Wednesday, August 29, 2007

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The Editors


August 30th 2007
“A newsletter of progressives values”

Founded in 1999
Volume: VIII August 30, Edition; published 8 to 10 times annually

Highlights: In this issue:

Who will take responsibility for all these new dead and wounded?

Is the Media Controlling the Message? And how does that support Democratic values?

Immigration and the Mexican Challenge

Bush President for Life

Security and Prosperity Partnership: Should you Worry?

Media: Our Chance to Bring Sanity Back to the Airwaves

Mortgage Mania: The Katrinafication of the Housing Market?




Who will take responsibility for the hundreds more dead and wounded?

We’ve all seemed to fall in line waiting for an outcome that has nothing at all to do with the end of the War in Iraq.

We have been subjected to bait and switch tactic and we bought into it.

Let’s get serious for a moment: What does it mean if the Surge is successful?

It doesn’t mean we are one iota closer to a solution than before the Surge started.

The purpose of the surge, need we remind you, was to free up time so that the politicians would have breathing room to arrive at a POLITICAL solution.

It didn’t happen.

They went on vacation instead.

And it won’t happen either unless there is massive and fundamental change in the way this government does business.

And what are the chances for that? Nil!

No matter how successful the Surge, it has nothing to do with whether there will be peace or war in Iraq.

And while we stalled again, another one hundred plus Americans died while the Iraqi government went on vacation.

The fact is that unless something happens with the government there will be no political solution. And if there is no political solution, there can be no peace.

Why, therefore, are we barking up the wrong tree?

Why are we so locked into a strategy that will not and cannot work?.

By now, we should have etched in stone before our eyes, Armies don’t make political solutions; all Armies make is War. The name of the game is Diplomacy and having the right people in place.

We don’t have the right people in place—either here or in Iraq.

And it shows bigtime!....

War is not the solution; nor the failed attempts at what our government calls progress.

With this kind of thinking, it’s surprising that we are not switching to swords and arrows.

When will we be honest? When will we address the real needs of a country that we wrecked with our child=like naivete solutions.

Will this go on forever; or will men of good will throw the baggage out!

Les Aaron


We are having extended conversations about the problems of Immigration and it seems the more it’s discussed, the less its understood. There have been few issues as polarizing as the question of Immigration.

These are composites of some of the questions posed by concerned citizens:

Do we send the “illegals” home? Do we make them pay a fine which could amount to six months of earnings before they can apply for citizenship in the USA? Do we ignore the legal status of the children born in America as citizens? Or do we just send the offenders to jail?

What do we do about the Border, per se? How do we react to a president who purportedly supports the legislation but, in reality, wants to keep this source of cheap labor flowing to his friends and benefactors?

You see, the level of complexity builds like a precarious house of cards. There are misunderstandings on both sides of the issue and the loss has been in objectivity as adherents and opponents scatter to opposite ends of the spectrum.

Consider that California’s Representative Hunter stands firm on the fact that money had been set aside for building hundreds of miles of border while actually only eleven miles have been completed.

Others suggest that the responsibility should be placed on the shoulders of US Corporations who hire immigrant workers without adequately checking their credentials rather than put the onus on the poor Mexicans or other Latin Americans-- who simply want to make a living for their families. According to this view, it is the employer who should be punished for employing illegal aliens alleviating the illegal immigrant for any responsibility for his or her actions.

Many suggest that we simply return the illegal immigrants to alleviate the burden on hospitals and the social system.

What the politicians avoid considering is even if you wanted to return the illegals to their home, how do you find them? According to estimates, there are from 12 to 20 million “illegals” scattered around the US. And even if you could locate them, you don’t just stick 20 million people on buses and send them home.

There is a common joke making the rounds about how you find the illegal aliens. According to the story, “You send them a UPS package because Brown also finds their man and then you send them home…

But the fact remains that 20 million people who are here illegally is a force that’s hard to deny. Already, they number about 7% of the entire population. To put this into perspective, there are nearly ten times as many illegal aliens as there are legal Muslims in the United States….

Whatever we decide it needs to be well reasoned and be fair to all concerned parties.

The fact remains that most of the aliens are working in low paying jobs that most Americans don’t want; but other legalized aliens might.

What do we do about it?

In all of this back and forth, two things have been missing. The real support of the president for solving the problem and the complete absence of the Mexican government in discussions of any kind pertaining to their missing citizens….

How can we proceed to find answers to the questions of illegal immigrants, mostly from one country, without the interest or support of that country?

Interestingly, our government has failed to raise this issue and one wonders why.

Some might say with the Mexican and American governments already proceeding with a North American Union behind closed doors, the idea of making them responsible for the population of “illegals” might interject a problematical issue.

But the overall question remains: Why is this government so disinclined to be willing to work out an amicable solution to one of this country’s biggest challenges.

These are questions that we have not had satisfactory answers to as yet.

And, yet, it may be the first order of business beyond the question of the Iraq War.

One would do well to keep in mind the fact that we face another challenge of more illegal aliens in the coming year and perhaps as many as ten million more in the coming ten year. If we continue to delay the inevitable, we will face a geometrically increasing problem with an inverse relationship to possible solutions… if we don’t start workin

It is time to for our government to act now to restore sanity to our immigration policy.The bottom line is that we already have a process in place that has served successfully for two hundred years….Why not use it?

Bush president for life…

Among those considered as “unfriendly” to the current administration, there is a nagging belief that what sixty percent of the population is opting for, an end to the War in Iraq, may not happen in accord with popular wishes. There are forces growing within the White House that forces us to keep alert to other possibilities that are driven by political considerations and personal agendas.

We don’t mean to be especially arcane here so let’ get down to cases.

Most of us realistically understand that the Petraeus report after it’s finished being edited by the powers that be will demonstrate that “the Surge” is going well and those are grounds for its continuation into what may appear like perpetuity to those of us who still remember the quagmire of Nam..

But perhaps the bigger question remains if Bush is gone, will the same kind of policy stay in force. Looking at the possibles, Giuliani and McCain, that is not a real stretch. Both are, and there is no other way to put these, jingoists, who are more influenced by what they want to believe, than the facts that have surfaced.

However there is an even more nagging possibility: That George Bush may not want to relingquish the reins of the presidency. After all, it is the closest thing to being Absolute Monarch and he already knows that he can influence and control Congress and without Congress, the public cannot do anything to him because they do not have the backbone to demand his Impeachment. Unlike Parliamentary styles of government, we do not have an easy way to jettison someone who is unpardonably insufficient to the government and is too mired in agendas of his own to concern himself about the public good.

But how could Bush continue in his office? After all, he has some of the lowest popularity poll results in modern day history?

What if Rove’s resignation was in order for him to return home to prepare for the next phase of Bush & Company.

Keep in mind, that Bush’s star was falling prior to 9/11.

The only thing that brought him to prominence again was the fact that we felt as if we needed him to save America.

Bush had promised to go after bin Laden and destroy the terrorists.

He never achieved his goal; yet, 90% of the population at the time was willing to follow him to the end of the world.

One does not want to editorialize on a lemming culture….

The fact of the matter is that it was not his intent to eliminate bin Laden. If he did, he would not have the rationale for all of his precipitous actions which were broad brushed to suggest that everything he did was to end ‘terrorism.’

Nobody bothered to ask precisely what was “terrorism” and how it could be ended in our lifetime. According to chapter and verse from this administration, “terrorism may be the threat that descends upon you at birth and never leaves you til you are dead.”

While this prospect is alarming, it reflects the basis for most decisions. We attacked Iraq because of the threat of terrorism. We have the Evil Empire made up of terrorist nations who are anxious to export terrorism. Everything is terrorism related.


Without the threat of terrorism, who is George Busch except the most ordinary of people who is revealed for what he is. It is terrorism that holds this administration together and gives it its force.

Think otherwise? All you need do is look at his falling poll numbers at the end of his first year in office. Nothing positive was happening on his watch; and the people were growing increasingly dissatisfied with his government for the few mantra.

What if Bush did not want to leave office?.

What if another terrorist act impacted upon the United States?

Could Bush then declare an end to Civil law and take over government postponing elections for the foreseeable future.

This could be a scenario that plays out given the willingness of this government to jettison the Constitution of our land and the Bill of Rights.

It may not be so far out an idea as one might think if one examines all the patterns of abuses that have taken place over the last seven years…and it forces us to be especially alert to warning signs.

What warning signs?

Like a build up for war against Iran perhaps?…

Security and Prosperity Partnership….

An Report by Les Aaron

Robert Pastor, who is with the American University, ad considered the architect of the North American Partnership, said when questioned about the purpose and intent of the SPP, said that the controversy involves just a handful of people who don’t fully understand the nature of the SPP and its intended role.

He is right about that. The reason: Everything connected with the SPP is conducted behind close doors and what leaks out tends to fuel suspicions that we have an economic juggernaut building who’s intentions are to bypass the laws of the United States.

One does not have to look further than NAFTA, on which one suspects that the new alliance is modeled.

What the facts reveal is that virtually knows anything about the SPP.

And the reason for that is that ther has been no transparency at all on the SPP.

About all we know is that the president of the United States, Canada and Mexico support the building of a network of highways that will criss-cross the United States, linking Canada and Mexico.

That by itself sounds pretty harmless until you think that it will allow Mexican drivers, in some cases aged fourteen years of age, driving old rigs that are not regularly inspected by the Mexican government to enter into the United States and drive our roads that are maintained by US tax dollars.….

Moreover, what they are talking about are not ordnary two lane secondary roads but giant eight lane high speed highways.

The question that is raised is what’s going on. What is the SPP? And what are these highways that nobody talks about…

The SPP is the acronym for the Security and Prosperity Partnership, a program being constructed behind closed doors by leaders of Mexico, Canada and the United States.

Beyond that, very little is known about the activities of the group.

Why? Because the SPP wants it that way which incidentally raises all kinds of questions by itself.

The fundamental question becomes: “Why would an organization that is committed to protection for North America, a questionable benefit, and trade have to operate behind closed doors?”.

And where is the money coming from to support the meetings and the road building programs which many speculate is only the tip of a very convoluted iceberg.

The SPP, of and by itself, sounds like a deceptively progressive idea but that is the inherent danger. We see only what we want to see. . For the idea to proceed, it would need a lot of things that are dependent on capitalization. However, oddly enough, the idea has never been explored or approved by Congress; it has never been approved by the Canadian Parliament; nor has it been discussed or approved by the Mexican legislature so we really don’t know the “ins” or “outs” of a proposal that seems to have grown legs out of sight of government “watchdogs.”.

This by itself is highly questionable for that’s how ideas proceed in a democratic form of government.

What we do know that’s been confirmed by at least three sources is that the SPP is more about trade than protection. According to what’s known, some 125 leading businesses have already signed up to participate in the SPP.

Why not go through conventional channels?

That seems to be the point. According to what people are saying about SPP is that will operate around government to avoid legislation, taxation and the law.

Does that sound possible?

If you read the NAFTA bill there was much that was not understood at the time the bill was passed. For the most part, the bill was written by lobbyists and subjected to Congressional representatives three days before the vote. Consisting of many hundred pages of laws and regulations, few claim to have actually read the bill before it was passed.

However, we have seen how it operates.

In one particular landmark case between Canada and California, an oil additive was sold to California but was later learned to be toxic leaching int the aquifer. California removed it from distribution and the Canadian manufacturer sued the State. The verdict was reached by private parties behind closed doors and the people had no say in the outcome. The Canadian company was awarded $125 million in damages.

It is suggested that the SPP is modeled on the legislation of NAFTA, which supersedes the powers of the Country. The concern is that if the White House goes forward with the SPP, it may well threaten the sovereignty of the US.

At one point, a think tank in Washington was formed by the leading powers in this administration, Rice, Rumsfeld, Perl, Cheney, and it was committed to a “new world order” where America was recognized as the last leading superpower. The organization’s philosophy which was central to American policy was that it was in America’s interest to push its advantages in the larger world, intimating that it was not inconsistent with its goals to use force to achieve its ends. This was frightening for several reasons. The leadership of this country was deciding what was best for the people and, strangely, that was consistent with what was best for the few, a handful of empowered leaders with extraordinary ambitions and delusions of grandeur..

Is the SPP the dry run for the realization of this concept?

That’s a hard question to answer and a disturbing one. Nontheless, when one considers the readiness of this government to subvert the Constitution and the Bill of Rights and this governments self-serving policies and tactics which seem to place the welfare of its citizenry last, it is not hard to imagine that there would be any compunction within this government to consider to consider protection of its sovereignty.

It is time that the full story be demanded by the American people.

Exactly why is it necessary in a free society where transparency is highly valued to go behind closed doors to negotiate a contract that will improve trade and protection?

There is something malodorous here!.

Once we answer that question, we can begin to make up our minds where the government stands on the public good and do what’s necessary to wrest control and power from their hands…

Les Aaron..


Here’s your chance to bring democracy to the airwaves

A special report on Media and the FCC

Folks, if you believe that the airwaves are dominated these days by a handful of Media moguls, you may now have an opportunity to do something about it.

To his everlasting shame, Newt Gingrich will go down in history as the architect of change at the FCC, pushing a compliant Powell for the sake of his “friend’s” interest in completing his stranglehold on American media and, thereby, ending diversity and competition for the public airwaves. The Murdoch, Powell, Gingrich entente sealed the fate of media diversity for years to come and empowered the already powerful to extend their reach for domination of the public airwaves. And by so doing, Gingrich had already brazenly violated the intent of his book: To eliminate corruption and graft in Washington!.

And that was the kiss of death and the end of media freedom.

The result Gingrich got his book published by Murdoch (with a fat advance) and Murdoch got to buy all of the media around the country that he didn’t already own along with other giant media companies.

. . For those who think I’m making a mountain out of a mole hill: consider that Clear Channel, then one of the leading radio stations with the maximum number of stations allowed, forty, went out as soon as the bill was passed and grabbed up a total of 1200 stations in one year…And as soon as the grab was completed, in a pattern now familiar, the media powers cut staffing and support, relying instead on network preprogramming.

Unfortunately, the people doing the grabbing were made up essentially of the top ten media companies in the US who are in effect the ones who now control what we see and hear.

Well, you say, there’s still the Internet, a haven of democratic and liberal thought.. Don’t be fooled, check out the busiest websites and you will find that they are owned and operated by the same group of people.

There is something critically wrong with this arrangement.

If you think about it, by the intent of the Founding Fathers, the airwaves are free and to be used under license, participants agree to abide by the public good. It is written into the provisions of the FCC regulations. Therefore, in exchange for the egregious profits that accrue to the lessor, there is a concomitant obligation to provide news that is factual, objective and honest.

Unfortunately, all three qualifiers have been lost in the rush for more and more profits!

If one reviews the records, very few hew to that responsibility.

Under the present scheme, the giant companies can say pretty much what they want without fear of censorship (unless you’re a liberal or left wing communications company: witness the ongoing challenges to PBS!) and without fear of having your license taken away.

In fact, for the most part, no government official at the FCC even bothers to check whether the subject media station fulfills its obligations under the law. And licenses are granted with submission of a post card; that is, if you haven’t offended in the lucky sperm club that runs things inside the Beltway….

In the process, we, the public, have suffered from media that is homogenized, edited, neglected, omitted and Bowlderized. In short, we have been cheated by the process and, consequently, know less than our peers around the world

To add insult to injury, a casual study shows that most people today still get the bulk of their news from the network’s half hour news broadcast that consists generally of about fifteen minutes of “news” which usually also includes a human interest segment and very little serious content….

These broadcasts barely cover the high points of what is really news and more often than not fail to treat the news of the rest of the world, leaving us isolated and misinformed on a whole range of issues.

Why? This truism should be etched in stone: The media’s agenda is not our agenda.

The truth is that most news companies would broadcast flower arranging if it made profits.

The media couldn’t care less whether you’ve had your fill of objective information, they only focus on the bottom line.

Here’s the harsh facts: The environment that existed during WWII and the early fifties no longer exists. The news segments have no patriot who is willing to stand up and say, “I can’t take it any longer;” not in the age when profits are the prevailing mantra.

For the most part, the media, as part of its goal of controlling what we see and hear and read, also recognizes that it has an obligation to the government that gave them the freedom to grow exponentially. As a result, the media’s role as the custodian of the public good has been sacrificed to the individual good of the corporation and government—not a good model for the rest of us!.

And the price is that we what we see expurgated and Bowdlerized as befits a mogul who controls an empire whose future is dictated by the benevolence of government.

As a result, we have been exposed to otherwise responsible media serving as a vehicle for “leaks” or as a sounding board for proposed policy in direct contradiction of what a free media is supposed to stand for. Moreover, increasingly to gain “access,” the media has been wiling to allow itself to be used by the subject to float trial balloons or to rewrite history to benefit the subject and those he/she represents. At the same time, investigative journalism has joined the ranks of the dinosaurs.

This is the slippery slope.

When the media finds it expedient to protect the private good over the public good, we are all in trouble.

A Time to Act:

The reason I mention this is because we are approaching time for a review of the FCC regulations that govern the laws that dictate how many stations the media can own thereby limiting diversity and how much control they can exercise over what we read, watch and hear. The time is now to write your representatives, contact the FCC and write letters to your local media to let them know that it’s time that the media was opened up again to competition and diversity.

Not doing so, sanctions the frightening prospects of “1984” a scenario that none of us believed we’d ever see happen but, unfortunately, are already living through…

Les Aaron

Are the forums good or bad for democrats.

One must wonder in the larger scheme of things whether the forums are ultimately good or bad for candidates-- during the Sunday morning dehate in Iowa among the democratic candidates as moderated by ABC’s Stephanopolis, senior Washington analyst, we were given a chance to make up our own minds…

A corollary might be “Would the democratic candidates be better served by not appearing at all at forums where they either ignored (second tier) or can expect to be peppered with questions the answers to which might not lend themselves to a two minute response?”…..

It seemed to me, firstly, that the format was eminently unfair. It was designed to provoke negatives…

Here’s why: While the front-runners were showered with questions, the second tier candidates received little attention. Therefore, it seemed impossible under the rules of ABC, that “second tier” candidates, so readily consigned, it seems, to the dust bin of history at such an early time in the primaries, cannot rise above their station if the moderators are unwilling to hear them express themselves.

The second tier therefore should go on strike for equal time and equal treatment. After all, isn’t that the democratic concept?

I think Denis said it best when the subject of prayer came up. When he was finally called upon, and asked about his position on prayer, he said that “I’ve been praying for 90 minutes that you, George, would call on me.” And that perhaps said it best.

Stephanopolis called on Kucinich exactly twice and cut him off once. Therefore, it is easy to see how the debate can becomes a popularity contest for the ‘front-runners’ and reinforce the stereotype that the second tier were really the ‘second tier’ and not quite ready for prime time…

Then George in a seemingly fiendish attempt to go for the ratings, pulled out all of the plugs to instigate trouble among the candidates by trying to provoke arguments over what many thought were miniscule points while neglecting the real stands of the candidates on the issues. This, I thought, was reprehensible.

We didn’t even know where the candidates stood and we were trying to have them pick fights with each other. This was not American Idol after all, it was purported to be an attempt to provide an experience that would help to inform the citizenry.

Although it might be important to know the nuances of a candidate’s position, it was far more important that we understood the broader question of the issue, itself.

But George wouldn’t let it go. Had he drawn comparisons between republican and democratic positions, he might have had a leg to stand on but by focusing on minutia, the forum was revealed for what it was: The Roman Amphitheatre where the Christians had been thrown to the wolves.

Denis was right again by accusing ABC’s Stephanopolis of emphasizing the microscopic difference among candidates instead of getting more out of them about their individual stands on the issues.

It was clear that most of them had the same overall general goals and instead of emphasizing that they stood head and shoulders apart from the republicans, he chose, it seemed to me, to nitpick among the democratic candidates.

I think we all would have been helped considerably more if the candidates were allowed to spend ten minutes each to focus on the platforms and the key issues that they represent and to explain how those issues differ with their opponents. I truly believe that such a venue would have not only been more productive and interesting but would have given each of the candidates a chance to differentiate themselves—even the so called ‘second tier’ candidates would have to admit that such a tactic would have helped level the playing field; however, it might not have done much for the ratings!

I don’t mean to single out Stephanopolis, only to suggest that the format as now adopted seems to have less to do with the candidates and where they stand, then creating a kind of combative atmosphere that is less informative than hostile to energize the ratings that have been rather dismal despite their attempts…

You may have liked the forum but I don’t think it particularly favored any of the candidates except to reinforce some already closely held preconceptions. If you thought O’bama was inexperienced, you may have felt more so by the end of the debate. If you felt that Hillary was establishment and inside the beltway politician with high negatives, well, you probably didn’t change your mind yesterday. If you thought Mike Gravel was there to upset the apple cart, you were probably right. But all of the candidates had a point of view that few got to air and they all should have been heard if you wanted to call this a democratic debate. As it turned out, it seemed to attempt to fragment the democrats and make the republicans seem perhaps as well qualified. I think it was a big plus for the republicans.

Please send your comments and remarks to
We will publish any counterarguments in an upcoming issue….


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