Saturday, August 12, 2006

Fool Efficiency

Babaloo's post below slams Pombo on his tight allegiance to the auto and oil industries, or more accurately, to their campaign dollars. I never quite understood why Pombo has voted against every attempt in Congress to raise the vehicle fuel efficiency (CAFE) standards, but now I am starting to see it in a different light. Let me explain:

Pombo portrays a stunning lack of intelligence, reasoning, and common decency by seeking to keep our cars, SUVs, and trucks inefficiently burning fuel, while at the same time, he pushes for more and more drilling in remote wilderness areas and offshore. He mouths all this jingoistic junk about "independence" from foreign oil and keeping America "secure", but his actions do anything but that.

If Pombo was truly concerned about his constituents (hint: he's not), his first action on energy would be to demand higher fuel efficiency standards. But he is doing the exact opposite of that, as if there is something virtuous about low mileage vehicles. As if it is an intrusive "liberal" plot to undermine America to seek to use gasoline and other fuels more efficiently.

How did it get to this point? Well, one factor is that American automakers are adamantly opposed to raising the standards because of the costs to their businesses. This is a remarkably short-sighted approach. Already, Toyota and Honda are eating GM and Ford's lunch by pushing aggressively into hybrid cars and better performing engines.

Perhaps the issue is not so much retooling their factories, but retooling their thinking. There is an old American myth about boundless resources and unencumbered wealth. That the land was too big and contained too much for anyone ever to have a need to scale back. That there was no need for compromise or accommodation, as we all could grab our own piece of land and live whatever way we wanted. With the land so big and expansive, the myth goes, there is no need to ever temper your desires and vision.

Raising fuel efficiency goes against this myth as it is an acknowledgement that there are limits, that efficient use is necessary, that wastefulness has serious consequences. That yes, we do need to temper our consumption, that we do need to accommodate and be considerate.

It is a recognition that "Power" is not necessarily brute strength, but instead the graceful and efficient use of energy. As the cliches say, water is much more fluid than rocks, yet it wears down mountains. The solid oak tree is blown over in a storm, yet the pliant willow bends and survives. The point is it is a much more subtle and mature understanding of power as a force that "goes with the flow" versus ramrodding over everything.

And we see this in the fuel debate -- Pombo supporters are generally ones entranced with this "brute force" power: the off-roads, the snowmobilers, the jet skiers, the NASCAR crowd, the ones with big hulking SUVs with "W '04" stickers on them. This is in opposition to hikers, bikers, cross-country skiers, sailboats, etc., that rely on human or wind power, not fossil fuels.

This thinking also extends into foreign policy - the "let's nuke 'em", "turn the Middle East into glass", rather than diplomatic solutions. This type of policy maybe feels more potent and more "macho", but it is actually less effective, if even effective at all. One recent example is the uncovering of the plot to use liquid explosives to blow up planes. That was discovered by good detective work, not by brute force, not by a war. Meanwhile, we watch as Iraq turns into utter chaos, as Israel's invasion of Lebanon produces more terrorists, and as Afghanistan goes back to the war/drug lords and the Taliban rises again.

Looked at this way, it would be anathema for Pombo and his crowd to support better fuel efficiency. It starts to make sense why he would advocate such extreme measures as ruining wilderness areas, our coastlines, Western mountains, and just about anywhere else in a desperate search to come up with more oil, rather promote even the most basic of efficiency improvements. It is not just out and out stupidity on his part, it is that his whole view on life is based on an archaic, unrealistic, and dangerously deluded myth of the American West.

9 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually, the plane plot was discovered by the Brits using powers much stronger than those in the Patriot Act. Do your research. And your diplomacy rant sounds a lot like Neville Chamberlain's "peace in our time." Tap, tap, tap goes the bumbershoot...
You must not fly much.

3:59 PM, August 12, 2006  
Blogger VPO said...

Ho, hum, doesn't Anoymouse have anything better to do on a Saturday afternoon? Blah, blah, blah.

My post must have made you think. It is just that your elevator does not go to the top floor, the lights are on and no one is home, so only some nonsense comes out.

Please don't embarrass yourself with such a pathetic post. Better to just "do something else", like get away from your computer and get out in the real world once in awhile.

If you can't do that, I am sure the Yahoo Message Boards would be glad to have you post there, along with all the other "intellectuals". Have fun over there with all the others with a limited intellectual capacity similar to yours.

5:13 PM, August 12, 2006  
Anonymous The Tin Man said...

maybe you should take your own advice.

9:15 PM, August 12, 2006  
Blogger VPO said...

Thanks for the truly pathetic comment, Tin Man, the "gutless wonder". How easy to fire up the old computer and write some crap comment like that. Your comment, along with Anonymous's, are ones from people with nothing to offer, nothing to add, just snarky, meaningless, angry bullshit.

How about addressing the issues raised instead of just coming over here with some jerk-off comment? Oh, I am sorry, that would require some thinking, something you Pombo supporters seem incapable of doing.

The original post, that is, if you can read English, says that Pombo is suffering from a serious delusion that is causing him to pursue destructive and anti-social policies.

Well sorry, that is too much for you. All those exhaust fumes from the gas guzzlers you love must be getting to your brain. Or maybe too many falls off the ATV.

I can only feel sympathy for both of you losers -- and I am serious, the Yahoo Boards are only a click away. Here's a link. Go post your crap there with all the other people stuck with CAPS LOCK on.

Have fun!

9:48 PM, August 12, 2006  
Anonymous apollo creed said...

hey VPO -- you just won the friggin award fer the best one-two punch to a troll that I ever seen! Send dose suckers packin, just like I done with Rocky "f'ckin" Balboa. A KO in da first round! You crunched dat tin man right up into a little ball, he, he, he.

9:52 PM, August 12, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Guess how much money we raised today?

10:07 AM, August 14, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't believe McNerney was able to get Wes Clark's endorsement...that was HUGE. He's a powerhouse in CD11. After what he was able to do for Filson this should really get the campaign going.

Putting him together with Beano and you've got a political powerhouse.

10:44 AM, August 14, 2006  
Anonymous SThomas said...

Man, I wish I had had that endorsement....

9:39 PM, August 14, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh my gosh, Peace PAC endorsed McNerney. That ought to lock down San Joaquin County.

11:37 PM, August 14, 2006  

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