Born June 17, 1932, John Patrick Murtha delivered newspapers and worked at a gas station before graduating from Ramsay High School in Mount Pleasant….
He left Washington and Jefferson College in 1952 to join the Marines, where he rose through the ranks to become a drill instructor at Parris Island, S.C., and later served in the 2nd Marine Division.
Murtha moved back to Johnstown and remained with the Marine Reserves until he volunteered to go to Vietnam. He served as an intelligence officer there from 1966 to 1967 and received a Bronze Star and two Purple Hearts.
After his discharge from the Marines, Murtha ran a small business in Johnstown. He went to the University of Pittsburgh on the GI Bill of rights, graduating in 1962 with a degree in economics.
He served in the Pennsylvania House in Harrisburg from 1969 until he was elected to Congress in a special election in 1974. In 1990, he retired from the Marine Reserves as a colonel.
“Ever since I was a young boy, I had two goals in life—I wanted to be a colonel in the Marine Corps and a member of Congress,” Murtha wrote in his 2004 book….
The mainstream media conveniently forget the sins of self-serving polititians when they depart this life, and deliver positive eulogies. So the fact that Murtha was a participant in ABSCAM, and saved his own bacon by testifying against fellow bribe-taking congressmen, is glossed over. A little over six months ago, upon Teddy Kennedy’s passing, the newsreaders gave him a pass on his cowardly abandonment of Mary Jo Kopechne, whom he left to drown in his car after a drunk-driving accident. Maybe John and Teddy can shovel coal together.
Congress has anointed itself as a ruling class — not the deliberative governing body spelled out in the Constitution. They are plundering the Treasury and continually growing their power to appoint and administer bureaucracies at the cost of individual freedoms and liberties. The recently passed Senate health care bill, in which they use taxpayer monies to enrich themselves and their supporters, creates more than 100 new bureaucracies.
This health care pork round all started with Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., who bragged about receiving a $300 million increase in Medicaid funding for her state (what some are calling the Second Louisiana Purchase), though it turned out that it was only $100 million. (Isn’t that a relief?)
Then there was the now infamous Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Neb., who gained his 15 minutes of yuletide fame when he sold out his critical 60th vote to pass Obamacare by accepting a governmental bribe that covers Nebraska’s Medicare expansion costs to the tune of $100 million over the next 10 years.
Obama had told the AARP back on July 28 that he considered Medicare Advantage an example of “wasteful spending,” so you could bet Obamacare would reflect his commentary. And in a statement released after the Senate’s health care bill passed Dec. 24, Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., confessed that he had a sweetheart deal made behind closed doors: “I was able to pass an amendment to the bill that excluded some 800,000 policyholders all across Florida from cuts to Medicare Advantage.”
Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., finagled $600 million in additional Medicaid benefits for his state over 10 years.
Democratic Sens. Byron Dorgan and Kent Conrad of North Dakota secured additional Medicare payments for their rural hospitals.
Referring to the increase in Medicare payments to eight medium-sized hospitals in his state, Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa — chairman of the Senate Health Education, Labor and Pensions Committee — openly confessed: “I fully admit that I was part of it. I put something in the bill that was particular to the state of Iowa. Yes, I did.”
Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., chairman of the Senate Finance Committee and a primary architect of the legislation, secured extra Medicare benefits for select Montana residents.
The manager’s amendment singles out Democratic Sens. Daniel Akaka and Daniel Inouye’s home state of Hawaii as the only state to receive a disproportionate share hospital extension.
At the last minute, Sen. Christopher J. Dodd, D-Conn., inserted a $100 million kickback in the bill to construct a new hospital for the University of Connecticut.
Most important is this question Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, posed to his colleagues: Who will pay for these special deals? “The answer,” he said, “is simple: every other state in the union.”….
Congress and the Administration continually defy and ignore the Constitution, they profess admiration for Chairman Mao, crush the economy with taxes and debt and exempt themselves from the laws and regulations they impose on us. The EPA announces they will impose controls on carbon emissions if congress fails to enact cap and trade.
Writings and ruling concepts espoused by the Regulatory Czars openly promote Marxist principles. All the while they are being cheered on by the mainstream media. Waiting to join the mix are Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez who are green with envy and finding themselves to the right of the Obama Administration.
I don’t expect significant change to emerge from the 2010 elections. Too much power has been consolidated and too much money set aside in slush funds for the people to overcome. The 2010 elections will be pivotal. However, the direction of that pivot is not leaning to a favorable turn.
Judicial Watch, a non-partisan educational foundation that promotes integrity in government through research and legal action, has released its list of the “Ten Most Wanted Corrupt Politicians” for 2009. There are actually more than ten miscreants named, as two of the scandals were not solo efforts.
Not surprisingly to this author, the group includes mostly Democrats with only one Republican. They are in alphabetical, so don’t infer anything, but our first subject has made the list for the second year in a row!
Senator Christopher Dodd (D-CT)
Senator John Ensign (R-NV)
Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA)
Secretary of Treasury Timothy Geithner
Attorney General Eric Holder
Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. (D-IL)/ Senator Roland Burris (D-IL)
President Barack Obama
Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)
Rep. John Murtha (D-PA) and the rest of the PMA Seven
Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY)
As you scan the list, you will most likely recall the influence peddling, sweetheart deals, financial misrepresentations, sexual shenanigans, tax-dodging and so on attached to each one, but for details you can visit the Judicial Watch website.
It’s hard to “shave or put on your makeup” in the morning, knowing that this kind of “trash” is out there. Like a cut that won’t heal … sooner or later, WE the people are going to have to “cut off the offending part.”
In its stinging coverage of this equally stinging reprimand, the Washington Postreported that in a formal assessment of Burris’ honesty, the Ethics Committee stated:
“Your shifting explanations about your sworn statements appear less than candid.”
Gee, news must become accuratized with distance. The write-up in Chicago was not as benign as the almost congratulatory WaPo Daily. Perhaps, like Congress, WaPo should read what they take action on? At the Chicago Tribune, Steve Chapman writes:
Roland Burris is a lying snake
The Senate Select Committee on Ethics has completed its investigation of Sen. Roland Burris, and his office is trumpeting its finding that he committed no “actionable violations of the law.” What his press release didn’t mention is that the committee also found he had provided “incorrect, inconsistent, misleading or incomplete information” about his appointment to the Senate. Which is senatorese for, “Pants on fire!”
….The result is that he gets to call himself a senator and can boast that he’s never been indicted. But to most Illinoisans, Burris will always be remembered as a lying snake.
Poor snakes, been downhill since Adam. Now they’re being compared to politicians. Whur be PETA when you need’m?
The Louisiana Attorney General is now saying that $5 Million was embezzled from ACORN while brothers Wade and Dale Rathke kept the organization’s books. Earlier investigations had revealed that Dale Rathke made nearly $1 million in improper credit card charges in 1999 and 2000 (which were repaid by Rathke and a charitable donor to avoid legal trouble). Now it appears that the sum was much greater.
Louisiana’s attorney general has broadened the scope of an investigation of ACORN to include a possible embezzlement of $5 million a decade ago within the community organization, five times more than previously reported….
Attorney General Buddy Caldwell has been conducting an investigation of ACORN since June. He issued subpoenas in August seeking documents related to former ACORN International President Wade Rathke and his brother Dale Rathke, who kept the group’s books. Those subpoenas were focused on possible ACORN violations for non-payment of employee withholding taxes, obstructing justice and violating the Employee Retirement Security Act….
The attorney general had inquired in June into an alleged embezzlement within ACORN that happened 10 years ago. The group last year dealt with an internal dispute and a lawsuit involving accusations that Dale Rathke made nearly $1 million in improper credit card charges in 1999 and 2000. The brother and a donor repaid the money….
“Current high-ranking members of ACORN have publicly acknowledged that embezzlement did in fact occur, but the exact amount of the embezzlement was unknown until it was recently acknowledged in a board of directors meeting on Oct. 17, 2008, by Bertha Lewis and Liz Wolf that an internal review had determined that the amount embezzled was $5 million,” the new subpoena says….
He didn’t even try to hide it. In his defection speech from the Republican party, Senator Arlen Specter declared very simply that polls of his Pennsylvania constituency showed that he had a very poor chance of being re-elected as a Republican, and therefore he was switching to the Democratic party. He also mouthed some platitudes about the Republican party’s leaving him, an utterly implausible excuse, since the basic Republican party’s platform hasn’t changed since Ronald Reagan’s day.
Yes, the pure and simple reason for Specter’s abandonment of the party that had served him well for five terms in the Senate was nothing more than a desperate grasp at retaining his personal power base. As one of the more senior senators, he has held positions on many of the “plum” committees, including the Senate Judiciary Committee. People who have spent this long building up a base of power and influence are deeply reluctant to lose it.
Specter recently dismayed (and betrayed) his fellow Republicans and millions of our conservative, tax-paying citizens by voting for Obama’s huge pork-laden “stimulus” bill, one of the most irresponsible actions in the history of our country. Evidently it not only angered fellow members in Congress, but must have had repercussions with his voters in Pennsylvania, who made it known they would not tolerate such traitorous shenanigans, and come next election cycle, would be voting for someone with more sense of responsibility.
What makes Specter’s defection so ironic is that in 2001, when Senator Jim Jeffords abandoned the Republican party to become an independent, an angry Senator Specter introduced legislation to prevent a senator from changing parties in mid-term. Presumably his ire over “Jumping Jim’s” defection stemmed from the quaint, old-fashioned notion that a senator is elected by his constituents based on his party credentials and the campaign platform on which he runs — a platform that normally mirrors the party’s basic positions on most issues. He then owes his constituents his loyalty to maintain those positions for the six-year term of office.
The idea of owing a group of citizens who elected him into office, some consistency, loyalty and integrity was fine for other senators. But when it appeared it would have an adverse affect on Arlen Specter’s personal political career, it only took a few phone calls from Vice President Biden, no doubt filled with tantalizing promises of campaign cash from the Democrats’ fat coffers, and more plum committee assignments, for Specter to abandon any pretense of loyalty to his former principles.
More and more of our country’s hard-working citizens are becoming increasingly disenchanted with corrupt politics in Washington, and are being energized to do something about it. The Tax Day TEA parties produced far more participants among both Democrats and Republicans than anyone expected, and organizers are capitalizing on the huge turn-outs to keep the momentum going with follow-up meetings and strategies to replace career politicians with people who still understand the meaning of “we the people” and the obligation to support their voters instead of building personal power bases.
If Shakespeare’s Marcellus (in Hamlet) thought something was rotten in Denmark, he would have reeled from the stench in Washington. Greed, corruption, and power-mongering among those we are supposed to trust is so palpable, I’m surprised they haven’t started issuing masks to cope with the odor.
The irresponsible spending; the cavalier disregard for the threat of terrorism and the danger posed by the “axis of evil;” the revealing of classified information to the detriment of those who are trying to save lives; and the many insulting remarks about the military who put their lives on the line to defend the homeland, are just a few of the stinking, rotten betrayals foisted on us by the President, Senate, and House of Representatives. To again paraphrase Shakespeare, “A pox on all your houses!”
American International Group (AIG), the world’s largest insurance company, purchased favor on Capitol Hill with over $9 million in campaign contributions to federal candidates during the past 20 years. Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, received more than $280,000, making AIG his fourth largest contributor. So from the start his perspective for doing his Senate job was tainted. Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, got $91,000, making AIG his largest contributor. So much for the other Senate contribution to oversight. So the two senators charged with protecting the public interest were co-opted by the very firm they were supposed to be watching.
These funds were spent on Sept. 22, a week after the Federal Reserve extended an $85 billion emergency loan to AIG to keep it from going bankrupt due to insurance liabilities. According to the receipt from the St. Regis, the eight-day company retreat was a lavish one — $139,000 was spent on hotel rooms, while even more money — $147,301 — was spent on banquets. Another $23,380 was spent on undisclosed spa treatments and another $6,939 was spent on golf. A full $9,980 was spent on room service and food and cocktails at the hotel lounge.
Unsanctioned Payments To “Trading Partners” ($120 billion)
Next, AIG distributed over $120 billion of the money intended to improve the economic climate in the United States to other private businesses, banks, and municipalities, both in the US and abroad. European firms Société Générale SA and Deutsche Bank each received nearly $12 billion.
After calls for more transparency, AIG disclosed Sunday that roughly two-thirds of the $173.3 billion in federal aid it received has been paid out to trading partners such as banks and municipalities in the U.S. and abroad…. There are political risks to the disclosures, notably the fact that taxpayer dollars are essentially passing through AIG to make whole private businesses and foreign banks.
Then, as if the political bribery, personal indulgence, and unsanctioned largesse to other agencies were not egregious enough, AIG payed huge bonuses and retention stipends to the very employees who did such a lousy job.
On Sunday, new criticism emerged about $450 million in bonuses paid to employees of AIG’s Financial Products unit, which made a series of bets on credit default swap contracts that drove $40.5 billion in losses last year….
The payments at AIG’s financial-products unit are in addition to $121.5 million in incentive bonuses for 2008 that AIG will start making this month to about 6,400 of its roughly 116,000 employees. Separately, AIG is also making $619 million in retention payments to 4,200 employees.
Together, the three programs could result in roughly $1.2 billion in retention and bonus payments to AIG employees. At least some individual employees are receiving millions of dollars — at the financial-products unit, for instance, seven employees will get more than $3 million for 2008, according to an AIG document.
Troubled insurer American International Group Inc., now 80% owned by U.S. taxpayers, spent the weekend deflecting mounting criticism of how government funds have been funneled to various banks and used to pay employee bonuses at the business unit that almost sank the company.
The inept government agencies that engendered this debacle immediately began scrambling to appear on the side of the just.
SPIN METER: Cue the Washington outrage
For months, the Obama administration and members of Congress have known that insurance giant AIG was getting ready to pay huge bonuses while living off government bailouts. It wasn’t until the money was flowing and news was trickling out to the public that official Washington rose up in anger… Why the sudden furor, just weeks after Barack Obama’s team paid out $30 billion in additional aid to the company?
Speaking with CNN on Tuesday, Senator Christopher Dodd disclaimed knowledge of the bonus loophole in the AIG bailout agreement. But the original draft had contained a clause that prevented the bonus payout, and Dodd had been involved in rewriting it to permit bonuses, a fact which gave the lie to his claims of innocence. When confronted with this discrepancy by CNN reporters on Wednesday, Dodd tried to gloss over his misrepresentation:
In an apparent change of his position, U.S. Sen. Christopher Dodd said Wednesday that he was aware of changes in legislation for a loophole that allowed highly controversial bonuses for AIG, the embattled insurance company that has received federal bailout money.
In a live interview on CNN, Dodd said, “I agreed reluctantly. I was changing the amendment because others were insistent.”
Previously, Dodd had said he was not a member of the conference committee that crafted the final version of the highly complicated bill. But he had come under strong fire from Republicans and others as the person who was involved in what CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer had called a “mysterious loophole” in the legislation.
When Blitzer asked Dodd what had changed in his understanding between Tuesday and Wednesday, Dodd replied, “Going back and reviewing it. … I apologize if we had some confusion.”
More interesting than Dodd’s getting caught in his own two-version story is the fact that, in his discomfiture, he blurted out the choice morsel that the “administration” had directed that the bonuses be allowed. So now reporters are frantically “working their sources” to determine whether Dodd meant socialist Obama or tax cheat Geithner.
Obama appeared guilty. Instead of facing reporters in Washington, he quickly made a trip to California to appear at a couple of town-hall meetings. There he could be photographed against a backqround of cheering liberals, doing what he does best, spouting campaign rhetoric.
Before leaving, Obama uttered that famous phrase that presidents use just before throwing someone under the bus to cover their own sins:
In response to a reporter’s question, Obama said that he had “complete confidence” in Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner….
The total number of registered voters in Connecticut is 2,097,635. The largest group of registered voters in Connecticut is unaffiliated, accounting for 883,274 voters. There are 779,784 registered Democrats and 427,020 registered Republicans.
Dodd Under Fire For Legislation Behind AIG Bonuses
A mini-firestorm exploded Wednesday over U.S. Sen. Christopher Dodd’s role in legislation regarding the huge bonuses at AIG, the highly controversial insurance giant that is receiving about $170 billion in federal bailout money….
As Blame Game Deepens, AIG Outrage Could Give GOP Electoral Opening
After two straight electoral drubbings, Republicans finally might have found a path to the soul of the voters: AIG.
The GOP tried to harness taxpayer outrage last month when Congress was debating a stimulus package five times bigger than the first one. But the package passed, and Democrats’ poll numbers only increased.
Voter outrage could be more consolidated this time, following revelations that bailed-out American International Group paid $165 million in bonuses to employees at a rogue financial unit.
Christopher Dodd’s Earlier Sins
Of course, this comes on the heels of the Countrywide loan scandal, in which Dodd refinanced two mortgages with Countrywide under much-lower-than-average rates at the same time he was pushing favorable legislation for them in the Senate.
There’s more. Real estate partners William Kessinger and Edward R. Downe Jr. are friends of Chris Dodd. In 1993 Downe (guilty as sin) was convicted of insider trading and ordered to pay the SEC $11 million. When Dodd found an Irish cottage that he wanted but could not afford in 1994, Kessinger shared the purchase with Dodd, making two-thirds of the down payment. In repayment, Dodd obtained a presidential pardon for Downe from Bill Clinton. Rental covered the mortgage payment, and years later, when the property had appreciated substantially, Dodd refinanced with an Irish bank and payed back Kessinger two-thirds of a much earlier lower appraisal, making a tidy profit. From the Hartford Courant — Dodd’s ‘Cottage’: A Cozy Purchase:
In 2001, Dodd did the favor of a lifetime for his pal, Downe. The veteran senator circumvented the normal Department of Justice vetting process and got Downe a full pardon from President Bill Clinton on his last day in office. Dodd initiated the pardon request and included in his two-page letter to Clinton the tidbit that he speaks to Downe nearly every day.
During the last Presidential debate, free trade came up for discussion. Responding to McCain’s support for Bush’s free trade proposal with Colombia, Obama said,
“Let me respond. Actually, I understand it pretty well. The history in Colombia right now is that labor leaders have been targeted for assassination on a fairly consistent basis and there have not been prosecutions.”
Obviously Obama does not understand. He is repeating what Hugo Chavez wants Americans to believe. Hugo Chavez must have been jumping for joy! The millions he has invested to brainwash Americans are yielding results. The reality is that, due to security improvements under Colombian President Alvaro Uribe, there has been a marked human rights improvement over a decade ago. Under Uribe, Colombia has agreed to a permanent ILO mission to monitor labor rights, and arrests and prosecutions of those committing the violence have increased. Far fewer union members were being killed this year than the nearly 200 that were killed in 2002. Obama’s remarks during the debate, however, may be changing the situation for the worse. Those remarks seem to have fueled violence and increased the number of people killed in Colombia.
As if to support Obama’s remarks, on October 23 Reutersreported:
Thousands of indigenous Colombians marched on Thursday to press their demands against President Alvaro Uribe, and labor unions protested in the capital Bogota, where five small blasts panicked residents.
Indigenous protesters with traditional staves, banners and mock coffins snaked toward Cali city, where leaders want talks with Uribe on promises to protect their lands, defend them against violence and reject a U.S. free trade agreement.
In Bogota, where several thousand state employees marched against Uribe’s economic management, five small explosions left in trash cans or tied to lampposts slightly wounded at least 11 people, police said without commenting on those responsible.
Authorities say three indigenous protesters have died during more than a week of demonstrations near Cali. Uribe says they were killed when a homemade bomb exploded, but community leaders say security forces shot the victims…
Who benefits from the marches by indigenous protesters in coordination with manifestations of labor unions? Not most of Colombians who only want peace and a trade agreement that would benefit Colombia. It’s Chavez and their terrorist friends who benefit. Their objective is to prevent the trade agreement and impose “socialismo del siglo XXI” (Marxism) in Colombia, as it has been imposed in Venezuela, Ecuador and Bolivia. Colombia would then become another U.S. enemy. If Obama is elected president of the United States, Colombia, America’s best ally in Latin America, will fall in Chavez’s hands and in the hands of Chavez’s accomplices — Russians, FARC, Islamic terrorists and other enemies of the free world. And Colombia’s falling in Chavez’s hands will destroy the hopes of Cubans, Venezuelans, Ecuadorians and Bolivians of returning to democracy and a free-market economy. It will also increase the danger of Marxism — and the greater poverty and corruption that Marxism engenders — for the rest of Latin America … and the United States.
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