LBN – Special Report – Friday April 7, 2017

President Trump: Syria Airstrike in ‘Vital National Security Interest’ of U.S.

Speaking from his beachside Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, President Donald Trump declared Thursday night that a late-night airstrike on a Syrian airfield was in the “vital national-security interest” of the United States, adding that “there can be no dispute” that the Syrian government used chemical weapons in an attack on its own civilian population this week. “It is in this vital national-security interest of the United States to prevent and deter the spread and use of deadly chemical weapons,” Trump told reporters, calling on “all civilized nations” to address the Syrian civil war, now in its seventh year. The airstrike, launched at roughly 4 a.m. local time, involved more than 50 Tomahawk cruise missiles launched toward an airbase near the Syrian city of Homs from ships in the eastern Mediterranean. A U.S. official confirmed to The Daily Beast that the U.S. military struck a chemical-weapons facility in the strike, likely the same facility from which Tuesday’s Idlib province attack was launched.

CONFIRMED:

Judge Neil M. Gorsuch, President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, was confirmed by the Senate today. The confirmation after an unprecedented 14-month vacancy came after Senate Republicans, in a historic vote, triggered the so-called nuclear option, changing rules to make it easier to break a filibuster for Supreme Court confirmations.

American Allies Announce Support of Strikes on Syria

Several U.S. allies said Friday they support the U.S. air raid on Syria, including leaders of Israel, France, Italy, the U.K., Saudi Arabia, and Turkey. President Trump’s decision to carry out the airstrikes on a Syrian air base Thursday, in response to this week’s chemical attack, drew ire from Iran and Russia but was widely heralded by various American allies. Mevlut Cavusoglu, Turkey’s foreign minister, said Assad’s government “must be removed from leading Syria as soon as possible, and the best way to do that is by starting the transitional process.” British Prime Minister Theresa May’soffice was informed of the strike in advance and has said the action was “an appropriate response to the barbaric chemical weapons attack launched by the Syrian regime, and is intended to deter further attacks.” Israel was also informed in advance. In a statement early Friday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahusaid the strikes on the government-controlled air base “sent a strong and clear message” that “the use and spread of chemical weapons will not be tolerated.”

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U.S. Told Russia About Syria Raid in Advance

Russia confirmed Friday that it received advanced warning from the U.S. about its strike on Syria, in which the United States launched 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles in the first American assault on President Bashar al-Assad’s regime. Moscow condemned the strike and gave notice that Russia is pulling out of all agreements to minimize risk of in-flight incidents between Russian and U.S. aircraft operating over the country, which is now in its seventh year of civil war. Russia’s foreign ministry said the strike broke international law and has called for a UN Security Council meeting to discuss the alleged violation. “President Putin considers the American strikes against Syria an aggression against a sovereign government in violations of the norms of international law, and under a far-fetched pretext,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters Friday. “This step by Washington is causing significant damage to Russian-American relations, which are already in a deplorable state.” Meanwhile, eyewitnesses have said that Syrians were prepared for the 35-minute strike and, in advance, evacuated personnel and moved equipment out of the area. Syrian officials said early Friday that nine civilians died in the raid, including four children. A spokesman for the Pentagon, Capt. Jeff Davis, issued a statement claiming that “U.S. military planners took precautions to minimize risk to Russian or Syrian personnel located at the airfield.” Both of the airport’s major runways and many of its fortified bunkers were struck by the missiles.

McCain & Graham: Time to Get Behind Trump

Shortly after President Trump ordered a missile strike against a Syrian airbase, Republican Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham issued a joint statement calling on the American people to give their support to the commander-in-chief. “Unlike previous administrations, President Trump confronted a pivotal moment in Syria and took action,” their statement read. “For that, he deserves the support of the American people.” They added: “We must finally learn the lessons of history and ensure that tactical success leads to strategic success… The first measure in such a strategy must be to take Assad’s air force… completely out of the fight.”

LBN-INVESTIGATES: Having high levels of stress is known to take a toll on the brain and the body, leading people to sleep less, feel worse, and struggle on the job. But does where you live factor in to the level of stress you feel? The free credit score website WalletHub.com released its list of the Most and Least Stressed States, giving Americans a glimpse at how their home address could be affecting them. The study found that Alabama was the most-stressed state in the country, followed by Louisiana and Mississippi. In fact, eight states from the South made the top 10 for most-stressed states. Minnesota was the least-stressed state, followed by North Dakota and Iowa.

Truck Driven Into a Crowd in Stockholm, Injuring Several

Authorities in Sweden’s capital say a beer truck was driven into a crowd of people on a pedestrian street and into a department store in the center part of the city on Friday. At least two people have been killed and many more have been injured, according to local reports. Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet quoted a witness who described hundreds of people running away from the incident which was close to Ahlens mall. “A vehicle has injured people in Drottningatan,” said police spokeswomanTowe Hagg. Live footage of the scene showed smoke rising from the department store after the crash. Swedish PM Stefan Löfven told reporters on Friday that at least one suspect has been detained. “Sweden has been attacked, everything points to an act of terrorism,”he said. “We stood inside a shoe store and heard something… and then people started to scream,” Jan Granroth, a witness, told Aftonbladet. “I looked out of the store and saw a big truck.”

U.S. Hiring Growth Slows Unexpectedly

American companies reported a surprisingly weak 98,000 new jobs in March, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday morning. Analysts had expected a strong 175,000, and markets were caught off-guard as the construction industry added just 6,000 positions, possibly down because of an early-spring snowstorm. The unemployment rate fell to 4.5 percent, and hourly wages rose 2.7 percent from a year earlier. The jobless figure is the lowest since May 2007.

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Sorority Girl Allegedly Fakes Cancer to Scam Friends:

A Northern Kentucky University student is accused of duping her parents and sorority sisters into thinking she had stage 3 stomach cancer, as police investigate what happened to the thousands of dollars raised in her name. Kelly Schmahl, 20, allegedly pretended to be ill from June 2016 through March 2017, Fox 19 reported. Police said she used her cellphone as a forwarding service to receive and answer phone calls and text messages while pretending a health care worker was on the other end. Through it all, her sorority, Delta Zeta, hosted fundraisers and rallied around Schmahl, who had shaved her head and was using a wheelchair, according to sources.

America’s Retailers Are Closing Stores Faster Than Ever Says Media Expert Michael Levine:

The battered American retail industry took a few more lumps this week, with stores at both ends of the price spectrum preparing to close their doors, notes Michael Levine. At the bottom, the seemingly ubiquitous Payless Inc. shoe chain filed for bankruptcy and announced plans to shutter hundreds of locations. Ralph Lauren Corp., meanwhile, said it will close its flagship Fifth Avenue Polo store — a symbol of old-fashioned luxury that no longer resonates with today’s shoppers. And the teen-apparel retailer Rue21 Inc. could be the next casualty. The chain, which has about 1,000 stores, is preparing to file for bankruptcy as soon as this month, according to people familiar with the situation. Just a few years ago, it was sold to private equity firm Apax Partners for about a billion dollar. Said Levine, “this is a bad time to be in the shopping mall business”.

Richard Simmons may Make a Public Comeback:

A return to public life may be in store for Richard Simmons after the fitness guru inked a licensing deal for new merchandise. License Global reports Prominent Brand + Talent is looking to create a new line of Simmons products. The company is co-founded by Simmons’ longtime managerMichael Catalano. Catalano tells The New York Times it’s “possible” that Simmons would be willing to appear in public in order to promote the products, but adds that any decision “is yet to be determined.” Simmons’ shying away from the spotlight is the subject of the hit podcast “Missing Richard Simmons,” which sought to investigate the reasons behind Simmons’ public disappearance. Catalano tells the Times that while the podcast contained many “mistruths,” it did make younger people aware of Simmons.
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LBN-MUSIC INSIDER:   ***E Street Band guitarist Steven Van Zandt will release his first solo LP under the Little Steven moniker in nearly two decades when he unleashes Soulfire in May. The 12-track album, due out May 19th and available to pre-order now, marks the rocker’s first album since 1999’s Born Again Savage.

*LBN-SITE OF THE DAY:

WhatWasThere – Put history in its place!
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LBN-R.I.P.:   ****Don Rickles, the acidic stand-up comic who became world-famous not by telling jokes but by insulting his audience, died on Thursday at his home in Los Angeles. He was 90. The cause was kidney failure, said a spokesman, Paul Shefrin.

LBN-SPOTLIGHT: We have been working for over 2 1/2 years to penetrate the LA criminal justice system, and we finally have inside support. We just need the funds to hire more instructors to reach more prisoners. This is a cause that effects everyone. Please share! https://www.gofundme.com/prison-yoga-and-meditation
LBN-COMMENTARY by David Brooks: I just read that the Trump administration has filled only 22 of the 553 key positions that require Senate confirmation. This makes me worry that the administration will not have enough manpower to produce the same volume and standard of incompetence that we’ve come to expect so far. Granted, in its first few months the administration has produced an impressive amount of ineptitude with very few people. On his worst days Sean Spicercan  produce more errors than 10 normal men on their best days. Kellyanne Conway can flail her way through television confrontations 24/7 and still have the stamina to lose to the Teletubbies on Saturday morning. The White House staffing system is successfully answering the question, How many scorpions can you fit in a bottle? And in general, the personnel process has been so rigorous in its selection of inexperience that those who were hired on the basis of mere nepotism look like Dean Acheson by comparison.

LBN-COMMENTARY by Kevin Fallon: American Playboy is the sprawling, 10-hour inspirational story of the unlikely rise of a titty magazine and its maestro of bazoongas. The documentary-drama hybrid, which across 10 episodes purports to chronicle the inception and ensuing six decades of success of Playboy, is billed by Amazon, which premieres the series Friday, as “the authorized story of Hugh Hefner.” While Hefner granted the filmmakers access to his record-setting personal scrapbook and Playboy archives, he did not himself grant interviews for the documentary. Presumably because the 91-year-old lothario was busy convalescing from traumatic injuries sustained while having this much smoke blown up his ass.  Ambitious documentaries examining pop culture lightning rods are all the rage these days—the success of O.J.: Made in America certainly attests to that. But American Playboy, with full participation of Playboy’s original staff down to multiple appearances from Hefner’s son, Cooper, who currently runs the enterprise, is hardly a parsing, probing, or even all that insightful look at the phenomenon.

LBN-COMMENTARY by Zudhi Jasser, M.D.: Reports out of Syria indicate that we have no idea who the victims were; some report that ISIS militants killed rebels, others that they executed regime military members. This attack, like so much else in Syria today, is symptomatic of the world’s failure – and especially the U.S. government’s failure – to institute a strong policy on Syria and bring an end to this crisis. Until such a plan is formed and carried out, we can expect to see many more incidents like this, where dozens if not more are killed, and accusations fly with little solid information. What we do know for sure is that the regime of Bashar al-Assad and ISIS are two sides of the same coin: both kill innocent Syrians, including women and children, with brutality and impunity, and both have a sociopathic enthusiasm for death and terror.

LBN-A DIFFERENT VIEW:….

LBN-OVERHEARD:   ***Olivia Munn and Aaron Rodgers have called it quits.  The Green Bay Packers quarterback and actress have broken up, a source close to Rodgers confirmed to E! News. According to the source, they were “just on two different pages in life.” “It was Olivia that called the break,” the insider said, adding that they still communicate, but the breakup has been hard on both of them.

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