Editors’ Blog

A Very Illuminating Discussion

If you’re mystified or just trying to make sense of all the different moving pieces in the health-care policy debate taking place in the Democratic presidential primaries, I’ve got something you’ll want to see. As you know, there’s the ACA expanded with a “public option.” There are various Medicare buy-in models which can be similar to the public option additions. Then there are various flavors of “Medicare for All.” There are many political, ideological and priority questions in this debate. But I was really most interested in clarifying the moving pieces in the different plans, the technical specifics, how transitions work, how you save money without creating big disruptions, how many people the different approaches actually cover. So last week we did a TPM Briefing with President Obama’s Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Andy Slavitt, to discuss these topics. I found it an incredibly illuminating discussion and many participants told me they did too. If you are a TPM member you can watch the Briefing here.

Flattery and Abuse is All They Need

Look at this remarkable piece of video. President Trump announces that he’s received another “very beautiful letter” from Kim Jong Un in which Kim tells Trump he’s not happy about U.S.-South Korea military exercises, Trump appears to agree with Kim and Trump chides South Korea for not paying the U.S. more money.

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A Note from Luxembourg Prime Badge
on April 13, 2018 in Washington, DC.
A New Project We’re Involved With

Let me tell you about a new project we’re involved with. It’s called Crime Story. It’s the brainchild of a friend of mine named Kary Antholis. It’s about crime both in its story telling dimensions (in fiction, crime reporting, documentaries etc.) and also as a policy and social justice issue (mass incarceration, implicit bias in the criminal justice system, reform DAs, etc.) in American society.

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Republicans Have Been Coddling and Protecting Far Right Extremists for Decades

Yesterday we learned more details about the White House’s continued indifference to or actual interference with the DHS’s efforts to combat violent white supremacist extremism and terrorism. This is hardly surprising. There’s basically no clear line separating the kind of folks Trump invited to his social media ‘bias’ festival at the White House and various white supremacist propagandists who radicalize guys like the shooter in El Paso. But it’s misleading to see this as particular to Trump or this administration. This goes back at least 25 years and is in its own way comparable to NRA-backed legislative mandates preventing federal public health officials from funding research on gun violence.

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People Listen

The lawyer for a Trump supporter (Curt Brockway) who assaulted a boy for not removing his hat during the national anthem says his client thought he was acting on Trump’s orders.

Note

It wasn’t a central part of his note, really more an aside. But TPM Reader MP made one error in yesterday’s note when he wrote that “the Tree of Life massacre was the worst attack on Jewish people in American, nay, Western Hemisphere history.” A surprisingly large number of TPM Readers wrote in to say that this was clearly wrong. The largest, by really any definition, was the AMIA Jewish Community Center bombing in Buenos Aires in 1994 in which 85 people died and some three hundred were injured. Of course, massacres of this scale can’t really be compared in some apples to apples sense. Each is radically individual, separate, total in itself. But this is an important correction of the record.

Thanks!

I want to thank everyone who has taken us up on our offer of a two week free trial of Prime Ad Free (AF). If you’re a current Prime member and would like to give it a try, just click here. It’s free. No obligation. You can turn the trial on and off with a single mouse click. And if you decide you’d like to upgrade that’s great news for TPM. Here’s my note from yesterday with a bit more detail about why we’re making this offer.

Fascinating Look Back Here Prime Badge
Wreckers Prime Badge
Both Sides, Say Many People Prime Badge
A Sign Of The Times

At around 10 p.m. Tuesday night, panic gripped the Times Square area of Manhattan after a backfiring motorcycle was mistaken for gunshots.

I happened to be caught up in the chaos with my family. Upon leaving a Broadway show on West 45th Street, a sea of people rushed toward the theater, shouting and scared.

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Rule of Law Under Siege

This gets a bit deep in the weeds. But it’s worth going there. Because it’s important. The President has been going into court in his personal capacity – i.e., with his own private lawyers – trying to knock down various House efforts to subpoena documents relative to his personal and business finances. His lawyers, particularly a guy named William Consovoy, have made a raft out of outlandish legal claims which, if taken at face value, mean the Congress has very little oversight or investigative powers at all.

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Steady as She Goes

The new Quinnipiac poll confirms the two real facts of the Democratic presidential primary race to date: 1) The persistence and resilience of Joe Biden’s frontrunner status, one that continues to be undergirded by strong support from African-Americans (47%). 2) The slow, steady rise of Elizabeth Warren. No debate bumps or splashes – just consistent growth in support over time.

Biden 32%, Warren 21%, Sanders 14%, Harris 7%, Buttigiege 5%, Booker and O’Rourke 2%.

Please Give This a Try

If you’re a Prime member, here’s something great to try out. In fact, I’d really appreciate it if you would. We’ve mentioned Prime Ad Free (AF) before. It’s everything you get with Prime plus zero ads of any kind ever. It’s less cluttered and faster.

We’ve set up a trial so you can try Prime AF for free for two weeks with no obligation. You can start the trial with a single button click and end it just as easily. You can even mercilessly take advantage of us and just read TPM for two weeks with zero ads with no intention of ever upgrading! Interested? Just click right here.

More seriously, TPM is in a critical phase over the next six months of building our subscriber base to a level that will sustain the organization over time. We’re close but not quite there yet. A big part of that is the total number of subscribers. Another critical part is converting a significant number of current Prime members to Prime AF members.

So my ask is this: give it a try. If you decide it’s not for you, just enjoy it for two weeks on the house. Being a Prime member is all we ask. But if you like it, if you like the cleaner, faster reading experience, great! That’s great for you and great for our quest to make TPM viable and robust going forward. Just click here.

(It can take five to ten minutes for the Ad Free status to kick in after you start the trial. You can also simply log out and log back in and that will make the switch right away.)

From an El Pasoan Prime Badge
The Gun Massacre Totem in American Culture

It is a sign of the dark state of the country that we now have to distinguish between different categories of mass shooting – ones based, as nearly as we can figure, on a kind of inchoate suicidal rage, others based more clearly on ideology (whether white supremacist, incel-based or Islamist) and some based on personal and individual grudges. But in every case we have the power of the gun.

Guns are powerful in themselves. They shoot high velocity projectiles quickly and easily. Modern ones can kill large numbers rapidly. The shooter in Dayton, Ohio was himself shot dead less than a minute after he opened fire but managed to kill nine people and wound a couple dozen others. But part of the gun massacre spectacle is tied to a different sort of power.

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A Hate Group By Any Other Name Prime Badge
Incitement

We decided to put this piece together last week, before the events of this past weekend. At this point I don’t even remember which particular arrest or attack or threat it was in response to. It’s a list of two dozen planned or completed violent attacks — ranging from unsuccessful efforts to simple assaults to multiple murders. It does not even include various racist or xenophobic “great replacement” attacks which didn’t name check the President but echo his campaign message and various Twitter screeds. Take a look.

Words

“President Trump looks forward to visiting with the patriots of Texas who are on the front lines of the struggle against open-border Democrats who allow drugs, crime, and sex trafficking all along our border every day.”

—Trump campaign COO Michael Glassner,
in advance of a Trump rally in El Paso,
February 2019.

No Heads in the Sand

I understand and respect those who say we shouldn’t publish these mass murderers’ names and report their manifestos. Indeed, there are limited ways in which this impulse may be salutary — less above-the-fold use of their picture and perhaps more secondary use of their given names. But this impulse, while well-meaning, is actually dangerous and misguided.

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The Interplay of Manifestos and Right-Wing Media Dialogue

Authorities are still sorting out the background of the gunman in this horrific far-right terror attack in El Paso, Texas. But he appears to have left a “manifesto” and a lengthy social media trail. Assuming these identifications are correct, they portray a sadly familiar “great-replacement” theory, white-supremacist radical.

What is particularly notable in this case is the intermingling and co-evolution of these manifestos with more mainstream right-wing media dialog. Read More

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