photo courtesy of indianawater.com
MUNCIE, Indiana – After a long weekend under a slow news environment, I got very excited when I read an opinion piece about Infant Mortality Rates. It should be noted, I get very little excitement from the conservative newspapers dominating the Indiana landscape – most of them owned by Gannett, but to give credit, this nugget actually came from the IndyStar.
As I’ve noted many times, journalists serve the people and work to keep them informed. When our journalists lack any guts, or prefer to sort through courthouse documents, you won’t get much “informing” of the citizenry accomplished. Sometimes however, a carefully placed editorial slips through one of Gannett’s editor’s hands allowing us to read something resembling a backbone or courage in action. Accountability at its finest.
In this case, it came from Norma Kreilein, M.D. of Jasper, who according to her Facebook account, is a Pediatrician at Daviess Community Hospital.
She writes, “Indiana’s infant mortality ranking tanked under Gov. Mitch Daniels and Mike Pence — from 32nd in the nation in 2000 to 45th in 2011 to 47th in 2013. Indiana Perinatal Network’s 14-year campaign, comprehensively emphasizing maternal-child health, was drastically defunded under Pence.”
If you remember, last year Governor Mike Pence made front page news for standing up during a presentation about Infant Mortality Rates, and cried, “These statistics are too high and we need solutions!”
Staged emotions for the camera – faux anger. They are trained to act this way while appearing on Fox News cameo appearances. It helps excite their low information base.
Dr. Kreilein cuts through all the rhetoric, “Infant mortality stumps Indiana’s conservative leaders because its root cause implicates their environmental agenda and regulators.”
The good doctor must be a “tree hugging liberal” accuses a poster under her article. Dr. Kreilein responds, “I have voted almost straight Republican all my life, until recently observing that claiming anti-abortion and marketing “Honest,” “Goodness,” and work ethic makes a deceptive political weapon to divert attention away from the fact that micro-Hoosiers aren’t faring well under Indiana’s conservative leadership.”
Ouch times two.
Not just micro-Hoosiers, Dr. Kreilein. According to Gallup polls, Muncie Voice has repeatedly shared how Hoosiers poor health and wellness lies at the bottom while our pollution ranks near the top. This is common knowledge, but rarely will you get a Gannett owned newspaper to discuss it. While the StarPress in Muncie continues its death spiral and staff abandon ship, they would like for you to feel sorry for them, but don’t. They made themselves irrelevant.
Anyway, maybe the good doctor has some facts at her disposal to back up her accusations.
She shares, “Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) has suppressed industrial fallout’s reality by exploiting lax monitoring, permitting and investigation. Birth defects spike during atrazine application months. Just 23 of 92 Indiana counties have any air-quality monitors; only six of 92 monitor highly toxic nitrogen oxides. Will PCB contamination remain unanalyzed regarding unexplained higher Northwest Indiana black infant mortality? Coal-power plants produce most of Indiana’s atrocious mercury emissions.”
Ouch, times three.
During most of this year, representatives Dan Coats and Luke Messer have been advocating for the Keystone XL Pipeline, reducing carbon taxes and demeaning climate change scientific studies. Has our mainstream media called them out? Nope.
The good doctor does, “Sen. Dan Coats’ crusade to postpone mercury limits seems as irresponsible as IDEM’s statistically erroneous boast that nearly all Indiana meets federal pollution limits. Will IDEM evade accountability for labeling glaringly disproportionate pollutant exposure as “safe/allowable/improving” while Pence prematurely aims “to lead this country by our example” without courageously considering pollution’s role in infant mortality?”
The phony smiles. The faux outrage. None of this is fooling our new pediatrician friend. And she’s a self-described republican.
We’ve told people about the pollution caused from CAFO’s and the extent to which our Indiana lawmakers go to strike legislation or create laws that benefit or protect the polluters at the expense of Hoosiers. Your republican legislators, and in some cases, democrats, have literally turned over the state to these large corporate polluters and Hoosiers are paying the price.
As Dr. Norma Kreilein points out, “Placentas and preemies won’t tolerate pollution or fake statistics as IDEM bureaucrats have.”
These are the same politicians who advocate for the rights of the unborn to appeal to the Christian-right bible-thumping voters who are prevalent in our state.
The lawmakers serving in Indianapolis which come from all parts of our state are shills for large corporate and farming polluters. Ohio is getting tougher on their farmers, so guess what?
They now dump their toxic shit in Indiana. The same groups of citizens who hold Indiana CAFO’s accountable, now find themselves protecting their land and water from Ohio businesses, because our politicians are owned by, and even work for, the very companies doing the polluting.
Senator Dan Coats is a corporate lobbyist who we put in the U.S. Senate. He’s made a living out of twisting words and shining up shit to make you think it’s gold, and you’re buying it by the truck load.
Norma Kreilein, M.D. was attacked for being a “liberal”. She was attacked for caring for babies who were born prematurely and die. She was attacked for standing up for the babies and all Hoosiers who inhale high levels of pollutants having harmful side affects. She was attacked for holding corporate polluters accountable. She was attacked for holding lying politicians accountable. She was attacked for providing statistics to support all her claims.
In her rebuttal, she even mentions atrazine, the sacred cow pesticide in Indiana. Why? Because Hoosier farmers literally soak their plants with it. Although the graphic from Wikipedia is hard to read, the dark shaded areas show high levels of atrazine use:
If journalists did their job in Indiana, Dr. Kreilein wouldn’t need to write opinion pieces challenging her own political party. If journalists grew a spine and held politicians in Indiana accountable, Dr. Kreilein wouldn’t need to jeopardize her job and get attacked by backwater Hoosier rednecks.
Here’s a clue, the slick talking suits are just interested in getting your vote. They don’t work for you and neither do he journalists…they work for the corporations who sell atrazine to farmers, or the large shareholders in coal plants who make billions for their family while they kill Hoosier families.
I expect as our healthcare industry is held accountable for producing healthier Hoosiers, there will be more Dr. Norma Kreilein’s out there who step out from the “silent majority” to take aim at the culprits of our high rates of disease. We can only keep our heads buried in the sand for so long before the dry grit becomes unbearable. Reality has a way of trumping denial like repeated body blows and a right cross to the chin – the truth goes down hard in Indiana like a baseball-sized bitter pill with no castor oil.