LBN – Thursday, August 31st, 2017

*OUTRAGEOUS! Americans Spend More on Taxes Than Food and Clothing Combined
Americans on average spent more on taxes in 2016 than they did on food and clothing combined, according to data released this week by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The same data also shows that in three years—from 2013 to 2016—the average tax bill for Americans increased 41.13 percent. In 2016, according to BLS, “consumer units” (which include families, financially independent individuals, and people living in a single household who share expenses) spent more on average on federal, state and local taxes ($10,489) than they did on food ($7,203) and clothing ($1,803) combined ($9,006). The average tax bill for American “consumer units” increased from $7,423 in 2013 to $10,489 in 2016, according to data released this week by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The tax-and-spending data was collected as part of the BLS’s Consumer Expenditure Survey, which is conducted for the BLS by the Census Bureau. The survey measures the expenditures and incomes of American consumers. “Burdened taxpayers need to grasp that politicians, both parties, are like junkies who can’t stop spending and taxing. Ever!” said media expert and author Michael Levine. “Now matter what, they always, always, always want just a little more and create endlessly creative ways filled with pretty words dedicated to separating you from your money.”
*EVEN WORSE THAT THOUGHT! – Wells Fargo Ups Fake-Account Estimate to 3.5M of Its Customers

Wells Fargo now says 3.5 million customers were affected by its fake accounts scandal, the AP reported. The bank had said in September 2016 that its employees opened 2.1 million accounts without customers’ permission since 2011. However, officials found the additional fake accounts after agreeing to search back to 2009. Wells Fargo said it will pay an additional $2.8 million in refunds.
*N. Korea Threatens to Execute S. Korean Reporters Over Book Review

North Korea on Thursday threatened to execute reporters at South Korean newspapers for reviewing a new book about life in the reclusive nation. Pyongyang’s official Korean Central News Agency cited a state court statement that said the reporters insulted the country’s dignity by interviewing the British authors of the book, North Korea Confidential: Private Markets, Fashion Trends, Prison Camps, Dissenters and Defectors. The court also reportedly “sentenced to death” the presidents of the newspapers, saying the North will “track down to the end and cut off the dirty windpipes” of the responsible parties.

*Iraq Declares Victory Over ISIS in Tal Afar: 

Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi of Iraq announced on Thursdaythe liberation of Tal Afar, one of the last cities that had been under the control of the Islamic State, after a battle that lasted just 11 days, a further sign that the extremist group’s days of administering territory in Iraq are on the wane. With that, Mr. Abadi said, the whole of Nineveh Province, which includes the city of Mosul as well as Tal Afar, was now free of the Islamic State. The relatively quick victory in Tal Afar, coming on the heels of a grueling and bloody nine-month fight for Mosul, was not surprising given that the city had been cut off for months and surrounded by pro-government militias who moved on the city last fall as the campaign for Mosul began.

*WHO READS LBN? Author Jesmyn Ward:

*Paul Anka Won’t Budge in Battle with Charity over Mar-a-Lago Cancellation

Paul Anka will not be a victim of the political correctness that prompted more than a dozen charities to cancel or move fundraisers from Mar-a-Lago following President Trump’sremarks about the violence in Charlottesville, Va. Anka, 76, a pop star since he was a teenager, was booked to perform Dec. 2 at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Fla., at the LIFE (Leaders in Furthering Education) Lady in Red Gala, and had received a deposit of $75,000. But when Trump was criticized for blaming “both sides” for the violence in Charlottesville, LIFE — run by Lois Pope, the widow of National Enquirer founderGeneroso Pope — moved the event to the nearby Breakers with a new date, Jan. 5. Anka, who has an 11-year-old son and nine grandchildren, is going on a European vacation in January. When LIFE organizers asked if the deposit could go toward a performance next year, his agent allegedly said, “This is not negotiable. You will not get a penny back.”
*LBN-HEALTH WATCH:   ***The Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday approved the first-ever treatment that genetically alters a patient’s own cells to fight cancer, a milestone that is expected to transform treatment in the coming years. The new therapy turns a patient’s cells into a “living drug,” and trains them to recognize and attack the disease. It is part of the rapidly growing field of immunotherapy that bolsters the immune system through drugs and other therapies and has, in some cases, led to long remissions and possibly even cures. The therapy, marketed as Kymriah and made by Novartis, was approved for children and young adults for an aggressive type of leukemia — B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia — that has resisted standard treatment or relapsed. The F.D.A. called the disease “devastating and deadly” and said the new treatment fills an “unmet need.”   ***We’ve all thought about shoving slow walkers out of the way when in a hurry – but it turns out they could actually be heading for a far worse fate. According to a new study, healthy adults who are slow walkers are twice as likely to die from heart disease as those of us who walk at a more brisk pace. “This suggests that habitual walking pace is an independent predictor of heart-related death,” lead author Professor Tom Yates said.
*LBN-BOOK NEWS:O.J. Simpson is said to be looking forward to spending lots of time with his children when he gets out of a Nevada prison in October, but they don’t want him around, a new book will reveal. Simpson gets along well with his eldest daughter Arnelle, 48, according to Tom Scotto, O.J.’s friend and spokesman. But Scotto, who is writing a book, “Killing Time,” with “Journaling Fame” author Allison Kugel, claims O.J. is estranged from his other three children, Jason, 47, Sydney, 31, and Justin, 29. Scotto declined to speak with me, but his publicist told me: “O.J.’s kids don’t want him close to them. Only Arnelle will talk to him.”

*LBN-VIDEO LINK: Bob Dylan – ‘Cross the Green Mountain —-

*MY REVIEW: “Since I started reading LBN daily a few years ago, I know much more about the news and the world. Today, more than ever, information is power and LBN is a power tool.” —— Cassie J., Cheyenne, Wyoming.

*LBN-SPORTS INSIDER:   ***This time, Maria Sharapova did not shed any tears or fall to her hands and knees as if she had won a championship. She merely smiled, waved and advanced. Sharapova, who made an emotional return to Grand Slam tennis on Monday with a strikingly high-caliber performance at Arthur Ashe Stadium, settled into a modicum of normalcy in the second round of the United States Open on Wednesday. She defeated Timea Babos of Hungary, 6-7 (4), 6-4, 6-1, at Ashe Stadium in more routine fashion than her thrilling first-round win over No. 2-seeded Simona Halep.

*LBN-VIDEO LINK: Doing The Right Things Right —-



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*LBN-R.I.P.:Sumiteru Taniguchi, who survived the atomic bombing of Nagasaki as a teenager and went on to become a leading advocate for nuclear disarmament, died on Wednesdayin Nagasaki. Overcoming a lifetime of debilitating pain and radiation-related illnesses, he lived to 88. The cause of death was duodenal papilla cancer, according to Fumie Kakita, secretary general of the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Survivors Council.   ***David Tang, the founder of Shanghai Tang, a global chain of flashy emporiums of Chinese-inspired clothing, accessories and home furnishings, and a prominent writer and raconteur in Hong Kong and Britain, died on Tuesday in London. He was 63. Shanghai Tang confirmed his death. The Financial Times, for which Mr. Tang wrote a weekly advice column, said the cause was cancer.

*LBN-SPOTLIGHT: Winner “Best of Los Angeles Award” – Best Drug Treatment Charity —–

*LBN-COMMENTARY by Bret Stephens: Texans will find few consolations in the wake of a hurricane as terrifying as Harvey. But here, at least, is one: A biblical storm has hit them, and the death toll —38 as of this writing — is mercifully low, given its intensity. This is not how it plays out in much of the world. In 1998, Hurricane Mitch ripped through Central America and killed anywhere between 11,000 and 19,000 people, mostly in Honduras and Nicaragua. Nearly a decade later Cyclone Nargis slammed into Myanmar and a staggering 138,000 people perished. Nature’s furies — hurricanes, earthquakes, landslides, droughts, infectious diseases, you name it — may strike unpredictably. But their effects are not distributed at random. Rich countries tend to experience, and measure, the costs of such disasters primarily in terms of money. Poor countries experience them primarily in terms of lives. Between 1940 and 2016, a total of 3,348 people died in the United States on account of hurricanes, according to government data, for an average of 43 victims a year. That’s a tragedy, but compare it to the nearly 140,000 lives lost when a cyclone hit Bangladesh in 1991.

*LBN-COMMENTARY by Jenny Deason Copeland: Let’s face it. If you wanted to declare yourself a part of the white supremacists cadre, you would pardon people like  Arpaio now wouldn’t you? Standing up to defend American citizens from discriminatory acts like police profiling might just be too liberal for POTUS 45. As hideous as this pardon is, and yes, it has sickened myself and my liberal friends, it is nowhere near as horrendous an act as that of President Ford’s September 8th, 1974 pardon of Richard Nixon.


*LBN-OVERHEARD:   ***While many stars donated cash to Hurricane Harvey relief, Miranda Lambert spearheaded efforts to rescue more than 100 dogs from Houston-area animal shelters. Lambert, 33, announced on Instagram Tuesday that she’d taken in a dog named Ashley, who gave birth to puppies, and that her MuttNation Foundation took in 72 dogs in just one day.   ***Richard Simmons’ lawsuit against the National Enquirer hit an unexpected snag in court. A judge seems to be ready to rule in favor of the gossip outlet for a surprising reason. Simmons sued both the Enquirer and Radar Online in May for a series of articles that alleged the 69-year-old fitness guru was transitioning to become a woman. He alleged that, while he holds no personal ill-feelings toward the transgender community, the articles were false and defamatory to his character. According to The Hollywood Reporter, his lawyers argued that, as a public figure, he has a legal right to “not be portrayed as someone he is not.” However, a judge is tentatively ruling that alleging someone is transgender is not necessarily defamatory.