HUFFPOST HILL – Beeee My, Be My Bibi

For the last 25 years, Benjamin Netanyahu has insisted Iran’s nuclear bomb has been three-to-five years away, proving that Iran has secretly been developing the Second Avenue subway. A painter snuck a reference to Monica Lewinsky’s blue dress into a portrait of Bill Clinton, though some critics insist the dress is white and gold. And in the fifth-most farfetched presidential ticket of the year, Mark Cuban and Ann Coulter have been cast, respectively, as the president and vice president in “Sharknado 3.” This is HUFFPOST HILL for Monday, March 2nd, 2015:

NETANYAHU SERVES UP GEOPOLITICAL AMUSE BOUCHE – Presumably the palate cleanser will be a very terse phone call with President Obama on Wednesday. Times: “Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday opened his high-profile visit to the American capital by playing down any personal dispute with President Obama, but he said that he had a ‘moral obligation’ to warn against the dangers of an American-brokered nuclear deal with Iran. Previewing his hotly disputed address to Congress, which is scheduled for Tuesday, Mr. Netanyahu said at the annual conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee that he was grateful to Mr. Obama and the United States for their support over the years and never meant to inject partisan politics into the relationship. He characterized the disagreement over Iran to a fight within a family that would ultimately be overcome. ‘My speech is not intended to show any disrespect to President Obama or the esteemed office that he holds,’ Mr. Netanyahu told the estimated 16,000 people gathered here. ‘I have great respect for both.'” [NYT]

Bibi’s bombastic bomb bluster: “[I]n 1996, Netanyahu addressed a joint session of Congress where he darkly warned, ‘If Iran were to acquire nuclear weapons, this could presage catastrophic consequences, not only for my country, and not only for the Middle East, but for all mankind,’ adding that, ‘the deadline for attaining this goal is getting extremely close.’ … four years before that Congressional speech, in 1992, then-parliamentarian Netanyahu advised the Israeli Knesset that Iran was ‘three to five years’ away from reaching nuclear weapons capability…In his 1995 book, ‘Fighting Terrorism,’ Netanyahu once again asserted that Iran would have a nuclear weapon in ‘three to five years,’ apparently forgetting about the expiration of his old deadline…Testifying again in front of Congress again in 2002, Netanyahu claimed that Iraq’s nonexistent nuclear program was in fact so advanced that the country was now operating ‘centrifuges the size of washing machines.'” [The Intercept]

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER – The Republican Party’s new point man on food stamps, Rep. Mike Conaway (R-Texas), insists that he doesn’t want to cut nutrition assistance benefits. Instead, Conaway is leading a multiyear review of the program, just to make sure it’s the best it can be. But it might not be up to Conaway. Republicans could push food stamp cuts this year through a parliamentary process known as “reconciliation.”… A coalition of nearly 400 food banks, labor groups and farm industry advocacy groups recently set a letter to top lawmakers on budget committees expressing concern that U.S. Department of Agriculture initiatives — including crop insurance and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, better known as food stamps — could get whacked through reconciliation. [HuffPost]

DOUBLE DOWNER – During hearings last week, House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway (R-Texas) embraced testimony by Douglas Besharov, a public policy professor at the University of Maryland, who said SNAP and other Great Society programs are more about income support than fighting hunger. Besharov said starvation has been eradicated as a public health issue. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack told DDD that food insecurity and childhood hunger remain problems, with 15.8 million children living in households that struggled to afford food at some point in 2013. “I don’t think there’s any understanding or appreciation of the depth of child poverty in many rural areas in this country,” Vilsack said. [HuffPost]

@seungminkim: With Boxer and Mikulski’s retirements, the Senate will no longer have members who wrote a political crime novel in their free time #trivia

@JGreenDC: I think that people used to walk around casually eating apples and giving each other hugs.

Then the liberals took over.

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