LBN – Wednesday, December 13th, 2017

*Once a Long Shot, Democrat Doug Jones Wins Alabama Senate Race:

Doug Jones, a Democratic former prosecutor who mounted a seemingly quixotic Senate campaign in the face of Republican dominance here, defeated his scandal-scarred opponent, Roy S. Moore, after a brutal campaign marked by accusations of sexual abuse and child molestation against the Republican. The upset delivered an unimagined victory for Democrats and shaved Republicans’ unstable Senate majority to a single seat. Mr. Jones’s victory could have significant consequences on the national level, snarling Republicans’ legislative agenda in Washington and opening, for the first time, a realistic but still difficult path for Democrats to capture the Senate next year. It amounted to a stinging snub of President Trump, who broke with much of his party and fully embraced Mr. Moore’s candidacy, seeking to rally support for him in the closing days of the campaign. Amid thunderous applause from his supporters at a downtown hotel, Mr. Jones held up his victory as a message to Washington from voters fed up with political warfare. For once, he said, Alabama had declined to take “the wrong fork” at a political crossroads.

*Tillerson: U.S. Ready to Talk to North Korea

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has offered to begin engaging in direct talks with North Korea—without pre-conditions. “Let’s just meet,” Tillerson said in a speech on Tuesday. The new position backs away from what has long been a demand from the U.S.—that Pyongyang must understand that giving up its nuclear arsenal would be a large part of negotiations. It was not clear on Wednesday whether the White House had given approval for Tillerson’s speech. “The president’s views on North Korea have not changed,” the White House said. “North Korea is acting in an unsafe way… North Korea’s actions are not good for anyone and certainly not good for North Korea.”

*BYE – White House Announces Omarosa’s Resignation

Omarosa Manigault Newman plans to leave the White House next month, according to press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders. The former Apprentice star works in the Office of Public Liaison and will resign effective Jan. 20, one year to the day after President Trump was inaugurated.

*Trump: I Was Right About Roy Moore

In a much-anticipated tweet early Wednesday morning following the Alabama election, President Trump wrote, “The reason I originally endorsed Luther Strange (and his numbers went up mightily), is that I said Roy Moore will not be able to win the General Election. I was right! Roy worked hard but the deck was stacked against him!” Democrat Doug Jones ultimately pulled off a hard-fought victory on Tuesday night in Alabama’s U.S. Senate election, stunning the nation with the unexpected results. Moore faced numerous sexual-misconduct allegations during the course of his campaign, including from women who were underage when they were reportedly targeted.

*TRACED – Los Angeles Wildfire Blamed on ‘Illegal Cooking’ in Homeless Camp

A wildfire in the ritzy Bel-Air neighborhood of Los Angeles that destroyed six homes and damaged a dozen more last week was sparked by “illegal cooking” in a homeless camp, authorities said Tuesday. The Skirball Fire, one of at least five to erupt in Southern California last week, was traced back to an encampment underneath an overpass in a brush area. “It does appear as if people were sleeping and cooking in that area. The fire department was not aware of this encampment prior to the fire,” Capt. Erik Scott of the Los Angeles Fire Department told reporters. The fire, which also prompted the evacuation of 700 homes in Bel-Air, was 85 percent contained as of Tuesday. A larger fire northwest of Los Angeles, the Thomas Fire, continued to rage Tuesday, with authorities extending a red-flag warning for the fourth time since the blaze erupted last Monday. The fire, which has scorched at least three counties, was 25 percent contained as of Tuesday, but wind gusts later this week are expected to stoke the flames again.


*Chuck Schumer Targeted With ‘Forged’ Sexual-Harassment Claim

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer was reportedly targeted with a forged sexual-harassment claim shopped around to multiple media outlets. The New York Democrat told Axios that his office called Capitol Police over a document claiming to contain scandalous accusations by a former Schumer staffer. “This was an apparent effort to dupe a news organization and smear a senator,” Axios’ Mike Allen wrote. “The former staffer told me in a phone interview that she did not author the document, that none of the charges ring true, and that her signature was forged.” The password-protected PDF document was reportedly sent around to major media outlets and, per Axios, named no lawyer for the plaintiff (a “red flag,” Allen noted) and made several accusations that did not line up with Schumer’s whereabouts at their alleged times. Last month, The Daily Beast reported that Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) was apparently the target of fraudulent sexual-misconduct claims from a fake Twitter account.

*In Texts, F.B.I. Officials in Russia Inquiry Said Clinton ‘Just Has to Win’:

Senior F.B.I. officials who helped investigate Donald J. Trump’s presidential campaign last year wrote in text messages that Hillary Clinton “just has to win” and described a potential Trump victory as “terrifying,” according to texts released Tuesday night. A top counterintelligence agent, Peter Strzok, exchanged the messages with Lisa Page, a senior F.B.I. lawyer. Some messages criticized Mrs. Clinton’s team, the Obama administration, Congress and other Democrats. But the two appeared appalled at some of Mr. Trump’s comments during the campaign and feared that he would politicize the F.B.I. For example, after Mr. Trump made an apparent sexual allusion related to the size of his hands, Ms. Page wrote: “This man cannot be president.” In another exchange, Mr. Strzok wrote of a potential Trump presidency, “I’m scared for our organization.” He also referred to Mr. Trump as a “douche.” The messages were turned over to Congress and obtained by The New York Times. Mr. Strzok went on to become one of the top investigators for the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III. But over the summer, Mr. Mueller removed Mr. Strzok from his team as soon as he became aware of the texts. Their release is certain to fuel suspicion among Republicans that the investigation into connections between the Trump campaign and Russia was politically motivated from the beginning.

*LBN-COMMENTARY by Spencer Ackerman: Beleaguered Secretary of State Rex Tillerson acknowledged in a closed-door meeting with U.S. diplomats on Tuesday that Russia “interfered in democratic processes here,” something President Trump still describes as “fake news” intended to delegitimize his presidency.  It’s a precarious position for Tillerson to take, even privately. Tillerson’s job is on thin ice, as rumors swirl that he will be swapped out for CIA Director Mike Pompeo. Within the department, Tillerson’s support is wafer-thin, as diplomats have come to see his purpose as hollowing out U.S. diplomacy.  Publicly, Tillerson has been a bit more circumspect about the Kremlin question. In April, Tillerson called the “question of Russian interference” in the election something that was “fairly well-established.” In August, Tillerson told his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, that the election meddling engendered “serious mistrust between our two countries.”  Nor was Tillerson’s acknowledgement about Russian interference in the 2016 election the only departure from Trump’s positions.
*LBN-BUSINESS INSIDER:   ***Nintendo has officially gotten its groove back. After a dismal few years, when it was overshadowed by Microsoft and Sony, the pioneering Japanese video game company has struck gold with its Nintendo Switch, sales figures released Tuesday reveal. Nintendo, the creator of “Super Mario,” sold 10 million units of the hybrid console in its first nine months and seven days in stores.
*Feds Collect Record Taxes Through November; Still Run $201.8B Deficit:

The federal government collected record total tax revenues of $443,715,000,000 in the first two months of fiscal 2018 (Oct. 1, 2017 through the end of November), according to the Monthly Treasury Statement. Despite these record tax revenues, the federal government still ran a deficit of $201,761,000,000 for those same two months. That is because the government spent $645,476,000,000 in October and November.

*DID YOU KNOW? Did you know that people from 26 foreign countries read LBN daily?

*Don’t argue with the Devil – he’s much more intelligent than us, says Pope Francis:

The Devil is more intelligent than mere mortals and should never be argued with, Pope Francis has warned. Satan is not a metaphor or a nebulous concept but a real person armed with dark powers, the Pope said in forthright remarks made during a television interview. “He is evil, he’s not like mist. He’s not a diffuse thing, he is a person. I’m convinced that one must never converse with Satan – if you do that, you’ll be lost,” he told TV2000, a Catholic channel, gesticulating with his hands to emphasize his point. “He’s more intelligent than us, and he’ll turn you upside down, he’ll make your head spin.


U.S. President Donald Trump will make a final push on Wednesday to shepherd a Republican tax overhaul across the finish line, hosting congressional negotiators for lunch before a speech in which he will make closing arguments for the legislation. Republican tax writers from the Senate and House of Representatives worked into Tuesday evening to reconcile differences between the separate plans passed by each chamber, as important details, including a final corporate tax rate, remained in flux. Republican leaders are aiming to vote on the sweeping legislation before Christmas. That timetable became more crucial after Tuesday’s upset win by Democra tDoug Jones over Republican Roy Moore in Alabama’s special U.S. Senate election.

*Tillerson Says Embassy in Jerusalem Is at Least Three Years Away:

Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson said Tuesday that it is unlikely that the American Embassy will be moved to Jerusalem before 2020. “It’s not going to be anything that happens right away,” Mr. Tillerson said, adding, “Probably no earlier than three years out, and that’s pretty ambitious.” President Trump formally recognized Jerusalem last week as the Israeli capital, but he nevertheless signed a national security waiver, which will allow him to delay the movement of the embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv for an additional six months. Administration officials have said there are functional and logistical reasons the United States cannot open a new embassy any time in the near future.

*LBN-BUSINESS INSIDER:   ***A shake-up in global coal trading has delivered some oxygen to the struggling American mining industry, driving up exports to energy-hungry countries. But the relief may not last. United States coal sales abroad over the first three quarters of the year surpassed exports for all of 2016, according to government figures. Energy experts project an increase of 46 percent for the full year, adding more than $1 billion to coal companies’ revenues. Those are crucial dollars for an industry trying to stabilize itself after nearly a decade of declining prices, expanding competition from natural gas and wind and solar energy, and bankruptcies. Domestic coal-fired power plants continue to close despite promises of regulatory relief by the Trump administration, making the exports all the more critical
*WHO READS LBN? Three members of Doug Jones’ campaign staff.


California is moving closer to charging drivers for every mile they drive. The state says it needs more money for road repairs, and the gas tax just isn’t bringing in enough revenue.The state recently road-tested a mileage monitoring plan. The California Road Charge Pilot Program is billed as a way for the state to move from its longstanding pump tax to a system where drivers pay based on their mileage.

*LBN-MEDIA INSIDER: ***The steamy ads featuring a former porn star were apparently the last straw. For months, conservative groups in India have been complaining about condom manufacturers’ risqué ads. One of the most titillating features Sunny Leone, a former actress in X-rated videos, undressing piece by piece. So India’s government stepped in this week, declaring condom commercials “indecent” viewing for children and restricting them to the hours of 10 p.m. to 6 a.m., when relatively few people watch television. But progressive social groups said this was a bad move. India, they argue, desperately needs more condom use, not less.
*LBN-NOTICED:   ***Tech mogul Elon Musk — who split from Johnny Depp’s ex, Amber Heard, in August — was spotted at photographer Ellen von Unwerth’s unusual holiday bash at celebrity hot spot No Name in LA and seemed to get plenty of attention. The party was decorated with tinsel, Christmas trees in cages and giant snowmen — and was attended by guests sporting an assortment of wild outfits and even more out-there monikers. Besides the eclectic Dita Von Teese, rapper Brooke Candy, NBA superfan/art collector James GoldsteinLady Victoria Hervey and Sean Penn’s son, Hopper Penn, were folks named Young BeardoBJ Panda BearLos Angela and Kitten Kay Sera.
*LBN-VIDEO LINK: Donald Trump interview 1980 —
*LBN-R.I.P.:   ***When Macon F. Brock Jr. and his partners pitched their idea to open a chain of dollar stores to developers at a shopping mall convention in the mid-1980s, they got a cold reception. “It’s bound to be junk, and we don’t want a junk store cluttering up our shiny new mall,” he was told, according to his autobiography, “One Buck at a Time” (written with Earl Swift and published in February). But over time the stores turned into Dollar Tree, the retailing juggernaut with more than 14,000 outlets in the United States and Canada. Mr. Brock, who was the company’s chief executive from 1993 to 2003 and chairman until September, died on Saturday at his home in Virginia Beach. He was 75.   ***Pat DiNizio, the lead singer and songwriter of the New Jersey rock group the Smithereens, died Tuesday at the age of 62. The Smithereens confirmed DiNizio’s death in a statement. No cause of death was provided, but the singer had experienced numerous health issues and injuries in recent years.


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*LBN-VIDEO LINK:  “Without Notes” with Susan Estrich – Episode 5: That Was Then, This Is Now. —
*LBN-COMMENTARY by Thomas L. Friedman: There are so many things I could say right now after watching Doug Jonesdefeat Roy Moore in the Senate race in Alabama, but for me it comes down to just two words: “Thank you.” Thank you to the majority of Alabamians for loving our country more than you hated Democrats. Thank you for voting as citizens, not as members of a tribe. Thank you for understanding that sending a credibly accused child molester to represent Alabama in the U.S. Senate would not only have denigrated your state, it would have denigrated that whole legislative body. Thank you for seeing the decency of Doug Jones, even though he is a Democrat, and seeing the indecency of Roy Moore. And most of all, thank you for sending a message to Donald Trump and Stephen Bannon that you are not as dumb as they think you are. That you see what they are up to — trying to use divisive tweets and racist dog whistles to get as many Americans as possible so aroused and inflamed that they won’t think about the real issues, they won’t think about the actual candidates, they won’t think about the national interest, or even their own self-interest, but just how much they dislike “the other” — and you’re not buying it any more. God bless every one of you. Yours was a deeply patriotic act.
*LBN-HISTORICAL COMMENTARY by Mark Twain: A man cannot be comfortable without his own approval.

*LBN-OVERHEARD:   ***It’s going to be a fuller house forJohn Stamos: He and fiancée Caitlin McHugh are expecting their first child. “We have the same morals and the same values, that all clicked nicely. So we said, ‘Oh, well, maybe we should have a family,’” Stamos, 54, told People in an interview released Wednesday. Stamos said McHugh suggested they have a child before tying the knot, and it ended up working out beautifully.  ***Lauren Bush Lauren and David Lauren are expecting their second child, and Lauren’s sister, Ashley Bush, is getting married after her filmmaker boyfriend Julian LeFevrepopped the question in Iceland. The Bush sisters — grandchildren to President George H.W. Bush and daughters of President George W. Bush’s brother, Neil Bush — both have exciting news to celebrate over the holidays, their proud mom,Sharon Bush, says.  ***George Clooney gave 14 of his best pals a million bucks in cash in 2013—and even paid the taxes on the gifts, according to one of his friends. Clooney’s largesse was revealed by his best friend, Rande Gerber, in a recent episode of MSNBC’s Headliners. “There’s a group of guys we call ‘The Boys,’” Gerber explained. “George had called me and ‘The Boys’ and said, ‘Hey, mark Sept. 27th, 2013, on your calendar. Everyone’s going to come to my house for dinner.” When they arrived at the Oscar-winning actor and director’s place, Gerber said that black luggage bags were set on the table for each guest. “George begins to say, ‘Listen, I want you guys to know how much you’ve meant to me and how much you mean in my life,” the businessman recalled. “‘I came to L.A., I slept on your couch. I’m so fortunate in my life to have all of you and I couldn’t be where I am today without all of you. So, it was really important to me that while we’re still all here together, that I give back. So I want you all to open your suitcases.’”According to Gerber, $1 million in $20 bills was stashed in each case.

LBN E-Lert Edited By Dan Porush