NOW:53217:USA01012
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OH, WHAT A TANGLED WEB WE WEAVE...

#1. "When Hajji Juma Khan was arrested and transported to New York to face charges under a new U.S. narco-terrorism law in 2008, federal prosecutors described him as perhaps the biggest and most dangerous drug lord in Afghanistan, a shadowy figure who had helped the Taliban...'

"What the government did not say was that Jima Khan also was a longtime American informer, who provided information about the Taliban, Afghan corruption and other drug traffickers.  CIA officers and Drug Enforcement Administration agents relied on him as a valued source for years..." [from column by James Risen in the N.Y. Times]

#2. "Newly released U.S. diplomatic cables indicate that the Vaitican felt 'offended' that Ireland failed to respect Holy See 'sovereignty' by asking high-ranking churchmen to answer questions from an Irish commission probing decades of sex abuse of minors by clergy.

"That the Holy See used its diplomatic immunity as a tiny city-state to try to thwart the Irish fact-finding probe has long been known.  But the WikiLeaks cables, published by Britain's The Guardian newspaper on Saturday, contain delicate, behind-the-scenes diplomatic assessments of the highly charged situation.

"The Vatican press office declined to comment of the content of the cables...

"Ireland's Department of Foreign Affairs and the Dublin Archdiocese declined to comment.

"But one of Ireland's most prominent campaigners against the Catholic Church's cover-up of child abuse, Andrew Madden, said the leaked document offered more evidence that the Vatican was concerned only about protecting itself.

"" 'The only issue for the Vatican has been the supposed 'failure' of the Irish government to protect the Vatican from intrusive questions,' said Madden, a former altar boy who was molested by a Dublin priest."  [from a column by Frances D'Emilio for the Associated Press]

#3. "Richard Nixon made disparaging remarks about Jews, blacks, Italian-Americans and Irish-Americans in a series of extended conversations with top aides and his personal secretary, recorded in the Oval Office 16 months before he resigned as president.

"The remarks were contained in 265 hours of recordings, captured by the secret taping system Nixon had installed in the White House and released last week...

"While previous recordings have detailed Nixon's animosity toward Jews, including those who served in his administration such as Henry Kissinger, these tapes suggest an added layer of complexity to Nixon's feeling.  He and his fellow aides seem to make a distinction between Israeli Jews, whom Nixon admired, and U.S. Jews.

"The Jews have certain traits,' he said.  'The Irsih have certain -- for example, the Irish can't drink.  What you always have to remember with the Irish is they get mean.  Virtually every Irish I've known gets mean when he drinks.  Particularly the real Irish.

"Nixon continued, 'The Italians, of course, those people ... don't have their heads screwed on tight.  They are wonderful people but,' and his voice trailed off.  A moment later, Nixon returned to the Jews: 'The Jews are just a very aggressive and abrasive and obnoxious personality.

"At another point, in a long and wandering conversation with Rose Mary Woods, his personal secretary, Nixon offered sharp criticism at the argument of Secretary of State William Rogers that black Americans would become more valued citizens."  [from a column by Adam Nagourney]

#4. [column by Richard W. Vague of Philadelphia, co-founder and former CEO of First USA Bank:]   "My fellow fiscal conservatives are letting me down.  At a time when we desperately need to cut the deficit, they are standing by while the Obama administration spends $119 billion a year in Afghanistan, which is a country with a gross domestic product of only $14 billion per year.

"Conservatives fought tooth and nail against the health care reform law, which costs far less than our occupation of Afghanistan.  Yet when our military plans for a multiyear commitment in Afghanisran -- a trillion-dollar commitment even with a gradual drawdown -- fiscal conservatives barely raise an eyebrow.

"In 2000, the U.S. military budget was $370 billion.  For 2011, it is $707 billion.  And that's before any unforeseen emergency supplements.  Much of this is for a war where even a cursory review reveals that al-Qaida is largely gone from Afghanistan -- and where the underlying conflict is a civil war in which negotiation among all the relevant parties will get us further, faster and at a much lower cost."        

[When will we learn that our problems are not political partisan problems, per se,  but problems of greed intermingled with things related to war corporations and denial about the people we have been misguided about?]

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