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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