"In Her Own Words" -- Joyce Morrison
To commemorate RFFM.org's 15 years of service to the conservative community, we will be conducting a series of monthly interviews throughout 2007 with some of the most influential leaders in the pro-family/conservative movement. RFFM.org's national director, Daniel Zanoza, will conduct Q + A sessions with the aim of educating our readers as to some of the views held by those who work tirelessly to reach their stated goals.
RFFM.org will also describe the mission statements of those who work for organizations or detail the expertise of some of the most prominent individuals in their fields regarding issues that affect Americans on many levels.
The fourth Q + A features Joyce Morrison (short bio below questions + answers) who works to educate the public in the area of property rights and the dangers of programs designed to gradually take control of all private property through undue regulations.
Joyce Morrison, Property Rights Activist
Q. When people think of property rights, one of the first things that comes to mind is the expansion of eminent domain laws. What are your thoughts on this subject and do you think it is the most important property rights debate going on today in America?
A. Eminent domain has come to the forefront, due to the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on June 23, 2005 in a 5-4 decision in favor of New London, Connecticut over property owner Susette Kelo. The court ruled, in Kelo vs. New London, that the community would benefit over property owner Susette Kelo. The court ruled the community would benefit from the economic growth over the rights of homeowners. The Supreme Court used “public use” under the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment as their right to rule. The Founding Fathers stated reasons for taking private property by eminent domain. Their reasons they did not include taking the property from one private owner to give to another private owner because it was financially more profitable to a body of government.
This Supreme Court ruling took away the protection provided by the U.S. Constitution; now no homeowner, small business or church is safe.
One particular case of eminent domain ruined many lives in Sunset Hills, (St. Louis) Missouri. The city council decided to tear down 254 homes in Sunset Manor and build a shopping center. The right of eminent domain was given to the development company who failed to get the funding to complete their project. Purchase agreements had been made with the homeowners, causing a serious dilemma because many residents had purchased new homes and moved out ...expecting to be paid.
However, the Kelo vs. New London ruling does have a bright side. People are now waking up to the growing abuse of property rights.
Q. What other property rights issues do you believe American citizens must look at with high priority?
A. Each day we face new land grabs. The designing of “human settlements” and the control of “humans and their habitat” originates from the same rotten root. There are so many issues that I cannot begin to explain them all, but at the end of this Q & A, I have tried to explain just a few.
To maintain the sovereignty of our nation, it is mandatory that Agenda 21 is understood by every person. Since 1992, the abuses in property rights can almost always be tracked to the 40 chapter "soft law" document called Agenda 21 (http://www.sovereignty.net/p/sd/a21). The United States signed a global agreement in 1992 at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro (http://www.un.org/geninfo/bp/enviro.html).
The first President Bush was still on the scene, but the Clinton/Gore administration were ready to take the helm. The U.S. was one of 179 countries who agreed to implement a blueprint on how to change the world for future generations. Basically, it is a plan to control what you eat, where you live, what you drive and every part of your existence.
"Its regulation would severely limit water, electricity, and transportation -- even deny human access to our most treasured wilderness areas, it would monitor all lands and people. No one would be free from the watchful eye of the new global tracking and information system," according to Berit Kjos, author of Brave New Schools (http://www.newswithviews.com/HNB/Hot_New_Books1.htm).
If this sounds frightening, it should -- because it is. Every program has been carefully designed to “think globally,” but “act locally.” The designers of these programs know how to deceive many. By the use of “incentive-based” programs or “grants,” uninformed local boards and committees fall easy prey to the designer’s cookie cutter plans. The designers know that greed is in the heart of almost everyone. Dangle money and common sense leaves. If grants don’t work, fear tactics usually will. When they tell us we are running out of air, water and soil, we succumb to our fears and adopt their land use and community planning programs -- without any regard for property rights.
Q. Could you elaborate on the most important of these issues?
A. Today’s property rights issues fall under Agenda 21‘s two main programs: “Sustainable Development” and “Smart Growth.” An excellent booklet explaining these programs can be found on the Santa Cruz Freedom 21 website (http://www.freedom21santacruz.net/site/downloads/sd-guide-web.pdf).
I’m sure many who’ve read this booklet have heard the terms and catch phrases, but can’t really identify with them. I urge everyone to become informed about Freedom 21.
First, we need to explain just how all the land grabs and controls were put into action so quickly from the signing of Agenda 21 in 1992 to date. While we thought Vice-President Al Gore was improving his invention of the Internet and President Bill Clinton was distracted by Monica, they were actually very busy implementing their plans to control our lives to the fullest. In plain language, they walked all over our Constitution and sold us out.
President Clinton set up task forces in the areas of Climate Change, Environmental Management, International and Metropolitan and Rural strategies to be known as the President’s Council on Sustainable Development (http://clinton2.nara.gov/PCSD/). Clinton involved the American Planning Association in writing a 2,000 page book for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) called the Growing Smart Legislative Guidebook.
Please go to this website ((http://www.heritage.org/Research/SmartGrowth/BG1565.cfm) and read the Legislative Guidebook article by Wendell Cox on how model “takings” legislation is recommended that would subvert property rights and help states and localities “improve” land use and design “better” communities. Sounds like the use of eminent domain, doesn't it?
Gore’s Livability Agenda and Clinton’s Lands Legacy initiatives were introduced (www.americanpolicy.org/prop/theclintongop.htm). These initiatives were designed for the government to purchase more land and control private lands through regulations and restrictions. Communities would lose control, as they accepted grant money to develop programs based on “visioning” and “comprehensive planning. These are all products of Agenda 21 which most elected officials and American citizens have never heard about. Subsequently, community leaders are extremely naïve when someone comes to their community with a grant and says, “I’m from the government, and I’m here to help.”
One of the initiatives of the Clinton/Gore program is to, “Enhance economic competitiveness by nurturing a high quality of life that attracts well-trained workers and cutting-edge industries.” Could that explain the abuse of eminent domain to private homeowners?
Q. This sounds extremely complicated. Just what are some of the issues we should be watching to protect property rights?
A. Once you begin to connect the dots, it is not nearly as complicated as it appears. The designers have not missed a single opportunity and, as you will see, education plays an important role - both for youth and adults. Read their Agenda for Action (http://www.ffof.org/pcsd/toc.html) and you will see no stone has been left unturned. The United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization, (UNESCO) is very much involved in the education curriculum in the United States, teaching our youth to not be concerned about sovereignty or personal property, but to be good “global citizens.”
At the bottom of this question and answer series, I have listed some of the more important issues of today.
Q. Are we going backwards or forwards when it comes to the issue of property rights? Some farmers say organizations like the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) have commandeered private property for the sake of wetlands preservation. What are your thoughts on this subject?
A. Personally, I believe we are going backwards. The government seems to have forgotten what made America great. Individuals owning and using property has always been the difference between a free nation and one that is controlled by government.
The Convention on Wetlands (http://www.ramsar.org/ was held in Ramsar, Iran in 1971. The United States signed on, along with 154 countries. Since that time, we have seen land that had been drained and farmed for almost 100 years being taken for wetlands.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife has been very active acquiring land to make “refuge” areas in these “so-called" wetland areas. It has cost taxpayers far more to develop wetlands than it cost to drain them in the first place. Agriculture is the number one industry in Illinois and yet much of Illinois was, at one time, a wetlands -- before it was drained to be farmland. Would it be wise to reclaim all the drained land?
At one time, the largest farm in Illinois was located near Havana. The Norris Farm boasted 11,000 acres of agriculture with a large livestock operation. The Nature Conservancy and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have joined forces and they are now turning this once highly productive land into a wetlands -- and you (the taxpayer) are paying for it.
We still have many natural wetlands along rivers, ponds and streams. These areas are not in danger of development. Because wetlands are breeding grounds for mosquitoes, wetlands are areas where the West Nile virus (and other diseases) originate.
Q. The right to own property is a fundamental right provided by the U.S. Constitution. Yet many feel helpless when confronted by big government and the bureaucracy that comes with it. In a perfect world, how would wetlands be protected while preserving the rights of property owners?
A. Sadly, individuals have been jailed because they moved dirt on their own property. They were charged with violating laws concerning “wetlands.” I have a friend who was cited because her tenant burned a pile of wood. Ironically, you may not even know your property is a “wetlands” -- until you’ve been cited for disturbing the wetlands. These cases are totally unjust because these people were deprived the “use“ of their property without compensation.
First of all, in a perfect world, the environmentalists would not have the opportunity to raise revenue for their organizations by suing government agencies such as the EPA. Agencies, such as the EPA, would not be permitted to award grants to environmental organizations to avoid lawsuits.
Each year the EPA awards over half of their annual budget in grants. This totals over $4 billion. These monies are awarded to state, local and tribal governments, educational institutions, non-profit organizations (such as the Sierra Club, The Nature Conservancy, and other environmental groups) foreign recipients, and individuals. There is a great lack of oversight.
In a perfect world, government agencies would not be permitted to partner with NGO’s (non-governmental agencies). They would come under strict congressional oversight. Today, well-funded NGO’s are in charge of major projects that affect property rights and yet the property owner has no representation.
At one time, the Constitution was the basis of all our laws. Our Constitution protected the rights of the people. Very few legislators have even read -- or are familiar with -- the Constitution of the United States, or that of their own state.
Q. What subject most frustrates you in your years of work regarding property rights?
A. Probably most frustrating is the attitude that every agency and organization has a right to use what you have worked and sacrificed to pay for. There is a Socialist mentality that if you have property, you should have no attachment, but should want to give it up "for the good of all." One of the first property rights transactions was when God gave Abraham land that would be passed on to his son Isaac and his descendents. This land is still in conflict because the covenant land is so important to them.
The fact that every drop of water and every piece of land is to be controlled by United Nations dictates, and that our property in the United States is no longer our own to use, is not only extremely frustrating, it is frightening. The U.S. government owns over 40% of this country and each year they acquire more land. Since the government does not maintain the parks and land they own, it is upsetting to see them continue to take land out of private hands. Once property leaves the hands of an individual, it will never be returned. The backbone of America has been timber, mining and agriculture. These are the areas that have been hit hardest by regulations.
Q. What mistakes, if any, have been made by advocates of property rights? If you had to do it all over again, what advice would you give leaders who battle to preserve property rights? Do you believe the American public is up to speed regarding these subjects?
A. I really don’t believe advocates of property rights have made many mistakes. They are a very dedicated group who make sacrifices of their time and resources each and every day. After all, they don’t get government grants. We are blessed with some of the most brilliant minds in the world, reading and sorting out the agreements, treaties, memorandums of understanding -- and then sharing what they have learned. At their own expense, leaders of the property rights movement attend United Nations meetings around the world, put information out in every possible publication and speak at every opportunity. They are the unsung heroes who are trying to save your right to worship, to protect your freedom and the sovereignty of your God and country.
The American public is lacking greatly in knowledge about these subjects. Many people can tell you the latest about Britney Spears and who was the father of Nicole’s baby, or who scored the team's home run, but very few know what is actually happening to the future of this nation. This should tell you the mind control our media has. Most don’t understand that “Global Warming” has nothing to do with their air conditioner or hair spray, but it is designed to redistribute the wealth of the United States to third world nations. Al Gore's promotion of Global Warming is about as factual as his claim to inventing the Internet. He has been one of the worst offenders. There is no evidence that we have over-populated the earth or that we are even near that point -- so we don’t need to push for abortion, euthanasia and other population controls that are against God’s Word. There are influential groups that say if we don't kill about 360,000 a day in the world, we will have to use methods such as disease if abortion, etc. doesn't do the job. Fear tactics have been used for so long, that people don’t understand good science and accept junk science for truth.
Q. Summarize where you think America is headed in the future regarding property rights? Do you think the future looks bleak or is there light at the end of the tunnel?
A. We are definitely on a fast track to Socialism with serious undertones of Communism. The future would look very bleak, but we have groups who are gaining strength and more and more people are getting involved. I’d like to mention a few of the many great groups: Freedom 21, Liberty Matters, EdWatch, Environmental Conservation Organization, Freedom 21 Santa Cruz, Heartland Institute, Sovereignty International, Stewards of the Range, American Land Foundation, American Land Rights Association, American Policy Center, Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow, Eagle Forum, Property Rights Foundation of America, Inc.
Q. What would be the first issue you would address if you had the power to change the status quo regarding property rights? If you had ultimate power, what would be the first property rights issue you would address? In other words, which of the issues we've touched on in this Q + A are most important to you?
A. If I had ultimate power, first, I would make certain every legislator, every judge and every teacher reads and has clear knowledge of the Constitution of the United States. The second thing I would do is get us out of the United Nations.
We are entitled to the right to own and use property. We should be able to plant a garden, build a house or use our property in the manner for which it was intended -- without government interference. We should not have to fear eminent domain taking our home to give way to a shopping mall.
We should not have to live with the fear that if we cannot pay our taxes that our property will be taken from us. Many of those on fixed incomes are suffering from this threat every day, as property rights in some areas are skyrocketing.
PROPERTY RIGHTS ISSUES:
Scenic Byways: Byways are accompanied by grants from the Federal Transportation Dept. Stakeholders control the view shed “as far as the eye can see -- and the adjacent area.” Stakeholders are representatives of a government agency or non-government agency (NGO) who claim they have a “stake” in your property.” Most property along a scenic byway is privately-owned and naturally scenic -- without this designation.
Conservation Easements: NGO’s such as The Nature Conservancy or other organizations “partnering” with the government, will offer a landowner a nice sum to protect his property from development. This offer is very difficult to refuse. However, the agreement is for perpetuity, but the payments are not. The landowner becomes a tax-paying tenant and the Conservation Easement is attached to his deed. If the property owner needs to mortgage their property or wants to sell, it will be difficult as the owner no longer has clear title to their own deed.
National Heritage Areas: A large part of the state of Illinois is destined to become a National Heritage Area, if the three proposed Heritage Areas currently before Congress are approved by Congress, Illinois basically would then be considered a “federal zoning” area. This designation opens the doors to many controls over private property. This year there is a bill, HR1625, to establish the Abraham Lincoln National Heritage Area, the legislation would also be used “for other purposes.” Sponsored by U.S. Rep. Ray LaHood (R-IL-18th District) The Senate version, S955, sponsored by U.S. Senator Richard Durbin. S956 (likewise sponsored by U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin) is a bill to establish the Land Between the Rivers National Heritage Area in the State of Illinois. This legislation would also be used “for other purposes.”
I always wonder what is meant when they include, "and for other purposes."
In 2006, a study was authorized for the Mississippi Heritage Trail that would be extremely damaging to property owners on both sides of the Mississippi. See Property Rights Foundation of America, Inc. [http://prfamerica.org/fundraiser/FundraiserJun1-2006.html] Eminent domain will be used to implement this trail.
National Animal Identification: Each farm or homestead that has even one chicken, duck, pig, horse, llama, cow, rabbit or other animal, will have to have a “premise” number. Each of these animals will be required to have a Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tag or chip by 2009. If that animal leaves the premise for any reason, it must be reported to the USDA within 24 hours or there will be a severe fine to the livestock owner. If the animal is butchered, dies, has offspring, or any change, it must be reported. The USDA now says it is a voluntary program, but researchers say it is mandatory in most states. Go back to the quote by Berit Kjos in question number 2 where she says, " No one would be free from the watchful eye of the new global tracking and information system."
The good news is that Vermont has opted out of the program and Missouri is well on their way out. Other states are working hard to get this totally invasive program stopped. It is not about controlling disease, but it is about controlling the consumption spoken about in Agenda 21.
Wilderness and Wildlands Project and the UN/US Man and the Biosphere Program: These are huge areas set aside -- supposedly for the wild animals. Forest areas are not managed and most of these areas become "roadless" to keep humans out. When a fire starts, it is almost impossible to stop.
Thousands of locations in the United States are listed in the United Nations World Database on protected areas, see: http://www.unep-wcmc.org/wdpa/. The dreaded bill, HR1975, designating 23 million acres of new wilderness in five western states, was introduced in April in the U.S. House of Representatives. HR 1975 has been introduced multiple times before, under the title of Rocky Mountain Ecosystem Protection Act Wilderness and Wildlands use.
Endangered Species: This has become another method of controlling the use of private property without compensation. Designation of an endangered species is not difficult. If a hairy-legged popsicle is found on your property, you must not use your property because you might cause danger to the habitat of this plant or animal. What this has actually accomplished is what’s called SSS -- shoot, shovel and shut-up. Prior to this control of private property, people would have nourished a rare find and would have protected it, but now they cannot afford to do so.
Energy: It would take a book, to do this subject justice. Environmentalists have prevented the building of new power plants and refineries putting our nation at risk. [see Natural Resources Defense Council -- Parks, Forests and Wildlands http://www.nrdc.org/land/wilderness/default.asp] We are depending on foreign countries -- who do not like us -- to supply us with our oil. Like it or not, it takes fuel to make energy. We are not at the place where ethanol and renewable resources can replace oil. Environmentalist have caused major problems for power plants that use coal for fuel. Environmentalists have stopped the drilling in ANWR and offshore drilling for oil. We all want clean air and clean water and there are standards that should be met, but some of these demands get ridiculous. When you have no electricity and your car has to sit in the garage, thank an environmentalist.
Dynegy Midwest Generation was forced to install $500 million worth of air pollution control equipment at their Baldwin plant and four others they operate in Illinois. On top of the $9 million civil penalty, Dynegy had to spend $15 million on the environmental projects of Prairie Rivers Network, the American Bottom Conservancy, Health and Environmental Justice St. Louis and Illinois Stewardship Alliance. My question is, "why didn't the governor of Illinois take the $15 million dollars that was given to environmentalists to put into the state coffers to spend on education or health programs he claims we need so bad?" And then people wonder why their electricity bill tripled.
Security and Prosperity Partnership: This was an agreement signed between the heads of Mexico, Canada and the United States. It does not have congressional oversight. Some call it NAFTA on steroids. One of the concerns is the 4,000 mile, 1,200 foot corridor linking Mexico to Canada following up I-35 through the United States. This will take many acres -- owned by ranchers and homeowners -- to accomplish and, if they don't sell their property willingly, they will lose it by eminent domain.
Joyce Morrison is a pro-life, pro-family activist whose field of expertise includes private property rights. Morrison attempts to educate the public regarding the dangers coming to their local communities through Sustainable Development and Agenda 21 programs which are designed to gradually take control of all private property through undue regulations.
Morrison was a columnist and news reporter for the former Illinois Leader, an online conservative news source. Mrs. Morrison currently writes for SOWER magazine, NewsWithViews.com, Eco-logic, as well as various other publications. She participates in weekly teleconferences of the Illinois Policy Institute, a conservative think tank.
Morrison is a chapter leader for Concerned Women for America [the nation’s largest public policy women’s organization: www.cwfa.org]. She is Secretary to the Board of Directors of Rural Restoration/ADOPT Mission, a national farm ministry located in Sikeston, Missouri [web site at: http://www.FarmersRuralRestoration.com].
Mrs. Morrison says her most enjoyable time is spent teaching a senior adult Sunday School class which focuses on hope and encouragement.
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