U.S. stocks traded higher on Monday as investors eagerly awaited a vote on a bill that would cut corporate taxes. A slew of corporate deals also helped lift sentiment. The Dow Jones industrial average jumped 168 points. The S&P 500 gained 0.6 percent, with financials, energy and materials as the best-performing sectors. The Nasdaq composite advanced 0.8 percent. The major averages hit intraday records. “I think this is largely predicated on the belief that the tax plan is going to be passed tomorrow,” said Robert Pavlik, chief investment strategist at SlateStone Wealth. “With the belief that corporate taxes will go down, … investors think the market is not too expensive.”
*Trump: I’m Not Going to Fire Mueller
President Trump on Sunday said he has no plans to fire special counsel Robert Mueller, despite reports of friction between Mueller’s ongoing Russia probe and Trump’s allies. “No, I’m not,” Trump said outside the White House when asked if he was considering firing Mueller. He went on to say his “people” were “very upset” about Mueller’s decision to obtain thousands of emails from his transition team. “I can’t imagine there’s anything on [the emails], frankly, because as we said, there’s no collusion. No collusion whatsoever,” he told reporters. “But a lot of lawyers thought that was pretty sad.” A lawyer for Trump’s transition team had lashed out at Mueller earlier in the day for his “unauthorized” move to obtain the emails, which were accessed through the General Services Administration rather than through the transition team directly. A spokesman for Mueller has maintained that the emails were obtained in an “appropriate” manner.
*Report: Some Dem Senators Now Want Franken to Reverse Resignation
Several U.S. senators now want to see Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) reverse his decision to resign amid multiple groping allegations, Politico reported Monday morning. “Two of the senators who issued resignation calls told Politico they felt rushed to weigh in, as they were focused on hearings and other meetings and pressure on Franken mounted.” Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), who was among the few Democratic senators to resist ever calling for Franken’s resignation, told Politico that his colleague’s dramatic ouster by party leaders was “The most hypocritical thing I’ve ever seen done to a human being—and then have enough guts to sit on the floor, watch him give his speech and go over and hug him? That’s hypocrisy at the highest level I’ve ever seen in my life. Made me sick.” Additionally, the D.C. outlet reported, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), who called for Franken’s exit, has privately expressed regret to the senator. “In retrospect, I think we acted too fast,” another senator, who wished to remain anonymous, explained to Politico.
*Sarah Palin’s Son Charged With Domestic Violence in Alaska
Sarah Palin’s oldest son was arraigned Sunday morning in Alaska on a series of domestic-violence-related charges, NBC first reported. According to court documents, Track Palin, 28, was charged with felony burglary, assault in the fourth degree, and criminal mischief for causing $250 and $999 worth of property damage. “Given the nature of actions addressed last night by law enforcement and the charges involved, the Palins are unable to comment further,” family attorney John Tiemessen said in a statement. “They ask that the family’s privacy is respected during this challenging situation just as others dealing with a struggling family member would also request.” Palin was also arrested on domestic-violence charges in January 2016—an incident that led to his mother infamously blaming her son’s post-traumatic stress disorder on what she described as President Obama’s lack of “respect” for the troops. The younger Palin pleaded guilty back then to possessing a weapon while intoxicated, and the prosecution dropped all other charges.
*LBN – INTEL FOR INFLUENCERS: (influencer – [in-floo-uh n-ser] – a person who influences) – In all 50 of the United States and 26 foreign countries in 11 separate time zones, “influencers” have found LBN to be a valuable tool for staying ahead in the busy, modern world.
*Power Restored After Outage Strands Thousands at Atlanta Airport
Power was restored late Sunday at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, where thousands of passengers were left stranded and sitting in the dark following a major power outage. Georgia Power announced just after midnight that all electricity had been “fully restored” following a travel nightmare that affected an estimated 30,000 people and grounded at least 1,200 flights on a busy holiday weekend. The chaos prompted authorities in Atlanta to open the Georgia International Convention Center “to anyone who needs a place to stay for the night.” Hours after the mysterious power outage on Sunday morning, Georgia Power said a fire in an underground electrical facility was likely behind the mayhem. The company said the fire caused “extensive damage” and the cause has yet to be determined.
*PUSHBACK – Tavis Smiley on Sexual-Harassment Allegations: ‘PBS Made a Huge Mistake’
Talk-show host Tavis Smiley on Monday morning took shots at PBS for suspending his show amid sexual-misconduct allegations. “PBS made a huge mistake here,” Smiley bluntly told ABC’s Good Morning America in his first interview since the suspension. Smiley, 53, reiterated his claim that “I’ve never groped, I’ve never coerced” women into sexual relations. He did, however, admit to having consensual relationships with women on his staff, including one currently still working for him. Additionally, Smiley said, his production company’s handbook does not forbid relationships between employees because “I don’t know where your heart is going to lead you.”
*LBN-INVESTIGATES: Almost a third of U.S. households headed by adults under age 55 have at least one stepparent, according to a recent analysis of survey data by University of Massachusetts Boston Professor Emily Wiemers and others. Similarly, the study found that, looking at couples over age 55 who have adult children, 33 percent have a stepchild.
*LBN-BUSINESS INSIDER: ***The infidelity app Ashley Madison has threatened to sue a rival sex app after accusing it of copying its trademarks. Ruby Life, the firm which owns Ashley Madison, has ordered a hook-up app called CasualX to immediately change its branding and slogan or face legal action. The cheating website is concerned that CasualX, which markets itself as ‘the Tinder for casual sex’, advertises its services with the words ‘Life is boring. Desire a fling?’ Ashley Madison feels this is too similar to its own slogan: ‘Life is short. Have an affair.’
*LBN-HOLLYWOOD INSIDER: ***Still wrestling in the courts with his former business managers over millions, home foreclosures and claims of excess, Johnny Depp now finds himself at the legal receiving end of one of Hollywood’s biggest lawyers in a $30 million sword fight that is sure to take some of the cheer out of his Christmas. Less than two months after the thrashing Pirates of the Caribbean star dragged his old attorney Jacob Bloom and his Bloom Hergott Diemer Rosenthal LaViolette Feldman Schenkman & Goodman LLP firm into the battle with The Management Group with a malpractice suit, the lawyers have sued back. “Bloom Hergott has been damaged, and continues to be damaged, to the extent the parties’ fee agreement is not enforced and Cross-Defendants have not paid the reasonable value of the legal services that Bloom Hergott provided to Cross-Defendants, in an amount to be proven at trial, plus interest,” said a cross-complaint from Bloom and the firm filed last week in LA Superior Court against Depp and his corporate entities. The firm provided Depp with legal representation for decades and up to July of this year, according to the cross-complaint.
*You Can’t Have the Crib without the Cross: Ponder the Prince of Peace’s Purpose, Catholic Author Urges
“As December 25 draws nears, let’s not let the religion of crass consumerism overshadow the real reason Christmas is—or should be—celebrated,” say acclaimed catholic author, Tom Nash.
“Giving gifts and advancing the economy are certainly good things in and of themselves,” says Nash, author of the new book What DID Jesus Do?: The Biblical Roots of the Catholic Church. “But they shouldn’t obscure the real purpose of Christmas: To celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ (Lk. 2:11) and why he came to dwell among us (Jn. 1:14, 29).”
“Buying useful items at good prices is also commendable,” Nash says. “But if the commercialization of Christmas leads us to miss the ultimate price the Prince of Peace came to pay for us, we will become impoverished in a much more profound way.”
“As consumerism has increased in recent decades, outward expressions of Christmas have decreased,” Nash observes. “Holiday lights are everywhere, but crèches—which feature the Baby Jesus, Mary and Joseph—have become less common, whether on residential lawns, in permissible forums at public parks, at various businesses, and even in front of churches.”
“The crib—beginning with a simple manger in Christ’s case—cannot be separated from the Cross, his Sacrifice of Calvary, the pinnacle of Jesus’ earthly ministry,” Nash says. “As the great Archbishop Fulton Sheen was fond of saying, ‘You and I come into the world to live. . . . Christ, the Son of God, did not come into this world to LIVE. He came into it to DIE.’”
“Therefore, when Jesus tells us that we too must similarly die to ourselves and carry our own cross (Lk. 9:23-24), it is, as I’ve noted elsewhere regarding the intimately related Holy Eucharist, a ‘hard saying’ (Jn. 6:60),” Nash says. “But given that Jesus has “been there/done that” through his Passion, Death, Resurrection and Ascension, we can be sure that the love he gives will cast out all fear in perfecting us (1 Jn. 4:18).”
“The motto on our money says, ‘In God We Trust,’ but Jesus conveys it can’t be a mere slogan,” Nash adds. “It must be a life-changing commitment and we must put mammon in its proper place (Mt. 6:24), especially during the commercialized Christmas season.”
*LBN-NOTICED: ***Gloria Steinem and Anne Hathawayseeing “Hello, Dolly!” on Broadway in NYC. ***Def Jam celebrated the holiday season at Spring Place on Thursday night as the record label bid farewell to its outgoing CEO Steve Bartels — who will exit the company in January. “They gave him a special toast, celebrating his run at the label,” a spy said. A music insider told us incoming CEO Paul Rosenberg skipped the festivities so that the night would be all about Bartels’ final hurrah. ***David Foster and Katharine McPhee aren’t doing much to dispel romance rumors. On Saturday, the musical duo did a Christmas duet at Carole Bayer Sager and husband Bob Day’s holiday bash. Captured by fellow attendee,Kim Kardashian, Foster, 68, played piano while McPhee, 33, sang “White Christmas” alongside Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds. TMZ also reported Foster and McPhee performed “Grown Up Christmas List” in front of a star-studded crowd.
*LBN-VIDEO LINK: A Remarkable Conversation with one of America’s Most Fascinating Women – “Without Notes” with Susan Estrich – Episode 5: That Was Then, This Is Now. — https://youtu.be/gpq8aT3a5cU
*LBN-SPORTS INSIDER: ***John Skipper has resigned as president of ESPN, citing substance abuse. “Today I have resigned from my duties as President of ESPN,” Skipper, 61, said in a statement. “I have had a wonderful career at the Walt Disney Company and am grateful for the many opportunities and friendships. I owe a debt to many, but most profoundly Michael Lynton, George Bodenheimer and Bob Iger. I have struggled for many years with a substance addiction. I have decided that the most important thing I can do right now is to take care of my problem.”
*LBN-VIDEO LINK: All of the US presidents ranked in order by height — https://youtu.be/LD2EuMJs-XU
*LBN-R.I.P.: ***Bob Seidemann, who joined the counterculture scene in the mid-1960s in San Francisco, where he produced indelible photographs of rock ’n’ roll powerhouses like Janis Joplin and the Grateful Dead — and who years later indulged his childhood love of airplanes by creating a series of portraits of aviation pioneers — died on Nov. 27 at his home in Vallejo, Calif. He was 75. His wife, Belinda Seidemann, said the cause was complications of Parkinson’s disease. ***Martin Ransohoff, a producer who brought lightweight shows like “The Beverly Hillbillies” to television and sophisticated films like “The Americanization of Emily” to cinemas, died on Wednesday at his home in Los Angeles. He was 90. His son Steven confirmed his death.
*LBN-COMMENTARY by Tony Medley: California Governor Jerry Brown, who says that the Southern California fires are caused by global warming, shows his ignorance of history. Forest fires have always plagued California. Here’s what Richard Henry Dana reported in “Two Years Before the Mast” about landing in Santa Barbara Bay during his 1834-36 journey, “The only thing which diminishes its beauty is, that the hills have no large trees upon them, they having been all burnt by a great fire which swept them off about a dozen years ago, and they had not yet grown again. The fire was described to me by an inhabitant, as having been a very terrible and magnificent sight. The air of the whole valley was so heated that the people were obliged to leave the town and take up their quarters for several days upon the beach
*USI-Tech Develops Bitcoin Investment Opportunity with Unprecedented High Yields.
Bitcoin started 2017 at $968.23 per coin, and in December of 2017 reached up to $18,000+, exceeding all projections. It now has a market cap of almost $300 billion. Experts expect continued significant gains in 2018, suggesting that Bitcoin could top $100,000 by year end 2018. USI-Tech has developed software for trading in the market of digital currency which has yielded returns averaging a 40% increase over 140 trade days. USI-Tech invites consumers to register for free and explore their website: bitcoinforinvesting.
*LBN-A DIFFERENT VIEW:….
*LBN-OVERHEARD: ***Rob Lowe showed his appreciation for the California firefighters fighting the wildfires by hosting some of them at his house for dinner over the weekend. The “West Wing” alum shared a photo of them gathered in his kitchen sharing spaghetti, cheeseburgers and other delicious foods. “Dinner for new friends at our house,” Lowe captioned the picture. The Cal Fire crews have been trying to extinguish the ongoing Thomas fire, which continues to threaten more homes. In another photo, Lowe grabbed a hose to help put out some flames.
LBN E-Lert Edited By Dan Gaylord