JUICE — Florida Politics’ Juicy Read — 2.10.2021 — Loyal To Trump, Patronis Ready For Reelection — Compromised FL Media — Democrats Turn On Each Other — More…

JUICE — Florida Politics’ Juicy Read — 2.10.2021 — Loyal To Trump, Patronis Ready For Reelection — Compromised FL Media — Democrats Turn On Each Other — More…

Javier Manjarres
Javier Manjarres
|
February 10, 2021

Patronis Ready for Reelection in 2022

He’s ready to take on whoever decides to challenge him in 2022, but many Floridians don’t know exactly how difficult it was for CFO Jimmy Patronis to run for office in 2018.

“So, I mean there’s been some there’s been some emotional experiences for me that we had on the campaign trail,” said Patronis. Whether it be, you know in 2018 in the final stretch Katie’s fighting breast cancer, Hurricane Michael, you name it, it was a full year, and sh*t, if that didn’t kill me in 2018, nothing’s going to kill me now.”

We sat down with CFO Patronis this week in Tallahassee to discuss the upcoming legislative session, COVID, Trump, and running for reelection. MUST-READ PART 1

Professor Big Al Cardenas 

Oye, did you know that Miami resident and long-time Conservative Republican figurehead Al Cardenas (He’s married to Ana Navarro) has been teaching a 3-hour course on politics at FSU?

This move comes doesn’t surprise me. After all, Cardenas has done it all. Could his wife Ana make a cameo appearance in his classroom in the near future?

Can you imagine that duo in a classroom setting? Priceless. More on Professor Al’s new gig and homework assignments in the weeks to come.

FAKE NEWS? — Former Climate Change Reporter Hired By FL Enviro Group, But Still Reports News? by The Floridian’s Javier Manjarres

Democrats vs.Democrats —Florida Democrats turn on their own, call local Miami Democrat official ‘racist’ by The Floridian’s Javier Manjarres

Marco Rubio @marcorubio-.@FBI has warned about #China‘s Communist Party using #ConfuciusInstitute to infiltrate American schools But now Biden quietly withdrawn rule proposed by Trump admin to require schools & universities to disclose their partnerships with these agents of Chinese govt influence

Rick Scott @SenRickScott Day one of the impeachment trial (the sequel) and there seems to be a lot of interest in the book I’m reading. I’ll tell you this – it is a lot more interesting, factual and informative than what we heard in the House managers’ testimony today.

Rep. Matt Gaetz @RepMattGaetzThe Democrat Party is the party of impeachment, removal, and division.

Rep. Val Demings @RepValDemingsWe cannot allow any future president to think they can incite a violent insurrection and get away with it. It’s time to defend our democracy. #HoldTrumpAccountable

Debbie Wasserman Schultz @DWStweetsWe must defend our Constitution and Democracy. No one is above or beyond accountability. #ImpeachmentTrial

Ron DeSantis @GovRonDeSantis-I’m pleased to announce Florida’s participation in the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program, which includes @Walmart @SamsClub@Publix Through this program, vaccines will be offered at 490 pharmacy locations in 52 counties across the state.

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“Patronis ready for reelection, says he won’t ‘shy away’ from his loyalty to Trump” by The Floridian’s Javier Manjarres – Florida CFO Jimmy Patronis says he is “excited” and ready to launch his 2022 reelection bid and that his loyalty for President Donald Trump is unwavering. In an exclusive sit down interview with The Floridian, an emotional CFO Patronis said that after the personal struggles his family endured, and having to deal with the aftermath of Hurricane Michael in 2018, whoever Democrats run against him will have to kill him in order to take “the coolest job ever” away from him. “So, I mean there’s been some there’s been some emotional experiences for me that we had on the campaign trail,” said Patronis. Whether it be, you know in 2018 in the final stretch Katie’s fighting breast cancer, Hurricane Michael, you name it, it was a full year, and sh*t, if that didn’t kill me in 2018, nothing’s going to kill me now.” Patronis added, “whoever wants to come and challenge me, I say bring it. You know they’re going to have kill me to take it from me.” Patronis pointed to the gesture and commitment to rebuilding that Trump made when he traveled to his hometown and promised to rebuild storm-damaged Tyndall Air Force Base, adding that the former president could have easily made the case to closed the base because “we can spread the missions out about other installations around the United States,” but chose to help Floridians rebuild. “I think Trump will still be the flavor of the day in 2022, he is a citizen of the state of Florida and there’s no question that I’ve got a loyalty to the president —how hard he worked and helped the state of Florida,” said Patronis.

“Cruz Questions Biden’s Relationship With China” by The Floridian’s Daniel Molina – Shortly after President Joe Biden (D) assumed office on January 20th, China announced that it would be sanctioning 28 senior American officials that were part of the Trump administration. This coupled with the fact that the country bid President Donald Trump (R) “good riddance,” exhibits the nature of the relationship between both countries for the last four years. While President Trump’s supporters were happy with the President’s handling of China, the United States now awaits what its relationship will be like with China now that a new President has assumed office. However, Republicans like Texas Senator Ted Cruz (R) are not thrilled at the prospects to come. In a new advertisement posted on Twitter, the Lone Star lawmaker expressed that “Team Biden is soft on China,” and Cruz added that the new administration is in a “troubling rush to embrace the Chinese Communist Party.” Commenting on the nominees for the Biden cabinet, Cruz expressed that each nominee shows a clear indication that the Biden administration is welcoming “a warm embrace of China.” Criticizing Linda Thomas, President Biden’s nominee to be Ambassador to the United Nations, Cruz detailed that “she gave a paid speech” for the Confucius Institute. The Institute is “paid for by the Chinese Communist party.”

“Senate Resolution Stands In Solidarity with San Isidro Movement in Cuba” by The Floridian’s Daniel Molina – A bipartisan effort by U.S. Senators has introduced a Senate resolution expressing the United States’ solidarity with the San Isidro Movement in Cuba, which is comprised of independents artists and activists that have recently been targeted by the Cuban regime for protesting in support of their right to freedom of expression. New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez (D), the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Florida Senator Marco Rubio (R) led the effort. The effort “calls for the immediate release of arbitrarily detained artists and activists from the San Isidro movement, urging governments and legislatures across Europe and Latin America to renew their support for democratic activists in Cuba.” Speaking on the effort, Rubio expressed that “the Cuban regime continues to target artists, dissidents, activists, academics, and journalists and the members of the San Isidro Movement are not exempt from the Diaz-Canel’s and Castro’s repression.” He also stressed that the bipartisan effort condemns “the latest wave of brutality by the Cuban dictator against the Cuban people.” Senator Menendez also commented on the resolution, affirming that the lawmakers “stand in total solidarity with the courageous artists and activists in Cuba’s San Isidro Movement and join their call for greater respect for freedom of expression and social rights in the island.” Menendez further detailed that “footage of the regime’s own culture minister physically attacking members of the San Isidro Movement makes one thing clear to the world: the Cuban people are still violently repressed and imprisoned.”

“CBO Report Warns of “Disastrous” $15 Minimum Wage” by The Floridian’s Daniel Molina – In the 2020 Presidential election, Floridians in large numbers voted to raise the minimum wage to $15. This has long been a controversial political discussion because of the positive and negative arguments made pertaining to the impact the change would have on the economy. While many have championed the vote to raise the minimum wage, Republicans in the Sunshine State are wary of the implications it could have on Florida’s economy. This week, the Congressional Budget Office released a report indicating that a $15 minimum wage would have disastrous economic impacts. Some of those impacts include that “the cumulative budget deficit over the 2021-2031 period would increase by $54 billion,” there would be “higher prices for goods and services – stemming from the higher wages of workers paid at or near the minimum wage, such as those providing long-term health care – would contribute to increases in federal spending,” and “changes in employment and in the distribution of income would increase spending for some programs (such as unemployment compensation), reduce spending for others (such as nutrition programs), and boost federal revenues (on-net).” The Biden Administration on a number of occasions has fully affirmed that it is fully committed to increasing the federal minimum wage to $15, but Florida Senator Rick Scott (R) has responded to the CBO’s report, warning that “President Biden continues to push his job-killing agenda, including a $15 minimum wage, despite all evidence showing that it will devastate our economy and small businesses.”

 

“Foodservice workers hope to be included in next phase of Florida’s vaccine rollout”by WFLA’s  Allyson Henning – As more vaccine sites set to open up across the state through the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program, essential workers across Tampa Bay are wondering when they’ll have a shot at getting vaccinated. People who work in the food service industry hope to have some priority in Florida’s next phase. Servers, bartenders, cooks, and other food service employees work in close quarters with maskless guests enjoying food and drinks every day. Since Florida has no restrictions on capacity limits at restaurants or bars, food service workers feel they deserve that extra layer of protection sooner than later. Tampa Bay restaurants back in business with safety features in place “We are starting to get concerned as food service workers as to when we will eventually get the opportunity to get vaccinated. We are all for the healthcare workers and the seniors and everybody, obviously that is so important to us, but we are starting to get a little bit concerned because our business is actually increasing and the volume of people in here is very strong and our restrictions here in Florida are not as bold and as in deep, dark print as we would like it,” said chef and owner of Indigenous Restaurant Steve Phelps. Phelps’s restaurant in downtown Sarasota is growing more and more crowded as season is now in full swing. He’s only operating at 75% capacity so guests and employees can still have a sense of safety and comfort.

 

“Florida Senate Democrats Call for Medicaid Expansion in Response to Pandemic” by Bay News’ Troy Kinsey – Florida Senate Democrats reiterated their call Tuesday for Tallahassee’s majority Republicans to embrace Medicaid expansion as a means of covering uninsured Floridians while tackling a projected revenue shortfall in the process. Gathering outside the Senate Office Building, the upper chamber’s minority caucus pressed Republicans, including Gov. Ron DeSantis, to accept more than $50 billion in federal expansion funds to cover roughly 900,000 uninsured Floridians who don’t currently qualify for Medicaid. The ranks of the newly uninsured have grown significantly as the pandemic has led to the layoffs of workers who had been covered through employer-provided health insurance. Democrats have been advocating for Medicaid expansion since 2012, when the Obama administration made funding available to states through the Affordable Care Act. “We didn’t know that there was going to be a COVID pandemic that would come after that, but our predictions are still right that people would die,” said Sen. Perry Thurston (D-Ft. Lauderdale). “It’s just, now they’re dying on steroids. They’re dying in an exasperated manner. They’re dying because we refuse to do what we can do with the stroke of a pen.” Medicaid spending accounts for approximately one-third of the state budget. Expansion advocates say accepting the additional federal funding could lower the state’s total share of Medicaid spending, freeing up money for other priorities. State economists are projecting a pandemic-triggered revenue shortfall of more than $1 billion in the next fiscal year. There is no indication, however, that Republicans are any more inclined to expand Medicaid than they have been over the last nine years. House Republicans, in particular, have been steadfastly opposed to expansion, warning that growing federal deficits and a ballooning national debt could ultimately put Florida on the hook for all or most of the cost.

“Lobbyist Richard Gentry named PSC chief counsel to represent Florida consumers” by Tampa Bay Times’ Mary Ellen Klas – Richard Gentry, a veteran lobbyist who last year represented a utility-backed nonprofit, was appointed Tuesday by legislators to be the chief lawyer representing consumers in utility rate cases before state regulators. The Joint Legislative Committee on Public Counsel Oversight unanimously named Gentry to the job, one of the most important but least appreciated in state government. There was no debate. Under state law, the Office of Public Counsel serves as the voice of consumers in electric, water and natural gas cases that relate to consumer finances. Gentry, 70, has spent four decades as a lobbyist representing developers, sugar producers, the parimutuel industry and the utility-backed nonprofit called Floridians for Government Accountability during the 2020 legislative session. He replaces J.R. Kelly, the lawyer who for the last 14 years represented the public in rate cases and has been an aggressive opponent to rate requests and legal maneuverings of the state’s largest utility, Florida Power & Light. Last year, as FPL, Duke Power, and Tampa Electric, began preparing to ask the Public Service Commission to allow them to raise their rates on Florida customers, Senate President Wilton Simpson successfully pushed legislation to impose a 12-year term limit on the public counsel and required Kelly to reapply for the job. While the utilities have a team of lawyers and experts to make their case on behalf of their investors, the OPC has a smaller group of state-paid lawyers working on behalf of customers. Unlike many states where the consumer advocate is independent, Florida’s OPC works for the Legislature, which in the last election cycle received more than $4 million in campaign contributions from the utility industry. According to public records, Kelly, who was paid $127,000, made numerous attempts to discuss with Simpson whether he supported Kelly remaining on the job. Simpson never agreed to discuss it with him, and Kelly concluded that he had lost his support and announced his retirement in December.

“Florida man avoids charges in fatal shooting due to Stand Your Ground Law” by New York Posts’ Craig McCarthy – A Miami Beach car wash customer will not face charges for fatally shooting a thief trying to make off with a Mercedes — despite a new video showing the SUV turning away from the man — because of Florida’s Stand Your Ground Law, reports say. The fatal shooting happened in December 2018, when Stephen Allen Lott fired two shots at Jose Antonio Reyes Bermudez, who was boosting Lott’s boss’ Mercedes, according to the Miami Herald. Lott had seen Reyes Bermudez jump into the luxury vehicle, ran out of the waiting area and shouted for the thief to stop, Local 10 reports. New surveillance video shows the SUV turning away from Lott as Reyes Bermudez tried to pull out of the South Beach Finest Hand Car Wash at 1229 18th St., the report says. The two bullets pierced the drivers-side door, mortally wounding Reyes Bermudez, reports say. Prosecutors cleared Lott of any wrongdoing under the Stand Your Ground Law. In a close-out memo, the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office wrote Lott “had the legal right to stand his ground and use deadly force to protect himself from death or great bodily harm while Mr. Reyes Bermudez was committing and escaping from committing a forcible felony.”

“Something in the Water” by Slate’s Fred Kaplan – The only surprise about last week’s hacking of a water treatment plant in Florida is that this sort of thing doesn’t happen more often. The intrusion was all too easy. The hacker entered the plant’s control system through a commonly used tool called TeamViewer, which lets engineers monitor the network’s machines—and adjust their settings—remotely. The hacker boosted the level of lye—an ingredient in drain cleaners—from 100 parts per million, its normal level, to 11,100 parts per million, which would have poisoned anyone drinking the water. Hundreds of people in the small town of Oldsmar, near Tampa Bay, avoided illness, possibly death, only because a plant operator noticed the manipulation on the system’s monitors and manually restored the settings to normal. If the operator had been reading or snoozing, letting the system run on autopilot, as sometimes happens at computer-controlled utilities, disaster would have struck. Industrial systems have been run by automatic controls since the 1970s, but as long as they were physically isolated, security wasn’t a problem. When the internet came along in the 1990s, the company’s managers adapted, and eagerly so, since applying automatic controls across broad networks—for instance, vast electrical grids, waterworks, pipelines, rail lines, and so forth—would make life much more efficient.

“Florida adds 7,023 new coronavirus cases, 233 deaths” by Fox Orlando’s Staff – The Florida Department of Health reported 7,023 new cases of coronavirus, along with 233 additional Florida resident deaths. The statewide total number of cases since the pandemic began is 1,790,743, with 28,048 resident deaths. The state also reports 478 non-resident deaths since the pandemic began. State health officials say 2,057,154 people have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine in the state. Of those people, 1,300,820 have received their first dose, while 756,334 people have received both doses.

“Florida surpasses 300 cases of more-contagious variant of COVID virus” by WFLA 8 On Your Side Staff – The Centers for Disease Control says Florida has become the first state to have more than 300 cases of the B.1.1.7 coronavirus variant first discovered in England. The variant that emerged in Britain was detected in a Martin County man in his 20s on New Year’s Eve with no history of travel. Florida surpassed California with the most cases of the mutated virus on Jan. 19. In that three-week time span, Florida gained 294 cases while California gained 116 cases. Across the nation, there are 932 reported cases. New York trails at a distant third with 59 cases identified, followed by Georgia and Colorado with 37, Texas with 35, New Jersey with 31, and Michigan with 29. USF epidemiologist Jason Salemi told 8 On Your Side there’s even more urgency to vaccinate Floridians with the spread of the variant strain. “Even though we’ve been coming down, we need to continue to bring (the number of cases) down because the more opportunity we give the virus to replicate the more opportunity we give to the virus to mutate,” Salemi said. “And again, we don’t wan to run into any of these variants that increase the severity of illness or starts to evade our own natural immunity or vaccine acquired immunity, so I’m concerned.” Back in January, Dr. Kami Kim, the director of the Infectious Diseases Division of USF Health told 8 On Your Side some of Florida’s then 50 cases of COVID-19 confirmed by the CDC to be caused by variant strains of the virus have been detected in Hillsborough County.

“Florida could expand law allowing babies to be surrendered” by AP – Florida could expand the number of days a parent can surrender a newborn baby at authorized drop off locations. A bill approved by a Senate committee on a 7-4 vote Tuesday would also allow those locations to install a “baby box” so parents can leave an infant without doing so face to face. Florida now allows parents to anonymously surrender a newborn approximately seven days old at a hospital, fire station or emergency medical services station. The bill would expand that window to approximately 30 days. Facilities that are staffed 24 hours a day could install the drop off boxes. An alarm would sound alerting staff that a baby is inside.

“Florida’s Black Lawmakers Call for Mandatory Body Cams, De-Escalation Training and Use-of-Force Database” by FLAGLERLIVE – Following the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer in May and the ensuing summer of nationwide protests, the Florida Legislative Black Caucus is pushing a slew of bills for the 2021 legislative session that members say “promote fair and just” police reforms. Among the proposals are bills that would mandate body cameras be worn by officers in every Florida law enforcement agency, set a minimum standard for police training in de-escalation tactics and require the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to keep a database on excessive use of force by officers. (Body cameras are standard issue at the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office and the Flagler Beach Police Department, and de-escalation techniques have been a centerpiece of the sheriff’s training approach, with only one officer-involved shooting in the past nine years and no civilian fatality since 2012.) Whether the measures will get hearings in the Republican-controlled Legislature remains in question, as Democrats debuted the sweeping reform package with the hashtag #HearTheBills. “If you are honest about wanting to improve policing in this state, about supporting good law enforcement officers and making our communities safer, you’ll give these ideas a chance to be heard,” House Minority Co-leader,Bobby DuBose, D-Fort Lauderdale, said at a news conference Tuesday. Sen. Audrey Gibson, D-Jacksonville, is co-sponsoring bills (SB 942 and HB 647) with Rep. Tracie Davis, D-Jacksonville, that Gibson said would create “a floor for training” at law enforcement agencies, including setting standards for instructing officers on excessive use of force and “vascular neck restraints.” “We want to make sure there is humane treatment. Not every person of color is automatically wrong or guilty of something. That is the premise, it seems to be, as we exist today,” Gibson said.

 

National:

“Trump ‘beyond angry’ with impeachment defense team’s showing: sources” by Fox News’ Edmund DeMarche – Former President Trump was “furious” and “beyond angry” over his defense team’s showing on Day One of his second impeachment trial despite his ultimate acquittal almost certain, two sources told Fox News late Tuesday. The sources, who spent time with Trump, said he was particularly incensed with the effort thus far by his attorney Bruce Castor. Trump believes Castor gave a rambling opening argument, they said. Castor’s 45-minute opening remarks were widely panned on social media after he praised the House impeachment managers for a job “well done.” “The American people just spoke and they just changed administrations,” Castor said at one point. He said the public is smart enough to “pick a new administration if they don’t like the old one, and they just did.” Sen. Cramer: Trump impeachment trial begins ‘stupidest week’ in SenateVideo Castor’s comment prompted the Associated Press to run the headline, “Trump Never Conceded He Lost, But His Impeachment Lawyer did.” Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, said Rep. Jamie Raskin, the lead impeachment manager, was impressive and is “a serious lawyer.” He said Trump’s team did not have the most “effective” performance. Trump watched the proceedings from his quarters in Mar-a-Lago, in Palm Beach, Fla. The AP, citing an unnamed source, said Trump was impressed with the opening video presentation from Democrats. Trump’s team did not immediately respond to an email from Fox News. Castor defended his performance in an interview after learning that Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., moved to side with Democrats, according to the Wall Street Journal.

“Merkel under fire for failing to choose sides between communist China and capitalist US” by Fox News’ Benjamin Weinthal – President Biden’s government has been outmaneuvered by German Chancellor Angela Merkel on critical security fronts, Richard Grenell, the former acting director of national intelligence for the Trump administration, told Fox News. “You have to give it to Chancellor Merkel: She outmaneuvered Joe Biden in just three weeks. Merkel made it clear she would not take sides between communist China and capitalist America, reversed the 10,000 U.S. troop withdrawal that Trump previously announced and got the Biden administration to stop enforcing Nord Stream 2 sanctions,” Grenell said. Last week, Biden froze the plan to withdraw American troops from the Federal Republic. In December, Congress passed legislation — the National Defense Authorization Act — that contains sanctions targeting companies and individuals involved in the Nord Stream 2 project. The Nord Stream 2 deal with Russian President Vladimir Putin’s regime will transfer Russian gas to the Federal Republic via a pipeline running under the Baltic Sea. Critics say the project will ensure that Germany becomes dependent for its energy needs on Russia—a major adversary of the US and Europe. For Grenell, who was the first openly gay person to hold a U.S. Cabinet-level position and who also served as ambassador to Berlin from 2018 to 2020, the “message is you can have a ‘Germany First’ policy, have your businesses totally engaged with China, and you do not need to take sides between Communist China and America. “Merkel always wanted to return to the table where she sits across from a weak U.S. president,” he continued, adding that she did not like the Trump administration’s “transactional diplomacy.” According to Grenell, then-President Donald Trump told Merkel: “I do not blame you for wanting policies that benefit Germany, but you can’t blame me for sticking up for America.”

Biden and Democrats prepare to act fast on judges, having learned lesson from Trump” By Ariane de Vogue, CNN Supreme Court Reporter – President Joe Biden had been in office less than a week when a federal judge issued a nationwide injunction blocking one of his first immigration-related actions. The order was a victory for Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who crowed “WE WON” on Twitter. In fact, Paxton, a controversial conservative Republican, had successfully gambled that his challenge would land before a judge appointed by President Donald Trump. And indeed Judge Drew B. Tipton — appointed by Trump in 2020 — delivered.

The order is a potent reminder of the power of the judiciary to cripple a president’s forward momentum on an issue. It also highlighted the fact that elections matter — giving an incoming president the chance to create a lasting legacy. Trump, for example, was able to appoint 234 judges, including three Supreme Court justices. Now it’s Biden’s turn, and so far his administration is signaling that judicial nominations will be a major priority and that Democrats may even tear pages from Trump’s playbook on the issue. There are 60 current eligible vacancies and 20 vacancies that will occur down the road as judges have formally announced their intentions to retire, take senior status or resign, according to the Administrative Office of the US Courts. One other factor could be a game changer for Biden: the lingering possibility that 82-year-old Justice Stephen Breyer might choose to step aside this term or next and give Biden his first chance to name a Supreme Court justice.

“Alleged Oath Keeper charged in Capitol riot says he once worked for FBI and holds security clearance” By Katelyn Polantz, CNN – Thomas Caldwell, a Virginia man whom prosecutors have charged as part of an extremist group’s alleged conspiracy to prepare and attack the Capitol on January 6, said in a court filing Monday night he worked for the FBI from 2009 until 2010 and asserts he has held a “Top Secret” level security clearance for decades. Caldwell, 65, raised the resume points in a new filing arguing for his release from jail after the Justice Department convinced a judge he should be held pending his trial. Caldwell’s defense attorney wrote in Monday’s filing that Caldwell “has held a Top Secret Security Clearance since 1979 and has undergone multiple Special Background Investigations in support of his clearance.”

An FBI spokesperson said in a statement that it is “policy not to comment on personnel matters.” The Justice Department has not yet responded and is set to respond to Caldwell’s request in court later this week. This comes as several Capitol riot defendants in federal court have challenged judges’ detention orders or have seen the Justice Department push for their detention, and as federal investigators work toward meatier cases against right-wing paramilitary political activists and extremist groups, including the Oath Keepers, which Caldwell is allegedly connected to, according to his indictment. Caldwell previously said in court proceedings he is a veteran, and reiterated that to the judge in Washington, DC, on Monday. Caldwell’s defense attorney, in the filing, also denied he is an Oath Keeper and argues prosecutors have no proof he was in the Capitol building January 6.

“Twitter Adds Users Through Trump Ban” by WSJ’s Sarah E. Needleman – Twitter Inc. TWTR 2.87% added users through the holiday quarter and said it continued to add more in January, a month when it booted one of its most prominent users: former President Donald Trump. The company said Tuesday that user growth might slow this year compared with the early months of the coronavirus pandemic—when many people started to spend more time online and on social media—and that Apple Inc.’s pending privacy changes could have a modest impact on its advertising business. Twitter said it gained more daily users in January than the average number it has added in that month over the past four years, but the company declined to share more details. Twitter doesn’t normally provide guidance on user growth for the current quarter but said it made an exception due to unusual circumstances, referring to Mr. Trump’s suspension from the platform and the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol by a mob of his supporters. “We are a platform that is obviously much larger than any one topic or any one account,” Twitter Chief Executive Jack Dorsey said on an earnings call with analysts, adding that 80% of the company’s audience is outside the U.S. “We are also not dependent upon just news and politics being on Twitter.” The company didn’t discuss the specific impact of Mr. Trump’s absence on advertising, its main source of revenue. But in an interview Ned Segal, Twitter’s finance chief, indicated the company’s decision was well-received by advertisers. “When we lay out our principles and our policies, and we’ve enforced them transparently and consistently, we find that advertisers feel better, not worse about partnering advertising on Twitter,” he said. MoffettNathanson analyst Michael Nathanson said that he has been watching for signs about whether the Trump ban would hurt Twitter’s advertising business and that the company’s report provides relief. “It implies they’re still growing users despite the ending of probably their most famous user, which is really positive,” he said.

“Most Salesforce Employees to Work Remotely at Least Part Time After Pandemic

 by WSJ’s Katherine Bindley – Salesforce.com Inc. CRM -0.93% plans for most of its employees to work remotely part or full time after the pandemic and to reduce its real-estate footprint as a result, a top executive said, showing Covid-19’s lasting impact on how companies manage their workforces. The business-software provider, which has 54,000 global employees, is among the largest companies to spell out how it plans staff to work after Covid-19 recedes. Chief People Officer Brent Hyder said Salesforce’s changes would include revamping office layouts to increase collaboration space instead of having a “sea of desks.” As employees are expected to do much of their independent work remotely, the mock-ups of the new offices feature cafe-style seating, open-air conference areas and private nooks, with an emphasis on clean desks and social distancing. “We’re not going back to the way things were,” Mr. Hyder said in an interview. “I don’t believe that we’ll keep every space in every city that we’re in, including San Francisco.” Salesforce expects more than 65% of its workforce to come into the office only one to three days a week in the future, up from 40% before the pandemic. An unspecified number of additional employees would be fully remote. The company is the largest private employer in San Francisco and occupies the city’s tallest building, known as Salesforce Tower, and others with similar names in cities including Indianapolis, New York and Chicago. The company declined to say how much its real-estate footprint might shrink as a result of its changes. Tech companies were among the earliest to tell their employees to work from home when the coronavirus began spreading last year, and some have talked about embracing flexible work permanently. Last May, Facebook Inc., which has about 56,600 employees, said it would be moving to a substantially more remote workforce, and Twitter said it would give all employees the option to stay remote.

“Giuliani’s voter fraud witness who went viral is running for Michigan office” by Politico’s Daniel Payne – Rudy Giuliani’s witness from an election fraud hearing that went viral has filed to run for a seat in the Michigan House of Representatives. Mellissa Carone, whose statements about alleged voter fraud drew laughter from people attending the hearing, was spoofed by Saturday Night Live, and her performance caused her to later explain that she was not drunk while testifying. She will now run to represent the 46th District of the state legislature in Michigan. Carone’s Facebook profile describes her as a conservative with a “strong focus on election reform.” The election for the seat, which is currently held by Republican Rep. John Reilly, will occur in 2022. Reilly has held the seat since 2017 and is prohibited by Michigan law from running for a fourth term, according to his office. At least one other Republican, Josh Schriver, is expected to run for the same seat in 2022. Carone once worked in Detroit as a contractor for Dominion Voting Systems. After making a string of baseless claims about the integrity of voting machines, Dominion sent her a cease-and-desist letter. After the hearing, Carone refused to quarantine, though she had likely been exposed to Covid-19 through Giuliani. Carone is listed on her Facebook page as a member of the Michigan Conservative Coalition, Right to Life of Michigan and the National Rifle Association.

“GOP castigates ‘terrible job’ by Trump legal team” by Politico’s BURGESS EVERETT, ANDREW DESIDERIO and MARIANNE LEVINE – House Democrats started former President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial with a well-executed video and direct speakers. Trump’s defense opened with a rambling bit by lead lawyer Bruce Castor that conceded the House presentation was “well done” and their arguments would be answered later. The contrast was not lost on the jury. “The House managers were focused. They were organized. They relied upon both precedent, the Constitution and legal scholars. They made a compelling argument. President Trump’s team were disorganized. They did everything they could but to talk about the question at hand,” said Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.). “And when they talked about it, they kind of glided over, almost as if they were embarrassed of their arguments.” Cassidy even voted with 55 other senators that the trial should go forward and was not unconstitutional, changing his position from last month. “If I’m an impartial juror and one side is doing a great job and the other job is doing a terrible job on the issue at hand? As an impartial juror, I’m going to vote for the side that did the good job.” Cassidy’s shift was the most electric moment of the day and highlighted what could only be seen as an incoherent defense by Castor. The Trump lawyer singled out senators who are mulling conviction and conceded he had changed his entire presentation after three of the House impeachment managers, led by Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), made their opening arguments

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Javier Manjarres

Javier Manjarres

Javier Manjarres is a nationally renowned award-winning political journalist. Diverse New Media, Corp. publishes 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. Learn more at www.brownpeople.org Email him at [email protected]