Tuesday, April 01, 2008

The Shell Game

I'm reading an absolutely frightening book called The Shell Game. It's a political thriller forecasting the inevitable conclusion of modern events. Its detractors will label the author as a liberal loon, a radical and conspiracy theorist. But nobody could justifiably call his work under-researched.

My friend Eric had me read a book a while back regarding Peak Oil. I don't remember the title exactly, but I'm sure it is still on my shelf. It really freaked me out. Badly. For a while I told all my friends about it, the implications of just a shortage of oil. Forget about the taps going dry. It only takes for oil to cost more in oil to retrieve to cause the dominos to fall, a situation that could possibly already exist.

My friends would smile and nod and ask patronizingly, "How long do we have?"

The fact is that we, as Americans, have no clue what's really going on in Washington, even those that do listen to NPR. We can debate whether or not whistle-blowers are telling the truth or not, if the Patriot Act really is necessary or is just an intentional and aggressive erosion of our rights. We take sides by choosing Democrat or Republican, as if either choice will make a difference. There isn't a politician out there that has a chance of getting his or her party nomination, much less elected to the presidency, who will do what is necessary to put our people in a position to survive the end of cheap energy. We think we live in a democracy, that grand a beautiful illusion, but we do not. We are ruled by money—a shitload of money.

Those of you that have known me know that I have been a Bush supporter. That has officially come to an end. Will I vote for Obama or Hillary? Not on your life. Not unless there is no other choice. I will "waste" my vote on an independent candidate that sings the right song. In my opinion, if the right candidate did ascend to the presidency, he or she would be murdered within a year. Like I said, money rules, and money kills. I just hope that our hero will be carrying a grenade, pin pulled. We need a champion. To quote The Shell Game:

The brakes are shot and civilization is being diverted, instructed to gaze in the rearview mirror as we drive ourselves off a cliff, only you're too busy micro-managing your life to see what's happening.

What would you do to survive if there was no more food at the grocery stores? Or if water no longer poured from your faucet?

And if you think that isn't possible, consider that it is oil that creates the fertilizers that coax the soil into producing agricultural products at unsustainable rates. The population has grown in proportion to that capacity. Without oil, food production drops, and with it so too the population. It's that simple. Add to that the conundrum of our global economy. We used to be an agrarian society, but now we import most of the food we eat. Our farm lands are being paved over. So if food can no longer be imported, then where is it going to come from? Answer: nowhere.

I know most readers have developed distaste for what I am saying. That's ok. I get it. But I have kids to take care of, and turning away from inconvenient truths is no way of going about it. I don't have a plan yet. But it's developing.


Alan said...

My friend Grim Reaper is actually looking forward to this scenario. He wants to go back into the wild and hunt for his food. But too, he has no kids or a wife. And he's also a bit of a loon.

Same here. I'm a bit of a loon too. And with no wife or kids, it seems like an adventure waiting to happen--and an end to certain frustrations that seem insurmountable. A nice solid shake-up of this status-quo that will finally make people look around and admit that no one ever was better than anyone else.

But, too, this is why I'm an escapist geek. Worlds of fantasy and science fiction are such better things to dwell on than a declining reality that I may not be able to change anyway.

But I will be trying. And if I fail? Well, I'll be looting Barnes & Nobles across Manhattan, and reading my way through the apocalypse in a cave in Central Park. You and your family can come live with me. We'll fight off the skags together.

Scott said...

The way world politics is going, and the fact that Iran is going to have nukes and that there are so many children being taught to love death more than life, I seriously doubt Central Park will be anything more than a crater in the ground. How's that for looney. That's not an advocation for war, just a reasonable forecast.

Check this out. Read the whole thing.

Alan said...

But Scott, I don't want to read it. Me = Escapist Geek. I have enough anxieties, man. You know this. Just tell me what I can do to prevent it and I'll try.

Scott said...

Think of it this way: this could be just the thing to cure all other anxieties, by reducing them to the size of a single-celled organism, viewable only under a microscope at the highest magnification.

Ultra Toast Mosha God said...

This is all sounding like a precursor to a Mad Max style post-apocalyptic scavenge for fuel.

Why would you not vote for Clinton or Obama? I am curious.

Scott said...

First, I don't like Hillary. Not because she's a woman or any such prejudice like that. Second, she voted for the war in Iraq and pretends to have been duped like all the rest of her ilk. She won't be any more accountable for her actions than the current president is.

As for Obama, there is a chance I could vote for him still. I have to listen to what he is saying more. Just this morning I heard both he and Hillary talking about the price of fuel, but only to say that there is a problem, not what the solution to the problem might be. I don't want a bellyacher for president, I want a solution maker.

mr. schprock said...

Already feeling the world is a less secure place than I previously thought, thanks for reminding me that we're all basically working without a net.

bookfraud said...

there's no doubt in my mind that there will be an oil crisis that will make the great depression look like small potatoes.

i'll have to read "peak oil." i'm a sucker for that kind of stuff. nothing like the end of the world. oil is running out, causing global catastrophe. global warming destroys most arable land, leading to massive starvation and war. our water runs out, leading to massive starvation and war. there is a chance that a major asteroid will hit earth, leading to the destruction of civilization.

oh, did i say if krakatoa erupts again (or the massive yellowstone caldera goes off), massive amounts of ash will blot out the sun for years, turn the atmosphere sulfurous, and make the planet uninhabitable to all animal life for several thousand years. or was that the asteroid that will do that?

forgot global pandemics/superbugs, biological warfare, and that old standby, nuclear winter.

sorry to go on like that. sad thing is, for as much as i know about man-made and natural end-of-the-world scenarios, i have no idea what to do about them. i fear terribly for my son and the world we're leaving for him.

i'm kind of a connoisseur of end-of-the-world scenarios.

Ultra Toast Mosha God said...

Ah. Okay.

I've been trying to keep up with the race as best I can in between the long hours I am working, mainly because I'm going to be over your way and I need a solid framework of knowledge so I can paint myself as true a picture as possible.

Hopefully, I'll get to go to an Obama rally and a McCain rally to see what gives.

I will definitely be going to a George Carlin rally though. That's booked.

Dixie Belle said...

Hey Scott
Check out The Wolf At The Door
Great site. Click on the "Future" for insight into what will happen. I think he's accurate. Very sobering.

Also check out the End of Suburbia.
There's a preview on You Tube.

To be blunt, our days as a great nation are fading and you are right, it is due to money or rather greed.

Dixie Belle said...

Blog address:

Scott said...

Good stuff, Dixie. I have been reading some of it, mostly the part of what to do as the crisis occurs. I sincerely hope this isn't how it is going to shake out, but if it does, I hope to be in a position of self-sufficiency. But that doesn't even guarantee saftey.

Dixie Belle said...

I hope for future generations, it does play out different but society breaks down quickly when desperation hits.

magnetbabe said...

I don't think being educated about the true role that oil plays in our society is loony at all. It's just categorized as such to keep people from digging below the surface. If such information can be downplayed, written off as conspiracy or discarded then the oil companies can keep the wool over our eyes and keep their profits skyrocketing. As much as you want to bitch about the democrats, even a little superficial reading about both candidates will reveal that both Obama and Clinton have proposed solutions to our ridiculous dependence on foreign oil and are not just bellyaching. They aren't overnight solutions and I would prefer much more drastic changes, but getting anything done in the current Washington climate is nearly impossible. I'll take what I can get.

Scott said...

Nat - I'm not just bitching about the democrats, and I thought you would be happy that I was starting to see things your way. If you read my comments, I said that I really haven't made up my mind, and that I need to know more. I would be glad to hear what long term solutions are being proposed by the candidates, but if it is only lip service then my vote goes elsewhere; but again, I haven't decided. I will engage in some superficial reading and get back to you.

Scott said...

And on the subject of the candidates, I have watched a few of the Democratic debates, and all I really walk away with is just how much Clinton and Obama really can't stand each other. I would love to know more about what they believe in, but in the hour or so that I spent listening to them lambaste each other, I suppose I lost interest. It's really a lot of work getting down to what I need to hear.

Alan said...

Oh you ain't said nothin' but a word here, Scott. :-) That's the way I've seen presidential debates ever since I knew what I was looking at on telly. I've come to believe that this is the way "grownups" in power behave, and I absolutely hate it. The beginning of this campaign was different, and then something bent, and Obama went in for the same 'ole. Broke my heart.

Still, since it IS no different from all the other election campaign strategies, it's also no worse IMHO...

BTW, is "Wicked" playing in your area (dunno how Broadway plays work. I know there can me a few productions simultaneously around the country)? I'm going to see the play here in NYC someday soon (haven't bought tickets yet).

Scott said...

I totally agree, Alan, it is no worse. But I do get frustrated when I'm waiting to hear a heroic word or two, something inspirational, and I have to sift through the shortcomings of the other candidates. That's across party lines. I'm turning into an anti-politician, not an anti-dem. Still, you won't find me liking Pelosi any time soon, or Harry Reid. Ditto though will you hear me waxing poetic on McCain. I'll vote for Obama first, just to know that someone who opposes war will do his best to get us out. I just need to know he'll do it responsibly.

magnetbabe said...

Scott-I'm very pleased you are coming around to the left ;) You began in your post saying you would vote for a 3rd party before voting for Clinton or Obama while in the next breath you admit you know nothing about their stances. Just trying to keep you honest!

Being informed is not a party thing, it should be the responsibility of all Americans and I'm sorry if I didn't come across as applauding you for doing some research. I also applaud you for using your blog to help spread the word.

The debates lately really have turned me off. I thought for awhile Obama was walking a fine line between sticking up for himself when needed and stooping to the traditional level of politics. He quickly learned that simply trying to rise above the fray doesn't get him votes. I am sad too, Alan, that his campaigned has taken a more negative tone, but I really can't blame him. The only problem is that he comes off looking like he changed his strategy whereas Clinton's was negative all along.

I don't want to get into a debate between the Clinton-backers and Obama-backers (I'm an O-ho myself) because I truly believe that McCain in the White House would be a disaster, though believe it or not there was a time when I REALLY liked him. Now, not so much. And unfortunately, while your conscience may lie with a 3rd party, in the 2008 election that will still be a wasted vote.

As for Wicked, I read the book but did not see the play. Just to warn you, I have heard the play is WAY different than the book.

Scott said...

I'm pretty sure that I won't vote for Hilary because there is something about her that really turns me off. Sorry if that seems shallow, but sometimes my gut warns me about a person, and there is something terribly insincere and just downright mean about her. Plus I've heard her politicking during the last presidential debates. Obama, he's a new entity. We'll see. I have a long time before I need to make up my mind, and when he gets the nomination, then I'm sure his energy policy is bound to leak out at some point.

But I have to say that the fact that it is such a buried issue, that it doesn't stand out prominently in the debates can mean that it doesn't glare as a priority for any candidate, and that alone is a blinking red light for me. If I have to do research to find out what anyone intends to do, then they just aren't talking about it enough to make it stand out. That's a problem. Because to me energy is the problem, the only problem, the one from which all others extend.

So no, I don't think my vote would be wasted. It might be a fart in a windstorm, but at least it will change the smell of the air, if ever so slightly. The ten percent of Americans that voted for Ross Perot certainly made a point. If I just give it to the candidate that doesn't think it important enough to raise to a higher elevation, then that is the biggest waste of a vote there is.

Alan said...

Magnetbabe, you did NOT just call yourself an "O-ho". And is your hair nappy as well, LOL!!

I was looking for a politician, any one of them, to rise above the dreck and stand full of integrity and confidence, and I thought among the other qualities I admired, Obama was going to shine in this category too. I mean, do you think it's true that if he hadn't stooped to the level of muckraking, he would not have won as many primaries as he has? I mean, what does that say for the appetite of the delegates who voted for him? (I won't necessarily say The Delegates = The American People, but it does seem that our nation as a whole really likes to see bloodshed).

I won't be mad if the play is very different from the book. As long as Elphaba's fate doesn't differ from the original source material then I'm eager to see how they tell the story. And I do love a good musical play.

Alan said...

"It might be a fart in a windstorm, but at least it will change the smell of the air, if ever so slightly."


What I don't like about Hilary is that there is inherent dishonesty in her whole platform. When she was the First Lady, her man got caught getting serviced in the White House by the devil in a blue dress, and I don't remember anything from Hilary that was life-affirming, forgiving, or empowering for women whose husbands cheat. I mean, that was a prime opportunity to address some serious marital bullcrap going down in millions of households, and Hilary did nothing but become this silent enigma. Then after the Clinton administration, suddenly Hilary's got a political career, and her she came boogity-boogity to New York. From that nanosecond every political analyst surmised that she stayed in the marriage and endured the embarassment for her own agenda's sake. And when I heard that at first I thought it was a harsh critique of a woman in a bad situation. But now she's running for the White House and I can't help but think that yeah, this is why she stayed in the marriage. Becoming the President of the United States is like the ultimate "Screw You, Bill" revenge fantasy. "Now YOU become the First Lady and I'll show you how that sh!t FELT!" And even if that isn't truly on her mind, she'd still be bringing that whole stained history back into the White House with her.

Enough of the gaddamned Bushes and Clintons already, is what I say. What have we got in Washington these days, Bucking-gaddamned-ham Palace? Break these effing dynasties and put some new blood into the White House. That's what the system was set up for in the first place.