Thursday, July 26, 2007

Harry Potter, Tin Hats, and Poor Lindsay.....

My, what a week! The last Harry Potter book (halfway through, I promise no spoilers), Lindsay in and out of rehab and topping my Celebrity Death Watch list (ahead even of Liz Taylor), and interesting conspiracy theories on Datalounge (a site usually reserved for discussions of obscure Valley of the Dolls trivia and "I know that Jake Gyllenhall/George Clooney/Brendan Frasier/"Fill in the Hot Male Celebrity Here" is gay because.....") have kept me engrossed in an otherwise mundane summer.

The Potter Book: Fun. Halfway through, and already lots of death. Will anyone survive? Or is this J.K Rowling's version of the Book of Revelation? Although, it is amazing how so much of You-Know-Who's rise to power is eerily reminiscent of the tactics of a certain Vice-President Who Must Not Be Named.

But then we have Poor Lindsay. Sad, I never thought you could digress lower than Brittany Spears, but think again. Are you two in a race for the Neely O'Hara Memorial Scholarship to Betty Ford, or what?

Of all, though, I think it is the conspiracy theories on Datalounge which interests me the most. Not wanting to fall victim of Deux's accusation of being "headline philosopher", let me just say that I do not actually buy any of the theories, but I am intrigued by them none the less. The latest, and most prevalent, is in regards to Michael Chertoff's "gut theory" about an impending large scale terrorist attack on the U.S., a "presidential emergency broadcast test" gone awry in Chicago, and the despotic plans of Bush/Cheney/Gonzales, et. al.

The gist of all of this is that there are a lot of supposedly normal, sensible people, out there who think that the current administration is going to allow a terrorist attack (or, in the most extreme conspiracy theories, stage one) to occur in order to A) at the least, bolster support of the war and impending invasion of Iran, or B), at the worst, suspend the Constitution, declare Martial Law, cancel the next presidential election, and create a Halliburton driven dictatorship. What has happened in our country in the last seven years that so many normal, decent, usually non-tin-hat people may be thinking like this? I think that this is a relevant question to ask in these trying times. Unlike Fox Mulder, I do not want to believe, but there is a part (mind you, a small part) of me that is just naive and scared enough of the people running our country to believe just a tiny, tiny part of it all.

More importantly, though, is if such a far-fetched, Clive Cussler meets Stephen King meets Left Behind scenario were to occur, how would we as a nation respond? Would we rise up in defense of the Constitution, or would we, like the citizens of Rome when the Republic became an Empire, respond with a collective yawn? Just some food for thought.....Of course, I am nothing more than a "headline philosopher", so what does it even matter?

On the non-tin hat front, however, just to show that there are a lot of conservatives out there who also think that Bush has F@#$ed up our nation and standing in the world, is an excellent OpEd piece in today's WaPo in which none other than former Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. P.X. Kelley and Robert F. Turner blast last week's "executive order" which attempts to broadly redefine Common Article 3 of the Geneva convention. Here are the two most telling statements in the article, and ones in which I whole heartily agree:

"...we cannot in good conscience defend a decision that we believe has compromised our national honor and that may well promote the commission of war crimes by Americans and place at risk the welfare of captured American military forces for generations to come....
Of all U.S. military personnel killed in action in
Afghanistan and Iraq, America's losses total about 2 percent of the forces we lost in World War II and less than 7 percent of those killed in Vietnam. Yet we did not find it necessary to compromise our honor or abandon our commitment to the rule of law to defeat Nazi Germany or imperial Japan, or to resist communist aggression in Indochina. On the contrary, in Vietnam -- where we both proudly served twice -- America voluntarily extended the protections of the full Geneva Convention on prisoners of war to Viet Cong guerrillas who, like al-Qaeda, did not even arguably qualify for such protections....The Geneva Conventions provide important protections to our own military forces when we send them into harm's way. Our troops deserve those protections, and we betray their interests when we gratuitously "interpret" key provisions of the conventions in a manner likely to undermine their effectiveness. Policymakers should also keep in mind that violations of Common Article 3 are "war crimes" for which everyone involved -- potentially up to and including the president of the United States -- may be tried in any of the other 193 countries that are parties to the conventions.

It is an excellent, non-tin hat read. Now, back to see what that nasty Condelezza, Delores Umbridge, is up to now!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

A Life Lived In Fear Is A Life Half Lived

Wow. What a week. Closed on my condo, moved, preparing to uproot my life in a way I never have before. Yet, there is a feeling of trepidation. Not fear, for fear is the mind killer, but....trepidation, and excitement. And sorrow.

Sorrow for the direction my country has gone in the past eight years. Sorrow that we have been forced to give up so many of our principles in the name of George W. Bush. Sorrow that so many people, including some I love dearly, don't get that the Bush administration has not only weakened our Constitution and democracy, but our standing in the world as well. Sorrow that Michael Chertoff, the man who is supposed to protect us against terrorists attacks provokes the fear of them by saying that he "has a gut feeling" that their will be major terrorist attack in the U.S. this summer. (Well, Michael, if that is what your gut is telling you, what are doing to stop it? Or are you even trying? Oh wait, if the people aren't afraid.....). Sorrow that that the Supreme Court is on the verge of overturning years of precedent (if you didn't notice, they pretty much overturned Brown vs. the Board of Education last week, but no one noticed.....). Sorrow that so many people are finally realizing what a small minority knew, and tried to warn about, this president from the very beginning.
(Kudos to Bill Moyers, and of all people, Peggy Noonan.)

There are two video clips that show just how pathetic the situation has become. One is pure satire, but very telling. Check it out here.

The other is far too real, and reveals far too much about the hubris and denial of the Worst President ever. God Bless You, Helen Thomas:

So, maybe it isn't such a bad time to get the hell out of the country.

And with this non-fluff, Barrowman free post, my blog by-atches, I now pronounce myself officially back.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Thing Fall In Place....and Apart

Wow. I am constantly amazed at how the fates have aligned with this move. The condo sold in three days, we close on Thursday. My visa and work permit are both in order. I have found a place to live for a month. My house in an uproar, with furniture being sold, items placed into storage, or being shipped to the Salvation Army.

The sad note is, however, that I cannot take my cats with me. There is no quarantine anymore, but they would have had to have been chipped and had certain shots six months ago in order to travel with me. That, and most of the places I am looking at in the UK to rent don't accept pets, and I don't want them to suffer the trauma of being carried in the hold of a 767.

So, this morning I await a friend from the Renaissance Festival who has graciously agreed to adopt my two kids. The parting is bittersweet. Jake has been with me for 14 years, ever since he followed my ex home from the 7-11 in Orlando. We were determined not to keep him, but two weeks later he was at the vet and being fixed, and he has been a part of our lives ever since. If the ex had a different living situation, where he could separate his dog from the litter box, Jake would be going with him, and still might eventually. The newer cat, Essie, I think could survive just about anywhere. But, as the ex said on the phone just now, "this seems so final."

And so I wait. And feel a tear begin to well up in my eye.

Yeah, I am a sentimental old fart at times.