SAN NARCISO, Calif. (Bennington Vale Evening Transcript) -- Speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) last Friday, Donald Trump disclosed his intentions for an unprecedented buildup of the U.S. military, which drew rounds of applause from supporters. On Monday, the president confirmed his request for a nine-percent budget increase to accomplish the massive rearmament, with equivalent cuts to existing social programs to offset the spike. Analysts estimate the costs at $54 billion. Trump also renewed his pledge to enhance immigration crackdowns and roll back rights for the LGBTQ community. But in a surreal conflation of the two issues, Trump implied that his wildly unfettered deportation policies would now include transgender people, who should be “sent back to Transylvania” where he apparently believes they came from.
Military Industrial Complex or Napoleon Complex?Under the most recent fiscal year reporting, defense spending in the United States totalled $548 billion. Trump’s call for another $54 billion, the Congressional Budget Office said, would represent a rise of 9.2 percent. However, as stated in his 100-Day Plan, Trump will attempt to reduce the burden on taxpayers by slashing spending elsewhere.
For the introduction of new regulations, the president mandated that at least two existing regulations be eliminated. As the Evening Transcript explained in January, the approach borrows from points-based dietary programs. Consider a two-for-one deal at Trump Tower Grille, as an example. Most reasonable people would pass on the prospect of receiving another gristly pool of amorphous, moldering gravy drowning an unknown substance resembling a human thumb. But if the deal involved taking away two Trump Grille menu items and reducing the punishment to only one entree, the disgust factor would be lessened. This is Trump’s logic in passing a new two-for-one points system.
The president appears to be employing a similar directive in budgetary matters. Citing Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, Reuters wrote that Trump’s plan to slash funding for federal agencies would free up money for the Pentagon, without increasing taxes.
“A $54 billion cut will do far-reaching and long-lasting damage to our ability to meet the needs of the American people and win the jobs of the future,” Pelosi said. “The president is surrendering America’s leadership in innovation, education, science and clean energy.”
But these areas are also those heavily populated by immigrants, jackbooted liberals, LGBTQ people and their sympathizers, among whom Trump has recently included transgender people.
Expedited RemovalLast week, on the heels of his fiery CPAC address, Trump doubled down on his contested travel ban. The administration released a revised blueprint for launching a more austere version of the stalled executive order. Mother Jones summarized the plan in an article published Monday morning.
Not only did it lay out plans to vastly increase the number of undocumented people vulnerable to deportation, but it also revealed that the feds intend to deport many more people caught in their immigration crackdown immediately after their arrest.
“Expedited removal” is the term the government uses to describe the swift deportation of undocumented immigrants without an appearance before an immigration judge -- and, as pro-immigrant advocates point out, without due process protections.
Trump’s busy week did not end there. On Wednesday, he signed an order that effectively rescinded protections for transgender students to use bathrooms corresponding to their gender identities. The action moved forward despite protests from Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. But for reasons shrouded in mystery and bewilderment, the administration somehow united the issues of immigration and transgender protections.
Leakers in the White House custodial staff alluded to the situation in a tweet from February 11: “Sessions rolling back protections for trans people. Trump asked, ‘Why don’t we deport them back to Transylvania where they came from?’”
Transgender TransylvaniaDonald Trump was not the only administration official on display at CPAC. Acting President Steve Bannon met with Matt Schlapp, head of the American Conservative Union. Bannon rarely addresses the press or makes public appearances, due in large part to his one-hour window of sobriety each day.
He criticized the press for false reports on key topics, singling out the misunderstood transgender “bathroom debate,” which has become a catspaw used by the media to swipe at the administration. Of the issue, Schlapp told Bannon, “[Trump’s] even -- he’s even leaving bathrooms alone, that’s kind of a nice, refreshing thing for a lot of people as well.”
The statement was correct, regardless of media spin. The president introduced no actions, regulations, laws or changes to school bathrooms. They remain physically and ideologically the same. Boys’ bathrooms still have urinals, girls’ bathrooms still have stalls and feminine hygiene product dispensers, the latter for the time being. What Trump eliminated was confusing language put forth by President Obama that allowed students to wander into any restroom of their choosing. With Trump’s repeal of that order, boys and girls and sexually ambiguous monsters are no longer “protected” from the repercussions of trespassing into the lavatories of different genders.
Although Trump proposed no changes to bathrooms, he reiterated his commitment to restoring American values to actual Americans. Political insiders suspect that Trump’s message to Congress on Tuesday will involve an order to revoke the status of personhood on transgender individuals.
“Can we call them people?” Trump pondered in post-conference gala over the weekend. “They’re cutting off body parts, stitching someone else’s parts back onto themselves -- like a monster movie. Like Frankenstein. They’re not human at that point. Sad. They’re creatures. And as we all know, monsters come from Transylvania. It’s terrible that we’ve allowed dangerous aberrations from another country into America. Who knows for how long? But transgenders, you know, it says ‘trans’ right in the name. Like Transylvania. They suck blood, they destroy villages and they’re undead mostly. Terrible. The only way to keep American people safe is to ship these monsters back to their tainted soil. Expedited removal is gonna make that happen.”
Civil rights activists fear that sending transgender people to a country with a history of austerity measures and aggression could put them in great peril. In 2012, Romanian leaders adopted a series of autocratic restrictions to clamp down on growing revolts and clashes with authorities. One of the key disputes arose from an “eerie” and controversial health care law. LGBTQ people already lack adequate access to health coverage, which will worsen if Affordable Care Act provisions are removed. The situation awaiting them in Romania could be even more unpleasant.
Romania generates less revenue than many other EU nations and, according to insiders, has largely relied on the charity of an eccentric aristocrat in Transylvania who offers financial assistance in exchange for virgin teens to serve as his housekeeping staff. The wealthy benefactor was instrumental in drafting a key provision in the disputed health care bill, which called for Romanian citizens to bank several pints of blood every eight weeks in order to meet eligibility requirements for the country’s socialized medical programs.
Romanian officials dismissed the rumors and concerns, presenting evidence of a flourishing medical system: “Between the count’s incredible contributions to the people of Romania, and pioneering surgical procedures first developed here by a Swiss physician, we can say that our nation welcomes immigrants and that they have the chance to enjoy a lifespan far, far beyond the global average.”
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