Report: Agenda 21 conspiracy theories spread by extremists, politicians pose real danger

Editor’s note: As regular readers know, our community has been subjected to this hysteria.

“Agenda 21, a nonbinding United Nations global sustainability plan signed by the United States more than 20 years ago, is being used by extremists and mainstream politicians to stoke fears and stifle rational policymaking across the country,” according to a press release from the Southern Poverty Law Center.

“The report, Agenda 21: The UN, Sustainability and Right-Wing Conspiracy Theory, examines how activist groups like the John Birch Society are pushing conspiracy theories that have led some states to pass resolutions condemning the document and one to enact legislation intended to outlaw its effects. It also describes how lawmakers have been swept from office for their support of Agenda 21. In one Alabama county, an entire planning and zoning commission resigned in disgust after an award-winning smart-growth plan was killed over groundless Agenda 21 fears.

“’The hysteria over Agenda 21 has no basis in reality,’ said Heidi Beirich, report author and director of the SPLC’s Intelligence Project. “Unfortunately, it has poisoned rational discussion of the challenges facing communities. If we want to address real-world problems, we must recognize there’s no genuine controversy surrounding Agenda 21. There are only groundless conspiracy theories peddled by extremists and opportunistic politicians.'”

The rest of the article is here.

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About jeffpelline

Jeff Pelline is a veteran editor and award-winning journalist - in print and online. He is publisher of Sierra FoodWineArt magazine and its website SierraCulture.com. Jeff covered business and technology for The San Francisco Chronicle for years, was a founding editor and Editor of CNET News, and was Editor of The Union, a 145-year-old newspaper in Grass Valley. Jeff has a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley and a master's from Northwestern University. His hobbies include sailing and trout fishing.
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17 Responses to Report: Agenda 21 conspiracy theories spread by extremists, politicians pose real danger

  1. Joe Koyote says:

    Agenda 21 is like Common Core, climate denial, and numerous other issues to the billionaire conservative puppet masters… just another hot button topic to anger and further divide the American people. What many well intentioned conservatives don’t understand is that they are being conned into backing the Koch brothers and their ilk under the guise of saving America from socialists while, in fact, they are selling out America and a the rest of the world to the plutocrats in the name of “freedom from government intrusion” allowing them to make even more billions destroying the planet and economically enslaving its people without interference. The problem with the “less government/free market” philosophy is it fails to take greed into account. If you think pollution etc. is bad now, think of what it would be like without any regulation or restrictions. In the modern world, the weapon of choice for bullies is money and the Supreme Court keeps handing the bullies even more power while conservatives cheer from the sidelines at this new so-called “freedom.” Just remember that “conservatism” starts with “con.”

  2. Michael Anderson says:

    Joe, you are absolutely correct. But it gets worse. As Steve Frisch and I were describing in the previous post about Common Core, these are calculated strategies aimed at disenfranchising the voting majority of Americans, the demographics of which are slowly but surely eating away at the extreme right wing’s base of support. It’s a war of attrition that’s been going on since the 1960s.

    The Agenda 21 nonsense is nothing more than the Sagebrush Rebellion in a tattered “new” suit. Reference here – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sagebrush_rebels – for further information on that history. Suffice to say, the Sagebrush Rebellion ran out of gas when some of the more extreme members starting resorting to violence. My uncle, with the US Forest Service in Oregon for over 30 years, had to deal with these people his entire career. I have no sympathy for their cause, zip, zero, nada. They are lawbreakers, nothing more.

  3. Michael Anderson says:

    From the Washington Post today (http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2014/04/15/everything-you-need-to-know-about-the-long-fight-between-cliven-bundy-and-the-federal-government/):
    “April 1995: The fight between the Bureau of Land Management and the ranchers who want to use the federal land without fees or oversight is growing more tense, according to a story published in USA Today.
    Thursday evening, a small bomb went off in the U.S. Forest Service office in Carson City, Nevada.
    Though no one has taken responsibility — and no one was injured — it has sent chills through government agencies involved in Western land management.
    ‘If it was sent as a message,’ says Forest Service spokeswoman Erin O’Connor, ‘we got it.’
    Ultimately the issue will be settled by the courts, but ranchers who say they can’t afford to raise livestock without greater access to public land are taking matters into their own hands — setting up what some officials fear is an inevitable and dangerous confrontation.
    The situation is becoming so tense that federal workers now travel mostly in pairs and are in constant radio contact with district offices.
    ‘I’m concerned about the safety of my employees,’ says Jim Nelson, Forest Service district manager for Nevada. ‘They can’t go to church in these communities without having someone say something. Their kids are harassed in school. Stores and restaurants are not serving them.'”

    Sound familiar?

    • Eric Anderson says:

      Notorious local travelling sheriff Mack is ready to be a martyr over cattle! But em, ladies first:

      http://talkingpointsmemo.com/muckraker/bundy-ranch-constitutional-sheriffs-oath-keepers

    • Douglas Keachie says:

      The Ultra Rightys are busily creating the very governent they claim to fear. After a recent claim that a bill that supports veterans service dogs and attempts to track money going abroad for tax purposes, was declared a threat to every Americans way of life, and they tried to blame the Hood shootings on Obama, I give up all hope of changing this madness.

      I just hope it will die out, but unfortunately, in my position as Admin for Nevada County Vents on Facebook, I vet everyone to check to see if they are local, before allowing them into this open and visible to all FB members group. Many of the youngsters are very conservative, as witnessed by the contents of their pages. Here is a sample dialog from a post started by a gentleman who asked:

      “Are you in favor of all of our Constitutional amendments or just some.”

      He left out the question mark, and it goes downhill from there:

      “Ryan Mount This country was founded by religious fanatics and criminals. Like SNL Linda Richmond…discuss.
      15 hours ago · Unlike · 1
      Lisa Price-Kerr They take the constitution test in eighth grade. Why would they need to repeat it in high school?
      15 hours ago · Like
      Brian Shuster Lisa, there is a lot of history between the ratification of the constitution and the civil war, like 1/3 of our countries entire existence. But whatever, what do I know?
      15 hours ago · Edited · Like
      Ae Stewart I’m in favor of the ones I support… so throughout the timeframe, just some…
      15 hours ago · Edited · Like
      Thomas Forsythe Lisa….are you kidding? Eighth grade to voting age is along time. Besides without an understanding of the founding of our ” Nation” the Constitution seems to hold little value to people. Most adults have never read the Constitution much less understand what its says.
      14 hours ago · Like · 1
      Thomas Forsythe Ae ..I hope your not a voter.
      13 hours ago · Like
      Douglas Keachie I’m totally in favor of all of my interpretations of the Constitution and all the amendments. Isn’t everybody?
      12 hours ago · Like
      Lisa Price-Kerr I’d be happy if they could come out of high school being capable of counting money. People are upset about civics and they can’t spell nor use spell check properly or know if someone gives them correct change or not
      12 hours ago · Like
      Douglas Keachie September 17, 1787 to April 12, 1861, when Confederate forces fired upon Fort Sumter, a key fort held by Union troops in South Carolina. 74 years, 74 years later it is 1935, 74 years later it is 2009, by God, Brian, close enough! Which of these blocks of time saw the most action?
      12 hours ago · Like
      Thomas Forsythe Douglas Keachie. …your interpretation? Well aren’t you special. The Constitution is not open to interpretation Douglas. Except by those who see themselves as wiser than our founding fathers. Are you?
      12 hours ago · Like
      Douglas Keachie So you want me to use yours? Where’s the equality in that?
      12 hours ago · Like
      Bill Hubbard I’m taking the fifth.
      12 hours ago · Unlike · 1
      Douglas Keachie I having wine and buttered popcorn, this should be good.
      12 hours ago · Like
      Douglas Keachie We seem to have a runner….
      11 hrs · Like · 2
      Douglas Keachie I think he went here: https://www.youtube.com/v/J55S38xwxnQ

  4. jeffpelline says:

    Dear residents of western Nevada County,
    Pleased be informed that the strategies being discussed are right here in our community. Educate yourselves and be an active (no need to be an “activist”) participant in what’s happening in politics, education, law enforcement and so on.
    Thank you for listening

  5. Brad Croul says:

    I think agent provocateurs come up with this stuff (rumors, disinformation) and feed it to wingnut websites where it gets picked up by more mainstream media.
    My elderly father is very conservative (but not an idiot). However, he gets bombarded by all this BS via email forwards which he passes on to me. I fact check it, etc. and find that, for the most part, it is total BS.
    On one recent forward there was a bunch of lies and misinformation about what is going on with the Fukushima reactors. Before I could tell him it was BS, he had contacted a friend at a university who has been there and is working with the Japanese. The professor contacted the Japanese and was basically told that none of the crap in the email could be verified. I felt sorry for my dad that he was mislead by a bunch of wackjobs.

  6. Good article on the ‘last time around’ with this nonsense.

    http://www.orionmagazine.org/index.php/articles/article/129/

  7. Michael Anderson says:

    Steve, thanks very much for the Orion Magazine link. I hadn’t seen it before and it’s a great synopsis of the problem. There were a couple of passages that I found to be particularly poignant:

    “It disturbs me that two million people in this state watch silently, or worse, in amusement, as a small percent of their number break laws and trounce the rights of others with impunity,” Flora told the press. “But when a member of the United States Congress joins forces with them, using the power of the office to stage a public inquisition of federal employees followed by a political fundraiser, I must protest. Fed-bashing is a sport here and I refuse to sit by quietly and let it happen.”

    As I have mentioned before, my family history is 5th generation west coast pioneers, with my grandfather working for the State Department from the late 1930s until 1965, and my uncle rising to the job of District Ranger in Oregon in the early 1990s. I take the denigration of federal public service personally, particularly from 1st generation Americans who seem to be either unclear on the history of federalism, or wanting to rewrite that history in this vein: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/It_Can%27t_Happen_Here

    Here’s the other passage I found particularly relevant:
    “Every year, PEER examines reports amassed by land management agencies pertaining to threats made against federal workers. Last year, the group reported that during the first year of the Bush administration, acts of violence against natural resource employees, including bombings, beatings, and arsons, rose dramatically over the year 2000. Not only did the total number of such incidents increase, but the percentage of incidents involving direct violence against employees also rose, according to PEER. The Forest Service alone documented seventy-eight incidents, up from thirty-three in 2000.
    ‘Fed-bashing is a tough phrase,’ she told me. ‘I define it as destructive actions or words meant to hurt and belittle federal employees, personally and collectively. It is not much different than racism. You pick a class of people, you decide they are the source of your problems and you proceed to systematically make them unwelcome in your community.I do not begrudge anyone for being upset with certain federal laws or policies, but how we handle that dislike is a measure of our own personal integrity and ultimately, the yardstick of a community.’”

    The Rebane Ruminations and Sierra Dragon’s Breath websites have a lot of explaining to do.

    • Douglas Keachie says:

      W still have old fashioned racism here as well. Two years after the election, there sits a pickup truck in the Riebes parking lot with a “Don’t ReNig in 2012″ bumper sticker.

  8. Don Pelton says:

    How close to home is this? At least as close as Colfax, and probably closer:

    “ANTI-AGENDA 21 RESOLUTION adopted by the CITY of COLFAX (CA)! PEOPLE are WAKING UP!”

  9. Sky Wanderer says:

    It takes not much more than a glance at our fundamentally uniform global socio-political-economic and ecological reality to realise that there has to be a uniform malicious global agenda behind the ongoing global destruction, marked by Crisis (Stagflation), Deficits, astronomical size of inexplicable and unjustifiable public and private Debts, Cuts and Austerity, meanwhile not one step has been taken – either UN or by any other intergovernmental organisation – to effectively protect the planet from the ecological destruction carried out by the global big businesses.
    It is blindingly obvious that the uniform policies implemented all over the world could not care less about sustainable economy and ecology, but to serve one and only goal: to satisfy the needs of the super-rich, to make them richer and to make everyone else poorer.

    The presence of a global conspiracy to achieve such purpose is evident either with or without a green masked agenda. Even without reading this topic, no one in his right mind would seriously believe that whole countries and continents “owe” debts of trillions of monetary units to a small global minority of individuals, and no one would believe that those who work in the financial sphere contribute more worth to the economy than those who do the actual work by creating real products and providing real services. Yet it is the latter vast majority, called productive sphere, who are indebted to the former vanishingly small minority – called Banks.
    For comprehensive analysis of above see recent blog post:
    The story of how we are being conned by Banks and Governments

    http://globalpoliticalanalysis.wordpress.com/2014/04/21/lords-and-serfs-3-the-truth-is-out-money-is-just-an-iou-and-that-is-the-fraud/

    Agenda 21 is certainly a good candidate to be considered the framework – or one framework of the several – for the global conspiracy that achieved above-described status quo. This presentation given by a leading author and activist on the topic is especially convincing.

    If Agenda 21 was a real and benevolent plan to save the planet, then we would have long ago adopted green technology all over the world, governments would not push the relentless free market-based competition that exponentially fosters hyper-exploitation of the planet but would promote fair income distribution towards sustainable and socially just economies; the oil industry and gas engines would be ancient history, electric cars would run on the roads, solar panels would decorate all roofs, etc. Needless to state the obvious… What we can observe instead is the elimination of life-opportunities for the vast majority, while producing obscene luxury for the super-rich, and allowing the concentration of wealth and power into their hands. Coincidence? Hardly.

    if we investigate the past few decades of how neoliberalism transformed the once productive capitalist economy into a sort of retrograde neofeudalism through a process whereby the parasite unproductive privileged lobbies are silently destroying the once strong middle class and turning the once flourishing Western economies into a wasteland of 3rd world poverty.

    • stevefrisch says:

      My offer to publicly debate Rosa Koire on these issues still stands.

      Sometimes it amazes me how the radical right and radical left can come so close together that they are indistinguishable.

      • Sky Wanderer says:

        In the case you wish to enter a public debate with Rosa Koire I recommend that you direct your offer to her rather than to me.

        The reason why you may find the radical left and radical right indistinguishable because these two are often used in incorrect way. Both left and right are in fact package-deal fallacies assuming acceptance of all essential and marginal elements typically associated with each. Through these fallacies the radical left as a stance of Marxism is often erroneously equated with radical right, although on an essential level the two are direct opposites. Radical left is a position favouring a society based on equal opportunities, fair distribution of both costs and benefits and observing the goal of genuine sustainable economy, which requires democratic consensus among the majority, whereas radical right observes the interest only of the richest minority, who then necessarily have to rely on a fascist sort of dictatorship to secure their economy- and policy-controlling position. The decades of massive neoliberal conditioning achieved that the deceived and brainwashed working class, who would otherwise belong to the radical left, echoes the narrative of the radical right.

      • jeffpelline says:

        Neville,
        Please sign your real name. Many thanks,

  10. Don Pelton says:

    Sky (or Wanderer) … Steve did offer to debate Rosa Koire directly to her, almost one year ago exactly, and she demurred, saying that “there is nothing to debate,” as he explained at the time. I assume that she’s afraid of a real debate.

    stevefrisch says:
    May 26, 2013 at 3:44 pm
    For those of you not following the farce over at another blog here is a copy of the e-mail exchange I has with Ms. Rosa Koire over the weekend offering to publicly debate “A21″:

    Sent by me to Ms. Koire at 10:30 am May 25th:

    Dear Ms. Koire:

    My name is Steve Frisch. I’m the President of the Sierra Business Council, based in Truckee California. We have exchanged comments via social media in the past but never met.

    I would be interested in meeting and having a discussion re: our understandings of A21 and how it is (or is not) embedded in our planning processes and culture. I would be happy to spring for lunch when I am in the Bay area sometime in the next few weeks.

    A friend told [me] that you referenced our organization as an implementer of Agenda 21 at your recent presentation hosted by CABPRO in Grass Valley. I regret that I was unable to attend however I’m getting a copy of the tape so I can see the specific context of the comments.

    I’m wondering if you might be interested in a direct public discussion of the issue in a more formal debate format? Something like the Chomsky/Buckley or the Leary/Liddy debates, perhaps hosted by the local public radio station KVMR.

    You are raising some interesting issues and I believe that if we held a discussion publicly we might help shed some light on these issues.

    Thanks for your time and consideration.

    Steve Frisch

    Response from Ms. Koire at 9:30 PM May 25th

    Hi Steve,
    It’s too bad that you weren’t able to attend my very well-advertised speech or call in to either of the local radio call-in shows that I did in advance. You could have had your public exchange at that time. I have moved on to another state now and am fully booked into 2014. Unfortunately, there isn’t enough time for me to return to towns and cities that I’ve covered.

    There is nothing to debate. The truth and the proof is in the paper trail that includes not only the United Nations reports and conferences, but also the legislative history of our country and the well-documented activities of the UN organizations, Non-Governmental Organizations and associations and councils such as your own.

    Rosa Koire, ASA
    Executive Director
    Post Sustainability Institute

    Response from me at 9:30 this morning:

    Dear Ms. Koire:

    I regret that you decided to decline my offer. I truly think that a rational, sourced, fact based debate would be in the public interest, and could shed some light on a topic that you have contributed to elevating nationally.

    I also regret that I couldn’t attend the CABPRO event, which was only ‘well advertised’ in a small area in a like minded crowd within two weeks of the event. My schedule is not as busy as yours, with apparently every day for the next year booked, but I had a previous engagement. Although, as I said, I understand my organization was specifically mentioned in detail, which means you clearly did research in advance, thus if you had sought a rational discussion you could have simply called and invited me.

    If you are ever interested in a real debate, with sources, facts, and impartial moderation, the offer is open and heartfelt. I am sure mutually agreeable terms could be reached. Our local public radio station (KVMR) stands ready to broadcast over a broad region of northern California, from the Sac metro region to Lake Tahoe and points north to Redding.

    In the mean time I wish you luck and prosperity on your clearly busy speaking schedule to similar groups.

    Sincerely,

    Steve Frisch

  11. If your business paid speaking and selling books you can’t risk getting your ass kicked on YouTube.

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