Refuge occupation: Since when does clean up involve upgrades?

Bureaucrats always find a way to spend more of our money.

Take the clean up that followed the 41-day occupation of a few closed buildings at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, where a group protested the five-year prison sentences handed to two ranchers for letting a backfire get away and burn a couple of acres of public land.

The feds estimate the cost will be $6 million. Approximately $2 million of that was spent to move the refuge’s 17 employees out of town — for safety sake, they say — and put them up in hotels for weeks, instead of letting them go home.


The rest, a spokesman said, is for repairs and cleaning and “upgrades to make the refuge the bright star in the national constellation of refuges.” Upgrades?

What upgrades and at what expense? Of course, the story never says.

Photo provided by the Fish and Wildlife Service.



39 comments on “Refuge occupation: Since when does clean up involve upgrades?

  1. Rez says:

    Looks to me like something one untrained teenager could do in a couple hours tops. Say, 20 bucks?

  2. By my calculation, you could put up 17 people for 41 days in a $100/day hotel room with $50 per diem for meals for just more than $100,000. Instead they spent $117,647 per person.

  3. And you wonder why there is a national debt of over 19 Trillion dollars…this is a collosal travesty of mismanagement. As I watched the Fish and Wildlife Service official enumerate the costs with this little dust up…I wanted to scream!!! The inmates are definitely running the asylum…

  4. Steve says:

    Government budgeting 101.

    Use up all the allocated funds or see your budget shrink next cycle.
    This is found under the never let a good crisis go to waste header.

  5. Patrick says:

    Conservative “logic”

    Rant about how out of control the government is for taking care of citizens when a right wing lunatic commits treason;

    Ignore how out of control the right wing lunatics that spend hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars on “investigating” Democratic Presidents and their wives, all of which (tax gate, bengazi gate, whitewatergate, foster gate, travel gate, bill Clinton philanderer gate, Obama birther gate, airplane landing strip hair cut gate) amount to nothing BUT a waste of taxpayer dollars.

    Just shaking my head boys.

  6. Nyp says:


    You have a different idea of what constitutes a “protest” than I do.

  7. Occupying the dean’s office?

  8. Rincon says:

    Although I would agree that the government is probably overspending as usual, the story here is incomplete. From a more liberal source:

    “At a press conference Thursday, FBI special agent in charge Greg Bretzing told reporters, “The Malheur National Wildlife Refuge remains closed, and it will remain closed for some number of weeks.”

    In the days to come, Bretzing says that law enforcement agents will keep a close watch on the refuge, continue staffing the checkpoints and begin surveying the damage on the property.

    “FBI agents are inspecting and securing the buildings and any other areas of concern on the refuge to ensure that no one else is hiding,” Bretzing said.

    Then, the FBI says it will begin moving through the refuge with “bomb technicians” and members of the Oregon National Guard to “methodically work their way through the property to locate and mitigate any explosive-related hazards.”

    Bretzing expected that process alone to take a number of days before members of the forensics team could begin gathering their own evidence.

    Bretzing also promised that the FBI would deploy their “Art Crime Team” to work closely with the local Native American community to ensure that all of the Paiute Tribe’s artifacts and burial grounds had not been disturbed or destroyed.”

    Calling this effort a “cleanup” without any clarification is making rather liberal use of the English language. According to something I read a while back, excepting 9/11 (a big exception), domestic terrorists, mostly from the right, have killed more U.S. citizens here than jihadists. If that is close to truth, it is reasonable for the government to consider these people to be capable of, say planting a bomb.

    As the group that criticized Hillary for not spending more money on security in Benghazi, I would expect you to understand the need for a bomb unit to search the entire facility. Since it took several days for the technicians to secure the Unabomber’s tiny little cabin, I can understand why securing the entire area at the refuge might take some time and generate a large bill. I doubt if bomb technicians make minimum wage. I also suspect that the reason the staff wasn’t sent home was because of the possibility of a revenge-motivated attack on them. This would also mean that 24 hour security would be necessary as well as secured communication for them to use. 24 hour security is expensive.

    The “Art Crime Team” should be sent home. If something’s missing or damaged, what are they going to do, go out an buy another one? And any upgrades would need to be itemized to make sense out of it. If an upgrade is worthwhile, it should be installed in coordination with the repairs, but the cost should not be lumped in with the “cleanup costs”.

    I still agree that $6 million sounds excessive, but Obama and the Democrats could legitimately be concerned that if any maliciously motivated event occurs, the Benghazi people would try to crucify them once again for not spending enough on security. Democrats aren’t the only party to engage in political correctness.

  9. Steve says:

    Off Topic.

    Rincon, more answers to the other discussion. The future brings tech that will “get us off foreign oil” indeed, likely all oil.

    “Petroleum is quickly becoming a dwindling resource and new methods of creating hydrocarbons are going to be necessary. Being able to manipulate methane means it can be easily converted to liquid methanol and shipped for fuel, which will be a crucial step towards petroleum independence. Besides fuel, petroleum provides the building blocks for things like medicine, fertilizers, and plastics.”

    The power of predictive experimenting will be applied to all kinds of chemical products.

    And Carbon Engineering tech would compliment the methane tech very nicely. I see an atmospheric CO2 NEGATIVE footprint coming. Maybe within a decade or two.

    You probably see passivity.

  10. Rincon says:

    Yes, I do. The reason is people were saying things similar to what you’re saying now, only it was 40 years ago. Back in the ’70’s practical large scale solar power was just a decade or so away. It still is.

    Increased efficiency is where the low hanging fruit lies, but we often refuse to utilize it. Auto engines get far mechanical energy for each gallon of fuel today, but instead of utilizing that efficiency to keep us out of foreign adventures, we buy cars with far more horsepower than those of yesteryear. And of course, many of those buying bigger and more powerful vehicles wound up with their mortgages foreclosed. Human stupidity is nearly limitless.

  11. Steve says:

    Enjoy your bicycle in the winter, Rincon.

    I know these technologies have real potential, and one of them actually makes solar live up to its decades old promise.

    Wind just blows.

  12. Rincon says:

    Ever see apartments above a strip mall built in the last few decades? I haven’t. Here at least, zoning does not allow it. I was able to get an exemption from this and have three apartments above my animal hospital. A typical heating bill for a 900 square footer is about $35.00 in January. A/C is a little higher in August at about $80.00, because it includes all other electricity use as well. They are heated and cooled courtesy of the Animal hospital beneath. The animal hospital benefits through less energy loss through the roof. Building them on the second floor instead of on their own plot of land also reduces the miles of electric, telephone and cable TV wire, water and sewer lines, storm sewers, streets, sidewalks snow plow and street cleaning services, etc. It also was cheaper to construct, making rent more reasonable. I know the demand is high because these apartments rent out instantly, but very few are allowed to be built. Anyone know why?

    It’s not riding a bicycle Steve, it’s eliminating governmental restrictions. Should some cities make it illegal to hang up your laundry? There are several near us that do. Clothes dryers consume very large amounts of energy, yet some governments dictate that we use them, even when we don’t want to. We gripe about the federal government’s power over our lives, but smaller units of government often have a much greater impact on our freedom.

  13. Steve says:

    All politics is local, Rincon.
    That is where you have some actual impact.
    Your examples make me think of HOA’s and their efforts to keep neighborhoods looking homogeneous.
    I chose an area with no HOA for a reason, I like the differences. But it also comes with issues like the house next door. The owner is simply letting it crumble. I think she’s hoping some homeless people will burn it down. In that case local code enforcement was the only way to force her to board up the windows and doors.

    Good and bad, got to take the both together. Thing is we keep finding ourselves getting more bad than good.

  14. Rincon says:

    Can we agree that the zoning laws disallowing apartments above businesses is more bad than good? How about clothes dryers?

  15. Steve says:

    That’s funny.
    Clothes dryers are an HOA thing here. So I don’t get how it got that way there, but I guess it figures. Everything was good with the regulations until they came for your clotheslines.

    As for the apartments above business’s…well;

    And we have at Panorama Towers (among other ground floor shops)

    And for even better elitism we have a CVS at Sky Tower. (Note: the hookers are really fun to look at here! WAAAYYY out of my price range.)

    Three examples for you. There are more.

    Here we have raised the idea to an elitist level! I will stay in my “urban sprawl” house, thank-you.

  16. Steve says:

    A little inside info. A pharmacy is the drug stores big producer, every thing else is loss leader. Drugs are the gorilla in the living room for all of the players.
    This brings me to;
    I neglected to mention that Sky Tower CVS has no Pharmacy….such a deal!

  17. Rincon says:

    Sorry Steve. I suppose I should have stated the obvious. I was referring to the suburbs. The zoning laws in the 200 plus suburbs mostly prohibit residential space above strip malls and such. Large cities, especially in crowded areas, are a different situation. Quit a few more people live in the suburbs than in Chicago itself, so it affects millions.

  18. Steve says:

    “The District” is in the suburbs.

    Things in the desert are very different from things in the East.
    You live in a very crowded area, this makes it hard to keep places neat and orderly. It also leads to efforts to set aside as much open land as possible. Huge challenges handling traffic loads, mainly due to a total lack of lands to widen roads. Among many other things.

    Out here, we spread out, not up. Even with the feds trying to keep control of most of Nevada. What happens is they do land swaps to keep opening more room for the sprawl.

    That there are even the towers with shops on the ground floor at all here, is an aberration. But it is one which is desired, therefore salable. If people wanted what you describe, enough to create the demand, the laws would be changed.
    Hell, Massachusetts has casinos today.

    Maybe you are one of the minority, on this, in your area, Rincon.

    Another thought occurs to me, land set aside for protection as wilderness. Perhaps Easterners don’t really understand just how much dirt is in the west. Maybe the east is overreacting based on how little dirt is left there.

  19. Rincon says:

    “Maybe you are one of the minority, on this, in your area, Rincon”

    I have to agree, although you need to keep that in mind next time you rail about something that our elected officials do that you don’t like, such as Obamacare. As you are with Obamacare though, I recognize that just because officials are elected doesn’t make their actions right, especially when moneyed interests come into play. Many of these zoning laws were made dozens of years ago. I’m just say they need updating. The considerations today are different. I don’t expect change though. One of the unfortunate things about human beings is that we’re not very good at putting off today’s pleasures for tomorrow’s benefits. That’s especially true when it’s mainly the children or grandchildren that would benefit.

  20. Steve says:

    ACA was a power grab by a single party that suddenly found itself holding all the cards.

    This country was designed to prevent that situation, as much as possible.
    Believe it or not, my answer to ACA is much the same as Clinton’s, small changes over time, are what is need.
    But this was my position prior to ACA, Now the changes needed are far more numerous as we have taken many steps backward in the process of taking a few steps positive.

  21. From Jonah Goldberg’s “Liberal Fascism”:

    “Finally, since we must have a working definition of fascism, here is mine: Fascism is a religion of the state. It assumes the organic unity of the body politic and longs for a national leader attuned to the will of the people. It is totalitarian in that it views everything as political and holds that any action by the state is justified to achieve the common good. It takes responsibility for all aspects of life, including our health and well-being, and seeks to impose uniformity of thought and action, whether by force or through regulation and social pressure. Everything, including the economy and religion, must be aligned with its objectives. Any rival identity is part of the ‘problem’ and therefore defined as the enemy. I will argue that contemporary American liberalism embodies all of these aspects of fascism.”

  22. Let’s see, the Supreme Court is hearing a case on whether the ACA trumps the conscience of the Little Sisters of the Poor …

  23. Steve says:

    I see Republicans adopting much of the definition for Fascism. Most noticeable is the “Any rival identity” but the rest of it is sliding right into place. The two parties use different words that amount to the same results.
    Neither Democrats nor Republicans allow opinions outside the “platform” set by the leadership. Things like a “platform” are supposed to develop during the season over time, rather be set from the start.

  24. Patrick says:

    “The 13 most common characteristics of fascism are:

    1. Powerful and Continuing Nationalism
    Fascist regimes tend to make constant use of patriotic mottos, slogans, symbols, songs, and other paraphernalia. Flags are seen everywhere, as are flag symbols on clothing and in public displays.

    Flag burning anyone?

    2. Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights

    Because of fear of enemies and the need for security, the people in fascist regimes are persuaded that human rights can be ignored in certain cases because of “need.” The people tend to look the other way or even approve of torture, summary executions, assassinations, long incarcerations of prisoners, etc.

    Hmmmm torture anyone lately Mr. bush?

    3. Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause

    The people are rallied into a unifying patriotic frenzy over the need to eliminate a perceived common threat or foe: racial , ethnic or religious minorities; liberals; communists; socialists, terrorists, etc.

    Build that wall right? “Patrol and secure” MUSLIM neighborhoods?

    4. Supremacy of the Military

    Even when there are widespread domestic problems, the military is given a disproportionate amount of government funding, and the domestic agenda is neglected. Soldiers and military service are glamorized.

    Remind me again; which party does this?

    5. Rampant Sexism

    The governments of fascist nations tend to be almost exclusively male-dominated. Under fascist regimes, traditional gender roles are made more rigid. Opposition to abortion is high, as is homophobia and anti-gay legislation and national policy.

    War on Women etc. Anyone?

    6. Obsession with National Security

    Fear is used as a motivational tool by the government over the masses.

    The Department of home(father)land security?

    7. Religion and Government are Intertwined

    Governments in fascist nations tend to use the most common religion in the nation as a tool to manipulate public opinion. Religious rhetoric and terminology is common from government leaders, even when the major tenets of the religion are diametrically opposed to the government’s policies or actions.

    Even our own resident libertarian is constantly quoting how a democratic nation is one that MUST involve God.

    8. Corporate Power is Protected

    The industrial and business aristocracy of a fascist nation often are the ones who put the government leaders into power, creating a mutually beneficial business/government relationship and power elite.

    Remind me again which party is most closely associated with business in this country?

    9. Labor Power is Suppressed

    Because the organizing power of labor is the only real threat to a fascist government, labor unions are either eliminated entirely, or are severely suppressed .

    Goes without saying that republicans have fought labor movements since they began.

    10. Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts

    Fascist nations tend to promote and tolerate open hostility to higher education, and academia. It is not uncommon for professors and other academics to be censored or even arrested. Free expression in the arts is openly attacked, and governments often refuse to fund the arts.

    Anti-Intellectualism? Now that’s the path to republican heaven isn’t it?

    11. Obsession with Crime and Punishment

    Under fascist regimes, the police are given almost limitless power to enforce laws. The people are often willing to overlook police abuses and even forego civil liberties in the name of patriotism. There is often a national police force with virtually unlimited power in fascist nations.

    Tough on crime. We’re like 11 for 11 here.

    12. Rampant Cronyism and Corruption

    Fascist regimes almost always are governed by groups of friends and associates who appoint each other to government positions and use governmental power and authority to protect their friends from accountability. It is not uncommon in fascist regimes for national resources and even treasures to be appropriated or even outright stolen by government leaders.

    The Bush (both of them) and Reagan administrations, had seemingly the same cast of characters, and don’t get me started about corruption (Cheney and Halliburton, Rumsfeld and Gilead, Bush and KennyBoy)

    13. Fraudulent Elections

    Sometimes elections in fascist nations are a complete sham. Other times elections are manipulated by smear campaigns against or even assassination of opposition candidates, use of legislation to control voting numbers or political district boundaries, and manipulation of the media. Fascist nations also typically use their judiciaries to manipulate or control elections.

    Florida hanging chad, Supreme Court etc.

    Exactly what are Jonah Goldbergs qualifications to opine about political philosophies again?

  25. Patrick says:

    Maybe, in keeping with “originalism” we ought to ask the guy who is most credited with defining the word; fascism, what he meant?

    “…Fascism [is] the complete opposite of…Marxian Socialism, the materialist conception of history of human civilization can be explained simply through the conflict of interests among the various social groups and by the change and development in the means and instruments of production…. Fascism, now and always, believes in holiness and in heroism; that is to say, in actions influenced by no economic motive, direct or indirect. And if the economic conception of history be denied, according to which theory men are no more than puppets, carried to and fro by the waves of chance, while the real directing forces are quite out of their control, it follows that the existence of an unchangeable and unchanging class-war is also denied – the natural progeny of the economic conception of history. And above all Fascism denies that class-war can be the preponderant force in the transformation of society….

    (See, the definer, of the word “fascism” says that it is the COMPLETE OPPOSITE of “socialism”)

    After Socialism, Fascism combats the whole complex system of democratic ideology, and repudiates it, whether in its theoretical premises or in its practical application. Fascism denies that the majority, by the simple fact that it is a majority, can direct human society; it denies that numbers alone can govern by means of a periodical consultation, and it affirms the immutable, beneficial, and fruitful inequality of mankind, which can never be permanently leveled through the mere operation of a mechanical process such as universal suffrage….

    (So, the original “fascist” says that ideas like “voter rights” or “womens sufferage” or granting the vote to the “non-propertied” masses is silly. Which party do at least some of these ideas still hold some sway?

    …even that the nineteenth century was the century of Socialism, of Liberalism, and of Democracy, it does not necessarily follow that the twentieth century must also be a century of Socialism, Liberalism and Democracy: political doctrines pass, but humanity remains, and it may rather be expected that this will be a century of authority…a century of Fascism.

    (The fascist, does not believe in liberalism, or socialism; which party tends to believe the same in this country?)

  26. Yes and the dictionary calls it a right-wing system of government, but it is not. Fascism is a system in which all the power is exercised by the political powers that be. Even though property is privately held, it is publicly controlled — like ACA.

  27. Patrick says:

    And Jonah Goldberg admitted that he wrote the book in part because “if liberals can call conservatives fascists, I can call them fascists”.

    Owellian no? Hey look, Goldberg just changed the identity of a group that persecuted and killed Jews like him, into something else. Genius.

  28. Rincon says:

    “ACA was a power grab by a single party that suddenly found itself holding all the cards”.

    Like the Republican Senate that won’t consider any nominee until one of their own can do the nominating?

    “Fascism is a system in which all the power is exercised by the political powers that be. Even though property is privately held, it is publicly controlled — like ACA.”

    By this example, one must assume that almost any government regulation smacks of fascism. Anarchy anyone?

  29. On a scale of anarchy to fascism … I’d lean for the former.

  30. Steve says:

    “Like the Republican Senate that won’t consider any nominee until one of their own can do the nominating?”

    Can’t fault either side for their “honesty” McConnell is simply not as artful a liar as Reid. But they both did the very same thing, in different ways.

  31. Rincon says:

    You’ll have to describe what you mean by “the same thing”. This Republican power grab is unprecedented: “Only twice in the post-Civil War era has a President presented with a Supreme Court vacancy failed to fill it before leaving office.” LBJ nominated one judge, Abe Fortas, who was not confirmed. 1) This was in October, not February, 2) only one nominee was rejected, a common occurrence, 3) the Republicans did not refuse to even consider a nominee and 4) the court had its full complement of judges during the wait. A slightly different situation.

    President Rutherford B. Hayes made the controversial nomination of Stanley Matthews in 1881. The nomination came near the end of Hayes’s term, so the Senate did not act. New President James A. Garfield renominated Matthews, and he passed through the Senate.

    This is an example of #14 in Patrick’s list of the characteristics of fascism: Seizing power by unilaterally changing the rules.

  32. Steve says:

    Power grab….you call the McConnell blocking things like Reid did a power grab.

    That’s funny.

    ACA unilaterally changed the rules. This is only blocking something the same way Reid blocked many things.

  33. Rincon says:

    So tell me just what it was about the passing of the ADA that was unprecedented? Apples and oranges,Steve.

  34. Winston Smith says:

    So, patrick listed a bunch of “fascist” tendencies he sees in the Republicans? I’m shocked…shocked.

    Now, perhaps he will expend the same amount of effort in listing “fascist” tendencies in the Democrats…

  35. Patrick says:

    So, the original originalist has some problem with “my” identification of characteristics associated with fascists?

    Well maybe Winston, you ought to just take a look at how Mussolini defined the word that he is credited with creating.

    I mean, you can’t get more originalist than that right? He says that facism is THE OPPOSITE of socialism and that liberalism, socialism, and democracy have had their day, and now it’s time for facism.

    I mean…originalist and all, doesn’t this make anyone claiming that liberals, and socialists are facist seem Owellian?

    Truth is something
    Beauty is something
    Blah, blah, blah

  36. Steve says:

    ADA ≠ ACA.

    so, yes, apples vs oranges.

    ACA OTOH, was historic in that one party had full control of two branches of the Federal Government.

  37. Winston Smith says:

    Hmmm, I see patrick left something off the list of Dr. Lawrence Britt’s 14 defining characteristics of different fascist regimes, and then renumbered the rest…

    6. Controlled Mass Media – Sometimes to media is directly controlled by the government, but in other cases, the media is indirectly controlled by government regulation, or sympathetic media spokespeople and executives. Censorship, especially in war time, is very common.

    Oh, I guess #6 never happens, or is it just so obvious that liberals control the major media and are lapdogs when the Democrats are in power that patrick didn’t find it necessary to mention?

    BTW, since patrick is apparently not interested in examining whether the Democrats have demonstrated any of Britt’s fascist tendencies, I might assign my 12 year old granddaughter to do so. I’ll bet she won’t have any problem, and she’s on Easter Vacation right now anyway.

    “Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power” ― Benito Mussolini

  38. Patrick says:

    LOL, thanks to Winston for pointing out yet another area where the right in this country has taken another step toward fascism: “controlling the media”

    Heck, we got far right wing lunatic Sheldon Adelson here in our own city demonstrating how true this is.

    Perhaps Winston could assign his 12 year old the task (since he seems not to be up to it) to explain how the originalist defined fascism as NOT socialism, but that now republicans everywhere want to, and what Orwell (or heck Scalia) might think about that?

    Knowledge is something
    Deflection is something else
    Blah, Blah, blah.

  39. Steve says:

    And Sham Plea’s are legal facts!

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