Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of

Articles by Josh

I've been whittling away at this "brittle grip" series for a while now. And I confess it's the first contemporary or public issue that I've felt any urge to write about at length in many years. But since I'm not able to do that I've had to content myself with observation, anecdote and hypotheses. Social psychology, economics, extensive interviews and much more would be necessary to really grasp the issue in all its dimensions. That's why I was so charged to receive this reader email on the brittle grip theme from TPM Reader ML. It's really, really worth your time to read.

I am an MBA and, after working in the "private sector" for a good while am back in the public policy world. I am also a fellow Brown grad (and long time reader - since early 2000s).

Anyway, I was, at one point, a real free market believer. I did some Jeff Sachs goes to Bolivia type of stuff. It was a heady time - the 90s. The market could bring prosperity to peasants in Bolivia (if only they let us privatize retirement and force them to become investors somehow). The market was good for you and everyone.

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A charity hockey game between the NYPD and the NYFD degenerates (or perhaps ascends?) into an epic brawl between cops and firefighters. Watch.

Thanks for all the reactions to yesterday's piece on the Brendan Eich saga. There is one point that has come up again and again in email exchanges and I wanted to address it clearly. It seems quite likely to me that the whole Eich story would have turned out very differently if Eich had simply said something to the effect of, "Yes, I did that in 2008. But like the rest of the country, my views have changed over the last 5 years. I was wrong and I'm sorry." If he'd said that - sincerely or not - I suspect the whole crisis would have subsided and he'd still be on the job.

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TPM Reader FL has a take from inside the tech industry which is sort of sitting right there in plain view but somehow has received not that much attention. In short, an industry and community already engulfed in a pervasive discrimination crisis simply couldn't afford Brendan Eich at the helm of one of its flagship organizations ...

I really enjoyed the piece but I believe that an important part of this story that is not being told is that the tech industry is having a huge discrimination crisis right now. We have brogrammer culture, we have Julie Horvaths reporting widespread discrimination (and then some) at GitHubs and ageism and discrimination against people with kids and we can barely a have single tech conference without somebody being sexually harassed or worse. The community is fighting back, hard.

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A week ago I'd never heard the name Brendan Eich. If you've missed the story, he was recently appointed to be the CEO of Mozilla, the organization that creates the Firefox web browser, an organization he'd been a key part of since its inception. However, despite the fact that he'd apparently never given any particular sign of a position on the issue one way or another, it was discovered about a year ago that he'd donated $1000 to the Prop 8 campaign in California in 2008. That was the successful voter referendum, ruled unconstitutional in 2013, which overturned marriage equality in California. After holding on for a week or so in the face of a rising boycott, he gave in and resigned and quit the organization entirely.

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TPM Reader RD has a totally different take on 'the brittle grip'. I don't think most of it is this. But perhaps some of it does have to do with the changing nature of how we communicate. Of course, these two categories of explanation are perhaps more porous than we imagine ...

I have been (re) reading these articles and was trying to get my head around of “why now” are they (the .01 percent) becoming demonstrative about basically being “called out” in the media. I think Josh is hearing the issue but has not yet offered a reason. After thinking back over 65 + years I can offer one idea: They have not really changed at all with their outrage.

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Medal of Honor winner shuts down John Lott, the notorious ethically-challenged 'scholar' who argues that arming everybody makes everyone more safe. Now he wants everyone on military bases to carry weapons. Watch.

TPM Reader JL has some thoughts on the 'brittle grip.' This is a point I've given a good deal of thought to this point but more from the perspective of what the whipsaw effect of looking into the financial abyss and then getting all your money back and more. But JL looks at 2008 and Randian ideology ...

Josh, love the Brittle Grip stuff. You’re definitely getting at something really important and the way Roberts is going, it’s getting more important, not less.

I just have one small thing to add. Maybe just another lens—one among many--through which to view all of this.

I’ve developed a rule of thumb over the last four or five years, maybe dating back to the Santelli rant that ignited the tea party. Maybe it was a bit before that, maybe a bit after. In any case, the rule of thumb is this: when it comes to the outer fringes of conservative thought--or at least what would have been outer fringes ten, twenty years ago, and now looks more like orthodoxy--never underestimate the influence of Ayn Rand. And that influence seems to run particularly deep on Wall Street and maybe even deeper in places like Greenwich and Menlo Park that are home to so many in the 0.01%.

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