Sunday, September 30, 2007

Modern Business

In a response to my Kiva post Democracy Lover said:

I should also point out that corporate capitalism has the same centralization problem.

I happen to agree that we currently have very big problems with monolithic centralized companies in the United States and abroad. When businesses get big enough they start becoming little corrupt governments within themselves. We really need a dialog on dealing with this problem.

Libertarians believe that the free market is capable of solving the problem of big business by itself. The way the market works is that little companies are always nipping at the heels of big business. In a healthy market, you have a continue cycle of small businesses forming and bringing down the big business.

The problem with our modern market is no new businesses are forming. The barriers of entry into the market are too high. Even worse, schemes like Social Security, Employer owned health care, Employer owned pensions, and Socialized medicine have collectivized the pool of capital that would be used to form new companies.

I made an attempt at starting this dialog on the site Crass Commercial dot com. I was unhappy with the site because I realized that I needed to discuss some fundamentals of philosophy and logic before really launching into the dialog.

NOTE: While writing this essay, I realized that the site Crass disappeared; so I have to restore from backup.

The Libertarian view is that you handle the challenge of big business by lowering the barriers to entry and let the small consume the large. The problem, of course, is that the intellectual climate is dominated by Marxist Thought.

The Marxist World View

Marxism is based on a philosophical system called "The Material Dialectics." The Material Dialectics denies the existence of free will. As there is no free will, there is no free market. We are not the product of our choices and beliefs, we are simply the product of our material circumstance.

Marx pulled many of the same tricks as Hegel. As history is not a matter of people making conscious choices (we are, after all, nothing more than evolved biological impulses), there is no free will and no free market. Since people don't have free will, history is not a subject in the humanities. It is a science.

Ooooh, a science.

This actually philosophy is just a big mesh of paradox that received legitimacy by claiming to be science.

The Marxist idea, of course, was that the world was going through a predictable series of thesis anti-thesis conflicts. Predictably, capitalism overturned the feudal world order. In this new corrupt world order, a horrible class called the petty bourgeoisie (the middle class) would rise to ascendancy. The corporations in of the new world order would grow until they were the new oppressive force. Predictably, the intellectuals of the new order would unite the ends against the middle. The intellectual would create an army of activists (brown shirts, economic hitmen) who would radicalize the proletariat and raise the people in a global revolution that would create a new world order.

Marx claimed that, since he was a product of the old world order, he would not be able to visualize the framework of the new world order. He simply gave a recipe for radicalizing people and raising them in revolution. He simply claimed there to be an unidentifiable paradise after the bloodshed. We all get 32 vestal virgins after we blow up the train station.

The ideology was seductive. It gave professors the illusion that they were the catalyst in this great transformation of society.

To hasten the revolution, intellectuals set forth to study all of the means that the market centralizes economic power, and de-emphasized all of the ways that the market decentralized power. An example of this thought process is the ideal of "The Organization Man" put forward a half century ago.

This next statement is strange. My observation is that the market is primarily a manifestation of our own beliefs and values. Being taught a one-sided view of the market that is dominated by forces that centralize the economy, we end up with just such a market.

If, instead, we saw the market as an extraordinarily dynamic multidimensional structure with forces that both centralize and decentralize economic, then we would actually end up with just such a structure.

Classical Liberalism, by the way, has such a view of economics.

Post Modern World

The Post Modern has toned down the excesses of Marxism, but still rejects the multidimensional view of the classical liberal world. Only a few die hards have faith in "The Revolution," unfortunately, the majority of people in academia and business world still hold to the paradoxical views of Marx.

People in business and academia hold to the idea in the modern world is that a business must either dominate or perish.

The modern progressive still hold the idea that the basic structure of economics is that corporations will grow until they become governing forces unto themselves. At this point, a democratic consensus would form among the people disenfranchised by the mega corporations. This democratic consensus would lead to a political demand to socialize the mega-corporations.

The paradox ridden progressive belief holds that the progressives will get to take control of businesses once they grow too large; the result is that progressives have a nasty tendency to support actions that make big business bigger. The unfortunate result of this modern thinking is that the modern liberal seeks to throw up barriers to new corporations, they encourage business people to think in terms of market domination rather than return on investment. This is all based on the naive belief that, by encouraging the centralization of the economy, a political demand will then arise to socialize the economy to counter the inequities of the centralization.

A good example here is Managed Health Care offered by modern thinkers like Hillary Clinton and Mitt Romney. These health care plans demand that everyone buy into the monolithic insurance companies that are dominating our health care system. This system effectively centralizes health care into a cartel owned and controlled by a few mega-billionaires.

Romney, apparently sees this wholesale handing of health care into the hands of a benevolent monopoly as some sort of market device. I suspect that Hillary Clinton sees the handing of health care into the hands of a regulated monopoly as simply a step in the progression towards socialized medicine. The monstrosity that they are proposing will be so corrupt and so overbearing that we will see people rising up against it.

Libertarian Thinking

Unfortunately, modern libertarian thinking is as much a product of the modern as is modern progressivism. The great icon of modern thinking is Ayn Rand. Ayn Rand was raised in Communist Russia and received an education based on dialectical materialism. She realized that she could create a new ideology simply by turing the thesis-antithesis conflicts of Marx on its head. One view of Marxism is that world history was the struggle of the collective against the individual. Rand flipped that thesis around and state that history a is struggle of the individual against the collective.

Her philosophy elevates the CEO into a sort of Nietzschean uber-man.

I don't like the modern libertarian as they keep too much of the dialectical baggage of Marxist thinking. Too often, the modern Libertarian is suckered into arguing on behalf of big business or for excessive pay for CEOs. They often argue that the excesses of this modern corporate capitalism is part of a brave new world order.

IMHO, the radical libertarian really belongs in that tempestuous nest of things called neocon ... people who take the underlying philosophical structure of Hegelian/Marxism and apply it to Conservative ideas.

We really need to have a dialog on the issue of megacorporations, unfortunately, as long as we hold the modern way of thinking, we will find ourselves ripped apart and thrown into feuding camps.

This is why, I really never finished the Crass Commercial site because I realized I needed to talk about some foundational issues before I could even start talking.

Thursday, September 27, 2007


While Americans are happy to skip along with the left on The Road to Serfdom, it is good to see that people outside the US are yearning for freedom and prosperity that we are lining up to throw away.

I disagree with the left on their paradoxical belief that you liberate people by socializing the economy. History shows that you impoverish people when you centralize and enrich people when you decentralize. I mean, how can you enrich when you take people's stuff away?

I hate the ideas of the left. Not the people. For that matter, I don't hate the left for their intentions, just the paradoxical thinking that undermines their intentions. When I lefty has good intentions and a rational approach to achieving those intentions, I am willing to give my applause.

For example, I just watched an interview with Former President Bill Clinton. Mr. Clinton is on an international campaign advocating giving.

When I was a progressive thinking student, I was indoctinated to disparage charity. Charity was nothing more than a bourgeoisie attempt to stave off the new order by buying off the proletariat. My lefty teachers had all sorts of put downs for charitable giving.

I am really happy to see Clinton not only promoting giving. He is promoting intelligent giving.

During the interview, Mr. Clinton pointed out the charity This charity lets people make online microloans to people in countries throughout the world. I made a loan to a Martha Alicia Avila Ramos who is buying up used clothing to resell during the XMas buying season in Monterrey.

I chose her project as she is re-using stuff. She has three months to pay me back, or I am going to have to do a Dog the Bounty Hunter style mission to Mexico. The loan is organized by Accion Network.

Actually, I am not sure if I get my loan money back. I was probably just suckered into giving a donation to a bank. If I do get the money back, I will be able to loan it out again and feel doubly self-righteous.

BTW, I usually believe in keeping charity quiet. I like the online game style. It would be fun to make a program that allows direct people to business loans for US communities. I am sure than any such program would quickly be sued into oblivion.

Parleys Trail

Parley's HollowYesterday I took some pictures of the news Parleys Trail bridge. This section of trail splits off the Bonneville Shoreline Trail crosses I215 on a spanking new pedestrian bridge then drops into Parleys Hollow. At this point the trail is sort of a bicycle path to nowhere. For road bikes, it is a trail that leads to the bottom of an 11% grade. Mountain and crossover bikes can go through a series of gravel and dirt roads then pop out of the hollow in a South Salt Lake neighborhood near Tanner Park.

The next phase of the trail project will dig a tunnel below I80 which will connect Parleys Hollow with Sugarhouse. When the trail is complete, there will be an uninterrupted trail from Sugarhouse to the top of Grandeur Peak.

Since the current trail doesn't actually go anywhere, I don't think it will have a major impact on the Salt Lake Cycling community. The Parleys Crossing project had a major impact on cycling as it connected two popular cycling routes (Foothill Boulevard to the U, and Wasatch Boulevard). As stated, the trail has an 11% grade. I actually perfer the grade of the neighborbood roads between Parleys and 3300 South.

Parleys HollowNow that there is a trail going all the way through Parleys Hollow, I suspect that we will see another big showdown between the nature lovers and dog owners over the off leash status of the trail. Dogs and bikes simply do not mix. Dogs love to splash in the creek, which is in direct conflict with nature lovers apreciation for the biodiversity of riparian zones.

During the trail construction, they created a large fenced in area. I would not be surprised to find this area designated the "off leash" area. Of course, since the fenced in area is a half mile from the road, it really is untenable as a dog park. Of course, that is the way people win in politics. You force your opponents into an untenable situation and they give in.

I really love to take Coco on walks through the park. Unfortuanely there's now a very large number of pitbull owners in Salt Lake and there are people who like to take large packs of large dogs into the park. As the hollow becomes part of a green corridor, I suspect the park will soon lose its off leash designation. The tragedy of the commons is that the commons will always be trampled.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Job Insecurity and Employer Based Insurance

The UAW strike highlights the biggest problem with employer based insurance: Employee base health insurance is premised on life long employment. If you don't have life long employment, then the chances of your receiving the health care benefits that you earned become a shot in the dark.

The left knows this. They've actually known it for a long time. As long as we have employee based health care, our society is on the path to socialism. No matter how you do the analysis of the system, it is untenable. By placing everyone's most important assets into the hands of a corruptible third party, you create an untenable situation.

It is absolutely ludicrous that all of the money that a person has invested in health care vanishes when they lose their job.

Employee based health insurance is not only against the individual, the system concentrates wealth into a small number of hands. If health care dollars were in individual hands, you would see the asset invested in smaller, local firms. As the money is in gigantic corporate war chests, the actually money invested for health care ends up feeding big business.

Placing the health care of our families into the hands of our employers is guaranteed to lead to the concentration of wealth and inequity. It is guaranteed to fail. Socialists need simply collectivize the system built by the private insurance to take control of the whole shebang.

The progressives left knows that employee based insurance leads directly to socialism. With the possible exception of socialism itself, employee based health care is the single most corrupt, anti-market, unstable, and inefficient mechanism for funding health care conceivable.

The left knows that employeee based health care leads to socialism. I can't fault them for supporting it. The group that makes me irrate is the "so called" conservative politicians that is so infatuated with the big bribes (errr, I mean campaign contributions) that come from big medicine that they support employee based health care as well.

This absurdity where health care is an asset owned by the employer reduces the worker into a virtual slavery. As we see with GM, it is a slavery that also ends up binding the employer. To stay competitive, GM simply has to grow through a design cycle that involves redesigning plants. This means they need flexibility in the work place. Since they own the health care of the employees, they chain that they placed on their workers shackles the company as well.

Employee owned health care is the worst of all worlds. There are only two ways out of this bind. We either collective health care, or restructure the system so that health care is an asset owned by the individual.

Our Republican politicians are so enamored with the big bribes that they receive from big insurance and big medicine that there is zero political support for making healthcare an asset owned by the individual. Because the Republican party is corrupt we have a one way system toward socialized medicine.

Which party should we hate more: The party that is clever enough to get its way or the one lined with fattened buffoons?

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Job Security

The Newshour had two interesting reports. The first was a piece on the UAW strike. The second was a report on how the US Army is equipping American soldiers with the antiquated M16.

The UAW strike apparently is primarily about job security. GM wants greater ability to re-align its workforce to fit current market demands. The UAW wants to assure job security for its members.

The report on the M16 concluded that the primary reason our soldiers have antiquated equipment is that the people involved in procurement want things to stay as they are for job security.

The great machine of the industrial military complex is willing to send American soldiers onto the battlefield with antiquated equipment for the job security of the Government contractors and government employees sitting at comfortable desks.

When job security is elevated to an ideal it seems to lead to mediocrity.

I think the UAW is looking at the wrong issue during their strike. The UAW is looking at the job security of its specific current members. The UAW might do better if they broadened their perspective. Rather than looking at the job security of a specific group of people, they looked at the overall health of auto workers as a whole (both current and future auto workers) they might find that the ability of GM to realign its workforce in response to market demands will approve the quality of life of the autoworker as a whole.

Instead of approaching the job security issue with the demand: "we want this particular group of people to have good paying jobs for life;" The UAW could try approaching the question by saying, "We want x number of good paying union jobs to be in the United States." GM would then have the ability to open and shut plants as markets demand.

The great fault of unions is that they end up magnifying internal political dissent within a company. This political infighting ends up being to the long term detriment to both the employer and worker. Professional societies are at their best when the focus on the health of the health of their profession as a whole. They are at their worst when they end up with a favored group that tries to force an untenable demand on the market.

The demand that GM give the current crop of workers a job for life puts in jeopardy the ability of others to hold good paying GM jobs in the future. In this case we find the demand of job security of one group of autoworkers has the potential to harm American autoworkers as a whole.

Anyway, I found it interesting that the Newshour would follow a report on the UAW strike for job security with an interview that concluded that job security leads to mediocrity in military procurement.

Monday, September 24, 2007

4500 South I215 Bridge

4500 South BridgeI took shots of the 4500 South I215 Bridge Construction. This is an interesting project. What they are doing is building the new bridge along the side of the freeway. They will then swing the completed bridge into place. this will minimize the amount of time that the freeway is closed.

Mount OlympusThe 4500 South Bridge is only about 30 years old. 4500 South has rather steep slope as it climbs toward the base of Mount Olympus. That extra lateral pressure adds to the aging of the bridge.

While labeling this set of pictures, I realized that I have big piles of pictures that I have yet to upload and label. This is a picture of a Hen and Chicks Plant in bloom that I took earlier this year. This plant does not bloom all that often. For that matter, it is about 20 years old and this is the first time I remember the plant blooming.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Wind Up Flash Light

Utahns are supposed to turn their lights off at 9:00 PM on September 19th as some sort of praxis in the environmental revolution. I like that the event is raising awareness for conservation. However, I doubt that the event itself will really do anything. It is not like the state will be able to turn a coal power plant off early because we turned our lights off.

Real conservation happens when we figure out how to consume less in our day to day lives. Turning off lights is good. Figuring out how to live without turning lights on is even better.

A few months ago, I got a wind up flashlight. These flashlights have a small generator that charges a capacitor which fuels an efficient LED. The lights are basically run by human energy. So, other than the environmental damage done during manufacture, the flashlight is sustainable.

I got the flashlight for camping; However, I found that by keeping the flashlight with me at night, I can pretty much go without turning any lights on at home at night. The flashlight I have seeems durable enough to last several years.

It is strange, but having a the flashlight on the night stand encourages me to not turn on any lights at night.

LightingThe only problem, of course, is that I filled all of my light sockets with expensive (and toxic) flourescent bulbs. Having a low wattage bulb in a socket doesn't really save anything when they are not turned on.

Lets see. If a kilowatt hour costs a dime, and the standard light fixture in my house consumes 50 kilowatts. I would have to replace about 400 hours of light consumption to save $20. It is on the outside of doable. Of course, I can now retask the flourescent bulbs (ie, give them to a charity).

Add that to the fact that I now have a flashlight (with no batteries) I figure it is a pretty big environmental plus.

Anyway, if you are going to participate in the Lights Out program, I believe that the real energy savings comes not simply figuring out how to turn lights out. But figuring out how to turn fewer lights on.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Lights Out, Me Maties

This one has me puzzled: There is a Lights Out Utah program that asks everyone to turn their lights off as part of an educational project on conservation. That makes sense.

The thing that puzzles me is that the organizers scheduled the event on September 19th which, as everybody knows, is Talk Like a Pirate Day.

It is also the day of the The Chili Affair. The Chili Affair is a big fundraising event for the local food bank.

This means that September 19th will be a really bizarre event where people swagger around in the dark with an occasional discharge from the chili saying "Arrrggghhhh."

I hope you all can see why I find this triple threat of events disconcerting.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

The Biden Spin

Democratic Senator Joseph Biden was on the Newshour on 9/11. His interview was somewhat odd. Being a partisan player, he wanted put forward the claim that any apparent success of the surge was pure blind luck. The primary theme of Biden's argument was that George Bush's the Iraq Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki had a single minded focus on creating and Iraq with a "strong central government." Biden's brave new proposal was to have a Federal form of government.

He states his premise early in the presentation with the statement:

They're not willing to make a stark political change, that is, to seek a fundamentally different outcome than a strong central government.

Oddly, Biden concludes with the sentence:

"And everybody forgets their constitution says -- I think it's article 114 -- "We are a decentralized federal system."

Biden's premise that Bush and the-powers-that-be have a single minded focus on a strong central government is negated by the observation that these same powers-that-be wrote Federalism into the Iraqi Constitution.

The interview was interesting in that Biden's need to put a partisan spin on the issue created a situation where he negated himself. The partisan spin seems to be that dimwitted Republicans are for Nazi style strong central governments while enlightened Democrats value the balance of a democratic federalism. The apparent successes of the troop surge was the result of a flip flop in administrations core beliefs.

If it were not for the partisan spin, Biden would simply have had the affirmative argument that focusing on the needs of the people in the provinces seems to have had a positive effect. One might also conclude that our previous efforts may have focused too much attention on the central government.

The problem with partisan politics is that it always concentrates attention on who has power and not on what they are doing.

This was almost a really good interview. Beyond the arguments about whether the war was just or injust, Iraq is stuck in a situation where they have to find a way forward. There is a good argument that Federalism might be more promising at this moement. We have to concentrate on the arguments and not on partisan spin.

BTW, while Biden was trying to put forth his spin, Jim Lehrer (the interviewer) coxed Biden into accusing Patreaus of spinning.

I watched several of the Patreaus and Crocker interviews. Patraeus and Crocker were clearly arguing the case for the surge. I believe that arguing the case for or against an idea is something completely different from spinning. Spinning is part of a partisan game where you try to present information in ways that rewards one's friends and punishes one's enemies.

It seems to me that Patraeus and Crocker did a great job of focusing attention on to what was actually happening on the ground and away from the politics. The Biden interview seemed too eager to focus political blame on Bush. I would classify the various Patraeus and Crocker interviews as an example of arguing for an idea, and Biden's interview as an example of spin.

Monday, September 10, 2007

So Called Reporters

Here is a fun way to waste time while reading news reports: Count the number of times that you hear reporters using the term "so called" in reference to any actions taken by the Administration. In a forty minute scan of CSPAN, CNN and MSNBC, I heard the term "so call surge" about a dozen times.

What the reporters are doing is employing a propaganda technique called "purr words and snarl words." The point of purr words and snarl words is not to state one's opinions clearly or honestly, it is to attack one's enemies at a subliminal level.

The technique is not about strongly worded statements in open discourse. Purr words and snarl words is a technique for subtly injecting opinion into what should be objective reporting.

I do have some sympathy for those who use "so called" to modify the term "War on Terror." The name "War on Terror" is somewhat propagandist itself. Modifying the name "War on Terror" with the snarl word "so called" can be seen as an ironic attempt to express one's disapproval of propagandist techniques.

This game of calling the Troop Surge a "So Called Troop Surge" is a bit idiotic as the word troop surge is an accurate description of an increase in troops.

What people should do in response is to take down the names of all the reporters who use the term "so called surge" and start referring to them as "So Called Reporters."

For example, we could say "The So Called Reporter Anderson Cooper is reporting tonight on the failure of ..."

Please note. I am not attacking AC's journalistic qualifications. I am simply mentioning that he over uses the snarl word "so called."

If a lot of people started referring to these folks as "So Called Reporters" there little tiny egos would self destruct, and maybe in some distant future we could have reporters who value objectivity over spin.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Democracy Starts from the Bottom Up

It is possible that George W Bush learned something during the troop surge, and his last visit to Iraq. That something is that Democracy starts from the bottom up.

As far as I can tell, Bush's post war strategy went little beyond the idea that Iraq would have an election, after which we would then provide services to the wonderful people in a wonderful centralized, but elected government.

That central government, of course, proved to do little more beyond reflect the deep divides that Saddam Hussein used to maintain his dictatorial control. The government has proven itself largely ineffective.

The troop surge has our military working more directly with the people. This working with the people resonates in a better way than the top down approach.

The surge highlights a potential path to a free Iraq. If the surge provides a sufficient drop in violence so that NGOs could move in to work with the people, the country could see itsself on the way to recovery.

Unfortunately, so many powerful forces around the world now have a vested interest in defeat (such as the Democratic Party) that such process only have a slim possibility of success. That is unless someone can figure out a way to bring these disenfranchised groups on board to a real nation rebuilding effort.

A Democratic candidate probably would do well if they took the tact that they wound simply start the relations with the mideast at the point where Bush leaves off, and they they would concentrate primarily on ground up reconstruction efforts and can the idea that top down military coups bring peace.

I don't think that this could really happen. First of all, I don't think the Democrats are any better at building from the ground up than Republicans. The power structure of the Democratic party sees the people as something that you buy off, and not something you build up. The very fact that the left is fully committed to socialized medicine is a case in point. Socialized medicine doesn't build people up, it just transfers greater power to the center by buying people off.

The Anbar trip may have reminded Bush of something that he had forgotten. Democracy is about the people and it is about building a society from the bottom up. The top down structure falls when it does not have a firm foundation with the people.

On an end note, I thought I would highlight a really cool presentation by the Multinational Forces that show the Iraqi Provinces.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

WMDs on the Path to Power

Al Quaeda hit their target. The death toll in Iraq for the month was 1773 (mostly civilian as they are the easiest to kill). This will be good news for the left as it will make for some beautiful Bush bashing material. It might even be enough to finally to provoke the US into surrendering.

Interestingly, Al Qaeada had to resort to detonating WMDs in Yazidi communities to make their death target. It is ironic that a war started over the threat of WMDs would be lost because the WMDs are finally in play.

The 1773 casualties is horrible and unacceptable. The numbers, however, aren't really that outlandlish. This Report tells us to expect around 500 driving fatalities this Labor Day Weekend, and 3500 in September.

When you look at the history of thuggery and war, the fact that Al Qaeda has been able to effectively destroy the US with so few murders stands out as amazing.

The fact that so many Americans are hip on handing a nation over to its most brutal thugs simply because those brutal thugs were able to hit a death quota for August is quite absurd. Albeit, the opening for this absurdity was created because GW Bush cut corners on diplomatic efforts so that he could finish his daddy's war.

Bush really put us in an absurd and chaotic situation.

Absurdity and chaos are part of life.

I hope that the left is wise enough to realize that emphasizing the death toll plays into the hands of the worst elements of society. It is absurd for us to deliver a country into the hands of Al Qaeda or Iran simply because they are willing to kill large numbers of civilians.

The fact that the terrorists reached their death quota for August should not be a rallying cry of the left. For that matter, I believe that if the left plays up the death toll at this point in the debate, they will drive people back to the radical right.

I've been in a state of dispair since the day that Bush decided to invade Iraq. He had won the diplomatic effort. Diplomatic wins are so scarce that they should not be squandered. The troop surge worked put us into a place where we really can talk about the future of Iraq. The American public has realized that Bush style militarism is a recipe for disaster. I hope that the upcoming debate moves beyond the current left/right political squabbling about how to best capitalize on defeat, and turns the pressing issue of what is best for the Iraqis.

Both the US and Iraqi governments are broken at the moment.

Just as our nations is focussed on the 2008 elections, I think the best hope for Iraq is to get the country focussed on their January 2009 elections. Perhaps the best approach from this point is to commit to providing security through the 2009 elections with a complete troop withdrawl planned after the inauguration of the next Iraqi government.

It is a scary time. We saw Yazidi villages wiped out with the first WMD attack since 9/11. If the shrill left/right debate continues to dominate discourse about the region we probably will start seeing an escalation in the WMD usage the war was supposed to prevent.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

The Class Warfare of Mortgages

Chuck Schummer is right. Once again George Bush is behaving like a Democrat.

At each critical turn in his administration, Bush has turned to his neocon advisors who argue for a bigger and badder government. Bush handled the fallout from the Dotcom bust by giving tax breaks with no decrease in spending (a neocon ideal). Bush turned against the Powell Doctrine and the Constitutional demand to declare war in the invasion of Iraq.

The No Child Left Behind Act has done more to undermine the long held Republican belief in Federalism than perhaps any education policy in history.

Bill Clinton, of course, played the game in the other direction. He surrendered ground on a large number of Democrat issues to maintain power.

Bush is definitely in line with the democratic strategy. The Democrat strategy is to set the ends against the middle.

By creating a special class of mortgage (finance links) holders with a low rate, government secured loans, Bush has just created a situation where the people with the inside connections to get the special loans will be able to force the working poor out of the housing market.

Keeping with the Democratic Theme of playing the ends off the middle, the primary beneficiary of this bailout is the class of extremely rich bankers who have substantially more to lose in the subprime lending bubble than the poor schmuck who could just walk away from a bad debt a little poorer, but wiser. The platitudes of power politics bubble about all the empowered elite do to help the poor. Oddly, the actions seem to do more to secure the positions of the empowered elite.

BTW, the secret to pulling people out of poverty isn't in giving people more loans, or securing loans, or in regulating interest rates on loans. The secret to pulling people out of poverty is to create a financial structure that helps people build wealth.

Schumer is completely right. This program that helps preserve the financial fortunes of a wealthy banking class by creating a special class of mortgages is very Democratic. It is so very Democratic.