Horse News

National Academy of Science tells BLM to use Delphi (manipulate you)


by Debbie Coffey        Copyright 2013           All Rights Reserved.

Some advocacy groups quickly lauded certain aspects of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) report regarding the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Wild Horse & Burro Program, but, there was one aspect that Americans who love free speech should be concerned about:

On page 275 of this report, under the Chapter 8 topic of Social Considerations, the NAS Board advised the Bureau of Land Management:

“One possible method to gather the latest information from experts and to focus it on a particular problem is to use a Delphi process.”

What’s troubling about this?   The Delphi process was developed in the 1950s by the Rand Corporation, and has since been used for the purpose of maneuvering segments of the public into accepting predetermined government policies.

In other words, the Delphi process gives the illusion of public input and participation, but the input isn’t really considered and participation doesn’t matter.  It’s basically just a way for the government to pretend there is public participation and accountability.

photos_Par_27912_Image_-1_-1_1   BLM photo of National Wild Horse & Burro Advisory Board meeting

Here’s how the Delphi process works:  There is a predetermined outcome.  (Most likely, not the one you’d hoped for.)   And who picks the supposedly unbiased “experts” who will be submitting “the latest information?”  Who chooses what to “focus” on?  (Not you.)

There may be a series of meetings where people are broken into smaller groups and sit at different tables around the room.  The purpose of this is that if knowledgeable people arrive together, they’ll have to sit with strangers and hopefully be more subdued.

Each table will have a facilitator, who will know which way to help “steer” the group.  The people will be instructed to answer some questions among themselves, then arrive at a table “consensus.”

The Delphi process often uses surveys to bring about this “consensus,” but the questions on the survey are loaded and skewed to manipulate the desired outcome.  The survey will use grading like “agree all of the time, agree most of the time, agree some of the time, and don’t agree.  Or, the survey will ask respondents to use ratings like “most important, moderately important and least important.”

After the first survey, people are told most people agreed or somewhat agreed with the predetermined outcome.  Then, people are given another survey and are asked if they can be flexible and try to rethink the “few remaining” areas of disagreement.  Then, the respondents are told that the majority achieved a “consensus” (which is the direction that the group leading this meeting wanted:  the predetermined outcome).

Someone is chosen to speak for the table, most likely a person who has been secretly pre-briefed about the desired Delphi outcome.  The table “spokesperson” is the only one allowed to address the podium and there will be little, if any, opportunity to address the podium or the crowd directly.


Under Chapter 8 of the NAS report, the committee also advises the BLM to use Appreciative Inquiry (AI).  AI creates a situation where people in a group only talk about positive things, not any problems or “negative” aspects of an issue.

An example of this might be if you had to rack your brain to think of something good about the BLM’s mismanaged Wild Horse & Burro Program, you might think “Well, sometimes a few horses are adopted by nice people.”

So, using AI, you’d ONLY be able to talk about nice people adopting wild horses.  You wouldn’t be able to talk about the BLM’s skewed population inventories/estimates with no photos or videos to back up their wild claims of excessive horses and burros.  You wouldn’t be able to bring up issues like the BLM’s roundups and inhumane handling of wild horses and burros.

You wouldn’t be able to express concerns about the lack of public access and accountability with BLM’s blanket bait trapping contracts, where the public doesn’t know when or where these roundups are taking place.  You wouldn’t be able to talk about horses needing shade while warehoused in feedlot conditions in sweltering temperatures.  You also wouldn’t be able to ask about the many thousands of wild horses and burros that most likely have gone to slaughter.

I’m not sure who would appreciate “Appreciative Inquiry,” but I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t be wild horse & burro advocates.

Appreciative Inquiry has been critiqued for being almost evangelically focused on “the positive” (Dick 2004) and too “Pollyanna-ish” (Fitzgerald, Murrell & Newman, 2001).  Rogers and Fraser (2003) question whether AI encourages “unrealistic and dysfunctional perceptions, attitudes, and behavior.”  Golembiewski (2000) noted that AI discourages analysis.

Most importantly, if you don’t look at problems, how can you fix them?   This process isn’t about fixing problems, it is about controlling your participation and input.

BLM has already been denying problems with their program for a long time.  It showed callousness (and a lot of gall) for a BLM employee to speak at a National Wild Horse & Burro Advisory Board meeting and say “You have to go slow to go fast” in referring to developing a humane treatment policy, after the BLM has blatantly ignored their mandate to care for the wild horses and burros for 42 years.  (That’s going pretty slow.)

The NAS suggestions in Chapter 8 of the report seem to squelch your right to speak at a public meeting.  (There is already little opportunity to speak at most BLM meetings now, even at the upcoming National Wild Horse & Burro Advisory Board meeting.  Public comment time is always strictly limited on the agenda.)

With the Delphi process, anyone who tries to speak out in opposition may be told from the podium “We don’t have time to discuss that now,” or “We discussed that on another date,” or “We can discuss that after the meeting.”

In other words, your comments won’t be on public record, and the predetermined outcome will then look like a unanimous decision.  They may even try to discredit you.  This technique is meant to bully people into submission.

It has been advised that people who don’t want to be manipulated by the Delphi process arrive separately, and sit far apart.  Remain polite, smile, but be firm.  The Dephi facilitators are trained to make anyone who doesn’t accept their agenda look aggressive or silly.

If the facilitators interrupt you, listen politely, then ask your question or make your comment again.  If they try to distort your question or your comment, clarify to the group that this is not what you were saying, and then repeat your comment or question verbatim.  If your friends do the same, and you persist, you may retain some control over free speech and the democratic process.  Or, go hold your own meeting at another location and give your plan to the government agency.

This isn’t just about the BLM and wild horse & burro advocates.  This issue should be of concern to everyone who cares about our Constitution and free speech.


33 replies »

  1. May they can fool some of the people but it doesn’t work for me. Maybe I’tooold and cynical to fall for their mind control games.


  2. Ironically, AI stands for not only Appreciative Inquiry, but Artificial Intelligence. What the National Academy of Sciences recommended to the BLM — the Delphi process — is just the opposite of a true inquiry or real intelligence. It is totally fake.

    Speaking of “fake,” the website contains the blog posts of investigative journalist Jon Rappoport, who has been studying and writing about mind control for many years. Here is his latest commentary on the subject:


  3. It is about the First Amendment – whoever suggested that groups sit separately are probably the facilitators – easier to manipulate & control if group members are separated – But if a really LARGE group goes, they’ll have a chance of having at least 3 or more members at each table – Might consider asking the ACLU for help – it is a very serious violation of the Constitution – there are probably a few tree-huggers there who would favor of the animal & horse advocates’ cause.

    About the BLM & DOI – They’ve been doing this for 42 years, & many believe their administrators are taking money/favors from special interest groups, etc – has anyone thought that money is being paid BY the BLM & DOI to outside groups/interests/politicians to keep this farce going? They’re making a hell of a lot of money that they waste on their ridiculous & abusive projects & what better way to keep it going but to join the money flow both directions. Why aren’t they using their money for the right things – because its possibly being re-distributed within the hierarchy of the organization – the whole thing is a con.


    • there are definitely implied special
      Favors with cooperative agreements
      Look at groups like Ducks Unlimited
      And Safari Club and hunting clubs signing
      Cooperative agreements with BLM and Forest
      Service. They agree to promote
      Each other’s interests. It’s you
      Scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours


  4. Great article Debbie….and Thanks to Ann Novak to bring the ill suited BLM tactics to the forefront.
    I know I keep repeating myself. Major public awareness is “Extremely” important
    since brain washing has been ongoing for many years.


    • I agree Robyn…I can not tell you how many people do not know about all this locally here in Reno where PVC is…John Potter at KTVN did a great report and that got the ball rolling…public awareness is crucial and we need to let the national media know about what’s going on and I have been saying that for months….


  5. Sounds just like one of the BLM meetings that have been posted right here-how many times I have read a post on here “give them a chance” “they are trying to do their best” and one preson who goes out to photgraph roundups “the people(BLM) are so nice” you just want to reach through the computer screen and choke them.

    I found this quote the other day and it is so true here “for our country a government of
    the people, instead of a government by an oligarchy, a government maintaining before the world the rights of men rather than the privileges of masters.”


  6. Thank you Deb Coffey for reminding us of this frightening and obviously devious manipulation of “we the people”. The Delphi reminds me of the BLM contractor wild horse and burro capture traps that aim the wild ones toward the trap and then continue to manipulate them until they are in the jute trap and then the metal traps … and then gone forever with no control over their lives.
    But there ARE a few that escape these traps … like the great black stallion FREEDOM. We must follow the example of FREEDOM.


  7. When I attended BLM meetings in New Mexico in the 80s for a coalition to stop a dam in a bird sanctuary we all sat around a big conference table and we talked. We asked questions and added information. And we always got positive results. The amount of money spent on PR and manipulation is outrageous. I feel that hiring PR to lie to the public needs to be illegal. And public meetings need to be exactly that; public. If we were all able to sit eye to eye then we would stand a fighting chance.

    We had all this done to us in Denver in 2010 and yet we found a spirit together back then and we felt we had at least thumbed our noses, very politely, right back at BLM by the end of the day.

    All these nominations of good folks for the Board sounds nice but in case non of you are chosen I would like to suggest we just boycott their meeting. Of course there are those of you still thinking ‘we might miss something!’ Would we? Have we? Do more with your money than let these impotent people piss you off.


  8. I went to my first ( and last) WH&B Advisory board meeting in Wash. DC about 3 yrs ago. I did not know there was a name, Delphi process, for what I called “a gratuitous gesture to the Public process.” It sounds like NAS is recommending to BLM a method for dealing with their public image problem NOT their WH&B management problem. So much for 400 pp. of “science” and SO – another contract and more $$$$$, which could be used for on-the-range management, will be awarded to some private entity to facilitate this process, while BLM does business as usual out on the range.


    • You’re right, Lyn. BLM paid
      Over a million dollars of taxpayer
      Money for this report, and about
      A million to that PR firm 2-3 years ago. That would’ve bought
      A lot of shade structures.
      If the BLM doesn’t know what they’re doing,
      They shouldn’t be managing the wild horses & burros.


      • PER

        Description: WILD HORSE&BURRO STUDY
        Signed Date:
        Obligation Amount:

        … not sure if more $ has been paid to them since the study was published but the contract does not show it is closed out so assume they will be paid more…

        PS The National Academy of Science has been paid almost TWO -BILLION dollars by the government in the last few years for this and other work … does anyone actually believe that they would “bite the hand that feeds them” ?


  9. Horse advocates are not just fighting for horses here. Horse advocates are fighting for all of OUR RIGHTS as well. We can not let the government ram rod us all, the way they do the horses.


  10. Monika Courtney realized immediately that the BLM was using the Delphi method. She challenged them about their use of this method and, as usual, received no response, Clearly its the only recommendation in the NAS report the BLM finds useful.


  11. It is sad that so many people fall for anything this government has to say. It’s easier to be blind, deaf and mute. It has been obvious for years… I find it rather ironic that BLM always asks for people’s opinions on their planned roundups. I do give my opinion every time. Mostly just to get the frustration out, because it is probably never read and surely doesn’t do a bit of good for the horses. So many things they say makes them look like complete fools, but the awful part is so many other people believe them!


  12. Ahhhhhhh. Here is where a lack of critical thinking skills come into play. The TX republican platform, for the 2012 elections, was going to try to remove any and all critical thinking courses from the TX school systems.


  13. Sooooo….why should we trust the NAS –sure they came up with a fine report–but the bottom line is BLM just marches on wiping out herds and genetics….and “We the people” are screwed again—-and told the same old lies (manipulated) by both the BLM and the NAS ! My taxes pay for this perfidy?


  14. This is a technique that has been used for many years by developers or Smart Growth Advocates to bring massive developments to areas that do not want them. I have participated in one such battle and learned that what they call “chaos” among the participants is there label for people who balk, fight, point out truths and literally will not be dominated. Yes, they refer to us who cannot be herded as bringing chaos – chaos which they cannot control stops them.


    • Deliberate bad ethics (especially for money) is a mortal sin in the scientific community – there has to be an organization and/or group of REAL scientists who can take the NAS (or the 1 or 2 people within the NAS) who are perpetrating this travesty of science & nature – how can we contact them & get some help on this issue?


  15. Well I for one have not been fooled by the BLM and their comment process. I knew a long time ago that all of our writing was going no where and that the BLM already knew what the outcome was going to be. I have received several letters back with no logical explanation of why they stayed their course. I knew it was something the BLM had to do because of their internal policies. They had to at least make the public think they had a say. But I still wrote just in case someone at the BLM was honest enough to help the horses. Now that was foolish thinking on my part.


    • I agree with what you say except for the last line … you were not foolish to write. If nobody said or did anything then things would be even worse than they are.
      “Many drops make a bucket, many buckets make a pond, many ponds make a lake, and many lakes make an ocean.”


  16. Debbie, u r an amazing writer. I am so proud of u. We are all fighting for our rights in some form of & or another. I live up here in susanville & it’s all quiet. BLM & their possee tell us all lies. Basicly they tell us nothing.
    I lived in virginia…there is chincoteague. another place where wild horses roam. It’s beautiful. Close to the water. I would love to know what is going on there.

    Love u debbie



    • Did you know that back in the 70s some of our Twin Peaks horses were sent to Chincoteague Island to help with the genetic health of those horses? Read the book “The Wild Horse Gatherers” (cheap copies available on Amazon)


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