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Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 08:17 AM PST

Car of the Year Punching Bags

by My EV World

Besides both winning Motor Trend 'Car of the Year' Awards, the Chevrolet Volt and Tesla Model S have become political punching bags for the far right, instead of being viewed as triumphs of American ingenuity.

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Tue Oct 30, 2012 at 02:54 PM PDT

Building Jeeps in China is Old News

by My EV World

Anyone who has ever been to Beijing will know that Chrysler has been building Jeeps in China for decades, so what's Romney's problem?

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Hundreds of thousands of Prius owners are literally sitting on the answer to the widespread power outages forecast to occur when Hurricane Sandy makes landfall in the the next 24 hours.

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This morning I received the following email from Rabbi Michael Lerner's Tikkun Network of Spiritual Progressives.  I looked for a LIKE link in email and on the www.spiritualprogressives.org web site. I wanted to find a way to share this and beyond pasting it my facebook page, I thought Daily Kos would be a perfect platform for helping get a wider distribution of this message from DANIEL ELLSBERG of 'Pentagon Papers' and Watergate fame. While I don't entirely agree with Ellsberg's assessment of Barack Obama, he is clearly the better alternative.  I trust neither Rabbi Lerner nor Dr. Ellsberg will object to my sharing this with you.



It is urgently important to prevent a Republican administration under Romney/Ryan from taking office in January 2013.


The election is now just weeks away, and I want to urge those whose values are generally in line with mine -- progressives, especially activists -- to make this goal one of your priorities during this period.


An activist colleague recently said to me: "I hear you're supporting Obama."


I was startled, and took offense. "Supporting Obama? Me?!"


"I lose no opportunity publicly," I told him angrily, to identify Obama as a tool of Wall Street, a man who's decriminalized torture and is still complicit in it, a drone assassin, someone who's launched an unconstitutional war, supports kidnapping and indefinite detention without trial, and has prosecuted more whistleblowers like myself than all previous presidents put together. "Would you call that support?"


My friend said, "But on Democracy Now you urged people in swing states to vote for him! How could you say that? I don't live in a swing state, but I will not and could not vote for Obama under any circumstances."


My answer was: a Romney/Ryan administration would be no better -- no different -- on any of the serious offenses I just mentioned or anything else, and it would be much worse, even catastrophically worse, on a number of other important issues: attacking Iran, Supreme Court appointments, the economy, women's reproductive rights, health coverage, safety net, climate change, green energy, the environment.


I told him: "I don't 'support Obama.' I oppose the current Republican Party. This is not a contest between Barack Obama and a progressive candidate. The voters in a handful or a dozen close-fought swing states are going to determine whether Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan are going to wield great political power for four, maybe eight years, or not."


As Noam Chomsky said recently, "The Republican organization today is extremely dangerous, not just to this country, but to the world. It's worth expending some effort to prevent their rise to power, without sowing illusions about the Democratic alternatives."


Following that logic, he's said to an interviewer what my friend heard me say to Amy Goodman: "If I were a person in a swing state, I'd vote against Romney/Ryan, which means voting for Obama because there is no other choice."


The election is at this moment a toss-up. That means this is one of the uncommon occasions when we progressives -- a small minority of the electorate -- could actually have a significant influence on the outcome of a national election, swinging it one way or the other.


The only way for progressives and Democrats to block Romney from office, at this date, is to persuade enough people in swing states to vote for Obama: not stay home, or vote for someone else. And that has to include, in those states, progressives and disillusioned liberals who are at this moment inclined not to vote at all or to vote for a third-party candidate (because like me they've been not just disappointed but disgusted and enraged by much of what Obama has done in the last four years and will probably keep doing).


They have to be persuaded to vote, and to vote in a battleground state for Obama not anyone else, despite the terrible flaws of the less-bad candidate, the incumbent. That's not easy. As I see it, that's precisely the "effort" Noam is referring to as worth expending right now to prevent the Republicans' rise to power. And it will take progressives -- some of you reading this, I hope -- to make that effort of persuasion effectively.


It will take someone these disheartened progressives and liberals will listen to. Someone manifestly without illusions about the Democrats, someone who sees what they see when they look at the president these days: but who can also see through candidates Romney or Ryan on the split-screen, and keep their real, disastrous policies in focus.


It's true that the differences between the major parties are not nearly as large as they and their candidates claim, let alone what we would want. It's even fair to use Gore Vidal's metaphor that they form two wings ("two right wings," as some have put it) of a single party, the Property or Plutocracy Party, or as Justin Raimondo says, the War Party.


Still, the political reality is that there are two distinguishable wings, and one is reliably even worse than the other, currently much worse overall. To be in denial or to act in neglect of that reality serves only the possibly imminent, yet presently avoidable, victory of the worse.


The traditional third-party mantra, "There's no significant difference between the major parties" amounts to saying: "The Republicans are no worse, overall." And that's absurd. It constitutes shameless apologetics for the Republicans, however unintended. It's crazily divorced from present reality.


And it's not at all harmless to be propagating that absurd falsehood. It has the effect of encouraging progressives even in battleground states to refrain from voting or to vote in a close election for someone other than Obama, and more importantly, to influence others to act likewise.That's an effect that serves no one but the Republicans, and ultimately the 1 percent.


It's not merely understandable, it's entirely appropriate to be enraged at Barack Obama. As I am. He has often acted outrageously, not merely timidly or "disappointingly." If impeachment were politically imaginable on constitutional grounds, he's earned it (like George W. Bush, and many of his predecessors!) It is entirely human to want to punish him, not to "reward" him with another term or a vote that might be taken to express trust, hope or approval.


But rage is not generally conducive to clear thinking. And it often gets worked out against innocent victims, as would be the case here domestically, if refusals to vote for him resulted in Romney's taking key battleground states that decide the outcome of this election.


To punish Obama in this particular way, on Election Day -- by depriving him of votes in swing states and hence of office in favor of Romney and Ryan -- would punish most of all the poor and marginal in society, and workers and middle class as well: not only in the U.S. but worldwide in terms of the economy (I believe the Republicans could still convert this recession to a Great Depression), the environment and climate change. It could well lead to war with Iran (which Obama has been creditably resisting, against pressure from within his own party). And it would spell, via Supreme Court appointments, the end of Roe v. Wade and of the occasional five to four decisions in favor of the Constitution and Bill of Rights.


The reelection of Barack Obama, in itself, is not going to bring serious progressive change, end militarism and empire, or restore the Constitution and the rule of law. That's for us and the rest of the people to bring about after this election and in the rest of our lives -- through organizing, building movements and agitating.


In the eight to twelve close-fought states -- especially Florida, Ohio, and Virginia, but also Colorado, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin -- for any progressive to encourage fellow progressives and others in those states to vote for a third-party candidate is, I would say, to be complicit in facilitating the election of Romney and Ryan, with all its consequences.


To think of that as urging people in swing states to "vote their conscience" is, I believe, dangerously misleading advice. I would say to a progressive that if your conscience tells you on Election Day to vote for someone other than Obama in a battleground state, you need a second opinion. Your conscience is giving you bad counsel.


I often quote a line by Thoreau that had great impact for me: "Cast your whole vote: not a strip of paper merely, but your whole influence." He was referring, in that essay, to civil disobedience, or as he titled it himself, "Resistance to Civil Authority."


It still means that to me. But this is a year when for people who think like me -- and who, unlike me, live in battleground states -- casting a strip of paper is also important. Using your whole influence this month to get others to do that, to best effect, is even more important.


That means for progressives in the next couple of weeks -- in addition to the rallies, demonstrations, petitions, lobbying (largely against policies or prospective policies of President Obama, including austerity budgeting next month), movement-building and civil disobedience that are needed all year round and every year -- using one's voice and one's e-mails and op-eds and social media to encourage citizens in swing states to vote against a Romney victory by voting for the only real alternative, Barack Obama.


Daniel Ellsberg is a former State and Defense Department official who has been arrested for acts of non-violent civil disobedience over eighty times, initially for copying and releasing the top secret Pentagon Papers, for which he faced 115 years in prison. Living in a non-swing state, he does not intend to vote for President Obama.

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Wed Oct 03, 2012 at 06:34 AM PDT

When Is a Bike Not A Bicycle?

by My EV World

There's a new breed of 'bicycle' sweeping the world, and the West is ill prepared, legally, for their invasion.

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The U.S. Coast Guard practiced cleaning up a mock oil spill in the Arctic Sea at the height of the summer off the coast of Alaska, encountering icebergs and virtually non-existent support infrastructure.

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Mon Sep 24, 2012 at 05:54 PM PDT

The CBO's $7.5 Billion Brouhaha

by My EV World

Spending $7.5 billion on electric car tax credits and loans is a lot of money that some people think is a huge waste of taxpayer dollars, but let's put it into perspective.

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A reader emailed me last week complaining that "I shouldn't bite the hand that feeds me," assuming, apparently, that I am an anti-capitalist.

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Wed Sep 12, 2012 at 03:10 PM PDT

Ohio Recovery: Obama 1, Kasich 0

by My EV World

Lew Goldfarb, a Cincinnati-based CPA, business lawyer, law professor, and co-author of the new book, "Bulls Bears and the Ballot Box: How the Performance of Our Presidents Has Impacted Your Wallet" knows who should take credit for the revival of Ohio's economy and it isn't Governor Kasich.

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Sun Aug 26, 2012 at 11:10 AM PDT

Neil Armstrong v. John Galt

by My EV World

Two men, one a real-life hero, the other a fictional character, epitomize the contrast between philosophies of shared aspirations and self-centered egoism. One put a man on the moon, the other launched the Tea Party.

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Wed Aug 22, 2012 at 10:18 AM PDT

The Strawberry Jam Error and You

by My EV World

Research at the University of Virginia and in the Netherlands shows that over-thinking a decision can lead to decision regrets.

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A bicycle is one of the most efficient forms of personal mobility ever created. Add an electric motor and suddenly a lot more people can benefit from two-wheels. And they are relatively affordable, so why is Congress just interested in electric motorcycles?

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