HUFFPOST HILL - White House Says We're Not At War, Just Sending Armed People To Places

HUFFPOST HILL - White House Says We're Not At War, Just Sending Armed People To Places

A newspaper finally realized that Mitt Romney, a man whose primary occupation is campaigning for the most powerful job in the world, is arrogant. We're looking into whether Jon Huntsman hired David Lynch to produce his surrealist campaign ads. And has your democratic government been injured in an accident or brazen abuse of power? Dennis Kucinich's lawyer will. Fight. For. You. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Wednesday, June 15th, 2011:

AP NewsBreak: Rep. Giffords is released from Houston hospital after rehab, moving to her husband's home 26 miles away.

WHITE HOUSE DEFENDS LEGALITY OF LIBYA OPERATION - Jen Bendery: "The White House finally made its case to Congress on why it doesn't need lawmakers' approval to forge ahead with military operations in Libya: Because we're not at war. Senior administration officials said Wednesday that the fact that the U.S. is only playing a support role in the broader international military effort in Libya--that is, no U.S. troops on the ground and no potential for casualties--and is only planning to be involved for a short time means the president doesn't need congressional authorization per the War Powers Act to continue with operations. 'We are confident that we're operating consistent with the resolution,' an administration official said on a conference call with reporters. 'That doesn't mean that we don't want the full, ongoing consultation with Congress or authorization as we move forward, but that doesn't go to our legal position under the statute itself, and we're confident of that.'"

The White House just circulated a memo it sent to members of Congress explaining the Libya campaign. Once reporters finish scouring the memo's background for photos of Anthony Weiner's family, you'll likely hear more about its contents.

@ChuckSchumer: Just sent ltr to Pres asking for sizable & sustained withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan, it's time

Reps. Dennis Kucinich and Walter Jones are suing President Obama in federal court over the constitutionality of the U.S.'s involvement in Libya. "With regard to the war in Libya, we believe that the law was violated," Kucinich said in a statement, referencing the War Powers Act. "We have asked the courts to move to protect the American people from the results of these illegal policies." As Jen Bendery notes, Obama himself used to actively speak up about the importance of the law, which requires Congress to approve any ongoing military mission abroad after it commences. "After Vietnam, Congress swore it would never again be duped into war, and even wrote a new law -- the War Powers Act -- to ensure it would not repeat its mistakes," then Senator Obama said in a 2007 campaign speech. "But no law can force a Congress to stand up to the president. No law can make senators read the intelligence that showed the president was overstating the case for war. No law can give Congress a backbone if it refuses to stand up as the co-equal branch the Constitution made it." [HuffPost]

AP is now calling the conflict in Libya a "civil war," Michael Calderone reports

Remember the Charlie Rangel scandal? Of course you don't, that was, like, weeks ago ... or something. Anyway, financial disclosure forms released today indicate that the New York congressman has unloaded the Dominican beachfront property that partially embroiled him in a tax scandal. The forms say that the property sold for between $100,000 and $1,000,000 and that between $100,000 and $250,000 from the sale were "in transit." [HuffPost's Mike McAuliff]

Roll Call is running an item tonight from Steve Peoples on how a number of 2012 contenders aren't popular in their home states.

EVERYONE IN CONGRESS IS STINKING RICH - The Hill reports that Nancy Pelosi's minimum net worth spiked 62 percent to $35.2 million in 2010. House Speaker John Boehner's minimum net worth rose to $2.1 million from $1.8 million. Last year it came out that nearly half of all members of Congress were millionaires. Do we hear more than half? We'll find out when the Center for Responsive Politics finishes crunching the numbers a while from now. [The Hill]

RIGHTY, LEFTY BLOGGERS MINGLE IN MINNEAPOLIS - For years, the Hell's Angels have been piggy-backing on the annual Rainbow Gathering -- just showing up and hanging around outside the longrunning summer gathering, getting trashed, spinning wheels and trying to hook up with hippie chicks. That affair's online version is in Minneapolis this week, with the liberal blogosphere occupying the convention center and conservative bloggers in the hotel next door. HuffPost Politics will be streaming coverage of it. [Netroots Agenda]

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - In 2009, HuffPost profiled Steve Dittman, a 55-year-old Kansas man who'd been out of work since his small business tanked in 2007. "It's like there's two worlds out there: People who are still working, who are still living the same lives they always had, and I feel like I'm on the other side of a Plexiglass wall looking in," Dittman said at the time. Today, HuffPost followed up with Dittman and discovered that even after earning an MBA, he is still unemployed. "So far it's the same old thing," he said. "I know it's because of my age." [HuffPost]

DOUBLE DOWNER - Getting a mortgage modification from the Obama administration's anti-foreclosure program can be a tricky process. One California homeowner has found it even more difficult to escape a modification he didn't want. [HuffPost]

Don't be bashful: Send tips/stories/photos/events/fundraisers/job movement/juicy miscellanea to Follow us on Twitter - @HuffPostHill

WISCONSIN SUPREME COURT ALLOWS ANTI-UNION LAW TO TAKE EFFECT - Wisconsin's high court today ruled that Governor Scott Walker's controversial law that strips state workers of collective bargaining rights can be implemented. If the law does take effect, it will essentially neuter the state's public unions, transforming teacher union meetings from a political force into a room full of people in cardigans with 50k-a-year-and-declining salaries. "The Supreme Court's ruling provides our state the opportunity to move forward together and focus on getting Wisconsin working again," Walker said in a statement. Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne, who filed the suit, didn't sound so great. "We've done the best we can," he said. "It looks like we've lost." [AP]

A picture of a husky, white-haired gentleman that TMZ purported to be a shirtless Newt Gingrich was, alas, not of the former House speaker

HERE IS YOUR DEFINITIVE BACKGROUND READING ON MICHELE BACHMANN - Before you jump on the low expectations bandwagon and declare Michele Bachmann a viable candidate for the most powerful job in the world because she was able to recite a couple of facts before a rapt political audience (and that's really not that hard. Watch: Rats gestate for 22 days and seafood and copra are Kiribati's chief exports. See? Easy.), why don't you check out this primer from Michelle Goldberg? "Bachmann studied with John Eidsmoe, who she recently described as 'one of the professors who had a great influence on me.' Bachmann served as his research assistant on the 1987 book Christianity and the Constitution, which argued that the United States was founded as a Christian theocracy...Eidsmoe, who hung up the phone when asked for an interview, is a contentious figure. Last year, he withdrew from speaking at a Wisconsin Tea Party rally after the Associated Press raised questions about his history of addresses to white-supremacist groups. In 2010, speaking at a rally celebrating Alabama's secession from the Union, he claimed that Jefferson Davis and John C. Calhoun understood the Constitution better than Abraham Lincoln." [Daily Beast]

In advance of his presidential campaign announcement this Tuesday, Jon Huntsman released a really weird web video today. The web clip, posted to, features a fully-outfitted biker riding through the desert on a motocross bike. As a twangy country song plays in the background, the words "In six days" and "Did not become famous with his band 'Wizard'" flash on the screen. The almost avant-garde nature of the video is presumably meant to attract media attention (guilty), while the countdown to his announcement, random Huntsman factoid and quirky Americana imagery are meant to recast Huntsman as your cool, relatable neighbor. It's probably safe to assume that there will be one of these published daily until Tuesday. Maybe tomorrow's will involve a hot dog eating contest over the opening riff to "Baby Did A Bad Bad Thing" (Or maybe the biker is driving to Huntsman's announcement ceremony?). We should also add that resembles the bastard child of Tumblr and LinkedIn. []

@SamSteinHP: That is NOT Hunstman riding the dirtbike/motorcycle in the campaign video his campaign says

Huntsman on Afghanistan: "It's a tribal state, and it always will be. Whether we like it or not, whenever we withdraw from Afghanistan, whether it's now or years from now, we'll have an incendiary situation... Should we stay and play traffic cop? I don't think that serves our strategic interests."

UNION LEADER TO ROMNEY: STFU - Conventional wisdom that Mitt Romneybot had won Monday night's debate quickly set like Baghdad cement yesterday, with political commentators praising him for projecting a human-like aura of leadership. However the New Hampshire Union-Leader took umbrage with Romneybot's even more human-ish arrogance the day after, especially his statement to an onlooker in Derry that "I will probably be back in four years. Only this time it will be a larger group and I will probably have Secret Service." Yeah, things like that usually don't go over well (just ask Joe Miller). "Mitt Romney did a good job at Monday night's Republican presidential debate. But not that good," an editorial in the paper chiding the former Bay State executive read. "Governor, you won a debate, not an election." It added that, "Granite Staters prefer hard-working and humble to high-falutin' and haughty." Now unless Mitt Romney was showing off his brand-new Rolls-Royce Springfield Silver Ghost Oxford Tourer to a bunch of Janes and suggested that he take them in his hayburner down to gem of a juice joint in Atlantic City, we don't know if "high-falutin'" and "haughty" are the period-appropriate words. [CNN]

Romney is gaining on President Obama: The president leads 47 percent to 45 percent in PPP's latest survey.

WHITE HOUSE BRUSHES OFF ACCUSATIONS OF POLITICAL FAVORITISM - A report published today by the Center for Public Integrity notes that nearly 200 major contributors to the president have "landed plum government jobs and advisory posts, won federal contracts worth millions of dollars for their business interests or attended numerous elite White House meetings and social events." In response, the White House let loose cries of poppycock. "Being a supporter does not qualify you for a job," Jay Carney said during his press briefing today. "But it also does not disqualify you." [HuffPost's Sam Stein]

PETE KING HOLDS SECOND MUSLIM RADICALIZATION HEARING, DOESN'T REALLY GET WHY PRISONS ARE HARMFUL - Homeland Security Chair Pete King today gaveled into session his second hearing on extremism in American-Muslim communities. This time, the panel focused on Muslim extremism in America's prisons. For whatever reason, King isn't really concerned that prisons are cesspools of rape, violence, racism and gang activity that shelter individuals already predisposed to crime and otherwise anti-social behavior, multiply those tendencies and spit them back out into society, making honest-to-God threats to the homeland. He's not so much interested in the endless multitude of non-Muslim gangs. No, the good congressman from Long Island is concerned that some black dudes are reaching for the Koran from the book cart and changing their names to "Sharif." Got it. There was considerably less media presence than at his first hearing earlier this year, but King in no way toned down his rhetoric. "[T]he first radicalization hearing which this committee held in March of this year was met with much mindless hysteria," he noted, "led by radical groups such as the Council of Islamic Relations and their allies in the liberal media personified by the New York Times." [Politico]

National Journal and CBS News will combine forces this campaign cycle. The two outlets announced today that they will share resources for the 2012 election season. With National Journal's "reputation for depth and analysis," CBS' "legendary tradition of journalistic excellence" and Horace Grant's unrelenting hustle and aggressiveness in the paint, this team can't be stopped.

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - The Internet, in a video.

JEREMY'S WEATHER REPORT - Tonight: Oh, the cool weather. It's creeping up, but tonight should be one of the better nights we'll have in a while. Lows in the mid-60s. Tomorrow: High 70s, with thunderstorms in the afternoon. Yesterday, there was a climate forum in D.C. Check out the recap, chock full of some important and cool information. Plus, Bill Nye was there! Bill Nye! Thanks, JB!


- Watch as a BBC News backdrop short circuits, immediately downgrading the anchor's gravitas level from "voice of God" to "Serbian hostage taker." [target="_hplink">]

- "The Office" re imagined as a 1980s sitcom. []

- So-called "Vampire" stars have been discovered at the heart of the Milky Way galaxy. These celestial welfare queens leach off of nearby stars, causing them to look younger. []

- Up-close video of a Humvee airdrop over Iraq. []

- The "Whole Foods Rap" definitely qualifies as one of the internet phenomenons we're surprised didn't happen sooner. []

- 1980s video demonstrating how early photo composites came into fruition. []

- Van Gogh meets Lord of the Rings []

- Remember the "Writers with Typewriters" photos that made the rounds? Here's "Celebrities with Vinyl." []


@lehmannchris: Oh, great, June 15 is "Power of a Smile Day." Kindly tell June 15 to fuck off while I go back to bed.

@pourmedoffee: A porn star just called on a Congressman to resign. Now, Gloria Allred is introducing someone called Keyboard Cat.

@2chambers: Rep Jim Moran (D-Va.) on the House floor right now: "People don't want to eat meat from sick, old horses."



5:00 pm - 6:30 pm: Xavier Becerra welcomes you to his "Cool Down and Chill Out" event. The invite says you can "Enjoy icy drinks and ice cream treats in support of his campaign." The minimum suggested donation is $500. $500? For "icy drinks and ice cream"??? C'mon, congressman, that's a $50 event if there ever was one [423 New Jersey Ave SE].

5:30 pm: A lot of Rosa DeLauro's Connecticut donors only take in the theater when they head down to the city. For $1,250. that can all change. The Nutmeg State lawmaker is taking her benefactors to the opening night of "Wicked" at the Kennedy Center [Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, 2700 F St NW]

6:30 PM: Dean Heller shows and tells his shiny new senator card to donors at a campaign dinner hosted by AT&T's PAC [Bobby Van's Grill, 1201 New York Ave NW].

6:30 pm: Do your part and donate to Jim Inhofe's Fund for a Conservative Future. Time moves forward: Stop it! [Home of Jim Inhofe].

7:00 pm: Russ Carnahan takes his donors to the Nationals game versus the Cardinals. We'll look for Russ. [Nationals Ballpark, 1500 South Capitol Street SE].


6:30 pm: HBO and Campus Progress host the premiere of Citizen USA: A 50 State Road Trip which documents naturalization ceremonies across the country [AMC Loews Georgetown, 3111 K Street NW].

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