LBN – Special Report – Friday February 17, 2017


In 77 Chaotic Minutes, Trump Defends ‘Fine-Tuned Machine’: 

President Trump, smarting from a series of crises, moved his surrogates aside on Thursday and assigned the rescue of his month-old presidency to the only spokesman he’s ever really trusted — himself. For days, a frustrated and simmeringpresident fumed inside the West Wing residence about what aides said he saw as his staff’s inadequate defense and the ineffectiveness of his own tweets. Over the objections of some top advisers who wanted to steer him away from confrontation, Mr. Trump demanded to face the media, determined to reject the narrative that his administration is sinking into chaos, scandal and incompetence. In a rowdy, free-for-all news conference hastily staged in the East Room, Mr. Trump attempted to deflect attention from news coverage about Russian intelligence, the resignation of his national security adviser, the defeat of his labor secretary nominee, and deepening questions about his ability to govern.

Trump’s Pick to Replace Flynn Turns Down the Job: 

Robert S. Harward, the retired vice admiral and former Navy SEAL who was President Trump’s top choice to replace his ousted national security adviser, on Thursday turned down the post in the latest setback for a White House already in turmoil. “This job requires 24 hours a day, seven days a week focus and commitment to do it right,” Mr. Harward said in a statement. “I currently could not make that commitment.” He added that since retiring from a 40-year military career, he now had “the opportunity to address financial and family issues that would have been challenging in this position.

DID YOU KNOW? Did you know that 27 Harvard University Professors read LBN daily?

Pakistan Reels After ISIS Bombing Kills 88:

An attack on a Sufi shrine in Pakistan that killed 88 people Thursday has created fear and turmoil within the country, as dozens of suspects were arrested and nearly 40 killed in sweeping raids Friday. The attack, claimed by the Islamic State terror group, was reported to be the deadliest in the country in years. Islamabad reportedly lashed out at Kabul, blaming the bombing on militant sanctuaries across the Afghan border. Pakistan fired a round of artillery shells into Afghan territory, and shut down the Torkham border crossing. But Afghan President Ashraf Ghani condemned the shrine attack immediately. “Sufis always preach peace and brotherhood among people,” he said in a statement, adding that “terrorists once again proved that they have no respect for Islamic values.” Pakistani officials said at least 39 suspects were killed in raids on militant hideouts following the attack. An additional 47 suspects were arrested.


Tony Blair Says ‘Rise Up’ Against Brexit:

Former Prime Minister Tony Blair has urged the British people to “rise up” against the proposed exit from the European Union despite the result of a referendum held last year. The Brexit vote is not technically binding and Blair insists there could still be an opportunity to preserve Britain’s status in the political and economic union if people change their minds when they discover the true impact of negotiations to leave. “I don’t know if we can succeed. But I do know we will suffer a rancorous verdict from future generations if we do not try. This is not the time for retreat, indifference, or despair, but the time to rise up in defense of what we believe,” he said. Boris Johnson, Britain’s foreign secretary, responded by saying: “I urge the British people to rise up and turn off the TV the next time Blair comes on.”

WHO READS LBN? Actress Reese Witherspoon:

Christie: Trump Made Me Eat Meatloaf:

Chris Christie said on Thursday that during his meal at the White House this week with President Trump, he was made to order the meatloaf on the menu. According to Christie’s account on a New York sports talk radio show, Trump allegedly pointed out the menu and said to the other guests that they could get whatever they want. Then he reportedly said he and Christie would have the meatloaf. “This is what it’s like to be with Trump,” Christie said. “He says, ‘There’s the menu, you guys order whatever you want.’ And then he says, ‘Chris, you and I are going to have the meatloaf.’”

Bill Maher Defends Milo Yiannopoulos Booking:

Bill Maher is defending his decision to book controversial Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos on his HBO show Real Time this week after another guest, The Intercept reporterJeremy Scahill, decided to drop out. In a Twitter message Wednesday, Scahill said that while Maher’s comments on Islam sometimes “veer into vitriol,” he respects the host and welcomes their debates. But he considered the addition of Yiannopoulos to the show “many bridges too far.” In response, Maher said: “My comments on Islam have never veered into vitriol. Liberals will continue to lose elections as long as they follow the example of people like Mr. Scahill, whose views veer into fantasy and away from bedrock liberal principles like equality of women, respect for minorities, separation of religion and state, and free speech. If Mr. Yiannopoulos is indeed the monster Scahill claims—and he might be—nothing could serve the liberal cause better than having him exposed on Friday night.” The Daily Beast confirmed, through a spokesperson, that Larry Wilmore will still appear on Real Time as scheduled Friday night.


LBN-BUSINESS INSIDER:   ***Facebook’s chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, on Thursday stepped into the raging debate about globalization. In a 5,800-word letter he posted publicly, Mr. Zuckerberg expressed alarm that what was once considered normal — seeking global connection — was now seen by people and governments around the world assomething undesirable. He pledged that he would push Facebook, which has more than 1.8 billion users worldwide, in a direction that would help convince individuals and governments that “progress now requires humanity coming together not just as cities or nations, but also as a global community.”   ***Almost two years after it was created in a megamerger, the Kraft Heinz Company is going shopping again. And it is aiming high. On Friday, the company said that it had offered to buy Unilever in a $143 billion deal that would potentially combine some of the world’s best known consumer brands. If it were to happen, Unilever consumer staples like Dove soap, Hellmann’s mayonnaise and Lipton tea would join forces with Kraft Heinz’s Oscar Mayer meats Heinz Ketchup and Kraft Macaroni & Cheese.

LBN-HOLLYWOOD INSIDER:   ***Nick Cannon has left ICMPartners for CAA. The move comes a few days after the comedian quit America’s Got Talent, which he had hosted for the past eight seasons. In a lengthy Facebook post announcing his departure, Cannon explained that NBC had threatened to fire him over racially charged references to the network on his recent Showtime stand-up special.   ***CNN political analystVan Jones has left CAA for WME. Jones, a longtime civil rights and environmental activist, has become a prominent voice on the cable news network. Since the most recent election, he has hosted The Messy Truth, a series of specials on CNN that feature him reaching out to Donald Trump supporters in an attempt to find common ground, or at least understanding.

LBN-R.I.P.:   ***George “The Animal” Steele, the charismatic wrestler known for his body hair, green tongue and a taste for eating the stuffing out of turnbuckles, has died while in hospice care at the age of 79. His death was confirmed by the WWE over Twitter.

LBN-SPOTLIGHT: Are You A Brand? —–

LBN-COMMENTARY by David Brooks: I still have trouble seeing how the Trump administration survives a full term. Judging by his Thursday press conference, President Trump’s mental state is like a train that long ago left freewheeling and iconoclastic, has raced through indulgent, chaotic and unnerving, and is now careening past unhinged, unmoored and unglued. Trump’s White House staff is at war with itself. His poll ratings are falling at unprecedented speed. His policy agenda is stalled. F.B.I. investigations are just beginning. This does not feel like a sustainable operation. On the other hand, I have trouble seeing exactly how this administration ends. Many of the institutions that would normally ease out or remove a failing president no longer exist. There are no longer moral arbiters in Congress like Howard Baker and Sam Ervin to lead a resignation or impeachment process. There is no longer a single media establishment that shapes how the country sees the president. This is no longer a country in which everybody experiences the same reality.


LBN-OVERHEARD:   ***George Clooney‘s mom is extremely excited to become a grandma again. Nina Clooney is so excited that she revealed the sexes of her son and wife Amal Clooney‘s twins. “It will be one of each! Yes, a boy and a girl. That’s what I’ve been told,” George’s mother told Vogue magazine last weekend, in comments posted Thursday.   ***Jennifer Garner is on the brink of filing for divorce from Ben Affleck, nearly two years after the Hollywood power couple announced their split. News of Bennifer’s impending divorce was reported Friday by Us Weekly. “No matter what happens, Ben and Jen are committed to raising their family as one unit and will continue to do so as it has worked for them,” a source told Us about the soon-to-be divorce. “They are both committed to their family.”

LBN E-Lert Edited By Addison Beaulieu

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