Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.

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Open for reasonable speculation.

Just what is prosecutor Brian Cavanagh telling us here?

Context: Brian Cavanagh is prosecuting the three men charged in the killing of erstwhile Abramoff business partner Gus Boulis. The article is about whether lawyers for the defendants will subpoena Abramoff and Adam Kidan to testify.

The chief prosecutor in the case, Brian Cavanagh, said his office had not intended to call Abramoff as a witness in part because he would be given immunity from prosecution for anything he says under those conditions. Cavanagh also said Kidan has not been cleared as a suspect in the Boulis slaying.


Back on March 6th, TPM and later TPMmuckraker.com reported the fact that in April 2004 Cunningham fraudster Mitchell Wade registered a non-profit in Washington, DC called the "Iranian Democratization Foundation."

Tonight, Knight-Ridder's Warren Strobel significantly advances the ball on the story and gives us the first clear details of just what Wade's Iran regime-change angle really was.

Wade founded the IDF with two other big ticket GOP campaign contributors -- New York-based real estate developer Sonny Lee and Iranian emigre Behrooz Behbudi. According to Behbudi, Lee introduced Behbudi to Wade.

Lee vouched for Wade's character to Knight-Ridder, calling the convicted felon "a good Christian man."

Strobel wasn't able to get all the details -- presumably they're stil on the case, as are we. But it seems Wade wanted to have an INC-like operation on hand for when the US government money started flowing to destabilize the Iranian government. Whether the IDF ever got any money or conducted any 'operations' isn't clear.

Apparently, Wade and Behbudi also had an aborted plan to pull down a government contract to rebuild the Central Bank of Iraq. Behbudi told Knight-Ridder he "came up with the most beautiful building" design for the Bank. "Mitch was supposed to come up with the contracts and secure the funds. I was supposed to do the work." But it all came to naught and Wade didn't even pay Behbudi for the design work.

Tales of the Reconstruction ...

So just who are the international cast of characters who've decided to invest their cash with Neil Bush's 'educational software' firm Ignite!?

Here's the list.

In the National Journal, Peter Stone just published an article about a couple of transactions that may be the ones that send Tom DeLay and/or his one-time Chief of Staff Ed Buckham to prison. Unfortunately, the piece isn't online. But Paul Kiel gives the basic details and a couple short excerpts here. If you're waiting for the deed that's going to send the Hammer to the Slammer, go take a look.

When you follow this stuff for a while, you start to get jaded. But step back and the level of corruption is truly breathtaking.

Kevin Phillips: "I believe that Democrats and liberals in 2006 stand to have their greatest opportunity since 1992 (which was lost). You will have the substa ntial support of many lapsed Republicans and doubters of Bush conservatism like myself. But I also have the sense that many Democrats and liberals have an instinct for the capillaries, not for the jugular. If that leads to failure in 2006, there will be a major price to pay, not just for the United States but in terms of the credibility of your party and movement."

I don't think I have anything else to say on this Ben Domenech and 'Red America' issue. Whatever Ben's done, I'm sure getting knocked around and knocked off his perch wasn't much fun. And I'm sure it wasn't any fun for his family either. Everybody's human. And everyone, or just about everyone, is better and more complex than their public caricature at their lowest moment.

But I can't manage not to say something about this sign off line in Ben's apologia post at Redstate ...

To my friends: thank you for your support. To my enemies: I take enormous solace in the fact that you spent this week bashing me, instead of America.

Ben, thank you. Thank you for taking all these blows on America's behalf. Thank you lifting passages out of other people's prose so America could take a breather. Thank you for slandering cherished American heroes for America's sake.

Most of all, though, Ben, thank you for illustrating Dr. Johnson's dictum that 'patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel.'

Vainglory, today, thy name is Ben.

Back on the question of how Barbara Bush donated money for Katrina aid and 'earmarked' part of it for the purchase of educational software produced by Ignite!, the company her son, Neil Bush, to bag money from international potentates, tycoons and crooks. Taxprof's got a post on a subject I've been curious about. George and Barbara Bush -- like a lot of other folks investment for non-economic reasons -- are actually investors in Ignite!

So how is it exactly you get away with making a tax subsidized contribution that you stipulate must be used to purchase products from a company in which you are a partial owner?

Isn't that a scam of some sort?

Our permanent constitutional crisis under the lawless presidency of George W. Bush.

Via Andrew Sullivan, the Globe reports another presidential 'signing statement.' In this one the president claims that the oversight provisions in the recently passed Patriot Act are not in fact binding.

There's really no overstating the importance of the president's disrespect for and serial violations of the law he has sworn twice to uphold.