*Trump Veers From Tax Script to Blast Democrats on Immigration:
President Trump dispensed on Thursday with what he called a “boring” speech on tax reform here, tossing his text to his fans before launching into a lengthy tirade against immigration that included an accusation that Democrats were embracing dangerous policies to secure immigrant votes. Mr. Trump traveled to West Virginia to promote his $1.5 trillion tax overhaul before a friendly audience. But the president grew tired of his prepared remarks after a few moments and returned to the bitter complaints about the United States’ immigration laws that have dominated his attention this week and prompted him on Wednesday to ask governors to deploy the National Guard to the southern border. This was going to be my remarks — it would have taken about two minutes, but what the hell — that would have been a little boring,” Mr. Trump said, tossing a sheet of paper covered with neat paragraphs of text into the audience. “I’m reading off the first paragraph, I said, ‘This is boring.’ Come on. We have to tell it like it is.” Instead, he recounted the terrorist attack last October in Lower Manhattan, in which an Uzbek immigrant killed eight people when he drove a truck onto a pedestrian and bicycle path on the West Side Highway. “This is what the Democrats are doing to you, and they like it because they think they’re going to vote Democrat,” Mr. Trump said. “They’re doing it for that reason, and other reasons.”
*Punished – U.S. Sanctions Putin’s Son-in-Law and Oligarchs Close to the Kremlin
The U.S. on Friday imposed a sweeping new set of sanctions against seven high-profile Russian businessmen with ties to Vladimir Putin and the 12 companies they control. “Russian oligarchs and elites who profit from this corrupt system will no longer be insulated from the consequences of their government’s destabilizing activities,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement. The sanction targets include oligarch Kirill Shamalov, who married Putin’s daughter in 2014; Oleg Deripaska, a senior Russian official and billionaire linked to former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort; and Suleiman Kerimov, who allegedly brought millions of euros into France in suitcases. The administration has also targeted 17 Russian officials working for either the government or state-owned companies, including Alexei Miller, chairman of Gazprom, and Andrei Kostin, head of state-owned bank VTB, which has been described as Putin’s personal piggy bank by some watchdogs.
*LOOKING UP – Poisoned Spy Sergei Skripal No Longer in Critical Condition
Former Russian spy Sergei Skripal, who was attacked in Britain with a nerve agent last month, is “no longer in a critical condition” and “improving rapidly,” the BBC reports. Salisbury District Hospital said Skripal was “responding well to treatment” more than a month after he and his daughter Yulia were found unconscious at a mall bench. Medical Director Christine Blanshard said the hospital confirmed that Yulia’s condition “had improved to stable” last week and is looking forward to being able to leave the hospital—although she did not disclose when that might be.
*Trump to Skip White House Correspondents Dinner Again
Donald Trump will once again avoid the traditional roasting of the president at the White House Correspondents Dinner after confirming he will not attend the event for the second year running. The annual dinner, traditionally attended by the president and vice president, will take place April 28 to celebrate the role of the free press. The White House Correspondents Association said in a statement Friday: “The White House has informed us that the president does not plan to participate in this year’s dinner but that he will actively encourage members of the Executive Branch to attend and join us as we celebrate the First Amendment. In keeping with tradition, press secretary Sarah Sanders also will represent the administration at the head table.” Trump was infamously roasted by President Obama at the 2011 dinner for his belief in the birther conspiracy.
*U.S. Added 103K Jobs in March, Sharply Lower Than Expected
American companies added 103,000 employees in March, well below analysts’ estimates of 185,000 and reflecting a tight labor market and cuts in the construction and retail sectors. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the unemployment rate held steady at 4.1 percent, defying expectations of sinking to a 4 percent mark. Average hourly earnings rose 2.7 percent, up 0.3 percent from a month earlier. Financial markets were roiled this winter on fears that such wage increases could spark inflation, though it would also likely spur consumer spending.
*Facebook Secretly Deletes Some of Zuckerberg’s Private Messages
Lots of us have sent a message on Facebook we wish we could delete, but, unlike other messaging apps such as WhatsApp, you can’t take back sent messages on the site—unless, that is, you’re Mark Zuckerberg. Facebook has confirmed some of the Facebook founder’s messages to users have disappeared from their inboxes, with the company claiming it was done to protect corporate security. Facebook never publicly disclosed the removal of messages from users’ inboxes, nor privately informed the recipients, news site TechCrunch reported. A spokesperson for Facebook said: “After Sony Pictures’ emails were hacked in 2014, we made a number of changes to protect our executives’ communications. These included limiting the retention period for Mark’s messages in Messenger. We did so in full compliance with our legal obligations to preserve messages.” Normal Facebook users cannot delete their messages from recipients’ inboxes, indicating Zuckerberg and other executives receive special treatment in being able to pull back their sent messages.
*LBN-INVESTIGATES: Top 20% of Americans Will Pay 87% of Income Tax. Households with $150,000 or more in income make up 52% of total income nationally but pay large portion of total taxes.
*FACE REALITY – READ LBN: You can afford to be stupid in modern life. Information is power and LBN is a power-tool!
*To Die For – Dolce and Gabbana Say Their Brand Will Die When They Do
Italian fashion designers Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana say their label, Dolce & Gabbana, will die when they do. “Once we’re dead, we’re dead. I don’t want a Japanese designer to start designing Dolce & Gabbana,” said Gabbana, 55, in an interview with an Italian newspaper. The pair added that they had rejected several offers to buy the brand, and talked about how they continued the businesses despite splitting up as a romantic couple in 2006. Dolce, 59, said they had refused “every offer to buy the brand,” adding: “You can have all the money in the world, but if you are not free, what do you do? You don’t go to the grave with a coffin stuffed with money.” Gabbana added: “I’m too busy working. I don’t care about becoming richer—my goal is to be successful.”
*Guilty – South Korean Ex-President Sentenced to 24 Years in Prison
South Korea’s now-ex president Park Geun-hye has been sentenced to 24 years in prison after being found guilty of a string of abuses of power. Park was found guilty of 16 out of 18 charges, with judges ruling that she colluded with her close aide, Choi Soon-sil, to pressure companies into giving millions of dollars to companies and foundations run by Choi. Park was South Korea’s first female president, and served from 2013 until her impeachment in March 2017. On top of her 24-year prison sentence, Park has also been fined 18 billion won ($17 million). The former leader was not in court for the ruling—which was broadcast live to the country—and has boycotted her trial hearings, previously accusing the courts of being biased against her. She has denied any wrongdoing. The scandal has fueled outrage against political and business elites in South Korea.
*Trump Denies Knowing of Any Hush Money Paid to Porn Actress:
President Trump denied on Thursday knowing of a $130,000 payment his lawyer made to a pornographic film actress who claims to have had a sexual encounter with him, an assertion that threatened to complicate his legal battle against her. Mr. Trump made his first public remarks about the matter aboard Air Force One as he returned to Washington from White Sulphur Springs, W.Va., where he had held a round table on tax cuts. Asked by a reporter if he knew about the payment to the actress, Stormy Daniels, whose given name is Stephanie Clifford, he said, “No.”
*LBN-LEGAL INSIDER: ***A Los Angeles Superior Court judge has ruled that Judge Judy Sheindlin’s annual salary of $45 million is not unreasonable. The ruling comes in a lawsuit brought by Richard Lawrence, a talent agent who receives a commission on “Judge Judy” profits. Lawrence, through his company Rebel Entertainment Partners, has accused Big Ticket Television and CBS of overpaying Sheindlin, thereby reducing his piece of the profits.
*LBN-MUSIC INSIDER: ***Lorde issued an apology Thursday for using a “poorly chosen quote” from a Whitney Houston song alongside a photo of a bathtub on Instagram. Lorde came under fire after sharing a snapshot of water pouring into a tub — presumably a bath the singer herself planned to take — with the caption, “And iii will always love you.” The lyrics were taken from the late Houston’s beloved single from her 1992 film “The Bodyguard.” Houston accidentally drowned in a bathtub in 2012 at the age of 48. ***Bob Dylan has recorded a song for a compilation of same-sex wedding anthems. The legendary musician covered the classic “She’s Funny That Way”, originally a hit for Gene Austin in 1929, and later performed by Frank Sinatra and Nat King Cole. Like the numerous female artists to have recorded the song, including Billie Holiday, Etta James and Liza Minnelli, Dylan altered the lyrics to sing “He’s Funny That Way” instead. Speaking about Dylan’s contribution to Universal Love, producer Rob Kaplan told The New York Times: “It wasn’t just ‘Yes, I’ll do this’. It was ‘Hey, I have an idea for a song.’”
*LBN-INVESTIGATES: Every 40 seconds, a child goes missing in the U.S.
*LBN-SPORTS INSIDER: ***MMA champion Conor McGregor glared at reporters Friday morning as he was walked out of a Brooklyn precinct on assault charges stemming from the wild tantrum he threw at the Barclays Center. The 29-year-old Irishman, whose nickname is “The Notorious,” appeared worried as he was escorted from the 78th Precinct in Prospect Heights to an awaiting police car, his hands cuffed from behind. McGregor said nothing Friday, but went ballistic the day before in a non-public area of the sports arena, hurling a metal guardrail and other items at a bus following a UFC 223 press conference hyping Saturday’s bout between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Max Holloway.
*LBN-NOTICED: ***Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is set on reforming his nation, was fêtedWednesday at a Hollywood dinner hosted by power producer and director Brian Grazer and wife Veronica, plus Endeavor boss Ari Emanuel. Guests at the feast at Grazer’s home included Jeff Bezos, Disney’s Bob Iger, Patriots owner Robert Kraft, Ron Howard, Snapchat’s Evan Spiegel, and Kobe Bryant, who we’re told the prince had specifically requested to meet. Also there were ex-Trump adviser, former Goldman exec Dina Powell and Vice co-founder Shane Smith. ***Bill and Hillary Clinton at Upland on Park Avenue South in NYC. ***Orlando Bloom, Chris Pine, Christina Hendricks and Ridley Scott at a Malibu dinner by chef Mark Hix for British booze Black Cow Vodka. ***Sally Field seeing “Angels in America” in NYC.
*LBN-VIDEO LINK: What Really Separates the Rich From the Poor – https://youtu.be/xtzRxeaf5NQ
*LBN-SITE OF THE DAY:
The history and science of earthquakes as presented by Exploratorium.
*LBN-R.I.P.: ***Susan Anspach, the radiant and rebellious actress who personified the 1960s-into-the-’70s counterculture in films like “Five Easy Pieces” and “Blume in Love,” as well as in the stage musical “Hair,” died on Monday at her home in Los Angeles. She was 75. Her son, Caleb Goddard, who announced the death on Thursday, said the cause was coronary failure. ***Amsale Aberra, an Ethiopian-born fashion designer whose simple, minimalist aesthetic transformed the modern American wedding dress, died on Sunday in Manhattan. She was 64. Her death, at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, was caused by uterine cancer, her husband, Neil Brown, said.
*LBN-VIDEO LINK: Adolf Hitler’s and Dr. Josef Goebbel’sspeech at the Sportspalast in color — https://youtu.be/I-dWTxSdZ1A
*LBN-COMMENTARY by Maureen Callahan: Nearly 50 years after Senator Ted Kennedy left a young woman to die in a shallow pond — and America went on to reward him with a lifelong career in the US Senate — we are finally beginning to reckon with the Kennedy myth. But only just. The new film “Chappaquiddick” is, to date, the most brutal and honest account of what happened that night. But it’s also something else: an indictment of our collective hero worship at the altar of Brand Kennedy, which bred so much corrosive entitlement that surviving brother Ted, the family beta male, went home to sleep it off after leaving a loyal young staffer to die alone. “Chappaquiddick” is a much-needed counterweight to two current hagiographies: CNN’s docuseries “The Kennedys,” airing to high ratings on Sunday nights, and Netflix’s forthcoming documentary “Bobby Kennedy for President.”
*LBN-COMMENTARY by Karin Jones: After being married for 23 years, I wanted sex but not a relationship. This is dicey because you can’t always control emotional attachments when body chemicals mix, but with the married men I guessed that the fact that they had wives, children and mortgages would keep them from going overboard with their affections. And I was right. They didn’t get overly attached, and neither did I. We were safe bets for each other. I was careful about the men I met. I wanted to make sure they had no interest in leaving their wives or otherwise threatening all they had built together. In a couple of cases, the men I met were married to women who had become disabled and could no longer be sexual, but the husbands remained devoted to them.
*LBN-COMMENTARY by Roni Caryn Rabin: By the time Thomas Hodorowski made the connection between his marijuana habit and the bouts of pain and vomiting that left him incapacitated every few weeks, he had been to the emergency room dozens of times, tried anti-nausea drugs, anti-anxiety medications and antidepressants, endured an upper endoscopy procedure and two colonoscopies, seen a psychiatrist and had his appendix and gallbladder removed. The only way to get relief for the nausea and pain was to take a hot shower. He often stayed in the shower for hours at a time and could be in and out of the shower for days. When the hot water ran out, “the pain was unbearable, like somebody was wringing my stomach out like a washcloth,” said the 28-year-old, who works as a production and shipping assistant and lives outside Chicago. It was nearly 10 years until a doctor finally convinced him the diagnosis was cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome, a condition that causes cyclic vomiting in heavy marijuana users and can be cured by quitting marijuana.
*LBN-COMMENTARY by David Brooks: The last few decades have been a social trust apocalypse. The only remaining bonds of trust are local and particular.
*LBN-A DIFFERENT VIEW:…
LBN E-Lert Edited By Dan Gaylord