West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin just cooked the planet. I don’t mean that in a metaphorical sense. I mean that literally. Unless Manchin changes his negotiating position dramatically soon, he will be remembered as the man who, when the moment of decision came, chose to condemn virtually every living creature on Earth to a hellish future of suffering, hardship, and death. Quite a legacy. But he has earned it.   Jeff Goodell, Rolling Stone Magazine

I don’t have much to add about the despicable Joe Manchin and his family’s ties to the coal industry and other extraction industries that haven’t already been discussed on this site or other reality-based sites. Except for the mainstream media, they have an aversion to reporting the truth on what is going on right under everybody’s nose.

Did you know I am unable to find the video of Ari Natter from Bloomberg being threatened by Joe Manchin for raising questions about his family’s ties to coal? Now that is news; news that isn’t being reported by very many media outlets.

As I mentioned no video, but thanks to the Twitter machine, here is the transcript.

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MANCHIN: “I’ve been in a blind trust for 20 years, I have no idea what they’re doing.
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Ari: You’re still getting dividends.
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MANCHIN: “You got a problem?”
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He will continue to threaten the global fight against climate change because he makes lots of moolah off the destruction of the natural world and is demented enough to only care about his financial interests.

Climate groups are trying to press the media to tell the true story of what is motivating Joe, and it isn’t that he is a “moderate” concerned about deficits. Do your jobs!

Am I angry? You betcha.

Bill McKibben writes in his blog The Crucial Years Project. 

First, let’s be clear about one thing: Joe Manchin does not care about West Virginia’s coal miners. He obviously possesses sufficient leverage in the ongoing Capitol Hill negotiations that, if he wanted to, he could insure that the state’s remaining 15,000 coal miners all got yachts like his. He could make sure that every coal community in the state had health clinics, libraries, swimming pools, vocational high schools, community college branches. Hell, at this point Joe Biden would happily consent to plumbing the Monangahela River so that it ran as whiskey three hours a day and Coca-Cola on weekends.

But Joe Manchin is actually doing the work of the fossil fuel industry, which has given him more money than any other person in Washington (no easy feat, considering the scale of their largesse). That became indisputably clear yesterday when Politico obtained the memo he’d given Majority Leader Schumer over the summer, stipulating his Scrooge-ish conditions for doing anything about the climate crisis and all the other crises besetting America.

With regard to energy, he made one basic demand, which follow the industry’s line to a T. And it only took five words: “Spending on innovation, not elimination.” In other words: it is permissible to spend money on solar panels, windmills and so on, as long as none of it is aimed at actually reducing the amount of oil and gas we pump. As he put it, all policy had to be “fuel neutral.” He said, explicitly, if you’re going to give tax credits for clean and energy, you have to continue the tax subsidies for fossil fuels. Any credits for electric cars must also go to hydrogen-powered cars—because using natural gas to create hydrogen is one of the industry’s Rube Goldberg schemes for holding on to its business model.

Emphasis mine. Can anyone decipher Schumer’s scribble btw?

Manchin voted for 9.1 trillion dollars over his ten years in the Senate for the military-industrial complex. His concerns about the spending of 3.5 trillion over ten years to save the Earth and social nets desperately needed by the American people is bullshit.

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From Jeff Goodell in Rolling Stone on Manchin and the people he represents in West Virginia:

Coal mining put food on the table for generations of workers. But it mostly funneled money to the coal barons who owned and controlled the mines. In the past 150 years or so, billions of tons of coal have been mined and blasted out of West Virginia. If fossil fuels brought wealth and justice and prosperity, West Virginia would have streets paved with gold. Instead, it is a landscape of heartbreak and toil. According to data from the West Virginia Center on Budget & Policy, the state’s poverty rate of 16 percent is the sixth highest among the 50 states. It has the second lowest median household income in the nation. And nearly a third of all children in West Virginia live in a family that is either not getting enough to eat or is behind on housing payments. The state leads the nation in population decline, with young West Virginians fleeing to build lives elsewhere. You hear jokes about how people have overtaken coal as West Virginia’s top export.

The environmental legacy of Big Coal in West Virginia is equally toxic. Abandoned mines and thousands of uncapped oil and gas wells pollute local air and water. Mountaintop removal, a mining practice that involves deforesting mountain peaks and then blasting them apart to get at coal underneath, has turned large parts of the state into a moonscape.

Many West Virginians are done with coal and want a different future. A June poll by Data for Progress and the Chesapeake Climate Action Fund found that a clear majority of West Virginians, 56 percent, support a clean electricity transition by 2035, while only 36 percent oppose such a transition.

But Manchin himself is a man from the past. One of the tragedies here, not just for the people of West Virginia, but for the future of life on this planet, is that Manchin could have played this moment differently. With the leverage he has in the negotiations, he could have demanded massive investments in clean energy and social programs for West Virginia. He could have used it as a moment to ensure prosperity for his state and stability for our climate. He could have been a hero. Instead, he is a man out of time, selfish and sentimental and determined to take everyone down with him.

Thanks for reading this diary. It was a special request from a good friend. With visibility, perhaps reporters will be so ashamed that they will stop lionizing Manchin and Sinema. FFS.


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The Years Project interviews Alex Kotch, who detailed Manchin’s financial conflicts with the fossil fuel industry in a Guardian piece. It is scathing.

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