"Czech President Vaclav Klaus says the climate change movement is a threat to democracy" Herald Sun, Australia
WE found these two press pieces in total contrast. First, a local letter posted at The Herald supporting Rio+20. Second, an article describing the dark, bolshie underside of global eco-activism. The Australian article cites Czech President Vaclav Klaus' somber warnings at a Press Club address in Sydney, Australia on July 26. We've also posted a link to the full video of that - well worth watching the whole way through, wherever you think you fall on the political spectrum.
Viewpoint One - from "green town, USA"
Letters - The Bellingham Herald, July 28, 2011Calls Rio conference an Opportunity
A recent letter to the editor begins with, "While you were sleeping ... our elected officials sold us out to United Nations 21." Agenda 21 is the program of action resulting from the Rio Conference on the Environment held in June 1992. The Rio conference was the result of recommendations of the 1972 Conference on Human Environment held in Stockholm. The letter writer apparently has been asleep for 39 years.
Rather than berate Agenda 21, energy would be better spent on the upcoming 20th year followup, called Rio+20, in 2012. Individuals (the "civil society") including the letter author and non-governmental organizations are encouraged to attend and voice their views to the official delegates. " ... Read more: http://www.bellinghamherald.com/2011/07/27/2119323/calls-rio-conference-an-opportunity.html#ixzz1TXlFNQrr
Viewpoint Two - from a man who escaped bolshevism:
Herald Sun (Australia) July 28, 2011
Green agenda has parallels with excesses of communism
IN a serendipitous coincidence of timing, in the space of two hours this week, Australians were afforded a sharp, momentary insight into the two opposing ideological mindsets that are competing for the soul of our nation.
In a Sydney hotel on Monday night, Czech President Vaclav Klaus, an economist who fought against communism, was warning of the new threats to our freedom he recognises in the doctrine of global warming.
Almost simultaneously, in a Hobart casino, Greens senator Christine Milne was unilaterally announcing, on ABC-TV's Q&A show, that the Government would be conducting an inquiry into the section of the Australian media that she finds "extreme(ly) bias(ed) against action on climate change".
Milne's very illiberal pronouncement was greeted with applause by an audience that seemed full of tree huggers, bearded public servants and other recipients of government largesse, about the only growth industry left in Tasmania.
Klaus, on the other hand, was speaking to an audience of economic liberals and climate change realists invited by the Institute of Public Affairs, the Melbourne-based free-market think tank.
"Twenty years ago we still felt threatened by the remnants of communism. This is really over," Klaus said.
"I feel threatened now, not by global warming -- I don't see any -- (but) by the global warming doctrine, which I consider a new dangerous attempt to control and mastermind my life and our lives, in the name of controlling the climate or temperature."
Klaus, 70, who has twice been elected as Czech President and is its former prime minister, is one of the most important figures in post-communist Europe. His experiences under totalitarian rule have made him exquisitely alert to the erosion of democratic freedoms.” (more)
See the complete video of President Klaus – at YouTube
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Citizens – there’s an alarming process beginning to unfold by state decree that places a new (and very powerful) layer of bureaucrats, appointees, and "environmental organizations” in the drivers’ seat, making policy and recommendations “Preserving the Viability of Agricultural Lands” by “Implementing Recommendations of the Ruckelshaus Center Process.” Read about Ruckelshaus
and his greater E3 process
, to grasp the hierarchy created by this this soft-pedaled program. The Ruckelshaus strategy is to move public oversight and policy making from "rule of law" as we've known it to a commission of regulatory bureaucrats and special interests under the command and control of the state under Governor Gregoire.
This new program is loaded with copious quantities of collaborative gobbledygook, crisply punctuated with "required." The Excavator has done some serious dredging, and it’s apparent that this Ruckelshaus “Voluntary Stewardship Program
” is going to be extremely illiberal and control-freaky. And it’s not really
voluntary. Far from it. Typical of the sustainability movement, this process makes glowing assurances of "local" participation, but real control is wielded by the appointed statewide advisory commission. The commission is tasked to "improve compliance" judging local ordinances and comprehensive plans "to prevent the degradation of functions and values." With definitions that vague, WE think this bill and this program is bad news - very much a Trojan Horse.
This came onto our radar because WE learned that there’s going to be a Whatcom County “informational session
” on Thursday July 28, 2-4 pm at Council Chambers.
Note that they picked a time when most farmers are getting ready to milk their cows or bale hay (weather permitting). The farmers ("agricultural operators") probably weren't expected anyhow. This looks like it's primarily intended to bring government and special interests up to speed. Regardless, it is a public meeting and WE encourage citizens to GO TO THIS MEETING IF YOU CAN
and witness the hard-sell at onset. This commission will press Whatcom County to opt-in (bad idea).
Why should the public care? This new board will periodically review the countywide comprehensive plan (beginning in 2014), with a particular interest in our Critical Areas Ordinance (CAO), watershed management, and the county's conservation efforts and land trust holdings. This new oversight, similar to the Growth Management Hearings Board, is
intended to have impact. Land use lawyers and consultants will get a lot of business, fighting for and against whatever the commission believes is necessary for Whatcom County to do in the way of voluntary "self-management." Heaven only knows what the Ruckelshaus Center will pick up in the way of state grants for its long term part facilitating
WE read quite a bit of the fine print in this new law
, and there's no doubt that Whatcom County will be told
on Thursday that it must decide in the next six months
if it’s going to opt-in or opt-out. Some choice, there. Whether counties opt in or not they’ll be under the thumb of a regulation intense crew. Counties that opt out are still subject to mandatory goal setting, and periodic review of plans and "progress." If their progress falls short, they'll be given “recommendations” at the command of this commission and its “technical panel.” If counties don’t toe the line – read the bill
[particularly Section 16 very
closely] – the state will
have its way. From our reading, what this bill offers is a veiled threat. Get with the program in a friendly way (partnering, kibitzing, all the usual glad-handing), or we’ll getcha
anyway. This is loaded with "compliance" deadlines.
It should come as no surprise that there are carrot and stick money ties to this. Private special-interest environmental groups ("or other entities") are being welcomed to join in on every level: at the commission table and
on the technical panel, on local boards and
at the local trough. Non-profit NGO's can suggest goals, then be hired to operate programs, as so many do
now. People – this process will be loaded by the usual swarm very quickly, if they haven't already signed-up at the state level. Will the Planning & Development Department have more work or less work? We think a great deal more, every which way. Will our
county council lose more direct local regulatory power than it has already? WE're afraid that's definitely in the cards, particularly if they choose to opt-in.
All this is embellished with talk about protecting agriculture as a resource and watershed protection for fish - but if you dig deep enough, it definitely intends to ensure greater enforcement of the GMA (the Growth Management Act) across the board. At seven year intervals, the commission will review our countywide comprehensive plan --population, city programs and sub-area plans, urban growth areas -- all other matters as they relate to watersheds and "agricultural resource" conservation.
Dredging on this subject, WE see why farmers across this state feel like marked-men and women. They are. This new Ruckelshaus Bill, 2011 House Bill 1886
(and 2007 Senate Bill 5248
that preceded it), is loaded with language about fostering a spirit of cooperation and partnership, constructive outcomes and goals, collaboration and public input. But it clearly expands government, creating a virtually untouchable bureaucracy we can't eject at the ballot box. It’s a hammer.
WE will develop a complete informational page under the “Home” tab on this soon. There’s just too much information for one blog post. Until then, WE suggest you reflect on how this erodes individual property rights
compared to state interests.
You’ve probably have heard the phrase “agriculture is a resource.” Stop and think about what that really implies.
If the State of Washington (or the county) were to declare that in the interest of affordable housing
, “private homes are a resource,” you’d probably say, “That’s ridiculous! No. That’s wrong. I paid for my house. My home is my castle. The government shouldn’t have an interest in my property.” What if a farm is your home?
Today people seem conditioned to accept the premise that "the community" has a tangible interest in private
farmers’ property and operations. There's something not right about it, to say the least. For years, the state made welcome recommendations though its “extension services.” But government has pushed way over the line, particularly here in Whatcom County. Council has passed ordinances that make ”farm plans” mandatory. And this “voluntary program” – it means to monitor operations and to conduct pushy outreach, with the goal of managing what agricultural "operators" do. Would other citizens welcome that kind of oppressive “friendly government” interference in their day-to-day businesses or private lives? Put yourself in the farmer's boots.
GO to the meeting if you can. Let’s not sleep through this one, people.
WE received the following item through the "Contact Us" utility today, and thought folks might like to weigh-in. You join the conversation by clicking on "Add Comment" below. (This blog's Posting Rules are given in the right frame. Adopt a nickname if you'd like, and you don't have to provide your e-mail address or website if you don't want to share those publicly.)
Ask everyone in Congress (or your readers) to respond to this simple survey question:
Which would you pick if you could choose ONE that is BEST for the country?
A. Argue – Keep arguing until someone comes up with the perfect solution, none of these are going to work – stall for time, play games, scare the old to death, whatever works works.
B. Borrow – Raise the debt limit, borrow like no tomorrow, better yet get rid of it altogether, use endless borrowing to raise endless funds (more money to spread around to meet all the country’s needs).
C. Cut Spending – $14.3 Trillion is too much already; that is the most important thing to address and to make sure our credit is not downgraded, we go broke, etc.
D. Raise taxes – We have to have bigger government, more money to spend, and more money to spread around to meet all the country’s needs (if we can soak enough people/corporations no need to raise the debt limit or default).
E. Punt – Kick the can down the road, do what will get me the most votes; do not even try to do what is obviously the right thing to do (how lame is that?).
Readers - the Whatcom County resolution passed July 12th that supports the proposed "wilding
" of 300,000 acres of national forest
has now been posted to the county website here
You will observe that there was no SEPA review required, nor any public hearing required. Since it wasn't even on the public agenda, maybe they figured that we didn't particularly need to know.
There is an old saying about "absolute power..."The original DREDGE with details can be found here.
Did you read your latest PSE bill stuffer? A reader suggested we dig through the trash and take a closer look, and we've done some dredging. PSE constantly requests rate hikes, but this specifies system improvements including a "cleaner energy supply" project -- that is, a massive new wind farm in Garfield County. They currently propose an 8.1% tariff on electricity and another 3% for natural gas. See the notice below, and visit the Washington Utilities & Transportation Commission ("UTC") site for details
. Unfortunately, public comments were due yesterday. This will
go on and on.
Wind power = free energy? Not exactly. These are notoriously inefficient. (Reuters
recently reported that Europe is turning to modern coal-fired plants for its electricity.)
Locally, like the "Community Energy Challenge
" with its huge hidden overhead costs and federal subsidies, the public keeps getting stiffed for trendy and impractical eco-projects that do little.
WOW. We were very surprised to learn that bloggers across the nation, in the State of Virginia, have been following ICLEI's influence in Whatcom County, WA:
at Virginia Right!
MORE INFORMATION on ICLEI FROM WHATCOM COUNTY, WA
Here is a link to an extraordinary letter from Pete Kremen, the County Executive of Whatcom County, Washington. (Whatcom is not a misprint nor is it a parody! Thanks to Paul Murphy for this item.) It is filled with misinformation about ICLEI. Let’s set the record straight:
From Traffic Safety Coalition:
Important Campaign Meeting - Our first meeting since we succeeded in the petition process! Save the date, its two weeks from now. Ask questions, understand how we will be operating until the November Vote and enjoy the free coffee!
Thursday July 21st at Bellingham's WECU Education Center Downtown
7:00pm - 9:00pm
600 E Holly St Bellingham, WA 98225-4711
Get Directions (360) 676-1168
Worth the trouble, WE think.
From (the liberty conscious) Traffic Safety CoalitionThe goal of this editorial regarding automatic ticketing cameras (Initiative # 2011-01) is to succinctly clarify for Bellingham residents that:
1. A vote is required on this controversial issue because the people deserve to be heard
2. The council should abide by the vote of the people
3. The council – if it has done the research on all sides of the issue – is providing their constituents with a only two-pronged depiction of the use of red-light cameras (increasing city coffers, and erroneous safety claims) rather than the full complexity of the issue that includes, unbiased data-driven accident analysis, civil liberty, the democratic process, and other fundamental and constitutional rights.
Your Bellingham City Council scheduled then denied a public hearing regarding the automatic ticketing camera issue and the Mayor signed a contract with the Arizona Corporation that installs, maintains, and gains a substantial portion of the revenue generated from the cameras. In response to these actions, the Transportation Safety Coalition sponsored a petition to ensure that public opinion is properly represented. That vote will finally happen because of the amazing support from Bellingham constituents to have their voices heard and heeded!
Because nearly half of the number of people that routinely vote in city elections signed this petition,Bellingham Initiative #2011-01 will give the citizens of this community the chance, after being silenced through denial of a hearing, to ask questions, do their own research and decide accordingly.
The Transportation Safety Coalition believes there are less intrusive and greener ways to encourage law abiding, safe drivers that don’t involve a mega-million Goldman Sachs affiliated corporations, and dishing out “secret” tickets to our citizenry, guests and visitors. Slapping up cameras and treating citizens and visitors like ATM machines hurts our reputation as a friendly town. That kind of impersonal, disrespectful treatment may be OK in big cities, but the council and Mayor should abide by what the voters say when they decide if that’s the way we treat each other in Bellingham.
Once people know the facts about this questionable program we are confident they will make the right decision. If this program is ultimately rejected by the people, then the government can implement more effective, greener and less intrusive strategies like more public outreach and education, posted signs, flashing warning lights, solar powered speed indicator signs (Mt. Vernon raves about success in traffic safety), etc. Those approaches are much more in line with the way we do things in Bellingham.
Having the government conduct camera surveillance on its citizens to impose fines is obnoxious and violates fundamental constitutional rights like 4th (privacy), 5th (can not be witness against him or herself) 6th (due process) Amendments. This is Bellingham; we know when something smells fishy.
There are many municipalities that have tried using the red light cameras with results that the Mayor and Bellingham City Council members should pay attention to. A Spokane district judge ruled all tickets through this program are now void due to fact the officer never signs the ticket in Washington, it is from a private out-of-state corporation. LAPD’s recent decision, along with other cities around the country, to discontinue the program due to a multi-faceted combination of problems with the controversial camera ticketing program speaks volumes. Would any honest program actually just take our money and never hold us accountable on our driving record?
The wonderful part about the initiative process is the collection of voter signatures and the campaign. It gives everyone the opportunity to discuss and debate the issue, learn more about the pros and cons, and have a voice in the final decision. It engages and empowers the citizenry and provides elected officials with invaluable feedback from the people they represent. Measures like Bellingham Initiative #2011-01 provide the citizens with a critical check on government power.
We welcome the debate on ticketing cameras (here are 17 reasons why they’re a really bad idea: www.BanCams.com/17reasons, but when the dust settles and your vote is cast, it’s about whether you think it should be the people, and not the politicians and an Arizona corporation who decide.
"Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power." -- Benito Mussolini
Johnny Weaver heads up the Transportation Safety Coalition (TSC), ww.BanCams.com
Another surprise from Whatcom County Council shot through the pipe on July 12th. The ambitious "American Alps Legacy Project
" that's being heavily promoted by the anti-logging
wildlands group North Cascades Conservation Council (that's also NCCC or "NC3"), Mt. Baker Wild!
and a very long list of other "partners
" received support through a resolution in a 6-1 vote.
WE would share the resolution with you if we could (and we will when we can
), but it hasn't been made available to the public yet. There were no official public hearings that we know of, or SEPA review. The records are downright thin. This wasn't even on the Council agenda
What we do know is that this project seeks to make 300,000 acres of public land in the Cascades even less accessible than it is already. The project plan is to expand the North Cascades National Park significantly, and this will take part of the Mt. Baker Snoqualmie National Forest along with it. The current plan is to make a section bridge, through Hannegan Pass, to Mt. Baker Highway. The real project goal - make no mistake about it -- is to put an end to as much much logging and mining
as possible -- "re-wilding
." This land, and the productive public resources that go with it, will be out of reach forever.
How could this resolution -- a blanket endorsement of a plan that keeps expanding and morphing, with what looks like tortured economic justifications -- pass through Council without public review? The Whatcom County Charter says:WCC Chapter 14.04
RIGHT TO PRACTICE FORESTRY
14.04.010 Policy and purpose.
14.04.010 Policy and purpose. A. 1. It is the declared policy of this county to promote forestry operations and to inform residents of the county’s support for the right to practice forestry.
2. State planning goals encourage the conservation of productive forest lands and discourage incompatible uses. Land uses adjacent to forest lands should not interfere with forestry operations.
Some will say all this is "subject to interpretation." Logging and mining are dead anyway. But WE know how rugged, inaccessible, and well protected this land is already. Locking down all
options - losing these resources forever -- that's serious
Go, read the county Charter
. Search through it on your own. Find the mining section too; it's nearly identical to the logging one. Yes, this is federal land, but the use
of it -- that's a big part of our heritage as well as an asset.
WE are not quite sure why our elected hustled this the way they did. When we learn more, we'll share what we find. Heck of a surprise, huh? Stay tuned.Editor Update: County Resolution 2011-021 is now available here
WE just learned that Daniel Tepper, trail promoter-advocate and president
of NGO (Whatcom Parks and Recreation Foundation
) landed the choice position of sitting on the county's Bicycle/Pedestrian Advisory
Committee just a few days ago, on July 12. Endorsed by Executive Kremen, the application-appointment
was approved by a 7-0 council vote. That's convenient.
WE did a little dredging, and learned that Mr. Tepper has made quite a trail of his own in the last few months, hitting up an impressive string of committee meetings to promote the immense 45-mile Nooksack Loop Trail on behalf of the Foundation.
There was a presentation made to the Whatcom Parks and Recreation Commitee in February
that finished-up with a second visit in March
. (At the end of the second meeting, the Parks Director was tasked with writing a letter of support by the end of June.) WOW. Then, in May
, there was a visit to the Whatcom Transportation Policy Board too (Whatcom Council of Governments, is WCOG). Checking in or checking back, we're not sure, but we doubt it was their first look at this project.
Forty-five miles of fun, transporation, and public health - probably claiming to grow jobs and the "economy" too. What a perfect package. Trails have been running at least $200,000 to $1 million or more per mile
, and the Parks department has over 6,500 acres of land already in the inventory. The public has deep pockets? How deep? A bunch of grants, some real estate excise tax (REET), a little serious pressure on private landowners - it's amazing what gets done around here when you work the circuit. WE discovered that this non-profit is tied-in with Whatcom Counts
too (the "communityship quiz
" people). That could be a cinch for a yet another letter of support.
Starting to get the picture how this works, folks? And now, a seat on the Bicycle/Pedestrian Advisory that pitches projects to council. What more could a promoter ask for? Should the public expect even a whit of objectivity in any of this? Time will tell. And so will WE.