Supplemental: Ghosts of several Christmases past!

THURSDAY, DECEMBER 24, 2015

Bellantoni and Trump and a child:
Not that many years ago, Christina Bellantoni was herself a ten-year-old child.

She wasn't yet the presentable, skilled, acceptable person who appeared on last evening's Last Word, where she talked The Crazy away.

To his credit, Lawrence O'Donnell almost noted the craziness of Candidate Trump's tax proposal. He didn't say that Trump's proposal is crazy, but he almost came close.

(To watch the whole segment, click here.)


Then Lawrence threw to Bellantoni. In line with current press corps culture, she began talking The Crazy away:
O'DONNELL (12/23/15): Christina, this is one of those things where the only economic plan he has is his tax plan and the only thing he does is explode the deficit and the debt.

BELLANTONI: It's yuuuge.

O'DONNELL: Yes. It is huge.

[LAUGHTER]
Bellantoni started with a stock joke. After that, she got down to script—to the script, and the values, of her devolving guild:
BELLANTONI (continuing directly): In some ways, it's important for campaigns to put out policy statements like this, and to put, you know, things behind the statements that they make. But Congress deals with tax policy. And if Donald Trump somehow became president and the Congress that exists today is the Congress that would be there in 2017, they're not going to pass a tax plan like this.

And so, you know, it is good to look at an analysis of this. I think that it is important information to say, you know, that that debt would be there until 2036, you know, according to this estimate. But it actually won't become reality. And he probably also is not becoming president.
Bellantoni wasn't done yet. We already thought her presentation was remarkable, though you really have to watch the tape to see how smoothly this all goes down.

As we noted yesterday, Candidate Trump has presented a "budget plan" which is manifestly Crazy. Even as he complains about the federal debt, his proposed tax cuts go beyond any previous large proposed cuts, by several orders of magnitude.

Even as Trump complains about the national debt, his proposal would add more than a trillion dollars to the annual deficit in each of the next ten years. In our view, Bellantoni's reaction to this craziness was striking.

"What, us discuss this?" she basically said. She said it isn't much worth discussing Trump's plan because, she says, Congress wouldn't pass such a proposal.

Also, Trump won't likely get elected! So why should we journalists waste our time discussing his crazed budget plan?

You really have to watch the tape to see the smooth and measured way Bellantoni disappears The Crazy. In a skilled, presentable way, she talked away The Crazy away. She and Lawrence talked away the idea that Trump's crazy "tax plan" matters—that it even deserves to be discussed.

He probably isn't going to win! So why discuss his plan?

Bellantoni went on to make things worse, letting us know, in her smooth, dulcet tones, that Democrats and Republicans have very different approaches to taxation. What follows is cosmically awful, heinous:
BELLANTONI (continuing directly): But you know, it's important to point out that Democrats and Republicans have fundamental differences when it comes to how you tax and how you spend.

Right here in California, Governor Jerry Brown has been very clear, we're going to tax people a lot.
And we're going to do a lot for the state and try to plug some of our holes. And whether or not that is working, that's a debate for another day. But Republicans and Democrats are clearly different on this issue.
Boys and girls, that's how it's done!

Just like that, Bellantoni moved away from a crazy proposal by Trump to a standard statement of moral equivalence between the two major parties. She moved from Trump to Jerry Brown, a person who isn't running for president.

She declared that Governor Brown is "going to tax people a lot." Her main point? It's important to know that Democrats and Republicans have fundamental differences when it comes to how you tax and spend!

Trust us—whatever Brown has proposed, it isn't fundamentally crazy, the way Trump's proposal is. But just like that, Bellantoni slid away from the presidential front-runner with the utterly crazy proposal.

"Republicans and Democrats are clearly different on this issue," she now said. This hid the fact that Trump's proposal is "clearly different," to the point of The Crazy, from past GOP proposals.

Just like that, Lawrence joined in. This too was strikingly awful:

"And Howard Dean, there wouldn't be a—Donald Trump wouldn't lose a single voter over any report indicating that his tax plan might not work," Lawrence now said, chuckling as he did.

"I agree," Howard Dean weirdly said. It's a way of denigrating Trump voters, our tribe's most sacred value.

Donald Trump's tax plan might not work? He wouldn't lose a single voter? We have no idea why an actual journalist would say such a thing. Truth to tell, this corporate guild is just endlessly daft.

At any rate, in her cultured, presentable way, Bellantoni had talked The Crazy away. To all intents and purposes, she and Lawrence talked away the idea that Trump's crazy "tax plan" even deserves to be discussed.

As of this, the current Christmas Eve, the "press corps" has devolved to this new level—to the point where statements like Bellantoni's are the established guild norm. Our "press corps" has reached the point where the most explicit of a candidate's major proposals aren't even worthy of being discussed.

After all, Congress won't pass it! Inferentially, Governor Brown seems to be just as bad!

The fact that the proposal in question is Crazy didn't seem to enter Bellantoni's spotless head. In truth, her guild no longer discusses such matters. She smoothly gave voice to the culture of the guild into which she has worked her way.

Why bother discussing Trump's crazy plan? Bellantoni's reassuring speech is a Ghost of Christmas Present. This is the way our "press corps" currently works.

In its current state of devolution, our "press corps" labors over each new poll, most of which say the same thing as the previous poll they labored over. Crazed proposals are beneath their concern. The Bellantonis know this.

It wasn't this way in the not too distant past. This is the latest form of their ongoing devolution.

By and large, the mainstream "press corps" is upset with Candidate Trump. Weirdly, though, they aren't upset with his crazy budget proposal.

They're upset with the fact that he said the word "schlonged." They're upset with the fact that he says crazy things about Candidate Clinton and bathrooms (if that's what he actually meant).

They aren't upset with a tax proposal which is manifestly crazy. The guild no longer stoops to discuss craziness of that type.

What's the probable reason for their concern about "schlonged?" This form of The Crazy doesn't come from their own guild playbook! On Christmas Eves past, the press corps has been perfectly happy to emit the ugly and crazy themselves. But such emanations must accord with their own sacred scripts.

On Christmas Eve 1999, a major figure at the Washington Post emitted a bit of The Ugly and Crazy. The item below was ugly and stupid, but it came directly from the guild's preferred narratives:
KAMEN (12/24/99): One of the more heartwarming traditions of Christmas is opening dozens and dozens of inspiring cards from people and institutions you don't know.

So when colleagues here received their Christmas cards from Vice President Gore, each one individually machine signed, they were delighted. But there was something odd about the picture on the front. Gore and family seemed to have been pasted on to the pasture background. Something like those presidential cardboard cutouts for tourist snapshots on Pennsylvania Avenue.

A phony Christmas card? From the candidate who's trying so hard to be real? The newsroom was stunned. So we checked with Post photo chief Joe Elbert. "It looks totally fake," he assured us after studying it closely, "but it's quite real." There was something about how outdoor lighting can create that effect.

The shot was taken by a private photographer at the farm in Carthage, Tenn., in the fall.

Alas. Even when he's real, he looks phony. Must be a campaign metaphor in there somewhere.
For our real-time report, just click here.

"Must be a campaign metaphor in there?" Indeed! By the rules which then obtained within this horrible, crazy guild, Candidate Gore was fake and phony in every conceivable way. By rule of law, everything had to display that fact, even his family's Christmas card.

Even on Christmas Eve!

That was an ugly, stupid column in the Washington Post. Candidate Trump has also been ugly and stupid this week. But the "press corps" rebels against forms of The Stupid which don't comport with their scripts.

By now, the press corps has abandoned any pretense of caring about silly things like budget proposals. When Trump emits The Crazy within that realm, a cultured guild member appears to say it doesn't matter.

Bellantoni's a Ghost of Christmas Present, Kamen of Christmas Past. People are dead all over the world because he and his colleagues kept pimping that "fake and phony" script for the next eleven months, having already dumped nine months of that script on the world.

These are the ghosts of a subhuman guild—but a guild to which liberal stars defer. Your top liberal stars will never tell you about the horrible things this guild and its members have done.

Bellantoni grew up San Jose; she graduated from Berkeley in 2001. Perhaps on Christmas Eve 1990, she was a ten-year-old girl, not yet a cultured careerist.

On Tuesday, the New York Times brought us the ghost of a ten-year-old child from Christmas Eve 1907. The report appeared on the paper's front page, written by Corey Kilgannon.

Kilgannon's report concerns a letter Mary McGann, then aged ten, wrote to Santa Claus. Apparently, children left their letters to Santa Claus on the mantle in those days.

Mary McGann's letter to Santa turned up many years later. According to Kilgannon, letters from Mary McGann and her younger brother, Alfred McGann, got sealed inside their apartment's chimney when it was sealed with brick. They were discovered in 1999 or 2000, when the current owner of the building did a renovation.

According to Kilgannon's report, Mary McGann's letter was addressed to Santa in "Reindeerland." She had drawn a reindeer stamp to serve as postage.

Mary McGann was still a child; she wasn't a cultured upper-class press corps hack. Kilgannon's report appeared on the Times' front page because of the ten-year-old's values:
KILGANNON (12/22/15): The family lived at 447 West 50th Street, where Mr. Mattaliano now lives in a fourth-floor apartment filled with books on acting and mementos from his days as a fast-pitch knuckleballer.

[The children's father] died in 1904, so by the time the children wrote the letters left in the chimney, they were being raised by Ms. McGann, a dressmaker.

Mary’s letter is as poignant as Alfred’s is endearing.

“Dear Santa Claus: I am very glad that you are coming around tonight,” it reads, the paper partly charred. “My little brother would like you to bring him a wagon which I know you cannot afford. I will ask you to bring him whatever you think best. Please bring me something nice what you think best.”

She signed it Mary McGann and added, “P.S. Please do not forget the poor.”
Apparently, someone had told this child that Santa Claus couldn't afford the wagon to which she referred. As Kilgannon continued, he let the current owner of the letter evaluate its contents:
KILGANNON (continuing directly): Mr. Mattaliano, who has read the letter countless times, still shakes his head at the implied poverty, the stoicism and the selflessness of the last line, all from a girl who requests a wagon for her brother first and nothing specific for herself.

“This is a family that couldn’t afford a wagon, and she’s writing, ‘Don’t forget the poor,’” he said. “That just shot an arrow through me. What did she think poor was?”
What is poverty? We'll suggest it's defined by the words we saw Bellantoni speak last night. Because she's cultured, practiced, cheerful, refined, we'll guess her slippery words slid down for Lawrence's cable viewers.

In that same day's New York Times, David Brooks aligned himself with the Grinch who stole Thoreau this year. He listed the year's best long-form essays, rruelly including this:
BROOKS (12/22/15): For centuries Americans have been reading the hyper-individualistic purity of Henry David Thoreau’s life on Walden Pond—the way he cut himself off from crass commercialism and lived on a pure spiritual plane. Writing in The New Yorker, Kathryn Schulz points out in “Pond Scum” that Thoreau was a misanthropic, arrogant, self-righteous prig. He was coldhearted in the face of others’ suffering. Highly ascetic, he sustained the shallow American tendency to equate eating habits with moral health.

He tried philanthropic enterprises but found they did “not agree with my constitution.” Schulz accurately notes that Thoreau’s most famous sentence, “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation,” is at once insufferable and absurd.
We'll stand with one of Thoreau's less famous sentences. "Sell your clothes and keep your thoughts," the shallow ascetic said.

Sell you clothes—and keep your thoughts? Within the guild, all thoughts come from the mind of the guild. If you recite those mandated thoughts, you'll soon be found on the TV machine wearing a fine suit of clothes.

Last night, Bellantoni stuck to the script. Christmas was only two days away. We'd say her hair was perfect.

31 comments:

  1. A product of the Soviet hive mind.

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  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  3. How big an annual federal deficit and national debt are "crazy"? The 2015 deficit of $400 - $500 billion might have been called "crazy" a few years ago. Now we call it "good", because it's so much better than the years when Bush and Obama each ran deficits over a trillion. We ignore the projection that the annual deficit will go back up to a trillion in a few years. We'll get there quicker if Hillary or Bernie enacts all the giveaways they're promising.

    The current national debt of $19 trillion would have been called "crazy" a few years ago; we don't give it a thought. We ignore the projection that it will go to around $30 trillion in ten years and rise even faster thereafter.

    That's why Trump's ridiculous tax cut proposal won't hurt him politically. Future annual deficits of $2 trillion instead of $1 trillion? Future National Debt of $40 trillion instead of $30 trillion? Who cares? They're just numbers.

    To be clear, I care a lot about these numbers. I think the country is in big trouble fiscally. My comments are about how I think the average person feels.

    Merry Christmas to all.

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    1. I think people outside "the base" will reject Trump's fiscal nonsense. Just as they rejected Romney/Ryan's "the math just doesn't add up" proposals.

      Trump is the first member of the Donor Class to bypass the middle man altogether and instead of renting a candidate, runs for the office himself.

      As long as it doesn't hurt them politically Republicans will think nothing of tacking on a trillion a year onto the national debt as long as it appeases the donors and enables their tax breaks.





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    2. Average people don't care about these numbers at all. Billion, trillion. It doesn't mean anything. As long as the pizza delivery trucks keep rolling down the streets and the cable satays connected, they are happy to be entertained by Trump and news "shows". Hunger is the only real motivator and we are all fat and full.

      Have a whatever Christmas - It doesn't matter.

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    3. @ 12/24/15, 2:48 -

      Here's one of your idols ridiculing your deficit-scold Holiday greeting:

      O'Neill said he tried to warn Vice President Dick Cheney that growing budget deficits-expected to top $500 billion this fiscal year [2004] alone-posed a threat to the economy. Cheney cut him off. "You know, Paul, Reagan proved deficits don't matter," he said, according to excerpts. Cheney continued: "We won the midterms (congressional elections). This is our due."

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    4. No particular deficit (or debt) number is 'crazy' in itself. The public sector's deficit (when one exists) is largely a reflection of the state of the economy, and as a matter of accounting it must equal the sum of the private and foreign sector surpluses. Moreover it always makes sense to increase the size of the *planned* deficit, if the economy is operating under capacity (as it still is today); this is true even though the actual deficit outcome is likely to be smaller than the planned one.

      And as regards the national debt, that is a completely separate issue, being only contingently and voluntarily connected to the size of federal deficits. If Congress wished to, it could direct the Fed tomorrow to start paying the Treasury's bills without issuing any more federal debt. The economic consequences would be negligible, were it not for the resulting shortage of Treasuries, which are still the world's favored safe financial asset. In other words, the U.S. issues national debt (in amounts equal to its deficit flow), not because it must, but because 'the markets' clearly desire such a risk-free subsidy, in quantity, and it is thought beneficial to give them what they want.

      If I wanted to make that case that Trump's budget plan is 'crazy' I would avoid bothering too much about its top line cost, and point instead to the yawning gap between what he claims it will do (foster a huge increase in growth) and what it will actually do (dramatically increase inequality, while combining with standard Establishment deficit panic to create huge pressure for devastating reductions in vital federal spending.

      Experience has shown that huge tax cuts for the rich (combined with far more modest ones for the non-rich) do not lead to increased growth. They do, meanwhile, provide a (false but widely accepted) justification for budget cuts that undermine growth. That is why the plan is crazy, if crazy it be.

      According to the Citizens For Tax Justice (http://ctj.org/ctjreports/2015/12/2016_repository.php#.Vn9cQ_GW6nc), over 70% of Trump's cumulative tax cuts would flow to the to 20% of income earners. 51% of the cuts would go to the top 5% of incomes. And as is well known in economics, the higher one's income, other things equal, the less likely one is to spend more in response to such a windfall. That, and not the $12 billion cost over 10 years, is the real craziness of Trump's plan.

      This is an important distinction because, among other things, it shows that Jeb Bush's plan is more or less just as crazy as Trump's, despite the mere $7 billion 10 year cost. For Bush would send %59 of his cut to the top %5 of incomes. So it can be said that Bush's plan, compared to Trump's, wastes a bigger chunk of a smaller total pot of money. And of course it's $7 billion cost would also be used to justify calls for massive cuts in vital and growth-promoting federal spending.

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    5. I'm not in favor of some big tax cut. But, note that the middle class and below pay only a small share of total income tax. So, it's unavoidable that any cut will go mostly to the rich.

      Eg., Amnileoj points out that over 70% of Trump's cumulative tax cuts would flow to the to 20% of income earners. But, the top 10 percent of earners paid 68 percent of Federal Income Taxes. Presumably the top 20% of earners pay well over 70% of total taxes.

      The bottom 50% paid only 3% of total imcome taxes. So, any tax cut can't do much for the bottom 50% of earners. http://www.heritage.org/federalbudget/top10-percent-income-earners

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    6. Tax wealth, not income.

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    7. DavidinCal,
      How many cupcakes can I put you down for in the Pentagon's bake sale, so we can afford to fight ISIS?

      The richest nation in the history of mankind is broke. Don't take the word of a libtard like me, take the word of every conservative since January 20, 2009, at approximately 12:01 PM eastern time.

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    8. Perhaps you're young, 4:18. Fiscal conservatives have been worrying about the national debt for many decades.

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    9. As usual, Davy Wavy goes to bat for the wealthiest, most privileged, comfortable, secure, powerful oligarchy in all of human history. And in his blind eagerness to do so, he gets one major point wrong, leaves out two other major points, and uses percentages to obscure things.

      1. He says, "note that the middle class and below pay only a small share of total income tax. So, it's unavoidable that any cut will go mostly to the rich." Wrong. You could simply cut the bottom tax rate: http://www.vox.com/2015/9/28/9405001/jeb-bush-says-you-cant-cut-everyones-taxes-without-disproportionately
      (And there might be other ways of achieving the same result.)

      2. Davy just luuuvs to keep the focus on federal income tax, while ignoring all other taxes. Why? Because most (all?) other taxes are much more regressive. So if Davy limits the discussion to federal income tax, it makes it seem like those poor widdle billionaires are just sooo over-burdened by taxes, while everyone else is practically free-loading.

      3. Davy also luuuuvs to talk about how big a piece of the tax pie the rich pay in contrast to how little a piece the non-rich pay. But what he always leaves out is that this contrast is less a result of different tax rates and much more a result of the massive income inequality between these two groups. In the most recent year for which we have figures for Mitt Romney's income and tax rate, he paid a whopping $5.88 MILLION in taxes!! That's a MUCH bigger piece of the tax pie than you or I paid. And yet his tax rate was only 14%!! How can that be? Because Mitt's income was so astronomically larger than yours or mine! So yes, a small tax rate on an astronomically large income is still going to generate a "lot" of money.

      4. Davy says, "The bottom 50% paid only 3% of total income taxes. So, any tax cut can't do much for the bottom 50% of earners." Once again, Davy leaves out all the other taxes the non-wealthy pay. Plus, he obscures things once again by talking in percentages of total income tax paid by the entire country. 3% sounds like nothing spread out over 1/2 the population. But that's 3% of one and a half trillion dollars. That might mean something to the bottom half of earners -- it would mean a lot than a much larger percentage would mean to the wealthy.

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    10. Actually, conservatives only care about the debt when a Democrat is in the White House. When a conservative is in the White House, he cuts taxes to provide corporate welfare and spends like a drunken sailor on defense.

      You conflate even more than Somerby, but then you are the consummate partisan hack.

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    11. Nah. I'm old enough to remember Ronald Reagan as easily the worst President in my lifetime, DinC.
      The crocodile tears about the deficit from fiscal conservatives might fool an old biddy, like you, but I learned how to spot bullshit as kid.

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  4. Sacred "truths" our corporate media climbers must learn to protect.

    Money=Speech

    Corporations are persons

    The only way to effectively and responsibly increase revenue is to CUT taxes on millionaires and billionaires

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    1. 2:13 -- The corporate media know better than the rest of us that money is speech. Because of [lack of] money, you can't get news and opinions from the New York Herald Tribune. Because of Carlos Slim's billions, you can get news and opinions from the New York Times.

      Cheers

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    2. Cherrypicking Carlos Slim and the NY Herald. What a shill you are, pretending to be concerned about the corporate media.

      Jeers

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  5. All people are scum.

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  6. I lost my husband to another woman 2 weeks ago after 27 years of marriage . We had a lovely marriage but he started a relationship with a co worker who chased after him . He is living away near his work and her and refuses to talk to me or to come home . I am devastated and am finding it hard to cope . I wish I did not love him and that I could move on but I can't . I don't know how to stop feeling like this I wish I didn't as its eating me away and I m starting to feel ill. I have degraded myself begging him to come home all to no avail. I became very worried and needed help. As I was browsing through the internet one day, I came across a website that suggested that Dr Frank Ojo can help solve marital problems, restore broken relationships and so on. So, I felt I should give him a try. I contacted him and he did a spell for me. tow days later, my husband came to me and apologized for the wrongs he did and promise never to do it again. Ever since then, everything has returned back to normal. I and my family are living together happily again.. All thanks to Dr Frank Ojo . If you need a spell caster that can cast a spell that truly works, I suggest you contact him. He will not disappoint you. if you have any problem contact him, I give you 100% guarantee that he will help you, This is his details, E-mail: Templeofloveandprosperity@gmail.com , Web site: http://lovespell2.yolasite.com . Mobile number +2348072370762. Thank you all for reading.

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  7. Thoreau at Walden "lived on a pure spiritual plane?" When I hear this sort of thing, I want to ask the one asserting it if they've actually read the book. Is there any other example of classic American writing that dwells so extensively on close description of the author's own manual labor, and of the physical environment in which that labor took place?

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    1. In fact it would not be a bad thumbnail description of Walden, to say that it consists of an experiment in living on a militantly *impure* spiritual plane--of living (and, as part of that living, writing) one's way to a thoroughly bodily and earth-bound spirituality.

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    2. And (last salvo) it's not as if Walden's text is unaware of the fact that this experiment in working, mud-spattered spirituality, would wind up looking like some sort of flight of fancy, to neighbors engaged in what Thoreau teaches us to see as the strange spiritual penances of everyday 'commercialism.'

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  8. David Brooks, thanks to the NYTs, leads a life of very noisy desperation.

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  9. I still refuse to ever give any credence to this website ever again after Bob Somerby actually thought that a 17 year old Trayvon Martin, who had no prior history of violence of any kind, would suddenly want to and COULD suddenly overpower a 28 year old man who outweighed him by 60 pounds.

    Somerby, you're still a racist asshole.

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    1. Oh and not only did Trayvon have no history of prior violence. But Somerby thought it entirely plausible that a teenager would out of the blue want to commit murder of a man he had never met before ever.

      Did Somerby ever retract or apologize for his insane ramblings?

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    2. Willy,
      Spot on. Somersby's defense of that thug Zimmerman should shame him for at least a few lifetimes.

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  10. Trayvon Martin? What you talkin bout Willy? Can I borrow a Way Back Machine?

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  11. Trayvon Martin? What you talkin bout Willy? Can I borrow a Way Back Machine?

    ReplyDelete
  12. Marriage restoration..
    I lost my husband to another woman 2 weeks ago after 27 years of marriage . We had a lovely marriage but he started a relationship with a co worker who chased after him . He is living away near his work and her and refuses to talk to me or to come home . I am devastated and am finding it hard to cope . I wish I did not love him and that I could move on but I can't . I don't know how to stop feeling like this I wish I didn't as its eating me away and I m starting to feel ill. I have degraded myself begging him to come home all to no avail. I became very worried and needed help. As I was browsing through the internet one day, I came across a website that suggested that Dr Frank Ojo can help solve marital problems, restore broken relationships and so on. So, I felt I should give him a try. I contacted him and he did a spell for me. tow days later, my husband came to me and apologized for the wrongs he did and promise never to do it again. Ever since then, everything has returned back to normal. I and my family are living together happily again.. All thanks to Dr Frank Ojo . If you need a spell caster that can cast a spell that truly works, I suggest you contact him. He will not disappoint you. if you have any problem contact him, I give you 100% guarantee that he will help you, This is his details, E-mail: Templeofloveandprosperity@gmail.com , Web site: http://lovespell2.yolasite.com . Mobile number +2348072370762. Thank you all for reading.

    ReplyDelete