Sunday, November 12, 2006


Well, the Libertarians did alright here in Montana, too, garnering over 10,300 votes in the hotly contested Senate race between (D) Jon "I Have a Flattop Haircut So You'll Think I'm Conservative" Testor and incumbent (R) Conrad "Look How Much Pork I Brought Home" Burns. Yes, I voted for Mike Fellows (L).

But recent experiences working for the Federal Government have set me to a-wondering. Even if we could get a Third Party with some brains and common sense and the Founding Fathers' intent in power, is it too late to ever significantly change the fat, bloated, inefficient, wasteful, asinine, self-perpetuating labyrinthine bureaucracy our government has become?

I won't even go into BATF abuses or the Patriot Act or the Army general who had 3 helicopters and two twin-engined executive planes at his personal disposal or even how in our vaunted Welfare System only 10 cents on the dollar goes to the recipients and the rest is gobbled up by the bureaucracy. I'll stick to some minor things in a minor agency I am personally familiar with.

Out here in the hinterlands of "Fly-Over Country", those who still follow the Forest Circus old motto, "Caring for the Land and Serving the People", are stretched increasingly thin on an ever-smaller budget. For instance, I know of someone (who shall remain nameless) who is currently attempting to clean, care for and maintain some 17 campgrounds, 10 fishing accesses, 6 picnic areas, 6 rental cabins, dozens and dozens of "dispersed campsites", and hundreds of road and trails signs, spread out over 3 Montana counties (and counties are pretty big out here...check the mileage from Wilsall to Cooke City, MT, all inside Park County) all by himself. Obviously a slacker, the powers-that-be cut his budget by 30% for Fiscal Year 07. Those in the Supervisors' Office, also known as the Ministry of Truth, want to lay off this last lone ranger for the winter and just close down everything he takes care of to the public. Who cares about the citizen and taxpayer, anyway? We got papers to shuffle and mandates to create and mandatory Civil Rights training to come up with.

I am NOT saying, however, that the Forest Circus needs more of your hard-earned tax dollars. I am saying that they need to spend what they have wisely and efficiently, but from personal experience I expect that to happen immediately after a pig flies past my window.

In a recent article, a retired FS whistle-blower pointed out that 85% of the $$$$ allotted to care for our National Forests never gets out of Washington, D.C. Of the remainder that trickles down, each National Forest's Supervisors' Office (which generally employs more people than all of the Ranger Districts and field staffs combined) automatically takes another 25% off the top for "administrative costs". Which leaves very little at the bottom of the totem pole to hire somebody to clean the toilet and pick up the garbage and paint the picnic tables in your favorite campground.

A recent clever budget-cutting measure enacted did away with the CSEP program. This program provided summer jobs for retired folks who did a great deal of good, hard on-the-ground work for the public and got paid a pittance. So the powers-that-be cleverly shit-canned the lowest paid personnel who did the most work. We just can't find any deadwood to cut in all the office-dwelling bureaucrats, you know.

I recall a recent audit of the Circus by the Government Accounting Office. They were literally millions of dollars, and numerous vehicles, and a twin-engined aircraft unaccounted for. This kind of fraud, abuse and waste obviously could not be tolerated, and with these vast amounts of funds involved the culprits must be at the bottom of the pay scale. Government inspectors really cracked down. The only example I am personally aware of in the big shake down was a guy who almost got fired for "using government property for personal gain". He took a beautiful landscape picture that got published in a magazine. Someone going over the photo with an electron microscope spotted part of a government canoe in the photo. Well, they spanked him but good, and that took care of the problem. Last I knew, though, the aircraft is still MIA.

I could go on and on and make this column approximately the length of War and Peace but blogs are designed for modern Americans with really short attention spans.

Just let me point out that the Forest Circus is just a teensy weeny tiny little fragment of the US Department of Aggravation (which employs 11 people for every farmer and rancher in the United States), which in itself is just a teensy weeny tiny little fragment of the Fed Gov as a whole. I recently read an article about the Department of Homeland Security unable to account for about $80 million, but government investigators decided it was not worth vigorously pursuing such a small amount of money.

That's just running the government here at home.Now toss in the billions each year we give in hand-outs to piss-ant Third World Hellhole nations who hate our guts. You're beginning to get the picture of what a huge, bloated, uncontrollable monstrosity our Federal government truly is.

Can anything stop or even slow down such a juggernaut? Even a Third Party rise to power? Is this the government our Founding Fathers intended? Does anyone even believe the government serves the people anymore?

More importantly, does the American public even give a rat's ass anymore? Oh never mind, I gotta run to the store and get a 12-pack and some smokes before Survivor comes on.

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