BINGO! Federal Debt Tops $19,900,000,000,000—On Black Friday:
The federal debt moved above 19,900,000,000,000 for the first time as of the close of business, Nov. 22, the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, according to data released by the Treasury. On that day, it rose from $19,899,004,081,493.50 to $19,907,540,739,514.52. However, on Nov. 23, the day before Thanksgiving, the debt dropped back to $19,897,994,347,700,50, according to the Treasury. No Treasury business was conducted on Thanksgiving. But by the close of business on Nov. 25—“Black Friday”–the debt had climbed back above $19,900,000,000,000, hitting 19,928,118,193,162.55.
Trump: I Will Quit Business ‘in Total’ for Presidency:
In yet another early-morning tweetstorm, President-elect Donald Trump
has announced he will leave his businesses “in total” in order to “fully focus” on running the country. He announced the news in four separate tweets. Trump and his family will discuss the move on Dec. 15 in New York City at a “major news conference.” Trump says he is “not mandated to” but wants to quit the businesses to avoid the appearance of conflicting interests. “I feel it is visually important, as president, to in no way have a conflict of interest with my various businesses,” he wrote. Much has been made in recent weeks of the overlap between his meetings with world leaders and his ability to obtain permits and contracts for his buildings in those countries.
U.N. Stiffens Sanctions on North Korea, Trying to Slow Its Nuclear March:
In an effort to tighten sanctions that largely failed to throttle North Korea’s nuclear program, the United Nations Security Council on Wednesday imposed a cap on coal exports, the country’s chief source of hard currency. The new penalties, adopted unanimously by the council, came as North Korea advances toward its goal of building a functional nuclear warhead. That presents a stark national security challenge to the incoming administration of President-elect Donald J. Trump
, who called North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un
, “a maniac” during the campaign, but has said nothing about how to contain Mr. Kim’s nuclear ambitions. As with the original set of sanctions, which the Security Council adopted in March, the key to enforcing these new penalties remains in the hands of China, North Korea’s principal patron and coal customer.
Philip Morris Looks to ‘Phase Out’ Cigarettes:
In a bid to eventually “phase out” conventional cigarettes, tobacco manufacturer Philip Morris rolled out a brand new product that heats tobacco instead of burning it. The new product, dubbed “Iqos,” will give users 90 percent less of the toxins contained in normal cigarettes, according to Philip Morris. Trials have shown that the Iqos could actually help people quit smoking. The company’s CEO, Andre Calantzopoulos
, told the BBC that he acknowledges the harmful effects of cigarettes and want to “find and commercialize” those which are less damaging to users’ health.
Romney Praises Trump After Their Dinner:
Former presidential candidate Mitt Romney
praised President-elect Donald Trump
after the two men went to dinner as Trump continues to deliberate about his choice for secretary of State. “I had a wonderful evening with President-elect Trump,” Romney said after leaving the dinner. “We had another discussion about affairs throughout the world and these discussions I’ve had with him have been enlightening, and interesting, and engaging. I’ve enjoyed them very, very much. I was also very impressed by the remarks he made on his victory night. By the way, it’s not easy winning. I know that myself. He did something I tried to do and was unsuccessful in. He won the general election and he continues with a message of inclusion and bringing people together and his vision is something which obviously connected with the American people in a very powerful way. The last few weeks he’s been carrying or a transition effort and I can tell you I’ve been impressed by what I’ve seen in the transition effort.” Romney, who devoted an entire speech during the campaign eviscerating Trump as a con man and a fraud also praised the administration appointments of Nikki Haley
, Jeff Sessions
, and Betsy DeVos
. “I think you’re going to see America continue to lead the world in this century. And what I’ve seen through these discussions I’ve had with President-elect Trump, as well as what we’ve seen in his speech the night of his victory, as well as the people he’s selected as part of his transition, all of those things combined give me increasing hope that President-elect Trump is the very man who can lead us to that better future,” Romney concluded his brief remarks.
Al Gore: Electoral College Should Be ‘Eliminated’:
Speaking at an event in Washington, D.C., this week, former Vice President Al Gore
says he has changed his mind about the importance of the Electoral College. As one of two Democratic nominees this century to win the popular vote but lose the presidency due to the Electoral College system, Gore said, “I do think that it should be eliminated.” Gore added, “I think moving to a popular vote system is not without peril, is not without problems, it’s not a simple one choice is all good, the other is all bad. It’s a balancing act. But I think the balance has shifted, in my mind at least, and I think that we should go to a popular vote.”
ISIS Calls Ohio State University Attacker a ‘Soldier’:
The Islamic State claimed responsibility on Tuesday for the attack at Ohio State University, calling the student who drove his car into pedestrians and then slashed people with a butcher knife a “soldier” of the terrorist group. A day after the assault injured 11 people, local and federal law enforcement agencies were searching for evidence to determine whether it was an act of terrorism and whether the assailant acted alone, while the large Somali immigrant community here denounced the attack and braced for a possible backlash. The attacker, identified as Abdul Razak Ali Artan, a Somali-born Ohio State student, was shot and killed by a police officer.
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Student-Debt Forgiveness Program Far Exceeds Cost Estimates:
In the first projection of new student-loan relief efforts, the U.S. government will take in tens of billions of dollars less than expected from an Obama administration effort to assist borrowers. According to a report in The Wall Street Journal
, more than $108 billion in student debt will be waived in the coming years—the first full-cost projection of a program that ties loan payments to borrowers’ incomes. In a report to be released Wednesday, the Government Accountability Office estimates some $137 billion of $533 billion in outstanding loan debt covered in the program will never be paid, as enrollment surpassed expectations and more than tripled in the past three years. The report, which only covers loans made through the 2016-2017 school year, slams the Department of Education’s accounting methods, which allegedly underestimated the cost of the debt-relief plans. The remaining $29 billion is projected to be forgiven in cases of death or disability. Under terms of the most generous loan agreements, borrowers’ payments are limited to 10 percent of their discretionary income each month, with the remaining balance waived after 10 to 20 years. Though it is controversial, the Obama administration has said the programs should be credited with reducing the number of new graduates who default on their loans.
Netflix Allows Downloads to Watch Shows, Movies Offline:
Netflix announced on Wednesday that it is allowing users to download shows and movies in order to watch them offline. Additionally, users will not have to upgrade their accounts or pay a higher subscription fee in order to access offline playback. The streaming service joins Amazon Instant Video and Vudu in supporting offline playback. Shows that will be available for download and offline playback include Narcos
, Orange is The New Black
, Breaking Bad
, Mad Men
, and The Crown
CIA Chief to Trump: Scrapping Iran Deal Would Be ‘Height of Folly’:
CIA Director John Brennan said in a BBC interview that it would be “disastrous” for the incoming Trump administration to scrap the Iran nuclear deal. Brennan said the move would be “the height of folly,” and also noted that Donald Trump should be cautious about interacting with Russia. Brennan blamed Moscow for the deaths and turmoil in Syria, which has suffered through a five-year civil war. Throughout his campaign and into the transition period, Trump has said he may throw out the Iran deal and that he would like to work more closely with Vladimir Putin. Brennan will leave his post at the CIA in January.
Saudi Prince: Ban on Women Drivers Is ‘Unjust’:
Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal
has called for an end to the kingdom’s ban on women drivers, deeming the prohibition “unjust.” The prince wrote on his Twitter account: “Stop thedebate: Time for women to drive” and released an accompanying statement, which laid out the social and economic reasons for his position. Alwaleed, one of the world’s wealthiest men, is a philanthropist and chairs Kingdom Holding Co. He holds no political posts. The kingdom has the world’s strictest laws for women, including the world’s only ban on females driving. In his statement, he wrote: “Preventing a woman from driving a car is today an issue of rights similar to the one that forbade her from receiving an education or having an independent identity.” He added, “They are all unjust acts by a traditional society, far more restrictive than what is lawfully allowed by the precepts of religion.”
LBN-NOTICED: ***Emma Stone at the Brooklyn Diner on West 57th Street in NYC with her mom while taking a break from “SNL” rehearsals. The pair ordered a chicken pot pie, grilled cheese and iced tea. ***New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Megachurch pastor A.R. Bernard at Old Homestead Steakhouse in NYC. ***Mike Pence was a surprise guest at hedge-funder hot spot Hunt & Fish Club in NYC on Tuesday. Spies said the veep-elect attended a “campaign debt-retirement party” in honor of former presidential hopeful Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. The affair was attended by about 15 VIPs. Pence was there for 35 minutes, then mingled with regulars outside a private room. ***Anthony Weiner has returned to New York from a more than a month-long stint in a Tennessee rehab, spotted at the apartment he still shares with his estranged wife Huma Abedin and their son, four-year-old Jordan. Earlier on Tuesday, Huma treated herself to a blowout at Elizabeth Arden’s Red Door Salon before getting her nails manicured at Blooming Nails in New York.
THINK FREELY – READ LBN:
The Best of the TV Interview Show —– “Without Notes” —–Michael Levine concludes his conversation with former FBI chief hostage negotiator Chris Voss. —— https://youtu.be/nlTAmPMkUiA
is staying put at “Today.” The anchor has re-signed his contract with the NBC morning show— which will keep him as co-host for at least two more years at $20 million per year. Multiple sources said that Lauer inked the new contract months ago.
LBN-COMMENTARY by Frank Bruni: A show of hands, please: How many of you would like Donald Trump to step away — far away — from his Twitter account? I’m pretty sure I have a majority, but to be safe: How many can at least agree on no tweets before breakfast? Yowza. I’m above 95 percent. Reince, you don’t have to nod wildly and jump up and down; the raised hand alone will do. And you get one hand, Melania, not two. Two is a real, provable case of voter fraud. Thanks in part to the president-elect’s predilection for outbursts of fewer than 140 characters, he routinely comes across as petty and mercurial. But right now he has an opportunity for the opposite impression. He can choose Mitt Romney as his secretary of state. That he’s actually mulling this — the two had a second meeting about it, over dinner in Manhattan, Tuesday night — is alone extraordinary. Trump knows how to carry a grudge the way Jim Brown knew how to carry a football, and Romney gave him cause for vengefulness, with a major speech during the Republican primaries that labeled him a fraud and exhorted Americans to reject him.
LBN-COMMENTARY by President Barack Obama: I will tell you, New Hampshire, 2008, I had just won Iowa and had this whirlwind tour of New Hampshire, huge rallies, huge crowds, and our internal pollster had us up by 10. And around 7:30, as I’m putting on my clothes to deliver my victory speech, I get a knock on the door by David Plouffe, David Axelrod and Robert Gibbs. And they’ve got sheepish looks on their faces [chuckles]. And they say, “Barack, we have some interesting news for you. We don’t think we’re gonna win this thing.” That’s the thing about democracy. That’s the thing about voting. It doesn’t mean polls are irrelevant, but there is always a human variable involved in this. So I think the odds of Donald Trump winning were always around 20 percent. That [doesn’t] seem like a lot, but one out of five is not that unusual. It’s not a miracle.
LBN-COMMENTARY by Andy Parker: During his 2008 campaign, Barack Obama got into trouble with his famous comment about too many working class Americans clinging to their guns and religion. At the time, he had to backpedal from the remarks, but as we saw in the last election his observation was prescient. Bible thumpers and gun toters have ushered in scary times for many of us labeled “libtards” by the fundamentalist/NRA faction.The other pillar of this unholy trinity is hypocrisy. Nowhere is it on finer display than at Liberty University. If it can be believed, its leader Jerry Falwell Jr., was asked to be Secretary of Education in the new regime. This, after preaching the virtues of arming his students and faculty and directing pointed language at Muslims. Liberty now attracts the likes of John Luke Robertson, a member of the clan from the reality-television series “Duck Dynasty.” His major? Adventure Leadership and Outdoor Ministry. Wonder what that looks like on a diploma.
LBN-A DIFFERENT VIEW:…
LBN E-Lert Edited By Addison Beaulieu
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