Pope Francis has formed a commission to investigate the Vatican Bank. What makes this move very important is that the commission is to report to him directly, and bypass the Vatican bureaucracy.
John Paul I (he had such a kind face)
A number of books have been written about the corruption – and sometimes criminality – emanating from that bank.
It’s long been rumored that Pope John Paul I was murdered (in 1978) because he was about to focus attention on the bank. He was a humble man, perhaps in the style of Francis – the first pope to forego a ‘coronation’. John Paul I lasted 33 days. He was 55 when he was found dead in his bed. (Some of the theories about his death are here.)
So this is a big deal.
It’s been way too long since I posted an Afghanistan update, something I used to do frequently. Perhaps it’s because we’ve been there so long now that it’s receding into a background noise. The news media barely mentions Afghanistan any more unless more than a few Americans are killed. (As for Iraq, it’s not mentioned at all.)
But I did continue my Afghanistan calendar and can tell you that today is the 292nd day of the tenth year of the war. That’s 73 days short of the 11th year. And we’ve spent almost $500 billion there. Add in Bush’s war, Iraq, and we’ve spent $1.3 trillion.
Here’s a little something from the Washington Post this morning – breaking news: we’re wasting money in Afghanistan and bunches of it are going to arm Taliban fighters:
. . . money was traced from the U.S. Treasury through a labyrinth of subcontractors and power brokers. In one, investigators followed a $7.4 million payment to one of the eight companies, which in turn paid a subcontractor, who hired other subcontractors to supply trucks.
The trucking subcontractors then made deposits into an Afghan National Police commander’s account, already swollen with payments from other subcontractors, in exchange for guarantees of safe passage for the convoys. Intelligence officials traced $3.3 million, withdrawn in 27 transactions from the commander’s account, that was transferred to insurgents in the form of weapons, explosives and cash.
So it’s okay I guess.
Tom DeLay convicted. By a jury of his peers under the American system of law. Bet he’s glad he got his turn on Dancing with the Stars before heading to the pokey.
Money laundering. (Tom was reinvesting national Republican money into local races in TX is my memory.)