Josh Marshall

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Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TPM.
COVID Miscellany #4 Prime Badge

Governments, financial markets and … oh yeah, ordinary people are trying to make sense of what new risks are posed by the Omicron variant. It’s the classic dynamic of intense hunger for information meeting far too little data to satisfy the need. Today executives from Pfizer and Moderna gave interviews which respectively reassured and spooked. Most notable however is that both said essentially the same thing. Or at least they said things which are very compatible with the same set of facts.

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Are You a Student?

We’re kicking off a major new project that is part of bringing new readers into the TPM community. It’s very important to the future of the site. I think you’ll find it interesting. It builds on something we’ve done for a while but takes it to a new level.

If you’re a student we want to give you a free TPM membership. This isn’t a free trial or an upsell. It’s a full membership for one year, renewable as long as you’re a student, at no charge. No strings attached. You just have to be a registered student. You can be full-time or part-time.

Do you know a student – probably a young person but they come in all ages – who might enjoy a TPM membership? Well, let them know about our offer. Are you a teacher and have students who might enjoy and be enriched by getting a free TPM membership? You can either let them know about our program or contact us to help you with signing up a whole class or whatever group of students for TPM memberships. Whichever of these categories you’re interested in, you can start right now by clicking at this link.

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Time Flies

It’s already November 30th. And that means it’s the day for the oral arguments in ex-President Trump’s executive privilege suit contesting the powers of the January 6th Committee. We’re live blogging the hearing here.

COVID Miscellany 3 Prime Badge

A reader pointed me to this article that appeared in this morning’s Washington Post. It makes the case against vaccine boosters for the whole population, as opposed to targeting to particularly vulnerable populations. Two of the authors were until very recently heads of the FDA’s vaccine research unit and the third is a member of one of the outside panels that gives the expert recommendations I referenced in the post below. Given those backgrounds, this is a good case of the expert opinion which has generally been more cautious in approving boosters for the whole population. It’s also an example that there’s a lot of expert opinion that remains against universal boosting, even as the weight of opinion has swung in the opposite direction.

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COVID Miscellany #2 Prime Badge

Today we’re seeing a host of experts, public health officials and more saying that we need to speed up giving everyone booster shots, with or without Omicron. Now apparently we’re behind on boosters. We lost time. But let’s slow down a second here: The Biden White House has been full speed ahead on boosters since the late summer. Indeed, they’ve gotten a lot of grief for jumping the gun and being ‘ahead of the science’. The push for boosters from the White House got slowed down at the CDC and FDA.

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COVID Miscellany #1

A small point. But, as we batten down the hatches on the COVID front, it’s worth remembering that as it does in politics, looking at America’s COVID epidemiology through the prism of states is as frequently misleading as not. Here in Manhattan (New York County), where I’m writing this morning, 87.2% of the population has had at least one dose of a COVID vaccine. Over the age of 18 that percentage jumps to 94.3%. But in Allegany County, far to the west, that one dose number drops to 45.3%. Might as well be different country, let alone a different state.

That’s Allegany County. But in almost bordering Erie County (the home of Buffalo) the one dose number is 70.1%.

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A Nugget of Good News Amidst the Oblivion

You’ve now heard about the omicron variant, named after a Greek letter like any other and yet one which certainly sounds more badass and otherworldly than all but one or two others in the Greek alphabet. In just days Omicron has put the whole world on alert, shaking equities markets and spurring a range of travel restrictions. If you’re interested in getting good and very up-to-date information on this emerging story, I have a Twitter list I host with a range of trustworthy experts and science journalists. You can see it here.

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Barbados Abandons Monarchy and Its Colonial Past

On November 30th, Barbados will become a republic. Queen Elizabeth II will cease to the Queen of Barbados and the country’s head of state. She will be succeeded by the current Governor-General, Sandra Mason, who will herself transition into the country’s first elected President. Prime Minister Mia Mottley will remain Prime Minister in the transition to republican government. Barbados gained its independence in 1966. Prince Charles will represent Queen Elizabeth at the transition ceremonies which will kick off on the evening of the 29th.

Not Nimble Enough? Prime Badge

I’m not sure whether I agree with this. But TPM Reader JB knows the ins and outs of government and follows things closely …

While I’m thinking of it….I’ve observed the Biden administration doesn’t maneuver quickly in response to changed circumstances, often waiting until an issue became controversial in the national press.  It’s had this problem since the beginning of the year.

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Thiel, Silicon Valley and the Rise of Tech Neo-Reaction
Big Tech is still often seen as 'liberal'. In fact it's the leading edge of neo-reactionary thought in the US.

Here are a few links to a topic I continue to think more and more about. On the surface it’s Peter Thiel, about whom more in a moment. But beyond Thiel, there’s a broader reality. In the first years of the century we learned to see Tech as a rising business and political powerhouse that was broadly liberal, at least by the standards of Big Business. ‘Liberal’ was probably never quite right – but at least broadly cosmopolitan in its social values and culture. It was young, comparatively diverse, based outside San Francisco. It was in many ways the product of the major cities and universities that are the seedbeds and home of Blue State political culture. That was never wholly true. And it’s become less true, especially as its financial titan corporations have been forced to interact more intensively with Washington DC. But it was at least partly true.

But many of the dominant figures in the world of Big Tech aren’t just conservative. A number are what might be termed neo-reactionary. Thiel of course is the first that comes to mind in this category. But he’s not the only one.

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