LBN – Tuesday, May 8, 201

*Unmasked Report: Russians Posed as ISIS Hackers, Threatened U.S. Military Wives:

One of the Russian hacking groups that meddled in the 2016 presidential election posed as ISIS hackers and threatened U.S. military wives, according to an investigation by the Associated Press. Five military wives received death threats supposedly from the ISIS-linked CyberCaliphate group in February 2015, leading to media coverage talking up the terror group’s online reach. But new evidence suggests it was actually carried out by the same Russian hacker collective—known as Fancy Bear or APT28—that is believed to have exposed the emails of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign chairman, John Podesta. Proof that the military wives were targeted by Russian hackers is laid out in a digital hit list provided to the Associated Press by a cybersecurity company last year. One of the women who received the threat, Angela Ricketts, said: “Never in a million years did I think that it was the Russians.” She added: “Not only did we play right into their hands by freaking out, but the media played right into it.”

*GAME OVER – Trump Administration Threatens Jail and Separating Children From Parents for Those Who Illegally Cross Southwest Border:

The Trump administration announced Monday that it is dramatically stepping up prosecutions of those who illegally cross the Southwest border, ramping up a “zero tolerance” policy intended to deter new migrants with the threat of jail sentences and separating immigrant children from their parents. “If you cross the Southwest border unlawfully, then we will prosecute you. It’s that simple,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in announcing a policy that will impose potential criminal penalties on border crossers who previously faced mainly civil deportation proceedings — and in the process, force the separation of families crossing the border for months or longer. The new policy could flood the immigration courts, already suffering severe backlogs, and create new detention space shortages for federal agencies that even now have been forced to release many undocumented immigrants until their cases can be heard. Mr. Sessions said he has dispatched 35 additional prosecutors and 18 immigration judges to the Southwest border region to help handle expanding caseloads.

*95,745,000: Record Number Not in Labor Force as Boomers Retire:

The number of employed Americans has broken eight records since President Trump took office, but on the not-so-sunny side, the number of Americans not in the labor force also keeps increasing, breaking six records since Trump took office in January 2017. Last month, a record 95,745,000 Americans were counted as “not in the labor force,” meaning they are not employed and are not seeking a job, according to the Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statics. “This category includes retired persons, students, those taking care of children or other family members, and others who are neither working nor seeking work,” BLS said. With record numbers of people not in the labor force, the labor force participation rate has remained stubbornly low in recent years.

*Kim Jong Un Meets President Xi in Northern China:

President Xi Jinping has met with Kim Jong Un in northern China, Beijing has confirmed, in the latest stop on the North Korean leader’s recent frenzy of diplomatic visits. There had been speculation that a high-ranking North Korean official was in the region, and, in a statement published by Chinese state news Tuesday, the country confirmed Kim met Xi in Dalian, in northeast China’s Liaoning province. It’s the North Korean leader’s second trip to China this year—his previous visit was to Beijing in March and was his first foreign visit as leader. The statement read: “Xi held talks with Kim and hosted a welcome banquet for him. Together, they also took a stroll and attended a luncheon. In a cordial and friendly atmosphere, the top leaders of the two parties and the two countries had an all-round and in-depth exchange of views on China-DPRK relations and major issues of common concern.”

*Social Security Beneficiaries Top 62,000,000 for First Time:

In the first quarter of 2018, the number of Social Security beneficiaries topped 62,000,000 for the first time, according to data released by the Social Security Administration. In fact, people receiving Social Security benefits in the United States now outnumber the population of Italy. Social Security ended the fourth quarter of 2017 with 61,903,360 beneficiaries. By the end of the first quarter of this year, that had risen to 62,233,678—an increase of 330,318 in three months.

*Giuliani: Mueller Rejected Trump Proposal to Answer Questions in Writing:

Rudy Giuliani, a member of Trump’s legal team, said that special counsel Robert Mueller’s office has “rejected proposals to allow [President] Trump to answer questions from investigators in writing” in the Russia investigation, according to CBS News. This is reportedly the legal team’s “preferred format for a possible interview” because it would help protect the president “from the possibility of lying or misleading investigators.” He also said the team would like to wait until “after the North Korea summit” to prepare the president for a possible sit-down with Mueller, and said the team would like some topics to be “off-limits.” Giuliani also claimed that he would “fight” a subpoena from Mueller if Trump refuses to be interviewed by the special counsel, and said the team would “use it as another opportunity to negotiate an interview on their terms.”

*Weedkiller Products Are More Toxic Than Active Ingredient in Them, Tests Suggest:

The U.S. National Toxicology Program discovered that weedkiller formulations are “potentially more toxic to human cells” than the active ingredient in them would be by itself, according to The Guardian. While the government has tested the active chemical glyphosate in isolation, there have been no studies testing chemical concoctions that are often packaged as brand-name weedkiller. “We see the formulations are much more toxic. The formulations were killing the cells,” Mike DeVito, acting chief of the National Toxicology Program Laboratory, told the newspaper. “The glyphosate really didn’t do it.” The concoctions are reportedly “disrupting cell membranes” and “significantly” changing cell viability. This comes as FDA testing for glyphosate has been repeatedly shut down, despite preliminary findings suggesting the chemical is on a large amount of everyday food items.


*LBN-INVESTIGATES: In 2010, Minnesota used more cats for testing than any other state (2,703), New Jersey used the most dogs (6,077), and Massachusetts used the most primates (7,458).

*LBN-BUSINESS INSIDER:   ***Valeant Pharmaceuticals International, the company whose enormous price increases on old drugs helped fuel public outrage over high drug costs, is changing its name, the company announced Tuesday. The new name will be Bausch Health Companies, to reflect the company’s better-known and more respected subsidiary, the eye care company Bausch + Lomb, which it acquired in 2013. The company announced the change, which will take effect in July, as part of its first-quarter earnings.   ***Elon Musk is taking on Warren Buffett, and their differences run deeper than jokes about candy and medieval fortifications. At Berkshire Hathaway’s annual meeting over the weekend, I relayed a question from a shareholder to Mr. Buffett about a comment Mr. Musk had made a couple days earlier. “I think ‘moats’ are lame,” Mr. Musk had said during a Tesla earnings call. It was a criticism of economic principle Mr. Buffett that coined in 1999 and that has become something of a mantra for his faithful: Invest in businesses “that have wide, sustainable moats around them.” Such moats, Mr. Buffett has said, are made of the competitive advantages that benefit major brands and companies, like distribution networks, pricing power and brand reputation.

*LBN-BOOK NEWS:   ***The man once considered among Hollywood’s most powerful figures is ready to tell his story.Michael Ovitz has written an autobiography simply titled, “Who Is Michael Ovitz?” The book will be published by Portfolio and will be available on September 25. Ovitz co-founded theCreative Artists Agency. He was the president of The Walt Disney Co. but was forced out of that position in an infamous split in the late 1990s.

*LBN-INVESTIGATES: All of the bacteria in our body collectively weighs about 4 pounds.

*LBN-SPORTS INSIDER:   ***The Twitterverse had a field dayMonday night, mercilessly skewering Tom Brady over his all-black ensemble at the annual Met Gala. Ditching his tried-and-true jacket and bow tie for a black turtleneck and an embroidered lapel from Versace, the Patriots quarterback received high marks from E!’s “Fashion Police” as he and supermodel wife Gisele Bündchen paid homage to the event’s “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination” theme. But in the holy grail of sports, however, the online opinion matters most.

*THINK FREELY – READ LBN: Now you can share LBN with your friends, family, and associates (if they’ve got the guts) by telling them to go to

*LBN-MUSIC INSIDER:   ***Paul Simon has never had much use for drugs beyond a brief flirtation with LSD in the 1960s. But in early 1998 when his Broadway musical The Capemanclosed after a mere six-week run, he turned to a powerful South American hallucinogenic, ayahuasca, to numb the pain. He’d first encountered it nearly a decade earlier when he went to South America to record The Rhythm of the Saints, but it had never been quite so useful to him. He’d dumped millions of his own dollars into the musical only to see critics tear it to shreds. He needed an escape. “The feeling was almost indescribable,” Simon told biographer Robert Hilburn. “You couldn’t imagine feeling any better, and the afterglow would last for days. It also enabled me to hear new sounds in my head, which led to me being able to write songs much faster than before.”   ***With the curtain rising on her “Reputation” tour, Taylor Swift blinked. She buckled by having Ticketmaster turn off resale ticket listings on its interactive venue charts for the first leg of her North American tour, according to music-industry veterans. The tour, which begins on Tuesday in Glendale, Ariz., shows plenty of primary tickets still available for the first nine shows. But the delisting of secondary, or resale, tickets — a move experts called unusual if not unprecedented — makes the inventory of available seats seem much smaller.

*LBN-NOTICED:   ***Curious new celebrity couple Elon Muskand Grimes (née Claire Boucher) made their official debut on the Met Gala red carpet on Monday night — and for those who still doubt that the billionaire entrepreneur helped design his pop-star girlfriend’s outfit for the evening, look no further than Grimes’s choice of choker. Yep, that’s a Tesla logo, folks.   ***Dave Chappelle and Talib Kweli at the Hills Penthouse in LA celebrating Carl Chery’s new role at Spotify.   ***David Foster still has a thing for blondes. The 68-year-old music producer and girlfriend Katharine McPhee stepped outMonday for the annual Met Gala, finally confirming their long-rumored romance. Dressed in a sheer blue Georges ChakraCouture gown, the “Waitress” actress, 34, called the event a “nice date night” with Foster, to Entertainment Tonight.

*LBN-THIS DAY IN HISTORY: Coca-Cola Hits the Market as a Health Tonic (1886)

At a time when soda fountains were popular in the US due to the widespread belief that carbonated water was good for the health, American pharmacist John Pemberton came up with his own formula for a health tonic. Among its ingredients were cocaine, derived from the coca leaf, and caffeine, derived from the kola nut, leading to the name Coca-Cola. It was initially sold as a patent medicine for five cents a glass.



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*LBN-VIDEO LINK:  THE BEST OF “WITHOUT NOTES” TV’S REVEALING INTERVIEW SHOW —- “Without Notes” with Dr. Srini Pillay – Episode 1: The Early Years —

*LBN-COMMENTARY by David Brooks: This column is about a man who changed the world, at least twice. I want to focus less on the impact of his work, which is all around us, and more on how he did it, because he’s a model of how you do social change. Stewart Brand was born in Rockford, Ill., in 1938, the son of an advertising executive. By the early 1960s, he felt alienated from boring, bourgeois suburbia and concluded that Native Americans had a lot to teach the rest of us about how to lead a more authentic way of life. In 1965, he created a multimedia presentation called “America Needs Indians,” which he performed at the LSD-laced, proto-hippie gatherings he helped organize in California. Brand then had two epiphanies. First, there were no public photos of the entire earth. Second, if people like him were going to return to the land and lead natural lives, they would need tools.

*LBN-HISTORICAL COMMENTARY by George Washington: Associate yourself with men of good quality if you esteem your own reputation, for ’tis better to be alone than in bad company.


*LBN-OVERHEARD:   ***Charlie Sheen is firing back against a woman who claimed the actor failed to disclose his HIVdiagnosis to her before they began a sexual relationship. The “Two and a Half Men” alum claims in legal documents that the anonymous accuser is an “extortionist,” according to TMZ, and that she’s a “professional hooker party girl” who gets paid for sex as a high-end escort. Sheen admitted he provided her with money and gifts during their brief relationship, in which they had unprotected sex, and said he revealed his HIV-positive status to her when they first met.   ***Paris Hilton made an appearance in federal court for the sentencing of a hacker who authorities say used her bank and credit card information to run up huge bills. Paystar Bkhchadzhyan was sentenced to four years and nine months in prison Monday and was ordered to pay more than $318,000 in restitution to Hilton’s banks and credit card companies. In a deal with prosecutors, she pleaded guilty in November to conspiracy to commit bank fraud. In an unusual move in such cases, the 37-year-old heiress showed up at the downtown Los Angeles courthouse in a business suit and sunglasses to give a victim impact statement.   ***It’s a boy for Kirsten Dunst and Jesse Plemons. The couple — 36 and 30, respectively — welcomed their first child, a rep for Dunst confirmed Tuesday.   ***Calvin Harris and his girlfriend, Aarika Wolf, slammed into another car this weekend, leaving a couple of young ladies injured. Eyewitnesses tell us Calvin’s girlfriend, Aarika, was behind the wheel of a Range Rover on a residential street Sunday in Beverly Hills … behind a Honda with 2 girls in it. The Honda driver started to turn left into a driveway. We’re told Calvin’s girlfriend didn’t slow down and plowed into the left side of the car, making it spin out and setting off the airbags. The cars ended up facing each other.   ***As corporate progressivism vies against Trumpian nationalism for the future of America’s Empire, celebrities are inciting their own upheaval within Hollywood. American Psycho author Bret Easton Ellis warned for years of an impending shift against progressive values in a town long touted as a bastion of liberalism. Following Kanye West’s controversial break with liberalism over Twitter and TMZ, Ellis is seeing his premonition unfold. “As someone who considers themselves a disillusioned Gen-X’er, I think there IS a backlash brewing against leftist hysteria,” Ellis told Observer over email. “What I used to semi-align myself with has no answers for anything right now, just constant bitching and finding ways to delegitimize an election.”

LBN E-Lert Edited By Renee Preston