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Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.

Articles by Josh

Public arguments are notoriously unreliable indicators of Supreme Court outcomes. But if today's arguments were any sign, things look quite ominous for public sector unions. The case is Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association and it concerns the issue of union dues. It has long been the case that teachers in union workplaces can opt out of paying the dues which go to political activities, on the reasoning that that violates their 1st Amendment rights. But they have to pay the dues which fund collective bargaining because they benefit from the salaries, benefits, etc. that come from the collective bargaining process.

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We are now moving into that period of time when the early state polls really start to matter. Both Iowa and New Hampshire will happen in the next thirty days. A new poll out today on New Hampshire shows Donald Trump remaining in a wildly dominant position in New Hampshire, at 32%. But the runners up are just as important. Cruz is at 14%, a good showing for him considering his politics are not terribly well-suited to New Hampshire. But John Kasich is also at 14%. And that strikes me as a big deal. (Rubio is close at 12%.)

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Here comes news that Chris Hughes is putting the august but now tumble-down New Republic up for sale. I will first say that I met with Hughes for lunch not long after the purchase and later signed off on some partnership discussions well before the epic implosion of a year ago (nothing came of them). And Chris was friendly and generous with me and idealistic in his outlook. But now it's hard not to see this as a perfect inversion of the classic private equity model: a few years of transformative ownership in which his team managed to radically increase costs while completely destroying the company's brand equity.

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Probably fewer words rather than more are better. But I'm inordinately affected by the unexpected death of David Bowie. I haven't really listened to anything new from Bowie in years. But as a teenager, in early 80s - ironically in one of his fallow periods - I was obsessed with the whole 70s oeuvre. If you don't know Bowie other than as a name from a guy who was big in your parents' day, set aside some time and listen to The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars. A certain measure of pure critical acclaim always just eluded Bowie. But for influence, on the full terrain of Anglophone pop music, there are very, very few who even come close. It's not a measure of some abstract greatness - just an intuitive, personal response: but other than Dylan, Jagger, Richards and maybe McCartney I can't think of anyone else from this era whose passing would shake me up quite as much. And somehow, Bowie, although certainly not a young man at 69, continued to strike me as much younger than his years. Bowie dead? Really? For now just this ...

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Nope. This isn't a joke. A White Nationalist SuperPAC is now blanketing Iowa with Robocalls on behalf of Donald Trump. And for bonus awful, the leader of the organization is also the spokesman for the group which Charleston Massacre shooter Dylann Roof cited as inspiration for his killings in his manifesto. As the audio puts it, "We don’t need Muslims. We need smart, well-educated white people who will assimilate to our culture. Vote Trump.” Details and audio here.

You don't go to campaign operatives for impartial opinions. You don't even really expect them to tell the truth. But sometimes when one says something that is not only clearly false but demonstrably false, it merits correcting the record. So let's return to the point about this document which lists Ted Cruz's mom, Eleanor, as a Canadian citizen and eligible voter in 1974. As I noted on Friday, the existence of the document does not prove that Cruz was a Canadian citizen (human error is always possible). Nor does it necessarily negate her son's eligibility to run for President. But I was struck that the Cruz campaign felt compelled to respond to the document's existence by making claims that are simply demonstrably false. I'm talking specifically here about the statement Cruz chief campaign strategist provided to Breitbart.com.

Johnson said that "the document itself does not purport to be a list of 'registered Canadian voters ... All this might conceivably establish is that this list of individuals (maybe) lived at the given addresses. It says nothing about who was a citizen eligible to vote."

Well, this is clearly, clearly not true. The Breitbart.com article appeared to be worked out with the campaign to assure people that the document had no significance. So they made no effort to rebut the statement. But in the interests of helping everyone know the details. This statement is clearly and demonstrably false. And here's why.

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