But it's not all suffering. Khayoon Saleh (Azzaman) reports Iraq and Iran are drawing close to an agreement on the importation of natural gas from Iran: "The statement said the delegation would seek striking a long-term contract to supply gas-driven power plants with fuel particularly in southern and central Iraq." It's not all suffering . . . Unless you draw the connection between the natural gas deal with Iran and what Iran wants (and Nouri's willing to do). (Expel the MEK.)
The White House is occupied by another War Hawk, Barack Obama. B.J. Reyes's "Protesting Obama’s Wars in Hawai'i" (World Can't Wait) reports on calls to end the wars:
On one corner, groups opposed to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan carried signs urging an end to the conflicts on foreign soil.
Across the street, abortion foes protested the inclusion of funding for abortions in any health care reform bill.
The demonstrations were peaceful, though witnesses said one car that slowed down so someone could make an obscene gesture was involved in a fender bender.
Signs bore statements including "Stop the wars," "Peace, put it in action" and "I don't want to pay for baby killing." At least one demonstrator carried the Hawaii state flag upside down.
The illegal war and the White House wants it and, for all their grand posturing, the Congress keeps funding it. Strange that they can always ensure the funds for these wars but can't provide their Constitutionally mandated oversight when it comes to veterans issues. The VA, the latest round of stories, insists it is working on its backlog. That would be the backlog for the Fall 2009 semester. That would be the backlog they swore to Congress -- I was at that hearing -- was being addressed, was being taken care of and that they didn't need any additional help. That was in October. It's the end of the year and still veterans wait. Patricia Alex (New Jersey Record) reports:
The delays had thousands of vets who served in Iraq and Afghanistan scrambling to pay rents and mortgages, and fearful they would not be able to continue school next semester.
"It's been three months of going into debt," said Chris Mazzoccchi of Saddle Brook, who served with the Marines in Iraq. Mazzocchi, 24, quit his job in ground service at Teterboro Airport to take advantage of the bill and began studying criminal justice at Bergen Community College this semester.
He is entitled to tuition reimbursement and a housing allowance of $2,033 a month, he said.
It's the sort of story that should result in mass outrage; however, you have a better chance of reading about outrage in Iraq. Saad Fakhrildeen and Ned Parker (Los Angeles Times) report:
Discontent among Shiites has been on full display in Karbala, one of the sect's most sacred places. In recent months, representatives of the country's most influential cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, have returned again and again in Friday sermons to the subject of the government's failings.
On the eve of Ashura, Sistani's representative in Karbala, Sayed Ahmad Safi, delivered a scathing critique of the political establishment to the tens of thousands gathered for the religious rites.
"More than 50% of our people live in poverty in a rich country, but when we see all the circumstances this poses a question mark. Why is there not a quorum in the parliament? Why is there no legislation [passed]? Why don't the executives come spontaneously without an invitation" to parliament, Safi asked in his Friday sermon.
"We cannot hinder the progress anymore because of [officials'] personal reasons, trips or holidays," he added. "This must be considered: The secrets must come out [about] the financial corruption."
Pointedly, Sistani has declined to endorse any party, in contrast to 2005, when his name was associated with the Shiite coalition running in the two elections that year.
A visitor e-mailing the public account asks if we can note Norman Solomon's "The Political Dark" (ZNet):
In 2010, we should concentrate on generating the kind of public information, vigorous debate and grassroots organizing that could shift the center of political gravity in a progressive direction.
At every turn, progressives should be putting up a fight -- not only in all kinds of venues outside the electoral system but also inside the Democratic Party. Winning elections will require doing the methodical and difficult work of running candidates in Democratic primaries, sometimes against entrenched incumbents.
For instance, that's what stalwart anti-war progressive Marcy Winograd is doing in her challenge to Congresswoman Jane Harman in the Los Angeles area. Across the country, dozens of strong progressives are running for Congress with a real chance to win. They need our volunteer help and our financial support.
Yeah, we can note it and we can note that Norman Solomon needs to SHUT THE HELL UP. And I don't tell people to "shut up." I have never even let anyone (friends, lovers, boyfriends, my husband, etc) tell a dog to "shut up." But Norman needs to shut up. In fact, he needs to shut the hell up.
What people need to do?
The first thing they need to do is not listen to LIARS like Norman Solomon.
And why he thinks we need to vote for a candidate he supports is amazing. This is the LIAR for Barack. This is the pledged delegate for Barack. The man who has hectored Big Media for years about people not revealing conflicts of interests but Norman 'forgot' to reveal he was a pledged delegate for Barack. He didn't bother to in his Panhandle Media columns. He didn't bother to in his radio appearances -- weeks and weeks of complaints to KPFA forced them to start identifying 'independent analyst' Norman as a Barack delegate. But his syndicated column that appears in the lesser papers around the country? In that, he made the disclosure. Because he knew he'd be dumped if he didn't. So, in other words, when forced, Norman will make a disclosure. When not making a disclosure threatens his pocket book, he'll make a disclosure.
As for Marcy Winograd? She's yet to prove that she's anything but another FAKE, just another WHORE. She can't shut up about "Send me to DC so I can fight for Obama!" Guess what, Trash, that's not why anyone but the dwindling Cult of St. Barack would vote for you. Are you going to push to end the wars, Marcy?
No, of course not. She'll give (limited) lip service but she's PDA -- Pathetic Democrats of America ("Progressive" Democrats of America) -- and the bulk of them don't stand up for a damn thing. By the way, Norman, you're endorsing Marcy in this column. Don't you think you need to do a disclosure?
Oh, that's right, this is a column for Panhandle Media.
So you don't feel the need to talk about how you know Marcy and how you've known her for years. Just like when you were offering 'independent analysis' you didn't feel the need to explain you were a pledged delegate for Barack.
Ethics are tough for Norman. Attempting to break up marriages are a little bit easier, right Normy? But ethics are real tough.
Norman's a damn liar and someone forgot to inform him -- maybe we all need to spit on him when he goes out in public -- and, no, I'm not joking -- that not only is he not a leader, no one trusts him anymore. No one needs to hear from him.
He WHORED. He sold out the peace movement and he WHORED. And until he wants to take accountability for his actions, he needs to shut the hell up. The world was never waiting to be led by Norman Solomon. That should have been obvious to him by the time he hit forty but, somehow, it escaped him. But after his non-stop lying in 2008 and his non-stop minimizing in 2009, we don't need him in 2010. As a friend says (the wife of the marriage you tried to break up, Normy), "I'd furnish the razor blades if I thought he'd use them."
In the real world, March 20th there's a DC action being called by A.N.S.W.E.R. and others.
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