Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.

Articles by Josh

We now have confirmation that three police officers have died as the result of gunshot wounds in this morning's shooting in Baton Rouge; another three were wounded, in at least one case very seriously.

We are also getting the first eyewitness reports suggesting that the shooting began before at a convenience store before police arrived on the scene. By implication this would suggest that an intentional ambush of police officers - the assumption must have understandably jumped to - may not be correct. Eyewitness reports, particularly in the heat of the moment and in response to incidents involving traumatic violence, are notoriously untrustworthy. However, these new reports emphasize that we do not know precisely what happened in Baton Rouge this morning or why. What we do know is that three police officers are dead and apparently on assailant.

If you are just joining us, we are still getting early reports of what appears to have been another ambush of police officers, this time in Baton Rouge, the city already racked by the police killing of Alton Sterling earlier this month. It is important not that while suspicions as to motive are obvious. There is as yet no evidence as to motive or identity of shooters. Latest reports have three officers dead, more wounded and what initial reports identify as a single assailant with an assault rifle.

More updates shortly.

Late Update: 12:27 PM ET: AP reports a single assailant also dead.

Later Update: 12:31 PM ET: There are conflicting reports on the number of assailants involved in the ambush.

Michael Folk, a Republican state representative in West Virginia, has called for presumptive presidential nominee Hillary Clinton to be executed over her use of a private email server during her tenure as Secretary of State.

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I've been praised in recent months for having some handle on the Trump phenomenon. The truth is a little different. Early on I realized that when it came to Trump if I figured out the stupidest possible scenario that could be reconciled with the available facts and went with it, that almost always turned out to be right. The stupider, the righter. So with this rule of thumb in hand, as the empiricist my Dad taught me to be, I just kept following that model and it kept working. Last night there was chatter - half tongue-in-cheek but not totally - about whether Trump's decision to postpone his vice presidential announcement wasn't simply some gambit to gain advantage from the massacre in Nice but an effort to play for time and possibly back out of his apparent decision to place Mike Pence on the ticket. That couldn't possibly be true. Not really. But it's Trump. So who knows?

Now of course we find out early this afternoon that it was true. Because of course it was.

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Quite a lot has transpired over the last four hours since my last post. I was away from the computer and updating only on twitter. It now seems clear the coup against the Erdogan government has failed or is clearly on the road to failure. A few questions occur to me.

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The Turkey experts I trust tell me they think that at least for now, the Turkish military has pulled this off and is in control. Obviously coups can unravel based on a fluid political backdrop. But at the risk of sounding churlish, when it comes to coups, when you're Facetiming, you're losing ...

The latest news out of Turkey is that the Turkish military has announced that it has taken control of the state. In other words, it has executed a successful military coup overthrowing the increasingly autocratic but still civilian and duly elected government of President Erdogan. It is important to note that this could be as much propaganda as statement of fact, an effort to make a fait accompli of a still fluid and unfolding situation. Regardless, it shows the seriousness of the crisis now unfolding in Turkey.

I wanted to address a few quick points about Turkish and its history of military coups. I've seen a number of people saying that military coups have been commonplace in Turkey. This is true but also quite misleading.

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I was just at work on a Mike Pence post. But I want to address this quickly, even though we still know very little. Something big and seemingly ominous is underfoot in Turkey. There are numerous reports of tanks on the streets, low flying military aircraft troops securing key bridges - events of this sort happening in both Ankara, the capital, and Istanbul, the great metropolis. These are all the signs one expects to see in a military coup or, conversely, a strong handed response to a conspiracy against the state. Military coups have been common place in Turkey for half a century - especially against Islamist leaning governments. But the general consensus has been that Prime Minister and now-President Erdogan had finally broken the political (Kemalist) grip of the military (show trials, possibly uncovering a coup or maybe fabricating false accusations of a coup). And the era of coups was over. But something of great drama and import is happening.

More updates to follow.

Late Update: AP, CNN and other news sources now report Turkish PM is saying an attempted military coup is underway, i.e., idea being that the outcome is still in suspense.

Later Update: The Turkish military has reportedly sent an email announcement to journalists saying it has taken control of the state. Worth keeping in mind that that can still be more propaganda then fact, trying to make a fait accompli of a still fluid situation. But it leaves no doubt of the seriousness of the situation.

Earlier this morning Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort said that Trump's decision to cancel his vice presidential announcement in the aftermath of the terror attack in Nice was an "emotionally" driven one. The smartass wisecracks and snark lines almost say themselves: Just what you want in a President, someone who get emotional and reacts impulsively in the fact of a crisis.

I don't find myself agreeing with Manafort often but I suspect he was accurate in describing the impulsive nature of the move. We all have emotions. We hope presidents won't usually act on them. We hope especially that they won't act impulsively on their emotions. It was one of the pivotal moments of the 2008 campaign when John McCain decided to 'suspend' his campaign in the wake of the unfolding financial crisis. I have no idea whether this fumble will play for voters in a similar way. But I think it's actually much more revealing about the candidate's character.

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Thirty plus years ago I was lucky enough to be one of two poor kids on scholarships in my class at a school for rich kids in a small town in California. The other was the renowned science fiction writer John Scalzi. I just noticed this tweet from him as I was watching a welter of reports about what appears to be yet another terror attack in France.

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