Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.

Articles by Josh

Politicians of both parties have reportedly rejected invitations to join the President as he tries to impose himself on the mourning period in Pittsburgh. The city’s Mayor has also tried to make clear that the President’s presence will be disruptive and unwelcome.

A simple point as we start the morning. The President can’t end birthright citizenship by executive order. This is a completely ridiculous idea, a sort of clown-show trial-run at rule by decree. No one with any credibility, let alone legal experts think an executive order can end birthright citizenship. There has been a push on the right to change this practice by passing a law through Congress, specifically revising Immigration and Nationality Act. This too is dubious at best, though it has been proposed and with a sufficiently partisan Supreme Court anything can be done. The change to legislate a change is best scene as a stunt not real lawmaking.

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In Michigan today, Vice President Pence held a rally for congressional candidates Mike Bishop and Lena Epstein. In tow, he brought a rabbi to offer a benediction and prayer of mourning for the eleven Jews killed in the Pittsburgh synagogue massacre. Only it wasn’t a rabbi, or at least not one who would be recognized as such by American Jews. Rabbi Loren Jacobs is a “Messianic Jew”, better known as ‘Jews for Jesus’. If this isn’t something you’re familiar with these are Jews by ancestry who maintain the trappings of Judaism and some of the ritual law while accepting Jesus as the Messiah and the entirety of Christian theology. They make up an incalculably small number of American Jews and are largely supported, subsidizedand advanced by evangelical groups hoping to convert Jews to Christianity.

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I managed to involve myself this weekend in a tiny eddy in the storm around the Pittsburgh synagogue massacre. As you can see below, early yesterday evening I happened upon this interview on Lou Dobbs’ Fox Business News show in which a guest, Chris Farrell, claimed the migrant caravan in southern Mexico was being funded and directed by the “Soros-occupied State Department.” This is, as I explained, straight out of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, the foundational anti-Semitic tract, first circulated and perhaps authored by the Czarist secret police in the first years of the 20th century.

If you’re not familiar with this world, “ZOG” is a staple of white supremacist and neo-Nazi literature and websites. It stands for “Zionist Occupied Government” and is a shorthand for the belief that Jews secretly control the US government. Chris Farrell’s phrasing was no accident. All of this is straight out of the most rancid anti-Semitic propaganda. Rob Bowers, the shooter in the Pittsburgh massacre, appears to have been specifically inspired by this conspiracy theory. Indeed, Bowers had also¬†reposted references to “ZOG” on his social media accounts.

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Just moments ago, after the massacre, after the mail bombs, guest on Lou Dobbs says “Soros-occupied State Department” is funding and direct migrant caravan.

At the risk of telling things you already know, this is only days after a man inspired by President Trump’s rhetoric sent a mail bomb to Soros’s home and the same day a man who was angry that Jews were behind the caravan murdered eleven people at their synagogue.

I want to step aside from the horrible news of the day and do a midterm election update, now ten days from Election Day.

Stepping back from all the storm of recent days and months it’s not any twist or turn or anything that can be identified as momentum that most stands out but rather the underlying stability of the numbers. The exception to this is the Senate. Until early fall, it looked like a long shot that Democrats could reclaim control of the Senate. Then for a brief period it looked still less than likely but much more possible. Almost all the threatened red-state Democrats had at least small leads, albeit often little more than within the margin of error. Unexpected possibilities emerged. Bredesen in Tennessee, Beto O’Rourke in Texas, an outside chance of a Democratic pick up in Mississippi. Then the numbers shifted back to where they had been. They have basically remained there. The battle for the House, however, has shown a remarkable stability.

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Wednesday: Armed man in Kentucky tries and fails to enter black church. Instead goes to local Kroger and shoots and kills two African-Americans. Later tells white man who confronts him, “Whites don’t kill other whites.”

Friday: Serial mail bomber is arrested by the FBI after sending at least 13 mail bombs to Americans targeted by President Trump.

Saturday: Gunman storms Pittsburgh Synagogue and kills at least eight people.

KEY DETAILS: Mass shooting incident at Pittsburgh synagogue (Tree of Life in Squirrel Hill). There are at least eight fatalities. The suspect, wounded in a police shoot out, is in custody. Suspect is white male, beareded, reportedly 46 years old. Local CBS affiliate reports that shooter yelled anti-semitic slogans/slurs as he opened fire on worshippers. “All Jews must die.”

MORE: Eight confirmed fatalities. Three police officers shot, conditions unknown. A bris (Jewish circumcision ceremony) was reportedly underway when the shooting erupted.

MORE: Local CBS affiliate KDKA reporting the name of suspect/shooter is Rob Bauer, either 46 or 48 years of age. Heavy-set white male.