Sustainable Development: The Root of All Our Problems

January 14, 2008 By Tom DeWeese In his book, Earth in the Balance, Al Gore warned that a "wrenching transformation" must take place to lead America away from the "horrors of the Industrial Revolution." The process to do that is called Sustainable Development and its’ roots can be traced back to a UN policy document called Agenda 21, adopted at the UN’s Earth Summit in 1992. Sustainable Development calls for changing the very infrastructure of the nation, away from private ownership and control of property to nothing short of central planning of the entire economy – often referred to as top-down control. Truly, Sustainable Development is designed to change our way of life. Many are now finding non-elected regional governments and governing councils enforcing policy and regulations. As these policies are implemented, locally-elected officials are actually losing power and decision-making ability in their own communities. Most decisions are now being ...
Read More

The Real Roots of Poverty

July 31, 2007 By Tom DeWeese There are many efforts underway to focus attention on world poverty. In a world of growing wealth, the statistics on global poverty are staggering. According to the United Nation’s Millennium Project, there are currently 1.2 billion people living in poverty. 50,000 deaths per day occur worldwide as a result of poverty. Every year more than 10 million children die of hunger and preventable diseases. More than half of the world’s population lives on less than $2 per day and 800 million people go to bed hungry every night. To combat the situation, there are massive efforts underway, from churches, to charitable organizations, to local, state, federal and international government programs designed to eradicate poverty. Billions of dollars in foreign aid have been distributed to countries around the world to help feed the poor. Poverty reduction targets have been set. International goals have been announced ...
Read More

“Hallowed Ground” and Government’s Relentless Assault on Private Property Rights

October 5, 2006 By Tom DeWeese Politics is a very cynical, sinister business. As Government has gotten ever bigger and further removed from the electorate, elected officials have become more and more interested in image over actual substance in the issues and programs they promote; their messages created for emotional appeal rather than practical or even legal sense. Such is the case concerning legislation proposed in the Senate by Senator George Allen and in the House by Representative Frank Wolf, both Republicans who claim limited government as one of their major reasons to serve in public office. Their actions in sponsoring the “Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area” speak otherwise. This Heritage Area is designed to cover a 175-mile corridor from Thomas Jefferson’s “Monticello” in Charlottesville, Virginia to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Sponsors of the Heritage Area claim the purpose is simply to honor the many historic sites in the corridor ...
Read More

Is Arlen Specter Finally a Patriot?

July 27, 2006 By Tom DeWeese It was the front page, banner headline of The Washington Times: "Specter puts border first, Open to deal on illegals." It appeared Senator Arlen Specter had finally come around to seeing it our way. The article’s first sentence read, "Sen. Arlen Specter said he rates border security as the No.1 priority for an immigration bill and said he is open to a compromise that sets goals for border and interior enforcement before a guest-worker program and path to citizenship for illegal aliens kicks in." Such a statement was a far cry from the outrageous bill Specter helped broker through the Senate just a few weeks before. That bill demanded not only guest-worker provisions, but gave illegals in-state tuition for college; assured illegals will be paid a prevailing wage; assured illegals can’t be fired for being here illegally; assured illegals are eligible for Social Security; ...
Read More

Journey Through Hallow Ground

June 21, 2006 By Peyton Knight Just one year after the U.S. Supreme Court's dreadful Kelo v. City of New London decision that sparked a national outcry against government eminent domain abuse, some in Congress are preparing to bring a new threat to property owners in Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania. Congressman Frank Wolf (R-VA) wants to transform the entire Route 15 corridor, from Charlottesville, Virginia, to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, into a National Heritage Area (the "Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area Act," H.R. 5195). National Heritage Areas are best described as preservation zones where the National Park Service and designated preservationist groups team up to influence how an area is developed (or not developed). According to Representative Wolf, "The Journey Through Hallowed Ground Corridor holds more American history than any other region in the country and its recognition as a National Heritage Area will elevate its national prominence, ...
Read More

Landowner’s Coalition Demands Repeal of ESA

May 1, 2006 "Fed up" landowners have said "enough" to feeble efforts by Congress to "fix" the Endangered Species Act (ESA). That’s why a coalition of property rights groups, led by the American Land Foundation, Stewards of the Range, the American Policy Center, Liberty Matters, and the PFUSA Grange have now gathered more than 6,300 signatures to a letter calling for repeal of the ESA. The letter is being delivered to Senator James Inhofe (R-OK), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. His committee will soon consider legislation to "update" and "improve" the ESA. The House has already passed the Threatened and Endangered Species Recovery Act (TESRA). The Senate is considering a bill sponsored by Senator Mike Crapo (R-ID) called the Collaboration and Recovery of Endangered Species Act (CRESA). While the House version makes at least a weak attempt to compensate landowners when the ESA is invoked, ...
Read More

The Evolution of Homeowner Associations

August 16, 2006 By Shu Bartholomew A conservative estimate has it that one in six Americans, or over 57 million people live in some 270,000 mandatory membership common ownership developments across the country. These include condominiums, cooperatives, townhouses and single-family homes that are all part of a homeowners’ association. Those numbers keep growing. Today, over half of all new housing built nationally is part of an association. However, many municipal jurisdictions mandate HOAs so in those towns, cities and counties virtually all new housing includes automatic membership in an association. In fact, in some of the fast growing areas of the country it is impossible to buy a house that does not include an association of some sort. Contrary to the glossy ads promising carefree living, recreational amenities for pennies a day and the promise of protected and enhance property values, far from an asset, HOAs are a liability. The ...
Read More

The “Specter” of Condemnation Hangs Over All Property

March 9, 2006 ByTom DeWeese It’s unfortunate for property owners that the battle for the right to own and control their land has fallen on the shrugging shoulders of Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA). The Senator is Chairman of the powerful Senate Judiciary Committee, which will decide the fate of the Property Rights Protection Act, (S.1313). That’s why the bill’s future doesn’t look promising. The bill was introduced in the Senate by Senator John Cornyn, (R-TX) on June 27, 2005, as an immediate response to the infamous Supreme Court decision, Kelo VS New London, CT. That decision said local governments could team up with private developers to bull doze homes in order to build new projects to bring in more tax dollars for the city. The ruling caused Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor to warn that "any property may now be taken for the benefit of another private party." She ...
Read More

Paul McCartney: a Victim of His Own Gibberish

February 24, 2006 By Tom DeWeese I love the Beatles’ music. My respect for individual members of the legendary band end there. Paul McCartney has spent a lifetime making incredible music while uttering pure gibberish on issues that matter. It seems that if he can’t put a rhyme and a tune to it, his brain turns to mush. He has been a major promoter of the animal rights scam perpetrated by PeTA. And he has operated a sheep farm with a “commitment to natural methods, and the farm and produce have gained recognition and designation as organic status,” according to a McCartney spokesman. In other words, Paul McCartney has spent years accepting and promoting the environmental agenda that is based more on political propaganda than scientific fact. Sir Paul has done his best to toe an impossible, anti-human line. Worse, he has used his celebrity status to push that misguided ...
Read More

Using the Unaware to Promote a Vile Political Agenda

February 16, 2006 By Kathleen Marquardt PeTA gave Pat Buchanan an award ostensibly because he saved the life of a turtle. In actuality, they are using him and his compassion for animals to promote their sick and twisted agenda. Publicly, animal rights leaders disguise their agenda, distracting misguided animal lovers from their true goals. Would Pat Buchanan be proud of receiving an award from PeTA if he knew their true goals? One has to know what PeTA and the Animal Rights are in order to understand how they are using Mr. Buchanan for their political gain. First, how do animal rightists feel about animals, human and nonhuman? Peter Singer, the “father” of the animal rights movement, wrote in the preface of his book, “Animal Liberation” (the bible of the movement), “We (he and his wife) were not especially ‘interested in’ animals. Neither of us had ever been inordinately fond of ...
Read More

A Corporation Does the Right Thing …For the Right Reasons

February 9, 2006 By Tom DeWeese Government is to be feared because it has the power to enforce its will on its citizens. It has guns. It has jails. It has money. The average citizen lacks all of these, making it difficult to fight back. The ballot box and the court of public opinion are about our only weapons. Yet, government has grown so large, so distant from the voters, that it frankly fears little from either. So what is left for the defense of our rights and our property? A principled leader is a grand ideal. Such a leader in a position of influence who actually believes in right and wrong rarely happens. When it does, there is no more powerful force on earth. The free market, given a chance, is a potent force; a place where consumers control policy and products with their dollars. No need for government ...
Read More

A Bad Law Must Be Repealed

February 6, 2006 By Tom Deweese Congress is going through the process of trying to fix the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Why do they think it needs fixing? Because, quite simply, the ESA is the worst law ever to be enacted by Congress. For thirty two years the ESA has taken control of private land out of the hands of the owners in the name of protecting endangered species. Yet, the ESA is actually responsible for the destruction of whole industries and the towns they supported, as lumber mills are shut down for lack of cut trees. Farmers and ranchers have lost vital grazing land. Urgently needed minerals are left in the ground and imported from foreign countries because the ESA blocks mining efforts. The ESA has become a very powerful tool, used by radical environmentalists who want to stop literally any use of certain lands for any purpose. They ...
Read More

Living Under the Threat of Eminent Domain

October 13, 2005 The nation remains outraged over the Supreme Court’s Kelo Vs New London, CT decision, which ruled that local governments can evict homeowners and demolish their homes to make way for wealthy, politically connected developers who promise to use the property to funnel money into government coffers under the excuse of community development. Polls show that 89% of citizens in Connecticut (where the Kelo case was born) fear the use of Eminent Domain and want it stopped. Justice Sandra Day O'Connor has called the decision by her colleagues "pretty scary In response to the ruling, the U.S. Congress is moving to enact legislation to restore the property rights protections in the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution. Meanwhile, more than 30 states have proposed or passed to counter the Kelo decision in order to guarantee property rights. ." Yet, the United States Conference of Mayors, in an official statement ...
Read More

The Tyranny of the ESA and the Threat of Kelo 2

September 7, 2005 By Tom DeWeese The Endangered Species Act (ESA) is the worst, most destructive, and most powerful law ever to come out of Congress (with the possible exception of the federal income tax law). For thirty two years the ESA has robbed property owners of their land; killed jobs; destroyed whole industries, and created a government tyranny that would have had our founding fathers in the trenches, locked and loaded. Americans have clearly seen, through the recent Supreme Court ruling in Kelo Vs New London, that local governments can now take private property for any scheme they can devise. However, the precedent for such cavalier disregard for property rights comes directly from the ESA. Since it’s enactment in 1973, the ESA has penalized landowners for their stewardship of their property. Farmers, ranchers, tree farmers, homeowners and other landowners who harbor endangered species on their property or merely have ...
Read More

Center Announces Creation of ‘Property Rights First!’ Coalition Cites need to stop ‘Kelo II’

July 28, 2005 Washington, D.C.--Today, the American Policy Center joined several organizations concerned with property rights to help form "Property Rights First!," a coalition designed to push property rights to the center of the debate over the Endangered Species Act. APC is warning that draft legislation released by Congressman Richard Pombo (R-CA) titled "The Threatened and Endangered Species Recovery Act of 2005" (TESRA 2005) would do more harm than good to American property owners. The Center has dubbed Pombo’s draft bill "Kelo II," as it represents a massive sellout to landowners. "I don't want the worst piece of legislation since the income tax to be ‘updated and strengthened’ -- I want it repealed," said APC president Tom DeWeese. "When lawmakers refuse to stand up for what’s right, it’s our duty to stand up to lawmakers." Property Rights First! is a collaborative effort of the American Policy Center, the National Center ...
Read More

Sustainable Development, Smart Growth and Kelo – Organized theft by any name

July 13, 2005 Put yourself in the homeowner’s shoes. You buy a home for your family. Perhaps it’s even handed down from your farther or grand father. It’s a place you can afford in a neighborhood you like. The children have made friends. You intend to stay for the rest of your life. As you plant your garden, landscape the yard, put up a swing set for the kids, and mold your land into a home, unknown to you, certain city officials are meeting around a table with developers. In front of them are maps, plats and photographs – of your home. They talk of dollars – big dollars. Tax revenues for the city, huge profits for the developer. A shopping center with all the trimmings begins to take shape. You’re not asked for input or permission. You’re not even notified until the whole project is finalized and the only ...
Read More

Policy Center Warns: Beware of ‘Kelo II’

July 5, 2005 Washington, D.C.--Unfortunately, the dreadful Kelo v. City of New London ruling isn’t the only nightmare facing property owners this summer, the American Policy Center (APC) reported today. According to draft language obtained by the Center, the "Threatened and Endangered Species Recovery Act of 2005" (TESRA 2005) is a major sellout to property rights advocates nationwide. Appropriately, the Center has dubbed the bill "Kelo II." "I can’t believe what I’m looking at," said APC president Tom DeWeese referring to the draft language. "Just as the Supreme Court’s decision on Kelo has strengthened local governments’ ability to run roughshod over the Fifth Amendment, TESRA 2005 strengthens the federal government’s ability to steal private property under the Endangered Species Act." According to the documents obtained, the TESRA 2005 language was produced by Congressman Richard Pombo’s House Resources Committee office. The language states that the federal government can take up to ...
Read More

Group Calls for End to the Endangered Species Act’s ‘Reign of Terror’

June 21, 2005 Washington, D.C.—In a letter to House Resources Committee Chairman Richard Pombo (R-CA), the American Policy Center (APC) and over 50 public policy groups called for an end to the federal government’s unconstitutional practice of taking land and property rights under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Chairman Pombo plans to make reauthorizing the ESA a priority of the current Congress. "There are some who claim that the Act needs to be ‘strengthened,’ ‘updated,’ or ‘modernized,’" said APC president Tom DeWeese. "How absurd. For three decades this law has done nothing but steal property, destroy economies, shatter livelihoods, cost billions of dollars, and even take lives. The ESA needs to be repealed, not ‘modernized.’" The letter APC signed notes that "the ESA is a direct affront to the U.S. Constitution’s Fifth Amendment," and warns: "Those who don’t understand what’s wrong with the ESA -- its almost unchecked power to ...
Read More

Fraudulent Feds Caught Red-handed Caught in Government’s Vise

June 21, 2005 By Henry Lamb For years, Jesse James Hardy tried valiantly to avoid the day when the State of Florida would take his 160-acre "patch of heaven," 30 miles east of Naples. He spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in engineering studies and legal fees trying to convince the state that his land was not necessary to the Everglades Restoration Project. The state disagreed. The court ordered one final mediation session between Jesse and the state to see if Jesse would become a "willing seller," rather than another victim of eminent domain. The courts had already taken the land of nearly 17,000 other landowners. Jesse was the last holdout in a 55,000-acre parcel that lies 50 miles from the Everglades. Jesse was accompanied by two attorneys, one of whom had filed an extensive lawsuit on Jesse's behalf, alleging a variety of illegal actions on the part of state ...
Read More

Good Riddance: Clinton “Roadless Rule” Dead

May 6, 2005 By Peyton Knight Finally, more than four years after its hideous birth, the Clinton “Roadless Rule” is dead. The Bush administration and the Forest Service just announced a final rule that effectively undoes Clinton’s reckless decree. Dying with the “Roadless Rule” are the following: - threats of catastrophic wildfire - threats of forest infestation and disease - lack of public access to public lands - improper resource management - unhealthy forests - top-down federal overreach Recall that Bill Clinton, just eight days before he left office, in the dark of night, penned his infamous, unilateral, executive order that locked up over 58 million acres of public land. No congressional deliberation. No public input. Just one constitutionally-challenged man overriding the will of the U.S. Congress, the states, and the public at large, in a bold attempt to give a last minute gift to his loyal green buddies. Predictably, ...
Read More