Thursday, December 11, 2008


231-Page Report Now Available: More Than 650 Scientists Dissent Over Warming Claims
Thursday, December 11, 2008

Contact: Marc Morano (202) 224-5762
Matt Dempsey (202) 224-9797
U. S. Senate Minority Report:

More Than 650 International Scientists Dissent Over Man-Made Global Warming Claims

Scientists Continue to Debunk "Consensus" in 2008

Link to Full Printable PDF Report


Over 650 dissenting scientists from around the globe challenged man-made global warming claims made by the United Nations Intergovernemntal Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and former Vice President Al Gore. This new 231-page U.S. Senate Minority Report report -- updated from 2007's groundbreaking report of over 400 scientists who voiced skepticism about the so-called global warming "consensus" -- features the skeptical voices of over 650 prominent international scientists, including many current and former UN IPCC scientists, who have now turned against the UN IPCC. This updated report includes an additional 250 (and growing) scientists and climate researchers since the initial release in December 2007. The over 650 dissenting scientists are more than 12 times the number of UN scientists (52) who authored the media-hyped IPCC 2007 Summary for Policymakers.

The chorus of skeptical scientific voices grow louder in 2008 as a steady stream of peer-reviewed studies, analyses, real world data and inconvenient developments challenged the UN and former Vice President Al Gore's claims that the "science is settled" and there is a "consensus." On a range of issues, 2008 proved to be challenging for the promoters of man-made climate fears. Promoters of anthropogenic warming fears endured the following: Global temperatures failing to warm; Peer-reviwed studies predicting a continued lack of warming; a failed attempt to revive the discredited "Hockey Stick"; inconvenient developments and studies regarding CO2; the Sun; Clouds; Antarctica; the Arctic; Greenland; Mount Kilimanjaro; Hurricanes; Extreme Storms; Floods; Ocean Acidification; Polar Bears; lack of atmosphieric dust; the failure of oceans to warm and rise as predicted.

In addition, the following developments further secured 2008 as the year the "consensus" collapsed. Russian scientists "rejected the very idea that carbon dioxide may be responsible for global warming". An American Physical Society editor conceded that a "considerable presence" of scientific skeptics exist. An International team of scientists countered the UN IPCC, declaring: "Nature, Not Human Activity, Rules the Climate". India Issued a report challenging global warming fears. International Scientists demanded the UN IPCC "be called to account and cease its deceptive practices," and a canvass of more than 51,000 Canadian scientists revealed 68% disagree that global warming science is "settled."

This new report issued by the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee's office of the GOP Ranking Member is the latest evidence of the growing groundswell of scientific opposition challenging significant aspects of the claims of the UN IPCC and Al Gore. Scientific meetings are now being dominated by a growing number of skeptical scientists. The prestigious International Geological Congress, dubbed the geologists' equivalent of the Olympic Games, was held in Norway in August 2008 and prominently featured the voices of scientists skeptical of man-made global warming fears. [See Full report Here: & see: Skeptical scientists overwhelm conference: '2/3 of presenters and question-askers were hostile to, even dismissive of, the UN IPCC' ]

Even the mainstream media has begun to take notice of the expanding number of scientists serving as "consensus busters." A November 25, 2008 article in Politico noted that a "growing accumulation" of science is challenging warming fears, and added that the "science behind global warming may still be too shaky to warrant cap-and-trade legislation." Canada's Financial Post noted on October 20, 2008, that "the number of climate change skeptics is growing rapidly." New York Times environmental reporter Andrew Revkin noted on March 6, 2008, "As we all know, climate science is not a numbers game (there are heaps of signed statements by folks with advanced degrees on all sides of this issue)," Revkin wrote. (LINK) In 2007, Washington Post Staff Writer Juliet Eilperin conceded the obvious, writing that climate skeptics "appear to be expanding rather than shrinking."

Skeptical scientists are gaining recogniction despite what many say is a bias against them in parts of the scientific community and are facing significant funding disadvantages. Dr. William M. Briggs, a climate statistician who serves on the American Meteorological Society's Probability and Statistics Committee, explained that his colleagues described "absolute horror stories of what happened to them when they tried getting papers published that explored non-'consensus' views." Briggs, in a March 4, 2008, report, described the behavior as "really outrageous and unethical behavior on the parts of some editors. I was shocked." (LINK) [Note: An August 2007 report detailed how proponents of man-made global warming fears enjoy a monumental funding advantage over skeptical scientists. LINK and a July 2007 Senate report detailing how skeptical scientists have faced threats and intimidation - LINK & LINK ]

Highlights of the Updated 2008 Senate Minority Report featuring over 650 international scientists dissenting from man-made climate fears:

"I am a skeptic.Global warming has become a new religion." - Nobel Prize Winner for Physics, Ivar Giaever.

"Since I am no longer affiliated with any organization nor receiving any funding, I can speak quite frankly..As a scientist I remain skeptical. "The main basis of the claim that man's release of greenhouse gases is the cause of the warming is based almost entirely upon climate models. We all know the frailty of models concerning the air-surface system" - Atmospheric Scientist Dr. Joanne Simpson, the first woman in the world to receive a PhD in meteorology, and formerly of NASA, who has authored more than 190 studies and has been called "among the most preeminent scientists of the last 100 years."

Warming fears are the "worst scientific scandal in the history.When people come to know what the truth is, they will feel deceived by science and scientists." - UN IPCC Japanese Scientist Dr. Kiminori Itoh, an award-winning PhD environmental physical chemist.

"The IPCC has actually become a closed circuit; it doesn't listen to others. It doesn't have open minds. I am really amazed that the Nobel Peace Prize has been given on scientifically incorrect conclusions by people who are not geologists," - Indian geologist Dr. Arun D. Ahluwalia at Punjab University and a board member of the UN-supported International Year of the Planet.

"So far, real measurements give no ground for concern about a catastrophic future warming." - Scientist Dr. Jarl R. Ahlbeck, a chemical engineer at Abo Akademi University in Finland, author of 200 scientific publications and former Greenpeace member.

"Anyone who claims that the debate is over and the conclusions are firm has a fundamentally unscientific approach to one of the most momentous issues of our time." - Solar physicist Dr. Pal Brekke, senior advisor to the Norwegian Space Centre in Oslo. Brekke has published more than 40 peer-reviewed scientific articles on the sun and solar interaction with the Earth.

"The models and forecasts of the UN IPCC "are incorrect because they only are based on mathematical models and presented results at scenarios that do not include, for example, solar activity." - Victor Manuel Velasco Herrera, a researcher at the Institute of Geophysics of the National Autonomous University of Mexico

"It is a blatant lie put forth in the media that makes it seem there is only a fringe of scientists who don't buy into anthropogenic global warming." - U.S Government Atmospheric Scientist Stanley B. Goldenberg of the Hurricane Research Division of NOAA.

"Even doubling or tripling the amount of carbon dioxide will virtually have little impact, as water vapour and water condensed on particles as clouds dominate the worldwide scene and always will." - . Geoffrey G. Duffy, a professor in the Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering of the University of Auckland, NZ.

"After reading [UN IPCC chairman] Pachauri's asinine comment [comparing skeptics to] Flat Earthers, it's hard to remain quiet." - Climate statistician Dr. William M. Briggs, who specializes in the statistics of forecast evaluation, serves on the American Meteorological Society's Probability and Statistics Committee and is an Associate Editor of Monthly Weather Review.

"The Kyoto theorists have put the cart before the horse. It is global warming that triggers higher levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, not the other way round.A large number of critical documents submitted at the 1995 U.N. conference in Madrid vanished without a trace. As a result, the discussion was one-sided and heavily biased, and the U.N. declared global warming to be a scientific fact," Andrei Kapitsa, a Russian geographer and Antarctic ice core researcher.

"Nature's regulatory instrument is water vapor: more carbon dioxide leads to less moisture in the air, keeping the overall GHG content in accord with the necessary balance conditions." - Prominent Hungarian Physicist and environmental researcher Dr. Miklós Zágoni reversed his view of man-made warming and is now a skeptic. Zágoni was once Hungary's most outspoken supporter of the Kyoto Protocol.

"For how many years must the planet cool before we begin to understand that the planet is not warming? For how many years must cooling go on?" - Geologist Dr. David Gee the chairman of the science committee of the 2008 International Geological Congress who has authored 130 plus peer reviewed papers, and is currently at Uppsala University in Sweden.

"Gore prompted me to start delving into the science again and I quickly found myself solidly in the skeptic camp.Climate models can at best be useful for explaining climate changes after the fact." - Meteorologist Hajo Smit of Holland, who reversed his belief in man-made warming to become a skeptic, is a former member of the Dutch UN IPCC committee.

"The quantity of CO2 we produce is insignificant in terms of the natural circulation between air, water and soil... I am doing a detailed assessment of the UN IPCC reports and the Summaries for Policy Makers, identifying the way in which the Summaries have distorted the science." - South Afican Nuclear Physicist and Chemical Engineer Dr. Philip Lloyd, a UN IPCC co-coordinating lead author who has authored over 150 refereed publications.

"Many [scientists] are now searching for a way to back out quietly (from promoting warming fears), without having their professional careers ruined." - Atmospheric physicist James A. Peden, formerly of the Space Research and Coordination Center in Pittsburgh.

"All those urging action to curb global warming need to take off the blinkers and give some thought to what we should do if we are facing global cooling instead" - Geophysicist Dr. Phil Chapman, an astronautical engineer and former NASA astronaut, served as staff physicist at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

"Creating an ideology pegged to carbon dioxide is a dangerous nonsense.The present alarm on climate change is an instrument of social control, a pretext for major businesses and political battle. It became an ideology, which is concerning." - Environmental Scientist Professor Delgado Domingos of Portugal, the founder of the Numerical Weather Forecast group, has more than 150 published articles.

"CO2 emissions make absolutely no difference one way or another..Every scientist knows this, but it doesn't pay to say so.Global warming, as a political vehicle, keeps Europeans in the driver's seat and developing nations walking barefoot." - Dr. Takeda Kunihiko, vice-chancellor of the Institute of Science and Technology Research at Chubu University in Japan.

"The [global warming] scaremongering has its justification in the fact that it is something that generates funds." - Award-winning Paleontologist Dr. Eduardo Tonni, of the Committee for Scientific Research in Buenos Aires and head of the Paleontology Department at the University of La Plata.

"Whatever the weather, it's not being caused by global warming. If anything, the climate may be starting into a cooling period." Atmospheric scientist Dr. Art V. Douglas, former Chair of the Atmospheric Sciences Department at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska, and is the author of numerous papers for peer-reviewed publications.

"But there is no falsifiable scientific basis whatever to assert this warming is caused by human-produced greenhouse gasses because current physical theory is too grossly inadequate to establish any cause at all." - Chemist Dr. Patrick Frank, who has authored more than 50 peer-reviewed articles.

"The 'global warming scare' is being used as a political tool to increase government control over American lives, incomes and decision making. It has no place in the Society's activities." - Award-Winning NASA Astronaut/Geologist and Moonwalker Jack Schmitt who flew on the Apollo 17 mission and formerly of the Norwegian Geological Survey and for the U.S. Geological Survey.

"Earth has cooled since 1998 in defiance of the predictions by the UN-IPCC..The global temperature for 2007 was the coldest in a decade and the coldest of the millennium.which is why 'global warming' is now called 'climate change.'" - Climatologist Dr. Richard Keen of the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences at the University of Colorado.

"I have yet to see credible proof of carbon dioxide driving climate change, yet alone man-made CO2 driving it. The atmospheric hot-spot is missing and the ice core data refute this. When will we collectively awake from this deceptive delusion?" - Dr. G LeBlanc Smith, a retired Principal Research Scientist with Australia's CSIRO. (The full quotes of the scientists are later in this report)


This Senate report features the names, biographies, academic/institutional affiliation, quotes and of literally hundreds of additional international scientists who publicly dissented from man-made climate fears. This report lists the scientists by name, country of residence, and academic/institutional affiliation. It also features their own words, biographies, and weblinks to their peer reviewed studies, scientific analyses and original source materials as gathered from directly from the scientists or from public statements, news outlets, and websites in 2007 and 2008.

The distinguished scientists featured in this new report are experts in diverse fields, including: climatology; geology; biology; glaciology; biogeography; meteorology; oceanography; economics; chemistry; mathematics; environmental sciences; astrophysics, engineering; physics and paleoclimatology. Some of those profiled have won Nobel Prizes for their outstanding contribution to their field of expertise and many shared a portion of the UN IPCC Nobel Peace Prize with Vice President Gore. Additionally, these scientists hail from prestigious institutions worldwide, including: Harvard University; NASA; National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR); Massachusetts Institute of Technology; the UN IPCC; the Danish National Space Center; U.S. Department of Energy; Princeton University; the Environmental Protection Agency; University of Pennsylvania; Hebrew University of Jerusalem; the International Arctic Research Centre; the Pasteur Institute in Paris; the Belgian Weather Institute; Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute; the University of Helsinki; the National Academy of Sciences of the U.S., France, and Russia; the University of Pretoria; University of Notre Dame; Abo Akademi University in Finland; University of La Plata in Argentina; Stockholm University; Punjab University in India; University of Melbourne; Columbia University; the World Federation of Scientists; and the University of London.

Background: Only 52 Scientists Participated in UN IPCC Summary

The notion of "hundreds" or "thousands" of UN scientists agreeing to a scientific statement does not hold up to scrutiny. (See report debunking "consensus" LINK) Recent research by Australian climate data analyst John McLean revealed that the IPCC's peer-review process for the Summary for Policymakers leaves much to be desired. (LINK) (LINK) & (LINK) (Note: The 52 scientists who participated in the 2007 IPCC Summary for Policymakers had to adhere to the wishes of the UN political leaders and delegates in a process described as more closely resembling a political party's convention platform battle, not a scientific process - LINK)

One former UN IPCC scientist bluntly told EPW how the UN IPCC Summary for Policymakers "distored" the scientists work. "I have found examples of a Summary saying precisely the opposite of what the scientists said," explained South Afican Nuclear Physicist and Chemical Engineer Dr. Philip Lloyd, a UN IPCC co-coordinating lead author who has authored over 150 refereed publications.

Proponents of man-made global warming like to note how the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) and the American Meteorological Society (AMS) have issued statements endorsing the so-called "consensus" view that man is driving global warming. But both the NAS and AMS never allowed member scientists to directly vote on these climate statements. Essentially, only two dozen or so members on the governing boards of these institutions produced the "consensus" statements. This report gives a voice to the rank-and-file scientists who were shut out of the process. (LINK) The most recent attempt to imply there was an overwhelming scientific "consensus" in favor of man-made global warming fears came in December 2007 during the UN climate conference in Bali. A letter signed by only 215 scientists urged the UN to mandate deep cuts in carbon dioxide emissions by 2050. But absent from the letter were the signatures of these alleged "thousands" of scientists. (See AP article: - LINK ) The more than 650 scientists expressing skepticism, comes after the UN IPCC chairman Rajendra Pachauri implied that there were only "about a dozen" skeptical scientists left in the world. (LINK) Former Vice President Gore has claimed that scientists skeptical of climate change are akin to "flat Earth society members" and similar in number to those who "believe the moon landing was actually staged in a movie lot in Arizona." (LINK) & (LINK)

Examples of "consensus" claims made by promoters of man-made climate fears:

Former Vice President Al Gore (November 5, 2007): "There are still people who believe that the Earth is flat." (LINK) Gore also compared global warming skeptics to people who "believe the moon landing was actually staged in a movie lot in Arizona." (June 20, 2006 - LINK)

CNN's Miles O'Brien (July 23, 2007): "The scientific debate is over," O'Brien said. "We're done." O'Brien also declared on CNN on February 9, 2006 that scientific skeptics of man-made catastrophic global warming "are bought and paid for by the fossil fuel industry, usually." (LINK)

On July 27, 2006, Associated Press reporter Seth Borenstein described a scientist as "one of the few remaining scientists skeptical of the global warming harm caused by industries that burn fossil fuels." (LINK)

Dr. Rajendra Pachauri, Chairman of the IPCC view on the number of skeptical scientists as quoted on Feb. 20, 2003: "About 300 years ago, a Flat Earth Society was founded by those who did not believe the world was round. That society still exists; it probably has about a dozen members." (LINK)

Agence France-Press (AFP Press) article (December 4, 2007): The article noted that a prominent skeptic "finds himself increasingly alone in his claim that climate change poses no imminent threat to the planet."

Andrew Dessler in the eco-publication Grist Magazine (November 21, 2007): "While some people claim there are lots of skeptical climate scientists out there, if you actually try to find one, you keep turning up the same two dozen or so (e.g., Singer, Lindzen, Michaels, Christy, etc., etc.). These skeptics are endlessly recycled by the denial machine, so someone not paying close attention might think there are lots of them out there -- but that's not the case." (LINK)

The Washington Post asserted on May 23, 2006 that there were only "a handful of skeptics" of man-made climate fears. (LINK)

UN special climate envoy Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland on May 10, 2007 declared the climate debate "over" and added "it's completely immoral, even, to question" the UN's scientific "consensus." (LINK)

The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change Executive Secretary Yvo de Boer said it was "criminally irresponsible" to ignore the urgency of global warming on November 12, 2008. (LINK)

ABC News Global Warming Reporter Bill Blakemore reported on August 30, 2006: "After extensive searches, ABC News has found no such [scientific] debate" on global warming. (LINK)

Link to Full Printable PDF Report

# # # #


Afghanistan: Back To Basics
By James S. Robbins

The Journal of International Security Affairs
No. 15, Fall 2008, pp. 79-88

As the conflict in Iraq winds down, the "forgotten front" of the War on Terror, Afghanistan, has moved back into the forefront of the national security debate. Operation Enduring Freedom-Afghanistan (hereafter OEF) is aptly named, since the conflict will endure long into the next administration. Whoever takes the oath of office in January of 2009 will face the same types of challenges in Afghanistan that have bedeviled the current administration since 2001, and to an extent have been characteristic of Afghan politics for decades. The primary strategic challenge that the new administration will face is arriving at a definition of success-or perhaps victory-in Afghanistan similar to that used in Iraq, and seeking a means eventually to declare the mission accomplished and bring the troops home. This is unlikely to take place in the foreseeable future, however.

Seeking security

To an extent, the security equation in Afghanistan was defined by the success of the initial phase of OEF in the fall of 2001. The Taliban regime was ousted in short order, and replaced with a pro-Western transitional government that then embarked on what has been a fairly successful program to bring democracy to the country. This effort, bolstered by billions of dollars in U.S. and international aid, produced a government that enjoyed a great deal of popular support and a growing economy.

However, the Taliban, al-Qaeda and other extremist groups opposed to the government have not been wholly extinguished, and have continued to pursue their program of violence. There are currently two main sources of destabilization: the Taliban insurgency in the area around Kandahar and to the south, and a more complex insurgency of mixed foreign fighters, Taliban and other Afghan and Pakistani groups-for example al-Qaeda, Hizb-e Islami Gulbuddin, Jaish-e-Muhammad, Lashkar-e-Taiba, and Tehrik Nefaz-i-Shariat Muhammad-in the country's east.[1]

These hotspots have seen greater levels of violence as the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and Afghan security forces have moved deeper into the insurgents' sanctuaries, principally using U.S., British and Canadian troops. As a result of the increased activity, May 2008 was the first month since 2003 in which the Coalition lost more troops in Afghanistan than Iraq (23 and 21 deaths respectively) and June 2008 saw the deadliest month in Afghanistan ever for the United States.[2]

Even given the increase in U.S. and NATO casualties in 2008, there have been some positive signs. The year began without what had become the annual rite of a large-scale Taliban spring offensive. This may have been due in part to the costly failure of the 2007 offensive, brought about by successful preemption by NATO forces and political pressure from Pakistan.[3] The Taliban have instead focused on a combination of low-risk harassment attacks, such as with IEDs (which, despite the commonly accepted acronym, are increasingly Iranian-made and hardly "improvised"), and a series of dramatic terror attacks such as the January bombing of the Serena hotel in Kabul, the April 27th Victory Day parade attack, the June 13th mass breakout at the Sarposa prison in Kandahar, and the July 7th bombing outside the Indian Embassy in Kabul. The larger strategic value of these "spectaculars" is open to question, but they have kept the insurgency in the headlines and helped boost insurgent morale.

When possible, the insurgents have sought to engage Afghan forces rather than those of the ISAF. The development of the Afghan National Security Forces (the ANSF, composed of the Afghan National Army and police forces) has been a central effort in OEF. The stated objective is to develop a "professional, capable, respected, multi-ethnic ANSF, with competent ministries and staffs and sustaining institutions, capable of directing, planning, commanding, controlling, training and supporting the ANSF."[4] The forces are held in high regard by the Afghan people (unlike the tribal and sectarian militia groups). Yet progress has been inconstant, particularly with respect to the police. It would be unwise to begin discussing drawing down U.S. and NATO forces until the Afghan security forces can operate on a largely independent basis, and the next U.S. administration must pledge itself to maintaining this critical pillar of the counterinsurgency and development effort.

A separate but important element of the security situation is the prevalence of inter-tribal warfare of the sort that Afghans have experienced for centuries. These violent outbreaks do not fit neatly into NATO's security equation. For example, in the summer of 2007 Pashtun nomads known as Kuchis forced out over 20,000 Hazara villagers in the Behsud District of Wardak Province, and caused $212 million in damage. This incident has caused tensions between President Karzai and his Second Vice President, Karim Khalili. Khalili, a Hazara leader, has been dissatisfied with Karzai's response to the incident-something that could create problems for Karzai's reelection effort. As well, opportunistic insurgent groups may find ways to exploit these and other tensions to create further instabilities. Afghanistan's numerous and timeless tribal rivalries cannot and should not be the central focus of the U.S./NATO effort. But because they can precipitate circumstances in which the U.S. may become involved, they bear close watching.

A Pentagon report from the summer of 2008 described the situation in the country as "fragile" while also noting the success of the U.S./NATO counterinsurgency strategy there.[5] Part of this has had to do with an upsurge in U.S. force levels. In April 2007, there were 24,310 American troops in-country; by April 2008, this number had grown to 33,000.[6] President Bush has pledged a further troop buildup into 2009. Yet U.S. public perceptions of the war have still sagged of late. A July 2008 ABC News/Washington Post poll found that 51 percent of respondents saw U.S. military action against the Taliban and al-Qaeda as "not successful," compared to 44 percent that did.[7] This points to an important challenge the next president will face, namely maintaining public support for the long-term mission in Afghanistan. A related challenge will be maintaining the NATO commitment to the effort, as politics and policies shift in the various NATO member states.

Insurgent forces, meanwhile, have refocused on Afghanistan. The symbolic end to Iraq as the central front of al-Qaeda's jihad arrived in the summer of 2008, with the reported transfer of al-Qaeda in Iraq's headquarters to relative safety in Afghanistan.[8] Some al-Qaeda fighters are said to be either leaving Iraq for Afghanistan, or being initially deployed to the Afghan front, whereas in the past they would have been sent to Iraq.[9] But this does not necessarily mean the tide is turning against the Coalition. Despite some predictions of dire circumstances on the horizon for the Coalition in Afghanistan, it is critical to note that the Taliban, al-Qaeda and other enemies of the Karzai regime face the same limits that any insurgent groups do when facing a superior fighting force. In order to win sustainable victories, they must shift to conventional tactics and seize and hold ground.[10] The Taliban did not take Kabul in 1996 as a small guerilla force but as a successful conventional militia that already controlled numerous Afghan cities and provinces. There is no indication that the Taliban is ready to make this strategic transition. In so doing, they would abandon the asymmetric advantages of the guerilla and challenge their adversaries on less favorable terms-ones on which the Taliban cannot realistically hope to prevail. Any massed Taliban action, against either Afghan or NATO forces, would either be repelled immediately or face a devastating counterattack.

A small-scale example of this dynamic took place in July 2008, when 100 militants attacked an Afghan government center in the Spera district of Khost Province, killing two Afghan policemen. The ensuing counterattack on the massed enemy by Afghan forces with support from NATO helicopter gunships left an estimated 50 to 70 insurgents dead.[11] Even this limited engagement illustrates that the Taliban cannot hope to achieve victory while U.S. and NATO forces are present in the country. The ISAF must not depart the country before the ANSF is prepared to defend Afghanistan, and even after the ground troops do depart the ANSF must be given the necessary matériel, training, intelligence and air support to prevent a Taliban resurgence.[12] This type of commitment will ensure the long-term security of the Afghan government, and it is important for policymakers to understand that even when conditions are favorable for drawing down the ground troops, that should not mark the end of the U.S. military effort in Afghanistan.

Future politics

The Afghan political scene has been remarkably stable for the past seven years, especially compared to previous decades when political differences were settled through the clash of sectarian militias. The process of drafting and approving a constitution, and then electing a president (2004) and National Assembly (2005), went more smoothly than many had expected, and even amnestied former members of the Taliban government participated and won seats.[13] Since then, Afghan democracy has been marked by a series of clashes and compromises. But while these sometimes dramatic dust-ups have raised concerns in the U.S., they are in a sense demonstrative of Afghan pluralism-and political stability. Indeed, for all of the internal squabbling, President Karzai's public approval rating, and that of the National Assembly, far outstrip those of the U.S. President and Congress. The Taliban's disapproval ratings are in the 80-90 percent range, and even in its "strongholds" of Kandahar and Helmand provinces, the movement can only muster favorability ratings in the teens (though poll respondents may be guarding their views in some cases). A 2007 survey showed that 73 percent of the Afghan people were "satisfied with the way democracy works in the country," and 80 percent felt the government was doing a good job.[14] While there is reason to believe these numbers have declined somewhat in the past year (and the fact that polling has been made more problematic by the security situation should itself be seen as an indicator of this), one should not conclude from the occasional opposition walkout or other instance of political drama that the country is in a state of existential political crisis.

The first political issue a new American administration will face in Afghanistan is the 2009 presidential election. President Hamid Karzai is nearing the end of his first five-year term and will presumably seek re-election. This is likely to be a very complex and contentious race; sanitized American political theater is almost stately compared to the rough and tumble politics of the developing world. Karzai was one of 18 candidates in the 2004 presidential race, and there is a long list of currently declared or likely challengers he could face in 2009. They include Ramazan Bashardost, a prominent parliamentarian from Kabul; Ahmad Wali Masud, former Afghan ambassador to London, and brother of First Vice President Ahmad Zia Masud; Mahyuddin Mehdi, a former deputy minister for planning and now a prominent commentator; Faruq Wardak, Karzai's Minister for Parliamentary Affairs and director of the Presidential Office of Administration Affairs; Finance Minister Anwar ul-Haq Ahady; Senior Minister Hedayat Amin Arsala; former Interior Minister Ali Ahmad Jalalai; Governor of Nangarhar Province Gül Agha Sherzai; and even current U.S. ambassador to the UN Zalmay Khalilzad.

The major issues will be of the sort in any such election, such as the economy and unemployment, but also corruption, narcotics, ethnic tensions and the security situation. More than anything else, however, the 2009 election will be a referendum on Karzai's first term of office. The challenge for the next U.S. president will lie in showing support for Karzai-if indeed the U.S. government would like to see him reelected-without having a negative influence on the outcome of the election. This is a complex situation in which there are few, if any, good options. In order to counter perceptions that he is a U.S. puppet, Karzai must occasionally distance himself from the United States on some policy matters. This tends to generate speculation in the American media about growing divisions between the two countries. The Afghan media and politicians, in turn, have erroneously concluded that criticism of Karzai in the U.S. press equates to lack of support from the American government or among the American people (who probably are not closely following the Afghan presidential race).

As well, the desire of the U.S. government to keep its distance from the election process in order to ensure a fair election will have the unintended consequence of delegitimizing Karzai-the Afghan people will read the lack of public support not as a gesture of fairness and impartiality but as a calculated snub. Yet, any gesture of support will be seized on by the opposition as proof that Karzai is in Washington's back pocket. American influence will be felt regardless of what the United States does or does not do, and U.S. policy will need to take into account second- and third-order consequences that are certain to be generated in the cauldron of Afghan politics.

An economic tango

Afghanistan's economy has stabilized and seen some degree of annual growth, due in large part to international development aid and the fact that the baseline reached under Taliban rule was so low. This growth is likely to continue, spurred chiefly by the construction sector. Afghanistan also has underutilized natural gas deposits that have become more valuable as global energy prices have increased. Figures from 2006 showed 47.53 billion cubic meters of proven natural gas reserves, a small amount by Middle Eastern standards but an important potential source of revenue in an otherwise poor country. The planned Trans-Afghanistan Pipeline, which is envisioned to transport natural gas from Turkmenistan to India, could help spur development of the natural gas sector in Afghanistan. However the project has been frequently stalled by security concerns, and there is no reliable timeline as to its completion. The immediate downside of the increase in energy costs for Afghanistan is direct and indirect contributions to inflation, which is estimated at 17 percent, with higher food costs a major and potentially destabilizing factor.

International aid efforts remain robust. The United States has spent over $6 billion in aid programs since 2001 (the largest portions going to road construction and power generation), and $20 billion was pledged at the June 2008 international aid conference in Paris. However, this aid has had some negative effects. The influx of foreign assistance has created unrealistic and long-term unsustainable fiscal policies. Increases in operating expenses since 2003 have outstripped domestic revenue growth, creating widening budget deficits. The Afghan government plan to close its operating budget deficit originally projected for 2009-10 has been pushed back to 2012-13.[15] The international aid community meanwhile is put in the difficult position of having to argue for increasing discipline and fiscal restraint on the part of the Afghan government while simultaneously providing increasing outlays of aid money. This is not a recipe for success in any democracy, but there seem to be few other viable alternatives.

Nor is aid evenly distributed throughout the country-a function primarily of the relative influence of provincial and tribal leaders in Kabul. Western attempts to force equity on the distribution of aid are unlikely to achieve the desired outcome, and an argument can be made that while aid does not reach all of the people it needs to in order to achieve the desired development objectives, it does tend to channel funds informally in ways that achieve important political ends. That is, the informal distribution mechanisms give those with power and influence a greater stake in supporting the system that produces the aid dollars.

The efforts of the 26 Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs) in Afghanistan have been largely successful in promoting development in the areas where they have been active. The close coordination of military and civilian teams stands as a model for future efforts. Nevertheless there are limits to the number of teams that can be deployed, and some question as to whether the gains achieved in areas in which the PRTs are active can be sustained once they are removed.

An important issue at the nexus between economic development and internal security is the cultivation of opium poppies. 2007 saw the largest poppy crop in Afghan history, and 2008 is on track to be another banner year, though probably not greater than 2007.[16] Afghanistan produces around 93 percent of the world's opiates, and drugs account for half of the country's real GDP.[17]

The United States has been an active proponent of vigorous poppy eradication, and has sometimes found itself at odds with the Karzai regime, which fears the U.S. approach would alienate too many people and is instead pursuing its own more low-key efforts.[18] The Afghan government claimed a degree of success in 2007, with production reduced in 23 out of 34 provinces, and 16 provinces poppy-free. UN figures showed a more modest 10 provinces in decline and 12 poppy-free, with the remaining 12 either stable (mostly at high levels) or increasing.[19]

There is a direct relationship between poppy cultivation and internal security problems. Insurgents benefit from the illicit trade through protection money paid by farmers and "donations" given to local insurgent leaders for transporting opiates through their territories. According to a UN study, poppy cultivation is on the decline where security is high. In Afghan villages in which the security situation is poor, 100 percent of the inhabitants cultivate poppies.[20] Poppy production is highest in the provinces south and west of Khandahar, and south of Jalalabad, both areas of insurgent support.

Almost half the production for the entire country-around 45 percent of global opium production-comes from Taliban-dominated Helmand Province.[21] Not surprisingly, Helmand has also seen by far the greatest level of insurgent violence in the past year. This poses problems, yet it also presents opportunities. Because poppies are grown in relatively isolated areas of the country, the number that would be affected by a more vigorous eradication effort would be small. Furthermore, these individuals are not likely to be regime supporters in the first place; they are already alienated. In the words of Australian counterterrorism expert David Kilcullen, "The largest pockets of cultivation-in rural northern Helmand province-are in the least populated areas of Afghanistan. The insurgency is where the people are, but the poppy is not."[22]

Porous borders

Afghanistan will continue to face problems created by its lack of control over its international borders. Its eastern border with modern-day Pakistan has been a matter of contention dating back to the days of British India. Afghanistan has at times argued that the Pashtun tribes in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) were never legally incorporated into Pakistan, and that the international border does not apply to them. Yet it is the free cross-border transit of anti-government Pashtuns such as the Taliban that has allowed the insurgency to remain active in the mountainous border region, and claim sanctuary in Pakistan when convenient. As well, in recent years there has been no love lost between the Taliban and the Musharraf regime, though the extremists have been able to reach periodic agreements with Islamabad, much to Kabul's detriment. An April 2008 cease-fire accord between the Taliban and Pakistan was credited with causing a spike in Taliban activity along the border area inside Afghanistan. President Karzai threatened possible cross-border intervention, and in June 2008 11 Pakistani border troops were mistakenly killed by ISAF air and artillery strikes during combat with insurgents who had fled across the border.

The border area is a haven for extremists, smugglers, gun runners and drug couriers. Yet it is also Afghanistan's major trade and supply route, including the main overland supply line for ISAF forces in Afghanistan. Any attempt to completely seal the border would create severe local hardships and have greater negative economic effects on Afghanistan than could be made up for in improvements in the security realm.

Given the contentious relationship between Afghanistan and Pakistan, it has been difficult for the two countries to work cooperatively against the insurgency. As well, Pakistani officials have refused to allow U.S. forces to operate inside their country against terrorist networks and insurgent groups. But geography dictates that Pakistan must be part of any comprehensive security solution. One option is for NATO or other countries to pursue agreements with Pakistan to supply advisory and other support to Pakistani forces operating in the border areas. Australia's defense minister, for example, has suggested that his country help "arm the Pakistani army with the skills and means to conduct counter-insurgency campaigns and civil operations," assuming Pakistan will extend an invitation.[23] If Australia is not a politically acceptable partner, perhaps a Mideast regional state would be willing to assume the task, with back-end support from the U.S. or NATO.

Afghanistan's western border, while the scene of less violence, has become problematic because of the growing influence of Iran. Western Afghanistan is a Shi'ite enclave in a country that is 80 percent Sunni. Iran has poured millions of dollars into local development projects, principally to the benefit of the Hazara Shi'ites in and around Herat. The scale of Iranian investments in Herat has led some locals to begin referring to their city as "Afghanistan's Dubai."[24] It is difficult for the United States to be openly critical of Iranian development efforts while at the same time seeking to increase the level of aid coming from other countries. President Karzai as well has been reluctant to draw attention to Iranian links to terror groups inside Afghanistan, stressing instead the positive role he would like to see Iran play in his country.

Yet Iran's motives for becoming involved in Afghanistan are certainly not benign. Iran has an interest, as it has in Iraq, in keeping U.S. and NATO forces occupied and distracted. There have been periodic small-scale outbreaks of sectarian violence, which the Sunnis have blamed on Iranian influence. Iranian-made weapons have been found in the stockpiles of insurgent groups in other areas of the country.[25] While western Afghanistan does not yet represent a security challenge on the scale of the other regions noted above, it remains an area of concern. Iran possesses a latent surge capacity in the west that it could use to destabilize the country should the United States seek to pressure Iran on its nuclear program or other issues. Western Afghanistan represents a strategic investment for the Iranian regime that the United States has been either unable or unwilling to counter.

Keeping the faith

Policymakers must accept a degree of ambiguity when dealing with Afghanistan. The country will not fit easily into the established frameworks of political or economic development, nation-building or internal security. American interests in that country will only be realized when they are congruent with Afghan interests, and it is a mistake to take anything for granted when seeking common ground. Afghan political culture is Realist to an extent seldom found in the world, and interests-whether individual, tribal or regional-will always be paramount. So long as policymakers approach the Afghan puzzle with this in mind, their programs are more likely to succeed.

There are grounds for optimism. Afghanistan is a larger county than Iraq, with a larger population. It has sectarian and tribal divisions as deep as any found in Iraq, and a history of greater instability. The ISAF military footprint in the country has always been much smaller than that of the Coalition in Iraq. And yet the scope of insurgent violence there has never been as wide as that in Iraq, the government has been more stable, and the Afghan people more secure. The recent degradation in the security environment notwithstanding, OEF-Afghanistan has been a much greater success than it has been given credit for. An incoming American administration with radical plans to alter the status quo may do more harm than good.

The greatest fear in Afghanistan is one of abandonment. Afghanistan cannot currently defend itself from its internal and external adversaries without assistance. The Afghan people have seen the attention span of the West wane before, in the period following the withdrawal of Soviet forces in 1989. The resulting inattention led to several years of sectarian fighting, followed by the original rise of the Taliban. The history of American pullouts in Vietnam, Lebanon and Somalia has contributed to this sense of apprehension. The fact that the U.S. is changing presidents for the first time since the advent of the war will only add to the feelings of uncertainty. To counter this fear, the next American President must at the earliest opportunity publicly reaffirm the U.S. commitment to Afghanistan and pledge continuing military and economic support, for so long as the Taliban and foreign extremists pose a threat to the county and beyond.

The Afghan people have placed their trust and their future in the hands of the United States and the international community. In return, the next President must openly reaffirm our national commitment to this historic mission, for the sake of security and stability in that country, and in our own.


1. Department of Defense, Report on Progress Toward Security and Stability in Afghanistan, June 2008,

2. This has as much, if not more, to do with the dramatically improved situation in Iraq than an upsurge of violence in Afghanistan.

3. See, for example, Syed Saleem Shahzad, "Taliban Poised for a Big Push," Asia Times, October 5, 2007,

4. Department of Defense, United States Plan for Sustaining the Afghanistan National Security Forces, June 2008,

5. Report on Progress Toward Security and Stability in Afghanistan; see also John J. Kruzel, "Reports Detail Progress in Afghan Security, National Forces," Armed Forces Press Service, June 27, 2008,

6. JoAnne O'Bryant and Michael Waterhouse, U.S. Forces in Afghanistan (Washington: Library of Congress Congressional Research Service, May 9, 2008), Around 15,000 U.S. troops deployed with NATO forces, and 18,000 others are conducting training of the Afghan security forces and engaging in counterinsurgency operations.

7. "The Battle to Win the War," Washington Post, July 15, 2008,

8. See Amit R. Paley, "Al-Qaeda in Iraq Leader May Be in Afghanistan," Washington Post, July 31, 2008,

9. Pamela Hess, "Ambassador: Al-Qaida Leaving Iraq for Afghanistan," Associated Press, July 23, 2008.

10. This follows the classic Maoist model of insurgency, in which the final phase is conventional warfare.

11. "Up to 70 Rebels Killed in Afghanistan," Agence France-Presse, July 27, 2008,

12. The model for success would be the latter stages of the Vietnam War up to 1972, the high tide of Vietnamization. The model for failure is the final year of that war, when the United States withdrew critical matériel and air support for the South Vietnamese armed forces, and they were quickly overwhelmed by the North Vietnamese People's Army.

13. For a more detailed account, see James S. Robbins, "An Election Not to Be Ignored," National Review Online, September 23, 2005,

14. The Asia Foundation, Afghanistan in 2007: A Survey of the Afghan People, 2007,

15. International Monetary Fund, "Islamic Republic of Afghanistan: Selected Issues," Country Report no. 08/71, February 2008,

16. See generally United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime, Afghanistan: Opium Winter Rapid Assessment Survey, February 2008,

17. United Nations Security Council, Department of Public Information, "High-Level Officials Brief Security Council as It Considers Challenges Facing Afghanistan," July 9, 2008,

18. U. S. Department of State, Coordinator for Counternarcotics and Justice Reform in Afghanistan, U.S. Department of State, U.S. Counternarcotics Strategy for Afghanistan, August 2007,

19. "High-Level Officials Brief Security Council as It Considers Challenges Facing Afghanistan."

20. Carlotta Gall, "Afghan Poppy Set for Another Big Year, UN Report Warns," International Herald Tribune, February 6, 2008,

21. Kirk Semple and Tim Golden, "U.S. Renews Bid to Destroy Opium Poppies in Afghanistan," International Herald Tribune, October 7, 2007,

22. Quoted in U.S. Counternarcotics Strategy for Afghanistan, 30.

23. "Afghan Response 'Underwhelming,'" BBC (London), July 30, 2008,

24. Bill Varner, "Iran Pours Cash Into Afghanistan, Seeking Leverage Against U.S.," Bloomberg, July 16, 2008,

25. John Ward Anderson, "Arms Seized In Afghanistan Sent From Iran, NATO Says," Washington Post, September 21, 2007,



This is the first in a series of three or four articles with a specific agenda. I will be leading the reader in a direction of my choosing.




"Hear Me! For I Am The Dying Voice of Liberty"
By Ron Ewart, President
National Association of Rural Landowners
© Copyright December 10, 2008 - All Rights Reserved

Hear me, oh you lost and depraved citizens of America. Hear me! For I am the dying voice of Liberty. I beseech you to listen closely to the sounds of the death throws of your freedom. Listen to the wrenching noise as the jagged cracks open up wider in Lady Liberty's foundation. The sounds of the angry sea of socialism pouring into the cracks at a rapid rate and eroding the fissures even more, echo in the distance.

The bedrock of our freedoms is being twisted, bastardized and perverted to make it agree with the radical agenda of human bondage, under socialism and radical environmentalism.

Listen as American sovereignty strains to the breaking point under the pressure of the international one-world-order crowd, that yearns to steal America's wealth, resources and productivity for their own gain.

Listen to the agonizing screams of honor, integrity and honesty as they fall helplessly into the bottomless pit of depravity and corruption, never to be heard from again.

Hear the cries of truth and dignity as they convulse in contortions under the relentless onslaught of propaganda, distortion and lies from those who find individual freedom puts limits on their power.

Listen to the never-ending sounds of the printing presses as they spew out our public school text books with an altered history of America's strengths and achievements, all the while denigrating our endless successes and brainwashing our greatest of all treasures, our children, that we are evil and gluttonness.

Tune in to the irrational pontifications of the leaders who have lost their honor, as they tear asunder our sacred constitution with one law after another. Watch and listen as the media, aid and abet the vicious purveyors of our eventual enslavement.

My heart aches and my soul is in anguish over what the people of America have done to allow this destruction of their freedom, that so many brave souls gave up their lives so that we might live free.

It was all so preventable, if the people had just paid attention and realized that human nature decays into self-aggrandizement and narcissism, if left without guidance and accountability. We have strayed far from the Supreme Law of the Land and our destruction lurks in the shadows. The lust for power is only offset by the resistance to power and the resistance was just simply not there and it is still not there in sufficient strength today.

But wait! Is that a faint sound I hear? Are the sounds of freedom stirring in the heartland? Could there be hope for the resurrection of America's freedom? Is there still time to ring the bell of liberty across the land so that all who seek freedom will hear and act on the sound? I can only hope.

Again, I hear an echo rumbling across the land. Has someone found a way to return America to its roots as a Constitutional Republic? Out of the valley of the shadow, a soft cry is wafting through the trees, mountains and canyons where the independents and the self-reliant make their homes. There it is again! The word sounds like tafp, "T-A-F-P". Could it be that this is the sound, the word, or the vision that can lead to the rebirth of freedom? Maybe the death throws of liberty are premature after all. Can we breath life into this aging body that was given birth out of revolution? Is there an awakening? I must investigate further.

Ron Ewart, President

P. O. Box 1031, Issaquah, WA 98027

425 222-4742 or 1 800 682-7848

(Fax No. 425 222-4743)



It's Time America Begins Looking at Three-Dimensional Foreign Trade Barriers Without Rose-Colored Glasses, at:

How Many New Obama Administration-Created American Jobs Will it Take to Change an Imported Chinese Compact Fluorescent Lightbulb?,

How QUIXOTIC - US 'Green Collar Jobs' Now Include Servicing 'Outsourced' Manufactured Windmill IMports!!,

Ambitious UK Climate Change Law With Global Impact Akin to Pinocchio Wishing Upon a Star,

Does Europe 'Walk the Talk' on International Law? Apparently, What is Good for the Goose is Good for the Gander, Only Sometimes!,

The F(utility) of Relying Upon the UNCLOS to Ensure Freedom of Navigation and Eradicate High Seas Piracy, Illegal Fishing & Toxic Waste Dumping,


Monday, December 08, 2008

Ruling on management of roadless wilderness areas will cause more destructive forest fires
4:14 PM ET

Mike Dubrasich [Executive Director, Western Institute for Study of the Environment]: "With her most recent decision, Magistrate Laporte is playing a game of judicial chicken, perverting NEPA, and causing catastrophic harm to the environment.

Background: the Clinton (Dombeck) Roadless Rule was rushed through (by proclamation) in the waning days of that administration. It was immediately litigated in more than a dozen courts. In 2003, Judge Brimmer, a United States District Court Judge for the District of Wyoming, found, in response to the Complaint filed by the State of Wyoming, that NEPA had been violated on several different levels, including the fact that Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) input from the states had been excluded, the process had been rushed, the United States Forest Service (USFS) had failed to take the requisite "hard look" at the proposed rule, and that the NEPA process was a sham in order to adopt a political rule. Judge Brimmer also found that the Roadless Rule violated the Wilderness Act in that it designated 58.5 million acres as defacto wilderness despite the fact that only Congress has the authority to do so. Judge Brimmer enjoined the Roadless Rule. The USFS developed an alternative plan to ensure that states would be part of the process. This plan, called the State Petitions procedure, ensured that not only state concerns would be addressed, but that tribes, local governments, and the general public would be able to express their concerns in order to develop site-specific rules for each National Forest.

The usual enviromental groups sued in the Ninth District Court and, in 2006, Magistrate Laporte concluded that the State Petitions procedure violated NEPA because it was not accompanied by an EIS. In the strangest twist of legal logic, she then reinstated the illegal Roadless Rule, and ordered that the USFS comply with its terms. She made that ruling despite Judge Brimmer's earlier decision, despite the fact that Judge Brimmer reached his conclusions after a comprehensive review of the Administrative Record, and despite the fact that she had no idea as to whether the Roadless Rule complied with NEPA or not. Her decision was odd to say the least, which is confirmed by the fact that the State Petitions procedure was not an environmental action per se but a remedy to fix the original defective and illegal Roadless Rule EIS. Requiring an EIS to fix an EIS sets up an infinite loop of EIS's.

Wyoming again filed suit in an attempt to fix the mess created by Magistrate Laporte's decision. In August 2008, Judge Brimmer issued yet another permanent national injunction against the Roadless Rule. Addressing the issue of "cooperating agency status," Judge Brimmer wrote:
"There is not one good reason in the administrative record before the Court explaining why cooperating agency status was denied to the ten most affected states, including Wyoming, especially in light of the CEQ's [Council on Environmental Quality] direction that federal agencies should actively seek participation of the states in order to comply with NEPA's statutory mandate. Absent any such explanation, the Court must again conclude that Wyoming was right in characterizing the Forest Service's process as a "mad dash to complete the Roadless Initiative before President Clinton left office." The Forest Service dared not let any of the ten most affected states have cooperating agency status lest its "mad dash" would be slowed to a walk."

In short, Judge Brimmer found that the USFS was more concerned about the political legacy of President Clinton than it was in complying with NEPA and the Wilderness Act.

Judge Brimmer set forth his conclusion as follows:
"The Court, as it did in Roadless I, finds that: (1) the Forest Service's decision not to extend the scoping comment period was arbitrary and capricious; (2) the Forest Service's denial of cooperating agency status without explanation was arbitrary and capricious; (3) the Forest Service's failure to rigorously explore and objectively evaluate all reasonable alternatives was contrary to law; (4) the Forest Service's conclusion that its cumulative impacts analysis in the Roadless Rule Final EIS satisfied its NEPA duties was a clear error in judgment; and (5) the Forest Service's decision not to issue a supplemental EIS was arbitrary, capricious, and contrary to law."

Judge Brimmer is the only federal judges that has reviewed the Administrative Record related to the Roadless Rule. Magistrate Laporte has never reviewed the Roadless Rule Administrative Record because it was never before her. Her analysis was supposed to be limited to whether the State Petition procedure passed legal muster. While she may have had the authority to look at that issue, she surely never had the authority to evaluate the legality or enforceability of the Roadless Rule.

Despite Judge Brimmer's findings set forth in a 102-page decision, Magistrate Laporte has concluded that she has the authority to again resurrect the illegal and defective Clinton-Dombeck Roadless Rule. While she has attempted to avoid a direct conflict with Judge Brimmer by claiming that her decision only applies to the States in Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals (California, Washington, Oregon, Montana, Idaho, Arizona, and Nevada), and New Mexico, the fact is that she has no authority to do what she has done. The Roadless Rule has been determined to be unlawful. Because it was designed as a nation-wide rule, if it is illegal in one state, it is illegal in all states. While Magistrate Judge Laporte obviously has a political and environmental axe to grind, she cannot use her office to do so. The Roadless Rule cannot be brought back to life by Frankensteinesque manipulation of the rules of comity, or by ignoring the findings of the only judge in the United States who has actually looked at the tactics pulled by the USFS in their quest to find an environmental legacy for President Clinton.

Magistrate Laporte's aggressive, in-your-face action is the opposite of comity. It also undermines the spirit of NEPA (public involvement in scientific analysis of potential impacts), making that law little but a partisan political weapon. Worst, it again condemns 58.5 million acres to catastrophic incineration. The USFS has instigated a Let It Burn policy in Roadless and Wilderness Areas. Since Clinton left office, 64.2 million acres (over 100,000 square miles) have burned in wildfires. Laporte's game of judicial chicken is thus trebly damaging, to the courts, to the law, and to the environment."

Opinions expressed in JURIST's Hotline are the sole responsibility of their authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of JURIST's editors, staff, or the University of Pittsburgh.

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As a new resident of Minnesota voting here for the first time, please forgive my rudeness for presuming to be critical of my new home state. Two aspects of voting in Minnesota are in sore need of change.First, having voted conscientiously for almost 50 years in nine other states, I have never had to carry my ballot to feed into a machine where a young lady stood and looked at my vote for President and Senator as I fed it into the machine and she handed me a sticker proclaiming that I had voted.Second, to be asked to vote for a large, earmarked tax increase for "wildlife and the arts" plus a large expenditure for the government purchase of a large tract of land one month BEFORE the state government tells us of the need for major tax increases, elimination of government services and government layoffs is disgraceful. Although I voted against the dedication of such earmarked funding to specific state agencies because it has led to diminished control by the state legislature and the governor over the disposition and use of such funds in other states, I must surmise that many of those that voted for the tax increase and earmarking did so in a vacuum. The vote was little more than an isolated (from reality) poll on how much we all love "wildlife and the arts" and not an informed choice about how important such government expenditures are in the midst of a looming state deficit of colossal proportions and difficult fiscal choices that threaten our livelihoods and our communities for years to come.Every Minnesotan should have a secret vote. There are numerous and proven ways to do that in this day and age. The Legislature should pass and the Governor should sign a mandate that the fiscal prognostications currently released annually in early December should be released in as complete a form as is available six weeks earlier (two weeks BEFORE any elections) to allow Minnesotans to make informed voting decisions rather than simple emotional choices sheltered from reality. Neither of these recommendations is difficult, nor would either cost a dime.Jim Beers522 Brooklyn CourtEagan, Minnesota 55123651-797-3570

Clinton, Gore, Babbit Gang Taking Over Obama NR

Land Rights NetworkAmerican Land Rights AssociationPO Box 400 - Battle Ground, WA 98604Phone: 360-687-3087 - Fax: 360-687-2973E-mail: alra@pacifier.comWeb Address: http://www.landrights.orgLegislative Office: 507 Seward Square SE - Washington, DC 20003

Clinton, Gore, Babbitt Gang Taking Over Obama Natural Resources
Obama prepares to finish Babbitt's "War on the West."Rural America in grave danger!!Please forward this message as widely as possible-quickly!-----Draft of Environmental Organization Transition Plan For ObamaAdministration Can Be Found At Omnibus Bill Report below.-----Special Note: This plan is the Environmental Group outline for thenext four to eight years of the Obama Administration for the NaturalResources part of the Government. Interior, Agriculture, Corps ofEngineers, Environmental Protection Agency, Council on Environmental Qualityand others.The change you've been waiting for is just about to arrive. And on Federallands and property rights issues, the change looks like a return to the badold days of Bill Clinton and Bruce Babbitt's War on the West.Leading the Obama transition team for the Interior Department are DavidHayes and John Leshy. Hayes was Deputy Secretary of the Interior underSecretary Babbitt in the Clinton Administration. Hayes now works for the World Wildlife Fund. Leshy was Solicitor General ofthe Interior Department under Babbitt. Leshy has spent his whole careertrying to get natural resource producers, especially small miners, offFederal lands.Both Hayes and Leshy have been mentioned as on the list to be Obama's choicefor Interior Secretary. Incredibly, some of the other names being mentionedare even worse. Most of them served in the Clinton Administration and mostof them have worked for one of the radical preservationist groups.Think back to what those years--1993 to 2001--were like when Clinton andBabbitt were waging their War on the West.Logging stopped in our National Forests.Grazing permittees harassed and arrested.Huge areas closed to entry under the General Mining Law.Trails closed to off-roaders and snow-mobilers.Thousands of miles of roads closed by the Roadless Rule.Inholders denied access to their own property.Hundreds of species listed as endangered under the ESA.Now, the same people who gave us the Roadless Rule are getting ready to comeback. They didn't get everything locked up and closed down during the eightClinton years largely because the Republicans won control of the House andSenate. But now Nancy Pelosi is Speaker of the House and Harry Reid isSenate Majority Leader. The radical preservationists that staffed Babbitt's Interior Department wantto finish what they started.Lock it up.Close it down.No natural resource production allowed.Recreation and hunting prohibited on millions of more acres.Huge new Wilderness Areas.Hundreds and hundreds more endangered species listings.Even widespread condemnation of private inholdings is on their agenda.The 26,000,000 acre National Landscape Conservation System (NLCS) is a firstclass example of what they are going to try to do nationally.Here's what you need to do to stop the second War on the West.Deluge your Senators office (For the New Congress) to urge them not toapprove John Leshy, David Hayes or any other Babbitt Interior DepartmentAlumni as Secretary of Interior. You do not want to have to fight forsurvival in a new Obama War On The West. Call any Senator at (202) 224-3121.Ask for their e-mail and/or fax number. Send them a letter opposing the newWar On The West. You must act quickly. -----Urgent Action Required --------You successfully defeated the giant Omnibus Federal Land Grab Bill.But Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) Senate Majority Leader, promises that it willbe high if not first on his agenda in the new Congress.-----You must be all over your Senators like a cheap suit by phone, fax ande-mail to head of this terrible land grab. Call Any Senator at (202)224-3121. Chuck CushmanExecutive

Strangling the Life Out of America!

"Strangling the Life Out of America!"
By Ron Ewart, President
National Association of Rural Landowners
© Copyright December 5, 2008 - All Rights Reserved

Some of us actually remember when America was the "can-do" country. Current generations are now stuck with, "we can't do that" because there is a law against it, or it might offend someone.

In the 1930's along came the socialists and communists to tear down the fabric of our Constitutional Republic, purportedly to save us from the grand emergency of the Great Depression. The results of their efforts was to extend the Great Depression. Even prior to FDR, President Wilson worked feverishly to dismantle the Constitution in favor of a one-world-order government, under the League of Nations.

And it wasn't always government as the perpetrator of the abuse of power. Even prior to President Wilson, Rockefeller's corporate empire was undaunted after President Theodore Roosevelt tried to bust up that empire. Rockefeller is portrayed in Robert Minor's 1911 cartoon in THE ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH as welcoming Karl Marx to Wall Street, with Marx carrying a book titled SOCIALISM. Rockefeller was able to use his great wealth to "buy" politicians who would see to it that through laws, rules and regulations, the Rockefellers and affiliates were not adversely affected-a type of corporate Socialism.

From an article about Rockefeller by Dennis L. Cuddy, PHD, he wrote: "In August of 1911 McCLURE'S magazine published an article titled "Masters of America: The Seven Men," which warned that "all fundamental resources, all industries capable of forming a unit, are being drawn together toward monopoly control.. And if corporate centralization of power continues unchecked, what is the next great popular agitation to be in this country? Socialism?

President Herbert Hoover instituted a study by the University of Illinois and Harvard on how to manipulate people through their subconscious minds. The Rockefeller Foundation paid for the study. Many of the findings of the study found their way into legislation.

The onslaught of government actions to further the decline of liberty and to over-regulate Americans, has been intense and never-ending for almost 100 years. Politicians and the socialists, corporations, unions and environmentalists that lobby them, have and are continuing to circumvent the strict limits on government power, as codified in our U. S. Constitution. International forces have been and are at work on the destruction of American sovereignty and the pillage of its wealth, resources and technology, through UN policies, agendas, treaties and money manipulation.

In spite of these attempts to chip away at our freedoms by our so-called leaders who think they know what is best for us, the great American ingenuity and creativity performed unimaginable feats in the previous Century and generated new technologies that were not only labor or life saving for Americans, but were the gift that raised many other world cultures out of poverty and into productivity and better health. America has been almost a providential gift to the entire world.

But no more. American socialist politicians have robbed the public treasury to buy votes, thus securing their perpetual power and driving America into financial ruin, where confidence in the future is at an all-time low. A deep depression is a real possibility, no matter how much of our money government throws at the problem. But worse, the financial emergency will be used as an excuse to implement one-world-government through a world currency. The money changers will finally rule the world, if they don't already.

The cost of the American government has risen from $1,150 per man, woman and child in America in 1970, to almost $10,000 today, or an 800% increase in 38 years. With the current insane bailout programs being handed out like candy, the cost of government per person, will rise well into the Thirty Thousands. America is broke and bankrupt because politicians have been using the distorted emotion of compassion (socialism by any other name) at any cost, as their mantra. Where the money was coming from to pay for it all was a detail that could be swept under the Capitol rug and buried as undistinguishable line-items in a budget report, or propagandized as being irrelevant. The insane over-spending policies of Washington DC filtered down to the states, counties and cities which now find themselves in the same dire financial situation as the Federal Government. Will they have to be bailed out as well? Probably!

Wealthy and politically influential radical environmentalists, who incessantly lobby government, have been enormously successful in putting road blocks in the way of America's commercial engine and the energy that drives that engine. They have exponentially increased the cost of everything we eat, travel on or in and the construction of roads, bridges and buildings. They have virtually stopped the extraction of new energy sources almost anywhere in America and have had legislation passed that makes it almost impossible to construct new power plants and refineries. Consequently, none have been built for 30 years. They now lobby for inefficient wind and solar power that must be subsidized by government.

These environmentalists have goaded government into passing draconian environmental laws that eat at the very core of American freedom, liberty and property rights. Salmon, snail darters and polar bears are more important and are due a greater priority than people, or their God given rights.

Environmentalists and the government that aides and abets them, have convinced almost an entire world population that man is the direct cause of a catastrophic rise in world temperatures and the cost of not doing anything far exceeds the cost of CO2 emission limits, or cap and trade regulations. No matter the overwhelming science against it, this fraud of man-caused global warming fits right in with the plan of a one-world-order for the centralized control of all land, water, energy and food. It is one of the greatest con games ever perpetrated on a hopelessly naive world that will pay for its naiveté by outright enslavement.

Although we still have the free choice to give to others as charity, government forces us to be more benevolent. Now government decides what charity we must give to and extracts their pound of flesh at the point of a gun through taxes. Give as they demand, or find yourself having to deal with an insane bureaucracy, or face criminal charges that result in heavy fines or can land you in jail, or both.

And for almost two decades, government has been tweaking the public school system by passing specific legislation that interjects socialist and radical environmentalist doctrine into the entire American public school curriculum. For the last twenty years, or even longer, your kids have been being brainwashed and indoctrinated by a government Hell bent on turning them into one-world-order, multi-cultural, socialist and radical environmental robots. Here again, Rockefeller raises his ugly head: "Changing attitudes, values and beliefs were also aspects of "social control" which, like education, was an important component of the Rockefeller plan. In order to control people, the Rockefellers knew they had to have the ability to control and monitor what people learn."

No invasion by a foreign government, or natural catastrophe, could have done more to strangle the very economic life out of America's creativity, ingenuity, industriousness and generosity than the socialist's and radical environmentalist's plan to re-shape America in their own distorted image. And we the people watched in abject apathy and disinterest, while they did it. We have only ourselves to blame for what is transpiring in front of our very eyes, as America and the world waits in anxious anticipation of an economic and sovereign tsunami. Like the pilot who lost a wing in flight, you might as well bend over and kiss your "ar.....s" goodbye ............ unless WE THE PEOPLE regain control from the inmates who have taken over what has now become America's asylum.

Ron Ewart, President
P. O. Box 1031, Issaquah, WA 98027
425 222-4742 or 1 800 682-7848
(Fax No. 425 222-4743)

Conservatives Have But Three Alternatives

"Conservatives Have But Three Alternatives"
By Ron Ewart, President
National Association of Rural Landowners
© Copyright November 30, 2008 - All Rights Reserved

Let's cut to the chase. If conservatives are going to take back America and return it to the Constitutional Republic, which was the design of the Founding Fathers, there are only three ways to accomplish the task. Each of the three alternatives comes with its own risks and chances for success. We will start with the hardest task first, having the greatest risk and no guarantees of a positive outcome.

Alternative 1. Take up arms in a revolutionary uprising against the U. S. Government and all state and local governments:

NOT ONLY DOES THIS ALTERNATIVE HAVE LITTLE CHANCE FOR SUCCESS, it carries with it the greatest risk. There is no way that citizens, armed only with pitchforks, pistols and rifles can have any hope of defeating civilian police forces, the national guard and the U. S. Military. The only thing gained from such an action would be to totally discredit the American freedom movement. This would be the last of the three alternatives and could only be fruitful on a grand scale and only if the other two alternatives did not work.

Winston Churchill said: "If you will not fight for right when you can easily win without bloodshed; if you will not fight when your victory is sure and not too costly; you may come to the moment when you will have to fight with all the odds against you and only a precarious chance of survival. There may even be a worse case. You may have to fight when there is no hope of victory, because it is better to perish than to live as slaves."

But this is not 1776, or even 1941. We are not fighting swords, muskets and cannons. We would be fighting the full force of the U. S. Military. It would be an impossible task unless, "we had no other choice but to fight when there was no hope of victory, because it would be better to perish than to live as slaves, as in 'GIVE ME LIBERTY OR GIVE ME DEATH!'"

Alternative 2. Withhold all forms of taxes from being collected by every level of government, from real estate taxes, to sales taxes, to license and permit fees, to the federal income tax:

It is absolutely true that the only power that government has over you is the power you give it by paying taxes to it. Without your tax money they have no power. The American government wastes more of your tax money on a scale greater than the gross domestic product of many countries. Government programs are also rife with fraud, abuse and corruption. If every conservative in America had the courage to withhold all of their tax payments, we would bring government to its knees in a matter of months. But such an alternative comes with a significant risk, because if there was not a sufficient outpouring of support for this alternative, many would become victims of government's revenge.

Alternative 3. Overwhelming Legislative Protest by millions of conservatives on a single issue:

There are thousands of conservative groups throughout America, supported by millions of conservative individuals. Over 59,000,000 Americans voted conservative in the last election. Most of those Americans live in the Heartland of America. If the United States is shown in red and blue counties, America is mostly conservative. It is only the high-dense urban areas that are liberal, because big cities are almost wholly dependent on government in one form or another and way too many live on government handouts (your money).

America's Conservative and Liberal Counties

In any event, even if a small fraction of those 59,000,000 conservative individuals (say 5% to 10%), that voted in the last presidential election, focused on one issue and conveyed that focus on the legislative power that had authority over that issue, conservatives could make a difference almost over night.

We know for a fact that politicians will yield to grass roots pressure. Let's say, for example, that every single conservative group in America had each of their individual members sign a petition to repeal the Endangered Species Act and deliver those petition signatures to the U. S. Congress by the millions. As added fuel to the fire, say that each conservative individual in each group sent a fax and an e-mail of the signed petition to individual members of the U. S. Congress. To further push the point home, say that thousands upon thousands of conservative individuals called the House and Senate switch boards, or their individual congressmen and senators, to add their voices to the "Repeal The Endangered Species Act", petition. This would not be planned as a one-time event. It would be planned to be done every week until congress capitulated. The orchestration of the plan would be accomplished through each of the separate conservative groups, with little effort on their part.

Just as conservatives did with the Immigration Reform (Amnesty) Bill, conservatives would prevail. Once we won one battle, there would be no stopping the conservative movement in this country. Politicians, environmentalists and socialist would be shaking in their boots, because the conservative grass roots will have spoken as one. This alternative would be a peaceful revolution and alternatives 1 and 2 would no longer be necessary.

Then, when we were successful in repealing the Endangered Species Act, we could move on to other hot-button issues, fully protecting our borders and stopping the magnet for illegal aliens to enter our country and deporting as many as possible. Or how about dismantling the Environmental Protection Agency, or repealing the Clean Water Restoration Act? Or undoing the flurry of conservation bills that make their way through Congress each year and get passed by a Liberal majority? Or how about opening up all areas for crude oil drilling in America and get this country moving again? Or how about pushing congress to authorize the building of dams, nuclear, gas and coal fired power plants and new refineries, like we used to do? Or how about stopping all this insanity of man-caused global warming CO2 emission limits and fool hardy cap and trade policies? Or better yet, how about stopping, once and for all, the brainwashing and indoctrination of our children in public schools with social and radical environmental curriculums?

This last alternative has the greatest potential for success and contains the least risk, but it will only be successful if conservatives get involved on a very large scale. No party affiliation would be necessary. Even conservatives and liberals that lived in big cities, could take part if they were of a mind.

Samuel Adams was right when he said: "It does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority, keen to set brush fires in people's minds." - Samuel Adams

America and freedom is ours for the taking. If enough conservatives become that tireless, irate minority, and stay that way, nothing will ever get in their way again. Either fight for the right to be free, or become a slave. That is the conservative's choice. Oh, and as a slave, you get to pay for all the urban illiterates who live off the sweat of your brow and vote to keep the socialists in office.

Conservatives and conservatism are the path to freedom. The truth is, if conservatives do not assert themselves, freedom dies and liberalism and socialism takes its place, forever. We are well on our way.

Finally, we have created just such a single-issue petition to repeal the Endangered Species Act. If you would be interested in a copy of that petition to circulate to your conservative group, or conservative individuals you know, send us an e-mail to with "PETITION" in the subject line and one will be forwarded to you. If you like our frequent messages of freedom, liberty and property rights, we also give speeches to conservative groups all across America.

Ron Ewart, President
P. O. Box 1031, Issaquah, WA 98027
425 222-4742 or 1 800 682-7848
(Fax No. 425 222-4743)

The Plundering and Looting of America's Roots"

"The Plundering and Looting of America's Roots"
By Ron Ewart, President
National Association of Rural Landowners
© Copyright November 26, 2008 - All Rights Reserved

When the madman Hitler rose to power in Germany, it was just after the time that Germany had suffered a humiliating defeat in the first World War, (a war Germany started) and was rendered militarily "toothless" by the Versailles treaty. German national pride was at a low ebb at the time and Hitler's passion and grand oratory gave the German people a reason to feel good about themselves again, even though the message Hitler was promoting differed remarkably from what was hidden in the deep recesses of his diabolical mind. Hitler could not have accomplished his rise to power all on his own. He had both political and financial help from those who saw fame and fortune in riding on Hitler's coattails. But worst of all, he had willing accomplices in the German people. A very large percentage of the German people, who saw through Hitler's propaganda, essentially stood by and did nothing. The cost of millions of lives and untold property damage rests squarely on their shoulders.

The plan that Hitler had for the conquest of Europe and beyond was devious, if not wholly evil. He had two overriding passions, he hated the Jews and the Slavs and he had an unhealthy, almost obsessive love of art. As his armies spread across Europe, they, on his orders, plundered and looted trophy art from every museum, building and every household they encountered and conquered, or destroyed. Hitler was responsible for not only taking millions of lives, destroying countless buildings and homes, but on his direction, robbed the people of their entire religious and cultural heritage in their art and their architecture.

After the war, the allies found tons of trophy art hidden in caves and mountain strongholds and castles, all across Germany, that the Russians hadn't found. The job of cataloging, restoration and returning the art to their rightful owners took years and is still going on today. Over 50,000 catalogued pieces of art are still missing. Some may have been lost to collateral damage. But still other pieces of fine and trophy art are in the possession of Germans and other war perpetrators that worked hand-in-hand with the Germans. It will be generations before all the art is determined to be either lost, or surfaces from family members offering the art for sale, who have no idea of the art's origin.

In its 232-year history, America has had many fine artists that have expressed their work in millions of paintings, sculptures and other artifacts. The production of art in a country of 300,000,000 people is mind boggling. Some of the art is truly excellent and some mediocre at best. Nevertheless, the art is representative of the American "culture", no matter what the medium in which it was cast. American art is not yet old enough to label it as antiquities art, with the accompanying high value.

But there is more to the American culture than just its art, as there was more to the European and Russian cultures than their trophy art and its architecture. America, among all countries that were formed since civilization began, is totally unique, in that it was formed under an umbrella of unalienable, individual rights that brought individuals true freedom and liberty. Part of those unalienable, individual rights was the foundation of all such rights, and that was the right to "own" and "possess" property, or property rights.

But stealing a country's heritage does not necessarily have to be accomplished by physical force. Today, through legislation and bureaucratic rule making, the true heritage of America's culture, private property rights, is being systematically plundered and looted by a government who has lost all allegiance to the foundation of America's freedom, its Constitution. Based on the false premise that man is killing the planet and lobbied incessantly by radical environmentalists, government, at all levels, (the looters) is unconstitutionally shoving radical environmentalism down the throats of private landowners in every corner of America, based on that false premise. Under the Endangered Species Act, the Clean Water Act, man-cause global warming policies, the Environmental Protection Agency and a plethora of other laws, rules and acts, government thumbs its nose at the 5th Amendment to our constitution and takes private land by regulation, or outright confiscation and totally ignores due process and just compensation. The right of eminent domain has been so perverted by the courts as to authorize an eminent domain taking for almost any reason; the "any reason" being decided by government.

Now, just as in Germany in the 1930's, the American government has willing accomplices in these vile, draconian acts and these accomplices, for fame and fortune, have hitched a ride on the coattails of this out-of-control government. As the whores they are, these accomplices take their marching orders from United Nations hacks and international monetary oligarchs and hangout in government offices collecting favors, writing legislation and requesting grants to fund their evil activities against American landowners.

But worst of all, the government, the socialists and radical environmentalists have willing accomplices in a large percentage of the American people. Most of these willing accomplices live in big cities.

In spite of this plundering and looting of America's roots, the core of the American people still believe in the foundation of constitutional freedom. With few exceptions, the heartland of America is predominantly conservative. It is only in the high-dense urban centers, in big cities, on our three coasts and in and around the Great Lakes region, who are hopelessly dependent on government, that continuously vote to keep the socialists in office, who continuously pass legislation to keep the big city's "pig trough" full. Big cities are also bastions of radical environmentalism and multi-culturalism. Their heavy vote-majority perpetuates these un-American and in many cases, unconstitutional policies. While the big-city radical environmentalists lobby government to steal your land, the big-city socialists lobby government to steal your money. Under these insane socialist and radical environmental policies, failure is rewarded and success is taxed to pay for the failures. An up-side-down Orwellian world if there ever was one.

However, a high percentage of the American people still believe in unalienable, individual rights, property rights, free markets and capitalism. They believe that the Constitution is the foundation of our freedom and liberty, and is and should, be the Supreme Law of the Land. But as in 1930's Germany, if the core of the American people who believe in liberty, stand by while their culture and heritage are plundered and looted by those who hold no allegiance to constitutional freedom, they will one day find themselves as slaves to the looters. Or, are they already slaves and just don't know it? The entire cost of this plundering and looting rests squarely on the shoulders of those who knew what was going on, but did nothing to stop it.

One way to take a stand against those accomplices who would unconscionably steal your cultural heritage, property rights and your money, is to make a Declaration of Individual Independence and Reaffirm American Constitutional Sovereignty. A copy of such a Declaration can be obtained by requesting it at

Ron Ewart, President
P. O. Box 1031, Issaquah, WA 98027
425 222-4742 or 1 800 682-7848
(Fax No. 425 222-4743)


33862 Totem Pole Road
Lebanon, OR 97355
Mike Dubrasich
Executive Director
December 1, 2008
Dear Friends,
The first year of W.I.S.E. has flown by. A year ago we decided that something more than a single blog (SOS Forests, Version 1) was desirable, and the concept of a multi-site Web institute was born.
Our intention was to build the premier online library for forest, fire, and the environmental sciences, with emphasis on the New Paradigm. The knowledge uncovered, displayed, and explained was to be presented to the World At Large for the Instruction of Mankind and for the benefit of all creatures and landscapes of this Our Shared Planet.
We have achieved that goal, partially. We made some headway, at any rate. I think you will agree that no other website contains the variety and in-depth discussions of environmental sciences that W.I.S.E. does.
The Western Institute for Study of the Environment now provides a free, on-line set of post-graduate courses in environmental studies, currently fifty Topics in eight Colloquia, each containing book and article reviews, original papers, and essays. In addition, W.I.S.E. hosts two Commentary sub-sites, provides a news clipping sub-site, and maintains a fire tracking site. Reviews and original articles are archived in the online Library.
Last summer the Western Institute for Study of the Environment was officially granted 501(c)(3) non-profit, educational status by the IRS.
SOS Forests, the new version [], has been our most active sub-site, with 328 posts and 1,159 comments. The other W.I.S.E. Commentary sub-site, Wildlife and People [], has also been active, with 109 posts and 129 comments. Many interesting topics have been explored at both the Commentary sub-sites, with numerous authors and a healthy give-and-take of ideas.
A great deal of effort was made to track the largest fires this year at W.I.S.E. Fire Tracking [].Over 250 fires were followed on a daily basis from Date of Origin to 100 Percent Containment. Each fire has its own post, creating one-stop records of the day-to-day changes in fire size, personnel, and fire suppression costs for further study and reference.
W.I.S.E. Forest, Wildlife, and Climate News [] has 322 posts and 106 comments. And we are very pleased with our new photo page (the first of many) Boise NF and Payette NF Post-2007 Fire(s) Photos []. Thank you very much to all those who sent photos and news clippings.
While all that was happening, we somehow managed to also review 91 books and articles containing most cutting-edge advancements in the environmental sciences, (see the W.I.S.E. Library []). Ample as that may seem, our stack of additions runneth over. For the rest of this month we will be concentrating on adding a few dozen more excellent works to the Colloquia and Library.
Among the authors whose works we have posted and/or reviewed so far are: Marc Abrams, M. Kat Anderson, J. Scott Armstrong, Robert D. Averill, Tim Bailey, Paul H. Beck, Arthur T. Bergerud, Thomas C. Blackburn, Thomas M. Bonnicksen, Bernard Bormann, Robert Boyd, Glenn Bradley, Greg Brenner, Ken Carloni, Thomas J. Connolly, Ric Costales, William Wallace Covington, Joseph D’Aleo, William Denevan, George Dovel, Paul Driessen, J.R. Dunn, Don Easterbrook, Ric Frost, Cliff Gardner, Alan P. Garfinkel, Valerius Geist, Will N. Graves, Harriet M. Hageman, John A. Helms, John Imbrie, Carl L. Johannessen, Charles E. Kay, Karen Launchbaugh, George M. Leonard, Henry T. Lewis, Charles C. Mann, John F. Marker, Paul S. Martin, Archie Murchie, Mike Norton-Griffiths, Ned Pence, James D. Petersen, E.C. Pielou, Richard J. Pfilf, Stephen J. Pyne, Laura Schneberger, S. Fred Singer, Julie Kay Smithson, Willie Soon, Bob St. Louis, Omer C. Stewart, George H. Taylor, Cat Urbigkit, Charles E. Van Wagner, Frederick H. Wagner, Cliff White, Gerald W. Williams, Judith Williams, Sarah Winnemucca, William I. Woods, and Bob Zybach.
And if that were not enough, in October the W.I.S.E. website underwent a major facelift when we updated and remodeled the sub-sites.
In the first ten months of 2008 W.I.S.E. experienced 151,059 web visits and an average of 7,722 unique visitors per month.
Last March W.I.S.E. members wrote a 170-page Comment to the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest regarding their issuance of a Notice regarding their intent to add WFU (Wildland Fire Use) in the guise of AMR (Appropriate Management Response) to their FMP (Fire Management Plan) portion of their LRMP (Land and Resources Management Plan). The RR-SNF NEPA process then disappeared, and we have sent them two Freedom of Information Act requests as follow-up. We have not heard back, but are still pursuing this important legal precedent.
We also have tracked a number of Bills in Congress, including three different Forest Restoration Bills (by Bingaman, Wyden, and DeFazio), various Wilderness Bills, and the Energy Bill, and submitted testimonies top Congress and the Oregon Dept. of Environmental Quality. Last week we sent in testimony regarding the Quadrennial Fire Review, in process by the National Wildfire Coordinating Group.
W.I.S.E. provides points of view found in few other places. We are a critically important voice expressing scientific findings that would not otherwise receive wide acknowledgement.
None of this could have happened without the generous support from some serious forest aficionados with heartfelt concerns and strong convictions about stewardship. We are extremely grateful to all those who have chipped in to keep the tank from empty and the motor running. And we are also grateful to all those who have provided content, including the authors of the 91 books and papers reviewed in the Colloquia and the numerous guest authors of posts in the Commentary sub-sites.
Over the past twelve months we have received $1,100.00 in donations. Our expenses have been $2,112.32 to date, which includes a $750.00 fee to the IRS for registering as a 501(c)(3) non-profit. Most of the rest has gone to our Internet Service provider, Numanet, for website services. We have required considerable help in getting all the bells and whistles of our "free" software to work. No staff members have taken any salary, and indeed staff have contributed over $1,000.00 to keep the books balanced.
Thank you for all your help. In many ways, we are just getting started on this great adventure. The World At Large has not been fully Instructed yet. There is much more to do. We have great plans for 2009, including many more book and article reviews, more discussions of current environmental issues, fire tracking in 2009, further refinement of the website, and the honoring of selected Fellows of the Institute.
Please consider making a donation to this worthy effort; visit the Donation Page [] for guidance or simply mail a check made out to W.I.S.E. to the address in the letterhead above. (We are an officially recognized non-profit; your contributions are tax deductible!) We will continue to seek foundational support, but your donations are vital to our efforts at this time.
And please keep the posts, articles, news tips, and photos coming in. Your contributions are extremely important and much appreciated. Thank you. If we change the world (and we intend to), it will be due to your efforts.
Sincerely Yours,
Mike Dubrasich, Exec Dir