Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.

Articles by Josh

You probably didn't hear about it but it's probably the most important thing that happened yesterday. Outgoing Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear restored the voting rights of 100,000 Kentuckians.

At TPM our coverage of politics has always tended toward the bizarre and outrageous in American politics, what we in-house sometimes call 'The Crazy'. Some of this is just a product of my interests and obsessions about contemporary politics and American history, ones that shaped how I built the organization and people I hired who in term helped define what we do. But this is only part of it and not that part which I think is important. We cover the weird, dark, outrageous and surreal in our politics because these things are much more important than most people - especially most political observers - care to admit. I thought of this when I read this high-minded and starchy editorial in yesterday's Washington Post, the upshot of which is that while they've tried to do the right thing and ignore Donald Trump's clown car campaign, they simply can't do it anymore. The time has now come to stand up to Trump's bullying! And, the Post insists, Republicans must now do so too.

Here's an extended quote from the editorial ...

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I doubt I need to tell you that it's an incredibly dangerous development that a jet fighter of a NATO member country, Turkey, appears to have shot down a Russian fighter jet operating over a sliver of Turkish territory on the Syria-Turkey border. Allegedly. (Happily for all involved, the pilots appear to have ejected safely from the plane.) It is well worth asking what exactly the Turks were thinking and how far this decision went up the chain of command in Turkey. That said, what's not getting a huge amount of attention is that Turkish and Russian jet fighters got into a dog fight or an aerial confrontation of some sort and the Russian fighter got shot down. Maybe that's random chance. But I doubt it.

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You've probably seen this firestorm which has erupted about Donald Trump's claim that he watched thousands of Muslim residents in North Jersey celebrating as the Twin Towers fell fourteen years ago. We just published a fascinating piece on it. Needless to say, nothing remotely like that actually happened. And since it didn't happen, Donald Trump definitely didn't see it. Neither did Ben Carson, who also claimed that he saw the video today. (It's frankly amazing that the whole GOP primary race is now dominated by a demonstrably absurd claim.) But what's really interesting is that it's yet another case where Trump has reached into a subterranean stew of urban legend, rumors and conspiracy theories that have been bubbling along for years and forced them into the mainstream dialog. There were rumors in the days and weeks after 9/11 that something like that has happened. Here are the origins of some of those rumors, the genealogy, if you will, of Donald Trump's latest nonsense.

Quite apart from whether we do or don't have a good strategy for combatting ISIS, we are definitely in one of those bewildering interludes where cable news is chock full of completely nonsensical 'expert' claims which actually make no sense at all. A few moments ago, in an interview on MSNBC, an expert said that (close to verbatim, but paraphrased) 'Clearly our strategy isn't working. Because if it was, ISIS would not have been able to release a propaganda video every day for the last eight days."

I know that the cable nets need to keep the conversation going 24/7 no matter what. But it's genuinely disturbing if this kind of nonsense talk ends up playing a role in the formulation of policy.