Talk radio: get it while you can

I’ll be interviewed on Charles Heller’s right-wing radio show, Liberty Watch, this weekend. I’ve been asked by best-selling author Steve Alten to join him as he discusses his latest book, Shell Game: The End of Oil, The Next 9/11, The Deception of a Nation. We’ll be on the air Sunday, 1 June 2008, starting about 12:30 p.m. and running until 2:00 p.m., Arizona time (i.e., 3:30 – 5:00 p.m. Eastern time). You can call in live at the toll-free number, 1-866-725-5467 (local number, in Tucson, is 790-2040).


As you can imagine, Heller doesn’t believe in peak oil, so he’s all set to grill Alten about his “ludicrous” novel. He’s bringing along Chris Horner, senior fellow from the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a neo-con “think” tank. I think I’m supposed to provide air support (pun intended).
As a novel, Shell Game doesn’t have to be right. But it has to be plausible. And it is, with a significant exception: In the end of the book, maverick Republican U.S. President John McKuin saves the empire with a massive renewable-energy campaign that gets underway in 2012. Note the eerie resemblance of the empire’s savior to John McCain, who I fear will land the presidency later this year. In reality, the President is unable to save you and me, even if — in a sudden and dramatic turn of events — he somehow manages to give a shit about you and me. In general, I think Shell Game largely succeeds on the plausible-o-meter. I doubt Heller agrees with me about where it falls short.
Never mind that the lights apparently will start going out, permanently, in the world’s cities by 2012. Even if Dubya and McCain … er, McKuin … started today, they couldn’t stave off the unimaginable suffering to come. If we don’t get started until 2012, I suspect there’ll be no resources with which to get started. Quoting Ken Deffeyes, Matt Savinar forecasts the fall of empire within 6 to 24 months.
Quibbling about the timing seems silly to me. Of course, those of us “safely” ensconced in the culture of make believe would like to be able to use American dollars and fossil fuels for a little while longer, taking advantage of both resources to make other arrangements until we’re “ready.” Personally, I’ve long thought the collapse started about thirty years ago. And it’s really been slamming poor Americans and most of the world’s population for the last five years or so. The vaunted American middle class is feeling the pinch and we’re nowhere close to expensive oil, yet. Earlier this week Matthew Simmons, among the most respected names in the energy business for a long time, pointed out on CNBC that oil has been effectively free for years and is still very cheap relative to its value.
Please join me on the radio. Call in. Ask those tough questions. I’d recommend starting with these ones:
“Where the hell have you guys been?”
“As a member of the media, are you required to provide misinformation?”
Feel free to ask me some questions, too.

Comments 7

  • Great timing, I actually just finished the book. I was happy, at first, to think that the topic was getting attention. Then, I read more of the book.
    It wasn’t bad, but I felt the ending fell a little flat with the hero, more or less, riding off into the green sunset.

  • I just wanted to add, I’m currently reading Timequake by Kurt Vonnegut–not that it has any relevance other than:
    I wonder what Kilgore Trout would say about Peak Oil?

  • It’s pretty clear, based on his “memoir” (Man without a Country), Vonnegut knew about peak oil a few years before his death. In the book, he describes our two dangerous addictions — ethyl alcohol and fossil fuels — and concludes we’ll soon stop using the latter, cold turkey. Considering what we’ve done to other species and cultures, and taking “their” side(s), Vonnegut clearly thinks passing the world oil peak was good, even though it came far too late.

  • reference:
    http://www.warsocialism.com/duncan_tscq_07.pdf
    It might be worth noting that in 2007 Richard Duncan updated his Olduvai Gorge calculations. He did not calculate Peak Oil as 2005, but predicted around 2007. More importantly, I think, he adjusted the period of the beginning of the fall over the Olduvai “cliff” from 2012 to circa 2008 – 2012. And he tied in immigration from the South as a function of the response of masses of people trying to find safety in the larger economy of the U.S.
    This means that according to Duncan’s calculations we can reasonably expect brownouts and blackouts of the electrical grid worldwide to begin a final phase THIS YEAR and increase until the entire system collapses.
    Stan Moore
    Petaluma, CA

  • I listened to the show over the internet. When you mentioned the treasury’s saying 30% of banks would fail this year, I did searches of the treasury website via its own search mechanism, and also did a google search, thinking I would call in with a URL, but I was not able to find anything. If you can, the link would be appreciated.
    I was also searching for information about abiotic oil, a topic which came up, and found a great Heinberg article, but it was too dense to present in the show’s format.
    I was surprised that Heller admitted oil prices are headed inexorably higher. That in itself is a huge admission for a non-peak oiler to make, especially an abiotic supporter.
    Also, I thought you should have been more forceful in defending yourself against generalizations about “professors”. It’s something several callers tried to use, as if it were some kind of kill-shot.

  • Thanks for the post about Talk Radio, especially the links to Ken Deffeyes & Matt Savinar: I needed the updating.
    Don’t worry about the lemmings. Natuee has its ways.
    Duncan’s latest, albeit now dated, update:
    http://www.warsocialism.com/duncan_tscq_07.pdf
    And the responses:
    http://www.thesocialcontract.com/artman2/publish/tsc1603/article_1397.shtml
    You are right about the collapse starting 30 years ago. Carter’s MEOW (moral equivalent of war – speech) was actually quite timely:
    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/carter/filmmore/ps_energy.html

  • Dear Professor Guy,
    History is unfolding as you said it would.Gas in California is close to $5 a gallon. It’s getting closer to $6 in Alaska.The economy is collapsing
    as you predicted –a victory for nature.
    Civilization is not civilized, it never was. All
    so called progress is self defeating. All technology is self defeating. Nature sees to it
    that everything that is not natural bears the seeds of it’s own destruction. This is the way it
    should be.
    Nature will lead off sooner than we can imagine.
    This too is the way it should be.