Sorry Democrats 'Trumpcare' isn't going to stick - plus, they're still polling ObamaCare?

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Published by: Jared Yamamoto on Monday January 09th, 2017

Herman Cain Daily Briefing for Monday, 1-9-2017



News Nuggets 


FT. LAUDERDALE A day before the suspect in the Fort Lauderdale airport rampage was to appear in court, a website released footage that appears to show him calmly drawing a pistol and opening fire in the baggage claim area. 

o   The video recording posted on TMZ's website appears to show Estaban Santiago walking through baggage claim of Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport on Friday, pulling a handgun from his waistband and then firing several times before running. 

o   Santiago is accused of killing five travelers and wounding six others the attack. He was charged Saturday with an act of violence at an international airport resulting in death - which carries a maximum punishment of execution - and weapons charges. His first court hearing is Monday. 

o   The FBI said in an email that it was aware of the video but would not comment on its authenticity. TMZ does not say where it obtained the video, although it appears to be from a surveillance camera. 

o   Santiago told investigators that he planned the attack, buying a one-way ticket to the Fort Lauderdale airport, a federal complaint said. Authorities don't know why he chose his target and have not ruled out terrorism. 

o   Authorities said Saturday during a news conference that they had interviewed roughly 175 people, including a lengthy interrogation with a cooperative Santiago, who is a former National Guard soldier from Alaska.

o   FBI Agent George Piro said Santiago spoke to investigators for several hours after he opened fire with a 9mm semi-automatic handgun that he appears to have legally checked on a flight from Alaska. 

o   Investigators are combing through social media and other information to determine Santiago's motive, and it's too early to say whether terrorism played a role, Piro said. In November, Santiago had walked into an FBI field office in Alaska saying the U.S. government was controlling his mind and forcing him to watch Islamic State group videos, authorities said. 

o   Santiago had been discharged from the National Guard last year after being demoted for unsatisfactory performance. 

o   Bryan Santiago said Saturday that his brother had requested psychological help but received little assistance. Esteban Santiago said in August that he was hearing voices. 

o   His mother declined to comment as she stood inside the screen door of the family home in Puerto Rico, wiping tears from her eyes. The only thing she said was that Esteban Santiago had been tremendously affected by seeing a bomb explode next to two of his friends when he was around 18 years old while serving in Iraq.


TERROR IN JERUSALEM A Palestinian truck driver rammed his vehicle into a crowd of Israeli soldiers at a popular Jerusalem tourist spot Sunday, killing four people and wounding 17 others in the deadliest single attack of more than a year of Israeli-Palestinian violence. 

o   The attack came at a time of heightened tensions in Jerusalem. 

o   According to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The driver who plowed a truck into a group of soldiers in Jerusalem, killing four people and injuring at least 10, may have been an ISIS sympathizer. 

o   Three of the four killed were females. Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said three of the slain were cadets and one was an officer. All of the slain victims were in their 20s.


o   Israeli police shot and killed the attack suspect, who they identified as 28-year-old Fadi Qunbar. Police have also arrested nine other suspects, including five of Qunbar's family members. 

o   Speaking from the scene of the attack, on a promenade overlooking the walled Old City of Jerusalem, Netanyahu said authorities have identified the terrorist and "all signs show he is a supporter of the Islamic State." 

o   Earlier, Israel Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told CNN "there are no potential active ISIS cells here in Israel." 

o   Then he in fact reversed and tried to ram them again until shots were fired, and the terrorist was shot and killed at the scene."


CONSULATE SHOOTING The man suspected of shooting a U.S. consulate officer outside the consulate in Guadalajara, Mexico, has been captured and is from the United States. 

o   The man was captured by the special forces of the state of Jalisco, and handed over to federal prosecutors, according to a tweet from the state of Jalisco. 

o   The Mexican attorney general's office and Mexico's Foreign Affairs Ministry said in a statement this evening that "an individual from the United States, allegedly involved in this incident was located and detained. The same individual will be expelled and repatriated to the United States of America where his legal status will be determined." 

o   The officer, identified by Mexican prosecutors as Christopher Ashcraft, was shot in his car on Friday as he was leaving the consulate. He was listed in stable condition. 

o   Surveillance video of the attack shows the shooter following the official in a parking garage. A second video shows the attacker waiting until the victim arrives at the exit to the garage, then fires a round through the car's windshield and immediately runs away. 

o   A Mexican official has called the shooting a direct attack, but authorities have said they do not know the motive. The State Department said it is working closely with Mexico on the case. 

o   Secretary of State John Kerry thanked Mexico for the quick work making an arrest in the shooting.


FROM OBAMACARE TO TRUMPCARE President Obama said Sunday that he’s OK with Republicans making changes to his Affordable Care Act and even changing its name from ObamaCare to TrumpCare. 

o   I’m fine with that, the president told ABC’s “This Week.” 

o   Obama suggested that ObamaCare will survive Republicans’ efforts to repeal and replace his signature health care law. And he said that he would be the “first one” to laud Republicans if they can “come up with a system that insures more people cheaper, better.” 

o   The president also suggested that he has wanted to make the kind of changes to ObamaCare that Trump and fellow Republicans in control of Congress are seeking. 

o   With Trump as the next president and Republicans also controlling Congress, the GOP indeed finally has its best opportunity in roughly six years to repeal the law. 

o   Obama’s remarks Sunday provided a glimpse into what he might have told fellow Democrats last week on Capitol Hill in a closed-door meeting about how to defend GOP efforts to repeal and replace the 2010 law. 

o   Obama also cited letters from Americans thanking him for providing affordable, accessible health insurance, similar to what House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and other congressional Democrats have done in recent days, in an apparent attempt to win public support to save ObamaCare. 

o   Obama also pointed out that 20 million more Americans have health insurance as a result of the law and argued the country’s un-insured rate is at a record low.

o   “So we've got a baseline of facts,” he said. 

o   However, under-enrollment in ObamaCare, particularly with young and healthy participants, along with doctors and insurance companies dropping out, has resulted in rising premium costs. 

o   Senate Republicans on Tuesday, the first day of the 115th Congress, took the first legislative steps to repeal the law. 

o   However, they made clear in the time between Trump’s November win and their return that a full replacement might take years, considering they had no alternative plan. 

o   The situation puts them under heavy pressure from their voters, who expect lawmakers’ “Day One” promises to end ObamaCare be fulfilled. 

o   Revamping the nation's $3 trillion-a-year health care system will be further complicated by congressional Democrats vowing to stop Republicans at essentially every step. 

o   Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., has said if Republicans void Obama's bill, Democrats won't help them pass alternative legislation.


OBAMACARE POLL A new poll finds that one in five voters want the Affordable Care Act repealed before a replacement plan is ready, highlighting challenges for a new Congress. 

o   To break it down, 20 percent of people surveyed want it gone immediately with details worked out later, while another 28 percent say wait to repeal until a replacement plan has been announced, the Kaiser Family Foundation said. 

o   Meanwhile, 47 percent want to keep the health law entirely, exposing a nearly even national split on whether Obamacare is worth saving. 

o   In Florida, 1.64 million sign-ups for Obamacare plans through Dec. 31 lead the nation and are running about 5 percent ahead of last year around this time, according to administration officials. That includes more than 183,000 enrollments in Palm Beach County and the Treasure Coast.


o   Florida and its Obamacare enrollees have the most to lose of any state, $5.2 billion, if Congress cuts off government subsidies that make premiums cheaper, research shows. 

o   That amounts to about $305 per subsidized Florida customer per month.


RUSSIA CELEBRATED U.S. ELECTION RESULT Senior officials in the Russian government celebrated Donald Trump’s victory over Hillary Clinton as a geopolitical win for Moscow, according to U.S. officials who said that American intelligence agencies intercepted communications in the aftermath of the election in which Russian officials congratulated themselves on the outcome. 

o   The ebullient reaction among high-ranking Russian officials including some who U.S. officials believe had knowledge of the country’s cyber campaign to interfere in the U.S. election contributed to the U.S. intelligence community’s assessment that Moscow’s efforts were aimed at least in part at helping Trump win the White House. 

o   Other key pieces of information gathered by U.S. spy agencies include the identification of “actors” involved in delivering stolen Democratic emails to the WikiLeaks website, and disparities in the levels of effort Russian intelligence entities devoted to penetrating and exploiting sensitive information stored on Democratic and Republican campaign networks. 

o   Those and other data points are at the heart of an unprecedented intelligence report being circulated in Washington this week that details the evidence of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential campaign and catalogues other cyber operations by Moscow against U.S. election systems over the past nine years. 

o   The classified document, which officials said is over 50 pages, was delivered to President Obama on Thursday, and it is expected to be presented to Trump in New York on Friday by the nation’s top spy officials, including Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr. and CIA Director John Brennan. 

o   Given the president-elect’s skepticism about the intelligence community — particularly its conclusions about Russia — the Trump Tower briefing has taken on the tenor of a showdown between the president-elect and the intelligence agencies he has disparaged. 

o   U.S. officials declined to say whether the intercepted communications were cited in the classified version of the report commissioned by Obama, and they emphasized that although the messages were seen as strong indicators of Moscow’s intent and clear preference for Trump, they were not regarded as conclusive evidence of Russian intelligence agencies’ efforts to achieve that outcome.


CALLING FOR EVEN MORE RUSSIAN SANCTIONS Republican Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham pushed Sunday for greater sanctions against Russia for trying to influence the U.S. election and said President-elect Donald Trump is in danger of being in conflict with congressional Republicans if he doesn't get tougher on Russian President Vladimir Putin. 

o   The two senators, in a joint interview on Meet the Press, also said the U.S. intelligence community's evidence of Russian interference during the American presidential campaign is overwhelming, and that Trump should accept those findings. 

o   "You can't go on with your life as a democracy when a foreign entity is trying to compromise the election process," said Graham of South Carolina. "So Mr. President-elect, it is very important that you show leadership here. Let me say this: if after having been briefed by intelligence leaders, Donald Trump is still unsure as to what the Russians did, that would be incredibly unnerving to me because the evidence is overwhelming. All I'm asking him is to acknowledge that Russia interfered, and push back." 

o   Trump said Friday that he had a "constructive" meeting with intelligence officials, but still had questions about assertions that Russia hacked Democrats during last year's election in order to boost Trump's campaign and defeat Hillary Clinton. 

o   Graham said he understands that Trump wants a better relationship with Russia, "but the only way we can have a better relationship with Russia is when Putin stops destroying democracy in his own back yard, stops invading his neighbors, stop helping butchers like Assad, stops undercutting NATO and the European Union." 


REBUILDING THE NAVY With President-elect Donald Trump demanding more ships, the Navy is proposing the biggest shipbuilding boom since the end of the Cold War to meet threats from a resurgent Russia and saber-rattling China. 

o   The Navy's 355-ship proposal released last month is even larger than what the Republican Trump had promoted on the campaign trail, providing a potential boost to shipyards that have struggled because budget caps that have limited money funding for ships. 

o   Boosting shipbuilding to meet the Navy's 355-ship goal could require an additional $5 billion to $5.5 billion in annual spending in the Navy's 30-year projection, according to an estimate by naval analyst Ronald O'Rourke at the Congressional Research Service. 

o   The Navy's revised Force Structure Assessment calls for adding another 47 ships including an aircraft carrier built in Virginia, 16 large surface warships built in Maine and Mississippi, and 18 attack submarines built in Connecticut, Rhode Island and Virginia. It also calls for more amphibious assault ships, expeditionary transfer docks and support ships. 

o   In addition to being good for national security, a larger fleet would be better for both the sailors, who'd enjoy shorter deployments, and for the ships, which would have more down time for maintenance, said Matthew Paxton, president of the Shipbuilders Council of America, which represents most of the major Navy shipbuilders. 

o   Many defense analysts agree that military capabilities have been degraded in recent years, especially when it comes to warships, aircraft and tanks. 

o   The key is finding a way to increase Navy shipbuilding to achieve defense and economic gains "in a fiscally responsible way that does not pass the bill along to our children," said independent Sen. Angus King of Maine, a member of the Armed Services Committee. 

o   Even when Trump takes office, no one envisions a return to the heady days during the Cold War when workers were wiring, welding, grinding, pounding and plumbing ships at a furious pace to meet President Ronald Reagan's audacious goal of a 600ship Navy. 

o   The Navy currently has 274 deployable battle force ships, far short of its old goal of 308 ships.


300 MORE MARINES The United States will send some 300 Marines to Afghanistan's southern Helmand province to train, advise and assist Afghan security forces, who have been struggling to drive Taliban insurgents out of the opium-rich region. 

o   U.S. Navy Capt. Bill Salvin, a spokesman for the U.S. mission in Afghanistan, said the Marines will begin deploying this year and will remain in the province for nine months, where they will work with the Afghan army and militarized national police. 

o   The U.S. and NATO formally concluded their combat mission in Afghanistan at the end of 2014, but thousands of troops remain in the country, where they train and assist Afghan forces and carry out counterterrorism operations. 

o   The Taliban are battling Afghan forces on a number of fronts, and the fighting has been particularly intense in Helmand, where the insurgents have repeatedly assaulted the provincial capital, Lashkar Gah, in recent months. 

o   Helmand is the main source of poppies for Afghanistan's thriving opium trade, which is worth an estimated $4 billion a year, much of which funds the insurgency. Provincial officials estimate the Taliban controls 85 percent of the province, up from just 20 percent a year ago. 

o   In northern Afghanistan, meanwhile, a roadside bomb killed two police officers and wounded another three, according to Sakhi Dad Haidari, head of the Badakhshan province's criminal investigation department. The Taliban claimed the attack. 

o   Over the past week, Afghan forces have been carrying out clearing operations in different parts of the province. Haidari said around a dozen insurgents have been killed and wounded.


MORE GOOD AUTO NEWS Fiat-Chrysler said Sunday it would spend $1 billion on U.S. manufacturing, including modernizing plants in Michigan and Ohio, in a move that’s set to add 2,000 new jobs. 

o   According to the company’s plan, the plant in Warren, Michigan will be made capable of producing a pickup truck currently built in Mexico. 

o   The Warren plant will make the new Jeep Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer large SUVs. A plant in Toledo, Ohio also will get new equipment to make a new Jeep pickup. 

o   The move by Fiat Chrysler follows a similar recent announcement made by a competing auto brand. 

o   Sunday's announcement by Fiat Chrysler also follows news a day earlier that the company was recalling 100,000 mostly older trucks and SUVs to replace Takata air bag inflators.


GREAT JOB VENEZUELA Venezuela's socialist President Nicolas Maduro announced on Sunday a 50 percent hike in the minimum wage and pensions, the fifth increase over the last year, to help shield workers from the world's highest inflation rate. 

o   The measure puts the minimum monthly salary at 40,683 bolivars - about $60 at the weakest exchange level under the state's currency controls, or $12 at the black market rate. 

o   The 54-year-old successor to Hugo Chavez attributes Venezuela's three-year recession, soaring prices and product shortages to a plunge in global oil prices since mid-2014 and an "economic war" by political foes and hostile businessmen. 

o   Venezuela's inflation hit 181 percent in 2015 though opponents say the true figure was higher. There is no official data for 2016, but most economists think inflation at least doubled from the previous year and will be worse again in 2017. 

o   Venezuela's opposition has said inflation was more than 500 percent in 2016, while the economy shrank 12 percent. The government has given no gross domestic product data for last year.


ABC OUTRAGES VIEWERS ABC-Disney Television Network generated outrage during its televised coverage of the Houston Texans’ victory over the Oakland Raiders Saturday night in the Wild Card round of the AFC Playoffs, but it had nothing to do with the football. 

o   Instead many viewers were annoyed at a promo for next Wednesday’s episode of ABC’s  sitcom Black-ish, which features a predominantly African-American cast being decidedly anti-Trump in tone and nature. 

o   In the promo, which bills the episode as the “election through the eyes of Black-ish”, Lucy (a white character played by Christine Reitman) tells her predominantly African-American co-workers: “I voted for Trump!” before adding the clichéd justification, “I’m a racist? I have black friends!” 

o   In another scene, her colleague Daphne (Wanda Sykes) appears to kick out at her for merely expressing that she had chosen to cast her vote for the Republican Party. 

o   Meanwhile the show’s protagonists Dre and Rainbow Johnson are seen looking crestfallen at the outcome of the election while in another scene Rainbow shouts “Go Hillary!”  

o   The promo announcer goes on to promise: “Oh they’ll be tweeting about this one!” 

o   People already are tweeting about the episode before it’s being aired but it’s not what ABC– owned by Disney– wants to read. Football fans are objecting to Trump voters being ridiculed in such a tiresome and predictable fashion. 

o   “Why does the NFL keep playing an anti-Trump commercial for the terrible show Blackish?” wrote one tweeter. “They must not know their audience”. Another viewer fumed: “I am offended at the preview for the show #blackish about voting for Trump makes you a racist!” 

o   Matt Falk tweeted: “No one watch #blackish. Not everyone who voted for Trump is a racist, That show caters to the lowest common denominator” while Steve James declared on the online social networking service: “Man, Blackish looks so original! A Trump voter isn’t racist because she has black friends! Can’t wait to never watch a second of that show.” 

o   It’s not beyond the realms of possibility that Trump will weigh in on Twitter with his thoughts about Black-ish in the next few days. 

o   After all in October 2014, the President-Elect tweeted: “How is ABC Television allowed to have a show entitled “Blackish”? Can you imagine the furor of a show, “Whiteish”! Racism at highest level?”


A DELAYED LAUNCH The launch of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket scheduled for today (Monday) from California’s Vandenberg Air Force Base has been postponed over bad weather. 

o   The forecast is calling for rain for most of the week, pushing the launch date back to January 14th at the earliest, industry sources confirm. 

o   The delay was also confirmed on Twitter by Iridium Communications, a SpaceX customer that is sending 10 satellites into orbit aboard the Falcon 9. 

o   The upcoming flight is the first for the Falcon 9 since an explosion last September destroyed the rocket and its payload on the launch pad at Cape Canaveral. 

o   The private commercial space company announced the findings last week of its investigation into the explosion. It blamed buckles in the tank that contained liquid helium for the explosion.


A SUBWAY TRADITION Subway riders in New York City and other places around the world got an eyeful when their fellow transit users stripped down to their underwear. 

o   The annual No Pants Subway Ride took place on Sunday. 

o   The event is organized by the Improv Everywhere comedy collective. It started in 2002 in New York with seven participants. 

Organizers say pants-less subway rides were scheduled to take place this year in dozens of cities around the world. Philadelphia's version is sponsored by a laundry delivery service. 

o   Participants are told to get on trains and act as they normally would and are given an assigned point to take off their pants. They're asked to keep a straight face and respond matter-of-factly to anyone who asks them if they're cold.


DON’T GO TO GAMBIA The United States warned its citizens against visiting the tourist destination of Gambia on Saturday, and told those already there to consider leaving, citing the risk of unrest as President Yahya Jammeh digs in despite losing an election. 

o   "The U.S. Department of State warns U.S. citizens against travel to The Gambia because of the potential for civil unrest and violence in the near future," the statement on its website said. It said the supreme court hearing on Jan. 10 of Jammeh's challenge to the result that elected his rival Adama Barrow was a potential flashpoint for violence. 

o   "U.S. citizens should consider departing on commercial flights and other transportation," the statement said.


SOME MEAN FOLKS Thieves broke into cars at four fire stations in Georgia overnight as authorities worked to fight an early-morning fire. 

o   Gwinnett County firefighters did not discover the break-ins until they returned from the call around 7 a.m. Sunday. A firefighter told that a crew returned to the station in Norcross to find police filling the parking lot. 

o   A gun was stolen from the truck of one victim, who had parked at the Norcross station. 

o   A Gwinnett County Fire spokesman said the thieves broke into cars and stole items from fire stations 5, 31, 15 and 23. 

o   "We're encouraging crews to keep a vigilant watch on their parking lot, all hours of the night and day," fire spokesman Tommy Rutledge said. "We've asked police departments in our jurisdictions to step up patrols in our parking lot, and it was again that very extra patrol, that thwarted a vehicle break-in at this fire station." 

o   Rutledge said last Monday, thieves targeted stations 9 and 21, in Lawrenceville and Suwannee. He said the thieves stole at least one gun from the previous incident. 


Solutions for a Better America for Monday, 1-9-2017 


COUNTDOWN TO INAGURATION 11 DAYS on Friday, January 20th.









STARTING THE LIBERAL ATTACK Liberals are already beginning to target Republican Sens. Jeff Flake (Ariz.) and Dean Heller (Nev.) with attack ads as Democrats look to soften up their only two realistic targets ahead of a difficult 2018 Senate map. 

o   Two groups, Progressive Change Campaign Committee (PCCC) and Allied Progress, have launched TV ads in the senators’ home states that aim to tie the two GOP senators to President-elect Donald Trump’s Cabinet and White House staff picks.

o   Democrats are starting GOP attacks early in a cycle where they’re mostly playing defense and trying to block Republicans from flipping enough seats to achieve a 60-seat, filibuster-proof Senate majority. Republicans are defending just eight seats in 2018, while Democrats are defending 23 seats, plus another two held by independent allies. 

o   About a week after Stephen Bannon was named chief White House strategist in Trump’s administration, PCCC launched an ad on Thanksgiving pressuring Flake to call on the former Breitbart News executive to be fired. The ad, which was extended, ran in Washington, D.C., Phoenix and Tucson.


CONFIRMING THE CABINET The Republican-controlled Senate, brushing aside concerns from Democrats and a government-ethics watchdog, is moving quickly this week to help install Trump administration officials, scheduling multiple confirmation hearings on a single day on which the chamber also will begin voting on a step toward repealing much of the Affordable Care Act. 

o   Republicans have set at least nine confirmation hearings for the week, starting on Tuesday with one for Sen. Jeff Sessions (R., Ala.), whom Mr. Trump nominated to lead the Justice Department. 

o   The lineup includes five hearings on Wednesday, the same day the Senate is expected to hold a series of rapid-fire votes in connection with a budget measure that advances the Republican effort to repeal the 2010 health law. Wednesday, Mr. Trump holds his first news conference since the election. 

o   Republicans say holding five hearings in a single day is consistent with past practice by both parties. Democrats say holding that many hearings at once makes it difficult to properly vet nominees. “My big concern now is to try to be in two places at one time,” said Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, the new top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee. 

o   She said the pileup was occurring just as lawmakers and aides adapt to new committee assignments. “There’s new staff; there’s 150,000 pages [of nomination documents] to go through,” she said. “Something’s wrong.” 

o   Adding to the friction is that several committees haven’t received financial and conflict-of-interest paperwork that nominees are required to file through the Office of Government Ethics, material the lawmakers say is needed to properly scrutinize nominees. Democrats are highlighting that issue to warn of potential conflicts of interest in Mr. Trump’s administration, arising as well from the president-elect’s own business holdings. 

o   Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) dismissed those concerns Sunday, noting that at least five of the Trump nominees enter this week’s confirmation hearings with the necessary ethics paperwork on file at the committees. 

o   The five nominees with hearings this week who have provided the necessary paperwork include Mr. Sessions; former oil executive Rex Tillerson, nominated to serve as secretary of state; and Rep. Mike Pompeo (R., Kan.), nominated to lead the Central Intelligence Agency.


LINING UP TO JOIN TEAM TRUMP Economists aren’t shying away from joining Donald Trump’s administration and would be willing to pitch in if asked, according to former economic policy makers now in academia. 

o   “The president will be able to get any economist he asked for,” said Glenn Hubbard, who served President George W. Bush as chairman of his Council of Economic Advisers from 2001 to 2003 and is now dean of Columbia University’s Graduate School of Business. Hubbard spoke Saturday in Chicago at the American Economic Association annual conference. 

o   A delay in naming a new CEA chair and reports that the position might go to CNBC commentator Lawrence Kudlow spawned speculation that leading academic economists were reluctant to join a team headed by an avowed skeptic of free trade. 

o   “I don’t see that,” said John Taylor, an economics professor who served in the Bush administration as under secretary of Treasury for international affairs and now teaches at Stanford University. “It’s a pretty exciting time and lots of things are going on,” said Taylor, who worked in three other administrations as well. 

o   Alan Krueger, who led the CEA in the White House of President Barack Obama from 2011 to 2013 before passing the torch to incumbent Jason Furman, suggested that it might be more of a matter of Trump not wanting many economists in his administration, rather than the other way around.


WORKING ON THE RIGHT PROBLEM Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin on Saturday signed controversial legislation that will allow workers to refuse to pay union dues, a victory for Republicans who control the state government for the first time in nearly a century. 

o   The so-called right-to-work law passed the Kentucky state Senate on Saturday. The House, which Republicans captured in November's elections, passed the law last week. 

o   Labor groups protested the measure at the capitol building in Frankfort. The new law, which takes effect immediately, also prohibits public employees from going on strike. 

o   Kentucky is the 27th state in the country to adopt right-to-work legislation, and the last state in the South to pass such a law. 

o   Republicans who took control of the Kentucky state government have plotted an aggressive assault on unions, abortion rights and other pillars of the Democratic coalition. 

o   The GOP-led House and Senate also passed a ban on abortions after 20 weeks, which Bevin said he would sign this weekend. 

o   The legislature is also considering measures to roll back a law requiring construction companies to pay workers prevailing wages for public works projects. 

o   In a statement, Kentucky AFL-CIO President Bill Londrigan called the right-to-work and prevailing wage measures "some of the most extreme anti-workers bills in the nation today, slashing wages and silencing working people across the Commonwealth." 

o   Aside from Kentucky, labor groups are playing defense in such states as Missouri and Iowa, where Democrats suffered losses in November.


PLAGIARISM Monica Crowley, President-elect Donald Trump’s pick to lead communications for the National Security Council, plagiarized parts of her 2012 book. 

o   In its review of Crowley’s book, “What the (Bleep) Just Happened?,” CNN found more than 50 instances of plagiarism, according to the report. 

o   Crowley lifted sections from articles in The Wall Street Journal and Yahoo News. She also took language from think tanks like the Heritage Foundation and the American Enterprise Institute. 

o   CNN found more than 10 instances where Crowley had taken material from National Review’s Andrew McCarthy. 

o   Trump's transition team stood behind Crowley in a statement to the network.