The Bishop and the Butterfly: Murder, Politics, and the End of the Jazz Age
    Michael Maiello's picture

    "They're Not Sending Their Best..."

    Of the many foul things His Fraudulency has said about the asylum seekers who cross our southern border, one of the worst has been that they are "not sending their best" people.  It's an obvious slander and it's also just downright audacious for anybody comfortably in America to deny the obvious courage, skill and perseverance that it takes to journey from Guatemala, through Mexico and then into the United States.

    In short, I couldn't help but think how somebody so capable would answer what we consider to be "tricky" job interview questions here in the state.  So I imagined it for you.


    Good job, especially because got me pondering this: when Trump says things about the Latin American immigrants, it's real hard to tell which are the lies and which are the things he really feels. Because when he says "not their best" is it like what Donald Trump really deep in his soul thinks is best, a real great mind with a grifter bent who can outwit the other guy, or is he thinking an engineer or doctor? Because according to "Art of the Deal" theory, he should most admire the top dogs of MS-13 and the other gangs, those are the ones that would qualify as successful in his book! They are running those countries right now. Little Putin's, as it were.

     And he should be look down on the educated salary guys as loser schmucks. (The comparable kind of people in the U.S., to Trump, talk like they are elites, when the "art of the deal" grifter guys are the super-elites, and have the best apartments and boats.)

    White it seems to me the stories of most of those recently fleeing Honduras/Guatemala and El Savador, these are not economic migrants, but just hard working people who find their country extremely unsafe right now, they are frightened of the gangs and have moved already within their country and can't find any place safe. Many seem to have lost the main breadwinner already, to murder. People who don't sound like they'd mind staying in their own country if it were safer, but there seems to be no end to the gangs being in control.  Really, I've read a lot on it recently and it truly does seen like the economic migrants have gone way down in number. Those trying right now, it's not about money, just want safety and a decent government handling basic functions. They don't care so much about money!

    So when he uses the bash-the-evil-gangs tactics, does he really mean it?

    So much irony, kinda boggles my mind.

    He shouldn’t mean it. I’d love to imagine he doesn’t. But he has all the power in the world now and this is who he picks on. 

    Any of these “unskilled laborers” have already demonstrated “capitalist ingenuity” beyond any “Shark Tank” or “The Boss” exercise, just by getting past the US border, and Donald knows it.

    But he clearly doesn’t care. These people are his fodder.

    Does he respect them, deep down? He, of all people,should.

    But it ain’t happening..

    Thanks for getting my gag, Double A. I expected few would, but tbat you would.

    Whenever a discussion turns to what Trump cares about, or what he may believe, I shake my head in wonder.  I don't know for certain, since no one can, but I don't see a sincere belief in anything represented by him.  He is shallow at best; to the extent that even his cruelty towards others is limited to his insignificant intelligence.  That such a person holds the position he does leaves me speechless ... almost.


    I agree. I used to think, and I definitely posted here, that he must, at the very least, be a northeastern rich sort who was socially liberal and hates paying taxes. But... nope. He is not even that. His beliefs are coherent only to the extent they support his power over a society that he thinks has slighted him, despite his silver spoon upbringing.

    Our president is acting out his grievances, backed by the power of the “supreme executive” that we have collectively fostered since Word War II, undeterred by Nixon and Viet Nam.

    "Acting out his grievances" - very well put, Michael.  Also very unfortunately true. That he thinks society has slighted him, as you say, is apparently the basis for everything he does.  His MO is to extract revenge.

    The only remaining question is whether we let him. 

    This may sound a shallow concern but take it like you'd take it from someone whose been through a whole lotta tragedy (cause I have!). I think the part I have come to loathe most about this new era is that

    Trump phenomenon + millennial culture = The Ultimate Olympics of Grievance.

    I have reason for grievance but it's just such a miserable game to play! Life is so short, how about some buttah instead to grease things, instead of more bittah?

    Can we just have a little more of the greatest generation thing of everyone's got a heavy cross to bear, in the mix, puhleez? Just a smidgen? 

    I know this is not exactly fitting to a thread about immigrants but what the heck

     Look beyond the stereotypes that blind us. We need each other. All of us, we need each other. We don't have a person to waste. And yet for too long politicians have told the most of us that are doing all right that what's really wrong with America is the rest of us. Them. Them, the minorities. Them, the liberals. Them, the poor. Them, the homeless. Them, the people with disabilities. Them, the gays. We've gotten to where we've nearly "them"ed ourselves to death. Them and them and them. But this is America. There is no them; there's only us. One nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty, and justice, for all.

    Ironic again: that last line from the Pledge of Allegiance, one of Trump's supposed favorite things. 

    P.S. I was thinking along those lines because I had just found myself taking clickbait over at the NYPost with this video. What have we seen break down tribal divides in the last week or so, what unifies a big majority?


    So is this some kind of subtle insidious Murdoch propaganda or not, that's the question? A bunch of folks of all colors and sexes and tribes, they gang up in a glorious effort to save a BABEEE. But when they find out all they saved is an overweight white guy who probably had a heart attack, it's like: pffffffft, no high fives:

    There's some moral there, I haven't figured out what....


    It's not about what happened after the fact, it's that they did it at all.

    oh come on, humanity's a sucker for baby stories and stupid pet tricks - don't fight it, work with it.

    of course! You misread my mocking, I'm not anti-baby, I was trying to point out exactly what you are, it's a sure thing, a no brainer, we're all susceptible unless pyschopathic.

    Motivated a helluva lot of people today, as a matter of fact:


    That Trump even let it happen is puzzling, that he thought fans would appreciate this, as he gets this along the lines of macho MAGA, plus it's a staple of the Family Values right wing movement, and I recall he even used the "innocent little babies" thing with okaying the Syria bombing, etc.

    Back to the video. I was thinking more about how saving the overweight guy was a like a big disappointment, so is it tribes will only get together to work on perpetuation of the species?

    P.S. Truth be told, the latter is what I was thinking a Fox News hidden meme might be. What I myself was actually thinking, though is: Florida, even in the boonies, maybe it's not so tribal anymore, which confirms my feelings from recent visits to Ft.L and Miami, amplified by the Parkland story. And I just got more confirmation for my bias with this news I just read about a Little Havana election: ‘The Blue Wave Came’: Win for Non-Hispanic Democrat Signals Big Shift in Miami, the Cuban diaspora just elected a Dem gringa to the Miami Dade Commission with the last name Higgins instead of the usual tough-on-commies Republican Hispanic.

    I gotcha, and I'm with you.  And I hope it doesn't surprise you that I'm not the only one ...

    You don't sound shallow, you sound like all of us who are shouting for reason, for understanding, for truth and yes, for a spoon full of buttah to grease our squeaky wheels.  (I'm a huge fan of buttah and cheese, by the way.  Just thought I'd say ... talk amongst yourselves.)

    We may all have a heavy cross to bear,  but it's lighter if we all pitch in. 

    Good to have your ditto. [Go butter lovers tribe!cheeky]


    Yeah, they may not be starting businesses but they show entrepreneurial skill that leaves Trump as "entrepreneur" in the dust.  All without screwing over legions of people.  What a concept.

    I have searched (with the limited diligence that I can muster) for the name of the current Minister for Emigration of Guatemala, so that I can write him or her an irate letter addressing the poor quality of refugee immigrant that we have been receiving.  One can only suppose that a sweetheart deal with Canada is causing them to be sent all the good ones.

    Yeah, crossing the border is like winning the Hunger Games, but instead of wealth and fame, the prize is imprisonment and separation from your family (except for the lucky few who make it through and get to work crappy, low-paying jobs).

    It also made me think of this remark from AA's link to the Atlantic's way-way-way-back (1896) machine:

    Fifty, even thirty years ago, there was a rightful presumption regarding the average immigrant that he was among the most enterprising, thrifty, alert, adventurous, and courageous of the community from which he came. It required no small energy, prudence, forethought, and pains to conduct the inquiries relating to his migration, to accumulate the necessary means, and to find his way across the Atlantic. To-day the presumption is completely reversed. So thoroughly has the continent of Europe been crossed by railways, so effectively has the business of emigration there been exploited, so much have the rates of railroad fares and ocean passage been reduced, that it is now among the least thrifty and prosperous members of any European community that the emigration agent finds his best recruiting-ground. 

    Excellent compare and contrast point. Trump's MAGA totally synchs there, that's 1896 Francis Walker theory. Makes another thing clear, Walker is disturbed that the country mouse vs. city mouse barriers are breaking down. Wants all the supposedly dumb people in Europe to stay down on the farm. But no, all these transportation options now allow them to globalize, drag us all down.  His thought patterns lead him into the evil side of meritocracy, the genetic one. Yes, it's survival of the fittest. Walker thinks the U.S. was built with the finest because it was so hard to be a pioneer. Going back to Maiello's essay, this is all correctly applied, pointing it out to Trumpies.

    Comes to mind could bring up the example of the founder denizens of Australia to counter Walker. but then they never had the gumption to have a revolution against the crown.

    Another thing. Trump's meritocracy is about money and how smart the grift is getting it. It's classic nouveau riche to a Walker (i.e. my boat is bigger than your boat, gold plated plumbing,) not noblesse oblige.Trump doesn't even get noblesse oblige, he doesn't just want his name on a university for posterity, he uses charity to make money!

    It's just a very fruitful comparison.

    Just comes to mind that the meritocracy thing and the city mouse/country mouse, and the my tribe/your tribe thing can get real complicated as far as "all in your head":

    from  The Heart of the Hutu-Tutsi Conflict @ PBS News Hour Oct., 1999

    [....] According to some historians, like Congolese Professor George Izangola, the only difference between the two groups were economic, rather than ethnic. In a 1996 interview with Charlayne Hunter Gault, Professor Izangola explained:

    “In Rwanda, the Tutsi and the Hutu are the same people. They are all people–large grouping or communities which go from seven regions of Cameroon to Uganda–all the way to South Africa, in the same culture,” Izangola said. “People used to be Tutsi or Hutu, depending on the proximity to the king. If you were close to the king, you owned wealth, you owned a lot of cattle, you are a Tutsi. If you are far away from the king, you are a cultivator, you don’t own much cattle, you are a Hutu.”

    Colonial rule, which began in the late 19th Century, did little to bring the groups together. The Belgians, who ruled what would later become Rwanda and Burundi, forced Hutus and Tutsis to carry ethnic identity cards. The colonial administrators further exacerbated divisions by only allowed Tutsis to attain higher education and hold positions of power [....]

    I see these arguments as rationalizations rather than reasons. White American xenophobes always have to struggle with the fact that they, too, descend from immigrants. To resolve this cognitive dissonance, they're compelled to distinguish between "good" immigrants and "bad" immigrants. Protestants vs Catholics in the mid-1800s, "Nordics" vs Southern/Eastern Europeans (and East Asians) at the turn of the 20th century, "Europeans" vs Latinos and "Judeo-Christians" vs Muslims at the turn of the 21st. The categories change, but the same rationalizations return again and again: crime, disease, sloth, ignorance, extremism, depravity.

    built with the finest because it was so hard

    Illustrating the folly of turning way people who survived a 2000 mile walk through the desert. 

    This is a most excellent point I really never thought much about before that explains much about quite a few working class fans of Trump, one that New Yorkers will totally get, especially those of us with outer borough experience:

    To understand Trump, understand that for years on construction sites he was the rich boss's son and learned how to talk to carpenters, iron workers, joiners etc. so as not to seem like the rich boss's son.

    — Alan Feuer (@alanfeuer) June 28, 2018

    You know, that GOP primary over in Staten Island, I read a little about it and watched some local news clips of a reporter talking to voters out there in lovely red Staten Island land. I saw at least three or four guys with heavy accents say they all loved Grimm and owed him so much because of this or that favor he did for them (ba da boom!) BUT they voted for the other guy  Donovan only BECAUSE Trump said they should!

    Suckers all!

    (Reminds me of a plumber I two summers ago, yuge Trump fan, Trump stickers allover the van, went on and on about Trump to me and my friend until I said "leave us alone about that, we're artsy liberals."  And he did. just shut up like that! laugh)

    Edit to add: besides outer boroughs, I should add that that those with New Joisey experience might also qualify as well as any serious fans of The Sopranos. The plumber Trump fan of my story, he was actually from a very nice town in Weschesta, met him in line at the Yonkers Home Depot, where he was buying floor protectors for "an upper East Side Manhattan job,".. Plumbers these days are often top of the heap, can sometimes afford better real estate than Staten Island, and this one just also happened to be an Albanian immigrant who had somehow climbed the ladder real quick if you know what I mean.

    So I think this all really does synch with your story, Michael.

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