Senators Craig, Crapo, and Governor Otter blow hot air about the Murphy Fire

This is about the news conference these three had yesterday. It’s on the WWP blog with a short video of an especially revealing segment.

Story in the Idaho Statesman. Idaho politicians blast federal fire management. By Heath Druzin. The dynamic trio didn’t get quite the spin they may have expected in the Statesman.

Update. LTE by Bert Brackett (rancher often mentioned in these stories). Times-News. Fire Fueled by Failed Range Management.

Reply to Brackett. Sent to Times-News by Max Hatfield

Bert Brackett’s Readers Comment Slandering Jon Marvel today was just about the most contrived self serving pile of rhetorical cow manure I have ever read. I sent the following letter to the editor in response.

Bert “Einstein” Brackett’s Rhetorical Cow Manure

Is your neck red enough and are you stupid enough to buy Rep. Bert “Einstein” Brackett’s slander about Jon Marvel? Brackett has attributed the 2007 range fires to Marvel and recommended naming them the “John Marvel Watershed Memorial Fire.” Maybe Brackett has another motivation for this tripe?

Let’s follow the money! Brackett is going to solve the fire problem by getting rid of the weapon of mass destruction, “too much grass”, by using “multiple-use management” which means (multiplying the number of Bert Brackett’s cows on each cheap public lease). How did the Jarbidge area survive for thousands of years with abundant wildlife, world class fauna and a pristine watershed before our saviors Bert Brackett, Larry Craig, Dirk Kempthone, the Bedeke Clan, J.R. Simplot and his old son-in-law(sell our public lands Gov. Otter) came on the scene to save the Sage Grouse and all of the public’s natural assets with Bert’s millions in profits and rhetorical cow manure? An era before reduced fish populations, stream banks tromped in by cows, manure flies so thick you can’t even camp, destroyed fauna, homesteads that appropriated the water shed and were morphed into dynasties dominating thousands of acres of your cheap public lands.

Read Desert Wings by Neils Nokkentved to see how many millions of dollars of your tax money was paid to folks like Bert Brackett for leases of your federal land and subsequently they had the first right to leases on that same public land after they were paid with your tax money. Check the public record and see which politicians got Bert Brackett’s campaign contributions and which members of the Brackett Clan were in Congressional patronage jobs in Washington D.C.- how did Brackett get/inherit his money? Follow the money from your public land folks into Marvel’s or Brackett’s pocket?



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  1. JEFF E Avatar
    JEFF E

    the three of them are on the front page of the Idaho Statesman today. talk about the THREE (livestock industry) STOOGES.

  2. Mike Wolf Avatar
    Mike Wolf

    Sadly, I don’t see this campaign by the three stooges (thanks Jeff, very appropriate moniker for those three idiots) as being anything but successful. Recall that policy is affected by the vocal few. And the stooges here are just getting those vocal few even more motivated. No, they aren’t telling the truth; but they give the vocal few what they need; a “source” of truth. After all, if the governor of Idaho says it, it must be true…

    Things don’t work in Idaho as they do in most other places. Here, the good ol’ boys network is alive and well.

  3. be Avatar

    perhaps i’m an optimist ; ) –

    but the coverage of the press conference surprised me. the media made a noticeable shift – before, they delivered the “grazing = less fuel” message of the politicians and public-land profiteers wholesale – without question. but afterward, it began to tone down and emerge lower in the coverage – despite the “Three Stooges” (i like that :)) beating that drum egregiously hard in that conference. the coverage shifted to “politicians say government regulation bad”.

    we handed out literature at the conference, and made sure every outlet knew that “grazing = fuel reduction” was a crock.

    i’m not sure the “flexibility with red tape” is any better.

    also, otter made it clear these politicians efforts to cloak grazing in “fuel reductions” – he made it embarassingly clear with craig, as that video shows. cloaks demonstrate a recognition from these guys that they need to cloak – which is a better sign than before when they were comfortable just outright calling it grazing…

  4. kt Avatar

    Can’t you just see it?

    Butch Otter and Larry Craig and Mike Crapo will be “cleaning” the forest to keep it from burning. And after they have cleaned the forest of all those bothersome high fuel load trees, there will be more grass. So next they will have to essentially clearcut the grass by cattle grazing it to dust to keep the dratted fuels down. AND then – if any wolf dares to walk by to spook the cows that are making sure only that inflammable, noncombustible manure is left – KA BLAM.

    Now that’s wildfire and wildlife management, Idaho style!

    The Proposed 10J Rule will have to be amended to include slaughter of wolves if they interfere with Fuels Reduction projects. Why, those cows will be the Nation’s Frontline defense against wildfire. The job of firefighting, formerly held by rugged, strapping young folk will be “Outsourced” to Cows.

    Well, that will do at least one thing. Keep the ranchers like Bert Brackett from whining about the Feds. not fighting the fires well enough.

    AND then I bet the next maneuver of the Brackett clan and Simplot and the other Idaho greedmonger public lands ranchers will be to get Larry Craig or Mike Crapo to sponsor a Bill for Uncle Sam to mail their rancher buddies a nice big fat Paycheck for supplying the cows for firefighting purposes …

  5. mikarooni Avatar

    Well, kt, I fear that it could actually be worse than a scam to get “Uncle Sam to mail… a nice big fat Paycheck for supplying the cows for firefighting purposes.” It could be that Mark Rey gets transferred into a standard Civil Service position with the job description to work a scheme to just sell those lands, at a special discount of course, to those rancher buddies so that they can exercise their stewardship on permanent basis. You shouldn’t underestimate the enemy. One fake national incident, any excuse to implement directive 51, and who knows?

  6. kt Avatar

    Yes, Mikarooni. I very much believe that the agenda is aimed at privatization – with increased state control and/or rancher-directed “management” as an intermediate step. THAT Is why they want Jim Caswell as BLM Head – as an obliging puppet of the Idaho radical Republicans – to aid in rancher takeover of the Jardbidge and other public lands.

    They have their script down, and it has it down even before the Idaho fires – starting with Nevada wacko Gov Jim Gibbons and the Cattlemen there – the Nevada Cattlemen head named Boyd Spratling were bleating about grazing as our salvation from fire. Even though Butch Otter just quite hasn’t gotten all the scripte terms like “cleaning” down, he does get the grazing bit. After all, as he also said in the Press Conference in Boise, something like “I used to have a ranch out there” – and Simplot, of course still does. This is really about the nations’ most powerful and largest public lands welfare ranchers trying to seize control of grass, and ultimately land.

    Beating up on the BLM and beating up on Western Watersheds is all about their ultimate goal of privatization of the public lands.

    In reality, there has been close to rancher privatization of public lands in the Jarbidge up until now. This has resulted in the ecosystem collapsing even before the 2007 Murphy Complex fire. BLM squeezed by Larry Craig had just rolled over and let them dump ever more cows out on public lands. The lands burned, were re-seeded with cow food grass that burned again and again in the northern and central Jarbidge. Environmentalists lawsuits over grazing out there have somewhat broken that deathgrip Bracketts and Simplot have had on the Jarbidge. That, really, is why Brackett has a manic about him these days.

    I don’t know what directive 51 is?

    Braying Bert Brackett is their new poster boy for how the BLM has screwed up – so it is time for

  7. kt Avatar

    I left out the word “edge” following manic in describing Brackett’s tone.

  8. kim Avatar

    for all those that think repubs are the only prolbem,,, heres old dirty harry,,,,,thats hairy reid,, senate majority leader,,taking sides with the repubs on the fire issues,,,this was on the cnn website

    his year, Nevada’s Republican Gov. Jim Gibbons and U.S. Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nevada, claimed environmental groups and federal bureaucracy have contributed to fires, including one at Lake Tahoe that burned more than 250 homes.

    And this week, Idaho Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter, a rancher, and the state’s two senators, Larry Craig and Mike Crapo, joined ranchers in blaming federal safety rules for crippling early efforts to douse a 1,000-square-mile wildfire near the town of Murphy Hot Springs.

  9. mikarooni Avatar

    Ralph, you’re the prof; teach kt about directive 51 (National Security Presidential Directive/NSPD 51) and why some people are a little uneasy about it. For kt, it is George W. Bush’s restatement of our National Continuity Policy, although some believe that it is actually more Mr. Cheney’s vision of what he would like to see for a national leadership continuity line.


Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

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Ralph Maughan