The Haloware Thesis

Long-time readers will know that DbC contends that so-called “electric vehicles” are, in both design and effect, haloware — loss-leader products promulgated by the sellers of pickups and SUVs as a way of staving off democratic contemplation of the suicidal idiocy of using automobiles for everyday locomotion.

The proof is in the pudding here. As Zeke Hausfather reports:

Despite record sales of electric vehicle in the US – the total number just hit the 1m mark – there are nearly 12m more cars with internal combustion engines in the country than there were in 2008.

This, of course, is exactly the intended pattern. A tenth of the population drives around flattering itself for its Tesla or Leaf, while the rest keep buying trucks.

And this is just the half of it, since “EVs” are actually 80% natural gas, coal, and nuclear cars.

Sing it UB40

The Yellow Vests in France

yellow jacket tax protester Many have been wondering what’s up avec des gilets jaunes.

DbT‘s editor is the farthest thing from an expert on French society, and has not set foot on French soil since 1987.

Nevertheless, since the automobile and its French accoutrements play such a central role in the thing, DbT hereby offers its official guess:

The Yellow Jacket movement is a rightist version of #Occupy.

Marine Le Pen is a big fan of the phenomenon, and is trying to ride its energy into new elections.

Meanwhile, the thing, like #Occupy, has neither leaders nor a coherent agenda, and is fueled by Twitter storms and pose-striking. Hence, it won’t last, and will have little effect.

None of which is to excuse Macron, who is a yuppie dunce bent on repackaging dangerous (witness the neo-fascist tendencies afoot) Reaganite dogmas.

Trying to sustain an automobile-centered way of life, however, is a losing gambit, in any form. Capitalism’s #1 machine is simply unsustainable under the given laws of physics, which are rather strict.

California Dreaming

California aspires to obtain all its electricity from renewable sources, 27 years hence. The great fly in the ointment? As always, corporate capitalism’s lifeblood commodity, the private automobile.

The reality is that the U.S. automotive fleet is now the nation’s #1 domestic GHG emitter, out-GHG-polluting not just each of the economy’s other four end-use sectors (farms, retailers, factories, households), but also the entire electricity-generation industry. And the gulf will only widen.

ghg graph
Source: Bloomberg Finance LP 2018

All unmentioned and unmentionable, of course…

What Causes Obesity?

emperor on parade In America, it has long been taboo to pay critical attention to automobiles’ centrality in our lives. It remains a very effective and important taboo.

Witness “The Toll of America’s Obesity,” an op-ed piece in today’s New York Times. In it, a pediatrician and an economist, both from Harvard, review the basic facts about the continuing escalation of obesity rates and burdens in the United States. In the author’s view, obesity is a “diet-related disease.”

And, indeed, so it is.

But can anybody think of another reason why obesity has been relentlessly worsening across recent decades? Might it have anything to do with the continuing automobilization of our lifespaces? Might worsening fatness in America also be caused by our ever-deepening, never-so-much-as-mentioned subjection to mandatory cars-first transportation policies and outcomes?

The question answers itself, yet remains utterly out-of-bounds. This is true even on the political left, which has never quite summoned the chutzpah to take the first step toward transcending prevailing ideology/taboo. That first step would be a serious class analysis of transportation in the USA.

ExxonMobil’s Propaganda

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.

Caves v. Cars

cartoon The rescue of 12 Thai children aged 11 to 16 is the lead story in the world corporate media today. This, of course, is only fitting, since we all value the lives of children so highly. To lose a child is the ultimate tragedy.

Except when it is not.

According to NHTSA data, in the year 2016, automotive collisions killed 1,797 children aged 16 and under in the United States. Literally zero news outlets have have reported this fact, just as zero (other than DbC) are mentioning it now.

The loss of 5 kids under sixteen every single day is simply uninteresting and unmentionable here in the land of the free and home of the brave, because attending to it would point up the fact that corporate capitalism’s core commodity is the leading cause of death for American children aged 1 and above.

As Reverend Danny suggested, draw your own conclusions…