JUICE — Florida Politics' Juicy Read — 12.9.20 -— FL Democrats Target DeSantis (Again) — America First Vaccines — Rubio, Scott, Murphy, COVID, Vaccines — More...

JUICE — Florida Politics' Juicy Read — 12.9.20 -— FL Democrats Target DeSantis (Again) — America First Vaccines — Rubio, Scott, Murphy, COVID, Vaccines — More...

Javier Manjarres
Javier Manjarres
December 9, 2020


Democratic Party Disdain for DeSantis

Florida Democrats are pulling out all the stops to come off as somewhat relevant after their Election Day debacle across the state.

Since the pandemic first broke out, Florida Democrats have been blaming Gov. Ron DeSantis of causing the death of thousands of Floridians for not locking down the state and imposing a mandatory mask order.

The narrative Democrats are pushing is that DeSantis isn’t taking the pandemic “seriously” and ignoring the “severity of the virus.”

Blaming DeSantis for the spread of the pandemic and the subsequent deaths is all part of the fun and games political play by Democrats, but what else can they do after Republicans ate their lunch last month?

Now that the general election is over and the 2022 mid-term election is underway, DeSantis is the target and Democrats need to try to dress him down as much as possible to have any hope of winning the governor’s mansion on election day.

Expect the Reps. Stephanie Murphy’s and Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s of the world to continue to back the play of Democratic Socialists like Reps. Anna Eskamani and Carlos “Carlitos” Guillermo Smith, and 2018 loser Chris King, against DeSantis.

Oh, and then there is probable gubernatorial nominee Nikki Fried, who seems to have an obsession with DeSantis.

Again, it's her job to go after DeSantis. After all, she is the highest-ranking elected Democrat in the state.

We almost forgot to mention that Florida Democrats have been railing against DeSantis for not installing a mask mandate, but their 78-year-old savior, President-elect Joe Biden has already walked back any mandatory shutdown and mask mandates.

So, is it fair to say that anyone that dies after Biden takes the oath of office is no his hands, right?

Floridians To Take One in the Arm

President Trump has signed an Executive Order to make sure that Americans get the COVID vaccine before anyone else does, and both Senators Marco Rubio and Rick Scott, are backing the president’s play. READ MORE


Rep. Ted Deutch @RepTedDeutch -A week ago, Gov DeSantis rejected the idea of continued social distancing once a vaccine is available. This is why he needs to rethink that. And why he should listen to the scientists, not his own gut.

Rep. Lois Frankel @RepLoisFrankel- Increasing women’s participation in peace and security efforts is not only crucial to advancing gender equality around the world, it is critical to broader international security concerns.

Rep. Michael Waltz @RepMichaelWaltz -This is the right move. Thank you @realDonaldTrump for always putting America first and ensuring the American people have access to the #COVID19 vaccine.

Mario Diaz-Balart @MarioDB-Today, the House passed the final WRDA bill, which includes a provision I introduced to rename the "Moore Haven Lock and Dam" to the "Julian Keen, Jr. Lock and Dam" in honor of the late @MyFWC Officer Julian Keen, Jr. I look forward to this legislation finally becoming law.

Rep. Stephanie Murphy @RepStephMurphy-We have fought to pass this bill since 2017 and I’m so pleased we finally got it done. It shows how much you can achieve when you put partisanship aside to help the American people. Read more about the bill

Senator Gary Farmer @FarmerForFLSen-President Elect Biden: "Wearing a mask is not a political statement - it's a patriotic act." How great it is to have true leadership back for this country!!!

Commissioner Nikki Fried @NikkiFriedFL-With tourism down 34% this year due to #COVID19, Florida’s economy needs a boost. #Hemp can create a green industrial revolution in Florida, with potential for billions in economic impact, tens of thousands of jobs in coming years, and innovative new products in the marketplace.

Jimmy Patronis @JimmyPatronis-Today, we honor Florida’s 2020 Fallen Firefighters & our heroes gone too soon. We can never repay them for their sacrifices, but their selfless service will be remembered forever. My thoughts are with the loved ones of these brave first responders & may God bless you all.







 “Rubio says U.S. can’t back off of Venezuela, warns of Iranian threat” by The Floridian’s Javier Manjarres – Since he took office, President Donald Trump has held Venezuela’s Socialist Dictator Nicolas Maduro’s feet to the fire, imposing crippling economic sanctions in response to the criminal regime’s human rights atrocities and theft of the Venezuelan people. Now with former Vice President Joe Biden poised to be sworn in as the 46th President of the United States, a cloud of uncertainty hovers over the Venezuelan people as Biden signals he may ease up on Maduro once he takes office. The Floridian sat down with Senator Marco Rubio who, along with Senator Rick Scott, has been at the tip of the spear, so to speak, of Trump’s foreign policy in the Western Hemisphere. Rubio said that it remains unclear what Biden will do in Venezuela and that the incoming administration had not “consulted” with him yet, adding that his concern is that they will “surround themselves with the same people from years ago, who all sort of felt like you can negotiate with [Maduro and his people].” “Maduro is an expert at negotiating as a tactic to buy himself time,” said Sen. Rubio. “ I’m confident that that’s what Maduro thinks. He’s sitting there saying, Biden is going to come in and we’re going to have a chance to do some cosmetic things, symbolic things. You know, will release some Americans they’ve taken hostage, and then they’ll reduce sanctions and/or release some prisoners that I can always rearrest.”

“Florida’s congressional delegation denounces Maduro election” by The Floridian’s Javier Manjarres – While Members of Florida’s congressional delegation rarely see eye-to-eye on many domestic and foreign policy issues, when it comes to denouncing Venezuelan Dictator Nicolas Maduro’s criminal regime and human rights violations, Democrats and Republicans stand shoulder-to-shoulder. After Maduro conducted a fraudulent election, an election that the opposition boycotted, the Trump administration and prominent elected officials openly stated their thoughts on the bogus election., Maduro thought he scored a huge win a mandate as the results give him full control of Venezuela’s socialist government. “We have recovered the National Assembly with the majority vote of the Venezuelan people,” Maduro said in a televised address, according to The Associated Press. “It’s a great victory without a doubt for democracy.” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the elections “do not meet any minimum standard of credibility and are nothing more than an attempt to steal Venezuela’s democratic future,” adding that all nations needed to “reject this electoral sham.” In a joint statement, Democratic Reps. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Donna Shalala, and Donna Shalala called Maduro’s move as a “pathetic charade” that needs to be denounced by every nation.

“Scott Warns Congress of Bailing out Blue States” by The Floridian’s Daniel Molina – A number of lawmakers have criticized congress during the COVID-19 pandemic because it has not been able to come to an agreement regarding a second stimulus package that would greatly help the American people during this time. As Congress prepares today to consider additional coronavirus relief measures, Florida Senator Rick Scott (R) released a statement, arguing that lawmakers should reject bailouts for what he says are liberal states that want to use taxpayer money that is intended for coronavirus response. Scott has spoken about this issue for the better part of this year, saying that money should not be used to backfill what he calls are poorly-managed budgets and pension plans. In a statement, Senator Scott admitted his disappointment “that a proposal from some of my colleagues today apparently includes provisions that spends hundreds of billions of dollars in taxpayer money to bail out wasteful states when we don’t even know how much is still unspent from the previous coronavirus response packages that Congress passed earlier this year.”

“Dr. Deborah Birx says Florida among states not mitigating COVID-19 to full extent” by Wink News – A top white house doctor slammed Florida for staying open during the second wave of the pandemic. Meanwhile, Gov. Ron Desantis has said he won’t close the state, and said the cases here are no higher or fewer than states that are shut down. Dr. Deborah Birx, the response coordinator for the White House Coronavirus Task Force, believes a vaccine will not stop the spread of COVID-19 alone. Birx maintains we all must change our behavior too, and that message is not getting through. “Right now, across the sun belt, we have governors and mayors who have cases equivalent to what they have in the summertime, yet aren’t putting in the same policies and mitigations that they put in the summer that they know change the course of this pandemic across the south,” said Birx during an interview on “Meet the Press.” Birx doubled down during an interview with The Wall Street Journal Tuesday, pointing a finger at southern states, including Florida, for not doing enough to control COVID-19. She said the northern plains, heartland and rocky mountain states have a better grip on the virus. “And so as we’re seeing improvements there, we’re seeing increases in these other states,” Birx said. After shutting down the state in March, DeSantis announced he’d reopen the economy in phases.

“Olympic skater facing felony charge in Florida after allegedly sending lewd photos to 13-year-old” by Yahoo Sports’ Ryan Young – French Olympic figure skater Morgan Cipres is facing a felony charge in Florida after he allegedly sent a 13-year-old American figure skater lewd photos over Instagram, according to USA Today’s Christine Brennan. Cipres is facing a felony charge for the transmission of material harmful to a minor by electronic device, per the report, and a warrant has been issued for his arrest. Cipres, 29, retired alongside his partner Vanessa James in September amid an investigation into the incident. The pair, who have won five French national titles and took fifth at the 2018 Olympics in PyeongChang, were expected to compete for a medal at the 2022 Games in Beijing. Cipres allegedly direct messaged two photos of his penis to a 13-year-old American figure skater in 2017 from his verified Instagram account. The two trained at the same rink in Florida. The girl and her parents claim that Cipres and his coaches tried to keep them from reporting the incident to authorities, and both threatened and shamed the girl. Cipres was preparing for the 2018 Olympics at the time. Two of Cipres’ coaches denied the allegations, and Cipres told USA Today that he has “nothing to say about this allegation” when asked directly in 2019. He is believed to be in France. The girl initially declined to cooperate with the investigation in 2017, which is why police did not pursue charges. She has since left the rink and is in therapy while “fully cooperating” with the investigation. The incident is also being investigated by the U.S. Center for SafeSport.

“Mask mandate gaining bipartisan support in Florida” News 4 Jax’ Jake Stofan – Over the past week, Florida has added more than 65,000 new cases, averaging nearly 9,300 new positive tests for COVID-19 a day. The newest wave of infections is reigniting calls for a statewide mask mandate in Florida and the idea is now garnering bipartisan support.

State Rep. Mike Caruso, R-Delray Beach, has joined with Democrats who have been calling for a mandate since the early days of the coronavirus pandemic. “The masks should have never been a political divider for our state and for our country,” Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried said. Fried, the top elected state Democrat, began pushing Gov. Ron DeSantis to issue a statewide mask mandate back in June. “Leadership has got to start at the top,” Fried said. “So hopefully Representative Caruso’s courage to come together and to really make this a nonpartisan issue is the first step to making those changes.” In recent days, local governments have launched new efforts to encourage mask wearing among residents. Tampa’s “Choose Your Mask” campaign is pushing a flier that implies the choice between wearing a face mask or ventilator. But the local campaigns are only symbolic in nature. The governor’s latest pandemic executive order bars local governments from actually enforcing mask mandates. Dr. Ron Saff, who serves on the board of the Florida Physicians for Social Responsibility, said any movement towards mask enforcement is a step in the right direction. “And our political leaders in the House, in the Senate, they should have stepped up a long time ago to put the reins on Governor DeSantis,” Dr. Saff said.

“GOP lawyer resigns over treatment of Florida data analyst” by Tampa Bay Times’ Mary Ellen Klas – A Sarasota lawyer resigned his appointment to the panel that picks judges on Tuesday to call attention to the way Gov. Ron DeSantis has handled “public access to truthful data” and the raiding of a data analyst’s home. Ron Filipkowski, a Marine veteran, former state and federal prosecutor, and a lifelong Republican who was appointed to the 12th Circuit Judicial Nominating Commission by DeSantis resigned Tuesday morning after reviewing the search warrant affidavit the state used to seize computers and phones from Rebekah Jones, the former Department of Health data analyst who has been running an alternative web site to the state’s COVID dashboard. Filipkowski, 52, who has served on the Judicial Nominating Commission for 10 years and was twice appointed to the role by former Gov. Rick Scott and once by DeSantis, called the governor’s handling of the pandemic “reckless and irresponsible.” “The recent events regarding public access to truthful data on the pandemic, and the specific treatment of Rebekah Jones has made the issue a legal one rather than just medical,’' he wrote in a letter to the governor’s general counsel. “...I no longer wish to serve the current government of Florida in any capacity.” Filipkowski, who is also a former general counsel to the Sarasota Republican Party, said that although he has been increasingly frustrated by the DeSantis administration and its handling of the coronavirus crisis, the situation seemed political, he said.

“Raid of former Florida Covid data scientist's home could affect other state employees, legal experts warn” by CNN’s Casey Tolan and Curt Devine – The former Florida state data scientist whose house was raided by police on Monday says she isn't just worried about the legal ramifications she's facing, but also for other state employees who leaked her damaging information on Florida's coronavirus response. Rebekah Jones, who was fired after accusing Gov. Ron DeSantis' administration of minimizing the pandemic and skewing state data, attracted national attention after her house was raided by armed state police on Monday morning. State authorities are investigating whether she accessed a government messaging system without authorization to send a message urging her former colleagues to speak out about coronavirus deaths. Jones has denied sending the message, but she told CNN she fears the computers and phone that state police seized from her Tallahassee home could expose her sources in the government to retaliation. "On my phone is every communication I've ever had with someone who works at the state, who has come to me in confidence and told me things that could get them fired or in trouble like this," Jones told CNN's Chris Cuomo on Monday night. "And I just want to say to all those people right now, if he doesn't know already, DeSantis will know soon enough that you've been talking to me. So be careful."

“South Florida hospital employee discharged nine months after contracting COVID-19” by WFLA – After fighting COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic nine months ago, Rosa Felipe was released from Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami on Tuesday. As a result of complications from the treatment she received, Felipe had to relearn to walk and perform basic daily functions. “Corona is real! The effects are real! But what’s more real is the love that I’ve received here. The dedication from my doctors and all the staff here,” said Felipe. Due to her underlying health conditions, which include asthma and diabetes, Rosa became gravely ill. She was intubated and spent two months in the intensive care unit at the very place where she worked for 15 years. After her health stabilized, Rosa, who is married and has two children, underwent physical and occupational therapy. “She couldn’t move any of the muscles in her legs. And as she just described, she also had a very bad skin ulceration,” said Dr. Lauren Shapiro, her rehabilitation physician. Rosa was overwhelmed with emotion as she spoke about her illness and recovery. She pointed out how supportive her colleagues and her loved ones have been through the entire process. “I’m overcome with emotion because I didn’t think I was going to make it. I had a huge wound down to the bone in my back. I was always afraid of infection. The pain that I felt when they would move my legs. And if you would have told me back then that I would come out walking, with difficulty, but I’m standing. And I’m not going to give up. I’m going to get better,” said Felipe.

“Florida Ranks High In COVID Workers’ Comp Claims” by CBS Miami – A new report shows that Florida is near the top nationally in the rate of COVID-19-related workers’ compensation insurance medical claims filed in the first six months of 2020. Florida, along with Alaska, Colorado, Connecticut and New Jersey, had more than 300 COVID-19-related workers’ compensation claims for every 100,000 active claims, according to a report released by the National Council on Compensation Insurance. A claim is considered active if an injured worker has received at least one medical encounter during the period. On average, there were about 200 COVID-19-related claims nationally for every 100,000 active claims. The report doesn’t address why some states have more COVID-19-related claims than others. The organization known as NCCI, which makes rate filings for the workers’ compensation insurance industry, reviewed all workers’ compensation medical claims reported to a “medical data call.” NCCI undertook the analysis as a way to better understand how COVID-19 is impacting the workers’ compensation system. The report, released Monday, examines claims data for the first six months of 2020 and compares it with past years. About 1,200 COVID-19 medical claims were filed during the first six months of the year. Seventy percent of those claims were filed by women, which according to NCCI, is “a larger share of the COVID-19 medical claims than in the general (workers’ compensation) population.”

“2021 CPAC to be held in person in Florida” by Fox News’ Paul Steinhauser – The American Conservative Union says it will hold the 2021 Conservative Political Action Conference in person amid the coronavirus pandemic. And for the first time ever, the largest and most influential annual gathering of conservatives that’s best known as CPAC, will be held far from the nation’s capital. Fox News learned on Tuesday that the conference will be held the Hyatt Regency in Orlando, Fla., from Feb. 25-28. The conference, first launched in 1974, has always been held either in or around Washington, D.C. For the past eight years, the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center in Maryland, just outside of the District of Columbia, has been CPAC's home. But the massive resort remains closed amid the worst pandemic to strike the globe in a century. Organizers tell Fox News that the event, which last year attracted nearly 20,000 people over its four days, will be held mostly indoors, with plenty of virtual components, at the Hyatt Regency, a 1,641-room hotel that is connected to the Orange County, Fla., convention center. "For the first time ever, our annual CPAC meeting is moving outside of DC to Orlando, Florida," American Conservative Union chairman Matt Schlapp said in a statement. Florida is one of roughly a dozen states without a mask mandate amid the coronavirus. The state recommends but does not require face coverings for the general public. Orange Country, where CPAC will be held, does require masks be worn on public places. But Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida has prevented counties and cities from fining people for not wearing masks.“Facts Show Florida Cities Burning Trash Having A Negative Impact On Health, Environment And Communities” by The Floridian’s Javier Manjarres – Reporting conducted by the Tishman Environment and Design Center reveals that Florida’s Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) incinerators are harming the health and welfare of Floridians. MSW incinerators are plants that take in municipal waste, garbage, and trash, and then burn it all in an incinerator. These facilities brand themselves as “waste-to-energy” facilities that use some of the energy released from burning trash to generate electricity. Florida has the most MSW incinerators in the country, at 11. According to the Tishman Center, waste incineration negatively impacts the lives of hundreds of thousands in Florida. MSW incinerators emit toxic air pollutants that are detrimental to human health. By burning waste, the MSW incinerators release heavy metals, dioxins, lead, mercury, nitrogen oxides, and particulate matter into the atmosphere. These clouds of toxins blanket the communities that exist nearby and can be absorbed through inhalation or through the consumption of contaminated groundwater and food. The toxins released from the incinerators are linked to a variety of human diseases, including asthma, heart disease, miscarriage, stillbirth, kidney disease, high blood pressure, and lung exposure. A correlation has been discovered between long-term exposure to particulate matter and increased risk of death from the COVID-19 pandemic. Nearly 500,000 people live within a three-mile radius of Florida’s 11 incinerators. 10 of the 11 incinerators are located around primarily minority, low-income communities who are already disproportionately impacted by environmental burdens and pollution. These communities are dubbed “environmental justice communities” as they face disproportionate burdens in combating public health concerns and pollution.

“Rubio To Ocasio-Cortez On Twitter: ‘Work More, Tweet less’” by The Floridian’s Mona Salama – Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) traded blows on Twitter with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) over Paycheck Protection Program loans, hitting back on her “Republicanism” criticism and her pompous claim that Black-owned businesses were denied access to such loans amid the coronavirus pandemic, advising the progressive lawmaker that she should “work more” and “tweet less.” In her tweet that started the back and forth, Ocasio-Cortez quote-tweeted NBC News journalist Olivia Solon, who pointed out in a screenshot that Project Veritas, a non-profit undercover journalism organization received $558,900 in PPP loans, writing “Black-owned small businesses were widely shut out from accessing PPP loans, yet right-wing disinfo org PV took half a million in public money while decrying direct federal assistance as ‘radical socialism.’ Republicanism in a nutshell.” Rubio hit back at the AOC remarks, saying that Republicans and Democrats worked together to help “save the jobs of 55 million Americans through PPP,” a subliminal jab referencing the fact that the progressive lawmaker was the lone Democrat to voted No on the $2.2 Trillion CARES Act relief bill back in late March that established the $349 billion in loans for small businesses. “Work more, tweet less & one day you too can make a difference,” Rubio added.

“Pelosi Lashes Out At Reporter Asking If She Made A ‘Mistake’ Waiting On Coronavirus Relief Package” by The Floridian’s Mona Salama – House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) lashed out at a reporter Friday when he asked her if it was a “mistake” waiting so long agreeing on a smaller coronavirus relief package after insisting for months that she was uninterested in a watered-down deal. However, the California Democrat is backing off her “negotiations position” and endorsing the latest proposal with a price tag of $908 billion, because of “a new president and a vaccine” in which she called a “total game-changer.” “Joe Biden committed to ending and crushing the virus,” Pelosi said. “That is a total game-changer. A new president, and a vaccine.” She emphasized her acceptance of the proposal was due to President-elect Joe Biden having a plan to address the virus, but noted “it’s not everything we want” and Democrats will likely push for more aid when Biden takes office on Jan. 20. “It’s for a shorter period of time, but that’s OK now because we have a new president,” she said defending her position. Biden endorsed the bipartisan framework, calling it a “good start.” The House Speaker believes the plan once written “could be a basis for real bicameral negotiation.” “There is momentum,” Pelosi said regarding the negotiations. “I told members, I’m not bringing any more bills that are not bipartisan.”

“House Democrats continue silence over Tlaib’s anti-Israel retweet” by The Floridian’s Daniel Molina – The always controversial Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D) has received criticism from Republicans after tweeting the anti-Israel “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” quote, which many have taken as Tlaib supporting and promoting the destruction of the state of Israel. The “river to the sea” quote is a known pro-destruction of Israel saying that has existed since the 1960’s. However, now Democrats are being called out for not denouncing Rep. Tlaib’s comments, and many are pointing to recent remarks that Democrats have made denouncing anti-semitic comments as being hypocritical. In response to the American Jewish Committee’s effort to combat anti-Jewish hatred on the internet, Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D) commented that “the rise in anti-Semitic posts across the internet is undeniable,” adding that “anti-Semitism is a global crisis and that’s why I joined a multinational coalition to form the Inter-Parliamentary Task Force to Combat Online Antisemitism.” The sunshine state lawmaker concluded that “Global issues require global solutions.”

“53% of Floridians Worried of Catching COVID-19” by The Floridian’s Daniel Molina – A new survey conducted by MoneyWise Florida shows that the COVID-19 pandemic is still heavily impacting Americans. 40% of Floridians interviewed noted that they were still financially struggling as a result of the pandemic, and the survey comes at a time when lawmakers still find themselves gridlocked in terms of coming to an agreement on a COVID-19 relief bill. In the survey, 53% of Americans indicated that getting COVID-19 is the top worry that they face followed by 44% saying financial concerns and 40% noting that not seeing family members is a worry. In response to the survey, Florida’ Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis released a statement, commenting that “the COVID-19 pandemic has brought enormous financial challenges to millions of Florida families and businesses and we must work together to provide important guidance on ways Floridians can navigate this prolonged period of financial uncertainty.” Patronis asserted that “since the pandemic began, I have been advocating for Floridians by raising awareness and encouraging Legislators to take action to protect our small businesses to ensure Florida’s economy gets back on its feet.”

“Progressives push to remove Trump’s name from New York state park” by the Floridian’s Javier Manjarres – Progressive Democrats or Democratic Socialists really, really hate President Donald Trump. I mean, they really hate him. They hate him so much that they want New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) to rename the Donald J. Trump State Park after deceased Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The push to have the state park rename is simply (incredibly) because President Trump announced that he would be sitting a new justice after Justice Ginsburg had passed. “There is no one who hated Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg more than Donald Trump,” reads the fundraising email from a Progressive organization based out of Chicago. What’s next? Will Trump’s detractor’s petition state legislators to question his residency status in Palm Beach County? Meanwhile, Trump’s legal team is uncovering a massive amount of voter fraud in Arizona, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania. Can you imagine if the case is made in front of the Supreme Court to overturn the election, or at the very least, overturn elections in those aforementioned states? Democrat heads will explode and Black Lives Matter and ANTIFA will start rioting and vandalizing. You can bank on it.

“After leaving GOP, David Jolly weighs his political future in Florida as an independent” by Tampa Bay Times’ Steve Contorno – There’s no cell phone service in the central Pennsylvania mountains where David Jolly is waiting out the pandemic with his young family. He spends most days walking the woods or adding another beam to the the two-story pole barn he’s determined to build by hand. “Good thinking time,” Jolly called it. Lately, Jolly has a lot to think about. The former Florida congressman is itching to run for public office in 2022 — possibly for U.S. Senate, though governor isn’t out of the question, either. The state needs leaders willing to compromise, he said, who put people over partisanship. But Jolly is a free agent. Two years ago, he divorced from the Republican Party in a public split over its fealty to President Donald Trump and he has no interest in going back. Though he spent much of the last two years as political analyst for MSNBC, where the anti-Trump musings of a disenchanted ex-Republican were in high demand on the more liberal cable network, his right-of-center politics aren’t a fit with many in today’s Democratic Party. In America’s two-party system, Jolly would seem to be out of options. Unless he thinks voters are ready to throw out that system, and he — a 48-year-old former Republican from Pinellas County — can be the candidate to lead them there.

“Trump plays a new role: Campaigner in chief” by Politico’s Meridith McGraw – President Donald Trump on Saturday night tried on a new role: campaigning for someone not named Donald Trump. It didn’t look any different. Trump has rarely left the White House or appeared in public in the aftermath of the election. But he landed in Georgia ostensibly to promote Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler in two runoff races that will determine which party controls the Senate during President-elect Joe Biden’s first two years. It was Trump’s first political event where the intended focus wasn’t his own election — or re-election. And he spent a surprising amount of time forcefully urging Georgians to vote in “the most important congressional runoff, probably in American history.” But in the end, the performance didn’t change — Trump mostly promoted himself. He falsely claimed the election was rigged and he won the election, even though states that have certified the election have more than the 270 Electoral College votes needed for Biden to win. He complained about investigations against him. And he stepped up pressure on Republican Gov. Brian Kemp to overturn the results of the election, following their call this morning. “They cheated and they rigged our presidential election, and they're gonna try to rig this election too,” Trump said to a large crowd of supporters in Georgia, some of whom traveled from states as far away as California and Ohio to hear the president speak.

“Florida Awarded $28 Million in Funding for Disaster Relief Employment for Eligible Floridians in Response to COVID-19” by Space Coast Daily – Governor Ron DeSantis announced that Florida has been awarded an additional $28 million in federal funding through the U.S. Department of Labor Disaster Recovery Dislocated Worker Grant in response to COVID-19. This federal Disaster Recovery Dislocated Worker Grant is administered by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity and will provide disaster-relief employment in the form of temporary jobs, employment and training services, and supportive services to eligible Floridians. “As our state and local communities continue to recover from the pandemic, I am proud to announce $28 million in additional funding for disaster-relief employment,” said Governor DeSantis. “I look forward to putting these dollars to use right away to give Floridians in need an opportunity to work.” “I want to thank Governor Ron DeSantis for his leadership and for his steps to reopen the state, so more Floridians can find gainful employment,” said Dane Eagle, Executive Director of the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity. “We look forward to helping Floridians get back to work and receive the training and support they need as we rebuild our economy.” Earlier this year, the Department was awarded $12 million for the Disaster Recovery Dislocated Worker Grant in response to COVID-19. Disaster relief employment includes humanitarian assistance and cleanup activities.

“Debatable tactics: Florida’s ACLU and League of Women Voters won election battles but lost soldiers | Commentary” by Orlando Sentinel’s Scott Maxwell – Two of Florida’s best-known citizen advocacy groups — the League of Women Voters of Florida and ACLU of Florida — scored big wins in last month’s elections. The League helped defeat the amendment that would’ve ended Florida’s closed-primary system and allowed every voter to vote on every candidate every time. (Amendment 3 was a fan favorite, receiving more than 5.8 million votes — more than either Donald Trump or Joe Biden received. But the 57% support it received was just shy of the 60% required for amendments to take effect.) And the ACLU scored a victory with the election of Monique Worrell after the civil-rights group came barreling into Orange and Osceola counties’ state attorney race, flooding mailboxes with mailers touting Worrell’s candidacy. So both groups got their way. But at what cost? Their tactics have prompted criticism from long-time supporters. The League, for instance, had previously supported Amendment 3, only to reverse itself just two months before the election when the political parties were getting nervous it would pass. Two League members resigned their leadership posts after the flip. And the ACLU’s heavy-handed campaigning for Worrell raised the hackles of long-time supporters who believed the tactics violated the group’s long-standing practice (and maybe IRS rules for tax-exempt groups) of not endorsing specific candidates. So these groups won their battles but lost some loyal soldiers. And I think tarnished their reputations in the process.

“Goldman Sachs eying Florida move for key division, report says” by New York Posts’ Kate Sheehy – Goldman Sachs is eying a move to Florida for one of its key divisions — in what could be yet another major blow to New York City’s position at the helm of the financial industry, a new report says. The financial titan is considering relocating its $8 billion-revenue-generating asset-management arm to Palm Beach County or Fort Lauderdale, checking out potential real estate, chatting up local officials and weighing the Sunshine State’s tax advantages, sources told Bloomberg. The potential development comes on the heels of several other investment companies moving from the Big Apple to down South — and battering New York’s bottom line with the loss of white-collar jobs. There is now the most office space empty in Manhattan since right after 9/11, Bloomberg said. As The Post reported in October, billionaire Paul Singer has decided to move the headquarters of his hedge fund Elliott Management from Manhattan to Florida, according to sources, while Carl Icahn also made the switch for his offices. Florida offers tax advantages — not to mention warmer weather appreciated by at least some Manhattan-weary workers. The COVID-19 pandemic has shown that more work can be done remotely than ever before, too, so there is less of a need for costly offices, sources told Bloomberg. Still, no decision has been made by the Goldman Sachs Group, Inc., which is considering Dallas, Texas, too, for its assets-management division, site said.

“Florida adds 8,436 coronavirus cases and 96 deaths” by Tampa Bay Times’ Anastasia Dawson – The Florida Department of Health reported 8,436 coronavirus cases and 96 deaths Sunday, bringing the overall number of known infections in the state to 1,058,074. That means roughly 1 in every 19 Floridians has tested positive for the virus, according to state data. The number of deaths attributed to the virus since March 1, when Florida’s first known coronavirus cases were reported, is 19,423 — the third-highest death toll in the nation. The number of coronavirus deaths has continued to rise this week. By Sunday, the state was averaging 98.1 per day. Only two other states have reported caseloads exceeding 1 million people. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Texas was reporting 1.24 million coronavirus infections Sunday afternoon, and California led the nation with 1.3 million infections. On Sunday night, new stay-at-home orders will take effect in Southern California as the nation dove into its third surge of infections this year. Under California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s new restrictions, communities will be asked to stay home once the intensive care unit availability in their region falls below 15 percent. In Florida, Hillsborough County’s ICU availability was about 16 percent Sunday, teetering on the brink of Newsom’s threshold. Pinellas has just 12.2 percent ICU availability and Manatee has 13.7 percent, according to state data. In the past year, the coronavirus has infected more than 14.6 million Americans, and in recent days the number of patients currently hospitalized with the virus has topped 101,000 for the first time.

“In Florida, Many Changes Turn Jacksonville Into Political Battleground” by WSJ’s Arian Campo-Flores and Aaron Zitner – For decades, this city near the Florida-Georgia line has been known for its Navy bases, Southern temperament and conservative politics. But voters here backed Democrat Joe Biden for president, signaling its change into a swing region that both parties are focusing on for future elections. Over the years, Jacksonville, which mostly shares its borders with Duval County’s, lost many affluent, conservative white families who headed to the suburbs in neighboring counties. Those who remained, together with an influx of young, more diverse professionals, bred changes, from growing arts and culinary scenes to large Black Lives Matter demonstrations earlier this year. “Jacksonville’s sensibilities have changed,” said Susie Wiles, President Trump’s chief Florida campaign strategist, who lives in the area. “It was a sleepy Southern city. Now we’re far more progressive as a community.” Tiffany Edwards, a 34-year-old Black Democrat, moved with her son from Richmond, Va., to Jacksonville last year, drawn by job opportunities and a low cost of living. She now works as a supervisor at Brightway Insurance, an insurance retailer based in the city. “I am pretty liberal,” said Ms. Edwards, who voted for Mr. Biden. But showing that her party loyalties aren’t fixed, she added: “Just because I voted Democratic doesn’t mean I’m not willing to change in the future.” Duval is one of several large, economically vibrant counties that flipped Democratic this year after long backing the GOP. They added to the divide between Democratic-leaning metro areas with high numbers of college-educated professionals and rural America. Duval, which Mr. Biden won by 4 percentage points despite losing the state, hadn’t backed a Democrat in a presidential contest since 1976 

“Biden’s 3-part plan to tackle the coronavirus: Masks, vaccinations, opening schools” by Fox News’ Paul Steinhauser – President-elect Joe Biden on Tuesday announced a three-part plan to combat the coronavirus pandemic in the first 100 days of his administration. Biden, speaking in his hometown of Wilmington, Del., as he formally unveiled his team of top health officials, emphasized “masking, vaccinations, opening schools. These are the three key goals for my first 100 days.” And the president-elect stressed, “I’m absolutely convinced that in 100 days we can change the course of the disease and change life in America for the better.” Biden spelled out first the first time how he would implement his mask mandate, which he’s previously announced, for the first 100 days of his administration. The president-elected explained that it will start with "my signing an order on day one to require masks where I can under the law, like federal buildings, interstate travel on planes, trains, and buses. I’ll also be working with the governors and mayors to do the same in their states and their cities. We’re going to require masks wherever possible.” And Biden urged people to “help yourself, your family, your community. Whatever your politics or point of view — mask up for 100 days after we take office. A hundred days to make a difference. It’s not a political statement — it's a patriotic act.” Thirty-eight states currently have mask mandates. The dozen that don't are Alaska, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Tennessee. On vaccinations, Biden vowed that his “team will help get at least 100 million COVID-19 vaccine shots into the arms of Americans in 100 days.”

“Supreme Court tosses GOP bid to throw out PA mail ballots without hearing it” by Fox News’ Edmund DeMarche and Morgan Phillips – The Supreme Court on Tuesday denied a request from GOP allies of President Trump to stop the certification of Pennsylvania's election results. The high court left intact a decision from the Pennsylvania Supreme Court which tossed a lawsuit from Rep. Mike Kelly challenging a 2019 law to expand mail-in voting. The GOP appeal to the high court was referred to U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., who then referred it to the full court. "The application for injunctive relief presented to Justice Alito and by him referred to the Court is denied," the order said. Alito had earlier ordered Pennsylvania officials to respond Kelly’s election challenge a day earlier than previously scheduled, the same day known as the safe harbor deadline. Kelly, a Republican, sought to have the court toss all the state’s mail-in ballots on the grounds that universal, no-excuses mail-in voting is unconstitutional and needs a constitutional amendment to authorize its provisions. Alito, who was appointed by President George W. Bush, had previously ordered that the state’s lawyers respond to Kelly’s suit by Dec. 9, a day after the safe harbor date, which would mean that Congress cannot challenge any electors already named in accordance with state law. The law frees up states from challenges as long as it settles legal issues and certifies results prior to the Electoral College meeting. Alito moved Kelly’s case up 24 hours and wants state officials to respond by 9 a.m. on Tuesday, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported. The report pointed out that the updated hearing on Dec. 8 “would give the court a few hours” to act on the information received.

“Black Lives Matter co-founder fires back at Obama for criticizing ‘defund the police’” by Fox News’ Morgan Phillips – Black Lives Matter co-founder Alicia Garza hit back after President Obama criticized the “defund the police” movement as a “snappy” slogan. “What I want to hear from former President Barack Obama if he’s going to use his vast platform for these conversations, what I want to hear from President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, is: what are you going to do?” Garza asked in an interview for Politico’s Women Rule Capstone event. “And that’s what we haven’t heard amid all this hoopla about ‘defund the police.’” Democratic infighting broke out over “defund the police” and socialism after a lackluster performance in the House in November. “You lost a big audience the minute you say it,” Obama said of the anti-police effort, adding that “snappy” slogans may draw attention but it “makes it a lot less likely that you’re actually going to get the changes you want done.” “The key is deciding, do you want to actually get something done, or do you want to feel good among the people you already agree with?” Obama told Peter Hamby, host of Snapchat’s “Good Luck America.” Biden has clarified that he does not support defunding the police, but has promised to increase police oversight and accountability. He’s promised to install a national police oversight commission in the first 100 days of his presidency. “This movement, which really helped to push [Biden’s] campaign over the finish line, was used as a political football all throughout this election cycle and that was true in 2016 as well,” Garza said. “There’s a lot of valuable airspace that was used to be condescending to the very people who have opened the imagination of what this country can be — and how we can get closer to the promise that this country has offered to so many.”

“Judge formally dismisses Michael Flynn case after Trump pardon” by CNN’s Katelyn Polantz – udge Emmet Sullivan of the DC District Court on Tuesday dismissed Michael Flynn's criminal case as moot, following Flynn's pardon by President Donald Trump, ending a tortured three-year-long proceeding. In his 43-page opinion, Sullivan critiqued Trump's pardon of Flynn, however, calling it "extraordinarily broad." He noted that the pardon does not make Flynn innocent. Flynn had twice pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI in early 2017. "[A] pardon does not necessarily render 'innocent' a defendant of any alleged violation of the law," Sullivan wrote. "Indeed, the Supreme Court has recognized that the acceptance of a pardon implies a 'confession' of guilt." And, as an apparent last word on the case, Sullivan criticized the Justice Department's reasoning to want to dismiss Flynn's case, calling it a pretext and not in line with legal standards. The judge's analysis lands as speculation mounts in Washington about pardons Trump might give in his last days in office and a recent revelation that the Justice Department was investigating but hadn't charged anyone with a possible pardon-bribery scheme related to the Trump White House. Trump tweeted his thanks to Sullivan on Tuesday afternoon after the ruling. "Thank you and congratulations to General Flynn," the President wrote. "He and his incredible family have suffered greatly!" In some ways, Sullivan's opinion in the Flynn case serves as a hint that judges could push back on ultra-broad or unspecific pardons Trump might make, especially if they are preemptive for crimes future administrations might attempt to prosecute.

“Ex-cyber official Krebs sues Trump campaign for attacking him after he said election was secure” by CNN’s Alex Marquardt and Katelyn Polantz – Chris Krebs, the former top administration official for cybersecurity, whom President Donald Trump fired after the election, is suing the Trump campaign and a lawyer working with the campaign to overturn the results of the election, accusing them of defamation. Krebs was fired after he said the election was the most secure in American history. Yet the Trump campaign has continued to push unfounded conspiracies of vote fraud and to seek court orders that would block President-elect Joe Biden's win in key states. Every one of the efforts in court or with state officials since Election Day to overturn the results of the election have failed. Last week, Trump campaign lawyer Joseph diGenova said on Newsmax TV that Krebs should be "drawn and quartered" and "taken out at dawn and shot." "DiGenova was fully aware that Plaintiff had committed no criminal conduct of any sort, let alone treason, so as to call for him to be 'drawn and quartered,' " Krebs' lawsuit said. "DiGenova knew that his inflammatory statements would cause a media frenzy and an outpouring of animosity" and that "his 'call to action' would create a clear risk of imminent physical harm directed toward Plaintiff and his family." The lawsuit is being filed in state court in Montgomery County, Maryland. Krebs alleges diGenova and the Trump campaign have caused him emotional distress. Krebs also is suing Newsmax, alleging that the far right-wing TV network aided and abetted the alleged harassment. He is asking for at least $75,000 and a court order to force Newsmax to remove video of diGenova's threats.

“Here's who Trump has granted pardons and commutations to during his presidency” by CNN’s Caroline Kelly and Veronica Stracqualursi – The end of President Donald Trump's time in office has been marked by a renewed interest in granting clemency -- both from the President, and from members of his inner circle looking for protection before President-elect Joe Biden assumes office. While Trump has continued to falsely insist publicly that he won the presidential election rather than Biden, the President's pardon of former national security adviser Michael Flynn is a sign Trump understands his time in office is coming to a close. He's expected to issue a "flurry" of additional pardons before leaving the White House, according to a source close to the White House. Trump has used his clemency powers less often than any other recent president, according to Justice Department data. He has issued 29 pardons and 16 commutations, according to the department, for a total of 45 acts of clemency -- the fewest combined for a president in over 100 years. But those figures could change. Trump associates including Rudy Giuliani, who has been leading the President's long-shot legal battles to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election and disenfranchise millions of voters in his role as Trump's personal attorney, are making appeals to him in the hopes of obtaining pardons before he leaves office, a source familiar with the matter told CNN on Tuesday. And since the election, Trump has been discussing with advisers preemptively pardoning several people close to him, including his children, son-in-law and Giuliani, a separate source familiar confirmed to CNN.

Trump has often bypassed the DOJ's Office of Pardon Attorney in deciding who gets granted clemency, instead choosing to act on the appeals from celebrities, conservative media or his Republican allies.

“House approves defense bill with veto-proof majority after Trump urges GOP opposition” by CNN’s Clare Foran, Manu Raju and Lauren Fox – The House of Representatives on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved a sweeping defense bill with a veto-proof majority after a veto threat from President Donald Trump sharply divided Republican lawmakers, forcing them to choose between loyalty to him and legislation that sets defense policy for the country. The vote, which broke down to 335-78, is a major rebuke to the President. The National Defense Authorization Act will next head to the Senate, where it is also expected to pass with bipartisan support, though it is not yet clear if it will similarly reach a veto-proof majority in the chamber. If the House ends up voting to override a presidential veto, that vote could be far narrower, however, because at least some Republicans are likely to change their votes in order to sustain a veto. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who said that he would vote in favor of the bill, but would vote to sustain a veto, insisted that Republican House members will back the President if he vetoes the legislation. "I think they would stand with the President," he said when asked if there would be enough GOP votes to sustain the President's position. The $740 billion bill includes pay raises for America's soldiers, modernizations for equipment and provisions to require more scrutiny before troops are withdrawn from Germany or Afghanistan, but that hasn't stopped Trump's threats against it. Trump has threatened to veto the bill because it doesn't include a repeal of Section 230, a law that shields internet companies from being liable for what is posted on their websites by them or third parties. The bill also includes provisions to limit how much money Trump can move around for his border wall and another that would require the military to rename bases that were named after figures from the Confederacy.

“Fragile Covid-19 Vaccine Rolled Out in the U.K. Tests Global Supply Network” by WSJ’s James Marson in Puurs, Belgium, Will Horner in Cardiff, Wales and Jared S. Hopkins in New York – The Covid-19 vaccines that British citizens began receiving on Tuesday had been sitting only days earlier in ultracold freezers across the English Channel. When the British government last Wednesday provisionally authorized the vaccine’s use, it set in motion a logistical test that will define the next stage of how the world tackles the coronavirus pandemic: the delivery of the vaccines. Workers at the Pfizer Inc. plant in Puurs, Belgium, loaded thousands of vials of the liquid, stored at nearly 100 degrees below zero Fahrenheit, into custom-made thermally protected shipping containers and packed with dry ice. Loaded onto anonymous trucks, they crossed 125 miles to the French coast and sped by train under the English Channel. By Thursday evening, three trucks were heading across the U.K. and a fourth was crossing the Irish Sea. Tightly coordinated, this logistics chain is probably one of the world’s easiest. For vaccines to halt then reverse the pandemic, similar drills must occur thousands of times over, all around the world, in places far less organized than Northern Europe. Countries and logistics companies are scrambling to prepare for the unprecedented challenge of shipping millions—eventually billions—of doses at carefully controlled temperatures. Some countries, particularly poor ones with weak infrastructure and governance in places like Africa, could see big delays. Britain itself faces a looming threat from Brexit, which risks causing long delays at its borders. Even as countries including the U.S. authorize vaccines and begin inoculations, the U.K. will emerge as a laboratory for what is possible at high speed and what might go wrong.

“Pompeo Warns Businesses Over Hong Kong as U.S.-China Tensions Rise” by WSJ’s William Mauldin – Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who this week unveiled sanctions over China’s actions in Hong Kong, warned business leaders that the U.S. will treat the city, a global trade and financial center, the same way as mainland China. “This is no longer anything but another Chinese Communist-run city,” Mr. Pompeo said in an interview at The Wall Street Journal’s CEO Council summit on Tuesday. “The world, the business community should treat it as such, and the United States government is very close to being in a place where it’s doing precisely that.” Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam, in a separate interview at the CEO Council, defended the business climate, saying that Hong Kong serves as a gateway to doing business on mainland China and that companies operating there welcome increased security. “If you ask me, this is one of the best times to come,” said Mrs. Lam, who has been sanctioned by the U.S. for helping implement China’s crackdown. “Nothing has changed in recent years, except that we no longer see those chaotic scenes that have been disturbing and disrupting business for a very long time since June last year.” Mr. Pompeo said business executives have complained to him privately about getting “ripped off” in China, whose exports to the U.S. continue to face U.S. tariffs following a trade conflict. The Trump administration has warned businesses about risks they face in China, including sanctions.

“FDA Says Pfizer-BioNTech Vaccine Is Safe, Effective” by WSJ’s Thomas M. Burton and Jared S. Hopkins – The Food and Drug Administration said the first Covid-19 vaccine being considered for U.S. distribution “met the prescribed success criteria” in a clinical study, paving the way for the agency to green-light distribution as early as this weekend. An outside panel of scientific advisers will review the FDA report Thursday, along with a companion analysis from the vaccine’s manufacturers, Pfizer Inc. and German partner BioNTech SE. BNTX 1.92% A favorable recommendation from the panel is expected to be followed within a few days by the FDA granting emergency authorization for the vaccine. In its report Tuesday, the FDA noted that the two-dose vaccine provided benefits even after just the first injection—cutting the risk of getting Covid-19 by about half. The vaccine was found to be 95% effective after the second dose, three weeks later. FDA scientists also found that the vaccine was effective in reducing the risk of confirmed severe disease after the first dose, an important finding as some health experts were concerned Covid-19 vaccines would protect against only mild to moderate disease. Side effects were common, however, especially in younger people, the analysis found. The most common complaint was fatigue, followed by muscle pain and joint pain. Severe “adverse reactions” were rare, most frequent after the second dose, and generally less frequent in older adults greater than 55 years of age. The frequent side effects occurring soon after injections suggests that the vaccine is generating a strong immune response, said Dr. Angela Rasmussen, a virologist and affiliate at the Center for Global Health Science and Security at Georgetown University.




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Javier Manjarres

Javier Manjarres

Javier Manjarres is a nationally renowned award-winning political journalist and Publisher of Floridianpress.com, Hispolitica.com, shark-tank.com, and Texaspolitics.com He enjoys traveling, playing soccer, mixed martial arts, weight-lifting, swimming, and biking. Javier is also a political consultant and has also authored "BROWN PEOPLE," which is a book about Hispanic Politics. Follow on Twitter: @JavManjarres Email him at Diversenewmedia@gmail.com

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