In yesterday’s edition of The New York Times, Maureen Dowd reported on her visit to the Ford Motor Company. Dowd, it seems, had previously questioned the car capitalists’ plans to further heighten the inherent danger of operating their Earth-destroying waste machines by building more personal electronic gadgetry into dashboards. Invited to come to Detroit for a dose of propaganda, Dowd went and collected this amazing excuse:
Over lunch at Ford, Sue Cischke, a dynamic company executive, argued that even before cellphones and iPods, drivers were in danger of distraction from reaching for a briefcase or shooing away a bee.
“Telling younger people not to use a cellphone is almost like saying, ‘Don’t breathe,’ ” she said.
Given that Americans are addicted to Web access and tech toys, she said, it will never work to simply ban them. “So we’ve got to figure out how we make people safer,” she said, “and the more people can just talk to their car like they’re talking to a passenger, the more useful it would be.”
Yes, and making cellphoning while driving easier and cooler and more mechanically suggested is also a great way of ensuring that thousands upon thousands of young people will indeed stop breathing, for good.
All for a profit, of course, so onward they roll. They’ve got to, after all.
The truth is that the corporate capitalist overclass is addicted to perpetuating cars-first transportation in the United States, regardless of the costs and dangers of doing so. The nation’s voracious appetite for oil is at least 80 percent a result of this underlying addiction. In the exceedingly unlikely event that the overclass ever manages to transition the nation’s automotive fleet to “alternative fuel” vehicles, the amount of energy demanded by those vehicles will remain wildly and radically unsustainable. The notion that everybody can accomplish their daily transits via personally owned 3,500-pound machines that sit idle for 95 percent of their lives was, is, and always will be a capitalist pipe-dream. The planet cannot support such wantonly heedless expenditures of its limited resources, oil or no oil.
The clearer and more pressing this fact becomes, the more the overclass pushes its chosen misdiagnosis, which is that “We [all of us] are addicted to oil.”
If you doubt this, read today’s belch from the High Priest of Prevailing Doctrine, Thomas Friedman. Friedman’s main proposition? If our masters “sell more Chevy Volts,” all our energy problems will go away.
The unexamined unseriousness of this assertion is beyond stunning. Keep this in the time capsule for your grandkids. They will be amazed we tolerated such nakedly corrupt magical thinking.
So, the diversionary pipedream of the electric car continues to roll out, as the tyranny of capitalist decision-making prevents all admission of its inherent idiocy.
Meanwhile, dig this new wrinkle:
The Chicago Tribune…reported that by the time Chicago’s 73 direct-current fast-charging stations are installed next January, they could be mostly obsolete. That’s because the Chicago system is using a Japanese-developed charging protocol and there’s a big effort in the U.S. to adopt a difference standard for rapid charging.
The charging stations are priced at $65,000 each, and the cost of a retrofit on top of that is unclear.
SAE is considering the Japanese protocol, but the group is under pressure from General Motors and other automakers to not use the outlet that is compatible with the Leaf and the i-MiEV in part to create a problem for their makers.
Ah, false difference and phony obsolescence. Same as it ever was.
Here at DbC, we are willing to observe that, for the U.S. overclass, the great fear, the worst possible outcome, in regions where petroleum supplies remain somewhat abundant, is secular democracy. For those who know their history, any other interpretation is simply propaganda. The facts are stark.
It is, of course, a very rare day when the commercial media expose the core truth to the U.S. public, even for a flash.
Yesterday was such a day. If you happened to be watching the CBS Evening News, you might have caught this quotation from the President of the Council on Foreign Relations, one Richard N. Haass:
“On the other hand, we have traditional friends in this part of the world. We don’t want to be seen as pulling out the rug from a number of regimes that by and large have supported real U.S. interests in terms of access to energy, opposition to terrorism, some limited willingness to live with Israel. So, for this Administration, this [the regional democratic uprising] is about as important but also as difficult as it gets.”
It is no accident that “access to energy” leads the CFR’s list of issues, or that the present exceedingly clear and simple moment — which for once is indeed an unambiguous movement toward democracy — is “as difficult as it gets” for the powers that be in our market-totalitarian society.
President Zerobama and the green establishment are teaming up to push the notion that federal tax breaks for oil companies are at the heart of our mounting energy problems. The claim is that eliminating $4 billion dollars in special tax write-offs for petroleum corporations will somehow allow “alternative” energy production to gain an equal footing and, thereby, yield viable new energy supplies that can replace present flows.
It would be hard to find a more ridiculous piece of demagogy than this, even in our age of truly shameless counterfactual lies.
The main lie here is the ulterior one: the implication that “clean energy” is just waiting to burst forth, if only we would give it a chance. The reality, of course, is that all the “alternatives” being pushed are: a) already being heavily subsidized by the public; b) old; and c) hopeless.
It’s also hugely silly, of course, to pretend that ending a $4 billion tax loophole is a serious act in the scale of things. Not only would the subject corporations be exceedingly likely to find new ways to favorably re-shift their already loophole-riddled tax bills, but Exxon alone reports official profits of $9.25 billion for just the fourth quarter of 2010.
As the supposed progressives waste everybody’s time with such magical thinking, the oil corporations are preparing themselves and their shareholders for maintaining their privileges as host societies plunge into a future of extraordinary misery.
With a left like this, who needs the right?
So, anyhow, here we are, living in a world of Peak Oil, more and bigger impending oil shocks, and eventual extraordinary misery. What, at this very late moment, remains “the world’s primary manufacturing industry?” That’s right: the one that turns out 4,000-pound petroleum and coal burning machines that sit idle for 95 percent of their lives.
In fact, the news is worse than that. The car industry is not just still #1. It is still expanding:
The consulting firm said it expects global light vehicle sales of 76.5 million units in 2011, 6% higher than the existing record of 72 million light vehicles sold in 2010.
And somebody said capital is heedless of the health and welfare of the species, unless compelled by society!
Read this, which confirms, via Wikileaks, that the overall plan from above is to continue extracting every possible drip of profit from cars-first transportation, until collapse arrives.
The latest public subsidy to cars-first transportation:
A pilot loan program aimed at increasing access to inventory financing for auto, boat, RV and other dealerships will be re-launched Wednesday (2/9) and will be effective through Sept. 30, 2013, the U.S. Small Business Administration announced today.
Floor plan financing is a revolving line of credit that allows a dealership to obtain financing through SBA’s 7(a) program for inventory that can be titled, such as autos, RVs, manufactured homes, boats and trailers. As each piece of collateral is sold by the dealer, the loan advance against that piece of collateral is repaid. As the loan is repaid, the dealer can borrow against the line of credit to add new inventory.
The program is available to qualifying small businesses, including new and used automobile, motorcycle, RV, manufactured homes and boat dealers. SBA has issued a new maximum alternative size standard to allow businesses with $15 million net worth and $5 million in net income measured over two years to have access to the program.
The maximum interest rate on these loans? Prime plus 2.25 percent, or about 5.5% total. Compare that with your credit card terms, ye nation of faithful “consumers.”
The whole thing, of course, is being justified by “jobs”:
“Dealerships are a cornerstone of local business communities,” SBA Deputy Administrator Marie Johns continued. “As we continue to see our economy recover, the re-launch of this pilot provides another tool, alongside SBA’s other programs, to help them succeed and create jobs in their local communities.”
Can’t you just see it? As the nation’s overstuffed colleges and for-profit trade schools begin to churn out the coming flood of new graduates, each and every one will find a glorious career on the showroom floor! All hail capitalism!
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