Rand Paul was accosted by immigrant activists but didn’t do the manly thing and stare down and mutter into his food like John Boehner did. Andrew Cuomo is being challenged by “Zephyr Teachout,” which is almost as ridiculous as “Carl Paladino.” And Ron Johnson is still trying to get a court to take away his own staff's health insurance, making “Awkward signed photo of member with departing staffer “ his office’s second-worst perk. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Tuesday, August 5th, 2014:
OBAMA READYING EXECUTIVE ACTION ON TAX OFFSHORING - AP: "Aiming to sidestep a logjam in Congress, the Obama administration is looking for steps it could take on its own to prevent American companies from reincorporating overseas to shirk U.S. taxes, officials said Tuesday. President Barack Obama has denounced so-called 'tax inversions' as unpatriotic and has urged Congress to stop them, in an election-year push that Democrats hope will appeal to middle-class voters who feel corporate America isn't paying its fair share. Republicans and Democrats disagree about the best solution, rendering congressional action this year unlikely. But tinkering with inversion without going through Congress would open up Obama to charges he's unilaterally rewriting the tax code, just as House Republicans are already suing Obama for allegedly exceeding his authorities. Last month, Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew said the administration had already examined its options and determined it didn't have the authority to address inversions administratively. "If we did, we would be doing more," Lew said." [AP]
Ron Johnson will not give up his fight against health insurance for congressional staffers, Niels Lesniewski reports.
STEVE KING GOES NUTS - Or should we say cantaloupes? Paige Lavender: "Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) had a tense confrontation with two Dreamers in Iowa that was captured on video and posted to YouTube on Monday. The video's description identifies the pair as Erika Andiola and Cesar Vargas. In the video, Andiola approaches King and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), telling them she's a Dreamer who's originally from Mexico but was raised in the United States and is a graduate of Arizona State University. (Paul quickly got up and left.).... DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, exempts many undocumented immigrants who arrived as children from deportation for a renewable two-year period and allows them to work in the United States. King voted on Friday for a bill that would end the program. 'I just don't understand why you've been wanting to do that,' Andiola says to King, who then stands up to confront the woman. 'You're very good at English,' King says as he grabs Andiola's hand. 'You know what I'm saying.' 'I was raised in the United States,' Andiola replies. 'Right, so you can understand the English language,' King replies." [HuffPost]
RAND PAUL DINES & DASHES - Check out these hilarious gifs of Rand Paul sensing danger and then getting the hell out of there with his mouth still full of hamburger. Pundits disagree whether Paul's swift exit most resembled "Brave Sir Robin Ran Away" or George Costanza screaming "FIRE" while shoving grandmas and youngsters out of his way.
Igor Bobic has a helpful rundown of Rand Paul's many flip-flops over the past year or so. Thanks, Igor!
DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - The credit rating people at Standard & Poor's endorse the idea that income inequality is hurting overall economic growth. [womp womp]
The PCCC is endorsing Zephyr Teachout over Andrew Cuomo in the New York governor's race, because his week can't get any worse. This makes PCCC the first national progressive organization to publicly break with Cuomo. Also, "Zephyr Teachout."
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TEA PARTY 'CHARITY' TURNS OUT TO BE A SCAM - The IRS should look into this sort of thing. Kim Barker: "Move America Forward calls itself the nation's 'largest grassroots pro-troop organization,' and has recruited a bevy of Republican luminaries, including former Presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush and former Vice President Dick Cheney, to support its efforts. Yet an examination of its fundraising appeals, tax records and other documents shows that Move America Forward has repeatedly misled donors and inflated its charitable accomplishments, while funneling millions of dollars in revenue to the men behind the group and their political consulting firms." [ProPublica]
INTELLIGENCE AGENCY STOLE SCOOP, GAVE IT TO AP - @AP: The AP is looking for intelligence agencies with dubious media relations practices. Grim: "The Associated Press dropped a significant scoop on Tuesday afternoon, reporting that in the last several years the U.S. government's terrorism watch list has doubled. A few minutes after the AP story, then consisting of three paragraphs, was posted at 12:32 p.m., The Intercept published a much more comprehensive article....The government, it turned out, had 'spoiled the scoop,' an informally forbidden practice in the world of journalism. To spoil a scoop, the subject of a story, when asked for comment, tips off a different, typically friendlier outlet in the hopes of diminishing the attention the first outlet would have received. Tuesday's AP story was much friendlier to the government's position, explaining the surge of individuals added to the watch list as an ongoing response to a foiled terror plot. The practice of spoiling a scoop is frowned upon because it destroys trust between the journalist and the subject. In the future, the journalist is much less willing to share the contents of his or her reporting with that subject, which means the subject is given less time, or no time at all, to respond with concerns about the reporting....After the AP story ran, The Intercept requested a conference call with the National Counterterrorism Center. A source with knowledge of the call said that the government agency admitted having fed the story to the AP, but didn't think the reporter would publish before The Intercept did. "That was our bad," the official said." [HuffPost]
IMPEACHMENT FURTHER DISCUSSED BY REPUBLICANS - Andrew Kaczynski: "Republican Rep. Walter Jones thinks Speaker John Boehner’s lawsuit is a waste of taxpayer money — he says the impeachment of President Obama would be a better option. 'I am one that believes sincerely that the Constitution says that when a president, be it a Republican or a Democrat exceeds his authority and you can’t stop the president from exceeding his authority, then we do have what’s called impeachment,' Jones said on the Talk of the Town radio program Monday." [BuzzFeed]
IMPEACHMENT BONUS! "Texas Republican Rep. Bill Flores thinks that 'a fair number of people' in the House of Representatives would be willing to vote to impeach President Obama, but that such a vote would be meaningless because it would fail in the Senate and hurt House Republicans politically." [BuzzFeed]
THIS SIMPLE LIFEHACK WILL HELP YOU FIX OBAMACARE IN JUST A FEW WORDS - Jeff Young stumbles upon the next generation of politics: Upworthy legislating: "Among other things, the [lawsuits against Obamacare] contend the precise phrasing of the Affordable Care Act means that low- and moderate-income health insurance consumers in most states can't receive subsidies to make coverage more affordable. Lawmakers could end that threat any time by changing the law's wording to make it clear subsidies are available nationwide. But in today's take-no-prisoners Congress, Republicans won't let it happen and Democrats won't even try...It's a sign not just of the unruly politics of President Barack Obama's health care reform law, but of the dysfunction that has taken root in a national legislature that used to routinely pass so-called technical corrections bills to clear up legislative ambiguity and assert Congress' authority...Even confined to health care, there are numerous examples of Congress addressing problems in laws already enacted. Medicare itself has underdone many changes since 1965. The 2003 Medicare drug benefit law has been amended. The Balanced Budget Act of 1997 was followed by the Balanced Budget Refinement Act of 1999. And that's not including the countless small corrections to legislative errors that become part of larger bills." [HuffPost]
MITCH MCCONNELL LOVES WOMEN - Jen Bendery: "Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) unveiled a new campaign ad on Tuesday that gives an incredibly misleading account of his record on the Violence Against Women Act, a bill he has voted against repeatedly -- most recently opposing it over its expanded protections for victims of domestic abuse. In the ad, called 'As If,' McConnell's wife defends his record on women's issues against 'desperate' attacks from his Democratic challenger, Alison Lundergan Grimes. A narrator's voice says McConnell co-sponsored the original VAWA and has 'always supported its purpose.' In fact, the narrator says, McConnell voted for 'even stronger protections' than President Barack Obama advocated, though it's unclear which protections that refers to. But the ad only tells a small piece of the story. McConnell did co-sponsor the original bill in 1991, which never got a vote, but he pulled his sponsorship when it came up again in 1993 and voted against the version that became law in 1994. More recently, McConnell voted against reauthorizing VAWA in 2012 and then again in 2013. Instead, he pushed for a scaled-back GOP version of the legislation that left out protections for LGBT, Native American and undocumented immigrant victims of domestic abuse. Democrats ultimately prevailed, winning over other Republicans to back the broader bill." [HuffPost]
RECORD NUMBER OF AMERICANS WANT BUMS THROWN OUT, INCLUDING THEIR BUMS - Congress and reality television seem to be the two things Americans hate the most yet can't seem to get enough of. Ariel Edwards-Levy: "Most Americans aren't going to miss Congress while it's on summer break. A majority 51 percent of Americans disapprove of their own congressional representative, according to a Washington Post/ABC News poll released Tuesday. That's the first time in the quarter-century history of the poll that the disapproval rating has risen above 50 percent, outstripping even the 47 percent who disapproved during last year's government shutdown. Terrible ratings for Congress, which has an average approval rating of under 12 percent, are nothing new (a recent survey asking Americans how they'd fix Congress prompted such helpful suggestions as 'lock them in a room together until they get along' and 'well placed dynamite'). In the past, though, Americans have tended to feel more warmly toward their own district's representative than toward the legislative branch as a whole. Lately, however, that number too has taken a dive in national polling. That still doesn't mean that most incumbents' jobs are at risk. In the June before Republicans took back the House in 2010, 40 percent of Americans told Gallup their representative didn't deserve to be re-elected, yet 85 percent of members seeking re-election held onto their seats anyhow." [HuffPost]
BARNEY FRANK AT ODD WITH GAY RIGHTS ESTABLISHMENT - Though this is a very serious matter, we could easily foresee Frank transitioning into retirement as the LGBT community's Andy Rooney. Amanda Terkel: "Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) rebuked the gay rights groups opposing a bill that would ban workplace discrimination on the basis on sexual orientation and gender identity, calling their strategy 'ridiculous.' A handful of groups said last month that they no longer back the Senate-passed version of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act because of its sweeping religious exemption, which would allow religiously affiliated businesses to fire someone for being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. The provision's language goes far beyond religious exemptions afforded under the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which banned discrimination on the basis of race, gender, religion or national origin. 'There is an element in my community that insists on being the cutting edge, and they are determined never to be for anything that could pass because that means that they are stodgy. I mean this quite literally,' the openly gay former congressman said in an interview with The Huffington Post. "The goalposts have not just been moved, they have been propelled at atomic speed. The arguments are ridiculous." [HuffPost]
BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Here's a baby enjoying Katy Perry.
WAR ON WHITES ENTERS SECOND DAY - Sam Levine: "Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) stood by his recent remarks that white people are the ones who are truly suffering in America, arguing Tuesday that it's currently legal to discriminate against Caucasians. In an interview on The Laura Ingraham Show Monday, Brooks accused Democrats of turning minority voters against Republicans. 'This is a part of the war on whites that’s being launched by the Democratic Party. And the way in which they’re launching this war is by claiming that whites hate everybody else,' he said….Despite receiving a significant amount of blowback Monday afternoon, Brooks stood by his comments Tuesday in an interview with USA Today. 'It is repugnant for Democrats time after time after time to resort to cries of racism to divide Americans and drive up voter turn out,' Brooks said. “That is exactly what they are doing in order to drive up their vote and they are doing it when there is no racial discrimination involved.'" [HuffPost]
"[I]f you look at current federal law, there is only one skin color that you can lawfully discriminate against. That’s Caucasians -- whites," he added.
- How to make killer pancakes. [http://bit.ly/UZnNkN]
- Russian man commands a flock of ducks. [http://bit.ly/1npctW5]
- A retro video of a rich cat and its owner explaining the history of cats. [http://bit.ly/1tT5hdk]
- Footage of a simulated shark attack will probably spoil your coming beach vacation. [http://uproxx.it/1srMiUZ]
- Child's food bracket brings clarity to the ongoing "pooh versus McDonald's" debate. [http://huff.to/1ujv4Zl]
- Clickholes' feature on Whysk, an app that locates nearby monks who will carry you to your destination. [http://bit.ly/1o73Q8Q]
- Existential dog is filled with ennui. [http://huff.to/1pWo9kU]
@elisefoley: “…the myth that women buy shoes for men. They buy them for other women…” - tuned into The Five for a sec
@igorbobic: not all white men
@NickBaumann: Turn up your Dowd/Another round of Plotz
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