Citizens who voted to declare Grant County a United Nations-free zone have endured the rampant ridicule of onlookers. However, some of the critics - myself included, I must admit - may end up laughing out the other side of our mouths before it's all said and done.

Many of us chortled at the notion of "black helicopters" swooping down on Grant County and "blue-helmeted troops" halting at our borders by order of the county sheriff. Of course, these scenarios are outlandish. But on a more serious note, bureaucrats in different levels of our government have allowed the United Nations into our lives in a more subtle, but equally dangerous way. Our agencies have begun to contract a pernicious disease I call "U.N. influenza."

First, it was the Environmental Protection Agency fueling news reports in June that the Bush administration had acknowledged for the first time that U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, the so-called global warming phenomenon, will increase significantly over the next two decades, due mostly to human activities.

Alan Caruba, writing for the Paragon Foundation, based in Alamogordo, N.M., denounced the EPA report that led to this declaration.

"Bush has vigorously and publicly rejected the global warming theory and any possibility of United States' participation in the United Nations' Kyoto Treaty on Climate Control," Caruba wrote.

"The EPA has now issued a report saying you are personally responsible for global warming. The truth is that the earth has been warming for about 12,000 years and, if it weren't, there would be a glacier sitting where New York City can be found. The long, natural warming cycle accounts for the rise of human civilization. A bit more warming would provide longer growing seasons for food crops and forests. The truth is the earth has not warmed dramatically for the past half century and, prior to that, experienced a perfectly normal fluctuation of about one-degree Fahrenheit between 1850 and 1950. That's what the earth does and what it has been doing for 5.4 billion years."

Of course, the Kyoto Treaty is an effort by the United Nations to promote its anti-capitalistic, anti-industrial agenda. So how did this particular disease infect the EPA?

Caruba blamed director Christie Whitman.

"It is time to fire the EPA's Christie Whitman for failing to support the Bush administration's policies and for putting the nation in the position of having endorsed the view that human activity is causing global warming. That's what the EPA's Climate Action Report 2002 does, and it's on record with the United Nations," writes Caruba.

Unfortunately, U.N. influenza did not confine itself to our nation's capital. Even the State of Oregon has been diagnosed with early signs of the infection. In a May/June 2002 newsletter, Oregonians in Action wrote: "The Oregon Board of Forestry recently adopted seven 'goals' it intends to include in its 2003 Forestry Program for Oregon which will shape policies and rules governing private forest land throughout the state. The seven goals were based on United Nations policies that emerged from an environmental conference in Rio de Janeiro that was dominated by extreme environmentalists and has been denounced by the Bush administration."

The goals include:

"Protect, maintain and restore biological diversity."

"Protect, maintain and restore forest ecosystems' health and vitality."

"Maintain and enhance forest contributions to global carbon cycles."

While harmless sounding on the surface, OIA notes that these goals smack of extreme political correctness, and set the stage for an attitude that "tree harvesting is frowned upon as unnatural."

When Rep. Betsy L. Close, assistant majority leader in the Oregon Legislature, caught wind of the OIA's article, she fired off a memo to the Natural Resources Committee of the Oregon House of Representatives. She wrote: "As you can see by the enclosed article, I was not the only one objecting to the 'goals.' I believe this is a dangerous precedent in our state. I hope you will join me in opposing them where we can."

So, influence in this country by the United Nations is not just a figment of someone's imagination. When our elected representatives voice concern about U.N. policies seeping into our state agencies, it's time to take a harder look.

Voters of Grant County may endure more jokes about black helicopters and peacekeepers crossing county borders. Voters who supported the anti-U.N. measure may continue to be depicted as rednecks and reactionaries suffering from paranoid delusions.

But these same voters may end up telling the rest of us, "We told you so," when global-warming policies and new U.N.-inspired forestry mandates lower our standard of living and add to the red tape already burdening our industries.  

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