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Kohl"s CEO Michelle Gass tops final shareholder vote in proxy fight

Kohl’s Corp. CEO Michelle Gass received the most votes from shareholders as she won re-election to the company’s board while two of the dissident nominees made respectable showings despite losing......»»

Category: topSource: bizjournalsMay 13th, 2022

Corporate Lawyers Discuss The Accuracy of Succession and The Roy Family’s Brewing Legal Battle

'Succession' is headed towards legal drama territory. Three corporate lawyers analyze the ongoing action and offer legal advice to the characters The Roy family is lawyering up. The Season 3 premiere of Succession, which aired Sunday night on HBO, picks up in the aftermath of Kendall alleging publicly that his father Logan personally oversaw the decades-long cover-up of sexual exploitation and intimidation at Waystar Royco. As Kendall and Logan organize their own defenses, the rest of the family is sent scrambling to figure out how legally vulnerable they each might be in the impending war. And in the final 10 minutes of the episode, a new character, the high-powered attorney Lisa Arthur (Sanaa Lathan) is introduced, indicating that this season is headed toward the legal drama genre. To analyze the ongoing action and offer legal advice to the characters, TIME interviewed three corporate lawyers and Succession fans: Holly J. Gregory, the co-chair of Sidley Austin LLP’s global Corporate Governance and Executive Compensation Practice; Kai Haakon E. Liekefett, the partner and co-chair of Sidley’s Shareholder Activism Practice; and Louis Pierro, a founding partner of Pierro, Connor & Strauss. Here are excerpts from those conversations. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] What do you think of Succession, and how accurate is it? Liekefett: I watched each season twice because I loved it so much. It’s literally what I do for a living: I’ve represented public companies like AT&T, Box and Fujifilm in proxy battles and similar matters. Gregory: It’s a wonderful show. They’ve done a great job of drawing this dysfunctional family and dysfunctional company just brilliantly. It depicts some real-life situations that happen on real boards, although in the extreme. I’m getting ready to teach an ethics class, and I’m going to base hypotheticals on the show to teach lawyer ethics. It’ll be fun. Pierro: When I saw the first episode, I said, ‘Goodness gracious, there’s our lives.’ Many companies that are dominated by a character like Logan Roy end up with a number of dysfunctional people around them, because that person has 100% of the power in the company and no one else really has empowerment. So they tend to be a bit misfit in their roles as CFO or COO. That is extremely accurate to this type of company. I was a part of a board meeting yesterday where the dad owned the company and died. Mom now owns the company, there’s a buyout agreement for mom—and it was just a hornets nest among the widow and the four children, each of which had their own lawyer there at the table. So those dynamics are real, but I think the characters are just a bit embellished. Read More: Suddenly, Everyone We See on TV Is Very Rich or Very Poor. What Happened? Have there been any parts of the show that have been inaccurate? Liekefett: One of the few cringeworthy moments, in my view, was during the infamous board meeting in episode eight, when the so-called vote of confidence failed. In return, Logan fires half of the board. That is legally impossible as far as I’m concerned. The CEO cannot fire its board, it’s the other way around. How often do you see scenarios of a son and a father vying for control of a company? Pierro: My practice of 37 years has been focused on trusts and estates tax and business planning. Very often, all of those things are woven together, because the estate plan of a business owner has to include their succession plan. In the case of Logan Roy, he just isn’t ready to let go. I do see that all the time—and the impact that has on the kids who are waiting around saying, ‘O.K., when is it my turn?’ But I haven’t seen too many cases where one of the children tried to jump up and pull that business out before dad was ready to let go. Gerri serves as general counsel for Waystar, but also becomes deeply wrapped up in the family’s politics and drama. How do general counsels deal with this kind of situation—in which they may have conflicting loyalties to varying family members as well as the company itself? Liekefett: This is actually not rare. Yesterday, I spoke to a general counsel of a major public company where the board and the CEO may have diverging interests because of a takeover situation. The eternal question for the general counsel of a company in this kind of situation where there’s a power struggle between the board and the CEO, is ‘Who is my client?’ Gregory: There’s only one answer to that: the board is Gerri’s client and the ultimate authority in the company. But it gets more confused when you have a large controlling shareholder on the board, which is what you have here. Counsel has legal responsibility to the board, but with the pragmatic reality that the controlling shareholder can take action to not reelect the board, depending on his level of control. Given Gerri’s allegiance to Logan and other people in the family, she clearly is not thinking of the board as her ultimate client. Pierro: I represent a company which is owned by five siblings. One of them is in the controlling position, but the other four siblings have raised a number of issues. My duty of loyalty, in that case, is to the company, as I am corporate counsel. So when push came to shove, I had to recommend to the CEO that he get personal counsel to represent him individually in what ended up being a shareholder battle. Kai, you deal with proxy battles for a living. What do you think of the show’s depiction of that aspect? Liekefett: In the last 20 years, proxy fights have become very, very common: where insurgent dissident shareholders, hostile bidders, hedge funds or others nominate a competing slate. And then you essentially have an election campaign where you’re trying to win the hearts and minds of shareholders. Like in politics, both sides typically have these election campaigns where they hire private investigators for opposition research. It can get pretty dirty. Succession depicts the proxy fight pretty well, although they made a couple of slight mistakes. In this day and age in America, whenever a company is faced with a hostile takeover through a tender offer, they adopt a so-called poison pill. When the board of Royco was faced with the tender offer from Sandy and Stewy, they could have easily adopted a poison pill by saying, “10% is the maximum that Stewy and co. can acquire.” In which case, then it goes to the proxy fight. So they didn’t do that part well—but when they start to depict the proxy fight in season two, they do that really well. They even have one advisor right: they mention one of the top proxy solicitation firms, called D.F. King. How do Kendall’s public allegations against his father impact Waystar’s proxy battle against Sandy and Stewy? Liekefett: In the proxy fight world, we use a lot of terminology from political elections, and we are always concerned about the so-called ‘October Surprise.’ This is the ultimate October Surprise, and the nightmare of any defense attorney that something like this would happen shortly prior to the annual meeting. If that were to happen in my practice, we’d probably be dead in the water. With that level of dysfunction—where the son of the CEO and chairman goes out and accuses his father of these kinds of wrongdoing—shareholders in 99 out of 100 situations would say, ‘O.K., enough said. I don’t even care who is right, father or son. The level of dysfunction here is so unbearable, that we need some adults in the boardroom. Anything is better than the status quo, we need some fresh faces here as directors.’ It would be the death knell of any proxy fight. Do you think jail time is on the table for the various members of the Roy family? Pierro: If Kendall had gotten convicted, there are a lot of variables. What did he know, when did he know it? As we’ve watched, criminal prosecutions are not always clean and easy. We have some real life examples like the Trump Organization: where companies have been found to violate tax laws, and the CFO has been prosecuted, other people in the company are being investigated, the company itself is being prosecuted—but the CEO of the company has not yet been touched. So you have to build the chain of evidence. From the prosecution side, I think they would have had a tough time pinning Kendall with a serious crime. He wasn’t in a position where he was in charge of that, and there were certainly enough other people involved that his culpability could have been spread around and would have been hard to pin down. In the first episode of the third season, the services of the attorney Lisa Arthur are requested by both Kendall and Logan. If both offers were extended to you, whose business would you take? Pierro: If you look at Logan, he is a flawed character but he has a unified purpose: he has always wanted control, has always crushed other people for that control and stepped on other people, and probably in the course of this, committed crimes. Kendall is probably a more sympathetic character, who was put on the altar of sacrifice by his father. And so certainly my sympathies would lean towards Kendall. But I think if you wanted to back the winner in that race, then it would be Logan. Liekefett: I would go for the client who looks a little bit less guilty, has deeper pockets, and is more likely to pay our bills. But that’s the problem: Logan appears to be way more guilty, but he has way deeper pockets. He’s still the largest shareholder and is extremely influential. It’s tough to choose. I certainly would take a retainer up front. In the episode, Logan debates with Gerri about whether Waystar should cooperate with the feds. How common is it for corporations to refuse to cooperate? Pierro: It’s a strategy of many corporations to obfuscate, deny and hide. With the feds, it depends on who’s doing the investigation and how much of a pitbull they are. But in the corporate world, evidence is disappeared all the time. That is a common practice, unfortunately. And corporations have a shield that no one else has, and an immunization from liability for the individuals in the corporation, for the most part. I mean, if you go back to Enron, for example, when they had the scandal, and all of the workers were grifted out of their pensions, and their stock tumbled. One of the only people that got prosecuted was Ken Lay, who was the Logan Roy of Enron. But most of the other people managed to kind of go out the back door and didn’t get brought into the limelight. So corporations have a great ability to obfuscate and to push blame off into other directions where it’s very difficult to pin down any one person unless you have that smoking gun. Should Tom and Greg use the company lawyers, or should they look for outside counsel? Gregory: They have both undertaken actions that are more than dodgy. They have both engaged in a cover-up: Tom, being the driver of the cover up and Greg, helping him while also trying to protect his own backside by retaining documents. They’ve both taken actions that violate the company’s code of conduct and also likely violate law. They can’t be advised by the company’s counsel at this point, because they have interests that conflict with the company’s interests, with respect to their unethical and potentially unlawful conduct. They need their own counsel, and they need separate counsel from one another. Liekefett: One of the highlights of the show for me was the testimony in the senate. And I don’t think any lawyer would have allowed these two to be in front of congress so unprepared. It becomes abundantly clear these guys have a huge legal problem that is separate and distinct from the company’s legal issues. They need their own counsel and they need to learn how to plead the fifth......»»

Category: topSource: timeOct 18th, 2021

Are Putin And Xi "Gray Champions"? Part 1

Are Putin And Xi 'Gray Champions'? Part 1 Authored by Jim Quinn via The Burning Platform blog, “Long, long may it be, ere he comes again! His hour is one of darkness, and adversity, and peril. But should domestic tyranny oppress us, or the invader’s step pollute our soil, still may the Gray Champion come”  - Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Gray Champion “Who is this gray patriarch? That stately form, combining the leader and the saint…could only belong to some old champion of the righteous cause, whom the oppressor’s drum had summoned from his grave.”  - Nathaniel Hawthorne There is a misunderstanding regarding the Gray Champion of this Fourth Turning. The misunderstanding revolves around thinking there is only one Gray Champion, they are hugely popular, always do the right thing, and are universally admired for their leadership traits. Nothing could be further from the truth. In previous Fourth Turnings, there have always been multiple Gray Champions, often at war with each other, who were not popular or necessarily good men. What they always are is single-minded, tenacious, ruthless, and intent on winning at any cost. Their followers are inspired, and their enemies despise them. There is no middle ground when it comes to opinions about Gray Champions. They generally don’t fight the battles, but shape the strategy, inspire the troops, or mobilize the citizenry to action. The Awakening Prophet Generation firebrands during the American Revolution included Sam Adams and Ben Franklin. Adams organized and led the Boston Tea Party, lighting the fuse of revolution. Franklin provided the wisdom and guidance for the younger firebrands like John Adams and Thomas Jefferson. These Prophet Generation leaders were the inspirational lightning rods for a revolution where failure meant the gallows for them and their fellow rebels. This nation wouldn’t exist without the leadership of Adams and Franklin. Gray Champions during the Civil War Fourth Turning included Abraham Lincoln, William Tecumseh Sherman, Jefferson Davis, and Robert E. Lee. These four Transcendental Prophet Generation men were the driving force during the four-years of slaughter, where 700,000 men (10% of male population between the ages of 18 and 60) were killed in a brutal war of brother versus brother. The War Between the States certainly marked an hour of darkness, adversity, and peril. Lincoln rose from obscurity to lead the northern states in a scorched earth effort to suppress the Confederate states, greatly expanding the reach of the Federal government, instituting a mandatory draft, introducing an income tax, suspending the right to habeas corpus, and flaunting the Constitution when he deemed necessary. He did this without a mandate from the people, as he won the presidency in 1860 with only 39.8% of the popular vote, in a four-man race. He was determined to win the war at any cost. And his personal cost was bullet to the head and death before victory. Sherman was a take no prisoners general who implemented a new and far more violent form of war. He conducted war against soldiers and civilians alike, believing he could destroy the will of the enemy by using his terrible swift sword and wreaking destruction upon every city he passed through during his march to the sea. Ultimately, Grant and Sherman’s strategy of wearing down their opponents through superior manpower and armaments worked. Sherman is despised to this day by Southerners. Jefferson Davis had been a U.S. Senator prior to becoming president of the Confederate States of America. Just as the founding fathers would have been hung for treason if they had failed, Davis risked the same fate and ultimately spent a couple years in a federal prison after his defeat. His personality deficiencies and inability to convince Britain to support the Confederate cause, were a major factor in the South’s defeat. Meanwhile, the inspirational leadership of Robert E. Lee is probably the single biggest factor in the Confederacy lasting as long as it did. His daring, strategic brilliance, inspiring presence on the battlefield and tenaciousness won many improbable victories and even in defeat he escaped annihilation by his sheer guile and determination. It takes a certain type of man to give an order that will surely result in the deaths of thousands as he did on the 3rd day at Gettysburg, and Pickett made his fateful charge. At Antietam and Gettysburg his opponents could have destroyed his army and ended the war, but they were psychologically unable to do so, fearing Lee was setting a trap for them. His honorable surrender at Appomattox set a tone of reconciliation that helped bring the country back together as well as it could be done at that time. Lee is still considered an icon in the South, and the destruction of his statues by the low IQ ignorant BLM terrorists and their corrupt Democrat politician cucks is a disgrace to a great man and our rich history. The Great Depression/World War II Fourth Turning saw the Missionary Prophet Generation produce another four historical figures who will never be forgotten: Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Douglas MacArthur, Winston Churchill, and Joseph Stalin. It is reasonable to say these men had immense egos, were ruthless in achieving their objectives, were more hated then loved, fought against all odds, committed criminal acts, and ultimately cooperated enough to attain victory in World War II. Roosevelt changed the country from rural to urban, implemented his New Deal that began the social welfare state, tried to stack the Supreme Court, and imprisoned Japanese citizens for being Japanese. FDR accumulated such dictatorial power during his four terms in office, Congress implemented a two-term limit on all future presidents. MacArthur disobeyed orders from his superiors when he decided his path was better. But his strategy in the Pacific proved effective and his humane reign while overseeing the occupation of Japan from 1945 until 1951 paved the way for democracy and stability in Asia. Churchill had many more failures than successes during his life in the military, government office and politics, before ascending to prime minister at a point of maximum peril for the UK. A lesser man probably would have sued for peace, as his troops were cornered at Dunkirk and bombs obliterated London on a nightly basis. His inspirational speeches kept the spirits of his people up, and once Hitler turned his attention towards Russia, Churchill was able to focus on prodding FDR for help and angling to get the U.S. into the war. Churchill was cruel and ruthless when it came to fighting the war. He, along with FDR, decided firebombing Dresden and other German cities was a valid tactic in winning the war. Lying to allies in order to achieve his aims was a common occurrence by Churchill, but he also saw Stalin for who he really was, and immediately realized the Soviets would not be allies after the war was won. His own people booted him out of office at the war’s end, showing he wasn’t loved. Essentially, Churchill oversaw the last days of the British Empire. Despite being a psychopath who murdered and starved in excess of 1 million of his citizens during the 1930s, Joseph Stalin was a Gray Champion during the last Fourth Turning. He was a dictator who bore the brunt of Hitler’s armed forces and ultimately repelled the Germans and had his armies take Berlin. Generals who failed were executed. His sheer willpower and unwillingness to admit defeat were essential to achieving victory in World War II. He bullied and prodded his allies – FDR and Churchill – to open a second front and provide him with tanks and arms to defeat the Germans. He never considered himself a friend of the UK or US. They were useful pawns to help him achieve victory. He was an evil man running a despotic regime who became an immediate enemy upon victory in 1945. He is the ultimate example of a Gray Champion not being a noble, moral, well-liked person. Anyone with a true grasp of history would acknowledge all these men had monumental personality defects, huge egos, a determination to win by any means necessary (including breaking the law and flaunting the Constitution), and ability to mobilize forces to accomplish their goals. Their names and deeds are in the history books. Hundreds of biographies have been written about each, trying to capture their true essence. But one thing is certain. They fought for what they believed, shaped the future of their countries, didn’t back down from taking responsibility and making tough decisions, and sent millions to their deaths by their actions. Gray Champions are not wallflowers, quiet, or unassuming. They lead. They are willing to act, make decisions and fail or succeed on their own merits. When the Prophet archetype arrives at old age, it heralds a new constellation of generations, which happens every 80 years – marking the arrival of another Fourth Turning. As we are propelled through the fourteenth year of this Fourth Turning, Gray Champions have arrived on the scene and are propelling us towards a frightful climax, which will happen within the next several years. The intensification is being driven by these figures, who will ultimately be judged in history books based upon their success or failure in leading their nations through this Crisis period. Anyone who can’t see the world being pushed towards the brink of world war and on the verge of economic collapse, is either willfully ignorant, too dumbed down and distracted by their electronic bread and circuses, or just focused on profiting from war, chaos, and destruction. Neil Howe, one of the authors of The Fourth Turning, made a statement in January 2021 which clarified for me those who currently fit the mold of a Gray Champion. “Gray champions are made, not born. The persona of a gray champion is to focus on one big thing, not 17 little things.” As this Fourth Turning was ignited by the 2008 financial collapse, brought about by Wall Street bankers, Ben Bernanke and his central banker co-conspirators, corrupt politicians, and feckless government apparatchiks, I was trying to seek out the Gray Champion who would lead the country through this Crisis. I realize now, my view was too narrow. There seems to be multiple Gray Champions with differing agendas, often at conflict with the agendas of other Gray Champions and leading the world into a global conflict. Their one commonality is they are all Boomer Generation Prophets, with a single-minded ambition to lead their followers down the path they are sure will attain success for themselves and their followers. But we know for sure, some will lose and possibly all will lose if one or more is reckless enough to initiate nuclear Armageddon. With his improbable 2016 election I thought Trump might be the single Gray Champion, acting as a lightning rod for the conflict which always arises during a Fourth Turning. I now realize there are several Prophet Generation leaders who are leading competing factions both domestically and internationally. Even though Trump was removed from office in an ultimately successful Deep State coup in 2020, he continues to have a huge following, drawing massive crowds at rallies, and giving every indication he intends to run for president again in 2024. There is a major segment of the population which will follow him anywhere he leads. He most certainly is a Gray Champion, whose Deep State sanctioned adversary Hillary Clinton, also fits the mold of Gray Champion – albeit an evil she-devil Gray Champion intent on destroying what remains of civil society in America while instigating Russia into a world war. As a main figure in the plot to overthrow the man who defeated her in 2016, she continues to throw bombs and insinuate she might run again in 2024, as the dementia ridden pathetic shell of a corrupt politician Biden will be lucky to live until 2024 and the low IQ cackling hyena of a vice president will be cast aside by the Deep State as unelectable. Clinton has ratcheted up the war rhetoric and will always have the left-wing pussy hat wearing lunatic fringe as her base. She is a dangerous, vile human being, but so was Stalin. Being a malevolent hateful shrew does not disqualify you from being a Gray Champion during a Fourth Turning. She will attempt to rally her malicious forces of wickedness, with the full support of her Deep State puppet-masters and lapdog compliant corporate legacy media, to accelerate our downward spiral into a techno-communist, globally controlled, dystopian hellscape. This Fourth Turning will not end well if she and her globalist billionaire cronies emerge victorious. Another globalist billionaire, who cavorted with and did business with convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, did not appear on my radar as a Gray Champion until he, Klaus Schwab, Fauci, Big Pharma, and the bought off medical industrial complex, created a worldwide pandemic using a Wuhan lab produced flu with a 99.7% survival rate. Bill Gates, a software geek who fancies himself a medical expert, used his immense wealth to push for the mandatory injection of an untested, unproven, dangerous, DNA altering gene therapy created by criminal pharmaceutical firms, into the bodies of everyone on earth. Gates has funded the vaccine propaganda campaign and funnels millions to the mainstream media to push falsehoods about the safety and effectiveness of these toxic concoctions. He has inexplicably bought up farmland, while promoting bugs as a future food source for the unwashed masses. He is a major player in the Great Reset Build Back Better WEF demonic plan to enslave the masses in poverty in a techno-gulag where we will own nothing and told to be happy, or else. He and his fellow pedophile satanic billionaire cultists will own everything and be really happy. His investments in vaccines, farmland, and the media most certainly makes his motivations suspect. His immediate negative reaction to Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter reveals his authoritarian censorship principles and belief he and his small cohort of wealthy totalitarian oligarchs should be the arbiters of truth and gatekeepers of what the plebs can say on social media. Suppression of those voicing dissent from the approved State narrative is essential for Gates and his ilk in propagandizing the ignorant masses. The first amendment and the Constitution are nothing more than annoyances to men like Gates who can buy and sell the world to implement their warped agenda. Like Clinton, if this Gray Champion succeeds, the people of this world will never recover their liberties and freedoms. This brings us to two men who weren’t in my thought process during the first thirteen years of this Crisis as potential Gray Champions. I suffer the same myopia as many others, viewing the world through the lens of living within the American Empire. Of course, America is no longer the shining city on the hill, if it ever was. We have been an empire since 1945, forged in war and sustained through currency dominance, intimidation, and bribing others to do as they are told. It seems both Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping are from the Boomer Prophet Generation and may be playing the dominant roles in the denouement of this increasingly violent Fourth Turning. As I’ve stated previously, there are no unequivocal good guys who can be counted upon to do what is in your best interest. These Gray Champions have immense egos, grand visions of worldly achievements and often a lack of self-awareness. They all believe their actions are morally right and guided by a higher authority. Living within the echo chamber of a declining empire drowning in debt and flailing about wildly as its last vestiges of military and economic domination crumble, makes it difficult to understand how the rest of the world views the big bully on the block getting his comeuppance. Those pulling the strings behind the scenes, who installed a doddering, decrepit gaffe machine in the oval office as their Trojan horse, anticipated using this pliable dupe to initiate the final destruction of a nation originally built on agreed upon community standards, a strong work ethic, thrift, religious freedom, self-reliance, and a spirit of independence and freedom. I don’t think they anticipated the pathetic weakness displayed by this ancient fossil, which has empowered Putin and Xi to take advantage of his frailty and intellectual decline. The question must be asked. Would Putin have invaded Ukraine if Trump was still president? Putin, as the evil Hitler demagogue character, portrayed by the Deep State controlled mass media mouthpieces, is entirely false. The characterization of Putin’s Operation Z as unprovoked and initiated as part of his plan to take over Eastern Europe is a canard, and the U.S. military and political operatives know it. Putin didn’t invade on a whim. His intelligence agency showed him proof the Ukraine was going to launch a NATO backed offensive against the Russian backed rebels in Donbas. Putin called their bluff and derailed their plans. This entire Ukrainian charade, where Pelosi, Schiff, Boris Johnson, Trudeau, Bono and now Jill Biden drop into a “dangerous hot war zone” for photo ops and a virtue signaling meetings with the U.S. puppet president B level actor/comedian Zelensky is a propaganda farce. I’m waiting for a “We Are the World” concert to break out at any moment. The entire narrative surrounding the conflict in the Ukraine, pushed by Biden, Soros, NATO, and their obedient media lackeys, is knowingly fabricated and built upon misinformation. The CIA Soros funded coup against the democratically elected president in 2014 set this entire farce in motion. No Ukrainians were being killed before the U.S. coup. Now we are using the Ukrainian people as cannon fodder in our proxy war against Russia. Putin has also uncovered the secret biological weapons labs the U.S. has been funding in the Ukraine. No wonder the extreme reaction by Biden, Nuland, and the rest of his neo-con lackeys. It has been U.S. and NATO provocation which has forced Putin’s hand since the 2014 coup. His annexation of Crimea and military support for Russian friendly rebels in Donbas were reactions to the blatant U.S. incitement in their sphere of influence. NATO, completely under the control of the U.S. Empire, has steadily pushed eastward towards Russia since agreeing in 1990 to not do so. The U.S. purposely told Zelensky to act as if the Ukraine was going to seek NATO membership. Zelensky and his Ukraine Nazi forces have been bombing Russian speaking civilians since 2014 and were planning a major offensive in Donbas which Putin pre-empted with his attack. It has been the U.S. led NATO and Ukraine instigating Putin. They continue to do so, with Finland and Sweden being incentivized to join NATO by the U.S.  “Not an inch of NATO’s present military jurisdiction will spread in an eastern direction.”  - Memorandum of conversation between Mikhail Gorbachev and James Baker in Moscow, Feb 9, 1990 Vladimir Putin, a serious man, rising to the highest levels of the KGB, tenacious in accomplishing his agenda, and a nationalist at heart, cannot be intimidated by the likes of a feeble-minded pervert like Biden or any of the EU lackeys taking their orders from the U.S. Empire. Do you think he will be cowed by empty threats from a babbling Biden, cackling Kamala, effeminate Blinken, or gay pride promoting Austin? The U.S. propaganda machine continuously flogs the narrative of Ukraine winning, while Russians commit atrocities. Both are blatant falsities. As a Gray Champion, Putin understands victory goes to the one who refuses to back down or admit defeat when facing adversity. In Part 2 of this article, I will examine the traits of Putin and Xi which will make them the dominant Gray Champions during the final years of this Fourth Turning, and possibly the final years of modern life on this planet. *  *  * The corrupt establishment will do anything to suppress sites like the Burning Platform from revealing the truth. The corporate media does this by demonetizing sites like mine by blackballing the site from advertising revenue. If you get value from this site, please keep it running with a donation. Tyler Durden Mon, 05/16/2022 - 16:25.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeMay 16th, 2022

Transcript: Boaz Weinstein

     The transcript from this week’s, MiB: Boaz Weinstein, Saba Capital, is below. You can stream and download our full conversation, including the podcast extras on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Google, Bloomberg, and Acast. All of our earlier podcasts on your favorite pod hosts can be found here. ~~~ RITHOLTZ: This week on the podcast,… Read More The post Transcript: Boaz Weinstein appeared first on The Big Picture.      The transcript from this week’s, MiB: Boaz Weinstein, Saba Capital, is below. You can stream and download our full conversation, including the podcast extras on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Google, Bloomberg, and Acast. All of our earlier podcasts on your favorite pod hosts can be found here. ~~~ RITHOLTZ: This week on the podcast, I have an extra special guest. Boaz Weinstein is the founder of Saba Capital, a $5 billion hedge fund that specializes in some really interesting types of trading, credit default swaps, tail protection, volatility trading. Saba is one of the five largest investors globally in SPACs, but not in the way you think. They’ve done really well with it despite all of the troubles that SPACs have seen. Previously, he was co-head of Global Credit Trading at Deutsche Bank. And ultimately, he and Deutsche just spun out Saba, along with his whole team, as a standalone fund. Man, I don’t even know where to begin. This was just an absolutely fascinating conversation. Not only is he a quant with some real insight into capital market structures and valuation and mispricing, but he has put together an amazing track record on not just in terms of his trading, but his consistent ability to find parts of the markets that are completely mispriced because people fundamentally misunderstand what’s going on there. Really just a fascinating guy, an amazing conversation. With no further ado, my conversation with Boaz Weinstein of Saba Capital. WEINSTEIN: Hi, Barry. It’s great to be here. RITHOLTZ: And am I pronouncing your first name correctly, Boaz? WEINSTEIN: It depends where you’re from. In these parts, that would work. And it’s really a typical Israeli name, and it would be Boaz. RITHOLTZ: Boaz. All right. So — so let’s start with your background, beginning with you started to play chess when you were 5 and eventually became pretty highly ranked. How did you get into chess, and how long did it take to become a ranked player here in the U.S.? WEINSTEIN: Sure. So I had those parents that would drive us on weekends. My — I have a sister who actually has been — been on Bloomberg many times, Ilana. But we — my parents would take us to Saturday morning workshops to learn about model rocketry or chess, or what have you. But I didn’t actually play in tournaments till I was 13. I got to junior high school and I was interested in the game. And there was a kid a year above me and I saw that he was ranked in the Top 50 in the United States, and I thought, “That’s amazing. How do I — how do I get there?” RITHOLTZ: And so how long did it take you from when you started playing in tournaments to becoming ranked? WEINSTEIN: So I — I became really obsessed with it. And so in three years, I went from a beginner to number 2 in the country for age 15, 16. RITHOLTZ: Wow. That’s pretty — pretty impressive. And that’s thousands and thousands of hours. WEINSTEIN: Yeah, at least. RITHOLTZ: And — and so from chess, you moved to poker and blackjack, which seems more of a fit with — with finance. What led you from poker and blackjack to credit and derivatives? WEINSTEIN: I knew I wanted to be on Wall Street well before I knew how to play poker. In fact, I didn’t really learn poker until I was in my mid 20s. Blackjack I learned a bit earlier, maybe we’ll get there. But Wall Street was always something I was interested in. I — my parents would listen to — watch Wall Street Week with Louis Rukeyser. I can tell you the postcode for Owings Mills, Maryland. It’s 21117 because that’s — they would always do that right in the middle of the show. And so I was able to parlay that interest into getting an after-school job when I was a high school student in New York City, at Merrill Lynch, and then summer internships at Goldman Sachs, which were really among the most fun times in my career on Wall Street. RITHOLTZ: We’ll — we’ll talk a little bit about Goldman in a bit. You mentioned blackjack, I understand you got pretty good at blackjack, eventually getting kicked out of the Bellagio as a card counter. WEINSTEIN: Yeah. RITHOLTZ: Tell us about that. WEINSTEIN: So it’s — they’re very polite. It’s — you know, kicked out is more of the 1960s. But you know, Ed Thorp is a — is a hero. RITHOLTZ: Sure. WEINSTEIN: And — RITHOLTZ: Beats the dealer. WEINSTEIN: And “A Man for All Markets” also is, I think, a fantastic book. And so I learned how to count cards when I was a summer intern on the risk arb desk at Goldman from the partner in charge Frank Brosen, (Amos Marrone), some of these legendary hedge fund managers. And — and I got pretty good at it. And — and I went — I was sent over to London when I graduated college, with Merrill Lynch. And I found that the games in London had a weakness that the games in the U.S. didn’t. They had a certain side bet that was very crackable, and I had to kind of figure it out. There was no Internet, you know, to look up everything back then. And I became quite a skilled card counter. RITHOLTZ: That’s really — that’s really quite fascinating. So — so from counting cards, how do you end up at Deutsche Bank? WEINSTEIN: So the — the people at Merrill Lynch that I first worked with out of college had moved really in mass to — to Deutsche. Edson Mitchell, legendary Merrill Lynch’s head of Global Markets, wanted to recreate that at Deutsche Bank without having the deep institutional capital markets relationships. And so, he really wanted to build up trading quickly, and credit derivatives was a new market. And he had someone named Anshu Jain, who’s really been an amazing mentor to me — RITHOLTZ: Sure. WEINSTEIN: — pour a huge amount of resources into making Deutsche if not the best, the Top 2 year in and year out. RITHOLTZ: And at Deutsche Bank, you become the youngest person to be a managing director. Tell us about that path. WEINSTEIN: Yeah. So I — I think it’s either youngest or second youngest, let me — let me not overstep it. But still, I was 27 and usually it’s not until you’re in your 30s. And I have to say there’s so many aspects to one’s career that have to do with luck and timing, that have to go along with skill almost all the time. Sometimes you can even avoid the skill part, just be ultra-lucky. But my — my luck was that this, market credit derivatives, basically started when I started and even a year or two after. And I was waiting for it. It was like I was waiting for it to be created because I was never going to be the credit investor that can read through the 10-K and do the deep, you know, fundamental work and accounting work that was going to — I was not going to make my mark in credit that way. I needed something more quantitative, more tactical, and credit derivatives started really in ‘97. And — and so there was no one — there were no adults to learn from. I got to — I got to learn — learn from experience. In ‘98 with Russia defaulting and LTCM blowing up, gave an incredible path to that — those lessons. And so, Deutsche Bank kept giving me more and more responsibilities. And so, each year they promoted me. And I think another bit of luck was not just being at a place that wanted to expand in this new area, but also Goldman Sachs had hired away my boss, an amazing guy, Ron Tanemura. And I think Deutsche was a little afraid that — that I might move over to Goldman. And so, you know, earlier than — than one would have expected, they made me an MD. RITHOLTZ: So — so good timing, right place, right time, plus the right set of skills in — in derivatives trading. Before we move to spinning out Saba from Deutsche Bank, I have to follow up your conversation about being an intern at Goldman Sachs. You’ve kind of worked with a murderers’ row there, and you said it was the most fun you’ve ever had. Tell us about your time at Goldman, who did you work for? And what did they have you doing? WEINSTEIN: Sure. So, look, anyone who comes to Wall Street needs to read “Liars Poker.” It doesn’t matter we’re talking now, 10 years ago, or 50 years from now. And there was a minor character in that book, David Delucia, who Goldman hired from Salomon to set up the junk bond desk. And he had an incredible love of chess. He actually is the world’s greatest — I’m going to say something that’s not going to sound so great, world’s greatest chess book collection. Hopefully, no one is gasping at that. But he has, you know, 15 century books in busts of the hand of the world champion from the 18th century. And so, he was obsessed with chess. I had met him at a — at a chess club. And I came to Goldman Sachs to interview for a summer internship, and I had a very perfunctory meeting with the HR person. They’ve even met me, I think, only because my sister was working in Private Client Services then. So they — so I have this 25-minute meeting. The woman says, “Thanks for coming. You’re a college freshman. Why don’t you come back in three years,” and shows me to the door. And I said, “OK, can I use the men’s room?” And on my way out, I went into the men’s room and who’s standing washing his hands at the sink is David Delucia. He says, “What are you doing here? Come on back.” And that began five rounds, five interviews per round. And finally, after 25 interviews, he calls me back and he says, “We tried to do everything we could. There’s no program for you. There’s a — there’s a program called SEO to give minorities a chance to come to Wall Street. There’s a program for sons and daughters. We just couldn’t fit you in.” And I said, it’s — you know, one thing is never give up. So I said to him, “It’s really too bad you have a program for sons and daughters, but not brothers or sisters.” And he said, “Let me try that one.” And he came back and I had another two — two sets of meetings. And they — they — they jammed me in with the summer MBA. So I’m a college freshman and I’m there with the HBS and Wharton MBAs doing training, and then all sorts of things. And the desk I was assigned to, his desk was — we had a 3 by 2 row, so six seats. He was directly facing me and it was a murderers’ row. On my — on my left was a Bill Troy, who was really an amazing mentor to me. He was a co-founder of a fund called Greywolf Capital. RITHOLTZ: Sure. WEINSTEIN: Next to him was Jim Zelter, who’s one of the heads of Apollo. And then on the other side, Jonathan Kolatch, the founder of Redwood. And then last but not least, a guy who was named David Tepper. But he was not the David Tepper we all know and love now, larger than life. He was — he was a distressed analyst that was working for — for a group. He wasn’t this — I can’t even imagine him, you know, the way he was then versus now. He’s — he’s an incredible superstar, one of the greatest investors of all time, and I got to work with the five of them every day for — you know, for months. RITHOLTZ: And what sort of work did they give you? Because I’ve read that Tepper used to bust your chops a little bit, WEINSTEIN: A lot, not a little bit. So he would say, “What are we paying you for? You’re here to play chess with Delucia. That’s why Goldman Sachs is paying you?” as if it was any of his business. So what — what did he do? He didn’t teach me much about the market. That I learned from some of the other guys on the desk. But I would have to get broker quotes in the morning, Murphy and Durieu or (Garvin). I’d write down where all the bond prices were. And I barely knew anything at the time. But what he would do during the course of the day, and remember this was Wall Street in the early ‘90s, he — they would make bets. So he would yell over at Jim Zelter, “How many — how many synagogues do you think there are in Montana?” And Zelter would say, “Not more than three.” And he would say, “I’m — I’m going to buy three. Boaz, go to the library and figure it out.” And this was — this was pre-Internet. So you want to know how many synagogues there are in Montana, it’s going to be a lot of work. And so I would settle that bet. I would settle where interest rates ever negative. They were briefly during World War II. I would settle, you know, bets of all kinds. And in the meantime, I would also learn a lot through osmosis and by asking questions. So it was just a marvelous experience. And I have a million stories about it, so we’ll see if we have time for it. RITHOLTZ: So — so the Salomon Brothers version of gambling was “Liar’s Poker” played with dollar bills. At Goldman, it was a trivia contest for random, unknown facts? WEINSTEIN: You know, traders like to bet and — RITHOLTZ: Sure. WEINSTEIN: And some of the obscure bets need to be settled, and there was no Internet. So — RITHOLTZ: And you were the final word. They — they trusted you to say — what — what Boaz says, that’s what goes. WEINSTEIN: I — I don’t even remember if I had to show evidence or not. But I was — I was asked to do all sorts of things. And along the way, I asked dozens of questions a day. And I think that’s really important for anyone who was going to have an internship on Wall Street is that there are things you can do to annoy the people around you. But one of them is not asking too many decent questions about markets. That’s — that’s the only way you’re going to get to where you want to be. And actually, I think it will impress the people around you. RITHOLTZ: So let’s talk a little bit about your time trading at Deutsche Bank. Before the great financial crisis, you allegedly made profits in 40 out of 44 quarters. How did you manage to be so consistent? WEINSTEIN: I think there are a lot of investors who if you look at how they did in that timeframe, so let’s say the late ‘90s to the Lehman Brothers, the markets really were a lot easier than they — and less competitive. There were thousands of fewer hedge funds. And we were — we were relatively consistent because there also was a lot of edge in credit derivatives, credit derivatives being synthetic bonds or insurance contracts. You can refer to them any number of ways. But how to think about how to price them, mispricing in credit derivatives against equity derivatives, some of those things were really again not well understood. And I think Deutsche allowing me to trade those relationships trading out of the money puts on a stock, compared to hedging them with a bond, which is not as crazy as it sounds, is something that I think gave us a big leg up and an ability to look across markets and find relative value. And so, we were — we were consistent. We were particularly profitable when markets were volatile, up until Lehman Brothers, which is where we had two of our four down quarters. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) RITHOLTZ: That’s volatility writ large. So you’re looking for medium — low to medium amount of volatility. Once it spikes to very high levels, suddenly, all the correlations start to fail. Or why does that degree of volatility affect trading? WEINSTEIN: It was really so specific to Lehman failing as a counterparty. So because I was inside of a bank, if you were — whether it’s interest rate swaps, or credit swaps, you were part of a daisy chain, where you buy protection on General Electric or IBM from Morgan Stanley, who buys it from Lehman. And these hundreds of thousands of swaps would remain on the books. So even if you bought and sold something, instead of being out of the trade, you would have two swaps on. And so, when Lehman Brothers failed, we had enormous exposure to them as a counterparty, just like all the other desks at Deutsche Bank. So that made it more challenging than being at a hedge fund. But the more volatility for our strategy is really the better. And we saw that in 2020 and we’ve seen it again this year. But Lehman Brothers was very specific because if you couldn’t trust not just Lehman to pay you — RITHOLTZ: On anybody, right? WEINSTEIN: — Merrill Lynch, you know. RITHOLTZ: Right. WEINSTEIN: And — and Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley were trading like, you know, nearly bankrupt entities, trading at credit spreads that were a thousand basis points or higher. So — so that was very specific. And I think the market has done a great job to reduce counterparty risk in the intervening 15 years. RITHOLTZ: So let’s talk a little bit about the strategies that Saba employs. One of your funds is a closed-end fund arbitrage, where companies were either trading at a substantial discount or premium to NAV, to net asset value. Tell us a little bit about trading closed-end funds. WEINSTEIN: Yeah. This is an amazing space. It’s one where the product has been around a hundred years. Berkshire Hathaway, in a sense, is a closed-end fund. And Warren Buffett, in particular, has talked to me and showed me how enamored he was with them right before he took Benjamin Graham’s class. So we’re going back to 1950, where he had two-thirds of his holdings in closed-end funds. Why are they interesting? Because you get to buy a dollar of assets for less than a dollar, and there are ways to turn it back into a dollar. So the there’s 500 of them on the New York Stock Exchange. The most venerable managers all have tons of them, whether it’s Blackrock or Blackstone or PIMCO, and Templeton. And they — sometimes because they’re not cared for, because the fees are high, because the manager is not thinking about the investor, they can slip into trading for – at discounts to NAV. So objective dollar of assets valued properly in the same way that ETFs and mutual funds are valued. You can buy a dollar for at 80, 85 cents. And if you accumulate enough of it, and if you take on an institutional approach to reading the documents, understanding the rules, as a shareholder, your rights to — to vote for a board of trustees and/or overthrow the board if they’re not doing the right thing for investors, if you buy up enough of the shares, you have a chance to make change. And we only started doing that in 2013, when they started to go to deep discounts. Some of these, Barry, had been at discounts seven, eight, nine years. They never had a day where they were not at a discount. And we’ve been able in dozens of cases to – for thousands and thousands of investors, tens of thousands, to get the discount to converge back to NAV. RITHOLTZ: So — so let’s talk about that approach. When I think of activist campaigns, I think of investors like Carl Icahn or Dan Loeb or Bill Ackman, how is your approach similar or different to their sort of activist investing campaigns? WEINSTEIN: Right. So they’re finding a company where they can make change. And that change, maybe on average, is — is quite valuable. But you can debate it. And certainly, there are examples where the impact of the activist was terrible. It may, in some cases, even led to the bankruptcy of the — of the company. In closed-end funds, it’s totally different because the medicine, the plan for how to get the fund trading to NAV works every single time. And I’ll tell you why. Because we’re not trying to remake JCPenney in the image of Apple Computer, which might or might not work or, you know, we could pick some that were fantastic successes, General Growth, to follow on with one of Ackman’s amazing longs. On the close-end fund side, if the managers were just thinking about the investor, they could literally press a button, turn it into an ETF, which they also — those same managers, Blackrock is selling ETFs by the cartload. If they change their closed-end fund into an open-ended fund, because it didn’t give investors an exit at NAV for five, six, seven years, it would immediately go to NAV, just like all ETFs are arbitrageable if they’re trading different than NAV. So they could change it to an open-ended fund. They could tender for shares at no discount. They could liquidate the fund and offer investors the chance to go into almost the exact same products, whether it’s New York munis or — or junk loans or — or energy equities, MLPs. There’s 500 closed-end funds. And there’s thousands of mutual funds and thousands of ETFs. So the ability to go from 84 to 100, you’re talking about a 20% return and maybe it’s the recapture of a loss that the investor, of course, if they knew enough, would want it every time. And the only thing standing in your way is the manager that feels like they have some God-given right for that capital to be permanent capital. And if they tender for shares, that means less AUM and less fees for them. And so there’s a huge — there’s really a huge problem where the manager is putting their own interests and the board is putting the manager’s interests ahead of the shareholders, and that’s where we come in. RITHOLTZ: So why can’t close-end funds be arbitraged the same way ETFs can? WEINSTEIN: So ETFs have a mechanism where you can create new shares if — or redeem old shares. RITHOLTZ: Right. WEINSTEIN: And so if it’s ever trading below, you could buy it and then redeem it. If it’s trading above, you could sell it and then create it and add — always add NAV. So there’s that mechanism that tethers ETFs to NAV. Closed-end funds, it’s like a stock. You know, you may think IBM is worth $200 a share. But you’ve got to find somebody to sell to you. You can’t call Armonk, New York and ask IBM to give you the 200 bucks. So — so the — things can trade at a big discount for very, very long time and even at a big premium. And so — but there’s a very simple fix, which is they don’t have to figure out some newfangled way to run the company. They just need to offer liquidity like a mutual fund or an ETF that would get it back to NAV. And so, we’ve basically won all of the challenges we’ve had because we’re on the side of right. We get letters from octogenarian saying, “I was in this fund for 15 years. I never thought I would see the light of day to get out in NAV.” And we’re not doing it for them, but at the same time we’re doing it for our investors. It is a great joy to be able to, in certain market environments, pick through the closed-end fund space and find literally dollars trading for 82 cents, that you can pick up the 82 cents and turn it back into a dollar. And that’s true even today. RITHOLTZ: So markets are efficient, they’re just not that efficient. WEINSTEIN: Well, yeah, you need someone to come along and say, “I’m going to change that.” And the closed-end fund space really was lacking an institutional manager to do that in size. Because institutions are also – that our activists are also beholden to those same managers. They need BlackRock’s votes when they’re an activist. So they — so they might say, “I’m not going to upset the Apple Cart and annoy BlackRock to the benefit of thousands of investors. And our investors, if I need to come to BlackRock on my regular way, activism, when they’re a big shareholder. So you have a little bit of, you know, people don’t necessarily want to fight the big asset managers, but we were very happy to. We’re not — we’re not activist in any other place. And this is one of the best arbs that — that you can find. And there’s only one entity that suffers. It’s the asset manager that goes from managing $7 trillion to managing $6.99 trillion. Thousands of investors get to make 15%, 20% gains that they would never otherwise get. RITHOLTZ: Really, really interesting. Let’s talk about one of the most popular investment vehicles out there, SPACs, Special Purpose Acquisition Companies. Saba has about $5.5 billion in that space, is that right? That sounds like a lot of money. You’re the fifth largest SPAC holder, along with peers like Citadel, Millennium. D.E. Shaw. Your approach is different than how retail investors look at SPACs. Tell us a little bit about what you guys do. WEINSTEIN: Yeah. SPACs are this amazing thing and that it’s all over the press whenever there’s an acquisition. It’s also critiqued, sometimes maligned for being a product that — that ought not to exist in the — in the number of offerings that exist. So — so in the last year, there’s generally been a negative 10 tinge to the — to the coverage about SPACs. And they’ve performed poorly. They’ve performed poorly when they de-SPAC. So what’s important to understand with SPAC is the lifecycle, that they start by being extraordinarily safe. And by that, I mean, when the IPO happens, the money is taken into trust. The manager doesn’t touch it. And the trust must buy U.S. T-bills. So from time zero to the day that they are converting into the company that they’re taking public, you have the risk of T-bills, but you have some mark-to-market risk as sentiment goes up and down. That sometimes that $10 that you pay for at IPO, you know, back in the heady days of, let’s say, ARK, when ARK was trading at 150, and flying cars were — you know, were exciting people’s imaginations. Even before the SPAC manager would find someone, that $10 traded $11 or $12, or even higher. Today, you can find — and for the last year, you can find many billions offered at a discount. Instead of $10, you get to pay something like $9.75. And one year later, or even 10 months later, that $9.75, for certain, will be worth $10. So on top of that, you also get the yield that is in T-bills, which right now is another 140 basis points. And so you could put together something, where if you screened for SPACs and you looked for high quality managers, you can still find a 4.5% return, which is a certain return. But on top of that, in case they find a company to buy, and the market gets very excited about it, whether it’s electric vehicles, or media companies, or whatever it may be, you are a stockholder and you don’t have to take only $10 back if it goes to $15, or to the moon. That’s — that’s your profit. And so I — I really look at SPACs like an incredibly valuable product in these times we’re worried about inflation, because it’s a guaranteed return in the fours, plus an equity option for free. And it’s really hard to find something that’s safe. In the history of SPACs, back way before, you know, the environment today where they’re actually quite a bit safer, not one time in history could you not get back trust value. You always have trust value to look to, and trust value is U.S. T-bills. RITHOLTZ: What happens if the announcement comes out of the acquisition and the public doesn’t like it, and the SPAC trades at a discount? There is a subsequent vote about that eventually, isn’t there? WEINSTEIN: There is a vote. You can vote for the SPAC to — to do the deal or against, but that is even a separable question from can you vote to get your money back? So you could say, “I support the deal, but give me my trust value back,” which would be your $10, let’s say, plus the yield that you made on the T-bills. So you always have the ability to get your money back. And so then, as an investor, I have to think about, well, how – the market is not just driven by the way things ought to be. Even though it’s T-bills, if there’s 600 of these running around trying to find companies to buy, there can be a period where because of losses one is suffering in their portfolio, you might dump your SPACs and put pressure on that market. So you to think about how cheap could SPACs get. Even if they’re basically the safest investment I know of, T-bills in a box and with a 10 — 10-month, 11-month average life, you know you’re going to get your money back. But in the meantime, you have to be ready for some mark-to-market pain. RITHOLTZ: Let’s talk about tai.....»»

Category: blogSource: TheBigPictureMay 16th, 2022

Florida Republicans Want to Punish Disney for Opposing the ‘Don’t Say Gay Law.’ Here’s What That Means for the Company

Having benefited from limited red tape and exemptions from certain taxes for 55 years within the special taxing district, Disney—and quite possibly local taxpayers—could lose out from the district’s dissolution. Florida’s Senate passed a bill this week that would effectively punish Disney for its opposition to the state’s new “Don’t Say Gay” law. The measure proposes to strip the company of protections within a special Orlando-area taxing district that have allowed it to self-govern its theme park for nearly six decades. Republican Governor Ron DeSantis introduced the bill in what was widely seen as retaliation against Disney’s opposition to what critics are calling a discriminatory legislative measure, as it bans LGBTQ teaching in primary schools. The new legislative proposal would be a blow to Disney, since its theme park and resort have benefited from limited red tape and exemptions from certain taxes for 55 years within the special taxing district. It could also hurt local taxpayers, who could lose out from the district’s dissolution. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] Why is Gov. DeSantis targeting Disney? Disney angered Republican lawmakers when the company’s chief executive, Bob Chapek, said in a shareholder meeting March 9 that he had called DeSantis to “express our disappointment and concern that if legislation becomes law, it could be used to unfairly target gay lesbian, nonbinary and transgender kids and families.” Chapek also announced that Disney would review the political donations it makes to Republican lawmakers who supported the bill. Read more: Florida Just Passed the “Don’t Say Gay” Bill. Here’s What It Means for Kids The proposed law highlights the confluence of two national trends: A deeper involvement of companies in social-political discourse and a growing eagerness among lawmakers to strike blows against corporations with legislative measures. As more socially-conscious younger generations demand higher levels of corporate responsibility, employers like Disney are forced to balance their needs with the conservative views of some Republican lawmakers. Last year, after Texas enacted a law banning abortions after six weeks of pregnancy, Citigroup offered to cover the travel expenses of employees traveling out of state for abortions. One lawmaker in the state threatened to introduce legislation that would prevent the bank from underwriting municipal bonds in the state. Here’s what to know about the bill and what it means for Disney: What would the legislation do to Disney? The bill, passed by the Florida Senate 23 votes to 16, would dissolve Disney’s special taxing district in June 2023. Known as the Reedy Creek Improvement District, the 40-square-mile zone allows the company to run its resort like a municipal government. The status allows Disney to circumvent some state and county regulations when constructing, expanding, or improving its parks, and allows it to run its own emergency services in the district. It’s also exempt from many taxes and fees, which saves the company tens of millions of dollars a year. Stripping Reedy Creek of its special status would remove the Disney resort’s autonomy and likely introduce legislative complications that the company has been able to avoid for 55 years. Disney contributed the bulk of the $153 million in tax revenue and fees collected in the district over the last fiscal year. It’s unclear exactly how much the proposed legislation could cost the company if passed, but it would also have an impact on local taxpayers. Reedy Creek’s governance would become the responsibility of Orange County and Osceola County. This means that taxpayers could be saddled with millions of dollars in bond debt taken on by Reedy Creek in recent years. Democratic state lawmakers say the interest on those bonds equates to an additional tax burden of $580 per person for the 1.7 million residents of Orange and Osceola counties. How has Disney responded? Disney’s revenue growth is at stake with the possible loss of special tax district status, as the company would not only lose autonomy but its expenses would undoubtedly increase. Following a pandemic-induced dent in sales, Disney’s theme parks are enjoying a boom. As lockdown restrictions eased, attendance at the company’s parks grew throughout 2021. A hike in ticket prices sent revenue for the final quarter of last year up to $7.2 billion, compared to $3.6 billion in the same period of 2020. The increase helped the parks attendance generate a third of Disney’s $22 billion in quarterly revenue. If the new bill is passed into law and the Reedy Creek district is dissolved, the company could apply to reestablish it. At the time of writing, Disney has not yet addressed the issue publicly. Disney did not respond to TIME’s request for comment. What could happen next? Florida’s Republican-led House is expected to vote on the measure on April 21. The legislation would be a big win for Gov. DeSantis, who has been stoking culture war issues ahead of a potential 2024 presidential run. “If Disney wants to pick a fight, they chose the wrong guy,” DeSantis wrote in a recent campaign fundraising email......»»

Category: topSource: timeApr 21st, 2022

Elon Musk Should Have Been Stopped Long Before He Came for Twitter

Is Elon Musk serious about buying Twitter? Given his track record for trolling and half-baked provocations, I doubt it. Dubious offers happen, but CEOs of public companies with multibillion-dollar market caps don’t typically propose them. Musk often uses Twitter to deflect attention from serious negative news about him and his companies and now he says… Is Elon Musk serious about buying Twitter? Given his track record for trolling and half-baked provocations, I doubt it. Dubious offers happen, but CEOs of public companies with multibillion-dollar market caps don’t typically propose them. Musk often uses Twitter to deflect attention from serious negative news about him and his companies and now he says he wants to own the social megaphone. I think Musk’s tender offer to buy Twitter will fall apart because everyone, including government regulators, should be on to his games. Twitter, as we know, adopted a poison pill defense against Musk on April 15. The move makes it nearly impossible for him to buy enough Twitter shares on his own to gain control. Musk could try to fight it in court, but “no court has overturned a poison pill in the last 30 years,” according to Columbia University law professor John C. Coffee Jr. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] Even so, Musk would have a much harder time making a pitch for Twitter if the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission had properly sidelined him the last time he attempted such antics. When the SEC settled with Musk in 2018 for casually tweeting about taking Tesla private at $420, the commission ordered him to step down as Tesla’s chairman but allowed him to continue as CEO. Musk continued to be Tesla’s largest shareholder, with approximately 21.7% of Tesla’s outstanding shares at that time. Former SEC Chairman Jay Clayton said Musk’s penalty “reaffirms an important principle embodied in our disclosure-based federal securities laws. Specifically, when companies and corporate insiders make statements, they must act responsibly, including endeavoring to ensure the statements are not false or misleading and do not omit information a reasonable investor would consider important in making an investment decision.” After the settlement, Musk’s ownership share grew — to 23.1% by the end of June 2021, according to Tesla’s proxy. If the SEC had barred him from the CEO job he’d perhaps own fewer Tesla shares that he could use as collateral for a Twitter takeover. Musk was able to exercise a significant portion of vested stock options in the last half of 2021 as Tesla CEO, reaping billions in profits. He later sold enough to bring his ownership percentage down to about 17% by the end of the year. When he exercises the rest of the stock options he’s been awarded since 2018, he could bring the percentage ownership back up to nearly 24%. Missed opportunities The SEC should have also barred Musk from serving as an officer or director of any public company, a so-called D&O bar, back in 2018. Since financial penalties have minimal impact on multi-billionaires, in its original complaint the SEC originally sought a full D&O bar against Musk. The agency does so in more than 70% of its cases involving individual defendants. In the end, Musk’s lawyers helped him avoid that penalty, and regulators relented, perhaps because of Musk’s unusually close association with Tesla. If regulators had taken those punitive steps, Musk’s options for acquiring another public company like Twitter would be severely limited. Afterall, waging a proxy fight–one that starts with Musk taking a board seat and then gaining control by winning friends and influencing other board members who then vote him Ruler for Life–doesn’t seem to be his style. In fact, he quickly changed his mind about taking a Twitter board seat when it was offered. When Musk settled with the SEC in August 2018 over his unserious bid to take Tesla private, more than 22 million people, including journalists and media organizations, followed him on Twitter. Since then, his cult of personality has exploded. He now has more than 82 million Twitter followers and continues to bypass traditional media channels by obsessively tweeting to defend himself or clap back at perceived enemies like the SEC, journalists, and Tesla whistleblowers. News coverage of Musk, his companies, and his crypto investments, is now primarily driven by his tweets. Am considering taking Tesla private at $420. Funding secured. — Elon Musk (@elonmusk) August 7, 2018 Because the SEC, and Department of Justice, didn’t stifle Musk’s shenanigans when they had the chance, he’s been free as a bird to tweet long and loud about whatever multi-billion dollar deal he’s hatching up. The lax penalties meant that he never stopped tweeting dismissively about government regulators, the settlement, and its constraints. He repeatedly risks contempt charges over his disputes with the SEC over those 2018 tweets. Musk’s lawyer even accused the SEC of harassing his client with repeated enforcement activity since the SEC’s sanctions, according to this Tesla filing. Causes for concern According to the Wall Street Journal, the DOJ and SEC are now investigating stock sales by Elon Musk and his brother Kimbal, who serves on the Tesla board. The investigation was again prompted by a Musk tweet. The day before brother Elon tweeted a poll asking whether he should sell 10% of his holdings Kimbal Musk sold $108 million of his own shares. Musk also began selling shortly after the tweet. Those investigations come amid other legal problems for Musk and his companies, including a judgment of racial discrimination requiring Tesla to pay $15 million to a former contractor, a California lawsuit alleging discrimination at a Tesla factory, and a Department of Justice investigation at SpaceX over alleged discriminatory hiring practices. Even some deals that Musk has fully consummated haven’t gone well. With Tesla’s 2016 acquisition of Solar City, analysts didn’t see a strategic or business rationale at the time. Shareholders also objected to what they believed was a non-arm’s length transaction mired in the appearance of conflicts of interest because the two companies were entangled at a personal and business level for Musk. Shareholders eventually sued, claiming Musk coerced the company’s board into the deal. They asked a Delaware court to order Musk to pay Tesla $13 billion in damages. A decision in the case is due soon. In his Twitter bid Musk repeats his 2018 intention “to retain as many shareholders as is allowed by the law in a private company”. How was he going to do that for Tesla? A “special purpose fund” would enable any shareholder to retain its Tesla investment. Ann Lipton, a law professor at Tulane University wrote in 2018 that wouldn’t work and nothing has changed since. Word on the street Twitter investor sentiment is on a roller coaster, up and down with each new Musk tweet or announcement in the last two weeks. Twitter’s stock jumped up over $50 with news of Musk’s initial 9.1% stake and then fell back to $45.08 on April 14, closing significantly below Musk’s offer of $54.20 a share before the extended holiday weekend. Twitter opened slightly higher at the start of this week but still nearly 15% below Musk’s bid. By midday Tuesday it was sinking again with ongoing doubts about Musk’s funding and the news that several private equity firms were contemplating a stake, but most as a “white knight” to rescue Twitter from Musk. Twitter users, what Musk has referred to as a “de facto town square”, are arguably an important arbiter of the viability of the deal. Sentiment analysis using Google Trends, Brand24, and Social Search on the key dates of the Twitter acquisition campaign, shows the “de facto town square” doesn’t believe Musk either. Negative sentiment overtook positive on April 9 when Musk decided not to join the Twitter board and then spiked dramatically negative on April 14 when he admitted he was not sure he’ll “actually be able to acquire it.” Dennis Howlett, a Twitter early adopter and retired co-founder of Diginomica, is fed up. “The SEC needs to rein in this man’s child-like behavior. His actions have made Twitter toxic. No right-minded investor would try to buy it now.” As for me, I agree with historian and culture critic Ruth Ben-Ghiat, who said in a recent interview that there’s only one way to stop a personality cult that repeatedly ignores the rule of law. “It takes prosecution and conviction to deflate their personality cults.”.....»»

Category: topSource: timeApr 20th, 2022

Twitter Board Adopts "Poison Pill" To Thwart Musk Takeover, Exposing Itself To "Titanic" Legal Liability

Twitter Board Adopts "Poison Pill" To Thwart Musk Takeover, Exposing Itself To "Titanic" Legal Liability As was widely expected and reported in the aftermath of Elon Musk going hostile on Friday morning, on Saturday morning Twitter adopted a measure that will shield it from hostile acquisition bids in a desperate step to prevent billionaire Elon Musk’s offer to take the company private and make it a bastion of free speech. The board set up a shareholder rights plan, also known as a "poison pill" which as we clarified yesterday for the benefit of the company's overly dramatic, overly literal and overly snowflake employees, is not literal... Uhm, someone should probably advise employees "poison pill" is not literal... — zerohedge (@zerohedge) April 14, 2022 ... and which is exercisable if a party - read Elon Musk - acquires 15% of the stock without prior approval, lasting for one year (if the pill had expired the day after the midterms it may have been a bit too obvious). The plan seeks to ensure that anyone taking control of Twitter through open market accumulation pays all shareholders an appropriate control premium, according to a statement Friday. For a company that has struggled greatly with value creation - on Friday TWTR stock closed at $45.08, or 18 cents higher than where it closed on its first day as a public company, or $44.90 - a poison pill defense strategy allows existing shareholders the right to purchase additional shares at a discount, effectively diluting the ownership interest of the hostile party. Poison pills are common among companies under fire from activist investors or in hostile takeover situations. Under Twitter’s plan, each right will entitle its holder to purchase, at the then-current exercise price, additional shares of common stock having a then-current market value of twice the exercise price of the right. Twitter enacted the plan to buy time, Bloomberg reported citing a person familiar with the matter, although it wasn't clear time for what: at $54.20, Musk's offer represents a premium to the historical TWTR price since IPO on 92% of the time. And since the board is about to get bombarded with a barrage of lawsuits claiming it violated its fiduciary duty, the board also said it wants to be able to analyze and negotiate any deal, and may still accept it (spoiler alert: it won't). Twitter’s board met Thursday to review Musk’s proposal - which according to the world's richest man was his “best and final” offer and who had already accrued a stake of more than 9% in Twitter since earlier this year - to determine if it was in the best interest of the company and all of its shareholders. Included in Musk’s securities filing disclosing the bid Thursday morning was a script of text he sent to the company. In it he said, “it’s a high price and your shareholders will love it.” Hilariously, one prominent - and former - investor said the offer was too low and the market reaction appeared to agree. Saudi Arabia’s Prince Alwaleed bin Talal said the deal doesn’t “come close to the intrinsic value” of the popular social media platform. Which is, well, hilarious since as we showed yesterday, it appears the Prince no longer has direct ownership of even one share of Twitter stock. Speaking later Thursday at a TED conference, Musk said he wasn’t sure he “will actually be able to acquire it.” He added that his intent was to also retain “as many shareholders as is allowed by the law,” rather than keeping sole ownership of the company himself. After initially surging, Twitter shares dropped 1.7% in New York on Thursday, reflecting the market’s view that the deal is likely to be rejected or to fall through. Musk first disclosed his Twitter stake on April 4, making him the largest individual investor. At the TED conference, he indicated that he has a Plan B if Twitter’s board rejects his offer. He declined to elaborate. But in his filing earlier in the day, he said he would rethink his investment if the bid failed. “If the deal doesn’t work, given that I don’t have confidence in management nor do I believe I can drive the necessary change in the public market, I would need to reconsider my position as a shareholder,” said Musk. * * * Previewing the poison pilll defense, on Thursday, Cameron Winklevoss, founder of the Gemini cryptocurrency exchange, tweeted (of course) that “Twitter is considering a poison pill to thwart @elonmusk’s offer." In response, Musk said that a “poison pill” move would be a "breach" of the board's fiduciary duty and could expose Twitter’s board to “titanic” legal liability. If the current Twitter board takes actions contrary to shareholder interests, they would be breaching their fiduciary duty. The liability they would thereby assume would be titanic in scale. — Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 14, 2022 Winklevoss alleged in his tweet that, by adopting the poison pill tactic, Twitter was demonstrating its commitment to preserving the status quo even if it has a negative impact on existing shareholders. “They would rather self-immolate than give up their censorship programs. This shows you how deeply committed they are to Orwellian control of the narratives and global discourse. Scary,” he wrote. Twitter has repeatedly suppressed and "shadowbanned" conservative viewpoints, allegations the company has repeatedly denied. Adam Candeub, a law professor at Michigan State University, said that Twitter’s board could face legal consequences if they turn down an offer that’s financially lucrative to shareholders. “Twitter’s owned by shareholders, and the directors have to act in a way that’s in their best interests, not in the way that allows them to keep control of the corporation,” Candeub told The Epoch Times. “If they turn down a very favorable price, there will be dereliction of their legal duty, and there could be lots of legal consequences.” * * * Now that his original plan has been thwarted, Musk has said that he has a "Plan B" in stock for the company although he did not disclose what it is. As Mark Cuban pointed out yesterday... Want to see the whole world lose their shit ? Get Peter Thiel to partner with Elon and raise the bid for Twitter — Mark Cuban (@mcuban) April 14, 2022 ... one possible response is for Elon to be joined by one or more like-minded, anti-censorship investors such as Peter Thiel who either build up stakes through the poison pill limit in the process making a management and board replacement by proxy vote the simple outcome, or they just raise the takeover price to a level that even the woke Twitter board can not reject. In the end, however, the only question is how dedicated is Musk to control Twitter, because if he really wants it, he will get it. Tyler Durden Fri, 04/15/2022 - 13:21.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytApr 15th, 2022

U.S. “Say On Pay” Proposals Face Opposition

As U.S. “say on pay” proposals face mounting opposition year-on-year, investors are making clear that they expect U.S. companies to enhance their compensation-related disclosure. Say On Pay Proposals Drop In 2021, average support for S&P 500 “say on pay” proposals dropped to 88.9% from 90.3% and 89.7% in 2020 and 2019, respectively. Last year, 17 “say […] As U.S. “say on pay” proposals face mounting opposition year-on-year, investors are making clear that they expect U.S. companies to enhance their compensation-related disclosure. Say On Pay Proposals Drop In 2021, average support for S&P 500 “say on pay” proposals dropped to 88.9% from 90.3% and 89.7% in 2020 and 2019, respectively. Last year, 17 “say on pay” proposals failed to win majority support from shareholders, compared to nine and 10 the previous two years, according to data from Insightia’s Voting module. if (typeof jQuery == 'undefined') { document.write(''); } .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles .af-body.af-standards input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get Our Activist Investing Case Study! Get the entire 10-part series on our in-depth study on activist investing in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or print it out to read anywhere! Sign up below! (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q1 2022 hedge fund letters, conferences and more [In 2021] we saw increased failures on 'say on pay', particularly among companies within the S&P 500," Brian Valerio, vice-president in the proxy solicitation group at Alliance Advisors, told Insightia in an interview. "The reasons for the failures were diverse, but some common themes emerged, with shareholders strongly opposing disconnects between pay and performance, adjustments to long-term incentive plans (LTIP), and overall pay magnitude." If the first few months of 2022 are any indication, pay revolts are likely to continue. Average support for S&P 500 "say on pay" proposals dropped to 85.1% in the first two months of 2022. Glass Lewis endorsed 80.8% of remuneration reports over the same period, compared to 85.7% and 87.1% in 2020 and 2021. Opposition towards executive pay packages has become so significant that the SEC is considering making amendments to pay disclosure policies. On January 27, the U.S. regulator reopened the comment period on proposed "pay versus performance" rules, which form part of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010. Investors have flocked to share their thoughts with the U.S. regulator on what form mandatory remuneration disclosure should take, but the question remains as to whether the SEC will prioritize investor needs in its new policy? A Difference Of Opinion Under the SEC's current policy, U.S. issuers are required to provide shareholders with an annual advisory vote on their executive compensation plans. Companies must disclose their total shareholder return (TSR) and CEO-median employee pay ratios in both their annual reporting and proxy statements. Emerging growth companies, companies with a public float of less than $700 million, and foreign private issuers are exempt from the CEO-median employee pay ratio disclosure requirement. The U.S. regulator's proposed changes to Dodd-Frank Act would require issuers to disclose additional performance measures beyond TSR, including pre-tax net income and a tabular list of the five most important performance measures used by a company to determine compensation actually paid. SEC Chair Gary Gensler said the proposed rule would "strengthen the transparency and quality of executive compensation disclosure," providing shareholders with the information they need to evaluate a company’s executive compensation policies. Not all SEC commissioners were in favor of the proposed amendments. Republican Commissioner Hester Peirce argued that these supplemental requirements would "increase the burdens of public company reporting but seem likely to be of dubious use to investors." Shareholder comment letters, however, suggest different. Proposed compensation disclosure amendments will be both rigorous and far-reaching if investors have anything to say about it. In its comment letter to the SEC,  the Council of Institutional Investors's (CII) argued that in order for the regulator to "fully capture" the original intent of the Dodd-Frank Act's provision, the final rule must require companies to disclose all the quantitative metrics and thresholds they use when determining named executive officer (NEO) pay. The American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) similarly called for disclosure of quantitative performance metrics, as well as numerical formulas that compensation committees use to set executive pay, while Ohio Public Employees Retirement System (OPERS) seeks disclosure of individualized executive officer compensation to discern whether companies are taking suitable steps to "retain talented non-executive officers." ESG Joins The Debate Investors were also eager to tout the importance of ESG metrics, especially those related to a company's climate strategy. As You Sow, Oxfam America, and Ceres urged the SEC to mandate disclosure of non-financial performance metrics. According to a 2021 report by consultancy firm Semler Brossy, 57% of the S&P 500 companies included ESG metrics in either their annual or LTIP between March 2020 and 2021. As such, Ceres argued that executives "should be incentivized via clear, transparent, and publicly disclosed compensation packages, where achieving sustainability goals has a meaningful impact on the proportion of compensation awarded." "This year, executive compensation resolutions will face even more investor pressure to embrace ESG-related measurements, in particular, with climate change metrics," Domenic Brancati, global chief operating officer at Georgeson, told Insightia in an interview. "It is especially important to keep investors apprised of the progress of various ESG initiatives such as the reduction of emissions, new challenges, and mitigating factors that may cause misalignment or a change in criteria." Since the appointment of new SEC staff, following President Biden's election, the U.S. regulator's policy changes have acted largely in investor interests. The SEC no longer permits the exclusion of shareholder proposals from proxy statements that can be considered "socially significant" and its recently announced climate change policy will only further aid investors in their efforts to accelerate corporate engagement with ESG. As such, it wouldn't be surprising to see investor desires once again become reality, whenever "pay for performance" rule amendments are finalized. Updated on Apr 15, 2022, 10:51 am (function() { var sc = document.createElement("script"); sc.type = "text/javascript"; sc.async = true;sc.src = "//mixi.media/data/js/95481.js"; sc.charset = "utf-8";var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(sc, s); }()); window._F20 = window._F20 || []; _F20.push({container: 'F20WidgetContainer', placement: '', count: 3}); _F20.push({finish: true});.....»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkApr 15th, 2022

Julian Singer Boosts Catalyst Biosciences Inc. Stake, Upping Ante In Proxy Fight

Julian Singer, the son of famed activist investor Paul Singer of Elliott Management, said his JDS1 fund boosted its ownership stake in Catalyst Biosciences Inc (NASDAQ:CBIO) by 53% to 2,014,832 from 1,312,532. In a 13D filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, Singer, under the corporate name of JDS1, said he bought the shares […] Julian Singer, the son of famed activist investor Paul Singer of Elliott Management, said his JDS1 fund boosted its ownership stake in Catalyst Biosciences Inc (NASDAQ:CBIO) by 53% to 2,014,832 from 1,312,532. In a 13D filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, Singer, under the corporate name of JDS1, said he bought the shares because he and a group of other investors on May 9 said they planned to solicit proxies at the company’s 2022 annual meeting. if (typeof jQuery == 'undefined') { document.write(''); } .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles .af-body.af-standards input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get The Full Walter Schloss Series in PDF Get the entire 10-part series on Walter Schloss in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues. (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q1 2022 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Singer and the group nominated three directors, Shelly C. Lombard, Matthew Stecker, and Igor Volshteyn. It also wants Catalyst to declassify its board and change its bylaws to elect directors every year. The shareholders are upset that Catalyst, on May 23, disclosed its acquisition of Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc. but failed to provide adequate transparency. In the filing, Singer said, "the issuer's announcement of the asset sale comes nearly three years after JDS1, in its July 22, 2019, letter, first called upon the issuer to retain a financial adviser to assist it in exploring strategic alternatives, when the shares' closing price was $8.32 per share. While the per-share price of the Shares had traded up since the issuer announced the Asset Sale, based on the per-share closing price of $1.34 on May 24, 2022, the per-share price of the Shares is still down approximately 84% since July 22, 2019, when JDS1 first called upon the issuer to explore strategic alternatives." The group said it believes that absent a proxy fight, there is no way to hold the board accountable for the roughly 67% share price fall over the last year.Singer said he his allies strongly believe that most of the Catalyst's cash and cash equivalents should be distributed to stockholders, and he urged the company to set a date for its annual meeting and a vote on their proposals. "Accordingly, Singer said, "unless the issuer moves quickly to publicly commit to an expeditious distribution of the cash and cash equivalents on its pro forma balance sheet to stockholders, save for whatever it needs to retain to provide for contingent liabilities and administrative expenses. (Our) plans for a proxy contest at the 2022 Annual Meeting remain unchanged." Besides Singer, institutional sentiment in CBIO is generally negative. Fintel's ownership accumulation score is 14.87, which indicates significant selling by institutions and funds. The number of funds reporting position in CBIO declined by 8% in the last quarter, and average portfolio allocations declined by a whopping 79%. Total shares owned by institutions reported in 13F and NPORT filings declined by 36% (excluding 13D and 13G filings). Article by Greg Morcroft, Fintel Updated on May 26, 2022, 2:24 pm (function() { var sc = document.createElement("script"); sc.type = "text/javascript"; sc.async = true;sc.src = "//mixi.media/data/js/95481.js"; sc.charset = "utf-8";var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(sc, s); }()); window._F20 = window._F20 || []; _F20.push({container: 'F20WidgetContainer', placement: '', count: 3}); _F20.push({finish: true});.....»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkMay 26th, 2022

ESG Crusade On Backburner As World Grapples With Actual Energy Crisis

ESG Crusade On Backburner As World Grapples With Actual Energy Crisis By Tsvetana Paraskova of OilPrice.com The ESG investment momentum has run up against energy supply disruptions since the Russian invasion of Ukraine.  As shareholders at the biggest energy companies are asked to vote - again - on various climate resolutions, many investors continue to call for more transparent and detailed plans for how firms intend to align with the Paris Agreement goals. Others, such as the world’s top asset manager, BlackRock, expect to support fewer shareholder proposals this AGM season compared to 2021 as it finds that climate-related shareholder proposals have become unduly more prescriptive and micromanaging.  Sure, large institutional investors are not abandoning the ESG trend or insistence that companies need to be prepared to change as the energy transition progresses. But some, including BlackRock, acknowledge the current energy market pressures and the need for investment in both traditional and renewable energy sources.  Fund managers want companies to double down on the energy transition, which has become an even more urgent topic of conversation after the Russian war in Ukraine and Europe’s subsequent struggles to cut—and ultimately eliminate—its dependence on Russian fossil fuels.  Yet, energy security and economic stability in the short term appear to override the longer-term drive to accelerate the transition toward green energy sources.  Investors are also looking to shift their focus onto actual outcomes instead of on simplified ESG ratings that are based on policy statements.  BlackRock: Investment In Both Traditional And Renewable Energy Needed  BlackRock said in early May that “many of the climate-related shareholder proposals coming to a vote in 2022 are more prescriptive or constraining on companies and may not promote long-term shareholder value.” “Importantly, in the context of voting on shareholder proposals regarding climate-related risk, companies face particular challenges in the near term, given under-investment in both traditional and renewable energy, exacerbated by current geo-political tensions,” BlackRock Investment Stewardship (BIS) said.  “This set of dynamics will — at least in the short- and medium-term — drive a need for companies that invest in both traditional and renewable sources of energy and we believe the companies that do that effectively will produce attractive returns for our clients.”  That’s why BlackRock is likely to back proportionately fewer climate-related resolutions this proxy season than in 2021, as it does not consider them to be consistent with its clients’ long-term financial interests, the asset manager said.  Doubling Down On Energy Transition  Still, investors are not backing down on seeking active engagement with companies and demanding detailed, credible energy-transition plans.  “The way out of the situation we currently find ourselves in is not to abandon the energy transition but to double down,” Nick Stansbury, head of climate solutions at the UK’s largest fund manager, Legal & General Investment Management (LGIM), told the Financial Times.  Last month, LGIM said in its ‘Active Ownership’ report for 2021 that “We believe voting against a company is a powerful tool to express our views and concerns on key thematic issues such as climate change and diversity, as part of our ‘engagement with consequences’ approach.”  LGIM welcomed in its report “positive steps” taken by ExxonMobil to commit to net-zero emissions for operated assets by 2050, as well as BP’s strengthened climate targets announced in February 2022.   “We engaged with BP’s senior executives on six occasions in 2021 as they develop their climate transition strategy to ensure alignment with Paris goals. Following constructive engagements with the company, we were pleased to learn about the recent strengthening of BP’s climate targets, announced in a press release on 8 February 2022, together with the commitment to become a net-zero company by 2050 – an ambition we expect to be shared across the oil and gas sector as we aim to progress towards a low-carbon economy.”   Change Of Focus    Investors are also increasingly looking to affect change in the companies they are invested in, rather than just picking firms with the best ESG scores on paper.  “What do ESG scores tell us about anything?” Ben Caldecott, director of the UK Centre for Greening Finance and Investment, told FT. “They are mainly measuring processes and policies — if a company has a policy in place against deforestation it will get a good score, even if it is deforesting.” Others are shifting focus to the industries that use the energy produced by oil and gas companies. For example, the Church of England Pensions Board said earlier this month that after co-leading the investor process to establish the first Net Zero Standard for the oil and gas sector, it is shifting focus this year to industry sectors.   “This will see the Board step down from leading engagement with Shell and begin co-leading engagement with Europe’s largest car manufacturers, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Renault, and Volkswagen,” the board said. “If the demand for energy doesn’t change, those companies that are supplying it won’t change. We have developed an exacting global net zero standard for the oil and gas sector, which companies that wish to retain their social license can implement. Ultimately those same companies’ ability to deliver on their targets will largely be shaped by a change in demand for oil and gas from sectors like autos, aviation and shipping” said Adam Matthews, Chief Responsible Investment Officer at the Church of England Pensions Board.    However, with energy security concerns front and center and governments prioritizing energy supply in the biggest energy market shock in decades, demand for oil and gas is set to rise in the short term, while chronic underinvestment would plague supply in the medium term.  Tyler Durden Wed, 05/25/2022 - 13:25.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeMay 25th, 2022

Futures Slide Before Fed Minutes, Dollar Jumps As China Lockdown Fears Return

Futures Slide Before Fed Minutes, Dollar Jumps As China Lockdown Fears Return Another day, another failure by markets to hold on to even the smallest overnight gains: US futures erased earlier profits and dipped as traders prepared for potential volatility surrounding the release of the Federal Reserve’s minutes which may provide insight into the central bank’s tightening path, while fears over Chinese lockdowns returned as Beijing recorded more Covid cases and the nearby port city of Tianjin locked down a city-center district. Contracts on the Nasdaq 100 and the S&P 500 were each down 0.5% at 7:30 a.m. in New York after gaining as much as 1% earlier, signaling an extension to Tuesday’s slide that followed a profit warning from Snap. In premarket trading, Nordstrom jumped 10% after raising its forecast for earnings and revenue for the coming year suggesting that the luxury consumer is doing quite fine even as most of the middle class has tapped out; analysts highlighted the department store’s exposure to higher-end customers.Meanwhile, Wendy’s surged 12% after shareholder Trian Fund Management, billionaire Nelson Peltz' investment vehicle, said it will explore a transaction that could give it control of the fast-food chain. Here are the most notable premarket movers in the US: Urban Outfitters (URBN US) shares rose as much as 5.7% in premarket trading after Nordstrom’s annual forecasts provided some relief for the beaten down retail sector. Shares rallied even as Urban Outfitters reported lower-than-expected profit and sales for the 1Q. Best Buy (BBY US) shares could be in focus as Citi cuts its price target on electronics retailer to a new Street-low of $65 from $80, saying that there continues to be “significant risk” to 2H estimates. Dick’s Sporting Goods (DKS US) sinks as much as 20% premarket after the retailer cut its year adjusted earnings per share and comparable sales guidance for the full year. Peers including Big 5 Sporting Goods, Hibbett and Foot Locker also fell after the DKS earnings release 2U Inc. (TWOU US) shares drop as much as 4.3% in US premarket trading after Piper Sandler downgraded the online educational services provider to underweight from neutral, with broker flagging growing regulatory risk. Verrica Pharma (VRCA US) shares slump as much as 61% in US premarket trading after the drug developer received an FDA Complete Response Letter for its VP-102 molluscum treatment. Shopify’s (SHOP US) U.S.-listed shares fell 0.7% in premarket trading after a second prominent shareholder advisory firm ISS joined its peer Glass Lewis to oppose the Canadian company’s plan to give CEO Tobi Lutke a special “founder share” that will preserve his voting power. Cazoo (CZOO US) shares declined 3.3% in premarket trading as Goldman Sachs initiated coverage of the stock with a neutral recommendation, saying the company is well positioned to capture the significant growth in online used car sales. CME Group (CME US Equity) may be in focus as its stock was upgraded to outperform from market perform at Oppenheimer on attractive valuation and an “appealing” dividend policy. US stocks have slumped this year, with the S&P 500 flirting with a bear market on Friday, as investors fear that the Fed’s active monetary tightening will plunge the economy into a recession: as Bloomberg notes, amid surging inflation, lackluster earnings and bleak company guidance have added to market concerns. The tech sector has been particularly in focus amid higher rates, which mean a bigger discount for the present value of future profits. The Nasdaq 100 index has tumbled to the lowest since November 2020 and its 12-month forward price-to-earnings ratio of 19.7 is the lowest since the start of the pandemic and below its 10-year average. “The consumer in the US is still showing really good signs of strength,” said Michael Metcalfe, global head of macro strategy at State Street Global Markets. “Even if there is a slowdown it’s going to be quite mild,” he said in an interview with Bloomberg Television. Meanwhile, Barclays Plc strategists including Emmanuel Cau see scope for stocks to fall further if outflows from mutual funds pick up, unless recession fears are alleviated. Retail investors have also not yet fully capitulated and “still look to be buying dips in old favorites in tech/growth,” the strategists said. "Our central scenario remains that a recession can be avoided and that geopolitical risks will moderate over the course of the year, allowing equities to move higher,” said Mark Haefele,  chief investment officer at UBS Global Wealth Management. “But recent market falls have underlined the importance of being selective and considering strategies that mitigate volatility." The Fed raised interest rates by 50 basis points earlier this month -- to a target range of 0.75% to 1% -- and Chair Jerome Powell has signaled it was on track to make similar-sized moves at its meetings in June and July. Investors are now awaiting the release of the May 3-4 meeting minutes later on Wednesday to evaluate the future path of rate hikes. However, in recent days, traders have dialed back the expected pace of Fed interest-rate increases over worse-than-expected economic data and the selloff in equities. Sales of new US homes fell more in April than economists forecast, and the Richmond Fed’s measure of business activity dropped to a two-year low. The yield on the 10-year Treasury slipped for a second day to 2.73%. “Given the risks to growth and our view that positive real rates will be unmanageable for any significant length of time, we expect the Fed to deliver less tightening in 2022 overall than it and markets currently expect,” Salman Ahmed, global head of macro and strategic asset allocation at Fidelity International, wrote in a note. In Europe, stocks pared an earlier advance but hold in the green while the dollar rallies. The Stoxx 600 gave back most of the morning’s gains with autos, financial services and travel weighing while miners and utilities outperformed. The euro slid as comments by European Central Bank officials indicated policy normalization will be gradual. The ECB is in the midst of a debate over how aggressive it should act to rein in inflation. Here are some of the most notable European movers today: SSE shares rise as much as 6.3% after strong guidance and amid reports that electricity generators are likely to escape windfall taxes being considered by the U.K. government. Air France-KLM jumps as much as 13% in Paris after falling 21% on Tuesday as the airline kicked off a EU2.26 billion rights offering. Mining and energy stocks outperform the broader market in Europe as iron ore rebounded, while oil rose after a report that showed a decline in US gasoline stockpiles. Rio Tinto gains as much as 2.3%, Anglo American +2.6%, TotalEnergies +2.8%, Equinor +3.7% Elekta rises as much as 9.3% after releasing a 4Q earnings report that beat analysts’ expectations. Torm climbs as much as 12% after Pareto initiates coverage at buy and says the company may pay out dividends equal to 40% of its market value over the next 3 years. Mercell rises as much as 104% to NOK6.13/share after recommending a NOK6.3/share offer from Spring Cayman Bidco. Luxury stocks traded lower amid rekindled Covid-19 worries in China as Beijing continued to report new infections while nearby Tianjin locked down its city center. LVMH declines as much as 1.4%, Burberry -2.6% and Hermes -1.7% Sodexo falls as much as 5.7% after the French caterer decided not to open up the capital of its benefits & rewards unit to a partner following a review of the business. Ocado slumps as much as 8% after its grocery joint venture with Marks & Spencer slashed its forecast for FY22 sales growth to low single digits, rather than around 10% guided previously. Earlier in the session, Asian stocks were steady as traders continued to gauge growth concerns and fears of a US recession. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index rose 0.1%, paring an earlier increase of as much as 0.5%, as gains in the financial sector were offset by losses in consumer names. New Zealand equities dipped on Wednesday after the central bank delivered an expected half-point interest rate hike to combat inflation. Chinese shares stabilized after the central bank and banking regulator urged lenders to boost loans as the nation grapples with ongoing Covid outbreaks. The benchmark CSI 300 Index snapped a two-day losing streak to close 0.6% higher. Asian equities have been trading sideways as the prospect of slower growth amid tighter monetary conditions, as well as China’s strict Covid policy and supply-chain disruptions, remain key overhangs for the market. In China, the country’s strict Covid policy is outweighing broad measures to support growth and keeping investors wary. Its commitment to Covid Zero means it’s all but certain to miss its economic growth target by a large margin for the first time ever. The nation’s central bank and banking regulator urged lenders to boost loans in the latest effort to shore up the battered economy. “The valuation is still nowhere near attractive and you have a number of leading indicators, whether its credit, liquidity or growth, which are not yet indicating that we want to take more risks on the market,” Frank Benzimra, head of Asia equity strategy at Societe Generale, said in a Bloomberg TV interview. He added that the preferred strategy in equities will focus on defensive plays like resources and income. Investors will get further clues on the Federal Reserve’s interest-rate policies with the release in Washington of minutes from the latest meeting on Wednesday. Concerns that the Fed’s tightening will plunge the nation into recession had spurred a sharp selloff in US shares recently. Japanese stocks ended a bumpy day lower as investors awaited minutes from the latest Federal Reserve meeting and continued to gauge the impact of China’s rising Covid cases. The Topix fell 0.1% to close at 1,876.58, while the Nikkei declined 0.3% to 26,677.80. Nintendo Co. contributed the most to the Topix Index decline, decreasing 4.3%. Out of 2,171 shares in the index, 793 rose and 1,257 fell, while 121 were unchanged. Meanwhile, Australian stocks bounced with the S&P/ASX 200 index rising 0.4% to close at 7,155.20, with banks and miners contributing the most to its move. Costa Group was the top performer after reaffirming its operating capex guidance. Chalice Mining dropped after an equity raising. In New Zealand, the S&P/NZX 50 index fell 0.7% to 11,173.37 after the RBNZ’s policy decision. The central bank raised interest rates by half a percentage point for a second straight meeting and forecast further aggressive hikes to come to tame inflation. India’s key equity indexes fell for the third consecutive session, dragged by losses in software makers as worries grow over companies’ spending on technology amid a clouded growth outlook. The S&P BSE Sensex slipped 0.6% to 53,749.26 in Mumbai, while the NSE Nifty 50 Index dropped 0.6%. The benchmark has retreated for all but four sessions this month, slipping 5.8%, dragged by Infosys, Tata Consultancy and Reliance Industries. All but two of the 19 sector sub-indexes compiled by BSE Ltd. fell on Wednesday, led by information technology stocks. Out of 30 shares in the Sensex index, 12 rose and 18 fell. The S&P BSE IT Index has lost nearly 26% this year and is trading at its lowest level since June.  In FX, the Bloomberg dollar spot index resumed rising, up 0.3% with all G-10 FX in the red against the dollar. The euro slipped and Italian bonds extended gains after comments from ECB officials. Executive board member Fabio Panetta said the ECB shouldn’t seek to raise its interest rates too far as long as the euro-area economy displays continuing signs of fragility. Board Member Olli Rehn said the ECB should raise rates to zero in autumn. The pound was steady against the dollar and gained versus the euro, paring some of its losses from Tuesday. Focus is on the long-awaited report into lockdown parties at No. 10. The BOE needs to tighten policy further to fight rising inflation, but it’s also wary of acting too quickly and risking pushing the UK into recession, according to Chief Economist Huw Pill. Sweden’s krona slumped on the back of a stronger dollar and amid data showing that consumer confidence fell to the lowest level since the global financial crisis. Yen eased as Treasury yields steadied in Asia from an overnight plunge.  China’s offshore yuan weakened for the first time in five days as Beijing recorded more Covid cases and the nearby port city of Tianjin locked down a city-center district. New Zealand dollar and sovereign yields rose after the RBNZ hiked rates by 50 basis points for a second straight meeting and forecast more aggressive tightening, with the cash rate seen peaking at 3.95% in 2023. Most emerging-market currencies also weakened against a stronger dollar as investors await minutes from the Federal Reserve’s last meeting for clues on the pace of US rate hikes.  The ruble extended its recent rally in Moscow even as Russia’s central bank moved up the date of its next interest-rate meeting by more than two weeks to stem gains in the currency with more monetary easing. Russia has been pushed closer to a potential default. US banks and individuals are barred from accepting bond payments from Russia’s government since 12:01 a.m. New York time on Wednesday, when a license that had allowed the cash to flow ended. The lira lagged most of its peers, weakening for a fourth day amid expectations that Turkey’s central bank will keep rates unchanged on Thursday even after consumer prices rose an annual 70% in April. In rates, Treasuries were steady with yields slightly richer across long-end of the curve as S&P 500 futures edge lower, holding small losses. US 10-year yields around 2.745% are slightly richer vs Tuesday’s close; long-end outperformance tightens 5s30s spread by 1.4bp on the day with 30-year yields lower by ~1bp. Bunds outperform by 2bp in 10-year sector while gilts lag slightly with no major catalyst. Focal points of US session include durable goods orders data, 5-year note auction and minutes of May 3-4 FOMC meeting. The US auction cycle resumes at 1pm ET with $48b 5-year note sale, concludes Thursday with $42b 7-year notes; Tuesday’s 2-year auction stopped through despite strong rally into bidding deadline. The WI 5-year yield at ~2.740% is ~4.5bp richer than April auction, which tailed by 0.9bp. In commodities, WTI pushed higher, heading back toward best levels of the week near $111.60. Most base metals trade in the red; LME aluminum falls 2.3%, underperforming peers. Spot gold falls roughly $10 to trade around $1,856/oz. Spot silver loses 1.1% to around. Bitcoin trades on either side of USD 30k with no real direction. Looking to the day ahead now, and central bank publications include the FOMC minutes from their May meeting and the ECB’s Financial Stability Review. Separately, we’ll hear from ECB President Lagarde, the ECB’s Rehn, Panetta, Holzmann, de Cos and Lane, BoJ Governor Kuroda, Fed Vice Chair Brainard and the BoE’s Tenreyro. Otherwise, data releases from the US include preliminary April data on durable goods orders and core capital goods orders. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures little changed at 3,942.75 STOXX Europe 600 up 0.4% to 433.41 MXAP little changed at 163.41 MXAPJ up 0.3% to 531.42 Nikkei down 0.3% to 26,677.80 Topix little changed at 1,876.58 Hang Seng Index up 0.3% to 20,171.27 Shanghai Composite up 1.2% to 3,107.46 Sensex down 0.5% to 53,763.20 Australia S&P/ASX 200 up 0.4% to 7,155.24 Kospi up 0.4% to 2,617.22 German 10Y yield little changed at 0.94% Euro down 0.5% to $1.0677 Brent Futures up 1.0% to $114.69/bbl Gold spot down 0.5% to $1,856.22 U.S. Dollar Index up 0.30% to 102.16 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg New Zealand dollar and sovereign yields rose after the RBNZ hiked rates by 50 basis points and forecast more aggressive tightening, with the cash rate seen peaking at 3.95% in 2023 The euro slipped and Italian bonds extended gains after comments from ECB officials. Executive board member Fabio Panetta said the ECB shouldn’t seek to raise its interest rates too far as long as the euro-area economy displays continuing signs of fragility. Board Member Olli Rehn said the ECB should raise rates to zero in autumn The pound was steady against the dollar and gained versus the euro, paring some of its losses from Tuesday. Focus is on the long-awaited report into lockdown parties at No. 10 The BOE needs to tighten policy further to fight rising inflation, but it’s also wary of acting too quickly and risking pushing the UK into recession, according to Chief Economist Huw Pill Sweden’s krona slumped on the back of a stronger dollar and amid data showing that consumer confidence fell to the lowest level since the global financial crisis Yen eased as Treasury yields steadied in Asia from an overnight plunge A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asia-Pac stocks were mostly positive but with gains capped and price action choppy after a lacklustre lead from global counterparts as poor data from the US and Europe stoked growth concerns, while the region also reflected on the latest provocations by North Korea and the RBNZ’s rate increase. ASX 200 was led higher by commodity-related stocks despite the surprise contraction in Construction Work. Nikkei 225 remained subdued after recent currency inflows and with sentiment clouded by geopolitical tensions. Hang Seng and Shanghai Comp were marginally higher following further support efforts by the PBoC and CBIRC which have explored increasing loans with major institutions and with the central bank to boost credit support, although the upside is contained amid the ongoing COVID concerns and with Beijing said to tighten restrictions among essential workers. Top Asian News US SEC official said significant issues remain in reaching a deal with China over audit inspections and even if US and China reach a deal on proceeding with inspections, they would still have a long way to go, according to Bloomberg. China will be seeing a Pacific Island Agreement when Senior Diplomat Wang Yi visits the region next week, according to documents cited by Reuters. North Korea Fires Suspected ICBM as Biden Wraps Up Asia Tour Luxury Stocks Slip Again as China Covid-19 Worries Persist Asia Firms Keep SPAC Dream Alive Despite Poor Returns: ECM Watch Powerlong 2022 Dollar Bonds Fall Further, Poised for Worst Week In Europe the early optimism across the equity complex faded in early trading. Major European indices post mild broad-based gains with no real standouts. Sectors initially opened with an anti-defensive bias but have since reconfigured to a more pro-defensive one. Stateside, US equity futures have trimmed earlier gains, with relatively broad-based gains seen across the contracts; ES (+0.1%). Top European News Aiming ECB Rate at Neutral Risks Hurting Economy, Panetta Says M&S Says Russia Exit, Inflation to Prevent Profit Growth Prudential Names Citi Veteran Wadhwani as Insurer’s Next CEO EU’s Gentiloni Eyes Deal on Russian Oil Embargo: Davos Update UK’s Poorest to See Inflation Hit Near Double Pace of the Rich FX Buck builds a base before Fed speak, FOMC minutes and US data - DXY tops 102.250 compared to low of 101.640 on Tuesday. Kiwi holds up well after RBNZ hike, higher OCR outlook and Governor Orr outlining the need to tighten well beyond neutral - Nzd/Usd hovers above 0.6450 and Aud/Nzd around 1.0950. Euro pulls back sharply as ECB’s Panetta counters aggressive rate guidance with gradualism to avoid a normalisation tantrum - Eur/Usd sub-1.0700 and Eur/Gbp under 0.8550. Aussie undermined by flagging risk sentiment and contraction in Q1 construction work completed - Aud/Usd retreats through 0.7100. Loonie and Nokkie glean some underlying traction from oil returning to boiling point - Usd/Cad capped into 1.2850, Eur/Nok pivots 10.2500. Franc, Yen and Sterling all make way for Greenback revival - Usd/Chf bounces through 0.9600, Usd/Jpy over 127.00 and Cable close to 1.2500. Fixed Income Choppy trade in bonds amidst fluid risk backdrop and ongoing flood of global Central Bank rhetoric, Bunds and Gilts fade just above 154.00 and 119.00. Eurozone periphery outperforming as ECB's Panetta urges gradualism to avoid a normalisation tantrum and Knot backs President Lagarde on ZIRP by end Q3 rather than going 50 bp in one hit. US Treasuries flat-line before US data, Fed's Brainard, FOMC minutes and 5-year supply - 10 year T-note midway between 120-21/09+ parameters. Commodities WTI and Brent July futures are firmer intraday with little newsflow throughout the European morning. US Energy Inventory Data (bbls): Crude +0.6mln (exp. -0.7mln), Gasoline -4.2mln (exp. -0.6mln), Distillates -0.9mln (exp. +0.9mln), Cushing -0.7mln. Spot gold is pressured by the recovery in the Dollar but found some support at its 21 DMA. Base metals are pressured by the turn in the risk tone this morning. US Event Calendar 07:00: May MBA Mortgage Applications -1.2%, prior -11.0% 08:30: April Durable Goods Orders, est. 0.6%, prior 1.1% -Less Transportation, est. 0.5%, prior 1.4% 08:30: April Cap Goods Ship Nondef Ex Air, est. 0.5%, prior 0.4% 08:30: April Cap Goods Orders Nondef Ex Air, est. 0.5%, prior 1.3% Central Banks 12:15: Fed’s Brainard Delivers Commencement Address 14:00: May FOMC Meeting Minutes DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap This morning we’ve launched our latest monthly survey. In it we try to ask questions that aren’t easy to derive from market pricing. For example we ask whether you think a recession is a price worth paying to tame inflation back to target. We also ask whether you think the Fed will think the same. We ask whether you think bubbles are still in markets and whether the bottom is in for equities. We also ask you the best hedge against inflation from a small list of mainstream assets. Hopefully it will be of use and the more people that fill it in the more useful it might be so all help welcome. The link is here. Talking of inflation I had a huge shock yesterday. The first quote of three came back from builders for what I hope will be our last ever renovation project as we upgrade a dilapidated old outbuilding. Given the job I do I'd like to think I'm fully aware of commodity price effects and labour shortages pushing up costs but nothing could have prepared me for a quote 250% higher than what I expected. We have two quotes to come but if they don't come in nearer to my expectations then we're either going to shelve/postpone the project after a couple of years of planning or my work output might reduce as I learn how to lay bricks, plumb, tile, make and install windows and plaster amongst other things. Maybe I could sell the rights of my journey from banker to builder to Netflix to make up for lost earnings. Rather like my building quote expectations, markets came back down to earth yesterday, only avoiding a fresh closing one-year low in the S&P 500 via a late-day rally that sent the market from intra-day lows of -2.48% earlier in the session to -0.81% at the close and giving back just under half the gains from the best Monday since January. Having said that S&P futures are up +0.6% this morning so we've had a big swing from the lows yesterday afternoon. The blame for the weak market yesterday was put on weak economic data alongside negative corporate news. US tech stocks saw the biggest losses as the NASDAQ (-2.35%) hit its lowest level in over 18 months following Snap’s move to cut its profit forecasts that we mentioned in yesterday’s edition. The stock itself fell -43.08%. Indeed, the NASDAQ just barely avoided closing more than -30% (-29.85%) from its all-time high reached back in November. The S&P 500's closing loss leaves it +1.03% week to date as it tries to avoid an 8th consecutive weekly decline for just the third time since our data starts in 1928. Typical defensive sectors Utilities (+2.01%), staples (+1.66%), and real estate (+1.21%) drove the intraday recovery, so even with the broad index off the day’s lows, the decomposition points to continued growth fears. Investors had already been braced for a more difficult day following the Monday night news from Snap, but further fuel was then added to the fire after US data releases significantly underwhelmed shortly after the open. First, the flash composite PMI for May fell to 53.8 (vs. 55.7 expected), marking a second consecutive decline in that measure. And then the new home sales data for April massively underperformed with the number falling to an annualised 591k (vs. 749k expected), whilst the March reading was also revised down to an annualised 709k (vs. 763k previously). That 591k reading left new home sales at their lowest since April 2020 during the Covid shutdowns, and comes against the backdrop of a sharp rise in mortgage rates as the Fed have tightened policy, with the 30-year fixed rate reported by Freddie Mac rising from 3.11% at the end of 2021 to 5.25% in the latest reading last week. The strong defensive rotation in the S&P 500 and continued fears of a recession saw investors pour into Treasuries, which have been supported by speculation that the Fed might not be able to get far above neutral if those growth risks do materialise. Yields on 10yr Treasuries ended the day down -10.1bps at 2.75%, and the latest decline in the 10yr inflation breakeven to 2.58% leaves it at its lowest closing level since late-February, just after Russia began its invasion of Ukraine that led to a spike in global commodity prices. And with investors growing more worried about growth and less worried about inflation, Fed funds futures took out -11.5bps of expected tightening by the December meeting, and saw terminal fed funds futures pricing next year close below 3.00% for the first time in two weeks. 10 year US yields are back up a basis point this morning. Over in Europe there was much the same pattern of equity losses and advances for sovereign bonds. However, the decline in yields was more muted after there was further chatter about a potential 50bp hike from the ECB. Austrian central bank governor Holzmann said that “A bigger step at the start of our rate-hike cycle would make sense”, and Latvian central bank governor Kazaks also said that a 50bp hike was “certainly one thing that we could discuss”. Along with Dutch central bank governor Knot, that’s now 3 members of the Governing Council who’ve openly discussed the potential they could move by 50bps as the Fed has done, and markets seem to be increasingly pricing in a chance of that, with the amount of hikes priced in by the July meeting closing at a fresh high of 32.5bps yesterday. In spite of the growing talk about a 50bp move at a single meeting, the broader risk-off tone yesterday led to a decline in sovereign bond yields across the continent, with those on 10yr bunds (-4.9bps), OATs (-4.3bps) and BTPs (-5.9bps) all falling back. Equities struggled alongside their US counterparts, and the STOXX 600 (-1.14%) ended the day lower, as did the DAX (-1.80%) and the CAC 40 (-1.66%). The flash PMIs were also somewhat underwhelming at the margins, with the Euro Area composite PMI falling a bit more than expected to 54.9 (vs. 55.1 expected). Over in the UK there were even larger moves after the country’s flash PMIs significantly underperformed expectations. The composite PMI fell to 51.8 (vs. 56.5 expected), which is the lowest reading since February 2021 when the country was still in lockdown. In turn, that saw sterling weaken against the other major currencies as investors dialled back the amount of expected tightening from the Bank of England, with a fall of -0.44% against the US dollar. That also led to a relative outperformance in gilts, with 10yr yields down -8.3bps. And on top of that, there were signs of further issues on the cost of living down the tracks, with the CEO of the UK’s energy regulator Ofgem saying that the energy price cap was set to increase to a record £2,800 in October, an increase of more than 40% from its current level. Asian equity markets are mostly trading higher this morning with the Hang Seng (+0.64%), Shanghai Composite (+0.58%), CSI (+0.17%) and Kospi (+0.80%) trading in positive territory with the Nikkei (-0.03%) trading fractionally lower. Earlier today, the Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ), in a widely anticipated move, hiked the official cash rate (OCR) by 50bps to 2.0%, its fifth-rate hike in a row in a bid to get on top of inflation which is currently running at a 31-year high. The central bank has significantly increased its forecast of how high the OCR might rise in the coming years with the cash rate jumping to about 3.4% by the end of this year and peaking at 3.95% in the third quarter of 2023. Additionally, it forecasts the OCR to start falling towards the end of 2024. Following the release of the statement, the New Zealand dollar hit a three-week high of 0.65 against the US dollar. Elsewhere, as we mentioned last week, today marks the expiration of the US Treasury Department’s temporary waiver that allowed Russia to make sovereign debt payments to US creditors. US investors will no longer be able to receive such payments, pushing Russia closer to default on its outstanding sovereign debt. To the day ahead now, and central bank publications include the FOMC minutes from their May meeting and the ECB’s Financial Stability Review. Separately, we’ll hear from ECB President Lagarde, the ECB’s Rehn, Panetta, Holzmann, de Cos and Lane, BoJ Governor Kuroda, Fed Vice Chair Brainard and the BoE’s Tenreyro. Otherwise, data releases from the US include preliminary April data on durable goods orders and core capital goods orders. Tyler Durden Wed, 05/25/2022 - 08:00.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeMay 25th, 2022

Is The Woke Corporate "Worm" Finally Turning?

Is The Woke Corporate 'Worm' Finally Turning? Authored by Scott Shepard via RealClearMarkets.com, More than a few executives appear to be glimpsing the high costs of politicized corporate management... A chief driver of these revelations is surely the rolling market correction that has characterized 2022. At one point last week, the Nasdaq was down 29 percent from its December 31st close. Adam Smith once noted that “there’s a lot of ruin in a nation,” by which he meant that a country can screw up very many things while still trudging along. In good financial times there can be a lot of ruin in a company, too. When profits are high (or speculative backing is fulsome) and share prices are rising, companies can afford to indulge the whims of their executives or bow to the demands of pressure groups, even if there’s a lot of ruin in those whims or demands. When things get tight, though, the ruin becomes clearer – and thus less supportable. As Jack Kennedy did not but might have said as a corollary: “a falling tide reveals many barnacles.” In this lowering tide, woke is revealing itself as a barnacle, and companies are responding accordingly. The revelation is being assisted, and the response hastened, by external events that have uncovered even to the unthoughtful what should have been clear: taking a highly partisan role in American politics will engender (and is engendering) a political response from those who oppose the partisan stance. Exhibit one is the case of DeSantis & Florida v. Chapek & Disney, but the parade of horrible consequences that increasingly append to corporate wokeness is lengthening speedily, as has been considered in these pages before. Consider, for instance, exhibit two: Disney’s reputation has declined substantially since Chapek stood up for, you know, “all stakeholders.” Funny, that. Given those prime exhibits, it seems proper to start with Disney. Chapek somehow remains as CEO, but a (potentially only interim) fall guy for the hurray-for-grooming debacle was found: Geoff Morrell, the company’s chief corporate affairs officer, who had been at Disney for all of about three months. (Mind, mice might be slow learners. Morrell’s replacement is Kristina Schake. Her resume suggests that she might not have been the candidate best suited to address a problem of pandering too much to the far Left, while paying too little attention to market and civic realities.) Perhaps more to the point, because less performative: Hulu, mostly owned by Disney, has just cancelled a project, two years in the making already, that would have fantasized about the career of an imaginary Hillary Clinton who had become a Northwestern University law professor. Naturally in this rendering, she becomes president – or she would have, until this partisan gagfest was cancelled. In this move Disney and Hulu followed Netflix, which amid rounds of layoffs, informed its less objective (and less stable) employees that it would no longer bow to their “demands” that nothing air on Netflix that offends their precious sensibilities. In a display of maturity that can be summonsed by a 70 percent stock-value crash and evidence that there is no more market to gain on current trajectories, Netflix declared to employees that “depending on your role, you may need to work on titles you perceive to be harmful. If you’d find it hard to support our content breadth, Netflix may not be the best place for you.” It turns out that Dave Chappelle is popular, while Hannah Gadsby is not. Extrapolate that to everything, and the impetus of Netflix’ abrupt race up the knowledge curve becomes clear. Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav likewise looks set to turn CNN into … something profitable, which means something other than the unhinged falsehood and embarrassment factory it became under the recently fired and disgraced CNN chief Jeff Zucker. And the CW, Warner’s co-owned television station (the successor, in fact, to the WB, or Warner Brothers network), has lain waste to its woke-teen servicing, ratings-repelling schedule. Perhaps more recognition that blue-check Twitter and Tik-Tok are unreliable guides to public sentiment, or leading economic indicators. The muted response to the draft of the Dobbs opinion likewise stands in deep contrast to the race to condemn Georgia’s election-integrity law last spring, and to the response to previous state efforts to make U.S. abortion laws resemble those of most European countries. While hundreds of companies condemned the Georgia law without reading it, only to look fairly foolish afterward, few have made any statements in response to Dobbs. Even Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan, who regularly mistakes his personal political preferences for revealed truth, remembered, when asserting that Roe is “settled law,” that his personal political opinions, or legal hot-takes, do not always transmutate instantly into formal company policy.  (Moynihan, a rich white guy who’s a big fan of equity-based discrimination again poorer white guys, would do well to remember the “settled law” precedent in that regard, given the very settled law that race- and sex-based discrimination is unconstitutional, whatever the excuse for it.) The few companies that have leapt into the abortion debate include Starbucks and Amazon, which both presently battle incipiently successful unionization efforts. It seems at least plausible that their eagerness to move sprang from their desire to appease woke employees who would otherwise have been the most potentially willing to sign up for a union – failing to recognize the distinct possibility that they would thereby also sign their own pink slips, as their unions priced their shops out of competition. If so, this seems like another move that misunderstands the imperatives of the moment. Other companies have moved to reinforce company protections for viewpoint diversity – a necessity in difficult times, when the luxury of static thinking becomes unaffordable – and against employment discrimination, whether equity-based or not. Salesforce and Dell agreed (disclosure: with the shop I lead) to add “political viewpoint” to their enforceable nondiscrimination policies. Target agreed to add an explicit protection against the company’s using forbidden characteristics like race, sex and orientation in its employment, promotion and retention processes or determinations. Each of these companies stated that the equal-employment policy changes reflected already established and standard company practices, which made it a simple and wise move for them to amend their policies accordingly. Finally, it’s possible that even BlackRock may be humbling itself just enough to recognize reality. The company recently announced that it was “not likely to support those (shareholder proposals) that in our assessment, implicitly are intended to micromanage companies. This includes those that are unduly prescriptive and constraining on the decision-making of the board or management, call for changes to a company's strategy or business model or address matters that are not material to how a company delivers long-term shareholder value.” While this could mean anything or nothing, it does appear as though BlackRock is supporting a smaller share of climate-catastrophist proposals this year. Mind you, this does not mean that BlackRock has come to its senses, or to moral sense, in its ESG activities. CEO Larry Fink has just been slavering in hope that monstrously high fuel prices will push consumers to “green” energy, failing to recognize the total costs of such energy (including the environmental harms) while continuing to confuse climate and weather. What galloping energy costs will do is simply to force the poor and middle class to live wildly more constrained and less fulfilled lives. But that’s lagniappe for Larry, who can travel the world in his temperature-modulated private jet without having even to glimpse the hoi polloi, shackled by energy poverty in their immediate neighborhoods and their insufficiently heated and cooled homes. BlackRock and Fink still cling to the illegal and immoral discrimination of “equity,” and try to force it on other American corporations by misusing the proxy votes generated by their investors’ capital. At the same time they collude with the SEC to keep BlackRock shareholders from even having a vote on a proposal about whether BlackRock should protect against viewpoint discrimination at its shop – where viewpoint discrimination is clearly a massive concern. This holistic endorsement of across-the-board discrimination by BlackRock, in sharp contrast to the dedication to nondiscrimination shown by Target, Dell and Salesforce, provides sufficient evidence that BlackRock and Fink are about the last people who should be dictating social, environmental and moral policy to anyone at all. Well, ok. So maybe BlackRock and Fink haven’t learned anything yet, and will require more direct tutelage. And certainly the remaining evidence doesn’t run entirely in the good direction either. But as my sainted grandmother used to put it, if she found herself first behind and then catching up in one of our endless games of rummy, “the cheese is more binding.” And if she pulled ahead, she noted that the worm had turned. The worm has not yet turned, but the cheese begins to bind. *  * * Scott Shepard is a fellow at the National Center for Public Policy Research and Director of its Free Enterprise Project. Tyler Durden Fri, 05/20/2022 - 20:20.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytMay 20th, 2022

Progressive Democrats are claiming victory in 3 key House primaries and the establishment"s knives are out

Progressives claim victory in three key House races, which have yet to be called. Wins could give progressives much-needed momentum in the primaries. Summer Lee, a candidate for the US House in Pennsylvania, speaks at a rally.AP Photo/Rebecca Droke Progressive Democrats had a good night in Tuesday's primaries after losses earlier this year. Progressives are poised to win three important House primaries in Oregon and Pennsylvania. But a flood of outside spending to defeat them shows the stark divisions within the Democratic Party. Progressive Democrats caught a much-needed break on Tuesday night, after coming up short in an earlier spate of elections this cycle. The progressive left is claiming victory in three key House races in Oregon and Pennsylvania, though votes are still being tallied. Should their candidates prevail, it would give them momentum heading into a busy summer of primary elections, in which Democrats from across the party's ideological spectrum are fighting to ensure their side has the upper hand.The Democrats that surged ahead on Tuesday night "were unashamed in defining that they are progressive," said Kristal Knight, a Democratic strategist who's worked with candidates and political groups across the party's spectrum. "That has been something that has won many voters over, saying, 'This is where I stand, this is what I believe in, and this is the kind of Democrat I am.'"In Pennsylvania, state Rep. Summer Lee appears poised to defeat her more centrist opponent, Steve Irwin, to win the Democratic nomination for a seat representing the Pittsburgh area. The race has not yet been called, but Lee leads Irwin by 47% to 41% as of Wednesday morning. Progressives also celebrated John Fetterman's victory in the Pennsylvania Senate primary, though the candidate has tried to eschew labels like "progressive" or "centrist" on the trail.Decision Desk HQ results for the Democratic congressional primary in Pennsylvania's 12th DistrictInsider/DDHQMeanwhile in Oregon's 5th district, incumbent Rep. Kurt Schrader, a member of the centrist Blue Dog Democrats in Congress, trails progressive challenger Jamie McLeod-Skinner by about 20 percentage points.McLeod-Skinner ran a campaign that painted Schrader, a 13-year veteran of the House, as an out-of-touch establishment figure who had held up key parts of the Democrats' agenda. She won despite an infusion of support for Schrader from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and President Joe Biden himself.Decision Desk HQ results for the Democratic primary in Oregon's 6th DistrictInsider/DDHQOver in Oregon's 6th district, Decision Desk HQ and Insider are projecting state Rep. Andrea Salinas will win against well-funded political novice Carrick Flynn, who'd benefitted from the largesse of a cryptocurrency billionaire. Flynn also won support from the Democrats' House Majority PAC, effectively anointing him the establishment's preferred candidate. Meanwhile, Salinas had the support of Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, one of the standard bearers of the progressive movement. "I saw the power last night," said Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden, who won his primary on Tuesday. "Voters said you better go out there and take on the special interests.""Democratic voters sent a clear message last night: we're done with putting people in Congress who sabotage our whole agenda," said progressive organizer Kai Newkirk, who singled out Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema for their votes against Biden's agenda items."Democrats want our representatives to at least be actual Democrats," Newkirk continued. "And the strong progressive credentials of Summer Lee, Fetterman, and McLeod-Skinner show there is real hunger among most Democrats for representatives who will fight to actually get big things done that make a real difference on the huge issues facing our democracy, our planet, and working class people."Jamie McLeod Skinner is running for Congress in Oregon's 5th district.AP Photo/Andrew Selsky, FileBut taken as a whole Tuesday night's primaries revealed a much deeper fissure within the Democratic Party.Earlier in May, incumbent Rep. Shontel Brown defeated former Bernie Sanders advisor Nina Turner for the second time in what had been billed as a showdown between centrist and progressive Democrats.Moderate Democrats succeeded in House races in Kentucky and North Carolina on Tuesday. And not everyone was thrilled at progressives' gains this week."It's just a shame, it really is," Manchin, a conservative West Virginia Democrat, told CNN of Schrader's loss. "Kurt is a good man. A really good man.""It's a really sad scenario when you lose people that are willing to work, to find solutions and not just retreat back to their corners," Manchin continued. "And that's why people are losing confidence in us being able to solve problems here in Congress."The progressives who performed well in Tuesday's primaries had to contend with millions of PAC dollars spent against them — and in support of Democratic candidates who identified as more centrist.Sen. Bernie Sanders, who endorsed Lee in Pennsylvania, praised her campaign and railed against the sheer amount of outside money that was spent to try to derail her.One PAC, the United Democracy Project, spent nearly $2 million to attack Lee and bolster Irwin in the final weeks of the race, the Washington Post reported. "Summer ran a brilliant campaign, a really strong campaign," Sanders told reporters at the Capitol. "I think without that super PAC money she probably would have won by 20 points. It was just a huge flood of money."Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., left, addresses the crowd as he endorses Pa. state Rep. Summer Lee.Rebecca Droke/AP PhotoOregon's 6th district became a textbook case of excessive political spending. It was the third most expensive House primary in the country to date, thanks to nearly $11 million in donations to Flynn that POLITICO traced back to cryptocurrency CEO Sam Bankman-Fried."What we know for certain is, there is infighting within the party," Knight told Insider. She did not see the party settling the issue anytime soon, but rather predicted the debate would continue to play out at the ballot box all year."Even in other races that will continue to pop up over the summer, these will be the defining questions for the Democrats," Knight continued. "Which side do you want to be on? Which side is going to be able to beat a Republican in November? And which side is going to vote with the President's agenda?"Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderMay 19th, 2022

The Bizarre, Unanimous Dem Support For The $40b War Package To Raytheon And CIA: "For Ukraine"

The Bizarre, Unanimous Dem Support For The $40b War Package To Raytheon And CIA: "For Ukraine" Authored by Glenn Greenwald via greenwald.substack.com, After Joe Biden announced his extraordinary request for $33 billion more for the war in Ukraine — on top of the $14 billion the U.S. has already spent just ten weeks into this war — congressional leaders of both parties immediately decided the amount was insufficient. They arbitrarily increased the amount by $7 billion to a total of $40 billion, then fast-tracked the bill for immediate approval. As we reported on Tuesday night, the House overwhelmingly voted to approve the bill by a vote of 388-57. All fifty-seven NO votes came from Republican House members. Except for two missing members, all House Democrats — every last one, including all six members of the revolutionary, subversive Squad — voted for this gigantic war package, one of the largest the U.S. has spent at once in decades. U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) speaks to a group of supporters during a rally at the U.S. Capitol on August 03, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images) While a small portion of these funds will go to humanitarian aid for Ukraine, the vast majority will go into the coffers of weapons manufacturers such as Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, Boeing and the usual suspects. Some of it will go to the CIA for unspecified reasons. The extreme speed with which this was all approved means there is little to no oversight over how the funds will be spent, who will profit and how much, and what the effects will be for Ukraine and the world. To put this $54 billion amount in perspective, it is (a) larger than the average annual amount that the U.S. spent on its own war in Afghanistan ($46 billion), (b) close to the overall amount Russia spends on its entire military for the year ($69 billion), (c) close to 7% of the overall U.S. military budget, by far the largest in the world ($778 billion), and (d) certain to be far, far higher — easily into the hundreds of billions of dollars and likely the trillion dollar level — given that U.S. officials insist that this war will last not months but years, and that it will stand with Ukraine until the bitter end. Voice of America, Apr. 6, 2022 What made this Democratic Party unanimity so bizarre, even surreal, is that many of these House Democrats who voted YES have spent years vehemently denouncing exactly these types of war expenditures. Some of them — very recently — even expressed specific opposition to pouring large amounts of U.S. money and weaponry into Ukraine on the grounds that doing so would be unprecedentedly dangerous, and that Americans are suffering far too severely at home to justify such massive amounts to weapons manufacturers and intelligence agencies. Here, for instance, is the shocking-in-hindsight warning of Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) on March 8 — just two months before she voted YES on this $40 billion weapons package: Just as stridently, her progressive House Democratic colleague, Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA), appeared on Democracy Now on February 8 to discuss the imminent Russian invasion of Ukraine, and he explicitly and repeatedly demanded that no lethal arms be sent by the U.S. into Ukraine. Indeed, Khanna, while repeatedly denouncing Putin's aggression, heaped praise on former President Obama for long resisting bipartisan demands to send lethal arms to Ukraine — based on Obama's oft-stated belief that Ukraine is and always will be a vital interest to Russia, but will never be to the U.S. — and argued that such a move would be dangerously escalatory: I certainly join [House progressives] in the concerns of having increased aid, lethal aid, into that area. That will only inflame the situation. I also join them in the concern that we need restraint, that the last thing the American people want is an escalation which could lead us to some long war in Ukraine with Russia, that that’s a very dangerous situation, and no one in this country — or, very few people in this country would want that. There’s a reason President Obama didn’t send lethal aid into Ukraine and had a greater restraint in his approach. So, I do think we should do everything possible not to escalate the situation, while having the moral clarity that Putin is in the wrong in this case…. The arguments Khanna was endorsing from House progressive leaders came in the form of a January 26 press release from co-caucus-leaders Reps. Barbara Lee (D-CA) and Pramila Jayapal (D-WA). The progressive duo argued: “There is no military solution out of this crisis — diplomacy needs to be the focus.” Then they added this: “We have significant concerns that new troop deployments, sweeping and indiscriminate sanctions, and a flood of hundreds of millions of dollars in lethal weapons will only raise tensions and increase the chance of miscalculation. Russia’s strategy is to inflame tensions; the United States and NATO must not play into this strategy.” Just over three months later, both Lee and Jayapal voted not for a "flood of hundreds of millions of dollars in lethal weapons,” but to flood Ukraine with tens of billions of dollars in lethal weapons. One would think that when a member of Congress engages in such a remarkable and radical shift in their position, they would at least deign to provide some explanation for why they did so. In the case of the Squad and dozens of House progressives, one would be very wrong. On Friday morning, I emailed and/or texted the press representatives of the five Squad members who have said nothing about their vote (only Rep. Cori Bush (D-MO), in a doozy of a statement discussed below, bothered to explain), and directly texted both Omar and Khanna. Other reporters also have requested statements. More than seventy-two hours after they cast this enormously consequential war vote, they still have refused to explain themselves or even issue a cursory statement as to why they supported this (see update below). This vote, and their silence about it, is particularly confounding — one could, without hyperbole, even say chilling — given how rapidly Democrats’ rhetoric about Ukraine is escalating. As we noted on Tuesday, many leading Democrats, such as Rep. Jason Crow (D-CO), have begun speaking about this war not only as an American proxy war — which it has long been — but as “our war” that we must fight to the end in order for “victory” to be ours, while Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) vows that there be “no off ramps” to end the war diplomatically, since the real goal of the war is regime change in Moscow. Even worse, the eighty-two-year-old House Democratic Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD), now in his twentieth term in Congress, went to the House floor on Friday to twice say that "we are at war” — meaning the U.S is now at war with Russia — and that it is therefore inappropriate to heavily criticize our president: As the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists has spent decades pointing out, there is nothing more dangerous to humanity than a war between the two nations with the planet's largest nuclear stockpiles. One might think that those who just voted to dangerously escalate such a war would at least deign to explain themselves, especially those who have repeatedly made recent statements violently at odds with the YES vote they just cast. Even Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), who has thus far said nothing about this House vote, warned in The Guardian in early February, that while Putin is immoral and tyrannical, the West bears some blame for provoking this war with reckless NATO expansion and, more importantly, warned of the grave and unpredictable dangers of having the U.S. pursue a strategy of fueling the war rather than trying to solve it diplomatically. So exceptional is this headlong rush into this war that even The New York Times — usually loyally supportive of U.S. war policies and the Democratic establishment — published a highly unusual news article about the House vote which repeatedly and harshly criticized Congress for being too frightened to ask questions or express skepticism about Biden's war policy. The NYT took the members of Congress voting YES in both parties to task for being cowed into submission, meekly falling into line. The headline of the article told the story — “House Passes $40 Billion More in Ukraine Aid, With Few Questions Asked" — as the Paper of Record all but called these YES-voting members of Congress cowards and abdicators: The escalating brutality of the war in Ukraine has dampened voices on both the right and left skeptical of the United States’ involving itself in armed conflict overseas, fueling a rush by Congress to pour huge amounts of money into a potentially lengthy and costly offensive against Russia with few questions or reservations raised….[L]awmakers in both political parties who have previously railed against skyrocketing military budgets and entanglements in intractable conflicts abroad have gone largely silent about what is fast becoming a major military effort drawing on American resources…. That total — roughly $53 billion over two months — goes beyond what President Biden requested and is poised to amount to the largest foreign aid package to move through Congress in at least two decades….But stunned by the grisly images from Ukraine and leery of turning their backs on a country whose suffering has been on vivid display for the world, many lawmakers have put aside their skepticism and quietly agreed to the sprawling tranches of aid, keeping to themselves their concerns about the war and questions about the Biden administration’s strategy for American involvement….. And as Mr. Biden’s requests to Congress for money to fund the war effort have spiraled upward, leaders in both parties have largely refrained from questioning them…..The result has been that, at least for now, Congress is quickly and nearly unanimously embracing historic tranches of foreign aid with little public debate about the Biden administration’s strategy, whether the volume of military assistance could escalate the conflict, or whether domestic priorities are being pushed aside to accommodate the huge expenditures overseas. Perhaps the most remarkable part of this surreal episode is the statement issued by Rep. Bush, ostensibly explaining and justifying her YES vote. If you are able to discern some sort of cogent explanation from this statement, it means that you have better reading skills than I. While Rep. Bush at least deserves credit for bothering to try to explain her vote — in contrast to her fellow Squad members who have thus far refused to do so — by far the clearest and most significant part of what she says are her admissions of the horrible and dangerous parts of this bill, for which she just voted YES. Behold these admissions: Additionally, at $40 billion, this is an extraordinary amount of military assistance, a large percentage of which will go directly to private defense contractors. In the last year alone, the United States will have provided Ukraine with more military aid than any country in the last two decades, and twice as much military assistance as the yearly cost of war in Afghanistan, even when American troops were on the ground. The sheer size of the package given an already inflated Pentagon budget should not go without critique.  I remain concerned about the increased risks of direct war and the potential for direct military confrontation.  Imagine saying this about a bill — recognizing how wasteful and dangerous it is — and then snapping into line behind Nancy Pelosi and voting for it anyway to ensure Democratic Party unanimity in support of this war. Credit to Rep. Bush for candor, I suppose. One person whose name has not yet appeared in this article is Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY). That is because we published on Wednesday a comprehensive video report on Rumble, documenting how AOC's YES vote on this war package so violently contradicts virtually everything she has ever claimed to believe about questions of war, militarism and military spending. AOC, needless to say, has not bothered to reconcile this vote with the drastically divergent body of statements she has uttered her entire adult life because her blind followers do not demand anything of her, let alone explanations for why she does what she does (which is why she knew she could, in the middle of the COVID pandemic, attend the Met Gala — the nation's most gluttonous celebration of capitalist excess and celebrity culture — and attended to indoors by a team of masked servants while she and her boyfriend remained comfortably and glamorously unmasked, and then show total contempt for her fans by hilariously spray-painting a banal, inoffensive phrase on the back of her designer gown, knowing this would make them not only accept her behavior but celebrate her heroic subversiveness). The full video about how the Squad and AOC just permanently killed whatever was left of the U.S. left-wing anti-war movement can be seen on our Rumble page, or watched on the video player below. A full transcript of that video appears below for subscribers only. Only two months ago, those who observed that this was not a war between Russia and Ukraine, but really a proxy war between Russia and the U.S./NATO, were vilified as Kremlin propagandists. Now, U.S. leaders openly boast of this fact, and go further, claiming that the U.S. is actually at war with Russia and must secure full victory. That there is not a single Democratic politician willing to object to or even question any of this speaks volumes about what that party is, as well how dangerous this war has become for Americans and the world generally. UPDATE, Mar. 14, 2022, 6:56 a.m. ET: Rep. Khanna provided the following comment in response to our question of how he can reconcile his argument in his February 8 Democracy Now interview that the U.S. should not send lethal arms to Ukraine with his vote on Monday to send lethal arms: I wanted to do everything we could to prevent conflict through diplomacy and so did not want to escalate prior to invasion. But once Putin invaded and has been barbarically destroying towns and cities, I believe it is morally justified to stand firmly with Ukraine in defense of their territory and provide them with military and economic assistance. We at the same time need to be aggressively encouraging diplomatic talks and a ceasefire and enlisting countries who can play a mediating role to help us bring this brutal war to an end. Note that the assumption of that entire was interview was that Russia would invade Ukraine. Indeed, the first question to which Rep. Khanna responded, when arguing that the U.S. should not send lethal aid to Ukraine, was this one: “And do you support the threat of devastating sanctions against Russia in the event of any kind of Russian invasion of Ukraine?” Nonetheless, in contrast to many of his House colleagues, at least he is willing to account for the vote he cast. We will add any further comments in response to our requests for comment if and when we receive them. To support the independent journalism we are doing here, please subscribe, obtain a gift subscription for others and/or share the article Tyler Durden Sat, 05/14/2022 - 11:30.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytMay 14th, 2022

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen says banning abortion would damage the economy and "set women back decades"

Blocking abortion access would increase the likelihood of women needing social welfare benefits to avoid slipping into poverty, Yellen said Tuesday. Sec. Yellen said at a Senate Banking committee hearing on Tuesday that an abortion ban "would have very damaging effects on the economy and would set women back decades."Al Drago/Associated Press The Supreme Court seems poised to overturn abortion case Roe v. Wade. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said that could damage the economy. Yellen said it could also "set women back decades," and potentially disrupt labor force participation.  On May 2, Politico released the leak heard around the world: The Supreme Court was poised to overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark ruling that gave Americans the constitutional right to an abortion.While the ruling is still far from final, the Supreme Court confirmed that the draft was authentic. The leak sparked immediate backlash from protesters and politicians alike. One emerging concern over a potential overturning are the economic repercussions for a still-recovering country, where women have already been on the short end of job gains and employment."Eliminating the right of women to make decisions about when and whether to have children would have very damaging effects on the economy and would set women back decades," Yellen said at a Senate Banking committee hearing on Tuesday.As the US still tries to rebound from the economic fallout of the pandemic, labor force participation — a key measure that tracks how many Americans are working or actively looking for work — hasn't recovered. In fact, it dipped in April. Yellen said that Roe helped up women's participation."Roe v. Wade and access to reproductive healthcare, including abortion, helped lead to increased labor force participation," she said. "It enabled many women to finish school — that increased their earning potential. It allowed women to plan and balance their families and careers."She warned that restraining access to abortion would increase the likelihood of women needing social welfare benefits to avoid slipping into poverty.Labor Secretary Marty Walsh has expressed similar concerns over the economic fallout of Roe being overturned."This will impact women individually, but also is going to impact our economy as a whole," Walsh told Insider on Friday. "I don't think we could underscore the importance of what actions potentially could happen at the court."Researchers at the University of California San Francisco surveyed 1,000 women who had sought abortions over five years for The Turnaway Study. They found that women turned away from receiving an abortion who went to give birth experienced more poverty than woman who had received an abortion. The women turned away saw their debts increase, and credit scores sink.President Joe Biden pledged to fight to protect abortion access a week ago, saying in a statement that "we will be ready when any ruling issued." However, the Biden administration has few options at its disposal. The Washington Post reported that the White House weighing executive actions to help low-income women residing in GOP-led states to access abortion care.Senate Democrats are setting up a largely symbolic vote for Wednesday aimed at codifying the Roe v. Wade ruling and to mold it into law, Insider's Oma Seddiq reported. It's bound to fail since Democrats haven't amassed enough support to gut the Senate's 60-vote threshold known as the filibuster.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderMay 10th, 2022

A Florida Democrat said Mitch McConnell and Donald Trump are to blame if Roe v. Wade is overturned

McConnell declined to hold hearings for Obama's appointment to replace Antonin Scalia, and Trump was able to appoint three conservative justices. Then-President Donald Trump smiles as then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell speaks during a media availability in the Rose Garden after their meeting at the White House, on Oct. 16, 2017.AP Photo/Alex Brandon Rep. Lois Frankel said Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell are to blame if Roe v. Wade gets overturned. She reasoned McConnell didn't hold hearings for Obama's appointment and Trump chose three justices. A draft Supreme Court opinion leaked this week that shows the court ready to gut the right to abortion. Rep. Lois Frankel said former President Donald Trump and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell are "single-handedly" to blame if the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade.On Monday, Politico published a leaked draft opinion in which Supreme Court Associate Justice Samuel Alito called the 1973 landmark Supreme Court ruling that legalized abortion nationwide "egregiously wrong from the start."Abortion will remain legal in the United States until the court hands down a final verdict, which could come as early as June when the high court decides the verdict for a pending abortion case. But the draft itself was enough to put reproductive rights activists and doctors who perform abortions on edge.If Roe is overturned, it could be illegal to obtain an abortion in 23 states. And in several others, there could be added restrictions.Frankel, a Democrat who represents Florida's 21st congressional district, told Insider on Thursday that McConnell and Trump made it easier for the Supreme Court to be able to overturn Roe."Mitch McConnell and Donald Trump are responsible for what's going on right now," she told Insider in a phone interview. "Mitch McConnell refused, would not allow an Obama appointee on the court, and Donald Trump appointed three justices who are overturning Roe v. Wade.So hip hip hooray for them."Rep. Lois Frankel, Democrat of Florida.Toya Sarno Jordan/Getty ImagesDuring his time in office, Trump turned the federal court system into a conservative powerhouse. This included appointing justices Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. Meanwhile, a slew of restrictive abortion bills popped up all over the country.And McConnell in 2016 refused to hold hearings for former President Barack Obama's appointment after the late Justice Antonin Scalia died. Obama had nominated Merrick Garland to the bench. But McConnell, who was the Senate majority leader at the time, said he would not fill Scalia's seat until after the 2016 presidential election, which Trump won.About a year after the Supreme Court seat became vacant, Trump appointed Gorsuch.This week, both Trump and McConnell condemned the Supreme Court leak. But Trump seemed unfazed that some were blaming him for the potential abortion ruling."Well, a lot of people are very happy about that," Trump said in an interview with Christian Broadcasting Network. "So some people maybe say it's my fault and some people say, 'Thank you very much.'"'You can't believe that this is happening in America'Conservative male lawmakers, Frankel said, are the ones creating the legislation that governs the lives of women."Is it a control thing? It's almost like I'm in a autocratic foreign country," she said. "You can't believe that this is happening in America."Frankel is one of the representatives who originally sponsored the Women's Health Protection Act of 2021. The bill, which "prohibits governmental restrictions on the provision of, and access to, abortion services," was passed in the House last year, but still awaits a vote in the Senate.Frankel told Insider she's not sure whether the Senate will move on the bill if Roe is overturned.But, she said, the WHPA represents just one facet of women's rights, and people who support abortion rights should vote Republicans out of office."Elections have consequences," she said. "We cannot just focus on Women's Health Protection Act. Yes, we have to push for it. People have to fight back in state legislatures, make sure they're electing governors who respect real freedom."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderMay 5th, 2022

Live updates: GOP plans abortion strategy after Roe v. Wade leak

The campaign arm of the Senate GOP told Republicans to be "the compassionate, consensus-builder on abortion policy." Pro-choice demonstrators hold signs in front of the US Supreme Court in Washington, DC, on May 3, 2022.Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images The GOP is advising members on abortion communications after the SCOTUS leak, Axios reported. It called Democrats "extreme" and said Republicans should be the "compassionate, consensus-builder." Politico also said it is adding security measures after publishing the leaked draft opinion on Roe v. Wade. The GOP told lawmakers to portray themselves as 'the compassionate, consensus-builder' on abortion policy after SCOTUS leak, Axios reportsSenate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty ImagesA leaked GOP memo obtained by Axios told Republican lawmakers to portray themselves as the "compassionate consensus-builder" on abortion policy after the leak.The memo by the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), which is the campaign arm of the Senate GOP, said: "Be the compassionate, consensus-builder on abortion policy ... While people have many different views on abortion policy, Americans are compassionate people who want to welcome every new baby into the world."It also Republicans should "expose the Democrats for the extreme views they hold," claiming that "Joe Biden and the Democrats have extreme and radical views on abortion that are outside of the mainstream of most Americans," Axios reported.Read Full Story Phone location data from people who visited abortion clinics, including Planned Parenthood, is legally on sale for $160, Vice reportsThe outside of the Planned Parenthood Reproductive Health Services Center is seen in St. Louis, Missouri.Saul Loeb/Getty ImagesVice found that location data from Planned Parenthood branches can be legally sold.Vice paid a broker $160 for a dataset that included a week's worth of phone location data for 600 Planned Parenthoods in the US, including some that provide abortions.Data from such brokers is aggregated, which means individuals are not singled out, but it is possible to de-anonymize the data and idenfify people from the datasets.Read Full StoryPolitico told its employees to watch out for strangers trying to enter their office after it published the leaked SCOTUS draft, The Daily Beast reportsProtests erupt after a leaked opinion favors abortion bans.Getty ImagesPolitico told employees to watch out for strangers trying to enter their office after they published the leaked draft opinion, The Daily Beast reported.Politico's Chief Talent Officer Traci Schweikert said new security measures would be put in place after the report.The Daily Beast did not report the specifics of any new measures, but reported that Schweikert told staff to be aware of potential threats."Be aware of anyone accessing our elevators with you and the possibility of 'tailgating' to your floor," Schweikert said.The email also urged employees to delete private information from their social media accounts, The Daily Beast reported.Read Full Story  Women on TikTok say hookup culture will be 'decimated' if Roe V. Wade is overturnedThe landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade case provided the legal precedent that makes abortion legal in the US.TikTokSome women say they will deny casual sex if they do not have abortion rights after news broke that the Supreme Court is poised to overturn the landmark Roe V. Wade case. "In case you're a man who doesn't care about roe v wade just know that if abortion gets banned hookup culture will be absolutely decimated," TikTok user @moneymollusk wrote in a video, which has received more than 1.2 million views in a single day."What women would have mediocre sex with a drunk rando if he could potentially father their child," she continued, noting that the video is directed at "all the pro-life men who love Plan B."Read Full StoryReasoning behind leaked draft decision could lead to anti-feminist laws nationwide, says Rep. Jamie RaskinProtesters at a pro-choice rally outside the Supreme Court on November 1, 2021.AP Photo/Jacquelyn MartinMaryland Rep. Jamie Raskin said this week that if Roe v. Wade were to be overturned based on Justice Samuel Alito's reasoning, it might be an invitation for other laws to be overturned. Raskin was discussing the bombshell leak of the Supreme Court's draft majority opinion on Roe v. Wade during an interview with MSNBC host Rachel Maddow on Monday.Read Full StoryOverturning Roe v. Wade is 'not what a majority of Americans want,' says Elizabeth WarrenSen. Elizabeth Warren.Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty ImagesA video taken on Tuesday showed Sen. Elizabeth Warren fuming over a leaked Supreme Court opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito which appeared to show that the Supreme Court's conservative judges have lined up to overturn Roe v. Wade.The 1973 Supreme Court decision codified the right to an abortion into law, but the memo leaked by Politico on Monday showed that the court's five conservative judges all shared their opposition to the law in February.A furious Warren ripped into the lawmakers who approved the conservative judges while speaking with reporters on Tuesday, appearing shaken with anger as an aide helped escort her away from the courthouse.Read Full StoryAs Roe v. Wade faces being overturned, communities of color continue to fight for their rightsFor decades, women of color have been on the front line of the fight for abortion rights.Whitney Curtis/Getty ImagesAbortion advocates say that communities of color will bear the brunt of the overturning of the decades-long precedence of Roe v. Wade."We know this imminent ruling will have a dramatic impact on all people seeking to end a pregnancy and its consequences will reverberate nationwide," Lupe M. Rodríguez, the executive director at the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Justice, wrote in a statement to Insider.Read Full StorySupreme Court's leaked decision gives Democrats a fresh shot at the culture warsBoth pro- and anti-abortion demonstrators gathered in front of the US Supreme Court in Washington, DC, on May 3.Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty ImagesRepublicans planned to ride to electoral victory this fall on a wave of parental fears and dissatisfaction with schools, teachers' unions, and COVID restrictions.The Supreme Court was poised over the summer to weigh in on one of the most polarizing issues of all, overturning abortion rights. But now that an authentic draft of the conservative majority's opinion has been leaked ahead of schedule, it has accelerated concerns, and a decision to gut Roe v. Wade could supersede all other culture wars when Americans go to the polls in November.Democrats are counting on it.Read Full StorySchumer blasts McConnell for not discussing Supreme Court draft opinionSenate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer; Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.Alex Wong/Getty Images; Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty ImagesSenate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on Tuesday ripped into Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell after the top Republican avoiding talking about his longtime push to overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark ruling that granted women the constitutional right to an abortion nearly 50 years ago.McConnell earlier on Tuesday criticized the release of a draft opinion from the Supreme Court — an unprecedented leak related to a major abortion rights case that's still pending. The top Republican focused his outrage on the nature of the leak, and avoided speaking on the substance of the draft opinion, which would overturn Roe."It is utterly amazing that Mitch McConnell did not want to say he supports repealing Roe v. Wade," Schumer said during a press conference. "All he did was talk about the leaks."Read Full StoryRepublican senators won't say if they support rape and incest exceptions to abortion bansRepublican Sens. Rick Scott of Florida and Joni Ernst of IowaJim Lo Scalzo/Pool/AFP via Getty Images; Caroline Brehman/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty; Anna Moneymaker/GettyEvery Republican president since Ronald Reagan has stood behind anti-abortion views with exceptions in the cases of rape, incest, and protecting the life of the pregnant person.But some Senate Republicans refused to tell Insider whether they support such exceptions in the wake of the publication of a draft Supreme Court opinion that would overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark ruling protecting abortion rights.Read Full StoryConservative media talking heads play defense on overturning Roe v. WadeSenate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.Drew Angerer/Getty ImagesThe conservative legal movement appears to be on the cusp of achieving a nearly 50-year dream of overturning Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision protecting abortion.But so far, conservative media appearances show the party and its most loyal pundits holding off on taking a victory lap.Read Full StoryDemocrats want to make Roe v. Wade the law of the landSenate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer discusses efforts to codify Roe v. Wade into law this past February.Win McNamee/Getty ImagesDemocrats have promised to vote on a bill that would protect abortion rights after a leaked draft showed the Supreme Court is poised to overturn Roe v. Wade. "Every American is going to see which side every senator stands on," Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said Tuesday on the steps of the US Capitol, adding that a vote would happen "soon" on the Women's Health Protection Act. Read Full StoryJustice Samuel Alito quoted Ruth Bader Ginsburg in leaked draft opinionUS Supreme Court Associate Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Samuel Alito, Jr. sit next to each other for a group portrait on November 30, 2018.Jim Young/ReutersAssociate Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito cited the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in his leaked draft opinion that would reverse landmark abortion rights. Ginsburg was a famously strong defender of women's rights during her 27-year tenure on the court before her death in 2020. "Roe...halted a political process that was moving in a reform direction and thereby, I believed, prolonged divisiveness and deferred stable settlement of the issue," Alito quoted Ginsburg on the third page of his 98-page opinion.Read Full StoryScrapping of Roe v. Wade would hurt women's personal and financial securityProtesters, demonstrators, and activists gather in front of the US Supreme Court as the justices hear arguments in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health, a case about a Mississippi law that bans most abortions after 15 weeks, on December 01, 2021.Chip Somodevilla/Getty ImagesOver the last few years, women and trans Americans have seen their economic, physical, and personal security imperiled, and policy hasn't stepped up to address those challenges.A Supreme Court decision striking down Roe v. Wade would be yet another big setback, Insider's Juliana Kaplan and Joseph Zeballos-Roig write.Read Full StoryThe draft leak was Chief Justice John Roberts' worst 'nightmare'Chief Justice John Roberts ordered an investigation into the leak of a draft opinion.Andrew Harnik/AFP via Getty ImagesChief Justice John Roberts has a pattern of warning Supreme Court clerks and staff to maintain confidentiality in court dealings. Roberts would highlight to the clerks that leaking information could mean blows to their careers, clerks told Insider.Legal experts called the breach — which is almost unprecedented — "highly disturbing." Roberts has instructed the court marshal to start an investigation into the leak. He called it a "betrayal of the confidences of the court."Read Full StoryOklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt signs Texas-style bill that bans abortions around the six-week pregnancy mark—Governor Kevin Stitt (@GovStitt) May 3, 2022Stitt signed SB 1503 — a bill that mirrors the highly restrictive Texas abortion ban — on Tuesday saying he wants Oklahoma "to be the most pro-life state in the country."The "Oklahoma Heartbeat Act" would make it illegal for any pregnant individual to obtain an abortion passed the point when a heartbeat can be detected in the fetus. This typically occurs around the sixth week of pregnancy — though most people are unaware that they are pregnant at this point. The bill leaves out exceptions including rape or incest and only allows the procedure if the impregnated person's life is at risk.It also enables private citizens to sue others who induce or provide an abortion for up to $10,000, just like the Texas law. The bill immediately goes into effect since Stitt signed.Oklahoma lawmakers passed another abortion law in April forbidding medical professionals from performing the procedure except in medical emergencies — punishable by up to 10 years in prison and $100,000 in fines. This bill would go into effect in the summer unless courts stop it.Some companies are covering travel costs for employees seeking abortion in different statesSarah Goggans (C) holds her daughter Lilith Centola in front of the US Supreme Court as demonstrators gather in Washington, DC, on May 3, 2022.Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty ImagesSome US companies are taking steps in response to increasing restrictions on abortion access.  Amazon, Apple, and Citi, for example, are covering travel costs for employees seeking abortion in different states.At least half of US states are "certain or likely" to ban abortion if the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling is struck down, according to analysis by the Guttmacher Institute.Read Full StoryAOC calls Sen. Kyrsten Sinema 'an obstructionist' and rips on the Arizona lawmakerSen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz.; Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y.Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc/Getty Images; J. Scott Applewhite, File/Associated PressRep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez called Sen. Kyrsten Sinema "an obstructionist" and slammed the Arizona lawmaker for refusing to support changes to the Senate filibuster to codify abortion protections."We could protect Roe tomorrow, but Sinema refuses to act on the filibuster. Until that changes she can take a seat talking about 'women's access to health care,'" Ocasio-Cortez said, calling for Sinema to be primaried. Read Full StoryRepublican Sen. Lisa Murkowski said her "confidence" in SCOTUS has been rockedRepublican Sen. Lisa Murkowski said her "confidence" in the Supreme Court has been rocked after the leaked draft opinion suggesting Roe v. Wade would be overturned. "Roe is still the law of the land. We don't know the direction that this decision may ultimately take, but if it goes in the direction that this leaked copy has indicated I will just tell you that it rocks my confidence in the court right now," she told reporters. Murkowski, who supports abortion rights, voted to approve Conservatives Neil Gorsuch and Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court.Read Full StoryKamala Harris says the 'rights of all Americans are at risk' after leaked draft opinionVice President Kamala Harris and Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff disembark from Air Force 2 at San Francisco International Airport on April 21, 2022 in California.Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty ImagesVice President Kamala Harris said in a statement that "the rights of all Americans are at risk" as the Supreme Court seems set to overturn Roe v. Wade. "If the right to privacy is weakened, every person could face a future in which the government can potentially interfere in the personal decisions you make about your life," Harris said.She added: "Republican legislators in states across the country are weaponizing the use of the law against women."Read Full StorySen. Elizabeth Warren rips Republicans for 'plotting' to get a conservative Supreme CourtU.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) speaks to pro-choice demonstrators outside of the U.S. Supreme Court Building on May 03, 2022 in Washington, DC.Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty ImagesSen. Elizabeth Warren slammed Republicans for "plotting" to get a conservative Supreme Court and overturn Roe v. Wade. "The Republicans have been working toward this day for decades," Warren told reporters Tuesday. "They have been out there plotting, carefully cultivating these Supreme Court justices so they could have a majority on the bench who would accomplish something that the majority of Americans do not want."She said she's "angry and upset and determined," after the leaked draft opinion appearing to signal the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling will be overturned. Read Full StorySen. Kyrsten Sinema stands by her support of the Senate filibusterSen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., speaks during a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing on Feb. 1, 2022 in Washington.Al Drago/Bloomberg via AP, FileSen. Kyrsten Sinema is standing by her support of the Senate filibuster, busting Democrats' hopes of codifying Roe v. Wade into law.  "Protections in the Senate safeguarding against the erosion of women's access to health care have been used half-a-dozen times in the past ten years, and are more important now than ever," she said in a Tuesday statement.The filibuster requires most legislation to get a three-fifths majority to head to debate, meaning Democrats can't pass many policy items in an evenly divided Senate.  Read Full StoryRep. Cori Bush said she's 'broken up' by the Roe v. Wade draft opinionDemocratic Rep. Cori Bush — who previously revealed she got an abortion after being raped as a teen — said she was "broken up" after the leaked draft opinion suggesting the Supreme Court would overturn the constitutional right to abortion."I'm pretty broken up," the 45-year-old Missouri congresswoman told The New York Times in an interview on Tuesday.She added: "Whether you have an abortion, or whether you have the child, no one is on that table with you. No one is on that bed with you."Read Full StorySupreme Court confirms authenticity of leaked draft opinion gutting abortion rightsU.S. Supreme Court Police officers set up barricades on the sidewalk as pro-choice and anti-abortion activists demonstrate in front of the U.S. Supreme Court Building on May 03, 2022 in Washington, DC.Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty ImagesThe Supreme Court confirmed the authenticity of a leaked draft opinion that would overturn the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling guaranteeing abortion rights."Although the document described in yesterday's reports is authentic, it does not represent a decision by the Court or the final position of any member on the issues in the case," the court said in a statement.Chief Justice John Roberts announced the court will investigate to find out who leaked the document.Read Full StorySusan Collins slams Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh after leaked draft opinionSusan CollinsGreg Nash-Pool/Getty ImagesRepublican Sen. Susan Collins slammed conservative Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh in the wake of the leaked draft opinion that would overturn the right to an abortion."If this leaked draft opinion is the final decision and this reporting is accurate, it would be completely inconsistent with what Justice Gorsuch and Justice Kavanaugh said in their hearings and in our meetings in my office," Collins said in a statement.Collins — who supports abortion rights — has previously defended her decision to vote for Gorsuch and Kavanaugh's Supreme Court confirmations. Read Full StoryMajority Leader Schumer says the Senate will vote on an abortion rights billSenate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer promised to hold a vote that would codify federal abortion rights into law."A vote on this legislation is not an abstract exercise. This is as urgent and real as it gets," Schumer said during a speech on the Senate floor. "We will vote to protect a woman's right to choose and every American is going to see on which side every American stands."Read Full StoryBiden says it's up to 'voters to elect pro-choice officials' after leaked SCOTUS draft opinionBiden at former Vice President Walter Mondale’s memorial service in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on May 1, 2022.Nicholas Kamm / AFP via Getty ImagesPresident Joe Biden urged voters to elect pro-choice lawmakers in the wake of a leaked draft opinion seemingly suggesting that the Supreme Court would overturn Roe v. Wade. Biden in a Tuesday statement said at a federal level, the country needs "more pro-choice Senators and a pro-choice majority in the House" so he can pass legislation to codify Roe v. Wade. "If the Court does overturn Roe, it will fall on our nation's elected officials at all levels of government to protect a woman's right to choose," the president added. "And it will fall on voters to elect pro-choice officials this November." Read Full StoryMcConnell lashes out at Democrats over reactions to Roe v. Wade leakSenate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) departs the US Capitol on April 27, 2022.STEFANI REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty ImagesSenate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell slammed Democrats over their reactions to the leaked draft opinion showing the Supreme Court is set to undo abortion rights. "By every indication, this was yet another escalation in the radical left's ongoing campaign to bully and intimidate federal judges and substitute mob rule for the rule of law," McConnell said in a statement.He also called the leak "an attack on the independence of the Supreme Court." Read Full StoryCalifornia Gov. Gavin Newsom proposes to build a statewide constitutional 'firewall' around abortion rightsCalifornia Gov. Gavin Newsom on Tuesday proposed building a statewide constitutional "firewall" around abortion rights."California will build a firewall around this right in our state constitution," Newsom said in a joint statement with California's State Senate President Toni Atkins and State Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon.The statement said California lawmakers will propose a constitutional amendment to "enshrine the right to choose."Read Full StoryDemocrats plan to make abortion rights a huge midterm issueAbortion rights advocates and anti-abortion protesters demonstrate in front of the U.S. Supreme Court, Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2021, in Washington, as the court hears arguments in a case from Mississippi, where a 2018 law would ban abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, well before viability.(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)Democrats plan to make abortion a main talking point ahead of the fall midterm elections if the Supreme Court overturns existing protections for women's reproductive rights.If the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling is overturned, pro-choice groups say outrage could help inspire people to vote. "The reality is abortion is absolutely going to be on the ballot in 2022, no ifs, ands, or buts about it," Kristin Ford, vice president of communications at NARAL Pro-Choice America, told Insider in March.Read Full StoryDemocrats are worried that same-sex marriage and civil rights could be targeted next after SCOTUS leakDemocratic lawmakers are concerned that same-sex marriage and civil rights could be undone next in the wake of a leaked draft opinion showing the Supreme Court is set to overturn abortion rights.The Supreme Court "isn't just coming for abortion - they're coming for the right to privacy Roe rests on, which includes gay marriage + civil rights," Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted on Monday.Legal scholar Laurence Tribe wrote on Twitter that next steps may include a "nationwide abortion ban, followed by a push to roll back rights to contraception, same-sex marriage, sexual privacy, and the full array of textually unenumerated rights long taken for granted." Read Full StorySCOTUS leaked draft opinion is unprecedented, but details about Court deliberations have been made public beforeCaroline McDonald, left, a student at Georgetown University, Lauren Morrissey, with Catholics for Choice, and Pamela Huber, of Washington, join a pro-choice rally outside the Supreme Court, Monday, Nov. 1, 2021, as arguments are set to begin about abortion by the court, on Capitol Hill in Washington.AP Photo/Jacquelyn MartinThe leaked draft opinion seemingly showing that the Supreme Court is poised to overturn Roe v. Wade is certainly unprecedented. An entire draft opinion has never been leaked like this before. But details about justices' deliberations have been made public before — for example a 1972 memo about Roe that was leaked to the Washington Post before it became public. Read Full StoryBiden has been reluctant to say the word 'abortion' throughout his termPresident Joe Biden has been reluctant to publicly say the word "abortion" since he took office in January 2021.According to CNN, he has never said the word "abortion" out loud and used it a few times in some written statements. During his presidential campaign, Biden promised to codify the landmark 1973 ruling in Roe v. Wade.Read Full StoryDemocrats want to 'codify Roe,' but it's unlikely to succeedSenate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer discusses efforts to codify Roe v. Wade into law this past February.Win McNamee/Getty ImagesIn the wake of the leaked draft Supreme Court opinion, Democrats have quickly organized to codify Roe v. Wade and make it a law.One thing stopping Democrats' efforts, however, is the Senate filibuster. Democrats are currently focusing on the Women's Health Protection Act as a way to protect women's' federal right to abortion. Read Full StoryA constitutional amendment protecting abortion rights is nearly impossible to get throughThe First Printing of the Final Text of the United States Constitution is on display during a press preview at Sotheby's on September 17, 2021 in New York City.Photo by Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty ImagesAmending the Constitution is extremely difficult and rare. An amendment protecting abortion rights is nearly impossible.Abortion rights amendments have previously been proposed by both supporters and opponents. In the 233-year-long lifespan of the Constitution, it has only been amended 27 times — most recently in 1992 — and would require massive support in Congress and among states.  Read Full StoryLegal experts are shocked the drafted decision leakedSeated from left: Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas, John Roberts, Stephen Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor, Standing from left: Brett Kavanaugh, Elena Kagan, Neil Gorsuch and Amy Coney Barrett.Erin Schaff-Pool/Getty ImagesLegal experts have expressed shock at the fact that a draft opinion from the Supreme Court was leaked to Politico. "The fact that it leaked is, to me, the most surprising thing," Harvard Law School professor I. Glenn Cohen told Insider.Mark Kende, a law professor at Drake University, told Insider that it's "highly disturbing that the opinion was improperly leaked in an unprecedented way, presumably by someone at the Court."Read Full StoryTop Democrats slam SCOTUS justices for 'one of the worst' decisions in historySenate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Designate Nancy Pelosi.AP Photo/J. Scott ApplewhiteHouse Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer slammed the potential Supreme Court ruling as  "one of the worst and most damaging decisions in modern history."Their remarks came in response to a leaked draft opinion published by Politico that appears to show the Supreme Court is set to overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade case. "If the report is accurate, the Supreme Court is poised to inflict the greatest restriction of rights in the past fifty years – not just on women but on all Americans," Pelosi and Schumer said in a joint statement. Read Full StoryProtesters in support of Roe v. Wade gathered outside Supreme CourtPro-choice and anti-abortion activist rally outside of the U.S. Supreme Court on May 02, 2022 in Washington, DC. In an initial draft majority opinion obtained by Politico, Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito allegedly wrote that the cases Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood of Southeastern v. Casey should be overruled, which would end federal protection of abortion rights across the country.Kevin Dietsch/Getty ImagesHundreds of protestors gathered outside the Supreme Court in Washington, DC, late on Monday night after Politico published a leaked draft opinion suggesting that Roe v. Wade was poised to be overturned. "I got down here early, right, cause I got home from a long day kicked off shoes my shoes, opened Twitter, saw that Roe v. Wade was trending to be overturned, put my shoes back on, and came right back from east of the river," Rev. Wendy Hamilton, a Democratic congressional candidate from DC, told Insider. Read Full StoryLeaked draft opinion shows SCOTUS set to overturn Roe v. WadeThe U.S. Supreme Court building is seen at sunset in Washington on Thursday, Dec. 2, 2021.Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty ImagesA leaked draft opinion obtained by Politico appears to show that the Supreme Court is poised to overturn the 1973 landmark Roe v. Wade ruling that granted women the constitutional right to an abortion.Politico late Monday published the 98-page initial draft majority opinion, purportedly authored by Justice Samuel Alito who said Roe was "egregiously wrong from the start.""We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled," the draft opinion says, labeled as the "Opinion of the Court," according to the report.The decision — if finalized — would mark a momentous shift in constitutional rights. Over a dozen GOP states have laws that would immediately restrict abortion access if Roe v. Wade is overturned. Read Full StoryRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderMay 4th, 2022

Live updates: Overturning Roe v Wade is "not what a majority of Americans want," says Sen. Elizabeth Warren

Over a dozen GOP-led states have laws that would immediately restrict abortion access if the Supreme Court throws out Roe v. Wade. Pro-choice demonstrators hold signs in front of the US Supreme Court in Washington, DC, on May 3, 2022.Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images A video shows Sen. Elizabeth Warren furious about the leaked memo regarding Roe v. Wade. "The Republicans have been working toward this day for decades," Warren said. If finalized, the ruling would throw out a woman's constitutional right to have an abortion. Reasoning behind leaked draft decision could lead to anti-feminist laws nationwide, says Rep. Jamie RaskinProtesters at a pro-choice rally outside the Supreme Court on November 1, 2021.AP Photo/Jacquelyn MartinMaryland Rep. Jamie Raskin said this week that if Roe v. Wade were to be overturned based on Justice Samuel Alito's reasoning, it might be an invitation for other laws to be overturned. Raskin was discussing the bombshell leak of the Supreme Court's draft majority opinion on Roe v. Wade during an interview with MSNBC host Rachel Maddow on Monday.Read Full StoryOverturning Roe v. Wade is 'not what a majority of Americans want,' says Elizabeth WarrenSen. Elizabeth Warren.Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty ImagesA video taken on Tuesday showed Sen. Elizabeth Warren fuming over a leaked Supreme Court opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito which appeared to show that the Supreme Court's conservative judges have lined up to overturn Roe v. Wade.The 1973 Supreme Court decision codified the right to an abortion into law, but the memo leaked by Politico on Monday showed that the court's five conservative judges all shared their opposition to the law in February.A furious Warren ripped into the lawmakers who approved the conservative judges while speaking with reporters on Tuesday, appearing shaken with anger as an aide helped escort her away from the courthouse.Read Full StoryAs Roe v. Wade faces being overturned, communities of color continue to fight for their rightsFor decades, women of color have been on the front line of the fight for abortion rights.Whitney Curtis/Getty ImagesAbortion advocates say that communities of color will bear the brunt of the overturning of the decades-long precedence of Roe v. Wade."We know this imminent ruling will have a dramatic impact on all people seeking to end a pregnancy and its consequences will reverberate nationwide," Lupe M. Rodríguez, the executive director at the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Justice, wrote in a statement to Insider.Read Full StorySupreme Court's leaked decision gives Democrats a fresh shot at the culture warsBoth pro- and anti-abortion demonstrators gathered in front of the US Supreme Court in Washington, DC, on May 3.Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty ImagesRepublicans planned to ride to electoral victory this fall on a wave of parental fears and dissatisfaction with schools, teachers' unions, and COVID restrictions.The Supreme Court was poised over the summer to weigh in on one of the most polarizing issues of all, overturning abortion rights. But now that an authentic draft of the conservative majority's opinion has been leaked ahead of schedule, it has accelerated concerns, and a decision to gut Roe v. Wade could supersede all other culture wars when Americans go to the polls in November.Democrats are counting on it.Read Full StorySchumer blasts McConnell for not discussing Supreme Court draft opinionSenate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer; Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.Alex Wong/Getty Images; Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty ImagesSenate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on Tuesday ripped into Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell after the top Republican avoiding talking about his longtime push to overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark ruling that granted women the constitutional right to an abortion nearly 50 years ago.McConnell earlier on Tuesday criticized the release of a draft opinion from the Supreme Court — an unprecedented leak related to a major abortion rights case that's still pending. The top Republican focused his outrage on the nature of the leak, and avoided speaking on the substance of the draft opinion, which would overturn Roe."It is utterly amazing that Mitch McConnell did not want to say he supports repealing Roe v. Wade," Schumer said during a press conference. "All he did was talk about the leaks."Read Full StoryRepublican senators won't say if they support rape and incest exceptions to abortion bansRepublican Sens. Rick Scott of Florida and Joni Ernst of IowaJim Lo Scalzo/Pool/AFP via Getty Images; Caroline Brehman/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty; Anna Moneymaker/GettyEvery Republican president since Ronald Reagan has stood behind anti-abortion views with exceptions in the cases of rape, incest, and protecting the life of the pregnant person.But some Senate Republicans refused to tell Insider whether they support such exceptions in the wake of the publication of a draft Supreme Court opinion that would overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark ruling protecting abortion rights.Read Full StoryConservative media talking heads play defense on overturning Roe v. WadeSenate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.Drew Angerer/Getty ImagesThe conservative legal movement appears to be on the cusp of achieving a nearly 50-year dream of overturning Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision protecting abortion.But so far, conservative media appearances show the party and its most loyal pundits holding off on taking a victory lap.Read Full StoryDemocrats want to make Roe v. Wade the law of the landSenate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer discusses efforts to codify Roe v. Wade into law this past February.Win McNamee/Getty ImagesDemocrats have promised to vote on a bill that would protect abortion rights after a leaked draft showed the Supreme Court is poised to overturn Roe v. Wade. "Every American is going to see which side every senator stands on," Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said Tuesday on the steps of the US Capitol, adding that a vote would happen "soon" on the Women's Health Protection Act. Read Full StoryJustice Samuel Alito quoted Ruth Bader Ginsburg in leaked draft opinionUS Supreme Court Associate Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Samuel Alito, Jr. sit next to each other for a group portrait on November 30, 2018.Jim Young/ReutersAssociate Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito cited the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in his leaked draft opinion that would reverse landmark abortion rights. Ginsburg was a famously strong defender of women's rights during her 27-year tenure on the court before her death in 2020. "Roe...halted a political process that was moving in a reform direction and thereby, I believed, prolonged divisiveness and deferred stable settlement of the issue," Alito quoted Ginsburg on the third page of his 98-page opinion.Read Full StoryScrapping of Roe v. Wade would hurt women's personal and financial securityProtesters, demonstrators, and activists gather in front of the US Supreme Court as the justices hear arguments in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health, a case about a Mississippi law that bans most abortions after 15 weeks, on December 01, 2021.Chip Somodevilla/Getty ImagesOver the last few years, women and trans Americans have seen their economic, physical, and personal security imperiled, and policy hasn't stepped up to address those challenges.A Supreme Court decision striking down Roe v. Wade would be yet another big setback, Insider's Juliana Kaplan and Joseph Zeballos-Roig write.Read Full StoryThe draft leak was Chief Justice John Roberts' worst 'nightmare'Chief Justice John Roberts ordered an investigation into the leak of a draft opinion.Andrew Harnik/AFP via Getty ImagesChief Justice John Roberts has a pattern of warning Supreme Court clerks and staff to maintain confidentiality in court dealings. Roberts would highlight to the clerks that leaking information could mean blows to their careers, clerks told Insider.Legal experts called the breach — which is almost unprecedented — "highly disturbing." Roberts has instructed the court marshal to start an investigation into the leak. He called it a "betrayal of the confidences of the court."Read Full StoryOklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt signs Texas-style bill that bans abortions around the six-week pregnancy mark—Governor Kevin Stitt (@GovStitt) May 3, 2022Stitt signed SB 1503 — a bill that mirrors the highly restrictive Texas abortion ban — on Tuesday saying he wants Oklahoma "to be the most pro-life state in the country."The "Oklahoma Heartbeat Act" would make it illegal for any pregnant individual to obtain an abortion passed the point when a heartbeat can be detected in the fetus. This typically occurs around the sixth week of pregnancy — though most people are unaware that they are pregnant at this point. The bill leaves out exceptions including rape or incest and only allows the procedure if the impregnated person's life is at risk.It also enables private citizens to sue others who induce or provide an abortion for up to $10,000, just like the Texas law. The bill immediately goes into effect since Stitt signed.Oklahoma lawmakers passed another abortion law in April forbidding medical professionals from performing the procedure except in medical emergencies — punishable by up to 10 years in prison and $100,000 in fines. This bill would go into effect in the summer unless courts stop it.Some companies are covering travel costs for employees seeking abortion in different statesSarah Goggans (C) holds her daughter Lilith Centola in front of the US Supreme Court as demonstrators gather in Washington, DC, on May 3, 2022.Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty ImagesSome US companies are taking steps in response to increasing restrictions on abortion access.  Amazon, Apple, and Citi, for example, are covering travel costs for employees seeking abortion in different states.At least half of US states are "certain or likely" to ban abortion if the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling is struck down, according to analysis by the Guttmacher Institute.Read Full StoryAOC calls Sen. Kyrsten Sinema 'an obstructionist' and rips on the Arizona lawmakerSen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz.; Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y.Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc/Getty Images; J. Scott Applewhite, File/Associated PressRep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez called Sen. Kyrsten Sinema "an obstructionist" and slammed the Arizona lawmaker for refusing to support changes to the Senate filibuster to codify abortion protections."We could protect Roe tomorrow, but Sinema refuses to act on the filibuster. Until that changes she can take a seat talking about 'women's access to health care,'" Ocasio-Cortez said, calling for Sinema to be primaried. Read Full StoryRepublican Sen. Lisa Murkowski said her "confidence" in SCOTUS has been rockedRepublican Sen. Lisa Murkowski said her "confidence" in the Supreme Court has been rocked after the leaked draft opinion suggesting Roe v. Wade would be overturned. "Roe is still the law of the land. We don't know the direction that this decision may ultimately take, but if it goes in the direction that this leaked copy has indicated I will just tell you that it rocks my confidence in the court right now," she told reporters. Murkowski, who supports abortion rights, voted to approve Conservatives Neil Gorsuch and Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court.Read Full StoryKamala Harris says the 'rights of all Americans are at risk' after leaked draft opinionVice President Kamala Harris and Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff disembark from Air Force 2 at San Francisco International Airport on April 21, 2022 in California.Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty ImagesVice President Kamala Harris said in a statement that "the rights of all Americans are at risk" as the Supreme Court seems set to overturn Roe v. Wade. "If the right to privacy is weakened, every person could face a future in which the government can potentially interfere in the personal decisions you make about your life," Harris said.She added: "Republican legislators in states across the country are weaponizing the use of the law against women."Read Full StorySen. Elizabeth Warren rips Republicans for 'plotting' to get a conservative Supreme CourtU.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) speaks to pro-choice demonstrators outside of the U.S. Supreme Court Building on May 03, 2022 in Washington, DC.Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty ImagesSen. Elizabeth Warren slammed Republicans for "plotting" to get a conservative Supreme Court and overturn Roe v. Wade. "The Republicans have been working toward this day for decades," Warren told reporters Tuesday. "They have been out there plotting, carefully cultivating these Supreme Court justices so they could have a majority on the bench who would accomplish something that the majority of Americans do not want."She said she's "angry and upset and determined," after the leaked draft opinion appearing to signal the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling will be overturned. Read Full StorySen. Kyrsten Sinema stands by her support of the Senate filibusterSen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., speaks during a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing on Feb. 1, 2022 in Washington.Al Drago/Bloomberg via AP, FileSen. Kyrsten Sinema is standing by her support of the Senate filibuster, busting Democrats' hopes of codifying Roe v. Wade into law.  "Protections in the Senate safeguarding against the erosion of women's access to health care have been used half-a-dozen times in the past ten years, and are more important now than ever," she said in a Tuesday statement.The filibuster requires most legislation to get a three-fifths majority to head to debate, meaning Democrats can't pass many policy items in an evenly divided Senate.  Read Full StoryRep. Cori Bush said she's 'broken up' by the Roe v. Wade draft opinionDemocratic Rep. Cori Bush — who previously revealed she got an abortion after being raped as a teen — said she was "broken up" after the leaked draft opinion suggesting the Supreme Court would overturn the constitutional right to abortion."I'm pretty broken up," the 45-year-old Missouri congresswoman told The New York Times in an interview on Tuesday.She added: "Whether you have an abortion, or whether you have the child, no one is on that table with you. No one is on that bed with you."Read Full StorySupreme Court confirms authenticity of leaked draft opinion gutting abortion rightsU.S. Supreme Court Police officers set up barricades on the sidewalk as pro-choice and anti-abortion activists demonstrate in front of the U.S. Supreme Court Building on May 03, 2022 in Washington, DC.Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty ImagesThe Supreme Court confirmed the authenticity of a leaked draft opinion that would overturn the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling guaranteeing abortion rights."Although the document described in yesterday's reports is authentic, it does not represent a decision by the Court or the final position of any member on the issues in the case," the court said in a statement.Chief Justice John Roberts announced the court will investigate to find out who leaked the document.Read Full StorySusan Collins slams Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh after leaked draft opinionSusan CollinsGreg Nash-Pool/Getty ImagesRepublican Sen. Susan Collins slammed conservative Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh in the wake of the leaked draft opinion that would overturn the right to an abortion."If this leaked draft opinion is the final decision and this reporting is accurate, it would be completely inconsistent with what Justice Gorsuch and Justice Kavanaugh said in their hearings and in our meetings in my office," Collins said in a statement.Collins — who supports abortion rights — has previously defended her decision to vote for Gorsuch and Kavanaugh's Supreme Court confirmations. Read Full StoryMajority Leader Schumer says the Senate will vote on an abortion rights billSenate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer promised to hold a vote that would codify federal abortion rights into law."A vote on this legislation is not an abstract exercise. This is as urgent and real as it gets," Schumer said during a speech on the Senate floor. "We will vote to protect a woman's right to choose and every American is going to see on which side every American stands."Read Full StoryBiden says it's up to 'voters to elect pro-choice officials' after leaked SCOTUS draft opinionBiden at former Vice President Walter Mondale’s memorial service in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on May 1, 2022.Nicholas Kamm / AFP via Getty ImagesPresident Joe Biden urged voters to elect pro-choice lawmakers in the wake of a leaked draft opinion seemingly suggesting that the Supreme Court would overturn Roe v. Wade. Biden in a Tuesday statement said at a federal level, the country needs "more pro-choice Senators and a pro-choice majority in the House" so he can pass legislation to codify Roe v. Wade. "If the Court does overturn Roe, it will fall on our nation's elected officials at all levels of government to protect a woman's right to choose," the president added. "And it will fall on voters to elect pro-choice officials this November." Read Full StoryMcConnell lashes out at Democrats over reactions to Roe v. Wade leakSenate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) departs the US Capitol on April 27, 2022.STEFANI REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty ImagesSenate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell slammed Democrats over their reactions to the leaked draft opinion showing the Supreme Court is set to undo abortion rights. "By every indication, this was yet another escalation in the radical left's ongoing campaign to bully and intimidate federal judges and substitute mob rule for the rule of law," McConnell said in a statement.He also called the leak "an attack on the independence of the Supreme Court." Read Full StoryCalifornia Gov. Gavin Newsom proposes to build a statewide constitutional 'firewall' around abortion rightsCalifornia Gov. Gavin Newsom on Tuesday proposed building a statewide constitutional "firewall" around abortion rights."California will build a firewall around this right in our state constitution," Newsom said in a joint statement with California's State Senate President Toni Atkins and State Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon.The statement said California lawmakers will propose a constitutional amendment to "enshrine the right to choose."Read Full StoryDemocrats plan to make abortion rights a huge midterm issueAbortion rights advocates and anti-abortion protesters demonstrate in front of the U.S. Supreme Court, Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2021, in Washington, as the court hears arguments in a case from Mississippi, where a 2018 law would ban abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, well before viability.(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)Democrats plan to make abortion a main talking point ahead of the fall midterm elections if the Supreme Court overturns existing protections for women's reproductive rights.If the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling is overturned, pro-choice groups say outrage could help inspire people to vote. "The reality is abortion is absolutely going to be on the ballot in 2022, no ifs, ands, or buts about it," Kristin Ford, vice president of communications at NARAL Pro-Choice America, told Insider in March.Read Full StoryDemocrats are worried that same-sex marriage and civil rights could be targeted next after SCOTUS leakDemocratic lawmakers are concerned that same-sex marriage and civil rights could be undone next in the wake of a leaked draft opinion showing the Supreme Court is set to overturn abortion rights.The Supreme Court "isn't just coming for abortion - they're coming for the right to privacy Roe rests on, which includes gay marriage + civil rights," Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted on Monday.Legal scholar Laurence Tribe wrote on Twitter that next steps may include a "nationwide abortion ban, followed by a push to roll back rights to contraception, same-sex marriage, sexual privacy, and the full array of textually unenumerated rights long taken for granted." Read Full StorySCOTUS leaked draft opinion is unprecedented, but details about Court deliberations have been made public beforeCaroline McDonald, left, a student at Georgetown University, Lauren Morrissey, with Catholics for Choice, and Pamela Huber, of Washington, join a pro-choice rally outside the Supreme Court, Monday, Nov. 1, 2021, as arguments are set to begin about abortion by the court, on Capitol Hill in Washington.AP Photo/Jacquelyn MartinThe leaked draft opinion seemingly showing that the Supreme Court is poised to overturn Roe v. Wade is certainly unprecedented. An entire draft opinion has never been leaked like this before. But details about justices' deliberations have been made public before — for example a 1972 memo about Roe that was leaked to the Washington Post before it became public. Read Full StoryBiden has been reluctant to say the word 'abortion' throughout his termPresident Joe Biden has been reluctant to publicly say the word "abortion" since he took office in January 2021.According to CNN, he has never said the word "abortion" out loud and used it a few times in some written statements. During his presidential campaign, Biden promised to codify the landmark 1973 ruling in Roe v. Wade.Read Full StoryDemocrats want to 'codify Roe,' but it's unlikely to succeedSenate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer discusses efforts to codify Roe v. Wade into law this past February.Win McNamee/Getty ImagesIn the wake of the leaked draft Supreme Court opinion, Democrats have quickly organized to codify Roe v. Wade and make it a law.One thing stopping Democrats' efforts, however, is the Senate filibuster. Democrats are currently focusing on the Women's Health Protection Act as a way to protect women's' federal right to abortion. Read Full StoryA constitutional amendment protecting abortion rights is nearly impossible to get throughThe First Printing of the Final Text of the United States Constitution is on display during a press preview at Sotheby's on September 17, 2021 in New York City.Photo by Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty ImagesAmending the Constitution is extremely difficult and rare. An amendment protecting abortion rights is nearly impossible.Abortion rights amendments have previously been proposed by both supporters and opponents. In the 233-year-long lifespan of the Constitution, it has only been amended 27 times — most recently in 1992 — and would require massive support in Congress and among states.  Read Full StoryLegal experts are shocked the drafted decision leakedSeated from left: Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas, John Roberts, Stephen Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor, Standing from left: Brett Kavanaugh, Elena Kagan, Neil Gorsuch and Amy Coney Barrett.Erin Schaff-Pool/Getty ImagesLegal experts have expressed shock at the fact that a draft opinion from the Supreme Court was leaked to Politico. "The fact that it leaked is, to me, the most surprising thing," Harvard Law School professor I. Glenn Cohen told Insider.Mark Kende, a law professor at Drake University, told Insider that it's "highly disturbing that the opinion was improperly leaked in an unprecedented way, presumably by someone at the Court."Read Full StoryTop Democrats slam SCOTUS justices for 'one of the worst' decisions in historySenate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Designate Nancy Pelosi.AP Photo/J. Scott ApplewhiteHouse Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer slammed the potential Supreme Court ruling as  "one of the worst and most damaging decisions in modern history."Their remarks came in response to a leaked draft opinion published by Politico that appears to show the Supreme Court is set to overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade case. "If the report is accurate, the Supreme Court is poised to inflict the greatest restriction of rights in the past fifty years – not just on women but on all Americans," Pelosi and Schumer said in a joint statement. Read Full StoryProtesters in support of Roe v. Wade gathered outside Supreme CourtPro-choice and anti-abortion activist rally outside of the U.S. Supreme Court on May 02, 2022 in Washington, DC. In an initial draft majority opinion obtained by Politico, Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito allegedly wrote that the cases Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood of Southeastern v. Casey should be overruled, which would end federal protection of abortion rights across the country.Kevin Dietsch/Getty ImagesHundreds of protestors gathered outside the Supreme Court in Washington, DC, late on Monday night after Politico published a leaked draft opinion suggesting that Roe v. Wade was poised to be overturned. "I got down here early, right, cause I got home from a long day kicked off shoes my shoes, opened Twitter, saw that Roe v. Wade was trending to be overturned, put my shoes back on, and came right back from east of the river," Rev. Wendy Hamilton, a Democratic congressional candidate from DC, told Insider. Read Full StoryLeaked draft opinion shows SCOTUS set to overturn Roe v. WadeThe U.S. Supreme Court building is seen at sunset in Washington on Thursday, Dec. 2, 2021.Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty ImagesA leaked draft opinion obtained by Politico appears to show that the Supreme Court is poised to overturn the 1973 landmark Roe v. Wade ruling that granted women the constitutional right to an abortion.Politico late Monday published the 98-page initial draft majority opinion, purportedly authored by Justice Samuel Alito who said Roe was "egregiously wrong from the start.""We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled," the draft opinion says, labeled as the "Opinion of the Court," according to the report.The decision — if finalized — would mark a momentous shift in constitutional rights. Over a dozen GOP states have laws that would immediately restrict abortion access if Roe v. Wade is overturned. Read Full StoryRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderMay 4th, 2022

Proxy advisory firm backs keeping incumbent Kohl"s board, criticizes activist"s proposals

A few days after the nation’s largest proxy advisory firm recommended Kohl’s Corp. shareholders vote for two board candidates nominated by activist shareholder Macellum Capital, the second-largest advisory firm supported Kohl’s nomination of all 13 incumbent directors......»»

Category: topSource: bizjournalsMay 3rd, 2022

Pelosi and Schumer slam Supreme Court justices for writing "one of the worst" decisions in history amid reported leak of draft opinion to overturn abortion rights

Republicans responded almost universally condemning the historic leak of a draft Supreme Court ruling. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck SchumerAP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite Democrats slammed a leaked draft of a Supreme Court ruling overturning abortion rights. Politico reported that Justice Samuel Alito has a draft majority opinion ready that would overturn Roe v. Wade. "This is gut-wrenching," said Rep. Brenda Lawrence, a Democrat from Michigan. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer torched Supreme Court justices on Monday night after Politico published what appears to be a leaked draft of a ruling overturning the right to an abortion."If the report is accurate, the Supreme Court is poised to inflict the greatest restriction of rights in the past fifty years – not just on women but on all Americans," the top two Congressional Democrats said in a joint statement. "The Republican-appointed Justices' reported votes to overturn Roe v. Wade would go down as an abomination, one of the worst and most damaging decisions in modern history."Pelosi and Schumer also went after the heart of the Republican Party, a political movement that once welcomed moderate views on abortion, for supporting the confirmation of justices that will fundamentally gut abortion rights. Democrats are far less likely to have anti-abortion lawmakers now, a sign of just how polarizing the issue has become to the two parties."The party of Lincoln and Eisenhower has now completely devolved into the party of Trump," Pelosi and Schumer said. "Every Republican Senator who supported Senator McConnell and voted for Trump Justices pretending that this day would never come will now have to explain themselves to the American people."Politico reported that Justice Samuel Alito has circulated an initial draft majority opinion that would overturn the high court's precedent of Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, two of the court's most critical decisions establishing abortion rights in America. "We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled," Alito writes in what Politico describes as a document labeled "Opinion of the Court." "It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people's elected representatives."Rank and file Democratic lawmakers quickly unified around a plan to codify Roe v. Wade into law."If #SCOTUS is going to legislate from the bench and turn back the clock 50 years on #RoeVWade, then the Senate needs to pass my Women's Health Protection Act, and if we need to eliminate the filibuster to get it done, we should do that too," Sen. Tammy Baldwin, a Democrat from Wisconsin, wrote on Twitter.Baldwin's comments illustrate how House and Senate Democrats appear to be rallying around a renewed effort to codify the Supreme Court's precedent into law.But this effort is very likely to be unsuccessful given that the Senate's filibuster effectively requires the legislation to receive 60 votes in the chamber. Only two Senate Republicans, Sens. Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski, have expressed past pro-abortion opinions. But even Collins opposes the House-passed Women Protection Act, which she has argued goes too far.Along with that focus, some progressive lawmakers made explicit calls for public outrage and demonstrations."People should take to the streets across the country," Rep. Pramila Jayapal, the chairwoman of the House Progressive Caucus, wrote on Twitter along with a call for Congress to codify Roe v. Wade's central holdings.—Rep. Pramila Jayapal (@RepJayapal) May 3, 2022 Rep. Brenda Lawrence, a Democrat from Michigan, spoke to the emotion of the moment for many Democrats."This is gut wrenching," Lawrence wrote on Twitter.While Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez argued that Alito's reported draft opinion makes clear that the right to same-sex marriage could soon be in jeopardy too. "As we've warned, SCOTUS isn't just coming for abortion - they're coming for the right to privacy Roe rests on, which includes gay marriage + civil rights," Ocasio-Cortez wrote on Twitter.In the reported opinion, Alito lists Obergefell v. Hodges, the 2015 landmark decision that legalized same-sex marriage, among a host of past decisions that granted rights despite "any claim to being deeply rooted in history." Alito argues the opinion that the act of abortion raises a "critical moral question" that even these previous cases have not.Politico's report makes clear that justices could change their vote and the opinion is not necessarily the court's final view on the subject.Some Republican lawmakers rejoiced at the prospect that a decades-long fight to end abortion in America may be closer to reality than ever before."If the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade it will be the most important Supreme Court ruling in my lifetime. The United States can and must stand for life!" Rep. Austin Pfluger, a Republican from Texas, wrote on Twitter.But conservatives almost universally expressed horror that a draft Supreme Court opinion could be publicly leaked."The next time you hear the far left preaching about how they are fighting to preserve our Republic's institutions & norms remember how they leaked a Supreme Court opinion in an attempt to intimidate the justices on abortion," Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, a former Republican presidential candidate, wrote on Twitter.Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri, a former Supreme Court clerk, called the action "an unprecedented breach of confidentiality, clearly meant to intimidate." He later begged the court to issue its opinion immediately. —Josh Hawley (@HawleyMO) May 3, 2022 Alito, a George W. Bush appointee, is a stalwart conservative on the court. But if it is true that the court is ready to overturn abortion rights then the victory is entirely attributed to former President Donald Trump's three appointees, Justices Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett.Politico reports that it is unclear if Chief Justice John Roberts would join Alito's opinion, but if Alito, Justice Clarence Thomas, and the three Trump justices join together then Roberts could not stop them.The publication of the draft opinion is an extraordinary moment in the court's history, particularly when the opinion would explicitly overturn decades of Supreme Court precedent. The court is known for being a virtually leak-proof institution in a town where Congress and the White House, comparatively, leak like sieves.Justices were expected to reach a decision on the pending case before their term concludes this summer. The current pending decision regards Mississippi's law that effectively bans most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, a law specifically designed to go after the heart of Roe.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderMay 3rd, 2022

Democrats call for action after report suggesting the Supreme Court is poised to overturn Roe v. Wade

Republicans responded almost universally condemning the historic leak of a draft Supreme Court ruling. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, a Democrat from Wisconsin, addresses a 2019 news conference about her abortion rights legislation.Mark Wilson/Getty Images Democrats slammed a leaked draft of a Supreme Court ruling overturning abortion rights. Politico reported that Justice Samuel Alito has a draft majority opinion ready that would overturn Roe v. Wade. "This is gut-wrenching," said Rep. Brenda Lawrence, a Democrat from Michigan. Democratic lawmakers called for action on Monday night in the after Politico published what appears to be a leaked draft of a Supreme Court ruling overturning the right to an abortion."If #SCOTUS is going to legislate from the bench and turn back the clock 50 years on #RoeVWade, then the Senate needs to pass my Women's Health Protection Act, and if we need to eliminate the filibuster to get it done, we should do that too," Sen. Tammy Baldwin, a Democrat from Wisconsin, wrote on Twitter.Politico reported that Justice Samuel Alito has circulated an initial draft majority opinion that would overturn the high court's precedent of Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, two of the court's most critical decisions regarding the establishment of abortion rights in America. "We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled," Alito writes in what Politico describes as a document labeled "Opinion of the Court." "It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people's elected representatives."Baldwin's comments illustrate how House and Senate Democrats appear to be rallying around a renewed effort to codify the Supreme Court's precedence into law.But this effort is very likely to be unsuccessful given that the Senate's filibuster effectively requires the legislation to receive 60 votes in the chamber. Only two Senate Republicans, Sens. Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski, have expressed past pro-abortion opinions. But even Collins opposes the House-passed Women Protection Act, which she has argued goes too far.Along with that focus, some progressive lawmakers made explicit calls for public outrage and demonstrations."People should take to the streets across the country," Rep. Pramila Jayapal, the chairwoman of the House Progressive Caucus, wrote on Twitter along with a call for Congress to codify Roe v. Wade's central holdings.—Rep. Pramila Jayapal (@RepJayapal) May 3, 2022  Rep. Brenda Lawrence, a Democrat from Michigan, spoke to the emotion of the moment for many Democrats."This is gut wrenching," Lawrence wrote on Twitter.While Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez argued that Alito's reported draft opinion makes clear that nationwide rights to same-sex marriage could soon be in jeopardy too. "As we've warned, SCOTUS isn't just coming for abortion - they're coming for the right to privacy Roe rests on, which includes gay marriage + civil rights," Ocasio-Cortez wrote on Twitter.In the reported opinion, Alito lists Obergefell v. Hodges, the 2015 landmark decision that legalized same-sex marriage, among a host of past decisions that granted rights despite "any claim to being deeply rooted in history." Alito argues the opinion that the act of abortion raises a "critical moral question" that even these previous cases have not.Politico's report makes clear that justices could change their vote and the opinion is not necessarily the court's final view on the subject.Some Republican lawmakers rejoiced at the prospect that a decades-long fight to end abortion in America may be closer to reality than ever before."If the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade it will be the most important Supreme Court ruling in my lifetime. The United States can and must stand for life!" Rep. Austin Pfluger, a Republican from Texas, wrote on Twitter.But conservatives almost universally expressed horror that a draft Supreme Court opinion could be publicly leaked."The next time you hear the far left preaching about how they are fighting to preserve our Republic's institutions & norms remember how they leaked a Supreme Court opinion in an attempt to intimidate the justices on abortion," Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, a former Republican presidential candidate, wrote on Twitter.Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri, a former Supreme Court clerk, called the action "an unprecedented breach of confidentiality, clearly meant to intimidate." He later begged the court to issue its opinion immediately. —Josh Hawley (@HawleyMO) May 3, 2022 Alito, a George W. Bush appointee, is a stalwart conservative on the court. But if it is true that the court is ready to overturn abortion rights then the victory is entirely attributed to former President Donald Trump's three appointees, Justices Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett.Politico reports that it is unclear if Chief Justice John Roberts would join Alito's opinion, but if Alito, Justice Clarence Thomas, and the three Trump join together then Roberts could not stop them.The publication of the draft opinion is an extraordinary moment in the court's history, particularly when the opinion would explicitly overturn Supreme Court precedence. The court is known for being a virtually leak-proof institution in a town where Congress and the White House, comparatively, leak like sieves.Justices were expected to reach a decision on the pending case before their term concludes later this summer. The current pending regards Mississippi's law that effectively bans most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, a law specifically designed to go after the heart of Roe.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderMay 2nd, 2022