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Comment Archives: stories: News: Ochenski

Re: “Damned if you do

Hi George, September 5, 2012

I've just read your response to readers comments in yesterdays Missoulian.

You wrote:
"But like I said, those are my opinions, they're what I get paid to write, so post what comments you want, but please realize that I'm neither a reporter nor an editor and I'm just presenting my views on the politics and the issues of the day and representing them as exactly that -- my personal opinion." ____________________

I like your opinions George, and I appreciate the fact that you have major concern for the well being of this society.

It is apparent that your head works in a most rational manner, that you posses a larger perspective than most of your readers do. Along with that, you have a superb ability to relate your thoughts in a most comprehensive fashion.

Knowing there is someone with guts enough to factually expose much of what is either a social smokescreen or to write about and condemn those practices which are injurious to this planet and all that lives within or upon it, gives me hope.

Your writings often expose the blunt naivety of this country's citizenry, its leaders, their failure to care, to acknowledge, or even foresee the overall consequence of the harm that is being done. Knowing there are those like you that will take the time, will make the effort and then engage readily as you do, living these values day to day, gives me tremendous hope.

In reading your articles I envision perhaps folks might possibly wake up and realize what has been happening over so many decades of trashy decline in humanistic and social values.

This country's disregard for other cultures, the intentional and cowardly killing and maiming of peasant and tribal folk that would rather be left entirely alone is unconscionable. Are our soldiers really that stupid to know it is all very wrong?

North America's many corrupt and inept leaders, the unscrupulous political and corporate war mongers easily define that our entire United States Military is criminally insane and it should be defunded and entirely disbandoned save for an actual national defense and emergency needs outfit and a coast guard and rescue service agency. The National Guard's stated purpose for the defense of our nation has been a lie for the past number of decades and the entire military scene has been pretty much a failure since the end of World War II and the followup events of the late 1940's and 50's in Europe.

The idiocy of this country's Department of Homeland Security, it's entire mission and how it has affected every individual on this planet is most distressful. I am contemptuous of these folks and appalled at these idiots regulatory mandates, this for all the freedoms and amenities we have forever lost because of this stupid agency.

Your continued effort to point out these viciously intrusive detrimental and wasteful government and corporate activities give me some hope that somehow massive corrective measures will come about to the betterment of all everywhere.

I shall not hold me breath on this however.

Posted by enufallready on 09/05/2012 at 10:28 PM

Re: “Fracking is bad

Dream on Mr. Hill. This is not just about accidents. You need to take you head out of the sand, so to speak. Look at those states around Montana. Wyoming for example, we are not even talking about just water pollution. The gas fields in Wyoming are also causing air pollution and smog to rival Los Angeles. Not to mention noise pollution.

Check out:…

This link will also give you a nice pretty birds eye view of those gas fields. As you can see, we are not just talking about a couple of wells, like oil wells. This is 10's of thousands of wells. And don't fool yourself about jobs. I live in PA. these companies bring in their own people for most jobs. Once the wells are sunk and the pipes are in the ground everyone will go home and leave Montana with the pollution, fires and unemployment, as well as, devalued land, pools of toxic waste (some of which will burn like the mines of Centralia).

0 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Maxine Bender-Brey on 06/21/2012 at 9:47 AM

Re: “Damned if you do


I think we need to be more compassionate towards a mainstream hack turned alternative editor. Let's pool our resources and buy him a nice dinner and give him some gas money.

It is possible that Meyerowitz may have decided to get rid of Ochenski even before he was hired by Gibson. But why we can only guess. His own marginal journalistic career shows no inclination to think outside of the box and beyond the scope of the corporate media establishment.

In many ways, journalism in America has narrowed down over the past few decades. One factor is that with the consolidation of corporate media other corporations that have a special interest in limiting what the public will hear have taken control of the "news" corporations. There are even interlocking directorates between such corporations.

And the censorship is exercised by editors who make a career out of limiting investigative journalism and shutting down writers who would otherwise act as a valid check and balance on our society and government.

And we only have to look at the tragedy of the invasion of Iraq to see how incompetent and complicit journalism can result in human suffering. Hundreds of thousands of people dead and wounded (perhaps a million) and $4 Trillion in public debt. But the war industries made a killing and Iraq's resources are now open to corporate exploitation.

It was due to the complete failure and conformity of mainstream editors and journalists that there was no investigative reporting reporting done to determine if the Iraq WMD spin was valid. The WMD lies were designed by the Bush Administration and their Neocon allies including active influence from the oil industry, the military industrial complex and a few players close to the Likud part of Israel.

All of the so-called journalists and editors marched in lockstep and we are all paying the price.

Goebbels would have been impressed by the corrupt complicity of those who create mainstream American media.

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by JConrad on 06/10/2012 at 6:02 PM

Re: “Damned if you do

Robert Meyerowitz...catch the next bus back where you came from.
Glenn Ferren, Superior

2 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by gferren on 06/10/2012 at 11:02 AM

Re: “Damned if you do


Where's George Ochenski?
Aaron Flint posted on June 07, 2012 16:32

Where's George Ochenski? That's the question being posed by many following Montana politics in the Twittersphere. The answer? He's off to the cabin. But, unless plans change, don't expect to read Ochenski's opinion column in The Missoula Independent anytime soon.

Ochenski is a popular columnist with the liberal Missoula Independent. Although he is very clearly a liberal columnist, he has no qualms with going after the Democratic Party establishment in Montana either. In fact, his latest two columns took Montana Attorney General, and Democratic gubernatorial candidate, Steve Bullock to task.

I spoke with Ochenski Thursday afternoon. He said he was "100 percent forced out by the new editor," Robert Meyerowitz. "I haven't missed a week for 12 years. I did it all as a freelancer," Ochenski said, as he got ready to head off to his cabin in the mountains for the weekend. Ochenski said Meyerowitz started wading into his columns, changing headlines, and told him that he couldn't write about national or international topics.

I did contact The Missoula Independent. Phones at the paper went to voicemail, and an e-mail to the editor has yet to be returned.

Ochenski says it all came to a head last week. While Ochenski was fishing with friends in the Missouri Breaks, Meyerowitz moved up the deadline for his weekly column and began e-mailing Ochenski for the latest column so he could give it a look. Eventually, Ochenski says Meyerowitz told him the Independent didn't need his column anymore.

So, just what was Ochenski planning to write this week? "Wishing Happy Birthday to The Missoula Independent and the free press." Sounds like somebody decided to blow out the candles before the song had even been sung.

3 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Matthew Koehler on 06/07/2012 at 6:22 PM

Re: “Damned if you do


Where’s Ochenski?
By John S. Adams, Great Falls Tribune Capitol Bureau Chief
Thursday, June 7, 2012

If you pick up a copy of the Missoula Independent today there’s a story on the cover about the 55 years of collective newsroom experience recently exiting the Missoulian newsroom.

I can’t find the link to the story from today’s paper, but a recent Indy blog post pointed out the departures of longtime Missoulian reporters Michael Moore, Joe Nickell, Jamie Kelly and Chelsi Moy.
Interestingly, I can’t seem to find something else in the Indy today: I can’t seem to find a link to longtime political columnist George Ochenski’s regular weekly column.

As I do on most Thursday mornings, I logged on to the Indy today to see what insight and analysis Ochenski would have on Tuesday’s primary race results, but I can’t seem find it.

Ochenski has, as far as I know, never missed a weekly column in 11 or 12 years of writing at the Indy. He’s written over 550 columns since he started “rattling the cage” of the state’s political establishment back in 2000 or so. When I worked there, Ochenski’s column reliably arrived at the Indy newsroom offices every Tuesday morning and occupied the same page in the paper week in and week out without fail.

So where is he this week?

I find it somewhat odd that Indy deemed it newsworthy to point out on its cover the 55 years of collective newsroom experience that exited the Missoulian but didn’t bother to mention to loyal readers why it’s longtime political columnist is now absent from its own pages.

The Indy is celebrating it’s 21st anniversary this year and Ochenski has been there for more than half those writing incisive and provocative columns that took on Republicans and Democrats alike. Whether you like his opinions or hate them, they’re his opinions and there isn’t a single columnist in the state who has been writing them as long or as well as Ochenski.

A comment on a recent blog post over at 4and20 Blackbirds by longtime commenter/blogger JConrad indicates there might have been disagreements between Ochenski and the Indy’s relatively new editor, Robert Meyerowitz. I hope that trouble doesn’t mean we won’t be reading Ochenski’s column in the Indy any longer.

4 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Matthew Koehler on 06/07/2012 at 8:30 AM
Posted by Walter Clemmons on 06/06/2012 at 10:56 AM

Re: “Damned if you do

Wow, leave it to the boys in eastern Montana to not mince their words !

But I must admit I have not heard the word wank(er) since I toured England forty years ago.

Had to look it up at Wikipedia to be sure of the meaning which seems to vary depending on what country you're in.


The term wanker originated from British slang in the 1940s.[1] Wanker literally means "one who wanks (masturbates)". In modern usage it is usually a general insult. It conveys contempt, not commentary on sexual habits. Wanker has similar meanings and overtones to American pejoratives like jerk(-off).[2] It is sometimes found in the phrase intellectual wanker, alluding to an individual who appears to indulge in obscurantist language and sophistry with the principal aim of promoting his own self-perceived intelligence (or concealing his intellectual weakness). More generally, wanker can carry suggestions of egotistical and self-indulgent behaviour (analogous to American douche(bag)[3]): this is the dominant meaning in Australia and New Zealand.[4]
"Wanker" hand gesture

Wanker may be indicated by a one-handed gesture,[5] usually to an audience out of hearing range.[2] It is shown by curling the fingers of the hand into a loose fist and moving the hand back and forth to mime male masturbation, which is equivalent to saying, "[you are a] wanker".

In the United States, the term is understood, but rarely used, and then more in a way suggesting the target is an idiot.[6] The American blogger Atrios regularly uses the term to refer to self-indulgent pundits, most notably in his "Wanker of the Day" feature, which first appeared on January 15, 2005.[7] In a post naming "the one true wanker of the decade," Atrios defined a wanker as follows: "Truly great wankers possess a kind of glib narcissism, the belief that everything is about them while simultaneously disavowing any responsibility for anything. ... Such wankers are impervious to criticism because they're always doing battle with straw critics. They never remember what they said last week, and assume you won't either."[8]

Differences in perceived levels of offensiveness

In December 2000, the Advertising Standards Authority published research on attitudes of the British public to pejoratives. It ranked wanker as the fourth most severe pejorative in English.[9] The BBC describes it as 'moderately offensive' and 'almost certain' to generate complaints if used before the watershed.[10]

In Australia it is considered mildly offensive but is widely accepted and used in the media.[11]

Mary Cresswell, an American etymologist, describes 'wanker' as "somewhat more offensive in British use than Americans typically realize".[12]

Posted by JConrad on 06/04/2012 at 11:33 AM

Re: “Damned if you do

Ochenski and the Independent have done a damned fine job in the past of writing about relevant issues that create an opportunity for dialogue. It really disturbs me when the third estate is denied factual, relevant information. I for one am tired of having an agenda that benefits only a select few rammed down my throat by idiots that are nothing more than the lapdogs of the rich. How long do we have to tolerate this?

I think that Ochenski raises many good questions and I look forward to thinking about those questions. Censorship is a real phony trip that allows only one group the opportunity to express its views. Let George write his ass off about big issues and give the readers the chance to respond to that POV. Don't allow some right-leaning wank the opportunity to sabotoge another progressive paper.

Living out here in eastern Montana is hard enough without having the one place you get good insight on important issues F***** up by the right. They have ruined it out here, should they be allowed to do it everywhere?

This last legislative session was a travesty and a sick joke concerning the MMJ issue. I'm not blaming Bullock because it is his responsibilty to execute the wishes of the legislature, but I do have a problem with Herr Esseman, Milburn, and the other lying, cheating bastards that went against the people's wishes. I think a horsewhipping would be too good for them. They did not even consider what they did to people with cancer, MS, and other maladies that respond to pot. My son has cancer and it has been nearly impossible to help him when he needs the benefit of cannabis. I think there are people that might have abused the intent of the initiative, but how about the people that really can benefit. I guess these right wing morons we elected to represent us think that their answer is the only one. Well, I think there are more of us than there are of them and it is time to stop the bullying. If this editor is one of them, then get rid of him and allow a dialogue Mr. Publisher. I won't read your crap if you make a change like what seems to have been made and I surely won't buy from your advertisers!

4 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by stoopid01 on 06/02/2012 at 4:00 PM

Re: “Damned if you do

Sb-423 should be thrown out thumbs up should not thumbs down

2 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by hunkabarry on 06/01/2012 at 12:21 PM

Re: “Damned if you do

yes this trend of replacing editors at all the leftleaning [toward the center] news papers from coast to coast ,, check bellingham seattle , all oregon papers s part of an insidious overall thrust my opinion , only possible because of the denial of the folks who dance and celebrate the wonderful life , without picking up the shields and swords ...

2 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by 4n20tarzan on 06/01/2012 at 10:31 AM

Re: “Damned if you do

enufalready: would you please learn how to spell? And let me help you out: Bush is a war criminal and an all around twat.

As for Bullock, he's a bought and paid for criminal, just like most of Montana law enforcement. They pander to the Feds for money to supposedly enforce laws which have nothing to do with the interests or wishes of Montanans. Once again, corrupt politicians and their law enforcement cronies doing whatever it takes to make a quick and easy buck.

This whole medical marijuana thing is a just a dichotomy for the real problem: a police state that wreaks to high heaven of corruption, fraud, extortion and inappropriate persecution. I've lived in seven different US states and three countries, and I've never seen anything like the jackbooted thugs that are law enforcement in Montana.

I was once stopped by a state trooper in Montana because I had a bumper sticker that said "Flush Rush." He had no problem making his political leanings clearly known while he wrote me a ticket for doing 56 in a 55 mph zone, even going to so far as to imply that I would be on the "watch list" for my aberrant liberal behaviour.

I no longer live in the US, for very good reason. However low a man sinks he never reaches the level of the police in the United States.

6 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Kiwi on 06/01/2012 at 6:43 AM

Re: “Damned if you do

my opinion: about maijuauna
Theadore Rpoosevelt: important fellow
Dewey; malighned and lost
Truman otay, so what
eisenhowwer: made a great statement about the the military.
Kenedey : died in 10963 and overated
ljohnson, his wife made a contribution to our highways
nixon: he never lied
reafan never liked him but Nancy and his kids I hold dear to my heart
Clinton i would vote for
Bush is a
Bush is a
Obama ineffective
Ron Paul is my man

support Okensji, his viewpoint seem supperior to the orindary fellow

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by enufalready on 05/31/2012 at 7:09 PM

Re: “Fighting for Montanans?

You should get a Pulitzer or Right Livelihood Award, or something, George. You're the best truth-teller in Montana, in my book. (Unfortunately, it's not a very big one.)

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Paul Stephens on 05/31/2012 at 4:58 PM

Re: “Damned if you do

Total signatures received and tallied by SOS (final):
5% qualification to appear on the 2012 ballot: 36,374 of 24,337 total signatures needed; qualified in 72 of 34 legislative districts needed

just saying...

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Elizabeth EeBee Pincolini on 05/31/2012 at 4:03 PM

Re: “Damned if you do

Once again out of state powers change life in Montana. We have always been at the mercy of the Federal government and corporations seeking to exploit Montana. Whether it be the Copper Kings or ENRON working behind the scenes to create the disaster called utility deregulation, or wars that our young have to fight and our financed by our taxes, what happens nationally and even internationally becomes part of our lives here.

Having been a Montanan for over forty years and politically active for much of that time Ochenski has a unique perspective on events. I can't always agree with him, but I find no one else in Montana or the region approaching critical issues as he does in his column. On national and international events the Montana mainstream media apes national corporate media, and they rarely dig beneath the surface on Montana politics.

But recently, I have seen Ochenski's column narrow down with less and less commentary on what might be classified as national or international events. This seems to coincide with the arrival of the new editor Robert Meyerowitz.

Last week on the 4&20 Blackbirds blog, someone commented on the questionable editorial from the Indy covering the Missoula rape controversy. A comment followed that posted a source of the past performances of Mr. Meyerowitz. This archive of information raises some serious questions about where the Indy might be headed in the future.

This following url for 4&20 Blackbirds may not post properly here, but just go to 4&20 Blackbirds for May 22.…

Check the following archive about Mr. Meyerowitz and come to your own conclusions:

After reading the above material, I took the liberty to make the following post. Having lived in the state nearly as long as Ochenski, I must admit it takes time to understand all that is Montana. And when it comes to a progressive discussion, the Indy is something of an institution while our mainstream media has become increasingly corporate.

Personally, I was amazed (and offended) by the jaded right-wing views presented in Meryrowitz's editorial, Circus, Circus, where he cynically condemns anti-war protest on Iraq as if he has no regard for freedom of speech or for the suffering of our soldiers or the suffering of the Iraqi people. It must be read to be believed. Now that he is in Montana I wonder if he realizes this is the state that produced Jeanette Rankin ?

It looks like "free thinking" at the Indy has become little more than an empty slogan.


The past writing of the new Indy editor, Robert Meyerowitz, posted by AltWeekly, is a cause for concern for those who appreciate the Indy covering issues in a manner that differs from mainstream corporate media. A true progressive he is NOT.

The Circus, Circus article is especially cynical and shows little concern for the suffering of the Iraqi people or the views of those who speak out about what is essentially an illegal war of aggression.

Personally, I have been following Ochenski’s writing since he began at the Indy as he pulls no punches when it comes to the “truth” of Montana politics seasoned with decades of his own direct involvement with critical issues. And he slams both parties equally.

He also presents views of national and international issues that affect us in Montana and are of concern to Montanans. I know of no other columnist in the region saying what he says. We can expect censored views from the big corporate rags, but we come to the Indy looking for improved information.

Since Meyerowitz arrived at the Indy I have seen much less writing from Ochenski on national and international issues. A friend has told me that Meyerowitz has literally censored Ochenski when it comes to larger national and international issues. And apparently he has been stepping on the toes of other Indy writers.

But what madness, as what happens outside of Montana does affect those living here. $5 Trillion in tax money (or rather debt) blown in Iraq and Afghanistan is a problem for everyone and very few writers anywhere address the corporate imperial war issues. I have also not seen other Montana columnists pointing out that Social Security funds have been looted (borrowed) by Congress. Etc.

One can only wonder what the motives are behind this type of editing. Does Meyerowitz have a personal political agenda or has he been brought in to move the Indy to the right to please a less critical audience ? I must admit that I am NOT very excited to see a New Yorker deciding what Montanans will be able to read in what is supposed to be an alternative publication.

Is the Indy headed downhill like so many other forms of American media ? Time will tell.

5 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by JConrad on 05/31/2012 at 1:08 PM

Re: “Damned if you do

The feds run Montanistan top to bottom. Bullock who started a huge campaign fund without ever declaring to run was illegal as all get out, just like his mentor Eric Holder, who should be put before a firing squad for his antics. The FBI connection to all of this goes hand and hand with the Montana Law Enforcement (make up the laws as you wish) community. These thugs with badges are backed by the worst judiciary in the history of this or any other state. Your vote means nothing, the graveyards are full of the real voters. It is a very, very bad joke, and the average Montanistani snickers at the thought of "you dont mean me, do you"? Welcome to Montana where the men are men and the old women are also men.

7 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Roy P Pilkey on 05/31/2012 at 12:00 PM

Re: “Damned if you do

Whats naive is to think Steve Bullock is not in bed with the Feds and is stupid enough to be the spokesman in court, almost asking to not be elected Governor. The medical marijuana vote includes most of the INDEPENDENTS, which carry this state. Steve Bullock refuses to protect consumers, then fights for laws passed by incredibly stupid legislative bills. When the people speak, no politician can win standing against them.

14 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by freeMontana on 05/31/2012 at 10:58 AM

Re: “Damned if you do

An issue that resonates with Montanans a lot more than medical marijuana is Bullock's on going defense before the U.S. Supreme Court of Montana's campaign finance laws that limit corporate contributions and their intersection with the Citizens United decision. To think that the Montana race for Governor will swing on pot is politically naive.

4 likes, 10 dislikes
Posted by a on 05/31/2012 at 10:02 AM

Re: “Damned if you do

It's a good time for Montana's politicians to realize that yes, 62% of the vote is a giant bitch slap to those who would oppose the will of the people. I would hope everyone is back at the polls this fall. Even those who don't use medical mj would probably agree that politicians trashing our rights and fighting against the peoples wishes is overreaching of the worst kind. With any luck the Feds will get called out as well this fall. Marijuana prohibition is a failed policy that ruins lives and costs exorbitant amounts of money to enforce. It's not helping anyone or making anything better in our society. Our leaders should learn how legislate with compassion not mean spirited, pocket lining, party pandering.

32 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by befuddled on 05/31/2012 at 8:40 AM

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