A Profile in Arrogance

Congressman John “Jack” Murtha, who died last week at the age of 77, represented western Pennsylvania’s Twelfth District in the House for 35 years. But Murtha’s impressive longevity belies his more dubious political legacy. The narrative of Murtha’s legislative career was punctuated on virtually every line by self-absorption, self-interest, secret dealings, and an ugly brand of political hackery that placed Murtha’s own lust for power above the welfare of his country.

A logical place to begin an examination of Murtha’s career would be the early 1980s, when the Congressman was named as an “unindicted co-conspirator” in the so-called “Abscam” (a contraction of “Abdul scam”) corruption probe of several U.S. legislators. That inquiry was conducted between 1978 and 1980 – not by right-wing enemies of Murtha and his fellow Democrats, but by President Jimmy Carter’s Justice Department. Initially, the FBI established a phony investment firm called “Abdul Enterprises” in New York City and invented a fictitious Middle Eastern sheikh, “Yasser Habib.” Bureau agents, posing as “Habib” and his attendants, offered bribes to Murtha and several other members of the House and Senate in exchange for their pledge to provide political favors to the “sheikh.” Specifically, the legislators were asked to help “Habib” purchase asylum in the United States and transfer his financial assets out of his native country. In exchange for their assistance, the Congressmen were offered handsome financial rewards.

Murtha, for his part, rejected a blatant $50,000 bribe but not the influence buying tactics. Murtha unambiguously left open the possibility that he might be willing to “do business” with the “sheikh” and his retinue at some point in the future. A 54-minute FBI videotape shows Murtha, then a member of the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct, telling the FBI undercover agents:

“You know, you made an offer. It might be that I might change my mind someday.”

Murtha explained that he simply needed some time to get to know the “sheikh” and his cohorts a bit better, and to develop a sense that he could trust them not to squeal, before he would be ready to risk accepting such a large bribe:

“I want to deal with you guys awhile before I make any transactions at all, period. After we’ve done some business, well, then I might change my mind [and agree to the scheme]. I’m going to tell you this. If anybody can do it — I am not bullsh–tting you fellows — I can get it done my way. There’s no question about it.”

“You know,” Murtha added cautiously, “we do business for a while, maybe I’ll be interested, maybe I won’t.”

These were the words of a political opportunist whose eagerness to complete a lucrative transaction was tempered only by his fear of being caught in the act. “I’ve gotta be completely to the point where I can disclaim anything,” Murtha stressed. “And that’s why I’m so careful about making any deals.”

As fortune would have it, Murtha actually did think of a way to structure a mutually beneficial arrangement with the “sheikh,” short of taking the $50,000 bribe at that point in time. Murtha said that in lieu of accepting the bribe just yet, he would be glad to offer political favors to “Habib” in exchange for money which the “sheikh” might make available, through Murtha, for businesses in the latter’s congressional district. Said Murtha:

“I wanna do business with you. I mean I want to get the goddamn jobs in the area. You know, if you, the bank deposits in my area. [There’s] nothing I’d like better. Later on, you know, after we’ve dealt awhile, you know we might change our minds. We might want to do more business. But right now, I think I can do more this way than any other way.”

Murtha proceeded to crudely express his concern that the public might someday find out about his secret willingness to put a price tag on his political influence:

“When I make a fu**in’ deal, I want to make sure that I know exactly what I’m doing …  And what I’m sayin’ is, a few investments in my district, a few you know, is big to me … to a couple of banks which would get their attention. And investment in a business where you could legitimately say to me — when I say legitimately, I’m talking about so these bastards up here can’t say to me, well, why, in eight years from now, that’s possible, we’d never hear a thing for eight years, but all at once, ah, some dumb bastard would go start talking eight years from now, ah, about the whole thing and say, ‘[Jesus Christ], ah, this happened,’ then he, then he, in order to get immunity so he doesn’t go to jail, he starts talking and fingering people and then the [expletive] all falls apart.”

All told, seven members of Congress (six of them Democrats) accepted bribe money from the “sheikh.” The House Ethics Committee appointed a special prosecutor, Barrett Prettyman, to investigate the matter. Then, in early 1981 the Committee became concerned that Murtha, too, had violated House rules by failing to report the attempted bribery to law-enforcement authorities. Prettyman began looking into Murtha’s activities as well. In addition, as the Wall Street Journal explains, the prosecutor was “rumored to be offering deals in exchange for testimony that would take the scandal inside the office of [House] Speaker O’Neill” – a reference to Thomas “Tip” O’Neill, the Democratic U.S. Congressman from Massachusetts. At that point, a jittery O’Neill moved to shut down the Murtha probe as quickly as possible. That decision so infuriated the special prosecutor, that he promptly resigned in protest.

Of course, Murtha was not really innocent. He even testified in federal court that he had gone so far as to call his “immigration guy” to discuss the possibility of helping the “sheikh” – who had just offered Murtha a $50,000 bribe – to resolve his immigration concerns. Ultimately, the congressman, as stipulated by the terms that would enable him to avoid prosecution, testified against two House colleagues who had been implicated in the FBI sting. In other words, Murtha himself had morphed into the same type of shadowy figure he had previously claimed to fear: a “dumb bastard” who “would go start talking … in order to get immunity so he doesn’t go to jail.”

Abscam was by no means Murtha’s only involvement in financial chicanery. In 2004 the congressman, who was then the ranking Democrat on the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, steered more than $20 million in federal appropriations to at least ten companies that were represented by KSA Consulting, a Maryland-based lobbying firm where two of the senior partners were Murtha’s brother, Robert “Kit” Murtha, and a former aide to Rep. Murtha, Carmen V. Scialabba.

Murtha always viewed taxpayer dollars essentially as slush funds that he could use to finance his own political pet projects. In February 2008 the taxpayer watchdog group Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW), which promotes fiscal responsibility and federal earmarks reform, named Murtha as Congress’s 2007 “Porker of the Year” “for flouting the rules and playing games with reform, while filing spending bills with pork and arrogantly threatening anyone that challenges his authority.” Noting that Murtha had secured 72 earmarks worth $149.2 million for his district in fiscal year 2007, CAGW said:

“Rep. Jack Murtha has long been known inside the Beltway for using threats, power plays, and backroom deals to control spending decisions. There is an area of the House floor known as ‘Murtha’s corner,’ where the legendary appropriator dispenses earmarks. The overwhelming vote for Porker of the Year shows that his shameful behavior is attracting attention throughout the country.”

Midway through 2009, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) – which reserves most of its criticisms for Republicans – anointed Murtha as the U.S. Congress’s “King of Pork,” in recognition of the $192 million in earmarks he had secured for his district in 2008, coupled with another $134 million in earmarks he had requested during the first half of 2009. CREW executive director Melanie Sloan put it this way:

“The more Rep. Murtha’s dealings are exposed, the more we all learn about how Congress really operates and the more disgusted the public becomes. CREW will continue to shine the light on Rep. Murtha until the congressman changes his ways or is indicted. I’d take a bet on which is the more likely outcome.”

Impervious, as always, to the taxpayers’ legitimate concerns about how their hard-earned money was spent by government, Murtha glibly shrugged off Sloan’s comments by saying: “If I’m corrupt, it’s because I take care of my district.”

Further questions about Murtha’s use (or misuse) of taxpayer money were raised by the expenses associated with the John Murtha Johnstown-Cambria County Airport in Johnstown, Pennsylvania — the congressman’s home district. This facility is equipped with a $7 million air-traffic-control tower, a $14 million hangar, and an $18 million, state-of-the-art runway. As a result of Murtha’s influence, more than $150 million in taxpayer funds were funneled to this airport between 1999 and 2009, including $800,000 (from the February 2009 stimulus bill), which was allocated for repaving an “alternate runway.” These massive expenditures hardly seem justified: Only three flights per day – all to Washington, DC – originate from the Murtha airport.

His many financial shenanigans aside, Murtha in recent years was best known to the public as an inveterate critic of the U.S. war effort in Iraq. In October 2002 Murtha voted, albeit grudgingly, to authorize America’s use of military force against Saddam Hussein: “I only voted for it,” he explained, “because I [had] said to [Vice President] Cheney and the President, ‘You have to go to the U.N.,’ and when they did that, what the hell could I do?”

After that, Murtha did everything he could to hamstring President Bush, to paint the war effort as a foolish endeavor, and to thereby pressure the President to adopt the type of minimalist approach to the war that would only prolong the slow bleed – an outcome that Murtha well understood could potentially cause great harm to the country. But he was more interested in the political benefits he and the Democrats could derive from it. Presaging Harry Reid (who would infamously proclaim “this war is lost”), in May 2004 Murtha asserted that the Bush administration’s strategy in Iraq had made the war “unwinnable.” In November 2005 he announced that “the Army is broken,” and that “the presence of U.S. troops in Iraq” was not only “impeding … progress” there, but indeed was acting as a “catalyst for violence.”

Then in May 2006, the Haditha story landed in Murtha’s lap. It was an unsubstantiated allegation that a squad of eight U.S. Marines had killed, without cause, up to two-dozen unarmed civilians in the Iraqi town of Haditha. The congressman appeared immediately on ABC’s This Week program, where he said that the Marines had “overreacted because of the pressure on them and they killed innocent civilians in cold blood.” “There’s no question in my mind about what happened here,” declared Murtha. “There was no gunfire [from the Iraqis]. They [the American Marines] killed four people in a taxi and then in addition to that, they went into the rooms and killed them.” He further alleged that the U.S. military was trying to “cover up” what had occurred in Haditha.

In the May 17, 2006 edition of Hardball with Chris Matthews, the host said to Murtha: “[W]hen you say ‘cold blood,’ Congressman, a lot of people think you’re basically saying you have got some civilians sitting in a room or out in a field and they’re executed just on purpose.” Murtha replied, “That’s exactly what happened.”

Except that it wasn’t. By June 2008, it had become apparent that Murtha’s allegations against the eight Marines were entirely unfounded. Charges had been dismissed against six of the eight, while a seventh had been fully acquitted. Moreover, two of the Marines – including Staff Sgt. Frank D. Wuterich, the only one who was still facing any charges – filed defamation and slander suits against Murtha.

Murtha not only remained unapologetic but he signed on to another Democratic campaign to discredit the war effort, voting in favor of a June 2008 resolution drawn up by Congressman Dennis Kucinich to investigate the feasibility of impeaching George W. Bush for “high crimes and misdemeanors” – as punishment for having led the U.S. to war in the first place.

Indeed, after voting to authorize it, Murtha opposed the U.S.-led war effort at every step. In June 2006 Murtha voted against a Congressional proposal to formally declare that Iraq was a crucial theater in the overall War on Terror, and that it would be unwise to set a firm withdrawal date for U.S. troops. Four months later, Murtha voted in favor of withdrawing American troops at the earliest practicable date. Then, in early 2007, Murtha spoke out against the Bush administration’s planned troop “surge” — where an additional 21,500 soldiers would be deployed to Iraq in an effort to quell the insurgency there. Vowing “to stop this surge,” Murtha stated that “surges have not worked in the past” because enemy forces “disappear, and then they come back later on. To think that a surge will work is, in my estimation, false thinking.” Murtha could not have been more wrong, as the troop surge successfully turned the tide of the war.

One irony of Murtha’s career is that although he worked tirelessly to secure taxpayer dollars for his district, he did not hold his constituents in high esteem. In October of 2008, just weeks before the presidential election, he accused voters in his Pennsylvania home district of being bigots because, in his estimation, they were not supporting Barack Obama’s presidential candidacy in sufficiently large numbers (though Obama was in fact leading in the local polls). “I think Obama is going to win [the local vote], but I don’t think it’s going to be a runaway,” Murtha said. “There is no question that western Pennsylvania is a racist area,” he added. “The older population is more hesitant [to embrace a black candidate].”

Murtha’s remarks drew considerable media attention, and the congressman issued an ambiguous “clarification” the next day: “It’s [the racism is] better than it was a few weeks ago. It’s better than it was a few months ago.” In an interview with a local news channel the following week, Murtha sought to further “clarify” his remarks: “What I mean is there’s still folks that have a problem voting for someone because they are black…. This whole area, years ago, was really redneck.”

It was some thanks to the voters who had sent him to Washington for over three decades. As a final act in Murtha’s career, it was also fitting. For all his political success, Mutha remained a self-anointed know-it-all who considered himself not only more enlightened than the “rednecks” who inhabited his district, but also better qualified to spend money than the hardworking Americans who made it.

  • poptoy

    Murtha became a disgrace. He became too powerful. He stayed there to long. Times change and Murtha, a Marine no less, lost his honor. Th is the same thing that brought Rome to a crumble. It's time we look at ourselves and start to get honest. First thing we need to do is not let somebody like the Kenyan and Murtha be elected again.

  • AntiFascist18

    Why did the commandant of the USMC call this piece of manure a "patriot" yesterday at the memorial service? Vandegrift, Puller and other REAL patriots are turning over in their graves.

    The once-proud USMC has become a dumping ground for opportunists and corner-cutters like Murtha, Rand Beers, John Kerry's former National Security adviser, Jim Baker, and of course "General" Jimmy Jones, who supports arming Palestinian terrorists and agrees with his deputy Brennan that 20 percent of released terrorists who return to terrorism is not a problem for us.

    Holy cow.

    I suggest this commandant of the Corps propose to exhume the corpse of Benedict Arnold and bury him in full military honors at West Point. After all, Arnold did save America when he won at Saratoga (hint: it wasn't Horatio Gates) before he turned traitor. Murtha might not have been a traitor, but he was an ass and he did turn on the corps as well as the national security of this nation.

  • USMCSniper

    John Murtha has long downplayed the controversy and the bitterness surrounding the two Purple Hearts he was awarded for military service in Vietnam. Since 1967, there have been at least three different accounts of the injuries that purportedly earned Murtha his Purple Hearts. Those accounts also appear to conflict with the limited military records that are available, and Murtha has thus far refused to release his own military records. Don Bailey of Pennsylvania, alleges that Murtha admitted during an emotional conversation on the floor of the U.S. House in the early 1980s that he did notearn or deserve his Purple Hearts

    • John C. Davidson

      Sounds like that is par for the course in the liberal party, John Kerry and company. How do anti-war activists get elected. It is shameful?

      • purifypolitics

        or maybe it's par for republicans and smear campaigners to downplay the accomplishments of liberals who enter the military and serve with distinction…

        • Bruce

          Distinction?? Murtha was a self-serving slimeball and traitor who stabbed his own Marines in the back for purely political purposes. And you are the poster punk for dimwit liberals everywhere.

  • Joy

    The more I read about that fat, bloated excuse for a human being (Murtha), the more I'm incensed. His whole career was a fraud insofar as "upholding & defending the Constitution of the US" is concerned, but a "tribute,' of sorts, to what can be accomplished by a corrupt politician. And the worst of his career, of course, was his lies & slander of fellow Marines – verging on treason, IMO. I still say that God worked through the hands of that surgeon…

    • purifypolitics

      your post is offensive on too many levels to even list.

      okay, i'll list them anyway.
      – you poke fun at his weight
      – fraud?
      – corrupt?
      – lies and slander of fellow marines
      – accusal of treason
      – .. and of course worst of all, god working through the hands of a botched surgery?


      i know that this may be hard to fathom.
      but some of us. some of us, actually voted for him,
      and (gasp), actually like the man, and what he did for US.

      show some f***** respect.

  • BS1977

    Enough about this senile loser. Enough already. He had mental problems and was lost in a pork barrel universe……I don't want to think about it anymore.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/Dar_al_Harb LibertyLover

      Sorry about the thumbs-down. I clicked on the wrong button. I agree with your post.

  • John C. Davidson

    The sad par about all these thugs, is we honor them by naming roads, bridges and government building as a reminder how crorupt our government has become. For once, can we really see these people for who the really are?

  • purifypolitics

    this is bullshit. he's barely laid to rest, and i'm seeing this garbage article syndicated on various people's blogs. you should be ashamed. get a life people. … better yet, try running for congress yourself. try getting on an appropriations committee that brings thousands of jobs to your home district. try doing something worthwhile, instead of continuing to perpetuate a smear campaign against a congressman that was in office for 36 years because, unlike most politicians, he was in touch with his roots and where he came from, and what was in his constituents' best interests.

    • John C. Davidson

      He took care of your district at the expense of the rest of us.

      • purifypolitics

        johnstown, and the rest of this distrct, needs all the help it can get.

        • http://intensedebate.com/people/Dar_al_Harb LibertyLover

          I guess they do since they voted for this walking heap of crap.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/Stephen_Brady Stephen_Brady

      Did you read the article? Did it make you proud to have Murtha as your representative in Congress?

      • purifypolitics

        i read it, and yeah, i am still proud to have had Murtha as my representative.
        as is my district, as evidenced by our continual voting to reelect him.

        after 36 years in congress, any congressman is going to have to answer for a record of votes here and there that the general public doesn't necessarily agree with.

        the fbi sting is a bit disconcerting to me, but really,
        there is a time and a place for smear campaigns and character assassinations,
        and it is BEFORE a congressman's death.
        especially one so highly esteemed by his peers, and constituents.

        the rhetoric of this article is so blown out of proportion that it is absolutely offensive to those of us that have voted for him all these years.

        • http://intensedebate.com/people/Dar_al_Harb LibertyLover

          Keep drinking that KOOLAIDE.

          • purifypolitics

            did anyone ever tell you to 'think outside the box'?

            because if you read this article,
            and think. 36 years.

            you have to realize it is beyond biased republican, character-assassination smear campaign rhetoric?

            i am with my town in laying to rest a true patriot, that did what he could to save his district.

            if that makes me beyond help, then maybe you should think about your own personal ideals.

  • Padraig

    I do commend his service to our country, but, he was a poster child for what hard-working Americans think of when they think of many of our Senators and Congressmen these days: Arrogant, self-entitled stooges who believe that they are there to lead IN SPITE of their constituents. While I'd never celebrate the death of a person in office, I am glad that he's no longer serving.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/AnimalFarm AnimalFarm

    Jack Murha was a disgrace to his state, this country and the Marines. His betrayal when he called them "cold blooded killers" was by far the worst thing he ever did. He was a nasty, sleazy, dishonest person, and will not be missed.

  • kayakbob223

    Just wondering if the family will now sue the Navy for malpractice? Remember, they are different.

  • BigPhilip

    To purifypolitics:
    Don't you get it yet? Many of us have had enough of you pathetic losers who lionize your corrupt representatives for all the "thousands of jobs" they bring to the district… AT THE EXPENSE OF OTHERS! Here's a novel thought: try getting off the govt. teat for a change and CREATE YOUR OWN JOBS. Try exercising a modicum of initiative, instead of sitting on your apple-pan dowdy butts waiting for your congressman to provide for you with federal tax dollars you're not entitled to. Murtha was sickening enough, but it's the attitude of constituents like you– who applaud his sleaziness because you benefit from it– that is truly nauseating.

    • purifypolitics

      i don't benefit a dime by the jobs murtha brought to district 12, except to say, that johnstown is a more economically stable place as a result, though still teetering on the edge of a bleak oblivion.

      i hate the republican argument to those that are unemployed of, 'pull yourself up by your bootstraps! this is america!'. please. that's not what this is about at all.
      if you knew anything about johnstown at all, and this district, you'd know that the jobs murtha brought here constitute most of the remaining workforce of this once-steel-boomtown.
      you would know that most of the population are elderly americans, glued to antiquated lifestyles and are too stubborn to move.
      you would know that once the jobs murtha brought to the district leave,
      taxes necessarily must go up, taxes on elderly americans already suffering from the botched social security system left over from the Bush administration.
      you would know that the remaining economy of the district is mainly hospice care, nursing homes, funeral homes, and lawyers managing estates.

      this whole town / district is infinitely depressing, because of the lack of a young work force. yes, i'm proud to have a representative that brought as much work and money into the district as he could, at the so-called 'expense' of you,
      because johnstown needed it more.
      you should be so lucky to have a congressman fight so hard for your district.

      • BigPhilip

        Lady, I happen to be one of those unemployed people, and a big part of the problem with our economy is the attitude that we just can't survive without government. Western PA's "bleak" outlook is of their own making. Quit whining about how tough things are and DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT besides wait for your knight in pork-barrel armor to ride to the rescue. It's not a "so-called expense," it's OTHER PEOPLE'S MONEY! You're pitiful! And I'm sorry, but do you really believe that Social Security's problems are Bush's fault?! I take back everything I said! If you're really that dense, then you NEED someone to provide for you. And maybe we can get you a disabled parking placard, too. ("Help me! Help me, John Murtha!" Disgusting…)

        • purifypolitics

          i highly doubt you live in johnstown.
          if you lived in johnstown, you may know about the community arts center in westmont.

          currently they are hosting a photographic narrative piece on why welfare is critically important to johnstown.


          the fact of the matter is. without government, parts of Johnstown. like it or not,
          would die.
          and while that may be fine with you,
          in your unemployed state, in a county with an economy that isn't quite as depraved as pennsylvania's district 12…
          where you actually can, "create your own jobs"…
          it's not always the case here.

          you need to realize there are parts of this nation, that once the economic boom recedes, and the businesses, and in-turn, young working force vacates,
          the cities, the counties, the buildings.. become left in ruin,
          left to a slow decay,

          unless someone like john murtha stands up for them.
          unless the government steps in, and attempts to equalize the downfall.
          unless taxpayer dollars attempt to breathe new life into a stagnant community.

        • purifypolitics

          by disagreeing with the idea that government should step in and help such suffering districts and communities, is disagreeing with a fundamental part of our founding fathers' intentions of this nation.
          that being of the REPUBLIC.
          that the wishes and desires of a portion of the state's populace,
          be represented by, representatives sent to the senate and congress.

          john murtha fought to save this district,
          and we rewarded him with 36 years of support.

          • BigPhilip

            Never said I lived in Johnstown, I said I was unemployed. Johnstown isn't the only American community that is suffering, it just appears to be the whiniest, if you're any indication. If you believe the founders ever intended for federal tax dollars to be redistributed in order to prop up underachieving districts like yours, then you are, as Rahm Emmanuel would put it, a ******* retard. You don't understand American history or the U.S. Constitution, and if ever there was a case to be made to revoke the voting rights of certain individuals, you are it, Madam. Entrusting you with a vote is like giving a loaded handgun to a monkey. I'd recommend you read The Federalist Papers, but within the first few pages your head might explode, and you'd sit there waiting for John Murtha to rise from the dead and reassemble it for you.

          • purifypolitics

            no, as Rahm Emmanuel put it… a fucking ******.

          • purifypolitics

            fortunately, the federalist papers, or u.s. constitution aren't a requirement of my BORN RIGHT TO VOTE YOU F&)(#$(*&#$O*#N ….. but i abstain your honor…….

          • BigPhilip

            Wait… you have a "community arts center" hosting a photo show about WHY WELFARE IS CRITICALLY IMPORTANT TO JOHNSTOWN??!! First off, how do you people hold your heads up each day?! You proud of your dependence on the productivity of others, are you? Secondly, where did the money come from to finance that display of "art"? Wouldn't have been Rep. Murtha, would it? So I'm betting that what we have here is federal (i.e., "other people's") money financing an art show touting how important other people's money is to the economic stability of that community! AND YOU DON'T SEE THE UTTER IDIOCY IN THAT?!

            Allow me to offer a more lucid translation of something you said earlier:
            *john murtha fought to save this district,
            and we rewarded him with 36 years of support.*
            "John Murtha kept feeding us, like stray dogs. So we kept licking his hand and waiting for the next meal. "
            Honestly, you should be ashamed of yourself.

          • purifypolitics

            i'm honestly. crying.
            if that's what you believe.

            there is no god damn point to the use of the word "HONESTLY" in this discussion anymore.

          • davarino

            Oh brother, Im guessing you still live with your mother. I hope we are not talking with a 12 year old, because if we are then you get a pass and we will stop making you cry. Otherwise grow up.

            if things are that rough where you live then dude, its time to pick up and move where there are real jobs, making real things. Unless you just like being poor and living with a bunch of other people that cant lift a finger to help themselves.

            I think I hear your mommy calling you for breakfast.

          • BigPhilip

            Davarino has it right– if things are so bad in your district, leave! Find opportunity elsewhere! I've done it, so have countless others. Because you lack the gumption to seek a better life, or because the population is "too stubborn" to move, does not mean that taxpayers in Washington or Texas are obligated to subsidize your inertia. And John Murtha was no better than a heroin dealer, who knows that the first step is to get 'em hooked! Once they're dependent on your merchandise, you've got it made. It's time for PA'a District 12 to get off the public smack. Your dealer's dead.

          • purifypolitics

            you can deliver that message yourself to the people of johnstown.
            i'm sure that will go over well.

          • http://intensedebate.com/people/ElroyJetson TraseroConservativo

            Unfortunately, being a Communist means never having to say "I've grown up!" or "I like being self-reliant!"

      • Joy

        This thread is a week old and has been beaten to death already, but I read some of your comments with genuine interest – and genuine sympathy for the sad state of affairs in Johnstown, PA – being the typical victim of a boom town having gone bust. I’ve never lived in such a community or such a depressing atmospher, so I can only imagine how difficult it must be.

        On the other hand, you did make a couple remarks that brought me back to earth: Namely, Murtha’s effectiveness in bringing money & jobs to the District “at the expense of other taxpayers [in the country]” was justified because “Johnstown needed it more.” Balderdash! That’s Marxist drivel if I ever heard it (“To each according to his need, from each according to his ability,” etc.)

        And what in hell do you mean by, “…Americans already suffering from the botched Social Security system left over from the Bush Administration?!?” Helloooo!! According to facts & figures from the US Government itself, the system was predicted to go broke within a generation – or two, at most – due to factors WAY beyond Bush et al – Namely, a shrinking workforce supporting a growing retirement community. In other words, spending more on that entitlement program than they could possibly bring in even with a low unemployment rate (which it was during the first 6 years of the Bush Admin. – even dipping to 4-1/2 % at one point!).

        When, in the early years of his first term, Bush warned of this impending catastrophe – and used it as a valid reason for seriously considering an overhaul of the entire Soc. Sec. system itself – he was laughed off the stage and his initiative earned little backing beyond his own party, so the whole initiative was shelved, or, in the trade, “kicked down the road.” This only underscored the manra that even touching the SS system was akin to falling on the so-called “third rail” (of the NYC subway system). In other words, if anything, it was Bush who inherited a botched Soc. Sec. system.

  • BigPhilip

    Oh, and regarding John Murtha? GOOD RIDDANCE TO BAD RUBBISH!

    • pianoforte54

      I fear there are just too many "purifypolitics" in this country for it ever to change for the better. I hope to God I'm wrong though.

      • BigPhilip

        I fear you may be correct. When the dependent come to outnumber the independent, we're done for, and we may have passed that threshold already…

        • purifypolitics

          here's a thought. rally your own community. elect an individual. support them.

          …instead of bitching about how 'corrupt' or 'selfish' a man THAT HAS BEEN IN OFFICE FOR 36 YEARS is, based on some RIDICULOUSLY BIASED republican rhetoric, character assassination article that you read, and know nothing else about the community he represented, and the past accomplishments he's had…

          go focus your smear campaign efforts somewhere else.. leave this man to RIP.

          • BigPhilip

            Wildlife managers post warnings in our National Parks and elsewhere not to feed the wildlife, esp. bears… know why? Because the animals would eventually forget how to feed themselves. That you kept Murtha in office for 36 years is no indication of his greatness, it's an indication of how far gone the people of his district are. The John Murthas and Ted Stevens's (a Republican, and just as bad) of the world keep themselves in office by handing out other peoples' money as if it were their own, and it needs to stop. And the folks in Johstown (dirty rednecks!) need to start fending for themselves.

          • purifypolitics

            how can you live with yourself?

            you're taking this to a new level, insulting the entire district.
            shamelessly calling us all dirty rednecks.

            let me just go ahead and pass on that message to the predominantly retired populace, that they should either move or start "fending for themselves" when they are already struggling with social security.
            i'm sure they would love to hear that.
            good luck running a GOP candidate with that advice.

          • BigPhilip

            That was what is commonly referred to as satire. You see, Murtha referred to them as racists and rednecks when they didn't support Obama at the level he thought appropriate. Oh, but I forget, that's okay, because he was such a stand-up guy! You accept his insults because he brought home the bacon! I hope you all remembered to say, "Thank you, massuh!"

          • http://intensedebate.com/people/ElroyJetson TraseroConservativo

            Why do you seem to equate his length of tenure with the quality of his character? Maybe the people in his district abandoned all standards 36 years ago.

  • Peachey

    Nancy Pelosi was correct when she eulogized Murtha as a "master" polician. Yes, indeed he was. He was a master at deceit, lies, arrogance,thuggery, fraud,corruption,
    sleaziness, and quick to attack and slander anyone and everyone for political gain and capital.Not one for admiring or appreciating his constituents, he loathed and openly accused them of racism when he believed that they would not vote as told. Yes, he was the "King Of Pork",and wielded tremendous anti-American power and control. I can certainly understand Nancy Pelosi's admiration.

    • purifypolitics

      we elected him anyway after accusing us of being racist. … more importantly, we FORGAVE him… and, if you lived in johnstown, or western pennsylvania for that matter… you'd know, it's not so far from the truth… granted he shouldn't have said it so blatantly to the public, but you have to know racism is in the air, and still on the minds of citizens in this side of the state.

      … i'm really tired of this garbage. everyone claims he is the "King of Pork". he brought thousands of jobs to this district, without which johnstown would be in even worse shape than it is now. the media makes it sound like johnstown and district 12 is this rich, spoiled, haven for billionaire aristocrats.
      … plan a vacation to johnstown. i dare you …

      • http://intensedebate.com/people/Dar_al_Harb LibertyLover

        You're beyond help…

  • Dave

    I think next summer I will be taking a PIS! on the graves tour in the North East. In the last year we have thankfully had Kennedy and Murtha kick over! things are starting to look up. And I will be honest, I did a happy dance when I heard they had both died. Because if there is a hell, these 2 Ass clowns will be there.

  • Joy

    "PurifyPolitics" – now THERE's an oxymoron if every I saw one!! You can defend your dead congressman to the heavens – that's your right as a citizen – but excuse the rest of us for NOT going along with this very misplacde idolatry! Murtha was willing to lie to the Marines he falsely accused, the nation and the world for purely political and power-mad reasons – and no amount of "but he brought a gaziliion jobs to the District" remonstrations will whitewash that sorry-axx record.

    • BigPhilip

      Thank goodness! It's comforting to know I'm not the only one who's sickened when the press tries to glorify a homicidal drunk like Ted Kennedy or an "unindicted co-conspirator" like Murtha. But that's Democrats for you! It doesn't matter what you do– it's always forgivable. If you're Democratic enough…

      • purifypolitics

        it's not "Democrats for you!" it's, showing respect to a man who has served his constituents in the best way that he could for countless years.

        all of you make me sick.

        • http://intensedebate.com/people/ElroyJetson TraseroConservativo

          He destroyed the careers of those Marines to get a committee appointment–is that serving… "his constituents in the best way that he could?" I'm glad he didn't HATE his racist, redneck constituents.

        • Joy

          Purifypolitics – Purify yourself! As in, "Physician, heal thyself!" You will probably go to your grave defending the indefensible, reprehensible late unlamented Jack Murtha. Maybe just drop in to his empty airport and take a round-trip flight to DC & back for old times' sake – and as a fitting tribute to a man who knew how to fleece the sheeple!

  • Blunt Speaker

    As the saying goes it was with great pleasure that I read John Murtha's obituary. America is better off without this curruptocrat. By the way shame on all of you greedheads that continually voted in this sorry excuse for a human being and a Marine. The rest of the country has suffered because of your actions.

  • Canadian

    You forgot to mention that his district voted him back for another term in 2008 even after he called them racist and rednecks, and after his corruption was well publicized. The people in that district are themselves a disgrace for voting in that dirtbag.

  • Joy

    I just revisited this blog about Murtha – and read poor purify politics’ defense of the indefensible again. I must say, he is/was a real glutton for punishment, sticking loyally to Murtha and his “legacy,” while all the other posters were slamming the hell out of him (which, by the way, everyone did while the old fart was still alive).

    If there is a Heaven, he has some ‘spainin’ to do to all his fellow Marines gathered ’round the fireside (or wherever Marines in the hereafter “gather”…). I think they’ll give him a pretty hard time – stopping short, however, of administering the “coup de grace” – i.e., that skill for which they were/are trained to do and which is, in war, their raison d’etre.