I wrote last night that we were creeping up on 25,000 paid subscribers. Well, no more. at 12:48 PM eastern time, TPM Reader WB became our 25,000th subscriber. Awesome! Thank you WB and thank you to all 25,000 of you. (Actually, now 25,005.)
Let me share an idea I’ve had about the gun issue for many years. It’s not a panacea. But I think it’s a key part of any future in which we deal with guns in a way that is realistic and responsible. A number of years ago gun control activists tried a strategy to make gun manufacturers liable for the impact (literal and figurative) of their products. This approach shared some strategic similarities with what anti-smoking activists had done earlier. The gun lobby shut the whole thing down and that was the end of it. But I’m not sure it was the best approach in any case. It was less an effort to change behavior than drive gun manufacturers out of business. But there’s a different way to think about civil and criminal liability and guns.
This counts as house news. So it’s nothing you have any reason to be concerned about as you would about the news. But if the future and livelihood of this site is important to you, it’s actually a big deal. We are now creeping up on a major milestone: 25,000 subscribers. We’re currently at 24,944. So we have a pretty good shot at getting there by the end of the month. (Our goal is to end the calendar year with no fewer than 30,000 subscribers.) So the first thing is, thanks. Really, thank you to all of our subscribers.
This isn’t just a nice thing on the side. It’s core to the site’s continued existence and vitality. We started Prime at the end of 2012 for a number of reasons. But a key one, really the key one, was that we believed the advertising-only digital publishing model was unsustainable, not just for us but for everyone. As a small player with no resources to fall back on, however, we knew we’d feel the storm early and hard. This, I’ve always thought, is one of the benefits of being a small player. Everyone has to grapple with the same industry trends. But being big allows you to go on longer thinking the trends won’t apply to you. Scale and easy access to capital can facilitate denial.
I’ve noted a number of times that spies look for desperate, bankrupt and stupid people as vulnerabilities in any organization. They’re malleable. They are desperate. If you look at Frank Foer’s recent profile of Manafort, in 2015 his marriage was falling apart. He was in financial trouble. He was telling family members he was considering taking his own life. He’d spent years building a cash cow out of his relationship with Viktor Yanukovych. But he went into exile in Russia after being driven from power in 2014. The events of the last three days cast this all into much higher relief. The new charges leveled yesterday detail various crimes and frauds. But the big picture shows someone absolutely desperate for money.
Thanks to everyone who checked out, subscribed to and rated my new podcast, The Josh Marshall Podcast. A sincere thank you. We’ll be publishing a new episode every Tuesday going forward. You can subscribe on iTunes, Google Play or through the direct RSS feed. Episode #2 drops Tuesday. But today we’re releasing a Special Edition episode where we dig into the new box set retrospective of Bob Dylan’s Christian period (which I discussed here in December) and a concert movie which debuts on Cinemax on February 26th. I recommend both highly. In this Special Edition episode I talk to three people who put together the box set and the movie: Jennifer Lebeau, Luc Sante and Greg Geller. I hope you like it. Listen here.
The Rick Gates legal maneuverings have been making me a little crazy all month. They were nearly impossible to decipher from the outside looking in. Normal tea-leaf reading was ineffective at explaining what was happening. But now we probably know why.
Let me weave together information from published reports and my own reporting about Jared Kushner’s security clearance. Because the situation seems much more serious and unfixable than we’ve been led to believe.
Good morning. Yesterday afternoon saw plenty of breaking news; today could be busy as well. Here’s what our writers and editors have their eyes on.