(Photo courtesy wabash blogs dot edu)
MUNCIE, Indiana – Last week, we sent a letter to Congressman Luke Messer, who consistently sides with conservative propaganda in this state from the anti-Affordable Care Act through promoting Keystone XL Pipeline as a jobs program. If you want to know how he’ll vote, watch ALEC and the Koch brothers – whatever they want, Luke will vote accordingly.
Much like Senator Dan Coats, if it’s good for business, then it’s good for Hoosiers. They’re not alone. Recently, the Indiana Chamber of Commerce shared this with Michael Reschke at the Herald-Times, an Indiana reporter who spent no time researching the facts:
Information provided by the chamber shows Indiana falling from being one of the top 15 states for cheap electricity in 2005 to 27th today. The chamber blames federal regulations as the reason for the increasing prices and doesn’t believe the benefit of the new regulations will outweigh the cost.
There are no benefits to breathing clean air? Has he read the World Banks assessment or IEA? Has he read the American Lung Association report? Has he read anything on climate change? Does he remember how our crops literally dried up in the fields two years ago, and then suffered to mature under cool weather last year? Have they read any of the studies linking Infant Mortality to mercury from carbon emissions where Indiana ranks 42nd in the country for dirty air?
Generally speaking, we’d call these people ignorant (not knowing the facts), but these are smart people. They are just relying on corrupted sources. It’s even more embarrassing for a newspaper reporter to simply share their opinion without spending any time researching the facts. We live in the Age of Information, so the only excuse is laziness.
We prefer to inform our readers, so let’s analyze what Luke has to say and apply critical thinking skills.
We shared our articles with him – and this one – and this one – we then asked him to take a leadership role on environmental issues in Indiana, where we rank in the bottom quintile, or 42nd, as the dirtiest state in the union. The American Lung Society gave us a failing grade on air quality primarily because of our dependence on coal-producing energy. Indiana still relies on dirty coal for 85% of our energy needs, even though the EPA and other regulatory bodies around the world have told us for two decades we need to change this reliance because of its negative impact to our global environment.
As the Indiana Chamber representative mentioned, “Indiana is falling from being one of the top 15 states for cheap electricity in 2005 to 27th today.” So, even when we’ve dumped all this toxic air on Hoosiers which makes us sick, we’ve lost our competitive edge. As opposed to leveraging investments in clean alternative energy sources which will have a meaningful impact on the air we breath, create new jobs, and will bring down the future cost of energy, we should just do away with regulations, or loosen them?
Now you know why republican thinking is bad for our health and our pocketbooks.
Republicans have worked diligently to obstruct attempts to force power companies to broaden their energy portfolios for over 20 years. We still rely on dirty coal and we still rank in the bottom ten most polluted states. So, even though you manage to keep your surrounding air free from toxins by not smoking or spraying chemicals in and around your home, we’re getting sick because our republican lawmakers have allowed industry to spread toxic chemicals in the air we breath.
Luke Messer opposes President Obama’s EPA carbon emissions requirement. He prefers an “all the above” approach toward energy policy. This stance means nothing. He lives in a state that is 85% dependent on coal – this doesn’t even resemble an “all the above” portfolio. It’s typical conservative rhetoric to pacify ill-informed journalists with corporate owned media interests and is used as a “talking point” with Fox news hosts – it’s empty rhetoric.
Let’s look at his main objection from his letter:
These new EPA rules are bad for the economy and will not have the positive environmental impact for which they are being promised. According to an analysis by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the proposed regulation will put a quarter million Americans out of work and increase electricity costs by more than $289 billion. For the average Hoosier, these changes will mean a $200 a year reduction in expendable income.
First off, he’s a republican. We’ve had republican leadership in the Governors mansion for nearly two decades. Our personal incomes are stuck in the 1990’s. The BEA just released yesterday, that once again, Indiana is ranked in the bottom quintile, or ranked 42nd, for personal income growth. So, he doesn’t give a shit about our personal income.
Secondly, one of our articles referred to Dr. Jeffrey Sachs’ (Director, Earth Institute at Columbia University) op/ed in the Huffington Post, titled, “The EPA is Right and the U.S. Chamber is Wrong”. Dr. Sachs spelled out simple mathematics to prove the U.S. Chamber is wrong operationally with its analysis. He concludes:
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is wrong, both ethically and operationally. The Chamber’s ethical position is that the U.S. does not have to care about the damages it causes to the rest of the world. This is a special kind of arrogance certainly not unknown in the US corporate sector. “We don’t care about you,” screams the Chamber to the rest of the world. We feel free to wreck your climate at our whim.”
Notice that our U.S. Congressman, Luke Messer, uses an analysis by the U.S. Chamber, to support his position on voting for public policy.
Dr. Sachs says not only is their math and economics wrong, their ideological beliefs are unethical. Meaning, it has no basis and should be rejected morally as well.
Apparently, Rep. Messer didn’t read our articles as he indicated. If looked at closely, the entire republican platform is unethical in Indiana and nationally, so this is no surprise to us.
In all fairness, Rep. Messer did quote the International Energy Agency (IEA) in his response by writing:
“According to the International Energy Agency, the rest of the world will increase its carbon dioxide emissions by more than 6 times the amount by which U.S. emissions will be decreased (referring to India & China). It doesn’t make sense to place ankle-weights on the U.S. economy with the burdensome costs of these regulations when they won’t even have their desired impact.”
This must be a talking point provided by Reince Preibus, Chairman of the Republican Party. We searched and this doesn’t match the current dialogue coming from the IEA. We just received an article from ThinkProgress about a study done by the World Bank stating:
An important new World Bank report concludes that just a few key policies for cutting carbon pollution would boost the global economy. The study “Climate-Smart Development: Adding Up the Benefits of Actions that Help Build Prosperity, End Poverty and Combat Climate Change,” looks at the European Union plus Brazil, China, India, Mexico, and the U.S.
This finding matches that of the recent International Energy Agency (IEA) report, “Energy Technology Perspectives.” The IEA found that an aggressive effort to deploy renewable energy and energy efficiency (and energy storage) to keep global warming below the dangerous threshold of 2°C would be astoundingly cost-effective, “resulting in net savings of $71 trillion” by 2050.
When you’re a coal industry sellout, the only thing you can sell is propaganda to support your paid off stance. You can’t tell people you’re a hack auctioned off to the highest bidder because that won’t get you votes. To steal a line from Dr. Sachs, “He is wrong operationally and morally.”
So what else can Rep. Messer use to refute the facts and figures?
Fear mongering, or the “ace in the hole” for the republican party platform. He tosses a good one:
“We all want a clean environment, but this Administration refuses to balance the benefits of proposed environmental actions with their real-world costs. Making policy in such a vacuüm like this often results in bad policy that hurts the very people you are trying to help.”
The World Bank, the International Energy Agency (his own quoted resource), and one of the most influential economists and climate experts, Jeffrey Sachs, all disagree with him. And, they support it with facts, figures and a rather convincing moral argument. The IEA quote above states, “We’ll save $71 trillion by 2050” – this sounds like a “real benefit”!
What organization does Representative Luke Messer base his primary belief on? The U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber’s members are the ones polluting our environment. He takes his corporate propaganda and anti-government rhetoric on Fox News who peddles it to grossly undereducated and uninformed Hoosiers, who in return, pick him to serve in congress.
Plato told us a very long time ago, “The price of citizen apathy is we’ll be ruled by our inferiors.” Well, Hoosiers, Representative Luke Messer is what we get for not educating ourselves on the subjects at hand, and for not using our critical thinking skills against the prepared propaganda these politicians peddle on Fox news.
I believe they (Hoosiers) know what’s in their own best interests—and that of their families—better than any political leader in Washington D.C., a politically motivated interest group, or a global organization unconcerned with preserving the American way of life. My constituents have told me these EPA regulations should be scrapped. I agree with their assessment.
The Congressman himself uses sources for his opinion which have proven to be false, misleading and unethical. His primary source reference is the U.S. Chamber which is a “politically motivated interest group” – in fact, they are THE largest political lobbying group.
According to Wikipedia:
The Chamber is staffed with policy specialists, lobbyists and lawyers. Politically, the Chamber is generally considered to be a conservative organization. It usually supports Republican political candidates, though it has occasionally supported conservative Democrats. The Chamber is one of the largest lobbying groups in the U.S., spending more money than any other lobbying organization on a yearly basis.
We can only guess what Rep. Messer’s idea is of “the American Way of Life”. If we had to guess from his recent exchange with Muncie Voice – it means “uninformed, unethical, yet arrogant” – sound familiar?
“Patriotism … is a superstition artificially created and maintained through a network of lies and falsehoods; a superstition that robs man of his self-respect and dignity, and increases his arrogance and conceit.” ~ Emma Goldman
We’ll close with the advice Dr. Sachs gave the U.S. Chamber, since it most certainly fits as good advice for the Indiana Chamber of Commerce and Congressman Luke Messer:
The US Chamber of Commerce is, alas, a shortsighted and often venal institution that lacks in basic ethical standards and in practical knowledge of international public policy. Instead of attacking the EPA, the US Chamber of Commerce should be working with other chambers of commerce around the world, and with the umbrella institution, the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), to make sure that EPA-like rules are indeed adopted worldwide. My best guess is that many members of the US Chamber of Commerce do not agree with the Chamber’s stance on the social cost of carbon. They should speak out to insist on approaches that are moral, evidence based, and in both the US and global interest.
Authors note: Merriam-Webster defines, “Venal – willing to do dishonest things in return for money.”