Archive for the ‘John Murtha’ Category

I don’t think Norm Ornstein would object if I called him a Washington insider. He’s one of the rare Washington insiders who pays attention to what’s happening across America. His latest article for Roll Call is a nice piece of writing. Still, his opening paragraph misses an important point:

One of the main reasons why the Democratic Party lost control of the House in 1994 was that House Democrats responded too late to growing public dissatisfaction with their actions. The 111th Congress, though very active in its passage of legislation, needs to pay attention to the current rise in populist sentiment in the electorate. In order to effectively curb these feelings, Congress should implement reforms to increase transparency in government.

It isn’t that I think that Washington isn’t in need of reforming. Considering the fact that John Murtha, Jim Moran and Pete Visclosky still roam that end of Pennsylvania Ave., it’s clearly in need of a massive chlorine bath.

It’s that that’s hardly the thing motivating people here in the Heartland. What’s motivating heartland voters is the sense that Washington-bound Democrats love spending irrational amounts of money on really silly things:

  • $650 million for digital TV coupons.
  • $6 billion for colleges/universities, many which have billion dollar endowments.
  • $166 billion in direct aid to states, many of which have failed to budget wisely.
  • $50 million in funding for the National Endowment of the Arts.
  • $44 million for repairs to U.S. Department of Agriculture headquarters.
  • $200 million for the National Mall, including grass planting.
  • $400 million for “National Treasures.”

Another thing people are getting upset about is that the UAW is getting treated with kid gloves while secured bondholders for GM and Chrysler are being threatened with political retribution by President Obama. People see this as President Obama going the extra mile for his union allies.

People are outraged that President Obama is now trying to portray himself as a fiscal hawk after he’s spent $787,000,000,000 on ARRA and another $410,000,000,000 on the omnibus bill to fund the government for the rest of FY2009. They’ll be totally incensed to find out that PayGo has enough exemptions in it to pay for ObamaCare without finding offsets to pay for that monstrosity.

If the Obama admministration doesn’t stop spending like a madman and if they don’t stop bailout out their political allies, Democrats will suffer mightily in 2010. That isn’t just my opinion, either. It’s what Eric Cantor predicted:

“I really believe we’ve got a shot at taking back this House because you see what’s gone on here with the unfettered ability of this administration and Nancy Pelosi to run this Congress,” Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Va., the No. 2 Republican in the House, told ABC News in an exclusive interview. “The American people see that this agenda is way far out of the mainstream. They want a check and a balance on this power. And I think at the end of the day that’s what rules come November 2010.”

I’m not making predictions at this point. I’m just seeing alot of anti-liberal anger out here. That anti-tax-and-spend angst was confirmed when Californians rejected tax increases by 2:1 margins. If the Democrats keep behaving like they’re currently behaving, alot of them will soon be looking for work in another occupation.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

The Sunlight Foundation’s Paul Blumenthal put some graphics together to chart the earmarks that Rep. Visclosky ‘won’ for his Indiana district and the campaign contributions that flowed to him as a result of those earmarks. He’s also put together a great post on Visclosky’s hijinks.

In the past two weeks, Visclosky’s offices and campaign committess have been subpoenaed and he has reliquished control of the Energy & Water Appropriations Subcommittee to Rep. Ed Pastor.

This is just the tip of the Democrats’ ethical iceberg. The Philadelphia Inquirer is reporting that Kuchera Industries, a firm that won many earmarks thanks to John Murtha, “received an infusion of cash during its start-up years from a narcotics trafficker…”

According to this Washington Post article, Jim Moran is mixed up in this ethics quagmire, too:

Visclosky has been among the largest recipients of donations from PMA lobbyists and their clients, along with Reps. John Murtha (D-Pa.) and Jim Moran (D-Va.). All three men have authored earmarks that benefited PMA clients.

The firm was founded by a former House committee staffer close to Murtha and later hired senior aides to both Visclosky and Moran. Murtha, in particular, has come under intense scrutiny in recent months for his ties to PMA and to several different defense contractors.

It’s time for the courts to sort things out and determine whether it’s an official pay-to-play scheme. Whether the investigations prove their case or not, one thing’s perfectly clear: Mssrs. Murtha, Moran and Visclosky need to be expelled from the House for acting in such a way that their constituents and their colleagues can trust them.

It’s time for this trio to go.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

This morning, the Washington Post is reporting that the DoJ is investigating a contractor with strong ties to Rep. Murtha:

The Department of Justice is probing a Pennsylvania contractor that has won millions in earmarks and contracts with the help of Rep. John Murtha, according to a new report.

The Washington Post reported Monday that federal investigators are looking into how Mountaintop Technologies got involved in distributing and monitoring local police grants.

The company has been paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to distribute the money, according to the article, but has received at least $36 million worth of earmarks and military contracts over the past eight years, with the help of Murtha, a Pennsylvania Democrat, and no competition.

According to the article, company executives have donated tens of thousands of dollars to Murtha’s campaigns and often distributed the police grant funding on behalf of Murtha before fall elections, and the firm even hired the lobbying company where Murtha’s brother worked.

Democrats screamed at the top of their lungs about Halliburton getting no-bid contracts. Nevermind the fact that Halliburton was one of only 2 companies in the world equipped to do the things that they were hired to do.

Now we have a another company in Rep. Murtha’s network of cronies who is getting no-bid contracts annually being investigated. Instead of launching an ethics investigation into Rep. Murtha, Speaker Pelosi is doing everything possible to prevent a spotlight from shining on Rep. Murtha’s reprehensible behavior.

What’s particularly troubling to me is that federal grant money was distributed by Mountaintop Technologies right before elections. If I were a cynic, I’d almost think that that sounds alot like taxpayer-funded walking around money. At minimum, the timely disbursement of grants right before an election served as a reminder to these organizations that Rep. Murtha was their sugar daddy in Washington.

Mountaintop Technologies founder David Fyock told the Post that his company won the contracts on merit. “We are pretty darn good at managing contracts,” he said.

But law enforcement sources said the police grants drew attention because the firm was a defense company with little law enforcement experience.

Mr. Fyock’s explanation is flimsy at best. Whether they’re “pretty darn good at managing contracts” or not, the reality is that they made a fistful of money on no-bid contracts that should’ve been put up for bid. Why shouldn’t other companies have the opportunity to get these contracts? Might it be that Rep. Murtha didn’t want other companies who weren’t part of Murtha’s crony network to get the job of distributing these grants?

Here’s the opening paragraph of the Washington Post article:

In tiny, cash-strapped Monongahela, Pa., the city clerk was stunned when federal investigators arrived this fall with a subpoena seeking information on a crime-fighting grant she’d never heard of. She takes pride in tracking every dollar in the municipal budget.

Further down the page, we read this:

Over the past five years, a local defense contractor with close ties to Rep. John P. Murtha, a Democrat who has represented southwestern Pennsylvania for three decades, has selected several small police departments in the region to receive $10 million in Justice Department grants.

The company, Mountaintop Technologies, was selected by the lawmaker in a series of earmarks to hand out and monitor the grants. As it distributed the money to the departments, the firm would explain each time that it was arriving through the largess of Murtha, often just before fall elections.

Imagine that. Mountaintop Technologies would “explain each time that it was arriving through the largess of Murtha” and that that largess often happened “just before fall elections.”

My cynical said asks whether Murtha’s campaign pay Moutaintop Technologies for the PR work they did on his behalf right before elections. It’s one thing to hand out these grants. It’s another to hand them out with the reminder that a vote for Rep. Murtha will help the grant money flowing.

Let’s take this into account, too:

Once she learned from the investigators that Monongahela’s police department was getting money outside of normal channels, City Clerk Carole Foglia was disturbed. “I wasn’t happy with the situation at all,” Foglia said. “I didn’t want to be involved in anything that was done improperly, because that’s not the way I work in my office. And this was improper. No question about it.”

This clerk did the right thing in reporting the unusual nature of the grant distribution. Though I can’t be certain, I suspect that Ms. Foglia thought that this sounded alot like hading out walking around money right before an election.

Let’s ask these questions of Rep. Murtha:

Why are these grants disbursed right before an election? When did Mountaintop Technologies get these checks? Did Mountaintop Technologies hold these grant checks until the fall for maximuim impact on elections?

It’s time we got some answers. Hopefully, the DoJ’s investigation won’t be short-circuited by Eric Holder or other political appointees in DoJ.

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Cross-posted at Murtha Must Go

I just got the Thomas More Law Center’s official statement saying that the military has dropped its appeal of an appeals court ruling. Here’s the good news:

A government official has informed the Thomas More Law Center that the government will not seek to appeal the recent unanimous decision by the Navy Marine Corps Court of Criminal Appeals (NMCCA) in favor of LtCol Jeffrey Chessani, USMC.

The decision makes permanent the ruling by the trial court judge, Colonel Steven A. Folsom, USMC, dismissing the charges against LtCol Chessani, without prejudice, due to Unlawful Command Influence. The government could have sought an appeal to the civilian Court of Appeals of the Armed Forces (CAAF), and then to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Here’s the bad news:

In order for the government to start the process of recharging LtCol Chessani, the Commandant, General James Conway, USMC, would have to appoint a new convening authority (the rank of General) that was not precluded by Col Folsom’s ruling, which was based on Unlawful Command Influence.

Col Folsom precluded the commands of the I Marine Expeditionary Force (I MEF), Marine Forces Central Command (MARCENT), and General James Mattis, USMC in particular. Whoever is named the new convening authority (the new General) would have to make an independent decision on whether or not to bring new charges against LtCol Chessani. If the General did desire to bring charges, LtCol Chessani would be subject to a new Article 32 Hearing.

I’m not at all confident that Gen. Conway will do the right thing, though that’s what I’m hoping for. It’s time for the NCIS to admit that the persecutions of the Haditha Marines was a political witch hunt that was ignited by Tim McGirk’s farcical Time Magazine article. With Lt. Col. Chessani’s charges being dropped, the military’s record against the Haditha heroes is 0-7, with 6 Haditha Marines having their charges dropped and one Haditha Marine getting acquitted.

Let’s remember what Lt. Col. Chessani was charged with. He was charged with not conducting a full investigation into the Haditha firefight. Here’s what I wrote last week:

Every officer in Lt Col Chessani’s chain of command, including his reviewing General approved and commended him for his actions until the publication of a Time magazine article months later charging the Marines with committing a massacre.

It’s impossible to logically explain how an officer can be charged with not conducting a full investigation after he and then-Capt. Jeffrey Dinsmore put together a detailed PowerPoint presentation outlining what happened during the November 19, 2005 firefight.

That reason alone is enough to justify dropping the rest of the charges and letting Lt. Col. Chessani and SSgt. Wuterich live out their lives in dignity rather than waste time with another investigation.

UPDATE: Welcome Gateway Pundit Readers. We’re nearing the end (hopefully) of a disgusting chapter in US military history. Who can forget John Murtha’s initial accusations? I can’t forget Rep. Murtha’s telling ABC’s Charlie Gibson that he knew there was a cover-up somewhere because hearing him make that statement told me that he didn’t know anything. After all, if you know something, shouldn’t you be able to talk with specificity about the nature of the cover-up?

UPDATE II: If you want to help end this travesty of justice, consider making a contribution to the Thomas More Law Center. They’ve done yeoman’s work defending the Haditha Marines.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

Last week, Rep. Michele Bachmann wrote that, after her amendment passed preventing “organizations, or employees of organizations, that have been indicted for voter fraud from being eligible for the housing counseling grants and legal assistance grants authorized under the Mortgage Reform and Anti-Predatory Lending Act”, Chairman Frank’s staff approached her staff to see if they could change the language of the amendment:

Later that day, Chairman Frank said he had reservations about my amendment and would discuss them with me. His staff approached mine with specific changes he would like to make, changes which eviscerate the meaning of the amendment and were clearly not acceptable. Again, this was puzzling given that it is identical to the language Chairman Frank included in HERA just last year.

Their changes include: Raising the bar from indictment to conviction to preclude an organization from getting taxpayer dollars, limiting the time the ban is in effect, and applying the standard to only senior employees. We’re talking about giving tax dollars to organizations that could be mixed up in criminal actions. Are we expected to keep forking over tax dollars to these organization when they’re under the cloud of suspicion of a public criminal indictment?

This morning, news broke that says why Chairman Frank wants those changes:

Here’s what the Las Vegas Journal-Review is reporting:

In all, there are 26 charges of compensation for registration of voters and 13 charges of being a “principal” in the alleged crimes. An initial hearing has been set for 7:30 a.m. June 3 in Las Vegas Justice Court. “In Nevada, it is unlawful for a person to provide compensation for registering voters that is based on the total number of voters a person registers,” state Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto said.

ACORN’s canvassers, she said, had to gather at least 20 voter registrations a day to keep their jobs. There also was a bonus program, known as “blackjack” or “21 plus,” which rewarded employees with $5 extra per shift if they brought in 21 or more completed registrations, she said. Canvassers under pressure to keep their jobs turned in registrations with fake names and phony addresses, even, in one case, the starting lineup for the Dallas Cowboys, authorities alleged.

“These practices are clearly a violation of Nevada law,” Masto said. “By structuring employment and compensation around a quota system, ACORN facilitated voter registration fraud in this state.” The organization is being targeted, she added, because it shouldn’t “hide behind or place blame on its employees” when the group’s policies required “illegal acts in performing the job.”

Based on this reporting, I’d say it’s likely that these charges will turn into guilty pleas, which I hope will turn into a hefty fine for ACORN. ACORN’s Nevada spokesman, Scott Levenson, quickly started spinning the story:

Scott Levenson, an ACORN spokesman, said that the group cooperated in the investigation and that charging the organization is “frightfully absurd.”

“We’re a bit appalled at the political grandstanding on the part of the attorney general’s office,” he said. “This individual case is truly a situation where, the organization that was most harmed is the organization that is being charged.”

What’s “frightfully absurd” is Mr. Levenson thinking that ACORN’s policies didn’t contribute to, if not directly cause, their employees’ allegedly illegal activity. Had ACORN not put these policies in place, they might’ve had a leg to stand on. What’s worse is that ACORN knew about these policies long ago AND DID NOTHING to correct their irresponsible policies.

Now Mr. Levenson wants us to pretend that ACORN is blameless in all this? I don’t think so.

Based on this post, I’d say that Rep. Bachmann hasn’t backed off her original position. In fact, she’s still asking the right question and fighting the right fight:

My amendment would keep organizations that are under indictment for voter fraud or other criminal activities, or that employ people indicted for such crimes, from accessing billions of your tax dollars. Groups such as ACORN are repeatedly charged with violating the law and the public trust, yet they continue to access taxpayer funds. The threshold for gaining taxpayer funding should not be so low.

Interestingly, the Associated Press reported Monday that Nevada authorities filed criminal charges against ACORN and two former employees for voter registration fraud.

Last week I asked: Whose side are we on: The taxpayer’s or ACORN’s? Chairman Frank still has the opportunity to side with taxpayers by upholding the decision of the Financial Services Committee to implement the highest standard and withhold taxpayer dollars from funding organizations when they’re under the cloud of suspicion of a public criminal indictment.

Whatever happened to the principle of the carrot and the stick? Based on his actions, I’d say that Chairman Frank believes in a principle best described as ‘a kinder and gentler carrot and stick’ policy. Thoughtful people would recognize Frank’s approach as being a carrots without the stick approach.

Here’s the answer to Rep. Bachmann’s question: Chairman Frank won’t side with the taxpayers. He’ll side with the alleged hoodlums because they’re working to help him stay in the majority. That’s often referred to as an ends justifies the means strategy.

Something bigger is at stake here, though. Chairman Frank isn’t the only liberal in leadership who doesn’t want liberal wrongdoers punished. Speaker Pelosi is attempting to prevent an ethics investigation into several corrupt Democrats, including Military Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman John Murtha:

House Democratic leaders, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Calif.), have ratcheted up the pressure on their rank-and-file members to oppose a resolution calling for an ethics committee investigation into the ties between key Democrats and a controversial defense-lobbying firm.

Democratic leaders have told their members they should let the ethics panel do its work and stop supporting a measure sponsored by Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) that calls for an ethics probe into political donations from the now-defunct PMA Group lobbying firm and earmarks its clients received.

With Congress back in session, Democratic leaders plan to lean on their members again this week or next. The pressure appears to be working. Reps. Ron Kind (D-WI) and Tim Walz (D-MN), two of more than two dozen Democrats who supported Flake’s measure in the latest vote, on April 1, are now wavering.

Pelosi’s lap dogs are now falling into line with her ‘see no ethics violations’ policies. Starting immediately, John Q. Public should expect Speaker Pelosi to actually fdo what she said she’d do, namely, to drain the swamp in Washington. Thus far, she hasn’t done a thing about the swamp.

If John Q. Public wants Washington’s swamp drained, it won’t happen with this bunch of Democrats because they’re too addicted to ACORN’s work and Murtha’s pork.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

According to this Washington Post article, John Murtha’s corruption is hitting close to home. VERY CLOSE. Here’s what the Washington Post is reporting:

The headquarters of Murtech, in a low-slung, bland building in a Glen Burnie business park, has its blinds drawn tight and few signs of life. On several days of visits, a handful of cars sit in the parking lot, and no trucks arrive at the 10 loading bays at the back of the building.

Yet last year, Murtech received $4 million in Pentagon work, all of it without competition, for a variety of warehousing and engineering services. With its long corridor of sparsely occupied offices and an unmanned reception area, Murtech’s most striking feature is its owner, Robert C. Murtha Jr., 49. He is the nephew of Rep. John P. Murtha, the Pennsylvania Democrat who has significant sway over the Defense Department’s spending as chairman of the House Appropriations defense subcommittee.

Robert Murtha said he is not at liberty to discuss in detail what his company does, but for four years it has subsisted on defense contracts, according to records and interviews. He said Murtech’s 17 employees “provide necessary logistical support” to Pentagon testing programs that focus on detecting chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear threats, “and that’s about as far as I feel comfortable going.” Giving more details could provide important clues to terrorist plotters, he said.

How can Robert Murtha say with a straight face that Murtech’s 17 employees “provide necessary logistical support” to Pentagon testing programs when the John Murtha earmarks say it’s sending $4,000,000 a year to Murtech “for a variety of warehousing and engineering services”? That’s $235,000 per person per year for doing….what?

How can a big warehouse have no semi traffic to it? How can this warehouse’s offices be almost empty?

People wrongfully complained about Haliburton’s no-bid contracts. Haliburton at least did important work for the money they got. Based on the Washington Post’s reporters’ observations, we don’t know if Murtech did anything except collect a government check for doing nothing.

Here’s something that’ll either have you pulling your hair out or laughing uncontrollably:

Murtha said he does not advertise being the nephew of John Murtha and considers it “unfortunate” that some will unfairly assume Murtech received its federal contracts because of his uncle’s influence at the Pentagon.

“If we’re not doing our job well, we wouldn’t be doing our job,” he said. “I’m successful at the work I do because of the skill sets I have…You don’t know how good someone is unless you work with them.”

I won’t trust young Murtha because I can’t prove that he’s done anything other than collect a government check.

This is suspicious:

During an unannounced visit to Murtech headquarters last week, a reporter asking to talk to the owner was waved away by an employee. “He’s not here. Come back another day,” said the woman who opened Murtech’s security door. “Unfortunately, everybody’s stepped out.”

But a few minutes later, Murtha emerged and answered questions about the company. In an interview, Murtha expressed concern that publicity could be harmful to his business.

This unnamed woman lied to reporters. Are Murtech employees in the habit of lying like that?

Until Murtech can prove that they’re doing vital work for the Pentagon, I won’t trust them. That’s due mostly to Robert Murtha’s actions but it’s also fair to question the things that Kit Murtha, Robert’s father, and John Murtha, Kit’s brother, have done in the past.

This sounds familiar:

A spokesman at Murtha’s office did not return calls seeking comment. The lawmaker, a former Marine, has said in the past that he is proud of his family’s service to the military and the government.

Some things change. Murtha’s ‘no comment’ policy doesn’t though.

UPDATE: Michelle Malkin has more on young Murtha’s story here.

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Cross-posted at Murtha Must Go

Thursday night, the military kept the persecution of Lt. Col. Jeffrey Chessani going by filing a motion with the Navy-Marine Corps Court of Criminal Appeals. Here’s the statement issued by Thomas More Law Center:

Yesterday evening, government prosecutors filed a motion with the Navy-Marine Corps Court of Criminal Appeals (NMCCA), asking that the unanimous ruling of a 3-judge panel in favor of LtCol Jeffery Chessani, USMC, be reconsidered by all 9 judges of the court. A majority of these 9 judges would have to agree to take the case.

On March 17, 2009, the 3-judge panel of NMCCA unanimously vindicated the ruling by Colonel Steven A. Folsom, USMC, dismissing all charges against LtCol Chessani on the grounds of Unlawful Command Influence. LtCol Chessani is the senior-most officer criminally charged as a result of the much-publicized and ill-described “Haditha massacre.”

The Thomas More Law Center, a national public interest law firm based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, represents LtCol Chessani alongside his detailed military attorneys LtCol Jon Shelburne, USMC; Capt Jeffrey King, USMC; and Capt Kyle Kilian, USMC.

Richard Thompson, President and Chief Counsel of the Thomas More Law Center, commented, “The way our government has treated this true American hero is outrageous. After spending over 20 years in loyal service to his nation and considered one of the best combat officers in Iraq, the government is giving Jeffrey Chessani less legal consideration than it is giving the terrorists held at Guantanamo.”

In dismissing the charges against LtCol Chessani, Col Folsom described Unlawful Command Influence as the “the mortal enemy of military justice.” But despite the solid legal basis for the ruling, the government appealed the decision to NMCCA. NMCCA heard oral arguments on the government’s appeal on October 17, 2008.

In seeking a reconsideration by the entire panel of NMCCA, government prosecutors now argue that the 3-judge panel misunderstood the difference between an officer’s rank and his billet (job). Essentially, the government argues that a full colonel in the Marine Corps could not unlawfully influence a Lieutenant Colonel if they held similar billet (job) positions.

The Law Center has a week to file a response to the government’s motion for reconsideration.

If the NMCCA does grant the government’s motion, the government then has 60 days to appeal to the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces (CAAF) and then even to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The Thomas More Law Center defends and promotes the religious freedom of Christians, time-honored family values, and the sanctity of human life through litigation, education, and related activities. It does not charge for its services. The Law Center is supported by contributions from individuals, corporations and foundations, and is recognized by the IRS as a section 501(c)(3) organization. You may reach the Thomas More Law Center at (734) 827-2001 or visit our website at

Lt. Col. Chessani was charged with failing to launch a full investigation into a massacre that didn’t happen. Let’s remember that the murder charges against the Haditha Marines actually caught in the firefight have been dropped. Let’s remember that then-Capt. Jeffrey Dinsmore put together an extensive PowerPoint presentation that got sent up the chain of command.

Especially considering the fact that then-Capt. Jeffrey Dinsmore’s PowerPoint presentation went up the chain of command, how can persecutors say with a straight face that Lt. Col. Chessani didn’t commit to a full investigation? This is the military persecuting its own war heroes.

Finally, let’s remember that Col. Folsom’s ruling was that military leaders exerted undue command influence. These leaders essentially told the investigators what they’d find before their investigation concluded. (Doesn’t that sound similar to Rep. Murtha saying that he knew there was a coverup somewhere?)

It’s time for the military’s persecution of Lt. Col. Chessani and SSgt. Wuterich to end. It’s time that the military admitted that the Haditha Marine investigation was about politics, not about investigating a real scandal.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

I knew that I’d have to write a fact-checking post after reading Bing West’s op-ed. While I agree with Mr. West’s statement that “Murtha smeared the reputation of a generation of Marines.” I even agree that “bestowing the navy’s highest civilian medal, the Distinguished Public Service Award, upon Rep. John P. Murtha (D., Pa.) last month” was wrong. Here’s where I disagree with Mr. West:

In May of 2006, military investigators recommended court-martial trials for seven Marines involved in the killings of 24 Iraqi civilians after a Marine was killed in the violent town of Haditha. Marine generals went to Capitol Hill to alert the key committees about the forthcoming trials and, after being briefed, Representative Murtha held a world-famous press conference.

“They killed innocent civilians in cold blood. They actually went into the houses and killed women and children,” Murtha thundered. “But I will not excuse murder. And this is what happened. There’s no question in my mind about it.”

Those two short paragraphs have alot of misstatements of fact in them, which I highlighted in this post.

First, “24 innocent civilians” weren’t killed in the Haditha uprising; 16 innocent civilians were killed because 8 identified insurgents used them as human shields. This information is part of the PowerPoint presentation then-Capt. Jeffrey Dinsmore put together after the firefight.

Second, Marine generals didn’t brief Rep. Murtha prior to his infamous press conference:

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’re 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.”

The Marine Corps later corrected the record:

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.”

A spokeswoman for Murtha was not immediately available.

Mr. West’s article does a good job outlining the atrocities visited upon the Marines by those that theoretically “support the troops, just not the war.” Here’s one such example:

Inevitably, the administration was blamed for Haditha. The New York Times editorial page said: “It will not do to focus blame narrowly on the Marine unit suspected of carrying out these killings and ignore the administration officials, from President Bush on down, who made the chances of this sort of disaster so much greater by deliberately blurring the rules governing the conduct of American soldiers in the field.”

Don’t you just have to appreciate the fact that the Paper Of Record waited to find out all the facts before playing judge, jury and executioner? Then again, that’s what I expect from people that are more interested in pushing a leftist agenda rather than reporting important news.

As Ed highlights in this post, the NYTimes will go to any length to criticize Republicans. Here’s what they wrote about their latest corrupt polling:

These sometimes turbulent weeks, marked by new initiatives by Mr. Obama, attacks by Republicans and more than a few missteps by the White House, do not appear to have hurt the president. Americans said they approved of Mr. Obama’s handling of the economy, foreign policy, Iraq and Afghanistan; fully two-thirds said they approved of his overall job performance.

By contrast, just 31 percent of respondents said they had a favorable view of the Republican Party, the lowest in the 25 years the question has been asked in New York Times/CBS News polls.

Here’s their dirty little secret:

It’s not unusual for the Gray Lady to cook the numbers, either, to make sure their poll shows that support. This is the breakout in their demographics on page 23:
Democrats – 39%
Republicans – 23%
Independents – 30%

A media outlet that’s more interested in eliminating key facts in their attempt to skewer an ideological enemy than it’s interested in reporting truth isn’t far removed from the worst of tabloid journalism. A media outlet that’s willing to throw wrongfully accuse genuine American heroes of cold-blooded murder isn’t a media outlet of sterling repute.

Similarly, an important congressman who’ll willingly misrepresent the actions of our military is a reprehensible human being.

In that sense, John Murtha and the NY Times deserve each other.

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Cross-posted at Murtha Must Go

I’ve heard alot of stupid excuses made in the process of justifying excessive abuse of the earmark system. Some are mildly amusing. Others are outright howlers. Such is the case with earmark apologist extraordinaire Rep. John Murtha. Here’s how the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette quoted the King of Earmarks:

Mr. Murtha, a 76-year-old Marine veteran schooled in the blunt-knuckle deal-making that defined politics here, is contrition-free when it comes to his success.

“If I’m corrupt, it’s because I take care of my district,” Mr. Murtha said. “My job as a member of Congress is to make sure that we take care of what we see is necessary. Not the bureaucrats who are unelected over there in whatever White House, whether it’s Republican or Democrat. Those bureaucrats would like to control everything. Every president would like to have all the power and not have Congress change anything. But we’re closest to the people.”

Rep. Murtha isn’t close to “the people.” He’s close to the lobbyists. What happens the minute Rep. Murtha stops representing PA-12? Will Pittsburgh’s economy ruen to shambles? I suspect it might.

It’s true that he’s brought short term relief. It’s doubtful, though, whether he’s helped western Pennsylvania develop policies that lead to sustained prosperity. Their prosperity seems to exist only to the extent that the federal government keeps dumping money into the district.

I’ll further take issue with the notion that he’s corrupt only because he’s trying to help the people of PA-12. He’s corrupt because he isn’t a man of integrity.

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Today, the Navy-Marine Corps Court of Criminal Appeals issued their ruling that the dismissal charges against Lt. Col. Jeffrey Chessani won’t be re-instated. Here’s TMLC’s official statement on the NMCCCA ruling:

A Victory for Marine LtCol Chessani

ANN ARBOR, MI – Late this morning, the Navy-Marine Corps Court of Criminal Appeals sitting in Washington DC, released their unanimous decision upholding the dismissal of charges against Marine Lt. Col Jeffrey Chessani on the grounds of apparent Unlawful Command Influence. But the case may not be over yet.
For the last four years, LtCol Chessani has been investigated and prosecuted for his involvement in the so called “Haditha Massacre”, a massacre that never happened. A 22-year veteran, Chessani has served three tours of duty in Iraq. He served in the First Persian Gulf War and in Panama. At the time of the November 19, 2005 Haditha incident, he was the Battalion Commander of 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines (“The Thundering Third”), one of the most decorated units in the history of the Marine Corps.

Richard Thompson, President and Chief Counsel of the Thomas More Law Center, observed, “LtCol Chessani, one of the most effective combat commanders we had in Iraq, was made political scapegoat by the civilians in the Pentagon to appease the antiwar politicians and a liberal media. In fact, we now know that the story of the ‘massacre’ that prompted the Haditha prosecutions was a headline in a Time news article instigated by insurgent propaganda operatives.”

Continued Thompson, “This nation has come to the point where we can’t call terrorists captured on the battlefield ‘enemy combatants.’ We release the terrorists out of Guantanamo and prosecute the military our country placed in harms’ way to defend us.”

Robert Muise, an attorney with the Law Center, a national public interest law firm, based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, argued the case on behalf of LtCol Chessani. The Law Center has been defending LtCol Chessani throughout his prosecution alongside his detailed Marine lawyers, LtCol John Shelburne and Captain Jeff King. Captain Kyle Kilian, a Marine appellate defense lawyer, also assisted in the appeal.

LtCol Chessani is the highest ranking officer facing criminal charges as a result of the much-publicized and ill-described “Haditha massacre.” The criminal charges against him stem from a legitimate combat action taken by four enlisted Marines in his command after they were ambushed by insurgents in Haditha, Iraq, on November 19, 2005. Their actions resulted in the deaths of several ambushing insurgents.

Unfortunately and tragically, several civilians were also killed in the house-clearing operation.

Even though LtCol Chessani wasn’t present during the incident, he was criminally charged with failing to launch a full investigation into the incident. If convicted, he faces 2 ½ years imprisonment, dismissal from the Corps, and loss of all of his retirement pay.

The essential holding of the military appellate court was as follows: “We are convinced the Government failed to meet its burden of demonstrating, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the proceedings were untainted by the appearance of UCI (Unlawful Command Influence). We are similarly convinced that an objective, disinterested observer, fully informed of all the facts and circumstances, would harbor significant doubt about the fairness of this proceeding.”

Rep. John Murtha’s accusations have now been proven to be false. Among Rep. Murtha’s accusations was that the Haditha Marines had “killed innocent civilians in cold blood” because they “cracked under the pressure” of war. We now know that they didn’t kill innocent civilians in cold blood because charges against these Marines have been dropped.

Another of Rep. Murtha’s accusations was that the Marine officers, supposedly including Lt. Col. Chessani, covered the incident up. The NMCCCA upheld the dismissal of charges against Lt. Col. Chessani.

A day after Rep. Murtha made his accusations, he was asked where he got his information from. Here’s Rep. Murtha’s reply:

“All the information I get, it comes from the commanders, it comes from people who know what they’re talking about.”

Based on the fact that charges were dismissed before court-martial in 6 cases and another man was acquitted, I’d suggest that Rep. Murtha either lied or he talked with people who knew less than what they claimed they knew. Frankly, it’s easier to think that Rep. Murtha made this stuff up in his attempt to become the House Majority Whip.

Another red flag incident for me was Murtha’s accusation of a cover-up:

GIBSON: Jonathan just mentioned, there’s no charges yet filed against any of the Marines that were in this outfit, but Jonathan mentioned a moment ago, defense lawyers are already saying, well, there’s drone video and there is actual radio traffic to higher-ups that will give a different picture than you have been talking about of this incident. What do you know about that?

MURTHA: I can only tell you this, Charles. This is what the Marine Corps told me at the highest level. The Commandant of the Marine Corps was in my office just last week, so you know, I know there was a cover-up someplace. They knew about this a few days afterwards and there’s no question the chain of command tried to stifle the story. I can understand why, but that doesn’t excuse it. Something like this has to be brought out to the public, and the people have to be punished.

When Rep. Murtha said that he knew that there was a cover-up someplace, I said that he didn’t know anything. If you know something, you can explain in detail what you know. A person who suspects something would say that he suspects a cover-up. That clearly didn’t happen in this instance.

Should all the appeals for Lt. Col. Chessani turnout the way today’s ruling did, that would leave only SSgt. Frank Wuterich with charges still pending. Considering the fact that the military has ruled that a masscre didn’t happen and that the military has ruled there wasn’t a cover-up, how much of a case is left against SSgt. Wuterich?

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Cross-posted at California Conservative