I have thought for some time that Facebook is essentially a bad actor in the tech and platform spaces. There aren’t good companies and bad companies of course. All the tech behemoths play in the space that has now landed Facebook in so much trouble. In some ways, Google does even more, certainly when it comes to collecting, mining and monetizing almost limitless amounts of personal information, largely for the purposes of targeting advertising. But Facebook has again and again shown a more nefarious side – it shows up in the indifferent manner in which they deal with people’s personal information. It shows up in the very different realm of how they deal with business partners – creating whole business ecosystems and then pulling the rug from under them when it suits their purposes. There are lots of problems with Google, which I’ve discussed. But they don’t act like that. Not like Facebook. Read More
This is a unique and unorthodox post going out to a single reader, Barbara A., who’s written a number of emails over the last few weeks about the podcast and now the Editors’ Blog. Barbara, you’re writing from a dead or misconfigured email address. So all my replies bounce back. (Seems to be a misconfigured MS outlook app. TMI, I know.)
I try to respond personally to as many emails as I can, though inevitably a small minority of the emails we now get. But for everyone please be sure you’re writing from an email which is properly configured with a reply address. In some cases the issue may be a disconnect between your app and clicking one of our email links. In that case, type in our email manually: talk (at) talkingpointsmemo dot com.
Episode #5 of The Josh Marshall Podcast is out. This week, we talk to former FBI special agent Asha Rangappa. It’s a fascinating discussion about how counter intelligence investigations operate and why Paul Manafort is a key part of the Trump-Russia story. We also discuss the ongoing Stormy Daniels saga. Listen to the episode here or on iTunes or Google Play. Please subscribe to the podcast and leave a review.
An omnibus package needs to pass by Friday to keep the government open. That omnibus is also Congress’ last, best chance to stabilize Obamacare’s individual markets. But Republicans have attached an expansion of the Hyde Amendment into the stabilization legislation, a poison pill for Democrats. Alice Ollstein has that story — and all the other health care news of the week — in our latest sum-up (Prime access).
I’m going to be away for a week. We prerecorded the latest episode of The Josh Marshall show. That will drop on Tuesday. You’re in good hands. Sign up for Prime if you haven’t already. Be excellent to each other.
Lot of stuff in this interview from earlier this afternoon with Stormy Daniels’ lawyer Michael Avenatti. He tells us more about threats of physical violence that have been used to keep her silent, other “Trump surrogates” who’ve been involved in leveling those threats and spreading false information about Stormy. We also get into Michael Cohen’s tactics, his history of strong-arm tactics and more. Listen here on the site or on iTunes or Google Play. This is a Josh Marshall Podcast Extra. Listen and remember to subscribe. It helps us no end if you subscribe on iTunes or Google Play.
This is a White House press pool report from a few moments ago …
Since it’s a quiet day — albeit with heightened anticipation — I will point out the flurry around National Security Adviser HR McMaster’s brief appearance outside the West Wing a bit ago. He was escorting guests out of the West Wing entrance, near the stakeout area. Tara Palmeri of ABC News caught up with him. Per her tweet, he said, “Everybody has got to leave the White House at some point.” She asked if he was leaving sooner rather than later, and he said, ‘I’m doing my job.” Then he walked back inside.
We just recorded a podcast interview with Stormy Daniels’ lawyer Michael Avenatti. We went into more depth on the physical threats Daniels’ has allegedly received to stay quiet, Stormy’s former lawyer, other “Trump surrogates” allegedly spreading rumors and threatening her. There’s a lot there. We expect to post this “Extra!” episode in about an hour. If you’re already subscribed on iTunes or Google Play to The Josh Marshall Podcast, it’ll show up on your device the moment it’s uploaded. Takes a bit longer to show up there if you’re not already subscribed. Stay tuned.
This is shocking and yet not at all surprising. Trump officials working with outside activists to purge undesirables from the State Department staff and foreign service. The activists in this case – David Wurmser, among others – are among the worst of the worst. We’ll be digging out of under this wreckage and corruption for years. Give this a read.
Yesterday, after news broke that Rex Tillerson had been fired and replaced by Mike Pompeo, I heard some voices reassuring themselves that unlike many in the Trump world Pompeo is fairly hostile to Russia. At least, they say, he views Russia through a more traditional Republican prism. This raises a general point that is critical and we all must address. We don’t need more hostility toward Russia or more hawkishness. What we need is an un-compromised policy toward Russia. Most specifically, we need an uncompromised President, something we currently do not have. Read More
TPM’s Tierney Sneed is now back in our Washington office after a week in Kansas to cover the trial in which Kris Kobach — one of our era’s great opponents of voting rights – defended another voter suppression law he helped spearhead. First, I want to thank Tierney as well as editors David Kurtz and Zack Roth, who together have many years of collective experience covering this critical issue. TPM was one of only a handful of non-local news organizations there to cover it in full. Thanks to you for the many kind emails we got over the last week for the coverage.
I wanted to take a moment to note that when you join TPM Prime this is where your subscription fees go. They go of course to paying almost half of all of our salaries and all the miscellaneous other expenses of running TPM. You get access to the Prime-only articles, fewer ads, the Hive, RSS feeds and all the rest. But your subscriptions especially make possible efforts like this — sending a reporter across the country for a week to cover a key trial, the output of which may not pay off in purely monetary terms but is critical to our mission as an organization. (You can see our live coverage here and Tierney’s recent feature stories here.) That shapes how we’re able to run the whole organization today — a freedom and ability to deliver which is scarce in this era in which ad-only publications find themselves in a tightening financial vise.
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