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Week's End Thoughts & Reflections, December 8, 2018

Resist Trump Tuesday, December 4, 2018

George H.W. "41" Bush was remembered and honored with the ceremony and national good will customarily accorded heads of state at their passing. Here and there voices were raised to dispute what they considered unseemly hagiography that ignored flaws and wrongdoing. Well, there are none among us whose legacy at the end will not be mixed. We might all hope to be remembered better than we deserve. There will be plenty of time for historical assessment of Bush's life and presidency in the months and years ahead. This week was not the time to dwell on where he may have fallen short. To do so was churlish.

I like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, whom I have referred to, with affection, as Jeanne d'Arc Ocasio-Cortez. Last summer she rocketed out of nowhere to become a face of the Democratic Party. She is an intelligent, committed, and an impressive voice for values I share.

Unfortunately, she is also compiling a record of sloppiness with the facts that is distressing. This is getting to be more than an occasional misstatement. Her errors include a statement in July that unemployment was low "because everyone has two jobs," last month's claim that newly elected Georgia congresswoman Lucy McBath (Dem.) was outspent 5–1 by Republican incumbent Karen Handel, and this week what I take to be a woeful misunderstanding of reports about Pentagon accounting errors from which she concluded that two-thirds of Medicare for All could be covered by Pentagon transactions that "could not be traced, documented, or explained." and PoltiFact found her to be wrong on all counts.

Each example given here came by way of tweet. Twitter lends itself to this sort of thing as tweets are blasted out into the aether without the forethought, consultation, proofreading, and editing that one would expect from a more formal presentation. An occasional error will happen from time to time, people are human, they misspeak, they get things wrong. It is sure to get attention when it comes from someone with a public profile as prominent as that of Ocasio-Cortez. A pattern is more serious. We can count on our ideological adversaries to pounce on her every misstep and use it to discredit her and the progressive agenda.

Ocasio-Cortez is in some sense in an unenviable position. She was cast into the glare of the spotlight before she had a chance to get her feet wet. Now she must figure out how to navigate the media circus and other perils of celebrity on the fly. As I said earlier, she is intelligent. She strikes me as conscientious. She deserves a measure of patience as she learns the ropes. At the time, she should not be allowed to just slide. We do her and ourselves a disservice if we fail to hold her to account. We should expect better from our representatives than conservatives expect from the current occupant of the White House.

Full disclosure. This week I set up a Twitter account where I intend to share blog posts to see if this has any effect by way of creating exposure for the blog. That will be the extent of my activity on a social media platform for which I have only disdain. Its use even for this limited purpose is a reluctant concession to dismal realities of the 21st century.


My first thought was to make light of the unrest in France by pointing out that the French have something of a tradition of this sort of thing. You know, 1789, 1830, the Paris Commune in 1871, May 1968. It so happens that I am reading a book about the Paris Commune (Massacre: The Life and Death of the Paris Commune by John Merriman) after reading Karl Marx's analysis of those events and being struck, not the first time, by how little I know about that episode in history. Among other purposes the grand boulevards of Paris were designed by Barron Georges Haussmann at the direction of Napoleon III to serve as an obstacle to the traditional erection of barricades by disgruntled Parisians. They were also meant to facilitate showy military processions of the kind that so impressed the current occupant of the White House on his visit last year. I get a kick out of learning about stuff like this.

Ah, but I digress. The situation is serious and worrisome. Macron seems miserably out of touch with broad swatches of the populace. His approval polls make Trump's look good. The specter of the far right hovers over all.

Mueller, Cohen, Manafort...Lindsey Graham saw the smoking saw...Heather Nauert, the president's choice to replace Nikki Haley at the UN, cited D-Day as part our of long history and strong relationship with the government of Germany, making it once again clear we're not talking about the best and the brightest with this bunch...

...and so much more fit for blather...but happy hour is upon me and I still need to clean the bathroom, write the next wave of holiday cards (heaven forfend I should wound the tender sensibilities of the politically correct with a reference to Christmas cards), and do a set of calf stretches for the ongoing plantar fasciitis rehab...I may hold the cards in abeyance until the morrow; problem is I keep doing that and I need to hack out the remainder one of these days...

Keep the faith.

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