Editors’ Blog

Emerging Data on Omicron Prime Badge

For the last few days the world has been waiting for scientists to make sense of Omicron. Today we appear to have some new information and it’s not encouraging. I’m no scientist. So I’m going to do as little characterizing as I can. I am recommending this Twitter thread and this one, both from trustworthy people, one a journalist following COVID and another a computational biologist at the KU Leuven in Belgium.

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Where Things Stand: We’re Living In A ‘Slow Motion’ Jan 6 Prime Badge
This is your TPM evening briefing.

Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold (D) sounded the already scream-worthy alarm this week.

It was a stark warning about something TPM has been covering with our hair-on-fire for some time: that the Jan. 6 attempt to steal an election was the culmination of months of President Trump’s stoking of the Big Lie, and not an isolated incident. What’s more, the attempted heist never ended.

Griswold outlined the various threats to our current democracy — like a slew of new state level restrictive voting laws and ongoing threats of violence against election workers — and observed that the election-stealing crusade is continuing as we speak. Just, perhaps, in slow motion.

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Listen To This: Roe Is In Danger

A new episode of The Josh Marshall Podcast is live! This week, Josh and Kate discuss the Supreme Court’s oral arguments in a potentially historic abortion case as well as the new omicron variant.

You can listen to the new episode of The Josh Marshall Podcast here.

Go Ted Go!

I didn’t get to this until last night, after the Roe coverage was completed. But it’s worth a few minutes of your time to watch Ted Cruz flailing.

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Abortion Could Be Illegal in Wisconsin, Michigan and AZ as Soon As Next Summer Prime Badge

Earlier I noted that a number of purple and even blueish states will likely end up banning abortion in a post-Roe world. People assume it’s just red states. But many of these states are so effectively gerrymandered that Republicans have a lock on state legislatures. But I just realized I greatly understated the situation. TPM alum Eric Kleefeld mentioned that Wisconsin never repealed its pre-Roe abortion ban. So the moment Roe is overturned, which will likely happen next June or July, abortion will be banned in Wisconsin, except in cases where necessary to protect the life of the mother.

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Where Things Stand: GOPers Signal How They’ll Justify A Gov’t Shutdown Prime Badge
This is your TPM evening briefing.

Conservatives are trying to get ahead of the impending bad optics that will come with obstructing their way into a government shutdown. And, it appears, they have a plan: Placing the blame squarely on the Biden administration’s vaccine mandate.

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Abortion Will Be Outlawed in Purple States Too Prime Badge

The only mild saving grace to today’s SCOTUS arguments is that the pretenses are removed. These are ideologues and politicians. Their entire political movement has been propelled by the goal of overturning Roe v Wade and outlawing abortion. The conservative legal movement which birthed and swirls around The Federalist Society has many legal fish to fry. But its political potency, the engine that transformed the federal judiciary and made it more than a genteel debating society, was abortion. Of course they’re going to overturn Roe. It’s good to have that be crystal clear to anyone who wasn’t paying attention.

It’s a corrupt Court. It’s good to understand that.

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Kevin McCarthy’s Never-Ending Dignity Loss Derby Prime Badge
The would-be Speaker is leaving no dignity on the field.

With all the rush of new news and information I wanted to flag something for your attention that is at least slightly under the media radar. All signs point to a strong Republican midterm election in 2022, with the House the better prospect for Republican control. That means Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy becomes Speaker. Or actually maybe it doesn’t. A bunch of Republicans have started making clear that’s not at all a sure thing.

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COVID Miscellany #5

Not a terribly surprising stat but still noteworthy. Yale New Haven Hospital reports that 90% of their hospitalized COVID patients in recent months have been unvaccinated. What makes this so striking is that Connecticut is a super-highly vaccinated state. Among Connecticut residents over the age of 12, 83% are fully vaccinated and 94% have had at least one shot. In other words, there aren’t that many unvaccinated people in Connecticut to make up the 90%.

Where Things Stand: Another Alleged Jan 6 Rioter Runs For Office Prime Badge
This is your TPM evening briefing.

A Texas man who has been charged for his alleged participation in the Jan. 6 insurrection was just approved by the state Republican Party to run for a state House seat during the Republican primaries this spring. He is not alone in this endeavor.

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COVID Miscellany #4 Prime Badge

Governments, financial markets and … oh yeah, ordinary people are trying to make sense of what new risks are posed by the Omicron variant. It’s the classic dynamic of intense hunger for information meeting far too little data to satisfy the need. Today executives from Pfizer and Moderna gave interviews which respectively reassured and spooked. Most notable however is that both said essentially the same thing. Or at least they said things which are very compatible with the same set of facts.

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Are You a Student?

We’re kicking off a major new project that is part of bringing new readers into the TPM community. It’s very important to the future of the site. I think you’ll find it interesting. It builds on something we’ve done for a while but takes it to a new level.

If you’re a student we want to give you a free TPM membership. This isn’t a free trial or an upsell. It’s a full membership for one year, renewable as long as you’re a student, at no charge. No strings attached. You just have to be a registered student. You can be full-time or part-time.

Do you know a student – probably a young person but they come in all ages – who might enjoy a TPM membership? Well, let them know about our offer. Are you a teacher and have students who might enjoy and be enriched by getting a free TPM membership? You can either let them know about our program or contact us to help you with signing up a whole class or whatever group of students for TPM memberships. Whichever of these categories you’re interested in, you can start right now by clicking at this link.

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Time Flies

It’s already November 30th. And that means it’s the day for the oral arguments in ex-President Trump’s executive privilege suit contesting the powers of the January 6th Committee. We’re live blogging the hearing here.

Where Things Stand: Ronny Jackson Has It All Figured Out Prime Badge
This is your TPM evening briefing.

Rep. Ronny Jackson (R-TX), the physician and rear admiral who successfully rode the coattails of MAGA world to land a seat in the House, is spinning up a new Big Lie for the 2022 midterms – and it’s a doozy.

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COVID Miscellany 3 Prime Badge

A reader pointed me to this article that appeared in this morning’s Washington Post. It makes the case against vaccine boosters for the whole population, as opposed to targeting to particularly vulnerable populations. Two of the authors were until very recently heads of the FDA’s vaccine research unit and the third is a member of one of the outside panels that gives the expert recommendations I referenced in the post below. Given those backgrounds, this is a good case of the expert opinion which has generally been more cautious in approving boosters for the whole population. It’s also an example that there’s a lot of expert opinion that remains against universal boosting, even as the weight of opinion has swung in the opposite direction.

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COVID Miscellany #2 Prime Badge

Today we’re seeing a host of experts, public health officials and more saying that we need to speed up giving everyone booster shots, with or without Omicron. Now apparently we’re behind on boosters. We lost time. But let’s slow down a second here: The Biden White House has been full speed ahead on boosters since the late summer. Indeed, they’ve gotten a lot of grief for jumping the gun and being ‘ahead of the science’. The push for boosters from the White House got slowed down at the CDC and FDA.

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COVID Miscellany #1

A small point. But, as we batten down the hatches on the COVID front, it’s worth remembering that as it does in politics, looking at America’s COVID epidemiology through the prism of states is as frequently misleading as not. Here in Manhattan (New York County), where I’m writing this morning, 87.2% of the population has had at least one dose of a COVID vaccine. Over the age of 18 that percentage jumps to 94.3%. But in Allegany County, far to the west, that one dose number drops to 45.3%. Might as well be different country, let alone a different state.

That’s Allegany County. But in almost bordering Erie County (the home of Buffalo) the one dose number is 70.1%.

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A Nugget of Good News Amidst the Oblivion

You’ve now heard about the omicron variant, named after a Greek letter like any other and yet one which certainly sounds more badass and otherworldly than all but one or two others in the Greek alphabet. In just days Omicron has put the whole world on alert, shaking equities markets and spurring a range of travel restrictions. If you’re interested in getting good and very up-to-date information on this emerging story, I have a Twitter list I host with a range of trustworthy experts and science journalists. You can see it here.

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Barbados Abandons Monarchy and Its Colonial Past

On November 30th, Barbados will become a republic. Queen Elizabeth II will cease to the Queen of Barbados and the country’s head of state. She will be succeeded by the current Governor-General, Sandra Mason, who will herself transition into the country’s first elected President. Prime Minister Mia Mottley will remain Prime Minister in the transition to republican government. Barbados gained its independence in 1966. Prince Charles will represent Queen Elizabeth at the transition ceremonies which will kick off on the evening of the 29th.

Where Things Stand: Fauci Is Getting Increasingly Annoyed With A Few Specific Conspiracy Theorists Prime Badge
This is your TPM evening briefing.

His recent remarks of disdain, aimed at Fox News’ Tucker Carlson, left no room for interpretation.

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Not Nimble Enough? Prime Badge

I’m not sure whether I agree with this. But TPM Reader JB knows the ins and outs of government and follows things closely …

While I’m thinking of it….I’ve observed the Biden administration doesn’t maneuver quickly in response to changed circumstances, often waiting until an issue became controversial in the national press.  It’s had this problem since the beginning of the year.

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Where Things Stand: Governor’s Mansion Is Apparently The GOPs Only Safe Perch For Trump Criticism Prime Badge
This is your TPM evening briefing.

Maryland’s Republican Gov. Larry Hogan threw himself into the small chorus of GOP governors willing to distance themselves from former President Trump this week.

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Thiel, Silicon Valley and the Rise of Tech Neo-Reaction
Big Tech is still often seen as 'liberal'. In fact it's the leading edge of neo-reactionary thought in the US.

Here are a few links to a topic I continue to think more and more about. On the surface it’s Peter Thiel, about whom more in a moment. But beyond Thiel, there’s a broader reality. In the first years of the century we learned to see Tech as a rising business and political powerhouse that was broadly liberal, at least by the standards of Big Business. ‘Liberal’ was probably never quite right – but at least broadly cosmopolitan in its social values and culture. It was young, comparatively diverse, based outside San Francisco. It was in many ways the product of the major cities and universities that are the seedbeds and home of Blue State political culture. That was never wholly true. And it’s become less true, especially as its financial titan corporations have been forced to interact more intensively with Washington DC. But it was at least partly true.

But many of the dominant figures in the world of Big Tech aren’t just conservative. A number are what might be termed neo-reactionary. Thiel of course is the first that comes to mind in this category. But he’s not the only one.

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To Keep An Eye On

Global geopolitics, especially in its military dimensions, remains mostly outside the purview of this site. But I want to make sure you’re current on some key developments around the world, any number of which could develop into crises fairly quickly.

We’ve discussed the on-going tensions over Taiwan. Last week there was a minor incident in Chinese Coast Guard vessels used water cannons on Philippine resupply ships on their way to the Second Thomas Shoal in the South China Sea. The State Department sent out a message in which it pointedly noted that “an armed attack on Philippine public vessels in the South China Sea would invoke U.S. mutual defense commitments under Article IV of the 1951 U.S. Philippines Mutual Defense Treaty.”

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Where Things Stand: Now Look What We’ve Gone And Done Prime Badge
This is your TPM evening briefing.
Jake A, 33, aka Yellowstone Wolf, from Phoenix, holds a QAnon sign, as he presents himself as a shamanist and consultant for the Trump supporters gathered in front of the Maricopa County Election Department where ballots are counted after the US presidential election in Phoenix, Arizona, on November 5, 2020. - President Donald Trump erupted on November 5 in a tirade of unsubstantiated claims that he has been cheated out of winning the US election as vote counting across battleground states showed Democrat Joe Biden steadily closing in on victory. (Photo by OLIVIER  TOURON / AFP) (Photo by OLIVIER  TOURON/AFP via Getty Images)

It’s all Matt Shuham’s fault.

Back in May, Matt interviewed the lawyer for the most high-profile Jan. 6 defendant of them all: Jacob Chansley, the QAnon shaman. The quotes from the lawyer were enough to peel your hair back.

Now they may*** be the basis for an ineffective assistance of counsel appeal from Chansley, who has already pleaded guilty and been sentenced.

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Stunning Details

The horrific vehicular homicides at the Christmas parade in Waukesha, Wisconsin has even more jaw-dropping details behind it. Earlier today The Washington Post and other publications reported that when suspect Darrell Brook Jr plowed through the parade he was fleeing from the scene of a knife fight after police were called. That made it seem like – at least in a very narrow sense – plowing into the people in the parade wasn’t part of some plan but part of reckless driving trying to avoid arrest.

But a new report from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reveals that earlier this month Brooks was arrested for intentionally running over a woman in a gas station parking lot after chasing her to the gas station after a fight. Brooks posted a $1,000 bond for the attack at the gas station and was released from the Milwaukee County Jail on November 16th, last Tuesday.

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The ‘Great Resignation’ is in Fact … Well, Great Prime Badge
It's not knowledge workers with burnout. It's low wage workers finding higher paying jobs.

Behind inflation and supply-chain driven supply shortages one of the biggest topics in 2021 economics discussions is the so-called ‘Great Resignation’. This is a phrase increasingly used to describe the historically high levels of people quitting their jobs. Most often this is treated as one of the many ills facing the COVID and post-COVID economy. It’s also blamed what are frequently described as labor shortages. And it’s even blamed for inflation.

In fact, virtually everything we know about the Great Resignation is a good thing. And we should embrace it. It’s not knowledge workers reevaluating work life balance. It’s low wage workers in grueling and thankless jobs finally telling their bosses to go F themselves, quitting and finding better paying work.

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Listen To This: The House Gets It Done

Breaking News Pod Alert: Josh and Kate discuss the House finally passing the reconciliation bill and what comes next in the Senate on a new mini-pod out today.

You can listen to the new episode of The Josh Marshall Podcast here.

Are They Up To the Challenge? Prime Badge
The Biden White House now has the makings of powerful messaging to turn the tide against the GOP.

Public life – which is to say, politics – is an interplay between society’s foundational realities and the stories we tell about them – the facts and the messaging. Democrats have been in a collective funk since late summer and a central part of that funkish freakout has centered on their belief that they lost the plot on the messaging front. In fact, we stumbled on our path to national recovery – both on the economic and COVID fronts. And just as that happened Democrats fell into an escalating argument with themselves. There wasn’t really a message or any clear messaging at all. It was an intensifying Groundhog Day-like “keep having the same argument each day but getting nothing done” while the country went off course. That did send a very clear message. And we’ve seen the results in the President’s and his party’s poll numbers for the last five months.

So what happens now?

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Rittenhouse Jury Reaches Verdict

Live updates here.

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