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INTEL REPORT--Donald Trump, the president whose petulance reaches further than the ties he seemingly purchased from the estate of Andre the Giant, took to Twitter to vent his frustration after the Democratic National Committee refused to let Fox News host a primary debate, a move first reported by the Washington Post.

“Recent reporting in the New Yorker on the inappropriate relationship between President Trump, his administration and Fox News has led me to conclude that the network is not in a position to host a fair and neutral debate for our candidates,” DNC Chairman Tom Perez said in a statement Wednesday. “Fox News will not serve as a media partner for the 2020 Democratic primary debates.”

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INTEL REPORT--A few months after the King of Pop faced his first public sexual abuse allegations, Vanity Fair reporter Maureen Orth wrote in January 1994 that “even by Hollywood standards, Michael Jackson’s weirdness is legendary, but he has always been protected by the armor of his celebrity.”

“Almost no one, especially those C.E.O.’s and moguls who make millions off him, has ever really questioned his motives: why this reclusive man-child with no known history of romantic relationships prefers to live a fantasy life in the company of children,” Orth wrote of Jackson, who later privately settled with accuser Jordan Chandler.

At its core, HBO’s “Leaving Neverland” is a devastating and searing excavation of how sexual abuse can tear apart the lives of accusers and their families. But particularly in its second half, airing Monday night, the documentary hints at how Jackson’s otherworldly superstardom enabled his alleged abuse to evade major scrutiny from the media during much of his career.

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INTEL REPORT--A wrongful death civil rights lawsuit has been filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court against Ed Buck, L.A. County District Attorney Jackie Lacey and Craig Hum, assistant head deputy district attorney, in the 2017 death of 26-year-old Gemmel Moore at Buck’s Laurel Avenue apartment. The suit has been filed on behalf of Moore’s estate and his mother, LaTisha Nixon. (Photo above: Gemmel “Juelz” Moore (left) and Ed Buck (Facebook)

Moore, an African-American man who was a sex worker, was found dead of a crystal meth overdose in Buck’s apartment on July 27, 2017.  Buck, who is 65, is a white man known for luring young black men to his apartment through posts on gay sex sites such as Adam4Adam.com. (Read the rest.) 

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LA Councilman Floats Idea of Ballot Measure to Fund Child Care

Emily Alpert Reyes 

INTEL REPORT--Los Angeles City Councilman Paul Krekorian said Wednesday that he wants the city to pursue a ballot measure to fund programs for young children — and could put the issue before voters as soon as next year. 

In a newly released proposal, the councilman is asking city staffers to report back on ways to expand licensed child care programs at the Department of Recreation and Parks. Krekorian said that before the last recession, the department offered licensed child care programs at 26 facilities. Now, he said, that number has plummeted to just two. (Read the rest.)  

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INTEL REPORT--Bestowing vital hope on beleaguered journalists everywhere, Hilde Lysiak, 12-year-old reporter, editor and publisher of the Orange Street News, last week faced down an Arizona cop who threatened to "have you arrested and thrown in juvey" for chasing down a tip on her bike, aka doing her job - or as Lysiak conscientiously reported, "The OSN was working on a story in Patagonia, Arizona when a law enforcement officer threatened the reporter with arrest unless she stopped reporting the news." 

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WELL REGULATED MILITIA, UNREGULATED PRESIDENT--A young friend is seriously considering joining her state’s National Guard. She’s a world-class athlete, but also a working-class woman from a rural background competing in a rich person’s sport. Between seasons, she works for a local farm and auctioneer to put together the money for equipment and travel.

Each season, raising the necessary money to compete is a touch-and-go proposition, so she’s now talking to the National Guard. If, after basic training, she joins the Army’s World Class Athletes Program as a reservist, her service will essentially consist of competing in her sport. She’ll get an annual salary, health care, college tuition -- all to do what she loves and wants to do anyway. What could possibly go wrong?

Well, she could end up fighting in one of this country’s forever wars.

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INTEL REPORT: During his excruciating State of the Union address, Donald Trump tried to use the plight of women, real and imagined, to promote his rightwing agenda. It was an exercise in Orwellian doublespeak.

As part of his racist attacks on Central American immigrants, Trump erroneously claimed that one in three female caravanista refugees has been sexually assaulted en route to the U.S. border. This notorious sexual harasser intoned about sex traffickers who “smuggle thousands of young girls and women into the United States and to sell them into prostitution and modern-day slavery.”

Did Trump raise the humane response of opening the borders to survivors of domestic abuse, assault or harassment? Did he call for assistance and care for vulnerable immigrants? Hell, no! His only solutions are to mobilize soldiers and build a border wall. So much for assisting women in need. How cynical to use real-life trauma to sell a solution that will only add to women’s problems. 

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INTEL REPORT--The Great Pretender's ongoing hysteria about a wall to keep out his fictional “tremendous onslaught” of brown people is happily, increasingly running into its own wall - knowledgeable people in border areas pushing back and arguing #WallsDontWork.” 

The resistance ranges from officials in the border town of Nogales, Arizona taking down his newly installed, flesh-slicing, maximum-security-prison-flavored coils of razor wire on an existing border fence - WTF on the U.S. side yet - that was universally blasted as “inhuman” to both California's and New Mexico's governors withdrawing most  National Guard troops from the border, condemning Trump's  "fear-mongering." 

New Mexico's new governor even made a wild video in which she hurls herself through multiple flimsy but dusty walls to show what she thinks of the whole ignoring-real-problems-to-build-a-stupid-racist-wall thing. 

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INTEL REPORT--In a little-noticed side impact of California’s 2018 law granting drivers the option of listing their gender as nonbinary, California’s Department of Insurance has decreed that auto insurance companies can no longer grant breaks in insurance rates to teen drivers who are female or charge young men more.

Outgoing Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones, in one of his final acts in office, issued a regulation last month prohibiting the use of gender in automobile insurance rating, similar to regulations in six other states.

Jones’ replacement, Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara, supports that policy, saying in a statement: “Gender, race, ethnicity or sexual orientation are beyond your control, and it is not a fair or even an effective way to predict risk.”

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INTEL REPORT--According to a new Politico/Morning Consult poll, 76 percent of registered voters believe that the wealthiest Americans should pay more in taxes. (Photo: Michael Fleshman/Flickr/cc)

Likely 2020 contenders and progressive members of Congress have proposed a variety of plans in recent days to make the rich pay more in taxes and begin reversing soaring inequality—from a wealth tax to a 70 percent top marginal rate to a higher estate tax on the richest families—and a survey published on Monday found that such ideas are extremely popular among the American public.

According to a new Politico/Morning Consult poll, 76 percent of registered voters believe that the wealthiest Americans should pay more in taxes, and 61 percent back Sen. Elizabeth Warren's (D-Mass.) new proposal for an annual tax of two percent on assets over $50 million—which she dubbed the "Ultra-Millionaire Tax." The poll found that even 50 percent of Republican voters support Warren's plan.

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INTEL REPORT--Time for a pop quiz on Trump’s Wall.

Question 1: How much will it cost us? Trump & Company says the price tag is $5.7 billion. But — pssssst — that only buys a starter wall of 230 miles, covering barely a tenth of our 2,000-mile Mexican border.

The dirty little secret is that the full barricade Trump wants will cost us at least $25 billion. For something that isn’t needed and won’t work.

Question 2: By shutting down the government of the United States in a petulant attempt to make Congress pony up his wall money, didn’t he hurt families who come to tour the capital city, hoping to visit national monuments and museums, only to find them closed?  

Yes, but — pssssst — there was one exception. The “clock tower” of the historic, 1899 Old Post Office Building got a special reprieve to remain open to tourists throughout the presidential shutdown.

Why?

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INTEL REPORT--In a short, viral video shared widely since Friday, Catholic high-school students visiting Washington, D.C., from Kentucky for the March for Life appeared to confront, and mock, American Indians who had participated in the Indigenous Peoples March, taking place the same day.

By Saturday, the video had been condensed into a single image: One of the students, wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat, smiles before an Omaha tribal elder, a confrontation viewers took as an act of aggression by a group of white youths against an indigenous community — and by extension, people of color more broadly. Online, reaction was swift and certain, with legislators, news outlets, and ordinary people denouncing the students and their actions as brazenly racist.

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INTEL REPORT--Our lunatic head of state’s favorite new tactic shouldn’t surprise anyone: threatening to declare a state of emergency over his ridiculous wall. Authoritarians are abusers — and abusers love nothing more than creating false, imaginary emergencies with which to justify their escalating abuse. Any abusive relationship is a series of false emergencies, really, about an abuser’s unmet narcissistic demands — love me, adore me, obey me, more, harder, faster. See what you made me do? I had to build a wall, to keep you where you belong!

Listen. He’s going to use this threat…forever. Get used to it. The next two years are going to be this threat dangled over the head of America like a giant sword hanging from the slenderest thread. Until either impeachment happens, or the end of term does, this threat of declaring an emergency is going to be used on a more or less daily basis. Fake News! You can’t investigate me! Waaah!! Where’s my pacifier! No — you made me hit you! Emergency!!!

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INTEL REPORT--One of Trump’s most admirable qualities, according to his supporters, is his “strength.” Nate Silver has written that this attribute seems “fundamental to his appeal.” In a paper for the Journal of Social and Political Psychology, Thomas Pettigrew isolated five psychological factors driving Trump support: the first two on his list being authoritarianism and social dominance orientation, two phenomena indicating high valuation of strength and toughness. The data bear this out. Throughout Trump’s presidency, he has retained positive polling numbers on the attribute of “strength” from a majority of Republicans, even as his overall support has dipped.

Yet the strength Republicans perceive in Trump is merely a facade. Trump’s actions may at times take on the appearance of strength, but—unlike the truly strong—he exhibits that strength only when the repercussions will be levied against someone else.

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