To learn more about Harvey Finkle’s photographic work, link here: http://www.harveyfinkle.com
To learn more about Harvey Finkle’s photographic work, link here: http://www.harveyfinkle.com
Text by A.H. Scott, Copyright 2021
“Circus MAGAmus: One Year On”
Step up! Step in! It is the event you don’t want to miss! Circus MAGAmus welcomes you into the abyss.
Not a moment to waste! Not a moment to lose! Far more than just your pride shall be abused.
Upon his chariot he enters the venue to waves of great cheer. As he rises onto his pedestal, his devoted followers wiggle and writhe in animated flickers of delusional glory.
For now, you are allowed in his presence because he is amused by having his lemmings around. But, don’t get too comfortable in MAGAmus, for it can change at the whim of the emperor.
Make America Great Again is the slogan and roar. When you think you’ve given your allegiance, they want more, more, more. Not enough to have a ‘R’ next to your name, you must bow and bend to the emperor of tarnished fame.
In Circus MAGAmus it is not 1 which they follow, for it is an intersecting of disparate agendas that ring so hollow.
Fuselage of fibbery cascades over those so willingly assembled, as they submerge in an upside-down universe of electoral thievery and pseudo-persecution by those on the left.
He is their idol, have no doubt. Now, this is what MAGAmus is all about. As a golden edifice of their emperor is rolled onto center stage, it is quite telling that even this object of affection for MAGA was crafted in that country the great man derided south of the border. 200 pounds of fiberglass fraudulence is dazzling in gold, as the oohs and aahs of the onlookers fills the arena with bliss. Some even gaze at the posterior of this statue and ponder a nice, long, sloppy kiss.
For whom the bell tolls, some may say. It tolls for America on this very day. States of shock. States of division. States of commission. States of omission. As hands on the clock of the wall of destiny ticks away, it is only our will that can change our fate’s sway.
With the two major political parties in the United States of America, it seems like a battle of the brands.
Brand vs. Brand:
Republicans are odious and obnoxious in showing no lack of limitation in their words and actions of tastelessness intermingled with a dangerous edge to them. Flouting mask mandates within the walls of Congress, demeaning fellow members as terrorists, and using misogynistic anime are just the tip of a turgid iceberg of the Grand Old Party. They get off on saying the words of hate, which inflates their campaign war chests with each and every slight of indignity.
Like the axiom that the fish rots from its’ head, the lead of lackadaisical lashing out is a trademark of their dear leader.
Contempt is what has been dished out so furiously over the years towards the American public, as now contempt is being dished right back at two peas in Circus MAGAmus’ poisonous pod.
As for the Democrats, their brand is promoted upon competence and compassion. Being able to pass and sign programs into law and having policies that will lift the American people up are signs of proving they are able to use the government for many things positive. They show they have a vision of a fair heart.
Now, of course, being considered the only party at the moment in the vein of maturity and experience to get things done does not mean everything which they are doing is going swimmingly. Because, there self-inflicted glitches, as in getting federal voting rights legislation not being signed into law.
Simplifying each party’s brand could come down to two words; visceral and cerebral.
Visceral is that primal scream of a tantrum-tot flinging feces against the wall. Cerebral is that reflective pipe-smoking theorist in an ivory tower.
No mistakes are made when your attention is needed by the Republicans, they take the stage and full-page of focus, as the Democrats are left droning on and on in the tower.
Perceptions are what they are, as Democrats always seem to fall short or seem constantly in a state of playing catch-up when the Republicans are miles ahead in their planning or agenda.
This is where the Democrats seem slower on the uptick of holding the spotlight and proving to the American people that they are deserving of re-election. Going beyond being able to tell voters a long, rambling list of issues and policy papers is where the Democrats are falling behind in controlling the political narrative.
For this tempestuous moment, it seems only one of the two parties is taking history by the throat and twisting it for its’ own benefit.
Why is it that Democrats won’t be the party of flexing the law’s muscles to the limit, in using the trappings and levers of legality within a framework’s priority already on the books? Or, even have the imagination to think outside the box?
As for the Republicans, they’ve incinerated the box, stomped on the ashes, pissed on it and injected the inked concoction into their fountain pens they use to craft legal frameworks for whatever ideological options they wish to forward.
No law is infinite or untouchable; even though in the moment when a landmark ruling is made, marginalized members of American citizenry affected by the law are lulled beneath a fallacy of assuredness.
I’ll just place it in blunter way: “Bye, Bye, Roe! Brown, You’re Next!”
Abortion law isn’t settled, even with decades of rulings in favor of a woman’s privacy. And, the same goes for the foundational elements of equality of fifty, sixty, or seventy years. If Roe v. Wade can be overturned so can Brown v. Board of Education; and, if not outright demolished, then it is a brick by brick dismantling.
For most of the American public who are not paying attention to court actions around the country; they are hit with surprise when the media coverage of the big enchiladas of landmark laws are on the verge of being toppled.
Yet, when layers of legal rights and protections are taken away by a series of rulings; they will not be replaced in a snap of a finger. The type of reconfiguration that would be needed when rights that many of us thought were written in permanence would take generations way beyond the lifetimes of many of us who are alive today. The legal infrastructure that has been laid out over the past fifty years in placing judges on all tiers of the local, federal and Supreme Court has set its’ ideological course.
2022 is here and there is no turning back to what was thought of as being ‘normal’ before. So, the obvious question that has to be spoken out loud is: Which way, America?
Caught flat-footed in the maelstrom of a haphazardly, orchestrated coup, many Americans are still in disbelief in how close to losing democracy we actually were on that date in January a year ago.
Repeating to myself over and over again that an authoritarian’s aria wasn’t able to become an ascending anthem of America; I was tragically proven wrong.
Democrats should stop acting as if it can’t happen here; because, it did, it is, and it will continue to be. And, if they do not come off the mountain top of thinking everything is alright and we are now back to ‘normal’ in having a different President in office, they definitely are not looking at what is happening at pedestrian level.
Whether or not Donald Trump and Joe Biden want to admit it, they are bound to each other in perpetuity. Trump’s first impeachment was over his zeal to besmirch and extinguish Biden’s presidential bid. Core reason of Trump’s second impeachment was about his unnerving battle to keep Biden out of the office that the latter had won fair and square.
Trump’s lack of acquiescence in not manning up to feign conceding that he LOST the election of November 2020 or giving up these delusions of the election being stolen from him is the height of tedium of having to constantly hear him moaning about it. Still to this day, he acts as if he is Emperor in Exile.
As Mr. Trump will not acquiesce, Mr. Biden will not affirm their entanglement because of the antics of his predecessor has stunted his own administration’s flourish, as in having several appointed positions throughout the federal government unfilled.
Biden has blinders on in acting as if with him placing hand on the bible during an oath of office has returned everything as it was during his former years in the Senate and even as former Vice-President.
Neither man seems willing to acknowledge or even come to terms with where the other stands upon the timeline of this country’s history.
Without any doubt, there is the aftermath of the election that remains in the present and onto the future.
Even after Joseph R. Biden’s swearing-in of becoming President of The United States of America, his administration is haunted by the former president.
President Biden’s optimistic tone is something which is a laudable trait and one of the reasons I voted for him. Yet, Make America Kind Again isn’t happening in the same space as Make America Great Again.
Sad to say, there can only be one or the other which stands. I have my fingers crossed with the outlook of kindness, but know that the dimness of pessimism forever hovers like a somber cloud over this land.
Emperor of hefty ego and flesh has not receded into the shadow of yesterday, as he protrudes and intrudes into the present. He need not say a word, as his weary, thumbs up or down in the caustic coliseum is his sign of favor or disfavor to those who solicitously debase themselves for his grunting approval.
“They all want the endorsement of Trump. You remember for years, you heard the expression an endorsement isn’t worth the paper it’s written on. And then this whole thing came along, and it’s a very, it’s a very important, it’s a very important treasure.” – Donald J. Trump, FORMER President of the United States of America
With spines liquefied by greed or need for some sort of unholy urge for relevancy of pledging fealty to him, they squeal, squawk and stammer. Vacant of ideas or policy initiatives of their own, each man and woman in MAGAmus knows to whom they must bow.
A failed coup is only a dress rehearsal, for the tailoring of governmental restraints are systematically beginning to be unstitched from the suit of propriety and comity.
Dual tracks of violence were in effect for the first month of 2021. Yet, as the many hours of televised coverage of the horrific acts of violence shook the senses of the American public, it was what was not visible on those days which has a more insidious legacy.
On a psychological level, a seismic shifting was taking place in the corridors of power around the United States of America.
Laws are only as good as the men and women who craft them. Or, as bad as the intentions of some who have law degrees decide to disfigure the spirit of what the law is.
LawCraft: A Coup Is Brewing
With law degrees from the prestigious institutions of learning, a cadre of lawyers molded the memos that were the blueprint for a coup. Actions in the public sphere were matched by written words in varied emails, memoranda and even PowerPoint presentations to come up with some kind of scheme of legitimacy for not allowing the slate of electors to be certified by former Vice-President Mike Pence.
Good ol’ Mike was given the hard sell by lawyers John Eastman, Jenna Ellis and even his old big boss, Donnie T., to get with the coup program and not do his constitutional duty and certify the electors.
It is kind of odd to know that Mike Pence is the man who valiantly ‘salvaged’ democracy, even though now he still won’t turn his back on a man whose supporters were howling for his hanging.
But, then again, he did trigger his own political future in not doing his boss’ underhanded, bidding on a certain day in January 2021. Vice-President Mike Pence, in doing the right thing in that moment has actually shrunk his own presidential hopes for 2024.
Clasping for any validation for a lie so damnably large, the Emperor in Exile draped himself with the pelts of the willing to make a legal skirmish for him.
In a judicial spanking, lawyer Sidney “Release the Kraken” Powell and Lin Wood was sanctioned by a federal Michigan judge over their seemingly endless filing of baseless allegations in regard to overturning Donald Trump’s election loss. For their alliance with the propelling the former President’s tissue of lies, Ms. Powell and Mr. Wood have maintained the golden high life for themselves.
Aside from lawyers Powell and Wood, there was another headliner in this Revue of ridiculousness. Circus MAGAmus’ antics were at full tilt when a man who was formerly dubbed ‘America’s Mayor’, Rudolph Guiliani held an off the wall press conference at a landscaping business located between a sex shop and crematorium in Philadelphia on November 7th, 2020.
I am a person who believes in leaving the past in the past and focusing forward. Yet, the scaffolding of the events of this past year cannot be just be ignored or even accepted as something this American citizen should just live with as being a part of politics.
In Circus MAGAmus, all which would seem beyond imagination is a twisted nightmare occurring upon the shores of the United States of America.
The past year and four years before that, is not days that are over. Oh no, in fact we are all standing on at the cliff’s edge of what the experiment of democracy in this country has been, shows that this is just the creeping of a fascistic tide which many are in avoidance of admitting what can be seen across the horizon.
Gladiators of rage, roar and visibility on behalf of the Emperor in Exile are not the only ones with bloodlust; for there are those who are far more destructive with degrees of distinction, golden pens, regressive legal theories, esteemed imprimatur of Esq. who salivate in the quest of defeating the principle of one man (or woman) and one vote.
New Year’s here. Will democracy in America remain?
First step – THE FILIBUSTER MUST GO!!
One year on from January last, another January has come. During the observation of the federal Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday, we don’t need a person in the political sphere give a MLK, boiler-plate platitude of tossing out the tiniest parts of that great American’s speeches that everyone in public life has memorized. And, then the day afterwards, those same people do nothing about doing away with the filibuster.
“The vote is the most powerful instrument ever devised by human beings for breaking down injustice and destroying the terrible walls which imprison people because they are different from others.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Either the filibuster goes, or democracy does.
“It doesn’t matter how strong your opinions are. If you don’t use your power for positive change, you are indeed part of the problem.” – Coretta Scott King
Some have clung to the escapades of Circus MAGAmus as their guiding light, as others of us have made just the opposite decision of heeding the beacon of democracy’s flame to continue to burn bright.
As for the followers of Circus MAGAmus who are waiting with baited breath for the pronouncements from an Emperor in Exile, who in reality is a twice-impeached, washed-up television host of dubious hair and epidermal hue, who now holds a courtly display in his gaudy residence on Palm Beach; my only question that I have to raise is this – “All for him?”
In 2022, I vigorously hope not.
“Circus MAGAmus: One Year On” – The Footnotes:
1.- “Golden Trump Statue At CPAC 2021” – Deseret News
2 – “House Votes to Hold Mark Meadows In Contempt For Defying Jan. 6 Committee Subpoena” – USA Today
3. – “Donald Trump On Hugh Hewitt Show” – CNN
4. – “Trump’s Coup Plot Was Worse Than Anyone Knew” – Salon
5. – “Trump Lawyer’s Full Memo On Plan For Pence To Overturn The Election” – CNN
6. – “Release The Kraken, A Catchphrase For Unfounded Conspiracy Theory” – NY Times
7. – “Profound Abuse: Judge Disciplines Pro-Trump Lawyers” – Reuters
8. – “I Saw Donald Trump’s Presidency Come Crashing Down At Four Seasons Total Landscaping” – The Independent. https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-election-2020/i-saw-donald-trump-s-presidency-come-crashing-down-at-four-seasons-total-landscapingb1699962.html
About The Author: A.H. Scott is a poet based in New York City and frequent contributor to Tony Ward Studio. To read additional articles by Ms. Scott, go here: https://tonywardstudio.com/blog/as-the-worm-turns/
A.H. Scott’s book: Bad Guys Finish Fast & Good Guys Finish Last is available on Amazon!
Text by Kemo Chen, Copyright 2021
All Men Are Poets
I never met a man who wasn’t a poet.
All of us are inside. There are feelings, images, furies wanting to emerge, awaiting a creative spark that sets them afire.
I found that spark after years of suppressing it, afraid of saying what was on mind to myself , mostly. I had no great design, but, had notebooks in boxes , of thoughts, opinions, and notions of how the forces had taken me away from whatever, I was or wanted to be , to this here and now.
Still a working man, with bosses and boundaries , that remained in the politically correct corral , I elected to inhabit a pen name, so I could write free, full throated and uninhibited. And, I called it Muscular Poetry, not about the flowers blooming, unrequited loves, the usual ebb and flow of relationships , in arcane passages, deciphered by other poets , not mere mortal men.
No, my collections are about what it is like to be man. A man who sees the world in different shades of light and gray and white, and sometimes black, and at other times, with the darkness that comes from deep within where light emerges sparingly.
Words are both sword and shield.
The great beat poet, Michael McClure, famously offered,
“Poetry is a muscular principal, there is no logic, but sequences of feelings”
And all of these feelings are for you, in an era when compliance substitutes for truth, where more is canceled than added, and the minority view masquerades as the majority will. Up is down, down is up , and two plus two equals five.
Muscular Poetry is about the inner journey to find the best of ourselves, sometimes at great cost and loss. It defines the vagaries of the essential struggle to achieve , love, overcome adversity, and find some peace of mind.
It is poetry , declaring, you are not alone, unless you want to be, and knowing that either way, that choice is the essence of your free will. If there is bliss out there, it is as much a birthright for all men as is , fortitude, courage, and grit.
I write to encourage you to write, and create. For no one but yourself. It is more than amusement or therapy, it will embolden you, knowing you have something to say that defines the purpose and meaning of your life.
There is a poet inside you, face him, and he will set you free.
About The Author: Kemo Chen is a journalist, adventurer, contrarian, and street corner philosopher. He has rubbed shoulders with moguls, Presidents, Prime Minsters, and fighting men from the Golan to Chechnya. He’s traveled from Xinjiang to the caves of Qumran. An advocate of all men finding themselves and realizing their potential. An avowed enemy of the obvious.
Muscular Poetry is now available on Amazon! Link here:
Text by Bob Shell, Copyright 2021
2+2=6 Or Anything You Want It To Be
I really fear for the future of our country if something isn’t done to stop the insanity of our American educational system. One thing that sticks in my mind from my time in Germany is the education of the young people I met there, and their interest in and engagement with culture.
Two German friends my age, Hans and Erika, have a daughter, Gisela. Last time I saw her was in 2002, when she was in her early twenties. She took me to meet her friends, who were full of questions about America, and took advantage of my availability to pump me over beer and wurst. They knew more about the US than most people here of similar age, and asked insightful questions. And, they all could speak good English! It’s taught in their schools. How many young Americans could carry on an intelligent conversation in another language?
What brought this to my mind was an article in THE WEEK magazine. The Oregon Department of Education is telling teachers to take a class called “dismantling racism in mathematics.” Yes, you read that right, racism in mathematics!
The course instructs teachers that “the focus on getting the ‘right’ answer and requiring students to show their work,” are actually “toxic characteristics of white supremacy culture.” Teachers are told “not to perpetuate objectivity by upholding ideas that there are always right and wrong answers.”
I’m not making up this lunacy, wish that could be the case.
Apparently, kids today can’t handle being told they’re wrong about anything, and for teachers to insist on correct answers is racist. Notice that they put ‘right’ in quotation marks, as though it is somehow subjective. It may be subjective in the social sciences, but in mathematics? If the United States is to continue its preeminent position on the world stage, we need generations of young people who can handle the disappointments of the real world, a world that won’t coddle them.
Teachers in my generation insisted on right answers, and our egos weren’t too fragile to take the consequences of being wrong.
I’m liberal in my social views, but this goes far beyond liberalism into insanity. No wonder the rest of the world thinks all Americans are dumb hicks!
Since at least ancient Egypt and Greece , mathematics, the science of numbers, has been held in high regard. Philosophers studied and admired the purity of mathematics and geometry. These old guys worked out the rules of mathematics, and discovered most of the higher math we rely on today. Their success relied on getting the right answers. Using rules of mathematics and geometry, they worked out the diameter of the Earth using nothing more sophisticated than the sun’s light shining into two deep wells. They were only off slightly, because the Earth is not a perfect sphere, as they thought.
Later, the Romans were less interested in the theoretical and philosophical aspects of mathematics, but in its practical applications. They were great engineers, which is why so many of their constructions survive today, more than two thousand years later. They got the math right, even with their cumbersome numerals.
When Europe was plunged into the Dark Ages by religious nonsense, the great Arab scientists invented the zero, and carried on the mathematical knowledge of the ancient Greeks, Egyptians, and Romans. They knew the Earth was round and revolved around the Sun, while back in Europe the church was teaching a flat Earth and a geocentric universe. It took us far too long to bring science to the forefront and shake off those ridiculous ideas.
Today, we pride ourselves on our science and engineering, both of which require getting the right answer. There is no ‘right’ answer in mathematics, only the one right answer!
More insanity: Just heard on TV that Dr. Seuss books are being withdrawn by the publisher as racist. Man, that’s sick!
About The Author: Bob Shell is a professional photographer, author and former editor in chief of Shutterbug Magazine. He is currently serving a 35 year sentence for involuntary manslaughter for the death of Marion Franklin, one of his former models. He is serving the 13th year of his sentence at Pocahontas State Correctional Facility, Virginia. To read Bob Shell’s, first essay on civil war, click here: https://tonywarderotica.com/bob-shell-letters-from-prison-3/
Editor’s Note: If you like Bob Shell’s blog posts, you’re sure to like his new book, COSMIC DANCE by Bob Shell (ISBN: 9781799224747, $ 12.95 book, $ 5.99 eBook) available now on Amazon.com . The book, his 26th, is a collection of essays written over the last twelve years in prison, none published anywhere before. It is subtitled, “A biologist’s reflections on space, time, reality, evolution, and the nature of consciousness,” which describes it pretty well. You can read a sample section and reviews on Amazon.com.
Photography and Text by Alejandra Guerrero, Copyright 2020
Wicked Women is my first solo book and a photographic monograph of 12 years of my works in erotica with emphasis in fetish photography. It presents my vision of sensual, strong and sexually confident women, with images full of narrative and erotically charged stark portraits. It presents my visual aesthetic, including elements of fashion and fetishism blending seamlessly together. Fetishism relies heavily on garments as symbolic elements of power and surrender which I delight in using in my work. It presents a type of woman I like to call a “Vamp”, a seductress, dark and mysterious with a bit of film noir, Femme Fatale. She is in tune to her desires and her fantasies, without apologizing. It flows sensually and provocatively.
The story of how this project came about happened in New York City in the Spring of 2018, when I met David Jenkins, the editor in chief at Circa Press, London, England. He had an interest in doing a book with me. I had some ideas, but then a section on my web site I had called “Wicked Women”, to group the more fetish oriented photos caught his attention as well as the title I used for the body of work. We settled in the name quickly and then worked on selecting photos I had already shot that fit the theme of the book. After we met, I shot a few new photos to add to the portfolio, as well as the cover image, but the work was largely there from our first conversation.
As a collector of books that have inspired and entertained me since getting into photography, I’m very excited and thrilled to launch my Wicked Women unto the world. Please support my Kickstarter campaign by clicking on this link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1649001578/alejandra-guerrero-wicked-women
About The Author: Alejandra Guerrero is a photographer that has been establishing her unique vision for female empowered eroticism, fashion and fetish. It is a vision that can be traced back to her early upbringing in Bogota, Colombia. A more conservative society, its constraints did wha constraints so often do: the reverse of what was intended. They filled her with a desire and curiosity that would eventually be satiated in the less judgmental underground communities in the US, where the erotic/fetish community would embrace her and show her that people could have more open minds about how they express their sexuality. For Alejandra, this expression would take the form of a unique combination of seductive fashion, erotic fantasy and an unapologetic embracing of fetish as seen through the eyes of a powerful woman.