Shepstone Management Company, Inc.
The Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund or CELDF is a Marxist group of con artists and revolutionaries seeking to use democracy to destroy democracy.
Readers of this blog are no strangers to the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF) and their faux “community bill of rights.” I’ve written about both extensively here and also at Energy In Depth before that and, too, we’ve posted the Pennsylvania Independent Oil & Gas Association excellent legal expose of this group. Now, our friend Jackie Stewart from Energy In Depth in Ohio has pulled together a superb article summarizing much of what we knew about this radical group, combined with additional original research demonstrating Thomas Linzey’s enterprise is nothing but a bunch of spoiled children revolutionaries and con artists looking to upend democracy using the tools of democracy. They’re Marxists.
Jackie’s article notes the CELDF is about “control directly over corporations” but it’s much more than that. It’s really about control over everything, from every business to every person to every rock and tree. It’s a brand of totalitarianism and it seeks, through the use of high sounding terms such as democracy, bills of rights, community rights, home rule and other wonderful names for what are only euphemisms to the group to end each of these things and put itself and other like-minded radicals in charge in place of the ordinary people for whom it claims to speak. It’s classic Marxism, led by a guy, Thomas Linzey, who looks a little and acts a lot like Marx without the beard.
I thought I knew a lot about Linzey, who comes from a pampered background and never had a real job before forming the CELDF right out of law school (ironically using a corporation to shield himself from taxes and liability), but Jackie uncovered something completely revealing of who this fellow really is. It’s this short video snippet taken from a speech Linzey gave earlier this year and it says it all:
Linzey suggests it’s time to ban “all finance companies in New York City from funding new projects that exacerbate climate change.” Then, full of himself, he goes further saying “it would be illegal, it would be unlawful, it would be unconstitutional, because you are taking their property’ well f…, it’s time.” One wonders how Adelaide Park Gomer and Teresa Heinz Kerry feel about funding this guy who now wants to take all their money and throw them into the street.
Ponder Linzey’s words a bit before you move on and watch the segment again. If you hate corporatism (which is the opposite of capitalism) like I do you might be attracted just the teeniest bit to this piece of demagoguery, but then realize what this man-child is really saying. If he doesn’t agree with you he posits the right to take all your money and destroy you regardless of any protections you might have under the law. He says the people’s rights are nothing compared to nature’s and by “nature” he means himself because nature needs a lawyer, of course, to exercise its rights.
This is as radical as it gets and, as Jackie notes, the CELDF will use any vehicle available to get its foot in the door, “issue shopping” so to speak. It talks about bottled water here, fracking there and rivers elsewhere, but it’s always about getting a foothold in a community to attempt to sell an illegal concept that it hopes will eventually result in some like-minded judge someplace turning little parts of our Constitution inside out and ultimately creating a conflict that will set the stage for some sort of Marxist transformation of our legal system.
The CELDF uses communities and people with issues as levers to do this, being careful to warn its victims at the outset the strategy won’t work and could bankrupt them, cynically attempting to protect itself from liability when things go wrong, but it knows its victims are too emotionally charged at the time to hear what it’s saying and that they’ll never want to admit later they bought the snake oil anyway. Ask Mora County, New Mexico, how it worked out for them. Ask any of the communities along the trail of trashed hopes left behind by the CELDF. They lose regularly and are proud of it, but disappear quickly when the blade is about to come down, leaving behind a long list of victims of their con artistry.
Jackie Stewart also offers an outstanding example of the CELDF “bait and switch” tactic, which is their modus operandi.
Medina County is a great example of this bait-and-switch campaign. When a pipeline was proposed recently, CELDF started a “property rights” campaign in that region, claiming that the so-called Community Bill of Rights would stop a pipeline regulated by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Of course, local laws do not supersede state or federal laws, and a pipeline that has been approved by FERC would not be impacted by a local ordinance.
Bizarrely, under the Medina County Community Bill of Rights, residents’ property rights would be given to nature, not the property owners. This is particularly interesting, as the Ohio organizer for CELDF used the issue of property rights as part of her so-called “bill of rights” lobby in Columbus just a few years ago, speaking to the importance of changing laws and property ownership.
The following is directly from the CELDF website:
“Moving from a Property, to a Rights Framework to Protect Nature”
“The Legal Defense Fund has assisted communities in the United States to craft first-in-the-nation laws that change the status of natural communities and ecosystems from being regarded as property under the law to being recognized as rights-bearing entities. “Those local laws recognize that natural communities and ecosystems possess an inalienable and fundamental right to exist and flourish, and that residents of those communities possess the legal authority to enforce those rights on behalf of those ecosystems. In addition, these laws require the governmental apparatus to remedy violations of those ecosystem rights. “In essence, these laws represent changes to the status of property law in the U.S., eliminating the authority of a property owner to interfere with the functioning of ecosystems and natural communities that exist and depend upon that property for their existence and flourishing. They do not stop development; rather they stop development and use of property that interferes with the existence and vitality of those ecosystems.” (emphasis added)
The bait in Medina County is a pipeline, which CELDF used as a means of pushing a policy that it said would protect property rights. The switch is then taking away constitutionally-protected property rights, and then granting those rights to ecosystems.
If you believe the CELDF is about property rights after reading that then I have a nice statue to sell you. It’s located on the border between New York and New Jersey and is a 305 feet tall portrayal of a lady holding high the torch of liberty, which, of course, the CELDF wants to extinguish, along with all property rights, so it can represent the rights of nature over man.
The best part of Jackie’s piece, though may be this video of Ben Price, who is Linzey’s wild-eyed cohort at the CELDF:
Listen carefully to this guy because he inadvertently exposes the deception behind the CELDF “community bill of rights” campaign. Jackie pulls out this revealing excerpt (emphasis added):
“The attorneys for our municipalities advise our local officials. Let’s talk about the attorney for the local municipalities for a minute. (Laughter)…if they are doing a really good job, who are they doing it for? The question is if they are doing a really good job, who are they doing it for? And the answer is. ..Their job is not to represent the rights and the interest of the members and the residents of the community. That’s not their job. As a matter of fact, they would not be serving their client correctly if that’s what they did. Their client is the municipal corporation who hires them.”
Got that? It’s not about the individuals who make up the community. It’s about lawyers representing the municipal corporation. The CELDF is more corporatist than the corporations it attacks; they at least have a responsibility to shareholders and customers but the CELDF, which hopes to serve as the municipal corporation’s lawyer, of course, seeks to be accountable only to itself as it squashes communities and the people in those communities in the radical pursuit of environmental nirvana at human expense. It’s 100% totalitarianism. It’s Marxist. It’s evil and it’s playing an evil con game; Uncle Screwtape unleashed.
Want to know more about the CELDF and it’s radical ways? Check out this list: