Skip to comments.Senate Poised to Vote on Huge Land Grab [re: S. 476, "Faith-based Initiative]
Posted on 03/20/2003 5:12:36 AM PST by Stand Watch Listen
Choosing a time when the attention of all Americans is on our conflict with Iraq, the Senate is poised to vote on a bill that would unleash a major attack on private property rights. It would empower environmental groups and government agencies to use taxpayer funds to purchase land.
The bill, S. 476, called the "Faith-based Initiative," has two insidious sections, 106 and 107, that call for a 25% tax cut on capital gains of land sales, but only if the land is sold to an "environmental group" or a government agency.
This legislation is a classic Trojan horse. No other "faith-based" groups would benefit, but all Americans would suffer the economic losses as more and more land is taken off the tax rolls and all access and use of that land would be restricted. The proposed legislation would create a huge potential for government-funded land grabs.
The legislation is a roadmap to economic disaster. It is a sneak attack by environmentalists to line their pockets and grab more land from private property owners. Only this time they will have access to taxpayers' dollars to undermine the ability to extract natural energy and mining resources, expand our agricultural base, harvest timber, or use such lands for any form of recreation.
The Nature Conservancy would be the largest beneficiary. It is the richest, most powerful environmental colossus in the nation. It claims more than 700,000 individual members and 405 corporate members operating out of eight regional offices and fifty chapter offices across the nation. The Nature Conservancy has assets of over $2.6 billion, with an annual income of $785 million, and an annual operating budget of over $400 million. The Nature Conservancy has 274 employees who are paid more than $50,000 per year.
The scam is Real Estate. The hook is "conservation through private action." According to the party line, The Nature Conservancy simply buys land with private money and sets up nature reserves, thereby helping the environment without infringing on anybody. It sounds like a wonderful, charitable idea, if only it were true.
In truth, The Nature Conservancy buys private land from owners (usually at drastically reduced, land-grab prices) who think it will remain in private hands and then sells it to the government! In fact, The Nature Conservancy has sold more than 9 million acres to the government at a nice profit.
The victims are unsuspecting property owners, often elderly. The methods utilized include hiding behind phony corporations; serving as a shill for government agencies; and working behind the scenes with more visible environmental groups to intimidate property owners into selling. The goal is money and power.
The Nature Conservancy frequently uses phony front companies to get land from owners who wouldn't knowingly sell to an environmental group. It used this tactic to purchase most of the islands off the coast of Virginia, containing 40,000 acres and sixty miles of coastline. In doing so, The Nature Conservancy was able to stop all private development and control the use of the land, damaging the tax base, killing thousands of jobs, and severely curbing the locals from hunting, fishing, camping and joy riding on the islands.
Don't think the purpose was to preserve these beautiful, pristine islands for nature. The Nature Conservancy did bar others from developing the land, but not itself. Far from it. At a huge profit, the Conservancy developed upscale homes for the rich.
The problem is that The Nature Conservancy is a non-profit organization with tax-exempt status and they maintain that status because of their tightly protected image as benevolent conservationists. This is far from the truth.
For example, property owners on the islands wanted to invest in development and thought they were selling their land to developers. They were aware of and frightened by The Nature Conservancy and would never have sold to the group. That's why the Conservancy hid behind a phony land company, grabbed power, foiled the development, and made a huge profit on tax-exempt money. Today much of the coast of Virginia is off-limits to tourists and other development.
Other times, The Nature Conservancy acts as a shill to a government agency to acquire land cheaply and sell it to the government at a huge profit. One of its favorite scams goes something like this. Your grandmother owns land close to a historic site or a wilderness area. The government wants the land to expand a park, but grandmother won't sell.
One day a representative of the Nature Conservancy shows up, well dressed, smiling, but concerned. He tells your grandmother that he's just learned that the government intends to take her land after she passes away. She won't be able to sell it or give it to her children. However, he can offer a solution. If Grandmother will sell her land to The Nature Conservancy he can assure her that the land will stay in private hands and not be taken by the government.
Well, a relieved grandmother is much happier and she agrees to sell. However, because the government has threatened to take the land, its value is now only about half its reported market value. That's all he'll be able to pay her. Well, thinks grandmother, half is better than nothing, so she sells.
The next day our friend from The Nature Conservancy makes a call to the Department of the Interior (or some other appropriate federal agency) informing them that their plan has worked. The whole thing had been pre-arranged between them before anyone ever knocked on Grandmother's door. As arranged, The Nature Conservancy then sells the land to the Interior Department for full market value, plus overhead, financing, and handling charges.
The truth is The Nature Conservancy is little more than a massive, ruthless real estate machine using its tax-exempt status and ties to the government to create wealth for itself.
The entire concept of the faith-based initiative is ill conceived. Its virtually hidden exemptions will benefit The Nature Conservancy and land-hungry government agencies. Americans must contact their Senators today to insure that the hidden sections of S.476 are removed. It may come up for a vote at any time.
(Tom DeWeese is the publisher/editor of The DeWeese Report and president of the American Policy Center, an activist think tank headquartered in Warrenton, Va.)
The truth is The Nature Conservancy is little more than a massive, ruthless real estate machine using its tax-exempt status and ties to the government to create wealth for itself.Guys, THAT bears repitition far and wide! The "conservancy" is one of if not THE biggest landowner in the WORLD excepting governments, and few of them even. Peace and love, George.
Thanks for providing the language of Sections 106, 107 of this proposed S.476...appreciate it.
If a government official were to do this, it would be felonious malfeasance -- abuse of power under color of law. Why the Nature Conservancy is allowed to do it, with tacit cooperation from Albany, simply eludes me.
Freedom, Wealth, and Peace,
Francis W. Porretto
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Instead of voting on anything, what Frist and Company should be doing now is making the RATS do a Jimmy Stewart filibuster on Estrada.
This bill must be opposed and not allowed to become law. But that is not sufficient. The key to breaking the backs of these groups is the flat tax or the fair. Once the charitable deduction that even most conservatives believe is important is eliminated, real organizations worthy of true charitable support will continue to thrive and prosper. But these anti-capitalist front organizations posing as friends of the environment will be economically castrated.
We don't just want tax cuts; we demand meaningful tax reform. And meaningful tax reform is the flat tax or the fair tax or a combination of the two.
Americans will never be free as long as government controls its taxing authority independent of the taxpayers. Most Americans do not pay income tax at all. And the lion's share of income tax paying Americans pay only a token portion of the tax. The graduated income tax is an abomination to free people. And Americans will never be free as long as government controls our currency. A free people must force their government back on the gold standard.
Defeating this bill is important, but do not lose sight of the truly important goals.
Why would they do something like that?
But, wouldn't that defeat the purpose of the Republicans?
In this instance, YOU are the prosecutor. RICO is civil law that was designed and intended to allow the common man to sue the mob out of existance. This is why people like Planned Parenthood have used it against pro-life groups, and other people have sued Insurance companies and such. Of course, no one actually seems foolhardy enough to actually sue the Mob bosses with it.
Organizations such as the Nature Conservancy do not need more corporate welfare, which this bill provides by giving them an advantage as a buyer that is not available to other bidders. The Nature Conservancy pays no income taxes at all, as do other bidders in the private sector. The Nature Conservancy's income is directly enhanced by grants from government ($147 million between 1997 and 2001) and another $142 million in 2000 alone), from contracts, and the sale of land to the government.
According to a recent report in Range magazine, the Nature Conservancy owns more than 90-million acres of land around the world, about 12-million acres a chunk the size of Switzerland of which is in the United States. Along with the World Wildlife Fund, Greenpeace and two other environmental organizations, the Nature Conservancy is listed as "executing agency," or "collaborating organization," on more than $800 million in annual grants from the U.N.'s Global Environment Facility. There is no justification for these subsidies.
Governments already own more than 40 percent of the total land area in America. The total additional acreage owned by the more than 1,200 "conservancy" organizations is not known. These organizations, in "public/private" partnerships with government, are taking control of the foundation of our free-market economy. This objective is not expressed publicly by either government, or by environmental organizations. Nevertheless, the expansion of public ownership of land is the objective, and the transformation of our economic system is the inevitable consequence. It is the objective set forth by the United Nations in 1976:
"Land ... cannot be treated as an ordinary asset, controlled by individuals and subject to the pressures and inefficiencies of the market. Private land ownership is also a principal instrument of accumulation and concentration of wealth and therefore contributes to social injustice. ... The provision of decent dwellings and healthy conditions for the people can only be achieved if land is used in the interests of society as a whole. Public control of land use is therefore indispensable. ..."
The CARE Act of 2003 subsidizes these giant green corporations in order to expedite the removal of land from private individuals, and the "inefficiencies of the market." Since socialism is defined to be "public ownership of the sources of production," every sale of land to the government, or to an environmental organization acting as a surrogate government partner, moves the nations closer to a socialist economy.
Who wants to sleep with the fishes? :)
Actually, I feel some of these green groups are no more moral than the mob - the only difference is a tax exempt status.
I agree. They're just smarter. Like the three guys that like to cut flesh. One becomes a butcher, one a surgeon and one a homicidal maniac. Same basic motivation, just different ways and different social status for how they do it.
I definitely favor the fair tax. Also keep in mind that the U.S. constitution does not grant the federal government the power to buy land except for specific purposes. And rightly so.
Clause 17: To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the Acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States, and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings;
Replacing the graduated/progressive income tax with a consumption tax such as the NRST would set off a chain reaction of benefits.
1. Boom the economy because productivity is not taxed; no tax on profits or hidden taxes/fees.
2. IRS threats and coercion eliminated and replaced with, if you don't want to pay the tax, don't buy the item.
3. 20% to 30% decrease in retail prices that facilitates spending and partially offsets the retail tax. Which will also...
3a. Make U.S. made products more competitive when sold within the USA against foreign imports.
3b. Make U.S. made products more competitive in the World market.
4. People will know how much leviathan government is really costing them, resulting in...
5. Shrinking government to it's constitutional function to protect synonymous private-property rights and individual rights from domestic and foreign criminals while upholding the sanctity of private contracts.
6. Creates jobs in the USA.
7. Freedom in United States leads to other countries doing similar or risk its citizens fleeing to United States to increase productivity here while enjoying the fruits/prosperity of their labor.