Right-wingers mistake humorous Audi ad for Obama policy; embarrassment should follow

April 30, 2012

. . . but perhaps won’t.  I swear it seems as if someone has a concession at Tea Party functions selling self-lobotomy kits, and they’re selling like $10 iPhones.

File this in the “Whom the gods destroy, they first make mad” department, with loss of sense of humor as a key symptom.

You may have seen this ad during the Super Bowl, and though you may have cringed a bit at the way it tweaks people who show concerns about the environment and who urge cleaning up pollution, you probably found it pretty humorous.

But over at the Club the Constitution Constitution Club site, they appear to think it’s an ad from the Obama administration’s Department of Homeland Security.

So some hoaxster with the apt handle The Rat at Club the Constitution Constitution Club dug up a dull, run-of-the-mill document out of the Department of Homeland Security that talks about DHS policies on working to implement the government’s environmental justice policies.  “Environmental justice” is shorthand for “don’t dump garbage or toxic pollution in or close to the homes of poor people just because they are unlikely to have lawyers at the moment.”

Then The Rat flew off the handle, a truly head-exploding, insane Gish-Gallop rant about Homeland Security:

In its just-released Environmental Justice Strategy document, the DHS says the idea is to “include environmental justice practices in our larger mission efforts involving federal law enforcement and emergency response activities” and to incorporate environmental justice in “securing the homeland.” Roll that around in your head for awhile:

“Federal law enforcement” agents conducting “emergency response activities” in the name of “environmental justice” for the purpose of “securing the homeland.” The Green Police. Oh. My. God.

You couldn’t make up craziness like this guy, The Rat, could you? He clearly has no clue about the history of environmental justice (and is Google-challenged on top of that) — or he’s venally working to make people believe falsehoods.  What’s the harm in including “environmental justice practices in our larger mission?”

Does this Rat, who appears to be a complete idiot, fail to understand that “emergency response activities” are commonplace, and occur whenever an 18-wheeler carrying a load of chemicals turns over on the freeway?  Does The Rat fail to understand that spills need to be cleaned up?  (Real rats are very clean creatures, actually.  While they live in filthy, they do not prefer it, and they keep their dens very clean.  This is one way a real rat, say Rattus Norvegicus, or Rattus rattus, is superior to this faux rat.)

Here’s the description of the Audi advertisement from Auto123.com, showing none of the insanity the right wingers try to insert:

As reported by Audi

HERNDON, Va.
,– Green Police, the Audi Super Bowl ad, provides an uncommon avenue for green advocates, anteaters, Styrofoam, the legendary rock band Cheap Trick and the 2010 Green Car of the Year to find their inner connectivity.

How all of these rather disparate elements come together hasn’t been revealed yet by Audi. But in the end they will provide an entertaining look at how we all face a dizzying array of choices that can impact the environment. Some of these choices are easier than others. But, the Green Police ad will show, one of the best choices is driving the Audi A3 TDI, which won the prestigious 2010 Green Car of the Year award presented by Green Car Journal at the Los Angeles Auto Show in December.

The Audi Green Police ad will air Super Bowl Sunday in the fourth quarter of the largest television event of the year. But Super Bowl ad followers, Audi aficionados and others can get sneak peeks at what’s coming.

Audi released a teaser edit of the Green Police Super Bowl ad today, which highlights the crucial role anteaters can play in keeping the planet green. Think Styrofoam. One Super Bowl reviewer online is already betting the Audi Green Police ad will win top honors for “Best Use of an Unusual Animal in a Super Bowl Ad.” Audi disclaimer: No anteaters were harmed in the filming of the Green Police Super Bowl ad. To find that teaser video, go to www.facebook.com/audi.

Another preview of the Audi Green Police ad is the available download of the theme song of the spot. The legendary rock group Cheap Trick returned to the recording studio to remake their smash hit “Dream Police” into “Green Police.” Fans also can find that download by going to the Audi Facebook page.

For Audi, the Super Bowl has been a premium platform for promoting the performance and prestige of its cars the past three years. But underlying the fun of this year’s Green Police Super Bowl ad is a serious message: If 30% of Americans drove clean diesel cars like the Audi A3 TDI, the nation could reduce oil consumption by 1.5 million barrels a day. What’s more, clean diesel engines reduce CO2 emissions by 30%.

“Those are real-world benefits that the A3 TDI offers for today’s concerns about fuel consumption and greenhouse gas,” said Scott Keogh, Audi of America Chief Marketing Officer. “Super Bowl ads are all about fun, but the best ads point consumers to products that enrich their lives. That’s what we’ve done with the Green Police.”

Got that?  It’s a straight up, funny-as-anything Super Bowl ad pushing Audi’s TDI Diesel engined cars.

Have the right-wingers genuinely lost their humor senses?  Are they so shallow in their reading they didn’t catch the humor?  Can’t they tell a joke from reality?

In contrast, environmental justice is, by now, a rather well-established movement to marry civil rights laws and anti-pollution laws to prevent poor neighborhoods from being unfairly burdened by pollution, in a drive to clean up pollution for the benefit of all.  It’s an old enough concept that it goes by its initials, EJ.  See Wikipedia’s quick and concise entry:

The United States Environmental Protection Agency defines EJ as follows:

Environmental Justice is the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies. EPA has this goal for all communities and persons across this Nation [sic]. It will be achieved when everyone enjoys the same degree of protection from environmental and health hazards and equal access to the decision-making process to have a healthy environment in which to live, learn, and work.[5]

The United States Department of Transportation defines three fundamental EJ principles for the Federal Highway Administration and the Federal Transit Administration as follows:

  1. To avoid, minimize, or mitigate disproportionately high and adverse human health and environmental effects, including social and economic effects, on minority populations and low-income populations.
  2. To ensure the full and fair participation by all potentially affected communities in the transportation decision-making process.
  3. To prevent the denial of, reduction in, or significant delay in the receipt of benefits by minority and low-income populations.[6]

Could a serious-minded American citizen disagree with anything in those two definitions?  That’s right out of the Boy Scout Manual, it’s Leave No Trace writ large — it’s been the policy of the U.S. government since the early 1970s, proposed by Republicans as a means to conserve our nation’s lands, waters, and other resources.

There is nothing in the DHS environmental justice policy statement to suggest the agency will do anything more than worry about whether the agency itself is environmentally friendly, and fair to minority populations in the dumping of its wastes.  Actually, there is nothing in the document opposed to pollution — only statements outlining that every group in the agency is responsible for following policy.  The document says, in too many words, that no one can use the excuse, “It was the custodian’s job to see the used fluorescent light tubes were disposed properly.”

That crazy right wing!  They just get more and more distanced from reality the closer the election looms!

Links to the post at Club the Constitution Constitution Club, with the implied allegation that Obama will be sending cops out to fine you and your local gendarmerie for using Styrofoam cups, make up a new Anti-Green Wall of Shame, made by unthinking people spouting off about what they do not know:

More than a dozen blogs, operated by at least a dozen bloggers — all of whom conserved a great deal of energy by failing to use any of their gray matter neurons before parroting a hoax.  Oy.  (My experience is that most of those blogs are terrified that someone will leave an opposing opinion in comments — if you successfully post a comment at any of those blogs, will you let us know in comments?  The Ghost of Stalin stalks heavily among the blogs of the unthinking right.)

How many people will be suckered by this hoax?  More than a dozen so far, and counting.

P.S.:  The Audi advertisement was for the 2010 Super Bowl; that’s some digging.

Update, May 3:  A few wags at the original site now claim it’s parody, that they know it’s not so.  Alas, they don’t post that, and as you can see by the update above, other anti-American Clean Air types continue to pile on, not hesitating to attack our national government for fun.


DDT conference: Safe or not? Who will report?

March 12, 2008

March 14 beckons from the near horizon. A group of scientists and policy wonks will gather at Alma College, in Alma, Michigan, to look at the issues of DDT and health. This is the first major conference of its kind since the POPs Treaty, at least.

Logo for Kenaga DDT Conference, Alma College, 2008

Controversy again swirls around DDT, with a large industry campaign again after the reputation of Rachel Carson just the same as in 1963 — though Ms. Carson has been dead since 1964. The disinformation campaign also impugns environmentalists, health care workers (especially if they’ve ever worked for the World Health Organization), Al Gore (there is no rationale), and when the minions think they can get away with it, it impugns bed nets and stagnant pool draining.

This public relations campaign against Rachel Carson enjoys a great deal of success. Oklahoma’s Sen. Tom Coburn, who seems never to have met an insult to a scientist he couldn’t use, successfully stopped the U.S. Senate from passing a bill naming a post office in honor of Rachel Carson, one of Coburn’s greatest legislative achievements. Several people in Congress, including Utah’s Rep. Rob Bishop, were similarly hornswoggled.

This conference could put real, accurate information in front of the public.

Are my expectations way too high? I hope reporting from this conference might inject sanity, comity, humility and courtesy back into the discussions of how to treat malaria, and whether DDT should ever be used.

Associated Press? Reuters? New York Times? Chicago Tribune? Detroit News, or Detroit Free Press? Lansing State Journal?

Who will report from the conference?

I hope major news outlets will have reporters there.

Resources:


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