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PostPosted: Thu Feb 03, 2011 3:17 pm 
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But, it really isn't a joke!
This was sent to me by one of my golfing buddies. . . a wwII vet. . .

===================================

Gubmint and How Gubmint Works

Once upon a time the government had a vast scrap yard in the middle of a desert. Congress said, "Someone may steal from it at night." So they created a night watchman position and hired a person for the job.

Then Congress said, "How does the watchman do his job without instruction?" So they created a planning department and hired two people, one person to write the instructions and one person to do time studies.

Then Congress said, "How will we know the night watchman is doing the tasks correctly?" So they created a Quality Control department and hired two people, one to do the studies and one to write the reports.

Then Congress said, "How are these people going to get paid?" So they created two positions, a time keeper and a payroll officer, then hired two people.

Then Congress said, "Who will be accountable for all of these people?"

So they created an administrative section and hired three people, an Administrative Officer, an Assistant Administrative Officer, and a Legal Secretary.

Then Congress said, "We have had this command in operation for one year, and we are $918,000 over budget. We must cut back." So they laid off the night watchman.

NOW slowly, let that sink in.

Quietly, we go like sheep to slaughter.

Does anybody remember the reason given for the establishment of the DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY..... during the Carter Administration?

Anybody?
Anything?
No?
Didn't think so!

Bottom line: We've spent several hundred billion dollars in support of an agency...the reason for which not one person who reads this can remember!

Ready?? It was very simple . . . and, at the time, everybody thought it very appropriate.

The Department of Energy was instituted on 8/04/1977 TO LESSEN OUR DEPENDENCE ON FOREIGN OIL.

Hey, pretty efficient, huh???

AND, NOW, ITS 2011 -- 34 YEARS LATER -- AND THE BUDGET FOR THIS "NECESSARY" DEPARTMENT IS AT $24.2 BILLION A YEAR. IT HAS 16,000 FEDERAL EMPLOYEES AND APPROXIMATELY 100,000 CONTRACT EMPLOYEES, AND LOOK AT THE JOB IT HAS DONE! THIS IS WHERE YOU SLAP YOUR FOREHEAD AND SAY, "WHAT WERE THEY THINKING?"

A little over 33 years ago, 30% of our oil consumption was foreign imports. Today 70% of our oil consumption is foreign imports.

Keep reading…..

Ah, yes -- the good old Federal bureaucracy!!
If one goes through the same process with the U.S. Department of Education, one gets a similar return on investment of taxpayer dollars! NOTHING!! Stay tuned!!!

NOW, WE HAVE TURNED THE BANKING SYSTEM, HEALTH CARE, AND THE AUTO INDUSTRY OVER TO THE SAME GOVERNMENT?

Hello!! Anybody Home?

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"Do or do not. there is no try!"


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 03, 2011 5:30 pm 
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gmattson wrote:
AND, NOW, ITS 2011 -- 34 YEARS LATER -- AND THE BUDGET FOR THIS "NECESSARY" DEPARTMENT IS AT $24.2 BILLION A YEAR. IT HAS 16,000 FEDERAL EMPLOYEES AND APPROXIMATELY 100,000 CONTRACT EMPLOYEES, AND LOOK AT THE JOB IT HAS DONE! THIS IS WHERE YOU SLAP YOUR FOREHEAD AND SAY, "WHAT WERE THEY THINKING?"


The department has failed to accomplish the goal that was the impetus for its existence, but it has many responsibilities. Possibly the failure mode here was that it was possible to concentrate on all those individual responsibilities instead of accomplishing the overarching goal of (approaching) energy independence.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 03, 2011 10:09 pm 
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Energy independence is currently impossible because energy commodities are part of the free market, with corporations controlling the importing and exporting of fossil fuels...and the U.S. exports almost as much as we import, redirecting those exports to the internal market would put us much closer to energy independence right away. That's something to keep in mind when you hear claims that we need to tap currently untapped U.S. fields to become more energy dependent, very little produced from those fields is likely to stay in the U.S.

Basically we are as likely to become energy independent as we are to become manufacturing independent. And if the government were to try to step in and force energy independence, there would be the usual cry of socialism.

So give up on the concept of energy independence, it ain't a gonna happen. Even the eventual replacements for fossil fuels will likely be globally traded.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 03, 2011 10:55 pm 
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Glenn,

Agreed. To so many it's as simple as "Drill baby drill," and "maybe the caribou need to take one for the team." It stays that simple until they understand the system.

However, oil is marvelously portable. Hydroelectric dams and wind farms, solar energy, nuclear--these things tend to get used where they're made. There's no world wide electric grid (to my knowledge). The technology will be shipped around but we won't see electricity tankers.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 04, 2011 1:19 am 
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How the plot thickens.... and things are never as simple as they seem. Isn't it interesting that pretty much everything mentioned in this thread is "fact" and yet different people can choose their own collection of facts to confirm their own personal perspectives of the world?

Just sayin... :wink:

All that said... The role of "government" here can be debated. A true libertarian views a very limited number of roles for a federal government in a republic. One of the most obvious is national defense.

There's one thing we're missing here. Today we have a MASSIVE hidden federal subsidy for petroleum - not just for us, but for the rest of the world. Our military keeps the Persian Gulf and Suez Canal open. It also maintain stability in the biggest oil-producing countries - Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and indirectly Iran. In return we and the rest of the world get cheaper oil. When you think about it, that ain't right. Free market? Not really.

Ian brings up a critical point - one already figured out by France. Did you know that France gets 80 percent of their electricity from nuclear? Think of their "energy independence" situation. They may still drive oil burners, but their homes get heated and factories run with good ole domestic.

Yes, you can trade some things which produce an electron like coal and petroleum. But some things aren't traded (like nuclear fuel) and some things can't be traded (like the potential energy of water working its way down the mountains to the ocean). And pretty much electrons produced here stay here. The losses transferring them across long distances are just too great.

What can a government do? Consider this. We make some things (like fighter airplanes) domestically because that's in our best interest to defend the nation. Imagine outsourcing the building of our tanks and planes and communication systems to a country that one day in the future becomes our enemy. You get the idea.

It makes sense for the government to get involved in stimulating the production and storage of many different kinds of energy. The electron can be produced by anything, and so EVERYTHING should be used to produce it. And if we're subsidizing oil - something that makes our enemies richer - then we should insist on equal subsidy to other forms of energy production.

And if I was czar, I'd start a "Manhattan project" on the design and production of the next generation of battery. If we uncouple the horseless carriage from a single source of energy, then we create greater flexibility. We also create the potential of driving down the cost of any ONE source of energy, with all sources being game for the production of electrons that power our rides. THAT then becomes a true free market.

I'm just sayin... 8)

- Bill


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 04, 2011 2:00 am 
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Bill Glasheen wrote:
Our military keeps the Persian Gulf and Suez Canal open.


I'm not well-versed on the subject, so I could be wrong, but the impression I recently got from a report on NPR is that the suez canal is so open to us because of our rosy relationship with Egypt, which is largely attributable to the aid we send them (military included). Point is, it's more bribe than intimidation at work there.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 04, 2011 2:09 am 
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Glenn wrote:
So give up on the concept of energy independence, it ain't a gonna happen. Even the eventual replacements for fossil fuels will likely be globally traded.


You are using a sort of strawman definition of "energy independence". The fact that energy traded globally is compatible with energy independence. It's about not being vulnerable. Maybe it's easier to understand if you think about food. Every country in the world wants enough agriculture to feed their people, but there's no point in growing a given crop locally if you can import it cheaper. Maybe it works out better for you to produce more than you need of one thing, export that, and import something else. What matters is that you have the capacity to divert agricultural resources to growing the (essential) crops you're importing if the need arises, and that you can do so without devastating economic consequences. The idea of energy independence is not about not trading, rather about being in position to respond effectively to an interruption in the supply of something you'd rather be importing.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 04, 2011 2:45 am 
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Valkenar wrote:
Bill Glasheen wrote:

Our military keeps the Persian Gulf and Suez Canal open.

the suez canal is so open to us because...

Not just open to US, Justin, but open period.

We have become the world policeman in many areas of the globe. We are that by default in the Middle East. Yes, you are right that we just outright pay (bribe) some governments like that of Egypt and Pakistan. But our military is heavily involved in the area.

One of the biggest reasons for chasing Saddam out of Kuwait wasn't because of them being a sovereign nation, but because of his cornering a greater share of the world petroleum resources as well as him being a short march from Riadh. Saddam was that close to owning the vast majority of world oil resources. And nobody was going to let that happen - hence Operation Desert Storm.

- Bill


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 04, 2011 5:23 am 
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Bill Glasheen wrote:
Isn't it interesting that pretty much everything mentioned in this thread is "fact" and yet different people can choose their own collection of facts to confirm their own personal perspectives of the world?

Just sayin... :wink:

We're learning from the best, sensei! :D

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 04, 2011 5:38 am 
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Bill Glasheen wrote:
What can a government do? Consider this. We make some things (like fighter airplanes) domestically because that's in our best interest to defend the nation. Imagine outsourcing the building of our tanks and planes and communication systems to a country that one day in the future becomes our enemy. You get the idea.

And yet that is exactly what we are doing
[url=http://www.thetrumpet.com/?q=4919.3195.0.0]U.S. Military Outsourcing: Shooting America in the Foot
[/url]
[url=http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2008/mar/28/outsourcing-defense-contracts/]Outsourcing defense contracts
[/url]

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 04, 2011 6:10 am 
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mhosea wrote:
You are using a sort of strawman definition of "energy independence". The fact that energy traded globally is compatible with energy independence. It's about not being vulnerable.

I was using the common usage of the phrase "energy independence". It is true that there is some security in international trade (for example our oil imports are from more diverse foreign sources now then they were in 1973 when our then more limited foreign sources hit us with an embargo), but that is not how the phrase is sold to the public. Actually a better phrase for the security that can come from diverse international trade would be "energy interdependence".

Quote:
Maybe it's easier to understand if you think about food.

Or vaccines, most of which are imported.

If you want a good example of survival through trade, look at Britain for about two years prior to December 7, 1941. Without the sales and lend-lease trade from the U.S. they may have been defeated by Germany before we even officially entered the war, we were essentially their lifeline for what they needed. Of course it helps if you have a really good friend you can count on for that.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 04, 2011 8:25 am 
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In the name of energy independence, people propose this and that. The diversification of our imported supply is just a strategy. We're still vulnerable to being controlled if a sufficient portion of our suppliers collude. Energy independence just means that we aren't "controlled" by our interest in foreign energy imports, or put differently, that we are operating from a position of strength rather than weakness. The two major strategies proposed to improve our position vis-a-vis crude oil would, of course, be to increase domestic production or reduce domestic consumption. Both these things are clearly possible. Neither thing has the DOE made progress with. Naturally you don't want to replace crude oil imports with some other import, so we would be talking about some kind of domestic production, and if we could make enough of it to export some of it, so much the better! "Energy independence" is concept and a goal. Nations with greater "energy independence" than the US obviously exist, so we have to believe we can improve our position.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 04, 2011 3:20 pm 
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Anything is possible, but it would take a major shift in philosphy at the corporate level, and the global economics of energy trade do not support that right now. Or to use Bill's example of France, it would take government control of energy production. The 59 nuclear power plants that provide 80% of France's electricity are all run by a single company (EDF) of which the French government has 85% ownership.

France does export electricity by the way, providing 22% of of the EU's energy consumption, showing that export of electrons is possible. And the EU's goal is to create a region-wide electric grid (as are other parts of the world). And think about it, that would not be much bigger than the grid that covers the 48 conterminous U.S. states. Right now a world-wide grid may be technologically unfeasible, but I suspect it will be possible eventually.

mhosea wrote:
Naturally you don't want to replace crude oil imports with some other import, so we would be talking about some kind of domestic production, and if we could make enough of it to export some of it, so much the better!

So yes, this model does exist, but are we willing to nationalize energy production to accomplish it?

Relatedly Bill made a good point about how the military provides security that makes reliable international trade possible, without that security all those corporate decisions about exporting U.S.-produced oil and importing foreign-produced oil would not happen. Right now that security serves as a bit of a proxy for nationalization and/or energy independence by making steady supplies of fossil fuel imports possible. (However very little actually comes through the Suez Canal, it, like the Panama Canal, is too small to accomodate the supertankers that transport most of the oil around the world.)

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 04, 2011 8:47 pm 
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Glenn wrote:
mhosea wrote:
Naturally you don't want to replace crude oil imports with some other import, so we would be talking about some kind of domestic production, and if we could make enough of it to export some of it, so much the better!

So yes, this model does exist, but are we willing to nationalize energy production to accomplish it?


I think not, except possibly in time of war. But for example, we export more coal than we import. Did it take nationalizing the coal industry to accomplish that? No. Corporations operating in their own best interests have produced a situation with that commodity that is favorable for national security. It's understandable that we can't do this with crude oil, not because of reserves but because of the cost of extraction. So, we have to understand why US crude oil imports have gotten out of hand. And yet, rising prices are inevitable, even without a crisis to accelerate them. The role the DOE should be, in part, to sponsor the basic research that would bring alternatives into existence and make them cost effective, or more likely in position to be cost effective when crude oil prices inevitably rise. The DOE does operate our national laboratories, but from having worked at a national lab briefly and knowing what sorts of research goes on at some of them, I sense that their research activities have been diversified rather than focused on alternative and strategic energy production.

Anyway, once alternatives have been developed and cost-reduced, economics should provide the necessary guidance.

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