“Mass Fiscal Alliance” Mailer: It’s a Von Trapp!

Oh crap, we have to do politics again, don’t we? You should know this blog was started back in the day to make fun crap parking in Gloucester and Star Wars jokes, right? But you people wanted local politics. You craved it. You sent us tips. You stopped us on the street and demanded we talk about stuff and forwarded our pieces around.

Blame yourselves.

So, we’ve been thinking about how we’re going to gear back up into the local election season, maybe drop a piece on the increasing housing crisis driving creative people out of town or something. Then, in the mail, a hit piece on local legislative rep Ann-Margaret Ferrante shows up:

What manner of weaselturd is this? Oh no. Oh no oh no oh no.

You know those stories set in the pre-WW II era when some generally isolated folks find themselves unwillingly thrust into the conflict engulfing the rest of the world? Like in the Sound of Music when at first Liesel is happily capering about with a hapless seventeen-year-old bike messenger, then suddenly he’s a raging full-on fascist?

That’s what the whole world feels like now. Even the mail has gone alt-right, because shady propagandists can hide who they are and lie without consequences. I thought we were sort of above this kind crap here in Massachusetts, a state generally full of smart people, but apparently these buttstoats think this sort of thing will stand.

[Aside: For some reason the people doing this stuff always wind up being from that area north of Haverhill, the pseudo-New Hampshire zone full of big, new houses, massive SUVs and the muffled screams of complex human identity being smothered under a pile of Vineyard Vines catalogs.]

So, first out, let’s just dispel the general premise. Article CXVIII of the Massachusetts Constitution states [ht Meridith Fine]:

Article CXVIII.

The base compensation as of January first, nineteen hundred and ninety-six, of members of the general court shall not be changed except as provided in this article. As of the first Wednesday in January of the year two thousand and one and every second year thereafter, such base compensation shall be increased or decreased at the same rate as increases or decreases in the median household income for the commonwealth for the preceding two year period, as ascertained by the governor.

Read: Their pay is tied to performance. If the median household income of the state goes up, their base pay goes up. If it goes down, it goes down. Basically, you should pray your legislator makes ONE MILLION DOLLARS, because if so that means the MA economy has figured out how to turn discarded Fireball nips and Dunkin cups into platinum-iridium alloy.

Image result for gold trash

The rest of their pay is bonuses for things like leadership, which is what I’ve heard some private-enterprise companies do via having roles they call “management” who get paid more. People with more seniority and responsibility get more money. The legislature restructured how this is distributed for the first time in a generation recently, but no extra money was spent.

Yet somehow this is a 40% pay increase? Which not everyone got, because it was a restructuring of incentives. Oh, and the “expense account” which is for travel and running an office, which is part of the job. And, of course, not everyone got that either.

Seems like there is a lot of missing information here and this is just some kind of misinformational scare tactic from someone who thinks light type on a black background is a good design choice. And also the abbreviation for Massachusetts they use is “Mass” not “MA” which I believe was changed during the prelude to the King Phillip’s War. 

So there is really no story here, the whole premise is based on well-understood dynamics, even though a bunch of people are trying to shoehorn it into one. Now I see on the interwebs it’s a “55% pay increase and they raised taxes 40% to do it and to give 200 million dollars for the medical care of illegal immigrants!1!!1!!!!” I’m sure by tomorrow it will be a 90% increase in pay and gays will force marry all heterosexuals and induct them to the trans army.

So who’s responsible for this piece?

Enter the “Mass Fiscal Alliance” apparently socialists who oppose things like merit-based pay. They bill themselves as a “Nonprofit Educational Group” but their funders are secret. It turns out they give more money to legislative campaigns in MA than unions, who do disclose who they are.

Let’s get a look at these Bolsheviks:

Image result for ferengi

 

No. Wait, that’s the Ferengi from Star Trek: the Next Generation. My bad. Sorry, it’s this gang.

2017_Board_Photo.jpg

Your standard group of mostly white “fiscally responsible” people sitting  under a chandelier that probably cost more than your car. And you know what- that’s fine. Yes, you heard me,  it’s totally fine. People have a right to their views, and to express them, publicly. Rich people, poor people, middle people, everybody. They even have a right to that wallpaper choice. 

That’s what the whole country is about.

However, you may have noticed our democracy is being actively hacked right now. The extremely wealthy, not  “the rich” by conventional standards, but by the upper, upper tier of oligarchs like Putin, oil barrons, hedge fund profiteers and a few select others are trying to circumvent our “by the people” government in favor of either angering or scaring the crap out of citizens, and then having those citizens vote to lower the taxes of the super-rich so they can make money off our system without paying back in. Don’t believe me? Here, read this, it’s just one of dozens upon dozens of examples of the private-jet-and megayacht-class realizing they can get what they want by interfering directly with local politics and not being straight about it.

And that’s exactly what’s going on with this mailer because the Mass Fiscal Alliance, although they claim to be an “non-profit educational institution” refuse to reveal their funding sources. What the what? They’re a non-profit, yet they give money to candidates and they don’t reveal who’s giving them money? It seems frickery is afoot. 

What’s particularly galling to me is whomever’s funding it, if they are even from here, made money in MA because we have great education, good infrastructure and public transportation (needing an overhaul, of course) and investment in our key industries. Mitt Romney knew this, he almost single-handedly created the medical device and biotech industry here, making it bigger than California’s. And he knew decent health care is a requirement for a modern, knowledge-based economy. Mitt was no tax-and-spend liberal, but he understood investment. And the unbridled power of “management-style” haircut.

But these people want the goodies MA has to offer without having to pay for them, like the rest of us have to. Or even telling us who’s paying to try and change our minds. This is pretty much the biggest problem in our country right now, from Putin funding Trump, the Chinese buying Scaramucci’s company for way too much money in order to trade access  to Trump and everyone else trading to everyone else INCLUDING DEMOCRATS which is why they lost. No one trusts anybody, it’s chaos, and in chaos people try to grab things. Which is this mailer. Which is why I’m banging my head on the desk here.

Related image

This a big problem we have to solve, folks. Not as big as a problem like Maria obviously, but you know. Still big.

 

SEASIDE TOWN BAFFLED BY GARBAGE DUNES OVERTAKING BARREL FREE BEACHES

A follow up to this 2014 story, because Jesus H. Christ why are we will talking about this. 

On Friday morning, residents of Gloucester Massachusetts were stunned to discover large swathes of Good Harbor Beach covered in unfathomable amounts garbage left behind from the previous days visitors, despite the beach having small hand painted rocks bearing missives asking people to ‘Carry In ~ Carry out’ in place of trash barrels.

Shockingly, this has not been effective.  (Photo GMG)

The piles of refuse, including empty bottles of terrible beer, empty chip bags, cast off footwear, cardboard boxes, partially consumed human remains, and more horrors, caught the attention of local Mary T.

“I just don’t understand! It says right there on that faded painted fish on the bridge to TAKE YOUR TRASH WITH YOU. Ohhh misery. Ohhh life! Why are humans such wretched creatures?! Why is our nature so foul that we must profane such natural beauty?! OH BUT FOR A SOLUTION TO THIS BLIGHT” she proclaimed, weaving dramatically between a pile of Twisted Tea bottles and discarded beach chairs.

When asked about the possibility of putting in place some sort of receptacle for trash, Mary replied “Are you kidding? And who’s going to pay for that, huh?” and stormed off, wading through the refuse.

At least we’re not paying an extra few bucks on our taxes.

One local resident, who would only give her name as Marjory, didn’t see any cause for concern. “It doesn’t bother me. What’s all the fuss about? Home is where the trash is, after all.”

Marjory

 

Science has, in fact, created a solution to such a problem, though city residents are hesitant to embrace this new technology. Citing concerns about cost and wary about the DPW’s ability to empty them despite the existence of a fleet of trucks designed specifically to do just that, Jimmy B had this to say: “Nah, what’s the point. People are just going to throw trash in any of these ‘receptacles’ (using air quotes) and then they’ll get full. And then what, huh??”

THEN THIS HAPPENS JIMMY, YOU FUCKING IDIOT.

 

 

 

Manchester-by-the-Free

In honor of the current hit film in the “Boston Working Class Ennui” genre going to its streaming service, Amazon just announced they are giving everyone in the eponymous town free Amazon Prime. That’s swell of them, eh?

Whatever. Also: fuck you Amazon.

You see, if you don’t know, the film is not about Manchester-by-the-Sea. MBTS or just “Manchester” as we used to call it before they changed their name as not to be confused with the working-class New Hampshire city of the same name. The film is about Gloucester. My town. It was shot in Gloucester, the vibe is Gloucester and all the issues depicted are straight-up Gloucester.

“I’m sorry sir but town ordinances plainly state lobster traps are only to be used as decorative coffee table bases and must be made of wood.”

in Manchester, our neighbor, you’re going to find less of the “picking fights with cops” sort of thing there and more of the, “people suing each other because someone’s gardener cut the branch of an historic apple tree that was leaning over into their yard”- type conflicts. It’s a wealthy town. Wealthy-as-balls, actually, 8th highest income in one of the richest states in the country.

But, you know, they get free Amazon Prime because of the name. Amazon- who are automating warehouses and killing local retail, is giving free shit to rich people who didn’t even ask for it.

That’s your late-stage capitalism, right there.

I’m not sure why this bothers me so much, but it fucking does. Here in Gloucester this week an abandoned fish pier collapsed into the harbor, which tells you everything you need to know about our core industry in the post-cod era. We’re burying a beloved veteran/cop who left behind four kids. We’re struggling to keep fire stations open, fund schools, care for the elderly and manage our opiate addiction problem. We do this with a lot of heart, tears, fighting, too much pride and never enough money.

But we do it. We do it all. We make it work.

We do it to make sure fewer people end up like the characters depicted in fucking Manchester-by-the-Sea, yet another film made so some studio can make yet another buck on the whole “Bawston” thing, with our constrained social hierarchy and our comical accents. What do you suppose, there are another 30 films in the can depicting a young, troubled, too-smart-for-his-own-good Bay State resident for whom the grip of his past is choking off his ability to live and love in the present? Maybe 40?

Why is it liberals are losing the working class again? I forget.

You know what, never mind. You can keep Prime, Amazon. And Casey Affleck’s SNL “vanilla nut tap” jokes and all that “Uncle Sullying” we locals do. Go give hot stone massages in the bistros to Man-BTSers or whatever the fuck you want to do. I’m glad for the jobs the film industry here provides, I’m thankful that unlike a lot of towns hit hard by the realities of the 21st century, we’ve got economic opportunities due to our proximity to Boston/Cambridge others don’t. I’m even glad for the town of Manchester-by-the-Sea which contains many fine people and provides tons of work for Gloucester contractors adding yoga rooms and wine cellars to houses built by puritans in the 17th century.

But once, for the love of “Gawd”, can you fuckers just go make a movie about Connecticut?

The Real Bowling Green Massacre: Journalist and Salem City Councilor Josh Turiel Digs Up The Truth

Today, with the passing of time we thought we could finally get the full story of the infamous Bowling Green Massacre documented properly for the public, fresh off Kellyanne Conway’s assertion that the real media glossed over this tragic event. Well, your Gloucester Clam isn’t just any media source – we’re renegades out to get to the truth behind the Bowling Green Massacre. We contacted the principals and arranged interviews with as many of the people involved as possible. Most agreed to participate. The following is a transcript of the conversations we had.

 

Dustin Henderson, Endicott commuter student: “So me and Chad (Balazzo, also a student) came home after we got wings at the Dog [The Dogbar restaurant] and it was just total chaos.”

Chad: “Duuuuude.”

Dustin: “There were, like, 20 people in our apartment because fackin Tim (Kelly, their third roommate) had scored some really amazing bud. And he was having a party and he hadn’t even texted us to tell us. Not cool!”

 

Tim: “Dude, I figured they’d get back soon enough, it was great weed but I knew they really wanted to go out for wings.”

 

Dustin: “”So I went into my room because it was really too loud with all the people in the living room. I was watching TV and Aqua Teen was going to come on next, and it was one of the MC Pee Pants episodes, so I wanted to be ready for it. I grabbed the bowl and opened the ceramic turtle I keep on top of my dresser, and… NOTHING.”

Chad: “Duuuuuude.”

 

Dustin: “I totally had weed in there. Fuck.”

 

Cody (Peters, a “acquaintance” of Tim Kelly): “So I was wandering around the apartment and the door was open, right? I saw this badass ceramic turtle, and picked it up to give it a look – it had some of the weed in it! So since the bowl was being passed around the other side of the room and never got to me hardly, I rolled one out for my side. I mean, sure nobody was sitting there but me so I smoked it solo, but shit happens, right?”

 

Dustin: “That was really good bud from Kentucky, too, and they just massacred it. How the fuck am I gonna score more of that?

At this point in the evening, Mo (Mohammed) Nadar (American-born), a friend of Dustin’s from Montserrat College of Art arrived with the plan of picking up Dustin and going to the Rhumbline.

Mo: “I don’t know, the Rhumbline is so, like, authentic, you know? No airs and shit? Not like the way Cabot Street in Beverly has gotten all pretentious. So I figured they were keeping things real over the bridge and I’d grab Dustin because he, like, lives right down the street from the Rhumb. And he usually has a stash in that turtle of his.”

Dustin: “Mo’s a solid dude, but he never has his own weed. Says it’s a religious thing. I think he’s, like, Iraqian?”

By this time the lack of weed was coming to a head. Lacking any more to smoke, attention turned quickly to the raging munchies that the partygoers all had.

 

Aimee (Grant), a survivor: “I saw someone with some hummus.”

 

She had assumed that Mo’s vaguely Middle Eastern appearance meant he had brought food with him.

 

Tim: “Aimee looked at Dustin’s friend Mo and said “Guys, he’s got hummus – he’s like, totally Arab!”

 

With this pronouncement, several partygoers surged towards the entrance where Mo was. In the melee, an Xbox was trampled and killed.

Xbox (this was recorded from Dustin’s Xbox Live account): “SYSTEM FAULT”

Already in motion, when the crowd realized that there was no hummus:

Aimee: “So I was wrong, he didn’t have hummus. My bad?”

Someone made the decision to go down the street for more food. People were trampled along with the Xbox.

Savannah Lolapalooza, Rockport High senior: : “By then the dust was setltling. Dustin had a thousand yard stare and was clearly covered in some kind of orange powder, which we later realized was hot Fritos.”

artist’s reenactment

Kyle (Marsh): “So it was like, loud, but it could have just been a truck backing up? You know? Like one of those beepers they have when they back up. But like a really, really loud one. So you couldn’t even hear anything else. And my friend Kendon is like, ‘Dude, get out of the way’ and I’m like, ‘What?’ and he’s like, “That truck is backing up and you need to move,” so I like moved but it was not in, you know, like the right direction because the truck was going to like, curve when it backed up because there was this post it had to get around and Kendon is still like, “Dude, get OUT of the way,” but now I’m like listening to the beeping and the guy is yelling at me, but I don’t think he’s yelling in English. Maybe it’s, like Mexican or, I don’t know, maybe Korean or something. Anyway, I’m standing there…”

(at this point in the interview Mr. Marsh was distracted by a nip bottle on the ground and went to stare at it for the next half-hour)

Dustin: “So with all the food gone and no more green to be had, we said ‘fuck it’, got in the car, and went back up to Cape Ann Lanes to go bowling.”

Chad: “Dude kicked my ass. It was a massacre.”

We asked for comment from Frederick Douglass, but he’d died more than a century before.

Fresh Out of Constitutional Freedoms to Disregard, Trump Eyes Other Notable Lists

WASHINGTON, DC—On Sunday President Donald Trump signaled his desire to continue flouting the world’s lists, whether they be secular or sacred, hallowed or utterly trivial.

Installed in the White House for just over a week, the Trump administration has already managed to breach most of the Bill of Rights.

“With his executive order on immigration, the President finished laying waste to the First Amendment,” said White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer. “That’s not to say it was easy.”

According to Spicer, President Trump had planned on simply lumping “a bunch of terroristy countries” into his 90-day ban. However, the White House legal team noted that more explicit religious discrimination might be required to, as Spicer put it, “take a truly hot dump on the Establishment Clause.”

“So we decided to add that part about Syrian Christian refugees being cool,” said Jared Kushner, the President’s son-in-law and senior advisor.

Steve Bannon, Senior Counselor to the President, had begun the White House’s assault on the First Amendment earlier in the week. On Wednesday Bannon told a New York Times reporter that “the media should keep its mouth shut,” presumably after the newspaper had printed his words alongside the one photo that didn’t make him look like every town’s Peeping Tom.

[Not this photo, obviously]

“Tell you what,” said Bannon, who was appointed to the National Security Council on Saturday. “Compared to the First, the Eighth Amendment was a snap.”

“As a candidate, Trump was already on the record supporting torture,” Bannon explained. “He just needed to casually espouse the government’s use of cruel and unusual punishment while in office.”

Bannon was referring to Trump’s joint press conference with U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May on Friday, when he offered this word salad-cum-policy announcement: “I happen to feel that [torture] does work, I’ve been open about that for a long period of time, but I am going with our leaders and we are going to win with or without.”

According to Kushner, after signing the immigration order, President Trump found himself casting about for additional freedoms to trample.

“Dad got a little carried away,” Kushner said. “He was asking, ‘What’s #2 about again?’ At that point, Wayne popped in from his executive lounge in the Roosevelt Room.” Kushner seemed to be referring to Wayne LaPierre, President of the National Rifle Association.

Bannon elaborated: “Ol’ Wayne shouldered the Remington he was cleaning.”

“Scared the piss out of Pops for a second,” Kushner said. “But we all had a good laugh about it when he realized his mistake.”

It was at this point that Bannon suggested other noteworthy legal frameworks. “Nobody’s really paid attention to the Code of Hammurabi for millennia,” he said. “Seemed like low hanging fruit.”

“It’s not our style to go soft on the whole ‘eye for an eye’ thing,” Spicer said.

So, according to Bannon, President Trump instead opted to violate Hammurabi’s 127th Law, which governs the treatment of faithless wives. Both Bannon and Kushner declined to elaborate.

[Had the Babylonians been serious, they would have carved it into 24K gold]

“The Ten Commandments were next,” Kushner said. “But Dad got bored after ticking off the one about graven images.”

“Naturally, a nude bust of Vladimir,” said Spicer, rolling his eyes.

“If I recall, it was Ivanka who thought of the Buzzfeed lists,” Kushner said.

“Stroke of genius—the president hates those guys,” Bannon said, alluding to the website’s publication of unverified reports describing lewd acts in Russian hotels.

“We just started scrolling through odd-numbered lists,” Kushner said. “You probably saw Dad’s tweet repudiating ‘17 Photos That Prove Cats Are Just Adorable Assholes.’”

Spicer shook his head. “They’re even more misleading than the Park Service’s shots of the Inauguration.”

[Perhaps thinking the right to assemble had already been revoked]

Bannon described a break the group took to receive a phone call from Kim Jong-Un, the Supreme Leader of North Korea. “He wanted to congratulate President Trump on his progress,” said Bannon, adding that Chairman Kim jokingly described the rapid dismantling of American freedoms as “beginner’s luck.”

“He was particularly impressed by the detention of immigrants with valid Green Cards at U.S. airports,” said Bannon. “Apparently, it took Kim more than a month to suspend habeas corpus.”

Kim ended the call by exhorting President Trump to “pace himself.”

“Between the swift erosion of a great democracy and Dad’s even more outrageous hairdo, it’s understandable that Kim’s jealous,” said Kushner. “There’s a new guy in town.”

[President Trump exhibiting his complete indifference to America’s founding list]