There’s a hole in daddy’s arm where all the money goes: fracking as heroin

Dahr Jamail’s excellent piece on Truthout, Could COVID-19 Spell the End of the Fracking Industry as we Know It? connects a couple important dots. Of course coronavirus is one of them. Rightfully so, it seems for anyone capable of thinking in systems, this tragic and deadly pandemic continues to reveal so many fatal flaws within our failing structures and systems of power. The other dot, is one that all of us concerned about the climate emergency think a lot about– fracking. Jamail, a real all-star in the field of climate journalism, lays out how the fracking industry was always dependent on Wall Street borrowing and how it always dumped the “costs” onto others, from backyards to future generations.

He lays out a spot-on analysis of fatal dependency– connecting Wall Street, the fracking companies, state budgets, vital social programs– and caps his piece by quoting one of the world’s top experts on energy finance:

“The coronavirus is an ideal opportunity for Russia and Saudi Arabia to do what is in their economic interest and also within their power — bury the U.S. oil and gas industry involved in fracking once and for all.”

When we should be investing heavily in renewables (and not just installed capacity, but also developing supply chains domestically for good jobs and reliability), our federal government, brazenly, in broad daylight in the coronavirus bailout bill, continues to dump billions of dollars into the fracking industry that was about to flatline anyway. That’s insane and it’s theft. That’s the hole in daddy’s arm where all the money goes. Thank you John Prine [1], one of the greatest Americana singer/songwriters for giving us the words to describe what the hell our “leaders” are doing to squander our national wealth and a livable planet. They’re shooting heroin. [it was morphine in Prine’s lyrics]


[1] UPDATE: RIP John Prine, one of the greats! John Prine is currently in hospital battling COVID-19 and I got to thinking about this line in the title. Let’s hope he survives to give us more socially relevant insights and songs. Art and story have a way of shining light on everyday tragedies we’ve become so accustomed to tuning out. The line “there’s a hole in daddy’s arm where all the money goes” comes from a song he wrote shortly after coming home from the war, “Sam Stone.” Out of love and respect for Prine and all the “Sam Stones” out there, I have to say that the fracking industry is no tragic, disenfranchised character. Sam Stone returned from the Vietnam war a forgotten and troubled soul. Fracking industry fat cats deserve NO sympathy whatsoever, nor do the politicians who enable them.

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