LBN – Special Report – Friday, May 12th, 2017

*Trump Threatens to End Press Briefings for Good

In a Friday morning tweetstorm, President Trump criticized the press, corrected coverage of his alleged involvement in Russian meddling during the 2016 election, and finally threatened to end the practice of White House press briefings for good. “As a very active President with lots of things happening, it is not possible for my surrogates to stand at podium with perfect accuracy!” he wrote. “Maybe the best thing to do would be to cancel all future ‘press briefings’ and hand out written responses for the sake of accuracy???” White House Correspondents Association President Jeff Masonissued a statement pushing back on the suggestion, saying scrapping the briefings would “reduce accountability, transparency, and the opportunity for Americans to see that, in the U.S. system, no political figure is above being questioned.” The tweets started just before 8 a.m., when the president appeared upset over coverage of his potential involvement in Russian interference during the presidential election. “Again, the story that there was collusion between the Russians & Trump campaign was fabricated by Dems as an excuse for losing the election,” he said. Then, “The Fake Media is working overtime today!”

*Mom Who Solved Daughter’s Murder by a Mexican Cartel Is Shot Dead

A prominent Mexican activist who investigated her daughter’s cartel death has been shot and killed—on Mexico’s Mother’s Day. Miriam Rodriguez, who died on the way to the hospital Wednesday, was shot in her home in the northern state of Tamaulipas. She spent her life searching for “disappeared” victims in the violent area, and she was most famous for uncovering the kidnap and murder of her own daughter by the Zetas drug cartel. Mexico’s national human-rights commission spoke out in the aftermath of her death, blaming the Mexican government’s failure to protect its citizens, including human-rights advocates. Rodriguez’s daughter went missing in 2014, after which she began a comprehensive search. She found her daughter’s remains in a hidden grave in a small town. Eventually, she provided police with enough information to jail the responsible gang members—until one of them escaped in March and she began receiving threats. Rodriguez asked for police protection, but she received none, colleagues said. Tamaulipas Attorney General Irving Barrios said he had provided three police patrols to her home every day.

*Aetna CEO: America Should Be Debating Single-Payer System

In a private meeting with employees, Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini said Thursday that a “debate” about a U.S. single-payer health-insurance system is one worth having. “Single-payer, I think we should have that debate as a nation. But let me remind everybody that Aetna was the first financial intermediary for Medicare,” Bertolini said, before adding that the Affordable Care Act “didn’t go so well” and suggesting he would be open to a system in which the federal government contracts services to insurers like Aetna. Aetna spokespersonT.J. Crawford told Vox that Bertolini wasn’t advocating for a single-payer system, “but instead encouraging debate while pointing out that public-private partnerships have been the backbone of the more successful government health care programs.”

*Lawyer: No Russia on Trump’s Tax Returns

A lawyer for President Trump said Friday morning that a review of the president’s income-tax returns from the past 10 years show no “income of any type from Russian sources,” the Associated Press reported. However, the news service added: “with few exceptions.” Trump has refused to release any of his recent tax returns, citing an ongoing IRS audit, among other reasons, and the president’s attorney did not provide access to them Friday. Those exceptions—according to a release from the law firm Morgan Lewis—included income from the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow, a estate in Florida sold to a Russian billionaire in 2008, and an “immaterial” amount possibly sold to Russians through his hotels, golf clubs, or enterprises that would not have been tracked. During a Thursday interview with The Economist, Trump claimed “at some point I’ll release [my returns]. Maybe I’ll release them after I’m finished because I’m very proud of them actually. I did a good job.” Trump’s lawyer, as relayed by the AP on Friday, added that “there is no equity investment by Russians in entities controlled by Trump or debt owed by Trump to Russian lenders. [His returns do] reflect income from the 2013 Miss Universe pageant held in Moscow and a property sold to a Russian billionaire in 2008 for $95 million.”


*Sessions Revives Tougher Drug Sentencing

Attorney General Jeff Sessions has sent harsher charging instructions to federal prosecutors, asking them to clamp down on drug offenders. President Obama’s administration sought to avoid doling out long, mandatory-minimum sentences to less-serious, nonviolent drug offenders, but Sessions has opted to revive the “war on drugs” in an effort to dissuade offenders—and swelling prisons as he does it. “This policy affirms our responsibility to enforce the law, is moral and just, and produces consistency,” Sessions wrote in the memo. “This policy fully utilizes the tools Congress has given us.” Sessions’ decision is a significant step in his plan to dismantle Obama’s effort to overhaul the criminal-justice system. Critics of the “tough on crime” policy have argued that such sentencing guidelines are a drain on tax dollars and disproportionately affect minorities. Sessions has said that lighter sentencing has done nothing but fuel a surge in violent crime and opioid use.

*Russia Fighter Jet Came Within 20 Feet of U.S. Plane

A fighter jet from Russia came within 20 feet of a U.S. Navy aircraft this week when they were both over the Black Sea, an American official reports. Capt. Pamela Kunze, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Naval Forces in Europe, said a Russian Su-27 came extremely close to the P-8A Poseidon on Tuesday, while it was “conducting routine operations in international airspace.” The P-8A said the interaction was “safe and professional.” Russia’s ministry of defense said its jet “executed a ‘greeting’ maneuver” toward the Americans.

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*LBN-THIS DAY IN HISTORY: 1865 – The last land battle of the Civil war occurs at Palmito Ranch, Texas. It is a Confederate victory.

*LBN-VIDEO LINK: The revealing TV interview  show —  “Without Notes” with M. Zuhdi Jasser M.D. – Episode 2: The American Dream ——

*LBN-SPOTLIGHT:  “”What’s madness but nobility of soul at odds with circumstance?” – Theodore Roethke   —


*LBN-MOVIE NEWS: New ‘Blade Runner 2049’ Trailer Further Reveals the Sci-Fi Sequel —-

LBN E-Lert Edited By Dan Gaylord

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