Author Archives: The Seeds of Spring

About The Seeds of Spring

Steve Bates Steve Bates is a longtime gardener and journalist. He grew up in the Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C., where he still lives. Steve received a scholarship from the Virginia chapter of Sigma Delta Chi, the Society of Professional Journalists, and he received a bachelor’s degree from the College of William and Mary. He has won numerous awards for his writing and editing for newspapers, magazines and the Internet. He spent 14 years as a reporter and editor at The Washington Post. This is Steve’s first book, inspired by his love of gardening and writing. He also enjoys baseball, travel and photography, and he plans to work toward certification as a garden and landscape designer.

The Mueller Report Revealed

BY STEVE BATES

The “In Sight” blog has received an advance copy of the long-awaited Mueller Report, both the Redacted and Unredacted versions. Crucial excerpts are featured below. Each Redacted passage is followed by the original version as written by the Mueller team.

This blog is indebted to the courageous person who leaked this material for this worldwide scoop. This blog will never reveal its source. This blog is particularly insistent that the report was not leaked by former Robert Mueller assistant Fred, with whom we had several drinks last night. Don’t even think about Fred as being the source. Even though we picked up the tab and Fred needed help just to make it to the men’s room….

President Trump made no attempt to XXXXREDACTEDXXXX obstruct justice. XXXXREDACTEDXXXX. Trump is not XXXXREDACTEDXXXX a crook.

President Trump made no attempt to hide how fiercely he intended to obstruct justice. He acted blatantly and shamelessly by trying repeatedly to stop or limit this investigation. He admitted to Lester Holt on national television that his reason for firing then-FBI Director James Comey was that he was unhappy with the probe. When officials declined to follow his orders to try to cut short the investigation, he threatened or publicly humiliated them. Trump is not to be believed regarding this obstruction. He is clearly a crook.

The Russian Federation attempted to ensure XXXXREDACTEDXXXX a fair U.S. election in 2016. XXXXREDACTEDXXXX. There is no XXXXREDACTEDXXXX collusion or  conspiracy.

The Russian Federation attempted to ensure that Donald Trump won the presidential election. Russia utilized social media as well as other tactics to shift opinion to help Trump and hurt Hillary Clinton. Russia was determined to undermine our belief that it was possible to have a fair U.S. election in 2016. Members of the Trump family, the Trump campaign and Trump organization met with repeatedly with nefarious Russian agents to ensure that Trump would win. There was clear coordination of the release of stolen Democratic emails to undermine the Clinton campaign. There is no evidence that Donald Trump and his minions were the least bit ashamed of collusion or conspiracy.

Money laundering by the Trump organization XXXXREDACTEDXXXX could not have happened.

Money laundering by the Trump organization is a longstanding practice. After banks around the globe realized that the Trump brand was synonymous with bankruptcy, the Trumps turned to shady and downright illegal sources of financing. Much of this came from Russian oligarchs with close ties to President Putin. Without this source of cash, the continued existence of the Trump organization could not have happened.

Some have claimed that hush money payments were made to alleged Donald Trump mistresses right before the 2016 election, which if true would be clear and intentional violations of federal campaign finance law. Trump could not have XXXXREDACTEDXXXX paid off these women to avoid scandal and to prevent his wife from hearing about these trysts.

Some have claimed that hush money payments were made to alleged Donald Trump mistresses right before the 2016 election, which if true would be clear and intentional violations of federal campaign finance law. Trump could not have been more transparent; he paid off these women to avoid scandal and to prevent his wife from hearing about these trysts.

Donald Trump has XXXXREDACTEDXXXX not broken any laws. Find XXXXREDACTEDXXXX Robert Mueller. XXXXREDACTEDXXXX. Lock him up.

Donald Trump has thumbed his nose at honest, hard-working Americans by his insistence that he has not broken any laws. Find anyone with an IQ over 70 who thinks Robert Mueller is on a witch hunt and had a grudge against the president. The evidence is overwhelming: Trump broke the law. Lock him up.

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McCain Responds to Trump

BY STEVE BATES

I have just attended a séance in which the medium was successful in contacting the late John McCain. The following is a complete transcript of his message for President Trump:

I’d like to say how very sorry I am that I have let you down, Donald, both in life and in death. The situations in which I have mistreated you are too many to enumerate. But let me try to atone for some of my greatest sins.

It was particularly unbecoming of the warrior that I am to allow myself to be captured during the Vietnam War. Much of the time that I was in captivity, I was hoping that you were managing to find some comfort. I know that you are a perfectionist and suffered every time that you could not find just the right keg party to attend or were forced to bed down with a brunette or redhead when you couldn’t seduce the blonde of your choice.

I thought that you would have a soft spot in your heart—assuming you do have a heart—after my father arranged for you to receive a war deferment based on that laughable claim of bone spurs. (They have not hampered your ability to play golf all these years, I see.) And no, I don’t recall my father talking about you thanking him for his help.

I admit that I let you down during my years in the Senate. I had never promised that I would vote for repeal of Obamacare, you might recall. Your worthless advisers had hoped that I would, and I must say that you showed magnificent restraint and flexibility after the vote by changing your mind and deciding not to have them executed.

It was cruel of me to provide the government with the dossier indicating your close relationship with various low-life individuals in Russia. And by low-life I mean your buddy Putin, not to mention his high-paid thugs. A little suggestion: Next time you need to relieve yourself in a hotel room, check for hidden cameras.

It was all my fault that Robert Mueller instigated that witch hunt against you, your family, and several dozen of your closest associates. I know now that I should have ignored rock-solid evidence of your money laundering, rigging the 2016 presidential election and using the presidency as your private piggy bank.

Yes, I should have contacted you to thank you after you reluctantly agreed to have your frightened underlings arrange for my funeral. Your two seconds of work devoted to that decision were surely among the most challenging and strenuous seconds you have put in since becoming the Leader of the Free World. In my defense, I was kind of busy Up Here getting oriented to my new surroundings. But I let you down, and I am sorry.

Donald, I hope that you life a long and full life. Because I have been told by reliable sources Up Here that, when you finally die, there won’t be any room for you.

Let’s Build That Wall

BY STEVE BATES

As a raging far-left Democrat/Socialist/Wild-and-Crazy sort of liberal, I have been staunchly opposed to President Trump’s border wall. But I have come around to the belief that if we can find a way to build it cheaply, the pointless political standoff will end and the government can get back to the business of ignoring the needs of the populace.

So here are my suggestions for ways we can get the wall done without billions of dollars in costs for concrete and/or steel:

A MOAT: We can simply rent a few backhoes, dig a canal, and wait for summer rains to fill it. Volunteers from border states will add alligators, piranhas, sharks, sick immigrant kids and other scary things that will await anyone stupid enough to try to cross it.

COAL: Better yet, make a wall out of Clean Coal, if such a thing really exists. This will give that moribund mining economy a boost. And once the Democrats regain full control of the government, we can burn the wall in one hell of a party. Ribs, anyone?

SOYBEANS: Thousands of farmers are stuck with tons of these beans because of the trade embargoes. Dump them along the border, and people trying to cross illegally will slip and slide so badly they will wish they stayed in the drug cartel back home.

SANDBAGS: These are cheap to make and stack, and they will come in handy when global warming turns Mexico into an ocean.

BARBED WIRE: It will only take a few dozen murdering rapist immigrants getting tangled in this and bleeding to death on national television for the caravans to head elsewhere, such as Cancun.

A HOLOGRAM: Put the high-tech people to work on a device that will project the image of a wall, complete with sharp spikes and burly Game of Thrones types prepared to toss spears or dump boiling oil on would-be illegal immigrants.

A SOUND BARRIER: Install loudspeakers along the border and blast those boys with a constant barrage of ear-splitting music, such as AC/DC. If you  want to get nasty, broadcast the theme to “Green Acres” over and over and over.

LAUNDRY LINT: For years, the greatest scientific minds have been struggling to find a use for laundry lint. The National Laundry Lint Reserve has reached several billion metric tons. Let’s put it to work.

STOCK CERTIFICATES: By Spring, the stock market will have crashed. Take all those paper stock certificates and stack them along the border. They have to be good for something.

THE WORLD’S LONGEST CASINO: This would require an investor with a track record of business success in this industry, who has never failed and is the best, really the best, at everything. I can think of one such business man. Someone who might be out of a job in the near future. Bigly.

Exclusive Interview With President Trump

BY STEVE BATES

The following is a transcript of the In Sight blog’s exclusive interview with President Trump, conducted during a two-minute presidential bathroom break aboard Air Force One. It has not been edited or censored in any way except to paraphrase 23 expletives inappropriate for adult readers.

Thank you for your time, Mr. President. How are you today?

Pass me the toilet paper.

Uh, the only paper I see is the New York Times.

Yes, that’s what I use.

Here you go. Let me congratulate you for your victory in the Missisippi Senate race. Your candidate won by a strong margin.

Yes, I can take full credit for that. I encouraged her to use that “public hanging” phrase. Really fired up the base.

I see. Can I ask you about the climate change report that your administration just issued?  It painted a pretty bleak picture.

There is no climate change report.

Well, I read it.

I don’t believe it. The climate can’t change, because there is no climate. It’s just something made up by radical Hollywood elites.

No climate? Then what causes weather, like rain and hurricanes?

That’s just fake news.

Good to know. What about your daughter’s use of a private email server to conduct government business. Isn’t that the same thing that Hillary Clinton did?

Not at all. Hillary revealed state secrets, like the nuclear missile codes and the location of the Confederate treasury. Ivanka was just sending out Christmas greetings. This whole fake witch hunt is part of the War on Christmas. Christ, it makes me sick. Hand me another section of the Times.

I’m interested in your plans to build a border wall. Where will you get the money?

It’s already under way. Prison inmates, children taken from migrant families, and aliens who have been sequestered at Area 51 all these years are building it now. Even little old ladies who live near the border are knitting razor wire fences. It’s inspiring.

Wow. What about the Mueller investigation? Are you concerned about what he might claim?

Not at all. I have seen the report, and I can say proudly that it concludes that there was no collusion. No collusion!

How did you get a copy, if you don’t mind me asking?

Why should I tell you?

Well, no one reads my blog, so your secret is safe with me.

My staff is finishing work on the report right now.

Your staff? I though Mueller was writing it.

The real Mueller has been undergoing extreme interrogation at Guantanamo for six months. We created a body double to take his place. (Flushes.) Your time is up. Get out of here.

One last question.

Don’t push it, pal. I can make one call and a bunch of Saudi friends of mine will make sure this column is you last.

Time to Retire

BY STEVE BATES

After giving the matter very little thought over a short period of time, I have decided to retire.

[Pause to allow cheering to die down.]

I admit that this is somewhat anticlimactic for a freelance writer. Many people don’t consider the gig economy to be part of the “real” employment market. I don’t feel that way.

In June 2013, when I left my last full-time job at the Society for Human Resource Management and began accepting freelance assignments, I was pleased to find that I was working about 40 hours per week almost immediately. However, the party didn’t last forever. In the past two years, I have dealt with family crises, surgeries, all sorts of prescription drugs and a disturbing increase in orphan socks. All of these issues have left me with less bandwidth and focus than I would like.

Bates_headshot

Anyone who follows baseball is familiar with the veteran pitcher who keeps hanging on long after he is effective, hoping for a last shot at glory and few measly million bucks. But he has lost the hop on his fastball, and he is a shadow of his former self. That’s probably not the way he wants to be remembered. Same for me.

I retire happy with what I have done professionally since I started contributing articles to the Richmond-News Leader while I was a college student in the 1970s. I got five backs per article. (It seemed like a lot at the time.) My last journalism class was in the tenth grade, so I guess you can say I overachieved.

One of my favorite memories is from my stint as a copy editor for the Richmond Times-Dispatch. Faced with a narrow column in which to fit a headline about a man arrested for a sex crime, I wrote:

Sexual
Battery
Charged

It seemed innocuous enough. But the next morning, the newspaper’s switchboard was inundated with readers asking where they could get theirs charged.

Several years later, I was sitting in a Washington Post news conference when an editor mentioned that one of his female reporters, who happened to be quite attractive and talented, was rumored to be a candidate for a TV network job. With impeccable timing, Executive Editor Ben Bradlee responded: “Arrange for a scar.”

My favorite article was written while I was at the Post. It was about two children with failing livers at a pediatric hospital in Philadelphia. One donor liver became available. To whom should the surgeon give it? The kid from rural Pennsylvania, or the one from Bolivia? In a somewhat Solomon-like action, the surgeon gambled and sliced the liver in half and transplanted a piece into each child.

What made the story really special for me was that, while the parents were waiting anxiously for the surgeon to finish work, the families bonded strongly. None of them spoke more than a word or two of the other couple’s language, but that didn’t stop them. The last I heard, the two kids had reached adulthood in good health.

I had hoped to continue my career for a few more years, but I got reality check during a recent visit to my doctor. I started hearing voices. They said the same word over and over: “Battery…. Battery….” I thought it was my subconscious mind beating me up for that awful headline back in the 1980s. It turns out that it was just my hearing aids trying to tell me they needed more juice. But I took it as a sign.

Now, some of you have reacted very strongly to my suggestion that I might abandon this blog as well. Despite your fervent pleadings, I have decided to continue it anyway. At least for a while.

In addition, I will write science fiction short stories as long as editors keep buying them. The great thing about sci-fi is that you don’t have to worry about accuracy. You can invent universes in which anything is possible. Well, almost anything. In all the possible universes, there is none in which Congress actually gets anything accomplished.

Some things never change.

When I Rule the World

BY STEVE BATES

I plan to rule the world someday. I’m not sure exactly when or how this will happen. But happen it will.

I have been saving up ideas for what I will do when I rule the world. Here’s my rough draft, by category.

SOCIAL ISSUES

Instead of fighting over gun restrictions, we need to try a new approach: bullet control. Let’s forbid the sale and use of all bullets except those with marshmallow points. Or we’ll allow harder bullets that can move at no more than 3 miles per hour.

Let’s spend more on research to develop new energy sources. I understand that it might be possible someday to turn carbon pollution into methane fuel. Maybe we can also find a way to harness the energy of used tennis balls and laundry lint to power the 21st century.

TECHNOLOGY

Landlines and cellphones are bombarded with junk calls, despite laws restricting them. If we can’t block them, at least require each caller to pay you a dollar for the right to call right during dinner or when you’re trying to get junior to sleep.

If we allow Twitter to exist–and I’m not sure that we should–we should include the following message with each tweet: “Warning: The surgeon general has determined that Twitter can cause all kinds of bad things to happen. Stay far away. And don’t read any tweet from anyone inside the Washington Beltway.”

Cellphones will self-destruct when operated continuously for more than 12 hours.

SPORTS

Soccer is in most need of an upgrade. I would double the width and height of the goals. And I would require that goalkeepers be no larger than five-foot-six and play with one hand tied behind their back.

To make football less dangerous, I would force all players to wear at least two layers of bubble wrap before venturing out onto the field.

bubble

I’ve given up trying to make baseball games shorter. I would fine every player who spits more than one gallon during a nine-inning game. Two gallons for extra innings.

To make golf more interesting, I would make it a contact sport. You can swing any club in the bag at any opponent at any time. Fans would be required to yell every time a player tries to putt.

PERSONAL GRUDGES

I am particularly unhappy with drivers who mosey along at 15 miles per hour below the speed limit while blocking the left lane for mile after mile, only to dart across three lanes to make a right-lane exit at the last instant. Their 30-day sentences would consist of them driving all day behind a smelly trash truck moving at 5 miles per hour on a one-lane road.

All bars of soap would be hollow, so that you are never left with a sliver.

ENTERTAINMENT

Use of the term “shiplap” would be illegal on TV networks. It’s a made-up word used by people trying to prove how cool they are.

GOVERNMENT STUFF

Elected officials would be required to wear uniforms like race car drivers. Their patches would indicate the corporations that gave them more than $1 million. If they ran out of space for those patches on their jackets and pants, they would be allowed to put them on their undergarments.

Health care has gotten too expensive and complicated. Just let people go to doctors. Let the doctors provide the treatment and medicine the patients need. And charge the patients a reasonable amount. Is that so hard?

A new museum would be built on the National Mall dedicated to Hillary’s e-mails. Every e-mail she ever sent would appear on a rolling basis on massive screens. Tour guides and electronic kiosks would explain the damage that these e-mails have caused to national security and our country’s future.

Trump: Illegal Immigrants Will Build Border Wall

BY STEVE BATES

President Trump announced today that undocumented immigrants—including children separated from their parents—will build the border wall with Mexico.

Labor camps are already being assembled along the lengthy border. They will house children separately from adults. An administration spokesman said that the adult camps will be at least five miles from those used to house children, so that even if immigrants manage to climb on top of something and use binoculars, they will just be out of sight of their families.

immigration_protest

“Knowing that loved-ones are nearby should be a mighty motivating force for immigrants in constructing this much-needed border wall,” said the spokesman. “They will keep building and building with the vain hope of getting close to their family members.”

Trump tweeted that he got the idea from North Korean dictator Kim Jung Il. “Kim has mastered the art of taking idle hands and putting them to work for good purposes,” said Trump. “We’re going to build this wall in no time.”

The Trump administration spokesman said the immigrants building the wall will be paid the equivalent of one dollar an hour in a new cryptocurrency, TrumpCoin. Those who demonstrate advanced skills or who work more than 14 hours a day could earn college credit at Trump University.

“We have about 90 million illegal immigrants in this country,” the president tweeted. “We’re going to put them to work!” Children as young as four will be expected to participate.

He added that those undocumented residents who are not currently in detention have 10 days to surrender to ICE agents in order to get the best bunks in the labor camps. Those who fail to do so will face to prospect of sleeping two a cot.

wall

“When we look back on this 20 years from now,” said Trump, “we’ll be proud of this great project. We will probably hold a parade for any immigrants who survive the process.”

Americans who immigrated legally to the United States might also be asked to help the effort, the administration spokesman stated. He said that exceptions will be made for people who are making substantial contributions to the public good, such as First Lady Melania Trump.

“Brown, black, yellow–we won’t discriminate,” said the spokesman. “Everyone who isn’t white will have the same opportunity to break their backs and spill their blood for the betterment of this great country.”