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Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.

Articles by Josh

Through all the disagreements that define our politics, it is seldom questioned that Tea Party type conservatives are really, really devoted to the Constitution. They are, 'Constitutional Conservatives', as they put it. Indeed, many mainstream Republicans and Democrats will only criticize these folks by saying that their inflexible devotion to the Constitution is simply outdated or unworkable in the context of the changes that have happened in the United States over the last 225 years. The core premise is seldom questioned.

But this - sadly or happily, depending on your point of view, but certainly hilariously - is completely wrong. In fact, though many, many things have changed to make the politics of today almost impossible to relate to the politics of the very late 18th century, one of the main aims of the authors of the Constitution was to bring to heel the kind of folks who now call themselves 'constitutional conservatives'. Let's call this the Rand Paul Delusion.

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"If my good friend Dr. Gasparri says a curse word against my mother, he can expect a punch," said Pope Francis, throwing a pretend punch his way.

This is Roger Ver. Last year he renounced his citizenship to avoid paying US taxes. Now he's upset that the "tyrants" in the US government won't give him a visa to visit Miami this weekend to speak at a Bitcoin conference.

As many of you know, unitary, robust citizenship is an important value to me. Another big interest of mine is morons and arrogant douchebags, especially people who fall into both categories. Which brings us back to Roger Ver, variously known as a "Bitcoin entrepreneur" or the "Bitcoin Jesus." Ver is now a citizen of Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis. He was so excited about avoiding taxes that as soon as he became a Nevisian he set up yet another start up that would allow you to use bitcoins to buy a Saint Kitts and Nevis passport so you too could avoid US taxes. Alas, it folded after a few months, apparently because the St Kitts government disavowed it.

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Back during the height of the siege of Kobane there was a lot of coverage of the residents' valiant defense of the town against what then seemed like an unstoppable ISIS tide. There were also a thousand web slide shows of the female militia members with AK-47s defending the town. But there's a whole other part of the story you likely have not heard of: in this Kurdish enclave within Syria, a radical egalitarian political experiment in a region many of us associate with sectarianism, authoritarianism and repression. It may have meant the difference between victory and defeat in Kobane's now apparently successful defense against ISIS. A fascinating story from The Slice.

It is a confirmed and ineradicable part of Internet culture that everyone thinks every site redesign sucks on day one. People are used to what they're used to and don't like change. So I am pleasantly surprised at how many positive responses we've gotten this morning (not a single negative one yet; late update, okay, one negative one).

But let me take a moment to explain what we were trying to accomplish with these changes. Because unlike most redesigns our aim was not primarily aesthetic - the aesthetic quality, which I'm extremely happy with, was a byproduct of the process which was primarily aimed at better organizing the site and allowing all the different material we publish its own ability to get itself seen and heard.

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We now have Jeb Bush and Mitt Romney (in many ways fairly similar candidates) saying they're all but certain to run for President. There's a particular oddness with each guy's decision to run. But there's another part of the equation garnering much less attention: both decisions must be hugely driven by the perception (both of the candidates) and members of the Republican establishment that the existing 2016 GOP field is very, very weak. The lack of viable existing candidates is creating a negative pressure sucking folks like Romney and Bush back into the mix. It's a great sucking sound in more ways than one.

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