Death by Car

capitalism's drive to carmageddon: news & comments

Kibbles in Bits

obiepipes In one of the least surprising pieces of news you’re likely to hear, Zerobama spiked Bill McKibben today.  Obummer went to Cushing, Oklahoma and, posing in front of stacked pipes, announced he is expediting construction of the southern segment of the much publicized Keystone XL oil pipeline. Once that happens, what would you say are the odds the northern section gets blocked by McKibben’s windmill tilters? Only slightly better than those of McKibben admitting he has been multiply wrong in this whole tempest in an irrelevant teapot, I’d say.

Speaking of being epically wrong, here is McKibben’s latest analysis of the meaning of today’s move by Zerobama:

It’s clear that the power of the oil industry drives political decision-making in America–that’s why we need to go after them directly. The first step is an effort to remove the subsidies that they and the rest of the fossil fuel industry enjoy. 350.org is helping coordinate protests at Ohio State University this afternoon, where students will call on President Obama to stop Keystone XL, fracking, and other “extreme energy” projects

As ever, McKibben makes nary a mention of the actual reason for the centrality of the oil industry — cars-first transportation policy. “Doc, I’m worried I might have lung cancer.” “Not to worry,” assures good Dr. McKibben, “we’re going to stop that chronic cough of yours!”

Alas, mere superficiality and woefully erroneous target selection are not enough for McKibben. Having been clearly slapped down, he now promises to squander further political energy pursuing a blend of gestures both hopeless — stopping Keystone and fracking — and simply absurd — taking away a small tax subsidy from one of the planet’s most profitable industries and suggesting that will somehow change a damned thing.

What a flippin’ nightmare.

Fortunately, it looks like the Occupy proto-movement might be heading in the proper direction, albeit rather timidly. Check out the plans for April 4.

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quack-doctor Chronic dry coughs are one symptom of lung cancer. Physicians who examine cigarette smokers with chronic dry coughs can take an xray to check for lung tumors, or send the smoker home to take cough syrup.

Huge and unsustainable use of petroleum is one symptom of cars-first transportation. Activists who aim to create sustainable societies can either attack cars-first transportation, or strike futile poses about “oil addiction.”

These two situations are precise analogs: Getting arrested in an attempt to win marginal twitches in the petroleum supply chain is precisely the same as sending a coughing cigarette smoker to the pharmacy for cough drops. Both are reckless evasions of duty.

Meanwhile, the eco-shirkers are now congratulating themselves for staging “the largest grassroots environmental protest in decades.”

ROFLMAO. Anything is bigger than nothing, right?

Social movements are rare and hard to organize. To succeed, they must choose the right targets and point in the direction of imaginable and meaningful victories.

To see instead this kind of wasted, deluded effort makes me profoundly sad, especially when activism on behalf of real transportation reform is something large chunks of public might come to support.

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Gesture Clown

Bill McKibben got himself arrested, wearing a suit and tie, at another one of his microscopic non-movement photo-ops.

The cause? A hopeless and technocratic gesture, as always. This time, it’s an effort to pre-empt construction of a pipeline to deliver Canadian tar sands extracts to Texas oil refineries.

Question for Billy Boy: What does one “win,” even if this project gets canceled? The same crude oil gets trucked to Texas? How is that a victory?

Of course, the whole affair has a strong odor of Democratic Party gamesmanship to it. Koch Industries, which funds the Tea Party farce, is apparently going to be a major contractor in the pipeline project.

And catch this, McKibben’s core statement of his cause:

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So, we’ll be arrested outside the White House. But less in protest of the President, than in support of the Obama who ran for the White House in 2008, and who said the night he clinched the nomination that with his Presidency ‘the rise of the oceans would begin to slow and the planet begin to heal.’ I’ll be wearing my Obama ’08 button when I go to jail tomorrow; we want to show him he has the support he needs to do the right thing, in the face of unrelenting pressure from the fossil fuel industry.

News flash: “The Obama who ran for the White House in 2008″ was the Advertising Age Marketer of the Year for that particular annum. In other words, Bill, you get taken, bought, sold, hoodwinked, eaten alive. One would think that three years and hundreds of betrayals later, you might begin to think and learn some rather obvious things. Apparently not, however.

With greens like these, who needs the Koch brothers?

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