Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.

Articles by Josh

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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It seems to me that Democrats are now involved in a pointless proxy battle between what we might call a "deep causes" explanation of the 2016 loss (strategy, ideology, candidate) and one focused on illegitimate outside interventions: Russian hacking and subversion or James Comey's week-out intervention in the presidential race. Any effort to hold these two explanations as alternatives, as though one obviates the other seems either dishonest, pointless, distracting or simply silly.

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For all the criticism and intrigue about Rex Tillerson's ties to Russia, his lack of any conventional foreign policy experience (despite having contended with various world leaders) and status as an oil company executive, just why did Trump pick him? Like no conspiracy theories, just why? Were they old friends? Is there some business connection? This Politico article gives a more detailed version of the story I've now heard in a number of press accounts: Trump had no prior relationship with Tillerson. But he was recommended to Trump by Bob Gates, Condi Rice and finally James Baker.

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I'm proud to see TPM becoming the go-to place for reporting on the legislative fate of Obamacare, Medicare and now Social Security, all of which are now under varying degrees of threat under unified Trumpite Republican rule. Here's a quick run-down of the GOP plan for drastic cuts to Social Security. Notably, this is not phaseout, not privatization. It's a broad-ranging series of hikes to the retirement age, and cuts to benefits, mostly engineered through changes in the cost of living adjustment formulas, with some means testing thrown in for good measure.

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Anderson Cooper and Kellyanne Conway from short time ago on CNN ...

COOPER: Congressman Adam Schiff tweeted today saying "If Trump was as smart as he claims to be he'd understand how little he knows and how much he'll come to depend on the Intel community. " Why doesn't --

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Watching Republicans try to spin the Russia story is both bizarre and hilarious. Here's Steve Scalise, third-ranking Republican in the House, explaining to Wolf Blitzer that we shouldn't just be focused on Russian election interference but also people who had their credit cards and personal information hacked.

Transcript after the jump ...

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A new Kaiser Family Foundation study says that 52 million Americans have conditions insurers use to deny coverage. Most of those are able to get insurance because they are part of group plans. But many do not and those people are about to become uninsurable again when the GOP Congress repeals Obamacare. They're claiming they'll replace it and that no one will lose what they currently have. But that's certainly not true because they're cutting the funding for Obamacare. Republicans are not going to pass a tax increase to fund whatever GOP replacement they finally come up with for Obamacare. So the human costs are quite here. Here's the story.