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BeyondGeography's Journal
BeyondGeography's Journal
March 22, 2019

Braden Holtby won't visit Trump's White House

The Washington Capitals will celebrate their Stanley Cup championship from last season at the White House on Monday, but goalie Braden Holtby won’t be among the attendees.

Joining forward Brett Connolly, who said Monday he was turning down the invitation, Holtby said Friday he was “respectfully declining” the invite.

“My family and myself, we believe in a world where humans are treated with respect regardless of your stature, what you’re born into,” said Holtby, a noted LGBTQ rights advocate. “You’re asked to choose what side you’re on, and I think it’s pretty clear what side I’m on.”

More at https://nypost.com/2019/03/22/capitals-braden-holtby-picks-side-wont-visit-trumps-white-house/
March 20, 2019

Elizabeth Warren shows what she's made of

As you watch each of the Democratic candidates, this question looms: How would she or he fare in a debate with Donald Trump?

My conclusion after seeing Senator Elizabeth Warren in CNN’s Monday town hall meeting in Mississippi: She’d clean his clock. Warren is smarter, better informed, and every bit as tough. And given how much of Trump’s case for reelection is based on false premises, Potemkin Village pretensions, and outright lies, she’d take him to town.

...With Warren, who at this stage of the campaign is vying with Vermont’s Bernie Sanders, the other question is this: Would she be a better, more effective, and connective candidate than Sanders? There too, I think she made important impressionistic progress with her town hall performance.

...Some are already putting the Massachusetts senator on the politically endangered list because she’s trailing Sanders in New Hampshire, a neighboring make-or-break state for both of them. It’s far too early for that, however.

As we saw in Massachusetts when Warren first burst upon on the scene, she is talented and substantive, with a certain wonkish charisma about her. As others have noted, she’s emerged as the policy-proposing pace-setter in a very large field. From her plan for a tax on the total assets of the exceedingly wealthy to her call to break up big tech companies, to her proposal for universal child care and for spending billions on housing, she has defined her candidacy in a way that lets everyone know what she’s about.

And that’s not a bad place to be at this stage in the campaign.


March 16, 2019

Leontyne Price, for your Saturday opera fix

Price, one of the greatest sopranos ever, is still with us; she turned 91 last month. Here’s the full last scene from Aida, her signature role, filmed in 1985, the year she retired:

March 13, 2019

Philippe Reines: Stop drawing the wrong lessons from 1998

I’m paraphrasing, but there’s no other way to read this. It’s a myth that impeaching Clinton was a net loss for Republicans and Democrats are now in a much better position than the R’s were in 1998 because the case for impeaching Trump is considerably more credible:

...There are many reasons for Democrats to contemplate impeachment today that go beyond politics. Substantial evidence has already emerged showing that the president has abused his office to the detriment of the American public. That evidence deserves a thorough and transparent airing in Congress, arguably the only venue available for trying a sitting president.

Still, as pundits never tire of saying, impeachment is a political process, not a legal one — and the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, and Senator Chuck Schumer are right to wonder whether it make sense to seek impeachment , especially given the unlikelihood of enough Republicans breaking ranks in the Senate. On Monday, Ms. Pelosi said that, for now, Mr. Trump was “not worth” the cost of impeachment to the country.

But impeachment is worth it, politically, and not just because of what history shows us. If anything, Democrats are in an even better position than Republicans were in 1998 to benefit, or at worst not suffer, politically.

For one thing, 22 Republican senators are up for re-election in 2020, against just 12 Democrats. Especially if the public support for impeachment continues to grow, a Republican vote to acquit the president could tip at least a few vulnerable Republican seats.

Also, one reason people think the Republicans suffered for 1998 is that everyone knew, then and later, that it was a crassly political move — Mr. Clinton’s lapses, however you judge them, were personal, not the sort of “high crimes and misdemeanors” that impeachment is intended to address.

Most voters today, whether they support Mr. Trump or not, will probably see a potential impeachment against him differently. Especially as the evidence mounts, reasonable people will more and more conclude that the Democrats are doing their civic duty by pursuing impeachment (and those who disagree probably wouldn’t vote Democratic anyway).


March 12, 2019

Sarah Sanders 'glad' Pelosi not keen on Trump impeachment


White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Tuesday encouraged Democratic lawmakers to "get on board" with Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) after the House leader largely dismissed the possibility of impeaching President Trump.

"I‘m glad that she sees what the rest of us see and that there’s no reason, no cause for impeachment," Sanders said on "Outnumbered" on Fox News. "The president’s done an incredible job in his first two years in office. The country is better than it's been in decades."

Sanders suggested that Democrats were resorting to impeachment as an "excuse" for the party's defeat in the 2016 presidential election.

“I think it’s time for other Democrats in Nancy Pelosi’s party to get on board, start doing what they were elected to do, do their jobs and quit trying to focus so much on making excuses for the historic loss that they suffered in 2016," she added. "Let’s work with the president and solve some real problems."
March 12, 2019

A top Democrat disagrees with Pelosi, says impeachment proceedings 'inevitable'

Washington (CNN)A high-ranking Democrat broke with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Monday, saying he supports impeaching President Donald Trump and believes impeachment proceedings are inevitable.

"To me it's not a question of 'whether,' it's a question of 'when,' and probably right now is not the right time, but I think at some point it's going to be inevitable," Rep. John Yarmuth told CNN's Erin Burnett on "Erin Burnett OutFront."

The comments put the Kentucky Democrat, who's the chairman of the House Budget Committee, at odds with Pelosi, who said she does not currently support impeaching Trump even though she believes he is unfit to be President, according to a Washington Post magazine interview published Monday. The issue has divided congressional Democrats.

"I'm not for impeachment," the California Democrat said, adding, "Impeachment is so divisive to the country that unless there's something so compelling and overwhelming and bipartisan, I don't think we should go down that path, because it divides the country. And he's just not worth it."

Yarmuth said there is "validity" to Pelosi's point, "and I respect that, and ultimately it's going to be her call." But, he said, "I believe that the impeachment power is in the Constitution for a reason, and if we don't use it, then it becomes meaningless, particularly when you have a President who has committed crimes while in office, who has abused the power of his office, and many other reasons why I think he's committed impeachable offenses."

...Yarmuth said he is not sure if there are currently enough Democrats to vote for impeachment. He doesn't think impeachment can be a "political calculation," but has to be instead a "recognition of constitutional responsibility."

More at https://www.cnn.com/2019/03/11/politics/democrat-nancy-pelosi-impeachment-john-yarmuth-cnntv/index.html
March 11, 2019

Pelosi impeachment opposition catches Dem leaders off guard; Hoyer demurs

Heading into weekly leadership meeting, most top Democrats say they had not seen speaker comments

House Democratic leaders on Monday were caught off guard by Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s comments to the Washington Post declaring her opposition to impeaching President Donald Trump.

“I didn’t see it. I don’t know what she said, but I’ve got a feeling it’s the same thing I’ve been saying,” House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer said, referring to his past statements that he did not think Democrats should make a judgement on impeachment before seeing Special Counsel Robert Mueller III’s report.

When Roll Call told Hoyer that Pelosi was more definitive in her interview with the Post, saying she was making news in saying she’s not for impeachment because it’s too divisive, Hoyer was surprised.

“Well, I don’t know I want to be that definitive,” the Maryland Democrat said. “I’ve said all along it depends what information comes out, but neither of us have been for impeachment at this point in time.”

Most Democratic leaders, speaking with reporters as they headed to their weekly leadership team meeting in Pelosi’s office Monday, said either that they had not seen the speaker’s comments to the Post or that they wanted to wait to comment until after speaking with her at the meeting. That included House Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries, Vice Chairwoman Katherine Clark and Colorado Rep. Joe Neguse, one of two freshman class representatives to leadership.

None of the leaders seemed to have a heads up that Pelosi was going to come out in opposition to impeachment. Some were skeptical that her comments were intended to be a definitive decision on the matter.

“I’m not sure she’s ruled it out,” Democratic Policy and Communications Committee Chairman David Cicilline said. “I’ve not seen the comment. That would be hard for me to believe it.”

More at https://www.rollcall.com/news/congress/i-dont-know-i-want-to-be-that-definitive-pelosi-impeachment-opposition-catches-democratic-leaders-off-guard
March 11, 2019

Trump's $4.7 trillion budget locks in $1 trillion deficits, raises defense spending, cuts safety net


President Trump’s new budget proposal would sustain a huge gap between spending and tax revenue through 2022, according to an advance copy obtained by The Washington Post. The deficit proposals reflect the White House’s push for low taxes and higher defense spending and are only partially offset by major spending reductions on Medicare, Medicaid and other domestic programs.

Democrats on Capitol Hill have said many parts of the plan stand no chance of becoming law, but the proposal sets up a sharp contrast for the public and voters heading into budget fights later this year and the 2020 election.

...Trump’s “Budget for a Better America” also includes dozens of spending cuts and policy overhauls that frame the early stages of the debate for the 2020 election. For example, Trump for the first time calls for cutting $845 billion from Medicare, the popular health care program for the elderly that in the past he had largely said he would protect.

His budget would also propose a major overhaul of Medicaid, the health care program for low-income Americans run jointly with states, by turning more power over to states. This would save $241 billion over 10 years.

Other agencies, particularly the Environmental Protection Agency, State Department, Transportation Department, and Interior Department, would see their budgets severely gutted.

More broadly, Tump’s budget would impose mandatory work-requirements for millions of people who receive welfare assistance while dramatically increasing the defense budget to $750 billion next year, a 5 percent increase from 2019...
March 4, 2019

Plum Line: Hickenlooper's entry reveals how moderates fatally misunderstand today's GOP

The race for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination got another entrant today, which makes 12 major candidates, with more to come. John Hickenlooper, the former governor of Colorado, announced today that he’ll be running, and while in a different year he might have been a strong contender — reasonably successful and well-liked governor, middle-aged white guy — he has a bit of a timing problem.

It isn’t just that Hickenlooper isn’t nationally known and may be more moderate than what Democratic primary voters are looking for right now. It goes to what sort of president he says he’d be. To hear him talk, it’s as though he parachuted in from a few decades ago and has no idea how politics works in 2019 or what sorts of impediments the next Democratic president is going to face. Let’s look at the way he summed up his candidacy in an interview with ABC News’s George Stephanopoulos this morning:

“I’m running for president because I believe that not only can I beat Donald Trump but that I am the person that can bring people together on the other side and actually get stuff done.”

Hickenlooper talked about the importance of going out and listening to people, about how when he was mayor of Denver and ran for governor he connected with voters all over the state whose concerns weren’t partisan. Which is surely true, but unfortunately it shows that while being out in the “real” America (i.e. not Washington) can help you understand how policy decisions affect people’s lives, it can also obscure the real challenges of federal policymaking the next president will face.

...Here’s the problem for a Democratic president: Today’s Republican Party isn’t just committed to a particular set of policy preferences, it’s also committed to a style of politics in which 1) any compromise with Democrats on a controversial issue is an unconscionable betrayal, and 2) literally any tactics, no matter how morally reprehensible, are justified in the pursuit of their goals.

More at https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2019/03/04/john-hickenloopers-entry-reveals-how-moderates-fatally-misunderstand-todays-gop/?utm_term=.6b39623de3c3

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