LBN – Special Report – Wednesday

YIKES! AMERICANS SPEND MORE ON TAXES THAN FOOD, CLOTHING, AND HOUSING COMBINED

A tax advocacy group on Wednesday revealed that Americans spend more on taxes than their whole budget for food, clothing and housing.The Tax Foundation, in its annual report on when the nation as a whole has earned enough to pay its taxes, announced the date as April 24. “Tax Freedom Day gives us a vivid representation of how much federal, state, and local tax revenue is collected each year to pay for government goods and services,” said Tax Foundation Analyst Scott Greenberg. “Arguments can be made that the tax bill is too high or too low, but in order to have an honest discussion, it’s important for taxpayers to understand the cost of government. Tax Freedom Day helps people relate to that cost.”

*Clinton Doubts Sanders Is Even a Dem

in a rare one-on-one interview, presidential candidate Hillary Clinton said she’s “not even sure” that Bernie Sanders is a Democrat. During Politico’s Off Message podcast, she said: “He’s a relatively new Democrat, and, in fact, I’m not even sure he is one. He’s running as one. So I don’t know quite how to characterize him.” Clinton said she’s frustrated by what she called a “persistent, organized” effort to smear her political record. “I know that Senator Sanders spends a lot of time attacking my husband, attacking President Obama. I rarely hear him say anything negative about George W. Bush, who I think wrecked our economy,” she said. Clinton also said there wasn’t much difference between Trump and Ted Cruz, calling the Texan senator “a very, you know, mean-spirited guy.”

*Fake University Reveals Immigration Scam

Federal agents set up a fake university to expose immigration fraud and arrested 21 people, some of who acted as brokers for more than 1,000 foreigners looking to maintain student and work visas, prosecutors said Tuesday. Officials said those accused were aware that the University of Northern New Jersey did not exist. Most foreign nationals who were involved in the ruse came from China and India. The nationals who were affected will not be prosecuted, officials said. “This was just another stop on the ‘pay-to-stay’ tour,” said Paul Fishman, U.S. Attorney for New Jersey.

*WHO READS LBN? Fashion designer Isaac Mizrahi

*‘Customers First’ Becomes the Law in Retirement Investing

The rules governing how financial professionals handle the trillions of dollars they invest on behalf of Americans saving for retirement are about to get a lot tougher. The government move is expected to encourage a shift of retirement funds into lower-cost investments — potentially saving billions of dollars for many ordinary investors — while setting off one of the biggest upheavals in the financial services industry in decades. The Labor Department, after years of battling Wall Street and the insurance industry, issued new regulations on Wednesday that will require financial advisers and brokers handling individual retirement and 401(k) accounts to act in the best interests of their clients.

*THINK FREELY – READ LBN

*LBN-INVESTIGATES: Cocaine

1. Cocaine is an extraction of the leaves of the Erythroxylon coca bush, which is indigenous to the Andean highlands of South America. Most of the cocaine available in the U.S. is transported from the country of Colombia.

2. Cocaine comes in two main forms, powder and crystalline. The crystal rock form, commonly known as crack or freebase, is cocaine that has not been neutralized by an acid.

3. Approximately 35.9 million Americans aged 12 and older have tried cocaine at least once in their lifetime, according to a national survey, and about 2.1 million Americans are regular users.

4. Drug enforcement personnel estimate that about 2,500 Americans every day try cocaine for the first time.

5. After marijuana, cocaine is the second most commonly used illicit drug in the United States.

6. Cocaine is the most frequently reported illicit substance associated with drug abuse fatalities and causes three times more deaths than any other illegal drug. However, prescription drug abuse has recently passed cocaine abuse as the leading cause of all drug-related deaths.

7. Cocaine may be administered by snorting through the nose, injecting into the bloodstream with a needle, or smoking to produce vapors. Powder cocaine is generally snorted or mixed with water and injected, while crack cocaine is most commonly smoked.

8. Of the more than two million Americans that currently use cocaine, just over 700,000 are users of freebase or crack cocaine.

9. Cocaine is the most powerful central nervous stimulant found in nature. Its physical effects include constricted blood vessels and increased temperature, heart rate, and blood flow. Users of the drug experience greater alertness, energy, self-confidence, and even power after administration.

10. Cocaine produces its euphoric effect by activating the nerve cells in the brain that release dopamine, a chemical associated with pleasure and mental alertness. The drug then inhibits neural transporters from “mopping up” the dopamine and storing it for a later time. The longer the dopamine stays active, the longer the sense of euphoria lasts.

11. Coca leaves, the source of pure cocaine, have been chewed and ingested for thousands of years for the euphoric effects of the drug. They were first used by members of the Inca civilization in the Andes mountains, who believed the coca plant was a gift from the gods.

12. Pure cocaine was first extracted from the leaves of the coca plant in 1859 and was marketed in a fortified wine in France as early as 1863.

13. Cocaine was first used in the U.S. in the 1880s, where it was applied as an anesthetic in eye, nose, and throat operations. This use has since become obsolete with the development of safer drugs.

14. In 1884, William Stewart Halsted, a famous American physician, performed the first surgery using cocaine as an anesthetic. Subsequently, Halsted became the first cocaine-addicted physician on record.

15. Cocaine hydrochloride, the purified chemical from the leaves of the coca plant, was the main active ingredient in several tonics and elixirs produced for a variety of illnesses in the early 1900s. One product, Tucker’s Asthma Specific, contained 420 milligrams of cocaine per ounce of the medicine.

*LBN-BUSINESS INSIDER:   ***Pfizer and Allergan said on Wednesday that they had terminated their $152 billion merger by mutual agreement just days after the Obama administration introduced new rules meant to limit the ability of American companies to shift their home overseas simply to lower their tax bills. The deal, announced in November, would have been the largest transaction of its kind, a so-called inversion that allows an American company to shed its United States corporate citizenship in order to move income beyond the reach of American tax authorities. Allergan has its tax domicile in Ireland.

*LBN-HEALTH WATCH:   ***Mice born to mothers that run during their pregnancies grow up to be rodents that love to run as adults, according to a thought-provoking new animal experiment, while pups with sedentary moms had a less-enthusiastic attitude toward exercise. Though it’s a long way from mice to people, the study’s findings hint at the possibility that to some extent our will to work out may be influenced by a mother’s exercise habits during pregnancy, and begin as early as in the womb. Most of us have probably observed that activity patterns tend to run in families, a situation that has been confirmed in studies involving both people and animals. Children whose parents are sedentary often tend to be inactive themselves, whereas parents who are physically active typically have children who move around and exercise often.   ***The number of adults estimated to be living with diabetes surged to 422 million by 2014, a nearly four-fold increase on 1980 figures, the World Health Organization (WHO) said Wednesday, in its first-ever global report on the disease. “Globally, an estimated 422 million adults were living with diabetes in 2014, compared to 108 million in 1980,” the UN health agency said, warning that the condition had spread because of worldwide changes “in the way people eat, move and live.”

*LBN-MY REVIEW: “LBN is no bull-shit. Unfiltered reality. Deal with it!”—– (Lazy) Daisy B., an LBN reader from San Francisco, California.

*LBN-MUSIC INSIDER:   ***Janet Jackson has canceled her World Tour in a desperate battle to give birth to a child after facing a deadly health crisis — “if Allah wills it,” she added! The pop star went to her Twitter account to post a video where she announced to her fans that “there’s been a sudden change” as the Unbreakable World Tour was about to begin a new series of shows. “My husband and I are planning our family,” said Janet, “so I’m gonna have to delay the tour.”

*LBN-INVESTIGATES: In 2008, Haiti had only 108,000 telephone lines. The country with the most telephone lines in 2008 was China with 356,600,000. The United States was second with 150,000,000.

*LBN-NOTICED:   ***It was a sad sight — comic legend Don Rickles out at one of his favorite Hollywood haunts — with the 89-year-old comic barely making it into Craig’s Restaurant in West Hollywood.   ***Guns N’ Roses played an intimate show in LA on Friday for 250 VIPs, including Bradley Cooper, Kate Hudson, Lenny Kravitz, Chris Brown and Jim Carrey — but one star left outside was David Arquette. A spy said the “Scream” star was milling around outside the iconic Troubadour club. “I don’t think I can get in,” a dejected Arquette was seen telling Jamie Cimino, a reporter for Brazilian portal UOL. “I didn’t [get tickets],” the actor admitted. “I’m gonna just try and listen on the radio.”   ***Billy Crystal and wife Janice strolling through Times Square hand-in-hand, also seeing Steve Martinand Edie Brickell’s musical “Bright Star” Friday and the hit play “The Humans” Saturday.  ***50 Cent and two male pals arriving in a blue Rolls-Royce for a late dinner at Red Stixs in midtown. The party dined on chicken satay, prawns and lobster fried rice. ***Paris Hilton buying a few items from the “Leather & Lace” collection  at Barry’s Bootcamp NoHo in NYC.    ***Legendary legal journalist Linda Deutsch filming an in-depth interview for the “Without Notes” TV show last night in Santa Monica.

*LBN-COMMENTARY by Thomas L. Friedman: I just read a book that Barack Obama and Donald Trump would both enjoy. It argues that the last two decades of U.S. foreign policy were an aberration — an era when America became so overwhelmingly more powerful than any rival that it got geopolitically drunk and decided that it didn’t just want to be a cop on the beat protecting our nation, but also a social worker, architect and carpenter doing nation-building abroad. It was all done with the best of intentions, and in some cases did save precious lives. But none of the efforts achieved the kind of self-sustaining democratizing order we wanted, which is why neither this president nor the next wants to be doing any more of that — if they can at all avoid it. But can they?

*LBN-A DIFFERENT VIEW:…

*LBN-OVERHEARD:   ***Paris Jackson will forever have a piece of her father on her sleeve. On Tuesday, the only daughter of the late Michael Jackson shared a photo of her getting a tattoo in his memory.   ***Newlywed Rupert Murdochis selling his West Village mansion in NYC for $28.9 million. Murdoch, the owner of The New York Post, put the West 11th Street house on the market after his wedding to Jerry Hall in March. The renovated 25-foot-wide mansion, across the street from Sarah Jessica Parker’s home, features four bedrooms and seven bathrooms, an elevator, a gym, a wine cellar, a terraced garden and an oversized roof deck with views of the Empire State Building and One World Trade Center.

LBN E-Lert Edited By Marcelle Luna

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