Friday, May 25, 2007

US may investigate non-homocidal sources of energy

Dennis Kucinich on Democracy Now: makes it clear why the neocons in the United States went to war in Iraq: $20 trillion worth of oil reserves at estimated future prices, an amount that dwarfs even the $1,000,000,000,000 (one-trillion) in asset appreciation enjoyed by Exxonmobil, Bush's largest backer after Enron.

REP. DENNIS KUCINICH: Well, you know, there’s a fundamental misperception about the path the Democrats should be taking. We shouldn’t be offering any legislation at all. We should just simply tell the President we’re not going to fund the war. And this idea about funding the war to help the troops is absurd. You want to help the troops, bring them home.
I offered a plan, HR 1234, that would provide for a plan that would bring the troops home, close the bases, end the occupation and reach out to the international community for an international peacekeeping and security force that would move in as our troops leave. But we can’t do that until we end the occupation. We can’t end the occupation until we stop funding the war. We simply do not have to have a bill, Amy. It’s just as simple as that.

AMY GOODMAN: Congressmember Kucinich, you spoke for about an hour on the floor of the House about the proposed Iraq oil law. Can you talk about this?

REP. DENNIS KUCINICH: …You have to keep in mind that this process that the Bush administration has been pushing began even before the invasion of Iraq. They were meeting with oil companies, looking at how they could create a beachhead, essentially, in the Middle East, and they have been looking at the prize of Iraq oil for many years now.
And so, you have to remember that even though it looks like this legislation isn’t going anywhere, there is enormous pressure being put on the Iraqi government, and you can bet that before too long they’ll put the kind of pressure on them that the Iraqi government will break, will relent, and go ahead and pass this law that will permit about 80% of its oil to be controlled by multinational oil companies. Now, keep in mind that Iraq has as many as 300 billion barrels of oil. At a market price that looks like it’s going toward $70-a-barrel, you can be talking about $21 trillion worth of oil, 80% of which will be under the control of multinational oil companies, if it’s up to the Bush administration.
This is a crime, literally. And so, I’m challenging it. I’m letting the Congress know about it, and I’m going to keep an eye on this, because I think it’s the basis for a war crime charge.

Prior to the invasion of Iraq, Vice President Cheney was meeting with oil company executives. They were planning this takeover of Iraqi oil. You know, everyone knows that it has one of the largest oil supplies in the world. This war has been about oil from the beginning. And I’ve been one of the few people who’s been willing to challenge it and say that. And I think the American people need to know that our government has been instrumental in trying to push the privatization of Iraq oil for the profit of multinational oil companies. Our soldiers shouldn’t be there in Iraq. We need to bring our troops home. And when someone looks at the long test of truth over the last five years, I’m the one who’s been telling the truth. This administration has not told the truth. And some of my colleagues in Congress have kept their head in the sand, while there’s been enormous catastrophe in Iraq, loss of life there, loss of lives of our troops, up to over $500 billion wasted already in American taxpayers’ funds. I mean, someone has to stand for the truth here. Someone has to stand for the Constitution. And that’s what I’m doing.

AMY GOODMAN: Do you think the Democratic-led Congress has failed the American people right now?
REP. DENNIS KUCINICH: Absolutely. Are you kidding? This isn’t even a close question. We were elected in November to end the war. That’s why people voted Democrat. That’s why they gave us control of the House and the Senate. And they expected us to take a new direction. They didn’t want a Democratic version of the war, and they didn’t want to be told later on, “Well, we just don’t have the votes.” Well, you know what? You don’t need the votes to say no. You just don’t offer any legislation at all.
Too bad Dennis couldn't convince his fellow Reps that less is more, and doing nothing would get the job undone. See the full article (Democratic Leadership Failing U.S. Citizenry on War) at Democracy Now for the full transcript!

While the Congress was deciding whether to spend $96 billion on killing more Iraqis in the war, note that the amounts being spent on renewable energy are trivial in comparison. According to the White House OMB budget for fiscal year 2008, these amounts are being spent:
Solar America Initiative. The Budget provides $148 million to continue this initiative toward the goal of making solar photovoltaic technology cost competitive with conventional electricity by 2015. If successful, the technology could help power the equivalent of one million homes by 2015.

Biofuels Initiative. The Administration continues its commitment to make ethanol practical and competitive by 2012 by providing $179 million for research in producing ethanol not just from corn, but also from wood chips, dedicated energy crops like switchgrass, and other organic materials.

More Efficient Vehicles. Advanced battery technologies could reduce near-term oil consumption significantly with “plug-in” hybrid vehicles that can run on either electricity or gasoline; recharging their batteries at night. The 2008 Budget includes $81 million to accelerate research on advanced hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles.

Hydrogen Fuel Initiative. The Budget provides $309 million to complete the President’s five-year, $1.2 billion commitment to support development by 2020 of commercially viable hydrogen infrastructure technologies and fuel cell vehicles that produce no air pollution or greenhouse gas emissions.
These figures, nestled in among our precious nuclear waste resources management, are $148 million for solar, $179 million for ethanol, $81 million for batteries, and $309 million for hydrogen. Grand total here is $717 million, or 0.75% of the Iraq War expenditure that is being approved by the Reprehensibles and Sedators. That amount is equal to 2 days, 17 hours, and 25 minutes of America's Iraq Occupation spending.

Another source of data dated February 7, 2007 at the Department of Energy, puts it differently:
This budget includes President Bush’s Advanced Energy Initiative (AEI) which aims to reduce our dependence on foreign sources of oil and transforming our national energy economy by promoting development of cleaner sources of electricity production. For too long, our nation has been dependent on oil. America's dependence leaves us more vulnerable to disruptions to domestic production like hurricanes, to hostile regimes, and to terrorists - who could cause huge disruptions of oil shipments, raise the price of oil, and do great harm to our economy. In concert with the President’s Twenty In Ten initiative to reduce U.S. gasoline usage by 20 percent in the next ten years, or by 2017, a total of $2.7 billion is requested in FY 2008 to support the AEI. These funds support a diverse portfolio of energy research and development (R&D) and deployment programs designed to help meet the energy challenges of the 21st century. Highlights of the request include the following components of the President’s AEI:

The President’s Biofuels Initiative. The President’s goal to make cellulosic ethanol cost-competitive by 2012 is the focus of the biomass program. Biomass is the key renewable resource supported by the Department because it is a promising renewable option for producing liquid transportation fuels in the near term, thereby reducing our dependence on imported oil. In FY 2008, the Department is investing $179 million to support the goals of the initiative.

The President’s Hydrogen Fuel Initiative. This budget request includes $309 million (an increase of $19.5 million above the FY 2007 request) for the President’s Hydrogen Fuel Initiative and completes the President’s commitment of $1.2 billion over five years for this initiative. Increased funding is proposed to expand research in several areas, including: hydrogen production from renewables; materials for hydrogen storage; fuel cell stack components; and a new R&D effort on cost-effective manufacturing technologies to help industry build a competitive, domestic hydrogen and fuel cell supplier capability.
Vehicles Technologies and FreedomCAR. This year’s request emphasizes plug-in hybrid vehicle component technologies by increasing the requested research support to $81 million. These technologies offer the potential to make significant additional improvements in petroleum reduction beyond that achievable with standard hybrid configurations. By utilizing energy drawn from the nation’s electricity grid at off-peak times to charge high energy batteries, these technologies will be able to operate in an electric vehicle mode for expanded distances, potentially meeting most drivers’ needs for commuting and short distance driving.

The President’s Solar America Initiative (SAI). Launched in FY 2007, SAI is designed to achieve cost competitiveness for photovoltaic (PV) solar electricity by 2015. With a request of $148 million in FY 2008, SAI seeks to achieve its mission through public-private partnerships with industry, universities, national laboratories, states, and/or other government entities.

The FY 2008 budget request also supports renewable energy and energy efficiency R&D that could help reduce the overall demand for natural gas and lower emissions in the electricity sector. The FY 2008 request for the Wind Energy program includes $40 million to continue wind energy research to reduce costs and overcome barriers to large-scale use of wind power. The FY 2008 budget also includes $19 million to continue the accelerated development of Solid State Lighting technologies that have the potential to reduce commercial building lighting electricity consumption by 50 percent and could revolutionize the energy efficiency, appearance, visual comfort, and quality of lighting.
According to this, $2.7 billion is being spent to support the "AEI" (the sound made by readers of this) but the figures do not seem to add up unless this includes the energy from the nation's precious nuclear-waste reserves and coal, which are the two items this info is bookended between. If you choose to believe that larger number, know that it is under 3% of the Iraq request (disregarding the other $483 billion the Pentagon already spends) America would spend its energy research budget in 10 days in Iraq. These proportions should be reversed.

What is the FreedomCAR? Does it run on Freedom Fries? More likely, bullshit. This is not a serious effort. The United States is like a crazy survivalist neighbor who has spent 100 times as much on ammunition as he has spent on learning something new or building something productive. I think the neo-con artists' reasoning is that there is a war on terrorism going on. Just look at how many Americans die in car bombs every week as they battle to rid the streets of Islamofascists. None, right? Well, it's working, then, isn't it?

Check this out (March 26, 2007): (
For FY 2008, the Bush administration has requested $647.3 billion to cover the costs of national defense and war. This includes the Defense Department budget ($483 billion), some smaller defense-related accounts ($22.6 billion), and the projected FY 2008 cost of Iraq, Afghanistan, and counter-terror operations ($141.7 billion). However, it does not include non-DOD expenditures for homeland security ($36.4 billion) or the Veterans' Affairs budget ($84.4 billion). Nor does it include the request for supplemental funds for outstanding FY 2007 war costs ($93.4 billion).

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