Pence’s hometown takes a hit from Trump’s tariffs


gocomics.org

COLUMBUS, Ind. — One company and one family loom large over this city, intertwined for decades. Cummins Inc. is the biggest employer in Columbus, built into a $20 billion heavy equipment manufacturer with the help of Mike Pence, who as governor passed pro-business tax cuts and made trade visits to China on its behalf.

Pence’s older brother Edward joined Cummins after graduating from college and worked there for four decades, running one of its most lucrative engine plants before retiring last December. A second brother, Greg, is running for the 6th congressional district seat and visited Cummins during a recent campaign stop.

But the alliance of the past is being threatened by the administration Mike Pence now serves, as President Trump’s trade war with multiple nations clobbers Cummins and other local companies…

Pence’s hometown oozes internationalism: 40 foreign companies have a presence, more than half of them Japanese engines and auto-parts plants, employing almost 10,000 people. The area’s schools collectively speak 51 languages. The city ranks second in the nation in the per capita percentage of H-1B visas for foreign workers…

Now the aggressive pursuit of foreign trade that made this city a recession-busting economic miracle has made it decidedly vulnerable, with businesses already canceling projects and mulling the depth of job losses.

Stupid overrules ignorant in the Trump White House. Economists working for the Fake President apparently skipped the portions of their degree programs dealing with the history of failed theories.

Think it’s difficult to start a nuclear holocaust?

❝ Serving as a US Air Force launch control officer for intercontinental missiles in the early Seventies, First Lieutenant Bruce Blair figured out how to start a nuclear war and kill a few hundred million people…When he quit the Air Force in 1974, Blair was haunted by the power that had been within his grasp, andhe resolved to do something about it. But when he started lobbying his former superiors, he was met with indifference and even active hostility. “I got in a fair scrap with the Air Force over it,” he recalled. As Blair well knew, there was supposed to be a system already in place to prevent that type of unilateral launch. The civilian leadership in the Pentagon took comfort in this, not knowing that the Strategic Air Command, which then controlled the Air Force’s nuclear weapons, had quietly neutralized it…

❝ …The system the military designed was “structured to drive the president invariably toward a decision to launch under attack” if he or she believes there is “incontrovertible proof that warheads actually are on the way.” Ensuring that all missiles and bombers would be en route before any enemy missiles actually landed meant that most of the targets in the strategic nuclear war plan would be destroyed—thereby justifying the purchase and deployment of the massive force required to execute such a strike.

Interesting, scary, well-researched in-depth work of journalism. Take the time to read it. Please.

Most Americans, I am certain, haven’t the slightest clue about any of the information contained in the “unsafety procedures” actually in place to manage the largest nuclear arsenal in the world.

Turns out deadly dairy fats is another myth

❝ …Difficult as it may be for Millennials to imagine, the average American in the 1970s drank about 30 gallons of milk a year. That’s now down to 18 gallons, according to the Department of Agriculture. And just as it appears that the long arc of American beverage consumption could bend fully away from the udder, new evidence is making it more apparent that the perceived health risks of dairy fats (which are mostly saturated) are less clear than many previously believed.

❝ A new study this week in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition is relevant to an ongoing vindication process for saturated fats, which turned many people away from dairy products such as whole milk, cheese, and butter in the 1980s and ’90s. An analysis of 2,907 adults found that people with higher and lower levels of dairy fats in their blood had the same rate of death during a 22-year period.

The implication is that it didn’t matter if people drank whole or skim or 2-percent milk, ate butter versus margarine, etc. The researchers concluded that dairy-fat consumption later in life “does not significantly influence total mortality.”

You can develop a sensitivity to dairy fats. Especially as you get to be a geezer. Like some allergic reactions, indigestion can be bothersome. There are intermediating OTC pills available. In my own case, I just stick to low-fat cheese, low and non-fat milk products…mostly…though I seem to have no problems with my new favorite cultured butter from Brittany by way of Trader Joe’s.

I don’t feel especially threatened. You don’t die from burps or farts. And I passed what was my projected end-of-shelf-life when I retired – several years ago.

Making the case for a civilization in decline

❝ For 25 years, photographer Lauren Greenfield has chronicled the ascendance of a global elite: here, a picture of French aristocrats sitting beneath ancient tapestries; there, movie executives flashing $100 bills in St. Barts. Once, she took a portrait of a Chinese businessman in front of the replica of the White House he’d built as his home.

She’s also recorded their fall. Her masterful 2012 documentary, The Queen of Versailles, followed timeshare king David Siegel and his wife, Jackie, as they attempted to build the biggest home in America, a plan that collapsed during the 2008 housing crisis.

❝ A monograph of her highlights, titled Generation Wealth, was published last year. On July 20, Amazon Studios will release a full-length documentary bearing the same name and featuring many of the same people.

❝ Whereas the book was more cautious about passing judgment—the Hermès bags, megamansions, and yachts were photographed carefully, as if at a remove—the film is unequivocal in its distaste for conspicuous consumption…“The pyramids were built at the moment of precipitous Egyptian decline, and that’s what always happens: Societies accrue their greatest wealth at the moment that they face death.”

Looking forward to the film. For all the right reasons. Reasons that would be obvious to anyone who’s spent any time at this blog – or the few others where “eideard” appeared on a regular basis. I’m an old geek, now, according to the calendar. I don’t feel that way. I don’t think that way. But, the foundation of the person I am and have always been – is that I’m a working-class guy from the East End of Bridgeport.

You grow up knowing you’re going to work for GE, Remington Arms or the Bridgeport Brass Company – if you’re lucky. Grades and good writing skills, learning skills and acquired knowledge didn’t guarantee access to a post-high school education. That was bound and chained to class and family income. Some of that has changed. Not because of willing participation by any government in Washington, DC or, for that matter, Hartford, Connecticut. What change there has been has flowed from battles won by ordinary families fighting for education and access.

Going to an “Urgent Care” facility? Question their reliance on antibiotics!

❝ Patients seen at urgent care centers for common conditions such as asthma, the flu, and the common cold are more likely to receive antibiotics unnecessarily, compared with patients treated for the same illnesses at other types of health care facilities. In fact, nearly half (46 percent) of patients in urgent care centers who were diagnosed with one of the acute respiratory conditions for which antibiotics are neither recommended nor effective received an antibiotic prescription anyway.

In retail health clinics, just 14 percent of patients did

❝ This new information is part of an ongoing collaboration between Pew and CDC to better understand and improve antibiotic prescribing in the U.S., which is key to slowing the spread of antibiotic-resistant superbugs. The findings build on previous research led by Pew and CDC using different data sources, which showed that:

High amounts of unnecessary prescribing persist across various outpatient settings in the U.S. Acute respiratory infections—such as common colds, the flu, and bronchitis—are the main source of inappropriate prescribing in outpatient settings, accounting for the largest proportion of unnecessary use.

❝ Patients with acute respiratory infections often do not receive the recommended treatment.

Ask questions, folks. Learn to say “NO” if you feel the answers aren’t made clear.

I know it’s a battle to find the right doctor – if you can find one who understands the economics of our crappy healthcare system. Unless you’re independently wealthy, of course. My wife and I have been fortunate enough to spend recent years with a young couple of physicians, husband-and-wife, who are well-educated and open-minded. Good for us! Still, there’s always a disaster imminent that requires urgent care. Keep your options open.

Republicans shut down important healthcare resource — Big Pharma applauds

❝ America’s federal database of medical treatment guidelines—a resource for doctors, hospitals, and patients for more than two decades—will be dead on Tuesday (July 17). The National Guideline Clearinghouse website at Guidelines.gov was shut down by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, it said, because “Federal funding through AHRQ will no longer be available to support the NGC.”

❝ Rep. Hal Rogers (R-Ky.), chair of the House Appropriations Committee until the beginning of last year, had targeted the agency for elimination even after doctors warned him not to kill Guidelines.gov. As TYT reported on Sunday, Rogers doubled the number of health-industry companies in which he invested last year…The White House also pitched killing the research agency…

❝ …Big healthcare companies have billions of dollars at stake in which guidelines consumers use. An estimated 200,000 visitors turned to Guidelines.gov each month. For decades, the federal guidelines have had something of a monopoly. As of Tuesday, that will no longer be the case.

NO lobby forks over more dollar$ to members of Congress than Big Pharma. Keeping the American drugs industry at a level of profits exceeding their take in any other country is worth every member of Congress they can buy.