*LBN – Special Report – Wednesday February 8, 2017

White House Weighs New Terrorist Designations:

The White House is reportedly weighing proposals to designate the Muslim Brotherhood and Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as terrorist organizations. According to reports from Reuters and The New York Times, several U.S. government agencies have already been consulted about both options. Leaders of the Revolutionary Guard are already on a government terrorist list, but many Republicans have argued that the whole group should be added as a means of sending a message—the Revolutionary Guard is Iran’s most powerfulsecurity entity. But the action, as well as designating the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization, would likely complicate U.S. relations in the Middle East. The Muslim Brotherhood, which officially renounced violence decades ago, is one of the most influential Islamist groups in the region. The Council on American-Islamic Relations objects to the proposals. “We believe it is just a smoke screen for a witch hunt targeting the civil rights of American Muslims,” said Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for the council. A terrorist designation for the Muslim Brotherhood, he argued, would “inevitably be used in a political campaign to attack those same groups and individuals, to marginalize the American Muslim community and to demonize Islam.”

Six Afghan Red Cross Employees Killed:

At least six Afghan workers for the International Committee of the Red Cross died Wednesday after an attack by suspected ISIS gunmen, Reuters reports. Two other employees from the relief group are still missing in Jowzjan province following the attack, said Red Cross spokesman Thomas Glass. Further details were not immediately available.

Poll: 56% of Dems Want Leaders to Block Trump:

Fifty-six percent of Democrats say party’s elected officials in Congress should stop President Trump’s efforts, even “if that means blocking all legislation or nominees for government posts,” according to a new Politico and Morning Consult poll. Only 34 percent of those same voters surveyed said they believe party leaders should find common ground to work with the White House. The survey was conducted among 2,070 registered voters from Feb. 2 to Feb. 4. “There was talk after the election that Trump might be a president who Democrats could work with, at least on certain issues like infrastructure,” said Kyle Dropp, Morning Consult’s chief research officer and co-founder. “But this new data indicates that, even if deals are possible, that’s not primarily what Democratic voters are looking for.”

Putin Critic Alexei Navalny Found Guilty in Russian Court:

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny has been found guilty in the retrial of his 2013 fraud case, according to reports. The verdict means that 40-year-old Navalny, who was accused of embezzling about $500,000 worth of timber, cannot run for president in the next election, potentially going up against Vladimir Putin. A prior verdict in the matter was overturned by the European Court of Human Rights, which found that Navalny had been denied the right to a fair trial. Navalny, a leader behind anti-corruption campaigns and anti-government protests in recent years, has not yet been sentenced. Navalny has said the case is a sham and an effort to keep him from running in an election.

Yemen Withdraws Permissions for U.S. Ground Operations:

Yemen will no longer allow U.S. ground troops into the country on special-operations counterterror missions, The New York Times reports. The decision follows a Jan. 29 raid by U.S. troops in which multiple Yemeni civilians were killed. It is unclear whether President Trump’s ban on Yemeni immigrants played into the country’s decision to withdraw the permissions. The raid, which reportedly killed a Navy SEAL, 14 members of al Qaeda, and a number of civilians, including an 8-year-old girl reported to be a U.S. citizen, has been described as a failure by some in the military community, including John McCain, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee. Militaryofficials have told reporters that President Trump ordered the raid with insufficient intelligence or preparation. These sources said the raid’s target was Qasim al-Raymi, the leader of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. Al-Raymi was not killed or captured during the raid, during which al Qaeda militants were reportedly tipped off to U.S. troops’ presence, leading to a firefight that lasted approximately 50 minutes and killed multiple civilians, including children. The White House has pushed back on characterization of the raid as a failure, with White House press secretary Sean Spicer on Tuesday calling the mission “highly successful.” The White House has yet to confirm the decision or whether Trump will pursue further U.S. intervention in Yemen.

31 Injured in Louisiana Tornadoes:

At least 31 people were injured Tuesday in Louisiana when as many as seven tornadoes touched down in the state, prompting a declaration of a state of emergency. The tornadoes hit New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Donaldsonville, Ponchatoula, and Killian. New Orleans East sustained serious destruction on Chef Menteur Highway, and Mayor Mitch Landrieu said there was “devastating” damage. “Tornadoes are unbelievably powerful,” Landrieu said. “They are as destructive as anything we have seen in this city… really scary.” About 9,400 Orleans Parish residents lost power during the storm and did not expect to have it restored for as long as five days.

McConnell Cuts Off Warren, Silences Her for Sessions Floor Speech:

During a floor speech Tuesday night in the Senate in opposition to the nomination of Sen. Jeff Sessions as attorney general in Trump’s administration, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell cut off Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) while she was quoting a letter written by Coretta Scott King. The letter was written when Sessions was being considered for federal judgeship in 1986. The letter argued that “Mr. Sessions has used the awesome power of his office to chill the free exercise of the vote by black citizens.”  “I am surprised that the words of Coretta Scott King are not suitable for debate in the United States Senate,” Warren replied when Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT), who was presiding in the chair, agreed with McConnell’s objection. Warren later turned to Facebook Live to read the full King letter, as Senate Democrats again staged an all-nighter to air their objections to another Trump Cabinet nominee.

Spinal Tap Creators Sue for $400 Million:

The band members from cult-classic mockumentary This Is Spinal Tap have decided to reunite with co-star and co-creatorHarry Shearer to seek $400 million in a lawsuit against Vivendi, the media firm they claim did not fully share profits from their 1984 film. Shearer announced he was suing the entertainment giant for $125 million in October. Christopher Guest, Michael McKean, and director Rob Reiner have joined with Shearer to seek additional damages in the case. The lawsuit claims Vivendi reported that worldwide income from the film’s soundtrack amounted to just $98 between 1989 and 2006, and that merchandise income came to $81 since its release, despite “tens of millions of dollars” in revenue. Guest called Vivendi’s actions “deliberate obfuscation,” adding that “such behavior” should be challenged “in the strongest way possible.” Reiner said, “Such anti-competitive practices need to be exposed.” He added, “I am hoping this lawsuit goes to 11.”

Actor Richard Hatch Dies at 71:

Richard Hatch, the star of TV’s original Battlestar Galactica and the Syfy remake, passed away on Tuesday at the age of 71 after battling pancreatic cancer. “I will always remember him fondly for his inspiring sense of youthful wonder, his boundless passion for creative expression, and his huge, kind heart,” his manager Michael Kaliski said in a statement to Variety. Hatch played the role of Captain Apollo in the original series and earned a Golden Globe nomination for the role. He played a different character, Tom Zarek, in the 2003 remake.

Joe Biden to Teach at University of Pennsylvania:

Former Vice President Joe Biden will be a professor at the University of Pennsylvania, the school announced Tuesday. Biden has been named the Benjamin Franklin Presidential Practice professor and will reportedly lead the university’s new Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement. The center will be based in Washington, D.C., but Biden will reportedly also have an office at the university’s home campus in Philadelphia.

LBN Commentary by Larry Grobel (Author): Responding to a question like “Why were you born?” immediately sets the mind roving for a frivolous answer, because none of us really knowwhy, unless one is religious and feels it’s “God’s plan”–whatever that may mean.  But considering it seriously, I wonder if an answer would have to do with the idea of procreation, of keeping the species going. And if that is an answer, then one must look at the children and grandchildren one has helped create, and how they turned out. The children are our hope. If my books are forgotten, but my children and their children do something to benefit mankind, then perhaps that’s why I was born. With a doctor and a social worker in our family, so far, so good.  But then again, maybe it was to start a movement called Shmoga.  For that, one has to read Yoga? No Shmoga!   You be the judge!


LBN E-Lert Edited By Addison Beaulieu
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