Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Trump Cards, Con't

The Trump White House is clearly losing on both the Brett Kavanaugh and Rod Rosenstein fronts, because they're about to pick yet another culture war fight in order to "rally the base".

Federal health officials canceled an FDA contract for human fetal tissue research Monday night and announced a review of all such research projects.

The announcement, citing “serious regulatory, moral, and ethical considerations,” revives a political issue that last flared in 2015 and led to congressional hearings. That fight came over anti-abortion political activists who covertly videotaped Planned Parenthood doctors and employees of Advanced Bioscience Resources (ABR), a cell tissue firm based in Alameda, California, that provides such cells to researchers.

The canceled contract would have paid $15,900 to ABR for human tissue that would make a laboratory mouse’s immune system more similar to a human’s. (ABR did not immediately respond to a request for comment.)

“Mice with human immune systems are incredibly valuable for research of terrible diseases, and there really is no alternative,” Lawrence Goldstein of the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine told BuzzFeed News. Such cells have figured prominently in the development of vaccines against diseases such as rubella, rabies, polio, measles, chickenpox, and shingles.

The bottom line is that such cells would be otherwise discarded, he noted, and bioethics reviews going back to the Reagan administration have approved of their use to benefit human health.
The move to audit fetal tissue research was applauded, however, by David Daleiden of the Center for Medical Progress, the anti-abortion activist who ran the covert videotaping project.

“HHS’s newly-announced review of fetal tissue procurement and experimentation must be exacting, and it must terminate all other agreements for baby body parts,” he said in a statement.

That this is happening six week before midterm elections is not an accident in the least.  Neither is the fact this is happening to distract from how badly the Kavanaugh nomination fight is going, or from the Rosenstein firing trial balloon.

Still the results will almost certainly be decades of research lost, because DEAD BABY PARTS FACTORIES or something stupid, because this is America now.

Trump Trades Blows, Con't

The "October Surprise" for midterm voters may already be here: Trump's 10% tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese imports that went into effect this week means higher prices are already starting to hit voters at the register.

The latest impact will begin to hit Monday as new 10 percent tariffs Trump slapped on over $200 billion in imports from China are scheduled to go into effect. That tariff rate is set to rise to 25 percent on Jan. 1 if the Chinese don’t capitulate to White House demands. Trump has also threatened to bump the total up to more than $500 billion in imports, which would hit nearly every product China exported to the U.S. last year.

Economists expect that to translate into higher prices for consumers across the country and special pain for low- to middle-income voters who make up much of Trump’s base — and are least able to absorb increased costs for consumer goods such as air conditioners, clothing and furniture. Republicans are counting on getting Trump supporters to the polls in November to hold off projected Democratic gains in the House and potentially the Senate. Forcing consumers to pay higher prices could make that harder.

“If you are kind of in the middle- or lower-income groups, you are buying a lot of what economists call tradable goods and you’ll be hit a lot harder,” said Kyle Handley, assistant professor of business economics and public policy at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business. “This is basically the Trump voter who is going to see the biggest hit to their total spending.”

Evidence is piling up that consumers and businesses are growing increasingly nervous about Trump’s trade policy.

Consumer sentiment measured by the University of Michigan dropped last month to its lowest point in nearly a year, with the decline centered in lower-income households most sensitive to higher prices. The sentiment index ticked up again in preliminary results for September. But nearly a third of those surveyed cited concern over tariffs when assessing the economy. 
A survey of chief financial officers unveiled last week by Deloitte found that 42 percent said business conditions would improve next year, the lowest in two years, with executives “overwhelmingly worried” about trade policy and tariffs.

Walmart recently warned it will need to raise prices on a huge swath of products imported from China. Other large consumer-product companies including Procter & Gamble, Nestle and Coca-Cola announced price increases over the summer, partly because of tariffs, and warned of more to come.

The only two things thing Republicans really have going for them are Trump's Supreme Court picks, and the fact they've not managed to completely crash the Obama economy yet.   Both of those are in serious jeopardy before midterm elections, it seems.

Throw in rising oil prices from Iranian sanctions and I think voters are going to start changing their mind about the GOP very, very quickly. And let's not forget that these corporations with "no choice" but to pass tariff price hikes on to consumers are banking record profits right now thanks to the trillions in Trump tax cuts they are getting.  They could afford to swallow these price increases if they wanted to.  They won't, because profit is all that matters.

Maybe even quickly enough to affect voting in November.


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