    Sorry Steve for ripping your head off at times, it’s the Evil Ones that’s got me crazy and I can do little about it than storm daily.

    Reply

  22. Marky says:

    Congratulations. This is great news, and a very impressive win.

    Reply

  23. Matthew says:

    Steve may have a practical reason for not gloating. Our President has a habit of appeasing his base by doing that which drives Progessives crazy. If we cheer about the defeat of Bolton, I can just about guarantee that Bush will recess appoint him out of spite.
    Take the win. Save the end zone dance for others.

    Reply

  24. beth says:

    Diplomacy, people! All in favor of peace, learn the art of getting along with your enemies–Steve’s giving lessons by example in this post. You can judge a man by his enemies as well as his friends, and you can also judge a man by how he treats his enemies and friends.
    Steve: Wow is right, great news about the UN. We need some good news here.

    Reply

  25. Punchy says:

    Maybe Josh is right. We shouldn’t be upset that Mr. Clemons thinks John Bolton belongs elsewhere in government. It’s clear that Bolton’s ill-temper, his self-righteous attitude, and strongly neoconservative views, while wholly inappropriate for UN ambassador, must be perfect for a whole host of other gigs.
    Perhaps we should petition to have such admirable skills placed in the NSA, where he could continue to use wiretaps without ever telling anyone what he tapped. Or maybe he’d fit in well in the Defense Dept, with all that nuclear non-prolif success he had. Those “strengths” will allow this country to admired in Europe, worshipped in Iraq, and feared in Iran, I’m quite sure.
    So it’s clear I was wrong. Bring Bolton back for whatever non-UN gig he desires. He’ll do good things for this country, or so I read.

    Reply

  26. passing thru says:

    well done all around steve, and kudos for your temperate tone and reasoned approach to these matters. a pox on the nattering nabobs.

    Reply

  27. Josh M> says:

    I second MP’s comment above. The tenor and substance of many of these comments IS pathetic; just a bunch of angry internet “static” from people that are more interested in expressing their anger than creating a better future.
    kudos, steve, for taking one of the leads in opposing bolton.

    Reply

  28. Josh M> says:

    I second MP’s comment above. The tenor and substance of many of these comments IS pathetic; just a bunch of angry internet “static” from people that are more interested in expressing their anger than creating a better future.
    kudos, steve, for taking one of the leads in opposing bolton.

    Reply

  29. Josh M> says:

    I second MP’s comment above. The tenor and substance of many of these comments IS pathetic; just a bunch of angry internet “static” from people that are more interested in expressing their anger than creating a better future.
    kudos, steve, for taking one of the leads in opposing bolton.

    Reply

  30. Josh M> says:

    I second MP’s comment above. The tenor and substance of many of these comments IS pathetic; just a bunch of angry internet “static” from people that are more interested in expressing their anger than creating a better future.
    kudos, steve, for taking one of the leads in opposing bolton.

    Reply

  31. profmarcus says:

    you may believe that bolton could still warrant a productive place in the bush administration… i don’t… i refuse to support verbal and emotional abuse from anyone, especially not from a public servant…

    Reply

  32. harald hardrada says:

    bolton has qualities that bring out the best in wigmakers

    Reply

  33. MP says:

    The tenor of many of these comments here is pathetic. Here Steve has actually WON a battle–done something in the real world at a high level of government that hopefully will have a REAL impact on this country–and what I mostly hear from his readers is, “How can you possibly say anything positive about John Bolton?”
    This is similar to the complaint one hears here that Steve is too centrist, too optimistic, too naive…just too much of a Boy Scout.
    Good grief!
    Steve is as he is–in part–because he is interacting with real people who have some degree of real power–and it just doesn’t work to say that, “putting a stake through their hearts,” or “throwing them all in jail,” treating them like “monsters” or similar kinds of invectives is a position or a plan or a policy that ANYONE will take seriously. It’s fun venting and comforting for a bit, but it doesn’t get anything done.
    And Steve, I believe, wants to get something done. One can downplay the importance of defeating Bolton, but given how feckless the opposition to Bushco continues to be on all fronts, I think it’s a pretty good blow for the right side and worth applauding.

    Reply

  34. JSN says:

    Do you mean he is qualified for a Federal Job that requires Senate confirmation? Hard for me to swallow that. Other Federal jobs yes.

    Reply

  35. Nunyabiz says:

    The only “Government Position” this freak of nature Bolton should be given is Inmate at Federal Prison bent over a bunkbed while his new friend Bubba teaches him some manners.

    Reply

  36. Anwar al-Insurgent says:

    Bye-bye ‘balls’ Bolton and please, don’t let the door hit you in that titanic fanny of yours. After all, an ass is only as large as the perceived ego perceives it’s image. Given the Bush company fascination with image, image is all they have left. An image of global nuclear destruction and hey, isn’t Iran next up for preemptive nuclear holocaust? Mercy, we’d all better buy nice comfy nuclear parkas for the upcoming nuclear winter.

    Reply

  37. John Travenor says:

    Suggestion For Mr. Bolton:
    Given Mr. Bolton’s belligerence, I nominate Mr. Bolton as
    BushCo’s community diplomat for Baghdad.
    Good luck on your mission Mr. Bolton.

    Reply

  38. jahyarain says:

    …1362, 1363, 1364…this last one has something written on it…what’s that? impeachment?

    Reply

  39. Punchy says:

    Mr. Clemons, no one asked you to rub it in. No one expected you to be “bellicose” about the not-yet-officially-a-win. But many of us are rightly stunned by your assertion that Bolton DOES belong in this Admin, and that he has done good things for this country. That he deserves a job in gov’t.
    You’ve properly knocked down your own strawman; for that, congrats. But how dare you characterize our suprise and disappointment as a call to completely shred this man. That’s not what we asked, so I’ll ask again, nicely:
    Please tell what exactly this man has done in this Admin that qualifies as “good things for this country”, as you assert.
    Thank you.

    Reply

  40. Carroll says:

    Stopping the FlA. recount by banging the doors down, disqualifies Bolton for anything in my book, outside of a jail cell.
    Posted by Kathleen at September 26, 2006 11:43 AM
    >>>>>>>>
    Yes, Bolton is a punk…the same as the rest of street gang hoods in DC. Steve is overdoing it to be so gracious to this loser.

    Reply

  41. Steve Clemons says:

    To those of you who wonder why I am not stomping further on Bolton now that the battle is finished, I think it’s inappropriate. I don’t care whether John Bolton thinks that that is acceptable or not.
    The battle I helped fight, along with many others, was one over his confirmation. That has been won, twice.
    I don’t think he should have the job he is in — even through recess appointment, but that is the President’s right. Our right, as citizens, is to do what we can to say that he is not the peoples’ Ambassador and to withhold confirmation.
    I see no reason to be bellicose for no clear reason or objective. I have many friends in and around Ambassador Bolton’s world — some of whom support him, and others who do not.
    This battle would not have been winnable without the help of an extraordinary group of insiders and Republicans, as well as Dems and independents, NGOs, staffers in the administration and in Congress.
    But my responsibility to them was to wage this battle in as dignified a way as possible. John Bolton should not be in the diplomatic business. He should be in organized crime watching — or some other line of business where his pugnaciousness could be combined with objectives we might want.
    Anyway, don’t expect from me nasty victory bleating when we have finally won.
    Now is the time to think about better Ambassadors for the job.
    — Steve Clemons

    Reply

  42. douglass truth says:

    But John McCain says we need a tough guy like Mr. Bolton in the UN! I don’t mean to snark, but it’s difficult to write in a straightforward manner about this. Off-topic, but I’m still waiting for some insight and explanation about why McCain could be good for this country. He doesn’t seem to even know what’s in the new “compromise bill.” Does it allow waterboarding, etc? Oh – I guess it’s up to GWB to decide that. And it’s for the Prez to decide who is an enemy combatant or not. My heavenly days! I’m remembering that famous hug about now.
    Thanks.

    Reply

  43. Jerome Gaskins says:

    Don’t count your rifles until they’re fired!
    Don’t count your eggs before they’re boiled!!
    Don’t let humanity disappear at the hands of Bolton!!!

    Reply

  44. Robert says:

    Yet another in a long line of Bush failures. “Good job, Boltony.”

    Reply

  45. reena says:

    I agree with many of the posts above, tell us what he has done that has been good. I for one want to know. As far as I can tell he and his ilk have helped to create greater jeapordy for all of us Americans. Instead of helping push others through diplomacy to espouse our values he now with this entire administration has created a situation where an unbelievable number of countries rally against us.
    It would seem that the nonaligned movement conference in Havana is proof of that; where you have radicals, some of the worst human rights offenders and some moderates who could have been pulled to our side now voicing strong opposition against the US. Bolton and his ineffective work at the UN has helped to create this along with the misbegotten war. That can’t be forgiven or forgotten.
    For those of us that believe in the values of the US constitution and American democracy you can’t absolve individuals who have trampled on these values for a few “good things”.

    Reply

  46. For Sheldon Whitehouse says:

    The ultimate anti-Bolton remedy is defeat of Lincoln Chafee and election of Sheldon Whitehouse to the United States Senate. Spread the word:
    http://www.whitehouseforsenate.com/
    About Sheldon
    Experience that works for Rhode Island
    Sheldon Whitehouse has the experience to fight for Rhode Island in the U.S. Senate. As a former Attorney General, U.S.Attorney appointed by President Clinton, and Governor’s Policy Director, Sheldon has twenty years of public service working for the people of Rhode Island.
    As Attorney General, he fought for tough new gun control legislation that strengthened penalties for armed criminals. As U.S. Attorney, he successfully prosecuted members of the Latin Kings gang, and created new programs in schools and neighborhoods to make Rhode Island’s streets safer. Recognizing the healthcare crisis confronting his state’s families, he founded the Quality Institute, an organization dedicated to improving the quality of health care in Rhode Island.
    Never one to shy away from a challenge, Sheldon began the just-won fight for Separation of Powers over a decade ago. He also led the effort to rebuild the workers compensation system and helped lead a successful resolution to the banking crisis.
    Sheldon is running for the U.S. Senate because he sees the need to work for a change in Washington and a new national agenda. As a Senator, Sheldon will work to strengthen Social Security, protect the environment, and make health care more available and affordable. He will be a strong and reliable voice for the people of Rhode Island. Sheldon and his wife Sandra, a marine biologist and environmental advocate, reside in Providence with their two children, Molly and Alexander.

    Reply

  47. manowar says:

    Steve,
    After watching you rightfully tear a guy apart for a year, personality-wise and policy-wise, I’m here in disbelief seeing you make nice. Incredible.
    You know what… I don’t think he’s going to welcome or even care about your concerns.

    Reply

  48. Jon Stopa says:

    Steve,
    You truely understand how dangerous Bolton has been to the interests of the United States and the world.
    What on Earth could he do that would be our interest? He has false ideas about the world and how it works–how could he have anything to do with policy or its implementation that would be anything but destructive?
    Jon

    Reply

  49. Kathleen says:

    Nice work, Steve. I’m sure your diligence and efforts played a large part in stopping Bolton’s confirmation.
    Stopping the FlA. recount by banging the doors down, disqualifies Bolton for anything in my book, outside of a jail cell.

    Reply

  50. Phocion says:

    Bush is a hair above 6′ tall.
    And, I’d listen to Steve Duncan about those chickens…

    Reply

  51. Terry in Maryland says:

    From the comments above:
    “What kind of “public servant” requires such babysitting? What kind of professional is so unprofessional as to require such supervision?”
    The current President.

    Reply

  52. John says:

    What does it say to the world about the US government’s power and competence when your Ambassador to the UN is uncompensated or is a deputy ambassador? On the one hand, foreigners could assume that the US thinks the UN is a joke. On the other hand, foreigners could think that US foreign policy is a joke–how can you be serious about negotiating with the Russians and Chinese when you can’t even get your own Ambassador to the UN appointed by Congress?

    Reply

  53. Alan says:

    Steve:
    I am appalled by your attempt to end off on a nice note about Bolton. What gives? This man has been bad for the US in the UN and elsewhere and you made an excellent case up to know. I hope you don’t worry to much about your insider status and enter that part of washington where political commentators and advocates are really good chums who brawl and public and party in private.
    Alan

    Reply

  54. susan says:

    Now it all makes sense to me
    The foto above shows why. George Bush is only 5’7 or 5’8-and LOOK at him towering over Bolton.

    Reply

  55. fingar says:

    Any little itty bity good thing Bolton may have done for America is by far out weighed by the grievous damaged he has had part in causing. Being a Neo-con, being instrumental in funneling lies leading to
    Iraq attack, scuttling Korea diplomacy initiatives ……….. The guy has blood, and future blood on his hands which is not washed away by some minor good thing he may have once done. Where would his seat be in the docket at our necessary Nuremburg trial? That’s what I’d like to know.

    Reply

  56. pauline says:

    Steve wrote:
    John Bolton might agree to serve as the uncompensated Ambassador to the UN in a second recess appointment
    What would keep the RNC from finding some consulting fees/ghost book writer publishing fees Bolton could collect (for doing next to nothing) and then he could just continue to push the terrible bush foreign policies at the UN? Given that, is there a limited time for him to continue as Ambassador, or is it undefined which really indicates no change at all?
    Steve also wrote:
    I hope that Ambassador Bolton, in the next few months, works at trying to leave a legacy that is constructive regarding America’s engagement with the UN.
    imo, that’s unrealistic wishful thinking. What specific evidence is there that Bolton has ever put diplomacy and statemanship ahead of his grungy political gamesmanship?

    Reply

  57. PUBLIUS says:

    My prediction is that Bolton will be re-appointed following the November elections and confirmed to a remunerated position in the U.S. delegation to the United Nations, barring the removal from office of the Chafees of the Senate. More reason to elect progressive candidates to the Senate – such as Sheldon Whitehouse – this November. And, yes, Bolton could acquit himself most creditably in service to this great Republic and put his Yale education to good use at the same time: as Canine division supervisor for the United States Secret Service.
    By the way, Campbell’s odious anti-Semitic commentary in yesterday’s discussion of naivete in political strategy is as reprehensible as it is profoundly ignorant.

    Reply

  58. Punchy says:

    Mr. Clemons says:
    “For the record, I do believe that John Bolton has strengths as a public servant. Those who have opposed him should in fact know that he has done some good things for this country.”
    Boy, I love to hear about these. You’ve spent the greater of a whole year vilifying this man; describing in detail how he must be babysat by our SoS, how he’s a loose cannon, how other country’s reps despise him. What kind of “public servant” requires such babysitting? What kind of professional is so unprofessional as to require such supervision?
    Perhaps you wrote this to be nice. Perhaps you felt you needed to be “fair”. But unless you elaborate, I’m going to assume you just sold out in an effort to appear more “moderate”. Which, to me, is the worst kind of McCain-type sellout.

    Reply

  59. steve duncan says:

    I seem to remember some sort of admonition from my childhood. Something having to do with chickens and counting…………

    Reply

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