We welcome back star blog commentator Penny2, who highlights an under-reported aspect of a true and rapidly unfolding national disgrace. THANK YOU Penny2, truth-teller.

1000 Targeted Bots in 3 States
by Penny2
The three states invaded by the 1000 bots were Michigan, Pennsylvania and
Wisconsin.  Faced with a new scandal every day–who bribed Hillary and how
she has Parkinson’s disease–she may never have had a chance, even if she
had camped out in those three states.

Then Trump spent the Sunday before the election in Wisconsin and
Monday in Michigan (and the more obvious Pennsylvania).

I am a Facebook friend of a woman named Amy Siskind who has been an
articulate Hillary defender for a long time. She posted several times on Thursday as each new development came in.

And I found one comment posted on her thread particularly compelling.  A Michigan resident explained
how she saw people go from quite persuadable to “never
Hillary” in just a couple of fateful days. Of course Comey changed
everything with his press conference too.  I wonder if there was ever a
consideration to turn that into a “fair and balanced” press conference
maligning BOTH Trump and Hillary?  Or to not hold it at all because he was
never allowed to publicize the Russia investigation?  This was probably one
of the most significant decisions ever made by the FBI with world-altering

I also found an essay from Rachel Maddow particularly compelling a few
days ago too.  She painted a picture of what it was like to post
pro-Hillary, to be responded to with vitriol and pornography. As a woman
who carries her phone around at work all day, the pornography would be
particularly terrifying. Not that you’re such a shrinking violet you can’t
see it yourself, but that a coworker or client might see it over your
shoulder and what they might think of you.

It’s quite obvious why the Pantsuit Nation women went private, removing
Pro-Hillary posts from the general populace who were instead receiving fake
news story after fake news story after fake news story about who was
bribing this ‘bitch.’ She never had a chance.

Some famous early internet person was recently quoted as saying that
there’s a wonderful system of rating the truthfulness of travel sites. He
commented that they should be used for news sites. It’s an interesting
concept, but one that people who subscribe in their hearts to fake news
will never buy into because, you know, who gets to decide what the truth
is? There is no trusted Walter Cronkite anymore.

It’s interesting to imagine being a person on the other side right now.  On
our side we’re seeing the internet as a powerful enemy of the truth in the
last days of the election and we’re seeing it as a useful tool for
mobilizing the resistance right now, without which Obamacare would not have
been protected. But if you’re a person who was taken in by one of the
Thousand Bots, I wondering what you’re going through right now.  Buyer’s
remorse?  Embarrassment that you were taken in by stories planted by a
Russian who wanted to pull us out of NATO?  Or do you double down and say
it was the truth that you believed and now it’s fake news that it was never
true in the first place?


photos: GoogleImages— slate.com; vancouversun.com; pcworld.com


Jen George is a Midwestern kid who grew up and followed her heart to the ocean. Her first novella, Bufflye, appeared serially in Silver Pen’s Youth Imagination online literary magazine in 2013. Jennifer currently resides with her husband and two children on the coast of Maine and studies in the University of Southern Maine’s Stonecoast MFA program.

TOMMY PAGE by Jen George

This week, I found out that my junior high celebrity crush, Tommy Page, committed suicide.


Tommy popped up on the Billboard Hot 100 with his first single, “I’ll Be Your Everything,” in 1990. It was love at first listen. I bugged the DJs at my local AM radio station until they picked up the song. I dreamed about Tommy, discussed him with my friends, and sang along to his albums at the top of my lungs. I scoured magazines like Teen Bop for photos of him. When I was twelve, I wrote the poor guy a hilariously awful poem that was cleverly crafted to contain the titles of all of his songs. In 2001, I joined the message board on his website and sat there biting my nails and hoping the dial-up internet would work enough for me to participate in his AMA (ask me anything) session on AOL. I seriously adored the guy.


Eventually, Tommy stepped behind the scenes of the music industry. He spent a bit less time on stage and a lot more time making music happen for others.

Tommy Page (Rex Features via AP Images)

(Thank you, Tommy, for bringing us Michael Buble, Josh Groban, and Green Day!) He moved on. I moved on, too, meeting and marrying the real love of my life and starting a family.


This is not the time to fangirl. This is the time to show respect for those who are hurting. Not everyone is comfortable telling the public at large that they are considering suicide. If a person has a large following, a well-intended but intrusive outpouring of love might cause more problems than it solves. Wanting space to heal is not weakness; it is a personal preference. We have HIPAA laws for a reason. Celebrities are no different in their desire for privacy. They are, however, at a disadvantage as they attempt to maintain it during personal crises. Continue Reading »

Marcher at the Boston Womens' March

Marcher at the Boston Womens’ March


(Thanks to Memphis Earlene for allowing this re-post from her own Blog, Memphis Earlene)

Woke up this morning with the Blues. The Women’s March was outstanding, twice the size of Littlefinger’s Inauguration festivities and much more festive. But that was three days ago.

I need a better name for the Unmentionable One.

The man next to me in the Metro Elevator was talking on his cellphone in Russian. “Horror show, horror show”, he kept saying. Horror Show means “good” in Russian. I flunked Russian in high school but still remember a few words. Do Russian hackers control the Internet, or is it only a matter of time?

The Dumpster? Not quite.

Out on the Virtual Verandah this morning Memphis Earlene and Latte Woman drink White Russians, and speak in broken English with fake Russian accents . Boris and Natasha English.

Make America Great Again. Get rid of Moose and Squirrel. Report to Fearless Leader.

“In a cage fight, bet on the Russian,” says Latte Woman. “Agent Orange is a shameless liar and a natural born bully but Fearless Leader has steel teeth and KGB training.”

Agent Orange? Perfect.

“Can’t bet against America. Wouldn’t be right,” says Memphis Earlene.

“America’s a Fascist Dictatorship . All bets are off, ” I say.

” At least we have a Fascist Dictator who doesn’t read books,” says Latte Woman, who can always find a bright side.

Osip Mandelstam, 1891 – 1938

Our lives no longer feel ground under them.
At ten paces you can’t hear our words.

But whenever there’s a snatch of talk
it turns to the Kremlin mountaineer,

the ten thick worms his fingers,

his words like measures of weight,

the huge laughing cockroaches on his top lip,
the glitter of his boot-rims.

Ringed with a scum of chicken-necked bosses
he toys with the tributes of half-men.

One whistles, another meows, a third snivels.
He pokes out his finger and he alone goes boom.

He forges decrees in a line like horseshoes,
One for the groin, one the forehead, temple, eye.

He rolls the executions on his tongue like berries.
He wishes he could hug them like big friends from home


(photo: Elizabeth Searle, taken at the Boston Womens’ March, Jan 21, 2017)

The New Year Is Coming

Thanks SHAWNA BORMAN for allowing a ReBlog of her New Years message! Rather than give He Who Shall Not Be Named the satisfaction of ‘winning’ Disgraced Celebrity of the Year yet again, I choose to end this dreadful year with this hopeful post from a true star, Shawna. Shawna’s work has also appeared in Stonecoast Review and her Blog of Doom is right here on WordPress. Cheers to Shawna and to 2017!

Shawna's Blog of Doom

Hello, hello!  The new year is almost upon us.  Unlike a lot of people I know, I have to say that 2016 wasn’t a bad year for me.  Personally, it was a quiet and uneventful year.  Yeah, bad and scary things happened in the world, but good things also happened.  For example, Spinraza was approved by the FDA as the first therapy for Spinal Muscular Atrophy (which was one of my diagnoses over the years, but I was assured 7 or 8 years ago that I actually have Ullrich Congenital Muscular Dystrophy).  Also, a lot of people were lost this year, including icons like Alan Rickman, Gene Wilder, and Carrie Fisher.  But we’ve survived.  We’re still here to make 2017 a better year.  To make ourselves better people.

15726690_10154915430007848_1371003916072326513_nR.I.P. General Organa

 If we want the new year to be better, we have to start with ourselves.  Many people make New Year’s Resolutions, which are…

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Catch TONYA & NANCY: THE ROCK OPERA in its SIX WEEK RUN in CHICAGO at Theater Wit, produced by UNDERSCORE THEATER with HARBORSIDE FILMS!  Visit: http://www.tonyaandnancytherockopera.com


The Redefinition of Donald Trump

By Luis M. Luque

Luque PhotoLuis M. Luque is still struggling to finish his first novel. He served as a U.S. Navy mass communications specialist for 20 years and now works as a writer-editor. He is also a 2010 graduate of the Stonecoast MFA program. He and his wife, Vera, live in Newnan, Georgia.

Americans and people everywhere have always lied. To lie is to make a claim you know to be false, to intentionally deceive. We’ve done that since the dawn of time. unknown-1Imagine the tales concocted to persuade the pharaohs to try to secure their immortality by burying themselves inside giant pyramids. Consider the rich detail of Greek mythology. Try to develop a magician’s act without lies. Tell me a fairytale that’s 100 percent true. As long as people have thought lying could gain them money, advantage, sex, attention, whatever, they lied. They distorted, deceived, exaggerated, concealed, omitted, ignored, stretched, deflected, prevaricated, misdirected, redirected, deemphasized, reemphasized, reimagined, and invented. Whatever you call it, it’s a lie, and we’ve all told whoppers.

But to people who believe we have just recently emerged into a post-fact world and disgustedly point to the cascade of lies vomited from the mouth of one Donald J. Trump as proof, I would only say it’s not that Trump lies more or that he lies worse or more blatantly, it’s that his lies are so easily proven to be lies that disgusts us most. He’s a terrible liar. He lies like a 4-year-old. unknownTrump lies because he doesn’t know or care about truth. Truth is irrelevant to his existence. He has redefined the entire notion. If Trump says something, it’s true, period. It must be true. And if someone disagrees with Trump, well, obviously that someone is lying. It’s that colossal arrogance that is new to the American political scene, the arrogance to completely disregard truth and facts and objectivity on any level, in fact to redefine those words, the willingness to present with a straight face the world according to Trump, and to ferociously attack those who disagree with his presentation.

Checking the veracity of any significant claim in a Trump speech is pointless. You know he’s lying immediately. During a rally in Ambridge, Pennsylvania, October 10, Trump was going on one of his typical rants about how Americans and the United States don’t win anymore because the rest of the world has surpassed us. “It’s like you have to be a grand chess master,” he said. “And we don’t have any of them.” This was news, of course, to the 90 grandmasters (the correct term) living or playing for the United States, third most in the world behind longtime chess powerhouse Russia (234) and barely behind Germany (91). Former world chess champion Garry Kasparov commented on the timeliness of Trump’s comment in a comical tweet: “Proud to see Trump knows as little about chess as anything else. Team USA just won gold at the Chess Olympiad!” This was quite an achievement, by the way, considering Team USA placed above Russia, China, Ukraine and other perennial chess powers to win gold at the event for the first time in 80 years.

So, he has no idea and doesn’t care about chess or grandmasters. Big deal. That’s not important. That wasn’t a lie. He was exaggerating for effect. Who gives a damn about chess!

First of all, no need to shout. I can hear you from here. I was merely providing you an example of how easily Trump’s claims are proven false. Let’s take another recent example. A couple of days after his second debate with Hillary Clinton, Trump tweeted: “Despite winning the second debate in a landslide (every poll), it is hard to do well when Paul Ryan and others give zero support!”

“Every poll.” Four national scientific polls declared Clinton the winner of the second debate by an average of 13 percentage points, 47.5 to 34.5. In fact, no scientific poll declared Trump the winner. None. Zero. Zip. Zilch. Nada. Nothing. Not one single scientific poll. Now, if losing by an average of 13 percent in four polls represents a landslide victory to Trump, then he has redefined “winning,” too. He will likely “win” the election under his definition. I’m sure he’ll continue to claim he “won” even as Clinton is taking the oath of office. Continue Reading »

Lisa Borders is the author of two novels, The Fifty-First State (Engine Books, 2013) and Cloud Cuckoo Land, the winner of River City Publishing’s Fred Bonnie Award for Best First Novel. Cloud Cuckoo Land also received fiction honors in the 2003 Massachusetts Book Awards. Lisa lives in the Boston area and teaches at Grub Street, where she leads the Novel Generator program. Find out more about her work at www.lisaborders.com.

On Hope and Hillary
by Lisa Borders

All of my life, I have been told I talked too much, too loudly, had too many opinions and should keep them to myself. The grammar school bullies taunted me for being “smart” and using “big words” – while the boy who was my chief academic rival was popular, admired.hcknown
In almost every job I’ve ever had, I’ve been told at some point that I came on too strong, or was too aggressive, or too emotional. I’ve been accused of not being a team player because I advocated for myself the way a man would. It wears us out, the jockeying and calculating, the attempts to calibrate what percentage of a woman’s thoughts and ideas men (and sometimes, sadly, other women) will tolerate our sharing.


imagesMaybe that’s why I was crying when I saw Hillary Clinton accept the Democratic Party’s nomination for president. Because I’ve watched her go through everything I’ve gone through – and then some. Every hateful thing that’s been said of her has registered to me as a personal attack. I’m not saying she’s immune to critique because she’s female; she’s far from perfect, just like every other politician. I’m talking about the level of vitriol, the nastiness towards her. It’s an exaggerated version of what we women all deal with on a smaller scale, every damn day.


The world felt like it shifted a little this week – for the better. What a surprising thing, to feel a sliver of hope in such a bitter time.


(photos: GoogleImages)