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Today is Take Your Child to Work Day, an annual tradition where working men and women let their children leverage their parents’ political and business connections to avoid paying Chinese import tariffs on their line of shoddy jeggings. A con artist is operating in Mar-a-Lago and people are shocked to learn it’s someone other than the president. And “Sheeple” has been added to the dictionary, but if you aren’t asking why “chemtrail” wasn’t also added, then wake up sheeple. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Thursday, April 27th, 2017:
IF YOU LIKE YOUR HEALTH CARE…THE FREEDOM CAUCUS MIGHT REALLY RUIN YOUR WEEK - Laura Barrón-López: “House Democrats will vote against a short-term spending bill to keep the government open if Republicans try to move on a bill to repeal Obamacare this week. House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said that if Republicans try a second time to rush their latest bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act out the door, they will have to pass the one-week continuing resolution without Democratic votes…. The move by Democrats is a big threat as Republican leaders know they will likely need Democratic votes to pass the short-term resolution. If Congress fails to pass the stop gap measure, the government will shut down Friday at midnight…. If Republicans go forward with a vote on their health care bill, they’ll be putting a ‘tattoo on their forehead,’ Pelosi said, indicating they will likely pay a political price later. ‘The minute they cast that vote they are putting doo-doo on their shoe,’ she said.” [HuffPost]
Yeah, but that health care vote’s probably not happening anyway.
Don’t forget Trump is still threatening to destroy the health insurance market! “Many people in the insurance industry believe that if the government doesn’t fund this and doesn’t pay the insurance plans, that they will have breached their contract with the insurance plans, and this could result in millions of Americans losing their insurance coverage this year.” [HuffPost’s Jeffrey Young]
ART OF THE (ARE YOU FOR REAL?) - World’s worst kabuki theater. Arthur Delaney and Daniel Marans: “President Donald Trump said Thursday that he was on the verge of withdrawing the United States from the North American Free Trade Agreement until the leaders of Mexico and Canada talked him out of it. ‘I was going to terminate NAFTA as of two or three days from now,’ Trump said at the White House. But then, Trump said, he got phone calls from the leaders of Canada and Mexico, two men he likes very much. ‘They called me and they said, rather than terminating NAFTA, could you please renegotiate?’ Trump said. ‘I respect their countries very much. The relationship is very special and I said I will hold on the termination, let’s see if we can make it a fair deal.’” [HuffPost]
POTUS IS A GIANT BABY - Josh Dawsey, Shane Goldmacher and Alex Isenstadt: “The 70-year-old leader of the free world sat behind his desk in the Oval Office last Friday afternoon, doing what he’s done for years: selling himself. His 100th day in office was approaching, and Trump was eager to reshape the hardening narrative of a White House veering off course. So he took it upon himself to explain that his presidency was actually on track, inviting a pair of POLITICO reporters into the Oval Office for an impromptu meeting…. It was classic Trump: Confident, hyperbolic and insistent on asserting control. But interviews with nearly two dozen aides, allies, and others close to the president paint a different picture — one of a White House on a collision course between Trump’s fixed habits and his growing realization that this job is harder than he imagined when he won the election on Nov. 8.” [Politico]
Well-oiled machine. “For a few brief moments Thursday afternoon, it appeared as though the White House might be targeting your 401(k)s. Asked whether deductions for retirement savings would remain intact in its new tax reform package, White House press secretary Sean Spicer seemed to say no. ‘The current plan right now protects both charitable giving and mortgage interest, and that’s it,’ Spicer said, conspicuously leaving out those retirement savings…. It turns out the White House isn’t going to actually do this.” [WaPo’s Aaron Blake]
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MICHAEL FLYNN AND THE BAD JUDGEMENTS WOULD BE A GREAT BAND NAME - Like, for a really stellar Nick Cave cover group. Willa Frej: “President Donald Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, failed to heed warnings from the Pentagon about accepting foreign funds for a trip to Russia in 2015, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee announced Thursday. The Department of Defense sent classified documents to committee chairman Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), said ranking member Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) at a news conference on Thursday. One of them, which is being prepared for public release, is a letter from the Defense Intelligence Agency to Flynn. ‘This letter explicitly warned General Flynn, as he entered retirement, that the Constitution prohibited him from accepting any foreign government payments without advance permission,’ Cummings said. ‘DIA did not locate any records of Lieutenant General Flynn seeking permission or approval for the receipt of money from a foreign source.’ But Flynn did accept the funds from Kremlin-backed news agency RT and failed to disclose them when he applied for a security clearance last year, Cummings and Chaffetz said Tuesday. He may have broken federal law.” [HuffPost]
Obama derangement syndrome proving incurable. “Sean Spicer, who blamed Barack Obama’s White House on Thursday for signing off on Flynn’s security clearance. ‘[General Flynn’s] clearance was last reissued by the Obama administration in 2016 with full knowledge of his activities that occurred in 2015,’ Spicer said during Thursday’s press briefing, responding to a question about Flynn possibly breaking federal law by accepting foreign funds for a trip to Russia in 2015.” [HuffPost’s Ryan Grenoble]
FRAUDSTER OPERATING IN MAR-A-LAGO - It’s funny how much we lost it over Michaele Salahi back in the day because this whole administration is just a never ending sequence of Michaele Salahis. Tarini Parti: “An admitted fraudster who owes hundreds of thousands of dollars to his victims has had access to President Donald Trump through his wife, who is the guest reception manager of Mar-a-Lago, the Winter White House. Heather Rinkus is such a familiar figure at Mar-a-Lago that senior administration officials fondly call her the club’s ‘house mother.’ Her husband, Ari, is often on hand, too. There he was in February, waiting to greet President Trump in the special access area on the tarmac of Palm Beach International Airport, a few yards away from Air Force One. But it wasn’t that long ago that Ari, whose real name is Anthony Donald Rinkus, pleaded guilty in federal court to felony wire fraud for a complex financial con job. That guilty plea came on the heels of a previous one in state court for conducting a car-theft ring.” [BuzzFeed]
WARREN CAUTIOUSLY CRITICIZES OBAMA FOR WALL STREET SPEECH - Then again, you don’t want to too sharply criticize the guy who will give day two of your 2020 nominating convention pretty good ratings. Victoria McGrane: “Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren gently criticized former president Barack Obama Thursday for his decision to accept $400,000 from a Wall Street firm to speak at a health care conference this fall. Warren was asked about the controversy during an interview about her new book on the SiriusXM radio show, ‘Alter Family Politics.’ ‘I was troubled by that,’ she said. That was the extent of her comments aimed directly at Obama. She quickly launched into a broader discussion of her views of the corrupting influence of money in Washington.” [Boston Globe]
Looks like Obama gave another one of those $400K speeches.
FIX THE DEBT SUDDENLY NOT TOO CONCERNED ABOUT FIXING THE DEBT - It’s like if Social Security Works changed its name to “Social Security: A Little Uneven At Points.” Ben Walsh, Alexander Kaufman and Emily Peck: “HuffPost asked every single member of Fix the Debt’s CEO council for a response to the president’s tax outline, and as of press time, not a single one of the executives denounced it. Why won’t executives who want less government debt condemn a proposal that dramatically increases government debt? Most of the executives on Fix the Debt’s CEO council either declined to comment or did not respond to HuffPost’s requests. But the executives who were willing to go on the record are pretty clear-cut about what is going on: It’s a corporate tax cut, so they think it’s good. For instance, a Deere & Company spokesman said on behalf of CEO Samuel Allen that the company ‘supports efforts to improve the corporate tax code to make U.S. business and investment more competitive in today’s global marketplace.’ That’s a not-even-well-disguised way of saying ‘it’s a tax cut, so it’s good.’” [HuffPost]
About Trump’s middle-class tax cut…
EAST WING STILL PRETTY EMPTY - Marina Fang: “Nearly 100 days into President Donald Trump’s administration, first lady Melania Trump has been reluctant to embrace her new role, and it’s unclear how she will define what can be a somewhat nebulous, arcane and sexist position…. Trump hired a communications director only a month ago. Leaving the key post unfilled for the first two months of her husband’s administration was particularly glaring, [author Kate Andersen] Brower said. Without someone to coordinate her message, Trump remains mostly unknown to the public, generating further speculation about her.” [HuffPost]
DAMN, THOSE ARE SOME STRONG NUGS - Sebastian Murdock: “As North Korea continues to threaten the West with a nuclear attack, U.S. Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) suggested the isolationist nation could simply smuggle in a nuke through a ‘bale of marijuana.’ Sherman raised the issue Wednesday afternoon, when the entire U.S. Senate was called to a White House briefing on North Korea…. Sherman said at the briefing, and again in a tweet, that North Korea ‘could smuggle nuke into U.S. rather than use ICBM [intercontinental ballistic missiles]. Could smuggle inside a bale of marijuana.’” [HuffPost]
CHECKING IN WITH THE ALWAYS EXCITING WORLD OF FAR-RIGHT THOUGHT - This little gem from Erick Erickson takes hate-crime apologism — and who knew that was still a thing?!? — to tremendous new heights: “You know, I’m really damn tired of all the people running around making other people extremely uncomfortable then screaming about their rights and privileges when called out. If you want to go around making people uncomfortable, you’ve got the problem, not the rest of us. It all starts with Mike Enzi who has enraged the BLT&GQ community by declaring a simple fact. If a guy walks into a bar in Wyoming, he’s probably going to get punched. Enzi said the person would deserve it, which he apologized for, and the guy would not deserve it. But it is probably going to happen and yes, the dude wearing the tutu shoulders some of the responsibility. He should have known better. And spare me the tirade about Matthew Shepherd.” [The Resurgent]
BECAUSE YOU’VE READ THIS FAR - Here’s a puppy trying to make sense of a garden hose.
ET’S FAKE GREEN CARD FINALLY GOING TO CATCH UP TO HIM - This is top-notch trolling. Avalon Zoppo: “Aliens are here and up to mischief — if the prank calls to a newly established government hotline are to be believed. Reports of space aliens and UFOs may have tied up lines at Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s newly launched office for victims following a frenzied Twitter campaign on Wednesday. The VOICE hotline, established on Wednesday through an executive order, aims to provide public information and resources to the victims of crimes committed by undocumented immigrants.” [NBC News]
- How human life expectancy would be impacted if people didn’t die from natural causes.
- How to make the boeuf bourguignon from “Julie and Julia.”
- A deep dive into dog fashion.
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