Mr. Peabody Hauls It Away

Paradise – John Prine 1980 (stereo)

Peabody Coal’s machinations led to the so-called Navajo Hopi Land Dispute. Alleged puppet governments of Washington and of Peabody Coal are just stooges and do not represent the authentic wishes of the Navajo Nation, it is claimed. (Background: Hopi Elders Issue Warning, Ersjdamoo’s Blog, August 18, 2015.)

Peabody Coal… Where had I heard that name before?

It was in an old song by John Prine, one I’d hummed along to dozens of times. His song, “Paradise”, was released in 1971. It has since been covered by John Denver, Jimmy Buffet, John Fogerty and many others. [1] In the video clip hopefully embedded at top, you can see John Prine singing the song, circa 1980.

And daddy won’t you take me back to Muhlenburg County
Down by the Green River where paradise lay
Well I’m sorry my son, but you’re too late in asking
Mr. Peabody’s coal train has hauled it away.

Muhlenberg County is in Kentucky. John Prine is singing about how he had as a child loved to visit and enjoy this “paradise” but that now “Mr. Peabody’s coal train” has hauled it away. It became common to see machines such as the “Big Brother” Power Shovel extracting coal deposits from the surface. [2] But that, metaphorically, caused “Paradise” to be “hauled away.”

Along the Green River in the former village of Paradise, in Muhlenberg County, Kentucky’s first commercial coal mine opened in 1820. Today, the Paradise Fossil Plant sits close to the original site of the village of Paradise, Kentucky. [3] So you can see there is a double entendre in John Prine’s song, “Paradise.”

Anyway, I had enjoyed the “Paradise” song for years yet only now do I begin to understand it.

In 1922 Secretary of the Interior Albert Bacon Fall ruled that Indian reservations which were created by Presidential Executive Order (as opposed to those created by treaty) were open to oil exploration. In 1923 the federal government unilaterally replaced the traditional Navajo council of elders with a Grand Council composed of government-selected individuals. The puppet Navajo government signed leasing permits with oil companies. [4] The Navajo people have also contended  with the federal government about the cleanup of uranium pollution on their land. [5] So apparently a puppet Navajo government at some point allowed uranium mining at Navajo Nation, an area of 27,600 square miles which spans three States.

Two of the largest coal strip mines in the country were also enabled at Navajo Nation. “In its 30 years of operation, Peabody Coal’s 103-square-mile Black Mesa mine left a toxic legacy along a 273-mile abandoned coal-slurry pipeline, the source of an estimated 325 million tons of climate pollution discharged into the atmosphere. It ceased operations in 2005.” [6]

So “Mr. Peabody’s coal train” had traveled to Navajo Nation. More than 12,000 Navajos were relocated to make way for Peabody’s coal mining. In this regard, we find the name of our old buddy, Senator John McCain, who “was among those responsible for Navajo relocation.” [7]

The “estimated 325 million tons of climate pollution discharged into the atmosphere” via the coal-slurry pipeline at the Black Mesa mine included “over a billion gallons of water.” This negatively affected the aquifer. [8]

Further trouble for the water supply of Navajo Nation occurred in connection with the Gold King Mine spill near Silverton, Colorado of August 5, 2015. Four days after the Gold King Mine spill, yellow-orange sludge streamed into the sacred San Juan River of Navajo Nation. It was at this sad time that John McCain had the bright idea to pay a friendly visit to Navajo Nation and promote a Navajo Code Talker museum. But some of the natives were decidedly unfriendly and McCain abruptly changed his plans. (Background: McCain Chased Off Reservation, Ersjdamoo’s Blog, August 17, 2015.)


One of the conspiracy theories about the Gold King Mine spill – and note I say theory, meaning not yet proven – is that the spill was done on purpose by EPA. “Fox Nation Promotes Absurd Conspiracy Theory That EPA ‘Foul[ed] Up’ Animas River ‘On Purpose'” reported Media Matters on August 14, 2015. A “letter to the editor” had reportedly predicted the spill a week before it happened. “The letter detailed verbatim, how EPA officials would foul up the Animas River on purpose in order to secure superfund money.” [9]

Tracking down solid information on all this – Peabody Coal, Navajo Nation, John McCain, Gold King Mine spill, etc. – is made difficult by what Abby Martin called “Weapons of Mass Distraction.” The mainstream media has an attention deficit disorder. They keep hopping about from place to place and this promotes a like attention deficit disorder amongst the public. Important things happen, but then distractions get broadsided at us and relatively trivial matters become the focus. What is the deeper story on Gold King Mine? How safe is the water? Sorry, my friend, but “Mr. Peabody’s coal train” has hauled that one away.

——- Sources ——-
[1] “Peabody Energy Asks Judge to Strike Lyrics of John Prine Song From Federal Lawsuit”, by Donna Lisenby. EcoWatch, July 9, 2015.
[2] “Muhlenberg County, Kentucky”, Wikipedia, August 18, 2015.
[3] “Muhlenberg County’s Rich History of Coal”, Muhlenberg Alliance For Progress.
[4] “The Navajo and Oil in the 1920s”, by Ojibwa. Native American Netroots, February 14, 2012.
[5] “Animas River spill: Navajo Nation angry at EPA”, by Jesse Paul. The Denver Post (online), August 17, 2015.
[6] “Why are the feds harassing Navajo shepherds?”, by Shannon Speed and Hallie Boas. Al-Jazeera, December 27, 2014.
[7] “Hopi and Navajo delegation warned Lehman Brothers”, by Brenda Norrell, UN OBSERVER & International Report.
[8] “Black Mesa”, SourceWatch, August 18, 2015.
[9] “Fox Nation Promotes Absurd Conspiracy Theory That EPA ‘Foul[ed] Up’ Animas River ‘On Purpose'”, by Kevin Kalhoefer. Media Matters, August 14, 2015.


About ersjdamoo

Editor of Conspiracy Nation, later renamed Melchizedek Communique. Close associate of the late Sherman H. Skolnick. Jack of all trades, master of none. Sagittarius, with Sagittarius rising. I'm not a bum, I'm a philosopher.
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