William Walter Kay's Error Cascade

I am an intuitive in a world of rationalists, which basically means that to the rational, I appear to skip steps, at least. More typically, I can elicit the response from purists, “I don’t believe you”.  Forced to retrace my thinking, I can always make the connections.  It kindof hurts because I like to think fast, but I always find great pleasure in proving I am right.

In the conservative half of the world, pretty much everyone is all about pure reason, and statistics – this works, this doesn’t – I generally agree with the thinking and conclusions and admire enormously the work, intelligence and virtue of those doing the reasoning, but add that unless you dress those statistics in flesh and blood, and emotion and loss and drama, well you don't reach over half the sentient beings on the planet who order their lives and political opinion almost entirely by their strongly held feelings.  As a result, many of those view “conservatives” or “libertarians” with suspicion and they distrust all their findings.  Equally most conservatives and libertarians view intuitives like me – I’m using gross Jungian categories - and those with emotional intelligence as complete idiots. Which is why the political world seems irretrievably upside down.

Which brings me to a person named William Walter Kay in Alberta, who publishes a blog the address of which is Ecofascism.com.  I have not read this blog, except to note its presence in the universe, but he has noticed me – no doubt because my book title corresponds with his blog title, and in a very long generally positive disquisition on my book, which I could not read because his use of the language is um, crude and snarky, he has an addendum called Nickson’s error cascade.  Since his points will live until he stops paying his server bills, here are my corrections of his accusations.  I have largely ignored his opinions and conclusions where he is not challenging my facts.  Facts are important and I do not want a less positively inclined reviewer to depend upon his assumptions about my facts, because they are wrong.


A note on the title.  Patrick Moore told me that on the first voyage of Greenpeace’s Rainbow Warrior in the 70’s, Bob Hunter coined the phrase ‘Eco-Fascism” and worried that the movement would end up as a control mechanism. The word has been around for almost 40 years. No one owns it.  Kay complains that I do not distinguish between Stalinism, Nazism, and Fascism.  For my purposes, they are the same; the only difference in any case is which group the dictator chooses as class enemy.  Stalin and Mao destroyed the land owning class first.  Hitler went after wealthy Jews.  In its simplest definition, fascism is government control of everything.


Oh, before I forget, he considers me insufficiently anti-green, since I say I “need green” like air and water.  Yeah, I’m a country person.   I have come to cordially loathe cities with their noise, and stink and sensory overload and there are many people like me in the world. I consider myself unbelievably fortunate to live among ever-changing, drenching natural beauty, and think everyone should have the opportunity to live the way I do, if they so choose, rather than being warehoused in inevitably increasingly toxic mega-cities.  Cities are not the answer, or at least not the whole answer.  If they continue to grow as so many promote, residents will experience more crime, more pollution, more viruses, more allergies, more noise, and more geopathic stress.


Equally, I do not think persistent organic pollutants are a good thing, for instance and there are many other green concerns with which I concur and for which I would fight, if necessary.  To my mind, we need better filters all round; better filters already exist by the way, they are just not in use.  I recycle, I don’t care if it’s foolish, some day it won’t be.  We use pesticides and herbicides sparingly in our garden.


I also think that the general visual disaster of our built and machined environment triggers much of the popular support of the green movement. In contrast, I love my very beautiful, environmentally sensitive ‘healthy’ house bracketed by its meadows and forest and now consider traditional stick framed houses almost primitive. I wish my salmon enhancement project actually worked; maybe someday it will.  I like my geothermal plant, expensive as it was – it is simply better heating - and I think all things, including energy should be conserved and that caring for the nature around you enhances your humanity and health.


So with a big sigh, here we go



KAY:  “In the United States, urban areas take up 2.6 percent of the landmass. Including agricultural and rural development raises that figure to 5.6 percent of the land base in use…”(p. 96) 


“…despite restricting development to 3% of the American continent.” (p. 200) 
These figures imply the developed agricultural area of the USA is equal to or less than 3% of the total landmass of the USA. 

Most USA government agencies estimate the USA’s permanent cropland/pastureland to cover around 42% of the USA’s landmass

This is an error of interpretation on Mr. Kay’s part. When I say development, I mean buildings and concrete – I think this definition is generally accepted.  These figures are taken from the 2011 Statistical Abstract of the United States:  http://census-gov/compendia/statab/.  They were published in a story in the New York Times on January 7, 2011.  http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2011/01/07/us/CENSUS.html?hp,

Also, figures are confirmed by Wendell Cox, who is surely the best demographer on this land use change, most particularly his 2006 War on the Dream:  How Anti-Sprawl Policy Threatens the Quality of Life, (New York: iUniverse, 2006) page 74, Figure 5.1.

I add the point, based on Cox’s research that the U.S. has 50% rural open space, 4% more than in 1950.  Rather than metastasizing development, we have more unused land, not less.

Kay:  “Ten percent (more than a million acres) of New York State is classed as wilderness, and another 20% (more than 2 million acres) is classified as forest preserve…”  (p. 41) 

These figures imply New York State has a landmass slightly larger than 10 million acres. 

New York State’s landmass is 34.9 million acres.

Nickson:  The wilderness and forest preserve figures are taken directly from New York State’s Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) description of conserved state lands and my percentage calculation was based on my addition of formally conserved lands standing around 10 million acres.  I am aware that New York State is almost 35 million acres.  I further state in this chapter that almost half of New York State is under de facto conservation, more than 14 million acres, given wetlands and wetland buffers currently being placed on thousands of creeks, rivers, streams, seasonal puddles, ponds, lakes, bogs, swamps and so on.  Buffers can take many more acres than the wetland those buffers are protecting.

Kay:   “…the Indiana office of the Bureau of Land Management that states the goal is to acquire another two hundred thirteen million acres, and they have a billion dollars to pay for it.” (p. 318) 

This statement is ambiguous but clearly in error. 213 million acres is nine times the size of Indiana. 

213 million acres for $1 billion comes to $4.69 an acre – a bargain.

Nickson:  I mention this leaked memo several times in the book.  R-Calf, the USA Cattle Producers Association published the memo, which was leaked from the Indiana office of the Bureau of Land Management, it was not about Indiana exclusively of course.  The BLM manages 264 million acres of public lands across the U.S..  Their aim is to fold many of those acres into a giant network of conserved land, to comply with the National Landscape Agenda.  The memo describes private lands that will need to be acquired by the government, in order to connect up public lands.  The reason given is the need for wildlife corridors and connected biodiversity.  They estimate that $1 billion will cover the cost of acquiring private lands identified in the memo

KAY: “In Canada’s boreal forest, an area twice the size of Germany, multinational forestry firms work with multinational ENGOs to determine the use of Canada’s natural resources.” (p. 275) 

Canada’s boreal forest covers 3 million square kilometres. Germany covers 357,000 square kilometres. The forest is eight times, not twice, the size of Germany

NICKSON:  Canada’s boreal forest is enormous, however the area of the forest controlled by the Boreal Forest Agreement is generally agreed to be about twice the size of Germany. I made the distinction that in 2010, Canada locked down twice the area of Germany in the Boreal Forest Agreement.

KAY:  “From 1965 to 2002, the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LCWF), a leading source of funds for land acquisition, provided $12.5 billion for acquisition… About $10.3 billion in maintenance was spent by LCWF in 2002 alone.” (p. 132, emphasis added) 

In 1965 Congress was empowered to redirect a maximum of $900 million a year of offshore oil and gas royalties to the LCWF. This maximum was achieved once. Recent appropriations have been as low as $100 million. According to the Forest Service cumulative LCWF appropriations over the Fund’s 47 year history have been $7 billion!

NICKSON:   Dear God, here we have an error of interpretation.  This figure was stated to make the point that land needs tending – if the private concerns, or the federal and state governments of the U.S. and Canada acquire land, they also need to raise money to tend that land. Mr. Kay can come have a look at my conserved forest, which is a freaking mess since I’m not allowed to “disturb vegetation”.  And if we hadn’t gone all expensive and nuclear on the meadows, they would be a mess of invasive aggressive weed that before I started, had already travelled to my neighbours’ properties, and was about to move beyond.  There is much evidence that conserved lands are degrading.  Further land trusts, given the economic climate, have little money to tend the lands under their care, this goes for government conserved lands as well.  There may not be a dollar per acre figure, but it is certain that acres require tending and tending costs money.  On Vancouver Island, The Land Conservancy is near bankrupt, owing $1,000,000 immediately and another $8,000,000 coming due shortly.  Today volunteers tend the many very valuable lands that the conservancy “saved”.  Will they next year and then the year after?  I doubt it.

My figures were taken, as footnoted, from Holly Fretwell’s deeply researched 2009 book called, “Whose Minding the Federal Estate, Political Management of America’s Public Lands.”  Fretwell is a fellow at PERC, is published widely and is a lecturer at the University of Montana. I don’t know Mr. Kay’s provenance, but I understand he has a law degree and made enough money in the stock market to become a blogger.  I love the blogosphere, but Fretwell and I spent our early years learning the professions we now practice.  I know whose interpretation I trust.  Up to the reader.

KAY:  “Budd-Falen first counted the amounts awarded ENGOs under the Judgment Fund, a line-item appropriation used for Endangered Species and Clean Water act cases. In attorney’s fees alone, the Judgment Fund paid over $4.7 billion from 2003 to 2007 to various environmental groups.” (p. 207) 

This presumably came from a 15 September 2009 memo from US lawyer Karen Budd-Falen titled Re: Environmental Litigation Gravy Train. This memo reads: 

“The Judgment Fund is a Congressional line-item appropriation and is used for Endangered Species Act cases, Clean Water Act cases, and with other statutes directly allowing a plaintiff to recover attorney fees.” (emphasis added) 

The memo estimates the TOTAL amount disbursed by the Judgment Fund for the five years, 2003 through 2007, was $4,716,264,730. Firstly, this figure relates to ALL lawsuits against the US Federal Government NOT merely ones regarding environmental issues. Secondly, this figure relates to TOTAL payouts made to resolve claims, NOT “attorney fees alone.” Hence, Nickson overstates the amount of money moving from the Judgment Fund to ENGOs probably by a factor of 50 to 100.

NICKSON:  Budd-Falen, and many others have counted the cost of environmental litigators on the public purse.  I went over and over these figures with the Harper Collins fact checker, lawyer, copy editor and production editors.  I have a couple hundred pages of research on this.  If someone wants to pay me $1000, I’ll source it again.

KAY:  “If you take away anything, take away this: the dominant environmental aggressor in Canada’s oil sands is the Pew Foundation. But Pew’s grandfather, its original funder and creator, Sun Oil, now split off and named Suncor, is a prime extractor in the oil sands. This is not merely irony, say critics on the environmental left, pointing out that seven of the twelve board members of the Pew Charitable Trusts are either family members and heirs to the Sun Oil fortune or a former CEO. While no one is charging coordination between Suncor and Pew, Pew’s activities increase regulatory costs in the oil sands, thereby shutting out smaller competitors.” (p. 5, emphasis added) 


“In the Alberta oil sands, North America’s windfall cache of oil, the Pew Foundation, founded on the oil sands prime move [sic], Sun Oil’s profits, lobbies ceaselessly for regulations that end by constricting smaller operators while leaving the larger ones, including Sunoco, more powerful.” (p. 276) 

There are so many things wrong with these assertions it is difficult to be concise; here goes:

  1. There is no “Pew Foundation.”
  2. Sunoco (formerly Sun Oil) entirely divested itself of Suncor shares 17 years ago.
  3. Sunoco’s 4,900 gas stations are mainly located along the US East Coast and are supplied by refineries, in turn mainly supplied from overseas. Sunoco has no stake in the oil sands!
  4. Her first statement claims “no one is charging coordination” but that is what her second statement does.
  5. Pew Charitable Trusts’ enviro-activism undermines all oil sands producers, Suncor included.
  6. The phrase “environmental aggressor” is ambiguous.
 NICKSON: Sun Oil, Sunoco, Suncor – the board of directors of the Pew Charitable Trusts, generally called in casual conversation, the Pew Foundation, equally called such in innumerable press pieces discussing the findings of the various entities within Pew, comprise 6 Pew family members and a former CEO of Sunoco.  I’m not charging, I am suggesting that their mutual interests are worthy of contemplation.  Suncor, which morphed from the Great Canadian Oil Sands, to Sun Oil, to Sunoco to Suncor by which time it was the largest, richest, (and first) oil sands operator.  Suncor has an easier time complying with onerous enviro-movement forced regulation, than smaller, local operators with less money to comply with regulation and reduced access to armies of expensive lawyers.  Which was my point.  Multinationals work environmental campaigns to shut out smaller, generally local competitors. If I ran a multinational, I would be forced to do the same thing in order to protect my shareholders.

KAY:  “The first was the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, which was the bed from which global warming fever rose.” (p. 272) 

“Global warming fever” did not arise from the UNFCCC. The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) dates to the 1992 Rio Summit. The UN’s main global warming propaganda organ, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, was launched in 1988 after years of feverish global warming hype

NICKSON:  When I say “the bed”, I mean the formal framework, the bureaucratic structure that allowed for the massive funding that turned the IPCC into the monster it is today.

KAY: “As of September 2011, the Ted (Turner) had received $4.7 billion in loan guarantees for his First Solar investment project…” (p. 121) 

Turner is a minor shareholder, and sometime customer, of First Solar – not its owner.

Again, exhaustively checked by HC lawyer etc.  I did not say Ted Turner was sole owner of First Solar.  Ted Turner is a shareholder of First Solar, and of several other companies which received Obama green energy loan guarantees, not to mention tens of millions of tax write-offs as he acquired and “conserved” two million acres of rangelands.  The point of all this reporting was that our moral overlords, like Turner, have their hands deep into the pockets of “green” government money.

KAY:  “Cintra is owned by the Spanish royal family…” (p. 277) 

Cintra S.A. is 100% owned by Ferrovial Group, a publically traded conglomerate half owned by its founders, the Del Pino family. The highest estimate of the Spanish royal family’s worth is $2.3 billion. In the improbable event this fortune is all Ferrovial shares, it would still be a minority stake. There is no freely available evidence indicating they own any Ferrovial shares.

NICKSON:  I understand that Mr. Kay made his money in the stock market.  Perhaps he is aware of entities holding shares under different names.  In any case $2.3 billion is a substantial holding.  Around the TTC fracas, the owners of Cintra were said to be the Spanish royal family, probably divested since their ownership raised so many red flags and the TTC was so widely inveigled against by every sector of the Texas public, for so many years. Folk knowledge baby, even the courts take it seriously.

KAY: “Country people believe that Russian cadaver wolves, weighing almost 300 pounds, trained to clean up battlefields of the dead and dying, have been introduced into conserved forests and wilderness.” (p.2) 

“And if the movement, despairing of pure wolf stock in North America, is indeed bringing in Russian cadaver wolves with an average weight of 250 pounds and a taste for human flesh, who among us is going to leave a paved road in the backcountry.”  (p. 183) 

She left out the part where these beasts are dropped off by black helicopters flown by sasquatches. 

Cadaver dogs are trained to find corpses, not eat them. The largest wolves ever killed weighed between 170 and 190 pounds. Certain mastiffs and Saint Bernards can weigh over 200 pounds but dogs weighing 300 pounds make it into the Guinness World Book of Records.

NICKSON:  Huge huge sigh.  The operational phrase is “Country people believe”.  They experience understandable paranoia with regard to re-introduced large predators, as would anyone confronted with a grizzly or giant wolf at the fence.  This statement and others I make about the failure of wolf introduction, is meant to reflect that reasonable paranoia, and demonstrate the following:

  1. wolves are becoming enormous – there are many reports and some photos, some disputed, as I say in a footnote - of very large wolves – truly massive.  They are big because there is so much wildlife, and farm animals are rich prey.
  2. Wolves have been terrorizing women walking their dogs in Idaho and other states, filmed doing so, fairly easy to find on Youtube.  A documentary called “Crying Wolf” describes the nightmare wolf introduction has become for rural people.
  3. Wolf stock has been diluted by their breeding with dogs, and as a result are becoming more aggressive because less afraid of humans.
  4. Country people suspect that state Fish and Game or U.S. Fish and Wildlife have been dropping wolf packs into far-flung counties without notifying locals.  I was told that by many people I actually met, spoke with and trust, including one state legislator.
  5. Because wolf stock is diluted with dog, country people suspect that Russian wolves, which are supposed to be pure wolf, have been introduced to wolf-up the species.  I refer the reader to Wolves in Russia, by retired National Security Analyst, Will Graves.  http://wolvesinrussia.com/, also the work of wildlife biologist Valerius Geist.  Both men have done ground-breaking research into the wolf question, as well as the tsunami of propaganda from the movement, modeled, perhaps on the communist party’s propaganda on Russian wolves, where they said for decades that wolves don’t eat humans, because the CP didn’t want rural dwellers to own guns.  After the USSR fell, and records opened, Graves found countless tales of wolf predation of humans.  Cadaver wolves may have started out being trained to eat war dead, which gave them a genetic taste for human flesh, whatever.  Rural Americans don’t want them in ranching states.  I also mentioned at another juncture in the book that “IF indeed fish and wildlife have been dropping Russian wolves…..”

KAY:  A sin of omission appears in the re-telling of the Salt Spring rebellion that Nickson asserts began after the island’s trustees ran afoul the Salt Spring Coffee Company. 

She neglects to mention this company is a venture funded by Carol Newell’s Renewal conglomerate. Newell, an heiress of the Rubbermaid fortune, is a Field Marshall in British Columbia’s enviro-milieu. The rebellion was an intra-movement fracas.

NICKSON:  Whatever.  Who owns the SS Coffee Company was completely unimportant to my point.  What the movement does is destroy all economic activity it can, whoever owns the thing.  No one is immune, kindof like the 20’s in Soviet Russia.

KAY:  She quotes Ron Arnold to the effect that the USA has 25,000 professional enviro-activists (excluding government employees). She elsewhere claims the USA has 26,500 ENGOs, the largest fifty of whom collectively spend $5 billion a year and with the largest one (TNC) having 3,200 employees.

NICKSON:  I said activists.  Not employees.  Do I need to go into the difference?  Let’s put it this way:  anyone who has faced down an activist, knows the difference.  And the only heroes in the resistance to environmental hegemony are those with skin in the game, who have faced down activists.  On my island of ten thousand there are perhaps five activists, helped by a score of fellow travellers, who can depend on the assistance of 1,000 useful idiots, who support green with no little passion, but are seemingly not aware of the end game of de-development and impoverishment of rural areas.

KAY:  Nickson quotes with approval Alston Chase’s assertion: “Anyone who lives in the country knows it is not dying.” She later concludes 90% of North American grasslands are indeed dying.

NICKSON:  Are bloggers really that un-subtle?  The environmental movement claims that biodiversity is collapsing because of industrial depredation and residential trophy house development, and various pollutants that the earth’s systems cannot filter.  That was the issue Dr. Chase and I discussed.  If you read say, Lovelock’s “The Revenge of Gaia”, the whole damned globe is about to go into some kind of whirlwind of mega-death, and we are all going to burn up and go to hell.  I made it clear that where environmental activists have NOT intruded and rural people have enough money and property rights to take care of their lands, things are generally fine.  Where movement activists have shut down production, forests are burning, over-stocked, with immune suppressed trees, etc., and ranges are filled with invasive weed and turning to desert.  SIGH.

KAY:  Assembling a chronology of the environmental movement’s history from this text is like pulling apart a pile-up on the Texas Interstate. She variably dates the movement’s rise to power (and/or its moment of internal corruption) to the 1920s, the late 1940s, the 1960s, 1987, and the early 1990s. One notable calamity is her selection of 1992 as the year when American philanthropic foundations became “prescriptive” (i.e. direction-giving) toward ENGOs.

NICKSON:  Not my job to assemble a chronology of the history of the movement. There are many books that deal exhaustively with the sainted history of the movement, and I wearily ploughed through several of them.  The movement is divided into four stages, and we are at the end of the 4th stage.  Does that clarify?  Only if you’re a historian. I mention events salient to my analysis of where and when a particular policy was instituted, and how it failed.  To the second point, I rely on Ron Arnold’s finding of the 1992 change by the Rockefeller-founded Environmental Grantmakers Association from responsive to prescriptive giving, rather than Mr. Kay’s, since Mr. Arnold simply has more authority.

KAY:  “Like a backwoods conspiracy-monger, Nickson brandishes “Agenda 21” at least 16 times. She does this even though she is aware Agenda 21 is just another piece of “mealy-mouthed platitudinous crapola” from the UN in the manner of: Our Common Future (1987), Conserving the World’s Biological Diversity (1990), Caring for the Earth (1991), and Global Biodiversity Strategy (1992).Moreover, she is aware the whole environmental labyrinthine is structured to ensure eternal revision of turgid documents like Agenda 21. 

This obsession enviro-critics have with Agenda 21 is getting embarrassing.

NICKSON:  This is so witless,I can hardly bother to respond.  If Mr. Kay does not think that Agenda 21 is alive and well, then he has not left his basement in a very long time.  This is a problem faced by most modernists who long ceded government of their local areas to professional planners.  Less than fifty years ago, towns had town fathers and mothers.  Today, towns have planners and bureaucrats who turn those plans into reality, often with little democratic oversight.

In fact, Agenda 21 is so unpopular in December of 2012, the UN removed Agenda 21 from its website, and rebranded the program as Future Planet.

Nevertheless, the Agenda and its various incarnations are being prosecuted from Thunder Bay to New Hampshire to Manitoba to Santa Cruz, in near every rural jurisdiction in England, Scotland, Wales, France, Ireland & etc., ad infinitum and I have the documents to prove it, and anguished emails from rural and ex-urban residents who are losing the greater part of their wealth and agency to this cruel, destructive program.  What do people like Mr. Kay think employees of the UN do every day?  Answer:  they make up stuff like Agenda 21, and they have tens of millions to dream up the rationales for its acceptance and strategies for its prosecution. All by itself, one of Ag21’s satellites, the IUCN spent $150 million in 2012, commissioning and promoting the “science”, that is the putative reason for sustainable development.  The IUCN has been spending upwards of $100 million for the past twenty years.  Sixty-eight billion dollars is transferred every year from developed nations to the third world in bi-lateral and multi-lateral development aid.  ALL U.N. BROKERED DEVELOPMENT AID IS TRANSFERRED UNDER SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GUIDELINES.  What program came up with those guidelines?  Agenda 21.  Have a look: http://iagenda21.com/