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Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.

Articles by Josh

I've been meaning to write this post for several days. It's a topic I've touched upon at various points over the last six months. But President Obama's press conference on Friday is a good opportunity to revisit the issue and write it.

You don't need to a Russia hawk to care about the hacking and electoral subversion story. And vice versa: just because you think the electoral subversion is a big deal doesn't mean you're a hawk. After I wrote this post in late July, the post quickly got a lot of favorable attention from the US Russia hawks. That's fine. I know a lot of these people. And on this issue we have a common concern. But if you've been reading me over the years, you know I have a very different view of our interests and the actual threats we face from Russia.

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The Bush administration hawks always contained at least two distinct groups. One was neoconservatives, under which label all of them were often grouped. The other was what we might call American hard power unilateralists. In the brief pre-9/11 China focus period, both groups approached the world in a fairly similar light. In the post-9/11 everything is terrorism world they grouped together even more so. In many respects the world views are similar: hard power, hegemony, a world of threats. But it's a very helpful prism for understanding how and why the people who made up that world have lined up in the age of Trump. It explains why many or most foreign policy types in the Bush world have generally been averse or hostile to Trump. But men like John Bolton and Dick Cheney (and it seems Don Rumsfeld too) have been pretty big fans from the beginning.

Norman Eisen (Obama's White House Ethics lawyer), Richard Painter (Bush 43's White House Ethics lawyer) and Larry Tribe have just released a deep dive on Donald Trump, the "emoluments" clause and running the presidency as a business loss leader. I hope this will spur forward a discussion that goes beyond 'conflicts of interest' to using the presidency as a tool to create growth producing synergies between "the United States" and "the Trump Organization." It is the ultimate 'synergy.'

As I've said, these aren't "conflicts". This is the plan!

Some text from the overview of the report ...

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The podcast is back! Josh Green is back for his third episode of the Josh Marshall Show. As you've learned from earlier episodes, Josh has great sources inside the Trump campaign, especially with Trump advisor Steve Bannon, formerly chief at Breitbart. One thing we get into in this episode is part of the Trump global plan which has gotten very, very little attention. Trump plans - using the good offices of Nigel Farage, at least is a go-between - to boost the UK's leverage in its Brexit negotiations by moving quickly to conclude a free trade agreement with the UK. They may not be able to do this while the UK is still negotiating its divorce from the EU. That's at least technically not allowed. But by putting on the table a package, ready and waiting, they hope to strengthen the UK's bargaining position with the EU. From there is where it gets interesting. Trump hopes to follow, using the model of the US-UK deal to strike separate bilateral trade deals with Germany, France and down the line, in essence breaking up the EU. There are numerous problems with the effects this would have, both economic and geopolitical, whether this is even possible and much more. But what I took from our discussion is that Trump and Bannon are planning a far more radical upending of the global trade and geopolitical order than I think most anyone imagines. Click here to hear Episode #10 of the Josh Marshall Show.

A few thoughts on the Russian hacking issue. Did Obama do enough?

There are two distinct questions. First, did President Obama do enough to punish Russia for its actions and, second, did President Obama do enough to alert the US public about what was happening? The two questions are related but distinct. I don't have a fully formulated opinion on the first question. But the second question bears some comparison to 'fake news', in this sense. The administration did a huge amount over the course of the fall to alert the public, alert the world was happening. They finally went so far as to issue a public consensus judgment of the entire US intelligence community about Russian tampering in the election.

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I have seen David Friedman, Donald Trump's nominee to be the next US Ambassador to Israel, described in the mainstream press as a supporter of settlement expansion. The analogies that readily spring to mind are too coarse for me to repeat. Let's say this is a wild understatement. Friedman represents the extremes of the most vicious and destructive elements of rightist Zionism and the indeed the most radical elements of American Jewry.

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This is just a small part of a sprawling story. But indulge me for a moment while I focus in on it. John Podesta has a piece out tonight in the Post which is a broad indictment of the FBI, for its obsession with Secretary Clinton's private email server and its lackadaisical indifference to Russian sabotage efforts against her party and then her campaign. In the beginning of that piece Podesta zeroes in on something that jumped out at me too when I read the big New York Times story on the history of the Clinton hacks.

Here's the passage.

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A big, big driver of Obamacare repeal is that it's a big tax cut for the super wealthy. Taxpayers in the top 1 percent see an average tax cut of $33,000. Those in the top .1 percent will get an average tax cut of $197,000.

This is first reported by CNN, apparently a video originally dug up by American Bridge. Wilbur Ross, Donald Trump's nominee for Commerce Secretary, backed up Mitt Romney's "47%" comments back late in the 2012 campaign in an interview on Indian TV station NDTV. Ross makes the factually incorrect statement that 47% of Americans pay no taxes. Actually more telling than that are the comments about scofflaws on unemployment and various safety net programs. Video after the jump. "A very high percentage of the unemployed people claim disabilities so that they can get more money," says Ross at one point and "40-some-odd percent of the ones who claim disability claim sudden mental disability."

47% part starts at approximately 1:30 ...

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