Category Archives: Current Affairs

Gina Haspel Marks The Return of “Zero Dark Thirty” — Still Zero; Even Darker

As reports, official and unofficial, have come in about Gina Haspel, the nominee to be the next CIA Director, eerie memories began to seep from the back of my mind.

Take, for instance, this passage from a major Newsweek piece, just out:

“She is the woman who keeps the secrets,” Daniel Hoffman, another former senior CIA officer, told Newsweek. “That’s her. She’s the most discreet person I ever worked with.”

Early on, when she signed up in 1985, she chose the clandestine world over a more public life with a husband and children, her colleagues said. Hall recalled asking Haspel what her weekend plans were as a meeting broke up one afternoon. “Steve, come on,” he remembered her saying. “You know that I have no social life. I have no life whatsoever outside of work.”

No life outside of work: I’d heard that before.

 

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Cleaning Up Torture In North Carolina

Aero Contractors in Smithfield NC has been the focus of anti-torture protests.A CIA front company, Aero Contractors, ran “torture taxi” flights out of the Johnston County airport in North Carolina for years. The flights crossed there Atlantic, picked up prisoners from Iraq, Afghanistan and other places, and took them to secret prisons, Guantanamo, and other torture sites overseas. (This is not a rumor; the New York Times among others “outed” the operation years ago.)

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Lucy In The Sky, No Diamonds – A Quaker Ghost Story

Part One: Trying to Catch the Bus

Copyright © By Chuck Fager

San Francisco – 2006

Muni-Trolley-bus-Market-street-San-FranciscoKate was racing the Muni bus toward the stop at the corner. She was wet and out of breath. It was bad enough, she thought as the bus slowed, that the skinheads had ripped up her peace poster. But why did they have to drench her with ice water?

The bus stopped and the doors flapped open. Kate leaped onto it, flashing her bus pass and shivering her way toward the back. A sudden San Francisco fog had rolled over the peace rally just as it was breaking up, quickly turning a sunny afternoon chill and dreary. The skinheads had jumped her when she rounded a corner, away from the others, headed for the bus and home.

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Back To Class: Friends, “Our” Schools, And The Shock of Recognition

Friends seminary, Manhattan New York
Friends Seminary, New York City

Settle in, guys and gals; this one is lengthy. But worth it. (It should be especially useful for recovering from an overdose of Supreme Court hearings.)

In a couple of earlier posts– here and also here — many months ago, I mentioned discussions of class as a factor that complicated self-understanding and community-building among Friends today, and promised to return to them at some point.

This is one of those points, precipitated by another New York Times report back  in 2011, describing tensions between some Friends in New York City and an expensive private school, Friends Seminary, which adjoins and shares facilities with the Fifteenth Street Meeting in Manhattan. It seems there are New York Friends who say that ties with the school should be cut. This saga is part of the background to the current issue at the school over the firing of its only remaining Quaker teacher. Continue reading Back To Class: Friends, “Our” Schools, And The Shock of Recognition

Three Homelands: A Revelation In Ireland

Three Homelands: A Revelation In Ireland

In December 2010, on a bright but cold afternoon, I took a serious blow to the ego, and what’s left of my cultural pride. It probably did me good, but I’m still rubbing the sore spot: it’s like a bruise that just won’t heal.  It started out fine, when I got off a bus not far from Waterford, Ireland, just in time for an interview.

Dog-Days-Logo-CF-Dog-Days-box

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Will It Ruin The Planet If I Buy These Blueberries??

Blueberries from ChileAh, January. It’s the season of snow and ice and other annoyances.

But there’s an UP-side: in the supermarkets I can find tubs of fat, dark, juicy blueberries.

I love ‘em. Call me an old anti-oxidant junkie. (In fact, some of you might have noticed that my Gmail address is supposed to be “wild blueberries” in French. I say “supposed to be” because I misspelled it; oh well, Comment puis-je être maladroit?)

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Beethoven’s Message to Guantanamo — And To Us

BeethovenMy musical hero Beethoven wrote only one opera, Fidelio. Instead of rhapsodizing about Teutonic gods, or killing off ill-fated sopranos, his story dealt with a group of political prisoners who win their freedom from an oppressive system, mainly through the heroism of a woman.

This week in Washington DC, a series of protests will begin which is aimed at US-sponsored torture and imprisonment, particularly the continuing crime of Guantanamo, and the unad Continue reading Beethoven’s Message to Guantanamo — And To Us

The Enemy of My Enemy Is My Friend; Etc. (Re: War With Iran?)

I really didn’t want to spend much time on this blog talking about current affairs.

But it’s becoming inescapable. And one topic that requires mention is an ongoing story that only fitfully pops up on the radar screen, but which is a BIG ongoing deal. And the Big Deal is the answer to this question:

Will we go to war with Iran??

Continue reading The Enemy of My Enemy Is My Friend; Etc. (Re: War With Iran?)

An Example of Intelligent Conservatism

An example of intelligent conservatism. I wonder if anyone in charge was listening??

From an article by David Frum in the New York Times Magazine, published online Nov. 12:

Even from a conservative point of view, the welfare state is not all bad. G. K. Chesterton observed that you should never take a fence down until you understand why it had been put up. We should remember why the immediate post-Depression generations created so many social-welfare programs. They were not motivated only — or even primarily — by “compassion.” They were motivated as well by the desire for stability.

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