Leadership Matters

Yesterday The City Journal posted an article which contained the following statement from New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio:

the “way our legal system is structured to favor private property” provokes his “anger, which is visceral.” The mayor elaborated on this point, insisting that “people all over this city, of every background, would like to have the city government be able to determine which building goes where, how high it will be, who gets to live in it, what the rent will be.”

Wow. Private property is one of the foundations of our Representative Republic.

In December 2010, I posted an article showing the relationship between private property ownership and the lack of poverty in a country. The article was based on a Townhall article by John Stossel.

The article stated:

”To get an address, somebody’s got to recognize that that’s where you live. That means … you’ve a got mailing address. … When you make a deal with someone, you can be identified. But until property is defined by law, people can’t … specialize and create wealth. The day they get title (is) the day that the businesses in their homes, the sewing machines, the cotton gins, the car repair shop finally gets recognized. They can start expanding.”

“That’s the road to prosperity. But first they need to be recognized by someone in local authority who says, “This is yours.” They need the rule of law. But many places in the developing world barely have law. So enterprising people take a risk. They work a deal with the guy on the first floor, and they build their house on the second floor.”

What Mayor DeBlasio is suggesting is communism or socialism. Historically, neither has been proven to work.

The article in The City Journal concludes:

De Blasio insists that New Yorkers fervently want to have a powerful government that gets involved in the minutest details of how they organize their lives. Based on their voting behavior, he may be right. But New Yorkers are also obstreperous, entrepreneurial, and small-d democratic; they typically reserve a Bronx cheer for authorities who dare to tell them what to do. De Blasio has now come out explicitly as a central planner whose politics sound frankly Bolshevik. We’ve been warned.

Benjamin Franklin replied when asked what the Constitutional Convention had created, “A republic, madam, if you can keep it.” Obviously, not everyone wants to keep it.

 

Some Much-Needed Perspective

The following is a letter to the editor submitted to a local paper by a friend of a friend. The letter makes some very important points.

God’s Role, Not Government’s   by Don Keel

I’ve noticed breathtaking naivete displayed through forum letters and articles recently. Some clergy have advocated government as the means to follow Christ‘s teaching to help “the least among us.” The very nature and mission of government and Christ are diametrically opposed.

Christian charity is voluntary, rewarding the giver as well as the receiver. Government programs require forced confiscation of earnings through threat of fines or imprisonment. The receiver of Christian charity is humbled by the kindness of neighbors and he often receives his blessing in a way that glorifies Christ. This, in turn, will increase the likelihood that he will strive for self-reliance and inspire him to one day ‘pay it forward.’ Government programs redistribute mass amounts of earnings with very little scrutiny or accountability.

Because of the “blanket approach,” government programs reward bad behavior and punish good behavior. They punish ambition and encourage sloth and dependency. This in turn creates a cycle of dependency that destroys one’s dignity, self-esteem, self-worth, and ambition and creates a cycle that is almost impossible to break. Some people have found a way to grow their families by taking from another person’s family and have found a way to live ever increasingly in comfort by taking comforts away from another who actually worked for that privilege.

The Gospels contain many accounts of spiritually-impelled charity, but never does Jesus advocate government-forced charity. American government was to confine itself to protecting God-given rights. The word “entitlement” denotes a right or claim. In the modern welfare state, it means a right to someone else’s money. Such a punitive “right” nullifies the legitimate rights of others to their own property. It, in a sense, forces others to work for the benefit of others–a notion rejected in this country years ago and addressed in the 13th Amendment.

I would submit that no Christian would advocate forcibly taking from one and giving to another. Yet that is what our government does. They would rightly regard such taking as theft–prohibited by one of the Ten Commandments, the cornerstone of God’s Law on Earth. Delegating that authority to the government does not somehow change the character of what entitlement programs are. Delegating that authority to government does not sanctify taking private property. The 8th Commandment does not say, “Thou Shalt Not Steal…except by majority vote.” Clearly, some clergy have confused what is to be rendered to Caesar with what should be rendered to God.

Don Keel

Don’t Let Science Get In The Way Of Your Agenda

The Church and science have been at odds in the past, but I really thought that times had changed. Well, I guess they haven’t. This article is based on two sources, one is an article posted at the Daily Caller today and the other was posted at the U.K. Independent today.

The article at the Daily Caller states that the data from the climate stations in the United States reveals that we have been in a ten-year cooling period. (There are people in the midwest and New England who would most definitely agree with that statement). NOAA has adjusted those numbers to make it appear that there has been no cooling period.

The article at the Daily Caller reports:

NOAA’s latest temperature update did not include USCRN (U.S. Surface Climate Observing Reference Networks) data. One reason for this may be that the USCRN stations only have about a decade of data on them, which could be considered too short of a time period to use them in their analysis.

It should also be noted that USCRN only covers the U.S., including Hawaii and Alaska, but the rest of the world lacks these high quality weather stations that don’t require temperatures to go through ex post facto adjustments by NOAA.

Skeptics, however, argue that USCRN data could deflate future arguments of rapid warming made by NOAA and others.

“So, since this state of the art network requires no adjustment, we can most surely trust the data presented by it. Right?” Watts (Anthony Watts, a veteran meteorologist and publisher of the science blog Watts Up With That) asked.

“While we seldom if ever see the USCRN mentioned in NOAA’s monthly and annual ‘State of the Climate’ reports to the U.S. public, buried in the depths of the [National Climatic Data Center] website, one can get access to the data and have it plotted,” Watts added. “We now have 10 years, a decade, of good data from this network and we are able to plot it.”

The bottom line here is that if you don’t manipulate the data, the areas of earth where we can get accurate temperature measurements have been cooling for the past ten years.

The article at the U.K. Independent dealt with the content of an upcoming Papal speech detailing the dire threat of climate change. I am truly surprised that the Pope has waded into the middle of this discussion.

The article at the U.K. Independent states:

Pope Francis is also extremely concerned about the prospect of mass migration of animals, plants and humans as global warming means they cannot function in their traditional habitat.

He calls for a new global political authority tasked with tackling the reduction of pollution and the development of poor countries and regions.

Although he accepts that there may be some natural causes of global warming, the pope lays most of the blame for climate change squarely at the feet of mankind.

“Humanity is called to take note of the need for changes in lifestyle and changes in methods of production and consumption to combat this warming or at least the human causes that produce and accentuate it,” he wrote.

The pope is very critical of anybody who stands in the way of tackling the problem of global warming – whether they are merely indifferent or actively sceptical.

“The attitudes that stand in the way of a solution, even among believers, range from negation of the problem, to indifference, to convenient resignation or blind faith in technical solutions,” he wrote.

It is unfortunate that the Pope has chosen to further the myth of man-made global warming. The Bible commands man to be stewards of the environment–it requires that man be responsible in using the earth’s resources. There is nothing about man being able to influence climate. The push to end global warming is nothing more than a push toward one-world control of world finances and resources combined with an attempt to blackmail those countries that are prosperous.

If the Pope truly wants to combat global poverty (as countries become more prosperous, they generally become more environmentally conscious) and help fight world poverty, he needs to come out in favor of private property rights. There are two things that economically successful countries have in common–one is equality under the law and the other is private property rights (see rightwinggranny). The problem is not greed or materialism–it’s government control of what should be free markets. A free-market economy benefits the rich and the poor. That would be a Papal doctrine I could support. Unfortunately, those people who like to be in control are generally against giving away that much freedom.

A Total Misuse Of The Law

The American legal system has become so complex that someone with no respect for the law and the idea of getting something for nothing can use that complexity to his advantage. It costs a lot of money to pursue a case in court, and there are those among us who routinely take advantage of that fact.  An article posted in yesterday’s New York Daily News illustrates that point.

A family in Springfield, Ohio, was visiting a dying relative in another state. When they returned home, they found that someone had moved into their house, changed the locks, and filed legal papers claiming ownership of the house.

The video is posted on YouTube:

 

The family that actually owns the house will now have to go through a court battle to get their house back. The sad part of this is that the man who stole their house has done this a number of times before and has actually taken possession of a number of houses in this way.

One of the foundations of our society is private property rights. If we as a society are not careful to guard those rights, our society will fall into anarchy. Hopefully this man will be charged to the fullest extent of the law, and the idea of taking over other people’s houses without paying for them will become less attractive.

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I Have Very Mixed Emotions On This

I don’t smoke. I have never smoked, but I grew up in a blue haze caused by two parents who were heavy smokers. I also lost those two parents to lung problems long before I was ready to give them up. That is why I have very mixed emotions on the story I am about the report.

CNS News reported this week that eighteen California cites and counties have banned smoking in multi-unit housing–condominiums, apartments, etc. So the city, state, or county is now telling you what you are permitted to do in your own home, which you may actually own. What about smokers’ rights as property owners?

The article reports:

Calling it “the next frontier in California’s ongoing efforts to protect its citizens from secondhand smoke,” the American Lung Association’s Center for Tobacco Policy and Organizing compiled a 2011 report on smoke-free housing policies and provided an update that shows 18 cities and counties in the state have banned smoking in multi-unit housing, including apartments and condominiums.

I hate the smell of cigarette smoke, but I really wonder if this isn’t going too far.

The article further reports:

Some other details in the report include a provision in the city of Belmont’s smoking ban: “For current tenants who smoke, there is a 14 month grace period during which time they are still allowed to smoke in their unit.”

If you have every watched anyone struggle to quit smoking, you know how difficult this will be for many of the current tenants.

Smoking is out of fashion right now. It has been moving in that direction for about twenty years. There was a time when smokers didn’t have to huddle in office or restaurant doorways in order to have a smoke. Again, I hate the smell of cigarette smoke, but this is totally creeping government. If we sit by and watch this happen because we don’t smoke or don’t like the smell of smoke, what will the next target be?

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American, Your Property Rights Are Being Taken Away

On Friday, CNS News reported the story of Michael and Chantell Sackett, an Idaho couple who bought a piece of land in Idaho in order to build their dream house. Unfortunately, their plans to build their dream house have become a nightmare.

The article reports:

The Sacketts, small business owners in Idaho, located a lot in the northern part of the state in a town called Priest Lake. According to court documents, the lot is less than an acre and is just 500 feet from Priest Lake on its west side. It is separated from the lake by a house and a road and has no standing water or any hydrologic connection to Lake Priest or any other body of water.

However, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) declared their lot a wetland, and the nightmare began.

The article further reports:

Following the EPA “compliance” order, the Sacketts hired a private engineer who, following an inspection of the property, provided a report stating that the property is not wetlands.The EPA did not relent.

On Monday (today) the case will go before the Supreme Court. This is a case to watch. The property was not listed on the EPA’s online wetland inventory, but the EPA declared it a wetland anyway. This sets a dangerous precedent. You can imagine local politicians getting involved in this sort of struggle and all sorts of money required to get the necessary permits. There is a very large chance for abuse if this arbitrary ruling is allowed to stand. I realize that we have an obligation to protect the environment, but we also have an obligation under our Constitution to protect private property rights.

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The Attack On Private Property Rights Continues

I have previously posted an article about Agenda 21 (rightwinggranny.com) showing the quest for making a majority of the land in America off limits to Americans, both in terms of access and ownership. On Thursday the Washington Examiner posted an article about a new tool that may be added to the land grabbing mechanism of the federal government.

One of the aspects of Agenda 21 is the location of vernal pools and the ‘corridors’ that connect them. Those pools and corridors are then used as excuses to severely limit the use of property. Property owners can be asked to make alterations to their property that are extremely expensive and that might cause them to abandon the property. Property owners can also be severely limited as to what they can do on their own property.

The article states:

Big Green has an unlikely new sales pitch to convince Congress to fund ever-expanding land grabs by the National Park Service — save wildlife migration. A map overlay showing all the U.S. wildlife migration paths would blot out nearly half the nation — a very clever diagram for empire-building bureaucrats.

The obscure but well-heeled Wildlife Conservation Society (2010 assets $764 million) unveiled the idea last week in “Spectacular Migrations in the Western U.S.,” a 45-page report on the purportedly urgent need for a widespread network of wildlife migration corridors to avert countless extinctions.

The WCS is a consortium of zoos (“urban wildlife parks”) and global conservation programs that uses science, according to its mission statement, to “change attitudes towards nature.” Its Spectacular Migrations report looks suspiciously like the expansion agenda of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, the NPS’s boss.

There’s a good reason: WCS staff recently conducted a migration workshop for the NPS, which produced a new framework for conserving migrations in or near national parks.

This is the framework for a new government land grab.

 

 

 

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Agenda 21

In June I wrote an article (rightwinggranny.com) about an Executive Order signed by President Obama establishing the White House Rural Council with 25 executive branch departments. This Executive Order is the beginning of the implementation of Agenda 21.

On Monday night, I was fortunate to attend a seminar on Agenda 21 put on by the Northborough Massachusetts Tea Party. The seminar was eye-opening. It revealed how the ‘green’ movement was going to be used to undermine the concept of private property in America and allow for the redistribution of wealth. t would take too long to detail everything discussed at the seminar, but I would like to share a few quotes. If you would like to learn more, I suggest you google ‘Agenda 21’ or ‘ICLEI.’

Some interesting quotes:

“Current lifestyles and consumption patterns of the affluent middle class–involving high meat intake, use of fossil fuels, appliances, home and work air conditioning, and suburban housing–are not sustainable.”  Maurice Strong, Secretary General of the UN’s 1992 Earth Summit

“Land, because of its unique nature and the crucial role it plays in human settlements, 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 principle instrument of the accumulation and concentration of wealth and therefore contributes to social injustice; if unchecked, it may become a major obstacle in the planning and implementation of development schemes.”  This is a quote from the 1976 UN Conference on Human Settlement, held in Vancouver, Canada. Under “Section D. Land,” of the Report of Habitat, which came out of the conference. It is from the preamble and speaks of the private ownership of land.

Please do your own research on how Agenda 21 has impacted your community. When one member of our Tuesday night discussion group went to the website of his community, he found evidence of ICLEI involvement all through the website. The idea that we should protect our environment is a good one–but that protection needs to be done on a local level in a way that respects individual property rights. As you do your research, remember that private property rights are one of the pillars of our representative republic.

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