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tv   The Colbert Report  Comedy Central  September 21, 2011 11:30pm-12:00am PDT

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join us tomorrow night at 11:00. here is your moment of zen. >> spedding is out of control. giving the federal more>> stephe on the road to financial ruin? and if so, which side are they driving on? then protesters try to shut down
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wall street, though if they give them the time, wall street might do it for them. and my guest daniel yergin has a new book about the future of energy. i hope we fuel our factories by burning books. [laughter] the federal reserve wants to stimulate the economy. well then ben bernanke's going to have to show a little leg. this is "the colbert report." captioning sponsored by comedy central [theme music playing] [cheering and applause] >> stephen: welcome to "the report," everybody. good to have you with us. thank you very much. folks, thank you so much. please. folks, you know, you may remember, after i launched my summer concert series, steve
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fest '11 back in june, everybody said there was no way my show could get any more digital to the power of 23 skidoo. well, be prepared to eat those words anyone who said those words because next monday, september 26th, i will be doing an exclusive special broadcast with rock legends the radioheads. i'm sorry. what? what? radiohead? okay. evidently only one of them will be coming. [laughter] anyway, hipsters, i will give you a second to mop up your blown minds because there will be multiple performances, interviews with the band, and for the first time in five years, my staff will stick around. they'll watch the taping. the whole night will be sponsored by the first name in indy cred, dr. pepper. long history with rock music for dr. pepper. of course, he started out as
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sergeant pepper before eventually earning his ph.d. in flavorrology. so hipster nation, be sure to tune in monday night. it will be our first-ever hour-long episode of "the report," and signs it's twice as long, i will, of course, be paid twice as much. [cheering and applause] i'm sorry. i'm being told i will be paid the same amount. then it will be the last-ever hour-long episode. and once the radiohead gets here, he might never go back to england because the e.u. is on the verge of collapse. >> the european union itself is falling apart and fast. >> the great weakness is obviously governments like greece, if they were to default, you would have collapse of the currency and a lot of problems. >> if the euro collapses, europe collapses. >> stephen: and if europe clanses, where will college students spend a semester abroad
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to learn how to throw up sangria in spanish? now, the collapse is imminent because once again greece is in danger of defaulting on their debt. and to save themselves, they have only two options. a, the prime minister can turn greece's creditors to stone by using medusa's head. or, b, greece can convince the other european countries that they're getting their financial house in order, but to do that, someone in greece may have to do the unthinkable -- get a job. [laughter] let me explain, greeks. a job is when you provide a service in exchange for something called money. ask italy. wait, don't ask italy. now, the european central bank could solve this problem by printing lots of money, but germany doesn't want to because after world war one, they printed so much currency that inflation exploded and just to
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buy a left of bread, people had to fill a wheelbarrow with money. ironically, the price of a wheelbarrow was an ox cart full of bread. [laughter] flg this economic chaos brought about the rise of the nazi party, so basically germany is saying to the rest of europe, we're mild-mannered bruce banner now, but if we're exposed to the gamma rays of inflation, we could become fascist hulks. [laughter] don't make me hitler. you wouldn't like me when i'm hitler. and for some reason poland takes germany's "we might become nazis" thing pretty seriously. their finance minister said this crisis could lead the war in ten to 20 years. ten to 20 years. and that's in celsius. folks, europe has been torn apart by war so many times, and for it to happen again would be
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so wonderful. because world war ii is what got america out of the great depression. u.s. manufacturing soared, unemployment plunged, and tonguing strangers in times square reached record highs, but ten to 20 years i believe is too long the wait, so let me just prime the pump a little bit. everyone knows the fastest way to start a european war is to piss off the krauts. so let's give them a real it can in the schnitzels. hey, germany, belgian's european affairs official says you lack solidarity and shouldn't be telling other nations what to do, adding, "i bet you don't even have the balls to invade us again." and hey, deutschland, england's former prime minister gordon brown said, "it is also time for germany to acknowledge it must be integral to solving the problem because it has been integral to the problem itself."
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slam. super call fragilist your country is atrocious. germany, you just got your ass served to you, and in england that's a breakfast meat. and brace yourself, father land, italian prime minister silvio berlusconi was overheard saying, and this is an actual quote, that german chancellor angela merkel is an "[bleeped] lard ass." and that, that is from a guy who would have sex with a four-slot toaster if it were under 18. so let the war-fueled recovery begin. dig up the andrews sisters, lock up the japanese and start hoarding tin because this is the only answer to america's financial worries. here to provide some other
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answers to america's financial worries, please welcome global editor-at-large for reuters kristia freemen. thank you so much. all right. are the polish guys right that if europe crumbles we could see war in ten to 20 years? >> war is probably not my biggest fear. >> stephen: really? what frightens you more than war. you are very tough. >> my biggest fear about yiewch today, it's not the most likely thing, but i think this is a huge crisis. i think this is potentially bigger than lehman in 2008, because the danger isn't just the run on the banks, which is what you had in the u.s., it's a run on countries, and you could have the dominoes fall. it started in greece, and now it's moved to italy and spain, which are really big countries. >> stephen: if you have a run on a country, you can't foreclose on a country. >> you can't foreclose on a
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country, but if, for example, there is a disorderly default in greece and people... and the greek banks all fail, you could have people in italy and spain saying, oh, my god, we're going to be next, pull all their money out of the banks of italy and spain, and you could have a real economic collapse. >> stephen: kissinger once famously said, "if i want to call europe, who do i call?" who is europe right now. >> that is the whole problem. and unfortunately europe doesn't have anyone in charge. europe has a single currency but i doesn't have a single political leadership. >> stephen: germany's wanted to be in charge a couple of times. >> but now they don't feel that would be such a good idea, and the problem is the rest of the europeans are saying, especially the weak ones, like greece, like italy, like spain, you know what, germans, you're going to have to bail us out if you want this hoe to stay on the road. >> stephen: are they going to do it? >> at the end of the day i think the germans will.
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>> stephen: is it a problem that right now in germany it's oktoberfest time? are they going to wake up a month from now and say wait, we bailed out who? >> angela merkel doesn't strike me as particularly an oktoberfest type of girl, so that's not on my list. but remember how traumatic 2008 was and how much the... >> stephen: obama won. >> americans on main street hated bailing out wall street. the european problem is even more extreme is because what you're asking regular germans to do is bail out bankers who aren't even their own. they're going to have to bail out other country's bankers. >> stephen: why should i in the united states care what happens to europe? >> there are three big economies in the world, u.s., europe, asia, with china and japan mostly. if you have one of those biggies, europe, get really weak, and if you had a collapse of the euro, people are talking about contraction of g.d.p. in
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some countries of 40% to 50% in europe, not 2% to 3%, 40% to 50% in the peripheral countries. 25% in the core ones. you would see the u.s. economy shift into a really severe recession. >> stephen: why didn't the euro work? five words or less. >> you've said it already. if i want to call europe, who do i call? they had a single currency, a single central banker, but no single political authority. it doesn't really work. >> stephen: they're not a united states of europe. >> they are not. and some people have thought all along that the secret german scheme was they wanted to get to a united states of europe, but that was politically controversial, so start with currency union and eventually you'll get to political union. that may happen. >> stephen: people really thought that was a conspiracy by germany? like there are a bunch of germans up in the alps going, "this time we do it with currency manipulation." >> there are a lot of... there
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are a lot of political leaders who think that would be a good idea. and because the political union right away wasn't possible, currency union seemed like a good first step. now, the irony of the situation is in order to fix, get through the current crisis, i think that what is likely is they're going to have closer political union of the core euro states. it's the only way they'll get through this. >> stephen: is england in the euro? >> no. >> stephen: if europe goes down, is england ?aiftd >> i think they are because their economy is closely tied to the european economy. the city of london is very, very closely tied to the european economy. a weak europe is bad for england. having said that, the brits, who took a lot of flack for other europeans for not joining the euro are saying, we told you so, this common currency was not such a great idea. >> stephen: but they said it in such a charming accent. thank you so much for joining me. >> pleasure. >> stephen:kr
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>> stephen: welcome back, everybody. thanks very much. nation, all week wall street has
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been under siege by a protest called "occupy wall street," a self-described leaderless resistance movement which intends to occupy wall street for months. because if there's one thing new yorkers never ignore, it's people sleeping in a park. the protest started on the web site ad busters, which declares "once there we shall incessantly repeat our one simple demand until barack obama capitulates." and what is their one simple demand? well, in a blog post entitled "hey, president obama, get ready for our one demand," they state, "we will beat our drums, chant our slogans and then we'll get down to business and hold several people's assemblies to decide what our one demand will be." i predict the people's assembly will demand the hacky sack belong to everyone in the hemp fiber universe. so today i sent a camera crew to film the fabulous furry freak show and find out just what these moon units are demanding through their clouds of bong smoke.
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jimmy, tear me off a piece of mindless hippie argle-bargle. >> we want political money to be clean money. we don't want corporations donating huge amounts of money to politicians then when they get elected enacting the will of those corporations. >> stephen: no, jimmy, crazy stuff, drug-addled commune dwellers who don't know politics from patchouli. >> in order for the people in the united states to have an adequate voice, we need to make sure it's not being drowned out by the fact that we don't necessarily have millions of dollars to contribute to a candidate. >> stephen: he makes a good point. obviously everyone... no, god dammit. jimmy, i want a liberal, some nut job in a burlap sack with a squirrel hat and goggles that does performance art and puppet shows in the subway. >> i guess one reason i do performance art, puppet shows in the subway and on the streets, is because i don't really have any hope at all for the future
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of the world. >> stephen: liberals. they should be arrested. luckily they are because on saturday police booked a 28-year-old man for loitering and wearing a mask. it turns out new york has a law passed in 1845 banning masked gatherings. as it should, folks, people in masks should not be on wall street. lessons for one of those "eyes wide shut" sex parties. now why do these people have masks on in the first place? i want to know, what are they hiding? because a mask is just a lie you wear on your face. that's what my mother always said. which is why every halloween i went dressed as a sad boy. we'll be right back. [cheering and applause] [ dog barks ]
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[ kid ] dad? who is honus...wagner? no idea. let me see that. that's a honus wagner autograph... the hall of famer? look at this ball! yeah, found that at a yard sale. i thought pickles would like it. [ dog barks ] that a new car jerry? yeah...
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>> stephen: welcome back, everybody. my guest tonight believes 50 years from now we'll all be using solar power. polar bears, how long can you tread water? please welcome daniel yergin. [cheering and applause]
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hey, mr. yergin. thanks so much for coming on. all right, sir, you're one of the most influential voices in the world of energy, and your new book is "the quest: energy security and the remaking of the modern world." okay. will we remake the modern world with new fuels or new forms because there's plenty of oil out there, isn't there? >> well, there is oil. we're not running out of oil. people talk about peak oil and say it's going to run out, but in fact we've run out of oil at least five times. the first time is the 1880s. now here we are in the 21st century. >> stephen: there's plenty of oil. why would we change the game? if it ain't broke, don't fix it. >> because what's happening in the rest of the world, one tends to just think about the united states. >> i do. >> i know you do, but you have the look beyond our borders.
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if you look at the country of china, that's where demand is really growing inch this country our demand for oil is actually going to go down because we have more efficient cars and the population is aging, a whole bunch of reasons. >> stephen: if our demand for oil is going down and there is a lot of oil in the world, right, there's a lot of oil out there. >> there's a lot of oil. >> stephen: why is it so expensive in >> because the cost of developing it have gone up, and also because you have this whole new demand. in 2004, the general view was oil would be $20 a barrel forever. now we see it's around $100 a barrel. >> stephen: so we'll never get back to $1 gasoline. i used to love that. hose each other down. >> if you correct it for inflation you'd find that $1 gasoline is not a lot chapper than gasoline prices today, but we are around $3.60. but there... the world is... energy demand will grow 30% or 40%.
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we're going the need oil, but we're also going to need all these other energy sources, some of which are new. is it going to be wind? >> wind was kind of a freaky thing in the 1980s. today it's kind of a conventional part of the electricity supply now. >> but eventually we could run out of wind, or it would slow the planet down. >> well, we have... >> pin wheels are like brakes. they're lying putting your hand out the car window. eventually it stops the car. >> i haven't heard much about peak win, but there is that threat we have to worry about. the other thing longer term is solar power. >> stephen: really? solar power, isn't that just hippy dippy dreaming? solar power? jimmy carter put in solar panels in the white house and reagan had them ripped out immediately, which was clearly the right thing to do. >> let's put it this way, it's a very long lead time. solar power really began when albert einstein in his spare time in 1905 wrote a paper that he got a nobel prize for about
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describing it. it took the 1950s to start turning into a technology and putting i on satellite. by the 1980s, people growing marijuana were using it as a way to disconnect from the electric power system oso no one would know they were using electricity. now it's another growing industry. still small. >> stephen: so you admit solar power is a dope dream. [laughter] >> in the 1980s it was very popular for... >> stephen: but how are we going to get all this done? who is going to drill for that? >> fortunately the sun normally rises in the morning and we'll be able to... >> stephen: for now. what about fracking? i hear a lot about fracking. some people are very upset about shooting high-pressure hot water and chemicals into the ground and exploding rocks. >> well, this has actually been used since 194, and some of the
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gasoline that you're putting in your car as a result of people using fracking. it's now being used... you know, shale gas is a big thing that's developed. >> stephen: people get upset because in the areas where they drill, sometimes the water turns flammable. but these days mostly we brush our teeth with mountain dew anyway, so it doesn't really matter. >> let's get the whole picturement i'm on a commission for president obama that was specifically charged to look at these environmental questions around shale gas. and we came to the conclusion there are issues that have to be managed about water and about air. it has to be done in an environmentally proper way. also in terms of community impact. so with that said, these are all manageable, and the other side is that we would be... it's now 30% of our natural gas is from shale gas. we would be importing huge amounts of natural gas from countries in the middle east and nigeria and angola and tens and tens of billions of dollars, an we're creating a lot of jobs.
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so if it's done in the right way, it's a tremendous resource for this country and makes us stronger. >> stephen: so my take away from this is we are not running out of oil, right? >> right. >> stephen: and based upon your 800-page book, i guess we're not running out of trees either. [applause] >> wait. first of all... no, no, e-book, embook. >> stephen: sir, we have reached peak interview. thank you so much, daniel yergin. the book is "the quest." we'll be right back.
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