3 August 2005

Robert Newman - Apocalypso Now

Very informative and still has the ability to get good laughs, well worth seeing on so many levels. Last year Mark Thomas enlightened us about the problem with corporations being the enemy of democracy and on a very similar line Robert (not Rob damn it) uses our foreign policy that has never changed for 200 plus years.

First off we hear about the crushing of democracy in Iran - by the US and British in 1953 that left a dictatorship. The new Prime Minister (elected with nearly 90%) gained popularity with one key promise. Re-nationalise what is now BP. The British (Churchill again, bastard) and the US funded a military coup and installed their preferred dictator.

Next up we listen to the real cause of World War I - the invasion of Iraq. The Germans, having no oil of their own, were in the process of building a Berlin to Iraq railway that had already reached what is now Turkey. The first military movements of WWI were the Dorset brigade and many others landing in Iraq to prevent Germany getting access to the oil. The US are currently constructing 14 permanent US military bases in Iraq, to be occupied after they "leave".

Interesting comparisons between the US dollar and Dali's bank account. The US owe every bank in the world but the dollar is still strong. The reason is every oil transaction has to take place in dollars (as per 1971 OPEC decision). This was akin to the later years of Savaldor Dali's life. He would run up huge restaurant bills and then pay by cheque. Before he let the cheque go he would turn it over and do a signed and dated drawing on the back. That would be priceless to the owner so he would frame it and therefore never cash the cheque. A couple of years ago Iran and Iraq both decided to say "bugger the US" and changed all their banks accounts into Euros. This lost them 20% but they then made all oil transactions in Euros too. North Korea and Syria (the remaining members of the Axis of Evil) changed to make ALL their trades in Euros, not dollars. As momentum started to get behind this switch (and make the dollar no longer the king) OPEC considered changing the rules (under the presidency of Venezula) to make all oil transactions in Euros. This would mean all banks getting rid of their dollar supply in favour of Euros and heavily depreciating the dollar. The US then invaded Iraq, made the switch back to dollars and claimed control of the oil, thereby saving the Federal Bank.

Finally good stuff about the Peak Oil (ref: "The Parties Over") which is when a country needs more oil than it can produce. This happened to the US in 1971, UK in 2003, Venezula in 2000 and many other oil producing countries. The problem is in 1930s there was a 2000 calorie to 1 ratio of food to oil, i.e. with 1 calorie of fossil fuel a farmer could make 2000 calories of food). In the 50s/60s that changed to a 1:1 ratio and we are now completely at the inverse. For every calorie of food a farmer produces we need 2000 calories of fossil fuels to power the insecticides, machinery, refrigeration, 4 digit transport miles et cetera. This means total collapse of the "industrial revolution" unless we take immediate action and invest heavily in renewable energies such as solar, wind or wave. The money the UK has spent on trying to grab the final few drops of oil in Iraq could have transformed the UK in a totally self renewing powered country. Nothing seems to have changed since WWI and way before that when Wordsworth was spied on as he harboured and collaborated with a "terrorist" (someone they feared could inspire a French Revolution in England).


  1. Why does the fact that oil is traded in dollars necessarily keep the price of dollars up? According to this article, there is over $1.2 trillon a day in currency trades, much more than the amount of oil trades. Therefore converting whatever you have to dollars to buy oil is almost invisible, due to the high liquidity of the currency market.

    If the US wanted to get cheap oil from Iraq why didn't it just sell Saddam what he wanted, stop supporting the oilless Israelis and ignore the people being fed into plastic shredding machines?

    Invading a country and keeping your army there seems like a good way to bring about instablility and uncertainity, not things good for a stable oil supply. Not to mention insanely expensive.

    Maybe the reason for the invasion was the stated one: to attempt to bring freedom and democracy to the region and prevent/remove Saddam's capability to threaten surrounding countries. Hopefully, a successful liberal democracy will take root in Iraq and spread to surrounding countries, weakening the power of Islamist fandmentalists.

    P.S. Have you heard of this apparently anti-semitic sounding play at the festival?

  2. Care to qualify your bizarre character assessment of Churchill?

  3. Presume you meant "The party's over"?

  4. This is just no excusing that type of mistake. I'm off to take my own life...

  5. I see you are censoring comments again.

  6. With regard to your grammatical error:

    Life by the sword, die by the sword.

    That's what I always say.

  7. Err, no, I'm not censoring any comments. Once you've posted with a username and email address and it's been approved once then you can post as many times as you like. That said it may also rely on your IP address too, in which case yours has change recently. I will investigate...

    As for your "sword" comment... Hysterical!