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Old 09-17-2006, 07:59 AM   #1 (permalink)
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republican cronyism and debacle in iraq

Ties to GOP Trumped Know-How Among Staff Sent to Rebuild Iraq
Early U.S. Missteps in the Green Zone

By Rajiv Chandrasekaran
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, September 17, 2006; A01

Adapted from "Imperial Life in the Emerald City," by Rajiv Chandrasekaran, copyright Knopf 2006

After the fall of Saddam Hussein's government in April 2003, the opportunity to participate in the U.S.-led effort to reconstruct Iraq attracted all manner of Americans -- restless professionals, Arabic-speaking academics, development specialists and war-zone adventurers. But before they could go to Baghdad, they had to get past Jim O'Beirne's office in the Pentagon.

To pass muster with O'Beirne, a political appointee who screens prospective political appointees for Defense Department posts, applicants didn't need to be experts in the Middle East or in post-conflict reconstruction. What seemed most important was loyalty to the Bush administration.

O'Beirne's staff posed blunt questions to some candidates about domestic politics: Did you vote for George W. Bush in 2000? Do you support the way the president is fighting the war on terror? Two people who sought jobs with the U.S. occupation authority said they were even asked their views on Roe v. Wade .

Many of those chosen by O'Beirne's office to work for the Coalition Provisional Authority, which ran Iraq's government from April 2003 to June 2004, lacked vital skills and experience. A 24-year-old who had never worked in finance -- but had applied for a White House job -- was sent to reopen Baghdad's stock exchange. The daughter of a prominent neoconservative commentator and a recent graduate from an evangelical university for home-schooled children were tapped to manage Iraq's $13 billion budget, even though they didn't have a background in accounting.

The decision to send the loyal and the willing instead of the best and the brightest is now regarded by many people involved in the 3 1/2 -year effort to stabilize and rebuild Iraq as one of the Bush administration's gravest errors. Many of those selected because of their political fidelity spent their time trying to impose a conservative agenda on the postwar occupation, which sidetracked more important reconstruction efforts and squandered goodwill among the Iraqi people, according to many people who participated in the reconstruction effort.

The CPA had the power to enact laws, print currency, collect taxes, deploy police and spend Iraq's oil revenue. It had more than 1,500 employees in Baghdad at its height, working under America's viceroy in Iraq, L. Paul Bremer, but never released a public roster of its entire staff.

Interviews with scores of former CPA personnel over the past two years depict an organization that was dominated -- and ultimately hobbled -- by administration ideologues.

"We didn't tap -- and it should have started from the White House on down -- just didn't tap the right people to do this job," said Frederick Smith, who served as the deputy director of the CPA's Washington office. "It was a tough, tough job. Instead we got people who went out there because of their political leanings."

Endowed with $18 billion in U.S. reconstruction funds and a comparatively quiescent environment in the immediate aftermath of the U.S. invasion, the CPA was the U.S. government's first and best hope to resuscitate Iraq -- to establish order, promote rebuilding and assemble a viable government, all of which, experts believe, would have constricted the insurgency and mitigated the chances of civil war. Many of the basic tasks Americans struggle to accomplish today in Iraq -- training the army, vetting the police, increasing electricity generation -- could have been performed far more effectively in 2003 by the CPA.

But many CPA staff members were more interested in other things: in instituting a flat tax, in selling off government assets, in ending food rations and otherwise fashioning a new nation that looked a lot like the United States. Many of them spent their days cloistered in the Green Zone, a walled-off enclave in central Baghdad with towering palms, posh villas, well-stocked bars and resort-size swimming pools.

By the time Bremer departed in June 2004, Iraq was in a precarious state. The Iraqi army, which had been dissolved and refashioned by the CPA, was one-third the size he had pledged it would be. Seventy percent of police officers had not been screened or trained. Electricity generation was far below what Bremer had promised to achieve. And Iraq's interim government had been selected not by elections but by Americans. Divisive issues were to be resolved later on, increasing the chances that tension over those matters would fuel civil strife.

To recruit the people he wanted, O'Beirne sought résumés from the offices of Republican congressmen, conservative think tanks and GOP activists. He discarded applications from those his staff deemed ideologically suspect, even if the applicants possessed Arabic language skills or postwar rebuilding experience.

Smith said O'Beirne once pointed to a young man's résumé and pronounced him "an ideal candidate." His chief qualification was that he had worked for the Republican Party in Florida during the presidential election recount in 2000.

O'Beirne, a former Army officer who is married to prominent conservative commentator Kate O'Beirne, did not respond to requests for comment.

He and his staff used an obscure provision in federal law to hire many CPA staffers as temporary political appointees, which exempted the interviewers from employment regulations that prohibit questions about personal political beliefs.

There were a few Democrats who wound up getting jobs with the CPA, but almost all of them were active-duty soldiers or State Department Foreign Service officers. Because they were career government employees, not temporary hires, O'Beirne's office could not query them directly about their political leanings.

One former CPA employee who had an office near O'Beirne's wrote an e-mail to a friend describing the recruitment process: "I watched résumés of immensely talented individuals who had sought out CPA to help the country thrown in the trash because their adherence to 'the President's vision for Iraq' (a frequently heard phrase at CPA) was 'uncertain.' I saw senior civil servants from agencies like Treasury, Energy . . . and Commerce denied advisory positions in Baghdad that were instead handed to prominent RNC (Republican National Committee) contributors."

As more and more of O'Beirne's hires arrived in the Green Zone, the CPA's headquarters in Hussein's marble-walled former Republican Palace felt like a campaign war room. Bumper stickers and mouse pads praising President Bush were standard desk decorations. In addition to military uniforms and "Operation Iraqi Freedom" garb, "Bush-Cheney 2004" T-shirts were among the most common pieces of clothing.

"I'm not here for the Iraqis," one staffer noted to a reporter over lunch. "I'm here for George Bush."

When Gordon Robison, who worked in the Strategic Communications office, opened a care package from his mother to find a book by Paul Krugman, a liberal New York Times columnist, people around him stared. "It was like I had just unwrapped a radioactive brick," he recalled.
Finance Background Not Required

Twenty-four-year-old Jay Hallen was restless. He had graduated from Yale two years earlier, and he didn't much like his job at a commercial real-estate firm. His passion was the Middle East, and although he had never been there, he was intrigued enough to take Arabic classes and read histories of the region in his spare time.

He had mixed feelings about the war in Iraq, but he viewed the American occupation as a ripe opportunity. In the summer of 2003, he sent an e-mail to Reuben Jeffrey III, whom he had met when applying for a White House job a year earlier. Hallen had a simple query for Jeffrey, who was working as an adviser to Bremer: Might there be any job openings in Baghdad?

"Be careful what you wish for," Jeffrey wrote in response. Then he forwarded Hallen's resume to O'Beirne's office.

Three weeks later, Hallen got a call from the Pentagon. The CPA wanted him in Baghdad. Pronto. Could he be ready in three to four weeks?

The day he arrived in Baghdad, he met with Thomas C. Foley, the CPA official in charge of privatizing state-owned enterprises. (Foley, a major Republican Party donor, went to Harvard Business School with President Bush.) Hallen was shocked to learn that Foley wanted him to take charge of reopening the stock exchange.

"Are you sure?" Hallen said to Foley. "I don't have a finance background."

It's fine, Foley replied. He told Hallen that he was to be the project manager. He would rely on other people to get things done. He would be "the main point of contact."

Before the war, Baghdad's stock exchange looked nothing like its counterparts elsewhere in the world. There were no computers, electronic displays or men in colorful coats scurrying around on the trading floor. Trades were scrawled on pieces of paper and noted on large blackboards. If you wanted to buy or sell, you came to the exchange yourself and shouted your order to one of the traders. There was no air-conditioning. It was loud and boisterous. But it worked. Private firms raised hundreds of thousands of dollars by selling stock, and ordinary people learned about free enterprise.

The exchange was gutted by looters after the war. The first wave of American economic reconstruction specialists from the Treasury Department ignored it. They had bigger issues to worry about: paying salaries, reopening the banks, stabilizing the currency. But the brokers wanted to get back to work and investors wanted their money, so the CPA made the reopening a priority.

Quickly absorbing the CPA's ambition during the optimistic days before the insurgency flared, Hallen decided that he didn't just want to reopen the exchange, he wanted to make it the best, most modern stock market in the Arab world. He wanted to promulgate a new securities law that would make the exchange independent of the Finance Ministry, with its own bylaws and board of directors. He wanted to set up a securities and exchange commission to oversee the market. He wanted brokers to be licensed and listed companies to provide financial disclosures. He wanted to install a computerized trading and settlement system.

Iraqis cringed at Hallen's plan. Their top priority was reopening the exchange, not setting up computers or enacting a new securities law. "People are broke and bewildered," broker Talib Tabatabai told Hallen. "Why do you want to create enemies? Let us open the way we were."

Tabatabai, who held a doctorate in political science from Florida State University, believed Hallen's plan was unrealistic. "It was something so fancy, so great, that it couldn't be accomplished," he said.

But Hallen was convinced that major changes had to be enacted. "Their laws and regulations were completely out of step with the modern world," he said. "There was just no transparency in anything. It was more of a place for Saddam and his friends to buy up private companies that they otherwise didn't have a stake in."

Opening the stock exchange without legal and structural changes, Hallen maintained, "would have been irresponsible and short-sighted."

To help rewrite the securities law, train brokers and purchase the necessary computers, Hallen recruited a team of American volunteers. In the spring of 2004, Bremer approved the new law and simultaneously appointed the nine Iraqis selected by Hallen to become the exchange's board of governors.

The exchange's board selected Tabatabai as its chairman. The new securities law that Hallen had nursed into life gave the board control over the exchange's operations, but it didn't say a thing about the role of the CPA adviser. Hallen assumed that he'd have a part in decision-making until the handover of sovereignty. Tabatabai and the board, however, saw themselves in charge.

Tabatabai and the other governors decided to open the market as soon as possible. They didn't want to wait several more months for the computerized trading system to be up and running. They ordered dozens of dry-erase boards to be installed on the trading floor. They used such boards to keep track of buying and selling prices before the war, and that's how they'd do it again.

The exchange opened two days after Hallen's tour in Iraq ended. Brokers barked orders to floor traders, who used their trusty white boards. Transactions were recorded not with computers but with small chits written in ink. CPA staffers stayed away, afraid that their presence would make the stock market a target for insurgents.

When Tabatabai was asked what would have happened if Hallen hadn't been assigned to reopen the exchange, he smiled. "We would have opened months earlier. He had grand ideas, but those ideas did not materialize," Tabatabai said of Hallen. "Those CPA people reminded me of Lawrence of Arabia."
'Loyalist' Replaces Public Health Expert

The hiring of Bremer's most senior advisers was settled upon at the highest levels of the White House and the Pentagon. Some, like Foley, were personally recruited by Bush. Others got their jobs because an influential Republican made a call on behalf of a friend or trusted colleague.

That's what happened with James K. Haveman Jr., who was selected to oversee the rehabilitation of Iraq's health care system.

Haveman, a 60-year-old social worker, was largely unknown among international health experts, but he had connections. He had been the community health director for the former Republican governor of Michigan, John Engler, who recommended him to Paul D. Wolfowitz, the deputy secretary of defense.

Haveman was well-traveled, but most of his overseas trips were in his capacity as a director of International Aid, a faith-based relief organization that provided health care while promoting Christianity in the developing world. Before his stint in government, Haveman ran a large Christian adoption agency in Michigan that urged pregnant women not to have abortions.

Haveman replaced Frederick M. Burkle Jr., a physician with a master's degree in public health and postgraduate degrees from Harvard, Yale, Dartmouth and the University of California at Berkeley. Burkle taught at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, where he specialized in disaster-response issues, and he was a deputy assistant administrator at the U.S. Agency for International Development, which sent him to Baghdad immediately after the war.

He had worked in Kosovo and Somalia and in northern Iraq after the 1991 Persian Gulf War. A USAID colleague called him the "single most talented and experienced post-conflict health specialist working for the United States government."

But a week after Baghdad's liberation, Burkle was informed he was being replaced. A senior official at USAID sent Burkle an e-mail saying the White House wanted a "loyalist" in the job. Burkle had a wall of degrees, but he didn't have a picture with the president.

Haveman arrived in Iraq with his own priorities. He liked to talk about the number of hospitals that had reopened since the war and the pay raises that had been given to doctors instead of the still-decrepit conditions inside the hospitals or the fact that many physicians were leaving for safer, better paying jobs outside Iraq. He approached problems the way a health care administrator in America would: He focused on preventive measures to reduce the need for hospital treatment.

He urged the Health Ministry to mount an anti-smoking campaign, and he assigned an American from the CPA team -- who turned out to be a closet smoker himself -- to lead the public education effort. Several members of Haveman's staff noted wryly that Iraqis faced far greater dangers in their daily lives than tobacco. The CPA's limited resources, they argued, would be better used raising awareness about how to prevent childhood diarrhea and other fatal maladies.

Haveman didn't like the idea that medical care in Iraq was free. He figured Iraqis should pay a small fee every time they saw a doctor. He also decided to allocate almost all of the Health Ministry's $793 million share of U.S. reconstruction funds to renovating maternity hospitals and building new community medical clinics. His intention, he said, was "to shift the mind-set of the Iraqis that you don't get health care unless you go to a hospital."

But his decision meant there were no reconstruction funds set aside to rehabilitate the emergency rooms and operating theaters at Iraqi hospitals, even though injuries from insurgent attacks were the country's single largest public health challenge.

Haveman also wanted to apply American medicine to other parts of the Health Ministry. Instead of trying to restructure the dysfunctional state-owned firm that imported and distributed drugs and medical supplies to hospitals, he decided to try to sell it to a private company.

To prepare it for a sale, he wanted to attempt something he had done in Michigan. When he was the state's director of community health, he sought to slash the huge amount of money Michigan spent on prescription drugs for the poor by limiting the medications doctors could prescribe for Medicaid patients. Unless they received an exemption, physicians could only prescribe drugs that were on an approved list, known as a formulary.

Haveman figured the same strategy could bring down the cost of medicine in Iraq. The country had 4,500 items on its drug formulary. Haveman deemed it too large. If private firms were going to bid for the job of supplying drugs to government hospitals, they needed a smaller, more manageable list. A new formulary would also outline new requirements about where approved drugs could be manufactured, forcing Iraq to stop buying medicines from Syria, Iran and Russia, and start buying from the United States.

He asked the people who had drawn up the formulary in Michigan whether they wanted to come to Baghdad. They declined. So he beseeched the Pentagon for help. His request made its way to the Defense Department's Pharmacoeconomic Center in San Antonio.

A few weeks later, three formulary experts were on their way to Iraq.

The group was led by Theodore Briski, a balding, middle-aged pharmacist who held the rank of lieutenant commander in the U.S. Navy. Haveman's order, as Briski remembered it, was: "Build us a formulary in two weeks and then go home." By his second day in Iraq, Briski came to three conclusions. First, the existing formulary "really wasn't that bad." Second, his mission was really about "redesigning the entire Iraqi pharmaceutical procurement and delivery system, and that was a complete change of scope -- on a grand scale." Third, Haveman and his advisers "really didn't know what they were doing."

Haveman "viewed Iraq as Michigan after a huge attack," said George Guszcza, an Army captain who worked on the CPA's health team. "Somehow if you went into the ghettos and projects of Michigan and just extended it out for the entire state -- that's what he was coming to save."

Haveman's critics, including more than a dozen people who worked for him in Baghdad, contend that rewriting the formulary was a distraction. Instead, they said, the CPA should have focused on restructuring, but not privatizing, the drug-delivery system and on ordering more emergency shipments of medicine to address shortages of essential medicines. The first emergency procurement did not occur until early 2004, after the Americans had been in Iraq for more than eight months.

Haveman insisted that revising the formulary was a crucial first step in improving the distribution of medicines. "It was unwieldy to order 4,500 different drugs, and to test and distribute them," he said.

When Haveman left Iraq, Baghdad's hospitals were as decrepit as the day the Americans arrived. At Yarmouk Hospital, the city's largest, rooms lacked the most basic equipment to monitor a patient's blood pressure and heart rate, operating theaters were without modern surgical tools and sterile implements, and the pharmacy's shelves were bare.

Nationwide, the Health Ministry reported that 40 percent of the 900 drugs it deemed essential were out of stock in hospitals. Of the 32 medicines used in public clinics for the management of chronic diseases, 26 were unavailable.

The new health minister, Aladin Alwan, beseeched the United Nations for help, and he asked neighboring nations to share what they could. He sought to increase production at a state-run manufacturing plant in the city of Samarra. And he put the creation of a new formulary on hold. To him, it was a fool's errand.

"We didn't need a new formulary. We needed drugs," he said. "But the Americans did not understand that."
A 9/11 Hero's Public Relations Blitz

In May 2003, a team of law enforcement experts from the Justice Department concluded that more than 6,600 foreign advisers were needed to help rehabilitate Iraq's police forces.

The White House dispatched just one: Bernie Kerik.

Bernard Kerik had more star power than Bremer and everyone else in the CPA combined. Soldiers stopped him in the halls of the Republican Palace to ask for his autograph or, if they had a camera, a picture. Reporters were more interested in interviewing him than they were the viceroy.

Kerik had been New York City's police commissioner when terrorists attacked the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001. His courage (he shouted evacuation orders from a block away as the south tower collapsed), his stamina (he worked around the clock and catnapped in his office for weeks), and his charisma (he was a master of the television interview) turned him into a national hero. When White House officials were casting about for a prominent individual to take charge of Iraq's Interior Ministry and assume the challenge of rebuilding the Iraqi police, Kerik's name came up. Bush pronounced it an excellent idea.

Kerik had worked in the Middle East before, as the security director for a government hospital in Saudi Arabia, but he was expelled from the country amid a government investigation into his surveillance of the medical staff. He lacked postwar policing experience, but the White House viewed that as an asset.

Veteran Middle East hands were regarded as insufficiently committed to the goal of democratizing the region. Post-conflict experts, many of whom worked for the State Department, the United Nations or nongovernmental organizations, were deemed too liberal. Men such as Kerik -- committed Republicans with an accomplished career in business or government -- were ideal. They were loyal, and they shared the Bush administration's goal of rebuilding Iraq in an American image. With Kerik, there were bonuses: The media loved him, and the American public trusted him.

Robert Gifford, a State Department expert in international law enforcement, was one of the first CPA staff members to meet Kerik when he arrived in Baghdad. Gifford was the senior adviser to the Interior Ministry, which oversaw the police. Kerik was to take over Gifford's job.

"I understand you are going to be the man, and we are here to support you," Gifford told Kerik.

"I'm here to bring more media attention to the good work on police because the situation is probably not as bad as people think it is," Kerik replied.

As they entered the Interior Ministry office in the palace, Gifford offered to brief Kerik. "It was during that period I realized he wasn't with me," Gifford recalled. "He didn't listen to anything. He hadn't read anything except his e-mails. I don't think he read a single one of our proposals."

Kerik wasn't a details guy. He was content to let Gifford figure out how to train Iraqi officers to work in a democratic society. Kerik would take care of briefing the viceroy and the media. And he'd be going out for a few missions himself.

Kerik's first order of business, less than a week after he arrived, was to give a slew of interviews saying the situation was improving. He told the Associated Press that security in Baghdad "is not as bad as I thought. Are bad things going on? Yes. But is it out of control? No. Is it getting better? Yes." He went on NBC's "Today" show to pronounce the situation "better than I expected." To Time magazine, he said that "people are starting to feel more confident. They're coming back out. Markets and shops that I saw closed one week ago have opened."

When it came to his own safety, Kerik took no chances. He hired a team of South African bodyguards, and he packed a 9mm handgun under his safari vest.

The first months after liberation were a critical period for Iraq's police. Officers needed to be called back to work and screened for Baath Party connections. They'd have to learn about due process, how to interrogate without torture, how to walk the beat. They required new weapons. New chiefs had to be selected. Tens of thousands more officers would have to be hired to put the genie of anarchy back in the bottle.

Kerik held only two staff meetings while in Iraq, one when he arrived and the other when he was being shadowed by a New York Times reporter, according to Gerald Burke, a former Massachusetts State Police commander who participated in the initial Justice Department assessment mission. Despite his White House connections, Kerik did not secure funding for the desperately needed police advisers. With no help on the way, the task of organizing and training Iraqi officers fell to U.S. military police soldiers, many of whom had no experience in civilian law enforcement.

"He was the wrong guy at the wrong time," Burke said later. "Bernie didn't have the skills. What we needed was a chief executive-level person. . . . Bernie came in with a street-cop mentality."

Kerik authorized the formation of a hundred-man Iraqi police paramilitary unit to pursue criminal syndicates that had formed since the war, and he often joined the group on nighttime raids, departing the Green Zone at midnight and returning at dawn, in time to attend Bremer's senior staff meeting, where he would crack a few jokes, describe the night's adventures and read off the latest crime statistics prepared by an aide. The unit did bust a few kidnapping gangs and car-theft rings, generating a stream of positive news stories that Kerik basked in and Bremer applauded. But the all-nighters meant Kerik wasn't around to supervise the Interior Ministry during the day. He was sleeping.

Several members of the CPA's Interior Ministry team wanted to blow the whistle on Kerik, but they concluded any complaints would be brushed off. "Bremer's staff thought he was the silver bullet," a member of the Justice Department assessment mission said. "Nobody wanted to question the [man who was] police chief during 9/11."

Kerik contended that he did his best in what was, ultimately, an untenable situation. He said he wasn't given sufficient funding to hire foreign police advisers or establish large-scale training programs.

Three months after he arrived, Kerik attended a meeting of local police chiefs in Baghdad's Convention Center. When it was his turn to address the group, he stood and bid everyone farewell. Although he had informed Bremer of his decision a few days earlier, Kerik hadn't told most of the people who worked for him. He flew out of Iraq a few hours later.

"I was in my own world," he said later. "I did my own thing."
source: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...1600193_5.html

this gives an interesting overview of the effects of republican cronyism in the iraq debacle.
and it poses a number of problems that range from the rather curious echo-effect between the party loyalty uber alles above and the kind of refusal to countenance opposing viewpoints that you see amongst many conservatives here, who when given the chance seem to enjoy fantasizing about an ideologically single america. you can see for yourself an outline of the results above, and this in a single sector.

of course the larger problems this kind of hiring of incompetents because they are politically loyal extend far beyond such tfplint, and go a considerable distance in not only explaining the debacle in iraq---it also provides yet another window into bushworld and the particularly low priority reality has when compared with ideological purity.

it really is mind boggling.

so is this:

"I'm not here for the Iraqis," one staffer noted to a reporter over lunch. "I'm here for George Bush."
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Old 09-17-2006, 11:05 AM   #2 (permalink)
It always ends up to one thing, honey, And I can't think of right words to say...

<i>Cat Stevens</i>
C-R-O-N-Y-I-S-M, driven by ideology: FEMA...Katrina, Disaster relief....Not !
SYNFUEL, Energy Independence.....Not !
Jimmy Carter delivered this televised speech on April 18, 1977.

Tonight I want to have an unpleasant talk with you about a problem unprecedented in our history. With the exception of preventing war, this is the greatest challenge our country will face during our lifetimes. The energy crisis has not yet overwhelmed us, but it will if we do not act quickly.

It is a problem we will not solve in the next few years, and it is likely to get progressively worse through the rest of this century.

We must not be selfish or timid if we hope to have a decent world for our children and grandchildren.

We simply must balance our demand for energy with our rapidly shrinking resources. By acting now, we can control our future instead of letting the future control us.......

.......<b>The tenth principle is that we must start now to develop the new, unconventional sources of energy we will rely on in the next century.</b>

These ten principles have guided the development of the policy I would describe to you and the Congress on Wednesday.

Our energy plan will also include a number of specific goals, to measure our progress toward a stable energy system.

<b>These are the goals we set for 1985:</b>

--Reduce the annual growth rate in our energy demand to less than two percent.

--Reduce gasoline consumption by ten percent below its current level.

--Cut in half the portion of United States oil which is imported, from a potential level of 16 million barrels to six million barrels a day.........
Dateline: WASHINGTON, June 30
Publication title: New York Times. (Late Edition (East Coast)). New York, N.Y.: Jul 1, 1980. pg. D.1

President Carter signed legislation today encouraging development of synthetic energy sources, declaring that ''the keystone of our national energy policy is at last being put in place.''

In a ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House, the President said his energy policy - two-thirds completed with the signing of the new bill -''gives us the weapons to wage and win the energy war.''

The scope of the synthetic fuels program ''will dwarf the combined programs that led us to the moon and built our interstate highway system,'' he said.

$92 Billion in U.S. Spending

All told, the program could mean eventual Government expenditures of $92 billion by 1992, although initial funding authorization is for about $24 billion.

President Carter's aides had originally contemplated a July 4th ceremony in which the President would have signed the Energy Security Act, as the bill is formally known, and another bill creating an Energy Mobilization Board to assign priorities to energy projects and place some on a ''fast track.''

But a House vote on Friday to send the second bill back to a House-Senate conference committee denied President Carter that opportunity. All but nine Republicans voted against the measure.

The President, in remarks prepared for delivery at the signing ceremony today, said: ''The fight for energy security is not a partisan fight. I ask members from both parties to complete our energy agenda in the same spirit of cooperation that has brought us the success which we are celebrating today.''

He urged Congressional leaders to turn out legislation establishing an energy board that would speed up approval of energy projects while respecting environmental concerns.

The synthetic fuels program, the energy board and the already enacted tax on oil companies' ''windfall'' profits that stem from oilprice decontrol make up the three legs of President Carter's energy program.

''The new Energy Security Act will help the American people to conserve even more and industry to produce more energy,'' President Carter said. Oil imports, he said, dropped 12.9 percent in the past year, gasoline consumption fell 8 percent and total oil consumption was down more than 9 percent.

President Sees 70,000 New Jobs

''This legislation will help create at least 70,000 jobs a year to design, build, operate and supply resources for synthetic fuels plants,'' he said.

On Thursday, the House voted 317 to 93 for the Energy Security Corporation, a concern created to encourage energy projects not now economically feasible.

Through the use of loan guarantees, purchase agreements and Government production it would encourage turning coal into gas and extracting oil from shale.

Its initial funding would be $20 billion, to produce the equivalent of two million barrels of oil a day by 1992 -slightly more than 10 percent of current consumption........
Robert D. Hershey Jr.
Publication title: New York Times. (Late Edition (East Coast)). New York, N.Y.: Apr 8, 1981. pg. D.2

WASHINGTON THE winter heating season is behind us, petroleum imports are down sharply, the industry is awash in gasoline and there is now talk of a peace treaty between Iraq and Iran, two major OPEC producers that have been engaged in undeclared war since September.

Perhaps this helps to explain why the Reagan Administration and some members of Congress seem so relaxed about the United States energy situation. Others, however, are appalled by what they regard as dangerous complacency about energy supplies when there is a chance for the first time in several years to do something significant to improve supplies.

Could the Republicans be relying too much on the undoubted virtues of the free market in an area where private enterprise cannot be expected to work so well?

Take, for example, the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, which is widely held to be essential to the strategic and economic well-being of the Western alliance. In the nearly six years since it was authorized, the United States has managed to pump only 121.5 million barrels of crude oil into the five underground storage sites in Louisiana and Texas, enough to replace this country's imports for three weeks.

The new Administration has declared the Strategic Petroleum Reserve a high priority. In practice, however, it seems to be more concerned about the costs of filling it than the potential security risk of not filling it as fast as possible.

In its budget last month, the Reagan budget makers proposed spending $3.8 billion for the petroleum reserve in 1982, an amount that would support a barely respectable fill rate of some 230,000 barrels a day, up from the current 150,000 barrels a day. Lately, however, the Administration has retreated in the interests of saving money. The Republican-controlled Senate Budget Committee eliminated $3 billion of this sum, expressing the hope that the money could be found from other sources, and the Office of Management and Budget did not object.

Several possibilities for raising the money have been suggested.One was that of the budget director, David A. Stockman, to have the Government sell special oil ''bonds'' to private investors, a proposal vetoed by the Treasury. Another proposal came from Senator Nancy L. Kassebaum, a Kansas Republican, who would require companies that import large amounts of oil in effect to lend them, with rights of retrieval, to the Government's strategic oil stockpile.

In the area of synthetic fuels, the Administration seeks to place more reliance on the free market than did the Carter Administration. Direct Energy Department subsidies have been knocked out and the Synthetic Fuels Corporation, before providing loans or other guarantees, is expected to require equity investment by privatesector sponsors substantially higher than the 25 percent mandated by law.

In general, commercialization of proven technologies is to be done by industry alone, with the Government only supporting basic research and development for which an economic payoff is so uncertain or distant that it would not otherwise be undertaken. The Administration wants especially to make sure the Government does not spur construction of multibillion-dollar so-called white elephant plants that might someday require direct Federal help, perhaps bailout.

It is quite possible, however, that an American synthetic fuels program must run the risk of failures. A few white elephants would at least show that the country, by building a synthetic fuels capacity, had had some effect in restraining price increases by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries. And a sufficiently high price for world oil would allow even the least economic plant to remain competitive.

Similarly, the Energy Department's budget for conservation - in energy matters, the term conservation usually means raising efficiency, not doing without - has been largely gutted on the assumption that rising prices will prompt people to insulate their homes or take other conservation steps in their own best financial interests.

But what seems to be missing, critics say, in the Administration's approach in all three areas - the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, synthetic fuels and conservation - is an appreciation that there is a strategic element in energy that should transcend budget cutting or an uncompromising commitment to the marketplace.

Of course the market will work, though the energy market is particularly imperfect, but over what period, at what economic and social cost and at what risk to national security?

In addition, the critics add, United States policy makers need to distinguish between the country's dependence on foreign oil, the nowdeclining amount imported from unstable foreign sources, and its economic and military vulnerability to almost certain supply cutoffs during this decade. America's present emergency rationing plan is generally acknowledged to be unworkable.
Science News; 8/1/1981, Vol. 120 Issue 5, p68-69, 2p
UNITED States. Congress
Government policy

The Reagan administration presented its "reformulated energy-policy guidelines" to Congress on July 17. So as not to be pinned down by something "static and unresponsive," its strategy consists of a philosophy rather than an actual blueprint or action plan. And that strategy represents a clear shift from the last federal energy plan, one developed by Jimmy Carter (SN: 7/21/79, p. 38).

Whereas Carter's plan proposed major new federal initiatives -- such as development of a synthetic-fuels corporation and solar-development bank -- Reagan instead proposes pulling the government out of the energy development scene to the full extent possible. Rather than setting specific objectives and guidelines -- such as the Carter goal to develop a domestic capacity to produce 2.5 million barrels of "alternative fuels" per day within the next decade -- Reagan would for the most part let market forces determine both national fuel-use patterns and. which technologies deserve development support.

Even the goal to reduce oil imports -- once Carter's highest energy priority -- has undergone significant moderation. "Achieving a low level of U. S. oil imports at any cost is not a major criterion for the nation's energy security and economic health," the new Reagan plan says, because "even at its current high price, imported oil in some cases is substantially less expensive than available alternatives." Therefore, federal policies will strive to avoid "distorting" market forces "through indiscriminate subsidies for alternatives that cost more than imported oil now and offer no short-term to midterm likelihood of being economically competitive."

The Reagan plan seems coy about discussing specifics, though actions by the new administration offer strong clues as to how this philosophy is being interpreted. Reagan proposals would cut direct federal support for solar technologies, alcohol fuels, biomass and urban-waste systems $2.2 billion over the next five year's. The plan says steadily increasing oil prices, precipitated by the complete decontrol of oil and oil-product prices on January 28, can be counted on to encourage private investors to finish developing the more viable of these technologies. The same goes [or five major synthetic-fuels development projects -- including the SRC-I and SRC-II plants.

Energy conservation programs will also see retrenchments. Over the six-year period ending in 1979. household energy consumption fell 14 percent, commercial energy consumption (per square foot) dropped 18 percent, and industrial efficiency (measured in output per unit of energy consumed) rose 12 percent. As a result there is little heed for the government to continue most energy-conservation demonstration programs, the administration says. Private investors have been given sufficient incentives to step in and take over. At least, that's the justification given for withdrawing federal support for programs such as those to develop high-efficiency consumer products, advanced automotive engines, efficient industrial processes and electric and hybrid vehicles.

Regulatory reform is one of Reagan's highest priorities. This administration has already revoked regulations involved with oil pricing. The energy-policy statement adds that another 75 of the remaining 150 individual rulemaking activities pertaining to energy have been targeted for modification, recision or withdrawal. Details are to be spelled out later.

Finally, "efforts to step up domestic energy production are too important," the plan says, "to be frustrated by inadequate access to the mineral wealth of our own land? Therefore, leasing policies will be changed to "guarantee" that energy resources on federal lands -- an estimated 60 percent of all U.S. energy resources -- will be explored and produced at a pace consistent with national needs, environmental concerns and the public interest. Environmental and economic impacts of these changes could prove substantial. For example, those announced last month increase the pace and acreage of lease offerings for oil and gas drilling on the outer continental shelf. They also permit all tracts in a given region to be covered, for the first time, by a single environmental-impact assessment.
New York Times. (Late Edition (East Coast)). New York, N.Y.: Sep 10, 1981. pg. A.30

Synfuel fever: remember the bandwagon that started late in the Carter Administration, while angry motorists waited in line for gasoline? Politicians and columnists embraced synfuels as a way out of the nation's energy problems. American ingenuity and managerial skill would take abundant resources like coal and oil shale and convert them into badly needed liquid fuels. Reliance on imported oil would diminish, giving America firmer control of its fuel prices and its foreign policy.

The fever led Congress to create a new Synthetic Fuels Corporation and give it the grandiose goal of stimulating production equal to two million barrels of oil a day by 1992 - more than a third of the amount of oil America now imports.

Well, conditions have changed quite a bit since then. Decontrol of oil prices and a stumbling economy have cut demand for energy. Oil imports are way down. And there is a new President whose free-market instincts are jarred by Government subsidies to energy industries. The need for synthetic fuels has not disappeared entirely. But the temporary oil glut and the new political clim ate provide breathing room for a more cautious and rational approach.

President Reagan has given mixed signals on the subject. He allowed the Energy Department to grant loan guarantees and other support to three large synfuels projects, over the objections of Budget Director David Stockman. <b>Yet the President's energy plan projects greatly reduced synfuels production - only 500,000 barrels a day by 1990.

The new target seems much more realistic. The Congressional goal of two million barrels a day would require about 40 new plants, at $3 billion each, in the next decade, sorely taxing the nation's engineering and industrial capacity. Mr. Reagan's more sensible projection would require only 10 new plants.</b> That means much less chance of creating white elephants. And it should allow for more careful consideration of environmental problems, including how to dispose of enormous quantities of shale rock waste and how to provide the enormous quantities of necessary water.

Unfortunately, it is not yet clear whether the Synthetic Fuels Corporation is equipped to do the needed analysis. <b>It got off to a rocky start in its first year, operating without a confirmed board and with only a fifth of its authorized staff. The General Accounting Office has criticized its guidelines for evaluating projects as vague and inconsistent. And the evaluation staff will apparently be kept small;</b> it currently has little competence on the worrisome environmental issues.

The synfuels fever has, thank goodness, broken. But those defects need repair if the corporation expects to nurture a sound synfuels industry.
Fading Dream: Without Big Changes, Synthetic Fuels Corp. Seems Likely to Perish --- Even Its Supporters Deplore Program's Management; Main Problems: Political --- The White House Saves Face
By Andy Pasztor. Wall Street Journal. (Eastern edition). New York, N.Y.: Aug 9, 1984. pg. 1

........Today, even supporters of the government-backed Synthetic Fuels Corp. are bitter over a dream turned sour: The four-year-old effort to reduce U.S. reliance on imported oil is dead in the water. Although opponents contend that costly alternative-fuel projects don't make sense in the face of today's oil surplus, the problems that have bedeviled the Synthetic Fuels Corp. have been primarly political, not economic. The corporation has been crippled by months of political bickering, allegations of financial scandal, an exodus of senior officials and general industry apathy.

As a result, dozens of once-promising synfuels projects have been scrapped or delayed by confusion. Last week the House voted to cut the corporation's spending authority to $8.25 billion from $13.25 billion, but the White House wants the Senate to reduce spending by an additional $4 billion, leaving synfuels with $4.25 billion. Few in government or business stand ready to defend the record of the corporation, which seems likely to perish without new leadership or policy changes.

Edward Noble, the corporation's chairman, says he sometimes feels that he is sitting on a "ticking bomb." The corporation is at the mercy of "an industry that's not ready and half the Congress that doesn't want me here," complains <h3>Mr. Noble, who is a conservative Oklahoma businessman and a Reagan appointee.</h3>

With only two members, the board he heads lacks the quorum needed to conduct routine business. <b>Nominations for the other five places are stalled because of internal administration disputes and arguments between the White House and lawmakers over the program's future.</b> "I'm as anxious as I can be to go home," the exasperated chairman told another House panel in June. "Maybe more so than people are to send me home."

The critics, meanwhile, are stepping up their attacks and steadily gaining the upper hand. Veteran Republican Congressman James Broyhill of North Carolina, for example, used to be an important -- although grudging -- supporter of the program. But after analyzing the assistance earmarked for faltering projects, <b>he now accuses Mr. Noble of running "the biggest program of waste and abuse I've ever seen," and adds: "I think it's high time to bring it to an end."</b> A majority of the House is cosponsoring a bill to keep the corporation in limbo until Congress reasserts tighter management controls and decides how much aid should be doled out.

<b>Such proposals are a far cry from the bipartisan groundswell that created the synfuels program in 1980.</b> That was in the wake of the revolution in Iran and the accompanying fear of widespread fuel shortages in the U.S. At the time, lawmakers optimistically predicted the corporation would become a unique "investment bank," able to cut through red tape to quickly help produce hundreds of thousands of barrels of synthetic fuel daily from coal, tar sands, oil shale and other unconventional sources.

The idea was praised as a model of cooperation between the public and private sectors; others hailed it as "America's ace in the hole" for achieving energy independence. Today those hopes have been dashed and the corporation, in Energy Secretary Donald Hodel's words, is "absolutely moribund." Hobbled by bureaucratic delay, it has provided only a total of $740 million in aid to two relatively small projects. The board hasn't met since the end of April, and nobody takes the ambitious production goals seriously any more.

Some of the difficulties reflect radical market changes outside the government's control. The unexpected combination of stable world oil prices and excess crude-production capacity has made most synfuel projects uneconomical. Deficit-conscious legislators running for reelection don't look kindly on subsidizing plants to turn out synthetic products at prices as high as $67 a barrel when crude oil costs $29 a barrel.

At the same time, the program's credibility has been undermined by persistent and much-publicized personnel problems. <h3>With the blessing of the White House, Mr. Noble brought in a group of former business associates and longtime friends to help run the program. But some soon were in hot water because of allegations of ethical violations or a lack of political savvy and management skill.</h3>

Victor Schroeder, for instance, quit under fire last August as the corporation's president and chief operating officer after congressional critics accused him of trying to steer government business to political supporters. Mr. Schroeder denies doing anything improper but says he decided to step down from day-to-day control after three other directors publicly accused him of mismanagement. The former synfuels president still works as an executive of one of Mr. Noble's private companies, and he remains the only director besides Mr. Noble now serving on the government corporation's seven-place board.

In February, after a nationwide search for a successor, the $135,000-a-year president's job went to Victor Thompson, an Oklahoma bank executive and another of the synfuels chairman's oldest friends. But the appointment only gave lawmakers an even more inviting target.

Two weeks after Mr. Thompson accepted the government post, the Securities and Exchange Commission charged that Utica Bankshares Corp. of Tulsa, Okla., overstated its earnings or understated its losses by a total of more than $12 million while Mr. Thompson served as chairman and chief executive of the bank holding company. Mr. Thompson wasn't named in the administrative complaint and had severed all connections with the bank just before the SEC released its findings. Nevertheless, angry congressmen began demanding to know why Mr. Thompson hadn't mentioned the SEC investigation before he took the synfuels job.

More bad news was just around the corner. During a late-night meeting with synfuels officials April 26, a badly shaken Mr. Thompson dropped a bombshell. He acknowledged that in the fall of 1982, while serving as a synfuels director, he tried to sell stock in his financially troubled bank to Belton K. Johnson, a San Antonio, Texas, oilman who at the same time was seeking hundreds of millions of dollars of federal synfuels aid for a proposed tar-sands project.

Mr. Thompson insists he didn't attempt to "link" the possible private transaction to his official position or the project's chances of obtaining federal help. The Johnson family interests never purchased any of the bank stock, and their synfuels proposal still is pending. Nevertheless, the appearance of conflict of interest was the last straw for some critics of the beleaguered program.

The Justice Department began a criminal investigation of the matter that is still continuing. Mr. Thompson abruptly resigned as president and a director of the synfuels corporation, contending that the attacks on him were unfounded and motivated by "election-year politics."

Synfuels opponents quickly used these personnel problems against the program. Rep. Howard Wolpe, a Michigan Democrat who is leading the fight against the Synthetic Fuels Corp. in the House, says the resignations "turned out to be a boon to taxpayers." Otherwise, the corporation might have been able to function "in relative obscurity" while obligating billions of dollars "to help projects that aren't ready and don't deserve such help," he says.

The problems also focused White House attention on the corporation. "The stupidity of such behavior shocked everyone," a top administration energy official recalls. <b>"We knew the program couldn't go on embarrassing the president."</b>

<b>Without consulting Mr. Noble, the White House announced a proposal to eliminate $9 billion of the corporation's remaining $13.25 billion in funding.</b> Unless Congress goes along with the cuts, presidential aides contend, the current legislative impasse will continue and pending projects will wither away. "We're trying to salvage the corporation almost as an adjunct to a research program," Secretary Hodel says.

Not surprisingly, the budget battle caused morale at the corporation to plummet. Friends say Mr. Noble seriously considered resigning as the Synthetic Fuels Corp. chairman. A handful of the corporation's most senior attorneys and technical officials, who are responsible for negotiating with project sponsors, already have left or are threatening to bail out. Training replacements for them will take months and further complicate the negotiations.

"People aren't waiting around to see what eventually happens in Congress," says a former top corporation policy maker. "Virtually everyone has resumes out. Everyone who has an option is leaving," he adds, even though the corporation's salaries are high by government standards. (Eleven senior synfuels officials earn more than the $72,600 a U.S. senator makes annually.)

Before losing its quorum, the corporation made tentative, legally nonbinding decisions to grant a total of $6.8 billion in aid to eight additional projects. The status of those proposed loan guarantees and price supports isn't likely to be resolved until next year. By then, no matter what Congress decides, the uncertainty "cannot help but kill many potentially good projects," asserts Congressman Richard Durbin, an Illinois Democrat eager to see synfuels funding flow into his state...........
Wall Street Journal. (Eastern edition). New York, N.Y.: Aug 25, 1986. pg. 1

There was some confusion at the General Service Administration last week over whether solar panels initially installed on the White House roof by Jimmy Carter would be restored after some roof repairs are completed. But Reagan spokesman Dale Petroskey finally gave the answer. They won't be. They hadn't been very effective at their designated task, providing the mansion with hot water. Energy savings were "negligible," Mr. Petroskey said. The panels will be given to the National Park Service for some unspecified use. How about putting them in the Smithsonian as a reminder to Americans that any number of futile methods of solving the "energy crisis" were attempted before the right one, price decontrol, was finally adopted?
Sean Kelly
The Washington Post (pre-1997 Fulltext). Washington, D.C.: Aug 2, 1991. pg. a.23

A piece of White House history has found a home at Unity College in Maine. Thirty-two solar panels that were installed by Jimmy Carter in 1979 to help heat the building's water system will be used by the college as a source of reusable energy.

The solar panels were removed by the Reagan administration in 1986, when the White House roof was undergoing repairs, and were never reinstalled. Instead, they were stored in a General Services Administration (GSA) warehouse at the Navy yard here, where they collected dust until Peter Marbach, a development official for Unity College, saw a recent Greenpeace photograph of them in an environmental magazine.

"When I saw the photograph, it hit me that I should attempt to obtain these solar panels for Unity," Marbach said, explaining that the nonprofit, private college of 400 students focuses its curriculum on environmental studies.

He said the college will use the panels "to provide hot water needs for the activities building," the largest building on campus. "We hope to have them installed and fully operational by the end of the summer."

In his quest to obtain the panels, Marbach wrote to Carter. The former president responded in a brief note that he would be pleased to see the solar panels in use again.

It took only two months for Marbach to be awarded the solar panels by the GSA. "Pleasantly surprised" by the cooperation, he recently drove from Maine to collect them.

GSA apparently was not as supportive of efforts by Greenpeace to obtain the panels. The environmental group had been pursuing them since last August to heat a shelter for homeless people.

"For the last five years, they've been dust collectors rather than solar collectors," said Greenpeace spokesman Peter Dykstra. "There was clearly politics played against us in our inquiring about the fate of these solar panels. The fact that {GSA} quickly and eagerly unloaded them on Unity College - we're very pleased that Unity College got them - but that says a lot about the politics that's played even on the pettiest levels of energy policy."
One little-known and unique fact about Unity College is that we are the current home of the famous “Jimmy Carter” Solar Panels.

.....We placed 16 of them on our cafeteria roof in 1992, and used them to provide hot water for 12 years. The remainder was placed in storage, although one or two have occasionally been used for student experimentation. And of course, students have always been interested in and concerned about the system.

We would like to retire these panels from active use and instead preserve them as historical artifacts.........
PART-A; Metro Desk
Los Angeles Times (pre-1997 Fulltext). Los Angeles, Calif.: Jul 26, 1991. pg. 3

While American troops were fighting a war, in part to keep oil flowing from the Middle East, owners of the largest solar energy plant of its kind in the world began dismantling the facility, panel by panel.

Today, about 20% of the panels at the Carrizo Plain solar power plant have been sold. While the plant remains in operation, workers continue to remove the panels because the company can make more from selling them than from selling electricity.

"We all think it's pretty strange, that after having to fight a war over oil, we're still selling off these panels," said Scott Altenburger, plant manager, as he walked through the warehouse where workers were packing panels for shipment. <b>"You'd think now . . . people would be more interested in developing a domestic energy source."

But a lack of government support for renewable energy during the Reagan and Bush administrations, the elimination of tax credits and falling oil prices have created serious problems for solar companies. Last week, Los Angeles-based Luz International Ltd., one of the nation's prominent solar energy firms, laid off 350 workers-about half its permanent work force-and postponed construction of a solar plant in the Mojave Desert.</b>

While the entire solar industry is suffering, solar projects that provide electricity to utility companies have been particularly hard-hit. California is one of the few states that has these large-scale projects, and the state Public Utilities Commission is exploring rate increases for alternative energy producers. But the rates may not be high enough to save some of the projects.

In order to stay in business-and replace the solar panels that have been sold-Carrizo plant officials said they need three times the current rate.

The plant is selling a reduced amount of electricity to Pacific Gas & Electric. But if conditions for solar energy do not improve, the Carrizo plant-about 60 miles east of San Luis Obispo-will end up selling all of its panels within five years, then shut down, company officials said.

PG&E pays the plant a rate based on the current cost of oil and natural gas. But oil and gas prices have plummeted during the last decade, creating less demand for solar energy.

It is unfair to force solar companies to compete with traditional energy producers, said Scott Sklar, director of the Solar Energy Industries Assn. Government subsidies to oil companies-including generous tax breaks for exploration and drilling-are not included when determining the true cost of oil and natural gas, he said.

Other hidden costs, Sklar said, include pollution, acid rain, spill cleanups and even military spending to keep shipping lanes open in the Persian Gulf. As a result, he said, the cost of oil is artificially low.

"If the oil companies were taxed for some of these things, it would at least level the playing field and make it easier for us to compete. . . ," said Mike Elliston, a co-owner of the solar plant. "Right now there's no financial advantage for us to produce energy that has no thermal pollution, no noise pollution and no air pollution."

The Carrizo plant was built by Atlantic Richfield Co. in the early 1980s, when the oil company was making a major effort to secure alternative energy sources. Arco had counted on the price of oil climbing to more than $60 a barrel at the end of the decade, said Albert Greenstein, an Arco spokesman. Instead, it is about $20 a barrel.

"We could see the writing on the wall . . . and solar remained a small niche market," Greenstein said. "Without tax credits and government support, these kinds of facilities aren't practical anymore."

Arco sold the company and a smaller solar plant in the Mojave Desert in 1990 to a group of investors who formed the Carrizo Solar Corp. The company determined that it needed a price of 10 cents per kilowatt-hour from PG&E to make a profit, Elliston said. But because oil and natural gas prices are low, PG&E pays only about 3 cents per kilowatt-hour.

The PUC, which sets the state's utility rates, is considering higher rates for "clean power producers," as early as next year, said Tom Thompson, a senior engineer for the commission.

"We'd like to keep this plant together," Elliston said. "But if we can't get a high enough rate, we'll have to sell off all the panels . . . and the rest of the equipment might end up as scrap metal."

The company has sold about 15,000 panels in the last year-out of a total of more than 100,000-for about $1,000 a piece, Elliston said. Some of these panels are damaged because of a faulty design, but they still are about 80% effective, and most have ended up on the roofs of rural homes throughout the country and in Central and South America.

<h3>Although it is partially dismantled, the Carrizo plant still provides enough electricity for several thousand homes.</h3> The 177-acre facility, located in a remote valley, is an arresting site-endless rows of gleaming solar panels atop rotating bases that follow the sun, surrounded by vast stretches of farmland.

This is a photovoltaic plant-the largest in the world-which uses specially treated silicon wafers to convert sunlight into electricity. Luz International, which operates nine solar plants that provide electricity to Southern California Edison Co., employs a technology that uses the sun's heat to generate steam that turns electrical turbines.

<h3>Large-scale solar projects have fallen upon hard times since the days of the Jimmy Carter Administration, when the federal solar energy budget was at a high of $680 million.

The Ronald Reagan Administration displayed its distaste for alternative energy in 1986, when it stripped the White House roof of solar panels that had been installed during Carter's tenure. The next year, the federal solar budget dropped to a low of $98 million. And while Reagan was in office, most tax credits to encourage solar energy expired, including the 40% tax credit individual homeowners received for investing in solar heating systems.</h3>

Spending for solar projects has increased slightly under the Bush Administration. But the recent national energy strategy was centered on domestic oil production and nuclear power, and included few concrete incentives or tax credits to encourage solar energy.

"Everything now is based on the short-term point of view," said Sklar of the Solar Energy Industries Assn. in Washington. "You'd think that after the war, the government would re-evaluate its energy policy. But oil is cheap now, so everything else is being ignored."

And because of a lack of government support, America is losing its edge in solar energy technology, Sklar said.

"This is the VCR syndrome all over again," Sklar said. "We spend billions to develop the technological edge, and then let our international competitors make all the money off it."

"Acid rain, smog, pollution is something people are becoming more and more concerned about," Block said. "So we still think a clean energy source like solar has a strong future."
The earlier <b>" Jimmy Carter working to weakening the USA"</b> TFP politics thread, motivated me, burdened as I am, with admiration for Carter, his vision for America's future when he was president, his response to foreign policy and foreign energy dependence challenges, and what he did about it, and what he left in place for the following administration to mismanage, misspend, and destroy, in their tenure, .....to find the articles that I posted, above.

If you search the internet with the term "synfuel", you will mostly find, the work of L. Brent Bozell III, because the reality of what the Reagan administration did to Carter's multi-pronged plan to achieve energy independence, did too much harm to America, IMO, to be known now, as it was reported at the time the deliberate dismantling of the Carter plan, was happening. The micro management that extended to the small, but symbolic detail of the Reagan administration's removing perfectly functional, energy conserving, and cost saving, solar panels from the white house roof, curiously, were never evident in Reagan's appointments and oversight of the management of the Synfuel program. Reagan intentionally destroyed Carter's plan for energy conservation and independence, and Bozell persuaded (manipulated......) too many of you into thinking that Carter was to blame.
Imagine, if you will, a future wherein the media willfully support the foreign policy objectives of the United States. A time when the left can no longer rely on the media to promote its socialist agenda to the public. A time when someone, somewhere in the media can be counted on to extol the virtues of morality without qualifications. When Betty Friedan no longer qualifies for "Person of the Week" honors. <b>When Ronald Reagan is cited not as the "Man of the Year," but the "Man of the Century."</b>

The news and entertainment media will continue to effect the cultural health of America. If we succeed in our mission to restore political balance to this institution, future generations win benefit and thank us. It's worth fighting for, now.

L. Brent Bozell, III is Chairman of the Media Research Center in Alexandria, Virginia.

He spoke on January 21, 1992 at The Heritage Foundation in the Resource Bank series of lectures

Time's Slanted Century Polls
by L. Brent Bozell III
September 30, 1999

......I mean choosing “Endangered Earth”, as they did in 1989. Or their pick for Man of the Decade in 1990, when they might have selected Ronald Reagan, whose domestic policies gave our country its biggest peacetime economic expansion in history while his foreign policy drove the Soviet Union into the trashcan of history. Somehow the Gipper didn’t qualify; the award went to that other grand success story, Mikhail Gorbachev.

Now Time’s at it again. Visit their website to see their nominations for the Man of the Century. It won’t tell you too much about the most important people these past hundred years but it will tell you boatloads about Time magazine..........
Sorry, Brent Bozell, a president with a legacy of spending us into 2-1/2 times the national debt that existed when he took office, just 8 years earlier, a spiteful president who mismanaged, via cronyism and then downsized and intentionally destroyed the valuable energy conservation and research climate and plan, bequeathed to this nation by his predecessor, Jimmy Carter, is not "man of the century", IMO, he doesn't deserve to be admired or even considered a loyal, fellow American, with a legacy as flawed as the one president Reagan, left us.
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Old 09-17-2006, 11:24 AM   #3 (permalink)
... a sort of licensed troubleshooter.
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My eyes hurt, but my brain feels a lot better. It's nice to have threads that bring the pieces together. This helps my understandinf of Iraq. I guess I knew most of it on a case by case basis, but having it all layed out helps a great deal. Excellent posts, roach and Host.
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Old 09-17-2006, 12:26 PM   #4 (permalink)
Imagine where America might be today....instead of spending (all of it borrowed money...) ten times the amount on foreign petroleum now, compared to what we were spending in 1980, when a new era of cronyism was put into elected office, and set us on the course to the circumstances that we find ourselves in now.

Imagine if we did not increase the US Treasury debt by $1500 billion in the Reagan years, $1900 billion in just 4 years of Bush- 41 administration, and now, an additional $2750 billion, in 59-1/2 months of annual budgets administered by Bush- 43, after the Clinton administration reduced the rate of debt increase to zero, where we might be, from the standpoint of national security, today?

Just as it does today, the driving message from the leadership in 1981 was a message of fear.....fear to promote the idea (an more importantly, the "feeling") that they were the only ones who could "keep us safe", maintain a "strong military", while they "cut costs" that actaully diverted money into the pockets of their wealthiest campaign contributors and into the corporations that also funded their political campaigns, and the energy and defense lobbies that benefited from the transition back to "free market" petroleum, as the sole energy policy, and the buildup of a "Strong defense", because the Russians and the Chinese, and the "Vietnam was a noble cause, and we could have won, but "the left" destroyed our will and blocked the military from receiving the support and financing that was required to "win it"....blah, blah.

The "cost cutting" that tried to eliminate the DOE and domestic social spending ended up, along with the $3400 billion in new debt, from 1981 to 1993, in the pockets of the biggest and most influential campaign contributing and lobby and PAC funding, individuals and corporation. The "evil empire" of the Soviet Union collapsed, as it was destined to do, even if it had to compete with Carter's boycott of the 1980 Moscow Olympics, after the Soviets invaded Afghanistan, and Carter's human rights based, foreign policy initiatives, although "the faithful will never ever accept that, or the reality that Vietnam wasn't "noble", or lost because of "the left", or the idea that the "Reagan Prosperity" came from anything other than the stimulus of gragantuan, unprecedented federal borrowing, to finance the "fear based" military buildup, and the "trickle down" tax cuts, for mostly the richest few, and the corporations. <b>Government of the cronies, by the cronies, and for the cronies.</b> We'll pass that debt to our children, as our legacy. Reagan is dead....and all we've managed to do, so far, is pay the interest on the debt momentum that he set into motion....that took until 1999 to stop....and it's back, and so is the fear driven, military buildup, and the tax cuts for the rich!

The documentaion of, and the fallout from, more cronyism:
Science News; 8/4/1979, Vol. 116 Issue 5, p84-84, 1/2p, 1bw
HAYES, Denis
UNITED States. Dept. of Energy
SOLAR Energy Research Institute (Golden, Colo.)


Solar energy advocates are applauding the appointment of Denis Hayes, last week, as director of the Solar Energy Research Institute in Golden, Colo. Directing $30 million in operating funds and $60 million in contract work, Hayes, at 34, becomes the youngest director of a national laboratory. While a senior researcher at the Worldwatch Institute in Washington, Hayes was among the guiding forces that launched Sun Day -- a national fete to celebrate solar's promise (SN: 5/13/79, p. 309) last year.

Hayes inherits command of an institution already riddled by criticism and hobbled by chaos, in part, that reflects the inevitable organizational growing pains that result when a laboratory expands from a staff of zero to more than 600 in just two years. But it also reflects serious "definitional" problems that the Department of Energy and Congress have yet to resolve. At question is: SERI'S independence in setting research and solar-development directives; its authority or coordination with federally funded regional solar laboratories; and who its director and program managers must answer to at DOE. Next fall, Richard Ottinger (D-N.Y.) plans to investigate how these problems might be re solved in hearings before the House Subcommittee on Energy Development and Applications, which he chairs.

Unlike his predecessor, Paul Rappaport (SN: 4/22/78, p. 255), Hayes enters his post with national visibility and a grassroots following, largely due to his solar advocacy. In the past two years, he has published at least three reports and a book on solar energy. And in addition to spearheading Sun Day, he has served as chairman of the board for two of its spinoffs: Solar Lobby and the Center for Renewable Resources. <b>He has frequently criticized the federal government's funding of solar research and its commitment to financial incentives that would spur solar's chances in the marketplace.

Some have questioned whether Hayes's appointment wasn't really a move to "shut him up" by moving him "inside" or to bury him away from the Washington spotlight with an assignment to the hinterlands. But when colleagues posed those questions to Hayes last week, he responded confidently, saying that he would not be "buried" or "bought off."</b> Says Jim Broyles at Solar Lobby, "We can expect fireworks," because "you're not going to see a quiet Denis Hayes."
Boston Globe (pre-1997 Fulltext). Boston, Mass.: Jun 25, 1981. pg. 1

Denis Hayes, who was to resign his post as director of the Solar Energy Research Institute in a few weeks, has been ordered to leave immediately after denouncing federal energy policies. Hayes, an outspoken supporter of solar energy development, was asked last weekend to resign as part of a move to slash the institute's budget and narrow the focus of its programs. The institute, the nation's leading solar energy research facility, is operated for the Department of Energy on a contract basis.
Science News; 6/27/1981, Vol. 119 Issue 26, p406-406, 1/5p
HAYES, Denis
SOLAR Energy Research Institute (Golden, Colo.)

Hayes resigns in 'SERI'-ous shakeup

One of solar energy's sunniest and most visible advocates is about to be eclipsed, at least in terms of federal influence. Denis Hayes, director of the Solar Energy Research Institute since September 1979, has been asked by the Midwest Research Institute to step down from his post. MRI, which operates the federal facility for the Department of Energy, is said to be seeking someone with more research and laboratory experience since SERI is expected to take on a more laboratory-oriented role in the future.

But rumors and undertones attending the announcement also suggest MRI'S role may be little more than that of a puppet whose strings are pulled from Washington. The Reagan administration is more than rumored to be plotting changes in the laboratory's intended mission and size. Most important, Hayes's ideology -- that solar energy is not only a technology for the future, but also one capable of contributing mightily today -- does not mesh with Ronald Reagan's conservative solar posture. And that ideological conflict is <b>one explanation being offered to explain why DOE attempted, unsuccessfully, to withhold publication of a SERI study (SN: 5/2/81, p. 276) suggesting that stronger commitments to solar energy and to conservation would improve the economy.</b>

SERI has come under fire repeatedly in the past 10 months for not being "effectively integrated into the federal solar program" nor coordinated adequately with activities of regional solar-energy centers. Consistent with that, administration budget carvers have drastically whittled down SERFS proposed funding for the coming fiscal year, and deferred indefinitely plans for a permanent SERI facility until conflicts over its size and mission are resolved.
Hayes, Denis
Publication title: New York Times. (Late Edition (East Coast)). New York, N.Y.: Aug 12, 1981. pg. A.27

Golden, Colo. - For its first three years, the Solar Energy Research Institute carried a blazing sun atop its stationary. A couple of months ago, to cut printing costs, the Department of Energy ordered the sun changed to a dull gray. It was an omen.

There were other, more important signs. <H3>All hiring and subcontracting at the institute was frozen for months while a team from Washington, without one member with technical credentials, conducted a leisurely review of its programs to make sure they conformed to the Reagan philosophy.</H3>

The institute was forbidden to finance unsolicited proposals, thus effectively limiting its subcontracts to those companies large enough to prepare long responses to formal requests for proposals. Lone inventors and small entrepreneurs were frozen out.

Desperately needed laboratory construction was delayed.In 1976, Colorado offered the Federal Government 300 acres of land on the outskirts of Denver to house the institute. The Department of Energy has not yet accepted this gift, much less begun construction. Eventually, key researchers began to give up hope and leave. Those who remain work in jerry-rigged, one-story labs in a neighborhood office complex or commute to nearby industrial labs, machine shops and a prison.

The greatest frustration, however, was with department's near inability to entertain new ideas. This year, the saving grace would have been a million-dollar Director's Fund earmarked for creative ventures. Par for the course, this fund of seed money has now been brought under the vice-like grip of departmental control and is being halved.

Desk-bound officials in Washington now demand to review everything, but refuse to decide anything. For a laboratory director, it is like communicating with a black hole. Endless streams of decision memos flow into headquarters; nothing comes out. The result in the field is chaos and paralysis.

Finally, for me, it all came to an end. On the morning of the summer solstice, June 23, with the sun as high above the horizon as it ever gets, I was asked for my resignation as the institute's director. Some friends see great symbolism in the timing. Each day now, the sun falls lower; so does Federal support for solar energy.

The institute's budget is being cut in half and its staff reduced by a third, and these blows are only pieces of a larger national pattern. Secretary of Energy James B. Edwards proposed to cut the Federal budget for renewable energy sources from the 1981 fiscal year's $576 million to $193 million for 1982 - a reduction of 67 percent. Another 50 percent cut is rumored to be in the works for the 1983 fiscal year.

The official explanation is that these cuts are merely part of the general effort to trim domestic Federal spending. However, the Edwards energy budget was shaped by blind bias. Even as the country's most promising energy options are being gutted, a herd of technological losers will be getting fat at the public trough.

The increases proposed for the nuclear budget alone represent twice as many dollars as will remain in the budgets for all renewable energy sources. Moreover, President Reagan, who before his election condemned Jimmy Carter's Synthetic Fuels Corporation, has now endorsed it and its $88 billion price tag.

Energy Secretary Edwards opposes continuing the enormously successful and cost-effective solar homebuilders' program because ''it is a demonstration project, and this Administration is not going to distort the marketplace with demonstration projects.'' Yet the Administration is willing to underwrite two oil-shale demonstration projects, each costing 5,000 times as much as the solar project. And the Administration is lobbying Congress hard to let it spend 15,000 times as much on a nuclear demonstration plant, the Clinch River Breeder Reactor.

This approach to budget cutting is poor policy and worse politics. It is poor policy because it is channeling billions in directions that a free market would not send them. A detailed study by the solar institute was suppressed for months by the Department of Energy but was finally made public through the actions of Rep. Richard L. Ottinger, Democrat of New York, and has been commercially published as ''A New Prosperity.'' It demonstrates convincingly that the country's best energy hopes lie with precisely those technologies being attacked by Secretary Edwards.

In a truly free market, investments in conservation and solar alternatives would soon dominate all other energy investments. I would raise no complaint if the budgets for conservation and solar systems were being slashed as part of a comprehensive program to get the Federal Government out of the energy marketplace. But such a program would require the abolition of the $88 billion Synthetic Fuels Corporation. It would require an end to the myriad huge tax benefits still given to the century-old oil industry. If the oil industry cannot thrive today without subsidies, who can? Such a program would require the cancellation of Government involvement in the Clinch

River breeder and the removal of the Federal liability ceiling for nuclear accidents. If the emerging Edwards energy program is bad policy; it may prove to be catastrophic politics. Secretary Edwards maintains that ''a vote for President Reagan was a vote for a nuclear future.'' Yet a Gallup poll taken at exactly the time of the November election found that of seven possible energy choices, solar alternatives ranked number one among adult Americans. Conservation, whose Federal budget Mr. Edwards plans to ''trim'' by more than 75 percent, ranked second. Nuclear power ran dead last.

Few voters, staunch conservatives included, believed that a vote for Ronald Reagan was a vote against solar energy. But unless prosolar Americans, the solid majority, put their senators and representatives on the line over the next few weeks, insisting that solar energy not be discriminated against, this fall will see the Federal solar program quitely eclipsed. --------------------------------------------------------------------- Denis Hayes former director of the Solar Energy Research Institute is working on a book about energy investments.
ROBERT D. HERSHEY Jr., Special to the New York Times

New York Times. (Late Edition (East Coast)). New York, N.Y.: Dec 18, 1981. pg. D.1

Key members of Congress indicated today that the Administration's plan to abolish the Energy Department stood little better than a 50-50 chance of passage.

The Congressional opposition emerged as the White House said it would seek to transfer nearly 80 percent of the four-year-old Energy Department to the Commerce Department and the rest to the Departments of the Interior, Justice and Agriculture.

House Speaker Thomas P. O'Neill Jr. said at a meeting with reporters that the move was a purely political one and described it as ''a disastrous thing to do.''

The Congressional opposition, which Administration officials acknowledged as substantial, included that of Senator Henry M. Jackson, Democrat of Washington, who has long maintained there should be a separate department for energy to deal with foreign energy officials at the proper level.

''Energy policy has both a national and international importance,'' he said in a statement. ''Abolishing the department - and leaving this nation without a Cabinet-level energy policymaker - will send the wrong signal at the wrong time to our allies and adversaries, particularly to our partners in the International Energy Agency and indeed to the entire world.''

Richard L. Ottinger, a Westchester Democrat who heads the House subcommittee on Energy Conservation and Power, declared that ''the nation's energy policy is simply too important an issue to allow its formulation to be scattered.''

One former Energy Department official said he understood the White House had already conducted an informal poll of the House Energy and Commerce Committee that showed an 18-18 split on the proposal.

The opposition came despite the fact that the Administration plan maintains civilian control over the $6 billion nuclear weapons program that employs 54,000 people. The plan would put the program in a new Commerce Department unit to be known as the Energy Research and Technology Administration. Many had expressed worries that the nuclear weapons program, under civilian control since the 1940's, would wind up either at the Defense Department or the Interior Department.

Under the proposal, the Commerce Department would receive authority over national energy policy, data gathering, emergency preparedness, grants and basic responsibility for the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, in addition to defense programs. President Reagan said the plan fulfilled ''my campaign promise to make Government more efficient and reduce the cost of Government to the taxpayers,''

The Interior Department would get leasing programs, oil shale reserves and the administrations supplying hydroelectric power to various parts of the country. It would also operate the petroleum reserve.

The small programs of alcohol fuels assistance would be transferred to the Agriculture Department and the Justice Department would work on enforcement cases remaining from the now-abolished system of price and allocation controls on oil. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, formerly the Federal Power Commission before being merged into the Energy Department in 1977, would return to its former independent status.

The dismantling plan is to be sent to Congress next month and the Administration was said to be preparing its budget for the next fiscal year on the basis of anticipated approval. The Administration has not said how much money would be saved.
Associated Press
Boston Globe (pre-1997 Fulltext). Boston, Mass.: Oct 4, 1983. pg. 1

The United States will remain partly dependent on OPEC oil imports for at least 20 years, the Reagan Administration said today.

In unveiling its latest National Energy Policy Plan, it said the nation's vulnerability to another Arab oil embargo "has been reduced markedly" by petroleum reserves and by "minimizing federal control and involvement."

"The record to date of energy markets and the economy demonstrates clearly that economic efficiency does not result from federal intervention and control," said the plan, which was was released by Energy Secretary Donald Hodel.

The plan said oil imports will continue to supply about 12 percent of the nation's energy through the year 2000. It also projects that world oil prices will stabilize at $23 to $30 per barrel this year and next, but might fall if the Iran-Iraq war ends or the rate of world economic recovery slows.

President Ronald Reagan's decision in January 1981 to lift all price controls on oil helped reduce the average price of gasoline from $1.39 a gallon in March 1981 to $1.27 a gallon this summer, despite a 5-cents-per- gallon increase in federal excise taxes, the Administration maintained.

"Similar benefits have not yet been achieved in the case of natural gas, which remains the only primary energy source subject to government price controls," the report said. It blamed federal price ceilings for the increase in natural gas prices despite surplus supplies and falling demand.

Conservation is given more emphasis in the new plan than it was in the 1981 plan.

Rep. Richard Ottinger (D-N.Y.), chairman of the House Energy conservation and power subcommittee, called the 25-page plan a "good PR document."

"For the past three years the Administration had done everything within its power to destroy the most cost-effective programs within the Department of Energy, including the department itself," Ottinger said. "Now that they've decimated the programs, they claim the new emphasis is on conservation. Their past actions don't support this claim."
The Politics of Energy
by Denis Hayes

Dwight Eisenhower, elected president in 1952 not long after the issuance of Resources for Freedom, ignored Truman’s solar proposal in favor of his own massive “Atoms for Peace” initiative. Throughout the Eisenhower years, only a fraction of 1 percent of federal energy research funding went to renewable energy sources.

Ronald Reagan, elected president in 1980, before A New Prosperity was issued, actually tried to suppress the Carter administration’s comprehensive, optimistic report. (Representative Richard Ottinger thwarted this censorship by publishing the entire report in the Congressional Record.) In its first few months, the Reagan administration fired most of the staff of the federal Solar Energy Research Institute, slashed funding for renewable energy R& D, and eliminated all programs to commercialize the fruits of past federal solar research. And, just to rub salt in the wounds, Reagan removed the solar panels from the roof of the White House.

Suagee: Pulling our heads out of the sands of global warming
Posted: March 25, 2005
by: Dean Suagee / Hobbs, Straus, Dean & Walker, LLP

.....Twenty-four years ago, the federal research laboratory known as the Solar Energy Research Institute (predecessor of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory) completed a comprehensive study of the potential energy savings through promoting efficiency in buildings, transportation and industry, and potential contributions of renewable energy sources. That report, published with the title ''A New Prosperity: Building a Sustainable Energy Future'' (often referred to as the SERI Solar/Conservation Study) concluded that ''through efficiency, the U.S. can achieve a full-employment economy and increase worker productivity while reducing national energy consumption by nearly 25 percent'' and that ''20 to 30 percent of this reduced demand could be supplied by renewable sources.''

In March 1981, when the SERI Solar/Conservation Study was finished, the incoming Reagan administration attempted to keep it from seeing the light of day. (At the time, I worked in the central office of the BIA and, having been involved in the Carter administration's Domestic Policy Review of Solar Energy, obtained a copy from a friend at SERI the day before it was embargoed.) The study was subsequently published by a private company featuring an introduction by then-Congressman Richard Ottinger who, as chair of the relevant subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, had requested the study in the first place.

Years before the scientific community reached its current degree of consensus on the reality of global warming, Ottinger drew attention to what he called ''our greatest economic conflict: our economy is hemorrhaging as we devote a larger and larger percentage of our gross national product to the purchase of imported oil, competing for scarce capital needed to rebuild our industrial and economic base.'' Among other things, this shows that the current administration has no claim to originality in its imitation of cartoon ostriches......
Imagine the difference in the financial toll and the quality of life degradation that took place in California, during the Enron contrived electric power shortages experienced in that state, if Reagan and the Bushes had never occupied the whitehouse?

Brent Bozell, you're doing a heckofa job! Not only are American's ignorant about how the Carter initiatives were undone by intentionally mismanaged energy policy, wrecked by cronyism and transferred into the control of the special interests (Enron and "big oil"), at the expense of the future interests of the American people, posted comments all over these threads, especially on the "Carter thread", over the past few days, Mr. Bozell and his mrc.org have influenced these posters to distrust the news media reporting as "too liberal", and inserted his own propaganda into the info stream that is filtered to these misguided folks, to the point where they believe, distribute, and defend, the mirror opposite of who and what has raped their children's future and secuirty.

<b>WTF ?</b>

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Old 09-17-2006, 03:32 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Thank you roachboy and host for the above articles. Both provided information that I wasn't aware of at the time.

A personal aside: I was one of the majority of Americans' that was looking for an "honest" president and voted for Carter. I was apolitical at the time so I never gained a full appreciation of Carter's administration and for the foresight he had in tackling the energy problems of the nation. In the early 80's, we installed solar panels and insulated windows to our home using the tax credits that I now learn were created by Carter's energy policies.

It boggles my mind to imagine where we might be today had Carter's energy policies not been scuttled by Reagan. I doubt Iraq would hold any more interest than a minor question on a geography exam in high school.
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Old 09-17-2006, 06:13 PM   #6 (permalink)
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They should add "not hell-bent on destroying America" to the presidential oath.
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Old 09-18-2006, 09:06 AM   #7 (permalink)
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It's very strange too, since almost none of our foreign oil comes from Iraq (I think it's mere 3%). What's sad, too, is almost not how our country's debt came about, but the fact that we may not be able to get that money back, since International Banks are starting to think twice about loaning us more money, and the treasury bonds other countries hold to actually give us money to pay back those banks might not be fulfilled as they're slowly becoming worthless.

It sorta makes me sick to the stomach to think of the renewable resources we could have right now if it weren't for the oil-crazy policies of past presidents. To what end are these people trying to reach? I wish the citizens who support(ed) our current and past presidents whose Energy policies were less than brilliant start catching on soon...
"Marino could do it."

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Old 09-18-2006, 09:41 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Location: Perpetual wind and sorrow
It is not merely enough to say there is renewable energy available, thus we should be able to break our addiction on oil. Oil is an extremely valuable resource, our country, the world would collapse without it. Forget the fact that it is the life blood of economy and industry; petrochemical products are used all around us.

The thought in policy behind Iraq, I seem to gather is, our presence there is more of a pre-emptive defensive position as would control the flow of oil out of Iraq, that is the key. As noted, America only gets 3% of our oil from Iraq, I think it only rises to around 25% for the entire middle east; America doesn't get its oil from Iraq or the broader middle east, countries like China, Russia, and various Western European states do. Granted the current policy is if not currently faltering, not stable for what was wished to be achieved, so that greatly complicates things. THe problem is down the line when countries like China begin to emerge more and more on the global scene and threaten our status as the global hegemon. So when China really starts sucking down the oil, predicted to account for 75% of the worlds imports in 15 years time, having influence over a stable country, with a butt load of oil, with bases in a region with even more oil, it plays in our favor. Also the trends would tend to show that as we regulate the global power politic scene, other countries are demilitarizing, at least in respects to western Europe.

So to say and assume that if we all had been driving hybrid-electric cars, living in efficent domiciles powered with solar power or wind turbine energy, we would be better off and none of this would've happened, is simply nieve and shows a lack of understanding about the geo-political scheme.
To win a war you must serve no master but your ambition.
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Old 09-18-2006, 10:12 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Location: essex ma
if we assume your analysis is correct, mojo, i imagine that you would be kinda horrified by the mounting evidence of mind-bending incompetence on the part of this administration (see the op for a small taste)...and that you would care less about which party was in power than you would that whomever is in power is not is not a fuck up, as george w bush and his band have ampy proven to be.

another way: i do not see how you square your consistent emphasis on geopolitics with anything like support of this administration--i would think that even if you supported them in principle, their ineptness would prompt you to wonder if the bush administration is a far more dangerous adversary of what you see as american geopolitical interests than any combination of other powers, real or imagined, present or potential.

the logic of your posts indicates an affection for neocon style thinking about military strategy. but you have to wonder if a systematic undermining of political legitimacy could outweigh any advantage of military strength.

were i in your position, i would be very very unhappy with the present state of things.
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it make you sick.

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Old 09-18-2006, 10:23 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Aside from our differences of political legitimacy, I find myself asking many of the questions you brought up, and even sharing some of the same sentiments. I don't however directly correlate all problems of the administrations policy to the administration itself: Yes there is ineptness, as such the policy falters. But at the same time I think that various political factors outside of the administration, say such those found inherent in our current political system and culture weigh in more.
To win a war you must serve no master but your ambition.
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Old 09-18-2006, 10:28 AM   #11 (permalink)
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interesting---if you have a minute, could you explain more what you mean above?
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spinning dog. such faithfulness it hear

it make you sick.

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Old 09-18-2006, 11:40 AM   #12 (permalink)
... a sort of licensed troubleshooter.
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Originally Posted by Mojo_PeiPei
It is not merely enough to say there is renewable energy available, thus we should be able to break our addiction on oil. Oil is an extremely valuable resource, our country, the world would collapse without it. Forget the fact that it is the life blood of economy and industry; petrochemical products are used all around us.
Oh it's even better. Oil demand is skyrocketing, thanks in no small part to China. The US, the only superpower, uses 20 mil barrels per day, and will need 25 mil per day in 2025. We only produce 5-6 mil, btw. The energy task force in 2001 maped all the oil fields in Iraq, the UAE, and Saudi Arabia. 60% of all the recoverable oil on the planet is in an area smaller than Kansas. We saturated Kuwait, Turkey and Saudi Arabia are kicking us out. Iraq is about to have sanctions lifte, which means that Russians and Europeans are going to be in there soon. Saddam had changed the exchange from the dollar to the euro for his oil, whihc means that the world banks would be more likely to use the euro and the dollor would plunge down all the further. So what do we do?

Iraq was the perfect target. Why would we let ourselves fall if we have the superior military? Strategic socioeconomic dominance in the ME. Privatize Iraq's oil. Haliburton, who still pays Cheny $250k a year and stock options, goes in and runs all the bases in Afghanistan and Uzbekestan, and builds Guantanamo. Betchtel rebuilds ports, roads, bridges, railroads, buildings and facilities, water, power, communications, and even aviation. The same companies that sold the weapons that destroyed Iraq are rebuilding Iraq at a premium. How does Iraq pay for all this? With their oil. Who pays for the occupation and reconstruction? The American tax payers for the next couple hundred years. A $126b surplus turns into a $500b deficit overnight. A lot of that money is going to maintaining our military presence, which means the money goes to military contractors for more supplies, vehicles, weapons, etc.

Many civilians lost their friends and loved ones, homes, and even lives. How many? No one knows. The numbers range from 43,000 to over 140,000. Those who survived and that don't have homes are living in tents. The have no access to public services like electricity, water, and fuel. Gas in Iraq has cars lined up for miles because supply is so dimished. Mind you this is Iraq, the second largest oil source in the world. People are starving to death. Disease is rampant. Homes are invaded and suspected insurgents and terrorists are taken to detention centers where they are often tortured. We know how bad Abu Ghurayb and the other detention centers are there. We've seen the pictures since May 2004. Political arrests escilate to uprisings regularly, and the longer the US forces stay the more Iraqi's (and the more of the world) belives that we are occupiers and not liberators.

The Bush administration has banned the pictures of returning GI caskets. Thousands of US and coalition forces have died.

BTW, have we found Osama yet? Have we followed the al Qaeda into Pakistan? Why are we building so many military bases in Afghanistan and Uzbekistan? Are we TRYING to start the cold war back up again? Russia isn't goiong to like us taking over the pipelines near the Caspian. Unocal can answer all this. Regean could have answered this when he trained anti-soviets that eventually tuened into the al Qaeda. Ask Bush 1 and Clinton why we supported the Taliban when they overthrew the Afghani government, with the help of Osama? It's funny that we organizaed them to destroy the red army fro controling the region, then we do it and we're suprised when they lash out at us.

Ugh, time for a rest.

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