Josh Marshall

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Josh Marshall is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of TPM.

Abnormal Psychology and the Trump VP Pick Prime Badge
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For whatever reason people are now back to discussing who Donald Trump will pick as his running mate. I guess it’s likely because of the ongoing Kristi Noem implosion. This is a perennial parlor game for all presidential nominees. But it is worth noting how different it is for Trump, or, more specifically, how the list of qualifications Trump requires are based on the mix of predation and insecurity that make up his personality. As with Trump himself these are so extreme as to be qualitatively different from that of any other presidential candidate ever. Indeed, he requires characteristics that are so impossible to squeeze together that they leave only the tiniest of openings for a contender to be viable.

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Very weird story here to keep an eye on. Last week either 15 or 17 police cars at a Portland Police Bureau lot were torched in what was treated as a suspected case of arson. Yesterday local news reported that a group calling itself the “Rachel Corrie Ghost Brigade” claimed responsibility for the incident. (Corrie was a pro-Palestinian activist who was run over by an IDF bulldozer in 2003). The group said that they cut through a fence at the Bureau’s training facility and lit the fires to strike a blow before police could respond to a pro-Palestine occupation at Portland State’s Millar Library — “raid them before they raid you.”

It’s important to note that people can claim responsibility for something they didn’t do in order to gain publicity for a cause. So we shouldn’t assume the claim is necessarily legitimate. But someone did apparently light the vehicles on fire. Portland police say they’re aware of the claim of responsibility but won’t comment beyond that.

The Presidential University?

A TPM Reader passed on to us this post from David Pozen writing at Balkinization on the recent events at Columbia University. But Pozen sets aside the specific controversy — Gaza, antisemitism, the use of the NYPD — to look at what is shows about university governance more generally. As he writes, “For all the talk of how the modern university has been corporatized, neoliberalized, and so on, there hasn’t been as much attention paid to the ways in which it has been presidentialized.” I don’t know enough about the history of the internal governance of universities over the last century to have a good feel for how much has changed on this front. My general sense is that boards of trustees, acting through university presidents, have always called the shots, at least in the final analysis. But there’s where ultimate power lies and there’s how government actually functions — how much university administration seeks to create consensus among major stakeholders versus acting in a more unilateral way. I’m still digesting what I think of the post but I wanted to flag it to your attention.

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Still Searching Prime Badge
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Let me update you on my search for details on the hooligans who attacked the UCLA Gaza encampment last Tuesday evening. First, there was this very good piece in The New York Times about the incident. It’s one of those full-force endeavors where they mobilize a host of journalists and digital forensics experts to pick apart just how an event took place. What was notable to me though was that despite all the moment-by-moment detail and the review of a huge amount of video about just how the attack unfolded and what was involved, it included no information about who the assailants were.

I note this not as a criticism of the journalism but as a measure of just how hard it seems to be to track this information down.

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A Poll Tidbit

One thing that bedevils current polling on the 2024 presidential race are basic questions about just who will show up and what the electorate will look like. That’s always central to polling and it becomes much more central when the race is tight. (If it’s a 45-55 race the precise composition of the electorate becomes less important.) But take the new Ipsos/ABC News poll out today. The headlines that are running focus on the number for Adults — which are Trump +2. Go to registered voters and it’s Biden +2. Go to likely voters and it’s Biden +4.

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A Poll On the Protests

It’s possible there have been other polls. But this one released by YouGov is the first I’ve seen since recent events at Columbia, UCLA and other colleges and universities around the country. It shows a very interesting picture — both that the protests are not very popular with the American public but also that — which of course we know — they’re highly complicated for Democratic candidates.

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Scenes from the Kristi Noem Implosion Prime Badge
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I assume you’re familiar with Kristi Noem/Cricket the executed dog discourse. But I have to flag this new controversy from her memoir, No Going Back. Noem appears to have made up a meeting with North Korea paramount leader Kim Jong Un.

Says Noem: “I remember when I met with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. I’m sure he underestimated me.” The report casting doubt on that anecdote is from a local outlet, The Dakota Scout.

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Online Sleuths

I’ve had a few responses to last night’s post about the identity of the maurauding pro-Israel demonstrators/thugs who attacked the Gaza encampment on Tuesday night. There are clearly a lot of rumors circulating about it. The most interesting article I’ve seen so far is one that came out yesterday afternoon from the Los Angeles Times. It doesn’t include identities but reports on the team of online sleuths trying to identify them. Think of it as broadly similar to the “Sedition Hunters” group which has identified probably hundreds of people involved in the January 6th insurrection. The article doesn’t include any identities though it does seem like the sleuths have already identified or contingently identified some people.

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Details on Identities of the Violent Pro-Israel Protesters at UCLA?

This is a brief follow up on my post earlier that touched on the violence on Tuesday night at UCLA. As I noted, and has been widely reported, on Tuesday night a small contingent pro-Israel counter-protesters attacked the Gaza encampment on campus. This group appears to have been willfully violent and focused on tearing down the barricades of the encampment, throwing various projectiles at pro-Gaza demonstrators, throwing anywhere from one to four firecrackers into the encampment and using something like pepper spray or other similarly noxious spray on people in the encampment. In short, a group of vigilantes or thugs who went in to break up the encampment and terrorize the protestors.

But as far as I can tell there’s no clear information on who these people were. And I’ve seen no evidence that any of them were or have been arrested.

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More Thoughts on the Campuses Prime Badge
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I wanted to do an update to my post on Monday about the situation in Israel-Palestine as well as on campuses on the United States.

A few of you asked, what was the response to the post? It was, I think, overwhelmingly positive. I did have one longtime reader say he was quitting the site and ending his subscription over it. If I interpreted his message and what I’ve known about his viewpoints generally, he thought I was being too critical of Israel. But people are entitled to their opinions and viewpoints and feelings. And I say that not as a throwaway line but as a statement of fact and a recognition of the right way to live in the world. But the overwhelming and almost universal response was positive.

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