Friday, April 24, 2009

Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions. Just sayin....

All the talk on the political left and the political right about what is and what is not torture can give one the impression that there is some debate on the subject. There is no debate. The United States is one of 194 countries who are signers of The Geneva Conventions which where developed beginning in 1863 to define what is humane and legal treatment of prisoners of war.

Question: Has the USA under the leadership of George Bush tortured prisoners of war? Read on and decide for yourself.

Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions

In the case of armed conflict not of an international character occurring in the territory of one of the High Contracting Parties, each Party to the conflict shall be bound to apply, as a minimum, the following provisions:
(1) Persons taking no active part in the hostilities, including members of armed forces who have laid down their arms and those placed 'hors de combat' by sickness, wounds, detention, or any other cause, shall in all circumstances be treated humanely, without any adverse distinction founded on race, colour, religion or faith, sex, birth or wealth, or any other similar criteria.
To this end, the following acts are and shall remain prohibited at any time and in any place whatsoever with respect to the above-mentioned persons:
(a) violence to life and person, in particular murder of all kinds, mutilation, cruel treatment and torture;
(b) taking of hostages;
(c) outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment;
(d) the passing of sentences and the carrying out of executions without previous judgment pronounced by a regularly constituted court affording all the judicial guarantees which are recognized as indispensable by civilized peoples.
(2) The wounded and sick shall be collected and cared for.
An impartial humanitarian body, such as the International Committee of the Red Cross, may offer its services to the Parties to the conflict.
The Parties to the conflict should further endeavour to bring into force, by means of special agreements, all or part of the other provisions of the present Convention.
The application of the preceding provisions shall not affect the legal status of the Parties to the conflict.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Speak Truth to Power

I think I'm in love with a Republican. This is an absolute first for me. I'm sorry but there is nothing in this world sexier than a strong woman standing tall and speaking truth to power without flinching once. Another amazing thing about the object of my affection is that she is just 24 years old and the daughter of Senator John McCain. Where Meghan McCain chose to take her stand is as surprising as the words she spoke. She accepted an invitation to speak from the Log Cabin Republicans, a gay and lesbian political group. As you might imagine the Log Cabin folks are not the darlings of conservative movement. In fact the GOP has been holding them at arms length and marginalizing their message for years. Her words to them are swoon worthy if only for their down right, in your face honesty.

"I am concerned about the environment. I love to wear black. I think the government is at it's best when it stays out of people's lives and business as much as possible. I love punk rock. I believe in a strong national defense. I have a tattoo. I believe government should always be efficient and accountable. I have lots of gay friends. And I am a Republican."

Later that week in a blog post for The Daily Beast titled "Go Gay!" she said:

Of all of the causes I believe in and respect this is one of the ones closest to my heart. If the Republican Party has any hope of gaining substantial support from a wider, younger base, we need to get past our anti gay rhetoric."

Meghan is not alone in the McCain camp in believing that "there's a war brewing in the Republican Party." At the same event the architect of John McCain's failed 2008 bid for the White House, Steve Schmidt, urged that conservatives drop their opposition to same sex marriage.

"One of the things that has definitely impacted my views on these issues and an evolution of thought over time is having a gay sibling," Schmidt told CNN. "As Americans get to know gay couples and or have gay family members, or work associates ... they come to understand that these relationships are deep and worth being respect and being protected."

I believe that the war Meghan predicts will not come to pass. Over the next 8 years I suspect same sex marriage will become a reality in a majority of the states in the Union. When the GOP mounts a successful assault on the reign of the Democrats it will be with one of the new generation of Republicans and the harsh rhetoric of the extreme right and the old Evangelicals will be fading fast. If you believe as I do look to the east and you may just see the first rays of the new dawn for the LGBT community. Morning has been a long time coming.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Really? Secession? Gimme a break!

Teabaggers in Austin Applaud Secessionist Rhetoric.

On Wednesday April 15th the least informed and loudest segment of the conservative movement gathered together in cities and towns across the nation for what Fox News promoted as Tea Parties. Fox encouraged conservatives to come together to protest the President Obama, his policies and the economic stimulus package. On the appointed day a collection of misfits and malcontents showed up to voice a number of complaints, many not related to the talking points Fox had outlined for the faithful. Some held signs depicting Obama dressed as Hitler and many where from the NO TAXES camp. Others decried the fluoridation of public water, our monetary system and the price of oil. A Boston teabagger held up cartoon depicting Obama bowing to a drawing of what appeared to be Saudi King Abdullah. I could go on and on. It was a mixed bag to say the least. But the Teabagger that really got my goat was was Texas Gov Rick Perry speaking at a rally in Austin TX. In his speech he hinted that there was a possibility of Texas seceding from the Union over the Obama Administration and the policies it has put in place. He was a big hit with that bunch. In an interview taped right after his speech he said what amounted to ... well if the country keeps going down the path outlined by the Obama administration no one should be shocked when states try to secede... Secession = good idea. As if it's reasonable option for a real patriotic American to pursue if she's just plain pissed off about anything.

Everyday I walk my Corgi dogs in the old graveyard that borders my property. The oldest graves there date back to the 1660s and contain the remains people who either came to this land around the time of the Plymouth settlers or soon after. I don't want to turn this into a big history lesson but if you think back to grammar school you'll remember hearing about the Mayflower Compact. This was a big deal because it was the first ever 'all for one and one for all' document signed by a group of people from differing religious, political and class backgrounds. It stated We are all going to pull together for the good of all. Our country was founded on the principals laid down and agreed upon in November of 1620 as the Mayflower floated at anchor in what would come to be known as Provincetown Harbor.

When Lincoln ordered the first shot fired in the Civil War it was to up hold the principals in the Mayflower Compact. Together as a Union we stand or divided we fall. In the graveyard by my house there are many graves of the men who died in that bloodiest of all wars which was waged to keep the South from seceding from the Union over the issue of slavery. One of those has always touched my heart in a special way.
Charles E Leland was 17 years old when the 16th Regiment Massachusetts Volunteers took up that fight against secession at Cedar Mountain Virginia in In August of 1862. He fought at Thoroughfare Gap, Bull Run, Antietam, Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville some of the worst battles of the Civil War. In July 1863 he died at the Battle of at Gettysburg. He was only 18 years old. I shudder to think of what that boy must have seen in those 11 months. I'm sure he died a very different man from the boy who left Walpole in the summer of 1862.
My skin crawled standing in front of his grave this afternoon pondering the inflammatory rhetoric of Gov Rick Perry. No American should utter the word secession around without first meditating on the sacrifice paid by 360,222 Union soldiers like Charles Leland who died to keep this Union together.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Motorized bar stool

If I do end up needing a scootery thing-y to get around the supermarket this is the model I will be buying!

So this is how it is.....

I think I'm rather tech savvy. Heck I think I'm pretty life savvy! I can bake a loaf of bread, start a LGBT social group and fold an origami Noah's Ark before lunch. I can build myself a website and use an owners manual for the purpose it was intended. I've assembled all my IKEA furniture by myself. I own power tools.

I've been contemplating doing a podcast for at least a year. I think I could fill a half hour once a week. I am politically astute, I'm always reading, and I'm a pop culture vulture. So you might ask... "What's holding you back Jane?" The answer is that I have been reluctant to share everything about my life with you. The reason is that I don't want part of my reality overshadow the bigger picture of who I am . I've come to the decision that I can't go ahead with my podcasting plans and keep part of me under a rock. Honestly I really wouldn't want to. If I did I'd have to leave out some of the best stories! So here goes.......

Since I was 10 years old I have been dealing with systemic lupus erithmentosus. Most people who are diagnosed with this baffling disease have a moderate form. With good medical care most can live a long happy life. (A dear friend who happened to have SLE recently died at the age of 93!!) My SLE has proven to be harder to control. For years I have been on multiple autoimmune suppressants. These high tech drugs are suppose to keep my immune system from attacking me. Every system in my body has been under attack at one time or another... brain, heart, lungs, vascular system, blood, liver, skin, digestive tract and muscles. Even still the hardest thing for me to deal with has been the effect these drugs have on my appearance. I have lived a lot of my life as an attractive person. Not a classic beauty but attractive. I have always cared about how I look. The TOP photo on this blog was taken 10 years ago during my last remission and no longer reflects my actual appearance. Age can be blamed for part of that but lupus and treatments to control it are responsible for the rest. Ahh vanity.

My Rheumatologist tells me that the drugs are killing me slowly but the SLE will kill me quick if we don't keep it in check. I'm not looking over my shoulder for the grim reaper but I'm pretty sure I will be spared the ravages of advanced age. It's important to keep these things in perspective. You only have to watch the news to understand that there's far worse things in our world than death.

For the last 5 years I have been losing muscle mass due to Lupus Myocitis. My docs have tried everything to treat this but nothing has stopped it's progression. Recently I've undergone 6 months of wildly expensive experimental treatments that in the end had no beneficial effect on my withering muscles. (My insurance was billed for 356,000 per month for 6 months.)I am beginning to have a little trouble getting around. It's time to get a handicapped placard to use on my bad days. It may be that I will be in one of those embarrassing scooter thing-ys in a few years. Goddess please save me from that. My nurse sister wants me to have a "I've fallen and I can't get up!" necklace. It's true... I may fall in the shower someday.... but I'd drink out of the toilet for three days before I'd wear one of those things! There's a big difference between acceptance and complete surrender.

Thanks for taking the time to read this.