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Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.

Articles by Josh

As we go from one tweet to the next, there's a strong urge (and it would seem for some an irresistible urge) to find a logic to Donald Trump's tweets, threats, promises on the foreign policy front. It is highly reminiscent of the early Obama years when Obama diehards saw '12 dimensional chess' whether Obama was winning on an issue, losing on an issue or maybe not even paying attention to an issue.

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Today TPM, along with a slew of other news outlets, picked up a story out of Lancaster County, PA, which detailed a series of false but weaponized 'War on Christmas' stories from Fox and the Breitbart hate network, that had allegedly led a Jewish family to leave the area fearing a replay of the recent "Pizzagate" episode. What appears undisputed is that the original conservative media reports falsely claimed that a Jewish family's complaints about the production of 'A Christmas Carol' had led to the play's cancelation. The question is whether the family reacted to being demonized in these publications by temporarily leaving the area.

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Just yesterday I noticed two stories on Trump administration plans to impose 5% tariffs on imports. One was about the Trump administration, another was about plans emerging from the GOP House, going back to June and seemingly independent of Trump. This is for a so-called "border adjustment tax" of 5% on imports as part of corporate tax reform. Here's an explanation of how the "border adjustment tax" would work and why retailers are up in arms about it. The latter isn't a tariff exactly. But it has a similar practical effect of imposing an additional cost on imports and thus making them less attractive than domestic manufactures.

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A couple days ago I noted news that the leader of the far-right Austrian Freedom Party had met with incoming Trump National Security Advisor Michael Flynn at Trump Tower recently. The Austrian Freedom Party was founded in the 1950s by former Nazis and in its current incarnation is another far-right nationalist anti-immigrant party like others now on the ascent in Europe. Today though, Trump spokesman Jason Miller denied the two men had ever met and further said that Flynn "strongly disavows groups with such viewpoints."

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My friend Stuart Stevens has the rare combined vantage point of being both a top Republican campaign professional and also someone who has built a successful career in Hollywood. He's mentioned more than once the unique challenges of entertainment programming at the GOP's quadrennial nominating conventions. But something unique or heretofore unprecedented is happening with the Trump inauguration. It's no surprise there'd be a 85% or even 95% freeze out from Hollywood and the music industry. But it appears to be closer to 99% or 100%.

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A coalition of neo-Nazis and hard-right Zionists can be unwieldy.

A representative of the Trump transition has decided to boycott a meeting with the Israeli government after the Israeli Foreign Ministry refused to meet with a member of their delegation. Becky Norton Dunlop, deputy to the senior adviser on Trump’s transition team, was in Jerusalem with a delegation of far-right Bannonite European parliamentarians. But Israel said it couldn't meet with Sweden's Kristina Winberg because of her party's "neo-Nazi tendencies." Faced with that rebuke, Dunlop decided to boycott the meeting entirely.

In the six weeks since Donald Trump's surprise election we've already seen numerous grifts, shakedowns and efforts at various levels of completion to monetize the US Presidency - all this in advance of Donald Trump's actually becoming President. But this unfolding story of the Trump's sons "Opening Day" fundraiser seems significant to me in a way that goes beyond the money involved or precise details. It somehow brings the whole story together. It captures a point I've been trying to make in recent weeks. The language and taxomony of "conflicts of interest" and conventional government ethics are simply not up to the challenge of understanding the Trumps let alone protecting the republic from them.

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Newt Gingrich is sad that Donald Trump has decided to ditch language about "draining the swamp" but "you know, he is my leader and if he decides to drop the swamp and the alligator I will drop the swamp and the alligator.”

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