Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Bush's War

Normally I don’t watch KET, unless it’s during their fundraising drive, which seems to be the only time they have any programs worth watching on. However, while flipping channels Tuesday night I came across a special on Frontline called “Bush’s War”. With nothing else on, I decided to watch it, and I’m glad I did. Talk about “shock and awe”. If you think we still live in a democratic Republic, this program will quickly remove that foolish thought from head. Even if the events are only partially accurate, we appear to have far more in common with Fascist Italy or Imperial Japan than the type of government our forefathers set out to create. “Bush’s War” outlines the history and planning of our invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq through interviews with the players involved, from the Pentagon and CIA to the National Security Council and State Department. The program also includes actual footage of the war not shown on the evening or cable news programs (including some very graphic and disturbing scenes).

The program is raw; exposing a total lack of planning, understanding of the ethnic, religious or politics of the region. Perhaps worse of all, this program shows a complete disregard of our system of government through deceit, vanity, petty power struggles and the failure to recognize the consequences a war of this type would bring by the most senior of elected officials. There’s no other way to put it. I bet that after you’ve watched it, you’ll have a very different perspective of the war and of the Bush Administration. I know I did. The program is in two parts and about two hours long each, but well worth watching. You can check it out for yourself visiting at the address below:

Moderate Man has new article that should interest everyone—taxes! Take a look:

A Hidden Tax

Louisville Metro Government has currently 123 parks covering more than 14,000 acres, including the 6,191 acre Jefferson Memorial Forest. The parks system is to be expanded without a voter referendum, like the library issue was. Mayor Abramson wants add 1,600 acres of a Floyds Fork flood plain into park space, (2,360 acres were acquired by the 21st Century Parks non profit), expand the area in the Jefferson Memorial Forest, add riverfront land and wharfs along the Riverwalk Trail and Levee Trail, and connect a 110 mile walking and biking path around the entire city called the Metro Loop. Currently 25 miles of the Metro Loop have been completed. Who is going to pay for the upkeep and security of these expanded parks, in mostly the non urban service district? Can you imagine just how much the maintenance of this expanded park space will cost current and future taxpayers, say for the next 200 years? This is a hidden tax! This is on and beyond the original cost to acquire the land.What happened to Mayor Abramson’s pledge of no new taxes or cuts in services due to merger? Guess its ok to have cuts in city services due to a downturn in the economy, but we won’t blame it on expanded services to the non urban service district, such as increasing limited garbage collection and street sweeping routes. This is a hidden tax! Or don’t mention garbage collection in the urban service district reduced from twice a week to once a week. This is a service cut! Let’s not talk about street sweeping reduced from four times a year to three times a year. This is a service cut! Don’t talk about the city finances that are maxed out on project bonding for years to come. Did any of those bonds cover any projects in the non urban service district? I think not.

There are other parts of the community Mr. Mayor, than the downtown. What happened to the UNITY campaign to bring all the parts of the community together? How come we still have different taxing rates in both the urban and non urban service district, years after merger passed? This has happened on your watch, for an issue you campaigned for Mr. Mayor. Use your political capitol to provide this community a unified taxing rate. Let’s talk about park security. There is only the LMPD. And they have their hands full with prioritizing felonies first. When it comes to lesser crimes, like quality of life issues in neighborhoods, they are not too enthusiastic. With the added acreage of the parks, it will require a dedicated independent parks policing force. This is a hidden tax! Louisville with a population of 701,500 will need a parks police force similar to Nashville’s Park Police. Nashville with a population of 613,856 has 113 properties with over 10,570 acres and 7 city golf courses, is very similar to Louisville Metro in terms of parks pre-expansion size. Nashville has 25 parks officers with vehicles. These Metro Parks hidden taxes are the most expensive items in the budget and the mayor did not put it to a voter referendum. The Parks Dept will need dedicated funding, similar to a taxing district, to provide the expanded services in the Mayors vision. But, let’s not ask the voters and put it on a ballot. Instead, let’s take it out of operating expenses. The voters may say no, like the library issue, in these tough times.

Moderate Man

This is an article submitted to A/O for consideration. I read it. I liked it. I think you will to.

Ready for Another War between the Generations?
By Jean Johnson and Scott Bittle
Authors of Where Does the Money Go?

In primary after primary this year, journalists have remarked on the tendency of older voters to support Senator Clinton while younger voters flock to Barack Obama. On the face of it, this suggests that older and younger Americans have different ways of thinking about the country’s problems. Fair enough – the two groups are at different life stages. It’s reasonable enough that they’d be focused on different issues and concerns.

Meanwhile, the DC speechifying set is pointing out how much of the federal budget is spent on programs for older Americans compared to how little goes to benefit the young. At $586 billion in 2007, Social Security now takes up the largest slice of the federal budget. We spend more on Social Security than we spend on defense – and that’s with two wars going on. And Social Security dwarfs the $24.6 billion the federal government spent on higher education.

With 78 million boomers starting to receive benefits beginning this year, there’s no question that Social Security and Medicare costs present a major financial challenge for the country. To headline writers and the chattering classes, who often confuse conflict with genuine policy debate, this new “war between the generations” colors everything from the 2008 elections to how to tame entitlement spending.

The country went through a generation war back in the sixties and seventies, and a lot of boomers are probably surprised to find themselves painted by some as a bunch of greedy has-beens soon to be a millstone around the neck of the young. But leaving aside the feelings of the boomers themselves, we can’t help thinking that revving up a new war between the generations is such a patently bad idea. If younger people and older people begin to see each other as automatic political adversaries, it could well derail a lot productive ideas for solving our problems.

For one thing, the two putative “sides” in the supposed generational war actually have a lot in common, especially when it comes to their initiation into national politics. Both entered adulthood in the wake of shocking national tragedy – for one generation, the assassination of JFK (and Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy not too long after); for another, September 11. Both have had to contend with a deeply unpopular, costly, mismanaged war (feel free to insert the adjectives you prefer). This time around at least, we’ve avoided blaming the soldiers for the errors of their elders. Some members of boomer generation were stupider and crueler back in the day. Even so, can we really say that the two generations are such political opposites?

But beyond this, setting up political discussions as a war between the generations seems a bit odd. Nearly all members of both generations have someone they dearly love in the other camp. Based on the opinion research we’ve seen, most parents recoil at the idea of saddling their children with humongous Social Security and Medicare debt. Most young people don’t want to see their parents anxiously scraping by in old age and failing health.

We suppose families view these things differently, but most probably want a choice about whether 30-something junior lives upstairs or whether to renovate the garage so grandma can move in. Having to make these choices because younger workers can’t make ends meet or because widespread elderly poverty has once again spread across the land isn’t what most of us are aiming for. A wealthy country like this one can avoid these scenarios if we just stop procrastinating and start working on this problem now. And not every solution needs to be either-or. For example, controlling rising health care costs is vital for dealing with Medicare, but it’d be good for everyone.

So let’s stop the generation war hyper-ventilating. The boomers and the “next’ generation live together in the same country, and as individuals, we mostly care a lot about each other. Realistically, both groups are going to have to do a little adjusting and rethinking to reach any kind of consensus on what to do. There are a lot of ways to talk about what our options really are, but this war between the generations thing isn’t a very good one. It’s so been there, done that.
Crisis and editors of

Copyright © 2007 Scott Bittle and Jean Johnson

Jean Johnson and Scott Bittle are authors of Where Does the Money Go? Your Guided Tour of the Federal Budget. For more information, please visit

Poll Results:

In response to our poll, "Should English be our National Language?", the results were 90% in favor and 10% oppose. There were no votes for a dual language. So, English it is!


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Anonymous said...

In response to moderate man.

I agree with your assessment. The sad truth is this has been a continuing problem with Mayor Jer and will not change unless we are willing to make changes ourselves. In short, the Metro Council has the power to hold him accountable to the budget but his rubberstamp friends on the Council will never challenge him for fear as they show time and time again.

We need someone who will stand up and ask the tough questions and take the tough stand for the betterment of us all.

I proved during the most recent Mayor election that I am not scared to stand up to Jerry or anyone else.

As a Democratic candidate for District 14 (against incumbent Bob "rubberstamp" Henderson), I can use all the help I can get.

Anyone who wants to start getting accountability from our leadership let me know.

We have way too many problems to spread ourselves any thinnner.

Ed Springston
Democratic candidate Metro Council District 14

Jeff Noble said...

As usual, Moderate Man and I are in the same church, same pew, same hymnal, same page, singing in harmony.


Another Opinion said...


Danny said...

I'LL police the parks...I'm in them enough anyway...where's my gun and badge?

Considering a lot of the other baloney my tax dollars are funding at least maybe I'll get my moneys worth on the parks.

Go out and visit one some time...I haven't encountered any gangs yet to my knowledge.

Anonymous said...

Regarding Jean Johnson's and Scott Bittle's article on a war between generations, and related to who might pay the cost of government entitlements, a point may be raised that Social Security recipients actually paid money into the system while most Welfare recipients do not pay into system. As the federal purse empties with the fiscal burden of both Social Security and Welfare payments, and considering the fact that Social Security payers also contributed tax dollars through their work to help cover Welfare payments in the past, who might take priority in front of Uncle Sam when it comes to a decision between those two entitlement programs? And a time may indeed come.

One or both of those entitlements will be dramatically reduced, or the value of the dollar will have to fall off a cliff, in order for government to cover both costs at their current rates.

The evisceration of Welfare might cover the cost of Social Security payments to the largest generation in history. The irony is that the younger generation could carry the burden of making that decision.

The burning question is what might happen to this country if Welfare was cut dramatically in order to cover Social Security payments to 78 million people? Would we see riots in the streets? Certainly. Bloodshed? Probably. Revolution? That's not out of the question.

It's not a pretty picture. But we can always blame it on our parents for bringing us into this world.

Another Opinion said...

Thank you for your well reasoned comment Mystery Guest. You raise several good points. While I’m an optimist at heart, I am firmly convinced that America is headed in the wrong direction, and the current crop of candidates we now have, despite their well practiced rhetoric, is just as much a part of the problem as their elected brethren. I think America is facing a crisis that the politicians, the media and its talking heads have thus far ignored. America is headed for serious trouble. We’ve delayed it. We’ve ignored it. We’ve tried to deny it. But it’s real, and sooner or later, the time will come when we have no where else to run.

I believe that you can not run the government services that we do by borrowing (or, rather, stealing) from the future. You can not continue to allow our national infrastructure to rot away. You can not balance the national budget on the backs of the poor and working poor (formerly known as the Middle Class) while oil companies make record profits. You can not ignore poverty in this country while exporting tons of food overseas. You can not ignore drugs and crime, which in some cases is the last act of desperation, and prison isn’t always the right or best solution. You can not continue to ignore the level of ignorance that our current public school curriculums produce and calls “education”. You can not turn a blind eye to the blatant corruption of our political system. You can not pretend the waves of illegal immigration are not a national security issue or the failure of new immigrants to merge into our collective culture (and that includes learning English) weakens our social fabric.

Sooner or later, we, as a nation, will be forced to confront these issues. What worries me is how these issues will ultimately be addressed. I strongly suspect that it will be in the form of a social upheaval. The best way to get an Ostrich’s attention when its head is in the sand is a swift and hard kick to its butt. Our social change may take the form of riots, or it may take the form revolution. The drive for fundamental change could, if the energy is channeled right, make us a stronger and better country, or it could result in the balkanization of America. While I don’t know what form the pending social change will take, I have no doubt that everything will be different when it passes.

Anonymous said...

The probability of a situation similar to the Great Depression of the 30s grows stronger with each borrowed dollar government spends, even though there are radical differences between the 30s and our current period.

First and foremost, millions of citizens have become entrenched in entitlements ranging from Welfare to Disability, and that mindset won't be easily displaced by the reality that government can't afford to foot the bill for such a broad scope of entitlement programs. Those programs didn't exist before the Great Depression and only proliferated afterwards, so people couldn't depend on the government for their survival... they had nowhere to turn except family and charity. Most citizens took responsibility for their own survival and improved their lives with honest hard work. They took whatever jobs they could find, if they could find a job.

Can anyone imagine that mentality in today's entitlement culture? If we had that sort of mentality today in the U.S., then we wouldn't have millions of illegal aliens picking our vegetables and fruit, building our houses, etc, for low wages. Many of our own citizens would be willing to take those jobs.

Because of government obligations, our coming Great Depression may be drained of entitlements, and that draining process will be painful for our society, but especially painful for people accustomed to entitlements, and who won't stoop to taking the low wage jobs that illegal aliens have been doing.

Many people who've received entitlements throughout their lives may reach a state of mind in which they feel like cornered rats with no option for survival apart from attacking what they perceive as a threat to their existence. In that case, they would attack the entity which earlier assured their survival but then withdrew that assurance by eliminating or reducing their entitlements. The attacks would probably not remain confined within the parameters of a mere "March on Washington" or in localized movements because the elimination or reduction of those entitlements would produce effects felt throughout the country by tens of millions of citizens.

To make a long story short, I think the main difference between the last Great Depression and the coming Greater Depression may be that millions of people desperately looked for honest work during the 30s, and most of them were willing to do almost anything for an honest wage, whereas there will be millions of people desperately looking for free money in the next depression, and who'll be willing to do almost anything to get it.

No, not a pretty picture at all.

Like you, I've been an optimist for most of my life. However, as you can see, I'm not the least bit optimistic about the outcome of our current situation. I think the situation is beyond repair by politicians -- at least not the type of politicians who currently run this country -- and I think we are headed into a no-win situation that could transform our political system into something akin to a military dictatorship.

The enormous expense of the Iraq War is merely a single aspect of a myriadical problem which is firmly rooted in the entitlement culture and has compounded, financially and psychologically, for decades.

That's off-the-charts pessimistic, I know, but I see no escape route.