TENSION – Russia: U.S. Forces in Poland a Threat:
The Kremlin expressed alarm Thursday over the arrival of U.S. troops in Poland, claiming military exercises are “destabilizing” security in the region, the BBC reported. More than 3,000 U.S. soldiers have been deployed to Poland to conduct military exercises as part of Operation Atlantic Resolve, a plan by theObama administration to reassure NATO allies of the U.S. commitment as Russia flexes its muscles in Ukraine. The latest phase of the operation, kicking off just days before Donald Trump
takes office, has been met with indignation in the Kremlin. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov
told the BBC on Thursday that the move “threatens our interests and our security.” “It’s a third country that is building up its military presence on our borders in Europe. It isn’t even a European country,” he said. Alexei Mechkov
, Russia’s deputy foreign minister, said the drills are “destabilizing European security.” Poland has defended the drills, saying it’s necessary in light of Russia’s aggression in the region.
2 Hours, 15 Minutes – The average time American adults spend using applications and the internet on their smartphones and tablets. That’s up from 1 hour, 13 minutes in 2014.
Comey Letter on Clinton Email Is Subject of Justice Dept. Inquiry:
The Justice Department’s inspector general said Thursday that he would open a broad investigation into how the F.B.I. director,James B. Comey
, handled the case over Hillary Clinton
’s emails, including his decision to discuss it at a news conference and to disclose 11 days before the election that he had new information that could lead him to reopen it. The inspector general, Michael E. Horowitz
, will not look into the decision not to prosecute Mrs. Clinton or her aides. But he will review actions Mr. Comey took that Mrs. Clinton and many of her supporters believe cost her the election.
LAST MINUTE – Obama Ends ‘Wet-Foot’ Cuba Policy:
on Thursday ended the “wet-foot, dry-foot” policy that allowed Cubans who reached United States soil to stay and automatically have the chance to become eligible for American residency. Those who were picked up at sea were sent home. In a statement from the White House, Obama said Cuban migrants will now be treated “the same way we treat migrants from other countries.” The policy was put in place by the Clinton administration and the change marks one of Obama’s last while in office.
Obama Makes Civil-Rights Sites National Monuments:
on Thursday designated three sites central to the U.S. civil-rights movement as national monuments. Obama made the proclamations just days before he is scheduled to transfer the executive office to President-elect Donald Trump
. The locations recognize the an Alabama site where the Freedom Riders were attacked, the Birmingham church where four black girls were killed in 1963 by a white supremacist’s bomb, and a former school in South Carolina for freed slaves. In a statement released by the White House, Obama said the monuments “preserve critical chapters of our country’s history, from the Civil War to the civil-rights movement.” The sites will now be managed by the National Park Service and receive permanent protection from Congress under the federal Antiquities Act. “These monuments preserve the vibrant history of the Reconstruction Era and its role in redefining freedom,” Obama said. “They tell the important stories of the citizens who helped launch the civil-rights movement in Birmingham and the Freedom Riders, whose bravery raised national awareness of segregation and violence.”
BEAT IT! –Sky Drops White Michael Jackson ‘Urban Myths’ Episode:
Following condemnation from Michael Jackson
’s family, the European pay-TV company Sky has dropped its plans to air acontroversial episode of Urban Myths
in which white actorJoseph Fiennes
portrays the deceased pop superstar. “We have taken the decision not to broadcast ‘Elizabeth, Michael and Marlon,’ a half-hour episode from the Sky Arts Urban Myths
series, in light of the concerns expressed by Michael Jackson’s immediate family,” Sky said a statement. “We set out to take a light-hearted look at reportedly true events and never intended to cause any offense. Joseph Fiennes fully supports our decision.” Paris Jackson
, Michael Jackson’s daughter, called footage of the trailer “shameful.” She wrote on Twitter, “I’m so incredibly offended by it, as i’m sure plenty of people are as well, and it honestly makes me want to vomit.”
WHO READS LBN? Secretary of Defense nominee General Jim Mattis:
66% – Chances your urologist or anesthesiologist is a Republican. But in psychiatry and pediatrics, more than two-thirds are Democrats, strongly suggesting political leanings vary by speciality.
HINDSIGHT — Bo Jackson: I Wish I’d Known About CTE:
, the NFL great who was not only a Pro Bowler but also an All-Star in baseball, said in an interview with USA Today
that he would have never played football had he known about the dangerous head injuries now popping up in players. “If I knew back then what I know now,’’ Jackson said, “I would have never played football. Never. I wish I had known about all of those head injuries, but no one knew that. And the people that did know that, they wouldn’t tell anybody.” He added that “We’re so much more educated on this CTE stuff [chronic traumatic encephalopathy], there’s no way I would ever allow my kids to play football today.”
THINK FREELY – READ LBN:
Russian Proposal Would Phase In Cigarette Ban, but Current Smokers Get a Pass:
Russia’s millennials may be the country’s last generation of cigarette smokers. If a proposal introduced by the Health Ministry is adopted, Russia will ban the sale of cigarettes to people born in 2015 and after. Tobacco kills about six million people globally each year, according to the World Health Organization, and 300,000 to 400,000 of them are Russians. About 33 percent of Russian adults use tobacco products. President Vladimir V. Putin
, a nonsmoker, has stepped up efforts to curb smoking in recent years. In 2013, he signed a law that banned smoking in most public places, raised taxes on tobacco products and banned the sale of them at street kiosks.
BIG SURPRISE – NOT! California’s bullet train hurtling toward multibillion-dollar cost overrun, federal report warns:
California’s bullet train could cost taxpayers 50% more than estimated — as much as $3.6 billion more, according to a confidential Federal Railroad Administration analysis. The figures cover just the project’s first 118 miles through the Central Valley, which was supposed to be the easiest part of the route between Los Angeles and San Francisco.
LBN-BUSINESS INSIDER: ***When Wells Fargo announced its quarterly earnings Friday morning, it was clear that many of its customers were not exactly pleased. In recent months, the number of new consumer checking accounts had fallen sharply, which is no surprise for a bank that paid a hefty fine in September for opening accounts of all sorts without customers’permission. Just for good measure, it’s trying to force customers who want to sue to take their disputes to mandatory arbitration. And in its earnings announcement, the company said that measurements of “loyalty” were going to take awhile longer to recover. ***With a single tweet on Thursday, President-elect Donald J. Trump pulled L. L. Bean, the Maine retailer known for its boots, jackets and preppy New England aesthetic, back into a political crossfire. The company was already facing a boycott from liberal customers after reports that Linda Bean, a granddaughter of the company’s founder, had donated thousands of dollars to a political action committee that supported Mr. Trump’s presidential campaign. The donations turned out to be illegal.
LBN-R.I.P.: ***Victor Lownes, a professed rake whose close friendship with Hugh Hefner helped shape Playboy magazine, its libertine ethic and the Playboy empire’s business success, died on Wednesday in London. He was 88. Mr. Lownes had a heart attack at his New Year’s Eve celebration and died in the hospital after a second heart attack, Glenn Young, a book publisher and longtime friend, said. ***William Peter Blatty, author of the famed horror novel “The Exorcist,” died Thursday at age 89. His death was confirmed Friday on Twitter by William Friedkin, the director of the famed film adaptation of Blatty’s book.
LBN-NOTICED: ***Chris Rock, Aziz Ansari, Amy Schumer and Dave Chappelle at Blue Ribbon Brasserie in NYC before performing at the Comedy Cellar, where Jon Laster hosted. ***Glenn Close at Tavo on Hudson Street in NYC. ***Ivana Trump at Le Périgord in NYC. ***Charlie Sheen dining at Uncle Jack’s Steakhouse in Midtown in NYC. ***Jewel at Dan Kluger’s restaurant Loring Place in NYC. ***Weekly newspaper publisher of The Argonaut, David Comden having lunch with his sales team at El Cholo in Santa Monica.
LBN-HOLLYWOOD INSIDER: ***Frederick “Ted” Fieldwas once listed by Forbes as one of the 400 richest people on the planet, but according to a civil lawsuit, his fortune has dissipated and he’s become a “deadbeat movie producer” who has run a “Ponzi-like scheme.” On Wednesday, a Los Angeles Superior Court judge permitted the plaintiff to add a fraud claim that’s partly premised on the way Field allegedly misrepresented himself when soliciting a loan for a remake of Kickboxer, the 1989 film starring Jean-Claude Van Damme. A trial, originally scheduled for Jan. 23, has also been pushed back to April 10.
LBN-COMMENTARY by David Brooks: Believe it or not, we’re not really going to have to spend the next four years wading through wonky drudgery of Russian spy dossiers and hotel sex cameras. At some point we’re going to have a thrilling debate over the most scintillating question in health care policy. The Republicans are going to try to replace Obamacare. They’re probably going to agree to cover everybody Obama covered, thus essentially granting the Democratic point that health care is a right. But they are going to try to do it using more market-friendly mechanisms. As you know, the American health care system is not like a normal market. When you make most health care decisions you don’t get much information on comparative cost and quality; the personal bill you get is only vaguely related to the services; the expense is often determined by how many procedures are done, not whether the problem is fixed. You wouldn’t buy a phone this way.
LBN-COMMENTARY by Dennis Prager:
Last week, four young blacks — two males, both 18 years old; and two females, 18 and 24 years-old — kidnapped a mentally disabled 18-year-old white boy and tortured him for 24 hours. Among other things, they kicked him, beat him, cut his scalp, made him drink from the toilet and made him kiss the floor while saying he loves black people. During the beatings, the suspects yelled out, “F— white people, boy” and “F— Donald Trump.” What makes the mainstream media’s reporting a moral scandal is that every honest person living in America knows that if four whites had kidnapped a black, tortured him for hours, made him say “f— Barack Obama” and “f— blacks,” and made him bow down to the floor and say, “I love white people,” the story would have been on the front page of The New York Times and every other liberal and left-wing newspaper in the country; and it would have been the lead item on all news broadcasts and the subject of virtually every editorial and left-wing column. It would have been portrayed as more proof that America is racist, and that hate has taken over America since the election of Donald Trump.
LBN COMMENTARY by Michael Levine (media expert and author): There comes a time when neutrality and laying low become dishonorable. History often records silence as agreement. David Brooks is right (as usual). These days, if you want to elect a leader, you generally have two choices: a sensible establishment figure who is completely out of touch, or a populist outsider who is incompetent, crazy or both. Americans’ anger and pessimism are more fundamental than anything that can be explained by G.D.P. statistics. Many Democrats have grown hostile to capitalism. Sixty percent of Democrats are friendly to socialism, according to a poll by OnMessage Inc. and the American Action Network.
LBN-SPOTLIGHT: “The future is not in the hands of fate but in ours.” —– www.TheExcelCommunity.com
LBN SPOTLIGHT: What’s Your Leadership Strategy?
Richard Branson practices it at Virgin Group. Paul Polman implements it at Unilever. Mark Benioff pioneered it early-on at Salesforce.com.The world’s top CEOs are all doing well by doing good. Are you? www.MarkLefko.com/the-book
LBN-A DIFFERENT VIEW:….
LBN E-Lert Edited By Addison Beaulieu
LBN E-Lert Disclaimer: 1.) The LBN E-Lert accepts no liability for the content of this email, or for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided. The LBN E-Lert is not associated with any commercial or political organization and is transmitted via the web for the sole benefit of its subscribers. 2.) Unfortunately, computer viruses can be transmitted via email. The recipient should check this mail and any attachments for the presence of viruses.