The Swamp, a Cesspool of All the Deadly Sins

By Bill Clutter

Fifty years ago, on the first Earth Day, government scientist J. Murray Mitchell, of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), issued a dire prediction. He warned that carbon emissions from burning fossil fuels was heating up the atmosphere, which if left unmitigated, would eventually melt away the polar ice caps.

We are already witnessing before our very eyes the devastating consequences. Global warming, like the COVID-19 virus, is no “hoax.”

Since 1890, each winter the Netherlands have been hosting the famous speed skating race, the Elfstedentocht. For more than a century, athletes have raced along 125-miles of frozen Dutch canals, through 11 cities in the Netherlands. But because of global warming, 1997 was the last year that race was held.

(Courtesy Nationaal Archief)

Just as Mitchell predicted 50 years ago, the polar ice caps have been melting away, raising the sea level. If nothing is done to stop global warming, the polar bear will disappear, along with so many other species. With rising sea levels, large areas of land along the Mississippi Delta that was once Louisiana now belong to the Gulf of Mexico. If nothing is done to stop global warming, the polar bear will soon disappear into extinction, along with so many other species.

“Mankind is in danger of destroying ourselves by our greed and stupidity,” warned Stephen Hawking, before his death. Perhaps the most renowned scientist since Albert Einstein, Hawking explained, “More than 80 percent of urban areas are exposed to unsafe levels of air pollution.” He asked, “Will we be too late to avoid dangerous levels of global warming?”

Catastrophic climate change has already altered life on earth. Each year, severe droughts and forest fires unlike anything we’ve seen before are burning vast swaths of forests, all over the world. Scientists fear if we do nothing, in a few generations, the Earth’s temperature will become unlivable for humans to survive.

(Credit: Kevin Frayer/Getty Images)

Electricity generated from burning coal is the main culprit in causing greenhouse gases that are warming our planet, along with carbon emissions from the exhaust of gasoline-fueled vehicles.

Today, it is the fossil fuel industry (which the antagonist of this story, CIPS, was a part of) who wield enormous wealth and political power, like the railroads once did, corrupting politicians and our political system. They employ legions of lobbyists to influence government decisions and contribute enormous amounts of money to politicians who seem to bend to their will. They have successfully fought with all their might to oppose any politician who would dare jeopardize their means of making wealth.

We still cling to an economy that is dependent on a transportation network that guzzles gasoline and exposes people to carcinogens each time they stand under the nozzle, as benzene volatizes.

The electric grid distribution system still depends on coal-fired power plants transmitting electricity the same inefficient way when Central Illinois Public Service Company began generating electricity from coal over utility poles coated with creosote.

America, once a world leader, is going backwards, while the rest of the world is moving rapidly forward toward renewable and innovative sources of energy.

In an effort to hinder the development of renewable energy, President Trump told his followers in a speech to the National Republican Congressional Committee in 2019 that wind farms cause cancer. Not long after that, at a campaign rally in Cincinnati in August of that year, he claimed that his administration’s policies will lead to “curing childhood cancer very shortly.”

And the sad part is, his dwindling base clings to every false word he utters.

The truth is, President Trump’s appointments have placed the agents of oil and coal in charge of the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Energy, the Interior Department, which manages our national parks, and in other key positions of the federal government.

Rolling back environmental protections, as the Trump administration has done, benefits coal utility companies like Ameren CIPS and Duke Energy, and the other corporate polluters, who continue to spew carcinogens into the streams and rivers of our land, and in the air we breathe.

We are exposed to so many carcinogens on a daily basis, albeit, very low levels. These exposures accumulate in the body over time to increase our life-time risk of developing cancer.

The anemometer, invented more than five hundred years ago, measures wind speed, which allows scientists to categorize hurricanes, much like cancer, in stages of severity.

Since 1851, 36 category 5 hurricanes, defined as having wind speeds in excess of 157 miles per hour, have been measured in the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico. In the last two decades of the new millennium, there have been 14 category 5 hurricanes, the energy of these storms fueled by global warming.

Katrina, which breached the levees in New Orleans in 2005, was the most destructive hurricane in recent U.S. history, causing a loss of property valued at $108 billion and killing 1,836 people. There were 4 category 5 hurricanes in 2005 alone.

(Eric Gay/AP)

In 2017, there were 3 category 5 hurricanes and two more the following year, in 2018. That year, Maria devastated Puerto Rico, killing far more than Katrina, with 3,059 fatalities and caused $90 billion in property damage, ranking just below Katrina.

As many on the island had their homes flooded out, without power, President Trump visited the U.S. territory and tossed rolls of generic paper towels to the crowd. He told those gathered around him they should feel “very proud” that Maria was not a “real catastrophe” like Katrina.

Like, what were they to do? Mop up the mess with cheap paper towels. Told that the poor had no bread to eat, it was reminiscent of Maria Antoinette's response, "Let them eat cake".

(Doug Mills/New York Times)

Instead of reducing pollution, President Trump had other ideas.

During the hurricane season of 2019, there were two more category 5 hurricanes. As Florida braced for Dorian, with some models predicting it would make landfall near the coastal waters of southern Florida, President Trump came up with an idea. He asked senior advisors at Homeland Security and the National Security Council, “Why don’t we nuke them?”

Unconcerned about nuclear fallout that would drift over America and cause cancer rates to spike; his only concern was himself, saving Mar a Lago.

The Seven Deadly Sins--pride, lust; envy; wrath; sloth; gluttony; and greed--can all be found at Mar a Lago, where members of Donald Trump's country club and golf resort worship at his alter of gold. The place where his friend, child predator, Jeffrey Epstein, conspired with other unindicated co-conspirators, in seducing young vulnerable children into prostitution with rich, powerful men.[1]

The average elevation of Florida is just 6 feet above sea level. Much of its current coastline will be underwater if we do nothing to reverse global warming. As the glaciers and polar ice caps melt away, there is nothing Donald Trump can do, despite being the most powerful man on earth, to prevent Mother Nature from taking his prized possession and turning it into a swamp, filled with alligators.

No military might can stop the wrath of Mother Nature. Donald Trump’s fate at the polls in 2020 will be determined not by Russian trolls on social media that influenced voters in 2016, but by Mother Nature. She has deafened his boasts of economic prosperity, as millions of workers have lost their jobs because of the Corona virus, and stripped him bare for the world to see his greed and indifference for human life revealed.

There is a reason Donald Trump implores his followers to ignore the warnings of his own CDC, intentionally “downplaying” this virus; because his core businesses, the Trump empire, makes its money in the hospitality industry, an industry hurt most of all by the public health restrictions.

He would rather promote “herd immunity”, letting the virus spread through the entire population, and himself, rather than sacrifice the profits of his empire. With a 3% kill rate, nearly 10 million Americans will die from this strategy, proving that greed is the most lethal of all the Seven Deadly Sins.

This is an excerpt of from the epilogue of his book COAL TAR: How Corrupt Politics and Corporate Greed Are Killing US with Cancer.

[1] In 2016, Donald Trump was named, along with Epstein, as a co-defendant in a civil lawsuit filed by one of the child victims. The lawsuit was dismissed, begging the question, was there an undisclosed settlement made in exchange for a non-disclosure agreement?

"This is a classic story with very good good-guys and very bad bad-guys, a tale of corporate greed, lethal pollution and sick children and the heroic people who fought to make things right. A wonderful read.”

--Scott Turow

FREE TO TEACHERS AND STUDENTS: The author will make a digital version available free of charge to any teacher or student who wants to use the story for classroom use. Those interested should send an email with the word EDUCATION in the subject line to

To pre-order copies of the book go to: Release date scheduled for September 2020. Copyright © 2020 by Bill Clutter Published by Investigating Innocence Media | Springfield, Illinois. Cover and book design by Polly Danforth | Morning Star Design

About The Author

Louisville Private investigator Bill Clutter started his career in Springfield, Illinois. By the time the lawsuit went to trial, seven children from Taylorville were diagnosed with neuroblastoma, four would die. A jury returned a verdict in favor of the families against CIPS. The Illinois Supreme Court upheld that verdict in 2002. After Clutter narrowly lost the senate race, his investigation helped free three innocent men from death row and he went on to start in 2001 what is now the Illinois Innocence Project. He was credited, among others, by Chicago Tribune columnist Eric Zorn when Illinois abolished the death penalty in 2011. He moved to Louisville in 2013 to continue work on capital cases and started a national organization called Investigating Innocence, which help free three people, David Camm, from Indiana; Curt Lovelace, a former state prosecutor from Illinois, who was team captain of the Fighting Illini football team that won the Citrus Bowl in 1990; and Rodney Lincoln from Missouri, who spent 36 years in prison.

HOW TO GET A COPY OF THE BOOK: The paperback edition will be released in time for Christmas 2020. Before the book is released to the public, the author will send a digital version of the book to those who make a tax-deductible donation of $25 or more to help Investigating Innocence free more people from prison. Go to