Some Other Planet

Falling through the universe at the speed of life

By David Glenn Cox

Many years ago, calculations were done on an “adding” machine. Ponderous heavy devices with a handle on the side to crank out calculations.  A heavy piece of machinery costing hundreds of dollars for use by accountants, tax preparers and banks. An entire industry with distributors and dealers and parts suppliers wiped out overnight by the invention of the pocket calculator. At no time did anyone try and save the adding machine business. The future was too obvious.

Joe Manchin says he has serious concerns about the infrastructure bill because it doesn’t do enough to promote fossil fuels. I get it; he’s from coal country and wants to promote the use of adding machines. But if you take all the world’s energy sources outside of oily rags and burning toxic waste, coal is the dirtiest fuel source on planet Earth.  Whether I like it, or Joe likes it there is one thing that is certain…coal is dead. Unless they come up with a new use for coal as a salad dressing or a decoration it’s over. It is the sadness of the aging sports super star no longer able to catch up with the fastball and unwilling to admit the truth.

Manchin’s hesitance boils down to I won’t do anything good for you, unless you help me do something good for me, but bad for everybody. In the 1950s the apocalyptic movies at the drive in, always had that scene with floods, forest fires, earthquakes, and storms. It’s daytime Joe, look out the window. Forest fires, droughts, floods and this ain’t no movie Joe. The National Weather Service predicts a record number of tropical storms/ hurricanes but sure, why not? Let’s promote coal! Let’s forget all about the future and just pretend it’s 1953!

The interest of a senator must always be with the home team but what if the home team is peddling death? What if a Florida Senator was complaining the DEA was hampering cocaine sales? Or Republicans were pushing a big election lie with no basis if fact. Disruptive, destructive, and destabilizing, we don’t care about anyone, we want what we want and fuck you! We don’t care that this is poison! We represent people with a huge financial stake in selling poison. You don’t think mine owners will take the loss, do you? They will lock the gates and abandon the people of West Virgina, and the other 49 states will get Bupkis. Because Joe doesn’t think we are being fair to our existential crisis.

I don’t know which worse West Virginia, not seeing the handwriting on the wall about coal thirty years ago. Or us for not realizing that you were so blind. This can’t have come as a surprise to you, Joe, the use of coal has been in decline for years. The Japanese began investing in solar power in the 1970s they saw the future. They didn’t have an entrenched lobby telling them to stick with coal. Coal is cheap and easy, and you don’t need no fancy education to mine coal and that’s a good thing, cause there ain’t one around. In Lownes County, Alabama, GE built a plastics plant and not one resident from Lownes County could pass the math portion of the application.

Lack of education promotes lack of work. Lack of work finances poor education and repeat. With the caveat that anyone who gets, an education immediately leaves the area. Those who can leave the area have left, and the rest make for a docile workforce. Subsidized with Federal dollars to provide subsistence to the unneeded workers. Sounds like a good place for an Amazon warehouse or Walmart. Not good wages but good for the area. If I have a dollar and you have two dollars, you’re rich. If I have a dollar and you have billions of dollars, you’re rich. The world looks different from the wrong end of the telescope you can’t quite make it out. Some how financial interest conflicts with common sense.

A US Senator in the year 2021 wants to promote coal over life on Earth. It would be funny if I didn’t live here. Some scientists speculate that we have already reached the tipping point environmentally. I suspect that’s true because every new report always thinks it worse than they thought it was in the last report. Headlines you will never see, “Earth’s Climate Doing Much Better” details at eleven. Just another in the cornucopia of capitalist illogical fallacies. “Drink Responsibly!” If you drank responsibly, you probably wouldn’t drink at all. “All-natural farm raised chicken” where else would you raise them, the suburbs?

This language that somehow, we can promote the environment and the greatest enemy to the environment for the benefit of the few at the expense of the many. Let’s get out the adding machine and see how many building inspections versus how many dead grandmas? How many hydrocarbons in the air and how many coins in the bank. We aren’t talking about building a bridge or tax abatement but life on earth. One of my favorite canards is mineral exports (Export Jobs particularly important.) as if the hydrocarbons will be released on some other planet.

“So, in the end, above ground you must have the Haves, pursuing pleasure and comfort and beauty, and below ground the Have-nots, the Workers getting continually adapted to the conditions of their labour. Once they were there, they would no doubt have to pay rent, and not a little of it, for the ventilation of their caverns; and if they refused, they would starve or be suffocated for arrears. Such of them as were so constituted as to be miserable and rebellious would die; and, in the end, the balance being permanent, the survivors would become as well adapted to the conditions of underground life, and as happy in their way, as the Upper-world people were to theirs.”
― H.G. Wells, 

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