Monday, August 29, 2005

Trees Don't Suck up Carbon Dioxide as Hoped

Though not related to this thread, but have you seen this Trees don't suck up carbon dioxide as hoped?
Even though the gist of the article is that trees do not sequester more CO2 with higher concentrations in the atmosphere, it stated "It also remains to be seen whether a fraction of all this extra carbon might be stored in the soil rather than in the trees. If so, there may still be cause to think that forests will suck up more carbon dioxide in a warming world."
My questions on this report is what happens to extra carbon in the ground? And secondly this appears that CO2 is not a limiting factor in these areas, but could this be a limiting factor in other locations? What I posit is that higher and the highest elevations could find dramatic increases in sequestering of CO2 (and thusly growth). In Alaska trees grow tall with little foilage or width, could this change?

And now for something completely different. Responses from my inquiries.
I hope that the responders do not mind me reprinting at this time their remarks.

The first is from The Commons Blog:

What happens to extra carbon in the ground?
It is stored. Think of water in a river. There is water input through rain, and output to the sea. Each water molecule stays in the river only for a while, but there is always water. Rivers store water. If you increase rain quantity you get more water "stored" in the river (flow increases). Of course there will be less water somewhere else (say, in glaciers). The same for soil. If you increase carbon inputs more than you increase outputs you get more carbon stored in the soil, and less carbon somewhere else (say, in the air).
Could CO2 be a limiting factor in other locations?
Yes, CO2 may be more limiting where the supply of phosphorus, nitrogen, etc., is greater, and maybe at those places increased CO2 may have a larger effect on plant growth. The case of water is more complex because when plants get CO2 they loose water (both cross the plant "skin" through the same pores). Increased CO2 in the air may help plants save more water, and thus grow better, because they have to open the pores less often to get the same amount of CO2. This positive effect of increased CO2 may be more important in more arid places.
For the other questions I don't know the answer.
Posted by Biopolitical at August 29, 2005 05:57 PM

And this is from the blogger of RoguePundit:

The opening sentence of the Nature article is certainly an overstatement...editorially misleading. Maybe the Swiss were tooting their own horns some, but there are a number of similar experiments ongoing in other areas (in many instances for much longer) with different climates, mixes of trees, more acreage, etc. A few don't just test with increased CO2 levels. One small Swiss study is enough to invalidate all that data? Ridiculous. Some global warming theorists don't want any acceptable global warming solutions which include adjusting to existing CO2 levels, much less future increases...they only want to change how we live to reduce CO2 emissions.

Nevertheless, the Swiss data is interesting...and overall we we are still in the very early stages of such research.

- The results of such research have generally shown that as CO2 levels increase, most trees increase their CO2 absorption up to a point...they can only absorb so much. With the extra CO2, they are indeed growing faster, showing that CO2 availability has been a limiting factor, at least in growth speed. I know that with some vegetables, they grow faster with more CO2, but end up less nutritious. I haven't seen anything that shows if the CO2-fertilized trees grow better wood or not (just more), if the trees are more or less succeptible to insects and diseases, etc.

- For some trees, the extra CO2 makes no difference...maybe as CO2 levels have risen, those trees have already exceeded their capacity, and/or maybe they never evolved to absorb all the CO2 available--something else is limiting their growth.

- One piece of research I saw recently showed that the trees tested could absorb more CO2, so long as ozone levels didn't rise much. Above a certain ozone level, that became a limiting factor for growth versus the availability of CO2. Switzerland has acid rain problems, so it's possible that a pollutant is a limiter there. The Swiss test offered no way of determining that.

Generally, healthy soil does sequester carbon, but slowly overall (basically, the build-up of topsoil). But, there's a balance between what soil can uptake and what various microbes, etc. release (like swamps and their methane gas production...too many nutrients and/or not enough oxygen in the muck). In some areas, the land naturally builds soil depth and in some places not. In jungles, there is little topsoil, in fair part because 70 percent of what we consider topsoil isn't on the ground but on the trees. That's part of the reason so many plants grow on jungle tree limbs...that's where a fair percentage of the leaf litter, animal poop, mosses, etc. are. It's also one of several reasons that deforestation can have more adverse results in tropical forests.

There are so many answers to questions like this, many of which we don't know yet. But, we do know that 30 percent of the CO2 that man releases into the atmosphere remains to be accounted trees, mountains, soils, etc. are likely absorbing much of it. The ocean doesn't seem to be absorbing more than we already know about.

I think at high elevations and closer to the poles, several things will be at play. As higher elevations and latitudes get warmer and have more CO2, larger plant growth ought to replace the more stunted variety...some will be the same species growing more rapidly, while others will be outcompeted by interlopers. The end result would be increased carbon sequestration via the greater biomass. In certain places, maybe the temperature and CO2 changes will result in the mossing and growing over of exposed rocks (like granites), which chemically react with the air and sequester carbon. And in places with cold standing water and permafrost, the frigid temperatures have prevented a lot of the organic material from rotting. Additional warmth will change that, releasing more global warming gasses into the atmostphere (at least until the supply of nutrients has been exhausted). Et cetera. Ultimately, I agree that the colder climes will end up sequestering more carbon, but I doubt that will come close to offsetting the increased production.

Hope this wordy response helped some.

Friday, August 26, 2005

101st Fighting Keyboardists

It seems to be ever since Michael Moore did "Farenheit 911" the left has attacked the right for what it feels is not sacrificing enough. As we remember from that movie Michael approached members of congress and asked if they wanted to sign up their sons and daughters. And the left also mentions Bush's daughters as well as any second cousins they can find.
At first I too was thinking they may have some valid points, but today I wanted to make 3 points why these arguments lack any substance.
The first is that the sons and daughters can not be conscripted because of the parents wishes. They are not chattel that the parents can sign their rights away. Even for children under 18, parents are required to sign a waiver but the ultimate decision is the person elisting.
The second point relates to the economic principle of public good. National defense of course being a public good that is non-excludable and non-rivalrous. Once national defense is in place it protects Bill Gates, Bill Clinton and Bill Rutherford (No relation but a friend from Middle School) equally. Since there is a problem of free riders, the government raises taxes based on income or sins to pay for these services. As in Cindy Sheehans does not want to pay her taxes or even her past tax liens since 1996. Since the military is an all volunteer army, there can also be a tendency for free riders in the sense that someone else can sacrifice and why should I and my family. Luckily patriotism and some monetary incentives overcome most enlistment problems. So what does this have to do with "101st Fighting Keyboardists"? I see that both sides are accusing the other side of free riding. The left feels that why should their young die for someone else's war, as Kos tries to imply. But looking at the map it really does not show the correlation they are trying to show. As pointed out by Burtonia Blogs by showing casualties by states and deaths per 100 thousand. But many posters asked if it could be broken down by counties. And in response to "101st Fighting Keyboardists" question, the Jawa Report polls the blogs. So in conclusion the left feels the right is gaining a free ride by not signing up more, but the left is free riding by not supporting the efforts of the military to make us safer for all US citizens. And hat tip to RedState.
This leads into my posit that Democrats are jealous little kids. First I found the But SHE got a 2nd Visit With Bush!?! which trackbacked to Widow Met With Bush Twice... that they pointed to this article. And what was so bad...It was the second time Dawn Rowe and her children had met the commander and chief. They first met him last December when he visited the Marine base at Twentynine Palms near her home in Yucca Valley, Calif.
Reid said it best in a telephone interview "You go where you feel like you're wanted." Do I go down the street with the mean dog or the dog that wags it tail? Do I help the customer more that waits in line and respects my opinion or to the customer that screams and shouts at me? It is only human nature to go toward things that make you feel better. Do I go to a dentist that hurts me or one that is gentle to me and treats me in the upmost respect?
Lastly, I want to go back to the scenario that Michael Moore sets up for a straw man argument in implying the people for war should enlist their children. But you will say he just wants them to talk to their children that this is a career choice and to discuss these possibilities with their children. Now let us say the President and members of congress follows this advice. What would we now expect? The President to come out and say why his daughters said no. Since the left has been talking about privacy recently (John Roberts) does this not fall into this realm? Would we expect private matters to be discussed openly and thus create an expose of what the most private of conversations are talked about inside the family.
I never wanted to know what Hillary said to her husband. It was not my business. Now some will argue that the Bush twins are open to the public scrutiny since they campaigned for their father. But only on issues dealing with what they do in public or relavent to the public domaine. For example, here and here and (I am sorry but this is funny?) here.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Freedom and environmental protection

I lost my last edited post by not saving my changes and additions in Blogger.
But let me try to expand on some of my points.
Jon Christensen, I do not know of a direct study and if I have time I may be able to create a correlation between Freedom House (The Excel sheet can be changed and manipulated)study and The World Conversation Union with Report ranks 180 countries on sustainable development: Sweden in 1st place, Canada 7th, Germany 13th, Australia 18th, Japan 24th, and the USA 27th (Microsoft word doc). But I will keep looking.
I have seen the problem brewing in Zimbabwe for some time, and as there freedom surfers so will their environment. If Zimbabwe can force resettlement andcleanup and more 'cleanup' all the while getting protection money from their rackets and willing to sell (um give) their resources to a Communist China, what do you think they will do with their environemt?
The book Free Market Environmentalism has been an inspiration to me since it was assigned in my graduate level class of "Economics for Public Policy". I will not bore with every time "Tragedy of the Commons" has occured with undefined or poor enforcement of property rights, but let me show one location Togo: Almost Club Med.
I agree that Northern Plains Resource Council is the type of environmental group that even Terry L. Anderson would support. But I am not sure how many on this site would agree with " Northern Plains has taken the lead in ensuring coal bed methane is developed responsibly in Montana." Why not responsible development of ANWR. Which ties in with what gaelwolf said, (sorry to paraphrase but studying ecnomics I would say) that we are "exporting our environmental damages".
As a side note property rights can answer some of the reasons why Alaska actually is resisting coal bed methane development but over 80% behind ANWR exploration and drilling. The mineral rights under the ground are owned by the state, but oil revenues on the government land provides the funds not only to pay all state expenses but gives a dividend to every citizen of Alaska. Thus methane leases can be purchased and developed without the surface owners even knowing of the sale of the lease. The owners of the land may not feel compensated in just amounts.
Thank you Dr. Christensen.


Of course I can bore you with all the travesties these adecisions have caused but that's for another day(or at least later on this post)... But this should cheer you up: News June 24, 2005 Bush May Condemn and Seize Supreme Court

by Scott Ott

"In the spirit of the new government takeover of American homes and businesses," said President George Bush, "We may have to seize the moment to condemn some aging, faded and blighted elements of the Supreme Court. Then we can replace them with something that will serve public purposes."

The first point I want to make is "Sometimes the best rulings are defined by the range of people who are disappointed in it. By that standard, this is is a home run." This mostly applies to the Legislature where compromises lead to no one being happy but for the Judicial Branch where a yes or no can lead to everyone being unhappy (and still rightly so) except for the minority that won the case.

The first thing I would like to bring up is other voices on this subject (Besides my friend Karl). From the environmentalist (Most that I visit had no post.):

Montgomery County Green Party :No One's Property Is Safe (& that includes nature preserves)

The Seattle Times: Taking a wrecking ball to property rights. Where: "The issue has united people from both ends of the political spectrum, from the libertarian Institute of Justice to former Green Party candidate Ralph Nader. Nader, in his recent book on corporate welfare, deplored the business-political backrubbing exercise that makes a habit of condemning low-income property for the convenience of corporations. That it is done for the sake of community development is often a canard, he adds."

From Free Market Environmentalists The Commons (Markets Protecting the Environment) Posts: Landowners Lose!

They also have this: The Ideal Communist City.

And lastly from the Economists:

Tech Central Station in They Can't Take That Away From Me... Unless They Can: "Unfortunately, the requirement to pay fair market value is a grossly inadequate safeguard on government power for two reasons. First, it fails to take into account the subjective valuations placed on the New London property by people whose families have lived on the land, in at least one case, for a 100 years. In other words, the government now will be able to seize land at a price considerably below the reservation price of the owners."

Links to Economist in Despotism by stealth: "Otherwise, argues Scott Bullock, Mrs Kelo's lawyer, you end up destroying private property rights altogether. For if the sole yardstick is economic benefit, any house can be replaced at any time by a business or shop (because they usually produce more tax revenues). Moreover, if city governments can seize private property by claiming a public benefit which they themselves determine, where do they stop? If they decide it is in the public interest to encourage locally-owned shops, what would prevent them compulsorily closing megastores, or vice versa? This is central planning."

And TCS links to Slate in Condemn-Nation This land was your land, but now it's my land:

"And O'Connor offers this concrete example: What if there's a Motel 6 but the city thinks a Ritz-Carlton will generate more taxes? Is that OK?

Yes, says Horton.

"So you can always take from A and give to B if B pays more taxes?" asks Scalia.

"If they are significantly more taxes," says Horton"

And there is some support to come from a small group of Progressives. The American Prospect in NOTHING WRONG WITH KELO: "But the New London government didn't give the land to private developers to do with it as they please, with a vague hope that the profits would redound on the community; they shifted control to a development agency commissioned by the city to carry out a government-approved plan."

And links to TPM Café and Ezra Klein in Takings and the Public Interest: "[t]he disposition of this case therefore turns on the question whether the City's development plan serves a 'public purpose.' Without exception, our cases have defined that concept broadly, reflecting our longstanding policy of deference to legislative judgments in this field."

And now for something completely different:

reason hit and run in Flying Dragons of Fury vs. Warlords of the Forbidden City: For the second time, peasants have turned back an attack by goons trying to clear them out to make room for a state-owned power plant.

The farmers fight back against the attackers with wooden poles and pitchforks. At one point, they knock down one of the assailants and club him repeatedly as he lies motionless on the ground. The four-minute videotape abruptly ends when the farmer with the digital video camera is forced to flee from the assailants. He reportedly suffered a broken arm in the battle.

Of the six slain farmers, most reportedly died from bullet or stab wounds. One of the attackers also died, the Beijing News reported.

Now that we have had some more voices into this converstation let me explain why in economics it is bad. One of the basic posits of economics is free trade (no coercive  elements) makes both parties better off. As long as there is common ground where reserve prices (lowest price for seller and highest for buyer) overlap then a trade will occur. In this case the holdouts reserve price (if there was one) was above the reserve price of buyers. This is where the buyers failed to allow non-economic factors to enter into negotiations. I have not studied enough on the holdout problem to come up with the best solution, but just because it was difficult to negotiate a settlement with holdout does not mean that eminent domain use was neccesary.

I will be refering to state ruling since I did not have a chance to read Supreme Court Decision at FindLaw:

A more refined and narrow definition of "public use" is the concept of public goods. The Economist asks some questions on this:"This sounds technical, but it involves fundamental issues. When may the government overrule private property rights for the sake of the public good ? What constitutes "the public good" in such a case? Does it make any difference whether that good is delivered by a public or a private entity?" This wording is better IMO than the judges using "public purpose" or "public benefit".

As in: "Economic growth and its encouragement, especially in distressed municipalities is a valid public use because it obviously confers a benefit to all members of the public." In which I say NO! Those that lost their homes lost utility. No? Is trickle down theory going to be used here to justify takings? It would be hard pressed to show that all members of society benefited from these takings. If free trade with well defined property rights had occurred I would say yes.

This leads to my point that the individuals that had their property taken were not compensated in a "just" way. As noted earlier if holdouts do not present an offer that the seller can agree to then the seller should seek alternative ways to solve "their" problem. In economics we care little about where the development will occur, as long as it is in the most efficient location available. If there is no location that can suit the "plan" then the plan should not be done. Just as if the interest rate rises will mean less projects will be undertaken since less plans will create economic profits.

Show me the money!

These "plans" according to opinion: "Funds need not be on hand, nor do plans and specifications need to be prepared for a condemnor to determine the necessity of a taking; in fact, it is the duty of public official to look to the future and plan for the future." Which was used to justify advanced taking of parkland. This leads to fallow ground used in the most inefficient use of resources. Some of the lots in question were not even included into the master plan (with no formal site plan) and were to be used for future plans to be decided later in either "park support" or "marina support". The owners gave alternatives to this parking lot option which was rejected for being inconvenient and difficult. The proposed plans only need to be "reasonable assurances" of future public use.

Let me spell this out in a scenario: Kmart sees the lots next to it (track homes or fallow or small business) and decides it will make a "plan" to create a Big K. Now as long as they can prove projected public benefit with a proposed plan they can start to develop it. Since no real money is used to get the land and no development is actually going to take place...They just wanted to prevent Walmart from coming in next door.

In this plan Pfizer (the purpose of the development) did not insist on the taking of all the houses. Their 3 demands with no monetary compesation other that promises were: wastewater facility upgraded, state park restored and significant local investment. These demand could have been accomplished without taking all lots and Pfizer only tangentially benefited from development of parcels and office space.

Many have stated on both sides this will lead to whatever creates the most value of the land. But the courts have allowed public use to include parks and other uses that benefit the public at large. For in this case, the Italian Dramatic Club's house was spared to "placate important political interests". This violated the 14th amendment for equal protection according to plaintiffs. It is unlikely that the could justify on economic terms so they refered to the proposed "plan" to say it was in the spirit of community. I wonder if this was a house of KKK or Black Panthers or Minutemen or any group out of graces with the local community would stay?

Let me go back to The American Prospect's point that a "development agency commissioned by the city to carry out a government-approved plan" would be alright. This I think actually makes it worse in the sense of one more level of bureaucracy and allows the developers to more easily back out of the project if something changes to not make the project economically feasible. If the latter happens then the commission can "then appoint a new development agency". Which is no guarantee the project would go forward then. The end result would be no homes and no development!

Since the local government already has the police state to persuade you to move, I don't think takings should be used unless absolutely necessary. In Santa Barbara they recently condemned some ocean bluff houses. Some owners stated they were safe on pylons that would support the structures even if all the sand underneath washed away. But now the properties are worthless without the houses being livable. And of course it so happened the city council wants to put a park in that area. Coincidence??? Is this a taking?

And now back to the courts that want to get into every decision based on its merits without regard to the Constitution  as in: "The sole dependence must be on the presumed wisdom of the sovereign authority, supervised, and in the cases of gross error or extreme wrong, controlled by the dispassionate judgement of the courts." And the State also said about the plaintiffs: "bears the heavy burden of proving unconstitutionality beyond a reasonble doubt. The burden of proving unconstitutional is especially heavy when, as at the juncture, a statute is challenged as being unconstitutional on its face."

P.S. (3-07-06): Maybe it's time to take a Mulligan on the Kelo decision.
Very funny use of the takings to convert a private golf course to a public one. And of course as I mentioned earlier the only criteria is increases in the tax base.

But this decision should have been settled by Coarse Theorem. The people that wanted to pay to have it converted would pay the owners to do so. And somewhere along the many possible solutions would be a Pareto Optimum point that would increase the utility (profits) of all parties concerned.

PS (6-20-07): From Audrey

I've been out to the Kelo house because my sister lives in that town. This is the house that was being seized because it was a "blight" or some such thing:

What a lot of people didn't realize if they didn't live in that area was that New London's done this a number of times. A few of the people forced out of their homes had lived in other houses in town, and they were evicted by the city from those homes, and so they moved to the new ones, and then were evicted from those houses as well.

In one of the earlier rounds they were displaced supposedly for some big development project, but then that was *surprise* canceled after they were evicted. This is what one of the earlier seized neighborhoods looks like now:

Other examples of trying to exterminate the poor, as well as people of color from New London include engaging in harassment campaigns by bringing in cops from other cites, voting to completely eliminate the Social Services department, shutting down shelters run by volunteers, and so forth. The details on each of those are ugly.

The kelo house was being seized so they could develop the waterfront to attract clients for Pfizer Corporation.

One of the people pushing the project was the head of the New London Development Commission, Claire Gaudiani, who writes "Anything that's working in our great nation is working because somebody left skin on the sidewalk."

She carefully uses passive voice there, avoiding the question of how that skin got left on the sidewalk.

Her husband, David Burnett, is a Pfizer executive.

Forgive Us Our Debts

Dear Jon Christensen:

I am sure there is much I could learn from your study of history with specialties in History of conservation, the science of conservation biology, and measuring conservation. But today I want to expand your radar screen more (if that is possible).
The most important aspect of expanding environmental protection and healing parts of our world is the spread of Democracy around the world (Democratic Peace). If we are to treat the world as a metaphore for an island, then let us look at a situation in one island Haiti/Dominican Republic. I could not find any of the satellite pictures I had seen before from NOAA but this article explains the difference. Let us now look at Freedom House and then clicking on FH Country Rankings and downloading the Microsoft Exel table. Just using a simple average of the 32 years of surveys done we can see that the freedom rating for DR is just under 2 1/2 and Haiti is almost 6.
Each country is assigned a rating for political rights and a rating for civil liberties based on a scale of 1 to 7, with 1 representing the highest degree of freedom present and seven the lowest level of freedom.US and Iceland are examples of pure freedom with a ranking of 1 and Zimbabwe coming in a over 5 and the perfect score of 7 going to North Korea.
Do you think environmental protection may be correlated in a direct proportion to freedom?

Sunday, August 14, 2005

AlsoAlso: Lies and Damn Lies

I liked the post by PeakLimiter so much I had to include it here. I am not sure where he got it but it has some very interesting quotes.

Some more Lies" for you to track. Remember these???? Most likely not as you on the left are selectivly, voluntarily ignorant

One way or the other, we are determined to deny Iraq the capacity to develop weapons of mass destruction and the missiles to deliver them. That is our bottom line.” - President Clinton, Feb. 4, 1998

“If Saddam rejects peace and we have to use force, our purpose is clear. We want to seriously diminish the threat posed by Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction program.” - President Clinton, Feb. 17, 1998

Iraq is a long way from [here], but what happens there matters a great deal here. For the risks that the leaders of a rogue state will use nuclear, chemical or biological weapons against us or our allies is the greatest security threat we face.” - Madeline Albright, Feb 18, 1998

“He will use those weapons of mass destruction again, as he has ten time since 1983.” - Sandy Berger, Clinton National Security Adviser, Feb 18,1998

“[W]e urge you, after consulting with Congress, and consistent with the US Constitution and laws, to take necessary actions (including, if appropriate, air and missile strikes on suspect Iraqi sites) to respond effectively to the threat posed by Iraq’s refusal to end its weapons of mass destruction programs.” - Letter to President Clinton, signed by Sens. Carl Levin (D-MI), Tom Daschle (D-SD), John Kerry (D - MA), and others Oct. 9,1998

“Saddam Hussein has been engaged in the development of weapons of mass destruction technology which is a threat to countries in the region and he has made a mockery of the weapons inspection process.” - Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D, CA), Dec. 16, 1998

“Hussein has chosen to spend his money on building weapons of mass destruction and palaces for his cronies.” - Madeline Albright, Clinton Secretary of State, Nov. 10, 1999

“There is no doubt that … Saddam Hussein has invigorated his weapons programs. Reports indicate that biological, chemical and nuclear programs continue apace and may be back to pre-Gulf War status. In addition, Saddam continues to redefine delivery systems and is doubtless using the cover of a licit missile program to develop longer-range missiles that will threaten the United States and our allies.” - Letter to President Bush, Signed by Sen. Bob Graham (D, FL,) and others, December 5, 2001

“We begin with the common belief that Saddam Hussein is a tyrant and threat to the peace and stability of the region. He has ignored the mandated of the United Nations and is building weapons of mass destruction and the means of delivering them.” - Sen. Carl Levin (D, MI), Sept. 19, 2002

“We know that he has stored secret supplies of biological and chemical weapons throughout his country.” - Al Gore, Sept. 23, 2002

“Iraq’s search for weapons of mass destruction has proven impossible to deter and we should assume that it will continue for as long as Saddam is in power.” - Al Gore, Sept. 23, 2002

“We have known for many years that Saddam Hussein is seeking and developing weapons of mass destruction.” - Sen. Ted Kennedy (D, MA), Sept. 27, 2002

“The last UN weapons inspectors left Iraq in October of 1998. We are confident that Saddam Hussein retains some stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons, and that he has since embarked on a crash course to build up his chemical and biological warfare capabilities. Intelligence reports indicate that he is seeking nuclear weapons…” - Sen. Robert Byrd (D, WV), Oct. 3, 2002

“I will be voting to give the President of the United States the authority to use force- if necessary- to disarm Saddam Hussein because I believe that a deadly arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in his hands is a real and grave threat to our security.” - Sen. John F. Kerry (D, MA), Oct. 9, 2002

“There is unmistakable evidence that Saddam Hussein is working aggressively to develop nuclear weapons and will likely have nuclear weapons within the next five years .. We also should remember we have always underestimated the progress Saddam has made in development of weapons of mass destruction."- Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D, WV), Oct 10, 2002

“He has systematically violated, over the course of the past 11 years, every significant UN resolution that has demanded that he disarm and destroy his chemical and biological weapons, and any nuclear capacity. This he has refused to do” - Rep. Henry Waxman (D, CA), Oct. 10, 2002

“In the four years since the inspectors left, intelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weapons stock, his missile delivery capability, and his nuclear program. He has also given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists, including Al Qaeda members.. It is clear, however, that if left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will continue to increase his capacity to wage biological and chemical warfare, and will keep trying to develop nuclear weapons.” - Sen. Hillary Clinton (D, NY), Oct 10, 2002

“We are in possession of what I think to be compelling evidence that Saddam Hussein has, and has had for a number of years, a developing capacity for the production and storage of weapons of mass destruction.” - Sen. Bob Graham (D, FL), Dec. 8, 2002

“Without question, we need to disarm Saddam Hussein. He is a brutal, murderous dictator, leading an oppressive regime … He presents a particularly grievous threat because he is so consistently prone to miscalculation … And now he is miscalculating America’s response to his continued deceit and his consistent grasp for weapons of mass destruction .. So the threat of Saddam Hussein with weapons of mass destruction is real” - Sen. John F. Kerry (D, MA), Jan. 23. 2003

Posted by: PeakLimiter | August 13, 2005 11:02 AM

From Words of Mass Destruction. HT slacker 1960.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Markets/Democracy Protecting the Enviroment

Ever since my graduate level class of Economics for Public Policy, I have had an interest at how free market economics can promote better use of the environment. As such, I love your web site.
Web sites that I have visited that promote similar sound environmental policies are: Greenspirit, Roguepundit, A World Connected, A Better Earth, and lastly Eco-Imperialism has some good articles.
But in addition to economic freedom, we need to address the issues of good governance which is most easily done with Democratic Peace. Which I posted about at RDRutherford and at comments at Grist. The study that Jon links to states "Corruption Top Threat to African Animals, Study Says" but by Democratic Peace standards these countries are not free. Thusly corruption is most likely to go down under a liberal democracy.
Not withstanding the commentators at Grist that fail to look at the whole picture, I think that Jon Christensen and the bloggers at the "The Commons" are right on the money.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Environmentalist looks at Corruption

A study on Corruption by the way of Grist about Forgive Us Our Debts should be some interesting reading.
While Democratic Peace does not address the issue of corruption, we can see that none of the corrupt nations mentioned were free and most of the ones mentioned were partial free (5) with Kenya doing a lot to get better. Thus it leaves the worst of the group of three as Zimbabwe, Haiti, and Cameroon. This brings up an issue of the differences of Haiti and Dominican Republic. Dr. Rummel I would love to hear your take on these two nations if you have not done so already.
IMO, Democracies can still be corrupt as in places like India, but tend to be much more likely to combat it and to reduce this problem in the long run. We can even see how politicians in the US are constantly hounded for junkets and whether they followed all the various rules on who, when and how they can be used.

And now for something completely different...
I love that phrase.

I liked your blog entry and wish more environmentalist believed that and followed your advice. This is especially insightful:"Good governance -- which starts with free and fair elections, an independent judiciary, a free press, and property rights -- needs to be pushed further to embrace conservation of ecosystem services and biodiversity through good laws, adequate administration, and practical incentives that work for people on the land."
Democratic Peace would also agree with you. While the study you link to looks at corruption, all of us including Dr. Rummel would say democracies lead to the things that make environmental progress possible. As the phrase goes "Wealthy makes Healthy". Bringing the poor up and giving them opportunities in democracies are the best way to avoid wars and famines and environmental damages. This is better than handouts to corrupt and not free nations.
I am surprised but happy that you used the phrase "property rights". In addition to having a stable democracy, having well defined property rights are important in protecting the environment and avoiding problems of "tragedy of the commons".
I have more to say on this subject but this is enough for now.

Monday, August 08, 2005


There is some interesting conversations about It was Democide. But, Justification?.
I know this won't be a full blog session now but wanted to use this format to type a response:
Even though I have not studied WWII as much as Mr. Rummel, I still agree with Mark and that we could not believe what the Japanese were saying or what they said their intentions were.
If we commited democide in WWII and Korean and Vietnam and 1/2 million in Iraq and Native American Indian massacres... Then are we any better for being a democracy? Is the basic meme of this web site in question? Are we committing democide in North Korea by enforcing an embargo? And Mr. Rummel seemed to avoid my question as to whether us ending the war early created a democracy. I know that I am using the end justifies the means but could not help it.
Mr. Rummel, after reading your arguments you may be correct that we should have targeted military targets instead of the two cities for the A-bomb. But then the questions are: were there large enough targets to justify the use of an a-bomb, and would contamination have been worse in a bay or open area? I believe that we wanted to cripple them and not destroy them as in bombing the Tokyo Bay.
The Japanese civilians had no direct say in their government, but all governments must have some level of support (or at least capitulation and acquiescence) or it will collapse. I have wondered about what level of support does a government need. If we were to use this same theory of victimhood and "mindless obedience" of the civilian population, we could use this same concept to the people in the military also. Many Japanese soldiers did not want to carry out their orders also. Should we have not killed them? Many of them did not have guns or weapons on them also. We saw that a majority of military in WWI did not fire at the enemy with very few actually doing the killing.
To bring up the children only clouds the distinctions, for the children suffer for the sins of their fathers all the time. My father wanted a farm and as a result I was unable to study as much and participate in sports.
My last point is that of Star Trek in the episode of A Taste of Armageddon. "Spock realizes that the war is being fought by computers which calculate casualties and that the citizens who are declared "dead" are then required to report to disintegration chambers." Thus the whole population did not have to suffer, just the victims. In WWI was a good example of this happening. The "home front" did not feel the effects of a war and just continually sent men to die for little tracts of land that had no value. Some battlefields had more deaths than men able to stand shoulder to shoulder there. And of course the book "All Quiet on the Western Front" dramatizes this. Even if all human right organizations want us to treat everyone with the utmost care, we live in the real world.
I hope in studying all the US atrocities you do not succomb to the dark side. :)

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Communities, shared spaces and weblog reading, I

Some of the first posts here will be prior writings that I have posted elsewhere.
I want to archive some stuff. But feel free to comment at any time.

The Problem

Thank you so much for an opportunity to discuss some aspects of weblogs.

I too am learning about blogs and have no great insight about making a blog top the charts. Sorry. But please read on…

The first point I want to make is the concept of blogs being communities Communities, shared spaces and weblog reading. If blogs are little microcisms of society with no boundries, then how does the individual find his “home” and his relationship to his neighbors?

"Can blogging replace communities of practice?" says it nicely about prior attempts to create virtual communities...

Before the development of weblogs, "online community" tools like forums, mailing lists and bulletin boards were predominantly used for community building. Experience seems to show that weblogs are proving far more effective in creating meaningful interpersonal connections than centralized community spaces on the web. Can networks of bloggers be seen as the future of online communities?

I thinks the writer didn't address the other virtual communities such as friendster or Tickle. But let us get back to questions of blogs and how to find the right one.

There seems to be a plethora of search engines and directories (also) and getting RSS feeds and table of contents and weblog ranking system and monitor and keep an eye on your favorite weblogs or create your own Bloglines page and lastly reviews of blogs and of note The GeoURL ICBM Address Server.

But do any of these help you find the right weblog for yourself and where you will feel at home? What is the best way to find alsoalso? Can a key word search find it? Will reading every review in chronological order do it? Will looking through directories find it? Which category will it be in? In Blogorama they have categories: feminism, left, right, and policy. For PunditDrome: liberal, conservative, GLB&TG and centrist/libertarian. Which brings up how do centrist and libertarians get put in the same category? Which one does Also Also fit into?

For now I don't see a good way for customers (potential residents) to find the house (blog or community of blogs) of their dreams. Now it comes down to either picking the highest ranked or most linked or most traffic etc. Instead of doing the random walk of a drunk, it would be nice to direct an individual in the right direction. (Not noted above) there is some attempts to follow behind the footseps of someone else that came before you as in a search party or social bookmarks.

One last question for now. I have been trying to do a taxonomy of the political blogs as my first step into 10 or less categories.

What I think will cover the political spectrum without breaking into advocacy groups is:






*Green/Environmental/Animal Rights




*Advocacy (Including religion, GLB, feminism)

What do you think?

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Issues that I hope to look into. First blog.

Hello everyone:
I know, no one is here. But after blogging on other blogs for the last year, I thought I would try this.
Some of the issues I will be discussing on this blog:
  1. The ???????? of Friends of
  2. International Trade. Since I will be studying it for at least two years for a masters degree at University of London.
  3. Blogging as a community endeavor which I have discussed at my dailykos diary.
  4. After being inspired by Democratic Peace, I would like to post about democracies and explore if the media is biased against these forms of governments?
  5. Anything else that may come up that interests me. Like the Kelo decision by SCOTUS.

I hope to have as much freedom for those that post comments that I expect at the blogs that I visit. So for now I am not spelling out any rules other than don't do anything that your mother would dissaprove.