In my early years, publication of a new book was an event of note!  Today, one can hardly keep up with the books being poured forth—even at a time when prognosticators claim that the printed page will give way to digital images.

Occasionally, however, there is still a book published that deserves real, actual attention.  Elizabeth Nickson has accomplished the feat with release of her book “Eco Facists”.

Nickson has strikingly described the war on our western civilization by rabid environmentalists..   Published by Harper Collins, Nickson’s book pointedly calls out the corporate environmentalists who daily finance the demise of rural America.  She graphically, dramatically, but down to earthly, explains their under and over the counter activities that are driving ranchers, farmers, miners, loggers and small town businesses and societies from their heritage.

Nickson traveled thousands and thousands of miles so that she could actually see the devastation of the land and natural resources caused by environmental organizations. She spoke at length with human beings whose lives, fortunes and dreams are being shattered by heavily funded organizations that spare no cost in fighting to control the land and water in our nation.

She walked the walk with activists fighting to resist a take-down of private property and civil rights by government agencies propelled forward by richly endowed environmental organizations.   The Nature Conservancy, the Sierra Club, the  World Wildlife Fund, American Rivers, Defenders of Wildlife, and the Wilderness Society are all involved in the strategy of lobbying government agencies toward action that ignore the human environment.  Some of these organizations are staffed by concerned, ethical individuals; some are staffed by radicals who care not at all for the rights of individual human beings.  The former may truly believe they are doing a service by buying up and “protecting” land and water resources; the latter are knowingly attacking property rights and the traditional economy of the natural resource industry that forms the backbone of our rural America.  Both are striking at the heart of American rural life.

Nickson has ably documented  that the well-funded environmentalists buy up land so that they can control the water that is critical to life in all rural areas.  She shows that  often these organizations turn such land  over to the government for restrictive regulatory control.  When that transfer of ownership occurs, at least two economic adversities result:  land is removed from the tax rolls that provide revenue for local government services, and an economic management burden is placed on a federal government already mired in debilitating debt.

The widespread, ravaging fires of 2012, destroyed federally owned and managed forest and range lands.  Management agencies failed to properly  manage those lands.  Their failures result from shortage of funds,  a plethora of activist federal judges who micro-manage federal lands to the detriment of loggers, miners, ranchers and farmers, and a formal education system that produces advocates of preservation to the exclusion of active management.

In her travels, Nickson observed and discusses many individuals who are fully committed to use all their means to help defend the national heritage and independence of country folks—those who have fed America, remained loyal to America even though distrustful of the politicians who Captain and crew the Ship of State, who thank their God for their blessings derived from making His earth and water productive, and thank God for the privilege of protecting His earth and water and creatures.

It would be serious error for anyone to believe that Nickson is “anti-environment”.  She is one of the most earnest activists for a sound environment that I have encountered.  She has constructed and lives in one of the most environmentally green and sound homes imaginable on Salt Spring Island in the Pacific Northwest.  She refers to that island as “The Green Fantasy Island.”   She chronicles the harm to the Island that results from the work of preservationist environmentalists. Her distress at the damage done to the human and natural environment of the Island is clearly painted in her words.

I have met Elizabeth; I have worked beside her as she studies people, organizations, the land and natural resources, and the diabolic forces that have committed themselves to the destruction of our national heritage.  She is empathetic to the hard working, decent, down to earth working people who brave the forces of nature, the fickleness of the market place, and the regulatory nonsense imposed by bureaucrats either through ignorance of sound  science and nature or through malice.  But, she is objective in analysis and description.  She recognizes, as do many of us, that whether the damage to those who work the land and water is caused by malice or not, the result is the same:  malicious and destructive. 

A highly intelligent and skilled writer is Elizabeth Nickson.   She certainly is that—but she is more.  She is a deeply concerned human being—-committed to drawing back the veil of secrecy that shrouds  environmentalist dedication to cracking the backbone of our nation—the hard working, tax paying, voting rural Americans who are generationally  dedicated to protecting and preserving our national lands, water and resources.  In this highly readable, fascinating book, she tells the stories of the tragedies that are suffered by landowners whose rights are attacked.  She goes beyond description of the problem and discusses the way all of us can activate for protection of our rights, our traditional way of life in rural America.  There are many who can discuss the problems, but few who provide solutions.  There are few who describe the problems in real terms, painting pictures of the real people affected.   This is a book that does proud our Revolutionary heroes who crafted this marvelous Republic.  Nickson provides the method by which we can get in the trenches to work to take back our America.

Every American who worries about the future of our rural traditions needs to read “Eco Facists” by Elizabeth Nickson.


                  November 21, 2012—————————by Fred Kelly Grant

“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized”—-

                            The United States Constitution, Amendment Four



General David Petraeus and Paula Broadwell had rights to security of themselves, their papers and effects that were violated by an FBI agent with a personal axe to grind.  The Fourth Amendment was tossed into the wind on a whim. 


No matter how one feels about the personal-sexual affair that was exposed and admitted, surely we all must be more offended by the broader scandal evidenced by the abuse of the Fourth Amendment.  Without a warrant, without probable cause of any kind, a single FBI agent penetrated the Fourth Amendment wall surrounding Broadwell’s personal communications via e-mail.  The unlawful penetration was accomplished by an agent responding to a personal grievance by a mere individual citizen, Jill Kelley.  The agent no doubt wanted to curry Kelley’s favor; after all, he had sent her a shirtless photo of himself.


In order to further Kelley’s personal interests and therefore, his own, this agent used the power of his position to penetrate Broadwell’s security.  Then, that breach led, without probable cause and a warrant, to breach of General Petraeus’ e-mails.  At this point, there is no telling how far reaching was this breach of privacy and security—-all without a warrant and to serve a United States agent’s personal interests in a woman.


What a state we have come to in this 223rd year of our Republic.  Every FBI agent swears to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.  Every official appointed and elected to represent the people takes the same oath.  FBI agents therefore commit to protect individual and personal rights guaranteed by the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution.


We have come to a state where the oath is meaningless.  None of us are secure in our persons, papers or effects when a single agent for personal purposes can invade personal communications without a warrant.


That to me is the focus that should now be put on the Petraeus story.  Nevermind that a national personality who has served us well in the military has been victimized.  You and I can be victimized in the same way.


Nevermind that an FBI agent curried favor of a lady to whom he had sent a photo obviously designed for sensuous purposes.  Where was the protection that should have been in place above him in the FBI?  Where was the protection that should have been in place with those who provided him the information that allowed his unlawful intrusion?


During the past two weeks, we have seen the fall out from one of the most egregious violations of the Fourth Amendment that I have ever witnessed in my seven plus decades of life.  Libertarians and civil rights enthusiasts of all political and social leanings should be enraged—they should be standing side by side in an effort to force our Congress and our President to ensure that federal agents paid by our tax dollars observe and obey the Constitution they all swore to protect and defend.


We need no new laws to accomplish this objective!  In fact, God help us if Congress tries to “protect” us as it did in passing the so-called “Patriot Act”, which in fact is a violation of the Constitution in so many ways.   The President simply has to issue an Executive Order that anyone violating the Fourth Amendment or any other provision of the Constitution will be fired, along with his supervisors all the way up to the Cabinet member overseeing the Department.  The Congress needs only to oversee that this is done, holding up all budgets until the Executive Order is issued.  Then, the Congress needs only to hold up approving an appropriation to any Department that is shown through Congressional oversight to have violated the Executive Order.


It is that simple.  But just watch!  When the issue comes to the floor of Congress it will become controverted and confused in a discussion of protection against terrorism, white collar crimes, narcotics conspiracies, syndicate murders, and every other form of “scare tactic” that the enforcement agencies and their sheep in Congress can muster.  Our freedom, guaranteed by the Fourth Amendment, will pale into insignificance in the discussion.  The fact that each person in the discussion swore to uphold, to protect and defend that Amendment will be ignored.  All will fail to protect our rights in the name of and under color of “protecting” us from terrorists and criminals.


And, forgotten and swept under the rug will be the criminal acts of a shirtless FBI agent playing up to a woman who used her charm to gain status with VIPs and who was grieved by a competitor for status.


How we have changed as a Nation in 223 years, just a blink of an eye in God’s time.   How ashamed of us would be the Founders who placed their lives, their possessions, their sacred honor on the line for us.  How ashamed of us would be all the men and women who have given their lives and bodies in battle in the name of protecting and defending the Constitution.


The Founders who drafted the Constitution, and who sat in the legislatures that ratified the Constitution and the first Ten Amendments, were determined to free themselves and us from officious and overbearing government interference with their and our lives.  One of the real problems the Founders addressed was the warrantless search and seizure process to which colonials had been subjected.  English troops and officials had routinely entered homes and privately owned ships and warehouses to search for and seize firearms, goods that may have come into the country without payment of tariffs, and papers evidencing sedition.


Our Founders resisted English override of the rights they claimed dating back to the Magna Carta forced on King John in 1249.  The open, candid reason for the movement that resulted in the Revolutionary War and Independence was that England had broken faith with the personal, individual rights guaranteed to English citizens.


Following adoption of the Constitution in Philadelphia, the legislatures of the States added the Bill of Rights, including the Fourth Amendment that protects “persons, houses, papers and effects.”  It was and is an amendment guaranteeing security of personal and individual rights, not just security of the home.  “Effects” is a term of common usage today and in 1789: “personal belongings” (Oxford dictionary).


The Amendment states specifically, not in general terms, that “the right to be secure” in their persons, houses, papers and effects shall not be violated.  The word “secure” is again, a word of common usage both in 1789 and today: The Oxford dictionary defines the term as “certain to remain safe and unthreatened”, “feeling confident and free from fear or anxiety”, and as a verb “protect against threats; make safe.”  Oxford’s scholars trace the term back to the mid 16th century, its use coming from “the sense of feeling no apprehension” and originating in the “Latin securus, from se-‘without’ + cura-‘care’” (See on line “Oxford Dictionaries, definition of “secure”).


Broadwell’s security, her right to feel no apprehension, her right to remain safe and unthreatened, in her intimately personal communications—not to the world, but to one man—was clearly violated.  So was the same right of General Patraeus.  So were the rights of every person to whom the two sent emails and from whom they received emails—-not just about their personal and intimate lives but on all subjects.


The identity of the FBI agent should become a name known in every household in America; the identity of his supervisor and of every person in the chain of command who reviewed these emails and did not immediately suspend or fire the violating agent should be made public NOW.  And disciplinary action should be taken.


No rational person in this Nation can believe that a warrantless search and perusal of a person’s electronic communications to another person or group of persons is permissible in light of the specific language of the Constitution!  I truly believe that defense of the shirtless FBI’s agent violation of security can be made only by a bureaucrat, an overzealous enforcement agency, the Congress, or activist courts that try to explain away our Constitutional rights for the “good of the whole”.


No libertarian, no civil rights supporter, in fact no Tea Party member true to the message he or she delivers, should stand still for such obvious and blatant violation of the security of Paula Broadwell, General David Petraeus, and others involved in the sordid web.


Next could be you.  All it takes, it seems, is an agent of the government that has a personal grievance against you—-or an agent that has a personal interest in any man or woman who has a personal grievance against you.  Scary?  I say it is scandalous!! 

Every one of us should demand of our representatives in Congress that oversight and budget actions be taken to assure that there is accountability by the agent, and the Department for this violation of civil rights!!

I do hope that Broadwell will file a Civil Rights Act violation civil action against the agent and the Department.  As shown by the case and jury verdict against FBI agents in Chicago many years ago, the “law” will not tolerate these violations if the citizen has the intestinal fortitude to pursue remedy.  With what Broadwelll has already suffered, what has she to lose by filing and pursuing the action.

The person who also has such right, in my opinion, is Mrs. Patraeus who has been dragged into public embarrassment through absolutely no fault of her own.  My guess is that her emails too were read and reviewed.  If so, I hope against hope that she will file such a Civil Rights Act violation civil suit.

But, in the meantime, we MUST DEFEND OURSELVES.


November 3, 2012—————————————-by Fred Kelly Grant

As election day approaches, I look forward to voting “NO” to the Luna Laws, Propositions 1, 2, and 3—I have intended to vote “No” from the inception. I signed a petition to put the Propositions on the ballot; I signed a petition to recall the Superintendent whose name the Propositions bear: the Luna Laws named for Tom Luna whose experience in education was never in the classroom: he was an undistinguished member of the school board in Nampa, and he worked in the Bush administration with the infamously failed “No Child Left Behind”. He was cozy in that administration with the people who thrive on electronic, digital teaching—and one of his “Laws” requires local school districts to provide each high school student with his or her own personal laptop. You parents, can you imagine the condition of those laptops after three months?

The Luna Laws are deceitful, and the pr campaign run for the supporters of his laws have been deceitful by glossing over the flaws of the laws and portraying them as needed for reform. They were also deceitful by trying to evade the Idaho Sunshine Law and hide the names of some of the Big Spenders. One had to wonder why the Biggies would want secrecy if they truly believed they were donating to a betterment of education, as opposed to donating to defeat the teachers.

EVEN IF I HAD NOT ALREADY MADE UP MY MIND TO VOTE “no” on propositions 1,2, and 3, I would have been swayed to that position by the audacity of the Luna supporters to defy the Sunshine law and hide the names of contributors to the advertising coffers. Just imagine the Mayor of New York having such interest in “reform of Idaho education” that he would fork over a fifth of a million dollars to the cause—but in wanting to keep his donation a secret!!

If His Honor believes that Idaho kids are not getting a good enough education to prepare them to visit New York City, why not openly say to the people who put Propositions 1, 2, and 3 on the ballot “I am in favor of better education for your kids so that they can be better prepared to enjoy the resources in my Great City, so I gave a fifth of a million dollars to help ‘reform’ your system.”

But he obviously wanted his contribution hidden from the voters of Idaho. As did Joe Scott, Intermountain Gas, the National Governors’ Conference, the United States Chamber of Commerce, and an off-continent Simplot company. They wanted to evade the Sunshine law. They wanted to play on the “dark side” as suggested by Dan Popkey of the Idaho Statesman.

The organization chaired by Debbie Field, Governor Otter’s campaign chairman, tried desperately to protect the secrecy of these donors. It utilized the services of a highly effective lobbyist who knows the dangers of revealing the identities of contributors, who fully understands the reason why the Sunshine was enacted through the Initiative process by citizens who defied their legislators who also wanted to protect the identities of donors. When the Sunshine Initiative was enacted by the people of Idaho, not the legislature, they obviously intended that they know who spent money to persuade them to vote. I voted for Sunshine because I want to know who is trying to sway my vote, and how much they are spending to do so. As in Watergate, if you follow the money you can tell the special interest that is willing to spend heavily to buy votes. There is and was no question in my mind as to what the Sunshine law meant.

There is no question in Ben Ysursa’s mind either. As official in charge of elections, the Secretary of State rejected Field’s attempt to hide the names of the contributors who were anxious to spend huge amounts support the Luna Laws. Field’s spokesman John Foster was quoted as saying that the Secretary was wrong, and the group wouldn’t yield to the demand for identification of donors.

Faced with this intentional, knowing violation of the law, Mr. Secretary filed a lawsuit against the secrecy forces. Dan Popkey identified the group as playing from the “dark side”—secrecy in violation of the peoples’ intent. Again, the leaders of the group contended their innocence and predicted victory.

In court before Judge Weatherall, the organization argued that the donors intended to contribute to the reformation of education in Idaho and did not know that their funds would be used for campaigning, and did not have intention of having their funds used for campaigning. Interesting argument—-so did the leaders of the organization deceive their donors into thinking that they were really contributing only to education reform? I sincerely doubt it. So did the Secretary who did his duty to protect Idaho’s voters.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Mayor of New York City, was so excited about Idaho education that he gave a fifth of a Million dollars to “reform education” here? I’m sure his real interest was in the quality of Idaho education—that means so much to New York City. Idahoans who visit New York City are surely valued because their education system has been “reformed”. Until that happens, the New York budget will suffer. I’m sure that when Idaho’s “first lady”, Ms. Otter, contacted the Mayor she persuaded him to give to reform Idaho’s education system. I’m sure she didn’t, rather, say that her husband needed help to defeat the teachers’ association, or union. I’m sure that Bloomberg’s open hostility to teachers’ bargaining organization had nothing to do with Ms. Otter contacting him above all other mayors in the big cities of America who are desperately interested in the quality of education here. I’m sure the Ms. Otter did not tell His Honor that his money would be used to campaign against that ugly old teachers’ bargaining association. I’m sure that he just opened up his wallet and produced a fifth of a MILLION dollars to help Idaho kids get a “reformed” education. Right. And anyone who believes that, I still own 79 acres of land in Murphy, Idaho (with thousands of dollars in taxes owed) that I will offer for $200,000. If the good Mayor would put up another $200,000 I could donate that land to the reformation of Idaho education—-and throw in a couple of laptops.

Joe Scott has invested heavily in K-12, the automated education giant that serves as a focal point for the Idaho “reform”. I’m sure that the quarter of a million dollars he gave was not motivated by his financial interests in furthering his investment interests. The full page ad that his outfit took out in the Statesman had everything to do with “reform” and nothing with anti-union sympathy or investment interests. Keep in mind that property in Murphy that Mr. Scott and all of you still have a chance to buy and donate.

The rest of the list of contributors raises the question as to why any one of them would have been ashamed to admit that they contributed to the ill-advised Luna Laws. Why would they not want to brag about contributing to the cause of defeating the peoples’ will expressed by the thousands of signatures it took to get the propositions on the ballot. I can understand why Intermountain Gas might want to hide its $10,000 donation. Knowledge of that donation just might lead to citizen complaints to the Public Utilities Commission about the utility using funds coming from citizens’ rate payments to oppose the views expressed by thousands of those citizens. I know at least one such complaint that will be filed—-by a guy who owns 79 acres out in Murphy. So, the secrecy bid of Intermountain Gas will not end with disclosure. The Commission no doubt will stonewall and protect the “good guy” utility, but at least it will have to respond.

Just think about it, if you signed to put the propositions on the ballot: your payment for your gas bill is a source of funding a political position contrary to what you support. Same for the National Governors’ organization. Our state pays fees to belong to that group. Those fees come from your tax dollars. If you signed to put propositions 1, 2, and 3 on the ballot, your tax dollars are being used to support an organization that is contributing money to fight against your position. Your tax dollars are being used to fight you.

It should appear strange that an organization dedicated to bettering education in Idaho would begin its efforts by violating a fundamental law originated and passed by the people themselves—-a law that our “conservatively moral” legislators refused to pass. A law designed to educate Idahoans as to who is working against them—who is willing to spend a quarter of a million dollars to sway their votes. The “reformers of education” violated the law that “reformed” politics: the Sunshine law designed to bring transparency to politics in Idaho.

I was certainly interested in finding out who spent so much to try to sway me from my “NO” vote on propositions that cut at the core of quality of education: the teachers. I had no idea that education reform in Idaho was so important to the mayor of New York City that he would take time away from the crime, garbage, traffic, budget, and overload of services required to run his city—-time away from his own education problems—to weigh in for quality of education in Idaho.

Now, Scott was no surprise. The huge expense of a full page Statesman ad, the knowledge that he has a personal financial interest in on-line education, made his participation in trying to buy votes a virtual cinch. The participation of the National Governors’ association, effectively using tax dollars to fight the wishes of Idaho tax payers, was not really a surprise because the Luna effort is truly that of the Governor. Luna’s experience as a school board member in Nampa never demonstrated enough savvy to put together the Luna Laws. He was not distinguished then and he is not distinguished now. When he refers to those who oppose the propositions as “thugs” he demonstrates that lack of savvy. When Ms. Field referred to them as “thugs”—-to all of you who oppose the propositions as “thugs”, she also included Ben Ysursa as part of that “thug” group. The audacity of this woman to so label Ysursa was beyond the pale of civilized politics.

Intermountain Gas did surprise me. I am surprised that the Gas utility paid to defeat the wishes of so many of its customers—using their fees to pay for a campaign against their interests. It surprises me that its leaders so willingly submitted to the virtual certainty of rate payer protests to the regulatory agencies.
The political and legal niceties of the particular law under which Fields’ group was formed is of no interest to me; what is of interest is that the contributors would give so much to defeat the wishes of Idahoans who put the propositions on the ballot, and would fight so hard to hide their donations from the view of those same Idahoans.

For reasons that have very effectively been presented by thoughtful writings to newspapers and on blogs, I will vote “no”. These propositions will not improve education; they aren’t designed to improve education; they are designed to remove the teachers’ representatives from the contract equations. Why? Because the school board members of many local districts do not have the savvy to secure representation as skilled as the teachers’ representatives.

I worked with Judge Edward J. Lodge at a time when some of the first challenges by teachers to their terminations were filed. The decisions of Judge Lodge affirmed that those teachers had been denied due process of law by their superintendents and by their school boards. Teachers were at the mercy of superintendents who had no interest in providing due process of law, and school boards not interested in crossing their superintendents. But the teachers’ association was smart enough to hire one of the very best lawyers in Idaho to secure due process of law: Byron Johnson who would go on to become a distinguished Justice on the Idaho Supreme Court. Had the school districts, had the superintendents practiced and applied sound constitutional law, and provided due process and fairness, the teachers’ association would not have been needed.

Today, again it is needed—-to help fight off the Mayor Bloombergs, the Joe Scotts, the National Governors Association, the United States Chamber of Commerce, a Simplot off continent organization who can far outspend the ability of teachers to defend their opportunity to teach our kids. Mr. Mayor, I hope your money was spent in vain. I hope that there is a resounding NO vote that says to you: “Not in Our House! Stick to fighting the teachers’ representatives in your House!!”