Must suck to be W

We just caught a glimpse of George W. Bush on the tv news saying Americans should carpool, take mass transit, and avoid unnecessary car travel.

His face was twisted into a grimace as he spoke. He looked like he had a particularly large dog turd in his mouth.

Must be hard to get those words out, but the fact is he did it. What will be the fallout?

Kunstler today put a name on what he’s been hinting at for a while, that with the Democrats and Republicans equally abdicating leadership as the U.S. spirals into the “long emergency,” a new protofascist party may emerge like the BNP in Britain,

which combines a very aggressive agenda on energy policy with overt fascism. The American people will be starved for action, too, and will be waiting for a man of action to embody their desperation. Let’s hope that the characters who percolate out of this mess are not maniacs.

Meanwhile, north of the border, Transport Canada just issued a report calling for the construction of some 11,000 more kilometers of highway, “a 56 per cent increase in the network length over what was approved in 1988.”

Outrageous. Where is the Canadian politician ready to even take W’s timid step, and tell our people the time has come for conservation? Instead, we have mealy-mouthed scoundrels from all ends of the political spectrum slurring words on the subject of “high gasoline prices,” and now acting to promote the highway industry. This at a time when the disasters in evacuating U.S. cities demonstrate so clearly the folly of the private automobile system.

Ah, yes, the private automobile. One measure of how little it’s done for us, as we rev the global warming machine, is in a 2003 Harper’s “Index: “ [thanks StayFree magazine for the reference]

Maximum number of miles that Ford’s most fuel-efficient 2003 car can drive on a gallon of gas: 36

Maximum number its 1912 Model T could: 35

Of course, it all comes back to the business of selling and promoting cars. The Globe and Mail last week, in a special supplement to the business pages on the glory of the automobile, reported that (in the U.S.) the automobile industry spends $10.75 billion on advertising each year.

Question: if cars are “necessary” and not simply “evil,” why do they need promotion anyway?

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