EDITORS' BLOG
Where Things Stand: Crenshaw Wants You To Know He’s Not Buying The Gaetz/MTG Act
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But he’s also not willing to plant a flag in any particular place.

The once-novel divide between various flanks of the Republican Party during the earliest days of the Trump era was a ripe area of fascination for many in the media, as various scandals forced longtime conservatives to speak out — and coin him or herself a Never-Trumper — or as old guard lawmakers flocked to the faux-populist corners of the party’s once-fringe Trumpian movement. Now that divide has reemerged, as establishment Republicans grapple with the future of their party and pundits hand-wring about how far-right the GOP’s ideology and messaging must go in order to win elections in 2022.

Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX) has tried to have it both ways for some time. And he’s still squirming to this day.

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Trump’s New Bribe Mill
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This is probably obvious to many of you. But Donald Trump’s new ‘Truth Social’ media company, formed with a blank check SPAC vehicle, is essentially an open invitation to foreign bribes and payoffs. It’s no surprise the investor list is secret. The one constant in Trump’s business history is that investors get screwed and he walks away unscathed. Given Trump’s political following a social and media venture seems like it could be quite profitable. But most people can succeed with casinos too. Just not Trump. And those were the days of formal investments, prospectuses, business plans, formal commitments. A SPAC is a blank check. Invest now. Find out what you’re investing in later. No one with big money would invest in such an enterprise with the hope of financial returns.

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Daddy Said Time to Come Home

It looks like Donald Trump put his foot down and told Mark Meadows to stop cooperating with the January 6th committee. Is this an effort to get back into Trump’s good graces after the COVID positive test revelation that had Meadows calling his own book “fake news”? Presumably Meadows can now expect an indictment imminently.

Where Things Stand: Schumer Sticks With BBB Timeline In Face Of Endless Hurdles
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Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) lit a fire under some of his colleagues today, stating in a letter to colleagues his ongoing expectation that the Senate will pass the Biden administration’s sweeping Build Back Better package via reconciliation “before Christmas.”

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Putting Jan 6th in Perspective
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I want to recommend to you this new article in The Atlantic about the Jan 6th insurrection and the preparation for the next one in 2024. It doesn’t contain any big exclusives. If you’ve been following ours and others coverage of the insurrection, the effort to pass new election subverting laws at the state level and the campaign of harassment of local election officials you’ll be broadly familiar with most of it. But I don’t think I’ve seen anyone pull the different moving parts together so effectively, either retrospectively or prospectively.

I have a bit of a quibble with Bart on just how much Trump was methodologically pursuing a clear plan to overturn the election once Biden was declared the victor a few days after election day. But this is mainly a matter of emphasis rather than disputes over detail.

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Weekend Omicron News
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There are reports this morning about early signs that Omicron COVID produces milder disease than feared or perhaps milder disease than Delta and other variants. There does appear to be growing evidence of this, or more evidence that Omicron doesn’t produce more severe disease (which is a great thing). But I wanted to flag some caveats and context that I’ve picked up over the weekend.

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No Stone Unturned
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TPM Reader PT makes a point about leaving no stone unturned in the fight against COVID …

In reading various articles on the naval component of WW2, one of the things I noticed is that, at the war’s end, the United States wound up canceling or scrapping numerous aircraft carriers that were at some point in the process from ordering to commissioning. Likewise the battleships USS Illinois and USS Kentucky, which had started construction but were abandoned when the war ended.

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Boosters
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I have to imagine that vaccination rates among TPM Readers are close to 100%, given a variety of factors – education levels, politics, age, etc. But I’m sure there are many who haven’t gotten a booster shot. You should get that shot. You should get it as soon as you’re able to get it. I’ve been pretty pro-booster for months, even back to when the evidence for the persistence of increased immunity was less clear. Until quite recently boosters were seen by many as a bit precious unless you were part of some high risk group or even a bit selfish. Not so. Not now at least.

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Natural vs Vax Immunity Comes to the Fore With Omicron
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In recent months there’s been a lively debate and a number of contending studies over whether ‘natural’ or vaccinated immunity provides superior protection against COVID. This is important information to know for a number of reasons. But in the public conversation it’s largely become a cudgel in arguments about vaccine mandates – people insisting vaccine mandates shouldn’t apply to them because of the immunity they got from being sick with COVID is just as good. There are many problems with that argument – the most important of which is that every expert I’ve heard from seems to agree that getting vaccinated gives you added protection regardless of whether you’ve had COVID. Meanwhile, in public health terms, it’s nearly impossible to litigate at scale who has had COVID and who hasn’t. But setting that debate aside, the advent of Omicron may be pushing this issue to center stage in a new way.

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Shouldn’t We Have Learned This About the BLS Numbers?
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We have a mere 210,000 new jobs created in November, according to statistics released this morning by the Bureau of Labor statistics. It’s another “disappointing” number, well below Wall Street estimates. But as we noted a couple weeks ago and Philip Bump reminds us this morning, we should expect that the number is actually much higher, probably dramatically higher. So far this year every month but one has been revised higher after the fact, often by magnitudes far greater than in the history of counting this number. September was initially 194,000. Now it’s revised to 379,000. August was initially 235,000. Now it’s revised to 483,000. A number of other months have been upward revised by 100,000 or more.

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The Department of Justice is suing the state of Texas over its 2021 redistricting plans, which were approved by Gov. Greg Abbott (R) in October.

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In the year since the Trump campaign and the conspiracy theory website The Gateway Pundit cast Wandrea Moss and her mother Ruby Freeman as key players in a false narrative of election fraud, Moss hasn’t been able to sleep much. 

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A new report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics showing that prices rose in October and are hovering at a notably high point has triggered a full-on Democratic panic attack over the fate of the reconciliation bill. 

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