A new New Yorker profile of Trump-Russia dossier author Christopher Steele reports on a lesser-known memo the former MI-6 spy allegedly discussed with special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigators. According to the report, in late November 2016, Steele relayed information from his Russian sources that senior Kremlin officials had intervened to block Mitt Romney as President-elect Trump’s choice for secretary of State. Reporter Jane Mayer writes that Moscow had asked Trump to appoint someone who would be willing to lift sanctions related to Ukraine and cooperate with Russia’s involvement in Syria. Romney, long a vocal hawk on Russia, declined to comment for the report. The White House said the former GOP presidential nominee was never a first choice for the job, and declined to comment on “any communications that the Trump team may have had with Russia on the subject.”
*Netanyahu’s ‘Spin Doctor’ Agrees to Turn Over Recordings of PM and Wife
Benjamin Netanyahu’s “spin doctor” has agreed to cooperate with prosecutors and turn over reported recordings of the Israeli prime minister and his wife to police investigating alleged corruption, Haaretz reports. Nir Hefetz will also testify against the PM and his wife as part of a deal in which he will “not stand trial, face prison time, or be fined” for suspicions that he accepted bribes. Hefetz is the third of Netanyahu’s advisers to turn against him amid the corruption investigation, after former Chief of Staff Ari Harow and former communications ministerSholmo Filber. The cases against Netanyahu involve alleged quid-pro-quo deals with a newspaper publisher, accepting lavish gifts from a businessman, and giving “millions of shekels” in breaks to a telecom company. On Monday, Netanyahu is meeting with President Donald Trump in Washington, D.C. and is expected to attend the annual AIPAC conference.
*UH-OH – Report: 300+ NYPD Officers on Force After Fireable Offenses
A BuzzFeed News investigation has found that 319 New York City police officers with a record of lying under oath, stealing, assaults, driving under the influence, ticket-fixing, and threats to civilian in incidents between 2011-2015 were still on the force. According to New York City Police Department personnel files obtained by the outlet, rather than being fired, offenders were placed on “dismissal probation,” which barred them from a usual amount of overtime and promotions for about a year. The probation measure was designed to be used when a cop made an “honest mistake” on a case, rather than intentionally breaking the law or policy protocol. Even if officers were found to have intentionally committed a fireable offense, Police Commissioners Bill Bratton and Ray Kelly—who ran the NYPD during the period covered by the documents–did not dismiss the officers, and many remain on the NYPD force today.
*Report: Kim Jong Un Meeting South Korean Delegation
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was reportedly meeting with South Korea’s spy chief and top security adviser Monday, in what could be a breakthrough moment for international relations with the secretive regime. The meeting, in North Korea, comes a week after the North’s athletes and delegations took part in the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in South Korea. Kim has met few foreigners since taking control of the hermit state, other than former basketball star Dennis Rodman. “Kim Jong Un as a leader has kept himself highly circumscribed. This is not someone who has met with many non-North Koreans in almost six years,” John Delury, a professor at Yonsei University’s Graduate School of International Relations in Seoul, told CNN. “It’s a major signal of his personal commitment to this process.”
*LEARN TO OPERATE (IN LIFE) – READ LBN: Now you can invite your friends, family, and associates to to receive the LBN Elert newsletter. Simply go to www.LBNElert.com and sign up (if you’ve got the guts) to receive.
*Report: Facebook Asks Users If Child Predators Should Be Allowed
Facebook asked several thousand of its users in a survey what “rules” the site should follow in deciding whether or not to allow a hypothetical scenario in which “an adult man” sent a “private message” asking a “14-year-old girl for sexual pictures.” According to the Times of London, the multiple-choice answers for the scenario included “Facebook decides the rules on its own” and “Facebook users decide the rules by voting.” The survey then asked users how they would handle the message “in an ideal world.” The options included allowing the content and “I would not mind seeing it,” allowing the content “but I don’t want to see it,” and stopping the content. Critics said the survey suggested Facebook might tolerate the illegal exploitation of children, or could “create the impression in people’s minds this is about a choice, not about the law.” Facebook said it had stopped the survey. A spokesman told the The Times: “We have prohibited child grooming on Facebook since our earliest days; we have no intention of changing this and we regularly work with the police to ensure that anyone found acting in such a way is brought to justice.”
*Your poop may be the most dangerous thing in the ocean:
Sharks are incredibly scary creatures to experience firsthand and I totally understand why you’d be afraid to go swimming in the ocean in an area known for shark encounters. But it turns out that your own poop is actually more dangerous than those beasts. That’s because, as the smartest species on this planet, we decided poop must end up in the water eventually and that’s where all the poo germs go too. A study published in the International Journal of Epidemiology reveals that all the feces-related germs that eventually end up in oceans are actually harmful to beachgoers who go in the water. Researchers looked at 40 past studies that tried to discover links between swimming in seawater and becoming ill. The studies ranged from 25 subjects to over 26,000. In total, the researchers looked at data for more than 120,000 people, from various countries, including the US, where most of the studies came from, and also Norway, Denmark and others. In 19 of these previous studies, the swimmers were compared to the people who stay dry. The researchers discovered that people who do go in the water are 86 percent more likely to get an illness like the stomach flu or ear ailments. Among the germs that can survive in ocean water, the studies identified Escherichia coli, Cryptosporidium, Hepatitis A virus and others.
*Frances McDormand’s alleged Oscar thief has been arrested:
The man who allegedly swiped Frances McDormand’s Oscar statue has been arrested. The LAPD confirmed to Page Six on Monday that the unknown man has been arrested and booked on felony grand theft charges. Earlier on Monday, USA Today reported that the “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” actress was getting her trophy engraved at the post-Oscars Governors Ball when it disappeared. “Security at the Governors Ball are looking for this guy, who grabbed Frances McDormand’s Oscar and ran out with it,” a New York Times reporter also tweeted alongside a photo of the suspect. “Wolfgang Puck’s photographer stopped him, got the Oscar back, and the guy disappeared back into the ball. Apparently Frances has said to let him go.”
*LBN-MEDIA INSIDER: ***Vanity Fair hosted its first Oscars party since the arrival of new editor-in-chief Radhika Jones, starting with a dinner and viewing party — where A-list guests seemed to skew younger and hipper. Joining Jones were Donald Glover, Janelle Monáe, James Corden, Ryan Murphy, Amy Adams, Rashida Jones, director Ava DuVernay, “The Chi” creator Lena Waithe, Vampire Weekend rocker Ezra Koenig, “Star Wars” and “Star Trek” guru J.J. Abrams, and Olivia Wilde and Jason Sudeikis. Mindy Kaling arrived with B.J. Novak, sparking rumors that the former co-stars were back together. But a source told us, “They’re just good friends, and they’ve often come to the VF dinner together — they’re not an item again.” Also at the starry viewing were “Black Panther” star Angela Bassett, Tracee Ellis Ross, Jon Hamm, Los Angeles County Museum of Art director Michael Govan, Gabrielle Union, Sofía Vergara and Joe Manganiello, Isla Fisher and Sacha Baron Cohen,Olivia Munn and Shonda Rhimes. ***Jimmy Kimmel’s return as Oscars host received an 18.9 rating in Nielsen’s overnight numbers from 8-11 p.m. ET, down 15.6 percent from his 2017 debut. Of course, the ABC special ran about 50 minutes after primetime’s cutoff, so these numbers are subject to some adjustment. Last year’s Oscars landed a 22.4 rating in Nielsen’s overnight numbers, which count 56 metered markets. That was down 4.3 percent from 2016’s very preliminary numbers, when Chris Rock hosted.
*LBN-INVESTIGATES: In 2010, America experienced an eruption of whooping cough cases, due in part to parents choosing not to vaccinate their children.
*LBN-NOTICED: ***Last year, in the midst of President Trump’s travel ban, top Hollywood agency UTA canceled its Oscar party to hold a rally that drew nearly 2,000 in support of immigration, freedom of speech and its client Iranian director Asghar Farhadi. This year, as Trump was busy arguing withAlec Baldwin on Twitter, UTA’s pre-Oscar bash was back at Mastro’s in Beverly Hills, Calif., with guests and clients including Frances McDormand, Greta Gerwig, Timothée Chalamet, Kumail Nanjiani and Emily Gordon, as well as cinematographers Roger Deakins and Rachel Morrison. Keegan-Michael Key was spotted joking with CNN’s Don Lemon, Elizabeth Banks and Taraji P. Henson were taking selfies all night, while Sarah Silverman was seen congratulating Gerwig, and Chalamet held court all night upstairs. Mixing with the stars were UTA’s top brass Jeremy Zimmer, David Kramer and Jay Sures, as well as Jim Berkus and Peter Benedek.
*LBN-SITE OF THE DAY:
A fascinating website boasting of a comprehensive library of documentaries that you can watch for free. They are sure to have something to interest everyone!
*LBN-VIDEO LINK: Elliot Mintz: The Erosion of Intimacy —https://youtu.be/KfnIiio2qLs
*LBN-COMMENTARY by Jane Brody: I eat everything I want, in moderation. My meals — mostly homemade — are heavily loaded with vegetables, and I choose calorie-controlled snacks like popcorn at 35 calories a cup, a graham cracker at 59 calories for two squares, and ice cream (really ice milk) at 100 to 150 calories a half cup. No seconds! My weight maintenance secrets are simple: I read nutrition labels before I buy anything in a package, I practice portion control, and I exercise and weigh myself every day to stay within a two-pound range appropriate for my height. If the number on the scale begins to creep up, I may walk, bike or swim a little more and eat a little less for a few days.
*LBN-VIDEO LINK: Jessica Paré Can Eat Whatever She Wants — https://youtu.be/tRxx2Ft7mbs
*LBN-COMMENTARY by Stoya: In 2006, when I first considered performing in a hard-core pornographic video, I also thought about what sort of career doors would close once I’d had sex in front of a camera. Being a schoolteacher came to mind, but that was fine, since I didn’t want the responsibility of shaping young minds. And yet thanks to this country’s nonfunctional sex education system and the ubiquitous access to porn by anyone with an internet connection, I have that responsibility anyway. Sometimes it keeps me awake at night — but I try to do what I can. Pornography was not intended as a sex education program. It was not intended to dictate sexual practices, or to be a how-to guide. While some pornographers, like Nina Hartley and Jessica Drake, do create explicitly educational content, pornography is largely an entertainment medium for adults. But we’re in a moment when the industry is once again under scrutiny. Pornography, we’re told, is warping the way young people, especially young men, think about sex, in ways that can be dangerous. (The Florida Legislature even implied last month that I and my kind are more worrisome than AR-15s when it voted to declare pornography a public health hazard, even as it declined to consider a ban on sales of assault weapons.)
*LBN-HISTORICAL COMMENTARY by Walt Whitman: Keep your face toward the sunshine and the shadows will fall behind you.
*LBN-HISTORICAL COMMENTARY by Victor Hugo: He who every morning plans the transaction of the day and follows out that plan, carries a thread that will guide him through the maze of the most busy life. But where no plan is laid, where the disposal of time is surrendered merely to the chance of incidence, chaos will soon reign.
*LBN-R.I.P.: David Ogden Stiers, the tall, balding, baritone-voiced actor who brought articulate, somewhat snobbish comic dignity to six seasons of the acclaimed television series “M*A*S*H,” died on Saturday at his home in Newport, Ore., a small coastal city southwest of Salem. He was 75. His death was announced on Twitter by his agent, Mitchell K. Stubbs, who said the cause was bladder cancer.
*LBN-COMMENTARY by Noah Rothbaum: “This is not a vanity project,” Jon Bon Jovi tells me almost as soon as we sit down to taste his new rosé wine Diving into Hampton Water, which he created with his son Jesse Bongiovi and French winemaker Gérard Bertrand. In fact, his world-famous name isn’t even featured anywhere on the bottle’s front or back labels. When I bring that fact to his attention, he’s quick to brush away my concern. “You’ll know that I’m involved just as Jesse and Gérard are involved. But there’s no need to whore out the Bon Jovi name,” he says. “We won’t be doing Bed of Roses Rosé. Believe me that conversation has happened at some point in the world. I would never do something like that.” Unlike many other celebrity liquor ventures, Bon Jovi seems to take real joy in the winemaking process and working with his partners, especially his son. “We all committed to this like it’s my only job,” he says. “Although, I have another job that I have to deal with…”
*LBN-A DIFFERENT VIEW:…
*LBN-OVERHEARD: ***Macaulay Culkin won’t be getting invited to the Oscars anytime soon. The 37-year-old “Home Alone” star slammed the awards show in a series of caustic tweets on Sunday. “I will be live tweeting the Oscars tonight, but I won’t be watching them. WHA!?! That’s crazy,” he began. “Question: Do you guys have any suggestions for what I should be doing instead of watching the show?” He proceeded to tweet a series of photos of various activities in which he’d partaken instead of watching Hollywood’s biggest night, including painting his toenails, cooking ramen and playing old-school video games, all while clad in a tuxedo. ***Heiress Anne Hearst was robbed at the Oscars after a thief stole her purse at a high-end restaurant, then ransacked her Beverly Hills hotel room. Hearst and her acclaimed author husband, Jay McInerney, were dining with Juicy Couture founder Pamela Levy at Matsuhisa on Thursday. We’re told the thief surreptitiously swiped Hearst’s Louis Vuitton purse from the back of her chair. The bag contained her room key, hotel name and room number. When philanthropist, socialite and publishing heiress Hearst and McInerney later returned to the Beverly Wilshire after alerting police to the bag theft, they found their room ransacked.
LBN E-Lert Edited By Dan Gaylord