Tag Archives: oil

Is there an honest history of the Middle East since World War I? Wikipedia gives it a good shot and includes the names of various rulers, parties, movements, and nationalities. But where’s the “why” of it all?

As this is written, most of the regimes in the area are reactionary. Women and children especially suffer the lack of basic civil rights. Religious fanaticism wields great power. Poverty is common, but some of the richest men the world have ever known live in the Middle East.

Currently, the United States is prominent in creating untold suffering in Venezuela, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Yemen, and Afghanistan. Other countries are in various stages of negotiations as to how much misery they are to get in exchange for their oil. The peopleĀ  get the misery and U.S. corporations get the oil. How did we come to this?

As I understand it, the “modern” states of the Middle East were largely carved apart as a result of England’s victory in World War I. As it was the first truly mechanized war, oil resources became closely identified with military power. England had that power but lost its worldwide grip by the end of World War II. By then, the United States was the dominant economic and military force on Earth. Key parts of their domain were the oil-producing countries. Keeping them in line has led the United States government to the wildest extremes of dishonesty and murder on a national scale. For example, the Dallas paper recently revealed that over 75,000 Yemeni children had died from starvation so far. That’s just from starvation and doesn’t include the children shot or blown to pieces.

What’s Wrong With Qatar?

Little Qatar, with population smaller than the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex where I live, is making headlines because of their defiance. Last year, the Saudi government put together a group to boycott Qatar and try to cut them off from their oil customers. Why? I have a notion that the main reason is their state-sponsored news service, Al-Jazeera. Al-Jazeera has the second largest world network of news agencies, after England’s BBC. They report what’s going on, especially in the Middle East. For a while there, their news service was (barely) available in the United States on cable TV. A movie was made about the attempts to suppress them. Despite all efforts to destroy Al-Jazeera, one can still get actual news from their English-language web site. I don’t know if I would recommend it as gospel truth, but I will say it’s a reliable as, say, the BBC — and much better than what we’re likely to get from sources in the United States, where oil companies buy advertisers.

Qatar, like Mexico, suffers from its geographic location. It’s squeezed in between Saudi Arabia — Donald Trump’s favorite ally — and Iran — Donald Trump’s main enemy. I think they even share a great oil field with Iran. If Qatar faces one direction, they’ll be punished by the other.

Solving the Mystery

Even though we are talking about millions of dead, maimed, and displaced Middle Easterners, and we are not talking about a single murder case in a cheap novel, informed people know how to figure out who is responsible. Just ask, “Who profits?”

–Gene Lantz

I’m on KNON radio’s “Workers Beat” program 89.3FM in Dallas at 9AM Central Time every Saturday. They podcast it on Itunes. If you are curious about what I really think, check out my personal web site

Movie Review, Josh Fox, “How to Let Go of the World and Love All The Things Climate Can’t Change!”


Dallas pickets Exxon at least once a year

Slowly, the environmentalists are winning the argument over global warming. We usually call the other side “climate denyers,” but the real argument is with the extractive industries, especially oil. We’re arguing with multi-billionaire oil men who stand to lose a lot of money if the world ever adopts a sane policy on carbon emissions.

Those oil men are buying professional liars — college professors, scientists, politicians, policy wonks — and even paying to buy the appearance of a grass-roots pro-pollution movement. That’s what we’re up against.

Josh Fox once did a pretty good dramatic movie “Gasland,” with an environmental theme behind the love story. This time, he’s out with a documentary starring himself. One might think it’s rehashing Al Gore’s excellent documentary of a few years ago. I think it was named “An Inconvenient Truth,” and it was quite effective. The new movie is different.

Fox takes a much more personal approach. He films himself going around the world to look at some of the worst aspects of global warming. He also takes a positive approach in showing some of the efforts to fight back. He dances around and celebrates the good stuff, but doesn’t try to pretend that this war is already won.

On the downside, the movie is too long. There are three good probable reasons:

  • Environmentalists are in love with statistics and facts, and they can’t stop telling them even when everybody has left.
  • Always be suspicious when a movie’s producer, director, and star are the same guy. They just can’t edit out anything they’ve filmed, especially if their own image is in it!
  • There’s just an awful lot to say about a truly critical, horrendous, world crisis!

Where are the workers?

Working people don’t want to suffocate any more than anybody else, but most of the folks leading the environmental movement are middle-class, college educated, and fairly affluent. The union movement, to its eternal credit, is working hard to grow a “blue (collar) / green (grass)” alliance. Where I live, the Communications Workers are strongest on environmental issues.

Not all unions are eager to join the environmental movement. Not all non-union workers are, either. If someone is afraid of losing their job over pollution controls, they’ll generally take jobs over clean air any day of the week. It’s a matter of feeding the family in the here and now. No amount of yelling at them will change their minds.

The people we need to focus on and yell at are the bosses in the extractive industries.

–Gene Lantz