Editors’ Blog

He Speaks

There’s a high bar for nonsensical Trump statements that actually grab my attention. But he seems to be now moving into what I guess we might call his Evita phase. Who talks like this? Who has this kind of messiah complex and who has supporters who don’t laugh when they hear this kind of faux biblical melodrama?
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A Further Note

The post below on the Delta variant has gotten a lot of attention. It’s always important to make a simple point: This isn’t “oh noooeesss, the vaccines don’t work anymore!” All the data suggests they remain extremely effective at preventing serious illness – over 90%. By the standards of almost any other vaccine they remain highly effective against any infection at all. Recent peer reviewed measures of the Pfizer vaccine against the Delta variant suggest efficacy in the high 80s percentage range. This new data out of Israel says it’s in the mid-60s. If you’re vaccinated, especially with one of the mRNA vaccines, there’s no reason for you to worry. The issue is more at the society-wide level, trying to make sense of the various data points suggesting a non-trivial level of reduced vaccine efficacy and how that maps onto how society at large will be operating in the coming months and years.

At the risk of stating the obvious, if you don’t want to die of COVID or end up in a hospital struggling to breath and fearing for your life, get vaccinated. You’ll be covered.

Troubling Report on the Delta Variant

There are a lot of caveats to these numbers. They’re not from a peer reviewed study but rather the latest data from the Israeli health ministry. While the Pfizer mRNA vaccines remains highly effective at preventing hospitalization and serious illness (over 90%), the efficacy against infection with the Delta variant has dropped markedly.

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The Tragedy in Florida

Twenty five years ago the Oklahoma City bombing took the lives of 168 people. The building collapse in Surfside, Florida appears set to mark a death toll with only about 20 fewer lives lost. And it was pretty clear from day one that the tragedy was heading in this direction.

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Our Global Real-World Test of Vaccines and the Delta Variant

In the United States, or at least in parts of it, we are moving into a post-COVID era. Or more accurately, we are moving into a post-Crisis COVID era. There’s still COVID. People are still getting sick. People are still dying. But in regions of high vaccination illness and severe disease are becoming rare enough and manageable enough that society can begin to function more or less as normal. Understanding the dynamics of this new era, the precise levels of vaccine efficacy, the specifics of asymptomatic disease and so forth have become a minor obsession of mine. And TPM Reader JL, an academic in the field, has been a helpful.

Here are some basic questions. How effective are the mRNA vaccines and how effective are they against the Delta variant of Covid? To the extent the vaccines are marginally less effective against Delta, do they continue to provide very high levels of protection against symptomatic and severe disease?

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Standoff

From TPM Reader TD from 8:48 AM …

I am currently under a shelter in place order, because, 8 armed men were stopped on a nearby highway.

2 are currently in custody, some are in the nearby woods and others are still in vehicles.

https://www.wcvb.com/article/standoff-closes-part-of-i-95-wakefield-reading-asked-to-shelter-in-place/36918863

They claim not to be sovereign citizens, but that the laws of the United states don’t apply to them.

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Where Things Stand: Dominion Hits Rudy On All Sides Prime Badge
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WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 19: Rudy Giuliani accuses people of voting twice as he speaks to the press about various lawsuits related to the 2020 election,  inside the Republican National Committee headquarters on November 19, 2020 in Washington, DC. President Donald Trump, who has not been seen publicly in several days, continues to push baseless claims about election fraud and dispute the results of the 2020 United States presidential election. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Dominion Voting Systems is already suing Rudy Giuliani personally for defamation. It’s now pulling the former mayor and currently suspended lawyer into its suit against Fox News.

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New MAGA App Part of Bannon-China Comic Book Spy Drama

Yesterday we were talking about GETTR, a purported Trumpite social network which looked from the visuals more like a hook-up site or worse. It was the project of (apparently) recently canned Trump spokesman and gatekeeper Jason Miller, though Trump himself said he wouldn’t be joining it. There were other oddities beyond the name – like the fact that it seemed to be populated by posts scraped from Twitter.

But overnight things got much more weird.

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Jobs: 850,000

The US economy finally gots its fat jobs report after two shaky months. The US economy added 850,000 jobs in June.

Where is the Climate Agenda?
FOR HOLD This image provide by ECMWF Copernicus Climate Change Service on June 23, 2020 shows the Land Surface Temperature in Siberia (ECMWF Copernicus Climate Change Service via AP)

Roll Call reported this morning that the House will wait to pass a 2022 budget resolution – a key part of the reconciliation dance – until they see what the Senate produces or is able to produce. That article included this paragraph …

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Papa’s Gotta Brand New Bag (Racket)

Never Trump Republicans come in for a lot of grief and often rightly so. But at least they’re not JD Vance. He’s the Yale graduate looking to start a political career whose 2016 memoir Hillbilly Elegy presented him as a voice for the forgotten culturally conservative culture of rural America who actually came from that world as opposed to Queens. An authentic intellectual from ‘real America’ who eschewed the hyperpartisanship of the times. Alas, it turned out that Trump was a political meal ticket after all. And now he’s deleting his old tweets asking God’s forgiveness for Trump to start running as the new MAGA senator from Ohio.

Is TR Overrated?

TPM Reader TL follows up on my discussion yesterday of Teddy Roosevelt and where he fits in the ranking of US Presidents, specifically whether the seemingly consistent decision to place him 4th is rating him too high. TL makes what I think is probably the best case that can be made, and it’s a pretty good one. It focuses on the fact that Roosevelt is in many ways the first modern President. He’s the first American President who approached the job in a way that would be fundamentally recognizable to us today.

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Watch The New Episode Of The Josh Marshall Podcast: The Rocky Road To An Infrastructure Deal

A new episode of The Josh Marshall Podcast is now live! This week, Josh and Kate discuss the infrastructure negotiation dance, as well as the dynamics around the Jan. 6 select committee.

Watch below and email us your theme song submissions and questions for next week’s episode.

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

Considering the Meaning of the American Revolution and the Promise of Liberation

As we move into the July 4th weekend, I wanted to make a bid for an appreciation of the liberationist impulse at the heart of the American Revolution and its radical character.

As I explained a few weeks ago, there is a strong argument for the deficiency of the first American Republic, which in this view is the constitutional order created in 1787 and reconstructed through war and constitutional revision in the late 1860s. But the constitution created in 1787 is not synonymous with the American Revolution. Indeed, in critical respects it was in tension with it. Some of the constitution’s greatest opponents viewed it as a betrayal of revolutionary tumult.

The Declaration of Independence is the work of the Continental Congress, a revolutionary and illegal body which managed the process of the disintegration of Britain’s American empire. The document was drafted by a committee made up of John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Roger Sherman, and Robert Livingston, with Jefferson, because of knack with words, writing a first draft.
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Where Things Stand: DeSantis Begs Trumpworld To Cancel FL Rally Prime Badge
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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is threading a weird needle.

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Defying McCarthy’s Ban

Kevin McCarthy overnight threatened to take committee assignments away from any member of his caucus who agreed to serve on the new Jan 6 select investigative committee. That’s the equivalent of the death penalty for a member of a political party. Liz Cheney has just agreed to join the committee at the invitation of Speaker Pelosi.

Pelosi just announced these members in a just released announcement.

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It Happened Again

A Republican lawmaker from Washington State wears a Star of David to an anti-masking, anti-vaccine event to protest the oppression of COVID dissidents.

Ranking the 44 Former American Presidents

CSPAN has its latest historians’ ratings of American Presidents out. There are some interesting conclusions.

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Please Give Me Just Two Minutes

I’m here to remind you that we’re in the midst of our second annual drive for The TPM Journalism Fund and that it is super important that it be successful. We’re at the point in the drive where we’re (thank you!) pretty confident it won’t be a flop but not yet at the point where it’s clearly going to be a success. We’re on the cusp. So we need that second wind. If you TPM is important to you and you want to support our efforts, please click right here.

If you’d like to hear more, join me after the jump.

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Where Things Stand: ‘Somebody With A Pulse’ Prime Badge
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on July 18, 2017 in Washington, DC.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) has not publicly disclosed whether she intends to run for reelection after a decade-plus in the Senate.

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The GOP Border Primary

The one upsmanship continues. Coming hot on the heels of South Dakota’s national guard deployment to protect the US southern border, Florida is now sending game wardens, presumably to crack down on Mexican lizards trying to run the border.

The Law Is Coming

Tomorrow appears to be the day that The Trump Organization and Trump’s Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg will be charged by the Manhattan District Attorney for various tax crimes.

Adventures in Border Cosplay

Josh Kovensky managed to get on the phone with Willis Johnson, the auto-salvage billionaire who is paying for the South Dakota state national guard – yes, a state that almost borders Canada – to go to the border with Mexico to patrol the situation.

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GOP Prez Primary Race Moves into State Militia Rental Phase

Here’s a new story that manages to be both absurd and silly and also pretty outrageous. As part of her 2024 presidential ambitions South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem is deploying elements of the state national guard to the Texas boarder to combat the “border crisis” which is mainly an element of the Republican campaign agenda for 2022. And the money to do it is coming from a private donor.

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The Emperor’s New Mini-Bill

This is an issue I first mentioned on Friday. While Senate Republicans are going full performance art drama about whether they can still support the proposal they already agreed to support, there’s another element of the drama in some ways just as interesting.

The bill – or rather outline proposal, there’s no bill – could not include any new taxes and had to be paid for. Republicans insisted on those conditions. The bill includes a number of “payfors” meant to accomplish this. But they are at least half phony. Some are more real than others. In some cases there’s legitimate debate about how much revenue they could yield – stepped up tax enforcement on the super wealthy is an example of that. But the core issue is that a lot of it is pretend. Now the Post has talked to experts about the list of payfors and it confirms in detail what was pretty clear in general: a mix of wishful thinking and hocum. In other words, the negotiation over the bipartisan mini-bill was largely a process of finding notional ‘payfors’ that Republicans could pretend were real.

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Nothing is Too Vile for the GOP House Caucus

Here’s the Holocaust humor from a guy named Nick Fuentes, a far-right holocaust denier and white supremacist commentator who is holding a fundraiser July 1st with Rep. Paul Gosar of Arizona. Classic joking, smiling denial of the death of six million Jews and being endorsed by a Republican member of Congress in good standing – committee membership, campaign support, the whole deal. Video after the jump.

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Manchin Speaks on “Linkage” and GOP Whining

There’s been a lot of fretting over the last couple days about whether a group of Republicans who had not actually committed to support the bipartisan mini-bill were no longer going to support it, thus putting in doubt President Biden’s entire infrastructure agenda. But that’s the wrong way to look at this. This has always been and remains an issue in Democrats’ hands – especially Joe Manchin’s hands. Republicans are just players on a chess board in which Democrats are making the moves. And Joe Manchin made this pretty clear this morning.

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Where Things Stand: Trump-Appointed Judge Allows Rep Boebert To Block Twitter Critic Prime Badge

The Colorado gun congresswoman is now allowed to block critics on Twitter.

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Like Adele’s Ex, They Coulda Had It All
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 06: President Donald Trump is seen on a screen as his supporters cheer during a rally on the National Mall on January 6, 2021 in Washington, DC. Trump supporters gathered in the nation's capital today to protest the ratification of President-elect Joe Biden's Electoral College victory over President Trump in the 2020 election. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Donald Trump

There is a great irony in the fact that Democrats tried very hard to create a truly bipartisan Jan 6th Commission in which – critically – Republicans had an effective veto on any and all actions the Commission would take. That means, among other things, subpoena power. And not just anyone with R after their name – not Tom Keane or Jack Danforth or pick your list of Never Trump Republicans – but commissioners chosen by Mitch McConnell and Kevin McCarthy. They even had a guarantee it would finish its work well ahead of the 2022 election cycle – yet another unmerited protection. But all but ten opposed the bill in the House and Republicans filibustered a vote on the empowering legislation in the Senate.

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Politico Playbook: I was Savvy Before I was Bamboozled!

Oh Boy! As you’d expect, having taken the whole shocked, stunned, totally really angry line at face value Politico Playbook is shifting gears to this

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