Feds Establish Star Chamber Bureau to Tell Citizens What’s True and What’s False

Washington, D.C., April 29, 2022, Star-Gazer News Service–The Imperial Federal Government has announced the creation of a new Star Chamber Bureau within the Department of Homeland Insecurity to winnow out opinions that the government does not like.

Inspired by the FISA Courts, the new bureau will monitor newspapers, bloggers, and social media for signs of any discouraging words about government policies and programs.

According to a bureau spokesperson, “dictatorships around the world have created a sense of ease and happiness via so-called bureaus of truth that determined who was lying and who wasn’t. As always, truth is the first casualty.”

Adolph Stalin, speaking under an immunity clause to keep his name out of the newspapers said that “for speech to be truly free, it must first be vetted by the government to ensure that it’s wholesome for all concerned rather than a rant by an opposing political party, PAC, news organization, or misguided Facebook commenter.”

“Today’s liberals are no longer your daddy’s liberals,” Stalin added.

Homeland Security Secretary Sam Smith said during a congressional hearing Wednesday the department is forming the disinformation bureau to protect the homeland and election security.

“We no longer have the luxury of public and private discourse based on a democratic marketplace of ideas,” said Smith. “Now we will tell you those things you must consider as the truth whether they are true or not.”

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Story by Jock Stewart, Special Investigative Reporter

Thumbing my nose at authority for 50+ years

Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies. – Groucho Marx

My problems with authority began in grade school and continue to this day. You see some evidence of that in the occasional fake news stories printed in this blog under the pseudonym Jock Stewart. I used to write these on earlier blogs and collected some of them in a book published by Lulu ten years ago. (It’s still there.)

A previous publisher saw these satircal news stories on my earlier blos and kept collecting them into novella-length collections. They’re no longer there because that publisher is no longer there.

The people who know me well (wife, neighbors, family, publisher) believe the “real me” is Jock Stewart rather than the angelic persona you see on this blog. The people who think I’m Jock Stewart believe that my thriller/satire novel Special Investigative Reporter is a memoir.

Maybe yes, maybe no.

In general, I agree with Groucho though, of course, I don’t get any traction out of that because he’s no longer there. Pratically speaking, I think politicians should have expiration dates so that they can do less damage to the country.

My superiors in the Navy knew I had this impression about them, meaning that my relationship with the brass was about like that of Alan Alda’s relationship with the brass in M*A*S*H. You’ll see some of this attitude in my Vietnam War novel At Sea.

In general, my authority problems have served me well in writing novels and short stories about people with authority problems. So that’s good, right?

Malcolm

Malcolm R. Campbell writes satire because, well, society needs a quasi-sane voice in this chaotic old world of ours who’s not afraid to to call a crook a crook. He stands ready to swear on a stack of phone books that “Special Investigative Reporter” is fiction. Well, mostly.

Gift ideas for your smart, discerning friends and family

Books Make Great Gifts

My family makes Christmas lists because we live so far apart, it’s hard to keep up with what we’re reading. So, we go out to Amazon or Barnes and Noble and find suggestions for each other. In addition to that, here are a few ideas:

My books are published by traditional publisher Thomas-Jacob and are all available in paperback, hard cover, e-book, (Kindle and Nook) and audiobook. Ingram tells us that supply chain problems may impact the delivery of hard cover editions, so if you want those, order them earlie rather than later.

Satire

  • Special Investigative Reporter. For your friends who like satire, puns, and who may be a little bit weird. Reporter Jock Stewart doesn’t respect authority, especially when it’s inept, so he says and writes what most of us wish we could get away with.  He writes all the news that’s fit to print–and some that isn’t.
  • A riveting great read from first page to last, “Special Investigative Reporter” showcases author Malcom R. Campbell’s impressive narrative storytelling talents. Certain to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to community library Contemporary General Fiction collections. – Midwest Book Review

Mystery

  • Fate's Arrows (Florida Folk Magic Stories Book 4) by [Malcolm R. Campbell]Fate’s Arrows. For your friends who like mystery/thrillers. Pollyanna is a bookkeeper at the mercantile in a small Florida town in the 1950s. Quite possibly, she’s more than she seems. The KKK has been a problem in this town for years. Now, somebody is fighting back with one calling card: an arrow with a hunting head.
  • The plot moves at a nice pace and the twists and turns pack lots of surprise. Tension runs high as the Klan exerts their power over the town of Torreya. The archer is an unknown entity fighting the good fight but never killing. Pollyanna is a different story, she can be deadly when pushed to her limits. – Big Al’s Books and Pals

Magic

  • Conjure Woman's CatConjure Woman’s Cat. For your friends who like magic and sneaky–and often deadly–ways of teaching the bad guys a lesson. A conjure woman and her cat in this small Florida Panhandle town in the 1950s represent two forces to be reckoned with, especially for the Klan and its supporters. When they set a spell, they don’t look back.
  • Wanda J. Dixon’s warmth and gorgeous singing voice are superb in this story about Conjure Woman Eulalie, which is told through the voice of her cat and spirit companion, Lena. Dixon zestfully portrays Eulalie, who is “older than dirt” and is kept busy casting spells, mixing potions, and advising people–that is, when the “sleeping” sign is removed from her door. – AudioFile Magazine earphones award winner.

See my page in the Thomas-Jacob catalogue for more ideas.

USPS to cut mail delivery times to be more competitive

Washington, D. C., Star-Gazer News Service, March 23, 2021–The postmaster general announced here today that the post office plans to become more competitive with alternative services by cutting office hours and taking longer to deliver the mail.

Informed spokesmen said that the proposed new slogan for the U.S. Postal Service will be: “When it absolutely doesn’t have to get there at all.”

According to Program Manager Bob Smith, “The expensive new processing equipment and other advanced technology aren’t expected to improve first-class mail or package delivery times as much as they will impress school children and others taking tours of postal facilities.

In a white paper released via PRNEWSWIRE, the watchdog group Just Waiting for the Mail said that the planned new uniforms will improve the “cuteness factor” for those thinking about making the USPS a number one career choice. The uniforms’ specifications include upgraded spud guns for controlling dogs, and possibly Democrats, that hassle delivery personnel.

Smith smiled when he said, “We are proud to embrace the term ‘snail mail,’ and promise to do our best to live up to that expectation of our services.”

A new mail slot in re-designed post offices will be named “Feeling Lucky.” Most mail inserted through that slot will fall into a trashcan while a “modest number” will be sent via priority mail even though such mail is no longer a priority.

Story by Jock Stewart, Special Investigative Reporter

New Title: ‘Parables Ironic and Grotesque’

Oblique Voices Press of Portland, Oregon has released a selection of dark satire stories by author and George Fox University Professor Emeritus Douglas G. Campbell, Parables Ironic and Grotesque

From the Publisher

Irony reigns in these biting and ofttimes darkly humorous tales. Campbell invites us to ponder upon the common follies of his fellow man, highlighting such weaknesses as pride, selfishness, fear, and greed, and pointing out the further foolishness of ignoring such shortcomings. Allegorical in nature, this body of work challenges the reader to a closer look into their own frailties and deficiencies and invites him to a healthy dose of quiet introspection.

From the Foreword by Jay Beaman, PhD

The irony of this artifact, this book, is the irony of how we communicate with each other in post-speak society. In the cyber-world, I can send off a message, and a few seconds later someone else speaks back to me or at me with a tweet, but usually there is a time interval between parts of the same message. Alexander Graham Bell’s first message on the telephone, “Mr. Watson –come here- I want to see you,” was instantaneous and continuous. Cyber-communication is discontinuous, disjunctive, and in that sense ironic. Here we are just now getting around to reading a book by Doug Campbell, written when he was a great speaker, when his voice was in the moment, some years ago before his stroke. Given his current difficulty in saying words, it is ironic to read such prescient work written about our society. I hope to have lunch with Doug again in days, and our conversation will be halting, frustrating, even primitive. But here I read him with such thoughtful and deft clarity. Doug loves puns, like his painting of a frog workshop, titled “toad’s tools.” This book is filled with puns. I hope Doug will forgive me for my pun, quite in bad taste, but written with deepest empathy, I weep as I write it, that this book reads like “a stroke of genius.”

I won’t commit the faux pax of reviewing my brother’s book, though I have to say, I love puns, satire, and irony and find this collection (in those terms) a comforting read.

Malcolm

 

Need Help Christmas Shopping

If you have put off your Christmas shopping until the last minute, here are a few ideas from your host (AKA, me) for your quality friends. Books, of course, because books are what I do.

Special Investigative Reporter

This book can be classified as a sarcastic, satirical humorous mystery. It’s a great book for people who like to laugh and who also happen to distrust authority–as my main character Jock Stewart does.  And as I do. Jock is probably my favorite protagonist because he reminds me of me, the kind of guy who’s likely to say anything to anybody, especially people who are really full of themselves.

Fate’s Arrows

This is my most recent novel, the fourth in my Florida Folk Magic Series which began with Conjure Woman’s Cat. I’m partial to the series because it’s set where I grew up, with places and people I knew.

Continue reading “Need Help Christmas Shopping”

Witless People Being Taken Away, ha ha

Washington, D.C. (Star Gazer News) – The U. S. Marshals Service announced here today the formation of the Witless Protection Program (WPP) to be run in tandem with the Witness Security Program (WITSEC) that was established in 1970. The new program will protect stupid people from themselves and will be administered under the FISA court system for the betterment of all humankind.

“If the clueless person in your apartment building suddenly disappears,” said Marshal Dillon, “it means a secret court has decided that happens to him/her is best kept secret.”

When several reporters asked if people can nominate witless folks who haven’t disappeared, Dillon said, “Sure, in fact, we encourage it.”

According to informed sources, the U.S. postoffice is working with WPP to allow witless nominations to be placed into USPS “Santa Mailboxes” where–the FEDS promise–there is “no video surveillance whatsoever ever.”

WPP program director Chester Goode told reporters that witlessness is a disease that requires compassionate treatment modalities designed to “fix these people up good as new.”

When asked what “good as new” actually meant, Goode said that it meant whatever the federal government wants it to mean when national security protocols are considered.

“We’ve got more protocols than you can shake a stick at,” Dillon added. “If you step on a sidewalk crack and break your mother’s back, you’re gonna be taken off the sidewalk by Homeland Security Agents. Ditto for a mother punching another mother in the nose while hanging out clothes.”

According to an ACLU spokesperson, the new program is as unconstitutional as cream colored ponies and crisp apple strudels. 

“The ACLU’s got it bad and that ain’t good,” said Director Goode. 

–Story Filed by Special Investigative Reporter, Jock Stewart

 

Police Bulletin Excerpts from ‘Special Investigative Reporter’

Jock Stewart, a reporter in the small town of Junction City, logs on to the police department website daily to keep up with the bulletins, any one of which might lead him to an exciting front-page story.

Excerpt 1

  • 07:30 – Marcus Cash reports his Black 2008 GMC Sierra Denali pickup truck was stolen or borrowed from the loading dock behind Elroy’s Wide Screen shop while Cash was joking with police across the street at the Krispy Kreme.
  • 08:45 – Officer Parker House is resting as comfortably as possible at Lord Have Mercy Hospital after shooting off his left nut while polishing his weapon while watching a gun safety video in the squad room.
  • 09:50 – Councilman Calvin Knox was injured in a purported two-car accident on County Road 3724 when a “sports car of some kind” ran his vintage Packard off the road into a pasture on the Staunton farm. Knox
    reported he was injured when he slipped on a fresh meadow muffin and wrenched his knee.
  • 10:30 – Clarification of 08:45 item. House’s “left nut” is to be interpreted as his remaining nut prior to the incident as opposed to the nut on the left side of his body. After the incident, no nuts were present other than House.
  • 11:15 – Police responded to the home of author Cane Molasses and took an enraged and yet to be identified woman wearing a Kroger sack over her head into custody when she wouldn’t stop hitting the author with her purse. Molasses states that he answered the door, she started screaming at him for making Judy, the beloved but naughty slut in his recent novel just like me.
  • 11:16 – Clarification of 11:15 item. The word “me” is to be interpreted as the enraged woman and not as Officer Betty Powers who types these bulletins.

Excerpt 2

The 11:15 item led to the following news story:

After the press conference, he went home and slapped together a news story while waiting for a goat cheese and anchovy pizza to arrive:

LOCAL AUTHOR APOLOGIZES FOR MAKING VIXEN IN NOVEL TOO MUCH LIKE NEIGHBORHOOD VIXEN

Cane Molasses apologized at a hastily called press conference here this afternoon to “any and all women” who believe they are or might be the Judy Miracle character in his prizewinning 2008 novel “Miracle on 35thStreet.”

Molasses called held the press conference and book signing at the Main Street Book Emporium after an unidentified woman accosted him at his home this morning and accused him of basing the Miracle character on secrets she told him when they stopped for drinks on the way home from an AA meeting.

“I’m involved with dozens of women a year for research purposes,” said Molasses, “and all of them are well compensated. Miracle is a composite character based on Carl Jung’s reformed hooker archetype which is extensively described in his collected works.”

Molasses told the crowd of some 500 adoring fans and one heckler that Miracle is a beautiful fictional character who sees the light just in time to be buried in a high-brow cemetery on 35thStreet.

While many of his fans purportedly model their lives on Miracle’s story, it was not his intent to suggest Miracle is either every woman or any specific woman.

According to Police Sergeant Wayne Bismarck, nobody was seen leaving the Kroger Store on Edwards Street wearing a sack over their head “any time in recent memory.” their head “any time in recent memory.”

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As he finished the story, the pizzeria called and apologized for not sending out the pizza he wanted. Apparently, everyone who tried to make such a thing got sick. He thanked them for their trouble, canceled the order, and ate two diet TV dinners with a glass or two (he lost count after two) of Cabernet.

Copyright © 2019 by Malcolm R. Campbell

 

Special Investigative Reporter: it will make you happier during these blue times

A message from your sponsor (AKA, me)

On sale for 99 cents:

This novel is just what you need to get through these difficult times. Why? It’s about an old-style reporter who’s not afraid to say what he thinks even though a lot of what he thinks isn’t politically correct.

From the publisher: In this satirical and somewhat insane lament about the fall of traditional journalism into an abyss of news without facts, Special Investigative Reporter Jock Stewart specializes in tracking down Junction City’s inept and corrupt movers and shakers for his newspaper The Star-Gazer. Since Stewart is not a team player, he doesn’t trust anyone, especially colleagues and news sources. Stewart, who became a reporter back in the days when real newsmen were supposed to smoke and drink themselves to death while fighting to get the scoop before their competition sobered up, isn’t about to change. Stewart’s girlfriend leaves him, the mayor’s racehorse is stolen, people are having sex in all the wrong places (whatever that means), and townspeople have fallen into the habit of sneaking around and lying to reporters and cops. Sure, everyone lies to the cops, but reporters expect gospel truths or else. Stewart may get himself killed doing what he was taught to do in journalism school, but that’s all in a day’s work.

I like this novel because the main character, Jock Steward, says what I would say if I could get away with it. Let’s just say its a comedy with a bite.

Malcolm

Conjure Woman’s Cat is also on sale on Kindle for 99 cents.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Parents Can Put Librarians in Jail if Parents Don’t Like a Library’s Books

Jefferson City, Missouri, March 3, 2020, Star-Gazer News Service–The Missouri House announced here today that when a bill proposing Gestapo-style Parental Advisory Committees is passed and signed into law, your favorite librarian may end up in the slammer.

House Representatives Jack and Monique (not their real names) admit that while it “takes a lot of arrogance to tell other people what they can and cannot read, such people can’t help themselves.”

According to informed spokespersons, the parental committees will be composed of adults who swear on a stack of comic books that “I don’t know anything about books, but I know what I don’t like.”

Dixon Ticonderoga, president of the Broken Pencil Think Tank, told reporters that studies show that teens read banned books sooner than other books.

“The bottom line is this: Banning books ensures that the age groups you don’t want to read the book will read then in greater numbers than they would if you just shut the hell up,” he said.

Librarians–who asked not to be named in print–noted that a “Missouri State Assessment of Adult Literacy (SAAL) conducted in 2003, 35% of Missouri adults have prose literacy skills at or below the basic skill level. In addition, 26% of Missouri adults are at or below the basic skills level in document literacy and 49% are at or below the basic skill level in quantitative literacy.”

Jack and Monique admit that the SAAL assessment shows that the parental committees will be “an example of the blind leading the stupid, and that’s what democracy is all about.”

Story filed by Jock Stewart, Special Investigative Reporter