POLITICS
03/16/2017 06:10 pm ET

HUFFPOST HILL - Trump To Eminent Domain Grandma's Dinner

Mark Makela / Reuters

President Trump unveiled his budget today, and if you stab it with a basilisk fang, all the evil it contains will spew forth in a blinding burst of energy and dissolve into the ether. Today is International Panda Day, when Americans pause and reflect on the panda we had to ship back to China and what TERRIBLE DEALS we have with that country. And we realized that “Gorka Nazi” sounds less like a political development and more like a sound Jabba the Hutt would emit while burping. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Thursday, March 16th, 2017:

GREAT NEWS FOR PEOPLE WHO LIKE BLOWING THINGS UP; BAD NEWS IF YOU’RE POOR OR SICK - Zach Carter, Arthur Delaney and Sam Stein: “The clearest winner in Trump’s budget are defense contractors and the military, which would receive an additional $54 billion to pay for…pretty much anything. Among several other funding targets, the budget document cites ‘stocks of critical munitions,’ ‘rebuilding readiness,’ a ‘more lethal joint force’ and ‘additional F-35 Joint Strike Fighters’ (the last have proved to be a multitrillion-dollar disaster).... The budget proposes $314 million to hire 500 new border patrol agents and 1,000 new Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers…. Trump’s budget eliminates the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, which helps a limited number of poor people pay their heating and cooling bills…. The Trump spending plan slashes funds for a variety of Labor Department programs pertaining to worker training and safety…. In addition to massively reducing the budget of the Environmental Protection Agency (by 31.5 percent), outright eliminating the NASA satellite program, implementing a $900 million cut to the Department of Energy’s Office of Science, ending the Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing Program, and slashing $250 million in grants from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, it would also slash funds for the National Institutes of Health by $6 billion.” [HuffPost]

Congratulations to hungry people on all the small business they’ll be able to start: “The Meals on Wheels Association of America, which is mainly funded by donations, noted that its local affiliates get more federal funding from a separate Department of Health and Human Services program that didn’t get mentioned in the budget. The agency’s overall allocation would be cut by 17.9 percent, however.” [Ibid.]

CONSERVATIVE REPUBLICANS BRISTLE AT TRUMP BUDGET - This will end with everyone agreeing to murder Big Bird and celebrate with some drinks at Bistro Bis. Kelsey Snell and Karoun Demirjian: “Defense hawks, rural conservatives and even some of Donald Trump’s most vocal supporters in Congress sharply criticized the president’s first budget proposal on Thursday, pushing back on the huge potential hike in defense spending as insufficient and decrying some other cuts to federal agencies and programs. Capitol Hill Republicans, however, did not seem terribly worried about the prospect of such a budget being enacted, stating matter-of-factly that it is Congress, after all, that controls the purse strings. ‘Presidents propose, Congress disposes,’ said Rep. Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) the former chairman of the House Appropriations Committee. ‘We’ve not had our chance yet.’ Rogers was one of several GOP lawmakers to dismiss Trump’s budget as a pie-in-the sky wishlist with little hope of surviving negotiations in Congress. Most Republicans gave passing support to Trump’s general goal of increasing defense spending while reducing costs elsewhere in the budget. But none would embrace the specific White House blueprint.” [WaPo]

Totally random thought: What ever happened to Melania Trump’s anti-bullying campaign?

OH GOOD, THERE’S A LITERAL NAZI IN THE WHITE HOUSE - And, no, not in the “Steve Bannon advocates for authoritarian worldvie-blah blah blah” way. We’re talking about A LEGIT, FULL-BLOWN NAZI, PEOPLE! Lili Bayer and Larry Cohler-Esses: “Sebastian Gorka, President Trump’s top counter-terrorism adviser, is a formal member of a Hungarian far-right group that is listed by the U.S. State Department as having been ‘under the direction of the Nazi Government of Germany’ during World War II, leaders of the organization have told the Forward…. Gorka’s membership in the organization – if these Vitézi Rend leaders are correct, and if Gorka did not disclose this when he entered the United States as an immigrant – could have implications for his immigration status. The State Department’s Foreign Affairs Manual specifies that members of the Vitézi Rend ‘are presumed to be inadmissible’ to the country under the Immigration and Nationality Act…. Gorka, who is a deputy assistant to the president, first provoked questions about his relationship to the Vitézi Rend after he publicly brandished its medal on his lapel at a presidential inauguration ball January 20.” [Forward]

Thoughts and prayers to the “White House press.” “When BuzzFeed News reached Gorka by phone on Thursday, he stonewalled when asked about the report. ‘Send a request to White House press,’ Gorka told BuzzFeed News. Captain Gyula Soltész, a current leader in the Historical Vitézi Rend in Hungary, later told BuzzFeed News that Gorka is a current member.” [BuzzFeed’s Talal Ansari and Lissandra Villa]

Yeah, no kidding: “Prior to the publishing of Gorka’s interview with Tablet, the Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect, which has been critical of the Trump administration, said Gorka should resign or be fired.... The National Jewish Democratic Council, a political lobbying firm in Washington, said Trump should fire Gorka…. Rabbi Jack Moline, president of Interfaith Alliance, called Gorka’s ties to Hungary’s far right ‘extensive and troubling.’” [USA Today’s Jessica Estepa]

SENATE INTEL FINDS NO SIGN OF TRUMP WIRETAPPING - Cool, back to Russia. Jessica Schulberg: “The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence said Thursday that it has found no evidence to substantiate President Donald Trump’s claim that former President Barack Obama had Trump Tower wiretapped. ‘Based on the information available to us, we see no indications that Trump Tower was the subject of surveillance by any element of the United States government either before or after Election Day 2016,’ committee Chairman Richard Burr (R-N.C.) and Vice Chairman Mark Warner (D-Va.) said in a statement. He took Trump’s allegations seriously, Burr told reporters on Wednesday, so he ‘searched and talked to every federal agency about whether there were any warrants that existed’ before reaching a conclusion. With the statement from the Senate Intelligence Committee chiefs, it’s a bicameral bipartisan assessment that the president accused his predecessor of wiretapping him without any evidence to back up the claim.”  [HuffPost]

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SEAN HANNITY: NUTJOB - Also, even when you consider the tribal mentality Fox News adopts when protecting its people, the organization’s response to this episode is INSANE.     Dylan Byers: “Last year, after ending one of his many spirited on-air arguments with liberal contributor Juan Williams, Hannity pulled out a gun and pointed it directly at Williams, according to three sources with knowledge of the incident. He even turned on the laser sight, causing a red dot to bob around on Williams’ body. (Hannity was just showing off, the sources said, but the unforeseen off-camera antic clearly disturbed Williams and others on set.). For the record: Hannity’s colleagues brought the Williams incident to the attention of Fox News executives, though it’s not clear whether anything came of it. The sources said it went to Bill Shine, the longtime Fox News executive who handles sensitive personnel issues at the network, who is Hannity’s longtime friend and a former producer. Shine now serves as the network’s co-president. ‘Sean Hannity has been trained in firearm safety since he was 11 years old and has a license to carry a gun in five states, including New York,’ Fox News said in a statement to CNNMoney. ‘The situation was thoroughly investigated and it was found that no one was put in any danger.’” [CNN]

THANKS, OBAMA - Elise Foley and Willa Frej: “A federal judge’s ruling that blocked President Donald Trump’s new travel and refugee ban could end up requiring the president to welcome a much larger number of refugees than he had envisioned. That’s the reading refugee resettlement organization officials have taken from the ruling, which came down late Wednesday night – hours before the executive order was supposed to go into effect. They argue that the decision by U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson in Hawaii should lead to the government reinstating its initial cap of admitting 110,000 refugees this fiscal year, set by President Barack Obama. In his executive order, Trump had cut that cap to 50,000 refugees – a decision that could lead to tens of thousands of people remaining in refugee camps, often separated from family in the U.S. Watson’s ruling doesn’t address the refugee numbers specifically, but it blocks implementation of two full sections of the executive order, including the one that includes the new admissions cap. The ruling is based on a finding that the president’s statements on Muslims likely amounted to unconstitutional animus toward a religious group.” [HuffPost]

ICYMI: Nothing matters: “The president acknowledged the findings of a recent Bloomberg report, which said working- and middle-class counties that voted for him in November would fare far worse under the new bill than affluent counties that supported Hillary Clinton. ‘Yeah,’ Trump said in an interview with Fox News’ Tucker Carlson that aired Wednesday. ‘Oh, I know that.’ But he indicated that the bill was likely to go through further changes, calling it ‘very preliminary.’” [HuffPost’s Hayley Miller]

BECAUSE YOU’VE READ THIS FAR - Here is some shiba inu inception.

CRAZED ISLAMOPHOBE IN POSITION OF POWER, PT. 204,954,267 - Christopher Mathias: “A senior national security official in the White House believes Muslims are dedicated to establishing Sharia law in Western countries, where he thinks they want to ‘subjugate and humiliate’ non-Muslims. Frank Wuco – a former radio host and veteran Naval Intelligence officer – was hired on Jan. 20 as President Donald Trump’s senior White House advisor for the Department of Homeland Security, according to a recent report from ProPublica. Now the liberal media watchdog group Media Matters has compiled a report documenting Wuco’s history of deeply concerning rhetoric regarding Muslims and Islam, a religion he views as an inherent threat to Western civilization. ‘Prior to his time in the White House, Frank Wuco spewed anti-Muslim attacks as a pundit on Fox News and host of his own radio show,’ Media Matters spokeswoman Laura Keiter told The Huffington Post, adding that it ‘is incredibly dangerous for someone like Wuco who espouses extremist views to have a hand in policymaking – and the ear of the president.’” [HuffPost]

COMFORT FOOD

- Read the most excellent Twitter thread savaging Roger Stone’s inauguration outfit.

- Child is impressed by father’s snow-shoveling abilities.

TWITTERAMA

@RyanMcCrimmon: unmutes Spicer briefing

”...bowl of shamrocks...”

back to basketball

@MEPFuller: So glad the evangelical vote lined behind Trump so he could cut food for the hungry, health care for the poor, and housing for the homeless.

@AlanFisher: President Trump wearing a green tie and looking very orange reflecting both sides of the divide in Ireland at his meeting Irish PM Kenny ;-)

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