Category Archives: Environment

Bob Shell: Doing Time in Virginia

Portrait of Marion Franklin by Bob Shell, Copyright 2019

 

Photography and Text by Bob Shell, Copyright 2019

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Doing Time in Virginia

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I had the misfortune of living in Virginia when I was arrested, tried, and convicted. Virginia is a beautiful place, with fertile valleys and beautiful mountains. The history is rich and significant. The Virginia General Assembly is the oldest sitting legislature in North America, and was the model for the United States Congress. Virginia’s declaration of human rights was the model for the United States Constitution and Bill of Rights. So Virginia should be a great place to live, right?

Unfortunately, no. We have a ‘justice system” run amok. Back in 1996 we had a Governor named George Allen, a baby-faced, benevolent-looking man, Republican, of course, who was determined to be “tough on crime,” and with the complicity of the legislature, abolished parole. Parole rates before that were about 30%. Abolishing parole with the idea of keeping criminals out of society didn’t work, it had absolutely no effect on Virginia’s crime rate.

Anyone convicted before that change is still eligible for parole, anyone convicted after 1996 isn’t. I was convicted in 2007, so no parole for me.

They did establish something called Geriatric Conditional Release, known informally as geriatric parole. After age 65 you go before the Parole Board once a year, automatically, to be considered for this. I’ve been interviewed by teleconferencing, never a live person, and turned down annually seven times now!

From July through December of last year, the latest period for which I have the figures, out of 307 people eligible for Geriatric Conditional Release, only 25 were granted. If I’ve done the math right, that’s just over 8%, most of them very old and Ill, and costing the Virginia Department of Corrections significant amounts of money in medical expenses. I’m in a handicapped pod with 80 men total. Of those 80, there are ten who are confined to wheelchairs, and two, including me, who need canes to get around. All are older, three over 80.

Adrianne Bennett, Chair of the Virginia Parole Board says there is a looming crisis due to the large number of prisoners who will soon be eligible for geriatric release. Where, I ask, is this crisis if they release so few?

All told there are more than 40,000 people in Virginia prisons, at an annual cost to taxpayers of a billion dollars, the single biggest item in the budget. Insanity!

Everyone who knows me, knows that I could be released today and would not be a threat to anyone, because I was never a threat to anyone in the first place. The same is true of many in here.

There is also the governor’s pardon, technically called Executive Clemency. This was supposed to replace parole, but it hasn’t. Very few have been granted. I filed my petition with the Governor in 2006, accompanied by more than fifty letters attesting to my character, from former photography models, industry colleagues, even a United States Senator, and it has yet to be acted on. I’m on my third governor! When I write and ask what’s taking so long, they send me a form letter saying please be patient, the process can take up to a year! It’s been THREE bloody years!

My case is a political hot potato that each governor has handed off to his successor, while I sit in prison.

My suggested sentence, using the guidelines established by the Virginia Sentencing Guidelines Commission was 1 -1/2 to 3 years, but by “stacking” sentences and making them run consecutive, the judge gave me 32 -1/2 years! I’m 72 years old right now, and my release date is 2033. What sense does that make?

I’m classified as a “numerical lifer,” that is a person who does not have a life sentence, but is unlikely to live long enough to be released. In 2033, if I live that long, I’ll be 87 years old! I was 56, healthy, vigorous, and at the peak of my career, when this all started. Now I’m an old man, taking dozens of pills every day to stay alive, whose thriving business and life were destroyed by a pack of lies and nonsense, a prominent photographer who has not been allowed to touch a camera in twelve years.

The prosecution offered me a plea bargain of ten years, but I would have to plead guilty. I am not guilty and refuse to say otherwise. Later, he offered five years. but, again, contingent on pleading guilty. I simply would never do that. I have never in my life physically harmed anyone, and have never had sex with any woman without her consent. I have high moral standards, and have lived my life by them, and will stay in prison rather than compromise what I believe in. So here I sit on a hard bunk in a 9 X 12 room with cold metal walls, waiting and hoping for justice.

I’ve had proof for years that the medical testimony that put me here was false. The Chief Medical Examiner for Virginia says so, and so does Dr. Cyril Wecht, the dean of American pathologists. The “expert testimony” of the prosecution’s witnesses was, to be polite, garbage. But the jury of small town folk accepted it and ignored me and my witnesses. They voted not on the evidence, but on their own prejudices against a man who took erotic photographs. It was a modern day witch trial. The judge called my photography, which the prosecution gleefully projected up to giant size in the courtroom wall, the worst pornography he’d ever seen. Obviously, he’d never surfed the Internet! But he said all he knew about computers was how to turn his on.

Most of the photos and videos presented in evidence were private photos and videos Marion and I created for ourselves. None were intended for publication or distribution, none showed actual sexual activity, and none were ever published or publicly displayed except on the wall of that courtroom. My and Marion’s privacy was grossly invaded. And the photos were not illegal or evidence of anything illegal.

If you want to read the Chief Medical Examiner’s statements, I’ve posted the interview with him and lots of details on one of my websites: www.bobshelltruth.com.

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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 11th year of his sentence at Pocahontas State Correctional Facility, Virginia. To read more letters from prison by Bob Shell, click here: https://tonywardstudio.com/blog/bob-shell-no-nudes-is-good-news/

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.

Also posted in Affiliates, Blog, Cameras, Documentary, Fashion, Friends of TWS, Glamour, History, Men, Models, Photography, Politics, Popular Culture, Portraiture, Travel, Women

Katie Kerl: Derek Bailey Green Car Innovator

Derek Bailey Interview by Katie Kerl, Copyright 2019

 

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Photography by Tony Ward, Copyright 2019

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Derek and I came across each other on Instagram. After seeing what he was doing I immediately asked to interview him. He welcomed any positive press and agreed. I had the Opportunity to sit down with Derek after the interview as well.

I was able to learn a little more about his company, but more importantly what kind of person he is. The questionnaire part of interview was completed a  few months ago. Derek’s car just recently arrived in the United States a few weeks back. I went to Hatfield, Pa to check it out in person last weekend. Also, I was able to meet part of his growing sales team; leads coming from the top Volkswagen and Lexus dealerships in the area.  They just like Derek were very welcoming, informative, and excited about what was happening there. 

The car industry is pretty cut throat, but I was pleasantly surprised at what gentlemen and active listeners they all were. 

No pretentious bullshit in this crew; he cut right to the chase and had quite the sense of humor about him. A very family oriented man. He loves his two daughters, and speaks highly of both of them. Derek’s mother and brother all are in the area as well. They take part in many charity events giving back to the community. Being so busy he still takes the time to give back and show gratitude for all his accomplishments. 

For me not knowing the first thing about cars; after talking with Derek I feel like Id be able to speak intelligently about his new innovation. One cool feature not seen on many electric cars; the Avani’s fully retractable sunroof. Most electric car dealers leave this out not wanting to waste precious battery charge. The Avani will not have that issue.

Derek broke it down in a way anyone could understand. That is what you need when trying to sway people into the clean energy movement; understanding. If we don’t educate the public, how will they make informed decisions about helping our declining environment? Tony Ward actually took the photos for this article. Derek had a drone flying the day of inspection. That was also taking place at the same time as Tony was capturing his shots. The drone capture was a pretty monumental; a famous photographer capturing a new leading green car mogul. 

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Derek Automotive started taking pre-orders with a $2,500 refundable deposit starting in September 2019. Deposits will also earn the first 200 buyers one thousand shares of company stock, as a founding buyer incentive.  

For all the information you’d need to know about Derek’s green car, please visit his site : 

https://snapshot.derekautomotive.com/

Derek Bailey

Derek Automotive

INTERVIEW

K.K. Tell me a little bit about yourself please?

D.B.  I was born in New Orleans and I’m 50 years old. I studied Economic – Major & a marketing minor, at Virginia State University, and went on to study for an MBA at the University of Edinburgh, which I did complete – due mostly to the interruption of launching businesses.

K.K. Being a serial entrepreneur how many businesses have you had since the beginning of your career; were you happy with all of them?

D.B. Actually, I’ve not had a job where I received a paycheck since I was about 19. I’ve launched many businesses, with many failures, but also a few big successes.  One being a Company called Popa Media which I sold for $11 million. I’ve been in the Temporary staffing business for over 35 years. It’s been the financial fuel for my other bigger endeavors like; Wolverton Bailey the company I co-founded to design and patent our new engine supercharger technology. After receiving two patents, I decided to launch Derek Automotive Technologies to commercialize our engine technology, as opposed to asking other companies to include my technology in their products.

K.K. When did you realize you wanted to be a part of the clean energy movement, and produce an electric car that has the ability to be self charging?

D.B. This whole effort has been about saving our planet, without harming our economy, as most approaches to climate change solutions seem to do. There are trade-offs to going green. When people talk about electric cars it’s as if they think the electricity comes from magic. Over 70% of the electricity produced in the world comes from burning fossil fuels, like coal and natural. If all electricity was created with nuclear energy or wind and solar, then electric cars make a lot more sense – no emission at the source of the energy, and no emissions at the vehicle – totally carbon free! What we have today is a situation where electric cars are pollution-shifting; no emissions in the car, but emissions are created far away at the electric plant. Our grid is so complex; it’s difficult to know the carbon footprint of a specific electric vehicle because we might not know where the power is coming from. I wanted to empower us to know the carbon footprint of every electric vehicle. The reason I wanted to build an electric vehicle that recharges itself is to get consumers to purchase electric cars! Electric car adoption has been slow because consumers don’t trust them and find them inconvenient (i.e., being able to recharge, the long time period required to recharge, etc.) plus they’re expensive. It’s my goal to solve these problems, and deliver an electric car that the masses will want to buy.

K.K. Can you tell me how the technology works?

D.B. We’ve created a technology we call a Proteus Supercharger. Of course Proteus is the god of nature /sea that could take any shape. The super charger is based on two patents we’ve been awarded. One patent is for a highly efficient combustion engine that burns all of its fuel (most of the pollution coming from vehicles today is unburnt fuel) so it emits 83% less carbon than today’s engines. The second patent is for a special amplifier-generator that intakes 1-volt on input end, runs it through a magnetic field and outputs 1000-volts on the other end. Our clean engine (technically, it’s called a prime-mover), which runs on a small amount of gas, turns the generator to create an abundant amount of electricity (gas-to-electric power generation) for the batteries and interior cabin in the electric car. The supercharger only creates electricity; it does not help power the car like in a typical Hybrid-car. So, effectively, we’ve put a small power plant inside the car to make it more convenient for consumers. We believe that most consumers will enjoy driving totally on electric power, but also spend only 2-minutes putting a few dollars of gas in the car, as opposed to sitting for a charge for 35-minutes up to 5-hours.

K.K. Who did you turn to for production of this new venture?

D.B. Unlike Tesla and others, we can’t raise the hundreds of millions required to build our own plant, so we’re using the Apple model where we design and have more experienced manufacturers build for us. The Chinese are actually leaders in building electric vehicles and we’re partnered with a Chinese manufacturer to build our electric car, and we will integrate our supercharger into it here in America, to create American jobs.

K.K. Is gaining investors easy considering it’s a form of clean energy, or is it difficult being it could shut other vehicle producers down?

D.B. We’ve been powered mostly by my own capital, and capital from small investors who share our passion for workable green tech solution to carbon emission from the transportation sector. It’s unfortunate to say, but minority-entrepreneurs don’t have the same access to venture capital as others. Seeing genius from us is still a little hard for many investors, so we have to be willing to bleed-alone to get things done – but hey, that’s the American way – entrepreneurship is for the rugged. As far as shutting down other producers, our goal is to produce a great vehicle, using our technology, get it into the market, have consumers go crazy for the power of electric driving, the recharging convenience, and then license our technology to all the other car makers.  Licensing is another billion dollar opportunity for us.

K.K. What are some of the road blocks you have had to overcome along the way in testing / production?

D.B.  You ever hear that song “no one knows the trouble I’ve seen?”  Well, our roadblocks have been plenty. No one believed we could build a better engine. Once built, no one believed we could get a patent. Now we have two. No one thought I could get a car built. Now, that I’m introducing the car, no one believes I can build a car company against the big competitors and in the current car market. At each step it’s an excuse not to invest in us. Always with the assumption that I won’t make it to the next step.  Yet each time I do – and now the incredible thing is I find myself still owning 65% of the company.  Now, I’m only a few steps from shocking the world. I learned a saying a few years back – “as an entrepreneur one might have to bleed and cry by him/her self, but we also get to go to the bank by Ourselves.”  It’s that thought that keeps me going.

K.K. Is this more of a luxury car, or will it be something that is affordable to everyone on a scale that will stop the way we pollute the environment?

D.B.  This first vehicle is an SUV; its styling is like that of a Range Rover. We needed to design something that consumers would recognize and have an idea of its value. Once we make some money with the luxury vehicle, I will build an affordable car that I already have on the drawing board and named. That is a secret for now.

K.K. How do you deal with stress of starting something so new?

D.B. That’s a great question and I’m not sure I’ve found the answer. I workout, take long drives just to play music and think. I’m not in a relationship right now, the place where one would find the best stress relief, assuming the relationship is a good one. So, I struggle a bit with managing my stress – I’ll admit I sometimes turn to Mr. Jack Daniels and a mindless TV show. The key is I’m always ready to get back on the grind every morning.

K.K. What are your hobbies?

D.B.  I like to hit golf balls, play chess, ride bikes, but business is my hobby. I also love cooking and construction because I can see the results of my efforts quickly, as opposed to the years it takes to build a business.

K.K. When will your self charging electric car be released to the public?

D.B. As I said earlier, I still have a few more steps to my ultimate goal of the self-charging car. This first car I’m revealing in September 2019 is an all-electric SUV. The strategy is to sell 150 all-electric units (same as what the other automakers are selling) and plow that money back into reducing the size and completing the integration of the supercharger into the electric vehicle – it’s a lot of work, still. To answer your question, I think we will have our self-charging vehicle on the market in early 2021, maybe sooner if all the stars align.

K.K. I noticed you were granted the right to import vehicles as well. What are you planning to do with that?

D.B.  That import license is important because one can’t import vehicles into the USA without approvals from the EPA and DOT. This was a stepping stone for us.

K.K. Where do you see this taking you in the next 5 years?

D.B.  In 5-years Derek Automotive Technologies will be known as America’s first minority-owned car manufacturer and the leader in carbon emission reduction from the transportation sector. We’ll operate in 3 countries, have sales in excess of $600 million and valuation of more than three billion; minting me as a new American billionaire.

K.K. What are your personal, company, and environmental goals?

D.B.  My personal goals are to see my two daughters finish their schooling debt free, or near debt free, find my forever girl, and leave a legacy of having had a huge impact on climate change by reducing carbon emission in the transportation sector.

K.K. When will the launch party be?

D.B. The launch party will now be this fall. We had a bit of a trip through The Department of Transportation and got a bit delayed.  Fall is the perfect time for a launch Party, everyone is back from vacation and ready for what’s new. I’m looking at a few locations as I couldn’t book anything because I was not sure when we’d get all our approvals. 

Awww the stress of it all!

I’ll put out a notice on social media and my e-mail once the date and location is decided.

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Katie Kerl checks out the new Avani by Derek Automotive

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Katie Kerl was raised in Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania. She is currently living  in Northern Liberties, Philadelphia. Katie has a background in Psychology from Drexel University. She is a manager in the commercial/residential design field . Katie can be reached  on Instagram @kerlupwithkate 

For collaboration e-mail: Kate.kerl32@gmail.com

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To access additional articles by Katie Kerl, click here:https://tonywardstudio.com/blog/katie-kerl-weed-the-people/

 

Also posted in Accessories, Advertising, Affiliates, Announcements, Blog, Covers, Current Events, Engineering, Friends of TWS, History, interview, lifestyle, Men, News, Philadelphia, Popular Culture, Portraiture, Posters, Travel, Video, Women

MiKala Mikrut: Impeachment

The Chosen One

 

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Text by Mikala Mikrut, Copyright 2019

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There Will Be Hell Toupee!

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Donald J. Trump: our 45th and current president of the United States. Businessman, TV personality, and avid Twitter participant. This 73 year old, 6′ 3″ man has been quite the talk lately. He’s also been on the tail end of recent articles and memes. The same country who elected him is desperately finding reasons to impeach him.

Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton are the only two presidents that have been formally impeached by Congress and no president of the United States have ever been removed from office through impeachment. Only two other of our presidents have faced formal impeachment inquiries in the House of Representatives: Richard Nixon and Donald Trump. It was intentionally made difficult by the framers of the Constitution to remove a sitting president. The House of Representatives starts the impeachment process with a formal impeachment inquiry. The members of the House Judiciary Committee write and pass articles of impeachment if sufficient grounds are found, then go to the full House to vote.

Political corruption is defined as, “the abuse of public power, office, or resources by elected government officials for personal gain, by extortion, soliciting or offering bribes. It can also take the form of office holders maintaining themselves in office by purchasing votes by enacting laws which use taxpayers’ money.” According to Robert Reich, the impeachment inquiry is still essential even though Trump won’t lose his job. It seems like there’s never been such a push to get a president out of office before. Regardless, it’s impressive that one man can rack up the trifecta of corruption in less than a term: sex, money, and power control.

Reportedly, Trump has used high office to line his own pockets just like Vice President Spiro Agnew, who took kickbacks on government contracts as governor of Maryland. The two great presidential scandals before Watergate also involved money. Trump’s effort to silence Stormy Daniels from publicizing their relationship eventually sent his former lawyer, Michael Cohen to jail. There would undoubtedly be other reasons (criminal misconduct?) to impeach the man who bragged about grabbing women’s genitals on tape if any of the almost 20 women who accused him of sexual harassment had a chance to speak in court. There is also evidence of attempting to coerce a vulnerable foreign government into providing dirt on a political opponent in the Ukraine affair.

So what will it be? Is Trump within his rights to behave as he has been or is he a tyrant at the end of his sinning spree? At the end of the day, we did elect him and as his term comes to an end it is still our responsibility to vote and make it known whether or not this is the America we want to keep or change. There certainly seems to be a dichotomy when it comes to peoples’ opinions on Trump. Let’s just say there didn’t seem to be this much drama surrounding Obama.

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About The Author: Mikala Mikrut is a junior enrolled at Southern Utah University. To access additional articles by Mikala Mikrut, click here: http://tonywardstudio.com/blog/mikala-mikrut-romance-with-horror/

 

Also posted in Affiliates, Blog, commentary, Current Events, Documentary, Friends of TWS, History, lifestyle, Men, News, Politics, Popular Culture, Portraiture, Student Life, Travel, Women

Studio News: Recent Vintage Print Sales

Recent Sales

 

 

STUDIO NEWS:

A pair of limited edition vintage prints from the archives of Tony Ward have been purchased for $5500.00 by a wine connoisseur based in Geneva, Switzerland. Caress. New York, 1997, a vintage gelatin silver print in the size of 16 x 20 recently sold for $3000.00.  Surrogate. New York, 1997, was sold for $2500.00. 

For information regarding print sales contact: tony@tonyward.com

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A.H. Scott: The Spartacus Effect

Whistleblower. Photo by Tony Ward, Copyright 2019

 

Text by A. H. Scott, Copyright 2019

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Photography by Tony Ward, Copyright 2019

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THE SPARTACUS EFFECT

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If a person says ‘perfect call’ a thousand times, all memory of the past six months will be erased for every man, woman, child, and household pet in the United States of America.

But, a certain person calling it a ‘perfect’ call won’t make the sow’s ear a silk purse. Or, even dissuade the march of history’s footsteps straight into the Oval Office.

Whistleblower files a complaint. Corroborator confirms complaint. Impeacher articulates articles of the corroborated complaint that has been filed.

Thus, the Impeachment of President Donald J. Trump becomes the next chapter in the history of the United States of America.

The President and his GOP allies go on and on about needing to unmask the whistleblower. But, the fact is that the whistleblower is just a thimble. Yet, it is all who have corroborated the information surrounding the entire “Ukraine” situation which have transformed into an ocean seemingly about to drown the Presidency of Donald J. Trump.

And there with a glint in his eye and a smirk upon his face in front of cheering crowds across the USA, a putrid performance roars onward with little pushback. But, not so fast I say to the furious crew:

Trump/GOP – Where is the one who knows what happened?

Person #1 – I am here!

Trump/GOP – Whistleblower!

Person #2 – I am here!

Person #3 – Me, too! I am here!

Trump/GOP – Whistleblower!

Persons #4,5,6, and etc. – I am here!

And, the Spartacus effect rises, as the target which is seen by Trump and his allies metastasize from one to all who have seen the actions from the Oval Office.

By focusing on ‘whistleblower’, the President and his barking acolytes miss the forest of a fiasco by his own making from the trees of truth, justice and patriotism for the National Security of the people of the United States of America who are the courageous corroborators.

These men and women stand up; not seeking the limelight, but in a sense of aversion to it. They are not household names that are on the tips of the American public’s tongues. Yet, in the field of foreign policy, they are experts in navigating the choppy tides of international diplomacy.

The American people are not fools, although there are certain politicians who wish and assume we are. Most of us are just trying to live our lives in peach with family, friends and work. Yet, when Donald J. Trump goes off the rails of common decency time and time again, there are those who find a way of apologizing for what he and those around him does.

Ordering the whistleblower’s head to be handed to him on a silver platter sounds like a monarch making a proclamation that should be unquestioned and obeyed, rather than the President of the United States of America.

When acting-White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney tosses down the verbal gauntlet of ‘get over it’ during a White House News conference when speaking about the back channel dealings of Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudolph W. Guiliani involving the Ukraine imbroglio; he admits what Donald Trump has done in holding the congressionally approved aid over Ukraine President Zelensky’s head like Damaches’ sword in exchange for concocting an investigation into the 2016 Presidential Election and possible 2020 Presidential opponent, Joseph R. Biden.

I am Whistleblower!

I am blowing the whistle on the crap storm that is the consistently, churning conspiracy cauldron where the craven Trump, Guiliani, and many others marinate within.

Blow, Whistle, Blow!!

Donald J. Trump – “Where is my Roy Cohn?

Just thinking about a person in a position of unbridled power seeming to need any other being’s assistance to maintaining his perch might to some come off as a sign of a person less strong than he thumps his chest to be.

Alas, if the aforementioned is that descending reality, then a question can be pondered in homage to Trumbo’s triumph.

Unknown American Citizen – “Where is our Spartacus?”

I, as one of those citizens have an answer: “WE are SPARTACUS!”

We are Spartacus!

Every time we raise our voice in dissent!

We are Spartacus!

Every time we vote!

We are Spartacus!

Every time we fight for fairness!

We are Spartacus!

Every time we hold those in power accountable!

We are Spartacus!

Every time we express our thanks to the men and women who speak truth to power!

We are Spartacus!

Every time we unite behind the Constitution!

Wow, suddenly everyone is a Latin scholar in saying the term ‘quid pro quo’, like its’ the latest dance craze or a new pop tune.

If it means “this for that”, then even those who are defending the entirety of the actions of the President, are living the ‘quid pro quo’ themselves; for they are doing THIS FOR THAT!

If the quid is this, then THIS is your soul.

If the pro is for, then FOR what/who/why you do what you do

If quo is that, then THAT is how much my soul was worth to stand with Donald J. Trump.

I say to them all, I truly hope HE was worth it, though.

QUID PRO QUO!

Blow, whistle, blow!!

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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/a-h-scott-elevation/

 

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