In Good Hands
"In his recent news conference, George Bush Jr. suggested that our nation's "problem" with high gasoline prices was caused by the lack of a national energy policy, and tried to blame it all on Bill Clinton. First, Junior said, "This is a problem that's been a long time in coming. We haven't had an energy policy in this country."
This was followed by, "That's exactly what I've been saying to the American people -- 10 years ago if we'd had an energy strategy, we would be able to diversify away from foreign dependence. And -- but we haven't done that. And now we find ourselves in the fix we're in."
As is so often the case, Bush was lying. "
This is the opening of a Thom Hartmann story in Common Dreams
And he makes it clear that Jimmy Carter did have an energy policy and that Reagan dismantled it. Hartmann continues:
Consider President Jimmy Carter's April 18, 1977 speech.
It was the speech that established the strategic petroleum reserve, birthed the modern solar power industry, led to the insulation of millions of American homes, and established America's first national energy policy. "With the exception of preventing war," said Jimmy Carter, a man of peace, "this is the greatest challenge our country will face during our lifetimes."
Jimmy Carter's April 18th speech certainly is worth revisiting. Here is his lead into his plan:
"Now we have a choice. But if we wait, we will live in fear of embargoes. We could endanger our freedom as a sovereign nation to act in foreign affairs. Within ten years we would not be able to import enough oil -- from any country, at any acceptable price.
"If we wait, and do not act, then our factories will not be able to keep our people on the job with reduced supplies of fuel. Too few of our utilities will have switched to coal, our most abundant energy source.
"We will not be ready to keep our transportation system running with smaller, more efficient cars and a better network of buses, trains and public transportation.
"We will feel mounting pressure to plunder the environment. We will have a crash program to build more nuclear plants, strip-mine and burn more coal, and drill more offshore wells than we will need if we begin to conserve now. Inflation will soar, production will go down, people will lose their jobs. Intense competition will build up among nations and among the different regions within our own country.
"If we fail to act soon, we will face an economic, social and political crisis that will threaten our free institutions.
"But we still have another choice. We can begin to prepare right now. We can decide to act while there is time.
"Our national energy plan is based on ten fundamental principles:
The first principle is that we can have an effective and comprehensive energy policy only if the government takes responsibility for it and if the people understand the seriousness of the challenge and are willing to make sacrifices.
The second principle is that healthy economic growth must continue. Only by saving energy can we maintain our standard of living and keep our people at work. An effective conservation program will create hundreds of thousands of new jobs.
The third principle is that we must protect the environment. Our energy problems have the same cause as our environmental problems -- wasteful use of resources. Conservation helps us solve both at once.
The fourth principle is that we must reduce our vulnerability to potentially devastating embargoes. We can protect ourselves from uncertain supplies by reducing our demand for oil, making the most of our abundant resources such as coal, and developing a strategic petroleum reserve.
The fifth principle is that we must be fair. Our solutions must ask equal sacrifices from every region, every class of people, every interest group. Industry will have to do its part to conserve, just as the consumers will. The energy producers deserve fair treatment, but we will not let the oil companies profiteer.
The sixth principle, and the cornerstone of our policy, is to reduce the demand through conservation. Our emphasis on conservation is a clear difference between this plan and others which merely encouraged crash production efforts. Conservation is the quickest, cheapest, most practical source of energy. Conservation is the only way we can buy a barrel of oil for a few dollars. It costs about $13 to waste it.
The seventh principle is that prices should generally reflect the true replacement costs of energy. We are only cheating ourselves if we make energy artificially cheap and use more than we can really afford.
The eighth principle is that government policies must be predictable and certain. Both consumers and producers need policies they can count on so they can plan ahead. This is one reason I am working with the Congress to create a new Department of Energy, to replace more than 50 different agencies that now have some control over energy.
The ninth principle is that we must conserve the fuels that are scarcest and make the most of those that are more plentiful. We can't continue to use oil and gas for 75 percent of our consumption when they make up seven percent of our domestic reserves. We need to shift to plentiful coal while taking care to protect the environment, and to apply stricter safety standards to nuclear energy.
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."
Then, President Carter goes into a set of specific goals making it a real real energy plan.
I started in the Solar Industry just as Carter was beginning to run for President. His election victory and his energy plan actually made the Industry an Industry.
Then something happened. According to Hartmann:
"Carter's speech drew a strong reaction from the Saudis and the oil industry. Think tanks soon emerged - many whose names are today familiar - to suggest there was really no energy problem, and they led the charge to establish a permanent right-wing media in the US.
"Within two years, Saudi citizen and oil baron Salem bin Laden's sole US representative, James Bath, would funnel cash into the failing business of the son of the CIA's former director, political up-and-comer George H. W. Bush. With that money from the representative of Osama Bin Laden's half-brother, George Bush Jr. was able to keep afloat his Arbusto ("shrub" in Spanish) Oil Company. And he would be in the pocket of the bin Laden and Saudi interests for the rest of his life. But Carter was incorruptible.
"Two years later, as the bin Laden family's sole US representative was bailing out George Bush Junior's failing oil business, Jimmy Carter gave another speech on energy, further refining his national energy policy. He had already started the national strategic petroleum reserve, birthed the gasohol and solar power industries, and helped insulate millions of homes and offices. But he wanted to go a step further. "I am tonight setting a clear goal for the energy policy of the United States," Carter said on July 15, 1979.
"Beginning this moment, this nation will never use more foreign oil than we did in 1977 -- never.
Therefore, Carter said, "I will soon submit legislation to Congress calling for the creation of this nation's first solar bank, which will help us achieve the crucial goal of 20 percent of our energy coming from solar power by the year 2000."
"But then came the Iran/Contra October Surprise, when the Reagan/Bush campaign allegedly promised the oil-rich mullahs of Iran that they'd sell them missiles and other weapons if only they'd keep our hostages until after the 1980 Carter/Reagan presidential election campaign was over.
"The result was that Carter, who had been leading in the polls over Reagan/Bush, steadily dropped in popularity as the hostage crisis dragged out, and lost the election. The hostages were released the very minute that Reagan put his hand on the Bible to take his oath of office. The hostages freed, the Reagan/Bush administration quickly began illegally delivering missiles to Iran. "
Soon after, the solar panels on the white house came off, and Carter's energy plans began to unravel.
Its hard to make something up this evil and this vile.
We had an Energy Plan almost 30 years ago that would have averted this moment, but the greed, and lust for power of some scuttled it.
And they are in power today.
I even saw them holding hands.
And make no mistake about it.
They have a plan.
A bad one.
And now we find ourselves in the fix we're in