Respect is Earned, Not Given. Trump Hasn’t Earned It.

So our local GOP chairwoman Amanda Orlando Kesterson, as well as her brother Joe, who is running for re-election to the council, caught wind of a gravestone at the West Parish halloween party that said “Don Trump.” (UPDATE: It apparently according to a few local parents, was part of a game that first appeared at a Boy Scouts party – Kesterson is heavily involved in the local Boy Scouts, for what it’s worth.) And then they ran to the media with it, immediately bypassing the school’s principal and superintendent. I was told becoming massively offended about a tiny thing was what “liberal snowflakes” do, but I guess it’s more bipartisan than they’d care to admit. Was it in bad taste? Probably not the best taste, but there’s some serious melodrama about how terrible and disgusting it was from the same people who “hate PC culture” and whose predecessor in her chairwoman job, Angela Hudak, posted photos of Obama as Osama Bin Laden IN FRONT OF THEIR RESIDENCE. Take a look. 


No,  Amanda, you’re wrong. We shouldn’t teach our children that the office of the President always deserves respect. It’s sad, but until November I did not imagine I would need to type that sentence. We should teach our children to think critically about what a person worthy of high respect and honor looks like and does, so that they grow into people of high respect and honor.

Each previous president, even the ones against my particular political views, were worthy of respect. They spoke with honor, chose their words carefully (even if written by another person), understood the gravity of their office and the job they sought out. I was not a fan of George W Bush, as it just cemented the idea of “failing upward,” but I respected him just as much. Perhaps begrudgingly at the time, but in hindsight, I now respect him more than I did then. It was only the most respected of men that sought the highest office, to represent us as a people, a nation united.

And along came Trump to garbage up the Oval Office. A man who left in his wake of a career bankruptcies, racist policies that kept people of color out of his rental apartments, broken contracts ruining small businessmen, serious allegations of sexual assault,  cheap steaks, and lies. The fact that the man ascended to presidency is an anomaly. He chews respect up and spits it out, daily.  So, here’s a list of things our president has said that the local GOP wants our children to show respect for:

“Marlee, is she retarded??” (about deaf actress Marlee Matlin).

“If and when the Vatican is attacked by ISIS, which as everyone knows is ISIS’s ultimate trophy, I can promise you that the Pope would have only wished and prayed that Donald Trump would have been President because this would not have happened.”

“I always wanted to get the Purple Heart. This was much easier.” (Rally in Virginia, August 2, 2016, upon receiving a Purple Heart medal from a supporter.)

“She [Alicia Machado] was the winner and she gained a massive amount of weight, and it was a real problem.”

“Part of the problem and part of the reason it takes so long [to kick out protesters] is nobody wants to hurt each other anymore.”

“He’s a war hero because he was captured. I like people that weren’t captured, OK?”

“Jeb Bush has to like the Mexican Illegals because of his wife.”

“You could see there was blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever.”

“Heidi Klum. Sadly, she’s no longer a 10.”

“Look at that face! Would anyone vote for that? Can you imagine that, the face of our next president?!”

“I’ve done it [filed bankruptcy] four times out of hundreds, and I’m glad I did it. I used the laws of the country to my benefit.”

“I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters.”

“Wow! Just think—in a couple of years, I’ll be dating you.” (To two 14 year old girls)

‘Laziness is a trait in blacks. It really is, I believe that.” (so awful I had to include the source)

“You have to treat ’em [women] like shit.”

“[Arianna Huffington]  is unattractive both inside and out. I fully understand why her former husband left her for a man- he made a good decision.”

“Bad (or sick) guy!” (a tweet about Obama)

I could go on, but you get the picture.

Maybe Amanda wants her kids to grow up thinking this is an appropriate way to gain respect and act in your daily life, but I will never teach my children that a man who has said these things is to be respected just because he was voted into office. I respect people who fight for our country. I respect people who run into a burning building. I respect people who give up everything they’ve ever known just to get to our country for the smallest possible chance to build a life here. But until Donald Trump does something that commands respect – literally, ANYTHING – no one should teach our children that this is what a leader who commands respect sounds like.


Diana Ploss: Russian Bots, Incest Accusations and the Fuller School

Ok Clampatriots, what do Trumpian idiocy, dubious startup ideas, Russian Facebook bots, Incest accusations and the Fuller School all have in common? If you picked “Contributing factors listed on Jim’s soon-to-be-executed involuntary psychological commitment form” you would be correct. You would also be correct if out in your conspiracy shed you had red yarn going from all these things pinned to a photo of one Diana E Ploss.

At McDonalds, with clown

Who is this woman? Why is she here? For many people she just seemed to drop out of the sky onto the Blackburn Rotary in almost passable human form but gibbering incoherently about immigrants, local Republican activists the Orlando Family and Agenda 21. Many of us, however, have had her in and out of our orbits for the past couple of years.

Here is my own experience, in handy “timeline” format.   

  1. Plosstic Fantastic I first became aware of her a couple of years ago when she was pushing her “startup” Pur Sip, which was/is a piece of plastic as far as I can tell that had something to do with filtering water in water bottles? Maybe? I’m not clear. She’s was over at Cambridge public access TV shilling it for a while, she tried to get on Shark Tank and she was going to some of the many meet-ups in Cambridge for early-stage companies, which is fine. The problem was she treated this piece of plastic like it was the recipe to turn Rice Krispies into carbon nanotubes.  
    Image result for pur-sip, ploss

    I believe this dude was her intern and would like to know if he’s safe now

    But, she vociferously insisted she couldn’t talk about it. She assumed someone else at the meeting who was probably working to create cancer- curing viruses or real-time augmented reality solutions for remote emergency surgery would pretty much ditch all that and straight up steal it from her once they found out how awesome it was. Yet she insisted in going on about the thing she said she couldn’t talk about AT LENGTH to anyone unlucky enough to be within earshot. One woman I know used her Asian ethnicity to pretend to not speak English around her (and people say immigrants have no advantages in America!). Anyway, as far as I can tell Pur-Sip is no more. The URL is dead, her show is off Cambridge Public Access.  

  2. She’s a Trump Fan Because of Course She Is Ploss next reappears when my brother-in-law does the thing I hate, which is “point out someone being an asshole in the national news who is also from Gloucester.” He sends me an article in the New York Times about this woman who is traveling around to Trump rallies with a cardboard cutout of Donald Trump who claims to be from Gloucester. Now, I don’t know everyone from Gloucester, but I know a lot of people and I see her in the picture associated with the article and recognize her, but can’t figure out how. It takes a while for me to put the pieces together and go, “Oh, it’s the annoying piece-of-plastic lady from Cambridge…she’s not from Gloucester, she’s from Cambridge. What the frick?” Here is where the Ploss Affair starts to take on the feeling of a zombie movie, where the symptoms of “the sickness” become apparent. I did what all characters do at this point, ignore it. We all thought the whole Trump campaign was a joke back then. It made sense joke product lady would be in favor of joke candidate. [I’m going to pause writing this article to take long, jerky pulls off a bottle of brown liquor and stare out my window for an uncomfortably long span of minutes….Ok, I’m back] Ploss also shows up on NPR as the “Lifelong Democrat who supported Trump.” She sounds unhinged. She’s clearly “patient zero” of this new world.
  3. Russian Bots Come to Gloucester Ploss shows up next on a Facebook video, at Fuller, being all wrong about the school, its sale, how the decision was made to sell it, she’s literally wrong about everything (click the image to see the video).I’ll rundown a full list of how she’s wrong after this timeline, when the bourbon hopefully starts kicking in. For now, what’s really interesting is not that she’s getting everything wrong or her terrible, terrible camera skills. What is amazing in its bald-ass attempt at fuckery is this: Look at this number of shares. 1,562 people shared this shitty video about the Fuller School in Gloucester. And very oddly, the shares are running ahead of likes, which never happens in the real world. And when you go to these shares, you start to see something weird. Bots. The vast majority of her shares are to very similar super-slim profiles with no personal images or information, just constant 24 hour-a-day forwards of right wing memes. The NYT talks about this phenomenon here. In fact, Melvin Redick – the fake profile outlined in the Times piece was one of the shares. The conclusion is simple: Ploss is either buying traffic or the Trump people gave her access to their fakeo network, the one Putin helped build to get Trump elected.. Seriously. This is happening, if you don’t believe me check out the shares yourself and tell me if there are that many people with barebones FB profiles that share a conservative meme every few minutes all day long. It’s all fake and Ploss is more botted up than a Japanese toy convention. Ploss has brought Russian social media fuckery to Gloucester. Read the Times piece and follow her shares. I feel like the scientist yelling about the zombies no one is listening to.
  4. Ploss Hates the Orlandos Ok, weird enough yet? Oh, sit your asses down people, remove any restrictive clothing and high-heeled shoes and prepare for some high-G maneuvering up in the Plossosphere. Shit’s gonna get real. Next we discover Ploss for some reason wants to be State Committeewoman of the local Republican something or other. I don’t really give a shit. But there is some deal where the previous chairperson moved out of state because her husband abandoned her and then Ploss accusing Amanda Orlando Kesterson of Gloucester of doing something illegal or something and Ploss gives this angry speech and storms out and it’s all very dramatic. So they do some digging and accuse Ploss of voter fraud. Dude, look, I could research this more and tell you all about it, but this effing piece is already too long, so just go read it on the “Rabid Republican Blog” which looks like it was designed in 1997 by a retired used office furniture salesman and it pains me physically to even look at it, much less actually read. Knock yourself out, if that’s your thing. Anyway, there is super-bad blood between Ploss and the Orlandos. What of the beef is substantive? I have no idea, but it once again seems to focus on the idea this woman is actually from Cambridge, where she voted, not Gloucester where she claimed to be from. 

    Lotsa stuff going on in this image from “Rebidrepublicanblog” but gotta call out those shades, man.

  5. Signature Move Kesterson wins the chairwhateverperson and Ploss is enraged. She decides to get her revenge on the Orlandos by running for Councilor at Large and unseating Republican millennial-in-a-suit Joe Orlando Junior. To do this, you need to get 150 signatures. Reports have her at Market Basket collecting signatures for an hour or so, but the signatures she eventually turns in “cannot be certified” which means what? That they’re fake? She can’t even collect 150 real signatures to run for City Council? Go to a couple of sports events and a bar ffs. Jebus. So, she’s not running. Or she’s a write-in because that totally works.
  6. The Return of Ploss (once again click if you still have any brain cells left)She’s back and wronger than ever. This time her “Call to Action” as we say in the business is to vote in the primary…for something. The Mayoral primary? Did she think there are councilors on the ballot in the mayoral primary? What the fuck is she talking about? The bots are back- look at those share numbers! Her piece de’ resistance is accusing the Orlando siblings of incest by comparing them to the Lannisters via lame Game of Thrones reference. Ick. That’s…just…for fuck’s sake woman. What the fucking fuck?

Have we reached Peak Ploss? Somehow I doubt it.

Analysis: A couple of things- First, Fuller was let go because it was a junk building we couldn’t do anything with. As we’ve said elsewhere, it’s like having a surplus shed on your property. You don’t sink money into the shed because it’s going to get ripped down, which is just a reality these days because a new building costs so much less here in the 21st century than rehabbing an old one, especially one with problems like asbestos. This is settled. Stop arguing about it.

Second, there is absolutely no low income housing going in to the project. None. Zero. I have no fucking idea what Ploss is talking about, her whole premise is a shit sandwich on a shit roll with a side of shitfries dipped in shit sauce. And vinegar. The current plan has the Y going there, some retail and apartments at market rate, which is probably something like $1500 for a two bedroom. The developers are making a fairly common deal where they give an in-kind donation to the city affordable housing fund. There are a whole host of problems with this and a bunch of trade-offs deserving careful evaluation, but none are related to whatever Ploss seems to be ranting about. How is this tied to illegal immigration at all? Only the noises and flashing lights in Ploss’ mind seem to understand. She has not been to one meeting or clearly read one article about this topic.

Third, the Orlandos. And this one took some Clamtropsection, peeps. It is my firm belief the normalization of Donald Trump and the Republicans who did not stand up to him and/or embraced him encouraged the the kind of behavior we’re seeing from people like Ploss. So, at first my sympathy for them was muted, especially after their posting of a Holocaust meme a couple of weeks ago right after the president of their party was pretty much cool with people hanging around with Nazis. Then I had a conversation with Jen Holmgren (side note, you should vote for Jen Holmgren) and she said one thing that made sense:

“Not here”

And that’s it. Not here. We don’t put up with this shit here. The Ploss thing is coming from the outside. This is our town and the Orlandos have been part of it for generations. No one has any right to come here and talk shit about them that way. You can oppose what they believe (I do) but our kids go to the same schools, we all care about this place and the people in it. Back to the zombie movie metaphor: We’re all trapped in this shopping mall. The only way through is by sticking together

Image result for thriller, zombie

And showing off our amazing dance moves

What Can I do?

Ok, so we’re open to ideas here, but the most important thing to do is be vigilant. If you hear people being wrong about Fuller- correct them. Read the reports, go to the meetings or send them to people who actually know what the fuck they are talking about. Don’t let the Ploss/Putin misinformation machine get a toehold.

Next: document, document, document. Take screencaps of things she says. You can send images to the Clam where faithful members of the Underground Lair will put them with our collection.

Call the cops if you see her trespassing.

Speak out. The paper doesn’t want to report on her, in fact people told us not to report on her because “giving her attention is what she wants.” Remember how well ignoring Trump worked? Or ignoring the Nazis in Charlottesville? Speak out on social media and make sure you have your facts straight. Stand and fight. Ten years from now when people ask you about what it was like during the Trump era, you want to be able to say, “I stood up for the truth,” not “I pretty much ignored it.”


Holy fucksprinkles, someone is imprsonating Amanda Kesterson Online. Don’t friend this, report it to the police and hopefully Amanda has called the cops.

Holy shit. This is out of hand. 

Always Punch All The Nazis – the Clam on the “Alt-Right”

So we here in Clam Nation came up with a hot take on Charlottesville a couple of days ago. Because a reaction seemed necessary, and when words are failing us video of Nazis getting punched are always welcome.

But there are words to put to this. Normally, we look to our leaders. Our elected officials. But since the Racist Cheeto in the White House made it crystal clear who his sympathies lie with (and, bluntly, it’s the Nazis), it lies upon the rest of us to say something appropriate. I’m a minor-league elected official at best (I’m a City Councillor in Salem, and I’ve pretty much peaked there), so for our purposes, I’m it. Sorry. But I’m also the closest thing to a conservative on the Clam roster.

There’s a lot of people saying that we need to give peace a chance. Talk to people. Communicate. I think that’s a noble and wonderful sentiment, but it’s not going to help the rest of us here. We’re not talking about the fringe of mainstream beliefs here. We’re talking about people who are actually Nazis. They identify as them. They wear swastikas. They hate blacks. They hate Jews. All the traditional hatreds and a few new ones based on demographic trends. They preach the elimination of all those people, and a twisted version of Christianity based on radical separatism and a perceived musclebound Christ who rewards the strong and punishes the weak. They called themselves the “Alt-Right” for a long time, because it was cute and Internet-trendy. They appropriated Pepe the stoner frog. They make a lot of adorable racist memes. And now they’ve uncloaked themselves. They’re Nazis.

Image result for charlottesville nazis

News flash: Self-described Übermenschen can’t even make their own torches

This isn’t your average everyday protest movement, then. Sure, Occupy has some assholes. So does BLM. But you know what? Their movements are based on actual injustices in society, and some of their members go to extremes that we disapprove of as a society in order to make their point. What injustices are Nazis suffering in this society? White people aren’t exactly disadvantaged.

No, these are Nazis. Your grandparents (and for some of you, your parents or great-grandparents) went overseas and died by the tens of thousands to stop the existential threat to humanity that Nazis presented then. It was a just cause to stop them.

We have top men working on this. Top. Men.

Newsflash: It’s still a just cause.

We live in a nation that is by design one that gives wide latitude to opposing views. You don’t have the guaranteed right to live in a bubble. Facebook and Twitter prove that every day (they also prove confirmation bias). The government cannot prevent you from spouting horrid opinions and appalling fictions. You don’t have to subscribe to Dianna Ploss’ Facebook page and watch her spew nonsense to her cardboard Trump doll. Government can’t stop her from posting, but they can’t make you watch it, either.

There are no such restrictions on society. Let’s stick with Ploss here – she can’t make us watch her drivel. She also can’t make Facebook host it. If enough people complain about it, Facebook may well take it down. They’re more concerned with nipples than nonsense, so that probably won’t happen. But when it comes to Nazis, we’ve got a choice and a moral imperative. Nazis need to be exposed, unemployed, and destroyed. Their apologists must be exposed and shunned. Antifa isn’t a hate group – it’s what decent Americans need to do.

America has a proud history of destroying fascism. A year ago, a lot of us warned you that this was the future we as a nation was hurtling towards. In MA, we got it right. But just enough people were fooled between “but her emails” and two-plus decades of ultra-partisan warfare to go for the man with the syphilis-rotted brain, open racist animosity, and horrifying behavioral history because he had an (R) next to his name on the ballot to give him the Presidency. Now we’re paying the price.

Image result for post apocalypse

From here in, everybody should take a good long look in the mirror. Think a few years in the future when you do it – who do you want looking back at you? A person who let this happen, or a person who did everything in their power, regardless of party, to stop the Nazis and their apologists from repeating history here? Normally, the federal government would have our backs. They clearly don’t. So it’s up to us. Some day we can get back to the normal Republicans and Democrats, and look back at this time as the era when society was “scared straight”. If, and only if, we do this right.

Which side will you be on?

“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.


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.