POLITICS
12/05/2016 06:10 pm ET

HUFFPOST HILL - HUD Secretary Ben Carson, Handing Out Slips Of Paper That Just Say "zillow"

Gary Cameron / Reuters

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We look forward to Ben Carson’s tenure as HUD secretary and all the times he’ll accost people living in boxes and tell them that “if you give a man a fish…” Mitch McConnell may attach Jim Mattis’ civilian/military waiver to the NDAA, but no one is taking our suggestion to call it the Rubicon Rider. And a fake news story about Comet Ping Pong got real scary this weekend when an armed wingnut entered the pizza place. Presumably he missed that AllNewsSoTrue.us item about the Protocols of the Elders of Zion being written on the patio of 2Amys. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Monday, December 5th, 

THE LATEST FROM TRUMP’S SECRETARY OF STATE PAGEANT - Major Garrett: “The ‘serious’ names on the list remain former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, 2012 GOP nominee and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former CIA Director Gen. David Petraeus (ret.). Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tennessee, is in the mix, too, but he’s on the outer edges of intense consideration. But even that list is subject to alterations. The most interesting development in the State merry-go-round is the re-emergence of former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton. Sources close to the transition tell me Bolton – initially boxed out of consideration – has moved back into contention due to his foreign policy experience, his pro-Trump advocacy during the campaign and his sharp-elbows approach to diplomacy. Bolton has always had supporters on the transition team and up-and-downs that have befallen Giuliani, Romney and Petraeus have given him new life and a possible opening, the sources said.” [CBS News]

LOL BEN CARSON - We can’t wait for his confirmation hearing, and his prepared statement which will surely just be a framed inspirational poster that he’ll hold up and read from. Alana Horowitz Satlin: “President-elect Donald Trump is nominating Ben Carson, a retired neurosurgeon who has never held public office, as his secretary of housing and urban development. In a statement released Monday, Trump called Carson a ‘distinguished national leader’ with a ‘brilliant mind.’ … As HUD chief, Carson would be tasked with setting housing policies for the Trump administration, including access to affordable housing and community development. Carson’s comments on certain anti-discrimination policies ― he has called one plan a ‘mandated social-engineering scheme’ ― are likely to worry some fair housing advocates” [HuffPost]

Rep. Ted Lieu’s statement on Carson: “Remember the famous commercial where a man is flying a helicopter and reveals he’s not a pilot but he did ‘stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night’? Trump’s nomination of Dr. Ben Carson to lead HUD reminds me of that commercial. Do you have any experience running a large federal agency or knowledge of housing and urban development?’ ‘No, but I stayed at a Holiday Inn Express last night.’” [HuffPost’s Jennifer Bendery]

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HISTORY’S BRUNCHIEST COUPLE FIND THEIR NATURAL HOME - Then there’s also all that deep conflict of interest stuff. David Wright: “Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner, are house hunting in Washington as they look to move from New York City to D.C., CNN has learned. The couple’s planned move with their three children reflects the expectation that Kushner will serve as an adviser to President-elect Donald Trump in some capacity, though the precise role ― potentially complicated by nepotism laws ― remains to be seen…. [T]he president-elect has signaled that he may look to put his adult children in charge of managing his sprawling business empire while he serves as president. Trump is planning a December 15 news conference to provide details about his plan for his businesses. Still, such a plan ― which the Trump team has portrayed as a ‘blind trust’ ― would do little to preclude conflicts of interest from arising, since Trump insists he will maintain close contact with his kids while they manage the family’s international network of business interests, even as he steers US foreign policy.” [CNN]

SNEAKY, SNEAKY, SNEAKY - Kelsey Snell, Karoun Demirjian and Ed O’Keefe: “Republican leaders in the House and Senate are considering adding a measure to the upcoming year-end spending bill that would make it easier for retired Gen. James Mattis to be confirmed next year as Donald Trump’s secretary of defense. Mattis needs an act of Congress to make him eligible to lead the Pentagon because under the law the defense secretary has to be a civilian for at least seven years before taking office…. The measure currently under consideration would allow Republicans to potentially avoid a showdown with Democrats when Mattis’s nomination comes up for a vote next year, according to several senior House and Senate aides, by essentially dispensing with the waiver issue this month. No final decisions have been made, but on Monday, lawmakers floated adding the measure to the spending bill, the aides said. The waiver being considered would only apply to Mattis and would not change the overall law.” [WashPost]

MCCARTHY THROWS WATER ON TRUMP’S TARIFF TALK - This is really going to hurt his chances of nabbing a selfie with Scott Baio. Matt Fuller: “If President-elect Donald Trump thinks he’s going to impose a 35 percent tariff on companies importing goods, he might want to check with Republicans in Congress. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) suggested Monday that Republicans would not be in favor of imposing the 35 percent tariff on foreign goods that Trump proposed Sunday in a series of tweets…. ‘I don’t want to get into some sort of trade war,’ McCarthy said, still downplaying the policy differences between Trump and congressional Republicans…. [T]he majority leader said Republicans were intent on overhauling the corporate tax code so that businesses would stay in the United States. ‘That’s the best way to solve this problem,’ McCarthy said. But he also made it clear that he doesn’t believe high tariffs are the best way to keep or create jobs in the United States. ‘I think history has taught us that trade wars are not healthy,’ he said.” [HuffPost]

@mkraju: No Dems and just three Republicans on the Senate floor listening to David Vitter’s farewell address

MICHAEL FLYNN HAS BATS IN THE BELFRY - Only a matter of time before this loon convinces Trump to bomb, like, Costa Rica because he misread something on InfoNewsReport.xu. Matthew Rosenberg: “Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn, President-elect Donald J. Trump’s choice for national security adviser, has a well-established penchant for pushing conspiracy theories about Islamic law spreading in the West and the attack on the American diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya. Less well noticed was his willingness throughout the presidential campaign to indulge in conspiracy theories about Hillary Clinton. Six days before the election, Mr. Flynn, the former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, tweeted a fake news story that claimed the police and prosecutors in New York had found evidence linking Mrs. Clinton and much of her senior campaign staff to pedophilia, money laundering, perjury and other felonies. ‘U decide,’ Mr. Flynn wrote in the Twitter message on Nov. 2, though it appeared there was little doubt what he thought.” [NYT]

 Flynn’s son ― who works on Trump’s transition team ― is no better.

TRUMP SUPPORTERS’ HANDS FIRMLY CUPPED AROUND EARS - Can someone please record James Earl Jones saying, “This... Is NewsForYou.biz” Ariel Edwards-Levy: “More than four in 10 Americans, according to a new HuffPost/YouGov survey, agree with Trump that he’s faced unduly negative coverage. A similar percentage, though, say Trump’s behavior toward the media has been unacceptable as well. A 41 percent plurality of Americans think media coverage of Trump has been generally too negative, with 17 percent saying it’s been too positive and 23 percent that it’s been about right. But many are also uncomfortable with the way Trump has interacted with the press. Forty-three percent say the way Trump treats journalists is unacceptable, while just 33 percent think he treats them in an acceptable way…. A 56 percent majority of Trump voters say that if a national media outlet reported that Trump said something untrue, they would be more inclined to believe him than the news outlet. Just 2 percent say they’d believe the media, with another 38 percent saying it depends on what the story is.” [HuffPost]

RYAN: OBAMACARE REPEAL IS VITAL AND ALSO SOMEHOW WON’T CHANGE ANYTHING - Straight making up things worked so well for Trump, Ryan’s decided to test it out. Craig Gilbert: “House Speaker Paul Ryan said Monday he envisions an extended transition from Obamacare that ensures ‘no one is worse off’ after Congress votes to repeal the program…. Ryan said there will be an early repeal vote next year, but after that, ‘clearly there will be a transition and a bridge so that no one is left out in the cold, so that no one is worse off. The purpose here is to bring relief to people who are suffering from Obamacare so that they can get something better.’ Some Republicans have suggested it would take years to perform the complex process of phasing out and replacing the health care law. Critics and some analysts have predicted that a GOP strategy of quickly voting to repeal the program but delaying its effective end date would create chaos and disruption for the people currently in it.” [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel]

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) is spouting the same nonsense, so get used to hearing it and seeing liberals go apoplectic.

THE NORTH CAROLINA GUBERNATORIAL RACE IS OVER AT LAST - Rest easy, Al Franken and Norm Coleman: Your 2008 recount remains the most insufferably lengthy one of all time. Julia Craven: “North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory (R) finally conceded the state’s gubernatorial race to state Attorney General Roy Cooper (D) on Monday…. McCrory, who is the first sitting governor to lose re-election in North Carolina, has been fighting to remain in the state’s highest office since election night. Cooper declared victory over McCrory on Nov. 9 following a tight race. But McCrory refused to concede, saying the race was too close to call with Cooper up by slightly more than 4,300 votes.” [HuffPost]

GORE MEETS TRUMP - An historic summit between the man who invented the internet and the man who ruined it. Igor Bobic: “President-elect Donald Trump and his daughter Ivanka Trump met with former Vice President Al Gore on Monday to discuss ‘climate issues,’ the Trump transition team said. The transition team initially announced that Gore was to meet only with Ivanka Trump at Trump Tower in Manhattan. After the meeting, Gore disclosed he had also met with the president-elect, describing the conversation as ‘very productive’ and a ‘sincere search for areas of common ground.’ ‘I had a meeting beforehand with Ivanka Trump,’ Gore said, according to a transition pool report. ‘The bulk of the time was with the president-elect, Donald Trump. I found it an extremely interesting conversation, and to be continued, and I’m just going to leave it at that.’” [HuffPost] 

PLAN AFOOT TO INSTALL PEOPLE’S’ CHOICE JOHN KASICH AS PRESIDENT - Hillary Clinton just can’t get into the White House no matter how crazy things become. Kyle Cheney and Gabriel DeBenedetti: “Advocates of the long-shot bid to turn the Electoral College against Donald Trump have been in contact with close allies of Hillary Clinton, according to multiple sources familiar with the discussions, but the Clinton camp — and Clinton herself — have declined to weigh in on the merits of the plan…. The Democratic electors have already revealed that they’re close to a consensus pick for whom they will vote: Ohio Gov. John Kasich.” [Politico]

NATIONAL ANTHEM TO BE REPLACED BY NONSTOP COUGHING FITS - Evan Halper: “When an obscure nonprofit group attacked one of California’s signature green-energy projects this summer — warning a congressional panel that the embrace of solar energy would lead to crippling hikes in electricity bills — officials in the state shrugged off the testimony as noise from the fringe. With Donald Trump’s election, however, that group, the Institute for Energy Research, has moved suddenly from the fringe to the center of power. The president-elect has sent the group’s president, a former Koch Industries lobbyist named Thomas Pyle, to the Energy Department to take charge of its transition. For years, Pyle has led a coordinated national assault on renewable power. His groups and others that belong to the sprawling network bankrolled by Charles and David Koch, whose vast fortune stems originally from oil refining, pressure lawmakers to roll back policies that promote green power. The Koch network gave Pyle’s groups $3 million in 2015.” [LA Times]

BECAUSE YOU’VE READ THIS FAR - Here’s a dog being lulled to sleep with a song.

27 WAYS YOUR SOVEREIGN FUND SHOULD TOTALLY CONSIDER MORE HIGH-YIELD FIXED-INCOME INSTRUMENTS - BRB selling Comfort Food to Bridgewater Associates. Sarah Krouse: “BlackRock Inc. has hired a new global chief marketing officer from digital media company BuzzFeed as the world’s largest money manager works to bolster its business from individual investors. Frank Cooper, who spent the last 18 months as chief marketing officer and chief creative officer at BuzzFeed, plans to join the New York asset manager in January, according to an internal memo seen by The Wall Street Journal.” [WSJ]

COMFORT FOOD

- Scenes from the artistic bicycle championship.

- A dramatic enacting of “Bohemian Rhapsody.”

TWITTERAMA

@NYTMinusContext: Set your meetings, phone calls and emails aside, at least for the next several minutes. That’s because today you’re a bee 

@arthurdelaneyhp: Just wait till people find out Donald Trump is a birther who says vaccines cause autism.

@timothypmurphy: The president-elect literally said that President Obama’s real name was “Barry Soweto.”

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