Friday, September 02, 2016

Garrison Keillor's open letter to Donald Trump

AUSTIN, TX - AUGUST 23:  Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump watches as a protester is ejected on August 23, 2016 in Austin, Texas. Thousands of attended Trump's address in Austin, traditionally a a progressive bastion in conservative Texas.  (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
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When this is over, you will have nothing you want
Garrison Keillor

The cap does not look good on you, it's a duffer's cap, and when you come to the microphone, you look like the warm-up guy, the guy who announces the license number of the car left in the parking lot, doors locked, lights on, motor running. The brim shadows your face, which gives a sinister look, as if you'd come to town to announce the closing of the pulp factory. Your eyes look dead and your scowl does not suggest American greatness so much as American indigestion. Your hair is the wrong color: People don't want a president to be that shade of blond. You know that now.

Why doesn't someone in your entourage dare to say these things? So sad. The fans in the arenas are wild about you, and Sean Hannity is as loyal as they come, but Rudy and Christie and Newt are reassuring in that stilted way of hospital visitors. And The New York Times treats you like the village idiot. This is painful for a Queens boy trying to win respect in Manhattan where the Times is the Supreme Liberal Jewish Anglican Arbiter of Who Has The Smarts and What Goes Where.

When you came to Manhattan 40 years ago, you discovered that in entertainment, the press, politics, finance, everywhere you went, you ran into Jews, and they are not like you: Jews didn't go in for big yachts and a fleet of aircraft — they showed off by way of philanthropy or by raising brilliant offspring. They sympathized with the civil rights movement. In Queens, blacks were a threat to property values — they belonged in the Bronx, not down the street. 

To the Times, Queens is Cleveland. Bush league. You are Queens. The casinos were totally Queens, the gold faucets in your triplex, the bragging, the insults, but you wanted to be liked by Those People. You wanted Mike Bloomberg to invite you to dinner at his townhouse. You wanted the Times to run a three-part story about you, that you meditate and are a passionate kayaker and collect 14th-century Islamic mosaics. You wish you were that person but you didn't have the time.

Running for president is your last bid for the respect of Manhattan. If you were to win the election, they couldn't ridicule you anymore. They could be horrified, but there is nothing ridiculous about being Leader of the Free World. You have B-52 bombers at your command. When you go places, a battalion of security guys comb the environs. You attract really really good speechwriters who give you Churchillian cadences and toss in quotes from Emerson and Aeschylus and Ecclesiastes.

Labor Day and it is not going well. You had a very bad month. You tossed out those wisecracks on Twitter and the Earth shook and your ratings among white suburban women with French cookware declined. 

The teleprompter is not your friend. You are in the old tradition of locker room ranting and big honkers in the steam room, sitting naked, talking man talk, griping about the goons and ginks and lousy workmanship and the uppity broads and the great lays and how you vanquished your enemies at the bank. Profanity is your natural language and vulgar words so as not to offend the Christers but the fans can still hear it and that's something they love about you. You are their guy. You are losing and so are they but they love you for it.

So what do you do this winter? Hang around one of your mansions? Hit some golf balls? Hire a ghostwriter to do a new autobiography?

What the fans don't know is that it's not much fun being a billionaire. You own a lot of big houses and you wander around in them, followed by a waiter, a bartender, a masseuse, three housekeepers, and a concierge, and they probably gossip about you behind your back. Just like nine-tenths of your campaign staff. You're losing and they know it and they're telling mean stories about you to everybody and his brother.

Meanwhile, you keep plugging away. It's the hardest work you've ever done. You walk out in the white cap and you rant for an hour about stuff that means nothing and the fans scream and wave their signs and you wish you could level with them for once and say one true thing: I love you to death and when this is over I will have nothing that I want.

Thanks to Daily Kos.


Immigration and reality

A fact-based discussion of immigration on FiveThirtyEight:

Ben: One thing that often seems to get lost in this debate is that the trends on legal and illegal immigration look very different. The total number of immigrants is rising and is on track to hit an all-time high as a share of the population. But the number of undocumented immigrants is down from its peak and has been pretty much flat in recent years.

Ana: That is correct. And it is mostly driven by a shift in the countries where most immigrants are coming from nowadays — from Mexico and Latin America in general to Asia, particularly China and India...

Ana: After reaching a peak in 2007, the number of Mexican immigrants living in the U.S. has dropped off. And between 2009 and 2014, there were more Mexican nationals leaving the U.S. for Mexico than there were Mexican immigrants coming into the U.S. Most of that is due to a 1 million-person decrease in the number of unauthorized immigrants from Mexico from 2007 to 2014...

Ana: In our surveys, we have found that immigration, terrorism and crime are much more salient issues among Trump supporters than among Hillary Clinton’s.

Ben: And yet studies pretty consistently show that immigrants, including undocumented immigrants, have a LOWER rate of violent crime than native-born Americans. (That link is from a conservative writer on the WSJ op-ed page, by the way.)

Farai: This article from The Washington Post cites several studies, including one from Pew, showing that crime among immigrants is lower than among native-born Americans.

Anna: One thing that was striking to me last night was that crime related to unauthorized immigration and questions about vetting Syrian refugees were lumped together at times. These are groups who enter the country in very different ways.

Ben: Right. If you come here illegally and planning to work (as most immigrants do), then you have a strong incentive not to commit crimes — if you get caught, you can be deported! But, of course, the concern about terrorism is that someone could come here planning to commit a violent act. Claiming refugee status, though, is perhaps the most difficult way to enter the country — it isn’t clear that potential terrorists would choose that method...

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The anti-Trump

Thanks to Harry's Place.

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