Wednesday, July 25, 2007

A Murtha Earmark--up close and personal-like.

Murtha's "mystery earmark" saga has jogged the memory of Uncorrelated's Dave Calder of a similar earmark mystery that he encountered, that seemed to have Jack Murtha's grubby little paw prints all over it.

Read the whole story.

Monday, July 23, 2007

The Poster Child for Earmark Reform...

Who's the go-to guy when an editorial board needs an example of why we need earmark reform in Congress?

Well, four out of five editorial boards polled voted for our good-ol' self-serving gasbag Jack Murtha. Like the Adrian, Michigan Daily Telegram, for instance:
Lawmakers have grown skilled at hiding these projects. Murtha, for example, waited until five weeks after the deadline before attaching his requests to an intelligence authorization bill. And, despite promises of greater accountability, the number of earmarks so far this year already had hit 32,684 earlier this month. That’s 75 requests for each House member.
Good ol Jihad Jack--when it comes to corruption, nobody delivers like him!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

So tell us how you really feel :)

From a letter to the editor at the Pittsburgh Tribune:

Treason time?

Friday, July 20, 2007

Your editorial about surrender in Iraq was a disgrace ("The war in Iraq," July 15 and Withdrawal from Iraq would have catastrophic consequences.

So now you join forces with the traitor Murtha to attack President Bush: We have not been attacked by our enemies in over five years. The economy is booming. We now have a responsible Supreme Court. Yes, Bush is doing a lousy job.

You advised people not to vote last November and you see the result. Now you want to surrender and betray our troops.

You are traitors like Murtha, Pelosi, Reid and Kennedy, and you all deserve the justice due for treason.

William Overdorff
Pennsbury Village

Actually, William, I feel the same way. Hopefully PA-12 voters will follow your lead in '08, when it's time to put the self-serving gasbag out to pasture.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Fat Cat Murtha Bilks Taxpayers, Enriches self, friends..

This continues to tell the tale of Murtha's less-than-storied, self-serving political career. Get fat campaign donations, then grease the palms of his donors with fat contracts--if they build in PA-12.

History again repeats itself (via Katie Favassa):

REP. FLAKE: This amendment would strike funding for the Center for Instrumented Critical Infrastructure. The center is to receive $1 million in taxpayer funding in this bill. When searching on the web my staff and I were unable to find the center's web site. I'm not sure whether the center currently exists or whether this earmark creates the center. I would appreciate that the sponsor of this earmark [Rep. John Murtha (D-PA)] would clear that up. All the bill says is it funds $1 million for the Center for Instrumented Critical Infrastructure in Pennsylvania. However, when you look at the certification letter that each member now, according to our earmark rules is required to submit, you see that the earmark is actually going to the Concurrent Technology Corporation based in Jonestown, Pennsylvania….

REP. FLAKE: I'm wondering in the report that accompanied the bill, it mentioned that the earmark was to go to the Center for Instrumented Critical Infrastructures. But the certification letter says that it's going to go to that but the earmark should actually go to Concurrent Technologies Corporation. Which is it, and if it is to Concurrent Technologies, why it isn't listed?

REP. VISCLOSKY (D-IN), ENERGY AND WATER SUBCOMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: It's my understanding it will go to the Center for Instrumented Critical Infrastructure.

REP. FLAKE: Does that center currently exist?

REP. VISCLOSKY: At this time I do not know. But if it does not exist the monies could not go to it.

REP. FLAKE: We were told in this process early on by the chairman of the Appropriation Committee that a different process was needed, that the earmarks should be added later in conference and not now because the Appropriation's Committee couldn't vet or scrub these earmarks well enough. I would submit this is a perfect example of that … I would submit that this one should be [stricken] as well when the chairman of the relevant subcommittee can't tell us if this center even exists. We don't know if it even exists…

REP. FLAKE: Yet, we have the report that comes with the bill that doesn't even mention Concurrent Technologies, just mentions this center as if it already existed, we don't know if it does. We can't find any information on it. Apparently we can't even get that information from the Appropriations Committee.”

Actually, Murtha did one better. He got a political tit-for-tat from one of his buddies for a company that by all accounts didn't even exist. When one follows the money, however, one does get an explanation:
UPDATE: I failed to report last night that a certificate filed with the requested funds says the money is actually earmarked to Concurrent Technologies Corporation, a nonprofit technological consulting firm. A brief search of campaign finance records shows CTC President and CEO Daniel R. DeVos, of alternately Central City and Johnstown, Pa. has contributed $7,000 to Murtha's reelection campaign since April 2002.
And for those of you who actually thought you were voting for ethics reform when you elected a democrat-controlled congress:
Despite the money's uncertain destination, the House rejected Flake's measure to strike the funds, 326-98. And the Visclosky bill also sailed through, 312-112.
Yeah. One more reason why congress needs more of our money like a junkie needs more crack. And yet one more reason why Murtha Must Go!!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

They Love Him, They Hate Him, They Can't Editorialize Without Him

Across America, John Murtha is a symbol of opposition to President Bush's Iraq policy. Here in southwestern Pennsylvania, particularly in his Johnstown-centered district, Murtha's reputation as the most shameless sort of pork-grubbing, earmarking Congressman is the stuff of legends. It's always interesting to see how the major papers in the Pittsburgh market respond to Murtha's words and actions, considering that we have a Democrat-leaning paper (the Post-Gazette) and a paper that favors a much more conservative approach to politics (the Tribune-Review). You'd think that the P-G would love Murtha, and that the Trib must loathe everything about the man.

You would, of course, be mistaken, as I have mentioned in these pages before: while the PG does indeed proudly support Murtha, the Trib is the gal who wants to dance the night away with the "Big Man". It's interesting to see, then, that the legendary Mr. Murtha has prompted an editorial in each of the two papers over the last three days, and our assumptions do indeed make an "ass" of "u" and "me", as the saying goes.

The Trib turned away from supporting the war effort several months ago, apparently under the influence of Murtha. Each editorial on the war sound like it could have been penned by John Murtha. Here's one from Sunday, July 15:

Perhaps Jack Murtha put it best: The Pennsylvania congressman, among the first to make the cogent argument that staying the course in Iraq was the exercise in futility that indeed the war has become, says President Bush is delusional.

Based on the president's recent performance, we could not agree more. "Staying the course" is not simply futile -- it is a prescription for American suicide.

We've urged for months to bring our troops home. Now is the time.

"Progress" has become such a nuanced, parsed and tortured term that it no longer has meaning.

The "fledgling" Iraqi government -- how long can it reasonably be called that? -- consistently has not stepped up to the plate.

President Bush warns that U.S. withdrawal would risk "mass killings on a horrific scale." What do we have today, sir?

And quite frankly, during last Thursday's news conference, when George Bush started blathering about "sometimes the decisions you make and the consequences don't enable you to be loved," we had to question his mental stability.

If the president won't do the right thing and end this war, the people must. The House has voted to withdraw combat troops from Iraq by April. The Senate must follow suit.

Our brave troops should take great pride that they rid Iraq of Saddam Hussein. And they should have no shame in leaving Iraq. For it will not be, in any way, an exercise in tail-tucking and running.

America has done its job.

It's time for the Iraqis to do theirs.

On the subject of the Bush Administration, I have long felt that the left has been too hard on the President, and the right has been far too easy on him. At no time did I ever consider questioning "his mental stability", as the Trib does at Murtha's behest. Is John Murtha qualified to make such a diagnosis? Can someone clarify this for me? Is there a professional psychologist in the house?

Fortunately, the Trib's readers tend to be more independent thinkers. A couple of letters in today's paper properly smack down the defeatitorialist. First, from a gentleman in Apollo, Washington County:

"Our job is done" in Iraq, you state in your Sunday editorial ("The war in Iraq," July 15 and You could not be more wrong. The question of whether we should have invaded Iraq in the first place is moot and left to history. We invaded, then destroyed and disbanded both their government and their army.

We have a moral obligation to remain in Iraq until both the government and the living environment are once again stable. I do blame Bush for not adequately articulating this responsibility to the American people, because we instinctively understand it. Reagan's talent was not just his steadfastness in conservative principles, but his ability to communicate those principles to the people.

We made many mistakes after the fall of Saddam, the first of which was trying to organize a "democracy" from the top down. We should have started with the cities, tribal leaders and local governments, then the provinces. Only after those governments were working should we have worried about a central government.

But that's done now. We must correct what we can and make it work as best as we can.

The other issue is al-Qaida. It is also moot whether its members were in Iraq before the invasion. They are there now, keeping the insurgency going.

When things quiet down, they will blow up a Shiite mosque in a Sunni neighborhood or behead some Sunnis in a Shiite neighborhood. And things will get roiling again.

They know the media will beat up Bush with every act of violence and they are convinced that the American people don't have the stomach for a protracted fight. Judging from the position in your editorial, al-Qaida
may just be right.

More's the pity.

The people reading the paper make more sense than the people getting paid to write the paper. Here's another astute Trib reader, this one from Export in Westmoreland County:

How jarring it was to read your defeatist lead editorial praising Congressman John Murtha's cut-and-run policy after reading John Watson's dead-on letter wanting to unleash the military ("War politics," Letters, July 15 and
Whatever the congressman says regarding the war is only for political gain. He's shown that he is more than willing to bash our troops to win a leadership position.

Is there a true American who believes we can't win this war? I'm not talking about the war as we're fighting it now, but an all out FDR-style war where we round up our enemies both here and abroad and carpet-bomb whole cities. Whatever al-Qaida does to us we have to return 10-fold.

No doubt most reading this will be appalled at these suggestions, but why? It's called war and it's how you win. We celebrate Gen. Sherman's march to the sea during the Civil War because it helped end the war. President Truman ended World War II with the same resolve. Except for the Cold War, have we ever won a war by playing fair against a murderous enemy?

Although Democrats and the media ruthlessly attack President Bush for even the appearance of aggression toward our enemies, the president must take full blame for tying the hands of our military with rules of engagement, which certainly brings joy to Islamofacists. Until the president unleashes the full might of our military we will be saddled with this war -- and not just Iraq.

President Bush is the most hated man in the world and the U.S. is the most hated country. Nothing will change this. What have we got to lose? Win this darn war!

I like to call that kind of thinking "going Viking", and it's a better strategy than either "stay the course" or "cut and run". It's a realistic look at a viable option. Don't expect that from the editorialists of either the Trib or the Post-Gazette. Speaking of which...

Today's P-G editorial takes umbrage with the other side of John Murtha: the typical tax, spend and waste Democrat. The P-G rarely has issues with the left side of the aisle in Congress, but it does like to think of itself as an advocate of fiscal responsibility. The Democrat Congress, we are told, promised to do away with wasteful spending. They have not. Guess who is held forth as a leading example of waste?

One Democrat who knows how to work the system is Rep. John Murtha of Johnstown. A report in Sunday's Post-Gazette by Washington correspondent Jerome L. Sherman showed how Mr. Murtha, now in his 17th term and chairman of the House Defense Appropriations subcommittee, has become a master at delivering military and other contracts to his district. Some of the spending brings jobs, while some of the job promises fall short. Sometimes old friends benefit from the work -- friends and contacts who contribute to the Murtha campaign war

While we have praised the Marine reservist for speaking out against the Iraq war, it's hard to heap accolades on someone who is not using his stature to reduce the number of earmarks and make the process transparent.

Dig deep enough, and even the Post-Gazette finds something to criticize Murtha for. The best way to battle Murtha politically may not be to stress his Iraq war opposition, but to challenge him on his penchant for pork. What resonates louder with the locals: "Peace in our time", or "big money comes into the district and goes right into Murtha's coffers"? The jobs in Johnstown come and go, but Murtha remains. That needs to end in 2008.

Just don't expect any help from the big market media in Pittsburgh.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Can Murtha Be Impeached?

An interesting, and shall I say, appropriate question!

William Teach has more on this at Pirate's Cove!

(graphic courtesy of Pirate's Cove, via Boot Murtha)

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Jack Murtha and the Concept of Apology?

a·pol·o·gy [uh-pol-uh-jee] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation –noun, plural -gies.
1.a written or spoken expression of one's regret, remorse, or sorrow for having insulted, failed, injured, or wronged another: He demanded an apology from me for calling him a crook.

Yesterday, the Haditha marines came one step closer to what will be their inevitable vindication. In the process, these Marines were held 23 hours a day in cramped cells. These Marines' families have gone through bloody hell and hardship, not to mention countless sleepless nights worrying about their loved ones, who, largely in part because an otherwise nondescript lard ass with self-serving political aspirations saw that, despite warnings to the contrary, it was to his advantage to endear himself to the whacko-left power structure of the DNC. So the old gasbag went on to run in front of every camera he could find, loudly proclaiming that the incident was a massacre, and a "cover up" from the highest levels:

Curiously, I also called Jack Murtha's office for an official statement yesterday. They replied they could give none, since it wouldn't be proper since the investigation is ongoing. Does anyone remember this tidbit from
Asked about his sources during a midday briefing on Iraq policy in the Capitol, Murtha confidently replied, "All the information I get, it comes from the commanders, it comes from people who know what they are talking about." Although Murtha said that he had not read any investigative reports by the military on the incident, he stressed, "It's much worse than reported in Time magazine."
When I confronted the staffer about this, she had the gall to state that Murtha's statements were "taken out of context."

Some "context."

In short, Jack Murtha totally disregarded the Marines' basic civil right to presumption of innocence, and in the process destroyed their lives. All for the purpose of what can be safely said to be cheap, personal political gain.

Now the question remains: Will Jack Murtha, who has stated over and over again that he steadfastly supports our troops, render an apology to those brave Marines whose lives were completely destroyed, largely due to his efforts?

Somehow, I think not.

For to Jack Murtha, it's never been about the troops. It's never even been about the United States.

To Jack Murtha, it's always been about Jack Murtha.


Welcome Michelle Malkin readers...

Please feel free to take a few moments to look around at this veritable museum of Jack Murtha's largesse and self-centered, self-serving "service" to his PA-12 constituents; and you'll find out why "Murtha Must Go!!"

UPDATE: Justin Sharratt's father Darryl Sharratt says that it's too late for Rep. Murtha to simply apologize:
"It's too late for an apology," Darryl Sharratt of Canonsburg, Pa., told Cybercast News Service after the hearing officer in the case, Lt. Col. Paul Ware, released an 18-page report recommending that all charges against Sharratt's son, Lance Cpl. Justin Sharratt, be dismissed because his actions "were in accord with the rules of engagement and use of force."
Darryl Sharratt hits the nail on the head with this statement:
"We need this man censured by our Congress," he said, because "he denied my son, and the other Marines involved, their constitutional rights to a fair trial and a presumption of innocence."
That's what I told Darryl about a month ago when I was a guest on Kit Jarrell's BTR show with Darryl and Tim Harrington. That's why I'll be calling for his resignation when I appear on The Dirk Thompson show Saturday night. I will be Dirk's guest, as will Tim Harrington, starting at 6:05 CDT. I recommend you listen because Tim is the preeminent authority on the Haditha Marines.

(Updated by Gary Gross)

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Rep. Murtha Running For Cover

John Murtha is running for cover following this article and my call to his office for a statement. First, here's the key part of the Foxnews story:
The government's theory that Lance Cpl. Justin L. Sharratt had executed the three men was "incredible" and relied on contradictory statements by Iraqis, Lt. Col. Paul Ware said in the report, released Tuesday by Sharratt's defense attorneys.

"To believe the government version of facts is to disregard clear and convincing evidence to the contrary, and sets a dangerous precedent that, in my opinion, may encourage others to bear false witness against Marines as a tactic to erode public support of the Marine Corps and mission in Iraq," Ware wrote.

Defense attorneys James Culp and Gary Myers said in a statement that he was pleased with the report and that it "reflected the value of the calm of a courtroom and the adversarial process."

Sharratt's mother Theresa said she was overjoyed.

"This is a huge result, that report is a declaration of Justin's innocence," she said. "This is very, very good news."
After reading this article, I called Congressman Murtha's office to see if he had a statement, "especially in light of his statements on This Week With George Stephanopoulos over a year ago."

I asked the woman that answered the phone "if Congressman Murtha had a statement following a news story regarding Lt. Col. Paul Ware's report stating that "The government's theory that Lance Cpl. Justin L. Sharratt had executed the three men was "incredible" and relied on contradictory statements by Iraqis."

Instead of answering that question, she asked "So the trial is over?" I told her that it wasn't, that the recommendation was nonbinding. Then she asked "So it isn't over?" I confirmed that it wasn't. I asked if Congressman Murtha would "like to make a statement considering his accusations made over a year ago on 'This Week With George Stephanopoulos'"? Here's her response: "Congressman Murtha doesn't have a statement because the investigation is still ongoing."

Undeterred, I read her the quote from Cpl. Sharratt's mother:
"This is a huge result, that report is a declaration of Justin's innocence," she said. "This is very, very good news."
I said, "In light of Cpl. Sharratt's mother's quote, isn't it appropriate to make a statement?" Murtha's spokeswoman repeated "Congressman Murtha doesn't have a statement because the investigation is still ongoing."

I asked a third time only to get the same response.

They'll have to back away from that statement because the investigation isn't ongoing. The investigation ended when Cpl. Sharratt's Article 32 trial started. Therefore, Murtha's official statement is spin and isn't based on the facts.

It's my considered opinion that Murtha's office is tapdancing as fast as they can because they've been exposed.

I'd further suggest that this statement fails on another level. Murtha's spokeswoman said that he won't comment because the investigation is ongoing.
  • If he was worried about not influencing the investigation, why did he accuse these Marines of "killing innocent civilians in cold blood" on national TV?
  • Why did Rep. Murtha say "It's much worse than was reported in Time magazine"?
  • Why did Rep. Murtha say "There was no firefight. There was no [bomb] that killed those innocent people"?
There isn't evidence that Rep. Murtha was concerned then about not influencing the trial. Why the concern now? Or does his refusal to address this news have more to do with him spinning this to avoid taking responsibility for his accusations?

Rep. Murtha has reason to worry. He's accused a group of heroic Marines of cold-blooded murder. He made that accusation before being briefed by Gen. Hagee:
Murtha, a Pennsylvania Democrat, is being sued by one of the accused Marines for libel. He had told The Philadelphia Inquirer that Gen. Michael Hagee had given him the information on which he based his charge that Marines killed innocent civilians.

But a spokesman for the Marine Corps said Hagee briefed Murtha on May 24 about Haditha. Murtha had made comments on the case as early as May 17.

On May 17, for example, he said at a news conference, "Our troops overreacted because of the pressure on them and they killed innocent civilians in cold blood."
Now he's concerned about not influencing the investigation and trial?

Given what we know, isn't it much more likely that his spokeswoman knows that he's been caught wrongfully accusing a group of Marines of killing "innocent civilians in cold blood"? Isn't it much more likely that his accusations weren't based on facts presented at a Pentagon briefing? Isn't it much more likely that his accusations were based on his agenda to become House Majority leader?

His spokeswoman's statement is the least of his worries. This article clearly shows that Rep. Murtha's accusations were, at best, premature, which means he violated Cpl. Sharratt's rights to a fair trial and Cpl. Sharratt's due process rights.

This information should lead to an investigation into Rep. Murtha's accusations. Furthermore, he should testify under oath about the source of his information. Additionally, Rep. Murtha should be asked to explain why he wasn't initially concerned with Cpl. Sharratt's constitutional right to a fair trial.

If Rep. Murtha is found to have railroaded Cpl. Sharratt and the other Marines, shouldn't that be grounds to have him punished by the House of Representatives up to and including his removal from office? It seems to me that congressmen violating a soldier's constitutional rights and accusing the military of covering the underlying incident up before being briefed is about as serious an offense as it gets. It seems to me that that's corruption of a most odious nature.

Finally, shouldn't members of the Democratic leadership be asked if they knew that Rep. Murtha's accusations weren't based on an official Pentagon briefing. If they knew that he hadn't been briefed but still accused Cpl. Sharratt and the other Haditha Marines, aren't Democratic leaders guilty of throwing Cpl. Sharratt's constitutional protections under the bus? At minimum, they were morally responsible for chastising Rep. Murtha for his actions.

Finally, shouldn't Cpl. Sharratt and the other Haditha Marines be set free? Based on Paul Ware's report and recommendation, isn't it impossible to convict these men?

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Cross-posted at LetFreedomRingBlog