Perceptions and Public Trust in Public Land and Fire Management

Having seen the articles addressing the issue concerning the Teepee Springs Fire near Riggins, Idaho and the Walter’s Elk ranch situation in the Idaho Statesman ( ) and the comments to those articles, I get the sense that a great deal of conversation is being lost and dialectic perceptions are being formed, both regionally and around the nation. It seems this situation is contributing to a much greater conversation about the whole rural perspective in relation to resource allocation, sovereignty and property rights. My concern is that there is a great deal of perception management and ill-intent working behind the scene, driving this conversation and creating unnecessary contention. This article aims to address this largely unnoticed or unacknowledged perspective in hopes that it will promote healthy discussion between various community members and public trust managers so that we might progress beyond our current contentious perspectives. After analyzing the situation in context to the greater agendas at play, I will conclude with my own personal thoughts and recommendations on how to get past this situation.

Mainstream Media…
mainstsream media

“Nothing can now be believed which is seen in a newspaper. Truth itself becomes suspicious by being put into that polluted vehicle.” ~Thomas Jefferson to John Norvell, June 11, 1807

The mechanism that seems to be the most influential in driving contention is the news media. If anyone has been paying attention to the media as of late they would recognize that it is very difficult to get an unbiased perspective from any of the mainstream reporters. The lack of investigative reporting by well-known and award winning reporters and writers, whose biases and outright manipulation of information can be seen everywhere, is astonishing. Getting a truthful perspective has become very difficult.

One can help mitigate for this by doing their homework and by paying attention to what’s going on in the background or what is being reported on in alternative media (which certainly has its own issues but can also be gleaned and assessed for quality content). We can start to get an idea as to what is going on when we thoroughly assess and compare these sources. Many times getting a clearer perspective can be accomplished by looking at what isn’t being reported on or shared in the mainstream or within resource management organizations. As they say, “the silence can be deafening”.

The situation that comes to mind that is most pertinent to the Walter’s situation is the Bundy Ranch stand off in Nevada. The way that situation was reported on by the mainstream news agencies is a glaring example of perception management by a controlled media.(To gain more insight on this I recommend comparing mainstream news sources with the Activist Post articles and links here: One very pertinent local contributor to our perception on this situation was Rocky Barker; the same reporter who is now covering the Walter’s ranch situation. In the Bundy ranch stand-off, Barker’s biased commentary was astounding. ( Regardless of how anyone feels about the Cliven Bundy stand-off, there is no doubt as to how Rocky Barker, an award winning environmental journalist, feels about it. The bias in his reporting on that situation is glaring and the fact that there was no effort on his part to investigate beyond his bias or entertain other perspectives is significant.

Barker and other similar government affiliated reporters are the writers whose articles are constantly being presented in resource management agency e-mails. To my knowledge, the only relevant article to the Bundy situation that was internally shared in Idaho state agency e-mails or otherwise was Barker’s “Bud Purdy” article In that article, Barker lavishes over Purdy saying that he was considered to be “the very embodiment of the code of the West”! Whether that has ever been true I don’t know, I don’t know the man and never heard of him until this article. What I found to be disturbing about the Bud Purdy article was the way it was presented and the extent to which it promotes the collaboration efforts in the name of conservation; as if the death of the man was a very convenient opportunity to build what Barker would have us perceive as the antithesis to Bundy. (An investigation into Purdy’s various other financial endeavors would demonstrate that, while I can make no claim on his character, he was not representative of your average rancher).

All this leads me to believe that the general public and those in public trust agencies are being conditioned on how to think about this very pertinent situation through coercive methods and not open discussion.(2) Considering the very real fact that a neighboring state that is dealing with exactly the same range management issues as Idaho, had almost shed blood over grazing rights should certainly be worthy of an internal conversation and a public statement by all neighboring state agencies; particularly those states that are tasked with managing around the same contentions. How can an agency, state or Federal, expect to have the public’s trust when they ignore or otherwise coercively work to build perceptions about such a relevant and dangerous issue?

Who's pulling the strings?

Put into context with other perspectives about Barker’s writing, particularly those perspectives that resource agencies most respect, is cause for concern. Consider this excerpt from a respected BSU professor, John Freemuth, who has this to say in regard to one of Barker’s articles;
“I would argue that science is a necessary but insufficient condition for environmental decision making, and whenever people call for best science they are really calling for science that backs up where they wanted to go anyway. The recent dust up over an academically focused article that called for the elimination of cattle grazing (blogged about by Rocky Barker of The Idaho Statesman) in the name of mitigating for climate change is a good example. I showed it to two colleagues in the science world (not at Boise State University) with resumes a mile long and they both had the same reaction: “That’s not neutral science, it’s advocacy.” The only way science gets to resolve difficult policy choices is if we put it in charge, and my sense is that most people don’t want to do that.” – Excerpt from the “Blue Review” article titled “Four More Years of Incremental Environmental Change?”

My question is, if so many others seem to recognize the bias in the reporting and the scientific research, why is nobody addressing it? On the contrary, given Rocky Barker’s access to the legislature and other political figures, it seems to be the case that Rocky Barker and other state and federal government ’embedded’ reporters are practicing some form of state sponsored propaganda. The Barker contribution to the Bundy ranch perception and the silence by resource management agencies on the entire issue speaks volumes, and brings into question the intention of the news media and the government handling of the Bundy Ranch and the Walter’s Ranch situations.

In my assessment I suggest Barker and other government “embedded” reporters are either willing participants in the manipulation of public opinion, or they are “drinking the ‘Kool-Ade’” that is being sold to them and subsequently, knowingly or not, helping to manifest a desired perception through their blogs and articles. For agencies and other institutions of prominence to hold his writing in high regard is highly disingenuous and brings into question their dedication to the public’s trust. For public trustees in the legislature and those serving on various boards that implement policy, who are utilizing tools of propaganda such as this to garner support for their agendas is great cause for concern, as it parallels with the actions of tyrannical governments of the past and present.

In my opinion, it is the purpose of these reporters, willingly or not, to slowly introduce and advance this dependency paradigm, direct attention away from our deeper understanding of the issues by putting it through the “left vs. right” dialectic perspective (2) and fostering a “communitarian” ideal that reduces our sense of sovereignty and personal responsibility. Look to other similar articles by Barker or other prominent reporters and you will see the same things. Eventually you start to see a theme arise. Slowly and incrementally we are being conditioned to see the world on ‘their’ terms and to accept ‘their’ solutions to the largely manufactured problems we are being presented with. For example, the commentary about the multitude of government sponsored stakeholder collaborations that are springing up all over the west. (ENVIROISSUES) Because the science is controlled by special interest and the political agendas are so pervasive, I see these stakeholder collaborations as little more than bureaucracy building exercises. that effectively result in the average rural citizen being limited in their access to their surrounding lands and resources. Often times this is for the benefit of resource development companies and private land trusts (

The more you look into it, follow the money and compare against other situations and historical examples the weirder and more sinister it all gets. Somehow the twisted agendas pass scrutiny, which is a testament to the power of the state and corporate sponsored media. Like the saying goes, “the pen is mightier than the sword” and Barker and many others are well schooled in applying this strategy to the cause. (A very worthwhile perspective to look at and consider is the well-researched and logically derived perspectives presented in the Daily Herb ( This is the most professionally written and painstakingly researched commentary you will find as well as being the most locally relevant to Idaho.

The root of the problem…

It is my opinion that the breakdown in communication and public trust is being driven from the top. The entire system, public and private, is going corporate and forcing us all into a state of dependency on international systems made up of powerful individuals who reside at the top (your CEO’s, banking moguls, political leaders, and all the participants in various “think tanks” like The Club of Rome, Council on Foreign Relations, Bielderberg, etc…).

The wishes and desires of those at the top become the “lifelines” that are reflected in the social and political dynamics of the rural communities which lead to the manifestation of national and international market’s that drive local decisions (international corporate interests and international resource development companies and international banks) and government or NGO sponsored social programs (government grants, mitigation monies, farm bill subsidies, etc…). These are the programs and international markets that we have come to depend upon to provide for our rural existence. (What organization doesn’t depend on grant funding? How many farmers are able to operate without subsidies or other sources of income? How many businesses in the rural areas need tourism or outside investors to survive?) There is much we need to talk about and a great deal of out of the box investigating that needs to be done here; investigations that go far beyond what Barker or anyone in the mainstream media or public trust agencies has provided. (For more evidence of biased reporting and manufactured dependency see my upcoming blog about western land policy and the African ‘conservation’ influence; also check out the book “Conservation Refugees” by Mark Dowie

The “meat and potatoes”…

I don’t pretend to know how best to manage for these wildfires but I do recognize the larger agendas at play; the technological advancements that might be exacerbating the problem (1), the over-dependence on computer modeling by researchers and public trust agencies and the overdependence on the ‘scientific priesthood’ that the most prominent institutions and corporations fund and promote ( I recognize the history behind the current paradigm and the lack of awareness that allows it to persist. I recognize the coercion and collusion that is driving decisions at the top and forcing us into a “technocracy” that puts mainstream science in the drivers seat, itself very much an unscientific belief system; which, like any other belief system, works to diminish our human rights and responsibilities and create a dependence( I also recognize the power of the dialectic (2) in limiting our individual perspectives and bringing us into agreement based on the two extreme viewpoints and not on sound logic and reason.

What this all means for those of us in the rural communities and at the lower levels of the public trust agencies is that we have a lot of work to do. To get an idea of how decisions are being made and where this is going we have to understand the decision making process by those at the top. Specifically to this issue, we need to analyze the information that fire managers and incident commanders use to make decisions. A few questions to consider, 1) are they operating from sound unbiased science? Most would be surprised by the extent public trust organizations aren’t operating from sound science (consider the eviction of the Drakes Bay Oyster company based on falsified data from the National Park’s service 2) Are their decisions biased toward a broader goal that reflects national or international goals over local and regional goals? (Do the research on United Nations Agenda 21) A good place to start in this situation, I think, is the “Fire Ecology” websight 3) What investments are being made at the universities and other research institutions to fund the research being performed and could this be compromised? (Consider the ‘climate change’ issue and the amount being invested by special interests in conjunction with the media and the numerous other factors and perspectives being ignored Also consider the very revealing investigation by Norman Dodd in his 1954 report to the Reece Committee investigation into non-profit organizations and their ‘un-American” activities( 3) Is the agency invested in companies or NGO’s that are working to build perceptions in the rural communities (like Enviroissues with the sage grouse or the National Forest Foundation… worthy of an in-depth investigation in itself!). 4) Is there mitigation funding involved and is there potential for perceptions to be limited or affected by this? Look at who the agency is collaborating with and follow the money to see who might benefit from certain decisions. All this plays into the process and, more often than not, it is too subtle and plausibly deniable to put through the courts; which themselves are potentially compromised by these same influences.

The next thing I would suggest we do is to research and assess our own decision making processes and try to understand the influences that build our perceptions as individuals and communities. (I addressed the contribution by the media and briefly introduced the Hegelian Dialectic above. I think it is imperative to understand how the Hegelian dialectic is being used if we want to get an idea of how we are being influenced). I think it is important to also recognize that the perceptions being fostered in the resource management agencies aren’t coming from nowhere. We in the rural communities often do act in ways that are contributing to environmental degradation and in ways that make us dependent on the agencies that are here to support us. In so many ways we contribute to the perception being built in the minds of the resource management agencies, who may be right to take personal the lack of gratitude they receive for the difficult job they do and the risks they take. (That’s the point really. Let the corporate interests run amok and create the conditions for abuse and then bring in the social programs to capitalize on the consequences. That’s how the west was really won… that’s how Africa and Australia were won! A critical look at the politics in Theodore Roosevelt’s time and the 1910 fires would demonstrate this very well (I will provide a link, when finished to my blog about Teddy Roosevelt and the conservation efforts of his time). I think what most in the public trust are being conditioned to see and what we are being condition to be is a greedy, self-serving public that is driven by what everyone deems as “human nature” (a fundamentally flawed perception driven by an unhealthy reliance on the ideas of “Social Darwinism”). Rather than a function of ‘human nature’ what I suggest they are recognizing is the resulting effects of our relationship with Corporate America; which constitutes the very well understood and manipulated ‘hidden hand’ (Life in the Algorithm: In one way or another this ‘hidden hand’ is guiding every one of us, building our perceptions and extending lifelines to gain access and control (like the corporate logging industry waiting in the wings for the pendulum to swing their direction after the 2015 fire season). The desire of these corporate entities, as with the government bureaucracies, is to make us dependent on them and their international markets. (Recognize that the corporate system leads to the same power structure that oversees the public institutions, which continuously implement and support the mutually beneficial arrangements that maintain the system (NAFTA, TPP, UN Agenda 21, etc…)). To assist in the process we are being developed by an education system that is compromised by the same power structure ( Every one of us has come through the corporate sponsored education ‘sausage machine’ that has us so far removed from our spiritual awareness and connection to the earth that we don’t have the tools to make sound decisions. We don’t know how to support ourselves even though we live in a land of abundance. When we assess ourselves, we have to take all this into consideration, starting at the fundamental building blocks of our understanding. ( Come from a place of “all possibility” and be willing to scrutinize every individual and institution you’ve come to respect or disdain. (Perhaps this should come first in the process because knowing yourself is the first building block to understanding anything outside of you).

Reversion to the local…

What I hope for in promoting a more local approach to land management is that there is a conversation about the perception building mechanisms that are driving the current contention between the rural communities of Idaho, who are currently recovering from the impacts of the 2015 fires, and the Federal and State agencies. If we can have this conversation in a respectful way, at the level of the public trust managers, I think we could make some real progress. If we can communicate on a level above the current dialectic I believe we could start to identify the flawed logic and social control mechanisms on both ‘sides’. From this perspective I think we would see more commonalities than differences and hopefully transcend the fears that are holding us all back. If we can get beyond feeling threatened by each other, perhaps we can find ways to work together at a local level to provide for our local needs in a responsible, ethical way; in ways that encourages personal responsibility and self sufficiency over dependency. (Julian Rose’s “Proximity Principle” provides some inspiring perspectives on this:

Bringing it all together…

With a greater knowledge of the science and decision making processes we all use, we can begin to reach out to the lower levels of the public trust organizations and vice versa. This might be the most difficult part of the process because we are working in a system that doesn’t reward grass-roots cooperation and there are some very real consequences for public trust managers who don’t follow orders. (This is a personal point of contention having observed the implementation of ‘group think’ strategies by implementation and marketing companies (4) within public agencies). As well, there are some very real consequences for those in the rural communities who are operating against a sea of regulations and very dependent upon government agencies to provide contracts and Farm Subsidies to survive. Realize that it is not the intention of the local public trust manager to bring hardship to the communities in which they reside or knowingly act in ways that serve to force dependency and reduce sovereignty. They are a part of the community and, aside from the very few who might truly have a disdain for humanity (probably because they adopt the pervasive eugenic perspectives they’ve been taught), have entered these public service professions to make a difference for the environment and the people. (Information about reputable lawyers and sincere outside public service organizations can be invaluable to help with speaking out; perhaps the NAFSR would be a good resource? or PEER

Ultimately, I think we need to find ways that we can cooperate and build our capacity to provide for ourselves on the local level in ways that protect our environment and meet our needs (including fire protection and management); in ways that don’t rely on outside agencies and international markets. It’s far too likely that the governments (International, State and Federal) all the prominent NGO’s and their proxies (Idaho ‘SMART’ Growth for example and the resource development corporations are colluding against our sovereignty and individuality, whether they know it or not. If the universe is telling us anything here it is that we need to look to ourselves for solutions, which means we need to count on our own sources of funding and local support rather than grants. (Recognize too that the State vs. Federal or Freedom Fighter vs. Government contentions are largely manufactured arguments designed to divide us and force us into further dependency by way of synthesis of the opposition rather than build our awareness).

In closing I would like to reiterate that because our individual and collective awareness is built on an education system and other forms of social programming that have reduced our awareness about how the political, technological, economic, spiritual and even the environmental systems operate and draw us into our egos, we can’t begin to act in ways that are in alignment with natural laws. I would argue that this is the first change that needs to happen, at a very basic and fundamental level. Learn your rights and responsibilities as an individual sovereign and how this has been hijacked by the system. Then learn how to act in ways that honor our natural relationships at all levels of being. And always choose the path of love and respect (not easy in this emotionally charged environment!).

There are an ever increasing number of groups and individuals that are coming into a higher level of awareness and working to change the current paradigm. Here are a few projects that I find inspiring, operating from the heart in a truly grassroots way (not ‘AstroTurf’ groups like the majority of your Big International NGO’s and their ‘subsidiary’ organizations).

Full Circle Project
Julian Rose & the Proximity Principle
People’s Republic of Kanata
War Report on Public Education:

Local endeavors:
Palouse Food Coalition
From the Forest & Maven’s Heaven

Recommended Alternative News and interesting Blog sites:
Daily Herb
Corbett Report:
Boiling Frogs Post:
No More Fake News:
Activist Post
Zen Gardner:
Waking Times:
David Icke:
Fairwinds Energy:
Farm Wars:
Tragedy & Hope:

Conference in Redding, California discussing the implementation of geo-engineering:
The Climate Engineering Conference 2014 (The “discussion” about implementing what the presenters in the link above suggest is already being implemented):
Cloud Seeding Company (The company that contracts with Idaho Power to seed clouds over the Payette National Forest):
(2) The Hegelian Dialectic With regard to the Hegelian Dialectic, from a greater level of awareness, you can see that the “left, neo-liberal /environmental” side absolutely compliments the “right, neo-conservative” side as we are being corralled into a collaboration between the two extreme choices. Do we take the socialist path and allow for complete government control of all resources or do we resist and allow for the complete takeover of resources by corporate interests? What we eventually arrive at is the worst of both worlds; “Communitarianism”. It’s an age old deception which has been employed many times, least of all on the Native American populations. (It was the tribes who were first enticed into the international market in their local resources, such as the fur trade, and were exploited by “Crown Companies” like the Hudson Bay Company; then eventually impoverished by the changes in supply and demand, and finally forced by the US government into a sick kind of “victim/ perpetrator” bond that left them completely dependent on the government to provide for them on the reservations). A greater awareness about Teddy Roosevelt, Taft, Pinchot and all the key players during the early 1900 conservation movement and around the 1910 fires would reflect the same deceptions and leave a conscious person feeling ill to think about how much we idealize these “champions of conservation” in the resource management community. (See the book “Conservation Refugees” by Mark Dowie and “Culling the Herd” or “Defending the Master Race” by Jonathan Spiro

(4) implementation and Marketing Companies:
(IPMP, Enviroissues , IAF, Spych Marketing, etc…)These are the companies that manufacture internal perceptions rather than allow for the necessary dissenting viewpoints. The ones that reinforce the dialectic perspective that pits “conservationists” against the “rural savage” and perpetuate the childlike views about the historic and contemporary role of governments and gloss over the very significant collusions and deep pockets that have always lurked in the background.


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