Here we see “Squad” member Rashida Tlaib pimping the next wave of cars-first transportation:
Here we see “Squad” member Rashida Tlaib pimping the next wave of cars-first transportation:
Here at DbC, it strikes us that one of things we ought to be doing is recording the basic facts of our careening epoch’s continuing promotion of the product that is speeding the nation* and the species toward Carmageddon. It is a remarkable record of overclass heedlessness and institutional inertia. The thesis behind all posts in this series is that our grandchildren, should we somehow manage to leave them the ability to learn history and sociology, will be be appalled that we sat by and took this.
Without further ado:
The first item in the DbC M.I.C. is this utterly shameful** and 100 percent diversionary advertisement from the (very recently bailed-out) Ford Motor Company, whose founder, prior to incorporating his enterprise, gushed to his brother-in-law that “there is a barrel of money in this business.” A transcript follows the video.
“You don’t become a hundred-and-seventeen-year-old auto maker in this country by refusing to change. The Ford Motor Company does not resist, deny, or ignore change. We pledge to make our most iconic vehicles electric, to use 100 percent renewable energy across all global manufacturing plants by 2035, to stand for lower greenhouse gas emissions, to stand with Americans and for the planet.” [emphasis original]DbC transcription of Ford “Built for America: Change” television ad, aired fall 2020 in USA
Every claim in this stunningly petulant, meticulously planned assault on the public mind begs for its own corrective seminar.
For now, suffice it to note that this is an advertisement for automobiles in the year 2020. These people know what they’re doing, even if they won’t allow anybody but themselves to discuss the topic.
*To be clear, “nation” is a very dangerous idea.
**Special shame on actor Bryan Cranston, who, despite his fame and wealth, chooses to do the voiceover work on these sociopathic propaganda pieces. Mr. Cranston is certainly now a major candidate for the much-uncoveted Golden Hickie Award.
…a headline is worth a thousand words.
Here is one of this sort, from today’s Automotive News:
GM appoints first chief sustainability officer
That is all.
Most likely, the Democratic Party’s ruling elite (meaning its big donors, office holders, and back-officers) will again succeed in staving off Bernie Sanders (meaning the actual preferences of the majority of its voters).
Here’s a prediction about what will take place in that process: The Green New Deal will not disappear, but merely get repackaged and used as a DP marketing tool.
It isn’t hard to see coming, if you look. Consider, for example, the contrast between these two items:
The Green New Deal leads with bold action to zero out Los Angeles’ main sources of harmful emissions: buildings, transportation, electricity, and trash. Our accelerated goals and new targets include:
Building a zero carbon electricity grid — reaching an accelerated goal of 80% renewable energy supply by 2036 as we lead California toward 100% renewables by 2045.
Creating a Jobs Cabinet to bring city, labor, educational, and business leaders together to support our effort to create 300,000 green jobs by 2035 and 400,000 by 2050.
Mandating that all new municipally owned buildings and major renovations be all-electric, effective immediately, and that every building in Los Angeles — from skyscrapers to single family homes — become emissions free by 2050.
Achieving a zero waste future by phasing out styrofoam by 2021, ending the use of plastic straws and single-use takeout containers by 2028, and no longer sending any trash to landfills by 2050.
Recycling 100% of our wastewater by 2035; sourcing 70% of our water locally — a significant increase from our existing pathway; and nearly tripling the maximum amount of stormwater captured.
Planting and maintaining at least 90,000 trees — which will provide 61 million square feet of shade — citywide by 2021 and increasing tree canopy in low-income, severely heat impacted areas by at least 50% by 2028.
That second item is a synopsis of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s recently unveiled “LA’s Green New Deal” policy.
Garcetti, whose pappy’s O.J Trial fame allowed him to grow his very own big wig, is clearly positioning himself for a future run at being Babysitter-in-Chief in the Clintonian, big money, BAU D-brand manner.
So, let’s ask: Can you spot the rather obvious omission in The Mayor’s “bold” new policy?
The intro does mention “transportation” — in second, not first, place, of course — but then…crickets.
Meanwhile, it’s really quite clever for history’s single greatest municipal emitter of automotive pollution to select now and 50 percent as its baselines, isn’t it?
Here is a hallway snapshot I took on my visit to the local car dealership this morning. Fascinating that car dealerships still get away with such shameless things. Also amusing to see that, in the “high tech”status-monitoring graphic here, there are no automobiles parked in the dealership’s lot! Paging Dr. Freud…
Cigarette filters were invented in the 1920s. When the public began to contemplate the true nature of cigarettes, filters went, in corporate endeavors, from experimental oddity to mandatory product part.
[Filters were] considered a specialty item until 1954, when manufacturers introduced the machine more broadly, following a spate of speculative announcements from doctors and researchers concerning a possible link between lung diseases and smoking. Since filtered cigarettes were considered “safer”, by the 1960s, they dominated the market. Production of filter cigarettes rose from 0.5 percent in 1950 to 87.7 percent by 1975
The purpose of the cigarette filter was never, of course, to make cigarettes safe, since such a thing is an oxymoron — as every corporate seller of the things surely knew by 1954. The real purpose was to extend the salability of cigarettes in spite of the undeniable fact that they are deeply defective and dangerous things.
I mention all this because, despite Bill McKibben’s continuing insistence that they are part of the solution to looming ecological disasters, electric automobiles are cigarette filters writ large. They are a technology that our mass murdering corporate overlords are foisting upon us in order to keep selling automobiles, which, like cigarettes, are an inherently defective way of accomplishing everyday intra-urban locomotion.
If you want evidence of this, consider what Automotive Age reports about EVs:
[A]utomakers…invest hundreds of millions of dollars in new technologies that don’t yet pay for themselves — “profit deserts” is what Mark Wakefield, co-leader of the global automotive and industrial practice at AlixPartners, called them.
Electrification isn’t the only major r&d initiative. Investments in automated-driving technology are on pace to reach $85 billion through 2025. Combined, those investments won’t do anything to boost bottom lines in the near term, Wakefield said.Automotive Age, July 1, 2019
Electric vehicle sales volume, Wakefield says, will remain low, averaging just 14,000 units sold per EV model through 2022. That’s a far cry from what automakers expect from traditional vehicles.
The only logical explanation for this “profit desert” phenomenon is the same one that explained the corporate move to filter cigarettes back in the 1950s.
The Mary Barras of the world certainly know they are selling a product that is ruining the planet’s living conditions. But these executives need a way to make their efforts look innocent, so they can keep doing what they do for the big money. Inside the industry, EVs are made and sold at a loss so that cars in general can continue to be sold.
Meanwhile, as Mary Barra also certainly knows, in the United States, automobiles are now the nation’s single largest source of GHG emissions — bigger now even than electricity generation.
Should we say it? Death by Car…
One of the reasons democracy is so crucial is that, contrary to the beliefs of the US founders, it itself is a major check-and-balance.
350.org, you see, is not a democratic organization. It is a property of Bill McKibben and his donors and his carefully selected fans (whom I am tempted to call enablers).
Praising himself for going on “a gruelling tour,” our Man of La Middlebury now claims that “divestment is hitting the fossil fuel industry where it hurts.”
The series of specious claims about pertinent facts in this declaration is stunning.
So is the claim that fossil fuel divestment is a “major action” against the forces driving the planet to catastrophic climate change.
That, of course, is an extremely debatable hypothesis, not a clear fact.
The major counter-argument is that fossil-fuel divestment is a distraction and a detriment to effective movement against the core forces of destruction.
Are, as McKibben would have it, “the fossil fuel companies” really our main enemy, or are we up against something a great deal bigger, wider, and tougher than these important but perhaps secondary organizations?
Is trying to demonize “the fossil fuel companies” really a good way to raise the deeper issues that even McKibben admits need raising? Or is doing this actually a way of continuing to not talk about what really needs to be talked about, while also nurturing the dangerous fiction that we will somehow figure out how to run all our corporate capitalist stuff on wind and solar?
In a true grassroots social movement, all this would be openly discussed, decided, and reconsidered over time. In 350.org, however, we simply get what we are going to get, no debate, please and thank you.
Hmm…where have we heard that theme before?
With all due respect to legions of well-meaning McKibbenite activists, our problem is cars and corporate capitalism, not fossil fuels. Nevertheless, it is true that, because of the continuing reign of cars, some very powerful corporations enjoy spectacular privileges, including outsized influence on our minds. In order to perpetuate this remunerative arrangement for as long as possible, these corporations do engage in rank, fully-knowing propaganda. To wit, this little ditty from ExxonMobil, which runs frequently on corporate TV:
Gosh, Exxon, if your scientists have unlocked algal oil as a source of automotive fuel, why the wait? Why “someday”? Why not now?
The answer, of course, is that algae are absolutely not a potential source of meaningful amounts of automotive fuel, now or ever. This is due to the nature of algae and the laws of physics. Trying to make them so would require converting the entirety of the nation’s arable lands to alga bogs. ExxonMobil knows this full well, yet hires marketing agencies to sell the direct opposite claim. Such is the foundation of “our” economy.
I have a vision of living forever in perfect ease and amusement. This vision is of precisely the same quality as the various visions of those promoting and accommodating the continuing reign of the automobile, who have taken to saying they dream of the inherently unsafe and unsustainable product that is and always will be the lifeblood of our epoch’s outdated socio-economic order one day becoming safe and sustainable. Like I said…
Of course, when the “vision” talk emanates from the world’s third largest maker of the machine in question, you know you’re well past the territory of Orwell and Huxley.
To wit, this.
Only in age like ours, one entirely soaked in overclass bullshit, could such a statement not draw outraged howls. But there it sits.
New York City is making the McKibbenite gesture of no longer receiving any of the profits from corporate production of fossil fuels. To what effect? More money for other cities and capitalists, and not much else, on one side. On the other, something truly harmful — perpetuation of self-satisfaction and delusion among the very people who ought to be pushing for ecological reconstruction of our towns and our society.
Anton Davis explains the point well on today’s CounterPunch:
Divestment [from fossil fuels corporations]…is the equivalent of the patient being told diet and exercise can cure their late stage cancer. The patient must be given a clear diagnosis and asked if they wish to undertake the treatment which will save them. The survival of the planet will then be for its inhabitants to decide.
DbC isn’t sure if divestment is even that strong a medicine, actually, though Davis’s point is a good one. How does divesting from massively internally profitable businesses do anything to hurt those businesses? It’s not like Exxon is or soon will be a money-losing operation.
Call us here at DbC when NYC says it is going to ban automobiles and advocate nationalization of energy corporations. Until then, here’s hoping Houstonites enjoy the cash New Yorkers won’t be getting as they continue to smugly skirt the topic of cars-first transportation…