LBN EXAMINER 2/16/2020


Going extra light at the grocery store. Cutting down on medical supplies. Buying clothing and household supplies secondhand. These are just some of the many ways many Americans are making it work when money is tight. For about a third of Americans, this is a regular financial stress, with 32% running out of money before their next paycheck hits, according to a new survey fielded by Salary Finance of over 2,700 U.S. adults working at companies with over 500 employees.

Amy,* 36, is intimately familiar with running short on cash and using these workarounds, especially during tax season. That’s in spite of the fact that she and her husband make about $50,000 a year, just short of the average household income in the U.S. “Tax time hurts for us because we don’t get a refund, we get a bill,” she tells CNBC Make It. Her husband, the primary earner, works for a company in a different state, so state income taxes aren’t taken out, she says. While they typically get a federal refund, they end up owing the state more than the federal refund.


Imagine filing your taxes online, pressing submit, and seeing that you owe $9 billion. That’s the bill Facebook is facing when it takes on the IRS in a made-for-Hollywood tax case beginning this week.  Maybe that’s a stretch, but the nine-year odyssey has been great theater: When former Google exec Sheryl Sandberg joined Facebook in 2008 to guide a 23-year-old Mark Zuckerberg, she reportedly steered him in one particular direction: Dublin, Ireland. Many U.S. tech companies have established operations in Ireland for the friendly tax rate and proper Guinness pours. To rev the profit engine in Ireland, Facebook created an Irish subsidiary that licensed tech from the U.S. parent company. Yes, two parts of the same company are technically allowed to do business with each other but only at a fair price for the assets. The IRS alleges that the Irish Facebook paid the American Facebook less than it should have because it wanted to avoid paying 35% in taxes—then the U.S. corporate tax rate.  The IRS calculated that Facebook owes it about $9 billion, roughly equal to FB’s global tax bill in 2018 and 2019 combined.  What Facebook argues
It’s tried to paint a portrait of the company as young and risky. Facebook had “no mobile advertising revenue, its international business was nascent, and its digital advertising products were unproven,” a spokeswoman said. The low value represented the uncertainty of the company’s future.

What the IRS argues
In 2010, Facebook’s trajectory was up and to the right and the assets were worth at least double what Facebook calculated. It also says it has evidence (internal emails) that shows execs set up the Irish operation mainly to take advantage of the tax benefits. 

Bottom line: Despite being gutted by budget cuts, the IRS is mounting a last-gasp charge to rein in the many U.S. corporations sprinkling profits around the world. We’ll have to wait for months to find out whether it’s successful.  


Macaulay Culkin exonerates Michael Jackson from all rumors concerning possible or alleged child molestation in the new issue of Esquire. But let’s cut to the chase. Culkin spent a lot of time with Michael when he was a child. Former Neverland employees made up all kinds of stories of things they said they saw concerning the older pop singer and the child star. But Culkin testified in 2005 at Michael’s trial that nothing untoward happened between them. He attended Jackson’s private funeral in 2009. And he’s remained close to Jackson’s daughter, Paris.

Now Macaulay says in Esquire that nothing happened between them except friendship. I believe him. In light of the one-sided documentary Leaving Neverland, and lawsuits from Wade Robson and James Safechuck, Mack could just verify their stories and end all the speculation. But he doesn’t. Quite the contrary. I don’t think the Jackson Estate put him up to this. Culkin is very outspoken and not manipulated. “Look,” he says in the magazine. “I’m gonna begin with the line—it’s not a line, it’s the truth: He never did anything to me. I never saw him do anything. And especially at this flashpoint in time, I’d have no reason to hold anything back. The guy has passed on. If anything—I’m not gonna say it would be stylish or anything like that, but right now is a good time to speak up. And if I had something to speak up about, I would totally do it. But no, I never saw anything; he never did anything.”


The uphill climb to treat Alzheimer’s disease got even steeper yesterday. Drugs from Eli Lilly and a Roche subsidiary disappointed in a highly anticipated trial that averaged up to five years. The results were “really crushing,” principal investigator Dr. Randall Bateman told the NYT. Neither of the drugs slowed cognitive decline in the 104 trial participants who took medication.  The participants all have a rare genetic mutation that essentially guarantees they’ll develop Alzheimer’s in their 30s–50s.  After the trial, Bateman admitted there is no way to treat patients with the mutation. His team doesn’t have a quick way to notify the volunteers of the results, either.  Scientists will keep trying. In October, Biogen shocked the medical community by reviving aducanumab, an Alzheimer’s drug it had shelved months earlier. The next step is submitting the treatment for regulatory approval. 

Zoom out: In 2018, Alzheimer’s affected about 5.7 million people in the U.S. Current treatments only ease symptoms temporarily; they do not slow memory loss or the deterioration of thinking skills.


While Brad Pitt was the toast of awards season — winning his first Oscar Sunday night for his supporting role in “Once Upon a Time in . . . Hollywood” — his ex, Angelina Jolie, has been planning to step out in an even higher-profile capacity as an advocate for humanitarian causes. Jolie just signed with WME following stints with rival agencies CAA and UTA. Sources say Jolie’s plan is to create more documentaries, books and other initiatives around the projects she cares about, including protecting refugees and education for kids in conflict zones.

Insiders say that while recent Jolie movies such as “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” haven’t done as well as expected at the box office, she plans to continue acting. She has two films, “Eternals” and “Those Who Wish Me Dead,” set for release this year. But a source said Jolie, 44, wants to simultaneously step out in a new direction: “Angelina has been looking for a global company to support her global ambitions . . . She wants to diversify and to grow. This is all about helping Angelina create a platform to use her knowledge of international humanitarian causes . . . She has been asking, ‘How do I use my platform to get more people involved and invested in the causes?’ The discussions have been about documentaries, events, speeches, books, cause-driven movies.”


Has pet obsession gone too far? Treating pets as humans is increasingly common. Clothes, gourmet food, pet spas, etc. Has it gone too far?

Vote Yes or No. Send your vote to


Amish men take about 18,425 steps per day. Amish women take about 14,196. The average American adult takes about 4,000 steps per day. Only 4% of Amish are obese, compared to 31% of the general population.


In addition to being read in 50 of the United States, this LBN Examiner is currently read in 26 foreign countries per week. Here is a photo of some of our fans in Brazil sent to us by one of our loyal readers.


Richard Avedon at 61st Street and Amsterdam Avenue, New York City, May 1963.


WeWork is phasing out free beer and wine taps at its U.S. and Canada locations, Business Insider reported Monday. While WeWork Chairman Marcelo Claure has been on a cost-cutting charge for months, WeWork told BI this wasn’t a financial decision.  The company wants to keep tenants happy during work hours by adding a wider selection of beverages including cold brew, kombucha, seltzer, and cold teas.  WeWork will continue to offer booze at on-site happy hours.  “As former patrons of WeWork’s finest hops dispensers, we’ll be pouring one out tonight for the symbolic end of the OG WeWork era.” As Bisnow writes, “alcohol was once a pillar of WeWork’s identity, from bottomless-drink member parties to CEO Adam Neumann’s infamous penchant for shots of tequila.”



Lynn Jurich, the chief executive of the residential solar company Sunrun, along with 12 members of the White House staff, 3 Nobel Prize winners, over 100 Academy Award winners, 6 U.S. Senators, and over 300 Grammy Award winners.


HELP WANTED: PROMINENT ENTERTAINMENT P.R./BRANDING FIRM SEEK ENTRY LEVEL PART-TIME (FLEXIBLE HOURS) NEW BUSINESS COORDINATOR   This Award-winning firm is 35 years old and has represented: ***58 Academy Award winners ***34 Grammy Award winners ***43 New York Times best-sellers. Must be smart, extremely reliable, resourceful and hungry to learn.

Must be available to meet once a week in Playa Vista and work from home approximately ten (10) hours a week. Must live near Playa Vista AND have reliable transportation.

Must be smart, resourceful, tech-savvy, organized, and hungry to learn. A great opportunity to learn and grow within the world of media.


LBN Examiner Edited By: Aurora DeRose 

LBN Examiner Disclaimer: 1.) The LBN Examiner accepts no liability for the content of this email, or for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided. The LBN Examiner is not associated with any commercial or political organization and is transmitted via the web for the sole benefit of its subscribers. 2.) Unfortunately, computer viruses can be transmitted via email. The recipient should check this mail and any attachments for the presence of viruses.