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Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.

Articles by Josh

Trump claims that Central American immigration ‘caravan’ is marauding band of rapists.

In fact in many cases, they’re traveling in groups because immigrants and asylum seekers are often victims of rape and theft.

For more than a year, Facebook has faced a rolling public relations debacle. Part of this is the American public’s shifting attitudes toward Big Tech and platforms in general. But the driving problem has been the way the platform was tied up with and perhaps implicated in Russia’s attempt to influence the 2016 presidential election. Users’ trust in the platform has been shaken, politicians are threatening scrutiny and possible regulation, and there’s even a campaign to get people to delete their Facebook accounts. All of this is widely known and we hear more about it every day. But most users, most people in tech and also Wall Street (which is the source of Facebook’s gargantuan valuation) don’t yet get the full picture. We know about Facebook’s reputational crisis. But people aren’t fully internalizing that the current crisis poses a potentially dire threat to Facebook’s core business model, its core advertising business.

Facebook is fundamentally an advertising business. Almost all of the company’s revenue comes from advertising that it targets with unparalleled efficiency to its billions of users. In a media world in which advertising rates face almost universal downward pressure, Facebook’s rates have consistently risen. Monopoly power may drive some of that growth. But the key driver is efficiency. If old-fashioned advertising shows my advertisement to 100 people for every actual buyer and other digital platforms show it to 30 people and Facebook shows it to 5 people, Facebook’s ads are just worth a lot more.

As long as the rates bear some relationship to that efficiency (those numbers above are just for illustration), I’ll be happy to pay it. Because it’s objectively worth more. Indeed, as the prices have gone up, Facebook has actually gotten more efficient. As one digital ad agency executive recently told me, even if Facebook jacked up the prices a lot more, his firm would likely keep using them just as much because on this cost to efficiency basis it’s still cheap. This is the basis of Facebook’s astronomical market capitalization which today rates at over $450 billion, even after some recent reverses.

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Yesterday afternoon Nasim Aghdam, 39, walked onto the YouTube campus in San Bruno, California, fired dozens of shots, injured four people and then killed herself. Initial reports suggested the shooter might be a disgruntled former employee or friend. Aghdam’s name already has led some to jump to the conclusion that the attack is tied to Islamic fundamentalism. But that seems pretty clearly not to be the case. Aghdam’s activism was tied to animal rights and veganism. Her extensive online trail shows that she was intensely angry at YouTube itself for “demonetizing” her YouTube channels and in other ways purportedly discriminating against her. This seems clear to have been the motive behind her rampage. In other words, she was a disgruntled YouTube user.

All of Aghdam’s social media platform accounts have already been suspended. They were down shortly after her name became public last night. But her site remains on line. Here are a couple screen grabs of the site, both to give you some flavor of her world and to let you read some of her grudge.

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Here’s Alice Ollstein’s look at a critical issue we’re going to be closely focused on in the months and (unfortunately) years to come: the effort to purge the federal bureaucracy of experts, non-Conservative loyalists and, today, those who are not personally loyal to Donald Trump. The story has taken on a distinct coloration today under Donald Trump since his war against the ‘deep state’ is so tightly focused on protecting himself from personal prosecution. But it has decades’ old roots. And a central player is Newt Gingrich, who was at this thirty-plus years ago and now is closely advising and egging on Donald Trump to force or in many cases simply allow purges across the board. Trump isn’t an ideologue like Gingrich. But he only understands loyalism and he will do anything to protect himself from the law. So he’s a perfect partner for Gingrich’s quest to make the federal government more corrupt, ideological, ineffectual and stupid. Give this a read; and if you’re part of the federal workforce and you see things we want to hear.

WaPo reporter says Mueller team is planning on releasing a report on the obstruction part of the investigation in June or July.

Note that technically, Rod Rosenstein appears to have authorized Mueller to write such a report. In theory, he could decide to keep it confidential. In practice, that seems highly unlikely.

Here’s my interpretation of the new Washington Post blockbuster which sheds dramatic new light on the Mueller probe and the legal exposure of the President. It is the first concrete evidence we have to date that the President’s own conduct is being investigated in the collusion/interference part of the Mueller probe.

Let me start by saying that the precise language used in the article is key. I am working on the assumption that the piece is closely edited for clarity.

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Just out from the White House.

Note the reference to the protection of ‘national security’ which may be a predicate to ignoring the restrictions of the Posse Comitatus Act which prevents the military from carrying out police actions on American soil.

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