Judy Burges, Republican State Senator, Claims Agenda 21 Will Turn Arizona Into Commie-Land
Do you hear that? That's the sound of a black helicopter landing at the state capitol for the Senate Government and Environment Committee's hearing on a
conspiracy theory bill about the United Nations' "Agenda 21."
Yes, Republican state Senator Judy Burges is still trying to warn everyone that the United Nations is trying to turn Arizona into a land of communism like Brazil, which Burges insists is a communist nation, for some reason.
So, yesterday's hearing provided the perfect example of why people think Arizona's Legislature is a total nuthouse.
Burges' Senate Bill 1403 mandates that "the state of Arizona and all political subdivisions of this state shall not adopt or implement the creed, doctrine, principles or any tenet of the United Nations Rio Declaration on Environment and Development and the Statement of Principles for Sustainable Development adopted at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in June, 1992..."
What's wrong with this declaration, which Burges says "sounds absolutely wonderful on face value"?
Well, it's "sinister and dark," according to Burges. It says "people should be rounded up" and removed from land they own, it calls for a "redistribution of wealth," "will destroy Arizona business," and "control every aspect of our lives," Burges said in the committee hearing.
"I don't know what you call that, but I certainly call it communism," she said.
Believe it or not, most people would call it a conspiracy theory, and it's the second time this bill has been proposed in Arizona. It passed the Senate last time around, but was held in the House.
Now, Burges claims all this stuff is going on in Brazil, which she called a communist country where 7,500 people just had their homes bulldozed for no reason, and are now homeless.
You'll never believe this, but not only is Brazil not a communist country, the one and only source on the Internet of 7,500 newly homeless Brazilians is from the conspiracy-theory website, World Net Daily -- which cites "sources" in Brazil for its story.
Yet, somehow, people believe Burges is on the right track. As you can hear in the video of the meeting, people gave Burges a round of applause for spouting off her conspiracy theories.
The perfect example of how loony this conspiracy theory is was when tea partier Wes Harris took the microphone to explain his support of Burges' bill.
"You wanna see what Agenda 21 is?" he asked. "Just take a tour of downtown Phoenix."
Harris cited light rail, as well as "high-density apartments with Agenda 21 business establishments on the ground floor."
Harris continued to rant about "sustainability" -- a word he says "doesn't exist."
Harris continued to rant about how Arizona State University offers degrees in the supposedly imaginary field of sustainability, and somehow involves high school kids in it. After continued ranting, Harris got to his point.
"The U.N. is transforming your kids into climate change agents," he said, as we nearly pissed ourselves with laughter.
In response, Democratic Senator Steve Farley gave Harris a well-deserved (verbal) bitch-slap for his conspiracy theory about Phoenix already undergoing Agenda 21 implementation.
"Is it not possible that some of this development in downtown Phoenix is because people want to do that, because they can make some money in our capitalist system, because people like living in a loft space, being surrounded by lots of stuff to do, because they like not having to spend $12,000 a year owning and maintaining a car?" Farley asked. "Is it possible that people -- Americans -- could like to have a choice of something different, and want to live in a place like this?"
Harris' retort was that Agenda 21 forces everyone to live like people do in downtown Phoenix, because, um, because Agenda 21.
Several speakers, from state and local government organizations, insisted that their legal analysts found this bill conflicting with a lot of laws, since the language is really broad. When it was noted that all of the people speaking in opposition of Burges' bill had knowledge of the working of government, Republican Senator Kelli Ward suggested it's because they have been "rewarded" by the federal government and "other entities" for implementing Agenda 21.
It's Arizona, so don't kid yourself and think sanity prevailed in the end. The committee passed the bill 4-3.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Phoenix New Times' biggest stories.