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Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.

Articles by Josh

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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I mentioned yesterday on Twitter that a “heist” is a better label for the GOP tax plan than “GOP tax scam” or whatever Democratic activists are calling it. The people mobilized against this legislation have done a great job. It doesn’t look like they’ll stop the bill. But they have clearly cemented in the public mind that the tax bill is a brazen giveaway to the richest Americans and corporations. So my point isn’t to criticize. But I think we need a better sense and description of what is happening.

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Let me share a few thoughts about this news that during the campaign candidate Trump was warned to be on the lookout for foreign governments, including Russia, trying to infiltrate his campaign. If he saw anything suspicious, he was warned he should bring it to the FBI.

We can note a few caveats to this news. Hillary Clinton was apparently given the same briefing. And this is apparently a standard friendly heads up the FBI’s counter-intelligence officers give new candidates as they begin to receive classified intelligence briefings after the national conventions. So we cannot, on the basis of this report, say that the FBI was already so worried about Russian infiltration of Trump’s campaign that it thought it was necessary to give him a warning.

But there are a couple things I think we can say.

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Matthew Petersen, the star of that cringeworthy video struggling (and mainly failing) to answer the most basic questions of trial procedure, has withdrawn his nomination to serve as a federal judge.

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On Friday, I noted that there is clearly a move afoot to fire Bob Mueller (Prime access). But it is less a conspiracy or planned course of action than a rising tide of fear and anger with different pro-Trump factions trying to delegitimize Mueller for its own sake and, if at all possible, goad President Trump into firing Mueller in a fit of impulse rage and fear – much as he did six months ago with James Comey. Paradoxically, Trump is himself part of the effort to ramp him into taking action. Chaos and fear are as much a part of it as planning. It’s more Lord of the Flies than Ocean’s Eleven. Still a key part of what is happening is not only that pro-Trump Republicans are trying to lay the groundwork for Mueller’s dismissal. They’re trying to goad Trump into taking the plunge. Because only the President can make this happen. Everything else is preparation and encouragement.

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Yesterday I read one of those articles I was semi-used to in the Bush era and now am very used to in the Trump era. Trump has a new “labor” advisor. His name is James Sherk. His big issue is federal workers are paid too much and have too many job benefits. They also don’t work enough, according to Sherk. Trump has empowered him to fix the problem by cutting salaries and benefits for federal workers. In other words, James Sherk seems like a really nice guy.

Federal workers, you’re welcome.

So I figure I’ll look James up on Linkedin and see what his background is. It was a good hunch.

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