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February 20, 2006


Mark Harden

It’s part of next year’s federal budget proposal to sell about 300,000 acres nationwide. Proceeds would go to rural schools across the country.

But it's "For The Children(TM)"! Kids over trees, Peter ;-)

It's a budget issue. The Congressional representatives of the people will vote to determine whether this public land - owned by the sovereign people of the United States, including you and me - should be sold to support the schools.

Democracy in action, not some sort of immoral land scheme as you imply.


Certainly you understand that the budget process that our government follows is far from a good example of "democracy in action."

Nonetheless, if enough people are made aware of this, I am confident that Congress will feel enough pressure to make sure this scheme is killed.

Mark Harden

Nonetheless, if enough people are made aware of this, I am confident that Congress will feel enough pressure to make sure this scheme is killed.

If so, then that was the proper result. If not, also.

As for our Congressional budget process, it is much closer to democracy in action than is decision-making based on public outcry.

So, you don't support using the funds accrued from the land sales for rural schools?


So government by backroom wheeling and dealing is "much closer to democracy in action" than government by an informed public? Even if you prefer the former for some reason, it certainly can't be called democracy in action.

As to your last question, read this earlier post.

Mark Harden

it certainly can't be called democracy in action

It's called representative democracy. That's what we all enlisted for, like it or not. If you don't like the results achieved through it, it's your right to work to change the representatives.

From your earlier post: The six-year-old "county payments" law has helped offset sharp declines in timber sales in western states in the wake of federal forest policy that restricts logging to protect endangered species such as the spotted owl.

So, if not for abuse of the Endangered Species Act, we could have retained the public lands by permitting less restricted logging (i.e., harvesting of trees for the public benefit). But in order to protect the spotted owl, we now have to sell the public land to raise funding for the rural schools.

The public forest belongs to everyone, not just tree huggers and spotted owls.


Your argument would be better if it were more coherent. You defend the budget process as representative democracy, but then assail the Endangered Species Act and the resulting northwest logging plan, a compromise implementation of the Act arrived at after years of negotiations between conservationists and logging interests.

By the way, seems a GOP Senator from Montana, Conrad Burns, is so displeased with Bush's idea to sell public lands, that he plans to single-handedly kill the plan. While I obviously would support this outcome, and am confident the result would be the same in the end if Burns changes his mind, the process illustrates why much of what happens in our Congress is not well described by the word 'democracy.'

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