By Doug Porter
“I believe that it’s a lot bigger than Watergate, and if you link Watergate and Iran-Contra together and multiply it times maybe 10 or so, you’re going to get in the zone where Benghazi is,”
“I believe that before it’s all over, this president will not fill out his full term,” he said. “I remind you, as bad as Watergate was, because it broke the trust between the president and the people, no one died. This is more serious because four Americans did in fact die.”
Central to today’s blockbuster hearing will be testimony from U.S. diplomat Gregory Hicks, who said he sought in vain to get the Pentagon to scramble fighter jets over the diplomatic mission as the attack was underway. Portions of his testimony have been leaked to friendly media as right wingers have sought to build the drama.
Of course, the release was selective. This quote from the Los Angeles Times is what Issa and his cohorts would like the public to hear:
…he expressed his opinion that a low-flying fighter aircraft over Benghazi might have prevented the second part of the assault, the firing of mortars at a CIA annex that killed CIA security contractors Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty.
“If we had been able to scramble a fighter or aircraft or two over Benghazi as quickly as possible after the attack commenced, I believe there would not have been a mortar attack on the annex in the morning because I believe the Libyans would have split,” Hicks told House Republican investigators.
And then there’s this:
But Hicks acknowledged that he was informed as the attack was unfolding that the military did not have refueling aircraft in the area that could have supported a roughly 1,800-mile round-trip flight by the closest fighter aircraft, based in Aviano, Italy.
Ah, reality… Was/Is there a Benghazi cover up? Yes, I’m fairly certain that is the case. After all, part of the attack involved the destruction of a covert CIA station. And I wouldn’t be surprised to learn there was mucho CYA going on at the State Department.
The GOP’s track record on blowing the lid off ‘major scandals’ is pathetic.
Jason Linkins over at Huffington Post tells us today “Benghazi Will Totally Be ‘The Next Watergate’ Unless It Isn’t”, recalling Issa’s claim that operation Fast And Furious is the next Watergate:
“This is like Iran Contra, like Watergate, and other embarrassments over the years …”
The Congressman made this claim as he was predicting a serious number of Democrats would vote to hold Atty. Gen. Eric Holder in contempt. (Democrats staged a dramatic walkout in protest of the vote.)
“This is more than just a simple Washington scandal; this is a historic scandal, because the president had his own political fund-raiser placed in the Department of Energy for the specific purpose of pointing to which loans would benefit his political donors. … It just stinks on every level. This makes Watergate look like child’s play”
So what’s the bottom line for today’s hearings?
Security should have been better at the facility and the administration tweaked the public responses. As Joe Klein over at Time points out “this was a venial, not a mortal, sin.”.
Then he gets to the heart of the matter:
…Who’s to blame for the lax security? This is the real substance of the case. Could it have been the Secretary of State? Undoubtedly, no. This sort of question is well below her pay grade. Could it have been the person in charge of embassy security issues? More likely, and that person resigned after the subsequent investigations…and even that might have been unfair for two reasons. Security was up to the Ambassador and Chris Stevens was well known for erring on the side of greater public access to U.S. facilities. Or, more plausibly, reason number two…
Could it have been the Republicans who consistently voted against funds for increased embassy security? Hmmm…that makes their current carping seem awfully political, doesn’t it? Again, sins of politics are not mortal. But one does wonder why the Republicans tend to fix on issues like this, which are defined by their absence of substance. (I haven’t noticed the Republicans clamoring to spend more on embassy security–which would be a matter of substance, happily embraced by the Administration.But that would require a budget deal, which would give the President a win.)
Stock Market Sets Record, Therefore We Must Impeach Obama
Yes indeedy, free market fans, as the New York Stock Exchange was closing at an all-time high yesterday, the Baltimore-based Capitol Hill Daily was warning, via a mass mailing:
Fearing the very worst, the nation’s super-rich are unloading their stocks at an alarming rate.
Even more troubling, the wealthiest 1% of Americans, who typically know the most, are the ones most anxious to sell.
(h/t Think Progress)
Damn That Obama Socialism!
Working Like a Dog for The Man…
On the other (non-corporate) side of the coin, things aren’t so hot. Here’s a list of the US companies with the most low or minimum wage workers, courtesy of The Contributor:
Strawberry Fields Smoked Out
Fifteen farm workers who walked off the job last week at Crisalida Farms near Oxnard because of heavy smoke from a massive wildfire burning nearby lost their jobs were fired, according to a NBC LA report. Even though they were non-union, they turned to the United Farm Workers for help.
In a statement to Telemundo, the farm representative said the workers left without permission while orders still needed to be filled. The company offered to pay them for the hours they’d worked.
Later, the company settled with the union and offered to rehire all 15 workers. But only one worker returned. The others took jobs on other farms.
One worker said while it hurts to lose work, one’s health is more important.
Meanwhile in Bangladesh…
From the Associated Press this morning:
Bangladeshi police say the death toll from the collapse of a building housing five garment factories has passed 800 and is continuing to climb.
Authorities are still digging through the rubble of the Rana Plaza building in search of more bodies two weeks after the eight-story building collapsed.
Police said that as of Wednesday afternoon they had confirmed 803 deaths from the disaster
Working Hard for That Hispanic Vote
Texas Senator Ted Cruz (R) wants make sure that Latino voters know just how much he cares. As part of the right-wing strategy to sink immigration reform legislation being considered by the Senate, Cruz and his cohorts have already introduced over 340 amendments.
The Cruz Amendment is especially egregious; it bars citizenship for any person who has ever been “willfully present in the United States while not in lawful status”.
Hospital Billing Rates Exposed
Newspapers around the country that actually report the news, as opposed to the UT-San Diego, are publishing jaw dropping stories about wildly varying prices being charged by hospitals via data released by the Obama administration yesterday.
Here in California, for instance, patients can be charged as little as $21, 231 for a major lower joint replacement, while the same procedure at another hospital can run $88,235.
Being admitted to a hospital for chest pains runs up charges of $5639 to $32970, while a kidney/urinary tract infection stay varies from $7422 to $40335. And that’s before the $10 aspirins and $5 q-tips.
From the Huffington Post (there are many others) account:
When a patient arrives at Bayonne Hospital Center in New Jersey requiring treatment for the respiratory ailment known as COPD, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, she faces an official price tag of $99,690.
Less than 30 miles away in the Bronx, N.Y., the Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center charges only $7,044 for the same treatment, according to a massive federal database of national health care costs made public on Wednesday.
Americans have long become accustomed to bewilderment and anxiety when confronting health care bills. The new database underscores why, revealing the perplexing assortment of prices for medical care, with the details of bills seemingly un-tethered to any graspable principle.
The Washington Post has a handy-dandy chart that allows you to compare ranges and averages costs for procedures based on the state you live in. And California is one of the costlier states to get serviced by a hospital:
A Washington Post analysis of the 10 most common medical procedures showed certain patterns by state. Hospitals in six states —California, Florida, Nevada, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Texas — routinely had higher prices than the rest of the country.
Now, your insurance company or medicare won’t actually pay any of these prices, but the Post article quotes Renee Hsia, an assistant professor at the University of California at San Francisco Medical School:
“But you have a lot of private insurance companies where the consumer pays a portion of the charge. For uninsured patients, they face the full bill. In that sense, the price matters.”
Meanwhile at the UT-SD today we’re getting a lecture on how you won’t get to see a doctor under ObamaScare because the ‘poors’ will keep them too busy…. So here’s a video I’m sure ‘Papa’ Doug would find very offensive.
NSFW David Bowie Video
David Bowie’s on the comeback trail with a fascinating (and edgy) album called “The Next Day”. And the videos released with this production have been causing quite a stir.
Gary Oldman and Marion Cotillard appear in this just-released third video set in a church run brothel servicing clergy. It was directed by Floria Sigismondi (“The Runaways”). UPDATE: YouTube has banned the video.
On This Day: 1794 – The United States Post Office was established. 1911 – Bluesman Robert Johnson was born in Hazlehurst, Mississippi.1985 – “New Coke” was released to the public on the 99th anniversary of Coca-Cola. (It flopped)
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