Reno, Nevada: Presidential Candidates top Freedom 21 Conference


Eco-Logic Powerhouse

Presidential hopefuls from three political parties appealed to more than 350 grassroots leaders assembled in Reno, Nevada, for the 5th annual Freedom 21 National Conference: Michael Badnarik, Libertarian Party candidate; Michael Peroutka, Constitution Party candidate, and Congressman Richard Pombo, speaking for President George W. Bush. A straw vote at the conference had Bush winning with 59 percent, followed by Peroutka with 33 percent, and Badnarik polling 3 percent. Ralph Nader received one vote.

Chief Justice Roy Moore opened the confrence with a rousing presentation on "One nation under God." He explained why he was compelled to stand firm on his convictions, and appeal his case to the U.S. Supreme Court, rather than deny the supremecy of his God.

Congressman Ron Paul chided Congress for its unwillingness to declare war on Iraq, and then giving the President the power to go to war when he chose. Paul said this transfer of Congressional power to the President was a "horrible precedent."

Michael Martin Murphey performed in concert Thursday night, for conference attendees and about 250 additional hotel guests. His unique selection of songs featured the plight of ranchers and other resource users in their struggle against the tightening noose of federal regulations.

The Paragon Foundation of Alamogordo, New Mexico, a Freedom 21 co-sponsor, announced that it would sponsor a 30-concert "Storm over the Rangeland" tour featuring Michael Martin Murphey. Storm over the Rangeland is the title of a book by Wayne Hage, in which Hage details the problems he has encountered in 12 years of legal battles with the government. A new edition will be released for the tour, which updates the results of two critical Federal Court rulings.

A "50-state Auction" proved to be entertaining and profitable at this year's event. A hand-made quilt, donated by Eco-logic Powerhouse Associate Editor, Kaylynn Wilson, brought $825.00. Hand-made turquoise and silver jewelry, and a hand-made leather horse head-stall and breast-collar, brought $400 and $600 respectively. A print of an original drawing of Ronald Reagan, now displayed at the Reagan Library, was donated by the artist, Norman L. DeForrest. Gene Borders, a Texas attendee, bought the drawing for $600, and then donated it back to Freedom 21 to be auctioned again. The auction produced more than $4,000 toward the conference expense.

C.J. Hadley, publisher of Range Magazine, was the keynote speaker at the final banquet. Her colorful presentation kept the audience laughing as she detailed her circuitous route from England to her present position. She underscored the dozens of stories she's published in recent years, in which ranchers have been victimized by federal regulations and the expansion of the Wildlands Project. She was speechless, however, when Paragon's Executive Director, G.B. Oliver, III, presented her with the foundation's "Paladin Award," along with a check for $10,000.

The award was designed and crafted by Wes Smith, a New Mexico artist, from pure silver, mounted on a carved wood base. A "Paladin" was a Knight in the King's service, recognized for outstanding performance. Oliver told the audience that Hadley's service in the cause of freedom had been outstanding, and deserved special recognition. The award is the first, to be awarded by the Paragon Foundation on an annual basis.

Opening day at the conference focused on the international scope of the Freedom 21 Campaign. Niger Innis, spokesman for CORE (Congress of Racial Equality), and Paul Driessen, author of Eco-Imperialism: Green Power; Black Death, reported on how the global environmental agenda is depriving third-world nations of food, water, and energy. David Rothbard and Craig Rucker reported that their organization, Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT) had taken college students to several U.N. meetings around the world. They displayed pictures of more than 600 natives protesting the World Summit on Sustainable Development with signs that read "Freedom 21, not Agenda 21."

Tom DeWeese, President of the American Policy Center, Michael Chapman, of EdWatch, and Michael Shaw of Freedom 21 Santa Cruz, introduced a new DVD on Sustainable Development. Their presentation was a condensed version of a six-hour DVD seminar, which is undoubtedly the most comprehensive presentation ever produced on the consequences of sustainable development. This three-disc package was designed for local organizations and elected officials to teach people how Agenda 21 is being incorporated into public policy at every level of government. The 50 sets they brought to the conference were sold within hours after their presentation, at $49 each. Every Freedom 21 affiliated organization should have a copy and use it as a basis for local seminars and conferences.

Wayne Hage and his wife, Helen Chenoweth-Hage, outlined the status of their takings case in the Federal Court of Claims. The court has ruled that the federal government did, in fact, "take" the private property - grazing and water rights - from Hage when the government confiscated his cattle. The amount of compensation due to Hage was argued in a three-week trial in May. The ruling on the amount owed to Hage will be rendered later this year.

Jim Burling, from Pacific Legal Foundation, presented an informative program on the origin of private property rights. He traced the evolution of the Hobbes-Rousseau philosophy of land ownership, and contrasted the resulting socialist view with the John Locke philosophy of private ownership on which the capitalist system evolved. He then explained how several important Supreme Court rulings upheld the private ownership principle.

Reports from the field featured Lori Waters, Executive Director of Eagle Forum in Washington, D.C., who reported on her efforts to reverse "smart growth" policies in Loudoun County, Virginia. Lori was elected to the County Commission last year. Her report gave encouragement to the many candidates for local and state offices who attended the conference.

Clarice Ryan, of Montanans for Multiple Use, reported on progress being made to reverse the Clinton-era forest policies which have left forest resources devastated throughout the state. Sylvia Allen, President of Arizona's Freedom for America League, continued the theme by reporting on the fire devastation in Arizona. Madeleine Cosman reported on the cause and costs of the California fires near San Diego, CA.

Frank Denninger reported on the progress of the Everglades Restoration project in Florida, pointing out that "cooperative agreements" between government and NGOs (non-government organizations) are responsible for providing much of the funding for environmental groups and government agencies.

Rodney Stubbs reported on smart growth and sustainable development activities in Oregon, particularly in Salem. He, and others who work with him, have been successful in preventing some of the smart growth policies, but are confronted by an overwhelming array of forces pushing Agenda 21 policies.

Michael Shaw, and his group, Freedom 21 Santa Cruz, produced two documents for the conference to review: Understanding Sustainable Development (Agenda 21), and Draft Plan for Advancing Freedom: 2005. The first document is a comprehensive condensation of sustainable development, written especially for public officials. It is an excellent introduction to sustainable development, which links wilderness issues to urban zoning, and integrates public education issues. This short, highly-readable document will be available to download from their website, and will be distributed by Freedom 21 affiliates.

The other document is the result of months of consolidating suggestions from individuals and organizations from around the country. Both documents were presented at the conference and participants offered suggestions for improvement. These suggestions will be incorporated into a final draft which will be available soon for everyone to download. These two documents, along with Freedom 21 Alternative to Agenda 21, provide the best response yet developed for use by those people who oppose the imposition of Agenda 21 in public policy.

This conference was, by far, the best attended and most productive of all the Freedom 21 conferences to date. Plans are already underway for next year, with more than a dozen cities proposed to host the conference. Tom DeWeese was selected to chair the program committee for next year. Information about the 2005 conference is scheduled to be available by January 1.



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