Pardon Me While I SCREAM!!!!

By Bill Moore

Posted: 22 Oct 2012

Did you hear that primal scream this morning? It sounded something like this.


That was me venting my frustration over the continual assault on our intelligence, especially by the political rightwing oligarchs in America, but even with the President and his advisors. Oh yeah, and also over the continual idiocy that passes for commentary by pundits and journalists who think electric vehicles are a dead end and that government funding of research and production capacity is a waste of taxpayer dollars.

Sometimes, folks, I really despair for the future of the United States, especially when I hear that a Presidential campaign that should be a slam dunk for Barack Obama is a 'toss up.'? Sure, there are things I wanted to see the President accomplish in his first term and didn't, like kicking the asses of lot of Wall Street bankers into prison, but you know, he got a lot done given the obstructionism he faced from the very get go: ending the war in Iraq, passing healthcare reform, increasing the fuel economy of American cars and trucks to 54.5 mpg, killing Osama bin Laden. While his predecessor did provide some encouragement for fuel cell research and development, the Obama Administration not only rescued the American auto industry, but goaded it into making significant structural changes, while providing the necessary seed funds to move it out of its 20th century rut and into the 21st century in terms of the products it builds and the markets it serves. It spurred healthy competition between the stalwarts and the upstarts: the GMs and Teslas, the Fords and the Fiskers. So, when I hear Mitt Romney call Tesla and Fisker 'losers,' frankly, it infuriates me, so much so I find myself screaming at the television and swearing like a sailor. Boy, it's a good thing my kids are grown and gone, and I am not in the ministry anymore - I'd be excommunicated for my profanity of late.

I simply can't understand why someone like Romney, who professes to be a religious person, can lie over and over and over again, changing his positions on serious issues with such character-less alacrity, as if he's willing to say or do anything, cut any deal with the devil to win election to the highest office in the land.

And then there's the continual death-by-a-thousand-cuts campaign being inflicted by individuals and organizations who apparently seem determined to kill the electric car yet again, without, I note, offering any alternative to the fossil fuel-hungry, pollution-causing, climate-altering, political oppression and poverty-inducing status quo. Apparently, they live in a fantasy world of unlimited resources of air and water, oil and gas. Who needs the electric car? they seem to think; we've got coal we can turn into fuel and hundreds of years-worth of natural gas. Why, now we can even make synthetic fuel from the CO2 we're pumping into the atmosphere… all we need is enough electricity.

Huh? And where's the electricity come from, I ask?

Look, I am the first guy to say electric cars aren't a panacea for all the challenges our society faces, but they certainly have their place. Firstly, they don't pollute locally. That's good for air quality and asthma suffers. They can be powered by the sun and wind, which no one, Middle East potentate or Texas plutocrat, controls. They are incredibly efficient whether we're talking about hybrids, plug-ins, all-electric or fuel cell. If the process of creating them is more energy intensive than your run-of-the-mill gas guzzlers, then the task for engineers is find ways to make it less environmentally destructive. And frankly, the job of politicians, city planners and pundits like me is to encourage us to find ways to get out of our cars - electric and otherwise - and start burning more calories and less gasoline… or electricity, for that matter.

Look, driving everywhere, everytime is killing us. The more we drive, the fatter we're becoming and the more disease we're encouraging: diabetes, heart disease, asthma, which burning fossil fuels, regardless of the source (petroleum, natural gas, coal) only exacerbates, as the infograph below demonstrates.

Oil and Obesity

And sorry, Mitt, but "drill, baby, drill" on federal lands and in national parks, or elsewhere, for that matter, isn't a sustainable answer, neither is encouraging the mining and transportation of filthy, toxic tar sand bitumen liquids from Canada and across the heartland of America the answer. The only winners will be the corporations at either end of the pipeline. What the rest of us are left with is toxic holding ponds where once Canadian arboreal forests grew and carcinogen-laden air downwind of the Gulf Coast refineries, and likely, at some point, soil and water-poisoning spills in between.

And what about global warming, dear critic? Isn't it odd how it seems nearly every electric car antagonist never, ever mentions this problem?

Look, we know from all kinds of studies that at its very worst, an electric car generates pollution comparable to a Ford, Honda or Toyota hybrid car when recharged entirely from a coal-fired power plant; and, dear reader, it gets cleaner the faster utilities shift to natural gas, introduce more renewables, or when owners take the initiative and install solar electric panels, which many are already doing. Would you believe that in California today 39% of EV owners already use solar energy to charge their cars?

If the polls are to be believed and the race between Obama and Romney is a "toss-up," then I have probably alienated half my readers, who are right now screaming at their computers like I scream at the television.

That's okay. Get it off your chest! Let it out! Feels good doesn't it?

Now, let's figure out how to solve these problems together instead of yelling at each other. Whatever the outcome in November, the problems, the challenges aren't going away; but in that nexus also lies exciting opportunities, we just have to see them with clear eyes and honest, truthful hearts.

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