Sunday, June 10, 2012

The Mad Hatter's Tea Party; Dan Happel, Our Planning Board and Agenda 21

When Madison County Commissioner Dan Happel made his “Agenda 21” presentation to the Ravalli County Planning board last month, he defined himself. He told the board—and us—that he was a qualified expert on “Agenda 21” because he had been involved in the “liberty” movement most of his life. Chairman Jan Wisneiwski  further qualified Happel’s  claimed “expertise” on the topic-at-hand by allowing fundamentalist prayer to be presented before the proceedings, liberally sprinkled with “citizen comment” that fundamentalist prayer, as well as this “educational” presentation on “Agenda 21” were relevant to planning board discussions about clean air and water because “we are a Christian nation” and that President Obama is a “critter”  .

Okay. It’s true. People have a perfect right to claim that the moon is made of green cheese. It says so right in the Constitution—not that the moon is made of green cheese but that one has the right to say it is.

But when these people start citing “studies”, “reports” and “experts” to back up their “green cheese” claim, Us the People—the ones who are footing the bill for such discussions to be allowed on the public’s dime under the guise of being somehow relevant to county business--have the perfect right to demand a forthright answer from them as to what dark hole they’re pulling this stuff out of.

If you’re not content with dismissing the whole Foxnewslandia mess our commissioners have brought down upon our taxpaying heads as Freeman/Posse Comitatus/ “patriot” (and dangerous) nonsense—which it is--and you’d like to know just where people like Happel and Wisniewski are acquiring their superior knowledge of the shadowy, comic-book world of super-villain environmental Stalinists trying to take over the world through mind-control and zoning, here’s some samples from the horse’s mouth for your examination:

In 2008, a “Freedom 21” conference was held in a Dallas, co-hosted by the far-right, conspiracy-oriented Eagle Forum and the far-right, conspiracy-oriented American Policy Center (APC). Other “patriot” organizations presenting  at this “educational” event included the far-right, conspiracy-oriented Freedom Advocates, the far-right, anti-U.N. Soveierenty International, and of course the far-right, conspiracy-oriented John Birch Society, who once insisted that President Eisenhower was a communist.
The subject of the conference was the new catch-all, Far-Right conspiracy theory: an obscure 300-page non-binding (read: toothless) document presented at the U.N. Earth Summit in 1992 that discussed and offered help to local communities in areas such as energy efficiency, clean air and water. This document, one of literally millions of similar obscure public and international documents that float around in our info-age world, was named by some similarly-obscure bureaucrat “Agenda 21”.
And there you go. That’s all you need to know to be as “educated” about “Agenda 21” as Wisniewski or Happel, other than some spin that came out of that 2008 conference that have since become common coin and litmus test combined for all of those who’ve felt threatened by the existence of the first non-white president’s right- leaning administration, including our own Celebrating Conservatism phenomenum here in the Bitterroot:
·         Agenda 21  is "an anti-human document, which takes aim at Western culture.
Sustainable development policies will require "a police state" and ultimately "turn America into a globally governed homeland where humans are treated as biological resources."
·         "Sustainable development can exist only when people are controlled by government."
·         Agenda 21 advocates have drafted an Earth Charter which they compare to the Ten Commandments and keep in an Ark of Hope”.
·         "The major goal of the sustainable development movement is to disarm Americans."
·         "Feminism has destroyed society,"
·         Schools should "spend more time on prayer than putting on condoms"
·         "Diversity is a code word for teaching homosexuality in schools."
·         "This is not some nice little debate…this is war."
So we can use the Far Right’s own chosen metaphor: War, usually the worst expression of American xenophobia and nativism, and by extension, the worst of Montana, your home. These folks, including our local government officials, are feeling comfortable enough now to declare war on the environment (and environmentalists), women, our schools, our courts, public employees and anyone benefiting from public services of any kind that they don’t approve of.
This is crazy, destructive stuff brought to us by people who have chosen not to be reasonable, that is picking up steam every day throughout the country and here in the Ravalli County commissioners’ meeting room every time it isn’t filled with angry citizens demanding our elected officials and the boards they appoint to represent us stick to reality when doing our business.
How about us striving to be part of the best? Let’s counter this stuff. It’s dangerous. It’s crazy and you gotta show up. Otherwise, they win. 
Again, your commissioners now apparently think it’s proper county business to discuss whether anyone advocating for sustainability, a clean environment, or even zoning are in reality Stalinist operatives working to send everyone in Montana to work camps in Seattle.

Here are the links to last Wedensday’s commissioner meeting:
Part 1 Video -
Part 2 Video -
Part 3 Video -

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