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Terry H. Schwadron

Aug. 18, 2019

As we approach full-time electioneering in the White House (has there been a time when Donald Trump is not campaigning?) and among the Democrats in primary states, the government seems intent on just coming up with ideas that are somewhere between extreme and, well, nutty.

Each could be the subject of longer review, but sometimes it just seems that pithy is best — in part just to cut to the central question of whether this particular idea is so off-the-wall that it falls well outside of what we have come to accept as American values.

It’s easiest to see each of these items as distractions from problems in the economy, failed promises at the Southern border, trampling of civil rights and other such White House products. But that’s too easy for me. The point of all the campaigning is to govern, right? So how about we look at them as why Trump or anyone wants to be in the job.

Here are some recent examples that I simply cannot comprehend:

· China again.We’ve established that Trump sees himself as tough for “standing up” to the Chinese over trade policy, even to the point of hurting American farmers, manufacturers and consumers. It’s why Trump would not say “boo” about rising protests in Hong Kong against Chinese directions for their still-independent colony — to give the Chinese the latitude to settle economic matters that he considers more important than, say, democracy, without angering the Chinese leadership. I don’t agree, but ok, I can understand it. But then explain to me why the White House (with Congressional assent) would choose exactly now to announce $8 billion in sales of 66 F-16 jet fighters to Taiwan after a delay of some months? Isn’t that certain to piss off the Chinese? Sure enough, the same day, the Chinese foreign ministry said Beijing would take unspecified countermeasures. Maybe this is good for votes, but it seems pretty weird policy-making.

· Greenland, a new front.Much has been made about floating the idea of “buying” Greenland, a socialist, white country of 56,000 that is independent but officially part of the Kingdom of Denmark, that is not for sale. (How much would it cost anyway?) The speculation and head-scratching even included the notion of making it a state. Seems to me if the United States wants to fully obtain an island “surrounded by water,” as Trump has said, he could promote statehood for Puerto Rico, which already is a U.S. territory. Oh yeah, it’s that white people thing. . .

· Transsexual civil rights, still. The Department of Justice has weighed into a court case, one of three headed to the Supreme Court this fall, joining the argument against civil rights, and upholding the right of a funeral home to fire someone who announced a desire to undergo the complicated surgeries and changes in gender. Should they win, trans people would be outside the classes of protected minorities covered by employment law. Coincidentally, the Department of Health and Human Services is dropping critical protections against sex discrimination in the Affordable Care Act, apparently seeking to weaken claims under the Health Care Rights Law. The department stopped defending existing regulations in a lawsuit attacking protections for transgender individuals and people who have obtained abortions or seek abortions. Bad policies, un-American in value, but maybe good for politics.

· Farm aid.After finally acknowledging that U.S. farmers are being hurt, Trump and Congress ponied up $16 billion in aid to recompense those who lost business. Now it has become clear that the vast majority of the money went to Big Agra companies, not the family farmer. Though no sinle person was supposed to receive more than $125,000 from 2018’s $12-billion bailout program, The New Food Economyhas found that at least one farm has received more than $2 million. Three more have received more than $1 million. And payments to an additional eight farms have exceeded $500,000.

· On the Campaign Trail.Guidance went out to Republican candidates this week (The Tampa Bay Times got hold of an advising letter) saying that ifasked about mass shootings and white nationalism, the party line is this: “White nationalism and racism are pure evil and cannot be tolerated in any form. We also can’t excuse violence from the left such as the El Paso shooter, the recent Colorado shooters, the Congressional baseball shooter, Congresswoman Giffords’ shooter and Antifa.” The El Paso shooting suspect who killed 22 people targeted Hispanic people, of course, is reportedly a far-right domestic terrorist who left a manifesto that quoted Trump multiple times. Make America Truth-telling Again.

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www.terryschwadron.wordpress.com

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Journalist, musician, community volunteer

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