Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.

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The Muckers take a toke of the NH phone jamming "conspiracy weed." That and other news of the day in today's Daily Muck.

You probably remember that Rep. John Doolittle (R-CA) and his wife have a special arrangement, of dubious legality, in which they get to personally pocket 15% of the campaign contributions to John's reelection campaign and leadership committee. So far this political cycle the Doolittles have bagged just over $82,000 as their personal cut. Since some of the fattest months of the fundraising cycle are still to come, I guess it's conceiveable that the Doolittles could stash away more from this de facto bribe system than John's congressional salary.

Good work if you can get it.

Sen. Burns probably really appreciates the prediction.

From Oklahoma TV station KTEN ...

U-S Senator Tom Coburn isn't naming names, but he expects six congressmen and a fellow senator will go to jail.

That's because he thinks they'll be facing corruption charges following investigations involving lobbyist Jack Abramoff and others.

Six from the House. That's quite a haul.

The scope of the lying from Ken Mehlman's RNC on this immigration stuff really almost defies belief. I'm genuinely curious if any talking heads are going to call them on it. We'll be bringing you a bit more info on this shortly. But basically you have a bill that a Republican chairman introduced and one that was passed overwhelmingly by Republicans. Now the GOP is trying to find a way out from under their screw-up which they're afraid is going to damage them grievously at the polls among Latinos. So they're saying the Democrats are for making illegal aliens felons when they were the ones against making it even a misdemeanor. Mehlman's committee is running these ads. He was on CNN last night preening about how everyone knows how ethical he is and today he's caught in a flat out lie.

Note to Ken: If you run the ads in Spanish, it's still a lie.

Late Update: Here's some more on just the caliber of lies we're talking about.

Emerging RNC bamboozle...

The RNC is running Spanish-language ads against Harry Reid arguing that Democrats were behind the bill the House passed to treat illegal aliens as felons.

That of course is the GOP-backed bill Republicans are now running away from in droves.

Figure the ad will get taken off the air? Will the cable nets feature the bamboozlement?

The argument is really pretty egregious even by GOP standards. House Republicans put up a bill to make being an illegal alien a felony. An amendment was proposed that would have made it a misdemeanor. As the AP reports, "Democrats, including members of the Hispanic Congressional Caucus, voted against the amendment, arguing they did not support criminal penalties. Nevada Republicans Jon Porter and Jim Gibbons also voted against the amendment, which failed. The felony provision remained in the bill, H.R. 4437, and it passed the House on a largely party line vote."

So Democrats wouldn't vote for criminalizing at all. Ergo, they're for making it a felony.

This sort of bald-faced lying really should be called out.

Late Update: Apparently the DC GOP is really in full bamboozle mode here. And the word has gone out to blame Democrats for the felony provision the GOP passed through the House like a week ago. I wonder if someone will ask Ken Mehlman about the ad he's running.

The dirty truth comes out. Grover Norquist said he was trademarking the phrase 'K Street Project' and would sue anyone using it in an improper fashion. It turns out Norquist is just trademarking the 'K Street Project' logo. Norquist will be able to make exclusive use of the logo to produce "product ratings of the consumer goods and services of others in the field of posting the most recent job hires in Washington DC's premier lobbying firms, trade associations, and industries."

Thank God they're on the case!

The Department of Homeland Security hasn't sent out any security "bulletins" on white supremacist organizations, whack-job militias, or violent anti-abortion groups. But they have prepared a new brand new security bulletin on how to protect yourself against animal rights groups and 'eco-terrorists'.

One form of eco-terror attack, according to the bulletin has eco-terrorists "sending continuous faxes in order to drain the ink supply from company fax machines."

"Flyer distribution" is another form of attack to be vigilant about.

Find out all the scary details here.

Here's one element of the new wave of fear-mongering articles about the Iranian nuclear program that doesn't add up to me. It relates to Iranian President Ahmadinejad.

Here's a portion out of Sy Hersh's piece in the New Yorker which gives a sense of the line of reasoning ...

One former senior United Nations official, who has extensive experience with Iran, depicted the turnover as "a white coup," with ominous implications for the West. "Professionals in the Foreign Ministry are out; others are waiting to be kicked out," he said. "We may be too late. These guys now believe that they are stronger than ever since the revolution." He said that, particularly in consideration of China’s emergence as a superpower, Iran’s attitude was "To hell with the West. You can do as much as you like."

What doesn't add up to me is that through much of the past decade we were told that the reformism of Ahmadinejad's immediate predecessor Mohammad Khatami was not that significant because the real power in Iran, the font of all fundamental decision making is in the Guardian Council and even more the Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei.

Given how things developed under Khatami's presidency, that claim appears to have been borne out.

Now, Khamenei is no great shakes, on a lot of counts. But one mild consolation is that I think this logic applies as much to Ahmadinejad as much as it applied to Khatami. He may be a zealout where Khatami was a reformer. But aren't we still fundamentally in the same situation: that the key decisions in Iran are made by Khamenei?

If that's true, then Ahmadinejad really is a secondary player. And building him up as the bogeyman doesn't really add up.

President Bush has 15 days to decide on whether to let a Dubai-based company buy the outfit that helps make America's tanks. That and other news of the day in today's Daily Muck.