POLITICS
03/06/2017 05:21 pm ET

HUFFPOST HILL - Muslim Ban Now 5% Less Racist

Jonathan Ernst / Reuters

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Senior White House officials are gunning for Reince Priebus, and at this rate, the only things left in the White House come 2018 will be Donald Trump, Kellyanne Conway and the ignited Resolute Desk they use to keep warm because someone forgot to pay the heating bill. Sean Spicer hasn’t held an on-camera briefing in over a week, so we’re just going to assume he’s been wearing that Easter Bunny costume the whole time. And Ben Carson said slaves came to the U.S. as immigrants seeking opportunity, reminding us of the film “Amistad,” in which the protagonist commandeered a slave ship, beelined it to the nearest right-to-work state and opened up an Arby’s franchise. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Monday, March 6th, 2017:

TRUMP SIGNS REVISED EXECUTIVE ORDER - Elise Foley and Cristian Farias: “There are some other key differences from the new executive order and the one Trump signed in late January, which has not been in effect since a court ruled against the government on Feb. 3. Trump’s new order still blocks all refugees for 120 days but does not single out Syrians for an indefinite ban. It bars certain individuals from six Muslim-majority countries for 120 days rather than the original seven ― Iraqis are not not affected ― and exempts current visa holders…. These seemingly contradictory positions have emboldened the lawyers who have been in court fighting the original ban. They received ammunition last week when an administration official reportedly told CNN that the release of a new executive order would be pushed back because Trump’s joint address to Congress was so well received…. ‘If the administration genuinely believed that the ban is urgently needed to protect national security, then one would assume they would not delay issuing a new order for political reasons,’ Lee Gelernt, an American Civil Liberties Union attorney who is leading the travel ban challenge in Brooklyn federal court, said in an email last week. “ [HuffPost]

The president’s favorite Muslims: “[W]ith less fanfare, the president and his advisers have repeatedly praised a troika of Muslim-led governments, explicitly arguing that working with them will serve some of Trump’s most controversial goals and implicitly using those relationships to suggest that he is tolerant of Islam. The three regimes — Egypt, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates — are part of the loose web of traditional U.S. partners, but they stand out for the distinctive characteristics they share. Opaque cliques control the government, and unaccountable security services tightly regulate independent political activity ― particularly that of the transnational Muslim Brotherhood movement, which frequently calls for free elections ― in the name of patriotic loyalty…. The priority now is Muslim ‘management’ — the idea that Washington’s best bet is empowering its favorite regimes, even if their actions are deplorable and self-defeating, because the Muslim-majority world is inherently savage. “ [HuffPost’s Akbar Shahid Ahmed]

Oh ffs, Ben Carson: “Ben Carson made his debut as secretary of Housing and Urban Development Monday by telling agency employees about the virtues of the ‘can-do’ American society. Carson said this value system was best exemplified by slaves, whom he characterized as immigrants who came to the United States with very little and worked very hard.” [HuffPost’s Amanda Terkel]

HOW LONG CAN THEY KEEP THIS UP? Alexander Mallin and Jordyn Phelps: “White House press secretary Sean Spicer declined Monday to provide specific support for President Donald Trump’s recent tweets accusing former President Barack Obama of wiretapping Trump Tower, but defended the posts by saying ‘there’s no question that something happened.’ … The press secretary expressed uncertainty about whether the president would be willing to admit that his tweeted allegations were baseless should he be unsatisfied with the conclusion of a Congressional investigation.” [ABC News]

THAT TIME STEVE BANNON PRAISED MCCARTHYISM - Number of times Steve Bannon has praised McCarthyism: 1; Number of times he’s denounced anti-Semitism: 0. Chris Massie and Andrew Kaczynski: “Donald Trump’s chief White House strategist Steve Bannon said in 2013 that Sen. Joseph McCarthy was right in his 1950s campaign claiming widespread Communist infiltration into the United States government. The Wisconsin senator’s inquisitions of those he suspected of communist ties ― which eventually led to his censure by the United States Senate ― was a key moment in the Red Scare and led to the coining of the term ‘McCarthyism.’ Over the weekend, President Trump accused former President Obama of McCarthyism, making the unsubstantiated allegation the president wiretapped his phones in Trump Tower during the campaign.” [CNN]

“Atlas Shrugged,” but for people who don’t think Jared Taylor is a wingnut: “Trump aide’s repeated references to The Camp of the Saints, an obscure 1973 novel by French author Jean Raspail, reveal even more about how he understands the world. The book is a cult favorite on the far right, yet it’s never found a wider audience. There’s a good reason for that: It’s breathtakingly racist. ‘[This book is] racist in the literal sense of the term. It uses race as the main characterization of characters,’ said Cécile Alduy, professor of French at Stanford University and an expert on the contemporary French far right. ‘It describes the takeover of Europe by waves of immigrants that wash ashore like the plague.’” [HuffPost’s Paul Blumenthal and JM Rieger]

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SWORD OF DONALDCLES HANGING OVER PRIEBUS - All the Baileys in all the bowls of cereal might not be enough to soothe Reince’s pain. Alex Isenstadt and Josh Dawsey: “In interviews, more than a dozen Trump aides, allies, and others close to the White House said Priebus, the 44-year-old chief of staff, was becoming a singular target of criticism within the White House. They described a micromanager who sprints from one West Wing meeting to another, inserting himself into conversations big and small and leaving many staffers with the impression that he’s trying to block their access to Trump. They vented about his determination to fill the administration with his political allies. And they expressed alarm at what they say are directionless morning staff meetings Priebus oversees that could otherwise be used to rigorously set the day’s agenda and counterbalance the president’s own unpredictability.” [Politico]

HELL HATH NO FURY LIKE A PRESIDENT UNHAPPY WITH WHAT HE’S SEEING ON ‘MORNING JOE’ - How deep is your state (hooowww deep is your state). Philip Rucker, Robert Costa and Ashley Parker: “This account of the administration’s tumultuous recent days is based on interviews with 17 top White House officials, members of Congress and friends of the president, many of whom requested anonymity to speak candidly. Gnawing at Trump, according to one of his advisers, is the comparison between his early track record and that of Obama in 2009, when amid the Great Recession he enacted an economic stimulus bill and other big-ticket items…. Trump, meanwhile, has been feeling besieged, believing that his presidency is being tormented in ways known and unknown by a group of Obama-aligned critics, federal bureaucrats and intelligence figures — not to mention the media, which he has called ‘the enemy of the American people.’ That angst over what many in the White House call the ‘deep state’ is fomenting daily, fueled by rumors and tidbits picked up by Trump allies within the intelligence community and by unconfirmed allegations that have been made by right-wing commentators. The ‘deep state’ is a phrase popular on the right for describing entrenched networks hostile to Trump.” [WaPo]

SCOTUS SIDESTEPS TRANSGENDER CASE - Cristian Farias: “The Supreme Court on Monday decided not to rule on a high-profile transgender rights case that could have clarified whether federal law covers gender identity discrimination in public schools. Lawyers for both the Gloucester County School Board and high school student Gavin Grimm had urged the court to move forward with the case ― even though the Trump administration decided last month to roll back federal guidance that a lower court had determined covered transgender students using bathrooms that align with their gender identity. The justices’ order Monday, which was unsigned, vacated that lower court ruling ‘in light of’ the Departments of Education and Justice deciding on Feb. 22 to no longer enforce the prior guidelines. The Obama administration originally put those guidelines in place, and a federal judge later blocked them. The high court asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit to look at the case again and decide what to do with it now that the transgender guidance is no longer on the books.” [HuffPost]

ONE GROUP SUPPORTING THE PRESIDENT IS EFFECTIVE - One day, we’re going to be taken down because some 17-year-old named Vsevolod is able to acquire our browser history.  Michael Riley: “Russian hackers are targeting U.S. progressive groups in a new wave of attacks, scouring the organizations’ emails for embarrassing details and attempting to extract hush money, according to two people familiar with probes being conducted by the FBI and private security firms. At least a dozen groups have faced extortion attempts since the U.S. presidential election, said the people, who provided broad outlines of the campaign. The ransom demands are accompanied by samples of sensitive data in the hackers’ possession. In one case, a non-profit group and a prominent liberal donor discussed how to use grant money to cover some costs for anti-Trump protesters. The identities were not disclosed, and it’s unclear if the protesters were paid. At least some groups have paid the ransoms even though there is little guarantee the documents won’t be made public anyway. Demands have ranged from about $30,000 to $150,000, payable in untraceable bitcoins, according to one of the people familiar with the probe.” [Bloomberg]

POLL: AMERICANS WANT SPECIAL PROSECUTOR - “About two-thirds of Americans say a special prosecutor should investigate contacts between Russians and Trump campaign associates, according to a new CNN/ORC poll, and 55% say they are at least somewhat concerned by reports that some connected to the Trump campaign had contact with suspected Russian operatives. However, the steady stream of news about investigations into those contacts doesn’t appear to have affected President Donald Trump’s approval rating, which ticked up only one percentage point ― 44% to 45% ― from January. Concerns about the reported contacts are closely tied to partisanship, with 71% of Democrats saying they are ‘very concerned’ about it while 54% of Republicans say they have no concerns ‘at all’ about the reports.’” [CNN]

A Republican has joined the open primary to fill the House seat vacated by Tom Price. His first ad features him shoveling elephant shit on camera.

REPUBLICANS HELL-BENT ON MOVING HEALTH CARE BILL NO ONE LIKES - The latest great idea is to make sure fewer people get help as an enticement to the Freedom Caucus. Rachael Bade and Paul Demko: “In a concession to win over conservatives resistant to their Obamacare replacement plan, House Republican leaders are proposing to curb who would qualify for tax credits to purchase health insurance…. The latest version of the bill, dated March 6, also removes a controversial cap on the tax exemption for employer-sponsored health insurance. That provision almost certainly would have sparked opposition from business groups, and Democrats had already pilloried it as an unseemly tax on health benefits. The current plan also delays repealing many of Obamacare’s taxes until 2018, a year later than previously proposed.” [Politico]

TERRIBLE AND SPOILED PERSON EMPLOYED BY TRUMP ADMINISTRATION - Also the only Giuliani that is going to get to one. Annie Karni: “President Donald Trump has brought on Andrew Giuliani, the son of former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, to work in the Office of Public Liaison and Intergovernmental Affairs, two sources familiar with the hire told POLITICO. In his new post, Andrew Giuliani, who once dreamed of becoming a professional golfer, helped organize the Patriots’ upcoming visit to the White House after their come-from-behind Super Bowl victory, and also assisted First Lady Melania Trump’s staff during Trump’s speech before a joint session of Congress last week. The younger Giuliani has known the Trump family for years…. Andrew Giuliani is the son of the former mayor and his ex-wife, Donna Hanover. The political scion had hoped for a career as a professional golfer, and made headlines in 2008 when he sued Duke University for cutting him from the varsity golf team after he threw an apple at a teammate and threw and broke a golf club in a parking lot, according to the lawsuit. The suit was eventually dismissed.” [Politico]

WE’RE DEFINITELY GOING TO MISS OUT ON A TRUMP-GUY FIERI MEET - Andy Kroll: “For nearly eight years, the Obama administration regularly released the names of visitors to the White House and the adjoining executive branch office buildings, along with the dates of their visits and the names of the officials who hosted them. The visitor logs provided a rare glimpse of the comings and goings of the most powerful office in the world. Will President Donald Trump continue the practice of releasing the visitor logs? The administration won’t say. Mother Jones recently put the question to the Trump White House on several different occasions. The answer: silence.” [Mother Jones]

YOU JUST MISSED THE BEST (WORST) AIRBNB RENTAL OF YOUR LIFE - “Host was very prompt, but am worried about kompromat now.” Eli Rosenberg: “The apartment has spacious windows, a sleek kitchen and expansive views of Manhattan. It boasts a prime location close to Central Park and Rockefeller Center and promises all the excitement of a luxury apartment in Midtown Manhattan. And it was available for a substantial, but not completely unheard-of, price of about $300 to $450 a night through the home rental website Airbnb. Renters would just need to go through an extensive Secret Service screening downstairs. The rental was inside Trump Tower. The listing was taken down last week hours after The New York Times contacted Airbnb for comment. But the apartment had been available to rent since at least last September — long after the building that helped make Mr. Trump famous was turned into an operation center for his campaign. And it remained available, and as its Airbnb listing noted, quite popular, for about a month and a half after Mr. Trump’s inauguration.” [NYT]

BECAUSE YOU’VE READ THIS FAR - Here’s a delightful mashup of Alex Jones losing it.

TURNS OUT THERE ARE A LOT OF WOMEN IN THE WORLD - Rachel Sadon: “Without a single flurry in the forecast, Alexandria City Public Schools will close the system’s 17 schools on Wednesday. Instead of snow, a planned nationwide strike on International Woman’s Day is responsible. More than 300 staffers had already asked to take the day off, an ‘unusually high number of requests,’ superintendent Alvin L. Crawley said today in a note to families. That is about six times higher than a typical day, according to ACPS spokesperson Helen Lloyd. ‘This is not a political statement. This is not a political decision,’ she says. ‘It’s a matter of safety and a matter of our ability to deliver instruction.’ Inspired by striking Yemeni bodega owners in New York and the Day Without Immigrants, organizers of the Women’s March called for the strike.” [DCist]

COMFORT FOOD

- Simulate working on an old Apple computer.

- Get out of unwanted office conversation with this handy browser extension.

- How the filmmakers behind “Planet Earth II” shoot at night.

TWITTERAMA

@BrandyLJensen: 2 Travel 2 Ban

@meganamram: I’m starting to regret illegally voting twice for donald trump

@SXSWPartyzzzzz: Casey Affleck will shrug and pout for 6 hours at #SXSWi! RSVP by shrieking insanely at a stranger until they follow your pet on Instagram!

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