Thursday, August 22, 2013

Forward on Climate Change--with or without Congress

Last week, Gina McCarthy, President Obama's recently confirmed nominee who is now head of the Environmental Protection Agency, announced that the Obama Administration and the EPA plan to move forward on regulations aimed at preventing climate change with or without Congressional approval.  The urgency, we are told, comes from the fact that the President, "can no longer wait" for Congressional action. 
Beyond just the simple fact that this is yet another example of the expansion of power from the executive branch of government, the Administration's decision to make this "end run" around Congress is important for a couple of reasons:
1. Cap and trade regulations governing carbon emissions have real world consequences for Americans in terms of energy availability and cost.  Although, as usual, the Administration is being deliberately vague about the scope of its plans, we do know that President Obama has clearly called for new standards to be applied to coal plants which will close many existing coal plants across the United States. Since coal produces affordable energy and the coal industry is a major job provider in many affected states, the President's plan will cost American jobs and will raise the price of energy for all Americans. 
2. Climate change legislation is a cash cow for those who are properly positioned. While higher energy prices and job losses hit average Americans hard and take a major toll on the quality of life of regular people, green energy projects and efforts to reduce carbon footprints make the few who are positioned to take advantage of them very rich.  So while an aggressive EPA hurts most Americans, it greatly benefits a small number of elites.
For an example, let's take a look at the last major federal push for legislation to stop climate change. In 2010, a climate change bill which would have provided for such leftist regulations such as a "cap and trade" system for controlling carbon emissions died in the Senate when lawmakers finally realized that their careers were on the line if they passed this bill.  The death of the cap and trade bill killed the Chicago Climate Exchange, a company which had been created for the sole purpose of orchestrating carbon emissions trades and which boasted that it was "North America's only cap and trade system for all greenhouse gases, with global affiliates and projects worldwide."  The Chicago Climate Exchange had been founded as a "voluntary" method of trading "carbon credits" but since few Americans really bought into the idea that they truly needed to buy "carbon credits" the real success of the exchange lay with the expectation that a federal climate change bill would make the purchase of carbon credits mandatory. 
Start-up funds for the Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX) came from grants from the Joyce Foundation, which Barack Obama served as a board member of from 1994 to 2002--during the period that the start-up grants were issued.  Valerie Jarrett, President Obama's senior adviser, had also served on the board of the Joyce Foundation.
Richard Sandor, the founder of the Chicago Climate Exchange and a former research professor at the Kellogg Graduate School of Management, which also received funds from the Joyce Foundation, is quoted in the November, 9, 2010 issue of as saying that climate trading and carbon credits could be a $10 trillion industry. In 2002 Time Magazine named Sandor one it's "Heroes of the Planet" in 2007 the magazine named him one the "Heroes of the Environment".  Prior to the collapse of the CCX, Sandor reportedly sold his 16.5% interest in the CCX for $98.5 million--a big payday for a research professor.
The two biggest investors in CCX--Al Gore's Generation Investment Management, and Goldman Sachs--were not so lucky.  The collapse of the climate change legislation meant the loss of all of the potential profits that the investors of CCX had hoped to reap.
A major reason that the Senate could not get the votes together to pass a comprehensive climate change bill is that news began to spread of the cronyism and the powerful political names who stood to profit handsomely financially from the passage of the bill.  The knowledge that the passage of this bill really meant huge payoffs to the rich and powerful soured the American public on the legislation as much as the prospect of increased costs for energy and the reduction in jobs and American wealth.
Now President Obama and the EPA are back at it again--sans Congress this time.   In spite of the fact that virtually everyone agrees that global warming has not occurred in over a decade, proponents of climate change are pushing hard to give the EPA massive power to regulate and micromanage the lives of ordinary Americans at the expense of opportunity, jobs and liberty. The question we should be asking ourselves is, "Why the rush?"  What is so desperately important that the Administration has to push through the climate change policies now, rather than waiting for the 2014 elections to try to regain control of both houses of Congress?  Who benefits this time?
In the coming months, as opponents of Obama's policies challenge his aggressive new environmentalism, much will and should, be made of the real human cost of shutting down coal plants, of stopping fracking and of raising energy prices and rendering thousands more Americans unemployed.  These are unnecessary tragedies of an aggressive environmental policy being unilaterally enforced by one president with his own agenda.  But while we take up the cause of those who are losing their jobs and livelihoods because of the EPA's mandates, and while we are complaining about the skyrocketing costs of energy, we need to make sure that we also look to see who is profiting from the new rules.  Sometimes revealing the winners to the world is just as effective as highlighting the stories of those who are on the losing end of these draconian new rules.  Following the money that is flowing from this new green energy push might be worth more than a thousand sad stories of regular Americans who are suffering because of the EPA.
Understand where climate change policies originate and what they mean to you by watching this short video:

Alexandra Swann is the author of No Regrets: How Homeschooling Earned me a Master's Degree at Age Sixteen and several other books. Her novel, The Planner, about an out of control, environmentally-driven federal government implementing Agenda 21, is available on Kindle and in paperback. For more information, visit her website at

Friday, August 9, 2013

Three Ways in Which Smart Growth and Sustainable Development and Being a Permanent Renter Can Impact Your Life

Last evening I was talking with members of a local organization who have invited me to come and speak with them about Agenda 21.  They had seen my presentation: Agenda 21: Bankrupting America into Utopia One City at a Time and had contacted me to see if I would give a similar presentation to their organization.

As we were talking, the group's representative commented that he had secured permission from the Parks' Department to use a venue located near public housing.  This was by design he said, "Because people can look around and see that this is the government's vision for housing," adding that in some ways it's a pretty nice vision, although we oppose it  because it contradicts our core principles of freedom, liberty and individual responsibility.

Although I agree with this gentlemen about virtually everything he said, his statement set me thinking that many Americans who are reading about Agenda 21 and Smart Growth would probably agree that on the surface at least, the government's vision is "pretty nice".  Certainly, the new mixed use housing being built all over El Paso looks pretty enough on the outside, and the idea of walkable, livable communities sounds really convenient. Other than the fact that this involves change, which people naturally resist, what is the big deal?  So for Friday I am putting together a quick 3 point list of rights that Agenda 21 and Smart Growth threaten:

1. Your right to keep and bear arms.  This week in Colorado a public housing  project threatened all of the residents of the complex, including a 77 year old veteran, with eviction unless they gave up their guns.  Many, including the veteran, are legal gun owners, but the management of the complex took it upon themselves to inform residents that while they may have a constitutional right to keep and bear arms, they do not have a right do so on apartment property. After this story got a lot of national attention, the owners made a public statement reversing the decision of management and saying that residents who legally own guns may keep them on the premises.

While this particular abuse of power by a landlord was stopped, we can look for similar cases to pop up across the nation as anti-gun sentiments increase.  While Americans do have a Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms, that does not extend to all locations at all times.  And if you are a life-long renter living in someone else's property, your right to bear arms can be greatly restricted. I explore this issue of gun rights in The Planner, but now we are seeing real life cases of it and it is disturbing, to say the least.

2. Your right to freedom of expression.  My brother has been renting an apartment for over 10 years. He hates change, and he hates moving so he has been in the same complex all that time.  He is a very good tenant, but the complex where he lives recently sold, and last fall they told him that before he could re-sign his lease, management would have to inspect his apartment.  He made sure that his unit was clean and neat before the inspection, but after the inspection was complete he received a note from management that they had found items of a "disturbing" nature in his apartment.  The items in question--a collection of crosses which he hung on his wall and a collection of American flags.  The presence of crosses and American flags made him seem "radical" and they were not sure that he was the kind of person they wanted to lease to.  After he protested the contents of the letter to the management company, they too backed off and allowed him to re-sign his lease.  But he did notice that a lot of military people who had been living in the apartment complex left at about that same time--presumably because their leases were not renewed.

This past Christmas, the apartments sent out a notice that no one was allowed to hang any Christmas decorations outside of their unit because those decorations might be offensive to fellow tenants.  He complied, but in his own apartment he put up a small Christmas tree which he decorated with lights. The tree was lighted only when the drapes were closed.  However, a tenant saw colored lights peeking through the drapes and complained to management who sent him a note demanding that he cease all "offensive" activities.  After he explained that other tenants are not supposed to be making an effort to see into his windows when his drapes are drawn, management withdrew that complaint too.

3. Your right to freedom from unreasonable search and seizure.  The Constitution protects Americans from search and seizure--by the government.  Government agencies have to present a warrant specifying what they are searching for and where they expect to find it.  But your landlord is not the government.  And even if your landlord is the government, landlord's rights often trump your rights.  Tenants' apartments are frequently entered and searched by employees of the landlord--be it maintenance people entering to complete a repair or management checking to see if they approve of the way the tenant is keeping up the property. So your way of life, your belongings, your religious habits--anything you do--can subject you to eviction if your landlord finds that you are in some way violating his or her policies.  In a world of Smart Growth and high density living, where living spaces are expensive and not readily available, this power can be used to exert intense pressure on Americans to adjust their lifestyles to conform to the government's model of the perfect citizen. 

Sustainable development is dangerous.  It was designed by socialists for socialists, and like all socialist concepts it is fundamentally incompatible with freedom, liberty and the Constitution.  Freedom-loving Americans need to fight it at every turn and stand up for the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Alexandra Swann is the author of No Regrets: How Homeschooling Earned me a Master's Degree at Age Sixteen and several other books. Her novel, The Planner, about an out of control, environmentally-driven federal government implementing Agenda 21, is available on Kindle and in paperback. For more information, visit her website at


Wednesday, August 7, 2013

The Illusionist

Yesterday saw another big speech from President Obama--this one on the future of U.S. housing and the reforms he wants to make. Housing Wire's Megan Hopkins, who based on the gushy tone of her article must have a part-time gig as an Obama staffer, wrote "In a highly anticipated speech on Tuesday, President Barack Obama laid out his plan to continue moving the nation's housing forward. The president, who has been visiting towns throughout the country over the last few weeks, has focused his efforts on creating a better life for the middle class as of late."

Today, the White House featured an "Ask Obama About Housing" session until 1:00 PM EST when citizens could use social media to send the president their questions about housing. The tweets coming in using the #AskObamaHousing hashtag on Twitter were actually very funny, as disgruntled Twitter users tweeted sarcastic comments about the NSA, drones and excessive government surveillance. But very few people seem to realize that Obama's housing policies actually have serious implications for our nation.

One reason that Americans are not taking Obama's speech very seriously is that the speech itself does not really say much that is new. Obama's comments are mainly a bloviating rehash of his prior housing policy speeches--we need to make mortgages safer, we need to protect the American dream for responsible families, we need to end bailouts, etc. etc. etc. Obama's policies have led to massive failures, such as HAMP, which promised to allow 4 million Americans to stay in their homes and fell far short of that goal. Over half of the families modified under the HAMP program eventually ended up in foreclosure.

For this new round of proposals, HUD has created a chart to help Americans visualize the President's plans. He proposes winding down Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and bringing private capital to the mortgage market. Those are both excellent suggestions. But he overlooked the important detail that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which have been under government conservatorship since September of 2008, have raised part of their current capital through private capital investments and the agencies are paying back the federal treasury at the expense of these good faith investors. The problem is so serious that one hedge fund investor, Perry Capital, is actually suing the agencies to recover his investment.  Prior to being taking into conservatorship, Fannie and Freddie both were primarily private organizations with government guarantees and only 25% government ownership. Few Americans are sympathetic to hedge funds, but private investment is about risk vs. reward only, and when the government allows the private investors to be shafted they are driving away the very sources of capital that the President claims to support. 

Next, Obama promises to use "executive action" to cut through the red tape that is making it difficult for middle class families to purchase homes. That is rather funny since his Adminstration passed the Dodd Frank bill which created the red tape that has led to tighter mortgage qualifications for most families. In fact, the regulations set to take effect in January of 2014 will disqualify roughly 60% of Americans who were eligible for mortgages in 2010 from being able to buy or refinance a home. So Obama using executive order to fix a law that he and his cronies forced through Congress is a little like....using executive action to delay corporate penalties for Obamacare. It's disingenuous and probably outside the scope of his legal authority.

And speaking of Obamacare--we learned this week that 77% of the new jobs created this year are part time. As part-time work eclipses full time work because companies are trying to skirt the costs of Obamacare, fewer and fewer people are going to qualify for mortgage financing because housing finance rules treat part time employment completely different than full time employment for the purposes of qualification for a loan. When an employee works part time, his current income is not considered--rather he must have a two year history of that employment and the income must be averaged to come up with a current figure. So in the new Obama economy, a person might be working three part-time jobs for a total income of $60,000 a year and still not be able to qualify for a home mortgage even though that same person WOULD qualify were he salaried in one job for $60,000 a year. Apparently the President and his enthusiastic lackeys at HUD are hoping most "middle class" Americans don't know this.

My personal favorite of the housing initiative plan is Obama's insistence that the way to fix housing is through comprehensive immigration reform which will cause property values to increase. This is as absurd as President George W. Bush's assertion that we should put 5.5 million Americans into homes because home ownership makes Americans better citizens and better neighbors. The majority of illegal immigrants who have lived in the U.S. as undocumented immigrants do not have credit histories or provable job histories. If they have worked primarily in part time or seasonal work, even if they can document that work history they probably will not qualify to buy a home. These are major obstacles to home ownership for anyone. So we have to ask ourselves--is the President going to fix this issue through executive action also--a special path to homeownership for undocumented immigrants who can expect to jump to the front of the line to buy houses as they are now planning to jump to the front of the line to obtain citizenship?

Finally, Obama stressed that we need to increase our investment in affordable rental housing to make sure that a strong rental housing market exists for all. This is where his real interest lies. As I have written many times in this blog, Obama and his liberal allies in Congress are strong proponents of Agenda 21, Sustainable development and Smart Growth. Obama is using his second term to drive his climate change and sustainability goals forward wherever he can. Sustainable development has been the true focus of Obama's Administration--everything else is just smoke and mirrors to keep people from looking too closely at what is really happening. In June 2010, HUD's Shaun Donovan announced that HUD was launching a $100 million Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant to encourage communities to build using Smart Growth. In June, 2013 the HUD's Partnerships for Sustainable Communities celebrated its fourth anniversary. The Partnership is a collaboration among HUD, the EPA and the Department of Transportation which has provided $4 billion in federal funds to support "Smart Growth" projects in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.

The real future of housing, as far as the Obama Administration is concerned, is moving people out of the suburbs and back into densely packed urban housing where residents will rely on public transportation. (And yes, for those of you making wisecracks on Twitter this morning, this housing arrangement will make it easier for both the drones and your neighbors to observe you.) Abolition of private property is a goal of Agenda 21, which requires that people live in crowded "human settlements" and that the rest of the nation be rewilded as (think national forest) in accordance with environmental justice. Interestingly, if you read the Partnership for Sustainable Communities literature, you will find the term "environmental justice" used in connection with the EPA. But President Obama cannot say any of that in a speech on housing because it would turn off the middle class voter he is trying to court for the 2014 mid-terms in the hopes of winning back the House of Representatives so that he can pass his federal climate change bill. So since he can't tell us what he really wants to do, he gives speeches that say little, promoting policies that either have already been envisioned or that have already failed. This is a partial reason that he uses a housing initiative speech to campaign for a totally unrelated policy initiative such as immigration. Obama may be a terrible president, but he's a great illusionist. Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain--HUD is doing the real work of reshaping the future of housing in the U.S. Obama is just the distraction to keep us from looking too closely while the real trick is being performed.

Not sure what Agenda 21 is or how it will affect you?   Agenda 21: Bankrupting America into Utopia, One City at a Time, explains what Agenda 21 is, what it means and what you can do to stop it.

Alexandra Swann is the author of No Regrets: How Homeschooling Earned me a Master's Degree at Age Sixteen and several other books. Her novel, The Planner, about an out of control, environmentally-driven federal government implementing Agenda 21, is available on Kindle and in paperback. For more information, visit her website at

Saturday, August 3, 2013

To Smart Growth, Sustainable Development, Downtown Arena Ball Parks and the Politicians Who Love Them--Just Say NO Part II

This post is a follow up to the post I wrote at the end of May about the ever-expanding money pit we in El Paso fondly call our Downtown Arena Ballpark.

As I explained when I last wrote on this subject, El Paso has spent the last couple of years trying to figure out how to redefine itself.  Our rabidly "progressive" city council passed a new landscape ordinance which requires more greenspaces and less parking as a part of a plan to beautify our city.  Our newly adopted master plan calls for smart growth and a redeveloped downtown where multi-storied, mixed use buildings comprised of retail on the bottom and apartments on the upper levels will line narrow streets.  We are spending $27 million on upgrading our notoriously badly run bus system--Sun Metro.   And the crowning jewel of this new, green us is a brand new Triple A ballpark stadium which we are building on the site of our former city hall.  We imploded the latter building, which was only about 30 years old, on April 14, and moved our city offices, so that we could build a new arena stadium for a minor league baseball team which is moving to El Paso.  Combined costs for moving the city offices, imploding city hall and building the arena ball park were initially estimated at between $85 and $100 million.  After two years of meetings and investment in a public relations firm, we even have a new city motto--"El Paso: It's All Good."

The problem, of course, is that it's not all good.  Our redevelopment comes at the cost of nearly half a billion dollars.  According to a news story by KVIA-TV's Matthew Smith,  our city will not break even on the stadium expense for 250 years.  The initial cost of this project was estimated to be $50 million, but at the end of May the team owners came back to city council requesting an additional $10 million for "upgrades" to the stadium that were not part of the original plan.  The official groundbreaking ceremony for the stadium happened at the end of May, although construction had begun a couple of weeks prior but the city was already overbudget before the groundbreaking even took place. The project manager informed city council that if the additional funds were not appropriated El Paso voters would not get the ballpark they were promised.

As it happens, the voters did not get any say on this project in the first place.  If they had, I am quite certain that there would be no stadium under construction and city hall would still be standing.  City council made the decision to build the stadium without waiting for an election because they said that this was too great an opportunity to pass up.  Voters did vote on nearly half a billion dollars in quality of life improvement bonds and a new hotel tax, but these ballot issues were sold to us with the explanation that the stadium was a "done deal".  El Pasoans could not be trusted to understand the benefits of the stadium well enough to be allowed a vote on it, so we could vote only on whether we as a city would pay for the costs with higher property taxes or whether visitors would pay for it with higher fees.

What the voters in El Paso DID get to decide was whether they wanted to reward the city council members who brought us this travesty with more power. On June 15th Steve Ortega, the city councilman who had worked diligently to promote the Downtown Ball Park and other leftist agendas in El Paso was soundly defeated by businessman Oscar Leeser. The message from the voters was crystal clear--Leeser, who owns a highly successful auto dealership and campaigned on running the city the way he runs his business, beat Ortega, who campaigned on pressing forward with big government and increased funding for more expansive projects, by 75% to 25%. One of Leeser's first acts as mayor was to make sure that the owners of the triple A ball team understood that if they want any more changes to the design of the stadium, they have to foot the cost themselves. Of course, in the last city council meeting of the outgoing mayor and city council, the team owners made sure that they got their 10 million dollar overage funded by the outgoing council since they probably anticipated that the gravy train had been derailed with the election. Now, we have a new city council, a new mayor and a ball park that we are now constructing at a cost of $60.8 million. But as bad as all of this is, at least we can now relax a little, right?

Wrong. Unfortunately, for El Paso, the Downtown Arena Stadium is the gift that keeps on giving. Like all projects of its kind, the stadium is being financed through the sale of bonds. But this week, the city manager informed city council that in order to sell these bonds, the city must raise the interest rates on the bonds 1.5%. Otherwise, the bonds will not sell, construction on the ball park will stop, and the city will find itself embroiled in a lawsuit with the owners of the team who purchased the Triple A ball team because the city had agreed to build the stadium. Raising the interest rate on the bonds will cost El Paso an additional $17 million in this project, or a cost over $566,000 a year. The city has repeatedly assured us that the money to cover this cost cannot come from property taxes--it must come from sales taxes and fees. That is supposed to make everyone feel better, except for one tiny little detail:  When the money from other taxes is diverted to pay for the interest on the bonds, the city has less money in the general fund to pay all of its other expenses: police, fire, city workers, street repair, etc. So in order to make up the shortfall--you guessed it--the city will have to raise property taxes. El Paso already has high property taxes, high sales taxes, and high school taxes. But we can look for them to go up--a lot.

In an irony worthy of great English literature, the excuse for raising the interest rates on the bonds is that because Detroit filed bankruptcy nobody will purchase the bonds unless the rate of interest is higher. Detroit filed bankruptcy due to liberal management and decades of progressive policies that drove the city into the ground. As Detroit goes, so go we also unless we put a stop to this madness. What is saddest of all about the Downtown Arena Ballpark is that it was a financially losing proposition from the start. As deputy city accounting manager Bill Studer told Matthew Smith in that KVIA-TV interview last fall, "They [minor league downtown sports arenas] all lose money from a strictly accounting thing."

But these costs are inconsequential compared to the benefits of a downtown stadium--right?  Wrong.  Stadiums lose money from a strictly non-accounting thing too.  According to a study conducted last year by Colgate University, only 8 of 55 downtown stadiums constructed with at least 25% public funds are currently fostering economic development.  A February 2, 2012 article on titled, "As Superbowl Shows, Build Stadiums for Love and not Money" candidly addresses this issue.  According to Bloomberg, "Public funding for sports stadiums has been found in dozens of studies over several decades, to fall short of the promised benefits and to cost taxpayers more than expected."  Bloomberg cites a study by Harvard associate professor of urban planning Judith Grant Long, who found that the cost of public funding for stadiums typically runs 40% higher than initially promised.  These stadiums are the gift that keeps giving--taxpayers continue to pay for the stadiums decades after they are no longer in use.  Further, stadiums do not bring economic development to most regions; they just move entertainment dollars around the city.  Bloomberg cites a study by Jordan Rappaport and Chad Wilkerson of the Federal Reserve bank of Kansas City which says that even when bringing in a professional sports team the number of jobs created "is almost certainly less than 1000 and likely to be much closer to zero."  Other studies cited in the same article indicate that bringing in sport teams kills some jobs and reduces wages.  The higher taxes needed to fund stadium projects--such as our hotel tax--can have the net effect of dissuading would-be visitors, and the types of jobs the stadium produces are low wage seasonal jobs.   Bloomberg's conclusion: "public funding for new sports stadiums should be up to voters to decide.  Cities should make sure the public has access to independent evaluations of the costs and benefits of building a stadium--not just the inflated 'economic-impact studies' done at the behest of team owners and publicized in the media."
As of today, we are into the Downtown Arena Ballpark for $27 million dollars more than was originally projected and construction has only just begun. That does not include any cost for maintenance, repairs or any other unexpected items which will undoubtedly continue to balloon this cost.  And the ball park is just one financial pitfall we have embraced as a community. In our zeal to renovate our downtown, we are designating tax dollars from downtown to be placed in the revitalization fund and used to further beautify downtown--at the expense of the general fund. As one of our current city reps explained to KVIA this week, this is a reasonable expense for the taxpayers to absorb because "downtown belongs to all of us." I beg to differ--downtown belongs to a few mega-rich developers who have secured concessions from the city to renovate it at everyone else's expense. Stripping money out of the general fund means that all of us who own property in El Paso have to absorb greatly increased taxes so that the property owners downtown can see their values rise. The only thing more absurd than the fact that we are in this situation is that those who originally voted for this mess continue to attempt to justify it to us. As I said in my original post in May, El Paso deserved better than what we are getting.  Your city, wherever it is located, does too.  So when the snake oil salesmen come to your town promising downtown redevelopment involving "green" housing, smart growth and sustainable development anchored by an arena stadium or some other massively expensive entertainment venue paid for by public funds, do yourselves a favor.  Just say no.

 See more about El Paso's Downtown Arena Stadium in this short video presentation:

 Alexandra Swann is the author of No Regrets: How Homeschooling Earned me a Master's Degree at Age Sixteen and several other books. Her novel, The Planner, about an out of control, environmentally-driven federal government implementing Agenda 21, is available on Kindle and in paperback. For more information, visit her website at


Thursday, August 1, 2013

Agenda 21: Coming Soon to a Neighborhood Near You Courtesy of HUD's Fair Housing Rules

I have written extensively about Agenda 21 over the past two years, but I have seen a sharp increase in its U.S implementation since the 2012 presidential elections. President Obama, who once told us his Administration was focused "like a laser beam" on jobs, is using his second term to focus like a laser beam on climate change policies and promoting Smart Growth and sustainable development initiatives. In the absence of a federal climate change bill, most Americans don't take these efforts very seriously, but the president has used the power of executive order coupled with existing federal agencies such as the EPA to implement many of his anti-business, pro-environment policies sans Congressional involvement.
For anyone unaware, Agenda 21 is a 1992 United Nations' policy document that calls for using radical environmental initiatives to destroy the wealth and affluence of Western nations--particularly the United States. Agenda 21 proponents call for an end to private property ownership and national sovereignty. People are to be packed into densely crowded urban areas which the document calls "human settlements" and much of the U.S. is to be rewilded into national forests and nature preserves. Western wealth and affluence are the enemy of global environmentalism, and the processes which produce these, including individual rights, national sovereignty, the Constitution and our entire way of life as Americans has to be destroyed for the goals of Agenda 21 to be fully implemented. The latest and most disturbing effort I have seen to implement the "sustainable" living initiatives is the new HUD Fair Housing Rule announced on July 16. HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan, speaking at the NAACP convention on that date, announced a new series of Fair Housing initiatives designed to counter what he calls a "subtle" form of discrimination against minorities and the underprivileged:
Today, it’s about more than just addressing outright discrimination and access to the housing itself. It’s also about giving every community access to important neighborhood amenities that can make a tremendous difference in a person’s life outcome. I’m talking about good schools, safe streets, jobs, grocery stores, healthcare and a host of other important factors. To help families gain this access – HUD is working to strengthen our stewardship of federal dollars to maximize the impact they have on communities in advancing fair housing goals. As all of you know, HUD’s programs provide funding to partners at the state and local level. As part of the Fair Housing Act—for members of the protected classes—these partners have an obligation to affirmatively further fair housing opportunities – otherwise known as AFFH. But as you and many others, including the Government Accountability Office, have noted, this has proven largely to be a meaningless paper exercise without any teeth. The process has long been broken and we’re determined to fix it and help it reach its full promise. That’s why I am proud to announce that this week we will publish a new rule to bring affirmatively further fair housing into the 21st century. This rule focuses on the traditional tenets of discrimination – and also gets at the essential issues of access to opportunity so imperative to 21st century equity. Specifically, this new rule will: • provide a clear definition of what it means to affirmatively further fair housing; • outline a standard framework with well-defined parameters; and • offer targeted guidance and assistance to help grantees complete this assessment. Perhaps most important—for the first time ever—HUD is providing data for every neighborhood in the nation, detailing what access African American families, and other members of protected classes, have to the community assets I talked about earlier – including jobs, schools and transit. With this data and the improved AFFH process, we can expand access to high opportunity neighborhoods and draw attention to investment possibilities in underserved communities. Make no mistake: this is a big deal. With the HUD budget alone, we are talking about billions of dollars. And as you know, decades ago, these funds were used to support discrimination. Now, they will be used to expand opportunity and bring communities closer to the American Dream.

Having worked in real estate finance for 15 years, I can say for a certainty that Fair Housing laws that have been in place for over 40 years protect minorities against discrimination in housing choices. There are laws against redlining (refusing to lend in neighborhoods comprised of primarily one ethnic group), laws against refusing to lease or sell to people of a specific ethnic group, and numerous fair lending laws. Donovan knows perfectly well that minorities in the US who are well qualified--with good credit and high incomes--are able to purchase homes wherever they choose and obtain excellent financing. The issues come into play with borrowers who have poor credit history, sketchy job history, or both. What Donovan is talking about is not traditional Fair Housing laws, but rather the type of mixed income housing that Smart Growth, Sustainability and New Urbanism require. Because Agenda 21 requires that people live very densely together, it seeks to make high income people neighbors with low income people--an arrangement which usually is pleasing to neither group. Plus, Smart Growth and Sustainable development city plans have the effect of making housing units very expensive, which hits low income and lower middle income families hardest. So rather than improving the situations of lower income people, Smart Growth policies tend to make their housing situations worse.
Stanley Kurtz has written an excellent article in the National Review Online about how the HUD initiative is just the latest attempt by the Obama Administration to force people out of suburbs and into tightly packed urban housing where rich and poor live together. What HUD is doing is basically proactively requiring communities with no proven history of discrimination to integrate their communities so that lower income families will have a chance to live in higher income communities. This is the heart of New Urbanism.
As an example of such an attempt, Kurtz details the case "Plan Bay Area", a metropolitan plan which would essentially end suburbs in the San Francisco area by forcing all new development to take place in the city's existing urban foot print. The bullying tactics that Kurtz' article describes in the Plan Bay Area meetings are actually a very normal part of the process for pushing through metropolitan planning initiatives that promote New Urbanism and Smart Growth. Residents (of all income levels) tend to really resist these initiatives, so the town hall meetings and other public forums are primarily just for show. Participation is meant to be limited at these meetings so that as few residents as possible will know what is happening to change their communities and the resistance that does show up can be contained. Rosa Koire, founder of Democrats Against Agenda 21, and author of Behind the Green Mask, talks about her experiences dealing with this in California as Smart Growth planners tried to shout down all efforts to stop city plans that would "Manhattanize" communities. My own experience of dealing with the "Plan El Paso" initiative mirrors Koire's--the city planners don't want input at all--they just want to silence dissent.
Even though George H.W. Bush signed onto the principles of Agenda 21 and every U.S. President since has upheld and furthered its objectives, without a national climate change bill, those initiatives have not moved very far forward. Even the Plan Bay Area initiative had to be scaled back and confined to just a few neighborhoods because of public outcry.
That makes what the Obama Administration is doing now so crucial--and so scary. By using HUD as a hammer to proactively charge developers of communities with discrimination if they do not comply with Smart Growth and sustainable housing initiatives, the President is implementing Agenda 21's housing policies without the need of Congressional approval. HUD's new rule can even be used to bully states like Alabama that have passed laws rejecting Agenda 21. By using Fair Housing laws as an enforcement piece, the President can make sure that his radical initiatives for remaking this country are enforced in every city and every state, regardless of what we the people think.
Kurtz ends his article by saying that it is time for us to have a national conversation about Obama's war on the suburbs. He is right, but we need more than a conversation.  We need to stand up and pull the mask off his policies and expose them for what they are--a radical attempt to remake our society. The Obama Administration is using federal agencies to push a globalist agenda that is at odds with personal liberty, the Constitution of the United States, the Bill of Rights and all of the freedoms that these documents afford us. We need to demand that our Congressional representatives hold him accountable for his actions. And we need to do it sooner rather than later, while we still have freedoms to protect.
Find out more about Agenda 21, what it means, how it is being implemented, and what you can do about it by watching this video:  Agenda 21: Bankrupting America into Utopia One City at a Time. 
 Alexandra Swann is the author of No Regrets: How Homeschooling Earned me a Master's Degree at Age Sixteen and several other books. Her novel, The Planner, about an out of control, environmentally-driven federal government implementing Agenda 21, is available on Kindle and in paperback. For more information, visit her website at

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