Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.

Articles by Josh

With the apparent demise of the Confederate flag, the vindication of Obamacare and chronic poor diet, these really are the days that try the elasticity of the arteries of post-55 white male America. But amidst the gnashing of teeth, one thing should be apparent. John Roberts really is the best thing that ever happened to Republican jurisprudence and the conservative judicial movement.

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TPM Reader NB has little time for rejoicing ...

Can we stop for a moment now that it's over and gaze in wonder at the fact that this was ever in question? That the plain meaning of this law could be overturned by four inartfully chosen words?

If I cast my mind back, I can remember the incredulity with which the cases that eventually became King v Burwell were received at the time. These were the acts of dead enders, a judicial grasping at straws.

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It's so different. Yet seeing the rush for the exits on the symbols of the Confederacy almost reminds me of the flurry of name-changes and turnabouts that followed the fall of the Iron Curtain in Eastern Europe. It is almost like a sudden national convulsion or a gag reflex coughing up at least the most noxious symbols of racial domination. Here's one you might not have figured on. This morning Mayor of Boise (Boise! which you may have noticed is not in the South) removed the Mississippi state flag (which incorporates the Confederate battle flag) from a group of state flags on display outside Boise City Hall.

We learned this courtesy of TPM Reader TJ. It is, as you can imagine, quite difficult at this point to keep up with all the the flag lowerings, proposed statue relocations and all the rest.

Several top Mississippi Republicans, including the Speaker of the state House and the state's two senators, have now called on the state to retire the current flag and replace it with a new design, shorn of Confederate symbols.

I think this is the third post I've started with some version of this incredulity. But I still cannot believe the Charleston Massacre has triggered quite this total a collapse of support, not just for flying the Confederate battle flag in places of honor at Southern state capitols, but for public display and honor for the Confederacy and the War of the Rebellion in almost any form. Whatever the precise cause or convergence of under-noticed trends, there now seems like no doubt that we are witnessing a watershed in the country's long, wretched and denial-ridden wrestling with the public memory of the Civil War.

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TPM Reader CS gives us a view from Charleston and why he thinks the damn broke on the preservation of Confederate symbols. I'm particularly interested in the second catalyst he notes ...

As a Charleston resident, I’ve noticed that there seem to be two main catalysts driving the removal of the flag—at least here in South Carolina.

First and foremost, a member of the South Carolina Senate was murdered. Not just any member, but a very highly respected and very well liked member. I have been pleasantly surprised by the number of Republican Senators who have come forward to release very personal statements about Sen. Pinckney’s death, especially among the Lowcountry delegation. The statements made about him strike me as more than just the generic nice things one is supposed to say.

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One of the many enjoyable things about writing historically-themed posts is finding out new things or re-finding out things I'd dimly known or learned at some point but had almost entirely forgotten. That happened today as I was writing about the history of the Confederate flag and the fact that what we know as the Confederate flag was actually never the national flag of the pretended Confederate States of America. What I didn't remember, though, was this issue of the "White Man's Flag" which was the official national flag of the CSA for most of its history. As I noted in this post, the second flag of the Confederacy was what we recognize as the 'confederate flag' in the top left corner on a field of pure white. And unless you think this is just ironic given what the Confederacy stood for ... nope not ironic.

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Back in February we brought you the news of one-time county sheriff Richard Mack of Arizona, head of the nonsense "constitutional sheriff" movement, a group of yahoos who got confused and believe that sovereign authority rests not with the state or the head of state or the individual or the people but with county sheriffs. Go figure. Not surprisingly, Mack is a big opponent of Obamacare. So it was a source of eye-popping and some ungenerous schadenfreude when, having not purchased insurance under the ACA for liberty, he and his wife both got seriously ill and were reduced to starting a GoFundMe page to raise money for their medical expenses.

That got us thinking about the ironies of Obamacare, the staunch opponents of Obamacare who are nevertheless in desperate need of it and more. So we sent a reporter to Arizona to find out more. He talked to Mack. But he also found more: the flip side of the coin, the many ways that the ACA has already seeped deep into the sinews of society and government and the economy. We also learn a lot of about politicians, law enforcement professionals and ordinary citizens who may be staunch conservatives and opposed to Obamacare on ideological grounds but have also come to accept that it is either essential for their work or simply and quite clearly helping their constituents.

Here's the piece. Check it out.

I've been telling fellow TPMers in our editorial chats over the last few days that I was genuinely surprised that the Charleston church massacre has apparently proved the watershed that is leading to a wholesale abandonment of at least the Confederate flag (and perhaps other symbols of the Confederacy) from public spaces in the South. Certainly, this is not to discount the shocking scale of Dylann Roof's crime. But the Confederate flag - actually the Confederate battle flag or flag of the Army of Northern Virginia, you probably would not recognize the actual national flags of the Confederacy - is a damn persistent thing.

(For the actual national flags of the pretended Confederate States of America, see the list of flags at the bottom of this post.)

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