Hatewatch

Maryland County Commission Hires Extremist Blogger

So what do you do when you’ve successfully saved the planet from efforts to save the planet? If you’re ultra-conservative blogger James Simpson, the answer is: Get paid. And by government no less.

Simpson, who has written numerous articles for conservative websites including American Thinker, has railed against what he and other right-wing conspiracy buffs claim is an odious plan by the United Nations to undermine capitalism and U.S. sovereignty while prodding for One World Government. The program is called the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI), based on a U.N. sustainable-development plan approved in 1992 known as Agenda 21. It endorses global strategies to protect air quality, stop deforestation, protect fresh water sources, maintain biodiversity, and more.

Simpson was ecstatic when voters in Carroll County, Md., a mostly rural county northwest of Baltimore, overwhelmingly approved a Republican clean sweep of all five county commission seats last November. The sweep was led by Richard Rothschild, who campaigned on a promise to remove Carroll County from its voluntary participation in the ICLEI.

Most of the world sees Agenda 21 as a sensible recognition of the fact that the planet cannot sustain development globally unless the planet, collectively, lives within the means of its resources. No participating community is compelled to follow any of the plan’s principles. Still, many on the right read into it an anti-American bias: Given that the United States consumes energy and natural resources far in excess of its share of the world’s population, American overconsumption could be presumed a principal target of the initiative. So while some 600 American communities and 600 others worldwide have signed on to the initiative, a fledgling reverse trend has emerged that implicitly casts America’s resource gluttony as patriotic.

In an Oct. 29, 2009 article on his website, Rothschild calls the Agenda 21 initiatives “political dogma,” designed to “accomplish government’s goal of social re-engineering” which would, among other goals, have the effect of “shifting the voting patterns of rural municipalities from Right to Left.” He describes Agenda 21 as “a direct assault on private property rights and American sovereignty.” He then called Agenda 21 “arguably an amalgamation of socialism and extreme environmentalism brushed with anti-American, anti-capitalist overtones.”

The new Carroll County Commission in January became the first in the nation to withdraw from the ICLEI. According to the American Policy Center, which has adopted the fight against Agenda 21 as its pet cause, seven other U.S. communities since then have followed suit.

In a Feb. 24 blog, Simpson praised the five newly elected “brave souls” on the Carroll Commission for terminating “all traces of the ‘Sustainability’ agenda in the county. They abolished their ‘Sustainability’ office and dropped out of ICLEI (the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives), the first county to do so.”

By July, the mutual admiration between Simpson and the Commission was solemnized: The county signed Simpson to a three-month public relations contract through Alex Grace LLC. According to the Carroll County Times, Simpson formed Alex Grace on July 13 – nine days before his company won the contract.

The contract reportedly is for $18,000. On Sept. 29, the County Board of Commissioners extended the contract with Alex Grace by one month. Because the contract totals less than $25,000, the board was not obligated to put it out for competitive bid.

An E-mail to Simpson from Hatewatch was not answered.

When he isn’t bashing environmental protection initiatives, Simpson is bashing immigrants and LGBT people. He is the author of a recent report published by the far-right website Accuracy in Media in which he attacks an immigrant-advocacy organization called Casa de Maryland. The author describes the group as “a case study in the corrosive effects of political corruption” and argues that illegal immigrants are, with Casa’s implicit or overt assistance, evading the law and winning access to government services and privileges to which they are not entitled. Simpson places Casa de Maryland in the center of an incredibly convoluted alleged left-wing conspiracy involving, among myriad others, billionaire financier George Soros, the Communist Party USA, major unions like AFSCME and SEIU, Muslim terrorists, the Catholic Campaign for Human Development and “Russian, Chinese, Cuban & Other Hostile Military & Intelligence.” The piece even wonders if Gustavo Torres, Casa de Maryland’s director, was among “American radicals” believed to be “involved in fomenting this year’s Middle East unrest.”

Simpson is also the author of a March 2, 2011, article published by the DC Independent Examiner in which he wrote, “The Homosexual agenda is dark and dangerous. ... The Homosexual agenda not only seeks to acclimatize children to sex and especially gay sex, but a significant portion of this movement seeks to legalize pedophilia, as thoroughly documented in an article titled ‘The Shadow Sexual Revolution – the Push to Legalize Pedophilia.’”

The allegation of a “homosexual agenda” that promotes legalized pedophilia is a staple of the religious right – and ludicrous. Credible research has firmly documented that homosexuals are not predisposed to pedophilia any more than heterosexuals. Further, the article cited by Simpson suggests that historical efforts to decriminalize sex with minors were generally short-lived, promoted principally by fringe groups, and strongly opposed by straight and many LGBT organizations.