Bureaucrat Beat: Drug abuse, Burning Man calling, and crystal ball

“From city halls to county courthouses, from the State house to the White House – bureaucrats control our lives.  Public servants who often try to become our masters.  People whose salaries we pay, but what goods and services do we get?  On Sierra Wave’s Bureaucrat Beat, we’ll report what they’re up to.”  That’s the Bureaucrat Beat declaration of dissatisfaction, but as you may know, Bureaucrat Beat talks about so much more.

We in the Bureaucrat Beat Newsroom have spent time in contemplation over recent weeks.  That was pleasant enough, unless we watched the evening news or read the LA Times.  Egad!  What a state the human race has fallen into.  It’s all very simple – greed, ego, personal power, venality.  Okay, so we know what it is.  Should be really simple to eliminate the problems.  No.  The other problem we forgot to mention is “blind eye” syndrome.

drugsandmoneyTake the drug companies.  According to Public Citizen Health Letter, brand-name drug companies pay generic companies to delay release of drugs that compete with brand-names.  They pay them to delay release of generics for up to nine years!  Big deal?  Well, consider that an amount of brand-name Lipitor costs $205 while while the same amount of generic atorvastatin costs $18.  According to the article, brand-name drug companies pay generic companies as much as $20 or $30 million annually to do nothing.  Bottom line – us poor schmucks are making drug companies rich.  Our legislators have failed to pass bills that would stop this.  They get big bucks from the same guys.

Another depressing story in the LA Times.  Michael Hiltzik’s column on “Why the U.S. has to settle for low-speed data”.  He basically concludes it’s a case of monopoly.  Most of the country gets internet service from Time Warner Cable and Comcast.  Hiltzik reports that they don’t want to spend their billions in revenue on upgrades.  He also reports that the New America Foundation looked for the best internet connection in 22 major cities for $35 a month.  In Hong Kong that money will get you a 500-megabit-per-second download connection.  Seoul, Paris, Berlin and Bucharest – 100 megabits.  In Los Angeles from Time Warner?  10 megabits.

President Obama plays golf with the Comcast CEO, an old friend, and, of course, the two big cable giants spend lots of money on Congress.  A certain part of the world is too chummy to include us.  If you want to read more about that, check out the new book, “This Town”, written by Mark Leibovich who says in Washington even funerals are considered “networking events.”

On to an event of ultimate personal freedom – Burning Man in the far reaches of the Black Rock desert in northern Nevada.  People with purple hair and weird clothes could be seen in Reno stores stocking up for a week of somewhat primitive, wild living.  Some of our local people go to Burning Man.  They see it as head therapy and a lot of fun.  The LA Times noted that cell phone service does not come through well at Burning Man.  No surprise there.  In fact, the Times article says the Burning Man philosophy is “unplugged”.  So who needs cell phones?  Well, it’s a habit some just can’t break, so some of the creative types over there have devised portable cell equipment.

Back to the newsroom where some members have had it with the self-righteous and negative comments on our website.  We’re hitting the trash button on a lot of them that state their “profound” truths with no basis in fact and no productive aim.  Hey, we’re looking for intelligent, thoughtful discussion or humor.  Egotistical palaver we don’t need.  Maybe Paul McFarland is right.  Maybe we should insist on real names.  We don’t want to do that because we’re in small towns where legitimate opinions could cause unintended consequences, but we’re thinking about it.  For those of you who comment, imagine you are representing your real self.

Several commenters and the newsroom  got a laugh out of an MLPD typo in a bank robbery press release.  It said the Mammoth Branch of the Bank of Robbery was robbed.  With this, the second bank job in a row, some of us thought Bank of Robbery made sense.  One newsroom member said, “How about the Town of Robbery.”  Okay, hopefully there will be no more.

crystalballOne more shake-up of town management?  Rumors swirled that Marysheva-Martinez was likely out and Tom Cage in as manager.  The Bureaucrat Beat Newsroom watches the Town of Mammoth as if gazing into a crystal ball drama.  We hope for the best.  All of us here in the Eastern Sierra depend on each other.  As it goes in Mammoth, so it goes in Bishop and so on.

Finally, the terrible Rim Fire is so big it creates its own weather as reported by Associated Press:  “California fire officials say the fire is so large and is burning with such a force, it has created its own weather pattern, making it difficult to predict which direction it will move. ‘As the smoke column builds up it breaks down and collapses inside of itself, sending downdrafts and gusts that can go in any direction,'” CalFire spokesman Daniel Berlant told the Associated Press. “There’s a lot of potential for this one to continue to grow.'”

We hope not.  With that, this is Benett Kessler signing off for Bureaucrat Beat where we await your word on our lives in the Eastern Sierra and beyond.
















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37 Responses to Bureaucrat Beat: Drug abuse, Burning Man calling, and crystal ball

  1. Norman Olson August 31, 2013 at 9:19 pm #

    I think some anonymity is well placed for a small community. What I would encourage some posters to do is wait about 3 minutes (“pause”) and then re-read and edit/correct before hitting the final submit button. Some of these entries where the writer gets handcramps or whatever are so unreadable the point isn’t even made. Maybe that’s the point?
    Anyway, when I want to know what is going in the world I turn to BBC.

  2. erik simpson August 30, 2013 at 2:42 pm #

    RandyK, Tourbillon and others raise valid arguments in favor of anonymity. So I concede the point, even though very little of what anybody says here (including me) rises anywhere near the level of the Federalist Papers. I also promise to do my best not to lower the tone of discussion.

    • Tourbillon August 30, 2013 at 7:40 pm #

      Well thanks Erik, and I agree, no Federalist Papers here, or Harry Potter, or Middlemarch. Point is that there is a spectrum of legitimate reasons for writers great and small to use pseudonyms, so let me add one more. In a sparsely populated region, the influence of good ole’ boy networks on the prospects of individuals can loom proportionately much larger than in the big city.

    • Desert Tortoise August 31, 2013 at 9:51 pm #

      I can say with certainty that I have to use a pseudo name because were my generally liberal point of view on the issues of the day to be known to my higher ups at work, I would soon enough be unemployed. It would have nothing to do with me saying anything even indirectly related to what I do for a living and everything to do with the biases of a few of the people I work for who’s professional view of me matters.

      • Ken Warner September 1, 2013 at 9:31 am #

        DT: I think that would be illegal for your employers to do and you could probably make a bunch of money in a law suit if that really did happen. But I know where you are coming from. I’ve seen it first hand. Not a pleasant situation.

  3. RandyK August 30, 2013 at 11:08 am #

    Me thinks editing is good, anonymity good too. As an on-line alter-ego, I am a person too. I may have things to say too that my corporeal self might not want hung around his neck for all time. Discount my opinions if you must, but let me speak. I hereby take the Sierra Wave oath not to be pointless or mean-spirited.

    • Benett Kessler August 30, 2013 at 11:11 am #

      Thank you!

      • Philip Anaya August 30, 2013 at 5:16 pm #

        No Bennet Kessler,
        Thank you and the Sierra Wave for all the news, every day ,this web site and this forum to share and discuss everyday local events and more. You and the Wave are out there, a purpose and an example to aspire to. No unsigned, no incognito, no anomnymous story or opinion from you. My first time posting? My Name? I do get confused about a lot things but I got my name and take every thing else away, there’s not a lot of confusion for me. The world I live in thankfully allows and demands knowing and being who I am . The world I live in also seems to filled sometimes, with hypocrisy, with people making choices adverse to truth, yet choices that allow a livelyhood, a carreer to advance and choices of right and wrong to maintain the responsibility and comfort of one’s existence. Deborah and Randy K speak volumes of truth with words such as integrity, oath, blessings of the High Sierra and I hope to add credible to any words I ever post on these pages . I like to think about a world where everyone would be able to post their ideas, their opinions, and their names. We are almost there here in the Eastern Sierra.

    • Define mean-spirited August 30, 2013 at 12:25 pm #

      The only problem is, that drawing attention to an elected officials mistakes, bias, self-service etc. can be construed as “mean-spirited” or “pointless” to them.
      Now what?

      • Benett Kessler August 30, 2013 at 2:54 pm #

        Pointing out the truth in a civil way is never mean-spirited.
        Benett Kessler

        • Truth v mean-spirited August 30, 2013 at 4:17 pm #

          It is considered mean-spirited if the truth is directed towards an elected official or high-end administrator. Some posters recently pointed out the flaw and potential problem in an administrator’s choice to live in one county and his immediate family living in another.
          He and is wife condemned this concern as being entirely mean-spirited and a personal attack against their children.
          Do you see where facts can be construed as “mean-spirited” in some cases?

          • Benett Kessler August 30, 2013 at 8:10 pm #

            That definition will be up to the editor. And, you don’t need to make your point multiple times. We get it. Now, lets move on.

  4. Deborah August 30, 2013 at 8:17 am #

    Benett, I totally enjoyed reading this article. I love your “tell it like it is” stance. I remember when you started the Sierra Wave. Just continue on with the way you run your news. I love the comments from your readers. I understand the need to use a pen name. There is information that needs to be heard/read that impacts our county and the deliverer needs to keep their job. I believe you are one of the blessings of the High Sierra. Thank you for keeping us informed and keeping your integrity all these years. Oh also, Jeremiah you are right on the money. WTG

  5. Numbers August 29, 2013 at 11:09 pm #

    Perhaps there is a way where so that the Sierra Wave could mark comments that are inappropriate and they would then not show up in the comments section unless you clicked a “show all comments” link. That would eliminate any censorship claims and keep the crap out of the comment string. I really enjoy this forum, I rarely post, but due to my sensitive work situation, I would never post if I had to use my real name.

  6. Rock Thrower August 29, 2013 at 8:28 pm #

    Censorship is just another form of HYPOCRISY !

    Very difficult to bight the hand that feeds you. That’s where the real power and control is in many small towns and/or counties. The very reason the greed, corruption and dysfunction continues decade after decade in the “Eastern Sierra and beyond.”

    I know, the news department and the finance department are separate. Just like the plutocrats / bureaucrats running things here in the eastern Sierras don’t wear the same hats or feed from the same trough.

    Oh the irony of “mean-spirited and pointless comments.” Who would know if you edit them out?

  7. Ken Warner August 29, 2013 at 4:38 pm #

    If the intelligent posts from J and E and others are examples of the kinds of discussions we will get when people use their names — then why wait another day?

  8. Honest Paul August 29, 2013 at 4:27 pm #

    “Maybe Paul McFarland is right. Maybe we should insist on real names.”

    HA! Gimme a break. Paul sure likes to ride around on his high horse don’t he? When it comes to honesty, I don’t believe he should be the one pointing the finger. Start by pointing it right at yourself there Paul.

    I understand, it’s hard to take criticism, especially when it’s anonymous, and especially when it’s heavy… The fact of the matter is that Paul’s organization is using tax money (LOTS OF IT) to change the face of motorized recreation in the Inyo.

    Don’t like the heat, stay out of the kitchen.


  9. Mongo the Idiot August 29, 2013 at 3:36 pm #

    Mongo thinks some folks with good info can’t post comments with real names because of the harm that it will cause them; information can be corroborated afterwards without sacrificing the source. Forcing those who post on a public forum to use their real names is a form of censorship; it halts sharing of controversial ideas and the exposure of wrong doing within ones organization or circle of acquaintance.

    This is especially true in the small town atmosphere of The Owens where we know each others business so intimately.

  10. JeremiahJoseph August 29, 2013 at 1:17 pm #

    Proof = Billy Tauzin (Former US congressman, lead negotiator in medicare part D (GWBush passed) Billy tauzin collected money (for his campiagn, etc.) from (PHARMA (the big drug companies lobbying firm)) also pharma spent 390 million lobbying congress, so with all that money spent what did we get? or who got what out of that???
    So they came up with the idea why don’t we pass a law where the Gov’t can not negotiate drug prices with PHARMA? Well needless to say it PASSED!! Right after it passed he became the chief lobbyist for PHARMA and now collects 2 million a year, and since that one provision passed that the Gov’t can’t negotiate with drug companies it brings them 3.7 billion in return.. (true story folks)
    So this is how Washington currently works A big Industry or companies spends money on politicians and lobbyists, in this case 390,000,000 + 2,000,000 a yr (billy tauzin) and they get a return on their investment by way of 3.7 billion….Its all legal bribes and “We The People” have to pay the price over and over!

  11. Mongo the Idiot August 29, 2013 at 11:04 am #

    Mongo like Benett on fire.
    Mongo readership up since BK tell it like it is!
    Mongo don’t get real news on CBS, NBC, and FAUX (FOX).
    Mongo say’s “life is for living.”
    Mongo say’s “the grand parade of commercial packaging is a lie.”
    Mongo think the blog a good clearing house for ideas otherwise censored by the above.
    Mongo think corporations, media and governments want us to fear each other and not share ideas.
    Thank You BK!
    Mongo Like you plenty much.

  12. erik simpson August 29, 2013 at 10:50 am #

    I’ll second the idea of real names. If what you have to say is so stupid/inflammatory/pointless that it would embarrass you to sign it, I don’t want to hear it. I think such a policy would encourage people to think a little longer about what they have to say. Do not operate mouth with brain disengaged,

    • Just like Watergate August 29, 2013 at 6:46 pm #

      Erik –
      You must have forgotten the whistle-blower during the Nixon Watergate days (the most corrupt in our nation’s history) who called himself “deep throat” rather than disclose his/her real name.
      Why would a person put him/her self on the line and risk getting fired or blacklisted?
      Politics (especially the local variety) is nastier than ever before today. Especially in a dicey economy.
      Formats such as this where the poster can remain totally anonymous might be the only way to get to the truth.

      • erik simpson August 29, 2013 at 10:14 pm #

        What sort of ‘deep truths’ do you have to tell that might get you fired or blacklisted? Do you really believe Mark Felt (Watergate’s deep throat) would have revealed what he knew on a forum such as this? And if he had, who would have believed him?

    • Trouble August 30, 2013 at 6:08 am #

      Totally disagree Erik. I believe my freedom to say what I really believe here, without fear of public humiliation , is one of the greatest benefits of this blogging generation. Especially in such a small town with big mouths!

      • JeremiahJoseph August 30, 2013 at 9:19 am #

        Yeah I hear that Trouble, I put it in the back burner because I want to be taken seriously.. especially when I throw Wolf-PAC out there..
        Your right about the small town and big mouths!
        Keep practicing your right’s!

    • Tourbillon August 30, 2013 at 6:59 am #

      Erik, the forceful editorials (now called “The Federalist Papers”) that turned public opinion toward ratification of the U.S. Constitution were written under the pseudonym “Publius”. This was just after the War of Independence so British retaliation was not a concern. Turns out that “Publius” was a combination of some of our most brilliant, courageous, and influential Founders, one of whom became President, names you can easily discover through Wikipedia, I imagine, if you’re interested.

      Question: did Publius “operate mouth with brain disengaged”?

      If that’s too ancient an example, maybe “The Cuckoo’s Calling” published a few months ago by first-time novelist Robert Galbraith rings a bell? Received critical acclaim for being so good for a newbie. Turns out “Galbraith” was a pseudonym of the most successful writer in the past 50 years, now a very powerful person, with nothing to hide. Just wanted the freedom of getting honest feedback under an unknown name. Was this person “operating mouth with brain disengaged”?

  13. JeremiahJoseph August 29, 2013 at 9:26 am #

    Actually.. It doesn’t matter.. Big money is playing us all!
    “Our legislators have failed to pass bills that would stop this. They get big bucks from the same guys.”
    Wolf-PAC is a volunteer base group that seeks free and fair elections that are funded publicly, NOT privately! they seek to end corporate person hood, keep unions and corporations from donating to campaigns, all this is to be implemented by way of a 28th constitutional amendment. Wolf-PAC understands we have a do-nothing congress that is a systematic problem, (over 90% of the time the candidate with more money wins, thats why they spend 40-70 % of their time in office raising money for the next race and not legislating (BROKEN SYSTEM)) Wolf-PAC is not using congress to ratify a amendment, they are using the Article V convention method, check it out!
    We can go on and on about how it is messed up, but until we deal with the corruptive influence of money, we can’t compete with Lobbyists, big corporate donations that encourage the “bought” politician to vote in their favor.. the 2012 election over 7 billion dollars was spent! 61 big donors was equal to 1.4 million small donors (source. open secrets.org)
    What about the 700 billion dollars we gave to the banks to bail them out? what about the corporate tax rate that dropped after they were granted personhood. then all the compensation went else where while productivity kept up. What about the fact the more money one gets the more air time they get on TV, radios to convince you they are the guy, when really we only have a republican and democrat to realistically pick from because they don’t want to have to BUY/Support another political party.. thats what we get when we have money in politics and the american people doing nothing about it! the time is now to unite and restore our Republic/Democracy.
    We all know our system is corrupt, for crying out load congress has a 12% approval rating, when this country had the American Revolution 30% of the population actually wanted to stay with the British hierarchy? A revolution is way over due, but of course complacency is another battle..
    So really until we make Congress work for the American people, they will rely on their donors, and not on the people, like it was intended.

    But on the other hand if you don’t like any of what I said you could always keep voting for guys like Mitt Romney, you know the guy that said he will create jobs here by helping guys like him hide their money overseas in tax free safe havens.. Don’t worry those that voted for the president (me) got a nice taste of “did I say that on the campaign trail? Oh well this is what I really meant!”
    They need to work for us or we will continue to be on the menu and not at the table!!

    Oh yeah just a heads up this October the supreme court will be ruling on whats called citizens untied 2, they are bringing to the table if they want to keep or left the 170k limit one can contribute to campaigns and elections.. (yikes)

    • Wayne Deja August 29, 2013 at 7:53 pm #

      Jeremiah…….You sound angry …

      • JeremiahJoseph August 30, 2013 at 9:13 am #

        But Wayne, we lost our democracy on the national level, Yes that does make me angry! It makes me angry because I would like to feel a lil better about my kids future, I can go on and on about how my kids future is affected by the decisions made at the top level.. and I don’t feel confident decisions made at the top level have my kids best interest in mind! It’s obvious the will of the people is not a profitable business, but profit is not the meaning of government!!!!
        Yes Wayne I am Angry, I do have a lot of aggression and passion, lets hope it goes in the right areas…
        If you would like to help? You can, anybody in the Owens Valley (district 18) can help TODAY! Myself and another individual from Bakersfield will be meeting with Rep. Jean Fuller (R) to present the Wolf-PAC strategy and resolution, unfortunately rep. Fuller has a record of voting pro corporate and anti citizen, but I am willing to meet with her so we can get a color indication ( red or green)on her and if she is Pro-corrupt politics, believe me I will present that to everybody that I know votes so they can understand she is for her donors and not the will of the people! You can help by calling this # 916 651 4018 or after the 13th of September use this one 559 726 1300, and say you are a constituent and would like to have free and fair elections that are funded publicly and not privately, or just say you are sick of the corruption and want something done about it, or better yet just say you support Wolf-PAC!
        Wolf-PAC does not like to label representatives corrupt, we understand they have to play the game in order to win, BUT once they have been aware of the Wolf-PAC fight and they choose not to support it’s obvious they support a corrupt system that is filled with legal bribes.
        Sadly most Republicans vote in favor of protecting their donors, regardless of what the constituents want.
        If people are true conservative’s, the fact we give 400 billion dollars of subsidies to the most profitable industry’s should mean something…
        This isn’t a right or left fight, it’s a American fight, And we the people need to unite around this issue, liberals nor conservatives could win this fight alone…

  14. Desert Tortoise August 29, 2013 at 4:59 am #

    Might want to rethink the idea of censoring the public comments. If someone posts an idea that is off the hinge and it is deleted by the moderator, it tends to feed the idea of something bigger trying to put them down. Better to let the extreme views be voiced and let the rest of us counter the argument. To do otherwise starts to make it look like the site has an axe to grind.

    • Benett Kessler August 29, 2013 at 6:34 am #

      I will edit out mean-spirited and pointless comments.
      Benett Kessler

      • Mark August 29, 2013 at 9:57 am #

        I wouldn’t want to be the judge of that but I suppose it comes with the job.

        If Tom Cage becomes manager TOML just went in a full circle and are right back where they started before MMM.

        I’d love to hear 3M’s personal opinion on this…

        • Bemused August 29, 2013 at 4:48 pm #

          I’d say back to the late 1990’s actually Mark…

      • Tourbillon August 29, 2013 at 12:34 pm #

        Yes quite right Benett. New leaf, and all that.

        Although in a way I suppose I’m going to miss those Rush-obsessed diatribes brimming with instability, in the same perverse way that one might miss macabre horror films after they’ve been banned. Entertaining, you know, if in a tweaked sort of way. Well, a kinder, gentler SierraWave doubtlessly will be a salutary change.

        • Sick of the caustic style August 29, 2013 at 6:50 pm #

          I agree, Tourbillon.
          Everybody is sick and tired of the nastiness of Limbaughism.
          But look what that type has accomplished.
          The word Liberal today is viewed by some as Anti-American, Communist,
          and likened to The Devil.

    • JeremiahJoseph August 29, 2013 at 7:20 am #

      Good Point DT! When I have the time to give my piece of mind I will, I am over the whole “Pin Name” theme as well, this is how I feel, anybody that feels the need to “discharge me” for what I feel, so be it!
      But I can’t wait to get to the HYPOCRISY of the “legal Drugs” and the big money influence!


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