INTEL REPORT--After the shock and awe of the headline wears off, feel free to continue reading the rest of this article. 

You good? Alright, cool. 

On Friday, NBC News announced that it was officially kicking its controversial host Megyn Kelly to the curb. The unceremonious divorce ends a year-long, lackluster fling with NBC that included poor ratings, a guest appearance by some imbecile named Alex Jones, and this ridiculous quote (completely bereft of cultural awareness) on blackface: 

“But what is racist?”  

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INTEL REPORT--As President Trump’s government shutdown enters its 19th day, some high profile Republicans are beginning to break ranks. Many on the left have seen the shutdown as unnecessary, as President Trump is refusing to drop his demand for his ineffective, unpopular, and costly wall ($5.7 billion) to end a crisis at the border of his own making.

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PRIVACY WATCH--There is a classic debate—one that might come up in high school classrooms—about "privacy versus security," as though those are two sides of one coin. To what degree are we willing to forfeit our privacy in order to live in a safe society? But this debate often misses the inequities in how "security" is enforced in practice. People of color, the poor, and those who are already disenfranchised by the criminal justice system are disproportionately subjected to surveillance. 

Immigrants, both undocumented and legal, are among those most vulnerable to surveillance. Given the Trump administration's ramped-up commitment to immigration enforcement, the stakes are high. The state is watching all of us, but it's not watching everyone equally.

RISING SURVEILLANCE OF IMMIGRANTS: WORLD WAR I TO 9/11

Surveillance in the United States has often begun at flashpoints: wartime or moments of crisis deemed so dangerous that civil liberties went out the window. This phenomenon is old: During the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln suspended the writ of habeas corpus and arrested a military officer.

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INTEL REPORT--I love New Year’s. It’s as if everyone had the same birthday and we all have complete license to wish each and every one of us—even the strangest of strangers—well. The holiday doesn’t carry any deep national or religious significance. We don’t have to wave flags or feel obliged to muster gratitude for people whose bloodlines we happen to share. Nor is it organized around any long forgotten commemoration or some dumb game. It’s just a wonderfully arbitrary line in the sand that separates yesterday from today, the immediate past from the future.

New Year well-wishers don’t have to speculate whether you’re Christian, or Hindu, or Jewish, or atheist to decide whether to hide behind some muddled insignificance like “Happy Holidays!” New Year’s is non-discriminatory—a one-size-fits-all celebration. Never mind Thanksgiving, January 1 is really the universal holiday that everyone embraces equally.

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INTEL REPORT--Trump doesn’t want the public to think the stock market has tanked because of Trump’s government shutdown, his trade war with China, and the $1.9 trillion increase in the nation’s debt caused by his tax cut for corporations and the wealthy. (Actually, these are the major reasons for the market’s drop.)

So he’s blaming the Fed and its chair, Jerome Powell, for raising interest rates. And he’s ordered his staff to find a legal rationale for removing Powell. (It’s highly unlikely Trump has legal authority to do this, but like every other illegal thing Trump has tried, it may end up in the federal courts.)

Which is rattling investors even more, because they worry Trump is trying to turn the Fed into his own political tool.

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INTEL REPORT--After being offered the chance of a lifetime to perform in front of 100 million viewers, some of the music industry’s biggest stars, including Cardi B, Andre 3000, and Usher, have reportedly responded to offers to perform at halftime of Super Bowl by telling the National Football League: “Nah, bruh. I’m good.” (Photo above: (L-R) Rihanna, Mary J. Blige, Cardi B, Andre 3000Photo: Pascal Le Segretain, Theo Wargo, Kevin Winter, Frederick M. Brown)

The NFL reportedly tapped the alabaster quintuplet, Maroon 5, to play the halftime show in this year’s big game, set for February 3 in Atlanta’s Mercedes Benz Stadium.

 That’s right. The brilliant minds at NFL headquarters asked the whitest group since the Oak Ridge Boys to headline the biggest event in the city whose music scene is this generation’s version of Motown. When the Super Bowl was in Minnesota, no one petitioned for the Ying Yang Twins to headline the halftime performance. We were cool with Justin Timberlake performing his “Man in the Woods” bullshit. But Maroon 5? In Atlanta?

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INTEL REPORT--At last, some good news. A President’s corrupt lawyer was sentenced to jail time. Let me try and interpret it as best I can. In times like these — we shouldn’t underestimate the power of such events, and what they mean. I’ll sum up my thoughts in this simple dictum: the test of American institutions isn’t just negative — it’s positive. Here’s what I mean by that.

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INTEL REPORT--The “justice” system Trump’s opponents want to nail him with and then use to impeach him, wasn’t designed to choose leaders or get rid of them — so why do it? (Photo: Donald Trump/cc/flickr)

Why? Because it bypasses democratic politics in favor of the legal system, or the quasi-legal impeachment process. But democratic electoral politics operates in its own, independent realm.

For instance, Marion Barry was a U.S. civil rights leader who got elected mayor of Washington D.C. in the ’80s. The FBI entrapped him in a crack sting and he went to jail. Then he got reelected. His slogan was, “He isn’t perfect but he’s perfect for D.C.” Voters got the distinction.

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INTEL REPORT--Trump announced Saturday that his chief of staff, John Kelly, will leave at the end of the month. It has been reported that the two men are not speaking. Kelly was often seen as a force for stability in the Trump administration, but as I warned when he first came in, he shared many of Trump’s crackpot far rightwing ideas and therefore was not in fact a source of stability for the country.

1)  Kelly thought that we are under siege:

“We are under attack from failed states, cyber-terrorists, vicious smugglers, and sadistic radicals. And we are under attack every single day. The threats are relentless.”

As journalist Michael Cohen wrote in response at the Boston Globe, “Cyber-terrorists have never killed an American citizen, no failed state threatens America and more Americans are killed by lightning strikes than sadistic radicals.”

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INTEL REPORT--Like many 24-year-olds, Alexandra Mondalek, a fashion reporter in New York, found herself obsessing over social media. Her rapidly growing fashion-focused Instagram account, @hautetakes, was gaining attention, with a little more than 1,000 followers, and it was all she could think about. She wasn’t making money from it yet, but Mondalek wondered if she could reach “influencer” status if she kept at it.

“I was putting too much weight into who was viewing my Instagram,” says Mondalek, who started posting photos of the free gifts she received from designers and PR teams, hoping to build her following. “I would worry about how a post was performing instead of making important calls. I felt a certain pressure to make a brand of myself, and there was so much anxiety in that.”

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INTEL REPORT--Celebrity astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson disputed the recent sexual misconduct allegations leveled against him, detailing his accounts of the interactions in question in a lengthy Facebook post on Saturday.

Tyson, host of Fox’s “Cosmos” and National Geographic’s “StarTalk,” denied sexually harassing or assaulting three women who have come forward with the allegations against him. He wrote that he welcomes and plans to fully cooperate with an independent investigation launched by the two TV networks.

“Accusations can damage a reputation and a marriage. Sometimes irreversibly,” Tyson wrote in his Facebook post. “I see myself as loving husband and as a public servant ― a scientist and educator who serves at the will of the public.”

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INTEL REPORT--Rock legend Bruce Springsteen says the United States is definitely not in its glory days with President Donald Trump in the White House.

Springsteen, in an Esquire interview posted Tuesday, called the president “dangerous” and said his divisive politics were a “crime.”

Trump “has no interest in uniting the country, really, and actually has an interest in doing the opposite and dividing us, which he does on an almost daily basis,” the “Born to Run” singer told the magazine. “So that’s simply a crime against humanity, as far as I’m concerned.”

In discussing his 1980 song “The Ties That Bind,” the 69-year-old multiple Grammy winner said the bonds of family and community can’t be broken ― and that applies to Trump.

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INTEL REPORT--Cigarettes and alcohol have long been the preferred gateway drugs for teenagers. And the consequences—particularly for alcohol—have been dire. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, alcohol plays a role in 4,358 deaths every year for people under 21. Meanwhile, teenage smoking contributes to early heart disease, the leading cause of death in America.

But the addiction landscape could be changing. According to new research published by professors at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health, adolescents are increasingly trying pot before alcohol or cigarettes.

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