Category Archives: opinion & rants

Garrison Keillor: Trump is what he is, and God help us now

Hear, hear, Mr. Keillor! 👏

What we know so far is that the man is who he is. There is no larger, finer man inside him trying to get out. Everyone who is paying attention knows this. Flags flying at the Capitol, the U.S. Marine Band, gray eminences in black coats, and He Who Is Smarter than Those With Intelligence delivers 16 minutes of hooey and horse hockey about corrupt politicians betraying the people, and American carnage, and patriotism healing our divisions, though the division is mainly about Himself and love of country does not necessarily make people stupid.

There might as well have been a 14-year-old boy at the podium saying that he is in possession of the Golden Goblet that will drive the Gimlets from Fredonia and preserve the Sacred Marmite of Lord Numbskull and his Nimrods.

The next day he motored out to the CIA and stood before the memorial wall honoring the heroes who gave their lives in anonymity and he bitched about his newspaper coverage. The next day he boasted that his inaugural’s TV ratings were higher than those in 2013. The day after that, he told the congressional leadership that he lost the popular vote because millions of illegal votes were cast, which everyone in the room knew was a bald-faced lie, except perhaps Himself. The man is clueless, tightly locked inside his own small bubble. A sizable minority of Americans, longing for greatness or wanting to smack down an ambitious woman and to show those people in the hellhole coastal cities what the real America is all about, has elected him. To him, this minority is a mass movement such as the world has never seen. God have mercy.

“American carnage,” my Aunt Sally: the correct term is “American capitalism.” Jobs are lost to automation, innovation, obsolescence, the moving finger of fate. The carriage industry was devastated by the automobile, and the men who made surreys and broughams and hansoms had to learn something new; the Pullman porter union was hit hard by the advent of air travel and the porters sent their sons to college; the newspaper business was hit hard by Craigslist. Too bad for us. I know gifted men who were successful graphic designers until computers came along and younger people with computer skills took their place and those gifted men had to do something else. T-shirts are made in Asian countries because Americans don’t want to pay $20 for one. Coal yields to natural gas as renewable energy marches forward. Who doesn’t get this? The idea that the government is obligated to create a good living for you is one the Republican Party has fought since Adam was in the third grade. It’s the party of personal responsibility. But there he is, promising to make the bluebirds sing. As if.

Everyone knows that the man is a fabulator, oblivious, trapped in his own terrible needs. Republican, Democrat, libertarian, socialist, white supremacist, or sebaceous cyst — everyone knows it. It is up to Republicans to save the country from this man. They elected him and it is their duty to tie a rope around his ankle. They formed a solid bloc against Obama and held their ranks, and now, for revenge, they will go after health insurance subsidies for people of limited means, which is one of the cruelest things they can possibly do. Dishwashers and cleaning ladies need heart surgery too — hospital emergency rooms already see streams of sick people, uninsured, poor or unable to deal with the paperwork, coming in for ordinary care, and when upward of 30 million are left high and dry, people will suffer horribly. “We’re not going to let people die in the streets,” Mr. Trump said. No, they’re going to die at home in their bedrooms.

The question is: how cynical are we willing to be and for how long? How long will Senate Republicans wait until a few of them stand up to the man? Greatness is in the eye of the beholder. American self-respect is what is at stake here, ladies and gentlemen. The only good things to come out of that inauguration were the marches all over the country the day after, millions of people taking to the streets of their own free will, most of them women, packed in tight, lots of pink hats, lots of signage, earnest, vulgar, witty, a few brilliant (“Take your broken heart and make it art”), and all of it rather civil and good-humored. That’s the great America I grew up in. It’s still here.

Source: Garrison Keillor: Trump is what he is, and God help us now

Why NO to Mar Roxas

This is why, if I could still vote in the Philippines, I’ll never ever vote for Mar Roxas:

Lorraine Marie T. Badoy

Yesterday at 12:33 ·

The Obscenity That Is Mar Roxas

For years, I took photos of them.

I had no idea why I did this. I am a lazy photographer preferring to take in whatever’s in front of me rather than document.

But in the middle of our medical missions, as I took a breather in the designated area (gym, school house, basketball court, munisipyo) full of patients who walked miles to be seen by a doctor, I would take out my iPhone and snap about.

There was something compelling about them. I couldn’t look away. Their eyes were pools of sorrow, of terror and of despair.

And the ridges that lined their weather-beaten faces were deep and filled with dirt and you could tell that that dirt had been semi-permanently lodged in those ridges because, well, because they live like dogs with no basic services like running water available to them.

And they came to me with diseases that, in all my years in medicine, I had never seen.

Pus-filled boils as huge as an adult’s head on babies that when you lanced took forever to empty and would run down your arms and form a pool on the muddied floor. Whole-body sores that had rotted and festered with an odor that was an assault to the senses.

And it seemed like there was an epidemic of stomach pain until I finally got that what it really was was an epidemic of hunger. Illnesses that were simple but became fulminant for lack of medical attention.

It didn’t matter if I saw them right after Yolanda or 4 months later. Or 6 or 8 or 18 or 20. There was no improvement in their living conditions.

None. Can you beat that? cry emoticon

Trapped in the endless and vicious cycle of poverty.

In increasing alarm and in increasing rage, I saw the truth: this government and the man charged with caring for them, Mar Roxas, in fact, cared nothing for them.

And the only presence you could discern was international and local NGOs.

The government, the rare times it was present, was an accursed presence: giving the hungry rotten food, not building homes for them and when they finally did amidst pressure from all over, all they could manage was a handful of hovels that were no bigger than dog houses.

And I’ve often wondered, looking at my folio of hundreds of photos, what it was I was searching for when I took those photos.

And now I think I may have figured it out.

Besides wanting you to look. Besides wanting you to help me carry this burden because this burden dug in my flesh and the pain I felt was excruciating.

I finally get that a crime was being committed right before me and I was being asked to bear witness.

And I was compelled to take those photos so I could show you too.

And so you could bear witness as well.

And for you and me to never forget them nor the crimes committed against them.

And I am hoping this will make you less susceptible to lies peddled by those who would seek to cover up the crimes they have committed on some of our country’s most vulnerable.

NO MATTER THE SLICK INFOGRAPHICS AND PIE CHARTS AND COMIC BOOKS FILLED WITH LIES.

The obscenity of Mar Roxas is that for him, the poor are nothing but pawns in the deadly game of politics he plays.

This politics of faux pieties and disgusting civilities, this ‘decency’ that masks a most indecent disdain for the severely impoverished.

The manicured fingernails of the oligarch who cloaks this disdain for the poor with posturings that would be laughable if the consequences weren’t so dire.

The obscenity of Mar Roxas is that

he saw their despair, their mad grief, their terror. he heard their pleas for food, for water, to please please help me look for my child, help me bury my wife, my husband is dying. Help me please. He smelled the stench of decomposing bodies around him.

Help me. Help me. Help me.

Please.

And it was as nothing to him.

He saw but he was blind. He heard but he was deaf.

The callous elite who has no idea what being hungry feels like nor what it means to be cold, in despair and homeless.

And has not made it his business to know.

The obscenity of Mar Roxas is his overriding concern for image.

He misses the whole point of public service.

He thinks public service is about looking good without having to do anything of essence. He thinks public service is something you do in front of the cameras, pulling smart sounding numbers and statistics out of thin air and make it seem like you’ve done something.

So he becomes that clown who directs traffic out of nowhere to make it seem like he’s so concerned for us (and in the meantime the MRT lines grow ever-longer. And the trains break down with increasing frequency. And the traffic ever-unbearable.)

Empty, shallow, clueless.

And this weird equation in his mind of what public service is has him drinking water from a plate and eating rice from a glass. It has him fist bumping a poor kid who is creeped out by his insistence that their fists meet –so it seems like he is one of us.

For him this is all it takes to be one of us.

And for which he has richly earned our scorn and derision.

Noblesse oblige–this inferred responsibility of privileged people to act with generosity and nobility toward those less privileged–Mar has none of this.

We’re all just subjects to rearrange this way and that to prop him up so he looks good on cam.

That is the obscenity of Mar Roxas.

There is always day of reckoning for each of us.

I believe Mar Roxas’ day of reckoning is close at hand.

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