James Gruber reminds us that you can't call Americans "stupid" unless it's on an internet comment board and preceded by the word "your." A member of Congress essentially accused Obamacare of killing her spouse, exhibiting the "Visceral hatred of center left political agendas" stage of the Kubler Ross grief model. And congressional negotiators' delays in announcing a bill to fund the government past Thursday reminded us of what a great man once said: "This sucker could go down." This is HUFFPOST HILL for Tuesday, December 9th, 2014:
WHERE IS THE CROMNIBUS? - Politico's @JakeSherman has been on top of the missing legislation to prevent a government shutdown this week: "It is nearly 5:20 p.m., and the government shuts down in 54 hours. We have not seen the omnibus or CR that will keep govt open past Dec. 11…. Rs hoped to release spending bill at various points within last 48 hours, but here we are, just 2 days from govt shutdown & no bill… All that being said, GOP aides are still very, very, very confident they’ll avoid a government shutdown." As of newsletter sendingtime, Sherman reports the cromnibus will appear by midnight.
WE TORTURED SOME FOLKS: REPORT - Ryan Grim and Ali Watkins: “The Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday released the highly anticipated 500-page summary of its report on the CIA’s post-9/11 torture program, providing a sobering glimpse into one of the darkest chapters in the U.S. government's history…The newly released document tears apart the CIA's past claims that only a small number of detainees were subjected to the harsh interrogation techniques. The agency has said it held fewer than 100 detainees and subjected fewer than one-third of those to controversial tactics such as waterboarding. But Senate investigators found that the CIA had actually kept 119 detainees in custody, 26 of whom were illegally held. And despite CIA insistence that the program was limited in scope, Senate investigators conclude that the use of torture was much more widespread than previously thought. The study reveals several gruesome instances of torture by mid-level CIA officers who participated in the program, including threats of sexual violence using a broomstick and the use of 'rectal hydration' in instances of harsh interrogations that lasted for days or weeks on end. And, contrary to the agency's prior insistence that only three detainees were subject to waterboarding, the Senate report suggests it was likely used on more detainees.”
Here are the most shocking passages from the report.
CIA RESPONDS TO REPORT - Ali Watkins: "You can tell the CIA that torturing people is immoral. You can accuse it of mismanaging the so-called 'enhanced interrogation' program it ran during the post-9/11 years, blame its high-level leadership for internal failures and even say its bungling of the operations diminished America’s international fcredibility. But there's one charge the CIA won’t accept: that torture didn't work. In a carefully worded, 136-page rebuttal to a damning Senate report, the CIA on Tuesday defended itself against congressional investigators’ charges that the use of "enhanced interrogation techniques" was ineffective. The agency claims that detainees who were subjected to the techniques did indeed provide valuable information. The CIA also argues it's simply impossible to know whether that intelligence could have been acquired through other means, because that's not how it was done.” [HuffPost]
Then-CIA director Michael Hayden was a huge liar in his 2007 congressional testimony.
RINO ALERT: “Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), the only member of the U.S. Senate who personally knows what it means to be tortured, on Tuesday strongly defended the Democratic-led Senate investigation into the CIA's post-9/11 interrogation program, saying the agency's activities ‘stained our national honor, did much harm, and little practical good.’ McCain, who was held captive by the North Vietnamese during the Vietnam War, delivered a careful, passionate denunciation of the actions taken by intelligence officials in the years following the 9/11 attacks. The senator declared that Americans have a right to know what was done in their name and in the name of protecting them.” [HuffPost’s Mike McAuliff]
Haircuts: Eric Holder
DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Congress used an old unemployment bill for its defense reauthorization, prompting some confusion among people noticing the unemployment reauthorizing text is still up on Congress.gov, looking like it's about to become law. It's not. Sorry, folks, nobody cares about that anymore on Capitol Hill.
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CLARENCE THOMAS MAKES UNHELPFUL SUGGESTION - Dave Jamieson: "On Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court came down unanimously against a group of temporary workers in Amazon warehouses. The workers were required to undergo mandatory, unpaid theft screenings once their shifts ended, and their case, Integrity Staffing Solutions v. Busk, focused on whether they should be compensated for that time…. Addressing the workers' arguments, the court's opinion, delivered by conservative Justice Clarence Thomas, included this curious line: 'These arguments are properly presented to the employer at the bargaining table … not to a court in an FLSA claim.' It's not clear whether the irony was intended. Amazon's U.S. warehouses, of course, are entirely non-union. Workers, therefore, have no bargaining table at which to sit, a fact noted Tuesday by the National Employment Law Project, an advocacy group for low-wage workers." [HuffPost]
CONGRESS TRYING TO KEEP HUFFPOST HILL FROM GETTING HIGH - Also the rest of Washington. WTF. With Matt Ferner: “Congress is looking to stifle the District of Columbia's marijuana legalization initiative, multiple sources have told The Huffington Post. According to those sources, congressional negotiators have struck a deal to interfere with D.C.'s marijuana legalization measure. That's after nearly 70 percent of voters in the nation's capital approved Initiative 71, which was set to legalize possession of small amounts of marijuana for personal use while still banning sales….One congressional source said the deal would actually allow the initiative to take effect, while preventing the D.C. Council from passing any new laws to set up a scheme for regulating retail sales of marijuana -- something D.C. Mayor-elect Muriel Bowser (D) has said she wanted the council to do before legalization takes effect.” [HuffPost]
Harry Reid doesn’t care about our high, either (woe is Jim Manley): “Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) conceded on Tuesday that Democrats probably won't be able to stop Republicans from blocking marijuana legalization in the District of Columbia. ‘I'm opposed to what the House is trying to do. If they put it in there, it's going to be hard to take it out over here,’ Reid said, referring to parallel House and Senate versions of a spending bill. ‘But I oppose it.’” [HuffPost]
Bad brand building, bro: “Economist Jonathan Gruber testified before the House Oversight Committee Tuesday morning, where he apologized for saying that the ‘stupidity of the American voter’ helped pass the Affordable Care Act. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor also denied the notion that he was the ‘architect’ of the law. ‘In some cases I made uninformed and glib comments about the political process behind health care reform,’ Gruber said in his opening statement. ‘I am not an expert on politics and my tone implied that I was, which is wrong. In other cases I simply made insulting and mean comments that are totally uncalled for in any situation. I sincerely apologize both for conjecturing with a tone of expertise and for doing so in such a disparaging fashion.’ ‘I did not draft Gov. [Mitt] Romney’s health care plan, and I was not the 'architect' of President Obama's health care plan,’ Gruber added, referring to his past consulting work on both the Massachusetts health care law and the Affordable Care Act.” [HuffPost’s Igor Bobic]
CONGRESSWOMAN: PRESIDENT OBAMA KILLED MY HUSBAND - “Rep. Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.) suggested Tuesday that had her husband not encountered difficulties enrolling in health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, he might still be alive today. Alvin Wiederspahn, a former Democratic member of the Wyoming state House, died in October of a heart attack in his sleep. He was 65. Lummis recounted the experience to Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Administrator Marilyn B. Tavenner, who was called to testify before the House Oversight Committee on transparency issues regarding the Affordable Care Act. The Wyoming Republican said that even though her husband was enrolled for insurance in the D.C. health insurance exchange, ‘when we filed claims, we were told we were not enrolled in Obamacare.’ The couple filed claims once more, Lummis said, and once again they were told they were not enrolled. ‘My husband was having chest pains at the time that he was told we were not enrolled in Obamacare, and come to find out, he didn't have all of the tests that he was advised by his physician to have,’ said Lummis. ‘So on October 24, a week before the election, my husband went to sleep and never woke up.’ Lummis said that her husband had chosen to forgo a test prescribed by his doctor -- a decision, she said, that was partly due to the confusion over his enrollment status.” [HuffPost]
AMERICANS DISAGREE WITH GARNER VERDICT: POLL - Ariel Edwards-Levy: “Most Americans disapprove of a Staten Island grand jury's decision not to charge NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo in the death of Eric Garner, a black man who died after Pantaleo placed him a chokehold, new polling finds. The polling also suggests that opinions about the case are less divided along racial lines than those inspired by the case in Ferguson, Missouri. In a new HuffPost/YouGov poll, just 27 percent support the decision not to indict Pantaleo, while 56 percent oppose it, and another 16 percent are unsure. By a 15-point margin, Americans say it should be illegal for police officers to use chokeholds. While the New York Police Department has officially prohibited chokeholds since 1993, their use is not currently illegal. A bill introduced by New York City Councilman Rory Lancman would make them a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year's imprisonment and a $2,500 fine. Two-thirds of Americans said they'd followed the Garner case at least somewhat closely, and nearly as many -- 64 percent -- said they'd seen the cellphone video footage that showed Garner gasping "I can't breathe" while in a chokehold.” [HuffPost]
BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Here is a dog who can’t sing.
- The history of web design, in GIFs
- Learn about the historical popularity of your name.
- Real life actor injuriesthat made it into the movies.
@pourmecoffee: Dick Cheney angrily reading torture report, breathing labored, "Bring me six newborn babies and a lamb, and close the door to my chamber."
@boring_as_heck: Have you guys seen the CIA's funny tweets
@nickbaumann: Authorization for the Use of Military Force Wherever I Damn Well Feel Like It (AUMFWIDWFLI)
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