POLITICS
08/11/2014 06:28 pm ET Updated Aug 11, 2014

HUFFPOST HILL - President Welcomes Potentially Less Incompetent Puppet

President Obama is monitoring the Iraq crisis from Martha’s Vineyard, consulting with the Joint Chiefs, top intelligence officials and a bunch of hedge fund managers named Clark in lobster-colored shorts. No winner has been called in Hawaii’s Democratic primary, but we assume it’ll be whomever gets to leave Washington for Hawaii. And Nancy Pelosi will judge desserts on a TLC cooking show, a program that will likely go smoother than that time Dick Cheney ate Buddy’s heart (tartare) on that very weird episode of “Cake Boss.” This is HUFFPOST HILL for Monday, August 11th, 2014:

FREEDOM CONTINUES TO TRICKLE-DOWN ON IRAQ- Glad we weren't stuck at these checkpoints. Statement from U.S. militants based in Tampa: "U.S. military forces continued to attack ISIL terrorists in Iraq today, successfully conducting airstrikes on four ISIL checkpoints and multiple ISIL vehicles near Sinjar Mountain in defense of internally displaced Yazidi civilians in the area. At approximately 1:10 p.m. EDT, U.S. fighter aircraft struck and destroyed an ISIL checkpoint southwest of Sinjar Mountain. At the same location, U.S. fighter aircraft struck an armed personnel carrier and an armed truck, destroying both. At approximately 2:05 p.m. EDT, U.S. fighter aircraft struck and destroyed an ISIL checkpoint south of the city of Sinjar. At the same location, U.S. aircraft struck an armed truck and a High-Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle," -- um, is that one of those white Toyotas? -- "destroying both. At approximately 3:30 p.m. EDT, U.S. fighter aircraft struck another ISIL checkpoint southeast of the city of Sinjar and damaged it. At approximately 4:30 p.m. EDT, U.S. fighter aircraft struck another ISIL checkpoint east of the Sinjar Mountain and destroyed it and an adjacent ISIL truck."

OBAMA DISCUSSES IRAQ CRISIS - "President Barack Obama spoke on the situation in Iraq on Monday, reiterating that 'there is no American military solution to the larger crisis in Iraq.' 'The only lasting solution is for Iraqis to come together and form an inclusive government,' Obama said, noting the U.S. has "stepped up military advice and assistance to Iraqi and Kurdish forces as they wage the fight against ISIL.' 'The United States stands ready to support a government that addresses the needs and grievances of all of the Iraqi people,' Obama said. 'We stand ready to partner with Iraq to fight against these terrorist forces,' Obama continued. On Thursday, Obama authorized U.S. airstrikes in northern Iraq. On Monday, senior U.S. officials said the Obama administration had begun directly providing weapons to Kurdish forces, according to the AP. Obama is currently on vacation in Martha's Vineyard. He's accompanied by national security adviser Susan Rice and deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes, who are briefing the president on Iraq as well as the situations in Gaza and Ukraine." [HuffPost]

LANNY DAVIS HAS JUST THE SOLUTION FOR AL-MALIKI - He's accustomed to helping pre-existing dictators but if al-Maliki wants to make the transition to despot Lanny is your man. Sam Stein: "Known as a crisis-relations maestro and unbending Clinton loyalist, Davis has also been oft ridiculed for representing despots and political strongmen. His clients included the government of Ivory Coast (then run by Laurent Gbagbo); Equatorial Guinea’s longtime dictator, Teodoro Obiang Nguema; and the Business Council of Latin America (CEAL), which was backing a coup in Honduras. (If you think that’s a reviled list, check out who Davis represents in the world of sports: Penn State University in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal; Alex Rodriguez during accusations of steroid abuse; and Washington football team owner Dan Snyder). Davis starts with the nub of the problem. The reason people like Maliki grip power more tightly, even as the turmoil engulfs them, Davis said, is that 'they go into denial.' He offers up Tiger Woods as an example of someone unwilling to face 'the reality of what you know is coming.' “In this case, Maliki is going to lose that office at some point," Davis said. "It may be now or six months from now. Does he want to wait or get in front of it? Most people instinctively go into denial. ‘I don’t need to face reality. I can work this out.’ Or they stay quiet. Why? Human nature. It is called pain avoidance. It is a human being's trait to procrastinate pain. So what would I do? I would say, ‘Would you rather have worse pain tomorrow or less pain today?' Maliki is enjoying his position and he thinks that if he postpones his decision, it would get better tomorrow.'" [HuffPost]

Eliot Spitzer appears to have joined twitter under @espitzer3

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RAND PAUL KEEPING QUIET ON IRAQ - Igor Bobic: "[T]here's one prominent member of Congress who hasn't had much to say at all about the airstrikes: Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.). The libertarian-leaning Republican, a potential 2016 presidential contender, has long been skeptical of entangling the U.S. in foreign affairs. He slammed the administration's decision to intervene in Muammar Gaddafi's Libya. He argued against the use of force in Bashar Assad's Syria. He even said he couldn't support committing additional troops to protect U.S. diplomatic facilities in Iraq. All of which has made Paul a prime target for members of his own party who argue that America cannot afford to isolate itself at a time of global turmoil. '[I]t’s disheartening to hear fellow Republicans, such as Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), suggest that our nation should ignore what’s happening in Iraq,' Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) wrote in July. Paul is "part of a wing of the party that has been there prior to World War I, that is a withdrawal to 'Fortress America,'" Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said on CNN. Re-engaging the nation's armed forces in Iraq for a fourth time even drew modest approval from other GOP would-be presidential candidates. Five prominent Republicans who have made moves toward a White House run — Perry, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania — gathered at a conservative summit in Ames, Iowa, on Saturday where they had plenty to say on the matter." [HuffPost]

SCHATZ IS GONNA BEAT HANABUSA IN HAWAII - This email will be our "Dewey Defeats Truman" if Hanabusa pulls it out, but she'd need quite a miracle. The remaining precincts are liberal territory, and as MoveOn noted, Hanabusa is "a terrible, conservative Democrat." Hawaii News Now: "A majority of the Puna residents who voted at the two remaining precincts in Puna's district 4 Saturday supported Schatz, with 739 votes or 55 percent compared to 45 percent of the 603 votes cast for Hanabusa. About 56 percent of the voters in those two precincts -- at Pahoa Community Center and Pahoa High and Intermediate School -- voted before Election Day, results released early Sunday showed. Hawaii News Now's analysis revealed Hanabusa will need to pick up about 65 percent of the remaining votes in those outstanding Puna precincts to beat Schatz. And she was not able to do that anywhere in the state, even in her old State Senate district along Oahu's Leeward Coast." [Amanda Terkel]
Mia Love is back: "Republican Mia Love has a 12-point lead over her Democratic challenger for Utah's 4th Congressional District, according to a poll released Monday. The poll, conducted by Dan Jones/Cicero Group for Zions Bank and UtahPolicy.com, has Love at 44 percent to the 32 percent held by lawyer Doug Owens (D), while 19 percent of those polled were undecided...Love, the former mayor of Saratoga Springs, Utah, lost her 2012 congressional bid to Rep. Jim Matheson (D-Utah). In May 2013, she announced that she would run again during the 2014 election cycle. Matheson announced his retirement at the end of last year." [HuffPost]

It's things like this that actually make us reconsider Victoria Jackson's election night "America died" declaration: "A Democratic House candidate who has consistently voiced opposition to super PAC spending that supports his opponent now has a super PAC of his own. Attorney Ro Khanna, a former trade official in President Barack Obama's administration, had asked Rep. Mike Honda (D-Calif.) in January to co-sign a 'people's pledge' to keep outside spending out of their race in California's 17th Congressional District. Yet a Khanna donor filed with the Federal Election Commission last week to form a new super PAC, Californians for Innovation, to back Khanna. Ash Chopra, a former Goldman Sachs employee who now works for Merrill Lynch, is listed as the super PAC's treasurer. Chopra and his wife each gave $2,600 to Khanna's campaign in 2013, before the primary election. He was also part of a host committee for a Khanna fundraiser." [HuffPost]

The Goldman Sachs treasurer really makes it poetry.

CHUCK TODD IN, DAVID GREGORY OUT AT 'MEET THE PRESS' - If it's Sunday, it's Lindsey Graham bloviating to an overly interested white guy about Benghazi. Jack Mirkinson: "Chuck Todd is set to replace David Gregory as the host of "Meet The Press," Politico's Mike Allen reported on Monday. Todd, NBC's political director and chief White House correspondent, has been viewed as the favorite to succeed Gregory, whose tenure has seen the venerable Sunday show sink to third place in the ratings. Allen said Gregory, who has hosted "MTP" since 2008, is likely to leave NBC. Gregory's term at the helm of the program has not been a happy one. He followed the legendary Tim Russert, whose shoes he was deemed never to have filled. Worse still, he has presided over the most dire ratings for "Meet The Press" in decades, as rivals "Face The Nation" and "This Week" surged ahead of him. The past few months have seen an avalanche of rumors about Gregory, all with the same conclusion: his time as host is quickly coming to an end. NBC has repeatedly claimed that Gregory is safe, even telling HuffPost's Michael Calderone it was "doubling down" on the host. It would appear that things have changed. The move would be a big boost for Todd, who is seen as a more devoted political junkie and who has embraced the social media age with more fervor than Gregory." [HuffPost]

Jason Linkins garnishes the news with a sprinkling of realness and several dollops of truth bombs: "The big problem is that 'Meet The Press' isn't participating in the modern, 21st-century news environment. If the show was participating in the same world as the rest of us, they'd recognize that the audience they want is well-versed in the stories of the week, and that they've already absorbed the talking points of the major players, availed themselves of a wealth of insight and expertise, and have even participated in their own discussions on current events. So when Sunday rolls around and 'Meet The Press indulges itself in its childlike devotion to starting over at the beginning, people think, 'Really, what's the use?'" [HuffPost]

The Paranoid Self-Loathing GOP Lobbyist is not pleased with the pick: "Chuck Todd's wife is a democratic political operative," writes the always paranoid PSLGOPL, who'd invest all his holdings in gold if it weren't an invention of the Bilderberg Group, "I'd rather have a Hispanic or Black person replace Gregory. I won't break my arm patting myself on the back until we break the rich white stranglehold on the Sunday shows. Together we can fight our domination of the industrial white boy media complex!" Thanks, PSLGOPL!

BROOKLYN WOOS DEMOCRATS - Something they really haven't had to do since forever. NYT: "Senator Charles E. Schumer, bragging on his home borough of Brooklyn, namechecked Big Daddy Kane and Lena Dunham. Bruce Ratner, the developer of the Barclays Center, invoked Jay-Z, a lesser investor in the arena (with a somewhat more elevated public profile). Then an entourage of tire-kickers from the Democratic National Committee were invited inside the arena to munch on local fare from Calexico and Junior’s. The city’s effort to bring the Democratic National Convention to the Barclays Center in 2016 — a bid that could help elevate Mayor Bill de Blasio’s national profile while infusing the party with a dash of Brooklyn cool — reached the pep rally stage on Monday, as convention officials were welcomed for a two-day tour. They were to cruise past the Statue of Liberty by water taxi and lick ice cream in Brooklyn Bridge Park, dine with the mayor and a cadre of Broadway stars at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and ride the B train from Rockefeller Center to highlight the city’s transit system." [NYT]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Here's a stubborn penguin.

NANCY D'ALESANDRO THE LATEST IN A LONG LINE OF PROUD BALTIMORE BAKERS - Jen Bendery: "House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is taking her obsession with chocolate to new heights this week by starring as a guest judge on TLC's 'Next Great Baker,' where she will decide which contestants' desserts are good enough to keep them from being eliminated from the show. Pelosi will appear on the show on Tuesday night. Hosted by Buddy Valastro, the episode will feature bakers competing to win over Pelosi with their baked treats, and for a chance to be featured in People magazine. 'As a fellow Italian American and a dark chocoholic, it was an honor to visit Buddy's cake factory and be a guest judge on Next Great Baker,' Pelosi said in a statement. 'It was a delicious experience.' The California Democrat has made no secret of her fanatical relationship with dark chocolate -- she keeps it stashed all over her Capitol Hill office and even credits it with helping to pass the Affordable Care Act." [HuffPost]

COMFORT FOOD

- Sean Bean doesn't know how to not die on camera, because that's all he does.

- Hypothetical covers of Harry Potter books set during the protagonist's middle age ("Harry Potter and the Financial Sorcery Needed to put Two Kids Through Hogwarts and Still Retire at 65").

- Strong man breaks world record, doesn't really want to talk about it.

- Eighteenth century novels had some truly strange titles.

- First promo for the upcoming "Breaking Bad" spin-off, " Better Call Saul."

- The ACLU ran some seriously trippy ads in the 1970s warning about government survillance.

- The sorcery behind nevermelting ice cream sandwiches.

TWITTERAMA

@clickhole: These unarmed teens are on the loose. If you see something, say something clickhole.com/r/731tsd pic.twitter.com/bQ5prxRGOG

@asmith83: I'd prefer @aterkel over @samsteinhp for Meet the Press, tbh.

@elisefoley: Yesterday I used the word “twitterverse” by accident AMA

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