GM’s Brand-New Haloware/Vaporware

Chevy-Bolt-roof-rack General Motors, it says, is the “First Company to Use Mass-Production Methods for Autonomous Vehicles.”

In a society that had either the rudiments of a sane attitude toward transportation or actual journalism, this shameless howler would be getting rightly trashed. Instead, of course, GM’s ridiculous PR claim is generating the usual straight reprints of its press release, under the desired, predictable headlines:

General Motors: We can mass-produce self-driving cars now

Notice the slip from GM’s “mass-production methods” to the corporate news outlet’s “mass produce.” (Need we again mention the nature of the “electric vehicle” deception?)

Meanwhile, the vehicles in question — all 130 of them — are certainly not “self-driving,” as is demonstrated by this picture from GM’s own press release packet:bolt-pr

And, say, what do you imagine would happen to this contraption’s “self-driving” capacities upon the slightest ding to that rather extravangant roof rack? And how much would it cost to fix such problems? Nobody is mentioning such matters, of course. There’s much more loss-leading business to be done here, after all.

The “Electric Vehicle” Ruse

burning-earth More evidence that so-called “EVs” are, in fact, haloware: The car corporations have thrown a successful tizzy-fit against an actual sales mandate in China. Per Reuters:

China agreed to delay an 8 percent quota for electric and hybrid vehicles by a year until 2019, an auto industry source said on Friday, in a major concession for German carmakers seeking to expand in the world’s largest auto market.

In a draft in September, Chinese policymakers proposed that 8 percent of automakers’ sales be battery-electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles by 2018, sparking protests from domestic and international carmakers.

After a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin on Thursday, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said a “solution” for implementing the quotas had been found, though he gave no details.

As part of a compromise deal, German carmakers who fail to fulfill the quota in the near term will be able to offset penalties by ramping up electric vehicle deliveries at a later date, the industry source said.

Gosh, I thought these folks were just dying to bring us all the very best in transportation technology…

Meanwhile, the report does contain one piece of stone-cold fact:

Maintaining and extending its current strong position in China is crucial for Germany’s auto industry, led by Volkswagen, Daimler, and BMW, and its broader economy.

Kid Killer

Per The New York Times, May 29, 2017:

The most common cause of death in children under the age of 15 is unintentional injury, and the most common cause of unintentional injury is car accidents. Between 2010 and 2014, 2,885 children died in motor vehicle accidents nationwide — an average of 11 children a week. That number excludes pedestrians.

For the Kids

Here’s one your children and grandchildren will appreciate. It’s what the Democratic Party’s Congresscritter has to say about relaxing the rules for making and selling the machine that’s destroying the material basis for future civilization.

“Our bill makes simple changes so our manufacturers, suppliers, and workers can continue to make the best products in the world.”

This machine, of course, just happens to be the lifeblood of corporate capitalism and the unaccountable, decrepit overclass it sustains. Hence, such über-Orwellian stuff. “The best products in the world!”

McKibben Still Has No Clue

windmill-tilt Bill McKibben, never one to think too hard about his own limitations, still says “the source of the problem” is “the fossil fuel industry and its lock on Washington.” That’s like saying the problem in Greensboro in 1960 was the cheeseburgers.

The fossil fuel industry, for starters, is largely the oil industry, which is a subsidiary component of the automotive-industrial complex. That, the promoter of one of corporate capitalism’s few true core commodities — the private automobile — is, in turn, a literal institutional requirement of corporate capitalism. Corporate capitalism, which requires the reign of the car plus its half-dozen other major industrial complexes/capital-friendly-forms-of-colossal-ecocidal-waste-in-which-fossil-fuel-combustion-is-but-a-symptom, is the source of the problem.

Anybody who can’t or won’t say that is no friend of the dwindling prospect of progressive human survival. “Green car” is a screamingly obvious oxymoron. Yet, the entire anti-fossil-fuels movement is premised on at least implying the contrary.

History suggests that social movements face enough obstacles. There is simply no room for adding in the fatal error of being coy and/or deluded about what we need and demand.

American Culture c. 2017

Robert Heilbroner reported that “At a business forum, I was once brash enough to say that I thought the main cultural impact of television advertising was to teach children that grown-ups told lies for money. How strong, deep, or sustaining can be the values of a civilization that generates a ceaseless flow of half-truths and careful deceptions?”

The problem, of course, goes even deeper than this. It isn’t just the surfeit of lies, but also the legitmization of an overall attitude that celebrates irrationality and defies grown-upness.

Consider how this recent General Motors Corporation advertisement somehow both dismisses and flips the middle finger to a question that, if we had an ounce of healthy democracy left in this society, would actually be at the center of national debate: How in God’s name can we still be making cars, to say nothing of “luxury” cars?

To extend Heilbroner, how strong, deep, or sustaining can be the values of a civilization that, despite continentally obvious prospects of calamity, simply refuses to face up to the simplest costs of its core, defining technology?

Proving Grounds for Radical Bias

The United States Department of Transportation “is requesting proposals from applicants to form an initial network of multiple proving grounds, focused on the advancement of automated vehicle technology.” Why is the public doing the automotive corporations’ job for them, to say nothing of the question of why THIS, this subsidy to one of human history’s worst, most dangerous technologies, rather than to test sustainable transportation/societal reconstruction/ecological survival projects?

It’s all iced with the usual Orwellian pronouncements. “Safety is our top priority,” says the Transportation Secretary, despite the sheer impossibility that any conceivable cars-first transportation order will ever approach the safety and fitness of the civilized, walking-and-bicycling-and-rail arrangement that has always been anathema to our market-totalitarian overclass.