Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Equality, Efficiency, and Dependency

Countries run more efficiently when there is less government intervention. Government certainly has its role in providing a strong military, adequate border defense, police and fire protection, and education.

Unfortunately government intervention in the free market has caused again and again more harm than good. And government has now become a Hydra that we fail to legally slay. Voting in a new government has been discouraging; it is now impossible to rid ourselves of the encroaching octopus with sharped-edged suckers.

Contrary to economic laissez faire, President Bush said in 2008, “I’ve abandoned free market principles to save the free market system.” In other words, because his administration attempted unsuccessfully to reign in the Democrats with their entitlement plans to lend money for homes to people who could not afford them and then disabled regulations that would have checked bank loans and mortgages, he had to prop up the too-big-to-fail bankers whose bankruptcy would have sent painful shockwaves around the world and would have upset the crony capitalists. The taxpayers were forced to the rescue.

The non-stop tirade of the “rich do not pay their fair share” and “you did not build that” began the vilification of small and large businessmen, followed by the marginalization and destruction of the middle class, the very geese that lay the golden eggs. The government nanny must be in total control of every facet of our lives.

Productivity, the industrial revolution, manufacturing are better left to other parts of the world. The new global order dictates that we must now be a service society, government-catering to the “hope and change” new citizens coming from far-flung corners of the illiterate third-world kingdom.

You can’t make a “living wage” at your minimum-wage job? It’s the fault of the rich! You vote for a living, stay on welfare, have out-of-wedlock babies, drop anchor-babies, and keep bringing in the flotsam of the world to replace the millions of babies aborted since Roe v. Wade. Make sure you vote into office the same corrupt politicians that keep you perennially poor under the guise of protection; you are dumb enough after graduating from a Common Core school to believe that it’s the fault of the rich who keep you “down.”

Do you accept any personal responsibility for your boorish behavior, drug use, lack of motivation, poor education, sloth, and lack of job skills? Nanny government tells you it is not your fault; you are entitled to the wealth of the rich. And when the rich run out of money, because socialists always run out of other people’s money, they can fleece the middle class, people who worked hard for a living, got an education, and paid taxes.

Today’s rich pay taxes to support the government and the welfare state.  The rich of long ago, after taxation, even though still wealthy, did not enjoy the comforts that you have in your alleged poverty of today. In the winter of 1695, when the climate change industry did not exist, the wine at the palace of Versailles froze in the fancy goblets at King Louis XIV’s table. Even in the nineteenth century America, the ink froze in the inkwells in winter time, that’s how cold and miserable life was.

The Pennsylvania legislature almost destroyed George Washington’s army quartered at Valley Forge. The government decided to try price controls on commodities that were needed by Washington’s army. No farmer with a large family to support was dumb enough to sell their produce at controlled prices when the British were paying in gold. The army almost starved to death in the winter of 1777-1778. The unwise government price controls brought the army to its knees.

Government does not believe in Adam Smith’s “invisible hand;” there is no such thing as people, by pursuing their own self-interest, are led by an invisible hand to promote the well-being of the community. The government must intervene because they know best.

If government does not dictate every last rule and regulation in great detail, how much and what we can eat, what we can drink, how much salt we can ingest, what doctors we can see, what homes we can live in, what cars we can drive, how much electricity we use, how much water we can have, what crops to plant, we are doomed to failure.

To avoid massive voter fraud, by the time the drive for a national “voter” I.D. becomes reality, we will all be chipped and the government will know where we are at all times, just like dogs and cats.

Government intervention to slay the war on poverty has perpetuated and deepened poverty after spending trillions of dollars. In spite of Affirmative Action programs and other wealth redistribution schemes aimed at destroying social injustice, people are still differently-abled by birth; some like to work more than others; some are risk takers and others are comfortable in their status-quo; some like to work the night shift while others no shift at all, they are happy with government handouts; some like to go to school and learn new things, while others enjoy partying and living it up; some don’t stay  on any job long enough to get work experience; why try if welfare is literally forced upon the sloth and unmotivated; some have inherited wealth that must be confiscated for the common good; others who built an enterprise did not really built that, it just happened by magic, it came via the public roads; and others were just plain lucky and thus does not deserve the fruits of their labor.

Keynesian economists have been telling us for decades that “America has more income inequality than other wealthy nations” and this miscalculated inequality “has been on the rise in the last 25 years.”  But none of these calculations include welfare, free medical care, WIC, and other similar programs. They are strictly looking at income disparities born by many factors connected to lacking personal responsibility, education, and the dissolution of the family.

You can tweak statistics to prove whatever you set out to prove so calculations of this “inequality” does not include the many financial dependency programs currently in place. According to the U.S. Census, there are over “100 million Americans who receive at least one welfare program run by the federal government and it does include Social Security and Medicare.”

Even Keynesian economists admit that policies that redistribute wealth or income reduce the rewards of high income earners, raising the rewards of low-income earners, thus reducing the incentive to earn high income.  We trade economic efficiency for equality and create a nation of dependents who would rather stay home and draw benefits from those who still work.

It is a fact that 70 percent of all government spending involves programs that create government dependence. According to the Congressional Budget Office, 60 percent of all U.S. households get more transfer payments than they pay in taxes.  “Terrence P. Jeffrey calculated that 86 million Americans work full-time in the private sector while 148 million Americans receive benefits from the government.”

Education was for many generations a way out of poverty when the family was intact. But when the family unit was destroyed by a government that stepped in as the daddy for generations of fatherless children, college costs have escalated, and professional jobs were shipped overseas at an alarming rate, it was hard to sell education anymore.  Government and Democrats have advocated spending more money on pre-school programs and on inner-city children but the results were dismal. And the uneducated adults could not be lifted out of poverty; they remained on inter-generational government dole.

We have certainly tried for generations to alleviate poverty through the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which outlawed forms of discrimination in rates of pay and hiring standards and established the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Equal pay for equal work was a daunting if not impossible parameter because we are different in our ability, education, experience, etc.  Affirmative action stepped in with hiring quotas for minorities and females.

The problem was that many who were given this preferential treatment over other hires were really less qualified or not qualified at all. They were expected to learn on the job. Critics argued that numerical quotas and compulsory hiring of unqualified workers was certainly a problem in many professions, including the field of education. Replacing qualified “white males” with “other, less qualified workers” was certainly counterproductive and inefficient. Proponents of quotas countered that it was necessary to redress past wrongs, especially slavery. “Putting more women and members of minority groups into high-paying jobs would certainly make the income distribution more equal,” affirmative action supporters argued.

Today the important economic balance of efficiency over equality is completely discounted by Democrats and their supporters who are arguing for a complete replacement of the free market system with socialism on the ideological belief that everything white men have accomplished has been tinged with racism, bigotry, and inequality and only adopting the Marxist ideology would redress that problem. Certainly these Democrats have not studied the recent case of Venezuela and its economic woes resulting from a full-blown socialist poverty state established by the late Hugo Chavez.

There is a lot to be said about government control from cradle to grave.  A population fully dependent on an omnipotent government is easier to control in a high-rise city dwelling setting than spread out over miles on the land. And when government runs out of other people’s money, it will have to scale back and possibly withdraw the largesse to the generationally dependent.

The free market mechanism is efficient but it does not promote the total equality desired by Marxist supporters. Such equality must be achieved by force, by government fiat, redistributing to the world the “unjust and unearned income and wealth” of billions of enterprising people.  When that is achieved, we will have reached Orwellian utopia.

Lucky for us, total government control works because they know what is best for us – nuclear armament of Iran, our sworn enemy, and a peaceful invasion with illegal immigrants brought from third world nations that will quietly complete the fundamental transformation of our expansionist evil empire into a malleable tin pot dictatorship.

We will be turned into an irrelevant impoverished nation as envisioned by the Washington political elites, a nation ruled by a one-party government that worships primitive cultures and obedient welfare-dependent subjects and favors global economic de-development.

The low information voters and welfare recipients will be satisfied with a minimum, grateful that the “man” sends them a check every month in exchange for nothing. The fact that governments do not produce anything of value seems to escape their understanding and, without the hard labor of many, their undeserved and unearned “entitlements” would not arrive promptly every month.






Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Sorrento and Capri

The Blue Grotto (photo: Wikipedia)
The Blue Grotto was an elusive dream I've had ever since I learned the superstition that kissing your mate while inside meant spending a lifetime together - it sounded so romantic and I was always a hopeless romantic.

Our journey started in Verona, Italy. We took the fast train to Rome. Because I speak Italian, we maneuvered easily among the crowds, purchased our tickets from the automated machines placed all over the station and thus avoided the crowds and the long lines.

First class tickets were twice as expensive so we settled for second class. I am used to being a second class citizen, traveling in cramped quarters, and flying with my knees bent to my chin.

Freciarossa High Speed Train
Fast trains in Italy, however, even in second class are very comfortable, clean, and right down luxurious when compared to other countries.

Italian train stations are clean but crowded, with insufficient, smelly, and out of the way bathrooms. Santa Maria Novella Station in Florence, our first stop, was no exception.

The fast train, run by Trenitalia, Gruppo Ferrovie Dello Stato, a state-run system, had meal service brought by a steward with a well-appointed cart. The food was fresh and inexpensive.

Florence - Ponte Vecchio (photo: Ileana Johnson 2015)
We stopped in Florence for five days with plans to re-board the train later for Rome. We took in the sights, the Duomo, the Boboli Gardens, the Uffizi Gallery, Ponte Vecchio with its fabulous and expensive gold shops, Piti Palace, the open-air Loggia, David's Statue, the Medici Chapel by Michaelangelo, the colorful open air markets, Piazza della Signoria with the beautiful Loggia, Santa Maria della Croce with its walled and floored tombs of famous politicians, musicians and writers, the gold shops, and the famous leather makers.

Saint Peter's Square
Upon our arrival in the Roma Termini station, named after the ancient Baths of Diocletian, against our better judgment, we hired a taxi to take us to our hotel, two blocks from the Vatican. I can honestly say that I was relieved to get out of the tin can taxi with no seat belts. It was very clean and inexpensive, but the driver was so aggressive, we were generally within inches of most cars on both sides, front and back. Italians were honking angrily, shouting obscenities out the window, or flipping each other. This when they were not stopping right in the middle of traffic, getting out of their cars, and engaging in a direct fist fight.

Vatican Milenium Door (photo: Ileana Johnson 2015)
We spent days at the Vatican and taking in the sights and sounds of Rome, the out-of-the way churches with hidden tombs, eerie and smelly catacombs, exquisite statues, monuments, parks, and museums.

It was not scary enough to visit Domitila's catacombs once a few years back, I had to go a second time with David. Against my better judgment, I agreed. I can honestly say that it was the first and last time I had gotten mosquito bites underground.

We were so overwhelmed by beauty, art, and architecture, after a while, we became like the rest of Italians, appreciative of everything surrounding us but unable to find the words or feelings to express its beauty anymore. How will it feel like returning to our simple, unadorned surroundings in America?

Fontana di Trevi and the Spanish steps were required stops - we threw coins in the fountain to make sure that we would return to Rome someday.

The highlight was the Cappuchin Monks’ chapel with its bone collection of thousands and thousands who had been exhumed and turned into decorative art in the chapel. As much as I had wanted to see it, I had missed it on three previous trips because it was under repairs, we could not leave it fast enough; it gave me the creeps and the stench of death was nauseating.

Sorrento and Mt. Vesuvius
Photo: Wikipedia
Next stop was five days in Sorrento. We had spent five days visiting Florence, five days visiting Rome and we had traveled by fast train every leg of the journey. We abandoned the rail and decided to join a busload of people of all ages and nationalities to Sorrento and to the Island of Capri.

The tour guide was a dashing Italian with a boundless love of women and little patience for anything else. We had to run on Guido's time or no time at all. I had promised David that I would behave and abide by Guido's schedule and outlandish rules. While holding my fingers crossed behind my back, I promised that I would not slip into Ileana's time machine and take my sweet time for pictures or sightseeing.

Guido preferred sitting in a busy cafe, feast his eyes on women, drink wine, smoke, and look sophisticated while sweating profusely in his elegantly tailored linen clothes. I wanted to walk all over town, I did not want to miss a thing - the vistas, the architecture, the blooming flowers, the shops, the people, the street vendors, the fruit stands, the dizzying drops to the sea, and the Roman road markers. I was on a quest for the perfect Sorrento music box to add to my collection with the melody, "Torno a Sorriento." I was definitely a thorn in Guido's side.

Sorrento would be a sleepy provincial town if it was not for an unending stream of tourists, foreign and domestic, coming by bus loads struggling to inch away from the rocks flanking the narrow roads.

Sorrento is nestled in the cliffs overlooking the Bay of Naples, a small town in Campania, southern Italy, with some 16,500 inhabitants. It is a very popular tourist destination which can be reached easily from Naples and Pompeii. Many viewpoints from the city allow sight of Naples, Vesuvius and the Isle of Capri.

The Amalfi Drive which connects Sorrento and Amalfi is a narrow road that threads along the high cliffs above the Tyrrhenian Sea. It was a "mamma mia" moment to look over my shoulder to the mile drop below.

Ferry boats and hydrofoils provide services to Naples, Amalfi, Positano, Capri and Ischia. Sorrento's sea cliffs and luxury hotels are very famous. Dave and I stayed in a gorgeous four star hotel with hand-painted tiled floors. Our balcony overlooked the bay. The beauty was not just in the perfect scenery, the carved rock formations, wild flowers, azzure blue waters, sunshine, and spectacular vistas, but the accommodations and the food were fit for kings.

We could not go to Sorrento without tasting its famous limoncello, a “digestivo” made from lemon rinds, alcohol, water and sugar. The balmy, Mediterranean climate with its rich volcanic ash soil grows huge citrus fruit, grapes, nuts and olives.

Wood craftsmanship is a fine art; like everything else, Italians do it to perfection. On a factory visit, we witnessed the carving of the intricate cameos, made from sea shells, painstakingly whittled on the end of a short stick, nestled in the bleeding, blistered palms of a master craftsman. I finally understood why cameos were so expensive and precious, they were literally carved in sweat and pain.

We took a ferry boat to reach the Island of Capri. From there, we were planning to take a hydrofoil, a smaller boat, and finally a dingy in order to reach the Blue Grotto. It was early June and the sea was agitated and choppy but not as bad as it could have been in winter time. It was dicey to actually enter the naturally carved cave.

We were determined to climb Capri on foot to the top in order to visit the remains of Roman Emperor Tiberius' villa. It took us a good three and a half hours, but it was worth every effort. The historical significance and the breathtaking views were indescribable. Forgotten was the fact that we could only find one bathroom on the way to the top and did not have enough water by the time we reached the summit. We overlooked simple things such as food and water. We were in awe of Roman history, archeology, breathtaking views, the rocky Mediterranean landscape and the colorful flora in every fenced yard. A few lazy cats watched us curiously from the top of stone fences.

Tiberius was a cruel emperor who habitually hurled his enemies, people he disliked or crossed him, over the top wall of his villa into the foaming sea below. It was scary peering down the very spot where so many Romans met a swift and cruel death. We paused to admire the ruins and to imagine what must have been like living under such duress in Tiberius' villa.

Capri is not a very populated island, it has roughly 7,300 inhabitants. Anacapri is located on the opposing side of the island. The name comes from wild goats or from the Greek for wild boars. None of these wild animals are currently residing on the island.

There is a small beach area with smooth rocks instead of sand, quite difficult and painful to walk on or sit on. Once you hit the turquoise waters though, it is worth the pain.

The naturally carved rock formations are absolutely spectacular from a distance and up close. The most interesting is the Grotta Azzura, a naturally occurring cave which reflects light from two holes, one above the water and one below, giving the cave water its unusual filtered bright turquoise blue appearance. Visitors can only access it with a small two-passenger row boat. The Italian rower, as well as the passengers must lie back in the boat in order to clear the short and narrow opening without being decapitated. Once inside, the cave is quite large. Statues had been found inside dating back to Roman times.

We were treated to an Italian canzone while inside The Blue Grotto and I finally got the romantic kiss from the love of my life.

Copyright: Ileana Johnson 2015

Monday, July 20, 2015

Planned Parenthood or Mengelian Research

In the late 1970s, freshly off the boat of communist misery, I got my first job, assistant to an accountant. I had no idea what accounting was, but I was willing to learn, and was really good at everything math, thanks to my excellent communist education that, aside from Marxist indoctrination, made sure that I learned calculus, algebra, trigonometry, geometry, and statistics. No bizarre common core math. Language and the ability to write a complete sentence with flowery adjectives and descriptive adverbs would come in handy when trying to write a defensive letter to the IRS, excusing a client who had to pay a hefty fine.

My second job was bookkeeper and secretary for a pathologist who received excised organs, limbs, tumors, tissue slides, and aborted fetuses from the area’s hospitals. That was a ghoulish, smelly, and nauseating job. I knew I could learn a lot if I could get past my personal beliefs, the smell of preserved flesh, and the lugubrious laughter of the pathologist with his bushy eyebrows and a deep voice that sent shivers down my spine every time he ordered his lab assistant to go to the basement and retrieve a certain specimen floating in formaldehyde.  His collection went back decades and only certain people were privy to its contents. Newbies were always frightened and most did not stay very long.

I was responsible for billing hospitals for pathological examinations and diagnoses of various specimens. Every Wednesday the boss ordered pizza for everyone and we had to learn to eat around human body parts and slides with microscopic tissue samples without throwing up. It was not difficult when I got pregnant because I was throwing up anyway. I learned to take my lunch outside and tried to eat in the fresh air. It was impossible to neutralize the smell of flesh and formaldehyde that lingered in my nostrils.

What was the most difficult to stomach, aside from handling dangerous and potentially infectious parts and tissue, were the fully-formed fetuses that had been killed and dismembered during abortion procedures. Life created by God was disposed of by incineration just like any diseased body parts that had been removed during surgery, studied under a microscope, and a diagnosis established.

When I eventually left, a few months later, I was emotionally exhausted from crying for all the babies that never got a chance to live and grow to adulthood. I kept an electric candle on my desk all the time. I questioned what gave them the right to take someone’s life that God had created, in the name of “reproductive health.” If one is really interested in reproductive well-being, there are thousands of OBGYNs who specialize in women’s reproductive health.

I felt the same wave of nausea and threw up in my mouth when I watched the recently surfaced Planned Parenthood video with the young doctor, stuffing her face with salad and drinking red wine, talking glibly about harvesting baby body parts more efficiently without crushing the “calvarium,” the baby’s skull, as if she was talking about chopping up ingredients for a new dish she was cooking. She seemed like a soulless cross between Margaret Sanger and Josef Mengele.

Margaret Sanger (1883-1966), a eugenicist and alleged founder of Planned Parenthood, editor of Birth Control Review (1917-1938) was an early pioneer in “reproductive health.” She dedicated her life to birth control and eugenics issues.

Dr. Josef Mengele was infamous for his twisted and ghoulish experiments. His brutal “medical research” was allowed to go on undisturbed in the concentration camp at Auschwitz. Sadly, this monster was never brought to justice. He and other masterminds of the Holocaust, the genocide of Jews, gays, priests, and gypsies, were found to be psychologically normal, men of good standing in Nazi society.

Mengele, the “Angel of Death,” tortured human beings and performed “experiments” of unspeakable and macabre horror. He injected adults and children with toxic drugs and lethal germs, put them into pressure chambers, castrated them, froze them to death, gassed an entire wing of 750 women for having lice, performed experimental surgery without anesthesia, made direct blood transfusions between twins, sex change operations, injections with chemicals to change eye color, and removal of organs and limbs.

I do not understand progressives who accuse everyone of racism and hate crimes yet they place no value on human life and remain heartless to the plight of millions of babies aborted since Roe v. Wade, calling abortion a “choice.” Aside from instances when a mother’s life is in danger, is it really a “choice” or is it ending the life of a human being that wants to live?

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Conservation Easements in Ohio and in Montana 17 Years Ago

Amish Country, Ohio
Photo: Ileana Johnson 2015
United Nations agencies working against the economic needs and wishes of U.S. citizens compiled a blueprint for achieving Sustainable Development called U.N. Agenda 21. This 40-chapter document (about 300 pages) addresses every facet of human life and how Sustainable Development should be implemented through local, state, and federal government.

With its grant-making power (‘visioning grants’ and ‘challenge grants’) and conservation easements, the federal government promoted the Sustainable Development idea and policies to the state and local levels with the creation of an army of new community of Sustainable Development NGOs (non-government organizations) such as the American Planning Association, the Sustainable Resource Center, and the Institute for Sustainable Development.

Conservation easements, known also as conservation covenants, agricultural easements, and conservation restrictions are contracts between a landowner and a conservation organization, giving the conservation trust power over the use of the land for years or in perpetuity. Such easements “run with the land,” and present and future landowners must abide by this conservation contract which is recorded in the local land records as the easement becomes part of the title for the property.

Conservations easements include a laundry list of objectives established by the land trust and agreed to by the farmer:

-          Maintain and improve water quality (this may include onerous conditions to the farmer’s use or collection of water, including rain puddles and snowmelt)

-          Grow healthy forests

-          Maintain and improve wildlife habitat and migration corridors

-          Protect scenic views; anything the farmer may desire to build or plant/grow cannot interfere with the view shed

-          Land must be managed for sustainable agriculture and forestry as determined by the trust that holds the farmer’s conservation easement and is subject to rigorous and frequent inspections.

Real estate development and subdivisions are strictly forbidden in a conservation easement. The decision to place land under conservation easement for tax benefits is voluntary but the land can become locked in perpetuity, no matter who inherits or buys the land in question.  The restrictions placed on the land become permanent and it can reduce the resale value of the property.

In every state, the actual conservation easement contract is kept private between the land owner and the land trust.

The Ohio Department of Agriculture announced its local agricultural easements approved for purchase on June 4, 2015 for “local sponsors to purchase agricultural easements on 54 family farms representing 7,512 acres in 26 counties.”

The local sponsors included land trusts, counties, a township, and local Soil and Water Conservation Districts. They received funds to make the purchase from the Clean Ohio Fund and to manage the Local Agricultural Easement Purchase Program (LAEPP). The easement purchases are advertised as insurance that “farms remain permanently in agricultural production.” The ulterior motives are much divorced from this public statement.

Farmers who want to lock their land in such conservation easement contracts are financially rewarded and must meet certain criteria:

-          Farm must be larger than 40 acres or next to an already “preserved” farm

-          Must actively engage in farming

-          Participate in the Current Agricultural Use Valuation program

-          Prove good stewardship of the land (Farmers already take good care of their land because it represents their livelihood.)

-          Be supported by local government

-          Not be in close proximity to real estate development

-          The money received from the conservation easement purchase can be spent any way the farmer wishes; however, “most reinvest it in their farm operation.”

The Ohio Farmland Preservation program derives its funds from the Clean Ohio Conservation Fund, approved by voters in 2008. The purchase of conservation easements is made through a “competitive process” from “willing sellers.”

According to its website, there are 55,947 acres of land locked in conservation perpetuity, “preserved” under permanent easements. “From 2002-2014, 247 family farms in 53 counties have collectively preserved 45,576 acres in agricultural production.”  A list of counties approved for easements in 2015 is included here.

The Office of Farmland Preservation lists the 2015 Clean Ohio LAEPP recipients by county, the specific local sponsoring land trust, the name of the farmer, Tier I or Tier II, acreage per farm, ODA’s contribution to the purchase offer in dollars, and the actual final offer. Who is supplying the difference?

I imagine that it would be hard for a farmer to turn down an offer of $500,000 to “preserve” his farming land, especially if they were strapped for cash. Often, it is difficult to see the bigger picture in the future, beyond one’s farm, and to understand that such conservation easement contracts are not just about being a good steward of your farm and of the environment. They also represent control of private property and its use.

As a matter of fact, the sample deed for the federal government states on page 18, “To HAVE AND TO HOLD the above-described Agricultural Easement to the use, benefit, and behalf of the Grantees, and the United States and their successors and assigns forever.”

Here is the Local Agricultural Easement Purchase Program (LAEPP) approved sample deed for the state of Ohio.

The Ohio Farmland Preservation Map can be found here, including agricultural easements held by ODA and Agricultural Security Areas.

Agricultural Security Areas (ASA) are part of a voluntary program for farmers and landowners, administered at the state level as a tool to protect farmland from the “urbanization of rural areas.” Township supervisors handle the petitions for ASA designation status.

Sheila Stanifer, Perry Township Trustee, has a problem with these conservation easements.  According to the Ohio Revised Code 901-2-01 definitions, “‘local sponsor’ or ‘applicant’ means a municipal corporation, county, township, soil and water conservation district, or charitable organization that applies for a matching grant on behalf of the landowner.” The problem arises from the fact that ‘soil and water’ are taking the place of elected officials; charitable trusts (namely land trusts) are not elected officials either, they are land brokers working for the state government as a so-called ‘sponsor.’”

In the first and second paragraphs of the federal deed contract mentions are made of the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC), a government-owned and operated organization created to “stabilize, support, and protect farm income and prices, maintain balanced and adequate supplies of agricultural commodities and aids in their orderly distribution.” CCC has no operating personnel; its activity is carried out by the Farm Service Agency (FSA). The Natural Resources Conservation Service administers several conservation programs under the auspices of CCC.

CCC has an authorized capital stock of $100 million, held by the United States, with the authority to have outstanding borrowing of up to $30 billion at any one time. The 1988 Appropriation Act increased the statutory borrowing authority to $30 billion. The funds are borrowed from the U.S. Treasury and from private lending agencies. CCC reserves borrowing authority to purchase at any time all notes and other obligations made by such agencies and others. That is a lot of power over farm activities!

Many of these land trusts are also staffed with environmental activists who have never farmed in their lives nor have ever entertained the idea. They want the land preserved for wilderness. Additionally, it is much cheaper and easier to control densely populated urban areas than it is to control rural populations spread over vast areas.

Seventeen years ago on July 1, 1998, David F. Latham, editor of The Montanian, published a front page article titled “FWP plans big changes in hunting and rural living, Social engineering is in the works.”  The Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks (FWP) in Montana had prepared a document called the Wildlife Program Draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement at a cost of $600,000.

Lincoln County commissioner at the time, Rita Windom, said that only seven meetings took place in Montana to inform citizens about the “big changes planned for the way it (FWP) manages wildlife, hunting, and rural living patterns” and she happened to have attended one of these meetings in 1992. Incidentally, 1992 is the year when U.N. Agenda 21 was signed in Rio by 179 countries, including the U.S.

Even though limited public input was permitted during poorly advertised meetings, some of which had only nine people in attendance, the ultimate decision-maker was the FWP. Windom added that the FWP document “includes plans to manipulate human populations in rural areas.”

“They are saying they want social changes. They talk about the increasing importance of environmental concerns nationally, and the increasing reliance on referendums and grass-roots politics for political change. They [FWP] say that social and economic values towards natural resources are becoming less consumptive… nationally. The emergence of the animal rights movement exemplifies national pressure to shift to a less consumptive use at state and local levels,” Windom said, referring to the FWP environmental impact statement plan.

As quoted in the front page article, Windom added that [FWP] “is going to change the use of the land and take the personal property off the land on conservation easements, which would mean ranchers and farmers could no longer use the land the way it is currently being used. That is a big departure to the way we have known conservation easements in the past.” Windom explained that “the plan would in essence tax rural property owners for the wildlife on their property.”
David F. Latham wrote that Commissioner Windom recalled how “one employee of FWP told her the plan is designed to push rural residents into urban areas.” As many residents asked hard questions, the FWP state land manager, Darlene Edge, told Lincoln County commissioner Rita Windom, “Can’t you see we are doing you a favor by forcing people to move from the rural areas into the urban areas. That way you can close roads… Why don’t you work with us and move these people out of the rural areas and into the urban areas so cities can shoulder more of the responsibilities and the county can save money?”

A quick check of the Wildlands Project Map reveals the “simulated reserve and corridor system to protect biodiversity as mandated by the Convention on Biological Diversity, The Wildland Project, U.N. and U.S. Man and Biosphere Program, and Various U.N., U.S. Heritage Programs, and Nafta.” The vast majority of U.S. land is pictured in red, with “little to no human use,” and in yellow, “buffer zones with highly regulated use.”
The Convention on Biological Diversity passed the Senate Foreign Relation Committee by a vote of 16-3 on June 29, 1994. However, one hour before a scheduled vote by the Senate, “the treaty was pulled from the calendar and a vote on the treaty was never taken.”  But the Clinton administration implemented the treaty anyway through a policy called “Ecosystem Management.”  (A Short Course in Global Governance, Henry Lamb, Sovereignty International, Inc., p. 12, 2010)

David Latham wrote in the Montanian that FWP sent letters to the Amish community in the West Kootenai and had an ‘informational meeting’ to “show them that conservation easements weren’t all that bad,” said Windom. Windom expressed her frustration with the secrecy of FWP, “in my opinion they purposely didn’t disseminate these documents.”
As more and more farmers are voluntarily trapped in conservation easements for years or in perpetuity, they are finding out that the terms of the contract can be draconian, with little recourse or defense from state and local governments.

Few states like Virginia were successful in passing laws to protect farmers from the intrusion of government with U.N. Sustainable Development plans, but these laws do not go far enough. U.N. Agenda 21 goals through its Sustainable Development lynchpin have encroached private property rights like kudzu.


I am grateful to David F. Latham, editor of the Montanian, who had to search his pre-digital archives to accommodate my request on such a short notice.

I am also grateful to Sheila Stanifer, Perry Township Trustee from Ohio , for her valuable research contribution (links).
COPYRIGHT: Ileana Johnson 2015









Thursday, July 16, 2015

Global Bankruptcy, Sustainable Development, and Propaganda

Ever so caring for the fate of humanity, Pope Francis’ duties have now extended from world climatologist, population control, and critic of free market economics, to expert on global bankruptcy. He said, “The goods of the Earth are meant for everyone, and however much someone may parade his property, it has a social mortgage.”

The Catholic principle of “social mortgage” is the idea that the public has a “legitimate and necessary claim on private wealth and property.”

We are so lucky that we have such a capable Pope who not only tends to the souls of his flock but also to the pockets of the rich and of the downtrodden who are in serious need of wealth redistribution and social justice.

If we don’t allow countries to go bankrupt, we are definitely a heartless bunch.  Just giving them foreign aid and technical expertise to build their own prosperous economy is no longer enough. In the meantime, Christians are being killed and persecuted around the globe by their Muslim brethren but I digress.

The AP reported that Pope Francis said the following when asked to comment about the Greek debt debacle, “If a company can declare bankruptcy, why can’t a country do so and we go to the aid of others?” Because so many countries struggle with debt, he called for an international bankruptcy process as a solution. I am not sure if he mentioned all the theft and misallocation of donated funds or how loans have been used or misused.

The Catholic Church’s consultant to the Vatican, Eric LeCompte, head of the religious development organization called Jubilee USA Network, said that “Pope Francis knows that heavy debt loads cause poverty and inequality. The Pope’s statement is a logical extension of the Catholic Church’s strong support of debt relief for struggling countries.”

The Pope is not alone in poverty and debt eradication calls. United Nations voted 124-11 in September 2014 to develop a global bankruptcy process. The Pope is just promoting their plans. IMF studies revealed that debt is a cause of inequality. It will develop a proposal this fall as “nearly 50 countries face worrying levels of debt according to World Bank statistics.”

“A bankruptcy process is critical if we want less poverty and if we want to prevent financial crisis,” said LeCompte, consultant to a recent United Nations Conference on Trade and Development road map utilized in the U.N. bankruptcy process. “Bankruptcy means less inequality and more global stability."

Since our American students’ college loans cannot be bankrupted even though most of them cannot find jobs in their fields in this out-of-control national-debt-strapped economy to enable them to pay back their loans, should we not start a bankruptcy loan forgiveness at home before taxpayers are somehow saddled with the debt of the third world? If suddenly international banks that made loans to various countries, are in need themselves of bailouts because they are deemed “too big to fail,” will taxpayers be required to rescue them?

At the same time, the U.N. is preparing the future of education through a renewed propaganda indoctrination assault of our children into Green Global Citizens. U.N. Secretary Bank Ki Moon and UNESCO’s chief Irina Bokova declared that globalized schools around the world need to re-shape our children’s values in order to create “sustainable global citizens.”

Attending the U.N. World Education Forum in South Korea, 100 education ministers, U.N. plutocrats, globalists, Marxist educators, environmentalists, lobbyists, and “stakeholders” outlined the public relations media blitz of the “roadmap for global education” through 2030 via the Incheon Declaration.

The U.N. Foundation, media “partners” and other NGOs unveiled their propaganda campaign for the next fifteen years to promote the “sustainable development” master plan for humanity and the globe, the lynchpin of the 1992 U.N. Agenda 21. Dubbed the “world’s largest advertising campaign,” the U.N. effort will “train” and “subsidize” so-called journalists to favorably report on the one world government global control, under the guise of “sustainable development,” of every facet of our economy and of our lives.

While visiting the United States in September, in addition to supporting the climate change industry, the Pope will likely attack the “American Idea,” the God-given individual rights outlined in the U.S. Declaration of Independence. We know so because the senior Vatican and U.N. adviser, Jeffrey Sachs, wrote in a Catholic publication that “the path to happiness lies not solely or mainly through the defense of rights but through the exercise of virtues, most notably justice and charity.”

The indoctrination into the global citizenship will be facilitated by our Department of Education agenda of “cradle to government-approved career.” Secretary of Education Arnie Duncan unveiled the plan for government boarding schools for “just certain kids we should have 24/7,” building “community centers” with more offerings of “after school programming” and the opportunity to shape the brain full of mush of potential social justice drones.

And topping the list of communist indoctrination, millions of dollars of tax money will be used to brain wash kids into non-existent “white privilege,” a race-based ruse to excuse any lack of personal responsibility, motivation, and work ethic among the lazy, incapable, and the sloth.

The San Francisco-based Pacific Education Group, “claims black students shouldn’t be subject to ‘white values’ such as industriousness, punctuality, and civilized classroom behavior and that they should be held to different standards than whites.” Never mind that teachers report chaos in the classrooms where these new “visionary” and outrageous standards of behavior have been adopted. Such race-based standards are racist by definition. But then again, achievement based on merit is overrated. Why not have 144 valedictorians among 400 high school graduates?

While in South America, Pope Francis made the call for “a new economic and ecological world order where the goods of the Earth are shared by everyone, not just exploited by the rich.” The question remains, who will divide these goods of the earth and how will it be done if not by supply and demand? And who will be the producers with so many takers waiting in the wings?


Further reading:

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Political Correctness Gone Crazy

I’ve wondered for the longest time why Americans remain silent to the massive “fundamental transformation” of our country by a minority of well-organized progressives who use any means necessary to attain their communistic ends, including the phony notion of “white privilege” in the most tolerant nation on the planet.

While history is being altered, rewritten in the revisionist view of Saul Alinksy’s activists on the payroll of the current regime, various communist non-profits, and by low information voters who think that a Hershey’s candy bar is more valuable than a $150 pure silver bar and by the non-stop race-baiters, the U.S. A. has become the laughing stock of the rest of the world. Instead of respect, we get derision and mockery on Al Jazeera by our own millennials who work for various anti-American think-tanks and lobbying firms.

The military is being cut down more and more, “we can’t afford to pay them,” we are following into the footsteps of European countries that are powerless to defend themselves in the case of an attack. Who is going to take America’s place with its brave soldiers who came to the rescue and liberated Europe from the Nazi oppressors? Where is the American backbone I have heard so much about?

The fact that Memphis officials have voted to disinter the grave of a Confederate general and his wife, in an illogical attempt to purge every shred of our past and of our history, is mind-boggling. When are the hungry racists going to stop? Their ancestors are long gone. America is in a different place now.

What will it take to stop this disruptive PC juvenile insanity? Our country is teetering over the abyss of an out of control government spending and unpayable national debt and we are mesmerized by narcissistic media types and the Donut-Licking-Gate?

I got my answer recently. Donald Trump had the temerity to speak the truth by giving accurate statistics and facts about a certain segment of illegal aliens who represent a majority of criminals in our prison system, who invade our borders to commit crimes, to export their illegal drugs and criminal gangs, and to rape and murder innocents who happen to be in the way.

The media and big business have savaged Donald Trump as a presidential candidate and “the art of the deal” businessman. Luckily, he is a very rich man, he can stand financial losses. He is highly successful no matter what he does; he is the quintessential self-made billionaire. Nobody who is trashing him in the major main stream media venues can ever take that away from him or dare to measure up to this man’s wisdom, business acumen, and success.

Why are Americans silent? Because they are afraid! They don’t want to lose their jobs, their freedom, and the acceptance of their neighbors, family, and friends on the social circuit. They don’t want to be savaged by mobs surrounding their homes. They don’t want to be called racists and bigots, so they remain silent.

They don’t want to be evicted if their handicapped child hangs the Confederate flag in his bedroom window. They don’t want to be impeached from public office if they happen to disagree with the gay lifestyle based on their religious beliefs. They don’t want to be thrown out of their churches by parishioners who also cower in fear of disapproval or loss of their jobs. They don’t want to lose their bakeries, event planner businesses, or pizza shop.

Freedom of speech is free if you agree with me. If you disagree with liberals, freedom of speech no longer exists. Progressives have muzzled all of us with Political Correctness gone amuck.  If we disagree with their ideology, atheism, lifestyle, or opinion, how long will it be before we actually start going to jail if we dare to embrace any dissenting opinions that the left has labeled “hate speech” and codified it into law?

Our children cannot smoke in school, eat unhealthy foods for school lunches, cannot take aspirin for headaches, are drugged for real or imagined attention-deficit disorders, but can have state-subsidized sex-change operations at 15 in Oregon without parental consent.

Children are brainwashed and indoctrinated into the religion of Gaia, scared every day in school about man-made global warming that is scientifically a hoax. HBO devoted an entire six-episode series, Saving My Tomorrow, to this topic, using small children with memorized canned lines from the climate change industry agenda, resplendent with sophisticated adult vocabulary uncharacteristic for such small children, to shamelessly propagandize global warming.

Jose Antonio Vargas, “the self-described ‘undocumented gay Filipino American’ journalist who won a Pulitzer Prize for covering the Virginia Tech shootings in 2007,” has made a conversation film about “whiteness,” propagandizing non-existent “white guilt” and “white privilege.”

“We cannot have an honest conversation about race in America until we explore and unpack what "whiteness" and "white privilege" mean in America. This is not an easy, simply or comfortable conversation. So let's get uncomfortable. Let's talk. That's the goal of "White People," a documentary project produced by MTV's Look Different campaign in collaboration with Define American and Punched In The Head Productions.”

It seems to be the norm now that “undocumented” immigrants criticize Americans for their generosity. We allow illegal aliens who invade our borders to take advantage of our welfare system, free education, free medical care, and freedoms unlike any offered in their former countries, freedoms which they are now trying to curtail with aggressive liberal activism.

There is nothing shameful about American generosity and tolerance. We should not be demonized because we are white. Nobody should be demonized about the color of their skin any more than being bullied for being tall, short, skinny, or fat.

History has shown that demonizing an entire group of people under the guise of “conversation” has gotten millions of innocents killed. Take for example the good people who stood by while their Jewish neighbors were persecuted during Nazism. How about millions of people under the communist revolution who did nothing when intellectuals and the middle class were purged and disappeared during the 20th century?

One of the IJ Review readers, George Kirkman, who took up the challenge to have an honest race conversation in America, had this commentary for the phony indictment of “whiteness” based on a racist view of the world, preconceived notions, and biases.  

“It was whiteness that fought to end slavery, not only here in America, but around the world as well. It was whiteness that fought Ebola in Africa. It was whiteness that sends out doctors, teachers, engineers, and missionaries to the Third World. It is whiteness that brings in Third World students to be educated. It is whiteness that takes in a hundred thousand or more refugees every year. It was whiteness that went forth to rebuild Haiti after the quake. It is whiteness that sends out billions in aid to the Third World.”

It is bold and unwise to accuse the very people who are tolerantly accepting you into their midst even though you broke their laws by entering illegally. Feed me but I am going to bite your hand because I resent your ability and industriousness that allows you to share the fruits of your labor with me.

Promoting the liberal inclusiveness agenda by making any child or adult feel ashamed of their skin color and of their heritage is repulsive.



Monday, July 6, 2015

Gunston Hall, the Significance of George Mason, and Independence Day

Gunston Hall front entrance (Photo: Ileana 2015)
“I had many occasional and strenuous coadjutors in debate, and one most steadfast, able, and zealous. . . . This was George Mason, a man of first order of wisdom among those who acted on the theatre of the revolution, of expansive mind, profound judgment, cogent in argument, learned in the lore of our former constitution, and earnest for the republican change on democratic principles.”  - Thomas Jefferson, 1821

As a naturalized American by choice, Independence Day for me is not “Happy July 4,” as young and old alike greet each other with all day, or an opportunity to grill, BBQ, be with your family and friends, hang out the flag with pride, or ignore it because it’s a misperceived symbol of racism, or burn it just because you can, or attend fireworks shows for the sake of traditional entertainment.

Independence Day has a deep significance that only people like me who fled evil communism or other dictatorships can understand and few can explain cogently. For me, it is the story of the valiant fight for freedom and independence from an oppressive and out-of-control government.

On this hot and humid 239th Independence Day anniversary, I decided to take a trip down history lane, about four miles east off the beaten path to Gunston Hall. The road wound through lovely pastures, a hidden golf course, a state park, a couple of churches, and thick-forested areas that seemed a world away from the busy highways and interstates of northern Virginia.

On the site of the first Pohick Church (1730-1774), one of the earliest religious sites in Fairfax County, there is a lovely Methodist Church nestled among green trees and pastures, the Lewis Chapel/Cranford Memorial, built in 1857, surrounded by graves dating back to 1780. A simple engraved granite block memorializes “all soldiers who served in the Civil War, 1861-1865, and were buried here.” A few American flags are visible, vases with artificial flowers, but not one Confederate flag is displayed.

When Daniel French, the original contractor that was hired to build the new Pohick Church died during its construction in 1771, George Mason, an executor and vestryman, finished the job.

Documents reveal that in the period prior to the Revolutionary War, Anglican churches, which were supported by taxes, fulfilled the function of welfare agencies, taking care of the poor, the widowed, and of the orphans.  

A historical sign described how on June 16, 1700, unknown Indians, possibly “Wittowees or Piscataways,” attacked with “arrowes and wooden Tommahawkes” and killed eight people in Thomas Barton’s house. Historians speculated that the attack occurred because the Indians were upset by colonial encroachment on their lands and were “encouraged” by the French.

Gunston Hall, located about four miles to the east, was George Mason’s home, the Revolutionary leader and author of the Virginia Declaration of Rights and the first Constitution of Virginia. The fourth George Mason built his mansion in 1755-1758, but the land had been “acquired” in 1696 by the second George Mason. He bought the land which was patented in 1651 by Richard Turney. Turney was hanged for taking part in the Bacon’s Rebellion in 1676.

Gunston Hall front entrance (Photo: Ileana 2015)
The winding entrance to Gunston Hall is flanked by thick woods until it suddenly opens wide into grassy fields. The majestic road is lined by old magnolias. The original cherry trees from George Mason’s time had been replaced long ago with stately magnolias.

To the left of Gunston Hall, about three-fourths of a mile, the Potomac River adds a marine blue hue to the lush green landscape. A road leads to the port where boats docked and delivered visitors and cargo to the mansion. A beautiful garden path in the back of the house is lined with the original bushes, leading to a bluff overlooking a forested valley.

18th c. well used by the Mason family
(Photo: Ileana 2015)
The original 18th century well used by George Mason’s family is still on the left hand side of the property. In a shed behind, inhabited by a black snake which startled me when I reached too deeply inside to take a photograph, there is an 18th century millstone found near the site of Holt’s Mill (operational from 1700-1740 on Mason lands) one mile southwest of Gunston Hall on Mill Creek. Thirty other buildings and barns surrounded the mansion at the time. It was a lively village bustling with activity.

As it was the case with most wealthy land owners in the 18th century Virginia, George Mason planned and supervised the construction of his own home, designing its exterior and layout with the help of an English-trained carpenter and joiner, William Buckland, whom he hired in 1755.

A wealthy Virginian’s mansion was literally his castle for dinners, teas, balls, barbecues, fish frys, games, hunts, and musical entertainment. Ever so hospitable, neighbors, relatives, and friends and “visitors of distinction” were frequent guests and always welcome. Entertaining all the time was a way of life.

John Mason, the eldest child, recalled that the main meal was served at 2 p.m. and nobody sat down until his father arrived. Grace was always part of the meal, “God bless us, and what we are going to receive.”

A devoted husband and father, George Mason was married to Ann Eilbeck for twenty-three years. When she died at thirty-nine, he described his beloved wife as “a prudent & a tender mother.”

As a Justice of Peace, George Mason signed marriage licenses. He mused in a letter, “This cold weather has set all the young Folks to providing Bedfellows. I have signed two or three Licenses every Day since I have been at Home. I wish I knew where to get a good one myself; for I find cold Sheets extremely disagreeable.” He remained a widower for seven years before marrying a second time to Sarah Brent of Woodstock in Stafford County. There are many Brents today in Dumfries, the oldest town in Virginia.

George Mason was only a delegate to the Virginia Assembly, a Justice of Peace for Fairfax County, a vestryman at Pohick Church, and a trustee for the towns of Alexandria and Dumfries, but he had a profound influence on our nation’s government.

George Mason had 12 children by Ann Eilbeck. The nine (five boys and four girls) who survived were educated by a private tutor in a one-room school built for them on the property. Tutors included a Mr. McPherson of Maryland and a Mr. Davidson and a Mr. Constable of Scotland. In 1832, Gen. John Mason described how the last two tutors had been specially selected by George Mason himself to come to America in order to teach his large brood while they lived in his house. The entire second floor of the mansion was dedicated to bedrooms for the children with beautiful views of the lands, including a spectacular view of the Potomac River and of the gardens.

The first floor had a large entrance atrium with a beautiful grand wooden staircase, the deep-green master bedroom to the left and a dining room in green, white, and gold, with George Mason’s portrait and the portrait of his first wife Ann as a sixteen year-old, a Chinese-motif room, painted in yellow and decorated with pagoda-like freezes and wooden moldings as envisioned at the time.  Closets, hallways, another staircase, helix-shaped and tiny, a game room, and reading room completed the floor.

View from the back porch of the Potomac River
(Photo: Ileana Johnson 2015)
Slaves lived away from the main house, as Mason wrote, “Out of sight, was a little village called Log-Town – so called because most of the houses were built of hewn pine logs. . . . lived here several Families of the slaves, serving about the Mansion house – among them were my Father’s body Servant James, a Mulattoe Man & his Family, and those of several Negroe carpenters.” Some outbuildings near the main house were places where slaves worked, ate, and sometimes slept.

Slaves quarters where work was done
(Photo: Ileana Johnson 2015)
Slaves grew tobacco and wheat for export, some were blacksmiths, carpenters, coopers, shoemakers, spinners, weavers, others were domestics in the Mason household, cooking, raising children or were personal butlers. In 1783, according to archives, “more than half of Virginia’s population was black.” It is fair to say that “slavery was the dominant form of labor in Virginia” of the 18th century.

According to the archives, even though George Mason described slavery as a “slow poison,” he did not free his 90 slaves.  When he died in 1792, he willed his slaves to his nine children. Some Chesapeake slave owners did emancipate their slaves. Few runaways made it to freedom; George Mason issued a reward of ten pounds for the return of his slaves, offering detailed descriptions of the men and the possessions they carried with them.

Grist mill stone (18th century)
(Photo: Ileana Johnson 2015)
The last private owners of Gunston Hall, Louis and Eleanor Hertle, donated the mansion in 1949 to the Commonwealth of Virginia, administered by a Board of Regents from the National Society of The Colonial Dames of America in Mrs. Hertle’s memory. Louis Hertle, retired from her job at Marshall Field’s in Chicago, hired architect Glenn Brown to restore the mansion beginning in 1912.

According to the museum archives, aside from the few volumes with George Mason’s signature, acquired from his uncle and guardian, John Mercer, a lawyer with a vast collection of 1,700 books, little is known about Mason’s library. He was quite wealthy and we know that he gave each of his children a substantial gift of money and property.

A 1775 ledger with Jenifer and Hooe, a merchant firm of Alexandria, revealed that George Mason was growing a lot of wheat on his property after 1770. Prior, tobacco was the primary crop. In a September 1788 letter, George Mason wrote: “A violent Storm of Wind and Rain . . . with almost Continual Rain for many Days afterwards, has done great damage to the Tobacco . . . our wheat has also suffered some Damage, & our Hay a great deal . . .” Tobacco was grown in 1775 on his Hallowing, Occoquan, and Dogue plantations.

Virginia planters, including Mason, grew tobacco, wheat, and corn for sale, barley, cotton, corn, and flax for private use. An orchard provided fruits and nuts and a 1780 letter to Thomas Jefferson shows that “Mason took great interest in his fruit stock.” Every plantation had an extensive garden to feed everyone. Tallow, leather, and wool came from animals they raised. Fishing and hunting provided both food and recreation.

George Mason, the author of the Virginia Declaration of Rights, influenced many other authors and documents:

-          Thomas Jefferson when he wrote the Declaration of Independence

-          James Madison when drafting the U.S. Bill of Rights

-          Benjamin Franklin when drafting the Pennsylvania constitution

-          John Adams when drafting the Massachusetts constitution

-          An adaptation of Mason’s first Article, “That all Men are by Nature equally free and independent, and have certain inherent Rights, of which, when they enter into a State of Society, they cannot, by any Compact, deprive or divest their Posterity; namely, the Enjoyment of Life and Liberty, with the Means of acquiring and possessing Property, and pursuing and obtaining Happiness and Safety,” appears in Wisconsin, South Dakota, and Montana constitutions

-          The French Declaration of the Rights of Man

-          The United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights

George Mason, Elbridge Gerry, and Edmund Randolph were the Constitution non-signers among the fifty-five delegates, each calling for a national bill of rights. Mason wrote prophetically at the conclusion of the 1787 federal convention in Philadelphia (mid-May through mid-September): “There is no Declaration of Rights, and the law of the general Government being paramount to the Laws & Constitutions of the several States, the Declaration of Rights in separate States are no Security. Nor are the people secured even in the Enjoyment of the Benefits of the common Laws.”

As one of the primary architects of the Constitution, having delivered more than 125 speeches during the convention, but “fearing that the proposed government would diminish the power vested in the citizenry,” George Mason refused to sign. His prophetic decision was made in the Philadelphia State House, known as Independence Hall, where the Federal Convention met.

Thanks to George Mason’s 1776 Virginia Declaration of Rights, the English Bill of Rights of 1689, and the Magna Carta (1215), we now have The U.S. Bill of Rights which includes freedoms not enumerated in the Constitution such as freedom of religion, of speech, freedom of the press, of assembly, the right to keep and bear arms, freedom from unreasonable search and seizure, security in personal effects, freedom from warrants issued without probable cause, and reserves all powers not specifically granted to the federal government to the people or the States. The question remains, are we going to be able to keep them?