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Tony Dean on Public Lands

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Liberty Belle

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Why is the federal government allowed to even own land? Read the constitution and tell me where it says the feds can own anything besides military installations and post offices. The socialist fishing guru, Tony Dean, would love to have ALL land in federal hands. Here is one of his latest tirades written by a real left-leaning nut:

Ignoring the Public on Public Lands

By George Ochenski

The next time you hear someone lament that citizens are growing more apathetic about getting involved in government decision-making, you might want to point to the actions of the Bitterroot National Forest managers as a helluva good reason why. Recent revelations of the blatant and arrogant disregard for what citizens have to say about the future of their own national forest lands is not the first time, and will certainly not be the last, that a government agency has gone bad—but it’s a shocker, nonetheless.

As reported this week, documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act by the Native Forest Network show the Bitterroot National Forest spent $162,000 preparing for the Middle East Fork hazardous fuels reduction project. Given the unbelievably reckless spending proclivities of the Bush administration and the Republican Congress that have erased the surplus and left us with mounting trillions in national debt, this piddling amount of money is certainly not that big of a deal, except for one thing: the forest managers spent it to mark the cut for their “preferred alternative” while the public comment period on the proposal was still open. In other words, the agency had already made its decision and was moving ahead to implement it with total disregard for whatever the public might say.

Everyone who has ever had contact with state or federal agencies knows that their personnel—especially those charged with stewarding the fish, wildlife and natural resources on public lands—consider themselves “trained professionals.” Those of us in the public, who just happen to own these resources, are relegated to a lesser category of uninformed amateurs who either support them as “friends” or oppose them and are dubbed “troublemakers.” Given this rather dismal regard for the public, it is not uncommon for agencies to disparage public opinion in favor of the decisions made by their “professional managers.”

Despite all the blather about government agencies “serving their customers,” the charade breaks down under even minimal scrutiny. For one thing, if we’re the customers, perhaps someone could tell us where else we can “shop” if we don’t like the “service” we’re getting from, say, the Forest Service. Obviously, there are no other choices—we get whatever kind of service we get from these agencies and if it doesn’t suit us, that’s just too dang bad. They know it and we know it, and that’s why so many people are turned off in their attempts to interact with government these days.

In the case of the Bitterroot National Forest managers, however, it wasn’t just the occasional crank they ignored, but some 10,000 comments from those who responded to the Middle East Fork proposal. The information obtained by the Native Forest Network shows that 98 percent of those comments opposed the Forest Service’s “preferred alternative.” Just to do the math quickly, that means only 200 comments supported the proposal, and a whopping 9,800 opposed it.

Now anyone rendering service to a customer might take pause at numbers like those and perhaps, just for a second, reconsider. But not the Bitterroot Forest managers. According to Dixie Dies, Forest Service spokeswoman: “Most all of the comments we got on this are form letters, so we take that into account.” Obviously, since they initiated their preferred alternative prior to the close of the comment period, whatever account the Forest Service took of the 10,000 comments surely wasn’t much.

Which raises the question: What’s wrong with form letters? In today’s world, people are busy raising families, going to work, taking care of homes and businesses and, quite frankly, have little time to pore through long and terminally boring government documents. Quite naturally, if someone writes a cogent letter that articulates the position one holds, why not send it off? After all, if an individual has taken the time to put his or her name on a letter and submit it to a government agency during a public comment period, shouldn’t that be good enough for the Forest Service? Or has someone on high told the Forest Service it no longer has to heed overwhelming public opinion—say, 98 percent opposition—if it’s expressed in a form letter?

It would be great to be able to say this was just an aberration, an error, a screw-up by a small number of people who irresponsibly ignored the public. But it’s not. We saw the same thing during the comments on the roadless rule, where the public overwhelmingly supported protection for roadless areas and opposed new roads. Or how about the plan to ban snowmobiles in Yellowstone? Again, public support for the ban was overwhelming—and ignored.

Instead, we get some lame excuse about form letters, public opinion is tossed out with yesterday’s garbage, and the agencies scramble, as in the case of Yellowstone or salmon restoration in the Columbia River, to do another expensive study so they can have yet another comment period to hopefully produce the results they—or their political masters—desire.

It is tragic that these sorts of incidents are being repeated more and more frequently these days. But then again, considering that former timber lobbyist Mark Rey is calling the shots on forest policy for the Bush administration, perhaps it should come as no surprise that the agency would ignore public opinion to accelerate a logging project.

In the long run, citizens lose faith in their government when government ignores its citizens. First comes apathy, which is now rampant, then comes rebellion—which can take a thousand forms.

There’s only one solution when government goes bad—and that’s accountability. On this project, heads should roll for wasting taxpayers’ money and ignoring overwhelming public opinion. But with a corrupt administration that takes no responsibility for errors and sees accountability as a restraint, not a requirement, don’t hold your breath.

(When not lobbying the Montana Legislature, George Ochenski is rattling the cage of the political establishment as a political analyst for the Missoula Independent. Contact Ochenski at [email protected])

Editor's Note: The same Mark Rey, working in conjunction with North Dakota's DEMOCRATIC congressional delegation, is now in the process of IGNORING THE PUBLIC on the NATIONAL GRASSLANDS. He's called for a public hearing to open a review of the National Grassland grazing policies. That would be wonderful, except he is also a MASTER at stacking the deck against the public. This effort is being driven by a coalition of politically powerful western ND ranchers who are most adept at playing politics, such as enlisting the Democrat Senators and Congressmen from North Dakota.

This effort will involve ALL NATIONAL GRASSLANDS, INCLUDING THE FORT PIERRE NATIONAL GRASSLANDS, THE FINEST PRAIRIE GROUSE HUNTING LAND ON THE GLOBE...ONLY BECAUSE IT IS THE ONLY NATIONAL GRASSLANDS MANAGED WITH A WILDLIFE PRIORITY.

You have to wonder what Dale Bosworth, the so-called "chief" of the US Forest Service, must think of all of this. Bosworth, like his former colleague at the USFWS, Steve Williams, came on board with the blessings of sportsmen and conservationists who felt that maybe, just maybe, the Bush Administration wouldn't be so bad after all. The truth is, neither Boswork or Williams, who has long since departed ever got much chance to set federal policy or manage resources.

The moral of the story is actually immoral. Bend over, your Government is about to screw you again.

September 23, 2005

http://www.tonydean.com/issues2.html?sectionid=6768
 

Liberty Belle

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Here's another article I found written by the same guy. Note the name of the publication that posted this. Is this what Tony Dean and George Ochenski are smoking when they write the off-the-wall socialist drivel they post?

Their Lips Are Moving
Posted by Cannabis News Staff on October 14, 2004 at 12:39:41 PT
By George Ochenski
Source: Missoula Independent

Everyone has heard the joke about how you can tell when operatives from the Bush administration are lying—their lips are moving. Given the Bush presidency’s horrid record of lying about everything from preemptive war to domestic issues such as the environment, health care and education, it should come as no surprise that they’re at it again. This time, it’s to interfere in Montana’s election on medical marijuana, I-148. And guess what? Their lips are moving again.

Case in point was last week’s visit to Montana by Scott Burns, the so-called deputy drug czar for Bush’s Office of National Drug Control Policy. First, in a blatant attempt to exclude the public—a common tactic of this benighted administration—no one except “credentialed media” were allowed in the 15-minute “press conferences” Burns gave in Missoula, Helena and Billings. Only one little problem—the Montana Newspaper Association does not issue “press credentials,” preferring to let Montanans report wherever and whenever they so choose.

Because Burns conveniently held his “press conferences” in drug treatment facilities, he was successful at shutting out supporters of the initiative who may have challenged him. Moving his lips, Burns got right to the point with his first lie: “I’m not here to tell anyone how to vote,” he said, looking straight into the TV cameras—and then proceeded to tell Montanans that voting for medical marijuana would be a terrible thing.
According to Burns, I-148, which would allow those with AIDS, cancer, multiple sclerosis or other terminal or serious illnesses to grow and use marijuana for medical purposes, is not about bringing relief to sick people, but “about telling children that this is a medicine.” Burns says it “is common sense” that having cannabis viewed as medicine will lead to increased use of marijuana among young people. But I can’t ever recall busting into the medicine cabinet to gulp down some of Grandma’s laxatives, can you? Or how about swigging some of that great-tasting Pepto-Bismol? Yet, from time to time those medicines surely helped the oldsters feel better.

Referring to the “snake oil of 100 years ago”—but ignoring the recent recall of VIOXX—Burns said we now “look to experts to tell us what is safe” and claimed: “None of them say smoking this weed is medicine.” Unfortunately, the drug czar must be too busy flying around the country on taxpayer money doing the federal government’s political dirty work to take the time to read the conclusions of medical authorities from all over the world who have found just the opposite—that marijuana is indeed efficacious in treating a number of ailments.

Since he was in Montana, Burns should have done his homework and read the “Missoula Chronic Clinical Cannabis Use Study,” which was approved through the Compassionate Investigational New Drug Program of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The cannabis, which came from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, was used under the supervision of a study physician, with the goal of determining the “overall health status of 4 of 7 surviving patients in the program” who used “a known dosage of a standardized, heat-sterilized, quality-controlled supply of low-grade marijuana for 11 to 27 years.”

And what did they find? Quoting from the study: “Results demonstrate clinical effectiveness in these patients in treating glaucoma, chronic musculoskeletal pain, spasm and nausea, and spasticity of multiple sclerosis. All 4 patients are stable with respect to their chronic conditions, and are taking many fewer standard pharmaceuticals than previously.”
The authors went on to say, in terms even a drug czar could understand: “These results would support the provision of clinical cannabis to a greater number of patients in need. We believe that cannabis can be a safe and effective medicine…”

Rather than get bogged down in messy medical details that disprove his propaganda, Burns simply went on to assure reporters that in every state that had approved the use of medical marijuana, drug use among young people had increased. But an on-going annual study in California found marijuana use by ninth-graders has dropped 45 percent since 1996, when the state legalized medical marijuana.

Leaving the statistics behind, what about the actual experience of Montanans? Take Teresa Michalski, one of the people who showed up to dispute Burns who wasn’t allowed into the Helena press conference. Michalski says using marijuana was the only thing that helped her son, who died of a rare blood cancer last year.

“My family learned the hard way, when our son was dying of Hodgkins disease, that ‘traditional’ pain pills don’t work for everyone,” Michalski said. “Toward the end of his life, my son was taking huge quantities of the same pills Rush Limbaugh was addicted to, but they did nothing for my son’s pain and nothing for the nausea that made eating impossible. Marijuana, on the other hand, helped quell my son’s agony and made it possible for him to eat. Because of marijuana, he was able to live his last days and die in relative comfort. But he and the rest of his family shouldn’t have had to deal with the fear of criminal prosecution during that difficult time in our lives, which were tough enough as it was.”
Instead of interfering in Montana’s elections, the drug czar should have used his federally funded plane ticket to visit Canada. If his preposterous claims were correct, the streets of our northern neighbor should be clogged with stoner youths, barely able to ambulate because of their access to potent B.C. bud. But as many Montanans know from firsthand experience, Canada’s legalization of medical marijuana has produced no such drastic effects.

Fear and lies are the tools of the Bush administration, but Montanans are smart, compassionate people. Come Nov. 2, Montanans should tell the drug czar to take his lies back to the White House, vote for I-148 and bring legal relief to our most seriously ill citizens.

When not lobbying the Montana Legislature, George Ochenski is rattling the cage of the political establishment as a political analyst for the Independent.

Note: Feds huff and puff about medical marijuana.
Source: Missoula Independent (MT)
Author: George Ochenski
Published: October 14, 2004
Copyright: 2004 Missoula Independent
Contact: [email protected]
Website: http://www.missoulanews.com/

Related Articles & Web Site:

Montana Cares
http://montanacares.org/

Voting on Pot Issue
http://cannabisnews.com/news/thread19629.shtml

Deputy Drug Czar Opposes Legalizing Marijuana
http://cannabisnews.com/news/thread19612.shtml

Drug Czar Stumps Against I-148
http://cannabisnews.com/news/thread19609.shtml

Deputy Drug Czar Sees MMJ as Dangerous
http://cannabisnews.com/news/thread19608.shtml

http://cannabisnews.com/news/thread19643.shtml
 

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