POLITICS

HUFFPOST HILL - 2017 Already Shaping Up To Be The New 2016

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The Patriots came back from a major deficit to win Super Bowl LI, a win that will be autopsied at length by the Falcons at a David Brock-hosted retreat. John Yoo took a break from exsanguinating puppies and using their blood to write “Dexter” fan fiction to say the Trump administration has gone too far. And President Trump delivered a highly politicized address to service members, attacking the press and praising the troops’ support for him in November. This reminds us, mark your calendars for our July, 2025 inmate production of “Oklahoma!” at the  Eric Trump Center for Re-Education and Tying Pastel Sweaters Around Your Shoulders. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Monday, February 6th, 2017:

OH DEAR - Once the president starts offering veterans choice farmland north of the Po River, then it’s really light’s out for our civilian-controlled military. Rebecca Kheel: “President Trump on Monday kicked off his first speech to U.S. service members by touting his election win and highlighting the support he had from troops. ‘We had a wonderful election didn’t we? And I saw those numbers, and you like me and I like you,’ Trump said at the start of his speech at MacDill Air Force Base in Florida. Trump was popular among service members during the election, with active-duty military and veterans voting for Trump by a larger margin than for his rival, Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.” [The Hill]

WHEW, THANK GOODNESS OBAMA AND HIS EXECUTIVE ORDERS ARE GONE - Also, thank goodness we are finally letting Congress do its job and change the rul―- oh. Jonathan Cohn: [T]he Trump administration is considering using its executive authority to tweak some of [ACA’s] rules for insurers. Many of the changes under discussion track closely to recommendations from the insurance industry…. Insurers would have more leeway to vary prices by age, so that premiums for the oldest customers could be 3.49 times as large as those for younger customers…. People who want to apply for coverage mid-year, outside of open enrollment, would have to provide documentation of a qualifying life change ― such as a divorce or lost job ― before coverage begins…. Insurers could cut off coverage for people who are more than 30 days late on premiums. Presently, lower- and middle-income consumers who qualify for the law’s tax credits get a 90-day grace period.” [HuffPost]

ICYMI: “President Donald Trump seemed to suggest on Sunday that the Republicans’ replacement for the Affordable Care Act might not materialize until 2018.” [HuffPost]

TEAM TRUMP GUNNING FOR CFPB - Great news for people who don’t mind it when their airbags expel nothing but confetti. Lorraine Woellert and Josh Dawsey: “Allies of President Donald Trump are building a legal case for ousting Richard Cordray, the director of the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau who one court called ‘the single most powerful official’ in government after the president. Cordray has long been in the crosshairs of free-market conservatives and lawyers, and now some are informally compiling a dossier that would give Trump cover to fire him, should he choose to do so, for ‘inefficiency, neglect of duty, or malfeasance.’ Those are the only conditions under which the director can be removed. Cordray’s supporters are itching for that fight. Firing him would ignite a political fuse that could cause more damage than it’s worth to his foes. Even some Trump advisers are ambivalent about the idea, saying it might be easier to live with Cordray until his term expires in July 2018.” [Politico]

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HEEERRREEEE COMES YOUR GORSUCH OPPO - So much work by so many people just so Susan Collins might vote no. Beth Reinhard and Jess Bravin: “When President Donald Trump introduced his Supreme Court pick on live television last week, he said Neil Gorsuch had ‘demonstrated a commitment to helping the less fortunate’ by working in the Harvard Prison Legal Assistance Project and the Harvard Defenders…. But roughly three dozen students who participated in the two programs while Mr. Gorsuch was at Harvard Law School from 1988 to 1991 said they have no recollection of his involvement…. The White House gave The Wall Street Journal the name of one Harvard Law School graduate who said he could corroborate that Judge Gorsuch was in the Defenders, but declined to give any details of the judge’s participation.” [WSJ’]

We try to avoid posting about Trump tweets simply because they exist, but whoooo doggie this is a real stinker: “Bright and early Monday morning, President Donald Trump took to Twitter to express his frustration with polling numbers on his policies. He specifically compared ‘any negative polling’ to the CNN, ABC and NBC election polls and labeled them all ‘fake news.’” [HuffPost’s Natalie Jackson]

BOMB BOMB BOMB, BOMB BOMB IRAN - Who’s up for another war?? Oh boy! Gerald F. Seib: “As Team Trump begins just its third full week in office, confrontation with Iran has clearly moved to the top of that list of early potential flashpoints. Moreover, this appears to be one of those intentional standoffs, or at least one that neither side will shy away from…. The Iranian regime itself set off this episode by conducting a ballistic missile test within days of Mr. Trump’s taking office. It had to know that its action brushed up against a United Nations Security Council resolution prohibiting development of missiles that can carry nuclear warheads, and that such a step amounted to a test not just of a missile but of the new American president. We all know by now, of course, how Mr. Trump responded. He sent national security adviser Mike Flynn to the White House press room to tell Iran publicly that it was being put ‘on notice.’” [WSJ]

TODAY IN ‘THINGS THAT MIGHT HAVE PREVIOUSLY BEEN FEATURED IN TERRIBLE DYSTOPIAN LITERATURE BUT NOW IS ACTUALLY TRUE’ - We suppose you gotta give voters in West Virginia something seeing as how they’ll still be unemployed in four years. Alexander Kaufman: “A coal lawyer, a chemical industry lobbyist and a libertarian scholar who recently accused the Environmental Protection Agency of ‘regulatory terrorism’ will join a lone advocate for science as witnesses before a Tuesday congressional hearing titled ‘Making EPA Great Again.’ … Since he became chairman of the committee in 2013, Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) has pursued such an ideologically driven agenda, including what critics dubbed ‘witch hunts’ meant to tarnish the credibility of scientists, that some now call it the ‘House (anti)science panel.’” [HuffPost]

JOHN YOO… JOHN FREAKING YOO - So we guess Emperor Palpatine’s Mic op-ed can’t be far off. Mollie Reilly: Former Justice Department official John Yoo, best known for writing the memos authorizing the George W. Bush administration’s use of torture during interrogations, says even he thinks President Donald Trump is going too far with his executive orders. In a New York Times op-ed titled ‘Executive Power Run Amok,’ Yoo says while he supports a ‘robust vision’ of the executive branch, he believes Trump fundamentally misunderstands the separation of powers laid out in the U.S. Constitution. ‘Even I have grave concerns about Mr. Trump’s uses of presidential power,’ he writes. Yoo has long advocated for largely unchecked presidential power in times of crisis…. [H]e even said presidential power protected the executive’s right to crush a child’s testicles if the president believed it would help him obtain information.” [HuffPost]

In case you missed Glenn Thrush and Maggie Haberman’s must-read dispatch about Trump’s White House: “Usually around 6:30 p.m., or sometimes later, Mr. Trump retires upstairs to the residence to recharge, vent and intermittently use Twitter…. When Mr. Trump is not watching television in his bathrobe or on his phone reaching out to old campaign hands and advisers, he will sometimes set off to explore the unfamiliar surroundings of his new home…. Mr. Bannon remains the president’s dominant adviser, despite Mr. Trump’s anger that he was not fully briefed on details of the executive order he signed giving his chief strategist a seat on the National Security Council, a greater source of frustration to the president than the fallout from the travel ban.” [NYT]

GET OFF JOHN MCCAIN’S HEAVILY IRRIGATED LAWN, OUT-OF-STATERS! McCain only wants to be a national figure when it suits him. Dan Nowicki: “’Our phone lines are always jammed,’ McCain told The Arizona Republic. ‘And it’s unfortunate, because a lot of the calls that we get are from outside of Arizona and are clearly orchestrated. Of course, they’re all against Trump. And that deprives the people inside Arizona from getting their messages through to me and to Senator Flake. He’s experiencing the same thing.’” [Arizona Republic]

MISSOURI KNEECAPS UNIONS - Are they kidding? Union membership is great! Our HuffPost union just kicked into action and we’ve already intimidated COUNTLESS churchgoing grandmas from contributing to Ted Cruz. With violence! Dave Jamieson: “On Monday, Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens (R) signed a right-to-work bill that was sent to him by the state’s GOP-controlled legislature. That makes Missouri the 28th right-to-work state and the sixth state to pass such legislation since 2012. Right-to-work laws give workers the option to stop supporting unions while still enjoying the benefits of union representation. Unions strongly oppose them because they tend to decrease membership and weaken the labor movement. Although they’ve been around for decades, such laws were confined mostly to the South and West until recently. They’ve become increasingly popular in recent years as Republicans have taken over state legislatures and governors’ mansions and pursued business-friendly reforms. The laws benefit Republicans politically since they weaken a major pillar of the Democratic Party.” [HuffPost]

NO, KELLYANNE CONWAY REALLY DOES HAVE A THING ABOUT THE BOWLING GREEN MASSACRE - Don’t forget light a candle for the non-victims tonight. Kristen Macia: “[I]n an interview with Cosmopolitan.com conducted by phone days earlier, on Sunday, Jan. 29, Conway used the same phrasing, claiming that President Barack Obama called for a temporary ‘ban on Iraqi refugees’ after the ‘Bowling Green massacre.’ (The quotes did not appear in either of two stories recently published on Cosmopolitan.com.) ‘He did, it’s a fact,’ she said of Obama. ‘Why did he do that? He did that for exactly the same reasons. He did that because two Iraqi nationals came to this country, joined ISIS, traveled back to the Middle East to get trained and refine their terrorism skills, and come back here, and were the masterminds behind the Bowling Green massacre of taking innocent soldiers’ lives away.’” [Cosmopolitan]

MAYBE TRUMP SPENDS TOO MUCH TIME READING FACEBOOK MEMES - The Bowling Green Massacre isn’t the only fake terror attack the MSM doesn’t want you to know about, according to the most powerful man in the world. Rebecca Shabad: “President Trump on Monday said that news outlets are covering up terrorist attacks without citing any evidence that supports that claim…. ‘It’s gotten to a point where it’s not even being reported. In many cases, the very, very dishonest press doesn’t want to report it. They have their reasons and you understand that,’ Mr. Trump said. There is no evidence that any media outlet is covering up terrorist attacks.” [CBS News]

REAGAN CELEBRATES 106TH BIRTHDAY - He’s currently rolling over in his grave to the tune of some Andrews Sisters ditties. Jennifer Harper: “There’s still much pomp and circumstance reserved for Ronald Reagan…. [H]eartland fans of the Gipper will be busy at Reagan’s birthplace in Tampico, Illinois, where the locals will gather for birthday cake. And at Reagan’s boyhood home in Dixon — about 30 miles to the northeast — the American Legion Honor Guard will fly U.S. flags above the modest two-story home, give them a proper triangular fold, then offer them to the public for $37 as a keepsake. It’s a fundraiser for the home, built in 1891 and in dire need of some repairs.” [Washington Times]

BECAUSE YOU’VE READ THIS FAR - Here’s a superb owl.

OH, YES, ER, QUITE - Oh, those nasty Brits. Matt Ferner: “A top-ranking British lawmaker vowed on Monday to block President Donald Trump from speaking before the U.K. Parliament, citing that body’s opposition to racism and sexism and its support for equality and an independent judiciary. In a blistering statement before the House of Commons, Speaker John Bercow said he was ‘strongly opposed’ to Trump addressing Parliament during an upcoming state visit to the U.K. ‘I would not wish to issue an invitation to President Trump to speak in the Royal Gallery,’ Bercow said. While British lawmakers value their country’s relationship with the United States, he said, ‘I feel very strongly that our opposition to racism and to sexism and our support for equality before the law and an independent judiciary are hugely important considerations in the House of Commons.’” [HuffPost]

COMFORT FOOD

- “The Simpsons” predicted Lady Gaga’s Super Bowl halftime show.

- Police sketches of famous literary characters.

- Watch a giant meteor descend on Illinois.

TWITTERAMA

@swin24: puts “big-league” in a suggested headline, hopes editor leaves it in, especially since big league is in all caps

@emmaroller: Editor: And who are your sources for this story?

Me: I call my own shots, largely based on an accumulation of data, and everyone knows it.

@michaelroston: I think President @realDonaldTrump should consider a sarong, they’re very comfortable and they come in the most elegant batik fabrics.

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