Thanks to Edward Snowden, Americans are learning that "Fleeing to Hong Kong" isn't an early Tom Waits album. An NFL team actually signed Tim Tebow, so we guess Snowden still has options in this country. And 45 percent of Americans want the NSA to expand its surveillance activities, meaning Palantir's precogs might finally land a gig. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Monday, June 10th, 2013:
REID PLANNING TO BRING ENDA UP FOR A VOTE - ENDA, which stands for Enabling Non-Democrats' Asshattery, will likely not pass the House (or the Senate, possibly). That would hand the Democrats a political win, if not a legislative one, by highlighting GOP opposition to LGBT rights. Jen Bendery: "Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said Monday that he expects to take up legislation 'soon' that would ban workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. As part of a statement in celebration of June as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month, Reid noted Nevada laws prevent people from being fired simply because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. That's not the case in many other states, he said, which is why it's time to move on the federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act. "I look forward to taking up the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) soon, to prohibit such job discrimination across the nation," Reid said. The bill has been reintroduced in several Congresses and has gotten some hearings, but hasn't had a vote on the House or Senate floor since November 2007, when it passed the House by 235-184. ENDA was introduced in this Congress by Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) in the House and Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) in the Senate." [HuffPost]
AMERICANS LIKE IT WHEN SOMEONE WATCHES: POLL - WaPo: "A large majority of Americans say the federal government should focus on investigating possible terrorist threats even if personal privacy is compromised, and most support the blanket tracking of telephone records in an effort to uncover terrorist activity, according to a new Washington Post-Pew Research Center poll. Fully 45 percent of all Americans say the government should be able to go further than it is now asserting: that it should be able to monitor everyone's online activity if this would prevent future terrorist attacks. A slender majority, 52 percent, say no such broad-based monitoring should occur. Overall, 56 percent of all Americans see the NSA's accessing telephone call records of millions of Americans through secret court orders as "acceptable;" 41 percent call the practice 'unacceptable.' In 2006, when news broke of the NSA's monitoring telephone and e-mail communications without court approval, there was initially a closer 51 percent to 47 percent divide on the practice."Fully 69 percent of Democrats say terrorism investigations should be the government's main concern, not privacy, an 18-percentage-point jump from early January 2006, when the NSA activity under the Bush administration was first reported. Compared with that time, Republicans' focus on privacy has jumped 22 points." [WaPo]
CONGRESS REGULARLY BRIEFED ON PRISM - Sam Stein: "Obama administration officials held 22 separate briefings or meetings for members of Congress on the law that has been used to justify the National Security Agency's controversial email monitoring program, according to data provided by a senior administration official. According to the official, the sessions that took place over the course of 14 months starting in October 2011 touched on Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Amendments Act, which gives the attorney general and director of national intelligence the authority to gather intelligence on non-U.S. citizens for up to one year. Section 702 has been cited by Director of National Intelligence James Clapper as the legal basis for the NSA's PRISM program, which has allowed the government to track email communication data...It's also worth noting that not all lawmakers were aware of the email surveillance operations. Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), for one, said he had "no idea about it" prior to its revelation last week." [HuffPost]
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GOVERNMENT RESPONDING TO NSA LEAKS - Guardian: "Washington was struggling to contain one of the most explosive national security leaks in US history on Monday, as public criticism grew of the sweeping surveillance state revealed by whistleblower Edward Snowden. Political opinion was split, with some members of Congress calling for the immediate extradition of a man they consider a 'defector' but other senior politicians from both parties questioning whether US surveillance practices had gone too far...The White House made no comment beyond a short statement released by a spokesman for the US director of national intelligence on Sunday. Shawn Turner said Snowden's case had been referred to the Justice Department, and that US intelligence was assessing the damage caused by the disclosures..Snowden disclosed his identity in an explosive interview with the Guardian, published on Sunday. He revealed he was a 29-year-old former technical assistant for the CIA and current employee of the defence contractor Booz Allen Hamilton. Snowden worked at the National Security Agency for the past four years as an employee of various outside contractors, including Booz Allen and Dell. He left for Hong Kong on 20 May. He chose Hong Kong because 'they have a spirited commitment to free speech and the right of political dissent.'" [Guardian]
The AP is discouraging its editorial staff from describing Snowden as a "whistleblower." Our preferred term is "truthburper." Michael Calderone: "Associated Press standards editor Tom Kent told staff Monday that 'whether the actions exposed by Snowden and [WikiLeaks source Bradley] Manning constitute wrongdoing is hotly contested, so we should not call them whistle-blowers on our own at this point... A better term to use on our own is 'leakers,'" Kent wrote in a memo, obtained by The Huffington Post. 'Or, in our general effort to avoid labels and instead describe behavior, we can simply write what they did: they leaked or exposed or revealed classified information.'" [HuffPost]
Not surprisingly, Snowden -- whose name sounds like an Ayn Rand protagonist -- is a big Ron Paul supporter. Amanda Terkel: "Edward Snowden, the man behind one of the biggest national security leaks in U.S. history, is a fan of former Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas). According to campaign finance reports, Snowden donated $250 to the libertarian's presidential campaign twice in 2012. Paul has long railed against government secrecy and intrusion into private life. Snowden told The Guardian that he voted for a third-party candidate in 2008, although he was optimistic about President Barack Obama's promises." [HuffPost]
SEC REVIEWING WHY IT'S SO WEAK - The new head of the Securities and Exchange Commission told Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) in a letter Monday that she is reviewing whether or not her enforcement division has been too lax on Wall Street by allowing banks to settle without going to trial. "I am actively reviewing the scope of the Commission's neither-admit-nor-deny settlement policy with the leadership of the Division of Enforcement to determine what, if any, changes may be warranted and whether the SEC is making full appropriate use of its leverage in the settlement process," Mary Jo White told Warren in the letter, which was also provided to HuffPost. Earlier this year, Warren embarrassed bank regulators by pressing them on whether any had taken a bank to trial in questioning that went viral online.
BILL INTRODUCED TO ROLL BACK POST-9/11 WAR POWERS - Of course asking America to be less warlike is like asking America to be less or asking America to stop combining KFCs and Taco Bells. Can't be done. Mike McAuliffe: "The sweeping law that allows the president to wage an unlimited global war on terror would be repealed under a bill set to be offered this week. The repeal measure, crafted by Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), would end the 2001 Authorization to Use MIlitary Force, or AUMF, in 2015, as the U.S. finally exits the war in Afghanistan. Two administrations have relied upon the AUMF to use military force in Afghanistan and around the world. They have also used the law to justify practices that lately have become more controversial, including drone strikes that have killed at least four Americans and the indefinite detention of terror suspects at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where more than 100 detainees are currently on a hunger strike. President Barack Obama recently called for the repeal of the authorization, saying it promotes perpetual war and grants presidents too much power. Leaders in the Senate have also called for its repeal or revision, noting that while the AUMF is supposed to target al Qaeda, the Taliban and allies who helped carry out the Sept. 11 attacks, it has been interpreted to be used far more broadly." [HuffPost]
FARM BILL SET TO PASS SENATE - The specter of decreased SNAP funding has done the impossible: conservatives are now on board with urban gardening. WaPo: "The Senate is poised to pass a five-year farm bill on Monday evening that will set federal food and farming policy for the next decade. The 1,150-page bill would cost roughly $955 billion over 10 years and includes significant cuts in direct subsidies to farmers, some of whom receive aid even if they don't farm, and a roughly $4 billion cut in the $80 billion federal food stamp program over the next decade. Senators passed a similar version of the farm legislation last year, but the House never held a vote on its version of the legislation, requiring both chambers to pass a one-year extension of existing policy. The House is expected to take up its version of the legislation next week. It makes similar changes to farming and conservation programs, but proposes a $20 billion cut in food stamps...Differences in food aid funding are likely to dominate talks between House and Senate negotiators, but leaders in both parties hope to have an agreement before the current legislation expires on Sept. 30." [WaPo]
A new HuffPost/YouGov poll finds most Americans oppose food stamp cuts. Makes sense: You can't really get much lower than a diet of Hawaiian Punch and Funyuns. Emily Swanson and Delaney: "According to the new survey, the 40 percent of Americans who want the food stamps budget decreased were outnumbered by the combined 48 percent who said spending on food stamps should either be increased (24 percent) or kept the same (24 percent). The poll showed more division, along with less certainty, over cutting farm subsidies, which are paired with food stamps legislatively in a classic Washington agreement designed to ensure rural and urban lawmakers both get something they want. Thirty-six percent of poll respondents said that spending on those subsidies should be decreased, while a combined 34 percent said they should be increased (14 percent) or kept the same (20 percent)." [HuffPost]
D.C.-area smartphones were abuzz today -- literally -- when a National Weather Service flash flood warning popped on mobile devices. Huh.
DEMS LOOKING TO STATEHOUSES TO PASS CONTROL MEASURES - Which might seem counterintuitive, as most of the "lawmaker proposes bill to have manned MG-42 at every McDonald's" stories come from the state level. Luke Johnson: "Democrats and national gun control advocacy groups have lobbied Nevada legislators to expand background checks to almost all private gun sales. Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval (R) is has threatened to veto the bill passed by the Democratic-controlled legislature. If he does, he would be the first governor to veto a gun control measure since the Newtown, Conn., elementary school massacre. The struggle hasn't daunted Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee. 'I called legislators myself the other day,' Wasserman Schultz told HuffPost. 'We wanted to make it clear that this is a national priority. It's important to the president. It's important for the country, and if it takes us calling individual legislators to do that, that's what we'll do.'" [HuffPost]
NEWTOWN FAMILIES TO LOBBY CONGRESS ON SIX-MONTH ANNIVERSARY OF SHOOTING - Politico: "The gun debate returns to Washington this week as the Sandy Hook shooting victims' families arrive on Capitol Hill. They plan to talk to lawmakers about ways to bring back failed legislation to implement background checks for gun purchases. Sandy Hook Promise, a nonprofit created in the wake of the shootings in Newtown, Conn., is intended to spark a legislative dialogue and action on gun violence. The group is bringing to the Hill members of seven families of Sandy Hook Elementary School victims, a spokeswoman confirmed to POLITICO. The families will meet with members of both the House and the Senate and will be pushing the background check legislation and the House companion bill. The families will also begin discussions with lawmakers on mental-health legislation...The return to Washington by the families will occur on Tuesday and Wednesday..." [Politico]
BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Crow-like bird pays it forward by feeding a cat and dog.
HILLARY CLINTON JOINS TWITTER, TWEETS - The former secretary of state's first tweet on the microblogging service thanked the creators of the "Texts from Hillary" Tumblr, no doubt a play for suburban Columbus voters. "Thanks for the inspiration @ASmith83 & @Sllambe - I'll take it from here... #tweetsfromhillary" Clinton, or possibly one of her handlers, tweeted this afternoon. Her Twitter biography describes her as a "wife, mom, lawyer, women & kids advocate, FLOAR, FLOTUS, US Senator, SecState, author, dog owner, hair icon, pantsuit aficionado, glass ceiling cracker, TBD..." Also amusing was Bill Clinton's response to his wife's new social media presence. "Does @twitter have a family share plan?" His handler (or whoever) tweeted. "Great to be here with @HillaryClinton & @ChelseaClinton. Looking forward to #tweetsfromhillary." [HuffPost]
- Today's Google Doodle is a heartwarming animation about
the government farming your web activity "Where The Wild Things" author Maurice Sendak. [http://bit.ly/11QP70L]
- Save yourself 12 dollars and two hours of your life by watching this supercut of every utterance of "Google" in "The Internship." [http://vult.re/1bnR4rc]
- A geneticist theorized what human beings will look like in 100,000 years. Apparently we'll start mating with anime characters. [http://onforb.es/ZVPm0d]
- An a cappella version of Daft Punk's "Get Lucky" performed by one guy. [http://bit.ly/1bi4fJX]
- Ciara was served during a live performance... and we don't mean she lost a breakdance battle. [http://bit.ly/105pIWU]
- Animal identity is a social construct. Watch this crow break free of our societal need to label things by sounding like a rooster. [http://huff.to/14s9NBy]
- Because you love Neil Patrick Harris, and because you love the magic of live theatre, here's NPH's opening segment from the Tony Awards. [http://bit.ly/13tewQB]
@ryanjreilly: SCOTUS has unanimously decided not to bury NSA news for the day.
@pourmecoffee: Editors: "@HillaryClinton's account is unlocked. I need 3 stories by 3 o'clock, wait make that ten stories by 10 o'clock!"
@FamousDC: DC Weather Warning: rain, flooding, tornadoes & those fireball things from Mario Bros 1 @usNWSgov
6:30 pm: Deb Fischer gets an assist from John Thune, who makes an appearance at the Nebraska senator's campaign function. [NRSC, 425 2nd Street NE]
8:30 am: Roy Blunt hosts a "High Tech issues breakfast" where he will
help fix everyone's wifi discuss matters of importance to the tech world and ask for its money. [1155 F St NW Suite 1025]
6:30 pm: Ron Johnson takes his benefactors to America's retirement party headquarters, Ruth's Chris Steakhouse. [724 9th Street NW]
6:30 pm: The National Confectioners Association, which we're 99 percent certain is Willy Wonka's K Street proxy, co-hosts a fundraiser for Tim Kaine. [DC Coast, 1401 K street NW]
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