THE DEMISE OF ACCOUNTABILITY
“It is the informed opinion of Friends of the Northern Yellowstone Elk Herd ,Inc. that the Northern Herd has dropped from 19,700 to virtual extinction from wolf depredation. We believe the ‘Northern Range Working Group’ scientists, with environmental and political motives, has manipulated long term scientific data and will either not perform the required annual audit or fabricate the results.”
I received the above statement of FACTS by ranchers, hunters, and others that either reside in or recreate in the Northern Rocky Mountain States only this morning. It is a desperate call for help as elk hunting disappears, ranchers’ losses of livestock and dogs mounts, and government lies and hidden radical agendas can no longer be denied or concealed. This alliance of rural residents and rural visitors is spending thousands of donated dollars on legal actions to save their way of life and the economic health of their communities. The federal government laughs at the audacity of such local bumpkins questioning their wolf (and grizzly bear) programs of forced introduction and complete protection. State governments vacillate as Governors of affected states either cater to the federal agenda (for money and shared power) or they stand alone and receive national ridicule and attention from federal layers with deep (actually unlimited) pockets and a lust for ever more “precedents” to cement and grow federal power. State wildlife agencies lie to curry favor with the federal bureaucrats they look to for more money as they both strangle the hunting and fishing they proclaim publicly. “Working Groups”, like “Partners” and “Cooperators” (for instance the anti-hunting Defenders of Wildlife that “compensates” ranchers for only a small percentage of wolf depredations on livestock while being headed up by the former US Fish and Wildlife Service Director in charge of that agency when 45 to 60 Million Dollars was stolen from state fish and wildlife agency funds and never repaid to, among other things, introduce these wolves into Yellowstone after Congress refused to fund this misadventure) are simply smokescreens as evidenced above.
While the federal wolves have all but eliminated the elk (and killed numberless dogs and livestock) a “Group” of “scientists” was formed to deny that it was happening. Missed censuses, “tweaked” data, rumors that grizzly bears (also federally protected and spread) were killing all the elk, and exciting pronouncements about “willows coming back” and “buffalo increasing” all were simply meaningless twaddle that diverted everyone from what was happening right before their eyes. Like the absolute (what – lies?, propaganda?, misinformation?, ignorance?, self-serving crapola?, all of the above?) about polar bears being listed because of global warming and specious hocus-pocus about ice and weather: the wolves have (as predicted by anyone with a lick of sense) wiped out the elk. Grizzly bears have helped to do this too. Moose and mountain sheep, and deer have likewise gone into decline. Hunting big game is being eliminated over a larger and larger area. Bow hunters are attacked by grizzly bears that are, like the wolves, coming into human habitations more and more as their numbers increase and their food supply decreases. Rural residents are building cages for children waiting for school buses where wolves watch them go and wait for their return. Canadians are attacked, killed and eaten by wolves at an increasing rate. A book (Wolves in Russia by Will Graves) documenting literally thousands of deadly wolf attacks on humans, livestock, and dogs is ignored by the media, federal wolf bureaucracies, state wildlife agencies, universities, and the radical wolf support organizations. Through all this, the disappearance of elk and elk hunting and the decline of ranching economic viability and the safety of hunters (NOTE that these are all objectives of the extremist environmental organizations and the radical animal rights organizations) is successfully covered up and denied by government like concentration camps in Nazi Germany or Government murders in Lubyanka Prison. Only, just as when the allies conquered Germany or when Moscow opened up its Archives, the disappearance of the big game and their replacement by marauding wolves and bears can no longer be denied. Just as we replaced government savagery in Germany with government protection of human rights and just as Russia was moving to replace a communist dictatorship with a Constitution that protected the individual and property from government power: so too must we ask ourselves how can we restore the elk and other big game; how can we protect ranchers and their livestock; how can we protect all rural residents and their dogs; and how can we restore a healthy and safe human environment where these wolves and bears now roam at the expense of American citizens?
A big part of the answer lies with the fifth to the last word in the first paragraph: that word is AUDIT. Audits that are routine, honest, and publicized have all but disappeared throughout government activities over the past 35 years. Consider:
The only federal Department specifically tasked with auditing federal agencies and programs has changed its name from General Accounting Office to General Accountability Office. Where this Department once hired accounting specialists (like the Forest service used to hire Foresters and US Fish and Wildlife service used to hire wildlife biologists) today they hire a cross section of America to investigate and report on “Accountability” whatever that may mean.
Today, Washington is loaded with “audit” contractors whose job it is to assure us that the billions going into things like Homeland Security and New Orleans are not wasted. These contractors are largely staffed with retired federal workers that know that making waves will get you dumped off the gravy train quicker than immediately. The job, as with federal work, is to please your bosses. The job of the contractor is to stay in business and get more contracts and provide rewarding statistics like the sex of owners and the racial make-up of the workforce. I am honestly stunned at the very large number of federally retired, childless, professional couples throughout the Washington suburbs that have very large pensions and are either rehired by the agencies they worked for (pension plus salary) or by contractors to AUDIT or tweak audits of their former agencies such that there are no “problems. The magnitude of fraud occurring today that I have been told about is staggering.
In the fish and wildlife area, both state and federal, this atmosphere of UNACCOUNTABLE conduct of government business contributes to not only this wolf problem but to practically every harm and abuse from the reduction of private property rights to the emotional manipulation of voters by politicians for their own benefit.
Seven to Eight Hundred Million Dollars in excise taxes are collected annually for STATE fish and wildlife programs. This is the fund that was pilfered of 45 to 60 Million Dollars in the mid 90’s by the US Fish and Wildlife Service. By law, the State Fish and Wildlife Agencies must be AUDITED every five years to qualify to continue receiving their share of these funds for hunting and fishing. From the late 1970’s to the late 1990’s there were no audits of the State agencies. After the theft of the Millions was discovered in the late 1990’s, the US Fish and Wildlife Service was directed by Congress to AUDIT the State Fish and Wildlife Agencies and the Inspector General was supposed to audit US Fish and Wildlife Service. When the contract auditor hired by the US Fish and Wildlife Service soon uncovered over $125 Million in irregularities before even completing the audits, the contractor was fired (ostensibly for being behind schedule but actually for finding and intending to recommend resolution of the misused money). The US Fish and Wildlife Service fired the auditor and then ILLEGALLY hired the Inspector General (whose job it is to “audit” US Fish and Wildlife Service) to “audit” the State Agencies as well. Bottom line, the audits of the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s administration of these funds that they pilfered has never been completed and there was never any blame nor were the funds ever replaced nor were any safeguards put in place.
State Fish and Wildlife Agencies NEVER ASKED FOR THE FUNDS TO BE REPLACED! Why? One need look no further than the fact that the $125 Million misused by state agencies (Louisiana, Wisconsin, and Michigan were some of the big abusers) was covered up. The subsequent audits find nothing and the Inspector General keeps it quiet because he gets $2 Million a year for really nothing. For instance, Louisiana has received over and above its “fair share” of fishery funding over $1 Billion (thanks to a permanent “earmark” over 10 years ago) – the money was ostensibly to “prevent land subsidence” (as if that is even feasible) THOUGH IT JUST GETS DOLED OUT TO PARISH (i.e. county) POLITICAL BOSSES and HAS NEVER BEEN AUDITED. So auditing of the State Fish and Wildlife Agencies operations to assure that the federal excise taxes and hunting and fishing license money GO TO FISH AND WILDLIFE PROGRAMS in order to remain eligible to continue receiving money is just a sham. Do you find it difficult to believe that this lack of accountability to State residents and hunters and fishermen contributes to the State Agency backing the feds regarding wolves or bears or bats or pupfish or jumping mice?
There are two other very important factors contributing to the demise of accountability in the fish and wildlife (and forestry and range) management arena.
First, the State and federal agencies have been hiring anti-management zealots for years. New hires, promotions, and transfers are employed by these radicals both for their own career purposes and their anti-management and anti-use agendas. This reflects the power of the radicals (DOW, HSUS, WS, SC, NRDC, CBD, ET AL) in Washington and the educational shift in the Universities because radical professors with radical agendas are common in Universities today and bureaucrats and politicians have funneled Billions of dollars into anti-management and anti-use and anti-American (property rights, freedoms, etc.) programs. The professors and today’s “natural resource bureaucrats” work toward the end of logging, grazing, hunting, fishing, and rural living by all but the very rich. In the meantime State and federal fish and wildlife bureaucrats use the Hundreds of Millions that are earmarked for hunting and fishing programs for their own purpose with impunity BECAUSE THERE ARE NO “REAL” AUDITS AND THEREFORE NO ACCOUNTABILITY.
Second, the State and federal bureaucrats AND all the University professors AND all the staff folks working for “conservation” organizations are convinced that hunting and trapping and fishing will soon disappear. I don’t believe that but the majority of “our” professional representatives are either committed to eliminating these things or convinced that they will be eliminated. So what is the perfectly human response? You try to provide for “your” future. For most of them that means State and federal agencies AND Universities AND “organizations” that “inventory”, “research”, “save”, “protect”, “film”, “preach about”, etc., “the environment” or “marine mammals” or “minnows” or “salamanders” etc. But where will the $$$ come from since no one will use anything nor will others profit from these things to generate taxes or licenses? The answer is from the Federal Treasury THROUGH YOUR LOVING POLITICIAN, TO A FEDERAL AGENCY TO USE AND SHARE (WITH APPROPRIATE OVERHEAD REMOVED OF COURSE) FOR ALL THOSE “IMPORTANT” ENVIRONMENTAL AND ANIMAL RIGHTS THINGS THAT THE RADICALS WANT. The bottom line here is that the “conservation” organizations and the State Agencies see their future as wards of federal bureaucrats shelling out money to do what the federal politicians and federal bureaucrats tell them to do. That is why the State Agencies never asked for our hunting and fishing money to be replaced and why they are so “supportive” of federal shenanigans: the money they all expect Congress to shell out annually is supposed to be administered “just like” the “successful” hunting and fishing funds. What are the chances of that happening if there are more scandals exposed at the federal and at the State level? Therefore, things have never been better and they just keep improving
So, you ask, “wouldn’t someone notice that they are selling out hunting and fishing and trapping? Pilgrim, ask yourself:
If they can cover up and deny the demise of elk and other big game as the result of their wolves:
If they can let the federal bureaucrats steal 45 to 60 Million from hunters and fishermen:
If they can knowingly fail to repay those funds:
If they can fire auditors because they find irregularities:
If they can officially fire good auditors for being “behind schedule” and then:
If they can hire other auditors who are even more behind schedule but say nothing:
If a federal agency can “hire” the office that is charged with auditing them:
If auditors find $125+Million in irregularities that are subsequently covered up:
If a state (LA) can get over a Billion Dollars in Sport Fish funds and never be audited:
If political appointees can jump from Congress to a top agency job to a top job over state lobbyists:
If federal agencies hire retirees and relatives of powerful politicians to deflect any inquisitiveness:
If professors and other “experts” are available to justify any and all programs:
If the media can believe and publish whatever these people tell them:
If we can be told that polar bears’ future is jeopardized unless we burn less fuel and believe it:
If we can be told that wolves aren’t dangerous to people and believe it:
If we ignore the deadly attacks by grizzly bears on hunters and campers and still support “more”:
If 19,000 elk can disappear right under our noses:
Why oh why do you believe that you are getting a square deal or any honesty at all anymore? Why do you put any trust in these bureaucrats or these “scientists” or these politicians? Accountability, like those 19,000 elk, has disappeared.
I am reminded of the punch-line of old joke about the guy about to jump off a bridge and the arrival of an old lady calling herself the “fairy godmother”. Some of you older fellows probably remember it. The punch-line goes something like “She asks him, ‘how old are you?’ He replies, ‘54’ and she asks incredulously, ‘and you still believe in a fairy godmother??’”
11 January 2008
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- Jim Beers is a retired US Fish & Wildlife Service Wildlife Biologist, Special Agent, Refuge Manager, Wetlands Biologist, and Congressional Fellow. He was stationed in North Dakota, Minnesota, Nebraska, New York City, and Washington DC. He also served as a US Navy Line Officer in the western Pacific and on Adak, Alaska in the Aleutian Islands. He has worked for the Utah Fish & Game, Minneapolis Police Department, and as a Security Supervisor in Washington, DC. He testified three times before Congress; twice regarding the theft by the US Fish & Wildlife Service of $45 to 60 Million from State fish and wildlife funds and once in opposition to expanding Federal Invasive Species authority. He resides in Centreville, Virginia with his wife of many decades