PARTING GIFT — Obama Sent $221M in Aid to Palestinians in Final Hours:
The Obama administration reportedly left one parting gift for President Donald Trump just hours before he took office on Friday – $221 million in aid sent to the Palestinian Authority. Congress was notified of the move on Friday morning, according to a State Department official and several congressional aides cited by the Associated Press. Written notification on the move was dated Jan. 20, just hours before Trump’s inauguration. The Obama administration had been fighting with two GOP lawmakers to have the funds, from the U.S. Agency for International Development, released to the Palestinians for humanitarian aid in the West Bank and Gaza. Obama’s aid for Palestine comes as Trump’s administration signals plans to move away from the two-state solution and give more support to Israel, with discussions underway to relocate the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem in a move likely to exacerbate tensions. In addition to the funds sent to the Mideast, the Obama administration also notified Congress that it was releasing $4 million for climate change programs and $1.25 million for United Nations organizations, one aide told the Associated Press.
2017 Oscar Nominees Announced:
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences on Tuesday morning announced the full list of nominees for the2017 Academy Awards. As expected, critical darlings La La Land
, and Manchester by the Sea
dominated the list, snagging 14, 9, and 6 total nominations each. The top actors’ prize of the night will be between Casey Affleck
(Manchester by the Sea
), Andrew Garfield
(La La Land
), Viggo Mortensen
), and Denzel Washington
). For the top actress prize: Isabelle Huppert
), Ruth Negga
), Emma Stone
(La La Land
), andMeryl Streep
(Florence Foster Jenkins
). And for the top prize of the evening, “Best Picture,” the nominees are: Arrival
, Hacksaw Ridge
, Hidden Figures
, Hell or High Water
, La La Land
, and Manchester by the Sea
Federal Debt Projected to Grow by $8.6 Trillion Over Next Decade:
After seven years of fitful declines, the federal budget deficit is projected to begin swelling again this decade, adding $8.6 trillion to the federal debt over the next 10 years, according to projections from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office that reveal the strain that the government’s debt will haveon the economy as President Trump
embarks on plans to slash taxes and ramp up spending. The deficit, which is expected to shrink in the next two years before swelling later in the decade, will amount to 3.8 percent of the country’s total economic output, above the 3 percent that economists view as the danger point for the economy. The new deficit figures will be a major challenge to congressional Republicans, who were swept to power in 2010 on fears of a swollen deficit and who have made controlling red ink a major part of their legislating. Statutory caps imposed in 2011 on domestic and military spending have helped control the deficit. But those controls are likely to be swamped by the aging baby boomer generation, which is ramping up spending on health care and Social Security.
Trump Will Keep James Comey as FBI Director:
President Donald Trump
has asked FBI Director James Comey
to stay in his post, The New York Times
reported Tuesday. Comey was vehemently criticized for sending a letter to members of Congress relating to the investigation intoHillary Clinton
’s private email server just 10 days before the presidential election. He reversed course a week later, clearing Clinton of wrongdoing. Democrats claimed Comey thumbed the scale and helped tip the election to Trump during the final days of the campaign. Trump frequently went after Comey and the FBI on the campaign trail for the agency’s decision not to pursue charges against Clinton over her private server. Comey and his agents are said to be investigating whether individuals close to Trump had connections or communications with the Russian government.
Israel Approves Settlement Expansion:
Israel’s government on Tuesday approved the construction of 2,500 new settlement homes in the West Bank, the largest ever project to be given the green light. “We are building and we will continue building,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
wrote on Twitter. Critics of the settlements say their construction undermines the peace process and the quest for a two-state solution. Last month, the U.S. abstained from a United Nations Security Council vote on the matter, allowing the body to condemn Israel for its settlement activity. Netanyahu is said to feel emboldened by the fact that Donald Trump
is now the American president, rather than Barack Obama
, with whom he had a rocky relationship.
U.K. Court: Parliament Must Vote on Brexit:
Britain’s Supreme Court has ruled parliament must vote onwhether the government can start the process of withdrawing from the European Union. The judgment is a wrinkle in Prime Minister Theresa May
’s plans to trigger Article 50 and begin talks with the EU by the end of March. Instead, she must wait until members of parliament and peers lend their support. Article 50 is the legal mechanism that begins the process of leaving the union. Once the article is triggered, negotiations can begin. They are expected to last two years. A Downing Street spokesman said, “The British people voted to leave the EU, and the government will deliver on their verdict—triggering Article 50, as planned, by the end of March. Today’s ruling does nothing to change that.”
WHO READS LBN? White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer:
Trump Orders Broad Hiring Freeze for Federal Government:
President Trump on Monday ordered an across-the-board employment freeze for the federal government, halting hiring for all new and existing positions except those in national security, public safety and the military. In the two-page order, Mr. Trump said the directive was a stopgap way to control the growth of government until his budget director recommends a long-term plan to significantly reduce the federal work force through attrition.
NFL TV viewership fumbles for the first time in 4 years reveals media expert:
NFL TV viewership fell last season for the first time in four years — and you can’t blame Donald Trump
or Hillary Clinton
for the slide according to media expert and authorMichael Levine
) . “The number of people tuning into NFL games fell 14 percent through Week 9 of the 2016 season — which ended a day before Election Day — but they were also marginally lower in the last eight weeks of the season” said Levine and stats from Nielsen reveal. Overall, average TV viewership for the 2016 NFL season fell 8 percent, to 16.5 million people, from 17.9 million the previous year. “This data indicates that the NFL may have hit a saturation point.” commented Levine.
LBN-WHERE THE ELITE AND UNDERDOGS MEET:
Trump to Approve Keystone, Dakota Access Pipelines:
President Donald Trump
will set in motion the construction of the Keystone and Dakota Access pipelines, according to multiple reports. The directives will be given through an executive order expected to be signed at 11:00 a.m. The Obama administration killed the Keystone project in 2015, citing environmental concerns, while it also commissioned a report on the environmental impacts of the Dakota Access pipeline as fears grew that the water supply for a Native American tribe could become tainted.
Paris Jackson tried to commit suicide ‘multiple times’:
Though Paris Jackson
made headlines with a June 2013suicide attempt, the daughter of Michael Jackson
revealed that she made multiple attempts to take her own life. “[I attempted suicide] multiple times,” Paris told Rolling Stone. “It was just once that it became public.” The suicidal thoughts began after the 2009 death of her pop-icon father. “They always say, ‘Time heals,’ but it really doesn’t. You just get used to it,” she said of coping with Michael’s death. “I live life with the mentality of ‘OK, I lost the only thing that has ever been important to me.’ So going forward, anything bad that happens can’t be nearly as bad as what happened before. So I can handle it … I feel him with me all the time.
Report: Trump Falsely Says 5 Million Illegal Ballots Cost Him Popular Vote:
With no evidence to support the claim, President Donald Trump
told congressional leaders that he lost the popular vote due to up to five million fraudulent votes, the Washington Post
reports. Trump reportedly made the claim during a Monday night reception with congressional leaders, three sources told the Post
. Despite the Trump campaign’s frequent insistence that voter fraud cost it the popular vote, no evidence has supported any of the claim. Post-election analysis found little to no fraud during the election, which saw Hillary Clinton
win the popular vote by 2.8 million. Prior to the election, the Trump campaign suggested that Democrats, particularly in inner cities would commit voter fraud, and encouraged supporters to “monitor” those polls, a suggestion some interpreted as implying voter intimidation. Upon exiting the Monday night reception, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy
appeared to allude to Trump’s comments. “We talked about different electoral college, popular vote going through the different ones” McCarthy said. “Well, we talked about going back through past elections. Everyone in there goes through elections and stuff so everybody’s giving their different histories of different parts.”
LBN-MEDIA INSIDER: ***Mark Halperin has formally left Bloomberg Politics. ***President Trump’s adviser Kellyanne Conway is getting Secret Service protection after receiving suspicious “white substances” at her home, she revealed in a TV interview. The White House counselor — Trump’s most visible adviser — is being protected by the same agency tasked with his security after receiving the threats, Conway said.
LBN-SPORTS INSIDER: ***Days after being diagnosed with cervical cancer and just moments before surgery, Erin Andrews had one request for her oncologist. “I’m not watching any football games at home. This is [Fox’s] Super Bowl year, and I’m not missing the Super Bowl,” Andrews recalled saying. The FOX broadcaster, who has become a sideline staple on NFL Sundays, revealed to MMQB.com she was diagnosed in late September following a routine checkup last June. While in a meeting with colleagues ahead of the Giants’ Week 3 showdown with the Redskins at MetLife, Andrews received a phone call from her doctor confirming it was cancer.
LBN – TODAY’S BIRTHDAY:
John Belushi (1949)
Belushi was an American comedian, actor, and musician. He started out with the Second City comedy troop in his hometown of Chicago, Illinois, in 1971, achieved national recognition in National Lampoon’s Lemmings in 1973, and joined Saturday Night Live as an original cast member in 1975. He also starred in several films, including Animal House and The Blues Brothers, before dying of a drug overdose in 1982.
LBN-R.I.P. : Michael H. Goldberg, the general counsel of theupstart American Basketball Association during its final years in the 1970s and the head of the N.B.A. coaches’ union for nearly four decades, died on Friday at his home in Manhattan. He was 73. The cause was cancer, said his daughter Susan Goldberg. ***Bonnie Tiegel, senior producer for “Entertainment Tonight” and a former talent coordinator for “KTLA Morning News,” died at Cedars-Sinai of cancer. No age is given in the media reports I’ve seen. ET put out a statement that called Tiegel “the heart and soul of our show and a respected member of the Hollywood community.
LBN-COMMENTARY by David Brooks:
The women’s marches were a phenomenal success and an important cultural moment. Most everybody came back uplifted and empowered. Many said they felt hopeful for the first time since Election Day. But these marches can never be an effective opposition to Donald Trump. In the first place, this movement focuses on the wrong issues. Of course, many marchers came with broad anti-Trump agendas, but they were marching under the conventional structure in which the central issues were clear. As The Washington Post reported, they were “reproductive rights, equal pay, affordable health care, action on climate change.” These are all important matters, and they tend to be voting issues for many upper-middle-class voters in university towns and coastal cities. But this is 2017. Ethnic populism is rising around the world. The crucial problems today concern the way technology and globalization are decimating jobs and tearing the social fabric; the way migration is redefining nation-states; the way the post-World War II order is increasingly being rejected as a means to keep the peace. All the big things that were once taken for granted are now under assault: globalization, capitalism, adherence to the Constitution, the American-led global order. If you’re not engaging these issues first, you’re not going to be in the main arena of national life.
LBN-COMMENTARY by FT Berman: It was immeasurably annoying every time Donald Trump said “Hillary Clinton gavebirth to Isis”. This statement was generally on the heels of who was for or against the war in Iraq, or what happened in Benghazi, but those are stories for another day. If a modern figure needs to be blamed for “giving birth to Isis”, it would have to be Ronald Reagan. It was under his administration that secret government funding literally fueled the fire in Afghanistan, whose people were actually fighting our war with Russia. All the atrocities of war were inflicted on the children & now the grandchildren throughout that entire region. All these children of rape & hate would naturally ask why and who would bring about their lives of mass destruction, and of course the finger would be pointed at the United States, not Hillary Clinton.
LBN-A DIFFERENT VIEW:
***Actress Amy Smart
revealedon Instagram Monday that she and husband Carter Oosterhouse
welcomed their daughter Flora
via surrogate. The Just Friends
star shared an adorable photo of her baby on the social media platform and wrote an emotional caption dedicated to the couple’s “loving” surrogate. “One month ago today, Dec. 26th our amazing beautiful daughter came into this world,” Smart wrote. “Feeling so grateful to have her in my arms… after years of fertility struggles I give thanks today to our kind, loving surrogate for carrying her.” ***Paris Jackson
is no longer just Michael Jackson
‘s only daughter. The late King of Pop’s little girl is all grown up on the cover of Rolling Stone
,making her magazine debut at just 18-years-old. The Today Show
revealed the stunning cover on Tuesday morning’s broadcast. The 18-year-old candidly discusses Michael Jackson as a father and his private pain in her first in-depth interview. She also opens up about her battles with drug addiction, what childhood was like on Neverland Ranch and her bright future. ***Katie Rich
, a writer for “Saturday Night Live,” has been suspended from her position at that show following a widely criticized post she made Friday on her personal Twitter account in which she mocked Barron Trump
, the 10-year-old son of President Donald J. Trump
. She was suspended immediately after her tweet, and her suspension is indefinite, according to someone familiar with the plans at “S.N.L.,” who was not authorized by NBC to comment on personnel matters. ***Ashley Judd
has faced backlash for her anti-Trump comments at the Women’s March this weekend and her sister Wynonna
is speaking out about the furor, writing on Twitter, “What she does publicly is none of my business. If she asks, I will tell her what I think personally. There is a higher power & I am not it.” Wynonna added, “I am not my sister’s keeper. The end.” ***Amy Poehler
may be off the market. The comedic actress is said to be dating lawyer Benjamin Graf
. While few details about their romance are known, the site reports they were spotted taking a hike in Los Angeles back in May 2016.
LBN E-Lert Edited By Addison Beaulieu
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