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Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.

Articles by Josh

Republican presidential candidate Donald J. Trump has made his first appearance in a recruiting video for a major al Qaeda-affiliated terror group.

al-Shabab, al-Qaeda's Somalia-based affiliate, has released a 51 minute propaganda video which weaves together video of Trump and Anwar al-Awlaki, the one-time top al Qaeda recruiter and US citizen who was killed in a US drone strike in Yemen in 2011.

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This latest news about the implosion of the Ben Carson campaign is almost enough to convince me that Armstrong Williams is really a nefarious Svengali figure cynically manipulating the actions of a hapless Chauncey Gardner type candidate, all to the end of getting rich quick selling mail order candidate-signed Carson/Jesus velour paintings.

TPM is pleased to announce the winners of the Ninth Annual Golden Dukes recognizing the year's best purveyors of public corruption, outlandish behavior, The Crazy and betrayals of the public trust. The awards are named in honor of former Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham, who epitomizes the iconic modern scandal.

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Going back to my post yesterday about the US murder rate, I wanted to go back and consider the regional and international terrain. As we've discussed before, there really is no such thing as a US murder rate. The US has always had a few geographically distinct murder rates. Murder in New England for instance is not that much more common than it is in Western Europe, whether today or 25 years ago. But the South has always had dramatically higher murder rates than the rest of the country. And even with the South, Louisiana has long had a murder rate wildly higher than even the rest of region. But even for all that, we tend to look at the US murder rate and compare it to Europe. But that obscures what is in many ways a much truer, historically meaningful and telling comparison: high murder rates as a phenomenon of the Americas.

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As I've mentioned in a number of posts over the years, I believe the Late 20th Century Crime Wave was one of the two or three most politically and culturally consequential events in the US in the second half of the twenty century. It is hard to overstate the impact of this very real rise in the rates of all violent crimes but most especially murder. And one of the greatest mysteries about it is that that for all the studies, theories and attempts to control it, we simply do not have a clear understanding of why it began in the early 1960s or why it ended over the course of the 1990s. I've noted that, somewhat against my better judgment, I've become increasingly open to the seemingly crude and monocausal theory that lead poisoning played a key role in driving the crime wave. Still, I think we still basically do not know. Yet, over the last year or so we've seen a rising chorus of commentary and political posturing which claims that increasing civil rights activism (i.e. Black Lives Matter or the so-called "Ferguson Effect") and more permissive or cowed policing is at least starting to push crime rates back up toward where they were in the bad old days.

So what's actually happening?

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Pundits seem to have a problem getting their heads around this.

Donald Trump is saying that he will make Bill Clinton's past infidelities and misbehavior a campaign issue ("fair game") against Hillary Clinton. At the risk of stating the obvious, this is a tactic that may work great for Trump in a Republican primary - particularly with the people who make up Trump's core constituency. But in a general election, with an electorate not driven by the things that drive Trump supporters, having a thrice married, philandering blowhard like Trump trying to beat up on a woman over her husband's philandering, about which she is if anything the victim rather than the perpetrator, is almost comically self-destructive on Trump's part.

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We know you're just now recovering from Christmas and getting ready for New Year's. But don't forget the event that comes only once a year, on December 31st. That's right, the announcement of this year's Golden Duke Award winners, our annual awards granted to the year's greatest slimbeballs, crooks, the comically corrupt or simply criminally ridiculous. To refresh your memory, here are this year's nominees, announced back on December 15th. This year's judges are Susie Bright, Rick Hertzberg, Dan Savage and TPM alums Hunter Walker and Megan Carpentier, who we believe are all uniquely suited to judge this sort of achievement. So stay tuned and get ready for the big announcement on December 31st!

Perhaps I'll regret doing this. The topic is so fraught that maybe it makes no sense for a uninvolved bystander to discuss it at all. But today we have yet another story about a Sikh man attacked in what appears to be a hate crime. This phenomenon started right after 9/11 (I'm sure it happened earlier but presumably not so frequently) and appears to spike when the country gets more agitated or afraid about terrorism.

Obviously, these are individual attacks which inflict some mixture of physical assault, pain and in some cases even death on a specific individual. Beyond that, as intended, they spread a penumbra of fear and menace far beyond the victims who are directly affected. But on a public level they have a unique resonance since they capture something we expect about attackers or perhaps an assumption that we see confirmed, which is the overlap between bigotry, propensity to violence and stupidity and ignorance.

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As you can see, I've gotten really, really interested in this increasingly far-flung story of Sheldon Adelson's effort to break into the US news industry - with the main show going on in Vegas with his acquisition of the Las Vegas Review-Journal and a sort of off-stage, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern part of the story unfolding in Connecticut with Adelson's lickspittle and cut-out Michael Schroeder. I tried to pull together all the threads of the story here in a post I did over the holiday. But I have little doubt there is more to come.

So if you see more developments in this story, either in Nevada or Connecticut, please drop us a line. Similarly, I've already noted Adelson's already dominant position in the news business in Israel. Now, I'm also interested in Adelson press acquisitions in the US as well. So if you see press stories or even more if you know about things that are not yet public, please drop me a line.

Michael Schroeder is the owner of The Bristol Press and the New Britain Herald and also served as the cut-out to help Sheldon Adelson buy the much-larger Las Vegas Review-Journal. Now he's just announced he's buying yet another paper. Now it's the Block Island Times, over in Rhode Island.

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