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Nut Case at the Wheel PDF Print E-mail
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by Jan Lundberg   
22 May 2010
As the U.S. continues the incredibly wasteful misallocation of resources known as car production and everything that goes with it, the externalized costs in terms of global warming, oil spills, and human isolation as consumers, only mount.

Who is in charge of this mad policy of ecocide? We all are, but we did elect a president named Barack Obama. He was supposed to be the answer to the blatantly destructive and incompetent George W. Bush. But Lo and Behold, Obama's allegiance proved to be the status quo. Got recession? More cars! Oil spill a la Chernobyl in the U.S. Gulf? Keep on producing cars and using oil!

So, having fooled ourselves again with an election, ignoring the warning by The Who in their landmark song Won't Get Fooled Again (1970), we look to the driver of our vehicle to see that he is a nut case with his accelerator pedal pushed to the floor. Global peak in oil supply? Pedal to the metal! What's that above him? A helicopter gunship mowing down people on the other side of the world, in the name of democracy and freedom.

Obama's calm, intelligent face, our multiracial darling Obama, is on the whole a maniacal puppet. And heís wearing a mask, whether he knows it or not. Who or what is underneath?

Some who look beyond elections say the problem is essentially one of corporatism: that Obama is just another representative of the corporate elite, as were the Bushes, McCain and the Clintons. True, but is U.S. culture salvageable by targeting corporate rule?

The lateness of the hour tells us the answer is No. Although the modern large corporation is the most virulent form of exploitation of people and the Earth, and needs to be abolished, U.S. culture has gone way too far in its alienation, oppression and general distortion of human values to be cured or transformed by even a major reform.

What, then, are the implications for a nation and people who donít even have a hope today of getting out from under the car (that's pinning them down on the bloody, oily pavement)? Ideally, even Tea Party activists realize that significant change or relief from economic and social pressures does not come from another election or series of elections.

What, then -- revolution? Is that the real goal of anyone wishing for fundamental change? What would this revolution entail? Would it be political, cultural, or both?

A series of goals or wishes by enough people amounts to a social movement or a coup. It has happened before, and the threat of this feels real to those who find the U.S. to still be somewhat benign. To them, the possibility of a worse form of government and loss of our already diminished freedoms looms large enough that oneís priority becomes that of somehow maintaining the status quo, while hoping for positive developments such as clean energy, an end to oil wars, and a roll-back of the Patriot Act.

However, the time for political change to re-chart the course of a nation is past. Collapse and disintegration have been assured, due in large part to dependence on cheap oil. When the dust settles there will be a proliferation of local cultures. Meanwhile, the extreme state of a society hard wired to consume its way to eco-hell is unchangeable.

This is a blind culture that cannot see its own true roots. Who came to North America to conquer and set up a foreign culture, and what was the prime objective? Sky-god fearing, private-property obsessed, master-slave opportunists: the antithesis of the indigenous nature-revering, communal, more egalitarian, diverse cultures that had found the key to surviving and thriving for a thousand generations.

This does not imply there was nothing good in the newcomers or in their exploits (Jefferson, Tom Paine, or their successors in great thought such as Thoreau and Muir). Indeed, the courageous new Americans loved their small farms, the amazing scenery, and the soul of the land that spawned perhaps the greatest new forms of music the world has ever seen.

How can the goodness of U.S. Americans and the land they inhabit (and have changed irrevocably) be safeguarded and turned into a force for positive change at a time of runaway destruction at the hands of ecocidal, greedy corporations and their tools in political power?

There is no political answer, but there is a cultural-change answer.

By abandoning a way of living that denies our true needs for healthy nature and human closeness, taking steps to conserve the land, air and water, we cannot help but find ourselves cutting the umbilical cord to the terminally ill host. What would we be losing? For one thing, car dependency: we canít afford it anyway, financially or ecologically. We would then be looking to our neighbors and family for solutions to daily living, losing the isolation of total reliance on shopping and technology.

Organizing household and neighborhood composting, gardening and home repairs are more first steps toward restoring real community and socioeconomic resilience.

Human potential is unlimited. Those who believe deep change is not possible in the foreseeable future, while it is our only choice if we are to turn back the worst of petrocollapse that has clearly been unleashed, will be shocked by the upheaval to come in their own lives and throughout the modern world.

Such a revolution, with eventual political outcomes of a more local-based and nature-respecting basis than the conventional top-down growth-maximizing sort, is within us now, waiting to spread and flower.

* * * * *

Time to Take the Gloves off with Obama, by Jan Lundberg and Jeff Gerritsen, 18 June 2009

Comments (11)Add Comment
i believe we are in this mess because we allowed for decades the everyday use of automobiles
the auto companies lobbied against trains, public transit and everything became designed to accomomdate the use of automobiles
2 car garages, fast foods, drive in movies, banks, malls, malls, big stores,etc
how insulting to have to share a paasageway with automobiles. sidewalks where we have to put up with the noise and toxic exhaust.
no mind to the fact that this exhaust goes right into the faces of our babies and toddlers in strollers
the health problems, the destruction of the environment, the loss of neighborhoods, local shops and cultures,and the discourtesy developed by drivers... all this makes so much stress and an unkind society
hospitals, emergency response, stressed from accidents
the ignorance of all these societal costs are atrocious
atleast Jane Jacobs was able to take some actions.
She was a role model
myna lee johnstone
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Votes: +5
We thought that we could make a difference. We thought that by learning to live sustainably, we could pave the way to a bright new future. We thought that peak oil would bring down technoculture. We thought that change was coming. Well, change is here. The uncontrolled, and likely uncontrolable, oil gusher under the Gulf of Mexico is going to wipe out life in the ocean - yes, there is really only one. If uncapped, there is enough oil to permanently render the oceans devoid of life. When the ocean dies, the land follows closely behind. So much for that experiment with life.
Roger
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President Obama is not a "nut case". He's an accurate reflection of mainstream America. He is not the CAUSE, but the REFLECTION of a consciousness that is deeply embedded within the 20th Century mindset.

Making him out to be the "bad guy" is not only inaccurate, but prevents us from seeing the real problem (17th Century mindsets in a 21st Century world)and therefore seeing and applying real solutions (a total societal make-over.

Peace,

Sharif
Sharif Abdullah
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It's certainly true hat Obama has not been the change leader we all hoped for. However he never would have even been elected if he had not made promises to continue the war. Palin was eagerly painting him as a terrorist lover. The right wing was all over him. To get elected he had to appeal to them. Now he's keeping his promises. Besides to cut and run from the middle east would have emboldened the fundy muslim freaks over there. But when George Will, Republican mouthpiece said that the US should get out of Iraq that would have been a great cue to take. What many peole find frustrating about Obama is his seeming lack of a sence of urgency in todays dangerous events.

People talk about revolution. The problem is that we are a nation evenly divided. The left which as a rule respects the environment and the right which does not. Thus the "revolution" would more than likely be a civil war. When and if it ended it would find the remnants of humanity dejected and savage.

As long as there are people who are willing to be led by commited liars and rabid "leaders" such as Limbaugh, Bachmann, Palin who care nothing for truth then there will be no unity in revolution.
Ron Ray
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It's not Obama's fault that you were led to believe him, just admit you had hope. Some of us gave up that hope years ago, now we live day by day doing what we can to change our own little corner of the world. Change will not happen with a politcal leader, they are all bought off by corporations such as BP. Change will happen only when each of us understand the power is in our hands and we no longer believe what our leaders tell us.

We should of learned from the likes of Thoreau that "Nature" will heal us or kill us, too bad we didn't.
Elaine
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I am in agreement that our intelligent articulate president achieved his success in the way that all elected politicians in the last thirty to forty years have and that is to be on the take from big business. Both Parties are corupted to such a high degree that there is no abilility for leaders to extract themselves from the financial and military interests that are the current law of the land. Our democracy is doomed by the systematic dumbing down of society and the perverse agendas of rich corporations. It's time for brave journalists to tell it like it is. instead of fearing that it will lead to more Republicans. Get ready for a world that will be forced to change the hard way.
melissa
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"Obama's calm, intelligent face, our multiracial darling Obama, is on the whole a maniacal puppet. And he’s wearing a mask, whether he knows it or not. Who or what is underneath?"
Jan, et.alhave a look at http://www.dark-wraith.com/index.php?itemid=338
And lots of other good stuff at the main site.
Peter of Lone Tree
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Dear Sharif,

I realize that relatively speaking Obama's not a nut case compared to a
Palin or ex-Senator Bennett, as ideological nut-case examples. But the
fact remains that we are driving or being driven over the ecological
precipice now, not maybe later. If Obama considers himself leader, he
must take responsibility for putting oil and cars first and life second.
You can say that the nut case at the wheel is our culture or you or me, if
you prefer. Obama's at the controls; he wanted it. He's proving to be
the usual fool, and that does not mean he's a bad guy as you claim I'm
saying. Either he is doing the right thing for the demanding times we are
in or he's not and we are being misled. To be led is a mistake anyway.
For now, let's at least ask "Who's the nut case at the wheel?" And "Who's
pulling the levers?" Or "Who's asleep at the switch?"
Jan
Philip
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Jan,

Thanks for the topic, and thanks to all the folks who have responded with intelligence and thought...

Another take: if you said Obama was co-addicted, I would readily agree. I also agree with Elaine that most politicians are "bought off" (especially at the national level).

But... Obama as "Nut Case in Chief" implies that his actions are in some way outside the mindset of "normal" Americans. That's what I meant by saying he is a reflection, not a cause.

On a deeper level, we do not disagree.

I believe your "nut case" designation has to do NOT with current standards or mindsets. Viewed from the lens of our future, our present actions are as immoral and as criminal as the slave trade was in its day. Future generations will judge us harshly. Using that analogy, all of the Presidents during the times of slavery were their historical "Obamas", going along with the prevailing mindset.

And the real "nut case" was Abraham Lincoln.

Peace,

Sharif
Sharif Abdullah
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I think he is a nut case, in that this culture is a nut case and he was elected the head nut case of the head nut case country. The jive lies that he and his supporters told during the campaign were extreme but anyone who called them on it was lambasted as a Palin supporter or worse. American democrat progressives have no balls and refuse to deepen their analysis to include the truth. They seem to want to keep things superficial. The big money was behind Obama because Palin is the wrong kind of nut. Her kind of nut is used to make critics of the culture and its politics(who controls the economy)look like similar nuts so that a genuine analysis never really sees the light of day. We are to believe there are only two sides, the good and the bad and depending on which side you are on it could be a democrat or a republican. The truth, that lies well above all the drama, is holding the strings. So, as Jan says, we can simply cut the strings and free the truth, who needs political parties to grow, food fiber and fuel? Who needs them to join with your neighbors and make a more resilient community? If we defied the money and elected the wrong kind of nut it might even be easier to cut the strings.
Howard Switzer
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Like many Americans, I wept the day Obama won the presidency, but that was a fleeting emotional response to a moment of racial absolution in this country. Then advertising Age magazine declared the Obama campaing the ad campaign of the year. Having voted for Nader in the last three presidential elections gives me no satisfaction. Most Americans are, sadly, still in the Denial stage of the Kubler-Ross transect of grief.

All that's left is a smokescreen of talking points and corporate PR, brilliantly presented through the mask of a beautiful man.

The revolution will not be televised, nor will it be online. Turn off the damn computer and go plant some greens. And, please, don't feed the politicians...

Thor
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