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BeyondGeography's Journal
BeyondGeography's Journal
February 25, 2024

Mozart Clarinet Quintet - Larghetto

February 11, 2024

Ozawa (1985), a documentary directed by Albert and David Maysles

Beauty and artistry, soul and spirit.

A great cross-cultural escape. Highly recommend.

February 9, 2024

Josh Marshall: More Angry Biden, Please

Is it frustration? Something deeper, or more shallow? I woke up this morning to see that the front page of the Times has five stories above the virtual fold. All five were about Joe Biden’s memory, press conference, special counsel report. Full news day, I guess. Yesterday I noticed the Times’ Astead Herndon on this on Twitter. He is not some slightly younger version of David Broder. He’s a pretty new entrant to the upper echelon of elite DC news media. I think he graduated from college as Trump’s first campaign was getting underway. But the acculturation appears complete. After Hur’s report dropped he wrote that despite questions about Biden’s age being “the most impt non-Trump issue in this elec[tion]” the DC press corps has “a sorta gentleman’s agreement for the last year to pretend like it’s not. Maybe that ends now.”

Am I taking crazy pills here? Do I have dementia? I think it’s fair to say that at least a third of the political chatter about President Biden for the last year, and quite possibly half of it, is about the President’s age. But maybe the omertà is about to end? I’m still trying to process the idea that a top Washington reporter really thinks there’s been some kind of fix-is-in ban on discussing the President’s age. As David says, the press sees the blood in the water and this will keep up for a while now. As for the report itself, if you missed it, I shared my thoughts on that yesterday. The President’s ongoing verbal gaffes speak for themselves. I wanted to zoom in on something a bit different about yesterday’s spectacle. Aside from discussions of the President’s cognitive faculties, the main focus — actually the two were melded together — was commentary about his anger. This seemed to be a universal response from the DC press corps, that the whole impromptu press conference was a mess because the President displayed clear and clearly genuine anger.

…It’s probably not lost on you that Donald Trump is basically permanently angry. And not just angry in response to particular events but the kind of perpetual and often peristaltic anger that in day to day life most people find threatening or at least off-putting. But we virtually never hear anything about the purported damage from expressions of anger when it’s Donald Trump. That’s not bias. It’s simply that it’s assumed. So it just doesn’t come up. It’s no longer policed. That’s just what Donald Trump does. But there’s an additional factor that people don’t notice. Being responsive to this kind of press policing signals a basic weakness, a perpetual hedging, a practice of being controlled and responsive to the press chorus rather than indifferent to it. Trump’s able to work outside this framework of policing because he simply ignores it and because of that reporters decide it doesn’t apply to him. This isn’t just Biden. It’s not even just Trump. Democrats for a host of reasons tend to be far more responsive to this kind of policing. People want to see expressions of agency and power from political leaders. Trump’s ability to set the terms for how the press reacts and interprets his actions is itself an expression of power.

All of which is to say that it wasn’t just okay that Biden showed some anger. It was good. And he should do more of it. Both because people expect people to have normal and appropriate human responses and grow latent suspicions when they don’t see it but also because it’s Biden showing some energy and direction. They should put him in front of reporters and the cameras more, not less. If you are responding to the tut-tutting and line-drawing of the prestige media you’re losing. It’s as simple as that. You’re always either reacting or being reacted to. The latter is always better.

February 9, 2024

The Battle is Over but the War Goes On - Levon Helm Band

February 8, 2024

Talk about a cheap shot

Biden spent five hours answering Hur’s questions on October 8 and 9.

From a response letter from Biden’s attorneys which is included in the report:

“We do not believe that the report’s treatment of President Biden’s memory is accurate or appropriate. The report uses highly prejudicial language to describe a commonplace occurrence among witnesses: a lack of recall of years-old events,” the lawyers write. They complain that other witnesses’ lapses in memory are not treated with the same pejorative tone, and say that Biden’s interview occurred the day after the October 7 attacks in Israel, so the president’s attention was elsewhere. “I was so determined to give the Special Counsel what they needed,” Biden said in a statement, “that I went forward with five hours of in-person interviews over two days on October 8th and 9th of last year, even though Israel had just been attacked on October 7th and I was in the middle of handling an international crisis.”

February 6, 2024

Ruling spells out the insanity of presidential immunity


This is the core of the reasoning, on pages 40-41:

“At bottom, former President Trump’s stance would collapse our system of separated powers by placing the President beyond the reach of all three Branches. Presidential immunity against federal indictment would mean that, as to the President, the Congress could not legislate, the Executive could not prosecute and the Judiciary could not review. We cannot accept that the office of the Presidency places its former occupants above the law for all time thereafter. Careful evaluation of these concerns leads us to conclude that there is no functional justification for immunizing former Presidents from federal prosecution in general or for immunizing former President Trump from the specific charges in the Indictment. In so holding, we act, “not in derogation of the separation of powers, but to maintain their proper balance.” See Fitzgerald, 457 U.S. at 754.

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