U.S. Politics

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Mar 18, 2009
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VeloCity said:
If the Volt really was as flawed as the righties claimed, that would be one thing, but it wasn't - they just made that **** up, lied about it, and the lies got repeated through the echo chamber. It's "death panels" all over again.

It's an American-made car that would help reduce our dependence on oil - you'd think most Americans would consider that to be a very good thing. And yet the right-wing loons absolutely hate it. Makes no sense whatsoever.
It's flawed because it costs too much, way too much. Give me a reason why you would ever buy a Volt over a Prius.
 
VeloCity said:
If the Volt really was as flawed as the righties claimed, that would be one thing, but it wasn't - they just made that **** up, lied about it, and the lies got repeated through the echo chamber. It's "death panels" all over again.

It's an American-made car that would help reduce our dependence on oil - you'd think most Americans would consider that to be a very good thing. And yet the right-wing loons absolutely hate it. Makes no sense whatsoever.
Reducing American "dependence" on oil has nothing to do with the Volt, the Prius, or anything else. It has to do with changing the ways in which Americans live and in which their communities are conceived.

The remarks above are nothing more than the empty soft left equivalent of the cliches you ridicule from the right.

Equally, it has to do with restructuring the market and not promoting all manner of products derived from crude.

This "reduction of dependence," is an Obama campaign slogan that even the Saudi prince from the ministry of intelligence (again, for market reasons, not a Saudi loss of American shares) could not resist dissecting.
 
Definitely think the Volt costs too much. But I also think, just like anything else, if it gets more popular, and we can get more of them into design and production, the price will drop, dramatically.

I think one of the key aspects of this is that hopefully in the future we'll be able to produce more of our own power from greener methods (solar, wind, nuclear, etc.) here in the US, instead of having to import the energy (oil) from a horrible dictatorship (Saudi Arabia) and a very dangerous, hostile part of the planet. No, this isn't the only reason the Volt exists, but it's part of the plan, a mostly democratic, liberal plan. A part of the conservative plan is apparently to have everyone drive Hummers, subsidize oil imports, and use the military to insure we can get the oil from the middle east.
 
Alpe d'Huez said:
Definitely think the Volt costs too much. But I also think, just like anything else, if it gets more popular, and we can get more of them into design and production, the price will drop, dramatically.

I think one of the key aspects of this is that hopefully in the future we'll be able to produce more of our own power from greener methods (solar, wind, nuclear, etc.) here in the US, instead of having to import the energy (oil) from a horrible dictatorship (Saudi Arabia) and a very dangerous, hostile part of the planet. No, this isn't the only reason the Volt exists, but it's part of the plan, a mostly democratic, liberal plan. A part of the conservative plan is apparently to have everyone drive Hummers, subsidize oil imports, and use the military to insure we can get the oil from the middle east.
Saudi's human rights record is low, and the quality of life there is dubious--there's no lying about the condition of women, as well as the Shia and migrant workers--but I'm not sure if it can be characterized as a horrible dictatorship in the classical sense.

I grew up in the same part of the country that you are in now and all of those options were on offer there from those who had come of age in the 70s, and yet they've been scarcely implemented. Dropped hard when the 80s hit and class restructuring went into effect. So, again, this sounds like a hollow ideological flavor coming of age after its expiration date.

"We," can produce energy any moment that people opt out of the choices offered for any reasons they care to argue.

Again, though, the organization of life in this country is hugely multifaceted, and that opting isn't even conceivable for most.

But dickering over the cost of the Volt is the same infotainment distraction that you have criticized in other moments.
 
Alpe d'Huez said:
So therefore we should..?
Where do you want to start? And should I skim today's political stories in order to direct any comments back on topic?

How about an easy one; start to break apart the notion of car ownership as a rite of institutional passage (somewhere between high school, sex, voting rights and college); a marker of self achievement; and a naturalized parallel of home ownership as a foundation of national identity?
 
Sep 10, 2009
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aphronesis said:
Reducing American "dependence" on oil has nothing to do with the Volt, the Prius, or anything else.
uh, yeah, it really does.

The remarks above are nothing more than the empty soft left equivalent of the cliches you ridicule from the right.
Right. Like the Volt "catches on fire". That's not a "cliche", it's an outright lie.

This "reduction of dependence," is an Obama campaign slogan that even the Saudi prince from the ministry of intelligence (again, for market reasons, not a Saudi loss of American shares) could not resist dissecting.
No, it's really not.
 
VeloCity said:
uh, yeah, it really does.

Right. Like the Volt "catches on fire". That's not a "cliche", it's an outright lie.

No, it's really not.
Uh, no, it really doesn't. Unless, of course, you're strictly committed to replicating the same lifestyle conditions that engendered an addiction to oil. I haven't heard you argue otherwise. Posting in a cycling forum notwithstanding.

I'm not talking about the right's blather re. the Volt.

Uh, no it's really not in the sense that it will have to happen sooner or later, but, yeah, it really is in the sense that Obama rode it into candidacy.

Either way, weren't you the person telling me that we're a major exporter of oil anyway. So, uh, which is it? And what are you arguing?
 
Jul 4, 2009
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aphronesis said:
Reducing American "dependence" on oil has nothing to do with the Volt, the Prius, or anything else. It has to do with changing the ways in which Americans live and in which their communities are conceived.

The remarks above are nothing more than the empty soft left equivalent of the cliches you ridicule from the right.

Equally, it has to do with restructuring the market and not promoting all manner of products derived from crude.

This "reduction of dependence," is an Obama campaign slogan that even the Saudi prince from the ministry of intelligence (again, for market reasons, not a Saudi loss of American shares) could not resist dissecting.
...you are absolutely right in your comments...choosing a Volt or a Prius is like trying to figure what colour shorts to pack for your upcoming trip on the Titanic...

...find below a link to an article that maps out some of the energy issues we face...

http://truth-out.org/news/item/8389-son-of-frackenstein

...the car related money line is here...

" The Nissan Leaf and plug-in Prius are now hitting the market all enshrined in Greenieness. The fantasy is that we can drive our cars and do all sorts of previously oily things with clean electricity. Of course, our clean electricity is only as clean as our toilets, which magically take our wastes to the enchanted land of “away.” Waste has to go somewhere. And energy has to come from somewhere. And that nice green electric car is more often than not powered by a dirty coal-fired electric plant. So why not a nice new nuclear plant?"

...but there is much more and as result the article is long but the issue is complex...do try to find the time to read it...

Cheers

blutto
 
Mar 18, 2009
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blutto said:
...you are absolutely right in your comments...choosing a Volt or a Prius is like trying to figure what colour shorts to pack for your upcoming trip on the Titanic...

...find below a link to an article that maps out some of the energy issues we face...

http://truth-out.org/news/item/8389-son-of-frackenstein

...the car related money line is here...

" The Nissan Leaf and plug-in Prius are now hitting the market all enshrined in Greenieness. The fantasy is that we can drive our cars and do all sorts of previously oily things with clean electricity. Of course, our clean electricity is only as clean as our toilets, which magically take our wastes to the enchanted land of “away.” Waste has to go somewhere. And energy has to come from somewhere. And that nice green electric car is more often than not powered by a dirty coal-fired electric plant. So why not a nice new nuclear plant?"
blutto
Green capitalism is the belief that you can teach a shark to nurture baby seals because it's in the shark's long-term interests.
 
Sep 10, 2009
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aphronesis said:
Uh, no, it really doesn't. Unless, of course, you're strictly committed to replicating the same lifestyle conditions that engendered an addiction to oil. I haven't heard you argue otherwise. Posting in a cycling forum notwithstanding.
To say that it will replicate the same lifestyle conditions than engendered an addiction to oil is irrelevant; what engendered an addiction to oil is human nature. Doesn't matter what we replace it with, we're going to have the same "addiction", that's the way we are - we like (and society can't function without) structure and consistency and predictability. So let's at least try to make our bad habits somewhat less damaging and more sustainable.

Volts' and Prius' aren't an end point, they're a starting point. They're the very beginning. I thought that was obvious.

Uh, no it's really not in the sense that it will have to happen sooner or later, but, yeah, it really is in the sense that Obama rode it into candidacy.
What does it have to do with Obama? It was here long before Obama and it'll be here long after Obama.

With regards to Obama, I'm disappointed that he hasn't pushed harder for energy reform - although the CAFE standards, while not high enough, was a step in the right direction - but still, he's done a lot more than any other recent president.

Either way, weren't you the person telling me that we're a major exporter of oil anyway. So, uh, which is it? And what are you arguing?
I don't know what you're arguing in the first place - you're the one who brought in Saudi Arabia. I said that it'll help reduce our dependence on oil - oil, period. I don't care where it's from, Saudi Arabia or Nigeria or Texas.
 
VeloCity said:
To say that it will replicate the same lifestyle conditions than engendered an addiction to oil is irrelevant; what engendered an addiction to oil is human nature. Doesn't matter what we replace it with, we're going to have the same "addiction", that's the way we are - we like (and society can't function without) structure and consistency and predictability. So let's at least try to make our bad habits somewhat less damaging and more sustainable.

Volts' and Prius' aren't an end point, they're a starting point. They're the very beginning. I thought that was obvious.

What does it have to do with Obama? It was here long before Obama and it'll be here long after Obama.

With regards to Obama, I'm disappointed that he hasn't pushed harder for energy reform - although the CAFE standards, while not high enough, was a step in the right direction - but still, he's done a lot more than any other recent president.

I don't know what you're arguing in the first place - you're the one who brought in Saudi Arabia. I said that it'll help reduce our dependence on oil - oil, period. I don't care where it's from, Saudi Arabia or Nigeria or Texas.
What I was arguing in the first place is the same thing as now. Volt's and Prius's are not starting points from my perspective. Blutto gave one characterization; I'll call it business as usual for the status quo--with some feel-good features as value added. Urinating in the wind would be another characterization.

I didn't bring up Saudi, I referenced a Saudi prince who couldn't even stop himself from ridiculing the "addiction to oil," nonsense when Obama put it to work.

As I've said to you in the past, that Obama has done more than other presidents and may not be as destructive as a Republican alternative does not make him immune to charges of cynical accommodation.

Finally, as to your first remarks, some human nature may have created the current situation, but it wasn't everyone's. The twentieth century was designed as one possible set of alternatives out of many others. I see no reason to simply rehearse its inherited axioms as gospel.

Breaking "an addiction" to oil means changing habits of consumption and implementing something other than a suburban lifestyle and class ideology which has now repenetrated all urban centers.

There are other means of ensuring (domestic quality and life) security and productive peoples than through the language and directives of management, formatting, standardization, manufactured needs, etc.

Above all, the values you are mostly describing are well out of reach for a good amount of the population. Which makes the proposal of little green go carts all the more repugnant as a significant solution to national progress. It's a liberal panacea.

On the matter of energy, here's something on refineries

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/256f583c-7a83-11e1-8ae6-00144feab49a.html#ixzz1reKjcwz0
 
aphronesis said:
What I was arguing in the first place is the same thing as now. Volt's and Prius's are not starting points from my perspective. Blutto gave one characterization; I'll call it business as usual for the status quo--with some feel-good features as value added. Urinating in the wind would be another characterization.

I didn't bring up Saudi, I referenced a Saudi prince who couldn't even stop himself from ridiculing the "addiction to oil," nonsense when Obama put it to work.

As I've said to you in the past, that Obama has done more than other presidents and may not be as destructive as a Republican alternative does not make him immune to charges of cynical accommodation.

Finally, as to your first remarks, some human nature may have created the current situation, but it wasn't everyone's. The twentieth century was designed as one possible set of alternatives out of many others. I see know reason to simply rehearse its inherited axioms as gospel.

Breaking "an addiction" to oil means changing habits of consumption and implementing something other than a suburban lifestyle and class ideology which has now repenetrated all urban centers.

There are other means of ensuring (domestic quality and life) security and productive peoples than through the language and directives of management, formatting, standardization, manufactured needs, etc.

Above all, the values you are mostly describing are well out of reach for a good amount of the population. Which makes the solution of little green go carts all the more repugnant as a significant solution to national progress. It's a liberal panacea.

On the matter of energy, here's something on refineries

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/256f583c-7a83-11e1-8ae6-00144feab49a.html#ixzz1reKjcwz0
How about "happy downsizing?" This, though, seems to be the only logic none of the models ever seems to contemplate.
 
Regarding that Son of Frankenstein energy article, if I had the time I would write a long rebuttal to their anti-nuke message. There are so many flaws and such misunderstanding in that article regarding nuclear power and nuclear waste I don't even know where to begin.

But I will say this, if someone thinks all we have to do is use fluorescent light bulbs and drives Leafs and ride bikes we'll never need oil, that's a fantasy. We'll stop using oil only when the oil runs out. But at least these cars are steps in the right direction.
 
rhubroma said:
How about "happy downsizing?" This, though, seems to be the only logic none of the models ever seems to contemplate.
Right, largely because it flies in the face of capital and population growth. Where I think there was room to float that discussion around '95-'99, all sides pretty much lost touch with that possibility during the past decade. 2008 seemed a momentary watershed when that debate might have been resumed, but it was quickly abandoned. Through the past decade as a whole, I think this is due partly through a widespread hysteria of inflation, debt and consumption, and as a corollary with much critical language and the terms of critique itself also becoming reactionary and often too totalizing and absolute in its demands.
 
Alpe d'Huez said:
Regarding that Son of Frankenstein energy article, if I had the time I would write a long rebuttal to their anti-nuke message. There are so many flaws and such misunderstanding in that article regarding nuclear power and nuclear waste I don't even know where to begin.

But I will say this, if someone thinks all we have to do is use fluorescent light bulbs and drives Leafs and ride bikes we'll never need oil, that's a fantasy. We'll stop using oil only when the oil runs out. But at least these cars are steps in the right direction.
We'll stop using oil--for auto fuel-- when the cost of production per barrel fails to satisfy any feasible profit margin. Whether it's in the ground or not.
 
Sep 10, 2009
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aphronesis said:
We'll stop using oil--for auto fuel-- when the cost of production per barrel fails to satisfy any feasible profit margin. Whether it's in the ground or not.
Why wait until then? There's a number of countries that are already weaning themselves off oil, no reason whatsoever that we couldn't do so as well, but we lack the political will (and I'd argue the political infrastructure) to do it. Most survey's that I've seen show that the American people are all for restructuring around alternatives and higher rates of conservation. Even if we do wait until oil is functionally "over", we will still need to make the transition to something, ie we need to start building the alternative infrastructures now. That's the role of Volts and Prius' etc - they're the first generation steps toward building that alternative, they're not meant to be replacements, they're transitionals, they'll help stretch out that transitional timeline by lowering oil consumption in the present. The alternative is that we are functionally out of oil with no alternative in place. You've got to start somewhere.
 
VeloCity said:
Why wait until then? There's a number of countries that are already weaning themselves off oil, no reason whatsoever that we couldn't do so as well, but we lack the political will (and I'd argue the political infrastructure) to do it. Most survey's that I've seen show that the American people are all for restructuring around alternatives and higher rates of conservation. Even if we do wait until oil is functionally "over", we will still need to make the transition to something, ie we need to start building the alternative infrastructures now. That's the role of Volts and Prius' etc - they're the first generation steps toward building that alternative, they're not meant to be replacements, they're transitionals, they'll help stretch out that transitional timeline by lowering oil consumption in the present. The alternative is that we are functionally out of oil with no alternative in place. You've got to start somewhere.

Short answer, I hear your somewhere as little more than an apology for currently existing market conditions and political spectacle.


Long answer, I think you might misunderstand me. I'm not suggesting we should wait, I'm suggesting that's how it will likely play. At least on a worldwide level. And it won't change soon here either--at least in some areas--as the article that I linked on refineries suggests. Why? Well in line with your model of "human nature," both psychoanalytic and economic/political theories argue that those lacking long-range, non-categorical and self-less will are loathe to abandon an object before a better, more profitable one presents itself.

Those countries you speak of have social agendae that we lack--and will for some foreseeable time. I think you are right and I think it is a matter of political will. And the fact that you have online surveys showing what "most" Americans favor doesn't mean a whole lot. Favor it, you mean, if it's handed to them, on affordable and socially sanctioned terms (e.g. as a matter of consensus shared with the neighbors, the mayor, the local business owner and the weather person). Not something that many would actually agitate for beyond lobbing their vote around.

And in terms of this "we" that keeps coming up, given that economies and markets are mostly internationalized (again as mentioned in that article, but readily available in any serious non-inflammatory discussion of market issues), I think its plausible to suggest that we are beginning to inhabit a post-democratic state where civil order is still enforced locally, but life options and commitments are increasingly denationalized. It's more complex than that, but it doesn't leave me with that sanguine a view of this "exclusive," we just looking 5 or 10 years into the future in terms of significant development.

So perhaps one difference between our positions is that I don't view the Prius and the Volt as transitional to anything but a perpetuation of the same.

There are many, many, many other ways to cut transportation, energy, and fuel consumption, but they are not remotely on the table. Nor will be as soon as they might be once this transition to the Prius, Volt, etc. is made. And then of course petrol burning vehicles will become a new kind of luxury item all over again.
 
Sep 10, 2009
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aphronesis said:
What I was arguing in the first place is the same thing as now. Volt's and Prius's are not starting points from my perspective. Blutto gave one characterization; I'll call it business as usual for the status quo--with some feel-good features as value added. Urinating in the wind would be another characterization.
I think you're far too cynical. Volt's and Prius' aren't answers, but they've never been portrayed as such - they're simply helping to raise the necessary (and very hard) questions that up until now we've largely been avoiding, as the answers to those questions are not particularly appealing. But I think that's the place to start, and as I said in the previous post, you've got to start somewhere.

As I've said to you in the past, that Obama has done more than other presidents and may not be as destructive as a Republican alternative does not make him immune to charges of cynical accommodation.
I don't really pay attention to what politicians say, I pay attention to what they do. And Obama, while imo not doing enough (esp with regards to carbon controls), he has done quite a bit - the CAFE standards for eg. He's at least thinking of what's good for the country beyond his term in office.

Finally, as to your first remarks, some human nature may have created the current situation, but it wasn't everyone's. The twentieth century was designed as one possible set of alternatives out of many others. I see no reason to simply rehearse its inherited axioms as gospel.
I'd argue that human nature being what it is, addiction to cheap oil and our suburban and consumer lifestyle was inevitable. But what we have lacked in this country is foresight and pro-activeness, which are both societal and political failings (although there again considering that they feed back off of one another how the two can be separated I don't know).

Breaking "an addiction" to oil means changing habits of consumption and implementing something other than a suburban lifestyle and class ideology which has now repenetrated all urban centers.
Yep. But we like consuming, we like suburbs, we like our standards of living, and most problematic of all, we believe that it's our birthright, the natural order of things. So the choice is either find a replacement that allows us to continue living that way or reconstruct society from the ground up. The latter would be my personal choice (and in all honesty because we're reactive and not very proactive I think it's what is eventually going to have to happen, hopefully not revolutionary but evolutionary). But for now, let's work within realistic constructs. So for eg, replacing monster gas-guzzling soccer-mom SUVs with hybrid SUVs and electric cars (and public transportation) is far from ideal and will have little impact in the long term, but it's a reachable goal and it'll help in the short term.

Above all, the values you are mostly describing are well out of reach for a good amount of the population. Which makes the proposal of little green go carts all the more repugnant as a significant solution to national progress. It's a liberal panacea.
Unless "someone, somewhere" invents a limitless, cheap, accessible source of energy, we're all - rich and poor - going to have to switch to little green go-karts at some point whether we want to or not. Choice is not going to be an option. Why not try to make that transition as smooth as possible? All new technologies start expensive and become more affordable as they are refined and improved and become more popular - only the "elitist" wealthy could afford cell phones when they first came out. That's why we need to start now, and that's what the Volt is all about. They're the first baby steps.
 
aphronesis said:
Right, largely because it flies in the face of capital and population growth. Where I think there was room to float that discussion around '95-'99, all sides pretty much lost touch with that possibility during the past decade. 2008 seemed a momentary watershed when that debate might have been resumed, but it was quickly abandoned. Through the past decade as a whole, I think this is due partly through a widespread hysteria of inflation, debt and consumption, and as a corollary with much critical language and the terms of critique itself also becoming reactionary and often too totalizing and absolute in its demands.
So we are just like the drunk guy on the street who is too bottled with alcohol to care about his own obstetrious gout?
 
Sep 10, 2009
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aphronesis said:
We'll stop using oil--for auto fuel-- when the cost of production per barrel fails to satisfy any feasible profit margin. Whether it's in the ground or not.
Meant to add previously and forgot - one of the factors that argues against this as well is that I think the day of reckoning is looming much closer than most people either realize or want to believe, and we're certainly not prepared for it. For eg, there was a study done by scientists a few years back that predicted peak oil would come about in 2014. Now "2014" is a pretty exact number and should be taken with a grain of salt and lots of studies have tried to predict peak oil, but what was notable about this particular one is who did the study: scientists with the national oil company of Kuwait. When Kuwait is saying we're running out of oil and depleting reserves at a rate of 2% (I think it was) per year, might be time to start paying attention and begin making plans for transitioning away from an oil-based economy.

And that's all that the Volt's and Prius' and higher CAFE standards etc are, really, short-term initiatives to push back peak oil as long as possible, to give us some breathing room for developing alternatives (which, btw, may be a fools game anyway - there's no guarantee that we will come up with viable alternatives, but as oil is a finite resource, we don't have any choice). That's all I meant when I said they're starting points and not solutions.
 
VeloCity said:
Meant to add previously and forgot - one of the factors that argues against this as well is that I think the day of reckoning is looming much closer than most people either realize or want to believe, and we're certainly not prepared for it. For eg, there was a study done by scientists a few years back that predicted peak oil would come about in 2014. Now "2014" is a pretty exact number and should be taken with a grain of salt and lots of studies have tried to predict peak oil, but what was notable about this particular one is who did the study: scientists with the national oil company of Kuwait. When Kuwait is saying we're running out of oil and depleting reserves at a rate of 2% (I think it was) per year, might be time to start paying attention and begin making plans for transitioning away from an oil-based economy.

And that's all that the Volt's and Prius' and higher CAFE standards etc are, really, short-term initiatives to push back peak oil as long as possible, to give us some breathing room for developing alternatives (which, btw, may be a fools game anyway - there's no guarantee that we will come up with viable alternatives, but as oil is a finite resource, we don't have any choice). That's all I meant when I said they're starting points and not solutions.
I'll respond to your longer post later. For now, I would just note that there are many who argue that peak is an economic construct more than it is a geological reality. Therefore numbers can still vary pretty wildly; they are often readjusted and hedged both in relation to internal constraints as well as other market players. The Kuwait oil company can have its own market interests in mind in how they couch their findings. The onus to become post-oil is arguably greater for many of the GCC states than it is for the US.
 
rhubroma said:
So we are just like the drunk guy on the street who is too bottled with alcohol to care about his own obsteterious gout?
You feel differently? A speaker I heard a couple of months back characterized US driven financial policy and planning as a massive incontinent baby careening through its play space. In terms of its ultimate social effects for those unable or unwilling to pursue narrow self interest.
 

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