Democracy Requires a Middle Class

There's a battle waging today in America that will decide the future of the Middle Class.

On one side are those like Thomas Jefferson who believe that a free people can govern themselves and have the right to organize their government to create a strong middle class - which will, in turn, keep the government democratic. On the other side are those like Thomas Hobbes who believe that only a small elite can and should govern and that the people should be willing to pay the price of poverty in exchange for security.

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Support the YouTube Homeland Security Whistleblower

After reading the WaPo article on the YouTube Whistleblower, I hope this statement from the Project on Government Oversight gets the widest dissemination possible:

The formal systems that whistle-blowers are expected to use have failed. That's why you're seeing people be creative like this...This is a tremendous way for someone brave enough to do it to say something directly and not have to go through a filter.

In my humble opinion, "filter" is not a strong enough word: perhaps "impregnable barricade" would be more accurate.

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600 Tons of Cyanide

The "city" of Nome Alaska is best known as the finishing point of the Iditarod sled dog race.  The 1,000 plus mile race, of course, commemorates the heroic delivery of serum to Nome during a diptheria outbreak in the 1920's.  Nome has long been a mining town but fishing, hunting and other subsistence activities play a vital role in the lives of the small population of the area.

Just this Tuesday, Alaska voters turned out Frank Murkowski in a Republican primary where the current Governor (and four-term US Senator) finished an embarassing third.  At about the same time, Murkowski's bid for a new natural gas pipeline from the Arctic north seemed to have gotten a severe blow.  Voters were not only unhappy about the terms but the cozy relationship between Murkowski and the oil industry raised a lot more questions than voters seeemed prepared to accept.

A smaller deal did go down after the election.  Without the oversight of Nome officials or much public review, the State of Alaska approved the opening of a gold mine in Nome that would employ 100 plus people.  Rather than being happy, many of the locals looked askance because details of the plan revealed that 600 tons of cyanide (that's right, 600 tons of cyanide) would be used to process the spoils of the open pit mine.

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Whole Foods the organic Wal-Mart?

Well-to-do liberals don't like to think of themselves as susceptible to the marketing gimmicks that sucker the less enlightened proles. We know that the products we buy are superior because they're packaged in rainbow/tye-die/rough-art wrap, with product names that incorporate words like natural, earth, green, etc. Obviously these products must be owned by progressives, and thus buying these products make the world a better place. If the companies break unions, dodge regulations, pollute, or even commit corporate crimes on occassion, well, all is mitigated by the feeling of superiority we feel over those who buy Western Family or Chef-Boy-Ardee. And the businesses that sell these products must be progressive in their own right, particularly if they have "the look."

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Brian Schweitzer is leading the way

Once again, it is Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer leading the way in pushing for a much-needed reform. The revolving door of politician-turned lobbyist-turned a particularly insidious virus in American governance.

The Montana legislature wasn't strong enough to stand up and start to deal with the corrupting influences of lobbyists, political donations and the revolving door between corporate servants and legislators so Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer is taking his measure directly to the people of the Big Sky State.

Please note that the Montana Republican Party has somehow yet to endorse this reform attempt. Hmmm, I wonder why? Where's Montana Senator Conrad Burns on this? Oh, that's right, he's exempt, already being that not so rare bird--a simultaneous lobbyist/politician.

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