HUFFPOST HILL, sponsored by The Benghazi Hoax - Capri Pants Purveyers Undermine Democracy, Everything Else

Oct 25, 2013 | Updated Jan 23, 2014

Dick Cheney criticized the administration's handling of Benghazi, probably because he thinks the relief forces it never sent would have been greeted as liberators. Food stamp benefits will shrink for 47 million Americans next month, which is either an embarrassing failure of government or a terrible way to combat the obesity epidemic. And the founders of Gap were behind an illegal dark money campaign in California, meaning the proliferation of cargo shorts are now the second-worst thing they ever inflicted on the world. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Friday, October 25th, 2013:

GUTIERREZ: DEMOCRATS TRYING TO SQUASH IMMIGRATION REFORM - Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) said this week that some Democrats are trying to undermine his and others' work with Republicans on immigration, just so they can keep the issue for a political edge. Elise Foley: "When someone does reach across the aisle to say, 'Hey, let's work on this issue together,' what do we get? 'Hey, why are you helping them?'" he said on the House floor Wednesday, explaining what he hears from other Democrats. "I've heard it. When I stood with [Reps.] David Valadao [R-Calif.] or Paul Ryan [R-Wis.] to say immigration reform is an objective we can reach in a bipartisan manner, I heard from the Democrats, 'Stop working with them, we're trying to defeat them.'"

HECK: REPUBLICANS TRYING TO SQUASH IMMIGRATION REFORM - Elise Foley: Rep. Joe Heck (R-Nev.), who has been targeted by immigration advocates because of a high Latino population in his district, issued a statement on Friday expressing disappointment that the "House Republican leadership may punt the issue until 2014 for political reasons. It's extremely frustrating and very disappointing to hear reports that the House does not plan on voting on immigration reform legislation this year," Heck said. "This is yet another example of the leadership vacuum in Washington that rightly has so many people frustrated with this dysfunctional Congress." [HuffPost]

PAUL PLACES A HOLD ON YELLEN'S NOMINATION - Clearly trying to prove that his buddy Ted isn't the only one who can piss off Wall Street with reckless parliamentary maneuvering. CNBC: "Sen. Rand Paul is threatening to put a hold on the nomination of Janet Yellen to chair the Federal Reserve, a source close to the Kentucky Republican said Friday. Paul is insisting on a vote on his Fed transparency bill, and has informed Senate leadership of his intentions, the source said. 'As part of Senate consideration of the Janet Yellen nomination to be Chair of the Federal Reserve, I will request a vote on my bipartisan Federal Reserve Transparency Act, S. 209 [Editor's note: He means audit the Fed]. The American people deserve transparency from the federal reserve and the federal government as a whole,' Paul said in a statement following the reports. A Senate Democratic aide told CNBC on Friday morning that the ability of Paul to single-handedly block the nomination 'should not be overstated.' Paul would need 40 other senators to back his effort to block Yellen's nomination; otherwise, Senate leadership could defeat his blocking effort. Although hearings have not yet been scheduled, the aide said the leadership at this point is confident the nomination will succeed." [CNBC]

PARANOID SELF-LOATHING GOP LOBBYIST FRETS ABOUT AMERICAN DIPLOMACY - HuffPost Hill's Paranoid Self-Loathing GOP Lobbyist, who'll gladly spy on Angel Merkel's cell phone if Dow Chemicals is willing to pay and if the guy who wired his panic room with cable is willing to pitch in, thinks President Obama is alienating the rest of the world. "Remember the endless loop of Merkel recoiling when Bush touched her kind of weird?" PSLGOPL writes. "Imagine what face shed make if she came into contact with our Nobel Prize winning spy?" PSLGOPL, however, wasn't done. "I wish someone would throw a shoe at him," he added. Thanks, PSLGOPL!

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - "Next month food stamp benefits will automatically shrink for all 47 million Americans enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Pamela Gwynn of Crawfordsville, Ind., heard about the cut in a letter from the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration. The letter explained that a federal law called the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, commonly known as the 'stimulus package,' had given food stamp recipients a temporary boost in 2009. 'The increased benefits provided by this law are expected to expire on November 1, 2013,' the letter said. 'Most families will see their benefits decrease in November due to the end of the extra benefits provided by the 2009 law.' Gwynn, 63, said a series of brain surgeries in the late 1990s left her partially deaf and reliant on $731 per month in disability benefits from the Social Security Administration. Her monthly food stamp benefit will go down from $91 to $80. Gwynn did some arithmetic and figured that would leave her 88 cents per meal. 'Eighty-eight cents won't buy anything except a cup of ramen noodles,' she said. 'They just keep cutting and cutting. Eighty-eight cents -- you cannot even buy a can of tuna for 88 cents.'" [HuffPost]

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FAMILY MEMBERS NOT KILLED BY DRONES TO APPEAR BEFORE HOUSE - Congress will hear testimony from drone strike survivors for the first time on Tuesday, in a briefing organized by Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.). Rafiq ur Rehman, whose mother was killed in an Oct. 2012 drone strike, will testify, as will his two children, Nabila and Zubair. Both children were injured in the drone attack conducted in North Waziristan Agency, a mountainous region of northwest Pakistan. Also on Friday, we're pretty sure Grayson called Martin Bashir a KKK collaborator.

HEALTHCARE.GOV EXPECTED TO BE FIXED BY 'LATE NOVEMBER' - Which should give the Republican-controleld House time to vote to defund it about 47 times. Jeff Young: "HealthCare.gov, the online portal to Obamacare enrollment, will reliably allow consumers to shop and sign up for health coverage by late November, a senior adviser to President Barack Obama said Friday. Nearly a month after the launch of the health insurance exchanges that are central to Obama's health care reform law, the HealthCare.gov website and the information technology behind it continue to pose problems to consumers and health insurance companies alike. On Friday, health care entrepreneur and Obama adviser Jeffrey Zients, who is overseeing a so-called tech surge to repair the site, for the first time offered a concrete timeline for the project. "By the end of November, HealthCare.gov will work smoothly for the vast majority of users," Zients said during a conference call with reporters...Reaching this newly announced late-November target would give consumers as little as two weeks to choose a health insurance plan that would be in place at the beginning of next year. Because of lag times between selecting coverage and its effective date, the latest an individual or family could make the first payment to their insurer is Dec. 15 if they want benefits in place by Jan. 1." [HuffPost]

Ted Cruz hates avocado. Monster.

TEN YEARS OF PROGRESSIVE ADVOCACY, BROUGHT TO YOU BY WALMART - The Center for American Progress celebrated its 10th anniversary at the Mellon Auditorium last night a decade that has seen it grow into a powerhouse force in Washington. Hillary Clinton spoke to those gathered, but not before her former close aide, CAP head Neera Tanden, kindly thanked Walmart for its support. To be sure, the dumplings were to die for. Ashley Alman: "CAP, a progressive think tank, has been criticized for receiving financial backing from sponsors whose practices don't align with the group's efforts. The Nation drew attention to the confidential members of CAP's "Business Alliance" -- those who contribute thousands of dollars a year to the institute -- noting parallels between CAP's advocacy efforts, and those who fund them. CAP refuted the assertions, encouraging 'any reader to look directly at the substance of [their] work on corporate accountability and financial sector reform, clean energy, campaign finance reform, defense cuts, and progressive tax reform to judge for themselves.'" [HuffPost]


The Benghazi Hoax - a new ebook by David Brock, Ari Rabin-Havt, and MediaMatters for America tells the inside story of conservative attempts to an attack on America into a partisan witch hunt. Benghazi was not a scandal - it was a hoax. Learn the truth - buy The Benghazi Hoax today.


GAP FOUNDERS BEHIND CALIFORNIA DARK MONEY CAMPAIGN - Paul Blumenthal: "Well-known corporate chiefs funded illegal 'dark money' contributions to groups in the Koch brothers' political network that were involved in Thursday's record campaign finance settlement in California, according to settlement documents. Members of the Fisher family, founders of the Gap clothing chain, plowed more than $8 million into a dark money campaign in California's 2012 elections, partially redacted documents show. The money went toward defeating Gov. Jerry Brown's tax increase, Proposition 30, and supporting the anti-union Proposition 32, according to the documents, which list donors to Americans for Job Security, a group that handled contributions in the campaign. Those documents also show that Charles Schwab, founder of Charles Schwab Corp., donated $6.4 million through Americans for Job Security. Philanthropist Eli Broad, who publicly backed Brown's tax increase proposition, made a $500,000 contribution, according to the documents. Las Vegas Sands Corp. CEO Sheldon Adelson and his wife gave a combined $500,000. Crossroads GPS, the dark money nonprofit founded by Karl Rove, chipped in $2 million." [HuffPost]

GOP BUDGET NEGOTIATOR OPEN TO NEW REVENUE - Sabrina Siddiqui: "Oklahoma Rep. Tom Cole, one of the key Republican negotiators on a possible budget deal, said Friday that he would support raising revenue and more of his colleagues need to be open to the idea. 'I think both sides would like to deal with the sequester. And we're willing to put more revenue on the table to do that, and we would like to do it with entitlement savings,' Cole said on Bloomberg TV's 'Political Capital with Al Hunt,' adding the GOP was more focused on 'pro-growth revenue' as opposed to tax increases. Cole acknowledged that many of his colleagues have declared any new revenue off the table, but pointed out that in order to get to a deal, both sides would have to give a little. 'Yeah, there are some that feel that way. But, you know, the reality is, you're going to have to have a deal here,' he said, when asked about the many Republicans who disagree with his position. 'And a deal means everybody gives something up. Now, again, we're much more into what I'd call pro-growth revenue.'" [HuffPost]

GUY IN CHARGE OF ELECTING REPUBLICANS GETTING A PRIMARY CHALLENGE - Great, now Greg Walden is only going to recruit aspiring politicians who want to revert 37 of the non-original states to the U.K., France, Spain, Mexico, Russia and the Kingdom of Hawaii in exile (they'll find one) because their acquisition represented tyrannical federal overreach. Luke Johnson: "The representative charged with helping Republicans get elected to the House is now facing a primary challenge himself. On Wednesday, Klamath County Commissioner Dennis Linthicum announced he would challenge Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.), chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, for the Republican nomination in Oregon's 2nd District. The challenge could end up affecting how Walden handles his duties as NRCC chair. At the very least it seems likely that one of the more public faces of the GOP leadership may now have to adopt a more conservative posture. Walden strayed from conservative orthodoxy by opposing cuts to Social Security through the adoption of the chained CPI in calculating cost of living adjustments -- a proposal embraced by many top Republicans and even President Barack Obama. However, Walden centered his objections, however, on the president's support for the move, rather than on the GOP's. "I thought it's very intriguing in that his budget really lays out kind of a shocking attack on seniors, if you will," he told CNN in April." [HuffPost]

KOCH BROTHERS FINANCING STATEWIDE JUDICIAL RACES - Due process, brought to you by Georgia-Pacific. Paul Blumenthal: "Outside interest groups spent at record levels in state-level judicial elections in the 2012 election cycle, according to a new report, reflecting a trend of increased spending on down-ballot races by political groups looking to control individual state agendas. The report -- put together by Justice At Stake, the Brennan Center for Justice and the National Institute for Money in State Politics -- shows that independent groups spent $15.4 million on 2012 judicial elections, which helped drive a record $29.7 million in television advertising in those races. The spending by independent groups also represented a record 27 percent of all spending on judicial races. Some of the big spenders in judicial elections in 2012 included recognizable names from national political movements, such as the billionaire Koch brothers' Americans for Prosperity and the National Rifle Association's Law Enforcement Alliance of America...Michigan's judicial elections topped the list for spending in the 2012 campaign, with more than $13 million spent by the candidates, political parties and independent groups combined. Political parties were the dominant spenders in Michigan, where a 4-3 conservative majority on the state Supreme Court was at risk, but was ultimately maintained." [HuffPost]

CHENEY ATTACKS HILLARY OVER BENGHAZI - Of course, had the former vice president been in charge, he would have responded to the attacks by invading Iran and instituting tax credits for mountaintop mining removal companies because... Dick Cheney. Politico: "Former Vice President Dick Cheney is criticizing the "incompetence" in handling foreign affairs by President Barack Obama's administration, including former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Cheney said Thursday that the president's handling of the situation in Syria damaged the country's standing with its allies. 'I think the incompetence of this administration in the way they've handled these kinds of affairs, especially in the Middle East, is one of the worst aspects of this presidency,' Cheney said on Hugh Hewitt's radio show Thursday. 'If you're a friend and ally of the United States in that part of the world tonight, you'd have to say what's this guy all about? Can we count on anything he's told us? ... At the same time, our adversaries out there no longer fear us.' Cheney said another failure of the administration was in Benghazi, Libya, and Clinton is avoiding responsibility for the attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission there." [Politico]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Here is a baby panda learning how to crawl.

LET'S MAKE SURE WE DON'T EVER ELECT SHELDON ADELSON PRESIDENT - Aside from the fact that he would likely turn the Air and Space Museum into a Star Trek-themed hotel, his recent declaration that we should nuke an unpopulated part of Iran to scare its government is enough reason to keep him out of power. Mother Jones explains why that'd be a terrible idea: "But let's play Sheldon's Advocate--if the US were to bomb the Iranian desert, would anyone be hurt, save for some very unlucky scorpions? Most definitely, says Kennette Benedict, the executive director of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. 'I suspect some people do live in or near the desert regions he describes,' she writes in an email--assuming that Adelson meant Iran's Kariv region. But even if the blast didn't cause any initial deaths, she says, it would create a radioactive plume that would last for months. 'As radioactive material settled, premature cancer deaths would certainly be expected. The biggest immediate impact--and one that would be felt even beyond Iran--would be the electromagnetic impulse taking out all electrical and communication service in Iran,' and other countries in the region--perhaps as far away as Israel." [Mother Jones]


- Fashion-forward (or backward?) Kitten wears a bonnet. [http://huff.to/HgIKBD]

- How much publications pay their freelance writers. Oy. [http://bit.ly/HbS8X6]

- Ten amazing facts about: "The Simpsons." [http://huff.to/18kMFTN]

- Boy with stutter overcomes stutter, people rejoice. [http://bit.ly/HfVqZq]

- Conan O'Brien plays scary video games in honor of Halloween. [http://bit.ly/1c3X9uw]

- A case for why we should build the Death Star, which, the author contends, "would be a safeguard against a particular kind of cataclysmic risk, that of hostile alien attack." [http://bit.ly/18STIr1]

- Kids are unhappy to learn that candy has been replaced. [http://bit.ly/1g08zVd]


@pourmecoffee: In 100 years, we won't even remember the Obamacare rollout, mainly because robots will have enslaved us to use for organic circuitry.

@igorbobic: "Now, before I begin," Obama to say in Brooklyn, "can anybody here code? Anybody at all?"

@WillMcAvoyACN: I also cannot trust a man who orchestrates a government shutdown in order to fund-raise, so maybe the avocado thing is minor setback.

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