POLITICS
04/13/2017 05:57 pm ET

Big Bomb Go Boom, All Hail Bomb

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The military dropped its largest, non-nuclear bomb on a suspected ISIS target, or, as the president called it, “this tiramisu is fantastic.” In yet another example of Ivanka Trump’s influential feminism, President Trump signed a bill threatening Planned Parenthood funding. And Trump continued his alleged centrist realignment, meaning we’re only months away from Bob Woodward inking a deal to write an insufferably sycophantic tick-tock about the president’s first year. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Thursday, April 13th, 2017:

TRUMP REALLY INTO BOMBING THINGS NOW - Thomas Gibbons-Neff and Erin Cunningham: “U.S. forces in Afghanistan dropped a 22,000-pound bomb on Islamic State forces in eastern Afghanistan Thursday, the Pentagon announced in a statement. Gen. John W. Nicholson, the commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, said the bomb was ‘the right munition’ to use against the Islamic State because of the group’s use of roadside bombs, bunkers and tunnels. It is the first time the bomb, called a GBU-43, has ever been used in combat. The GBU-43 is one of the largest airdropped munitions in the U.S. military’s inventory and was almost used during the opening salvos of the Iraq War in 2003. By comparison, U.S. aircraft commonly drop bombs that weigh between 250 to 2,000 pounds.” [WaPo]

Friendly reminder that bombs kill people: “An airstrike by the American-led coalition fighting the Islamic State killed 18 Syrian fighters allied with the United States, the military said on Thursday. The strike, on Tuesday in Tabqah, Syria, was the third time in a month that American-led airstrikes may have killed civilians or allies, and it comes even as the Pentagon is investigating two previous airstrikes that killed or wounded scores of civilians in a mosque complex in Syria and in a building in the west of Mosul, Iraq.” [NYT’s Helene Cooper]

Roger Stone is trying to keep the “Ted Cruz’s dad helped kill JFK” rumor alive.

OH, HEY, HERE’S SOMETHING THE PRESIDENT HASN’T FLIPPED ON - Just kidding, he also flipped on this. Also, we can only assume this will bring coal jobs back to central Pennsylvania, somehow. Laura Bassett: “President Donald Trump signed a resolution on Thursday that will allow states to withhold Title X family planning funds from Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers. The resolution overturns a Health and Human Services rule enacted by the Obama administration last year that prevents states from defunding Planned Parenthood or other health providers for any reason other than the provider’s lack of ‘ability to deliver services to program beneficiaries in an effective manner.’ Now, states can withhold federal family planning grants from providers because they offer abortion, even though the longstanding Hyde Amendment prevents any federal money from being used to pay for abortion.” [HuffPost]

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DEMS LOOKING TO PROTECT KEY OBAMACARE ITEM IN SPENDING BILL - Jennifer Haberkorn and Sarah Ferris: “Democrats say they will make funding for a key Obamacare program a top priority in the next spending bill after President Donald Trump on Wednesday threatened to stop it, raising the possibility of a government shutdown threat over the health care law. Trump said he hasn’t decided whether to fund the Obamacare cost-sharing program, which helps low-income Americans pay their health care co-pays and deductibles. In a Wall Street Journal interview Wednesday, he suggested that the funding for the program — called cost-sharing reductions — should be used as leverage to bring Democrats to the table on health care.” [Politico]

I’M NOT CHANGING, *YOU’RE* CHANGING - Sean Spicer, apparently taking a break from skimming “The Diary of Anne Frank,” spoke to the press about President Trump’s 5,000,000 flip-flops this week. Amanda Terkel: “President Donald Trump has reversed his position on at least six major issues this week, giving up pledges he made on the campaign trail and repeatedly touted to his base. But according to White House press secretary Sean Spicer, it’s not that Trump has shifted his views ― it’s that the world has shifted to Trump’s views. ‘If you look at what’s happened ― it’s those entities or individuals in some cases ―or issues ― evolving toward the president’s position,’ Spicer said Thursday in his press briefing.” [HuffPost]

UNQUALIFIED PERSON LANDS JOB IN TRUMP ADMINISTRATION - Christina Wilkie: “President Donald Trump quietly announced his intention to nominate former Washington state senator Don Benton (R) to be director of the Selective Service System, which operates the nation’s military draft…. Benton had originally been expected to fill a top position at the Environmental Protection Agency...This was before Benton began to infuriate his boss, the newly confirmed EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. Benton’s habit of interrupting policy discussions to make bizarre comments became so maddening, according to The Washington Post, that senior staff began keeping him out of policy meetings…. Trump’s solution was to give Benton oversight of the military draft. If he is confirmed by the Senate, Benton, who is a sales consultant by trade, will become the first director in the history of the Selective Service who has not served in any branch of the military…. [A] wide-ranging HuffPost review of public records, past interviews, marketing materials, biographies and corporate disclosures reveals that Benton’s career has been marked by lawsuits, ethics problems, public feuds and allegations of cronyism.” [HuffPost]

Our favorite part: “In 2014, he accused a fellow senator of behaving like ‘a trashy, trampy-mouthed little girl.’ The senator also said that Benton followed her around the Senate floor yelling, ‘You are weird and…weird! Weird, weird, weird. Just so weird!’” [Ibid.]

ABOUT TRUMP’S CENTRIST PIVOT… Saying Trump’s policies will be less extremist is like saying TGI Friday’s menu will be healthier because the warm pretzels will be served with one less ounce of beer-cheese sauce. Paul Blumenthal: “No matter what Bannon’s fate, however, his strand of ethno-nationalism will live on in the Trump Justice Department under Attorney General Jeff Sessions. The 70-year-old former Alabama senator has already set the Justice Department on a new path by targeting immigrants, reining in police department reform efforts and curtailing efforts to protect voting rights…. Bannon and Sessions share a long history of mutual support and policy agreement. They spent months together with Stephen Miller, a former Sessions aide who now works in the White House, plotting strategy on how to enact their shared agenda of limiting immigration to the U.S. in order to maintain a European and Christian identity.” [HuffPost]

Sooooooo, Dana Rohrabacher definitely caused an international incident in Spain.

REPUBLICAN CONGRESSMAN STILL COMING TO TERMS WITH CAUSALITY - Also, aren’t you legally required to live on a survivalist compound if your name is Markwayne Mullin? Nikita Vladimrov: “Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.) faced off with constituents at a town hall this week, telling the members of the audience that they don’t pay his salary. ‘You say you pay for me to do this? That’s bullcrap,’ Mullin said at the town hall in Jay, Okla., according to a video of the incident. ‘I pay for myself. I paid enough taxes before I got here and continue to through my company to pay my own salary. This is a service. No one here pays me to go,’ he added. After constituents pushed back, Mullin reiterated that being a lawmaker is not ‘how I make my living.’” [The Hill]

Town hall bummers abound. “When House Republicans returned home this week for a long Easter recess, they found themselves facing rooms packed with loud, furious constituents — and in some cases relied on extra security. It turns out, governing with complete control of the federal government is harder than Republicans may have expected…. Despite the hostile atmosphere, a number of rank-and-file Republicans held town hall meetings in their districts.” [HuffPost’s Dana Liebelson]

KRIS KOBACH: WADDA GUY - Sam Levine: “Nearly two years after getting the authority to prosecute voter fraud, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach (R) announced Wednesday he had obtained his first conviction of a non-citizen who had voted…. The Wednesday announcement marked just the eighth time Kobach has convicted someone in Kansas of voter fraud since gaining the ability to prosecute in 2015. Kobach had pushed for prosecutorial authority, arguing he needed it to crack down on voter fraud. However, from 1997 to 2010, there were only 11 confirmed cases of it in Kansas. There were 1,788,673 registered voters in the state as of March, according to the Kansas City Star.” [HuffPost]

Daily Kos is relevant once more, Ryan Grim writes, but when are blogrolls coming back?

MAR-A-LISTERIA - So gross. Jose Lambiet: “Just days before the state visit of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to Mar-a-Lago, President Donald Trump’s Palm Beach private club, Florida restaurant inspectors found potentially dangerous raw fish and cited the club for storing food in two broken down coolers. Inspectors found 13 violations at the fancy club’s kitchen, according to recently published reports — a record for an institution that charges $200,000 in initiation fees. Three of the violations were deemed ‘high priority,’ meaning that they could allow the presence of illness-causing bacteria on plates served in the dining room.” [Miami Herald]

BECAUSE YOU’VE READ THIS FAR - Here are some baby squirrels.

THE DICK CHENEY BIOPIC YOU DIDN’T KNOW YOU NEEDED (AND DON’T?) - Hopefully Christian Bale will revive his Batman voice for the role. AP: “Christian Bale said Wednesday he will play Dick Cheney in Adam McKay’s upcoming biopic of the former vice president. Bale was last week reported as being in talks to join the film that will reteam him with McKay following 2015’s Oscar-nominated ‘The Big Short.’ The Oscar winner confirmed he has signed up to star in the untitled film in an interview with The Associated Press. ‘In the same way as it was a journey of discovery with ‘The Big Short,’ Adam was able to take a story that most people would go comatose listening to,’ said Bale of the script penned by McKay. ‘His ability to make it startling and entertaining and intelligent without compromising anything — he’s masterful at doing that.’” [Page Six]

COMFORT FOOD

- A woman accidentally brought her dog to a furry convention.

- Creepy old photos inside a doll factory.

- Speaking of creepy dolls, here’s a Tickle Me Elmo without its fur.

TWITTERAMA

@daveweigel: When I read about the Trumps making $ off the presidency, I think back to Trump voters who argued that he couldn’t be bought bc he was rich

@thinkpiecebot: Are Neo-Nazis Who Missed The Whole “Stormtrooper” Thing In Star Wars Why Teens Can’t Farm?

@KenGude: It’s very depressing that US media is reacting to the MOAB in a similar way to my 3 year old when he sees a train or a dump truck.

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