by Tom DeWeese
by Tom DeWeese
by Tom DeWeese
One of the main indicators used by economists to measure the health of the nation’s economy is housing starts – the number of private homes being built around the nation. In 2018 housing starts fell in all four regions of the nation, representing the biggest drop since 2016.
While many economists point to issues such as higher material costs as a reason for the drop in housing starts, a much more ominous reason may be emerging. Across the nation, city councils and state legislatures are beginning to remove zoning protections for single-family neighborhoods, claiming they are racist discrimination designed to keep certain minorities out of such neighborhoods. In response to these charges some government officials are calling for the end of single-family homes in favor of multiple family apartments.
Such identical policies don’t just simultaneously spring up across the country by accident. There is a force behind it. The root of these actions are found in “fair housing” policies dictated by the federal Housing and Urban Development Agency (HUD). The affected communities have all taken HUD grants. There is very specific language in those grants that suggest single family homes are a cause of discrimination. Specifically, through the HUD program called Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH), the agency is taking legal action against communities that use “discriminating zoning ordinances that discourage the development of affordable, multifamily housing…”. The suits are becoming a widely used enforcement tool for the agency.
To enforce its social engineering policies HUD demands the following from communities that have applied for or taken HUD grants:
Americans who have grown up experiencing private home ownership as the root to personal prosperity must quickly learn of the threat of the HUD/AFFH program. They must fully understand why cities like Chicago, Minneapolis and Baltimore and states like Oregon have suddenly announced actions to eliminate single-family home zoning. These cities have already taken the grant poison and must now comply. The ultimate government game is to reorganize our cities into massive urban areas where single-family neighborhoods are replaced by the Sustainable/Smart Growth model of “Stack and Pack,” wall-to-wall apartment buildings.
To the frustration of those Sustainablists determined to change our entire economic system, the legal protection of private property rights and ownership have proven to be a roadblock for implementation. New York Mayor William DeBlasio best expressed the frustration of those driving to control community development when he was quoted in New York Magazine saying, “What’s been hardest is the way our legal system is structured to favor private property. I think people all over this city, of every background, would like to have the city government be able to determine which building goes where, how high it will be, who gets to live in it and what the rent will be.”
Most importantly, HUD and its social engineering advocates have sold these so-called sustainable policies using the well-worn excuse that such programs are simply to help lower income families to succeed. In fact, these programs are actually at the very root of why many of them are NOT succeeding.
The immediate result of eliminating single-family homes and in turn, destroying private property rights, is to degrade the property values of the homes so many have worked to build. It used to be called the American dream. Now it’s labeled racism, discrimination, and social injustice.
Eradicating poverty is the most popular excuse for the expansion of government power. Yet, it’s interesting to note that not a single government program, from the federal to the local level, offers any plan for eradicating poverty except the well-worn and unworkable scheme of wealth redistribution. After decades of following such a failed policy the only result is that we have more poor.
Today, as demonstrated in Oregon, Minneapolis, Baltimore and Chicago, we hear the claims that there is a “housing crisis” and so government must take a dramatic step to solve the very crisis is has created. As economist Thomas Sowell has said, “The first lesson of economics is scarcity: There is never enough of anything to fully satisfy all those who want it. The first lesson of politics is to disregard the first lesson of economics.”
It is interesting to note that, as private property ownership shrinks under these misguided policies, so too does the nation’s wealth. Sustainable policies are at the root of nearly every local, state, and federal program. Each step diminishes individual freedom, personal and national prosperity, and the destruction of the hopes and dream of every American. The American Policy Center is determined to lead the fight to end this misnamed and disastrous ‘Sustainable’ course for our country.
by Tom DeWeese
Sometimes if you fight hard enough and refuse to back down, no matter the odds, your truth is vindicated and prevails!
For twenty years I have been labeled a conspiracy theorist, scaremonger, extremist, dangerous, nut case. I’ve been denied access to stages, major news programs, and awarded tin foil hats. All because I have worked to expose Agenda 21 and its policy of sustainable development as a danger to our property rights, economic system, and culture of freedom.
From its inception in 1992 at the United Nation’s Earth Summit, 50,000 delegates, heads of state, diplomats and Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) hailed Agenda 21 as the “comprehensive blueprint for the reorganization of human society.” The 350-page, 40 chapter, Agenda 21 document was quite detailed and explicit in its purpose and goals. They warned us that the reorganization would be dictated through all-encompassing policies affecting every aspect of our lives, using environmental protection simply as the excuse to pull at our emotions and get us to voluntarily surrender our liberties.
Section I details “Social and Economic Dimensions” of the plan, including redistribution of wealth to eradicate poverty, maintain health through vaccinations and modern medicine, and population control.
To introduce the plan, the Earth Summit Chairman, Maurice Strong boldly proclaimed, “Current lifestyles and consumption patterns of the affluent middle class – involving meat intake, use of fossil fuels, appliances, air-conditioning, and suburban housing – are not sustainable.” Of course, according to the plan, if it’s not “sustainable” it must be stopped.
In support of the plan, David Brower of the Sierra Club (one of the NGO authors of the agenda) said, “Childbearing should be a punishable crime against society, unless the parents hold a government license.” Leading environmental groups advocated that the Earth could only support a maximum of one billion people, leading famed Dr. Jacques Cousteau to declare, “In order to stabilize world populations, we must eliminate 350,000 people per day.”
Section II provides the “Conservation and Management of Resources for Development” by outlining how environmental protection was to be the main weapon, including global protection of the atmosphere, land, mountains, oceans, and fresh waters – all under the control of the United Nations.
To achieve such global control to save the planet, it is necessary to eliminate national sovereignty and independent nations. Eliminating national borders quickly led to the excuse for openly allowing the “natural migration” of peoples. The UN Commission on Global Governance clearly outlined the goal for global control stating, “The concept of national sovereignty has been immutable, indeed a sacred principle of international relations. It is a principle which will yield only slowly and reluctantly to the new imperatives of global environmental cooperation.” That pretty much explains why the supporters of such a goal go a little off the rails when a presidential candidate makes his campaign slogan “Make America Great Again.”
The main weapon for the Agenda was the threat of Environmental Armageddon, particularly manifested through the charge of man-made global warming, later to conveniently become “climate change.” It didn’t matter if true science refused to cooperate in this scheme as actual global temperatures really are not rising and there continues to be no evidence of any man-made affect on the climate. Truth hasn’t been important to the scare mongers. Timothy Wirth, President of the UN Foundation said, “We’ve got to ride this global warming issue. Even if the theory of global warming is wrong, we will be doing the right thing in terms of economic and environmental policy.” To further drive home their complete lack of concern for truth, Paul Watson of Green Peace declared, “It doesn’t matter what is true, it only matters what people believe is true.”
So in their zealotry to enforce the grand agenda, social justice became the “moral force” over the rule of law as free enterprise, private property, rural communities and individual consumption habits became the targets, labeled as racist and a social injustice. Such established institutions and free market economics were seen as obstructions to the plan, as were traditional family units, religion, and those who were able to live independently in rural areas.
Finally, Agenda 21 was summed up in supporting documents this way: “Effective execution of Agenda 21 will require a profound reorientation of all human society, unlike anything the world has ever experienced. It requires a major shift in the priorities of both governments and individuals, and an unprecedented redeployment of human and financial resources. This shift will demand that a concern for the environmental consequences of every human action be integrated into individual and collective decision-making at every level.”
Of course, such harsh terms had to be hidden from the American people if the plan was to be successfully imposed. They called it a “suggestion” for “voluntary” action – just in case a nation or community wanted to do something positive for mankind! However, while using such innocent-sounding language, the Agenda 21 shock troops lost no time pushing it into government policy. In 1992, just after its introduction at the Earth Summit, Nancy Pelosi introduced a resolution of support for the plan into Congress. It’s interesting to note that she boldly called it a “comprehensive blueprint for the reorganization of human society.” In 1993, new President, Bill Clinton ordered the establishment of the President’s Council for Sustainable Development, with the express purpose of enforcing the Agenda 21 blueprint into nearly every agency of the federal government to assure it became the law of the land. Then the American Planning Association issued a newsletter in 1994, supporting Agenda 21’s ideas as a “comprehensive blueprint” for local planning. So much for a voluntary idea!
However, as we, the opponents started to gain some ground in exposing its true purpose and citizens began to storm city halls protesting local implementation, suddenly the once proud proponents lost their collective memories about Agenda 21. Never heard of it! “There are no blue-helmeted troops at city hall,” said one proponent, meaning policies being used to impose it were not UN driven, but just “local, local, local”. “Oh, you mean that innocuous 20 year-old document that has no enforcement capability? This isn’t that!” These were the excuses that rained down on us from the planners, NGOs and government agents as they scrambled to hide their true intentions.
I was attacked on the front page of the New York Times Sunday paper under the headline, “Activists Fight Green Projects, Seeing U.N. Plot.” The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) produced four separate reports on my efforts to stop it, calling our efforts an “Antigovernment Right-Wing Conspiracy Theory.” The Atlantic magazine ran a story entitled, “Is the UN Using Bike Paths to Achieve World Domination?” Attack articles appeared in the Washington Post, Esquire magazine, Wingnut Watch, Mother Jones, and Tree Hugger.com to name a few. All focused on labeling our opposition as tin-foil-hat-wearing nut jobs. Meanwhile, an alarmed American Planning Association (APA) created an “Agenda 21: Myths and Facts page on its web site to supposedly counter our claims. APA then organized a “Boot Camp” to retrain its planners to deal with us, using a “Glossary for the Public,” teaching them new ways to talk about planning. Said the opening line of the Glossary, “Given the heightened scrutiny of planners by some members of the public, what is said – or not said – is especially important in building support for planning.” The Glossary went on to list words not to use like “Public Visioning,” “Stakeholders,” “Density,” and “Smart Growth,” because such words make the “Critics see red”.
Local elected officials, backed by NGO groups and planners, began to deride local activists – sometimes denying them access to speak at public meetings, telling them that Agenda 21 conspiracy theory has “been debunked”. Most recently an irate city councilman answered a citizen who claimed local planning was part of Agenda 21 by saying “this is what’s “trending.” So, of course, if everyone is doing it is must be right!
Such has been our fight to stop this assault on our culture and Constitutional rights.
Over the years, since the introduction of Agenda 21 in 1992, the United Nations has created several companion updates to the original documents. This practice serves two purposes. One is to provide more detail on how the plan is to be implemented. The second is to excite its global activists with a new rallying cry. In 2000, the UN held the Millennium Summit, launching the Millennium Project featuring eight goals for global sustainability to be reached by 2015. Then, when those goals were not achieved, the UN held another summit in New York City in September of 2015, this time outlining 17 goals to be reached by 2030. This document became known as the 2030 Agenda, containing the exact same goals as were first outlined in Agenda 21in 1992, and then again in 2000, only with each new incarnation offering more explicit direction for completion.
Enter the Green New Deal, representing the boldest tactic yet. The origins and the purpose of the Green New Deal couldn’t be more transparent. The forces behind Agenda 21 and its goal of reorganizing human society have become both impatient and scared. Impatient that 27 years after Agenda 21 was introduced, and after hundreds of meetings, planning sessions, massive propaganda, and billions of dollars spent, the plan still is not fully in place. Scared because people around the world are starting to learn its true purpose and opposition is beginning to grow.
So the forces behind the Agenda have boldly thrown off their cloaking devices and their innocent sounding arguments that they just want to protect the environment and make a better life for us all. Instead, they are now openly revealing that their goal is socialism and global control, just as I’ve been warning about for these past twenty years. Now they are determined to take congressional action to finally make it the law of the land.
Take a good look, those of you who have heard my warnings about Agenda 21 over the years. Do you see the plan I have warned about being fully in place in this Green New Deal?
The Green New Deal will destroy the very concept of our Constitutional Republic, eliminating private property, locally elected representative government, free markets and individual freedom. All decisions in our lives will be made for us by the government – just to protect the environment of course. They haven’t forgotten how well that scheme works to keep the masses under control.
Though the label “Green New Deal” has been passing around globalist circles for a while, it’s interesting that its leaders have now handed it to a naïve, inexperienced little girl from New York who suddenly found herself rise from bartending to a national media sensation, almost over nigh. That doesn’t just happen and there is no miracle here. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is a created product. They probably needed her inexperienced enthusiasm to deliver the Green New Deal because no established politician would touch it. Now that it’s been introduced and she is set up to take the heat, the gates have swung open allowing forty-five members of Congress to co-sponsor it in the House of Representatives as established Senator Ed. Markey (D-MA) has sponsored it in the Senate. That doesn’t just happen either. Nothing has been left to chance.
Behind the sudden excitement and rush to support it are three radical groups each having direct ties to George Soros, including the Sunrise Movement – which markets itself as an “army of young people” seeking to make climate change a major priority. Justice Democrats – which finds and recruits progressive candidates, and New Consensus – organized to change how we think about issues. Leaders of these groups have connections with other Soros-backed movements including Black Lives Matter and Occupy Wall Street. According to The New Yorker magazine, the plan was written over a single weekend in December, 2018. Ocasio-Cortez was included in the effort, chosen to introduce it. This may be the single reason why she was able to appear out of nowhere to become the new darling of the radical left.
So there you have it — Agenda 21, the Millennium Project, Agenda 2030, the Green New Deal. Progress in the world of Progressives! They warned us from the beginning that their plan was the “comprehensive blueprint for the reorganization of human society”. And so it is to be the total destruction of our way of life.
To all of those elected officials, local, state and federal, who have smirked at we who have tried to sound the alarm, look around you now, hot shots! You have denied, ignored, and yet, helped put these very plans into place. Are you prepared to accept what you have done? Will you allow your own homes and offices to be torn down – or will you be exempt as part of the elite or just useful idiots? Will you have to give up your car and ride your bike to work? Or is that just for we peasants?
Over these years you have listened to the Sierra Club, the Nature Conservancy, the World Wildlife Fund, ICLEI, the American Planning Association, and many more, as they assured you their plans were just environmental protection, just good policy for future generations. They have been lying to you to fulfill their own agenda! Well, now the truth is right in front of you. There is no question of who and what is behind this. And no doubt as to what the final result will be.
Now, our elected leaders have to ask real questions. As the Green New Deal is implemented, and all energy except worthless, unworkable wind and solar are put into place, are you ready for the energy curfews that you will be forced to impose, perhaps each night as the sun fades, forcing factories, restaurants, hospitals, and stores to close at dusk? How about all those folks forced to live in the stack and pack high-rises when the elevators don’t operate? What if they have an emergency?
How much energy will it take to rebuild those buildings that must be destroyed or retrofitted to maker them environmentally correct for your brave new world? Where will it come from after you have banned and destroyed all the workable sources of real energy? What are you counting on to provide you with food, shelter, and the ability to travel so you can continue to push this poison? Because – this is what’s trending — now! And how is it going to be financed when the entire economy crashes under its weight? Is it really the future you want for you, your family, and your constituents who elected you?
Every industry under attack by this lunacy should now join our efforts to stop it. Cattlemen, farmers, airlines, the auto industry, realtors, tourist industry, and many more, all will be put out of business – all should now take bold action to immediately kill this plan before it kills your industry. Stomp it so deeply into the ground that no politician will ever dare think about resurrecting it.
For years I’ve watched politicians smirk, roll their eyes, and sigh whenever the words Agenda 21 were uttered. As George Orwell said, “The further a society drifts from the truth the more it will hate those who speak it”. Today I stand vindicated in my warnings of where Agenda 21 was truly headed, because it’s not longer me having to reveal the threat. They are telling you themselves. Here’s the naked truth – Socialism is for the stupid. The Green New Deal is pure Socialism. How far its perpetrators get in enforcing it depends entirely on how hard you are willing to fight for freedom. Kill it now or watch it die.
by Tom DeWeese
A couple weeks ago, Tom DeWeese sent out a letter about the World Wildlife Fund and beef. It reads in part:
The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) is one of the top three most powerful, radical, anti-free enterprise, UN environmental groups in the world.
And WWF has succeeded in taking over the American Cattle industry!
The WWF has forced cattlemen to follow radical Sustainable rules through the establishment of the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef.
They are getting away with this industry grab because the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association is now under the control of the World Wildlife Fund.
And the WWF’s Sustainable Roundtable now controls the beef packing industry which in turn controls the entire beef retail market. Cattlemen either toe the WWF dictates or are cut out of the industry.
That means cattlemen must follow massive regulations in order to produce American beef.
These rules ignore that fact that American cattlemen have always produced the highest grade of beef in the world – simply by using a process that has been used by their forefathers for generations.
The real result of these rules isn’t to produce a better beef product – but to destroy small producers and drive the industry to the massive corporate farms that can afford to play ball with the World Wildlife Fund.
Eventually, the WWF goal is to destroy the entire beef industry.
The World Wildlife Fund has openly stated its opposition to beef production. They insist that to “Save the Earth it is demanded that we change human consumption habits away from beef.”
Here is what they said in a recent WWF report:
“Meat consumption is devastating some of the world’s most valuable and vulnerable regions, due to the vast amount of land needed to produce animal feed.”
This is the growing threat of Agenda 21 and Sustainable Development and its stated purpose to “reorganize human society.”
And this is how they do it – one industry at a time.
In 1992, I wrote the following article for Putting People First, an organization I founded to combat the lies and aims of the animal rights movement. Animal rights is a false front; it is an attack on humans while pretending to care about animals. The leaders have no use for animals other than to change our culture and control our food supply. Many environmentalists and animal rightists go back and forth across the line that might separate them. For example, Paul Watson looked into the eye of a dying whale and saw that the whale “had pity for us.” Many ALF (Animal Liberation Front) ELF (Earth Liberation Front) members are the same people; terrorism on behalf of animals is as comfortable for them as on behalf of Gaia/mother earth.
“ANIMAL RIGHTS” HIDES UNDER ENVIRONMENTALISM
During the past two years, Putting People First has reported on arsons, bombings and attempted murder by “animal rights” activists. Our exposure of their terrorism has helped awaken the public to the true agenda of what we call the animal cult.
But as the morally bankrupt ideology of animalism has been exposed, its apologists have gone to ground, seeking cover under the more publicly-acceptable guise of “environmentalism.”
Most members of Putting People First consider themselves environmentalists, because we support wise use and conservation, and oppose environmental destruction (just as we support animal welfare and oppose animal abuse).
However, we also oppose attempts to remove people from the natural equation. We believe that only man can use science, reason and common sense to husband animals and other resources to the benefit of people, animals, and our common environment.
And the difference between conservation and “environmentalism” is no less than the difference between animal welfare and “animal rights.”
Jeremy Rifkin’s new vegetarian manifesto Beyond Beef hides its message behind a pseudoenvironmentalist facade. The supposedly “mainstream” Chesapeake Bay Foundation shared the podium with PeTA at “Vegetarian Expo ’92.” The radical Humane Society of the United States now calls its school-infiltration arm the National Association for Humane and Environmental Education. And the terrorist manual A Declaration of War by “Screaming Wolf’ is subtitled “Killing People to Save Animals and the Environment.”
I think the clearest example of the unity of environmentalism and animalism is the close relationship between the terrorist Animal Liberation Front (ALF) and the “ecotage” group Earth First! These groups have been working together at least since 1987, when arsons at a California meat processing plant and livestock facility were claimed as joint ALF/Earth First! actions.
Since then. Earth First! Journal has published several laudatory articles about ALF, including one featuring Rod Coronado, the FBI’s leading suspect in several recent arsons. The March 1992 issue carried a terrorist “how-to” article with the ALF byline. The Journal is best known for trying to recruit “terminally ill AIDS patients” for “eco-kamikazee missions.”
Earth First! founder David Foreman is the former chief lobbyist for the Wilderness Society. He says, “Mankind could go extinct and I for one would not shed any tears.” Regarding the Ethiopian famine, Foreman gave this advice: “The worst thing we could do in Ethiopia is give aid. . .. The best thing would be to just let nature seek its own balance, to let people there starve.”
“As radical environmentalists, we can see AIDS not as a problem, but as a necessary solution,” says Foreman. “AIDS is a good thing, because it will thin out the population,” he adds. “If the AIDS epidemic didn’t exist, radical environmentalists would have to invent one.” And indeed, Earth First! Journal has solicited donations toward the development of what it calls “a species-specific virus to wipe out the human race.”
Foreman’s magazine Wild Earth recently opined that “phasing out the human race will solve every problem on Earth, social and environmental.” Foreman is not alone in this opinion. “Somewhere along the line—at about a million years ago, maybe half that—we quit the contract and became a cancer. We have become a plague upon ourselves and upon the earth,” writes David Graber, a biologist with the National Park Service. “Until such time as Homo Sapiens should decide to rejoin nature, some of us can only hope for the right virus to come along.”
Earth First! is best known for tree-spiking, although four of its leaders were recently convicted of conspiracy to sabotage a nuclear power plant in Arizona. Two Earth First! members, Judi Bari and Darryl Cherney, were seriously injured when a bomb they were transporting exploded prematurely in Bari’s car in Oakland, California. Bari and Cherney’s legal fees were paid by Greenpeace, on whose board sits Earth First! co-founder Michael Roselle.
Sierra Club lobbyist David Brower openly defends Earth First!, saying, “They’re not terrorists. The real terrorists are the polluters, the despoilers.” Brower argues that childbearing should be “a punishable crime against society unless the parents hold a government license.” All potential parents, he says, should be “required to use contraceptive chemicals, the government issuing antidotes to citizens chosen for childbearing.”
According to Brower, “I founded Friends of the Earth to make the Sierra Club look reasonable. Then I founded the Earth Island Institute to make Friends of the Earth look reasonable. Earth First! now makes us look reasonable. We’re still waiting for someone to come along and make Earth First! look reasonable.”
Just as “animal rights” terrorists and their apologists infiltrated and took over many traditional animal welfare groups and local humane societies, so have anti-human “Greens” infiltrated and taken over many traditional conservation groups.
It is time to flush these varmints out. We have had great success educating the public about the difference between animal welfare and “animal rights.” Now it is time to educate them about the difference between conservation and “environmentalism.”
In 1992, the National Cattlemen’s Association (NCA) was run by true pioneers and American patriots. Like many organizations that represent meat, milk, circuses, rodeos, zoos, medical research, wool, leather, fur, silk, and pet ownership, the NCA has been co-opted one way or the other to turn it’s back on those who they represent; those who built and feed America.
As you can see, both animal rights and the so-called environmental movement are not friends of humans, animals, or the earth. But they are double-teaming us to take away our rights and freedoms.
by Tom DeWeese
Not One Inch… The Battle Cry For Property Rights- “No matter how noble a project may sound, alarm bells should go off when proponents want to enforce their vision in secret.”
by Tom DeWeese
I have been pushing hard lately to let people know that, no matter how big and powerful the opposition, the assault from big government forces can be stopped. That’s why I want to tell you about a recent major victory in Louisiana where a wonderful, determined group of residents rose up and stopped the implementation of the Caddo Lake National Heritage Area. By the way, this is the second NHA we’ve stopped. The Crooked Road NHA in Virginia was successfully shut down by us a few years ago.
National Heritage Areas are one of the most despicable stealth land grabs in the nation. Here’s why. Americans love history. And we love preserving significant places that played an important role in the making of our unique nation. So when we hear of a new plan in our area presented offering a chance to preserve some of our local heritage we are interested and even supportive.
But, in this day of massive government control over so much of our land, our economy, and our basic ability to live free lives, we must be cautious and look at the details of plans, no matter how innocent or well meaning they may seem.
National Heritage Areas are such a concern because they are sold to residents as simply a means to honor historic or cultural events that took place in a specific locale. We are told that they will preserve our culture and honor the past, that they will preserve battlefields where our forefathers fought and died for freedom, and that they will preserve birth places, homes, buildings and hallowed grounds for posterity. Most importantly, we are assured that NHAs will help build tourism and boost local economies.
The residents affected by the Caddo Lake NHA were suspicious because so little information was being released about the project. Who was behind it? Where was the money coming from? Above all, what specific areas were going to be affected? So some determined residents did their homework. They learned the promises of increased tourism and boosts to the economy were, at best, empty. Rather, they learned NHA’s are little more than pork-barrel earmarks that endanger private property rights and local governmental powers. And a very specific danger is that Heritage Areas have very definite boundaries that come with very definite consequences for folks who reside within them. That’s because funding and technical assistance for Heritages Areas is administered through the National Park Service, a federal agency with a long history of hostility toward private landowners.
Private organizations and planning groups are the actual recipients of most of these funds supposedly earmarked for the Heritage Area. These entities operate as the promoters of the NHA in partnership with the Park Service. Eventually they form a commission or a “managing entity” to enforce the “vision” to implement the Heritage Area.
Typically such commissions consist of strictly ideological special interests groups. In the mix of these groups one will find all of the usual suspects: environmental groups, planning groups, historic preservation groups, all with their own private agendas – all working behind the scenes, creating policy. The managing entity then sets up non-elected boards and regional councils to oversee policy inside the Heritage Area that stretches over numerous communities and counties.
In many cases, these groups actually form a compact with the Interior Department to determine the guidelines that will make up a land use management plan and the boundaries of the Heritage Area itself. The management plan is their goal for how they envision the territory inside the boundary to be run. The plan will include guidelines for development goals, energy use, bike trails, undefined conservation controls, tourism, and anything else they want to control.
Now, after the boundaries are drawn and after the management plan has been approved by the Park Service, the management entity and its special interest groups are given the federal funds, typically a million dollars a year, or more, and told to spend that money to get the management plan enacted at the local level.
Here’s how those special interest groups operate with those funds. They go to local county boards and city councils and announce that Congress has passed legislation designating the Heritage Area and that the community is now within those boundaries. They pull out maps and announce the properties they have identified to be significant for preservation.
However, as the managing entity, they don’t have the power to make laws but the local elected officials do and so the partnership is born, fed by the federal money. Now the managing entity will help create tools, legislation, guidelines and whatever regulatory procedures are needed to make the management plan come into fruition.
Incredibly, proponents argue that National Heritage Areas do not influence local zoning or land-use planning. Yet by definition this is precisely what they do. Found right in the language of most Heritage Area legislation, the management entity is specifically directed to restore, preserve, and manage anything and everything that is naturally, culturally, historically, and recreationally significant to the Heritage Area.
This sweeping mandate ensures that virtually every square inch of land within the boundaries is subject to the scrutiny of Park Service bureaucrats and their managing partners.
Of course, as with so many other invasive planning schemes, we are always assured that these are local initiatives, and that these are something citizens want in order to bring an honorary federal designation to help drive tourism into their regions. That simply isn’t the case. The private, non-governmental organizations and planning groups are the ones who want the plan because they get to enforce their private agendas and then get to live off the grant money as they implement them. As proponents talk about historic preservation inside the Heritage Area, one will also find the catchwords “resource conservation” and “resource stewardship,” for example. That’s the clue to watch for.
It’s all about control. Control of the land, control of resources, control of decision making. How does that fit with their stated purpose of preserving American culture – which, of course, was built on the ideals of free enterprise and private property? In fact, it does the opposite by making government more powerful and dictatorial.
Proponents of NHAs also claim that they are “locally driven” projects. Nothing could be further from the truth. Landowners within the boundaries of proposed Heritage Areas are left in the dark throughout the entire process. For example, the final official map for the Caddo Lakes National Heritage Area, revealing its official boundary, was not to be released to the public until after the actual Congressional legislation was passed.
In addition, Heritage Area proponents refuse to supply a simple written notification to property owners that their land will be inside the boundaries. Seemingly the Park Service and their management “partners” are not too eager to share all the good news with the local citizenry.
I have personally been in meetings with congressional staffers to discuss Heritage Areas. I asked them if they intended to notify affected landowners living inside the boundaries of a specific Heritage Area. They looked at me like I had two heads.
They shuffled their feet and looked down at the table and then said, “There’s no way to do that.” “It would be too costly.” “How could we reach everyone?” I then suggested that they research a little know federal agency called the U.S. Postal Service. Mailmen appear too deliver to each and every one of the homes in the designated area every day.
The fact is, they don’t want to tell you in advance. You might object. And that would disrupt the “process.” No matter how noble a project may sound, alarm bells should go off when proponents want to enforce their vision in secret.
National Heritage Areas depend on federal tax dollars because they lack local interest— and not a single Heritage Area has ever succeeded in attracting that interest throughout their entire infinite lives. The federal money is the villain. If you just wanted to honor an area for its historic or cultural achievements, a simple resolution from Congress and a plaque at the county line could do that. The local Chamber of Commerce could then pick it up from there and build the expected tourism.
But of course, it’s not about that. It’s about control and money – lots of money in the pockets of private groups promoting their own agendas. Including taking control if people’s land.
There are 49 National Heritage Areas across the country so far – with more, now being considered around the country. Caddo Lake NHA, if legislated, would affect 900 square miles of private property, businesses, and whole communities. That’s a massive area to cover.
Along the Mississippi River there are two Heritage Areas, Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area and Mississippi Gulf Coast National Heritage Area. Now here is a region rich in history. There must be all kinds of good things happening along the mother of all rivers in the name of heritage preservation.
Well, today you won’t find people participating in one of the grand historic traditions of the river – living on riverboats. There were once whole generations of river people living on such boats. Talk about American heritage – right out of Mark Twain! Continue Reading
by Tom DeWeese
There is an all out assault taking place in nearly every community against private property ownership. It’s being perpetrated at every level of government and funded by taxpayer grants. Yet few property owners raise objections, mainly because today most don’t have the basic understanding of the right of property ownership and its vital place in preserving our nation’s prosperity, economic stability and foundation of freedom.
Most Americans tend to think of private property simply as a home — the place where the family resides, store their belongings and find shelter and safety from the elements. It’s where you live. It’s yours because you pay the mortgage and the taxes. That’s about the extent of thought given to property ownership in today’s America.
There was a time when property ownership was considered to be much more. Property, and the ability to own and control it, was life itself. The great economist, John Locke, whose writings and ideas had major influence on the nation’s founders, believed that “life and liberty are secure only so long as the right of property is secure.”
Locke advocated that if property rights protection did not exist then the incentive for an industrious person to develop and improve property would be destroyed; depriving that person of the fruits of his labor; that marauding bands would confiscate by force the goods produced by others; and that mankind would be impelled to remain on a bare subsistence level of hand to mouth survival from fear that the accumulation of anything of value would invite attack.
Homeownership, and the equity it creates, has been the main source of wealth for millions of Americans. It’s the reason the United States was able to build incredible wealth and rise above much older nations. Sixty percent of American businesses were created by homeowners using the equity from their homes. Where private property is disallowed teeming and unrelenting poverty is the result.
Locke’s fears have become reality today through the innocent sounding term called “Sustainable Development. Under that banner, the very concept of property rights is being targeted as unrealistic in a drive to reorganize our communities through strict planning regulations.
Proponents define Sustainable Development as: “Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” According to its advocates, to achieve that goal requires massive amounts of land and natural resources to be permanently locked away from use; which translates to control, not conservation, as many perceive it to mean.
Sustainable Development requires a complete transformation of American society that will affect our system of justice, our economic system, and our ability to make individual life choices such as careers, family size, and the location of our homes.
The best known form of the Sustainable transformation is called Smart Growth. We’re told this policy is necessary to create the community of the future, to guarantee effective planning, and, most importantly, to protect the environment by reducing our carbon footprint to combat climate change.
Attending a local public meeting where the community‘s new “visioning” plan is being promoted, citizens will be assured that everything has been prepared by local leaders simply to address unique problems and well-laid plan for the future. However, a little research will show, ironically, that almost every community in every state has a nearly identical plan in process, usually ending with numbers like 2030 or 2050. One can also search the Internet and find such plans as Jamaica 2050 and Dubai 2050. They cover the world and most importantly – they are all the same basic plan no matter where they are, nationally or globally. One thing they all have in common – none of them are LOCAL!… CONTINUE READING ON OUR WEBSITE
Will Brett Kavanaugh Stand for Property Rights?-“The homeowner came under greater pressure to sell.”
by Tom DeWeese
There’s lots of talk about where Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh stands on the Roe v Wade abortion decision and if he would vote to rescind it. There is another very controversial Supreme Court decision made just few years ago, supported by the Anthony Kennedy, the justice he seeks to replace. That is the Kelo decision that basically obliterated private property rights in America. So, where does Brett Kananaugh stand on protection of private property rights? With Kennedy or the Constitution?
In 2005, the Supreme Court of the United States handed down an opinion that shocked the nation. It was the case of Susette Kelo, et al. v City of New London, Connecticut, et al. The issue: “Does the government taking of property from one private owner to give to another private entity for economic development constitutes a permissible ‘public use’ under the Fifth Amendment?”
In 2000, the city of New London saw a chance to rake in big bucks through tax revenues for a new downtown development project that was to be anchored by pharmaceutical giant Pfizer. The company announced a plan to build a $270 million dollar global research facility in the city. The local government jumped at the chance to transform 90 acres of an area right next to the proposed research facility. Their plans called for the creation of the Fort Trumbull development project which would provide hotels, housing and shopping areas for the expected influx of Pfizer employees. There were going to be jobs and revenues A-Go-Go in New London. Just one obstacle stood in the way of these grand plans. There were private homes in that space.
No muss – no fuss. The city fathers had a valuable tool in their favor. They would just issue an edict that they were taking the land by eminent domain. The city created a private development corporation to lead the project. First priority for the new corporation was to obtain the needed property.
In July, 1997, Susette Kelo bought a nice little pink house in a quiet fort Trumbull neighborhood of New London. Little did she imagine that warm, comfy place would soon become the center of a firestorm.
She had no intention of selling. She’d spent a considerable amount of money and time fixing up her little pink house, a home with a beautiful view of the waterfront that she could afford. She planted flowers in the yard, braided her own rugs for the floors, filled the rooms with antiques and created the home she wanted.
Less than a year later, the trouble started. A real estate broker suddenly showed up at her door representing an unknown client. Susette said she wasn’t interested in selling. The realtor’s demeanor then changed, warning that the property was going to be condemned by the city. One year later, on the day before Thanksgiving, the sheriff taped a letter to Kelo’s door, stating that her home had been condemned by the City of New London.
Then the pressure began. A notice came in the mail telling her that the city intended to take her land. An offer of compensation was made, but it was below the market price. The explanation given was that, since the government was going to take the land, it was no longer worth the old market price, therefore the lower price was “just compensation,” as called for in the Fifth Amendment. It was a “fair price,” Kelo and the homeowners were told over and over.
Some neighbors quickly gave up, took the money and moved away. With the loss of each one, the pressure mounted. Visits from government agents became routine. They knocked on the door at all hours, demanding she sell. Newspaper articles depicted her as unreasonably holding up community progress. They called her greedy. Finally, the bulldozers moved in on the properties already sold. As they crushed down the houses, the neighborhood became unlivable. It looked like a war zone.
In Susette Kelo’s neighborhood, the imposing bulldozer was sadistically parked in front of a house, waiting. The homeowner came under greater pressure to sell. More phone calls, threatening letters, visits by city officials at all hours demanding they sign the contract to sell. It just didn’t stop. Finally the intimidation began to break down the most dedicated homeowners’ resolve. In tears, they gave in and sold. Amazingly, once they sold, the homeowners were then classified as “willing sellers!”
Immediately, as each house was bulldozed, the monster machine was moved to the next house, sitting there like a huffing, puffing dragon, ready to strike.
Finally Susette’s little pink house stood nearly alone in the middle of a destruction site. Over 80 homes were gone: seven remained. As if under attack by a conquering army, she was finally surrounded, with no place to run but to the courts. Under any circumstances the actions of the New London government and its sham development corporation should have been considered criminal behavior. It used to be. If city officials were caught padding their own pockets, or those of their friends, it was considered graft. That’s why RICO laws were created.
The United States was built on the very premise of the protection of private property rights. How could a government possibly be allowed to take anyone’s home for private gain? Surely justice would finally prevail.
The city was backed in its appeal by the National League of Cities, one of the largest proponents of eminent domain use, saying the policy was critical to spurring urban renewal with development projects. However, the Supreme Court had always stood with the founders of the nation on the vital importance of private property. There was precedent after precedent to back up the optimism that they would do so again.
Finally, her case was heard by the highest court in the land. It was such an obvious case of government overreach against private property owners that no one considered there was a chance of New London winning. That’s why it was a shock to nearly everyone involved that private property rights sustained a near-death blow that day.
This time, five black robes named Stevens, Souter, Ginsburg, Kennedy, and Breyer shocked the nation by ruling that officials who had behaved like Tony Soprano were in the right and Susette Kelo had no ground to stand on, literally or figuratively.
These four men and one woman ruled that the United States Constitution is meaningless as a tool to protect individuals against the wants and desires of government. Their ruling in the Kelo case declared that Americans own nothing. After deciding that any property is subject to the whim of a government official, it was just a short trip to declaring that government could now confiscate anything we own, anything we create, anything we’ve worked for – in the name of an undefined common good.
Justice Sandra Day O’Conner, who opposed the Court’s decision, vigorously rebutted the Majority’s argument, as she wrote in dissent of the majority opinion, “The specter of condemnation hangs over all property. Nothing is to prevent the state from replacing a Motel 6 with a Ritz-Carlton, any home with a shopping mall, or any farm with a factory.”
Justice Clarence Thomas issued his own rebuttal to the decision, specifically attacking the argument that this was a case about “public use.” He accused the Majority of replacing the Fifth Amendment’s “Public Use” clause with a very different “Public Purpose” test. Said Justice Thomas “This deferential shift in phraseology enables the Court to hold against all common sense, that a costly urban-renewal project whose stated purpose is a vague promise of new jobs and increased tax revenue, but which is also suspiciously agreeable to the Pfizer Corporation, is for a public use.”
Astonishingly the members of the Supreme Court have no other job but to protect the Constitution and defend it from bad legislation. They sit in their lofty ivory tower, with their lifetime appointments, never actually having to worry about job security or the need to answer to political pressure. Yet, these five black robes obviously missed finding a single copy of the Federalist Papers, which were written by many of the Founders to explain to the American people how they envisioned the new government was to work. In addition, they apparently missed the collected writings of James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and George Washington, just to mention a very few. It’s obvious because otherwise, there is simply no way they could have reached this decision.
So, in a five to four vote, the Supreme Court said that it was okay for a community to use eminent domain to take land, shut down a business, or destroy and reorganize an entire neighborhood, if it benefited the community in a positive way. Specifically, “positive” meant unquestioned government control and more tax dollars.
The Institute for Justice, the group that defended Susette Kelo before the Supreme Court, reported that it found 10,000 cases in which condemnation was used or threatened for the benefit of private developers. These cases were all within a five-year period after the Kelo decision. Today, that figure is dwarfed as there is seemingly no limit on government takings of private property.
The Kelo decision changed the rules. The precedent was set. Land can now be taken anytime at the whim of a power elite. So again, the question must be asked: if Brett Kavanaugh is confirmed to the U.S. Supreme Court, will he stand to protect private property rights against massive overreach by local, state, and federal governments? Will he support an effort to overturn the Kelo Decision?
by Tom DeWeese
Justice has finally been achieved as the federal government’s war against western ranchers and property owners has taken a second major hit.
First, Cliven Bundy and his sons, Ryan, Ammon, Dave and Mel, were released in January, 2018, after three trials that never found them guilty of a crime, yet they spent close to two years behind federal bars, while being physically tortured and abused by cheating and lying Bureau of Land Management (BLM) thugs. As they were forced into solitary confinement, subjected to daily body searches, and other physical abuses, they were labeled by the government and mainstream media to be nothing more than paranoid right-wing loons.
Finally, a judge found that it was the BLM which was dangerous, guilty of perpetrating violence and spreading lies in an attempt to take control of the Bundy Nevada land that had been in the family’s possession since the 1880s. The BLM started the range war against the Bundys, claiming that Bundy cattle were a danger to the desert tortoise. And so, as the BLM openly bragged about roughing up Dave Bundy, grinding his face into the ground, they confiscated the cattle from land on which the Bundys had legal grazing rights dating back one hundred years.
Meanwhile, in Southwest Oregon, Dwight and Steven Hammond, also multi-generation cattle ranchers, were imprisoned for allowing a routine controlled-burn fire to leak onto a small portion of neighboring public grazing land. It’s a standard practice by ranchers to use the burns to keep down weeds and debris that would feed large forest fires. It also helps keep burnables away from ranch buildings. In short, its just good land management. The forest service does it too. In fact, the accidental spread of the Hammond fire onto federal land surely helped improve government land.
The federal government worked to throw the book at the Hammonds, charging them with intentionally and maliciously setting fires on public lands. The Department of Justice actually charged Steven Hammond with lighting the fire to cover an illegal deer hunt on land that was managed by the BLM. It filed a civil suit that cost the Hammonds over $400,000. Meanwhile the government vigorously worked to prosecute the Hammonds to put them behind bars.
Yet the Jury acquitted them on most of the charges and U.S. District Judge Michael Hogan, considering the fact that the Hammonds were upstanding citizens, decided that the usual minimum sentence of five years was too harsh for the supposed crime. Thus, Dwight Hammond received only three months and his son Steven was sentenced to a year and a day. They served that time and returned home to their ranch in Diamond, Oregon.
The Obama Justice Department actually accused the Hammonds of terrorism and demanded more time be served, so prosecutors filed an appeal to overturn Judge Hogan’s lighter sentence. As a result the Hammonds were forced back into jail to complete the full five years.
This injustice by the federal judicial system is what forced other ranchers, including the Bundys, to travel to Burns, Oregon in January 2016 to occupy the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. The point was to expose the government’s war on ranchers, of which the Hammonds were the latest victims of this massive government overreach.
Once again, the government reacted with massive firepower. This time, as several of the protestors were on their way to a public meeting to explain their purpose and try to work out some sort of solution, federal and state agents arrested Ammon Bundy in a road block. Meanwhile, officials forced the car carrying rancher and protest leader LaVoy Finicum, off the road, into a trap. As LaVoy exited the car with his hands up in an attempt to protect the others still in the car, state police and FBI officers opened fire and killed LaVoy Finicum as they claimed he was going for a gun. Video has proven he was not. His wife, Jannette Finicum has now filed a wrongful death lawsuit.
For decades, ranchers across the American West have endured such intimidation and lawlessness by the federal government. Finally, some of their strong, independent neighbors said enough is enough. All they desire is to live in peace as good stewards of the land. And so, against all odds, they took a stand against the powerful government forces. Frankly, the outcome seemed hopeless. How does an individual gain justice in a rigged system that controls the court rooms and the media?
But a new battle cry is being heard as more and more Americans are beginning to see through the government smokescreen of intimidation and persecution. The Bundys and the Hammonds have led a renewed battle for the very issue that built this nation’s freedom and prosperity –the right to own and control private property.
On Tuesday, July 10, 2018, President Donald Trump fully pardoned Dwight and Steven Hammond and they too are headed home. They and the Bundys endured oppression from an out of control American government unlike anything we could have imagined existed in our nation. They fought an unwavering battle for freedom. And they have won. Now the American public must honor their sacrifice by demanding a full investigation into the lawless behavior of the BLM and U.S. Forest Service. American ranchers must never again be subjected to the tyranny endured by the Bundys and the Hammonds. As LaVoy Finicum once said, “It matters how you stand!”