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Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.

Articles by Josh

From the Devin Nunes Intelligence Agency, we have theory 14 why Donald Trump should be immune from the rule of law. Remember, Nunes is the House intelligence committee chair who got involved with Mike Flynn’s effort to surveil and disrupt the Russia investigation in the first days and weeks of the Trump presidency. Nunes was bounced from running the House Russia probe in part because of that. But now he’s back, largely in the form of mounting a counter-probe, a probe into alleged bias in the probe itself. To that end, he has subpoenaed a man named David Kramer, who played a role in Sen. John McCain’s bringing a copy of the Steele ‘dossier’ to then-FBI Director James Comey in late 2016. (Comey already had a copy.) This is all prologue to a new, or newly refined theory: the Steele dossier was not a perhaps imperfect guide to Russian efforts to interfere in the 2016 election. It was the interference itself.

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This began as a Christmas Day post, perhaps appropriately so. So let’s consider that still, despite being a couple days late.

I’m a longtime fan of Bob Dylan, though fandom doesn’t quite capture the connection. Dylan and his music have been a major part of my life since childhood. Literally since childhood. I’ve told you before about my father, the man who raised me. But he wasn’t my biological father. My biological father was a jazz musician. He and my mom split up before I was a year old. He died last year and we hadn’t been in contact in years. But when I was a small boy living in St. Louis we had a close relationship. I first encountered Dylan at that age when I saw a new copy of the just released Blood on the Tracks in early 1975. Another memory has us trying, but failing, to get into a Dylan concert, maybe in 1974. Just a small boy, maybe dragged along for no particular reason. Memories are uncertain at that age, certainly decades on. Both these men, born either a couple years before or after Dylan, had Dylan’s music deeply imprinted on to their lives.

I’ve always thought what’s known as Dylan’s ‘Christian period’ is the most underrated period of his career, though many see it as a black hole or an embarrassing digression. I raise it now because Dylan’s years’ long bootleg series has finally gotten to these years 1979-81 with installment #13 “Trouble No More”. (There’s actually a full deluxe edition with 8 hours of songs and a smaller two disk version for the faint of heart or light of wallet.)

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Note that the calls for a “purge” of the FBI and DOJ are becoming more explicit, actually using the word “purge” and moving from the right-wing publications to sitting members of Congress. A small part of this is simple partisanship, what threatens the leader of your political party is bad and needs to be attacked. But what we’re seeing goes far, far beyond that and can only be explained by the Republican right’s broader embrace of authoritarianism, which both predates Trump, accounts for his rise and has in turn been accelerated by his presidency. 

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A feel good story of one of the GOP tax cuts top beneficiaries, Dalton DeVos, nephew of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, son of Amway President Doug DeVos and grandson of Amway co-founder Richard DeVos. Sailing is a tradition in the DeVos family and Dalton has just returned from a two year trip circumnavigating the globe on the 76 foot Reliance along with a small crew. From Michigan Live: “He was still a student at Grand Valley State University when he approached his parents about the idea in 2013. The following year he bought the boat and hired a captain. Nine months after graduating with business and marketing degree in December 2014, he began the journey.”

For everyone who celebrates, Merry Christmas!

Last month I posted this list of holiday book recommendations. They’re all works of high quality popular history, with some verging in a more academic direction, because that is all I read. This was inspired by, part of, an idea I’ve been percolating for some time of starting a TPM Book Club as part of TPM. For now, as we’re at the tail end of the year I wanted to add a few more recommendations.

Unlike that other list I want add a short review in each case. This is just a list of books, most published in the last few years which I considered very good.

Before adding my list I thought I should say something about the criteria I apply to recommendations. The critical one is quite subjective. If a book doesn’t hold my attention I usually stop reading. You can learn a lot of information page by page. You don’t always need to read it from cover to cover. So a critical part of my judgment about a book is whether it engages me enough, sufficiently engrosses me that I finish reading it. That is only a threshold criteria. But it’s a key one. The engagement, though, is a particular one: does the book bring me into an unfamiliar world, which is past always is, and make me need to understand and absorb the story I’m being told and the questions and problems it raises.

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This is a tweet from the GOP Majority’s Communications Director at the House Ways and Means Committee, the main tax writing committee.

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But I’ve spent recent weeks thinking through what we at TPM want to do next year, specifically how we can use our resources, our talented staff and our time most effectively in this news, business and technological environment. So I wanted to share a few thoughts with you on that front.

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Here’s the transcript of what amounted to a prayer from the Vice President this afternoon to the President. To President Trump. You really have to see and read the words to absorb it. It’s something out of 1930s Russia or perhaps North Korea. Transcript starts after the jump …

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