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The Spin: Lightfoot dismisses unsubstantiated Twitter chatter | Pritzker puts National Guard on …

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First lady Jill Biden was in Illinois today, touring Sauk Valley Community College in Dixon to talk up affordable higher education. A community college teacher herself, the first lady didn’t dig into specifics but President Joe Biden has advocated making two years of community college tuition free.

As the Tribune’s Rick Pearson points out: “Jill Biden made the trip along with Education Secretary Miguel Cardona and was met by Gov. J.B. Pritzker and U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos of Moline, a convening of Democrats in a city with a more historic Republican reputation as the boyhood home of President Ronald Reagan.”

Mayor Lori Lightfoot responded in person today to unsubstantiated social media chatter. The mayor’s name was trending on Twitter over the weekend. Lightfoot on Sunday blasted the Twitter traffic, which included claims she was about to resign, as “homophobic, racist and misogynistic rumors,” the Tribune’s Gregory Pratt and John Byrne wrote.

Today, she once again dismissed those rumors in front of reporters, saying she had a chat with her 13-year-old daughter and told her “unfortunately, honey, there are stupid and mean people out there.”

Late this afternoon, Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced that “at the request of the City of Chicago” he is activating 125 personnel from the Illinois National Guard to stand by to support the Chicago Police Department with a verdict expected in the Minneapolis trial of Derek Chauvin, the onetime police officer charged with killing George Floyd. The jury was beginning deliberations today. The governor stressed in a news release that guard members would have a “limited mission,” helping with street closures and “will not interfere with peaceful protesters exercising their First Amendment rights, much the same role as Guard members played in previous deployments.”

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City Chicago Public Schools’ high school students returned to classrooms today, for the first time in a year, under a deal worked out by the teachers union and City Hall. The Tribune’s Clare Proctor and Hannah Leone have the details here.

Illinois is close to having 50% of residents 16 and older vaccinated. But an ongoing COVID-19 surge in the state will put a hold on Pritzker’s reopening plans, my colleague Jenny Whidden reports.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot speaks at City Hall on April 15, 2021, about the video of the fatal police shooting of Adam Toledo.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot speaks at City Hall on April 15, 2021, about the video of the fatal police shooting of Adam Toledo. (Jose M. Osorio / Chicago Tribune)

The Tribune’s Gregory Pratt and John Byrne write: “Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Monday dismissed unsubstantiated social media chatter from over the weekend that included claims she was about to resign.”

“At an unrelated news conference, Lightfoot said that online chatter, which was trending on Twitter over the weekend, was ‘salacious and false and goes against everything and who I am.’”

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The mayor also told reporters: “I’ll just share my exchange with my 13-year-old. … She said, ‘Why are people so stupid and mean?’ And I said, ‘Unfortunately, honey, there are stupid and mean people out there. Luckily not the majority, but some are.’”

The mayor’s comments followed a series of Twitter posts she made on Sunday rebutting claims that she was resigning.

“I will continue to lead a group of the willing all across our city who are about doing the people’s work,” Lightfoot said through her political account. “The people of Chicago elected me mayor, and I will continue to serve today, tomorrow and into the future. Back to work.”

“It’s shocking and disappointing to see some media members and verified Twitter handles are peddling this trash as truth,” Lightfoot said. Full story here.

*Lightfoot, who will reach the midpoint of her four-year term in May, was asked during that same news conference whether she’s thinking about running for reelection.

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“Can you let me get through my second year? I haven’t even gotten there yet. Can I have that as a little milestone? … The politics will take care of itself.”

On the agenda at this week’s City Council meeting: basic income plan to pay 5,000 Chicagoans $500 per month. The Tribune’s John Byrne reports has the details here.

Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx at her office after attending a virtual swearing-in ceremony for her second term on Dec. 7, 2020.

Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx at her office after attending a virtual swearing-in ceremony for her second term on Dec. 7, 2020. (Youngrae Kim / Chicago Tribune)

Cook County prosecutors have partially disavowed statements they made in court about the police killing of 13-year-old Adam Toledo, but the office has declined to elaborate on what exactly went wrong and why, the Tribune’s Megan Crepeau reports.

“But the assistant state’s attorney who made the statements was placed on leave on Friday,” the Cook County state’s attorney confirmed on Saturday.

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Background: “The statement in question had been distributed widely for nearly a week before a spokeswoman for State’s Attorney Kim Foxx’s office on Thursday said that while the facts stated in court were correct, the prosecutor, Assistant State’s Attorney James Murphy, should not have phrased them in a way that could imply Toledo was armed at the exact moment he was shot.”

That pivot came a short time before police video of the shooting was released Thursday to the public, fueling an already tense situation.

“Watched in aggregate, the videos show Toledo apparently tossing a gun away a moment before the officer fires, and his hands appear empty and raised at the moment he is shot,” Crepeau writes.

Crepeau pressed for answers.

Still unclear: How many people in the prosecutor’s office had access to footage of the shooting; how much footage they could access; who signed off on the language Murphy used in court; and why they waited nearly a week before clarifying their statement.”

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Alexi Giannoulias in 2010, when he was a Democratic U.S. Senate candidate.

Alexi Giannoulias in 2010, when he was a Democratic U.S. Senate candidate. (E. Jason Wambsgans / Chicago Tribune)

Former State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias has released the first ad in the Democratic race for Illinois secretary of state in which he portrays himself as a champion of the working class.

“The ad makes a reference to a labor situation in 2009 when Giannoulias (who was then state treasurer) threatened to pull the state’s $8 million investment portfolio from Wells Fargo after it planned to shut down suit-maker Hartmarx,” the Tribune’s Rick Pearson writes. “Wells Fargo, Hartmarx’s major creditor, agreed to sell the factory to preserve jobs at the Des Plaines factory.”

Pearson also notes: “While the secretary of state’s office is largely a clerical office, involving issuance of driver’s licenses and license plates, and a receptacle for business and government documents and filings, Giannoulias is attempting to play off past support from organized labor in his bid for the post.” Watch it here.

Giannoulias, 45, is among four announced Democratic contenders vying for the party’s nomination in the March 2022 primary to replace veteran Democratic Secretary of State Jesse White, who has said he is not seeking reelection. So far, Giannoulias is outpacing his rivals in the fundraising department, including Chicago Ald. Pat Dowell, 3rd, Chicago City Clerk Anna Valencia and state Sen. Michael Hastings of Frankfort. Full story here.

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The Illinois State Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2021 in Springfield. (Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune)

The Illinois State Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2021 in Springfield. (Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune) (Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune)

From the Tribune’s Rick Pearson: “Illinois Democrats face mounting questions about what data they will use as an alternative to the federal census — and if that choice would shortchange the racial and ethnic communities that are a core of the party — as they attempt to meet a June 30 deadline to draw new political boundaries.

“Groups representing Blacks, Latinos, Asian Americans and other communities have urged Democrats to use actual federal census numbers rather than estimates or other data in preparing new boundary lines for the 118 members of the House, 59 members of the Senate and the districts for the state’s congressional delegation.”

But due to delays caused by the pandemic, hard census data won’t be available until mid-August at the earliest. And if Democrats were to delay the state legislative mapmaking process past a constitutionally set date of June 30, they risk giving minority Republicans a 50-50 chance of winning the right to draw new boundaries for the General Assembly that will stand for the next decade.

Pearson points out that “Illinois’ Constitution does not require the use of federal census data for legislative redistricting, and some leading Democrats question the accuracy of the final census data by pointing to efforts by former President Donald Trump’s administration to block the counting of undocumented immigrants.”

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“Because of Democratic control of Springfield, Republicans have virtually no say in the mapmaking process, and they also have advocated an appointed commission process in an effort to remove much of the politics out of what has always been an intensely partisan process,” Pearson points out.

From left, then-Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, then-President Donald Trump and Foxconn chairman Terry Gou at a groundbreaking for the Foxconn plant Mount Pleasant, Wisconsin, on June 28, 2018.

From left, then-Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, then-President Donald Trump and Foxconn chairman Terry Gou at a groundbreaking for the Foxconn plant Mount Pleasant, Wisconsin, on June 28, 2018. (Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune/TNS)

The Associated Press reports that Foxconn Technology Group, the world’s largest electronics manufacturer best known for making Apple iPhones, has struck a new deal with reduced tax breaks for its scaled-back project in southeast Wisconsin — near the Illinois border — Gov. Tony Evers and the company announced today.

The original deal with nearly $4 billion in state and local tax incentives was made in 2017 by then-Gov. Scott Walker. The project was heralded by fellow Republican and then-President Donald Trump as a sign of a revitalized American manufacturing economy, calling the envisioned plant “transformational” and the “eighth wonder of the world.” Trump even traveled to Wisconsin in 2018 for the groundbreaking.

But in the following years, Taiwan-based Foxconn has continually scaled back its initial plan for a $10 billion flat screen panel manufacturing facility in Mount Pleasant, just over an hour’s drive north of Chicago, that would employ up to 13,000 people. Evers, a Democrat who ran as a critic of the project in 2018 and defeated Walker, said in a statement today that the new deal “works for everyone.” Full story here.

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Thanks for reading The Spin, the Tribune’s politics newsletter. Sign up here to have it delivered to your inbox weekday afternoons. Have a tip? Email host Lisa Donovan at ldonovan@chicagotribune.com.

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Elon Musk Says He’ll Pay $11 Billion in Taxes in 2021 But Twitter Wants ‘Proof’

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Elon Musk took to Twitter to clarify once and for all that he will be paying a whopping $11 billion as taxes this year.

If the number of times Elon Musk could count when someone has asked him to pay the full taxes, he would be a very rich..wait, never mind. The Tesla boss is rich beyond any private individual has been in history, reports said.

Musk has increasingly been facing criticism from many politicians and many others who insist he has not been paying taxes as compared to the profits his companies have been making. On Sunday, the SpaceX CEO took to Twitter to share that he will be paying a whopping $11 billion as taxes.

For those wondering, I will pay over $11 billion in taxes this year— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 20, 2021

But some of the questions did not stop. One person tweeted how they needed to see Musk’s tax returns while yet another asked how much percentage was that of his total income.

A few were, however scathing of the government who thought they will add that amount to their pockets rather than using it for some proper development.

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Wow that’s enough to give each person in the world almost $2 million but instead the government will just stick it in their pockets— greg (@greg16676935420) December 20, 2021

Why not $200 billion? Asking for a Senator— litquidity (@litcapital) December 20, 2021

Earlier this week, Democratic US Senator Elizabeth Warren has tweeted to say that Musk should pay taxes and stop “freeloading off everyone else” after Time magazine named him its “person of the year”.

In response, Musk shot four tweets in which he said that the senator reminded him of a friend’s angry mom who yelled at everybody. He tweeted, ““And if you opened your eyes for 2 seconds, you would realize I will pay more taxes than any American in history this year.” “Don’t spend it all at once … oh wait you did already.”

He added further, “You remind me of when I was a kid and my friend’s angry Mom would just randomly yell at everyone for no reason.”

Musk responded by saying that he “will pay more taxes than any American in history this year”. This Twitter exchange left netizens divided as even though many supported Warren and agreed that Musk should pay more taxes, others felt that he was already doing enough.

Musk’s Tesla is worth about $1 trillion. Over the last few weeks, he has sold nearly $14 billion worth of Tesla shares.

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The Tesla boss has been pushing for his colonize Mars agenda for years now, and has made it very clear in some occasions that he would rather spend the money on putting humanity on the red planet, than pay his taxes. “My plan,” the SpaceX founder tweeted about his fortune, “is to use the money to get humanity to Mars and preserve the light of consciousness.”

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Twitter Admits Policy ‘Errors’ After Far-Right Abuse Its New Rules of Posting Pictures

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Twitter’s new picture permission policy was aimed at combating online abuse, but US activists and researchers said Friday that far-right backers have employed it to protect themselves from scrutiny and to harass opponents.

Even the social network admitted the rollout of the rules, which say anyone can ask Twitter to take down images of themselves posted without their consent, was marred by malicious reports and its teams’ own errors.

It was just the kind of trouble anti-racism advocates worried was coming after the policy was announced this week.

Their concerns were quickly validated, with anti-extremism researcher Kristofer Goldsmith tweeting a screenshot of a far-right call-to-action circulating on Telegram: “Due to the new privacy policy at Twitter, things now unexpectedly work more in our favor.”

“Anyone with a Twitter account should be reporting doxxing posts from the following accounts,” the message said, with a list of dozens of Twitter handles.

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Gwen Snyder, an organizer and researcher in Philadelphia, said her account was blocked this week after a report to Twitter about a series of 2019 photos she said showed a local political candidate at a march organized by extreme-right group Proud Boys.

Rather than go through an appeal with Twitter she opted to delete the images and alert others to what was happening.

“Twitter moving to eliminate (my) work from their platform is incredibly dangerous and is going to enable and embolden fascists,” she told AFP.

In announcing the privacy policy on Tuesday, Twitter noted that “sharing personal media, such as images or videos, can potentially violate a person’s privacy, and may lead to emotional or physical harm.”

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But the rules don’t apply to “public figures or individuals when media and accompanying Tweets are shared in the public interest or add value to public discourse.”

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By Friday, Twitter noted the roll out had been rough: “We became aware of a significant amount of coordinated and malicious reports, and unfortunately, our enforcement teams made several errors.”

“We’ve corrected those errors and are undergoing an internal review to make certain that this policy is used as intended,” the firm added.

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Jack Dorsey Post Twitter Is Chasing His Crypto, Fintech Dream

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At a packed Miami conference in June, Jack Dorsey, mused in front of thousands of attendees about where his real passion lay: “If I weren’t at Square or Twitter, I’d be working on Bitcoin.”

On Monday, Dorsey made good on one part of that, announcing he would leave Twitter for the second time, handing the CEO position to a 10-year veteran at the firm. The 45-year-old entrepreneur, who is often described as an enigma with varied interests from meditation to yoga to fashion design, plans to pursue his passion which include focusing on running Square and doing more philanthropic work, according to a source familiar with his plan.

Well before the surprise news, Dorsey had laid the groundwork for his next chapter, seeding both companies with cryptocurrency-related projects.

Underlying Dorsey’s broader vision is the principle of “decentralisation,” or the idea that technology and finance should not be concentrated among a handful of gatekeepers, as it is now, but should, instead, be steered by the hands of the many, either people or entities.

The concept has played out at Square, which has built a division devoted to working on projects and awarding grants with the aim of growing Bitcoin’s popularity globally. Bitcoin price in India stood at Rs. 44.52 lakh as of 12:50pm IST on December 1.

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Dorsey has been a longtime proponent of Bitcoin, and the appeal is that the cryptocurrency will allow for private and secure transactions with the value of Bitcoin unrelated to any government.

The idea has also underpinned new projects at Twitter, where Dorsey tapped a top lieutenant – and now the company’s new CEO Parag Agrawal – to oversee a team that is attempting to construct a decentralised social media protocol, which will allow different social platforms to connect with one another, similar to the way email providers operate.

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The project called Bluesky will aim to allow users control over the types of content they see online, removing the “burden” on companies like Twitter to enforce a global policy to fight abuse or misleading information, Dorsey said in 2019 when he announced Bluesky.

Bitcoin has also figured prominently at both of his companies. Square became one of the first public companies to own Bitcoin assets on its balance sheet, having invested $220 million (roughly Rs. 1,650 crore) in the cryptocurrency.

In August, Square created a new business unit called TBD to focus on Bitcoin. The company is also planning to build a hardware wallet for Bitcoin, a Bitcoin mining system, as well as a decentralised Bitcoin exchange.

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Twitter allows users to tip their favourite content creators with Bitcoin and has been testing integrations with non-fungible tokens (NFTs), a type of digital asset that allows people to collect unique digital art.

Analysts see the transition as a positive signal for Square, the fintech platform he co-founded in 2009. Square’s core Cash App, after a bull run in its share in 2020, has experienced slower growth in the most recent quarter. It is also trying to digest the $29 billion (roughly Rs. 2,17,240 crore) acquisition of Buy Now Pay Later provider Afterpay, its largest acquisition ever.

But these ambitions will not pay off until years from now, analysts cautioned.

“The blockchain platform they’re trying to develop is great but also fraught with technical challenges and difficult to scale for consumers. I think he’ll focus more on Square and crypto will be part of that,” said Christopher Brendler, an analyst at DA Davidson.

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© Thomson Reuters 2021

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Interested in cryptocurrency? We discuss all things crypto with WazirX CEO Nischal Shetty and WeekendInvesting founder Alok Jain on Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast. Orbital is available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Music and wherever you get your podcasts.

Cryptocurrency is an unregulated digital currency, not a legal tender and subject to market risks. The information provided in the article is not intended to be and does not constitute financial advice, trading advice or any other advice or recommendation of any sort offered or endorsed by NDTV. NDTV shall not be responsible for any loss arising from any investment based on any perceived recommendation, forecast or any other information contained in the article.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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