Murtha Washington | The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Murtha Washington
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HIS BROTHER’S KEEPER
Re: David Holman’s Murky Jack Murtha:

What else happened in November? Duke Cunningham got shot down for taking bribes from military contractors. It would be ungenerous to think that this event might have triggered Murtha’s by all accounts sudden conviction that the Iraq war was unwinnable, he having previously been a supporter.

If you have read David Crile’s Charlie Wilson’s War and assuming the book is correct, Tip O’Neill had Charlie Wilson put on the Ethics Committee in the House to bury Murtha’s problem at that time.

One wonders if by taking point for the Dems against the Iraq War, Murtha has perhaps built up for himself if not treasure in Heaven, then at least treasure in Ethics if it should come to that.
Greg Richards

Do you think it would be fair to compare Murtha to Marshall Petain of Vichy fame:

Both served in war. Both reportedly were scared by their military experiences. Both went into politics.

That Frenchman made common cause with the then dominant fascist power. The American is seems sympathetic to a new ascendant fascist ideology.

This comparison could serve to remind all of the shameful behavior of the French and the shameful behavior of the Democrat Party … past and present… and can either be trusted for the future… (it’s almost like conjugating a Latin verb).
Ira Press

Thank you, thank you, thank you… for bringing up this information about “Kit” Murtha. There is an article in the L.A. Times from last June… and I have been telling everybody about it and the “earmarks.” This should get MORE widespread news.
Anne E. Conway

House Republicans need to investigate John and Kit Murtha’s corruption. Let Murtha and his media allies howl persecution, because of his “cut and run” politics. Truth will ultimately prevail if Republicans have some courage. It is time for Republicans to turn the tables on the corrupt Copperheads of the Democrat party. Nancy Pelosi should be the next. Buck up Republicans and beat the Copperheads with good ethics and the truth.
Michael Tomlinson
Crownsville, Maryland

There have been pieces on the Internet that Murtha and his brother have steered defense contracts to Minority Leader Pelosi and her relatives and cronies and that Reps. Murtha and Pelosi cooked up the “Withdraw Our Troops” in order to turn attention away from the graft and allow them to say they were being attacked because of their position on the war. This is a huge story! Many know of it. You have a green light to run with it.
Howard Lohmuller
Seabrook, Texas

Let me see if I understand this article. Congressman Murtha has ethics problems involving his lobbyist brother and defense industry contracts. Congressman Murtha is a Democrat. The MSM is pointedly ignoring this information while screaming from the housetop about Abramoff and Tom DeLay and other Republicans. Do I have that right?

Perhaps you could tell me how this is suddenly newsworthy, as opposed to being the standard practice of the MSM over the last 25 years or longer.
Ken Shreve

Every morning I sit down with my bagel and coffee to peruse the Internet to see what is going on in the world. TAS used to be my very first stop. Honest, insightful articles that seem to give a good inside look at politics in Washington. It is a pity that TAS has turned into a shill for the GOP and has little to offer but article after article denigrating the Democrats (like they need any help) or rants from rich, out of touch, former actors that need a “day off.” The impression that is left after ready TAS regularly is that the GOP has nothing left in the way of substantive public policy proposals to offer the American people so you guys are left with blasting the powerless Democrats along with all the other conservative media shills. So what if Murtha’s brother is a crooked lobbyist (redundant). That doesn’t make Abramoff or DeLay any less guilty. I feel like we are living in the United States of the 7th grade… yeah, we’re feckless, but the Democrats started it!

It has taken a mere 12 years of being in power for the GOP to reach the levels of corruption and insouciance that it took the Democrats 40 years to achieve. Nobody expected more from the Democrats, but we sure did expect more from the “party of values.” The conservative movement needs to stop whining like a minority party and start leading like a majority party.
Ben Berry
Silver Spring, Maryland

David Holman replies:
Mr. Berry, I didn’t attempt to exonerate Abramoff or DeLay, nor should we. If they broke the law, then they should suffer the full consequences. But the aggressive investigation of corrupt Republicans is aggressive not because these guys are corrupt, but because they’re Republicans.

THE CASEY AGAINST DEMOCRATS
Re: R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.’s Woolsey-Eyed Democrats:

Democrats: The party with no ideas, no visions, solutions, no issues; fueled by vitriol and hatred and headed by certifiable, shrieking, lunatics! I wonder why they lose?
Jay W. Molyneaux
Wellington, Florida

Casey who? Casey Sheehan, of course. The young man who RE-ENLISTED against his mother silly Cindy’s wishes. Who VOLUNTEERED for his last mission. Who know that mission was VERY dangerous before he went. He served at Mass, went with this voluntary force to try to save fellow soldiers and died. I just can’t stand it that as time goes on Casey is forgotten.
Annette Cwik

Cindy Sheehan and other paid or unpaid demonstrators controlled by the hard Left are the “Useful Idiots” so prized by Lenin when he built Communism in Russia almost 100 years ago. It is important to remember the hard Left are almost all Socialists, Communists or Anarchists. They have infiltrated or taken over the real peace and environmental movements and are invested in defeating Capitalism and, specifically, overthrowing the government of the U.S. They will do or say anything to achieve this end knowing that their collaborators, the idiots, will bear the brunt of criticism from the rest of us. Speaking to the propensity of the hard left to covet Communism, a couple of years ago, the TV star who played Lou Grant, being interviewed by Sean Hannity, said that Communism hadn’t had a real opportunity yet to succeed. These hard left and their operators have infested the Democrat Party and are in control of the Party now. Consider House Minority Leader Pelosi, Senate Minority Leader Reid, DNC Chair Howard Dean and the Party’s largest fundraisers such as Moveon.org. When next you laugh at the clowns, think about the puppet master behind them pulling the strings to control the politicians and demonstrators.
Howard Lohmuller
Seabrook, Texas

Run Cindy run. I look forward to Cindy’s Senatorial and Presidential campaigns. This election year will be a hoot if the Copperheads can get some traction in the MSM. This woman is the poster child for what’s wrong with the left. Run Cindy run.
LT (Chaplain) Michael Tomlinson
Curtis Bay, Maryland

HYDROGEN BOMBS
Re: David Hogberg’s The Era of Big Government Isn’t Over:

Once again the call for hydrogen as a clean fuel rears its head, the latest in the President’s State of the Union Address. And once again I raise my voice in a futile effort to put Hydrogen as a fuel in perspective.

Hydrogen, unlike all other fuels we use, does not exist in nature as a separate element. It is combined with other elements, the most plentiful of which is water, good old H2O. In order to use hydrogen as a fuel, it must be separated from its compounds.

This takes energy. Extracting hydrogen from water requires passing electrical current through the water resulting in hydrogen being released at one electrode, and oxygen at the other. Then you compress the hydrogen and chill it so that it can be transported and stored in insulated containers. Then, finally, you release the hydrogen into some sort of device which recombines the hydrogen with another element, usually oxygen. The result is heat, water, and electricity. To move an automobile or other vehicle, you pass the electricity on to an electric motor.

During my checkered past I had the opportunity to work on the Apollo Spacecraft Power System. It used fuel cells which combined hydrogen and oxygen and produced electricity, heat, and water. Consequently, I’ve had ample opportunity to become acquainted with this particular technology. In addition, I received my B.S.E.E. in the field of power generation, distribution, and usage.

Applying that background to the present situation, I would like to point out that each stage in the production of hydrogen, its transportation, and its conversion back to electricity or as a fuel in an internal combustion engine, involves wasted energy, usually as heat that must be dissipated and is therefore lost. A generous estimate is that only about 20 percent of the original energy is useable at the end of this chain.

And just where does this energy come from? From our present electricity-generating capacity, from coal and natural gas burned in power plants for the most part. The only other sources are sunshine and wind power, which provide approximately 10 percent of our national usage, water power and nuclear power plants.

The one benefit I can see in this scheme is that the pollution inherent in the production of the energy is moved from the automobiles clogging our highways and byways to a central generating plant where it can be more easily controlled.

Having spent my formative years in Washington state where water power production is high, I have seen the convolutions of the environmentalists who object to the immense dams and reservoirs built by the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers. Such construction imperils wildlife, such as salmon, and encourages recreational boating, which pollutes water and the atmosphere. It also, believe me, changes the character of the rivers, such as the Columbia and the Snake so that the original picturesque scenery is lost forever. Better to drill for oil in ANWR where only the caribou will notice.

The reaction is hardly better when it comes to increasing our nuclear power production capabilities. The nuclear power plant south of Capistrano in Orange County, California, pumps sea water through its cooling towers, and guess what? Fish die! And perish the thought that we could build new more efficient fissile-fuel power stations. Global warming, anyone?

So there ain’t no free lunch out there. Someday the human race will run out of fossil fuels. In 1956 one of my textbooks predicted that we had less than 20 years before this occurred. Well, exploration, more efficient production of crude oil, coal, and natural gas have pushed that estimate off into the now not so distant future. But it’s still there, just like the impending bankruptcy of the Social Security “Trust Fund.”

That day will come. Then what will we use to separate hydrogen from water so that we can drive our kids to school, shop for the latest bargains, and visit Grammy and Grampa? Or fly over to Paris for the latest in fashions?

Malthus was right, except that he thought we’d run out of food. We had better wake up soon.
Bob Johnson
Bedford, Texas

I also was doing mental head shaking when President Bush made his “Every year of my presidency, we’ve reduced the growth of non-security discretionary spending.” That to me was like DeLay saying there was nothing left to cut from the budget. Both a joke, only I was not laughing.
Elaine Kyle

BUSH PLAYS NASHVILLE
Re: John Tabin’s Pretty, Pretty Good:

I’d like to add my thoughts on the excellent State of the Union address President Bush gave last Tuesday. While I hoped for more on border control and I hate the line “jobs Americans won’t do” (oh, they’ll do them, just usually not at the wage offered), and I don’t care for the government is the solution to everything idea, it was a perfect speech on foreign policy and expanding the differences between Republicans and Democrats.

This was followed by the president traveling the next day to Nashville to shore up his speech and, as he noted, explain his thoughts. I, like another three to four thousand or more, attended the event. It was fantastic. The weather was sunny and near 50 degrees but not cold. Driving in was easy and although we had to park a little farther from the Grand Ole Opry it wasn’t a long hike. The people stood in line and chatted with strangers, friends and co-workers. The kindness of everyone was abundant and people were excited to be there. Ed Bryant, running for the Senate seat being vacated by Bill Frist, was there pounding the flesh. Smart move and I support his candidacy.

We slowly but methodically moved up towards the door and efficiently went through the metal detectors. All of the event staff, police, and security personnel were as nice as they could be. As we came in there were ample employees to guide everyone to their seat. I fortunately was only fifty feet from the stage and had a great seat.

Larry Gatlin was the MC of the event and as I got there a couple of musicians I didn’t know were singing and playing. They were followed by a local bluegrass band. There were several people sitting on the stage; politicians, music celebrities and regular folks. Barbara Mandrell was there along with Lorrie Morgan, Darryl Woorley, Buddy Jewel, Little Jimmy Dickens and others all duly introduced by Mr. Gatlin. Then he brought on the Oak Ridge Boys and they sang a couple of songs including “Elvira” that got the crowd roaring and singing along. They also sang “Amazing Grace” along with about everyone in the building. They were followed by Ricky Skaggs and his wife and others. And on top of that Lee Greenwood appeared as the entire Opry was crowing “I’m Proud to Be an American.” We finished that song off with extra choruses and the entire stage of stars at the mics.

The big screens showed Air Force One landing at the airport nearby and the crowd went wild as this indicated the President would soon be there, on time as usual for his noon speech. Larry got us all up to then sing our national anthem.

There were about fifteen minutes until Bush arrived and we watched and chatted as the White House staff and Secret Service started moving around. As we anticipated the start of the speech we knew it was close when the man with the Presidential Seal came on stage to place it on the podium. This was followed by total silence. You could hear a pin drop. We just knew it was about time. But then the seal man came back out because it was askew. We had a good laugh as he shrugged his shoulders in a sort of, “oops, had to get it right” gesture. Local politicians then were brought in like the mayor of Nashville, Bill Purcell, and even my mayor of Franklin. Former Gov. Sundquist was there but not our current governor, Phil Bredesen.

More silence and then the sounds of movement. The people on stage started looking to their right and finally our Senators Lamar! and Majority Leader Frist came on stage. And then without being introduced by Frist off stage, the President came out to thunderous applause. Frist introduced him but could almost not be heard through the cheering.

It was a great speech. Totally off the cuff with some notes. It’s true he doesn’t speak eloquently when he doesn’t have a prepared speech but that’s the point. He cracked jokes, did his famous smirk and talked to us like we were in his living room. We applauded and gave him standing ovations and no Democrats were there to sit on their hands. He was personable, knowledgeable and funny. Larry Gatlin was behind him making hand gestures after certain statements like, “If there are people inside our country who are talking with al Qaeda, we want to know about it — because we will not sit back and wait to be hit again” by giving a thumbs up or doing a face gesture saying, “duh, of course!”

When Bush wanted to really hit home a point, as he does in his speeches, he really leans into the podium and gets right up to the microphone and speaks with confident emphasis. Many times it felt like we were in church will all the utterances of “yes” and the head nodding…okay, a lot by me! I thought at any moment there would be a few “Amens” thrown in.

All in all I was never more proud and grateful to live in this great country as I was on a beautiful, crisp Wednesday morning enjoying words from fifty feet away from the leader of the free world. Only in America.
Greg Barnard
Franklin, Tennessee

ENDLESS OIL
Re: Ben Stein’s Oil Is Well:

“Big Oil goes to find ever scarcer resources.”

In World War II, the Germans developed a process of changing coal into diesel fuel for their tanks. The U.S. has vast coal deposits. Qatar has just built a refining plant that changes natural gas into diesel fuel, using the same German process. It is estimated that there are three trillion (TRILLION!) barrels of oil in Canadian oil-tar sands which are now being mined and converted into oil. It is estimated that there are three trillion (TRILLION!) barrels of oil trapped in clay strata in Venezuela. This oil is being extracted with new technology (because the price of oil is high enough to do this). In these two locations there are six trillion barrels of oil. This doesn’t even factor in Russian, African, Mid-East, Alaska, Mexico etc. oil reserves, coal reserves, natural gas reserves.

Scarcer oil reserves? I don’t think so.
Fred Edwards
Tucson, Arizona

Neither of us is an economist so I admit I am still stuck on why Exxon’s president makes $30 million per year? (Other Exxon execs likely make substantial amounts as well) I just can’t imagine what he (they do) does other than decide where Exxon will invest shareholder earnings. The other mystery for me is who are the “wheelers and dealers” in oil futures and trading in oil and how big a part does that play in out of control price fluctuations? What collusion exists within OPEC? If a barrel starts at $60 in Iran, how does it get to $3 a gallon at our pumps? We are addicted to oil so why hasn’t Congress done anything under any administration since the clamoring began with president Nixon 30 years ago?

Let’s order the five oil cartel companies and the traders strangling Americans to go to Congress and testify under oath and then my complaints will go away. Oil is a strategic product to Americans to just survive, get to work and back, keep us comfortable in times of crisis. We are not talking General Mills profits here. We are not talking windfall profits and denying companies their earned profits or regulating them. There is something fishy going on here or else it would be made clear for all to understand once and for all.
Mike Ayers
La Quinta. California

LAST WORD
Re: Mark Fallert’s letter (under “Power to the Pumpers”) in Reader Mail’s Democrats Licked:

Great letter.
Angela Seeley
Clarksville, Tennessee

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