Editors’ Blog

BREAKING: AP Dragged Hook, Line and Sinker in GOP Fishing Tourney!

Here’s one of those things that drive me to distraction but I at least enjoy flagging to everyone’s attention when it’s so egregious. Mitch McConnell is now claiming Republicans have somehow been hoodwinked, double-crossed, done dirty by Democrats springing ‘linkage’ on them: Basically, that the White House and the Democratic caucus will support the bipartisan mini-infrastructure bill as long as they can put the rest of their plan in a reconciliation bill.

Then I noticed an AP reporter, apparently new to the White House beat, flagged a new AP story with this: “This is the catch for the WH on the infrastructure deal right now: Senators who were part of the bipartisan group were never told of such an explicit linking of the two packages, the two people familiar with the discussions said.”

The article itself, by Lisa Mascaro, manages to be even more credulous.

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Where Things Stand: A Lot Of Aggression For A Bunker Boy Prime Badge
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The former president hid in his bunker when country-wide protests flared up in Washington, D.C. over the police killing of George Floyd last summer.

He was mocked with a variety of entertaining “bunker boy” related nicknames (not hard to get creative with that alliteration) and ultimately decided to show his strength by violently clearing out Lafayette Square and taking a picture in front of a historic church flinging around a Bible.

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Another Big Question

Here’s another key question a lot of people are trying to figure out.

If Joe Biden gets most of his infrastructure agenda passed through combination of a mini-hard infrastructure bipartisan deal and the bulk of it through a 50 vote reconciliation bill that will be a big win on policy and politically.

So why did this deal – even if it falls apart – get to the White House press event level? Why did Mitch McConnell allow that to happen?

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An Important Point to Keep in Mind about the Infrastructure Deal

I’m still trying make sense of the ‘deal’ negotiated yesterday on infrastructure. But there are a few key issues I can share with you that are pretty interesting. Let me start with one about the so-called ‘payfors’.

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Watch The New Episode Of The Josh Marshall Podcast: The Fight Against Despondency

A new episode of The Josh Marshall Podcast is now live! This week, Josh and Kate discuss the Republican filibuster of even starting debate on Democrats’ major voting rights bill, and game out the path forward for democracy safeguards.

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.

Is Now the Right Moment?

If you’ve been meaning to contribute to The TPM Journalism Fund during our drive this year but haven’t found quite the right moment, now is the perfect time! Seriously. It’s super easy if you’re already a member. Just click right here. If you’re not a member of you’re a lapsed member, it’s an even better time to become a member. It’s cheap, easy, gets you a lot of great stuff and supports our work. Just click here.

OAN Executions Dude: I Was Just Discussing Fed Legal Code!

Matt Shuham had a chat with the OAN host who said tens of thousands of election stealing Dems should be executed. Turns out it was just a big misunderstanding.

That’s Good Enough for Me

Does Biden trust GOP Senators to follow through? “They’ve given me their word. Where I come from, that’s good enough for me.”

More here from the press conference.

And from Senate progs, nope we’re not going to get hoodwinked here.

Where Things Stand: Some ‘Accountability’ Prime Badge
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We’ve had a front row seat to Rudy Giuliani’s descent into Trumpy madness over the last several years, falling from his pedestal as America’s Mayor to the dripping, desperate “legal” face of Trump’s big lie.

Once the mayor of New York City, now temporarily banned from practicing law in New York state, Giuliani has had a rough one, brought on entirely by himself.

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Biden Says He Has a Deal

This seems to be the framework I noted below: small bipartisan deal on hard infrastructure. The rest of the Biden plan passed through reconciliation.

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Pelosi Lays Down the Law

We seem to be moving toward a framework in which a relatively small ‘hard’ infrastructure bill is passed through the Senate with Republican support. Then most of the rest of Biden’s two part infrastructure package (The American Jobs Plan and the American Family Plan) will be passed through a reconciliation bill which will get no Republican support and pass the Senate with 50 votes. There’s a lot of downside to that – not least of which is that it allows Republicans to take credit for the most popular stuff and creating a second bill with a lot of social spending and a lot of new taxes.

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Give This a Minute

I want you to take a moment to watch this video. It’s a host on OAN – Trump’s favorite startup cable news channel – calling for the execution of “tens of thousands” of “traitors” who participated in stealing the election from Donald Trump. So executions for the tens of thousands of imaginary people behind the “steal”.

On the one hand this is totally insane. But it is also textbook incitement. They should be killed and since illegitimate President Joe Biden won’t do it you should probably take matters into your own hands.

Our COVID Future
Spotty Vaccine Coverage and the Delta Variant Will Keep COVID With Us Through the Winter

Two stories emerged out of Israel this week which give us a view into the remaining months of 2021 in the United States. There’s nothing special or significant to the stories emerging in Israel. It is simply the most aggressively vaccinated country, using the most effective class (mRNA) of vaccines. Recently Israel had its first week with no COVID fatalities at all since the beginning of the epidemic. In most respects the pandemic is or was truly over in the country. No new fatalities, only a tiny positivity rate in tests, basically all mitigation mandates lifted over the last two weeks. But then starting several days ago there was a new outbreak tied to a group of schools in the north of the country.

Now to be clear, this is an ‘outbreak’ at a much, much smaller magnitude than anything we had seen during the pandemic. It also doesn’t seem to be evading the immunity provided by the Pfizer vaccine any more than expected. But it’s still highly significant and the country is on the verge of bringing back some of the mandates like indoor masking.

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Podcast Theme Song Competition

Calling all musicians/composers/dexterous felines:

We at the Josh Marshall Podcast are taking submissions for a new and original show theme song!

Some quick guidelines:

  • The clip should run about a minute and a half, two minutes max
  • It should be high-quality audio
  • We will pay for the winning submission
  • We ask for these compositions by the end of July — send them to talk at talkingpointsmemo dot com with “podcast theme song competition” in the subject line

Thank you to everyone who has already submitted — we can’t wait to listen!

-Kate, JMP co-host

Thanks!

Over the last 24 hours we have had 121 more TPM Readers contribute to this year’s drive for The TPM Journalism Fund. Thank you. This keeps us moving toward a successful drive. Why is this important? Click here. Ready to contribute? Click here. And again, thanks from all of us.

Where Things Stand: Most Americans Think ‘Audits’ of 2020 Are Partisan Endeavors Prime Badge
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ARLINGTON, VA - MARCH 03: A woman marks down her vote on a ballot for the Democratic presidential primary election at a polling place in Armstrong Elementary School on Super Tuesday, March 3, 2020 in Arlington, Virginia. 1,357 Democratic delegates are at stake as voters cast their ballots in 14 states and American Somoa on what is known as Super Tuesday. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Getty Images)

The majority of Americans can see right through the intentions of the ongoing and impending “audits” of the 2020 election springing up around the U.S.

But a decent chunk — 37 percent — also think that voter fraud is a major problem in the United States.

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Hope Against Hope?

We’re about to record this week’s edition of the podcast and we’ll be talking about the on-going trials and tribulations of H1/S1, the For the People Act. Yesterday, to quasi-great fanfare Joe Manchin finally agreed to support what was in essence his own compromise version of the bill. Then Republicans unanimously refused to allow a debate over the bill. And that was it.

Or was it it?

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The Cloudy Crystal Ball of NYC Politics

New York City held its mayoral primaries yesterday. Republicans nominated 70s/80s throwback Curtis Sliwa, a choice that is likely to have zero impact on the final choice of the next mayor. The real battle took place within the Democratic primary. The winner of the primary and what it means for a run off won’t be clear until mid-July – an almost absurd result of the confluence of ranked choice voting, which is being used for the first time in the city, and generous absentee ballot rules. But the clear leader so far is Eric Adams, a retired police captain who is currently the Brooklyn Borough President. The current results are Adams 32%, Maya Wiley 22%, Kathryn Garcia 20% and Andrew Yang 12%.

Adams is black. He ran on a pro-police, pro-law enforcement platform. Polls suggest his key bases of support were black voters, voters without a college education and voters who don’t reside in Manhattan. He had strong support among the city’s unions and is in many ways a traditional machine politician.

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Stop! Give Me Just Two Minutes

We made a strong start last week to our second annual drive for The TPM Journalism Fund. We really need to keep that momentum going. If you thought of contributing last week but didn’t get around to it, please consider doing so right now. Just take two minutes out of your routine and click here.

We have made great strides over the last five years totally transforming the site’s business model from one based almost exclusively on advertising to one based overwhelmingly on membership fees. But it’s not quite enough, at least not yet. That’s where The TPM Journalism Fund comes in. It plays a relatively small (in percentage terms) but still critical role in our budget, allowing us to keep our focus on original reporting and evolve with the changing news environment.

Please help us keep this momentum going. It’s really very important. Just click right here.

Thoughts on the COVID Crime Wave
Police officers in formation during a protest in response to the police shooting of Walter Wallace Jr. on Monday, October 26, 2020 in Philadelphia, Pa. Police officers fatally shot the 27-year-old Black man during a confrontation Monday afternoon in West Philadelphia that quickly raised tensions in the neighborhood. Shortly before 4 p.m., two officers fired their guns at the man in the 6100 block of Locust Street. Police then transported the man to Penn Presbyterian Medical Center. He was later pronounced dead at the hospital. JESSICA GRIFFIN / The Philadelphia Inquirer

I went in with low expectations reading this article in The New Republic about whether criminal justice reform can survive the COVID-triggered rise in violent crime. I say low expectations because I’m accustomed to reformers being in denial about the role of violent crime in triggering support for punitive law enforcement regimes. Equally I find they are often in denial about the relevance of arguing – even convincingly – that rising crimes rates are not driven by lack law enforcement. But the article was quite good. It made the case, fairly persuasively, that the 2020-2021 crime surge isn’t tied to reformist criminal justice policies. It also explained why this likely won’t matter, or at least that public fear tends to drive more punitive and authoritarian law enforcement regimes whether or not those policies are rooted in clear evidence of efficacy.

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Where Things Stand: Trump Will Endorse Literally Anyone Who Challenges GOPer Who Co-Wrote Jan 6 Commission Bill Prime Badge
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UNITED STATES - SEPTEMBER 15: Rep. John Katko, R-N.Y., attends a House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee markup in Rayburn Building, September 15, 2016. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The former president has vowed to make reelection a living hell for any Republican who voted to impeach him.

But his recent handwritten note to a local county conservative group promising to do just that to take down Rep. John Katko (R-NY) was the encapsulation of Trumpism — just the right blend of outsized ego and transparent desperation.

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Let the Playacting Begin!
UNITED STATES - May 27: Chairman Joe Manchin, D-W. Va., speaks during the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee markup to vote on pending nominations in Washington on Thursday, May 27, 2021. (Photo by Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Today is the day for voting rights legislation, or H1/S1. But we remain in a kind of play-acting drama. Kirsten Sinema remains steadfast in her opposition to ending the filibuster, a position she reaffirmed last night. But she’s a preening clown. More interesting, befuddling, bizarre is the stance of Joe Manchin.

As you’ll remember, a couple weeks ago, Manchin announced he was opposed to the For the People Act (H1/S1). This didn’t turn the tables too dramatically since that really only meant that the bill went from being ten votes short of 60 to eleven votes short of 60. But then a few days ago Manchin came forward with a revised version of the bill which he said he did support.

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Where Things Stand: Dem Calls For GOPers Ouster After Latest Jan 6 Conspiracy Theory Prime Badge
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Democratic Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA) yesterday called for the removal of three of his colleagues — Reps. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) and Paul Gosar (R-AZ) — from Congress over their promotion of the far-right’s latest wild conspiracy theory surrounding the Jan. 6 insurrection.

Moulton told CNN Sunday the trio were “traitors” who are attempting to “whitewash history” by hyping the theory, which makes the case that the FBI was actually the entity responsible for the Jan. 6 attack.

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The Era of Email Newsletters

As you may know we’re in the midst of an burgeoning era of email newsletters. We have two new or upgraded ones ourselves: The Franchise (on voting rights and democracy) and The Weekender. (You can sign up for both here.) There’s also Substack, a newsletter platform which now hosts a substantial number of established journalists (and newcomers) who are striking out on their own as one-man/-woman shops with revenue from recurring subscriptions. There’s even been some controversy in the case of Substack because they have basically fronted a year of guaranteed revenue to a number of journalists with established followings. Substack thinks it will make money on those advances and does so because it wants as many proofs of concept on the platform as possible. Nothing surprising or controversial there, though some think otherwise.

A key part of the newsletter revival is the subscription model, one which I’ve discussed at great length as a key to TPM’s survival and current vitality. That is a key part of their attractiveness. The greatest financial challenge to journalism today is the dominating role occupied by platform monopolies which take from publications their longstanding role as gatekeepers and profit centers for commercial speech. Direct relationships with readers via subscriptions cuts right through that existential challenge.

But it’s not the business model of newsletters that brings me to write about them today. It’s the more intangible or elusive qualities that makes them attractive to readers. The apparently viable business model makes them attractive to independent journalists and publications. But none of it would work if there wasn’t demonstrable demand. And that demand very clearly exists.

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Juneteenth

Read Gregory Downs’ history of Juneteenth, originally published in 2015.

Could the Court Toss a Ban on Partisan Gerrymandering?

Last week I noted that even if Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) is watering down the For the People Act, his somewhat diminished version is still very much worth fighting for. Part of my argument is that the ban on partisan gerrymandering is likely the most important part of the legislation. And Manchin appears to be saying that he supports that part of the bill.

Now, a number of you have written in to ask how excited we can be about that given the GOP majority (yes, intentional usage) Supreme Court which is often inclined to use the most facially absurd arguments if they advance conservative ideology or the present interests of the Republican party (yes, this is definitely still true). Or to put it more directly, how likely are those provisions to withstand the scrutiny of this Supreme Court?

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MUST READ

I teased it yesterday, and now it’s live. Josh Kovensky peels back the layers of “ItalyGate” (not familiar? Josh will explain). Along the way, he finds a surprising cameo by a longtime TPM fixture, threads into Iceland and Somalia (no, really), and a cast of characters that will leave you scratching your head. It’s rollicking good fun, but remember this is the crap Trump’s White House chief of staff was pushing the Justice Department to look into. It’s a classic TPM story.

Check Back Tomorrow

We have a Josh Kovensky must-read coming Saturday. You won’t want to miss it, even on a holiday weekend. Trust me: it’s a lot of fun.

Very Important

We’re off to a solid start to our second annual drive for The TPM Journalism Fund. It’s super important for TPM (more details here) and it’s a critical way to keep TPM thriving and focused on original reporting. If you haven’t yet, please consider clicking here to contribute to The TPM Journalism Fund.

Where Things Stand: All The Grievances Prime Badge
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The Senate minority leader is showing a bit more of his cards than usual.

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