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From "The Death of Environmentalism" to Break Through:

In 2004, environmental consultants Ted Nordhaus and Michael Shellenberger published an essay provocatively called "The Death of Environmentalism." In it, they argued modern environmentalism had played itself out, had become yet another component of interest-group liberalism, and was incapable of addressing climate change and other major contemporary challenges. Coming from within the movement, the essay caused quite a stir within the environmental community and prompted extensive debate about the movement and its future.

Now Nordaus and Shellenberger are back with a book, Break Through: From the Death of Environmenalism to the Politics of Possibility, that expands upon their thesis and attempts to lay out a forward-looking agenda for a new progressive politics that can tackle the environmental challenges of our day. Like their essay, the book is prompting extensive (and much needed) discussion about the future of environmentalism. Environmental law prof Jamison Colburn analyzed the book for Dorf on Law, and my own take can be found in my review in today's WSJ. It concludes:

In an odd way, the doomsaying of the global warmists has had a tonic effect, revealing, nearly 40 years since the first Earth Day, that environmentalism is stuck in a midlife crisis. Messrs. Nordhaus and Shellenberger want desperately to get it unstuck. If heeded, their call for an optimistic outlook--embracing economic dynamism and creative potential--will surely do more for the environment than any U.N. report or Nobel Prize.
The review is somewhat brief, so I'd like to expand on some points, particularly some of my disagreements with the authors.

Overall, I think their critique of the environmental movement, and its obsession with the "politics of limits" and a "doomsday discourse," is important and insightful. They explain how the environmental movement has become, in may respects, just another liberal interest group seeking the attention of the Democratic Party. Greens may score occasional political victories, but most are symbolic. As they argue, today's environmental movement is fundamentally incapable of mobilizing action sufficient to address major ecological concerns, global warming in particular.

They condemn other environmentalists for ignoring trade-offs, confusing hard choices for "false choices," and obstructing environmental progress. While most environmental leaders embrace the call for alternative energy sources, others like Robert F. Kennedy Jr. devote their energies to fighting offshore wind power near Hyannisport, dividing the movement and chilling investments in future technologies. As Nordhaus and Shellenberger lament, "when push comes to shove, would-be green developers and entrepreneurs too often find themselves abandoned by the very same environmentalists who advocate such projects in theory. The idea that transforming America's economy, energy grid, or suburban landscape might require tradeoffs is anathema to many environmentalists" who seem wedded to the idea that there is some potential nirvana over the horizon in which humans live peacefully with no impact on the world around them.

Their project is more ambitious than simply announcing environmentalism's obituary. They want to exhume the corpse and resurrect a new progressive politics to take its place. This is a harder task, and I found this part of the book less satisfying. Nordhaus and Shellenberger wish to see environmentalism reborn into a new, post-materialist progressivism driven by an optimistic, growth-oriented and forward-looking vision of the future, what they call "the politics of possibility." Such a politics should appeal to Americans' shared values, rather than parochial interest group resentments, and should recognize that well-intentioned environmental measures may have undesirable effects.

While I liked the book, I am not ready to sign on to all of their prescriptions. Portions of their agenda are sensible -- particularly their call for emphasizing innovation over prescriptive regulation -- but other portions are too lacking in specifics or a bit fanciful for my taste. At one point, Nordhaus and Shellenberger lament that the lack of a "thick" environmental identity comparable to that of conservative evangelicals, and call upon progressives to create "a new web of pre-political associations" to advance their cause, as if such institutions could be created from whole cloth. Yet the institutions of civil society must grow and evolve over time -- and are rarely (if ever) created by design. Governments in particular know far more about how to squelch such institutions with ill-conceived government interventions than how to nurture their growth and success.

My disagreements with Nordhaus and Shellenberger may stem from our competing worldviews. I do not share their progressive political outlook or relatively greater faith in government-led solutions. Of course it is a much easier task to challenge the agenda of others than to construct an alternative of one's own. In any event, Break Through makes an important and provocative contribution to the debate over environmentalism's future. Nordhaus and Shellenberger's call for an optimistic environmental politics that embraces economic prosperity and humanity's creative potential is refreshing. It provides the base for a keener shade of green, even if their call for a new progressive politics leaves something to be desired. Environmentalism may be dead; long live environmentalism.

J. F. Thomas (mail):
Apparently, you are both you and the authors you critique are both so ideologically blind that you don't know what the hell you are talking about or just don't care. Every single one of their, and your counterpoints, are absurd.

If by environmentalists you are referring to the tree-hugging, earth first, greenpeace, birkenstock wearing extremists. They have always been around pushing the same extreme agenda, and other than being the conscience of the movement, are not the ones who actually made the changes happen. If you are talking about the "environmentalists" who got together and started working for the Nixon created EPA in a failed Spiro Agnew owned Apartment/shopping complex in Ancostia and created the Clean Water and Air Acts, TSCA, RCRA, CERCLA, got CFCs banned all over the world (and saved the ozone layer)and all the other environmental legislation of the late sixties through early eighties that made this country the world leader in environmental protection, they never lost their way. They were sidelined by people like you who claimed such people never existed or that the legislation was unnecessary and counterproductive. Or from people like the Vice President who assure us that while conservation may be a personal virtue, it has no business being part of the nation's energy policy, when in fact it should be the centerpiece.

In the meantime, Europe which was years behind us in environmental protection, has caught up and passed us and improved on our achievements while we whine, bitch and moan that protecting the environement is too hard or will damage our economy while maintaining the status quo, especially our insane dependence on fossil fuels from unstable regions, is the real danger to the environment.
11.27.2007 1:12pm
Crunchy Frog:
The problem that environmental groups have is the same as that of the civil rights crowd - the major battles were fought, and won, back in the 1970s. Everybody wants clean air, and clean water, and protection for endangered species, just as everyone agrees that racism is a Bad Thing. These groups have been in search of an agenda for 30 years.

The problem with the global warming Climate Change "problem" (exactly when isn't the climate changing?) is that things previously considered the epitome of evil (nuclear power) are now often looked on as solutions, and things recognized as good (economic development in third-world hellholes) aren't all of a sudden so hot any more (you have to burn fossil fuels to provide enough food, clean water, homes, etc. to combat poverty).
11.27.2007 1:21pm
Ken Arromdee:
Banning CFCs was a way the big corporations managed to pull the wool over everyone's eyes.

CFCs were patented. The patents were running out. What better way to ensure more years of patent protection than forbidding the use of the chemicals whose patent had expired?
11.27.2007 1:46pm
Thomas_Holsinger:
Professor Adler,

Actually environmentalism has largely been captured by its fund-raisers. This is fairly common. The "cop-killer" bullet fuss in the National Rifle Association during the Clinton administration is a perfect example of a phony dispute created as a vehicle for one NRA faction to seize control of its fund-raising machinery from another faction.

Another fruitful example is the incestuous relationship between fund-raisers and campaign consultants in the Democratic Party. Howard Dean became DNC chairman due to a revolt by state parties concerning the excesses of such relationships.

Always follow the money.
11.27.2007 1:51pm
PLR:
Banning CFCs was a way the big corporations managed to pull the wool over everyone's eyes.

CFCs were patented. The patents were running out. What better way to ensure more years of patent protection than forbidding the use of the chemicals whose patent had expired?

That's junk history. The major CFC patents had long since expired, and industry opposed the CFC ban all the way into the mid-80s.

Link here.
11.27.2007 2:28pm
Smokey:
J.F. Thomas states, without any citations, links or other backup information:
"Every single one of their, and your counterpoints, are absurd."
OK, J.F., point by point, let's hear your arguments. And with your reputation here at rock bottom, they'd better be good ones.
11.27.2007 2:46pm
Arkady:

While most environmental leaders embrace the call for alternative energy sources, others like Robert F. Kennedy Jr. devote their energies to fighting offshore wind power near Hyannisport, dividing the movement and chilling investments in future technologies.


What RFK, Jr. actually wrote is this:


There are many alternatives that would achieve the same benefits as Cape Wind without destroying this national treasure [Cape Cod and the islands]. Deep water technology is rapidly evolving, promising huge bounties of wind energy with fewer environmental and economic consequences. Scotland is preparing to build wind turbines in the Moray Firth more than 12 miles offshore. Germany is considering placing turbines as far as 27 miles off its northern shores.

If Cape Wind were to place its project further offshore, it could build not just 130, but thousands of windmills - where they can make a real difference in the battle against global warming without endangering the birds or impoverishing the experience of millions of tourists and residents and fishing families who rely on the sound's unspoiled bounties.
11.27.2007 3:44pm
Arkady:
Sorry, forgot the RFK, Jr. link:

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/16/opinion/16kennedy.html

I think he's more balanced than Prof. Adler's hit-and-run comment suggests.
11.27.2007 3:52pm
Smokey:
Arkady:

You do realize, don't you, that your cut 'n' paste arguments against windmills are the same type of arguments employed to stop the construction of any and all new nuclear power generating facilities? Or any adequate new power generation facilities, for that matter?

The environmentalists need to step up to the plate for once, and explain exactly which kind of power generation they think is acceptable [and, hint, hint: solar/wind power are entirely inadequate resources for electricity generation -- even with their massive taxpayer subsidies].

Or do they want us to revert to their mud hut utopia?
11.27.2007 4:19pm
anym_avey (mail):
I think he's more balanced than Prof. Adler's hit-and-run comment suggests.

"Not in my backyard", whether stated in those exact words or longer and more in-depth words promising better opportunities in the future, is still "Not in my backyard" and represents the very "chilling" of useful technologies that Adler claimed. It helped to chill US nuclear power for 30 years and it has historically hindered a lot of wind and hydro projects, too.

Now, some of those may be worth hindering because of the trade-offs involved. But in the case of Cape Wind, it was being attacked by many of the same people who keep telling us that climate change is a pending emergency requiring immediate action and sacrifice -- but then, given a pristine opportunity to put their money where their mouth is (and in Kennedy's case, a very large mouth, even if he did manage to scrap together some tact for that NYT piece), wowza yowza, suddenly there are a million reasons why that sacrifice can't be made.

And oddly enough, most of arguments Kennedy raised in that NYT piece as to why the farm shouldn't be built at that location, mitigate even more strongly against an even larger farm built farther offshore. That somehow escaped him when he threw that sop in at the end, apparently.
11.27.2007 4:24pm
Arkady:

And oddly enough, most of arguments Kennedy raised in that NYT piece as to why the farm shouldn't be built at that location, mitigate even more strongly against an even larger farm built farther offshore.


Can you point me to some studies on this?
11.27.2007 4:50pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
The environmentalists need to step up to the plate for once, and explain exactly which kind of power generation they think is acceptable [and, hint, hint: solar/wind power are entirely inadequate resources for electricity generation -- even with their massive taxpayer subsidies].

Seriously Smokey, you complain about my reputation, laud nuclear power and then deride the massive taxpayer subsidies for wind and solar.

You are the one lacking in credibility. There is not a power source on the face of the earth that has received more massive taxpayer subsidies (and still can't deliver its promised benefits or solve its inherent problems) than nuclear.
11.27.2007 5:05pm
Michelle Dulak Thomson (mail):
J. F. Thomas,

There is not a power source on the face of the earth that has received more massive taxpayer subsidies (and still can't deliver its promised benefits or solve its inherent problems) than nuclear.

And yet, earlier you wrote,

In the meantime, Europe which was years behind us in environmental protection, has caught up and passed us and improved on our achievements while we whine, bitch and moan that protecting the environement is too hard or will damage our economy while maintaining the status quo, especially our insane dependence on fossil fuels from unstable regions, is the real danger to the environment.

To the extent that Europe is avoiding "our insane dependence on fossil fuels," isn't it via nuclear power? Certainly if we're to look to European successes, France's example can't be ignored, can it?
11.27.2007 5:40pm
Bottomfish (mail):
(www.grist.org/news/maindish/2005/01/13/little-doe/)
Grist reprints an interview with S&N which shows how unreal their worldview is. The interviewer asks:

Can you give another example of the kind of device or initiative that would move the environmental movement beyond its current framework?

Nordhaus: What if we introduced a constitutional amendment that said that no state shall pay more in taxes to the federal government than it receives in expenditures from the federal government? What does that have to do with global warming? Well, it would tackle the subsidies dilemma
that we've been trying to address for years: the federal highway subsidies, the energy subsidies, the coal and oil subsidies. New York and California, for instance, pay vastly more in federal taxes than they receive in federal expenditures and places like Alaska, Alabama, a whole
raft of mostly rural and particularly Western and Southern states receive vastly more in federal expenditures than they pay in federal taxes. So this constitutional-amendment approach would take it out of an environmental context and create a political debate that problematizes the politics of subsidies. It recontextualizes the subsidy debate around
fairness.


So that's how they would read the subsidy debate. Others might read it quite differently.
11.27.2007 5:51pm
bittern (mail):
Most of these arguments have gone round and round and round. Jonathan, if you added to your book reviews an indication of whether you learned very much new and significant, that would be of some interest. The omissions of my fellow environmentalists are easy enough to see; I don't need to read no stinkin' chapter books to understand that. I'm a lazy reader, myself, and an endorsement that "I liked the book" is weak tea. On the other hand, it's a wonderful convenience that you've read this book so I don't have to!! So, many thanks there!!

While I'm a-wishing, some commenters could pump up their courtesy indices by assuming that more people will read their screeds than wrote them, and edit their text accordingly. Consider it an efficiency measure. Sample text, drawn from the very first line of comments:
Apparently, you are both you and the authors you . . .

Multitudes study this syntacticism. Why?
11.27.2007 6:12pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
MDT,

Actually, I think nuclear power is an important bridge technology and the massive government subsidies it receives in every step in the process will have to continue. But I am a little tired of all these libertarians (and there are a lot of offenders on this very site) who like to sneer at environmentalists' disdain of nuclear while they decry government subsidies of other alternatives.

Let's get something straight. Nuclear power was invented by the government, promoted by it, and can not compete without massive government subsidies and indemnity. That libertarians constantly laud it is ridiculous. The market has tested it and found it to be sorely lacking. When it was first proposed we were promised it would be "too cheap to meter." That was a lie. Don't pretend sixty years later that it is a market-based solution.
11.27.2007 7:04pm
Randy R. (mail):
Yes, The Death of Environmentalism is sorta like The End of History. Makes for an interesting read, but in reality is absurd.

Anyway, wind power has been embraced in many places -- out west where the winds are high and farmers are looking for extra income and even in Buffalo, were several windmills were built with public enthusiasm. This business about environmentalists being against windmills is a red herring, or a straw man. Take your pick. But Cape Cod certainly is not the norm around the country.

As for gov't subsidies, well, others are correct -- nuclear power certainly operates with massive gov't subsidies. What isn't really noticed is that in places like Germany, their alternative power sectors are far more advanced than ours precisely because of their gov't support. They are much further ahead. Within about five years, they predict that oil prices will be higher, and solar power will be lower, and there will be a 'sweet' spot wherein their solar power will be competitive with oil, and they will take off. We can't say that here.

So we will kiss another technology goodbye as foreigners take our shirts. Thanks conservatives!
11.27.2007 7:24pm
pireader (mail):
Professor Adler --

[T]he environmental movement has become, in may respects, just another liberal interest group seeking the attention of the Democratic Party.

It would be equally-accurate to say that the Democratic Party is avidly seeking the attention of environmentalists.

We have a two-party system in this country--and both parties are grand coalitions of "interest groups". If some group of citizens want government policy changed, and another group want the contrary, the political process gets rolling. Over time, one party takes up one group's concerns and the other party takes up the other's.

Of course, it can make for strange bedfellows ... but surely no stranger than the coalition of corporate executives, immigration restrictionists, free-marketeers, right-to-lifers, gun enthusiasts, Old South traditionalists, supply-side tax-cutters and "World War IV" foreign-policy hawks that we call the Republican Party.

Can you cite examples of non-economic grass-roots movements that successfully influenced government policy on major controversial issues without getting into this sort of coalition-building?

[T]oday's environmental movement is fundamentally incapable of mobilizing action sufficient to address major ecological concerns, global warming in particular

Ten years ago, "global warming" was a punchline on late-night TV. Now, it's a mainstream political issue, with wide and widening popular support; and a major plank in every Democratic presidential candidate's platform. It likewise holds a prominent place in the politics of most other developed countries.

Can you cite examples of non-economic grass-roots movements in American politics that have gotten farther fasteron major controversial issues?
11.27.2007 7:40pm
Bpbatista (mail):
Modern environmentalism is really a New Age religion. It is about faith in and finding an identity and purpose by "saving" the "Environment." Its church is the regulatory state. Its more extreme elements preach and practice, essentially, human sacrifice (e.g., the activist who recently had an abortion to save the planet; neo-Malthusians calling for radical population control and reduction). It sells indulgences (i.e., "carbon offsets") and its clergy is grossly hypocritical (RFK, Jr., opposition to nuclear power, private jets, etc.) There is little that is rational, practical or compassionate about modern Environmentalism -- whence its failure to command wide spread public support.
11.27.2007 9:12pm
Brian K (mail):
Bpbatista,

WOW! I don't even know how to reply to such an utterly ridiculous comment. Just please do the world a favor and don't have children...we as a society can't take the risk that the stupidity you have expressed in your post is genetic.
11.27.2007 10:18pm
Randy R. (mail):
Fortunately, even young evangelists are finding that the environment is a cause for them to take up. So it isn't just liberals anymore. It's everyone.
11.27.2007 11:39pm
Randy R. (mail):
Mabye Bpbatista should go live in China, where there aren't any of those commie environmentalists. He can drink the brown water and breath in the polluted skies -- a conservative's paradise!
11.28.2007 12:00am
David M. Nieporent (www):
So we will kiss another technology goodbye as foreigners take our shirts. Thanks conservatives!
Uh, why? Are they going to keep their technology secret? What I've never understood about the left is their weird notion that if it isn't done with federal dollars, it isn't done at all. From stem cell research to various alternative energy pork, there's always the outcry from the left that if Congress isn't funding the research, it won't happen -- not in the U.S., not anywhere.

If research into, e.g., electric cars or solar power is done, why do you care whether it's funded by the U.S. government or by the German government? This isn't top secret stealth fighter technology; if a German company makes a breakthrough funded by German taxpayers, it's just as good as if that research is funded by American taxpayers -- but cheaper.
11.28.2007 4:27am
pireader (mail):
David M. Nieporent wrote --

What I've never understood about the left is their weird notion that if it isn't done with federal dollars, it isn't done at all. ... [If]f a German company makes a breakthrough funded by German taxpayers, it's just as good as if that research is funded by American taxpayers -- but cheaper.

This concern isn't limited to "the left"-- it's also widely held in the business community. There's a perception that doing the upstream reasearch in a technology area provides a powerful headstart in downstream development and production.

For example, the origins of the US's leading positions in aircraft, digital electronics and biotech are all traced back to research funded by various Federal agencies (Pentagon, NIH, etc.)
11.28.2007 5:32am
Arkady:

For example, the origins of the US's leading positions in aircraft, digital electronics and biotech are all traced back to research funded by various Federal agencies (Pentagon, NIH, etc.)


Not to mention everybody's ability to post on this blog
(DARPA).
11.28.2007 7:28am
Bottomfish (mail):
Brian K &Randy R:

Actually S&N, the two environmentalists about whom we are supposed to be commenting, understand the popularity problem of the enviros better than you do. As they point out, everyone is in favor of saving the environment, but the cause always loses out in favor of issues like jobs and the economy. Environmentalism is not that high a priority compared with other things. Have you considered that there must be a reason why SUVs are so popular?

In short, the public is decidedly hypocritical about environmentalism. That is why the post the about the cause being a secular religion fits so well. Hypocrisy goes hand in hand with relitions that just demand too much in self-sacrifice from human beings.
11.28.2007 8:06am
Randy R. (mail):
David: "If research into, e.g., electric cars or solar power is done, why do you care whether it's funded by the U.S. government or by the German government? "

Because then the profits from said businesses will flow to Germany, not the US, and that hurts our trade balance. The jobs will remain, for the most part, in Germany.

Bottomfish: "As they point out, everyone is in favor of saving the environment, but the cause always loses out in favor of issues like jobs and the economy. "

The problem with this thinking is the assumption that protecting the environment is always at odds with jobs and the economy. It isn't true. In fact, there is virtually no correlation between the amount of pollution a country tolerates and its economic health.

Of course, some people may believe this nonsense, but cleaner technology means better technology.
11.28.2007 9:10am
Bpbatista (mail):
Brian K and Randy R -- care to provide any facts or examples, as I did, or are ad hominem attacks all you have? If so, I doubt that either of you are capable of attracting a mate to reproduce with or to even figure out how reproducing is accomplished.

In any event, by way of clarification, I was talking about modern Environmentalism of the Al Gore, RFK Jr., Greenpeace variety, i.e., movement environmentalists. They are the Elmer Gantrys and John Tetzels of Environmentalism.
11.28.2007 10:29am
AnonLawStudent:
JFT et al,

It's rather disingenuous to criticize "subsidies" of nuclear power when they are in place largely to offset increased costs due to a prolific regulatory regime. For example, the largest "subsidy" under the Energy Policy Act is insurance against regulatory delays. When you cite the historic expense of nuclear power, it's important to consider what portion of that expense was attributable to government actions, including repetitive delays by litigious environmental activists. It was the litigation delays, imposed by a dysfunctional regulatory regime that left every reactor project exposed to litigation in two separate licensing actions, that killed the nuclear industry in the late 1970's and early 1980's.
Likewise, Price-Anderson must be considered in light of the regulatory burden imposed. If the government is going to regulate ad infinitum how a nuclear reactor operates, it is decidedly unfair to then impose unlimited liability on the operator, since he cannot take actions to achieve the optimal balance between safety and tort damages.
I have addressed the two major "subsidies" that most environmentalists attribute to the nuclear power industry. I will, admit, that additional outlays are involved in basic research, but the sums are relatively small, and in many cases would have occurred anyway due to other government needs, e.g. naval reactors and the nuclear weapons complex.
11.28.2007 12:19pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
This concern isn't limited to "the left"-- it's also widely held in the business community. There's a perception that doing the upstream reasearch in a technology area provides a powerful headstart in downstream development and production.
Yes, but that may be true... for a particular company. If I'm General Motors, it's quite reasonable for me to think I do gain a long term advantage from having gotten government contracts to do research on hybrid cars

But I'm not GM, so the question is, why should I care? Whether GM develops it or Daimler does, the cars will be out there.

Randy provides the mercantilist answer: that government policy ought to be concerned with accumulating as much gold as possible. But I thought mercantilism was discredited, oh, several centuries ago, except on Lou Dobbs' program.
11.28.2007 1:16pm
TruePath (aka logicnazi) (mail) (www):
I think a good reasonable place to look for answers about the nuclear power issue is the MIT report on the field which concludes that nuclear power is cost competitive with coal, oil and renewable sources if you include the costs from CO2 emissions (i.e., including a reasonable carbon tax or carbon trading system). While I happen to think that nuclear power is a reasonable way to go (and will ultimately be necessery) the truth is that this is a stupid debate to have. The correct answer is to get rid of all these stupid one off subsidies create a carbon tax or trading system and let the market figure out which technology is best to use.

However, the one qualification I have to this approach is the federal government needs to get it's act together and force the Yuca mountain project through. Fine charge the nuclear companies the correct cost for storage but we need political action by the feds to stop NIMBYism by the states from preventing a reasonable solution.
---

Anyway as far as environmentalism go they are obviously not a monolithic group and some are quite reasonable. However, the comment above about the public face being captured by their donors (or at least their core supporters) is just right. Fundamentally most environmental groups have taken moral rather than practical stances on environmental issues because that is what appeals to their core supporters. The sort of hard headed, human centered engineering approach that is necessery to bring along the rest of society just doesn't play well with the core environmentalist lobby. They find it unpalatable to put an economic value on various sorts of endangered species and natural habitats and sacrifice some to save others.

Frankly this isn't different than the way many interest groups behave. The difference is that the environment really does matter so it's not okay for the environmentalist lobby to fuck things up and make it difficult to get the rest of (American) society on board.
11.28.2007 1:35pm
Brian K (mail):
Bpbatista,

If so, I doubt that either of you are capable of attracting a mate to reproduce with or to even figure out how reproducing is accomplished.
way to take the moral high ground there. step 1: claim your ad hominem attacks and opinions as "facts", step 2: accuse others of making ad hominem attacks, step 3: make ad hominem attacks. (I also think you screwed up your insult...shouldn't it be "if not, ...".)

here's a hint, you can't assert your highly dubious opinion as "fact". I suggest you look up the definition of fact and opinion to see how they differ.

you also can't take the actions of one or two people and assign their views to a large and diverse group of people. nor can you radically misinterpret a person and claim that everyone holds the misinterpreted viewpoint. well i guess you can, but it shows how ridiculous your argument really is. this appears to be a common thing when it comes to some conservatives and any view they don't like (see nieporent's 4:27 am post for a perfect example of the former).

so yes, i'd be perfectly happy to provide you with facts...as soon as you do likewise.
11.28.2007 2:18pm
Brian K (mail):
Bottomfish,

I don't see how your post is relevant to my post at all.
11.28.2007 2:19pm
Bpbatista (mail):
Brian K:

First, those in glass houses should not throw stones. Especially if they are liberal wusses.

Second, learn to read. "If so" refers to "or are ad hominem attacks all you have?"

Third, the beginnings of sentences are usually capitalized. I seriously doubt that you are any more familiar with the mechanics of copulation than you are with the mechanics of reading and writing.

Finally, YOUR facts and/or examples are still missing. Mine still stand -- or do you dispute that "green" organizations are selling carbon offsets, that Al Gore and the environmental glitterati criss-cross the globe in gas guzzling private jets, that RFK and his ilk are hypocritical for opposing wind farms off Cape Cod, that an environmental activist recently claimed to have had an abortion to protect the environment from human degradation, etc., etc. Refute these with facts if you can. Otherwise, shut the f***k up.
11.28.2007 3:01pm
Brian K (mail):
those in glass houses should not throw stones.
you're the one claiming your opinion as fact. and you're the one who simultaneously complains about other people's ad hominem attacks while making them yourself.

Second, learn to read. "If so" refers to "or are ad hominem attacks all you have?"
learn to write less ambiguously.

I seriously doubt that you are any more familiar with the mechanics of copulation
not smart enough to come up with a different insult?

do you dispute that "green" organizations are selling carbon offsets
but this isn't what you said...you said they were "indulgences". the former is an a fact, the latter is an opinion. i see you haven't taken my advice and looked up the difference between "fact" and "opinion".

Al Gore and the environmental glitterati criss-cross the globe in gas guzzling private jets
this is highly embellished fact. (the plain fact would be "al gore uses airplanes"). the assumption that this is necessarily a bad thing is your opinion and it is based on a highly mischaracterized view of what gore is saying.

do you see the pattern here? you take a fact and wrap it up in your opinion then call the whole thing fact...then insult me when i call you on it. if you don't want to be called a moron for doing a stupid thing...then don't do the stupid thing in the first place.
11.28.2007 3:53pm
Bpbatista (mail):
Brian K:

Your whiney pettifogging is tiresome. The proper way for you to respond to my initial post was to present facts of your own and then state opinions based upon those facts. In three separate posts you have done neither. Either do so or, as I said, shut the f**k up.
11.28.2007 4:15pm
Elliot123 (mail):
Having watched the environmentalsts for years, I have concluded they don't give a hoot about the environment. Their major concern appears to be shaping society along collectivist lines.

This is very difficult to do when people have lots of personal freedom. Abundant energy fosters personal freedom. So, we see opposition to any and all projects designed to provide more energy. Renewable energy projects are championed as long as they are not yet being undertaken, or the technology is not yet feasible. Once someone starts actually building something, the opposition to cheap and abundant energy expresses itself as environmentalsts line up to oppose the projects. (Wind energy is great until someone proposes building windfarms.)

I suspect clean, renewable, safe, cheap, and available energy would be the environmentalist's nightmare.
11.28.2007 5:04pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
It's rather disingenuous to criticize "subsidies" of nuclear power when they are in place largely to offset increased costs due to a prolific regulatory regime. For example, the largest "subsidy" under the Energy Policy Act is insurance against regulatory delays.

This may be the biggest direct subsidy but the whole industry is subsidized. The entire infrastructure (the fuel production facilities, reactor designs, and the research) was built and is still almost completely underwritten by the DOE through the national lab and other DOE facilities. Plus, the government has assumed the responsibility and liability for all nuclear wastes not to mention limiting the liability that private generators face in the event of a catastrophic accident.

It is amazing libertarians love nuclear so much. Not only is it completely dependent on government subsidies but it also a shining example of probably the most amazing accomplishment of mankind (i.e., the achievement in less than three years from the first controlled nuclear fission reaction chain reaction to a working nuclear weapon)--something that was achieved entirely by big government, which supposedly can't do anything right and disproves the central tenet of libertarianism.
11.28.2007 5:38pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
Your whiney pettifogging is tiresome. The proper way for you to respond to my initial post was to present facts of your own and then state opinions based upon those facts. In three separate posts you have done neither. Either do so or, as I said, shut the f**k up.

I would really like to know the "facts" in your original post we are supposed to counter. It is just a screed that states that environmentalists are a bunch of loony luddites.

I guess the proper factual response is: No they're not!

And in the true sense of rational debate to emphasize and strengthen my indisputable point I will add this inarguable point

Yo Mama!
11.28.2007 5:44pm
AnonLawStudent:
JFT,

I addressed Price-Anderson in my previous post. For those who know something of the issue, Price-Anderson is the law which "limit[s] the liability that private generators face in the event of a catastrophic accident." Private actors have attempted to step into the fuel production role, but have been stymied by the same regulatory delays which killed new reactor projects 30 years ago. IIR, the most recent fatality was Louisiana Energy Services (LES), although it appears that both LES and U.S. Enrichment Corp. have recently obtained licenses and began construction on enrichment facilities. As to disposal, (i) for policy reasons, the Carter administration prohibited fuel reprocessing, and (ii) the U.S. government voluntarily contracted to assume responsibility for wastes for a specific fee. Again, due to excessive regulatory burden and political concerns, DOE is in default on that contract, and has been sued by various reactor operators. Is it really a "subsidy" to say "we've unjustifiably imposed this massive cost on you, here is a program to help defray the cost that we have imposed"?

As to your other allegations, the latest generations of reactor designs are privately produced. Civilian reactor designs have historically been privately produced, generally by GE or Combustion Engineering. As to the Manhattan Project, you'll find that even the government can accomplish things when it (i) gives a large amount of funding, (ii) to a small group of the world's brightest individuals, (iii) to accomplish a specifically defined task. See also the Apollo program. Unfortunately, once created, such programs tend to cost more and more and achieve less and less as time goes by and their mission expands. See, e.g., NASA, the space shuttle, and the ISS.
11.28.2007 5:59pm
AnonLawStudent:
I should add Westinghouse to the list of traditional reactor designers. I believe there has been interest in a French design as of late, although I am not sure whether it has received a design approval from NRC under the new licensing scheme.
11.28.2007 6:19pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):

Is it really a "subsidy" to say "we've unjustifiably imposed this massive cost on you, here is a program to help defray the cost that we have imposed"?

Well of course one of the "unjustifiable" reasons is that nuclear reactors produce plutonium which can be quite undesirable if it ends up in the wrong hands.

As to your other allegations, the latest generations of reactor designs are privately produced.

Yeah, that's a good one--you might want to compare the list of operating contractors at DOE facilities (and for that matter equivalent foreign entities) with the major companies that design and build commercial reactors and explain to me how the designs are "privately produced" in any meaningful sense of the word (we won't even stretch that to use the stricter libertarian definition).
11.28.2007 7:21pm
AnonLawStudent:
JFT,

So your logic is that if a company performs contract work for DOE, any contract work for a private actor is "subsidized" if it is in a similar field? Not the same field, mind you - DOE doesn't operate very many power reactors, or, in recent years, reactors of any type for that matter. Hence the reason tritium production for weapons has been contracted out to private reactor operators. I would also point out that, like "big logistics," "big engineering" is a field without very many practitioners. For that matter, I would like to inquire what operators you had in mind. Sandia Corporation? University of California? Johnston Controls? I wasn't aware that any of them were involved in reactor design. Care to share who you have in mind, and what DOE facilities they operate? Or is this another one of your "thoughts" parading as fact?
11.28.2007 7:50pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
Westinghouse is the prime at Savannah River. And yes, you get the general idea. When Westinghouse operates one of the largest DOE facilities and GE (through a subsidiary it owns with a couple of Japanese companies) buys the enrichment facilities from the DOE for pennies on the dollar, the government is subsidizing their overall nuclear work.

You really don't know how science and technology works, do you? Unlike lawyers, nuclear scientists are a rare breed.
11.28.2007 8:23pm
Brian K (mail):
Your whiney pettifogging is tiresome. and "shut the f**k up"
fortunately, you don't get to determine when and how often i reply. if you don't like what i have to say, you are more than welcome to take your own advice.

The proper way for you to respond to my initial post was to present facts of your own and then state opinions based upon those facts.
This assumes that you are actually looking for a real debate and that you are interested in the "truth". From your initial post, it would be ridiculous for me to make this assumption. You have clearly formed an ideological opinion (much like the religious belief you accuse others of holding) that is not based on anything even approaching facts.

I see no evidence that you've done nothing other than erect strawmen, cherry pick and distort "facts", claim your opinion as fact, and extrapolate the beliefs/actions of a few to the many. none of these are logically valid. why would i want to argue about facts with someone who wouldn't know a fact if it bit him on the behind?
11.28.2007 9:06pm
Brian K (mail):
correction for consistency:

Your whiney pettifogging is tiresome and shut the f**k up
11.28.2007 9:23pm
TJIT (mail):
J. F. Thomas
Westinghouse is the prime at Savannah River. And yes, you get the general idea. When Westinghouse operates one of the largest DOE facilities and GE (through a subsidiary it owns with a couple of Japanese companies) buys the enrichment facilities from the DOE for pennies on the dollar, the government is subsidizing their overall nuclear work.

The government was going to build bombs and it was going to make the nuclear material to go into the bombs.

The idea that having contractors do the work or manage the sites is a subsidy is stretching the definition of subsidy beyond the breaking point.
11.28.2007 10:09pm
TJIT (mail):
My comment above should have started with

J. F. Thomas in blockquotes
11.28.2007 10:12pm
TJIT (mail):
J. F. Thomas said (bold emphasis mine)

It is amazing libertarians love nuclear so much.

Nuclear power was invented by the government, promoted by it, and can not compete without massive government subsidies and indemnity. That libertarians constantly laud it is ridiculous. The market has tested it and found it to be sorely lacking.

Seriously Smokey, you complain about my reputation, laud nuclear power and then deride the massive taxpayer subsidies for wind and solar.

You are the one lacking in credibility. There is not a power source on the face of the earth that has received more massive taxpayer subsidies (and still can't deliver its promised benefits or solve its inherent problems) than nuclear.
The markets did test nuclear and found it to be too not worth building.

Environmental groups are demanding a switch to a non carbon emitting power sources. The only currently feasible, dependable source of power, that has a chance of meeting the power demand is nuclear.

In other words government climate change policy,which environmental activists pushed to implement, is what is driving the revival of nuclear power.
11.28.2007 10:33pm
AnonLawStudent:
JFT,

Wow. So Westinghouse is your example. FYI, Westinghouse took over the Savannah River Site (SRS) contract from DuPont in 1989, well after the last orders were placed for civilian reactors. The SRS reactors were constructed prior to 1955. Since the mid-1990s, SRS has been used primarily for waste processing and tritium work. Please confirm if you still believe the Westinghouse experience at SRS (operating 1st generation reactors and disposing of bomb-waste) is a subsidy for designing modern power reactors. Would you have preferred the contract go to a company with no experience in nuclear operations, so that it wouldn't be a "subsidy" under your definition? And to head you off before you make more factual errors, Westinghouse naval reactors are FAR different than anything in commercial use. If you don't trust me as to my statements re: SRS, I'll even tell you where to peek before you misinterpret a random fact that you've stumbled across; try http://www.srs.gov/general/about/history1.htm
OR http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Savannah_River_Site

As for your ad hominem, I have an engineering degree from a service academy; while there I was one of the, shall we say, "sufficiently achieved" kids whose summer duty was to do behind-the-fence research at LANL. So I would say that, yes, I do know just a bit of how science and technology work. Now I'm a law student. Care to discuss your background? I do recall that you previously claimed an "engineering degree," but based on this thread, you once again seem to be rambling on about a subject of which you know naught. You recently complained of the abuse you take because your opinions differ from those of most of the commenters in the treads. Generally, I don't think people here have problems with opposing view points; I relish a discussion with a knowledgeable opponent. What I think most detest is your insistence on facts which are either (i) completely wrong, or (ii) taken completely out of context, combined with confusion of what the law is with what you think it must be.
11.28.2007 11:19pm
Bpbatista (mail):
Brian K and Thomas:

I have stated why I conclude that modern movement environmentalism is a New Age religion. I have cited facts to support this conclusion. You obviously disagree with that conclusion and the facts.

I will make this easy for you: In what way is mondern movement environmentalism NOT a religion? On what facts are your conclusions based?

Please write your answer in something other than crayon.
11.29.2007 4:21pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
Please confirm if you still believe the Westinghouse experience at SRS (operating 1st generation reactors and disposing of bomb-waste) is a subsidy for designing modern power reactors. Would you have preferred the contract go to a company with no experience in nuclear operations, so that it wouldn't be a "subsidy" under your definition?

Actually, anon, I worked at SRS for a summer during law school which is how I knew off the top of my head that they had the contract there. So don't pull rank, your engineering degree from Annapolis, West Point, or the AF Academy and your security clearance on me. I thought you were being stupid. Now I can see you are just being dishonest. I doubt you are simply naive.

You, more than anyone should know how the military-industrial complex works. To say that Westinghouse, GE (or Boeing for that matter) compartmentalizes their government work in nuclear or aerospace (or that the government recognizes the importance of a vibrant civilian nuclear and aerospace industry and supports it through generous government contracts) and that it does not provide huge benefits to their civilian work is to deny reality. Of course nuclear reactor designs for a submarine and commercial power generation are completely different (even the fuel is incompatible) but to claim research in one does not benefit the other is just silly.
11.29.2007 5:37pm
AnonLawStudent:
JFT,

I never claimed that it wasn't beneficial. Maintaining in-house technical expertise is always beneficial. But it isn't a subsidy, which is what you called it in your 5:38PM post, and subsequently tried to defend throughout the thread. Law school should have taught you that words and definitions matter. It's disingenuous, not to mention dishonest, to change the topic when your facts don't pan out. By your definition, any business that undertakes a government contract is "subsidized." By your definition, I "subsidize" Starbucks every time that I purchase a coffee. As TJIT said, this chameleon use of the word "stretch[s] the definition of subsidy beyond the breaking point." Try looking up the word. Your "definition" doesn't fit. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/subsidy
11.29.2007 6:07pm
Brian K (mail):
I have already rejected your "facts" because they are not facts. See my preceding posts for why.

Once you can tell me why environmentalism is a religion, I will tell you why it is not. But since you can't do the former (and no, "because I say so" is not a valid argument), there is no reason for me to do the latter.
11.29.2007 7:42pm
Bpbatista (mail):
Brian K:

Apparently, any thing more than a pictograph is too complicated for you to comprehend (on the plus side, this confirms that we have no need to be concerned about you passing on your obtuseness through procreation). But I'll try again:

Modern environmentalism is more about faith in and finding an identity and purpose by "saving" the "Environment" rather than actually doing anything that is beneficial — ethanol mandates, recycling programs and hybrid cars are prime examples as is the requirement that one "believe" in Global Warming.

Members of the movement declare skeptics anathema and seek to excommunicate them from the movement and respectable society — skeptics of Global Warming science are compared to Holocaust deniers and the head meteorologist of the Weather Channel declares that colleagues who voice doubts about Global Warming should have their credentials revoked.

Its church is the regulatory state — virtually all of the the environmental movement's supposed remedies require massive government intrusion into the economy and our every day lives such as CAFE rules, banning incandescent light bulbs, ethanol mandates, energy taxes, carbon cap and trade schemes, etc.

Its more extreme elements preach and practice, essentially, human sacrifice as shown by the activist who recently had an abortion to save the planet and other neo-Malthusians (I know that's a big word for you, but try Googling it) calling for radical population control and reduction.

It sells indulgences in the form of "carbon offsets" which allow one to pollute at will with a clean conscience.

Its clergy is grossly hypocritical such as RFK, Jr. opposing wind turbines off Cape Cod, Al Gore flying to Oslo and anywhere else he goes on a private jet, Al Gore's home using more electricity in a month than the average person uses in a year.

All of these traits, along with many, many, others, lead me to conclude that modern environmentalism is a religion.

Can you refute these with a rational opinion supported by facts? Or are you going to act like a small child by continuing to rely on ad hominem attacks and pretend that I have not presented factual examples to support my argument?
11.29.2007 8:52pm
Brian K (mail):
this confirms that we have no need to be concerned about you passing on your obtuseness through procreation
can't come with an insult of your own? you have to repeatedly use the same one i initially used on you...haha

ethanol mandates
funny. some of the biggest backers of ethanol mandates are republicans, which is not a group known for its pro-environment beliefs. why are republicans for something they don't care about? hmm...could it be because it's good for business and their campaign donors? are you really this stupid?

hybrid cars
are you asserting that hybrid cars don't use less gas than non-hybrid cars? or are you admitting that the word "conservation" is one that you've never heard before?

Members of the movement declare skeptics anathema and seek to excommunicate them from the movement and respectable society
congratulations! you just described virtually every interest group in the US. I guess you already forgot that you're either with us or against line by bush. i suppose republicanism is a religion too. this also applies to anti- and pro- abortion people, pro- and anti- gun control

colleagues who voice doubts about Global Warming should have their credentials revoked.
I suppose being pro israel or pro palestine is also a religion.

Its church is the regulatory state
HAHAHAHA...this is a ridiculous assertion. do you also believe that conservatism is a religion? they want to "the regulatory state" to limit/restrict pornography, obscenity, abortion, mandate prayer in school, ban some forms of expression (e.g. burning of the flag), etc. Is liberalism a religion? how about laissez faire economists? they pray to the alter of the free market. you might want to read up on the definition of "religion"...you clearly have a lot to learn.

Its more extreme elements preach and practice, essentially, human sacrifice as shown by the activist who recently had an abortion to save the planet
wow. so 1 (ONE) person suddenly became "extreme elements". see, this is what i told you about several times before. taking the actions of a few and extrapolating it to the many makes you look like an idiot and shows how weak your argument really is.

calling for radical population control and reduction
does this mean that "chinese" is a religion?

It sells indulgences in the form of "carbon offsets" which allow one to pollute at will with a clean conscience.
like i said, this is your OPINION, it is not FACT. if you can't even use google, how can you expect others to use it?

Its clergy is grossly hypocritical such as RFK, Jr. opposing wind turbines off Cape Cod, Al Gore flying to Oslo and anywhere else he goes on a private jet, Al Gore's home using more electricity in a month than the average person uses in a year.
both of these have been hashed and rehashed on this before...if you want to know why your an idiot you can do a site search on volokh using google (oh wait, nevermind...i forgot you don't know how). But lets not forget how conservative ivy league educated people hypocritically rail against ivy leagues for indoctrinating people as liberals. or how certain republican politicians extol the virtues of military service...after dodging the draft. yet more proof that conservatism/republicanism is a religion.


All of these traits, along with many, many, others, lead me to conclude that modern environmentalism is a religion.
but it leads us sane, intelligent and rational people to conclude that you don't know what a religion is.

Can you refute these with a rational opinion supported by facts?
i find it highly amusing that you think your opinion, supported by only more opinion, is rational.

continuing to rely on ad hominem attacks
you say this as if you haven't used ad hominem attacks. more hypocrisy. i guess "bpbatista" is a religion too!

pretend that I have not presented factual examples to support my argument
here is your mistake. you've presented facts and you've presented an argument, but your facts don't support your argument. its like saying "the sky is blue, therefore i am awesome"...it's a fact and an argument, but it has nothing to do with logic.

or are you contending that hypocrisy, stupidity, irrationality, public show of belief are the defining characteristics of religion? while i agree that they are commonly found in religions, only an idiot would think that any irrational hypocrite is necessarily a preacher.
11.29.2007 11:59pm
Brian K (mail):
neo-Malthusians

while this may or not be a religion (i don't care enough to do the research), i'll assume it is for what i'm going to say next.

this suffers from the extrapolation problem i've repeatedly told you about. just because religious people share similar beliefs (or in this case, beliefs that you call similar even though they really are not) to other people, does NOT mean they all are religious. this is a logical fallacy. christians and libertarians both believe that it is wrong to kill people. this does not mean that they are all christians or that all libertarians are religious.
11.30.2007 12:16am
Bpbatista (mail):
Brian K:

Your response does nothing but attempt to change the subject with repeated non-sequitors (laisez faire economists praying to the free market? ivy league Republicans dodging the draft?) and outright denial. If it's possible, your last post is even more pathetic than your first.
11.30.2007 9:53am
J. F. Thomas (mail):
Again, due to excessive regulatory burden and political concerns, DOE is in default on that contract, and has been sued by various reactor operators. Is it really a "subsidy" to say "we've unjustifiably imposed this massive cost on you, here is a program to help defray the cost that we have imposed"?

No anon, you are being dishonest. You pretend (without proof) that free of the burdensome regulations (and without acknowledging the very special nature of the wastes produced in a nuclear reactor) imposed on it by government, nuclear energy would flourish and thrive all by itself. Yet you apparently grudgingly admit that the industry needs government protection from the liability that would result from a catastrophic failure (why not just let private insurance cover this), and that government should shoulder the burden of high-level nuclear waste disposal. You also dishonestly imply that private industry actually wanted to operate the reprocessing facilities or that the decision to accept the responsibility for nuclear wastes from commercial reactors was tied to the decision not to reprocess.

You also, as is typical of libertarians, seem to think that freedom and the marketplace is fine for large corporations who want to site nuclear power plants, but God forbid people who live near the plant should have the right to sue in common law to prevent a nuisance. Apparently, government is good when it creates roadblocks to prevent interfering environmentalists and treehuggers from letting industry do what ever the hell it wants to the commons.
11.30.2007 9:56am
AnonLawStudent:
JFT,

(1) You still haven't addressed my 6:07PM post. Instead, you once again are shifting the discussion way back upthread.
(2) You once again bandy around legal terms that have a very specific meaning, and are unable to distinguish what the law is from what you think it must be. Nuisance is a legal term of art. In order for a private property owner to sue for common law nuisance, he must show "significant [actual] harm." R2d Torts, Sec. 821D, cmt. d. If you have experience in the nuclear industry, as you claim, then you understand that this burden is not satisfied during the normal operation of a nuclear power plant. I have no problem with leaving issues of liability to the tort system, provided that the tort system is set up to make rational decisions and award rational damages, such that a rational cost-benefit analysis is possible. Unfortunately, neither is the case. See, e.g., the Ford Pinto.
(3) I would address your other issues, but alas, I have limited time. If you want to research the effect of the regulatory system on nuclear construction in the late 1970s and 1980s, look at the history of the Watts Bar 1 reactor. If you have further doubts, why would the government encourage new reactors by providing insurance against regulatory delays?
(4) J.F., I strongly suggest you start limiting yourself to commenting re: things about which you actually know something. Particularly with regard to legal issues, look them up before you type. In this thread alone, you set forth what I can only characterize as talking points on subsidies and nuisance, yet you fail to recognize a citation to the name of the Act in question, and don't even get the elements right for a common law tort. You claim a law degree - use it.
11.30.2007 12:07pm
Elliot123 (mail):
JF Thomas: "Westinghouse is the prime at Savannah River. And yes, you get the general idea. When Westinghouse operates one of the largest DOE facilities and GE (through a subsidiary it owns with a couple of Japanese companies) buys the enrichment facilities from the DOE for pennies on the dollar, the government is subsidizing their overall nuclear work."

Under these gudelines, can you tell us anything the government does not subsidize?
11.30.2007 3:07pm
Brian K (mail):
Your response does nothing but attempt to change the subject with repeated non-sequitors (laisez faire economists praying to the free market? ivy league Republicans dodging the draft?) and outright denial.

It shows how ridiculous your original assertion is by showing that under your rubric nearly every political position is also a "religion".
11.30.2007 3:42pm
Jonathan H. Adler (mail) (www):
NOTE: The last several comments by have been deleted by yours truly, as they were nothing more than back-and-forth ad hominems.

JHA
12.1.2007 8:06am
Bpbatista (mail):
Brian K:

I can no longer deny your genius. Your brilliant non-sequitors effectively proved that the sun does not rise in the east because ducks fly south for the winter.
12.1.2007 10:01am
Brian K (mail):
Good point JHA. this conversation has run it's course. I will no longer reply unless bpbatista has something substantive to say.
12.1.2007 5:25pm
Smokey:
At various times," J.F. Thomas" has put himself forth here as:

1. An attorney
2. An engineer
3. A military expert

May I politely respond? Thank you:

1. Please, please, please let me be on the opposing side in any courtroom battle with J.F.T.! Slam dunk! [And I'm not even an attorney.]
2. One engineer can easily recognize another [J.F.T., you ain't one].
3. J.F. Thomas was a pretend soldier for a long time in these threads -- until Swede [IIRC] trapped him & proved that he never served.

Anonymity is great, isn't it? It allows fake soldiers to sit back and sling insults at everyone they disagree with. Like this recent J.F. Thomas attack on another poster:

"You, sir, are despicable human being who has no idea of the sacrifices that our all-volunteer military is being forced endure (more than any since World War II) for selfish bastards like yourself."

See? Except that "J.F. Thomas" has sacrificed exactly nothing in defense of our country. I doubt that real American soldiers feel they need J.F. Thomas to defend them.
12.1.2007 8:02pm