Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.

Articles by Josh

10:23 PM: Okay, this debate has clarified things for me: I'm not supporting Martin O'Malley.

9:39 PM: "We’re going to have to redo how the pharmaceutical industry does business." That's Hillary. And that just sent chills down a lot of corporate spines. This is an issue that's roiling the Democratic field and it's even getting tractions in the GOP debates.

9:43 PM: I certainly do not expect to ever see the 90% income tax rates that were in effect in the 1950s, though the effective rate was much lower. But it showed a real element of unprofessionalism and deep bias that the moderators themselves (if I saw this right) actually broke into laughter when he said that. That was a real fail and a revealing one. Smug.

9:55 PM: The debate about the minimum wage usually get carried on by moderators who simply aren't aware of studies of the effects of the minimum wage in recent decades - particularly one covering the border between New Jersey and Pennsylvania. The empirical data shows that incremental increases to the minimum wage do not cause job losses. The actual empirical data shows this ... However, I think it's fair to say that many of the same economists who argue convincingly that incremental increases in the minimum wage do not cause job losses also say that a jump to $15 from the current amount (more than doubling it) goes dramatically beyond what we have empirical data for. In other words, going immediately to $15 could cause job losses. We don't know.

10:08 PM: Pretty intense exchange here on the financial services industry and the banks ... I must say, between Bernie and Hillary, you've really got the basic wings of the party going at it. I'm not sure if it's fair or not. But O'Malley feels like an opportunist to me on this issue.

10:11 PM: I must say John Dickerson really does seem to have it in for Hillary. Even on gun control, where Sanders is out of step with most Democratic voters, he turns them into cuts against Hillary.

10:14 PM: Yeah, the more I hear from Martin O'Malley the less I like him.

10:15 PM: Yep, I did kind of think Hillary was tying Wall Street connections and fundraising to rebuilding downtown New York after 9/11. And it was kind of weird.

10:17 PM: Might make sense for one of these candidates to explain what Glass–Steagall is or did - basically preventing firms from being involved in commercial and investment banking.

9:03 PM: I know I'll probably hear from all 37 of Martin O'Malley's supporters. But by what standard is he up on the stage. Actually a serious question.

9:07 PM: This isn't about the debate per se. But assuming that ISIS is behind the Paris terror attacks, I hope this will focus us on a basic point: we may not have the luxury of really trying to destroy ISIS while also insisting on the end of the Assad regime, keeping Iran out of Syria, keeping Russia out of ISIS, etc. etc. etc. ISIS is a unique threat - not simply or even mainly to the United States but to our allies in the immediate region, to our European allies. Really to everyone. It is a preposterous policy to be actively engaged against both main sides in a civil war.

9:14 PM: Interesting that Hillary has been quickly put on the defensive on this question - to the contrary of what I wrote below.

9:16 PM: So much better to have one knowledgable, articulate moderator than a bunch of yahoos either trying to cater to media bias nonsense or go off on obscurantist digressions.

9:19 PM: I'm very curious why Hillary seems so defensive here on what should be her prime turf. It's not altogether clear whether it's that Sanders is doing well, that the questions are cutting against her, whether she's flailing or something else. But she definitively seems - feels - on the defensive. One thing I would say is that Dickerson has come back at her again and again, pointing out possible contradictions, shortcomings from our tenure, etc. She's the overwhelming frontrunner. So that's not a crazy decision. But he does keep bringing it back to her.

9:26 PM: Okay, no question. I cannot think of a single time in this half hour so far when Dickerson has pressed Sanders in any real way on these issues. But he keeps coming back at Clinton again and again. Not saying its fair or not. But I think it's unmistakable that it is happening ... And to be clear, I don't think his questions are unfair. I think they're quite well-chosen and incisive. But they're all coming at her.

9:34 PM: Fascinating opening round of the Democratic debate. Worth saying at the outset that it was quite substantive and focused, as presidential debates go. Dickerson is very good at this. Surprisingly, though, Hillary Clinton was consistently on the defensive, though that shifted a bit just before the commercial break. There's no question that Dickerson kept coming back at Hillary pressing her on contradictions in her views and also in her tenure as Secretary of States.

We've already had a bit of pre-debate drama this evening - and justifiably, I'd say. CBS News is hosting the debate this evening. And they put out word earlier today that they had dramatically rewritten the questions and the approach of tonight's debate in light of the terror attacks in Paris. On its face, that doesn't seem like such a crazy idea. It's hard to compare terror attacks. But by a lot of measures this is one of the worst mass casualty terror attacks in modern history - certainly in a major European or North American city. And the fact that ISIS is taking responsibility for the attacks puts America into the mix because of our possibly expanding role fighting ISIS.

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Today marks the 15th anniversary of this website, Talking Points Memo, aka TPM. The first post on the site was posted on November 13th 2000. And the design was rather different. It looked like this.

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Yesterday one of my favorite Republican readers was ragging on me for saying that Ben Carson had suggested that the People's Liberation Army (the Chinese military) had joined the Russian military in fighting in Syria. He didn't say any such thing, my friend told me. In isolation, Carson's words may have been ambiguous, which is why I noted his comments in the way I did. But in the context of the question it was pretty clear that Carson was saying the Chinese military was in Syria, as the Russian military now is. This comes after a couple weeks of conspiracy theories percolating in far-right publications claiming that the Chinese are either already fighting in Syria alongside Russia or in process of sending troops to the region. Thankfully, Team Carson has saved me from whatever ambiguity there was or exposure I had. Carson campaign Svengali Armstrong Williams has now come forward to say that, yes, that is what Carson was talking about and that even if the foreign policy elite says this is nonsense, Carson has his own intelligence suggesting this is true. "From your perspective and what most people know, maybe that is inaccurate," Williams told MSNBC. "From our own intelligence and what Dr. Carson's been told by people who are on the ground who are involved in that region of the world, it has been told to him may times over and over, that the Chinese are there." Here's more.

As I've been reading up on Carson, there seems to be no limit on the number of rackets and wingnut fleecing schemes he's involved in. This appears to be just one on the list. As I wrote earlier, the campaign itself seems to have originated as a money-making scheme that evolved into a front-running campaign.

This debate is the logical outcome of the blow up after the CNBC debate. CNBC is a generally right leaning network on economic issues. But simply pressing the candidates to answer questions or noting when they're making demonstrably untrue claims made them liberal. So now we have a debate structured around letting candidates say absolutely anything - because scrutinizing candidates is liberal. This leads to having half the debate framed around how strong financial regulation leads the biggest banks to get bigger and bigger and how we need to put in place new policies to prevent banks from getting this big. And the best place to start is to repeal Dodd-Frank. As David said at one point tonight, it's impossible to find any way into this conversation because it's all theology and self-referencing assertions.

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