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our freedom, our property and our nation
By Alan Caruba
In Seattle, a man was arrested in April and charged with violations of state environmental and endangered species laws. His crime? He cleaned his garage. Melvin Condyle of Snohomish, a suburb, was in violation of the Washington State "Arachnid Habitat Protection and Preservation Act." He destroyed some spider nests. You cannot make up such a story. It is real and it demonstrates the virtual Gestapo-like control that environmentalists have imposed on our lives. -- Editor's note (May 8, 2002): Since publishing this article, it has been learned that the above information was taken from a satire that was posted on CNSnews.
In Missouri and adjacent states, if you do not eradicate fescue, a species of grass, you are subject to arrest. It has been banned thanks to former President Bill Clinton's Executive Order 13112 on "Invasive Species." Like so many other chickens coming home to roost from his eight years of assaulting this nation, this Executive Order was intended to fulfill a United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity; one whose ratification was rejected by the US Senate.
There is a need for weed control. Anyone battling a lawn full of dandelions knows that, but EO 13112 goes well beyond weed control. It makes illegal the ownership or production of dogs, cats, cattle, wheat, barley, fescue, and every other plant or animal that is not "native". Anything that came here from somewhere else can be classified as an invasive alien species. It is the law of the land and it is a dagger aimed at farming, ranching, and the ownership of all private property. As always, the environment is used as a weapon to attack the economy and fundamental Constitutional rights.
A recent Democratically controlled session of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee met in complete secrecy in order to vote out (S-975) "The Community Character Act." Led by Sen. James Jeffords, this act would give the federal government the right to impose its decision over those of every single local zoning board in America. In short, it would take from all towns and cities, the right to make local decisions based on what they believe is in the best interest of those who own property and may wish to develop it. Nothing in the Constitution authorizes or permits such federal power. It has the support of Sens. Joseph Lieberman and Lincoln Chaffee. This piece of legislation is based entirely on a United Nations document that came out of its 1976 Conference on Human Settlements. Ultimately, the federal government would be little more than an administrator of UN dictates. This is a direct assault on national sovereignty and local control.
The Tenth Amendment specifically says "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people." The Community Character Act is not merely unconstitutional, it is an assault on the most fundamental right of property ownership that forms the basic of our capitalist economy.
You may think you live in the "land of the brave and the home of the free", but the America in which you actually live denies you the right to own and bear arms under the Second Amendment, seeking with more than 20,000 laws to proscribe that right.
The recently passed, so-called Campaign Reform Act, the McCain-Feingold bill, puts limits the free speech of individuals and organizations that want to protest the views of candidates, thirty to sixty days prior to an election. In short, it outlaws political speech by all groups, whether it's the National Rifle Association or the National Wildlife Association.
The First Amendment says, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." Under the Campaign Reform Law, the First Amendment is a dead letter. If you break this law, you can end up in a federal prison for five years and have to pay a fine of $25,000. Welcome to Nazi America.
In these and too many other ways, elected Senators and Representatives, often with the approval of the White House, are slowly destroying the Constitution and turning this nation into a place where every single piece of information about you will be in national data banks and available to any bureaucrat or elected official that wants access to it. From the day you are born and issued a Social Security number, everything about you will be stored somewhere by Big Brother.
Right now in America, the government is routinely victimizing people with utter disregard for their Constitutional rights. Invariably, it is done in the name of the "environment". Last year it was the Klamath Valley farmers who were denied water to irrigate their crops because of an "endangered sucker fish". This year, the 5,000 residents of Hinton, West Virginia stand to lose their homes because the government wants to create "a scenic view" from a highway that needs nothing more than repair to its potholes.
In Arcata, California, middle-school children were required to take a special workshop in which they were put in the center of a circle of classmates and asked questions such as, "Does your church consider homosexual behavior a sin?" In Seattle, middle school children had to attend "Challenge Day" in which they were coerced to confess what they felt was wrong about them. Deeply probing and disturbing questions are routinely asked of America's school children. Others are subjected to personal, physical inspections that would be an offense to anyone. It is not education. It is psychological manipulation.
Why aren't Americans up in arms over these intrusions? In part, it is because most have passed through an education system that was taken over in the 1960s by the federal government and which deliberately "dumbs down" the students based on a system developed originally in the former Soviet Union. As they pass through it, it teaches them that the Founding Fathers were slave owners, that the environment takes precedent over the Constitution, that the United Nations should become a global government, and that religion is to be distrusted for its moral teachings. And that's just a small part of the corruption of American values that are inculcated in our schools, many of which have begun to resemble minimum-security prisons.
The other element of why Americans express so little concern is the fact that their news media do little to explain the threats to freedom that issue forth from Congress on a daily basis.
Very nearly half the voters in the last national election wanted Al Gore to be President. This former Vice President advocates the "elimination of the internal combustion engine" and "wrenching" changes in our lives that would give the government total control. Most of these people live within fifty miles of the East or West Coast. The other half live spread out in the "fly-over" States that provide the bulk of the food we eat, the minerals from which everything we use-cars, computers, cell phones-are manufactured, and the coal and natural gas to heat and power our homes and businesses. These people voted for George W. Bush.
But. And it is a big "but". The President signed the Campaign Finance Reform Act. The President pushed through an education bill that imposes endless testing of students and continues the process by which every aspect of their life is subject to a record that will follow them to the grave. The Patriot Act, passed after 9.11 poses serious threats to Constitutional protections of privacy.
Home of the free? I don't think so
Alan Caruba is the founder of The National Anxiety Center and writes
"Warning Signs", a weekly column posted at www.anxietycenter.com.
(c) Alan Caruba, 2002
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