Good News from Easter Island!

easter_car Imagine if they’d had commercial news media on Rapa Nui, circa 1499. Having gone far in using up the bird species and big trees on which they had based their class-stratified society, Easter Island’s ruling honchos responded by doing what all ruling classes do when faced with a crisis of their own making: They redoubled their efforts at what they were already doing.

In the case of Easter Island circa 1499, this involved a campaign to make bigger and bigger moai, the giant stone statues held to bring favor from the gods who were held to have appointed Rapa Nui’s rulers to their seats of privlege.

So, if there had been commercial media available to those rulers in 1499, the news shows they sponsored would have been busy reporting the good news in the area of revived and increasing moai manufacture and installation…

Leap now to the present-day United States of America. Per Ward’s Auto:

U.S. light-vehicle sales, based on the seasonally adjusted annual selling rate, improved on prior-month’s results for the third straight time this year in November, suggesting a longer-term growth trend is taking hold.

Last month’s 13.6 million-unit SAAR was the highest since 14.2 million units in August 2009, when the government launched its Cash-for-Clunkers incentive program, and noticeably improved on year-ago’s 12.2 million.

The string of stronger months sets the stage for a relatively healthy finish to 2011.

But wait! It gets even better. The average selling price of new moai automobiles is now the highest it’s ever been.

And, as the birds and trees petroleum and other chemicals dwindle, what are the best-selling moai light vehicles? Per Ward’s Auto again:

1) Ford F-Series Pickup
2) Chevy Silverado Pickup
5) Ford Escape SUV

Overall, larger moai light trucks continue to constitute more than half of all moai auto sales.

A DbC Apology

oiled bird I apologize to DbC readers. At the height of the Macondo Prospect blowout in the Gulf of Mexico, I said the following about the idea that President Zerobama would start listening to sanity about energy and ecology. “Nothing,” I then predicted, “could be more threatening to the continuance of corporate capitalism. There will be much hand-wringing, a few monkey trials, and another toughening of the regulations. Then deep-water drilling will resume in full. Nothing else is possible, barring a major social upheaval.”

Mea culpa: There have been neither monkey trials nor major new rules. And the partial pause lasted 15, not 6, months. Until yesterday, when the pre-Horizon Deepwater course was re-adopted:

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration on Tuesday announced its proposed five-year plan for offshore oil drilling, which calls for opening new areas in the Gulf of Mexico and Alaska.

MSNBC reports:

The sales off Alaska, where native groups and environmentalists have objected to drilling, would be the first since 2008. And they would [include the] Chukchi and Beaufort Seas, which Interior officials called a “frontier” for drilling.

In the western and central Gulf,…the proposal puts all unleased acreage up for sale.

By the way, the semi-major social upheaval going on has been essentially silent about energy and ecology.

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:

mckibben_arrested

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?

Sanctimonious Fleas

flea One of the many threats to progressive human survival is the mindless verbiage of most of those who now pass for greens.

Case-in-point? This amazing tripe on “energy shaming” from Canadian journalist Andrew Nikiforuk:

What Saves Energy? Shame

Just about every North American knows that we live as large as Las Vegas when it comes to consuming oil, electricity or natural gas. We are the world’s fattest and laziest energy consumers (and our growing corpulence reflects this bitter truth). But, hey, we can’t stop snacking, let alone employing more energy slaves.

We are also procrastinators. If we can put off insulating the attic or saving for a rainy day, we’ll do so. Like healthy dining, energy conservation typically closes a thousand eyelids and gets put off till tomorrow. We are a mañana species and our high-octane living embraces inertia the way TV watchers love couches.

Some of us consume but most of us are addicts.

After taking his turn thoughtlessly perpetuating the word “consumer” and snapping off such huge and baseless insults to ordinary people, does Nikiforuk suggest politicizing capitalism, democratizing economic decisions, or reconstructing social infrastructure? Nope. Instead, he’s a fan of hanging up signs in hotels and inserting more paper into electric bills!

OPOWER, an energy efficiency software company based in Virginia, whose political neighbor (West Virginia) removes the tops of mountains to make electricity for iPods and the like, applied that concept to electricity billing. It paired up with utility companies to create a bill that showed power users how their flicking and switching compared to that of their neighbors.

If scaled nationwide, a program like this could reduce U.S. carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from electric power by 0.5 per cent.

Yes, good luck with that. Elitist technocratic shaming to solve less than one percent of the problem. ROFLMFAO.

Making Coal Car Batteries: The CO2 Impact

ev_co2 A London group with the comically oxymoronic name of Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership has been busy disproving its own sponsored premise. Turns out that manufacturing a battery for a typical “electric” car puts 3.8 tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. That’s two-thirds of the carbon emitted in the manufacturing of a complete medium-sized gasoline car.

What additional carbon dioxide would be emitted in the process of scrapping or recycling millions of “electric” car batteries every year? As the LCVP admits, that remains one of our “gaps in understanding.”

The inescapable fact is that no automobile will ever be “low carbon.” Merely making these rolling piles of metal and plastic and lithium is inherently energy- and carbon-intensive.

DbC will say it again: Cars-first transportation was and is a capitalist pipe-dream.

Surrender as Activism

If the United States still had racial chattel slavery and you were thinking of becoming an abolitionist, would you join the cause via a group advocating new and improved whip-maintenance techniques?  More pointedly, what would you make of anybody trying to foist such a tactic onto concerned citizens?

That is precisely what the shysters at Green Garage invite would-be environmentalists to do vis-a-vis the number one ecocidal product on the planet:

garage credo

Love that “they’re not going away anytime soon” line! Onward, mighty whip-softeners!

“Kibben” Must be Gaelic for “Gesture”

windmill tilt Bill McKibben is trying to get Babysitter-in-Chief Barack Obama to reinstall solar panels on the White House roof.

The jejunosity (hat-tip to Allan Konigsberg) of this effort is multiple:

McKibben thinks his gesture might start a new social movement.

McKibben thinks “slowing global warming” can possibly be the core issue of a new social movement at the present time.

McKibben describes Obama as “doing lots of good practical things already.”

McKibben is “surprised” his gesture has not yet been embraced by Obama, and apparently has devoted no thought to the question of why not.

McKibben thinks “the fossil fuel industry” is the ultimate culprit, and does not mention the automotive-industrial complex.

Like virtually all green activists, McKibben keeps the word “capitalism” in the closet, even as Great Depression III continues to gather sucking force, thereby ensuring his “movement” will remain an Ivy League jejunosity.

Oilmageddon

oilmageddon If you’ve paid attention, you know that, every step of the way, British Petroleum, the commercial media, and the disastrous and fraudulent Obama Administration have been understating the scale of the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe.

So, one natural question is what might they be covering up?  How bad might this all really be?

One knowledgeable person with the handle “dougr” has posted an answer at The Oil Drum:

What is likely to happen now?

Well…none of what is likely to happen is good, in fact…it’s about as bad as it gets. I am convinced the erosion and compromising of the entire system is accelerating and attacking more key structural areas of the well, the blow out preventer and surrounding strata holding it all up and together. This is evidenced by the tilt of the blow out preventer and the erosion which has exposed the well head connection. What eventually will happen is that the blow out preventer will literally tip over if they do not run supports to it as the currents push on it. I suspect they will run those supports as cables tied to anchors very soon, if they don’t, they are inviting disaster that much sooner.

Eventually even that will be futile as the well casings cannot support the weight of the massive system above with out the cement bond to the earth and that bond is being eroded away. When enough is eroded away the casings will buckle and the BOP will collapse the well. If and when you begin to see oil and gas coming up around the well area from under the BOP? or the area around the well head connection and casing sinking more and more rapidly? …it won’t be too long after that the entire system fails. BP must be aware of this, they are mapping the sea floor sonically and that is not a mere exercise. Our Gov’t must be well aware too, they just are not telling us.

All of these things lead to only one place, a fully wide open well bore directly to the oil deposit…after that, it goes into the realm of “the worst things you can think of” The well may come completely apart as the inner liners fail. There is still a very long drill string in the well, that could literally come flying out…as I said…all the worst things you can think of are a possibility, but the very least damaging outcome as bad as it is, is that we are stuck with a wide open gusher blowing out 150,000 barrels a day of raw oil or more. There isn’t any “cap dome” or any other suck fixer device on earth that exists or could be built that will stop it from gushing out and doing more and more damage to the gulf. While at the same time also doing more damage to the well, making the chance of halting it with a kill from the bottom up less and less likely to work, which as it stands now?….is the only real chance we have left to stop it all.

It’s a race now…a race to drill the relief wells and take our last chance at killing this monster before the whole weakened, wore out, blown out, leaking and failing system gives up it’s last gasp in a horrific crescendo.

We are not even 2 months into it, barely half way by even optimistic estimates. The damage done by the leaked oil now is virtually immeasurable already and it will not get better, it can only get worse. No matter how much they can collect, there will still be thousands and thousands of gallons leaking out every minute, every hour of every day. We have 2 months left before the relief wells are even near in position and set up to take a kill shot and that is being optimistic as I said.

If the structural situation is what dougr fears and dougr is also right that “Our Gov’t must be well aware too, they just are not telling us,” then Tony Hayward certainly isn’t the only one who deserves the stony lonesome.  Might we see consecutive Dimbot prezzes impeached?

Here Come the Poses

money justice The other day, I said that the Deepwater Horizon blowout would lead to six months of scapegoating and posturing about “our concern,” then yield to a renewal of deep-water oil drilling.

Yesterday, President No-Change passively admitted the same:

We owe all those who’ve been harmed, as well as future generations, a full and vigorous accounting of the events that led to what has now become the worst oil spill in U.S. history. Only then can we be assured that deepwater drilling can take place safely. Only then can we accept further development of these resources as we transition to a clean energy economy.

Clearly, the verdict has already been reached, before the monkey trial even starts.  “Let us collect the testimony, then find ourselves assured of the necessity of what’s going to be done, regardless of the facts.”

This is called softening up the rubes, in the game of corporate-sponsored politics.

As always, it is going to take a major social movement to stop this heedless overclass of ours. Like their predecessors, they have lost all capacity for self-reform.  Obama is 100 percent part of the problem.

Nostra-Drill-Us

nostradamus A comrade at The Oil Drum, watching British Petroleum’s attempts to stop the catastrophic Horizon Deepwater blowout with drilling mud, wrote:

I do think that when this whole tense episode is finally over and done with, it just might turn out to be one of those truly defining moments that changes our collective view about energy and what we’re willing to pay to keep getting it in the ways we’ve taken for granted.

That would be grand. But I would wager very heavily against it. Substantially reducing our oil acquisition efforts would be a grave threat to cars-first transportation in the United States. Threatening cars-first transportation is threatening corporate capitalism, which could not survive the loss of the automotive-industrial sector. Hence, there will be intense, coordinated efforts to pour political mud down our windpipes if and when control over the undersea gusher arrives.

For what it’s worth, as posted at TOD, here is my own prediction of what will happen after the blowout gets sealed or the relief wells come on line in August or September:

What makes you think our collective view is going to start receiving consideration? Nothing could be more threatening to the continuance of corporate capitalism. There will be much hand-wringing, a few monkey trials, and another toughening of the regulations. Then deep-water drilling will resume in full. Nothing else is possible, barring a major social upheaval.

This is just a 6-month whirlpool in the status quo.

I pray I’m wrong here, but that’s my assessment.

It’s also possible, of course, that it will prove to be impossible to stop the oil blowout, or that Top Kill and/or the relief wells will make the blowout worse. In that case, the Gulf of Mexico may be completely ruined for centuries to come, if it isn’t already. In that terrible case, the odds of an uprising increase substantially, as the elite palliatives will be very hard to sell, even in this distracted, TV-addicted land.

As to the rest of the residents of the region, seems to me this will put more fuel in the tank of the Latin American left. How will Mexico and Colombia, for instance, be able to cope with the consequences of a dying Gulf while also preserving their radically inegalitarian and hidebound socio-political orders? How will US overlords be able to continue punishing and demonizing Cuba and Venezuela in the face of the extreme damages and hardships they are sure to face? Hugo and Fidel didn’t cause this Eco-Fuck. Our own naked emperors did, undeniably.