Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.

Articles by Josh

I think longtime TPM Reader JB has a lot of this right on the real context of the Iranian nukes deal ...

I think the deal with Iran should be interpreted through the lens of the decreasing reliance of the United States on oil from the Middle East. The vast quantities of natural gas and oil in in North America that will permit nearly all of our energy needs to be met at home and allow the significant control of price and supply to be exerted close to home changes importantly our reliance on and control of the world energy market. I think this deal represents the first step of US disentanglement from the machinations of Middle Eastern politics and background control of much of what goes on. Here is my assessment of what is happening, by nation:

United States: We are not as much reliant on middle east oil because of our own stocks and increasing renewables so let’s remove any existential threats from the region so we can be less involved. The major existential threat? Nuclear weapons. With no Iran nukes, there is no regional nuclear arms race. So, we don’t have to police the area nearly as much because we have oil, prices of oil will drop with return of Iranian stocks, and there are no existential threats. We’re just not that into you anymore.

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I missed this on the first pass. This kind of thinking used to get into the political debate two or three decades ago. But I haven't seen it in a while. In an interview with The Daily Caller (full transcript here), Rick Santorum suggested that Scott Walker's opposition to same-sex marriage may be suspect because he hasn't gotten his wife to fall into line.

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Delegate Ariana Kelly (D-Montgomery) is a rising star in the Maryland Democratic party who is said to be considering running for the House seat being vacated by Rep Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), who is running for the senate seat being vacated by Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD). But the 39-year-old state lawmaker was arrested last month and charged with trespassing and indecent exposure in a confrontation with her ex-husband which thankfully did not escalate to violence but did lead to Kelly aggressively jostling her bare breasts in his direction as she stood in his doorway and refused his demands to leave.

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Over-70 Geraldo is definitely the best Geraldo yet. Watch.

With an actual deal, with definitive text and conditions, now in place, I wanted to share a few initial reactions. I have not seen all the details and many of them are technical and not ones I'm well-suited to judge. To get a general sense of my take on the equities and stakes involved, see this exchange I did with David Frum back in April. This was on the basis of the tentative agreement. But most of the discussion remains as relevant today as it was then.

There are many things to say. But here's the one I want to focus on for the moment. As I said, many of the issues involved in these deals are technical. And as much as people pretend otherwise, most of us are dependent on technical experts to make sense of who got the better of different compromises. With that said, at a basic level I trust the people negotiating on the U.S. side, subject of course to hearing anything over the coming days that gives me some reason to rethink that assumption.

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You may have seen here that President Obama has commuted the sentences of 46 federal inmates convicted of non-violent drug offenses. This is part of the administration's general push for prison and criminal justice reform - particularly in relation to the drug war. It is welcome news on all those fronts. But there's a slightly different issue I want to focus on.

Over the last several decades, the presidential pardon power - which includes a broad power to pardon offenses or simply commute sentences - has all but disappeared. The controversy over President Clinton's end-of-term pardons played some role in that. But the trend was already well underway.

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