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Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.

Articles by Josh

It’s just dangling there in an AP piece. But according to the AP, one of the members of the Saudi hit team made five calls from the consulate that day – four to the head of MBS’s office and one to the United States.

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As we come up on two weeks before the election, I’d like to throw out a question. What race are you excited about? A house race, a governor’s race, a local race. Anything. It’s not an absolute rule but I’m most interested in ones that you have some connection to. Either you live in the district or state or perhaps you’re volunteering in the race or maybe it’s next door. I like getting an up close view of how you’re seeing races in your area and I’m sure other readers will too. Drop me a line.

Here are a few thoughts on the still unfolding Khashoggi scandal and story.

First, I think critics of Saudi Arabia should take some solace from the fact that the Saudis I believe had and perhaps still have a narrow window in which they could depose Mohammed bin Salman and wash their hands of Khashoggi’s murder. Yet they show no sign of doing so. Saudi Arabia has long been a brutal and utterly repressive regime. But in the last few years it’s become a different kind of brutal and utterly repressive regime. Saudi Kings – all sons of state founder ibn Saud since 1953 – have generally ruled by consensus within the upper echelons of the al Saud clan. That’s one reason so many longstanding challenges have gone unresolved or postponed. It’s not a system which makes room for dynamic leadership. It’s a highly conservative ruling circle which doesn’t do a lot of dangerous or crazy things. Until now.

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For the last century and a half, and in a more focused way for the last century, the United States has wrestled with a dilemma common to all other industrial economies: how to capture the wealth generated by market economies while combating the inequality and insecurity which they leave in their wake.

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This week at TPM we’re kicking off a major four part series on social insurance and risk in the US economy. This is a topic that has always been central to TPM’s editorial concerns. And though we couldn’t have known it when we first planned the series, the timing is fortuitous since last week Sen. McConnell incautiously let slip that Republicans plan to use the expanded deficits driven by the 2017 tax cut bill as a reason to push through big cuts to programs like Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and more. We’ll be talking about this a lot in the coming weeks. Please look out for the series.

One thing to watch closely now as we’re coming near to two weeks before the election is that results for individual races can start to bounce around rather dramatically. That should be less so with national polls like generic ballots. But a critical fraction of voters only start focusing late in the cycle. That can drive rapid changes. In House races, that should generally even out across scores of competitive races. But in governor and senate races, where there are comparatively few, it can be a bigger deal.

I’ve been a bit behind on my election updates, in part because an election brings up so many things we have to work on here at TPM beyond writing about it. But it’s also been because of the contrariness of the polls and other election indicators. In the nature of things, I get asked a lot to predict the political future. In the last two weeks I’ve felt a creeping anxiety about the outcome of the November election. But it is less because of what I think is likely than the stakes that are involved. Let me try to explain what I mean.

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No one but Trump and those he associates with can better manage the combination of the horrific with the absurd. Which brings us to the latest in the Jamal Khashoggi story. Most you can see everywhere in the news. But there is one key point I want to note.

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Here’s key new information on the Khashoggi front. CNN just reported that the Turks had reason to believe or perhaps even certainty Khashoggi had been murdered within hours of his disappearance. They were even able to place Turkish security services personnel or police on the plane they took back to Saudi Arabia. This strongly suggests they had the alleged tapes almost immediately. The critical question now is when the Turks communicated this knowledge to the US. Video after the jump.

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We’re about to start drilling very deep into the details of the final weeks of the election. Just two and half weeks to go. We have a lot of reporting coming. More Inside Briefings. More commentary and analysis from yours truly. But I wanted to flag one thing. This is my curated list of polling and election data experts on Twitter. I make no claim to it being definitive or encyclopedic. It’s something I’ve just cobbled together for my own use over time. But when we get near elections and especially on election nights, it’s a good concentrated feed of people who really bring knowledge, expertise, experience and numeracy to figuring out what the flood of data actually means.

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