Archive for history

When the Devil Turns Round…

Posted in history with tags , , on April 21, 2013 by cliffmichaels

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The trial of all crimes, except in cases of impeachment, shall be by jury; and such trial shall be held in the state where the said crimes shall have been committed; but when not committed within any state, the trial shall be at such place or places as the Congress may by law have directed.

US CONSTITUTION, Article III

 

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger…

US CONSTITUTION, Amendment Five

 

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.

US CONSTITUTION, Amendment Six

An American citizen, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, on American soil, commits a myriad  of state and  federal crimes, including at least four counts of murder, hundreds of extremely aggravated assaults, and probably a score or more of other heinous acts. He faces a possible death sentence. At a minimum he faces multiple life sentences in  maximum security prison.

United States Senators, like virtually every other government office holders – state and federal  – take an oath to uphold the Constitution:

   I do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion, and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.

Neither of the Constitutional Amendments – nor the oath – provide for any exceptions to the duties mandated (except for war in Amendment Five). There is no exception in Amendment Six for acts the President, or Congress choose to call “terrorist acts”.   There is no language in the Constitution providing for suspension of any of the rights granted to the people other than times of open rebellion.

In the 1866 case Ex Parte Milligan, 71 US 2, the Supreme Court ruled  – unanimously – that the suspension of habeas corpus was lawful, but military tribunals did not apply to citizens in states that had upheld the authority of the Constitution and where civilian courts were still operating. In essence, the Court ruled that military tribunals could not try civilians in areas where civil courts were open, even when the military had been authorized to detain individuals without trial. It observed further that during the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus, citizens may be only held without charges, not tried, and certainly not executed by military tribunals; the writ of habeas corpus is not the right itself but merely the ability to issue orders demanding the right’s enforcement. (Wikipedia)

No crime is more detrimental to the nation than treason. However, the Constitution not only doesn’t reduce the rights of a defendant charged with treason but requires a higher standard of proof:

Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort. No person shall be convicted of treason unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or on confession in open court.

US Constitution, Article III, Section 3

Even during and after World War II Americans charged with treason were entitled to a jury trial. During World War II – when the very existence of our nation was threatened by Germany and Japan – no federal court ruled that American citizens acting on American soil could be summarily stripped of the Constitutional rights by executive fiat.

 Last week at least two Senators demanded that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev be denied the Constitutional rights set out above and that he be tried by a military tribunal. He should be denied the due process – including the most sacred, the right to trial by jury – afforded to every criminal defendant simply because his crimes are called “terrorist acts”.

Lindsey Graham and John McCain have violated their oaths to  the Constitution. It’s not a close question. There is no legal precedent denying a citizen charged with crime – including treason – due process protection and the right to indictment and trial by jury. Graham and McCain are willing to surrender the heart of the Bill of Rights to the dubious argument that stripping terrorists  of basic Constitutional rights will, somehow, Make America Safer.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s crimes did grievous harm to the people of Boston and hundreds of participants in the Boston Marathon. If convicted, he should face the full measure of the law. Boston will recover, however, and its citizens wounds will, in time, heal.

If Graham, McCain and their supporters have their way, the entire country will suffer grievous harm. Our nation’s very foundation – its heart of liberty – the Constitution,  will suffer an enduring wound. Once opened, from that wound the blood of freedom may bleed away.

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William Roper: So, now you give the Devil the benefit of law!
Sir Thomas More: Yes! What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?
William Roper: Yes, I’d cut down every law in England to do that!
Sir Thomas More: Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned ’round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country is planted thick with laws, from coast to coast, Man’s laws, not God’s! And if you cut them down, and you’re just the man to do it, do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I’d give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety’s sake!

A Man for All Seasons

Boston

Posted in FLICKR, history, photographers, PHOTOGRAPHY, religion, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on April 20, 2013 by cliffmichaels

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BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS

BOSTON BEAUTY

BOSTON POLICE

BOSTON MARATHON

BOSTON EMS, FIRE & POLICE

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She Made Me Strangely Dizzy…

Posted in FLICKR, history, memoir, photographers, Sexy, women with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 13, 2013 by cliffmichaels

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There are lots of sour things about getting old. One of the worst is watching people who were young when I came of age in the late fifties and early sixties reach old age and die.

When I was experiencing the early spring of adolescence, I became enraptured with Annette  Funicello, one of the original mouseketeers. To be more precise, I was enraptured by her precocious breasts that so nicely filled out her white sweater.  When I would see her swelling chest I would become a little dizzy and excited (why I felt those emotions I had no idea). As time passed and Annette and I both matured my fascination grew as her bosom grew more prominent.

My interest waned as I reached my mid teens. By then I understood what my reaction to her  comely tits meant. I knew enough about sex to know what I yearned for. Other, sexier women, Marilyn Monroe and Hugh Hefner’s luscious big-titted Playments, for example, fueled my surging erotic fantasies.

Still, Funicello retained a near mythical place in my heart. She was the first to stir the sap, becoming the avatar of my boyish sexual desire.

Now, at seventy, she is gone. Another bright, alluring light of my youth extinguished. Only in sweet memory do her girlish face and figure burn bright.

Photo from Marxchivist , subject to this creative commons license

It Ain’t Necessarily So…

Posted in FLICKR, history, politics, religion, Sexy with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on March 29, 2013 by cliffmichaels

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It’s official. Same sex marriage (a/k/a marriage equality) is  surefire winner. Rush says so. No, really, that Rush. El Limbo. Inevitable, he says. Gonna happen. Doesn’t matter what the Supremes do. A done deal. He gives  up.

All us soft hearted (soft headed?) elitist, condescending liberals are, of course, smugly, “feeling on the right side of history” dee-lighted. Now that our cause is nearly won and our foes at the edge of defeat we may turn to the really fun part: playing a gotcha game of Who were the Good guys & the Bad guys. On our side! Oh, all those hideous right-wingers, Baptists, Republican politicians, and assorted hangers-on were vile, venomous villains. That goes without saying (alhough I just said it). But there were quislings on our team as well;  some of those who have alleged  allegiance to to all  things blue were, in truth,  too purple in the past.

Andrew Sullivan, who for a time was an heroic voice in the wilderness, recently excoriated Bill and Hillary Clinton for their abandonment of gay issues and embrace of DOMA during his term as President. I understand his reasoning. I think his attack largely unfair.  He wrote:

I find the opportunism of the Clintons – who did more substantive harm to gay people in eight years than any other administration – more disgusting than the fundamentalist hostility. At least the Christianists were sincere. The Clintons have always been phonies and opportunists and for Bill Clinton to proclaim the sanctity of marriage and sign DOMA while cigar-fucking his intern tells you a lot about him. On no issue were they as shameless as on this one – portraying themselves as civil rights advocates while kicking those of us fighting for equality squarely in the groin.

This  is clearly over the top. Were the Clintons heroes, standing against the then wave of homophobia? No. But it does not seem to count for Sullivan that Bill tried to end the ban on gays in the military. He botched it badly and ran into a hail of right wing fire that resulted in the infamous DADT policy reversed just last year by the Obama administration. Clinton’s appointment of gays likewise doesn’t seem to count.

Worse than the Christianists? Those who would gladly have put gays back in the closet, criminalized gay sex, banned gay teachers, etc. were better than the Clintons because they were sincere? Really??

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Bill Clinton was a politician. Politics is the art of  the possible. The early nineties were a much darker time for gay rights than the bright sunshine existing now – twenty years later.  What Sullivan was advocating then was simply not possible any more than abolition was possible in the 1840’s (remember, even Lincoln did  not advocate abolition  until well into the Civil War).

Was Clinton “insincere”. Of course. Good politicians frequently are. Was Obama sincere when he fully “evolved” to his embrace of same sex marriage last year? I haven’t a clue. It doesn’t matter to me. Sincerity doesn’t count. Results count. No amount of  sincere support for gay marriage rights by any president was going to change results in 1993.

Does any one honestly think Obama would have endorsed marriage equality five years ago? I supported Barrack in both 2008 and last years. There are lots of things I’d like him to do (prosecute those approving torture in the Bush years), Some of what I want simply isn’t possible right now. I’d love to see significant gun control. It won’t happen. There is nothing Obama can do to change that. Five or ten years from now things might be different.

The art of the possible… Of course  reasonable minds may differ on whether the possibilityo f whatever exists in the present. I was aghast when the prop 8 and DOMA opponents sought Supreme Court rulings. My fear was what was essentially a political move would backfire and set gay rights back a decade or more. After oral argument I’m not quite so fearful (particularly on DOMA).

Same sex marriage is clearly possible today. A la Senator Portman’s endorsement of equality, those politicians jumping on the big pink bus risk little to belatedly join the rainbow parade. But we need to remember the future course of history was darkly unsure twenty plus years ago. The homophobic winds behind opponents of gay rights backs was nearly gale force.  I wouldn’t have believed in 1993 that a mere twenty years later marriage would be within spitting distance of the finish line.

It ain’t necessarily so that the Clintons – or anyone else – should have known that back then…
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FLICKR GROUP: Gay Marriage/USA

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Stripper Kitties!

Posted in fetish, FLICKR, history, photographers, PHOTOGRAPHY, politics, religion, sexual with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 24, 2013 by cliffmichaels

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Let’s face this sad fact: Visions is a tawdry sex blog. It’s true. No matter how many high minded posts we upload about culture or politics, the smutty pics and stories are what draw hits. We know it. You know it. Hell, even Bob Doles knows it!

There are, as you surely know, lots – and I mean Big Lots – of sex blogs on the ‘net. Sex is either the most popular topic in the History of the world or in the top three – food & death being the other two (except in England, where sex is replaced by gardening).

Here’s a sex blog I’ve discovered: Tits and Sass. T&S can best be described as a serious journal written by sex workers – strippers and hookers, mostly. More than forty contributors are listed. Here’s what the site says about itself:

Tits and Sass is a group blog run by sex workers who saw a void when it came to witty commentary on the public image of our industry. The ideas promoted about us in the public eye have an impact on the realities of our lives as sex workers every bit as strong as the law, so we’re not letting any more dead hooker or stripper bones jokes pass by without comment.

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Visions spends much of the time wallowing in ignorance and had no clue the was a vibrant community of literate – and politicly active – positive sex workers. Here are links to some of the more serious T&S posts: Sex Work and Storytelling at “Sex and Justice”License to Pimp: A Conversation with Filmmaker Hima B.Stripper Shot At Strip Club Denied Worker’s Comp. If you doubt a sexblog can be deadly earnest, here’s a “quote of the day”:

The TERF [trans-exclusionary radical feminist] is obsessed with dividing feminism at all costs and commenting negatively on women’s sexuality. sex-shaming is a historical patriarchal tool to remind those of us who are women of the position the patriarchy wants us to hold: inferior.  the TERF is loud about sex work being evil, ignoring that for many trans people and for many people of color, sex work is the only work there is. (emphasis in original)

But, hey, Visions doesn’t really care when it comes to serious sex stuff about the intersection of sex work and  politics, law, culture, or feminism. We are just looking for some quick and mindless fun. We found it! There appears to be a continuing feature on T&S, Stacks & Cats: photos of sex workers’ cats with stacks of their (earned) cash. Check them out here, here, and here.

Flickr Groups: Hookers, Whores and Whorehouses , Porn Stars & Strippers

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Photo credits: click top image for cat; cash: both – and remix – subject to this CC license. For bottom two images, click for credit and cc license.

 

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COLEOPTERA HOMONYMICA!!

Posted in automobiles, FLICKR, history, photographers, PHOTOGRAPHY with tags , , , , , , , , , , on January 26, 2013 by cliffmichaels

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Beetles! – Wet Beetles – Beetle Mania – Lovable beetles ..

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Blinged beetles – Arty Beetles (etc.) – Beetle, beetle, burning bright… – Kafkaesq Beetles

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VW Beetles – more Beetles – even more –New BeetlesOld Beetles – Mutant Beetles –  Finnish(ed)  – metálico escarabajo – Taking the air Fusca brasil

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I Just Don’t Understand

Here, There and Everywhere

I’m Happy Just to Dance with You

 Revolution 

………………….Everyone’s Trying to be my Baby

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For photo credit and creative commons license, click each image. All remixes by Visions. Remixes of photos subject to this creative commons license are subject to the same licensed.

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Seven Tonne Mosquitos

Posted in FLICKR, history with tags , , on January 21, 2013 by cliffmichaels

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MOSQUITOS

More than you want to know

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