Free-Trade Masquerade: Fast Track Authority, the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Constitutional Tipping Point, Part 1

After the mid-term elections, you may have heard Mitch McConnell make public statements about the GOP being willing to work with President Obama to push through free-trade agreements.  McConnell said that GOP leaders favor free trade and believe it brings prosperity to the country.

What you may not know is that the President is asking Congress to renew what is known as Fast Track Authority, allowing the President to negotiate and even sign trade treaties without the participation of the United States Congress.  Under Fast Track Authority, the President calls for Congress to vote either up or down on a treaty without allowing time for debate. Congress may not amend or filibuster the treaty.  Instead of the two-thirds majority approval needed to pass a treaty mandated by the United States Constitution, a fast track treaty needs only a simple 51% majority approval.

Currently, the President is negotiating a trade treaty called the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).  He and his Trade Representative are negotiating in secret with multinational corporations, but the Congress is not privy to the terms under negotiation.  That’s right, even before the Congress moves to renew Fast Track Authority allowing the President to negotiate trade treaties without congressional oversight, the President has already been engaged in what are basically unconstitutional and rogue negotiations conducted in secrecy.

Members of Congress are being locked out of the proceedings, while the “U.S. Trade Representative has given some 600 corporate lobbyists special ‘cleared advisor’ status that enables them to review and comment upon specific negotiating drafts.  U.S. negotiators have said they will not share texts with the public until after negotiations are completed—at which time it is virtually impossible to make substantive changes” (ObamaTrade.com).  So, just like the Affordable Health Care Act (ObamaCare), which passed by a simple 51% majority vote under Reconciliation, Congress will have to pass the TPP treaty in order to know what’s in it.

What Leaked Documents Tell Us About the TPP

Nevertheless, there have been documents leaked to Wikileaks that give us a glimpse into what is being cooked up for Americans. Stephanie Scruggs, from EndGlobalGovernance.com, tells us leaked documents reveal that, of 26 chapters, only two chapters deal with trade, while the remaining chapters deal with issues of global governance (not to be confused with government), such as regulation of the Internet, health and the environment, and that these chapters reveal a global system of rules “designed to dispossess Americans of authority over themselves and their government.”

So, though both Republicans and Democrats represent the Trans-Pacific Partnership as a free-trade agreement, perhaps evoking F.A. Hayek’s vision of a tariff-free market, in reality, the TPP, and other trade treaties, are more about implementing an overarching set of international laws that supersede American sovereignty and favor powerful, multinational corporations by subjecting the United States to the ‘jurisdiction of two systems of foreign tribunals, including the World Bank and the United Nations Tribunals.  These foreign tribunals would be empowered to order payment of U.S. tax dollars to foreign firms if U.S. laws undermined the foreign firms’ new special TPP privileges.  The TPP would establish a foreign judicial authority higher than even the U.S. Supreme Court that could overrule federal court rulings” (ObamaTrade.com).  Opponents to this treaty justifiably point out that this is unconstitutional.

Ambassador Alan Keyes notes that because, under the Constitution, treaties become law, it becomes possible to amend the U.S. Constitution by a series of treaties.  For that reason, America’s Founders were gravely concerned that members of Congress, those representatives elected to protect the people’s interests, should alone be authorized to negotiate treaties, and that those treaties should not be passed by less than a 2/3 majority approval.

The Nature of World Trade Today

John Fonte, senior fellow and director of the Center for American Common Culture at the Hudson Institute, has written a book outlining the many strategies by which European Nations had their system of laws, national sovereignty and economies collapsed so that those nations could be absorbed into the European Union (EU): Sovereignty or Submission: Will Americans Rule Themselves or Be Ruled by Others?”  Fonte describes the worldview and activities of the organization that, beginning in 1995, oversees trade between nations, the World Trade Organization (WTO):

“From the beginning, the WTO’s highest judicial organ, the Appellate Body, has seen its mission as not simply addressing trade disputes among nations, but incorporating trade issues within broader principles of a growing international legal regime.  Thus, trade disputes that were once negotiated among nations are now settled by supranational litigation in the WTO’s Appellate Body. A German legal advisor to the WTO sees it as part of a developing ‘world constitution.’  The current head of the WTO, Pascal Lamy, an ardent transnationalist, decries the ‘traditional models of national democracy as having ‘important limitations’ in their ability to ‘handle global problems.’  He prefers the EU model as ‘a new paradigm of global governance,’ saying that the ‘European construction is the most ambitious experiment in supranational governance ever attempted up to now” (pg. 167, my emphasis).

Note the words supranational and transnational, rather than international in the above cited passage.  You see, the problem with the Trans-Pacific Partnership treaty is not that it seeks to reduce trade barriers between sovereign nations in order to free up trade: leaked documents and interviews with treaty negotiators indicate that the TPP seeks to impose a global governance paradigm which has now been embraced by virtually all global organizations, and that it seeks to create and implement a world constitution that supersedes national laws, courts and constitutions.  This paradigm is not international in nature, but supranational and transnational.  Recent and currently negotiated trade treaties are likely being used to draw Canada, the United States and Mexico into a bloc of countries known as the North American Union modeled on the European Union.

What Could They be Thinking?

Not long ago, I signed a petition and sent a letter to my Senators asking them to vote No on renewing Fast Track Authority and the TPP trade treaty.  In response, one of my Senators sent me an email containing this statement:

“The pursuit of reduced tariffs on trade items has been a fixture of the U.S. government policy since the trade wars of the 1930s that contributed to the economic stagnation of the Great Depression.  Trade liberalization is intended to expand economic growth and reduce consumer prices for goods and services enjoyed by the American people and companies.”

Perhaps the good senator is unaware of all the history touching on American and world trade.  We are so rarely presented with the facts these days.  The facts in this case are that, after WW ll, the major trading nations of the world organized the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT).  Under GATT, the pitfalls of the 1930s were avoided while international trade was still maintained as relations among co-equal, sovereign nations:

“The GATT conducted multilateral trade negotiations for the purpose of reducing tariffs and trade barriers and thereby avoiding any repetition of the 1920s and early 1930s….  From the 1940s to the 1990s they reduced average tariff levels by almost 90 percent, and promoted economic growth and prosperity.  The GATT was a highly effective international institution based on negotiations, reciprocity, compromise and conciliation among member nation-states” (Fonte p. 167).

National sovereignty was preserved under GATT.  It wasn’t until 1994 that the World Trade Organization, with its aspirations for a world constitution that would supersede the laws of sovereign nation-states, was formed.  According to one Canadian trade negotiator, under the WTO, “The degree of obtrusiveness into domestic sovereignty bears little resemblance to the GATT.”  Claude Barfield, a free-trade expert at the American Enterprise Institute, told the U.S. Congress “The WTO’s dispute settlement system is ‘unsustainable’…because its structure over time will ‘create major questions of democratic legitimacy” (qtd. In Fonte p. 168). 

In addition, the senator does not indicate an awareness that Fast Track Authority, allowing the President to negotiate trade agreements, is relatively new and controversial.  The bill authorizing Fast Track Authority was not passed until 1974 and was considered temporary.  Though renewed several times since then, it laid mostly dormant except to negotiate the Uruguay Round.  In the early 1990s George H.W. Bush used it to negotiate NAFTA, considered by some to be one of the most damaging trade treaties in American history.  NAFTA was passed by a Democrat-controlled Congress and signed by President Bill Clinton.   From 1995-2002 House Republicans refused to renew Fast Track until George W. Bush asked Congress to reauthorize it.  According to Patrick Wood, except for about five treaties, the majority of treaties were still negotiated by Congress and passed by the traditional 2/3 majority approval.  In Wood’s view, Fast-Track authorized trade treaties really began under Bush and are being enacted under Obama.  

Ambassador Alan Keyes asks why Congress, particularly Republican members thereof, would trust President Obama to engage in secret trade negotiations when they, themselves, have referred to his administration as a lawless presidency.  Given Benghazi, Fast and Furious and the IRS scandal, why would Republicans trust the president to protect the interests of the American people?  The people of a country he doesn’t even seem to respect, I might add.

Dr. Keyes notes that there is evidence of collusion between the two major political parties.  Keyes believes that, more and more, the elected members of both parties see their power, not as a responsibility to protect the interests of their constituencies, but as a mandate to rule as they see fit.  Instead of seeing themselves as Americans first, they see themselves as Citizens of the World.

Keyes’ analysis is perhaps borne out by Christopher Lasch in his book The Revolt of the Elites and the Betrayal of Democracy.  Lasch describes a rootless class of American elites lacking loyalty either to the places or peoples of their origins, and who, in place of Jeffersonian democracy, have set up a tyranny of meritocracy:

“Those who covet membership in the new aristocracy of brains tend to congregate on the coasts, turning their back on the heartland and cultivating ties with the international market of fast-moving money…. It is a question whether they think of themselves as Americans at all.  Patriotism, certainly, does not rank very high in their hierarchy of virtues….  The new elites are at home only in transit, en route to a high-level conference, to the grand opening of a new franchise, to an international film festival, or to an undiscovered resort.  Theirs is essentially a tourist’s view of the world—not a perspective likely to encourage a passionate devotion to democracy” (p. 6).

Would our congressmen and women grant foreign multinational corporations the right to sue Americans in a world tribunal? Would they sign to set up a court and law higher than the Supreme Court and the American Constitution?  Dick Morris and Eileen McGann show how Congress has been favoring the interests of foreign governments at the expense of the American people for quite awhile now:

“Has it ever seemed to you that America’s political leaders are sometimes ignoring our national interests? If so, here’s one possible reason for it: there are thousands of lobbyists, lawyers, PR firms, and political consultants in Washington, D.C., who are getting paid fat sums to push the agendas of foreign governments—often in direct opposition to what is best for the United States and the American people.  Under such pressure, our politicians too often march to the beat of a different drummer—and it’s foreign governments, through their lobbyists, who are calling the tune (p. 118)

In the next installment of this series, I will show how the TPP favors multinational corporations economically at the expense of American companies and businesses.

For now, I maintain that Fast Track Authority is an abdication of Congressional responsibility and a way to escape accountability to the American people.  Citizens of the World, or no, it is highly improbable that elected members of Congress or the President have the authority to cede American constitutional rights or sovereignty to a foreign or international body. 

Back to the Beginning

Fonte’s book, Sovereignty or Submission, discusses John Locke’s philosophy, which became the basis for our Declaration of Independence.  Fonte gives us Locke’s views on world government and national independence:

“More than simply national independence, Locke advocated what we would call ‘democratic sovereignty,’ arguing that authority was legitimate only with the consent of the governed.  If the government becomes a tyranny, the people had the right to revolution.  Lock explicitly rejected the Kantian notion that it would be legitimate for an independent democratic state to cede some of its sovereignty to a transnational or foreign political authority.”

Fonte then quotes from Locke’s Second Treatise on Civil Government:

‘The delivery also of the people into the subjection of foreign power either by the prince or by the legislature, is certainly a change of the legislative, and so a dissolution of government.  For the end why people entered into society being to be preserved one entire, free, independent society, to be governed by its own laws.  This is lost whenever they are given up into the power of another.’

 Fonte explains, “if the ‘legislative’ (or the democratic political process) transfers sovereign authority to an outside power, the nature of the ‘free, independent society’ itself is changed, amounting to a dissolution of government” (pp. 24-25).

Perhaps we should conclude here by reflecting upon the Founders’ remarks in the Declaration of Independence:

“To secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the Consent of the Governed.  That whenever any Form of Government becomes Destructive of these Ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish it, and to Institute a new Government….[When] a long train of Abuses and Usurpations, pursuing the same Object, evince a Design to reduce them under Absolute Despotism, it is their Right, it is their Duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide New Guards for their future Security.”

Americans, we have the Right—nay, the Duty—to reverse this trend.  Please stop the renewal of Fast Track Authority and the Trans-Pacific Partnership treaty.  Go to ObamaTrade.com and click on their Action Center to sign a petition and to send letters to your elected representatives.  You may also sign at EndGlobalGovernance.com.

 

Works Cited and Consulted

Fonte, John. Sovereignty or Submission: Will Americans Rule Themselves or Be Ruled by Others?  Encounter Books: New York, 2011.

Lasch, Christopher.  The Revolt of the Elites and the Betrayal of Democracy.  W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.: New York, London: 1995.

 Morris, Dick and Eileen McGann.  Fleeced: How Barack Obama, Media Mockery of Terrorist Threats, Liberals Who Want to Kill Talk Radio, The Do-Nothing Congress, Companies that Help Iran, and Washington Lobbyists for Foreign Governments are Scamming Us and What to do About It.  HarperCollins Publishers, New York: 2008.

 Stumo, Michael, Curtis Ellis, Alan Keyes, Judsen Philips, Phyllis Schlafly, Stephanie Scruggs and Patrick Wood.  Top 5 Reasons to Deny President Obama Fast Track Authority.  Online Webinar held November 10, 2014.

 

Posted in Blog, politics, politics, Social Commentary | 3 Comments

American Environmentalism: Controlled by the Billionaire’s Club and Unknown Foreign Entities

So now we know.  At least we know more about the money flow and the complex machine behind radical environmental activists.  The United States Senate Committee on Environment and Public Work just issued a Minority Staff Report entitled The Chain of Environmental Command: How a club of Billionaires and Their Foundations Control the Environmental Movement and Obama’s EPA.”   

 Billionaire’s Club: Headwaters of the Money Flow

The report, issued July 30, 2014, describes what the Senate committee terms the “Billionaire’s Club”, made up of an elite group of left-wing millionaires and billionaires who establish private foundations which they, themselves, control.  These foundations form a cadre known as the Environmental Grantmakers Association (EGA), and include the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, the David and Lucille Packard Foundation, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Park Foundation, Inc., Marisla Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Wallace Global fund, the Walton Family Fund and others.
The Senate report tells us “the ‘Billionaire’s Club’…directs and controls the far-left environmental movement, which in turn controls major policy decisions and lobbies on behalf of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).”

The report particularly notes the activities of the Sea Change Foundation.  The principal donor to the Sea Change Foundation is a Bermuda-based corporation named Klein, Ltd., through which tens of millions of dollars flow into Sea Change from unknown foreign entities.  According to the Senate report, Sea Change then “funnels tens of millions of dollars to other large but discreet foundations and prominent environmental activists who strive to control both policy and politics.”

Bermuda has made an agreement to not disclose the identities of Klein’s funders.  In fact, this secrecy about who is funding whom is evident throughout the entire environmentalist machine.  The Senate report comments on the difficulty of tracking the money flow: this “report covers only a small fraction of the amount of money that is being secreted and moved around.  It would be virtually impossible to examine this system completely given the enormity of this carefully coordinated effort and the lack of transparency surrounding it.”

The Billionaire’s Club funds its own media as well, and in return, this media protects its funders’ identities and their true nature.  According to the report

“The failure to acknowledge this force and the silence of the media with whom they coordinate further emphasize the fact that until today, the Billionaire’s Club operated in relative obscurity hidden under the guise of ‘philanthropy.’  The scheme to keep their efforts hidden and far removed from the political stage is deliberate, meticulous, and intended to mislead the public.  While it is uncertain why they operate in the shadows and what they are hiding, what is clear is that these individuals and foundations go to tremendous lengths to avoid public association with the far-left environmental movement they so generously fund.”

The ostensible purpose of the Billionaire’s Club seems to be suppressing development of America’s fossil-fuel energy resources.  The other principal donors to Sea Change Foundation are Nat and Pat Simons, who predominantly fund Sea Change out of their own personal wealth.  Nat Simons, President of Sea Change, also serves as “CEO of Elan Management where he manages the early stages of clean-tech companies with a focus on solar and wind-energy sources.”  Nat Simon’s father ranked 34th on Forbe’s list of world billionaires and Nat’s mother donated a total of $3,289,200 to Democrats in the 2014 mid-term elections.  Nat, himself, donated $15,000 dollars to President Obama’s 2009 Inaugural and has donated to dozens of Democratic candidates for Congress.  Nat Simons has stated words to the effect that it is unfortunate that energy in North America is still very inexpensive because that fact makes it difficult for customers to pay much attention to renewable energy technologies.  The Senate Committee comments “only an affiliate of the Billionaire’s Club invested in renewable technologies would express disappointment in low energy prices.”

To conclude this section, the Environmental Grantmakers Association and Sea Change Foundation apparently make up the headwaters of the money flowing through the far-left, radical environmentalist machine.  From this source the money flows through what are called “pass-through” foundations.

The Pass-Through Organizations

Pass-through foundations are public charity foundations established by the Billionaire’s Club evidently for the purpose of obscuring the money trail.  Many, if not all, of the public charities set up for this purpose keep their donor’s list secret.  Even when  individuals representing particular public charities were asked by the Senate Committee to reveal their donors, they refused, saying that they protect the anonymity of the people they work with, or words to that effect.

Some named pass-through public charities are Pew Charitable Trusts, Tides Foundation, Energy Foundation, and others.  Energy Foundation is of note because Sea Change donates massive amounts of money to it to be passed on down the line.  The pass-through organizations provide other services to the Billionaire’s Club by offering fiscal sponsorship to activist organizations not recognized by the IRS, and by overseeing funded operations in the lower echelons.

Trickle-Down Economics

The pass-through foundations then fund the bottom tier of the machine: the environmental activists, including such organizations as the Center for Biological Diversity, the Nature Conservancy, the Sierra Club and others.  These groups provide the public face of the environmental movement. 

Faux Grassroots

The radical environmentalist organizations have very specific functions within this machine.  As the public face of the environmental movement, their first function is to provide an artificial grassroots movement.  An excerpt from the report gives us more information:

“[One] service provided to the Billionaire’s Club is the manufacturing of an artificial grassroots movement. ‘Grassroots’ is a commonly used and exploited term by far-left organizations.  Webster’s Dictionary defines grassroots as ‘the ordinary people in a society or organization: the people who do not have a lot of money and power.’  General characteristics of a grassroots movement include natural spontaneous and volunteer-based action that originates locally with citizens who unite around a common issue or cause within their community.  Environmental groups have misleadingly used the grassroots label to gain credibility among the populace and to hide, among other things, their substantial funding, well-organized structures and powerful influence….Critically, it is not the citizens’ interests that drive the [environmental] movement; rather it is part of a well-funded national strategy….The real direction comes from agenda-driven far-left elites hundreds of miles away on the East and West Coasts.”

 Propaganda and Bad Science

The activist environmental groups provide the Billionaire’s Club with other services.  Other services described by the Minority Staff Report are “promulgation of propaganda,” comprising “nimble and transient groups under fiscal sponsorship arrangements, distance/anonymity between donations made by well-known donors and activities of risky activist groups,” and “above all—the ability to leverage tens of millions of dollars in questionable foreign funding.”

One especially important way activist groups provide a service to the Billionaire’s Club is to generate propaganda as part of an artificial echo chamber.  What is meant by an “artificial echo chamber” is illustrated by the following example from the report:

“Activists are skilled at creating and pushing out propaganda disguised as science and news.  For example, both the Park Foundation and the Schmidt Family Foundation have financed questionable scientists to produce anti-fracking research, which the Huffington Post, Mother Jones, and Climate Desk—all grant recipients—eagerly report on.”

Corrupting the EPA

Another role of the activist organizations is to lobby the EPA and to influence policy from within the EPA itself.  The report explains:

“This report proves that the Obama EPA has been deliberately staffed at the highest levels with far-left environmental activists who have worked hand-in-glove with their former colleagues.  The green-revolving door at EPA has become a valuable asset for the far-left and their wealthy donors.  In addition to providing insider access to important policy decisions, it appears activists now at EPA also funnel government money through grants to their former employers and colleagues.  The report tracks the amount of government aid doled out to activist groups and details a troubling disregard for ethics by certain high powered officials.”

The Senate Minority Staff Report says this about radical environmental activists groups:

“The ultimate recipients of donations from the Billionaire’s Club work in tandem with wealthy donors to maximize the value of their tax deductible donations and leverage their combined resources to influence elections and policy outcomes.  Often they lobby on behalf of the EPA and advance policy positions important to the agency, which is statutorily prohibited from lobbying on its own behalf…[They] present themselves as non-partisan benevolent charities to a public not aware of the secretive backroom deals and transfers.  The Billionaire’s Club achieves many of its successes through ‘capture’ of key employees at EPA.  These ‘successes’ are often at the expense of farmers, miners, roughnecks, small businesses and families.”

Siding with Crony Capitalists

The Senators respond drily to EPA Administrator, Gina McCarthy, who told Congress EPA’s draconian regulations, which sound the death knell for the coal industry, really create an opportunity for investment in renewable and clean energy:

“The ‘opportunities’ McCarthy was referring to…are the economic opportunities of millionaires and billionaires who are part of the far-left environmental machine heavily invested in helping EPA advance such regulations.  It is surely not an opportunity for Americans living in Appalachia or the Powder River Basin who depend on coal for their energy supply and livelihood, nor is it an economic opportunity for Americans already struggling to pay their energy bills.” [Emphasis mine] 

Who Else Has Something to Gain?

As for the identity of those unknown foreign donors to Sea Change, and who has something to gain by blocking the development of American fossil-fuel energy, the first people that come to my mind are members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, also known as OPEC.  This evidently was not far from the Senators’ minds because they remark

“The role Sea Change plays as a member of the Billionaire’s Club is deeply troubling, especially in light of recent revelations that environmental activists, many of whom are clearly benefiting from this extreme “dark money,” do not have any moral qualms over where their money comes from—so long as it supports the far-left cause.  This sentiment was captured by a recently released investigative video that revealed Hollywood producers of far-left environmental films were eager to accept Middle Eastern money to produce an anti-fracking video.  Notably, in speaking with a man believed to represent rich Middle Eastern oil interests opposed to American energy independence through fracking, one producer said: ‘This is not the first major project that we’ve had funded through a funding source, which you know, for various reasons—we didn’t disclose.  It would have been very unwise for everybody to understand the dynamics of that funding.  So we know how tricky it is….It’s money, so in that sense we have no moral issue.”

Other foreign entities who have something to gain from America’s failure to make wise use of her natural resources come to mind, but perhaps that is a subject for another post. 

Read it for Yourself

If you would like to get all of the Senate Committee’s findings and the stunning details, it is a good idea to download this substantial report here and read it for yourself.  This post only gives an overview of the most salient characteristics.  The Senate Minority Staff Report is full of information that every American should be made aware of.  As rich in detail as the report is, we are told that this is a partial picture because the Committee’s “jurisdiction is limited to oversight of the EPA and energy and environmental policy.” The Senate Committee tells us that this model of doing business is being replicated across the far-left political movement. 

I hope you have found this post informative.  If you have any comments on the Senate Minority Staff Report or this blog post please feel free to leave them below.  I know you will respect Internet etiquette.

 

 

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Conservation Easements: Locking Up LittleTown, Part 4

In my last post I explained how the Western Governors Association is being used to implement the Wildlife Corridors Initiative throughout the Western United States, and how this initiative looks very much like radical, extremist, environmental visions, such as the Wildlands Project and the Yellowstone to Yukon Initiative, that call for expunging human beings from over one-half of the American land mass.  I explained how this puts private lands in the West in danger of being targeted for habitat acquisition.

As promised, in this post I will discuss the use of conservation easements to lock up land for habitat acquisition.  This is a timely discussion because I have learned that local environmental groups currently have seven million dollars, probably from the Ford Foundation, to use for grizzly bear habitat acquisition.  That could include the outright purchase of land, but it will likely include the use of conservation easements, as those have had a prominent place in North Idaho for at least ten years.

This is my fourth and final installment of the Infiltration of LittleTown, USA series, but I will continue writing blog posts in the future on land-use policy with specifics relating to Idaho and the West.  Whenever possible, I will discuss particulars regarding Boundary County, Idaho, the county wherein I reside.

Welcome, Stranger

When The Nature Conservancy (TNC) first came to Boundary County, roughly ten years ago, or more, I confess I knew very little about them, and less than nothing about conservation easements.  People were generally enthusiastic about the idea of being able to sell either one’s land, or the development rights to one’s land, to a land trust in order to preserve it for future generations, plus get a tax break.  I wasn’t so sure.  Perhaps it’s my peasant nature that gives me a suspicious mind about these things, but I couldn’t help wondering who was getting their hands on all that land.  I knew that whoever owns land owns wealth, and whoever owns wealth has power.

At least it’s not falling into the hands of the federal government, I thought.  Little did I know that The Nature Conservancy is known for buying lands and the development rights to land, and then turning around and reselling those holdings to the federal government, often at exorbitant profits.  I don’t think many other individuals in Boundary County were aware of that fact either.

Evidently, The Nature Conservancy has a reputation for stealth in this regard.  Some Americans have sold their land to TNC at under-market prices thinking of it as a charity for land preservation, and some have even sued in court when they found out that the land was resold to the federal government.

According to Elizabeth Nickson, due to their reputation among rural folks, The Nature Conservancy “operates through a proliferation of ‘partner’ land trusts, conservancies, and operatives.”  Nickson goes even further in her indictment of The Nature Conservancy for stealth activities saying, “TNC’s sending polite, fresh-faced kids into the middle of nowhere to start local actions for waterbirds or watersheds or ancient forests was the trigger that started the landslide collapse in rural America.”

As important as it is for us to understand The Nature Conservancy’s record on these matters, I need to leave TNC until later, and move on to discuss what conservation easements are, what to watch for, and why they are a bad idea both for the environment and for human culture.

Laying it Out

A conservation easement is a contract between a landowner and another entity, such as a land trust or governmental agency, which imposes restrictions upon the landowner’s use of his or her property, usually in exchange for tax breaks.

Fred Kelly Grant, an attorney from Idaho, does the best job of laying out the immediate legal ramifications of signing a conservation easement.  In his article, “Standing Ground,” Grant uses the analogy of buying a used car on scalper’s terms–terms that no sane person would sign.  I invite you to read Grant’s article, as it is most insightful.  One major point he makes is that, if you sign a conservation easement, you will be selling the controlling interest in your property:

“The buyer, whether it be the Government or a non-profit organization, buys control over the use of the land.  From the time the contract is signed, the buyer holds the dominant estate in the land, and the landowner holds the servient [a condition of servitude] estate, which means that the landowner operates only to serve the interests of the dominant easement owner.  Every change in the use of the land must be approved by the dominant easement owner; even continuation of the use of the land in place when the contract is signed is subject to continued approval by the dominant owner.”

The literature is full of horror stories about what can happen to landowners bound by contract to the owner of a conservation easement.  One cautionary tale is that of Martha Boneta, an environmentally-sensitive woman, and an organic gardener, who bought a small farm in Paris, Virginia for the purpose of selling farm-produced products.

Tom DeWeese tells Martha’s story in his article, “Conservation Easements and the Urge to Rule:”

 “Everything was looking great for a lady anxious to get her hands in the dirt….Martha made her farm a haven for rescued animals.  She restored the heavily deteriorated barn and turned it into a small farm store to sell her products—items produced right there on the farm.

Oh yes, there was just one small detail brought up at the very last minute during the closing meeting for her mortgage loan as she was purchasing the property.  The Piedmont Environmental Council [PEC] slipped in a conservation easement on the property.  This specific easement did not pay any cash to Martha nor did it provide any tax credits. All the benefits went to PEC.  Martha signed the document because she had been told conservation easements were a way to protect the farm from being developed.  She was for that.”

DeWeese then goes on to explain how Martha was threatened with huge fines for violations when she posted pictures on Facebook of a private pumpkin-carving party for children held on her farm.  She was also charged for fencing a cemetery dating from 1882 to prevent animals from walking through it, and for a water nozzle she used to wash her animals.  She was subject to unannounced inspections of the farm living quarters, and even of her closets.  In addition she was forbidden to video tape the inspections.  This harassment cost her thousands more dollars to defend herself.

Many articles on conservation easements caution the landowner to have the contract examined by a lawyer with a background in this kind of easement, and that is good advice, however making sure of the terms of a potential contract is more complicated than it might seem.  In the first place, what one thinks one is signing may be a very different matter than what one actually signs.

Courts have ruled in favor of the conservation easement holder even when the language seemed to straightforwardly favor the original landowner (see Grant’s article).  Secondly, according to Kirk MacKenzie, who runs the web site Defend Rural America, conservation easement regulations are not always static: “they get worse over time.   A set aside along a creek that starts with a 50-feet regulation can grow to a 300-foot set aside, for example, and even engulf the land the home sits on ― without any further input or approval of the owner.”

Remaking American Property Law

Perhaps most importantly, one should be aware that landowners will not likely be approached with a contract that favors them.  This is no coincidence.  In 1972, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), a science advisory organization to the United Nations, published an IUCN Environmental Law Paper entitled The Easement as a Conservation Technique.  It was written by David D. Gregory.  A close reading of this document reveals that, from the IUCN’s point-of-view conservation efforts in the United States were being stymied by American laws that favor private property rights.  In order to meet their goals, environmentalists or governments  would have had to purchase lands outright and pay taxes on them, and the cost of that would have been prohibitive.  So, the IUCN was looking for a way around American laws and the need to purchase land.  They settled on the conservation easement as a way of doing that.

Perhaps one of the most revealing passages in the document is this one that shows the system of Roman law the IUCN decided to use in order to impose their view of property rights on the United States:

“In view of the influence of Roman Law on the French, German and American legal systems (although with great variation in each case), it is not surprising to find that each system has one or more legal devices resembling the Roman praedial servitude. Praedial servitudes required both a dominant and a servient tenement (known as master and slave estates); in character they could be either negative, requiring the owner to refrain from doing something on his land, or positive, permitting the holder of the dominant tenement to use the burdened land, but affirmative duties could not, for the most part, be placed on the servient-tenement holder. 1 Similar limitations, as we shall note, will pose difficulties, although perhaps not insurmountable, to adapting the American easement, the French servitude, and the German Dienstbarkeit to conservation purposes.”

Remember that this document was written in 1972.  Since then, the “limitations” and “difficulties” spoken of have been largely overcome.  Legal precedents and legislation have been passed that favor these easements, and that allow conservation easement holders to impose their will on the original landowners, or as Gregory calls them, the servient tenements (again see Grant’s article).

I want you to notice something here: these people know exactly what they are doing.  Notice the terms master and slave estates.

Dr. Michael Coffman, speaking at a 2012 Northwest Liberty Summit in Clarkston, Washington, pointed out that these globalists are seeking to impose a Roman system of usufruct on the United States and the rest of the world.

Coffman, who has a PhD in ecosystems analysis and planetology, was talking, at the time, about the Biodiversity Treaty that came before the U.S. Senate in the mid-nineties, but which was rejected when Coffman brought evidence regarding the true goals and nature of the treaty.  When reviewing foundational documents for the Biodiversity Treaty, he had come across the term, usufruct.  Looking it up in his college dictionary, he found that the term was coined from the ancient Roman Empire and meant Caesar owns everything.  In other words, property rights under this system are not the inalienable rights of the individual citizen, as thought by the American Founders, but they belong to government.

According to the American Dictionary of the English Language: Noah Webster 1828, a facsimile edition, Usufructuary is defined as “a person who has the use and enjoyment of property for a time, without having the title or property.”  Under that system, Caesar, or in today’s terms, government, could grant rights of temporary enjoyment of lands to whomsoever he wished, but the tenement did not own free title to the land.  So much for the American Revolution.

It’s No Big Deal

Local spokespeople for The Nature Conservancy and the United States Forest Service maintain that the land trusts are “only purchasing the development rights to the property,” as if that was a very small thing not worth getting upset about.  One is tempted to acquiesce to their serene confidence that nothing is out of order here, until one becomes informed that the 1976 United Nations Conference on Human Settlements declared that

“Land…cannot be treated as an ordinary asset, controlled by individuals and subject to the pressures and inefficiencies of the market.  Private land ownership is also a principal instrument of accumulation and concentration of wealth and therefore contributes to social injustice.”

Carla Anderson Hills and William Reilly, who would become head of the EPA and chair of the President’s Council of Environmental Quality under Bill Clinton, signed the above declaration for the United States. They “recommended abolishing private ownership of land piecemeal by restricting that ownership to sharply limited life leases” (Nickson page 268).

Can anyone say Usufructuary?

Nickson then goes on to list Hills and Reilly’s other recommendations about land ownership:

1. “Redistribute population in accord with resources.
2. Government must control the use of land to achieve equitable distribution of resources.
3. Control land use through zoning and land-use planning.
4. Excessive profits from land use must be recaptured by government.
5. Public ownership of land should be used to institute urban and rural land reform.”
[And here is the kicker for the purposes of this article (bolding mine)]:
6. “Owner rights should be separated from development rights.”

This last is exactly what local proponents admit is the effect of conservation easements.  The problem is, we don’t become alarmed when we hear the statement because we don’t realize that we are selling our heritage for a pot of beans.

In reality, the conservation easement can work towards other private-property abolishment goals. By hampering the productivity of the land, and lowering the value of the property, the land often eventually ends up falling into the hands of land trusts and government for pennies on the dollar.

Beware of Phony Free-Market Arguments

Conservation easements are often touted as being a product of free-market, green capitalism.  At least two local leaders have made public statements that suggest to me they agree with this assumption.  In actuality, conservation easements are the product of supreme market manipulation.  Several facts support my contention.  The first obvious fact is that the United Nations Declaration cited above states outright that land should not be subject to the market.  The Nature conservancy is a member of the IUCN, a United Nations nongovernmental organization (ngo), and all UN ngo’s must support the UN’s goals. Another fact is that land trusts, such as the Nature Conservancy, act as agents to purchase lands and development rights for the federal government, and also participate in forming land-use regulations.

Tom DeWeese tells us that conservation groups

“may work directly with government agencies, helping to establish new regulations which alter best management practices, driving up compliance costs.  Eventually, these cost increases can force owners to sell their land at a reduced price. This is especially effective when trying to dislodge a land owner who has refused to sell his land to the government or sign a conservation easement….Its [The Nature Conservancy] favorite practice is to tell the land owner that the government intends to take the land, but if they sell to the Conservancy then it will guarantee that the land will stay in private hands.  But of course, since the government intends to take the land it is now worth much less.”

Dana Joel Gattuso’s article, “Conservation Easements: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly,” tells us

“Many property rights advocates…argue the threat of land use regulations and Federal land-grabs can act as an incentive for conservation easements, driving landowners to sell or donate a conservation easement to avoid the burden of a threatened regulation.  Faced with the choice of government seizing your land or encumbering your land with a conservation easement, most landowners would, even if grudgingly, opt for the latter.”

They have ways to make you sign

The revolving door between the federal government and land trusts, such as The Nature Conservancy, gives them the opportunity to exert undue influence over regulatory policy.  This is now true at the state and local levels of government as well. If many farmers and land owners sign easements to get a tax-break and/or due to the rising cost of regulatory compliance, it behooves us to ask who sets tax policy, and who sets regulations?  If the government sets tax and regulatory policy with one hand, and with the other hand sends agents to purchase lands for them, can we then reasonably claim we have a free market?  If the land trust can use the carrot and the stick by saying the government is about to impose eminent domain on property, but that they will take it off the landowner’s hands at a price that has now plummeted, can any disinterested person call that the product of a free market?  The idea is absurd. It’s like a syndicate selling “protection.”

With Justice for Mother Earth and Everybody, But Mostly for Us and Our Friends

And neither does all of this protect the environment, as claimed.  The Nature Conservancy has developed much of this land itself, and resells many of these conservation easements to other conservation groups, as well as to the Federal Government.  In the past, they have worked out sweet deals with elite celebrities and other influential persons.  That’s the market they recognize–the crony-capitalism, controlled-market that has made them fabulously wealthy.  I’m talking World-Bank kind of wealthy.

Furthermore, they practice extractive industry, such as logging and oil drilling, on their holdings.  Of course, they beard the lion by saying that they practice “sustainable” extractive industry.  I guess only they are qualified to do thatYou and I are not that smart.

While we’re at it, federal land-management agencies are doing an abysmal job of managing our natural resources, to put it bluntly.  If you doubt my statements, I suggest you read some of the references I include at the end of my articles, particularly Elizabeth Nickson’s book.

But the crying shame of it all is that these people want us to believe they are doing all of this to bring about social equity and environmental justice.  This is because they purport to believe that private property is the cause of social inequity.  Well, they are diametrically opposed to the precepts of the American Founders, and what has been the underlying premise of American culture for nearly 400 years.  The Founders believed that the most equitable and just society is ensured by a large middle-class and a majority of individual citizens owning small properties.  They believed that the accumulation of property and wealth in the hands of government, not the citizenry, is dangerous and a threat to liberty and justice.

Internationally-connected environmentalists claim to be saving American farmlands from development by use of conservation easements.  In actuality, they are saving them for themselves and their cronies.  The idea is to create artificial scarcity in order to control the market for one thing.  As Dr. Ileana Johnson Paugh puts it, “at a time when food is expensive, we are using more crops for biofuels, and we have to import food from other nations …why would a landowner place good farmland under perpetual conservation easement?”  My question is, what do you think will happen to the price of food when the majority of farmland is locked up?  And who will be controlling that farmland?

The same questions can be asked concerning all other things Americans need.  Consider what Dr. Michael Coffman says regarding the general relevancy of land and natural resources to the national economy:

“Although the development of natural resources (agriculture, mining, oil, forestry and others) makes up only a small portion of the gross domestic product, nothing else in the economic structure can exist without them.  They are the foundation of our entire economy.  All the modern conveniences Americans take for granted, including computers and synthetic clothing, find their origin in the ground or on the ground.  There are no exceptions.  Everything we possess and use originally comes from natural resources.  Even stock market speculation ultimately depends on natural resources to create real value (pg. 60).”

What Do You Believe?

Remember what I said at the beginning of this article: whoever owns land owns wealth, and whoever owns wealth has power.  The use of conservation easements is part of a system that is being imposed on America in order to concentrate land, wealth and power into the hands of governments and select organizations.  If, in the near future, you are approached with an offer to sign a conservation easement, think very carefully about what you believe are the true principles of liberty and a just society.

I know what I would do.

 

Works Cited and Consulted

Coffman, Michael, Ph.D.  Rescuing a Broken America: Why America is Deeply Divided and How to Heal it Constitutionally. Morgan James Publishing: New York, 2010.

Nickson, Elizabeth.  Eco-Fascists: How Radical Conservationists are Destroying Our Natural Heritage.  Broadside Books: An Imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers: New York, 2012.

Paugh, Ileana Johnson, Ph.D.  “Conservation Easements for Unsuspecting Farmers.”  Electronic Document retrieved May, 2014 at  http://canadafreepress.com/index.php/print-friendly/60623

 

 

 

Posted in Agenda 21, Agrarianism, Blog, politics, politics, rural life, Social Commentary | 2 Comments

Infiltration of LittleTown, U.S.A., Part 3: the Wildlands Project and Agenda 21 in Idaho

Update: If you have recently tried to view the PowerPoint referenced in this article but saw only scrambled code, I have fixed that problem, and you may now view the PowerPoint from the Benewah County Natural Resource Team below this article.

Our Private Lands Vulnerable to Attack

It appears that Idaho Governor Butch Otter has dovetailed Idaho land and wildlife management with the Wildlands Project and Agenda 21 through the Western Governor’s Association’s Wildlife Corridors Initiative.  The Western Governors’ Association  (WGA) represents the Governors of 19 Western states and 3 U.S.-flag islands.

By adopting the Wildlife Corridors Initiative, these governors have placed private lands in Idaho, and throughout the West, in danger of being targeted for habitat acquisition.

According to a PowerPoint presentation sent to me by the Benewah County Natural Resource Team (BCNRT), The future of the west under the WCI , Idaho Governor Butch Otter, as a member of the WGA, “participated in the adoption of the Wildlife Corridors Initiative Report when passed on June 9, 2008.”  Not just Idaho, but almost all of the entire Western United States and Canada is currently under this developing initiative.  Much of what I describe as the nuts and bolts of the Wildlife Corridors Initiative comes from the BCNRT PowerPoint presentation, which resulted from their analysis.

To review what I showed in the last installment of this series on Agenda 21 in Boundary County and Idaho, the Wildlands Project is the central mechanism whereby the writers of Agenda 21 plan to implement the Convention on Biological Diversity, which was unveiled at the same Rio Earth Summit that trotted out Agenda 21 itself.  The Wildlands project seeks to remove humans from at least one half of the American land mass and lock it up as wilderness and habitat for wildlife.  Added to other United Nation programs, many more American lands are slated to be removed from human use.  The following quote is from one of the Wildlands Project architects, Dave Foreman:

“The only hope of the Earth is to withdraw huge areas as inviolate natural sanctuaries from the depredations of modern industry and technology.
Move out the people and cars. Reclaim the roads and the plowed lands.”

And just to underscore the point again, this issue is not a matter of Democrats against Republicans: note that the WGA is bi-partisan, with Republicans and Democrats merrily hatching out this plan for us ordinary citizens.

Ugly Duckling

So let’s take a look at this baby, shall we?  According to the Benewah County Natural Resource Team, in February of 2007 the Western Governors’ Wildlife Council was formed and this resolution was issued: Policy Resolution 07-01: Protecting Wildlife Migration Corridors and Crucial Wildlife Habitat in the West.

“This resolution… asks the Western states, in partnership with important stakeholders, to identify key wildlife corridors and crucial wildlife habitats in the West and make recommendations on needed policy options and tools for preserving those landscapes.

The implementation of this resolution began for Westerners when WGA launched the WGA Wildlife Corridors Initiative, which describes itself as, ‘a multi-state and collaborative effort to coordinate stewardship of wildlife corridors and crucial habitat. The main objective of the initiative is to develop a tool for policy makers that integrates important wildlife corridor and crucial habitat values proactively into planning decisions, and promotes best practices for development, and thereby reduces harmful impacts on wildlife.’”

The tool referred to in the above passage is the Crucial Habitat Assessment Tool (CHAT). In the WGA CHAT FAQ document, CHAT is described in the following way:

“When complete, CHAT will be an easily accessible online system of maps displaying crucial wildlife habitat and corridors. The system will provide information West-wide, but will also include CHATs for individual states as they are available. The regional CHAT will provide an informed and continually updated picture of crucial wildlife habitat across the West.”

The idea is to use the assessment tool to identify wildlife corridors that consist of vast stretches of connected lands which enable wildlife to roam freely without encountering roads, fences or any impediment.  The plan to identify and establish these corridors is based on conservation biology, which posits that habitats fragmented by roads and other development are thereby impaired; development causes species loss, and human activity is harmful to the environment.

Throughout the west, except in Texas and North Dakota, all development policies, including energy, transportation, and wildlife and land management policies, are to be developed and coordinated using CHAT and massive databases created through a variety of means.

According to the Benewah County Natural Resource Team, the Wildlife Corridors Initiative is

“now the policy and direction given to Idaho Fish & Game (IFG). The current funding is provided by the federal Government and environmental groups via contracts with Idaho Fish & Game. The final data reports are being done by a company called Natureserve.  Natureserve’s parent organization is none other than The Nature Conservancy.”

The BCNRT presentation goes on to say,

“Governor Butch Otter and the Western Governors Association have married Idaho policy with the policies of Wildlands Project, Y2Y, and other extremist visions for the state and region with specific noted goals in the Initiative including:

• coercive pressure on local government to comply with unpopular provisions of this Initiative and indeed to assist in funding it,
• provision of corridors and connectivity data obtained by IFG to Federal agencies and environmental organizations,
• reduction of energy use by 30% to be achieved by “compact development” {a would-be euphemism for depopulation of rural areas resulting in forced urbanization},
• expansion of IFG power and authority even over local government, etc.“

Is the Benewah Natural Resource Team Correct?

Is this really the Wildlands Project, Y2Y and other extremist visions under another name?  The Wildlife Corridors Initiative (WCI) is not currently available for review (please see update below article), nevertheless, scads of its supporting documents are, and I have taken a look at many of them.  They include maps, memorandums of understanding and implementation guidelines from the Federal Government found in the digital archives and the WGA Initiatives page.  And yes, when one looks at these documents, one sees actual references to the notorious Yellowstone to Yukon (Y2Y) plan as being a central component of this initiative.  And when one compares a map of the original Wildlands Project to the planned corridors of the WCI, the similarity is eerie.

See the Wildlands Project Map  (scroll down; it’s the second map at the bottom of the page).

See maps from the Wildlife Corridors Initiative showing best habitat either by looking at the PowerPoint presentation, which you can see at the end of this article, or the  WCWG White Paper.  There is a link to this document in the right hand margin of the Western Governor’s Association Wildlife Corridors Initiative page.

In addition, the WCI contains this reference to the Wildlands Project regarding mapping the corridors:

“The Wildlands Project and other entities also have developed network designs that depict important movement areas at low to intermediate resolution.”

Here is the Y2Y map from the supporting document, Landscape Conservation Cooperatives (p. 8):   Federal Panel: Doug Austen, National Coordinator, Landscape Conservation Cooperatives, US FWS  Scroll down until you see the document with the file name in my link.

In the Idaho-Montana Pilot Proposal letter, a supporting document from the Idaho Fish and Game and the Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks agencies, we read a description of some of the stakeholders that are included in the planning of this WCI-related project:

“This list [of stakeholders] will include but not be limited to: Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative, Spine of the Continent Initiative, Wildlife Conservation Society, The Nature Conservancy, American Wildlands, and universities.”

Another interesting map related the Idaho-Montana Proposal is found in the archives.  Scroll down until you see the file labeled ID-MT-DEC 10

Funders

And when we take a look at who is funding this initiative, we see that all of them are foundations and organization having affiliations with members of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), who helped write Agenda 21 or the Wildlands Project, and/or who support the Wildlands Project.

The Benewah County Natural Resource Team lists the following funders of the Wildlife Corridors Initiative policy: the Wilburforce Foundation, the Wilderness Society, the William Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Idaho Conservation League, Advocates for the West, U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM), U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), and U.S. Forest Service (USFS).

Doing some research we see that we are dealing with the usual suspects.  I will just brush the surface, but I will include links to sites where you can get a good look for yourselves.

WilburForce Foundation

• Funds The Nature Conservancy, one of the stakeholders who help plan these projects, and who developed much of the database for the CHAT Assessment Tool used by States to identify these corridors and crucial habitat.
• Funds Defenders of Wildlife, which supports the Wildlands Project.  Past members of the science board advisory group to the Defenders of Wildlife helped write the Wildlands Project and the Convention on Biological Diversity.
• Also funds Center for Biological Diversity, Lands Council, Idaho Conservation League, all who cooperated with Defenders of Wildlife to sue for Caribou Habitat in my neck of the woods.
• Funds Advocates for the West, which also funds this Wildlife Corridors Initiative.
• Funds many members who are also on the IUCN science advisory group to the United Nations.

The Wilderness Society

Follow the link and click on the Visual Maps icon in the right hand margin and you will see the following:

• They have ties to the Defenders of Wildlife
• They are affiliated with many environmental funders who fund IUCN members
• They are affiliated with IUCN members themselves
• They are affiliated with the Foundation for Deep Ecology.  Deep Ecology is another term for the philosophy that calls for locking humans out of the natural world.

 William and Flora Hewlett Foundation

Follow the link and click on the Visual Maps icon in the right hand margin and you will see:

• Funds the Wilderness Society
• Funds Many IUCN members
• Funds the Defenders of Wildlife

The U.S. BLM, the DOE and the USFS are all members of the IUCN.  So, what we are looking at is a tight little network of funders that supports Agenda 21 and the Convention on Biological Diversity. Lest we forget, the Wildlands Project is a central mechanism whereby the prior two shall be implemented.

Does it seem likely that all of these funders are going to dish out money for a wildlife management plan that doesn’t comply with their own philosophies?  I hardly think so.

 

Reasonable Doubts

There are two reasonable questions the reader may have about this initiative and our objections to it: 1) what is wrong with designating unfragmented corridors so that wildlife may move about freely? and 2) Isn’t the development of the Crucial Habitat Assessment Tool (CHAT) and the cooperative database, to be maintained by the states, just an example of using modern technology to form best practices needed to care for the environment?

The short answer to question number one is that there is a lot of private property, and even whole towns, in these corridors.

It appears that these private properties are being targeted for habitat acquisition.  Back in the 1990’s President Clinton conducted a study known as the Gap Analysis.  This study identified private lands that lie in these corridors and other areas slated for habitat designation.  Idaho, as part of the Northern Rockies, lies within this area as illustrated and described in this section of the video, Taking Liberty.

The Wilderness Society, one of the funders of the Wildlife Corridors Initiative, applauds this study.  Discover the Networks says this about Wilderness Society President, William Meadows:

“Meadows has praised the conservation efforts of former President Bill Clinton, whose administration created the Gap Analysis Program which targeted vast tracts of private properties for “preservation” (by government agencies and land trusts) through conservation easements and purchase. At the end of Clinton’s second term, Meadows said, ‘From Florida to Alaska, Americans can celebrate one of the nation’s greatest environmental achievements as President Clinton and the Forest Service today protected nearly 60 million acres of the nation’s wild forests from logging and other development.”

Regarding question number two, remember what I wrote above about the Nature Conservancy’s brain-child, Natureserve, being in charge of the final reports that integrate CHAT and the massive databases used to identify and manage these corridors?  Let’s take a closer look at how Natureserve has functioned in the past, and to what uses it has been put.

Elizabeth Nickson, in her book, Eco-Fascists: How Radical Conservationists are Destroying Our Natural Heritage, tells us that, back in 1974, The Nature Conservancy began “a tally of the world’s biological wealth.”  Using monies from environmental grant making foundations and the Federal government, they eventually developed Natureserve.org, which has mapped over one-third of the planet.  Nickson goes on to say the following:

“The Wall Street Journal reported that the database [Natureserve] is so fine-grained that it records the precise location of individual eagle nests and clumps of endangered plants, which I suspect is a threat nicely disguised as propaganda.  But if a private tract with valuable assets is listed by Natureserve, government attention is focused on the property and it is generally accepted as being on the list for acquisition, or greenlining, thus destroying its market value, crashing its tax value, and distorting its price.  If you own property in the Western Hemisphere, the Nature Conservancy knows what’s on it, or thinks it does.  And if it’s a nice older-growth forest with a magnificent ravine, for instance, you can be sure that someone associated with the TNC has her eye on it.” (p. 62)

The Benewah County Natural Resource Team points out that the Wildlife Corridors Initiative contains language that suggests that we residents of Idaho are to be monitored for compliance, and that there appears to be a law enforcement component of the initiative.  Is that why drones were dispatched to Idaho in 2011 to “track environmental threats to Idaho wildlife,” as described in the March 25, 2012 National News article, “Drones Take Off in Idaho” by Michael Fitzgerald?

Nudging Us into the Cities

The Benewah County Natural Resources Team’s PowerPoint presentation quotes a  WCI recommendation that all development policies be coordinated to encourage compact development:

“A key dimension of sustainable growth includes compact development. At all levels, more compact forms of development reduce natural resource use (i.e. water, land, energy) and greenhouse gas emissions. Promoting compact development should be a major driver of federal, state and local land use policy decisions.”

The presentation goes on to comment that, according to the Cato Institute,

“Proponents of compact development argue that rebuilding American urban areas to higher densities is vital for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.  Compact city policies call for reducing driving, by housing a higher percentage of people in multi-family and mixed-use developments, reducing the average lot sizes of single-family homes, redesigning streets and neighborhoods to be more pedestrian friendly, concentrating jobs in selected areas, and spending more on mass transit and less on highways.”

This push to pressure people into the cities is amplified by the fact that the initiative also recommends that the governors levy a carbon tax on residents and raise other streams of revenue to fund this initiative.  The idea is to make it too expensive for people to live in the country.

I don’t know about you, but I think this thing is quacking like Duckenstein.

 

But, Could This Really Happen?

Not only could it happen, but it has happened.  Michael Barker, in his essay When Environmentalists Legitimize Plunder, points out that people all over the world are being closed out of their lands with the full knowledge of the Big Ten green organizations, which are part of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.  These displaced people are often in refugee camps, and sometimes they are taught gardening skills in lieu of being allowed to use their traditional lands.  In other cases, Nickson says some evicted people are not even allowed to grow greens to supplement their diet.

But won’t there be an outcry in the United States if this starts happening?  Maybe, maybe not.  Alston Chase, in his book, In a Dark Wood: The Fight over the Forests and the Myths of Nature, describes how, in the 1980’s and the ‘90’s, environmentalists conducted a media blitz to vilify loggers as destroyers of the forest and, therefore, not worthy of our pity and consideration.  In fact, the Wilderness Society trumped up woefully inadequate statistics and data to give the impression that not many jobs would be lost due to loss of logging and closure of the woods.  The actual loss of jobs was probably fifty times greater, or more, than they estimated to the public.  Some of these loggers and woodsmen ended up camping in the woods because they were unable to pay their mortgages or rent.  By reading Chase’s book, I began to see that these green groups are masters at media exploitation.

This fall-out of human casualties in the eco-war is casually downplayed.  On the site, Wildlands Project: Explaining the North American Wilderness Recovery Strategy, run by those who write from the eco-warrior’s perspective, we read this passage (bolding mine):

Based upon the work of freelance conservation biologist, Reed Noss, the cornerstone of the project consist[s] of creating “reserve networks” across North America to provide vast areas of wildlife habitat. The goal is to maximize biological diversity across the landscape, unfortunately often at the expense of the human occupants.”

That may turn out to be the gross understatement of the 21st century.

The Benewah County Natural Resource Team writes that, if you would like to join them in fighting the Wildlife Corridors Initiative, you may send an email to:

4defendthewest@gmail.com

Next Time

In the next installment of this multiple-part series, I will talk about conservation easements, a habitat acquisition technique that is being widely used in Boundary County, and elsewhere in Idaho and the West.

Works Cited and Consulted

Chase, Alston.  In a Dark Wood: The Fight over the Forests and the Myths of Nature. Transaction Publishers, New Brunswick, New Jersey: 2007, 3rd ed.

Nickson, Elizabeth. Eco-Fascists: How Radical Conservationists are Destroying Our Natural Heritage. Broadside Books, an Imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, New York: 2012.

Update: Since publishing this, a friend has sent me a link to another site where the Wildlife Corridors Initiative can be viewed:  http://www.channelingreality.com/environment/wga_wildlife08.pdf [1]

[embeddoc url=”http://www.thedailyherb.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/The-future-of-the-west-under-the-WCI.pps” viewer=”microsoft”]

 

Posted in Agenda 21, Agrarianism, Blog, politics, politics, rural life, Social Commentary | 4 Comments