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Ted Cruz says he will "wait and see" what Trump does before deciding on running for president in 2024

Sen. Ted Cruz told a CPAC event in Texas that he is waiting for former President Donald Trump to make up his mind about the 2024 presidential race. Sen. Ted Cruz speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Dallas, Texas, on August 5, 2022.Brandon Bell/Getty Images Ted Cruz said he will "wait and see" whether Donald Trump runs in 2024 before making any decisions on running himself. Cruz previously said that Trump deciding not to run would "significantly" clear out the field. Trump and Cruz fiercely clashed during the 2016 Republican primary campaign. Republican Sen. Ted Cruz says he will "wait and see" what former President Donald Trump does before deciding on whether to run for president again in 2024.Speaking to Fox News at a Conservative Political Action Conference event in Dallas, Texas, on Friday, Cruz said Trump is going to "decide on his own timeframe" whether he will seek the presidency for the third time.Cruz, who launched a failed bid in 2016, suggested he'd hold off until Trump announced his plans. "Everyone is going to wait and see what Donald Trump decides and make decisions from there," he said.When asked about his timeframe for deciding whether he'll put his name in the running for the Republican nominee, Cruz said his focus is now on the 2022 mid-terms."I'm spending practically every waking moment on the campaign trail, focusing on retaking the House and retaking the Senate," he told Fox News. "I think we're going to win both."In July, speaking to Fox News at the Turning Point USA conference in Tampa, Florida, Cruz said that Trump deciding not to run in 2024 would "significantly" clear out the field of potential candidates.Trump has not yet announced whether he'll run in 2024, but teasers have fueled speculation that he will.Last week, he said it would be "very hard for me not to run" against President Joe Biden in 2024. And in June, he said that he would be making an announcement about it in the "not too distant future." Cruz ran against Trump for the Republican nomination in 2016, and the two politicians clashed during the primary campaign.Trump called Cruz's wife "ugly," baselessly claimed Cruz's father was involved in a plot to assassinate President John F. Kennedy and nicknamed him "Lyin' Ted Cruz."  In turn, Cruz called Trump, a "pathological liar."They have since patched things up, according to a new book by Paul Manafort. An extract obtained by the Guardian said that Trump apologized for insulting Cruz and his family. And in recent years, Cruz has become a loyal ally to the former president.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytAug 6th, 2022

Trump"s control over the GOP is near absolute and he"s hinting he"ll run again in 2024: Here are the issues shaping his final decision

Above all other variables, Trump will have to weigh his desire to vindicate himself with the risk of another defeat A truck with a 'Trump 2024' flag arrives at a "Save America" rally with former President Donald Trump at York Family Farms on August 21, 2021 in Cullman, Alabama.Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images Whether Donald Trump runs for president again remains the central variable in American politics. His appeal among the GOP base remains strong, but he also cost the party dearly in 2020. There are also potential GOP candidates who have signaled they'll run regardless of what Trump does. Former President Donald Trump is teasing a 2024 presidential bid. After leaving office in January with the lowest approval ratings of his presidency following the Capitol riot, Trump has restored his overwhelming popularity with Republican voters and maintained influence over his party's leadership. In recent months, Trump has repeatedly hinted that he'll launch another presidential campaign, but suggested he'll wait to announce his decision after the 2022 midterms. Polling has shown that he's the strongest candidate for the GOP nomination. A large majority of Republican voters say they want Trump to run for re-election, according to surveys this fall. And prominent Republicans who distanced themselves from Trump in the wake of the January 6 Capitol riot have changed their tune. Why Trump might not runMatt Mackowiak, a Texas-based Republican strategist, thinks Trump has five major things to consider when it comes to a 2024 bid: a desire to run, financial concerns, legal entanglements, health, and the political environment. While Trump appears eager to run again,Mackowiak thinks the work-life balance he's enjoying on his various golf resorts could erode his willingness to take on the responsibilities of commander-in-chief again. "It's often said that the best job in the world is being a former US president. And I imagine he may be liking that somewhat," he said. "The indications right now are that he wants to do it, but that can change."If Trump runs again, he'll be 78 years old on Inauguration Day 2025, as old as Biden was when he was sworn in as president. There's no evidence that Trump has health issues that could prevent him from running, but septuagenarian candidates like him have to consider their health as they decide to embark on a grueling campaign. Trump must deal with complicated legal and financial entanglements if he runs again. Trump and his real estate company, the Trump Organization, are facing a slew of legal challenges. The Manhattan district attorney's office and the New York attorney general's office are both investigating the Trump Organization's alleged tax avoidance schemes and property value manipulation. Trump is also at risk of being criminally prosecuted for his role in the Capitol riot. The health of Trump's businesses and his personal finances could also play a role in his decision. Trump owes hundreds of millions of dollars to major banks. And since losing reelection, he's created a new social media company, Trump Media and Technology Group, which aims to compete with the leading social platforms. Why Trump is still relevant and might enter the raceOver the last year, Trump has stayed active in politics, holding rallies and headlining events across the country, and raking in millions with his aggressive fundraising efforts. Teasing a presidential bid has been lucrative for the ex-president. According to federal campaign filings over the summer, Trump had more than $100 million cash on hand at the end of July, and raised more money in the first half of 2021 than any other Republican, a remarkable feat for a twice-impeached ex-president banned from most social media platforms. Trump has focused much of his fundraising on lies about the 2020 election being "stolen" and "rigged" by Democrats."I was right about everything," the subject line of a recent Trump fundraising email read.The former president has also sought to exercise his influence over Republican primary races, backing primary challenges against incumbent Republicans he views as insufficiently loyal to him. Some Trump world figures say the former president has his mind set on 2024. Former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows claimed in his newly-released memoir that Trump told him he'd run for a second term. "'We have to be ready,'" Trump told Meadows, according to the book. "'We have to do it again for the sake of our great country.'"Meadows added, "The message was clear: We had to prepare for the second term that had been denied him. We needed four more years." But Trump will have to weigh his desire to vindicate himself with the risk of another defeat. "I think it comes down to one thing," Mackowiak said. "He clearly believes that he was cheated out of the last election and the best way for him to overcome that would be to run again and win. Now the risk is that if he were to run again and lose, it would probably double the discomfort that he feels."What the 2024 GOP field could look like, with or without TrumpAnother uncertainty tied up with Trump's 2024 decision is who will comprise the rest of the GOP primary field. An August poll from the Republican-leaning firm Echelon Insights found half of its sample of likely 2024 GOP voters identifying as "Trump-first," while 68% said they would vote for him again in 2024 if he ran. Despite costing Republicans the House, Senate, and White House by the end of his single term in office, Trump's lasting appeal among the party's base has put many of the possible primary entrants in a bind. Some potential candidates, such as Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri, Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, former UN Secretary Nikki Haley and South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem have all stated to varying degrees to say they would support a Trump 2024 bid and put their own presidential ambitions on hold if he were to run. Florida's pair of GOP senators, Marco Rubio and Rick Scott, have also said they would support Trump in 2024 despite early rumors about each of them entering the primary.A smaller cadre of potential candidates have made it clear through a mix of statements and hiring maneuvers that they're prepared to launch 2024 campaigns regardless of what Trump does. Among them are former Vice President Mike Pence, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.Pence already assembled a campaign leadership team in waiting and has visited the key first-in-the-nation states of Iowa and New Hampshire at various fundraisers for local candidates and county GOPs. He also hasn't ruled out a run in 2024 if Trump enters the race.Christie, who lost to Trump in the 2016 primary, has expressed open disdain for anyone who would decide whether to enter the primary depending upon Trump's decision."If you're saying you're deferring to someone, that's a real sign of both weakness and indecision," the former Trump advisor and New Jersey governor said on a podcast in May.DeSantis, who's facing reelection in 2022, has been a consistently vocal Trump fan but nonetheless reportedly annoyed him by not publicly ruling out a 2024 run if the former president jumps in.For his part, the Florida governor has gone on the record to say he's not considering a presidential bid because he's busy "trying to make sure people are not supporting critical race theory."Then there's the wildcard side of the potential field, with conservative celebrities or those with the ability to self-fund a campaign able to mount a functional campaign without the constraints many current GOP office holders face.The biggest X-factor in this category is Fox News host Tucker Carlson, who, despite not publicly flirting with a run to any extent, has been bandied about by GOP donors as a potential contender, as Insider reported back in July 2020. But as long as Trump positions himself for a run other potential contenders will have little room to grow their support. "Some of this is probably promotional and some of it too is he wants to freeze the field so that he can buy himself some time to make the decision he wants, number one, and then number two, act as a kingmaker," Mackowiak said.  Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderDec 9th, 2021

Despite promises, Biden has yet to issue a single pardon, leaving reformers depressed and thousands incarcerated

President Biden has the unchecked power to grant clemency to any federal prisoner. But he hasn't used it. US President Joe Biden participates in the 74th annual Thanksgiving turkey pardon of Peanut Butter in the Rose Garden of the White House November 19, 2021 in Washington, DC.Alex Wong/Getty Images Presidents have the sweeping ability to commute sentences, immediately freeing any federal prisoner. They can also grant pardons, which erase a criminal conviction from a person's record. But Biden, like others before him, has been hesitant to use the power early on in his presidency. At this point in his presidency, Joe Biden has pardoned just two sentient beings: Peanut Butter and Jelly, 40-pound turkeys from Jasper, Indiana.Former President Donald Trump, by contrast, had pardoned three: a pair of flightless birds and Joe Arpaio, the ex-Arizona sheriff known for illegally detaining Latinos.Over the past three decades, that's pretty much been the norm, regardless of which political party claims the White House. Presidents Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, and George W. Bush all waited until at least their second year in office before granting clemency to a human being.That's not because there is a dearth of potential candidates. As of October 2021, the Department of Justice had just under 17,000 pending petitions for clemency, up from 15,000 around the time of the 2020 election.The problem, critics say, is one of urgency, or the lack thereof."Just because that's what the situation has been doesn't mean that's how it has to be," Nkechi Taifa, an attorney, activist, and leader of the progressive Justice Roundtable, said in an interview. "Where there's a will there's a way."President Joe Biden has a meeting in the Roosevelt Room of the White House on Nov. 15, 2021.AP Photo/Susan WalshThat's the message Taifa delivered to the Biden White House. In an early December meeting with Susan Rice, director of the Domestic Policy Council, and staff from the Office of the White House Counsel, she implored the administration to act now.More than 7,700 federal inmates are currently on home confinement, granted release from prison on the grounds that they pose no security threat and are at a heightened risk of suffering severe complications from COVID-19. When the public health emergency is declared over, they could be forced to return. Leading Democrats, including Senate Whip Dick Durbin of Illinois, have argued it would be an injustice to send them back, urging the White House to consider granting clemency en masse.In the meeting, White House staff appeared to agree, Taifa said. That's not the problem."Their rhetoric says that they understand what we're saying, and that they're working on it," she said. The issue is the conversation is taking place in December."If it's going to take this long for a first step, how long is it going to take for the rest?"A 'bureaucratic morass' to wade throughBiden has never been a favorite of those advocating criminal justice reform.In the 2020 primaries, he was arguably the most conservative Democrat running for his party's nomination. But he was also not the same man who, as a senator from Delaware, helped author legislation that put many people behind bars for nonviolent drug offenses.On his campaign website, Biden promised to use his clemency power, like Obama, "to secure the release of individuals facing unduly long sentences for certain non-violent and drug crimes."But others pledged to go further. Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, a former prosecutor, proposed a new clemency advisory board that could issue recommendations directly to the White House, bypassing what is currently a seven-step process.Democratic presidential candidates Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., former Vice President Joe Biden, former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, and Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., participate in a Democratic presidential primary debate in Las Vegas on Feb. 19, 2020.AP Photo/John Locher"What we've got is this bureaucratic morass," Mark Osler, a former federal prosecutor, said in an interview. "There's seven levels of review, one after the other, and the first four levels are all in the Department of Justice, which of course is conflicted because they're the ones who sought the sentence in the first place."The first step is the Office of the Pardon Attorney, which is currently led, on an acting basis, by Rosalind Sargent-Burns, a career department lawyer former Attorney General William Barr appointed. They then present their recommendations on who should get clemency to the deputy attorney general's office, where another staffer reviews it and passes it on — maybe — to their boss. Then it goes to the staff for the White House counsel, then the actual counsel, then an aide to the president and then, if all goes well, to Biden himself.The president could, at any time, bypass this process. Trump did when he pardoned Arpaio and his other allies, such as Roger Stone and Steve Bannon.If anything, Osler, now a professor at the University of Saint Thomas, told Insider he thinks Biden is too committed to the way things were. It's one thing to respect the Justice Department's career bureaucracy when it comes to deciding who deserves prosecution but, he said, "it doesn't make sense in terms of clemency."A White House official told Insider the president is "exploring the use of his clemency power" for non-violent drug offenders who were moved to home confinement at the start of the pandemic, a transfer authorized by the March 2020 CARES Act — specifically, those with fewer than four years left on their sentences (one activist who has engaged the White House expects those with less than two years remaining will also be excluded)."At the same time," the official said, Biden "continues to consider requests for pardon and commutation that are submitted in the ordinary course."That's not exactly what reformers want to hear. While Obama granted clemency to more than 1,900 people — compared to just 200 under George W. Bush and 238 under Trump — the byzantine process for requesting one's freedom, "the ordinary course," means many more deserving cases likely never reach the president's desk for consideration.The American Civil Liberties Union has called on Biden to immediately grant clemency to 25,000 people, namely those serving sentences longer than those handed out today, nonviolent drug offenders, and the elderly."If it's unjust at the end of the term," when presidents typically wait to grant pardons, "it's unjust during the entire term," Cynthia Roseberry, deputy director at the ACLU's national policy advocacy department, told Insider.She argued that it would be a failure if the administration tried to achieve its stated goals — of racial justice and correcting past wrongs — by relying on prosecutors and judges who sent people to prison to co-sign petitions for release."Justice hasn't been done under that draconian system, and we can't expect justice from that kind of system going forward," she said. "It has to be radically changed."The Department of Justice declined to comment on how many petitions for clemency have received favorable recommendations within the department or have been referred to the White House. It is impossible to say for sure, then, how much the delay in granting pardons is due to bureaucracy or stalling by political actors.But sticking with the opaque status quo is itself a political decision — the president could unilaterally discard it — and it's a disappointment, if not a surprise, to people like Osler. He's not expecting big things."I haven't heard anything from the administration that gives me hope," he said.Reform, deniedIn 2020, there appeared to be a new consensus.Joe Biden greets Sen. Bernie Sanders before the Democratic presidential primary debate in Des Moines, Iowa, on January 14, 2020.Scott Olson/Getty ImagesA "unity" task force composed of Biden supporters and those backing Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont issued a report endorsing the creation of a independent board to recommend pardons, saying it would "ensure an appropriate, effective process for using clemency, especially to address systemic racism." The call also made it into the Democratic Party platform.But it didn't make it into the president's agenda. Respect for institutions, however slow and flawed, is one explanation. Bureaucracy could also explain the lack of pardons. It's not clear where in the process the 17,000-odd petitions for clemency are — if they are sitting on the president's desk or in a cabinet somewhere else in the White House or Department of Justice.The fear of political fallout could be another reason. Reports of someone who received a presidential pardon going on to commit a serious crime are extremely rare. But if it happens, that's a television ad; the benefits of mercy toward those who go on to lead quiet lives in obscurity are perhaps less obvious.The current political environment at least raises the question. Since the start of the pandemic, major cities in the US, red state and blue state alike, have seen an uptick in violent crime. Daring instances of smash-and-grab robberies have gone viral. And the opposition party has been eager to pin blame on the White House, despite the trend beginning under its previous inhabitant."It's less about the review process and more about power," Jeffrey Crouch, an expert on federal clemency at American University, told Insider. New presidents are, of course, focused on passing the big-ticket items in their agenda — think infrastructure and "building back better."They "may want to avoid potential controversy before a midterm election," Crouch added.Kermit Roosevelt, a law professor at the University of Pennsylvania, likewise thinks pardons are a victim of competing priorities, and not something that a new administration wants leading the news cycle."Some pardons are probably politically popular," he said, "but many of them don't actually look that good, which is why presidents tend to issue a lot just before leaving office."The vast majority of pardons, in fact, are uncontroversial. No one, for example, criticized Trump when he granted clemency to Alice Marie Johnson, a Black woman in her 60s who had already served two decades behind bars for a nonviolent drug offense.U.S. President Donald Trump signs a document as Alice Johnson looks on during an event in the Oval Office of the White House August 28, 2020 in Washington, DC.Anna Moneymaker/Pool/Getty ImagesBut it is the "bad" pardons — of political allies, be they Trump's former aides or, under Clinton, Democratic donor Marc Rich — that tend to stick out.The president's unique, unchecked power to commute sentences and free the imprisoned could, then, be seen as a potential liability with little upside.But fear is not typically a good basis for policy."I think it reflects an outdated view of the clemency power as something politically risky," Ames Grawert, senior counsel at the Brennan Center's Justice Program, told Insider.There may always be demagoguery associated with incarceration, but in recent years there has been increasing bipartisan agreement that too many people have been locked up for too long. Indeed, thousands of federal prisoners are serving sentences that would not be handed out today thanks to 2018 reform legislation that Trump signed into law."I understand the fear of backlash for perceived leniency — as if any tampering with the federal system, which is excessively punitive through and through — would be 'lenient' vs. 'just,'" Grawert said, "but I don't know if there's a constituency for that."'I pretty much lost all hope'On the surface, an article The New York Times published last May was a victory for reformers."Biden Is Developing a Pardon Process With a Focus on Racial Justice," the headline asserted, and this was the substance: that the president would begin to aggressively employ the power of his office ahead of the 2022 midterm elections — "identifying entire classes of people who deserve mercy."But to Rachel Barkow, a vice dean and law professor at New York University who is one of the nation's leading advocates of clemency reform, the piece was anything but inspiring."It was kind of the death knell," she said in an interview. "There were so many red flags that this was going to be a disaster that I pretty much lost all hope then."For starters, the piece said the Biden administration would continue to "rely on the rigorous application vetting process" at the Department of Justice. That process was established, in part, not by the US Constitution — which does not mention it at all — but by former President Ronald Reagan, whose administration issued strict guidelines on who is even eligible to ask for reprieve.From left: Donald Trump, Bill Clinton, Joe Biden, George Bush, and Barack Obama.Mandel NGAN/AFP via Getty; Ben Gabbe/Getty Images for Common Sense Media; Win McNamee/Getty; Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty; Scott Olson/Getty; Shayanne Gal/InsiderWhat the White House is calling "the ordinary course" was, Barkow said, an "historical accident." And not a best practice."No state does this," she said. "'Ordinary course' is not that you ask the same prosecutors who brought a case, 'Should this person now get clemency?' No one in their right mind would set clemency up that way."Every administration deals with competing priorities, and Biden, objectively, was dealt a bad hand, inheriting an economy still struggling to recover from a pandemic that continues to kill more than a thousand Americans every day. And his agenda is constrained by a slim Democratic majority in the House and a 50-50 Senate.But that's also why people like Barkow are so disappointed.They're passionate about freeing those they see as unjustly incarcerated, but they are not simply naive idealists, unaware of political realities. Clemency is an area where Biden can act alone and immediately improve lives. Democrats may feel constantly on the defensive over issues of criminal justice, but none other than Trump saw clemency as such a feel-good winner that his campaign ran a Super Bowl ad telling the story of one woman he freed from prison."Anyone who has spent any time with people who are incarcerated, with their loved ones, who have talked with people who were formerly incarcerated, would get the urgency of this," Barkow said. "You wouldn't be able to sleep at night."But there doesn't appear to be urgency at the White House.So far, roughly 1,200 petitions for pardons or commutations have been closed "without presidential action," per the Department of Justice. Each day, loved ones are separated due to policies that the current president helped shape, which he now says were mistaken — contributors to racial injustice — and which he has thus far declined to ameliorate."It's very depressing," Barkow said. "I think it's words on paper," she said of the administration's talk of change."It's just not really something that they're feeling in their bones. And as a result, it's not getting done."Have a news tip? Email this reporter: cdavis@insider.comRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderDec 8th, 2021

Kamala Harris" staff turnover driven by burnout and apprehension to being labeled a "Harris person": Axios

A strategist who spoke with Axios said that Harris needed "someone loyal who can think methodically" to help spread her message and boost her numbers. Vice President Kamala Harris speaks during a meeting on voting rights at the TCF Center in Detroit, Mich., on July 12, 2021.AP Photo/Andrew Harnik Turnover in Harris' office is being driven by burnout and worries of being labeled a "Harris person," per Axios. For months, the vice president has battled the narrative that her office has been dysfunctional. She has seen the departure of several aides this year — notably senior advisor Symone Sanders. The ongoing staff turnover in Vice President Kamala Harris' office is being driven by burnout, a desire for more fruitful opportunities, and apprehension to being labeled a "Harris person," according to an Axios report.This past week saw the announcement of the impending departure from Symone Sanders, the rising-star senior advisor and chief spokesperson for Harris who was previously a senior advisor for now-President Joe Biden's 2020 campaign, as well as a Washington Post report detailing the expected exits of Peter Velz, the director of press operations, and Vince Evans, the deputy director of the Office of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs in Harris' office.Last month, news broke that Ashley Etienne, Harris' communications director, would also be leaving the office.For Harris — the first female, first Black, and first Indian American to hold the vice presidency — the narrative of an office is disarray is something that her allies feel can be overcome through a "reset," according to Axios.The stakes for the vice president are incredibly high. Not only does Harris play a pivotal role in the evenly-divided Senate as the tiebreaking vote — which aids Democrats in potentially passing the party's nearly $2 trillion social-spending bill — but she is the presumed frontrunner in 2024 if Biden opts out of reelection and would be seen as the natural leader of the party in 2028 if the president serves for two terms.Harris allies told Axios that the vice president has a great shot at recalibrating and moving beyond her office's wobbly start, but in the same report, it was noted that several top Biden staffers "privately roll their eyes" at her staff and would like to see more constructive leadership.A Democratic strategist who spoke with Axios said that the vice president needed "someone loyal who can think methodically" to aid in her communication strategy and help increase her poll numbers.An early November USA Today/Suffolk poll pegged Harris with a 28% approval rating, with 51% disapproving of her performance, a tough position for the vice president as she tackles some of the most challenging issues for the administration, including migration at the US-Mexico border and voting rights.Republicans – eager to win back control of Congress in 2022 and install one of their own to the White House in 2024 — have hammered Harris on immigration issues for months.A Democratic operative with ties to Harris' office who spoke with Axios said that the exits put increased pressure on Tina Flournoy, the vice president's chief of staff, to help turn around the office."If we mess this up, it's going to set women back when it comes to running for higher office for years to come," the operative told the news outlet.Several individuals close to Harris told Axios that the staff turnover is expected, as the administration nears its first year in office while dealing with a cascade of crises.However, as staffers look to 2024 and 2028, some want to work on Biden's 2024 reelection campaign, while others don't want to be too wedded to Harris — especially if they find themselves attracted to another Democratic presidential candidate in the coming years.When asked about the departure of Sanders — one of the most well-known Democratic strategists in Washington, DC — Harris on Thursday had nothing but kind words for her aide."I love Symone. I know that it's been three years jumping on and off planes going around the country and she works very hard, and I can't wait to see what she'll do next," she said."I mean that sincerely," she added.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderDec 4th, 2021

Chris Christie says Trump should move on and "tell the truth" about the 2020 election

Christie has broken with Trump in the past, saying last September that Trump should "accept defeat." Chris Christie is urging former president Donald Trump to "move on" from the 2020 election, particularly with the 2022 mid-term elections around the corner. Lorenzo Bevilaqua/ABC via Getty Images Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is urging Donald Trump to "move on" from the 2020 election. Christie told CNN that Trump must "tell the truth" if he wants to be a positive force in the midterms. Christie has broken with Trump in the past, saying last September that Trump should "accept defeat." Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said former President Donald Trump needs to "tell the truth" about the 2020 election and move on. Christie also had advice for the GOP, saying that if it wants to build on electoral wins - like Glenn Youngkin's win in Virginia's heated gubernatorial race last week - Republicans need to move past Trump's voter-fraud claims.In an interview with CNN this weekend, Christie said he thought Trump could be a "very positive force for Republican candidates" in the 2022 midterm elections if he would start "talking about the future and tell the truth about the election and move on."The former governor spoke to CNN after a Las Vegas event where he addressed supporters at the Republican Jewish Coalition conference. According to the Coalition's website, among the big GOP names at the three-day event were former Vice President Mike Pence, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.Christie told CNN that with the midterms coming up, Trump must decide if he wants to be "a leader for tomorrow or a figure of yesterday.""We can no longer talk about the past and the past elections - no matter where you stand on that issue, no matter where you stand, it is over," Christie said at the conference, per CNN. "People want us to be direct with them. They want someone to fight for them. But they want them to fight in a way that doesn't hurt their ears." Christie has broken with Trump in the past on the latter's baseless allegations of voter fraud. Last December, Christie called for Trump and the GOP to "accept defeat" after "no evidence" surfaced of electoral fraud.In September, Christie also asked Republicans to "face the realities of the 2020 election and learn, not hide from them." "​​We need to renounce the conspiracy theorists and the truth deniers. The ones who know better and the ones who are just plain nuts," Christie said at a September 9 event at the Ronald Reagan Library in Simi Valley, California, per CNN. "We need to give our supporters facts that will help them put all those fantasies to rest."There is no evidence of widespread voter fraud in the 2020 election, and the Trump camp's lawsuits alleging voter fraud in states including Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, and Pennsylvania have failed.Even so, the former president has continued to call for vote audits in various states. On October 15, Trump called for a vote recount in Pima County, Arizona's second-most populous county after Maricopa County. Trump has also continued to claim the Cyber Ninjas' vote recount in Maricopa County uncovered "undeniable evidence" of fraud, despite the Republican-driven audit confirming that President Joe Biden beat Trump by 261 more votes than were initially counted.Christie, who ran for the GOP presidential nomination in 2016, told CNN he would wait until after the midterms to see if he wants to throw his hat into the ring in 2024. He said his decision would hinge on whether he believes he has "the talent, the skill and the ability to be able to win," and not be based on whether Trump is running or not.The former governor has been mired in his fair share of scandals, too. In the 2013 Bridgegate scandal, Christie's staff members were indicted for purposefully closing lanes on the George Washington Bridge to cause massive traffic jams, a move that was theorized to be a retributive political attack on Mark Sokolich, the Democrat mayor of Fort Lee, New Jersey.Christie was formerly a Trump ally, having supported the former president in 2016 and 2020. He has since blasted Trump's legal team and called them a "national embarrassment," and slammed Trump's conduct following the January 6 Capitol riot.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderNov 7th, 2021

New Poll Suggests GOP Victory In 2022; Biden Approval Sinks To 38% While Kamala"s Even Worse

New Poll Suggests GOP Victory In 2022; Biden Approval Sinks To 38% While Kamala's Even Worse A new poll out from USA Today/Suffolk University does not bode well for Democrats going into next year's midterm elections. Perhaps most notable is a complete crash President Biden's approval ratings among independent voters - who just 12 months ago were a deciding factor in his win over former President Donald Trump. According to the poll, Biden's approval rating is now just 38%, while 59% disapprove - the loweest rating of any modern president at this point in his term aside from Trump - who was up against heavily polls which oversampled Democrats. Suffolk University hasn't actually published this poll on its website, so we are unable to report on bias as of this writing. More via USA Today: Nearly half of those surveyed, 46%, said Biden has done a worse job as president than they expected, including 16% of those who voted for him. Independents by 7-1 (44%-6%) said he's done worse, not better, than they expected. Nearly two-thirds of Americans, 64%, said they didn't want Biden to run for a second term in 2024. That included 28% of Democrats. Opposition to Trump running for another term in 2024 was nearly as high, at 58%. That included 24% of Republicans. Vice President Kamala Harris' approval rating was 28% – even worse than Biden's. The poll showed that 51% disapproved of the job she's doing. One in five, 21%, were undecided. Americans overwhelmingly supported the infrastructure bill that Biden is about to sign.  But they were split on the more expensive and more far-reaching Build Back Better Act now being debated in Congress. Only one in four said the bill's provisions would help them and their families.  The poll also found that Biden has lost massive ground with voters who backed him in 2020. Among those who voted for him last year, 39% said they hoped he doesn't run for a second term, while 50% hoped he would. Among Trump voters, 26% hoped he wouldn't run again vs. 65% who hoped he would. "I thought he did a great job then and I know he'll do a great job in the future," said Lynda Ensenat, 54, a Trump voter and independent insurance adjuster from New Orleans. "There's a whole lot going wrong in this society right now, and all the Democrat liberals – that's what they're 100% for." Biden has "been wrong on absolutely everything he's touched," she added. Also interesting: If the presidential election were today between Biden and Trump, 44% said they would vote for Trump, 40% for Biden, 11% for an unnamed third-party candidate. In the election last year, Biden beat Trump 54%-47%. -USA Today Midterms could be a bloodbath for Democrats, as those polled said they would vote for their local GOP congressional candidate over the Democratic one by 46% - 38%, and 8% margin of victory that would likely hand control over both the House and Senate. Republicans need to flip just five seats in the House and one seat in the Senate to regain control.  More from the poll Two-thirds of respondents (66%) said America has gotten off on the wrong track, while 20% said it was headed in the right direction Americans are sharply divided over the Build Back Better Act - with 47% supporting the $1.85 trillion bill, and 44% opposing it. Those surveyed were more likely to say the bill's provisions would hurt, rather than help them, by a margin of 30-26%. Congress had dismal ratings - with just 12% approving and 75% disapproving of the job they're doing. Congressional Democrats had a favorable rating of just 29% vs. 35% for Republicans. Tyler Durden Sun, 11/07/2021 - 14:30.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytNov 7th, 2021

Stephanie Grisham thought it would have been "cheap and self-serving" for her to speak out on January 6 because "someone had died"

"I just needed some time to be deprogrammed, and calm, and quiet," Grisham said of why didn't she publicly speak in the months after January 6. White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham listens during a signing of a “safe third country” agreement in the White House on July 26, 2019. Alex Wong/Getty Images Stephanie Grisham explained to Insider she didn't speak out when she resigned on January 6. "At that point, one person had died," she said, referring to rioter Ashli Babbitt. "I honestly felt like it would have been cheap of me or self-serving of me," Grisham told Insider. Former White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham didn't speak out upon resigning from the White House because she thought it would be "cheap" and "self-serving" in the wake of a person dying on January 6, she told Insider in a Friday interview.Grisham, who was then former First Lady Melania Trump's chief of staff and top spokeswoman, just released a new tell-all memoir, "I'll Take Your Questions Now," about her time in the White House. She told Insider that she had been "done" with the White House for "about six months" but finally resigned over the events of January 6, when a pro-Trump mob overtook the US Capitol to stop Congress from affirming then-President Donald Trump's Electoral College loss. "On January 6th, it wasn't as much about the election being stolen for me as watching people desecrate our Capitol and burn it and people were dying and the president was doing nothing to try and stop up it," Grisham told Insider in a Friday interview when asked why she didn't forcefully denounce the lie driving the rioters that the 2020 election was stolen from Trump. Grisham "said she actually did talk to a couple of reporters about kind of speaking up." One of them was New York Magazine's Olivia Nuzzi, who recalled trying to convince her to publicly announce her resignation in a recent profile of Grisham. CNN eventually broke the news of her departure."But at that point, one person had died, and I honestly felt like it would have been cheap of me or self-serving of me to be talking about stuff like that when somebody had died," she said, referring to rioter Ashli Babbitt, who was shot by a law enforcement officer while trying to break through the glass window of the Speaker's Lobby. "So that was why I thought I would just kind of wait and take my time."When asked why she didn't address the riot in the months that followed, Grisham cited both the terms of her book deal and her need to disappear from the spotlight to decompress after years in the White House and Trumpworld. "I just needed some time to be deprogrammed, and calm, and quiet, and just figure out, you know, where I stood on a lot of things," she told Insider. "And then I knew I was going to be writing the book and I was put under a pretty heavy NDA gag order with my publisher with the knowledge though that I was going to be coming out very strong and not only talking about the fact that this election wasn't stolen, but what to me now is important while I'm focusing on is 2022 and 2024," she added. "And the damage - if people think 2016 administration was bad, I just don't think people understand what a 2024 admin would look like." Grisham said she isn't thinking about work right now, but told Insider she eventually wants to help stop Trump from running again in 2024. "I still am kind of healing from the whole process and I am still really enjoying kind of reconnecting with family and friends. So for me, that's still my priority, but as we get closer to 2022 and 2024, if, you know, if people ask me for help in any way, yes, I will be right there to do it," she said. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 8th, 2021

Camber Energy: What If They Made a Whole Company Out of Red Flags? – Kerrisdale

Kerrisdale Capital is short shares of Camber Energy Inc (NYSEAMERICAN:CEI). Camber is a defunct oil producer that has failed to file financial statements with the SEC since September 2020, is in danger of having its stock delisted next month, and just fired its accounting firm in September. Its only real asset is a 73% stake […] Kerrisdale Capital is short shares of Camber Energy Inc (NYSEAMERICAN:CEI). Camber is a defunct oil producer that has failed to file financial statements with the SEC since September 2020, is in danger of having its stock delisted next month, and just fired its accounting firm in September. Its only real asset is a 73% stake in Viking Energy Group Inc (OTCMKTS:VKIN), an OTC-traded company with negative book value and a going-concern warning that recently violated the maximum-leverage covenant on one of its loans. (For a time, it also had a fake CFO – long story.) Nonetheless, Camber’s stock price has increased by 6x over the past month; last week, astonishingly, an average of $1.9 billion worth of Camber shares changed hands every day. if (typeof jQuery == 'undefined') { document.write(''); } .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles .af-body.af-standards input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get The Full Henry Singleton Series in PDF Get the entire 4-part series on Henry Singleton in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q2 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Is there any logic to this bizarre frenzy? Camber pumpers have seized upon the notion that the company is now a play on carbon capture and clean energy, citing a license agreement recently entered into by Viking. But the “ESG Clean Energy” technology license is a joke. Not only is it tiny relative to Camber’s market cap (costing only $5 million and granting exclusivity only in Canada), but it has embroiled Camber in the long-running escapades of a western Massachusetts family that once claimed to have created a revolutionary new combustion engine, only to wind up being penalized by the SEC for raising $80 million in unregistered securities offerings, often to unaccredited investors, and spending much of it on themselves. But the most fascinating part of the CEI boondoggle actually has to do with something far more basic: how many shares are there, and why has dilution been spiraling out of control? We believe the market is badly mistaken about Camber’s share count and ignorant of its terrifying capital structure. In fact, we estimate its fully diluted share count is roughly triple the widely reported number, bringing its true, fully diluted market cap, absurdly, to nearly $900 million. Since Camber is delinquent on its financials, investors have failed to fully appreciate the impact of its ongoing issuance of an unusual, highly dilutive class of convertible preferred stock. As a result of this “death spiral” preferred, Camber has already seen its share count increase 50- million-fold from early 2016 to July 2021 – and we believe it isn’t over yet, as preferred holders can and will continue to convert their securities and sell the resulting common shares. Even at the much lower valuation that investors incorrectly think Camber trades for, it’s still overvalued. The core Viking assets are low-quality and dangerously levered, while any near- term benefits from higher commodity prices will be muted by hedges established in 2020. The recent clean-energy license is nearly worthless. It’s ridiculous to have to say this, but Camber isn’t worth $900 million. If it looks like a penny stock, and it acts like a penny stock, it is a penny stock. Camber has been a penny stock before – no more than a month ago, in fact – and we expect that it will be once again. Company Background Founded in 2004, Camber was originally called Lucas Energy Resources. It went public via a reverse merger in 2006 with the plan of “capitaliz[ing] on the increasing availability of opportunistic acquisitions in the energy sector.”1 But after years of bad investments and a nearly 100% decline in its stock price, the company, which renamed itself Camber in 2017, found itself with little economic value left; faced with the prospect of losing its NYSE American listing, it cast about for new acquisitions beginning in early 2019. That’s when Viking entered the picture. Jim Miller, a member of Camber’s board, had served on the board of a micro-cap company called Guardian 8 that was working on “a proprietary new class of enhanced non-lethal weapons”; Guardian 8’s CEO, Steve Cochennet, happened to also be part owner of a Kansas-based company that operated some of Viking’s oil and gas assets and knew that Viking, whose shares traded over the counter, was interested in moving up to a national exchange.2 (In case you’re wondering, under Miller and Cochennet’s watch, Guardian 8’s stock saw its price drop to ~$0; it was delisted in 2019.3) Viking itself also had a checkered past. Previously a shell company, it was repurposed by a corporate lawyer and investment banker named Tom Simeo to create SinoCubate, “an incubator of and investor in privately held companies mainly in P.R. China.” But this business model went nowhere. In 2012, SinoCubate changed its name to Viking Investments but continued to achieve little. In 2014, Simeo brought in James A. Doris, a Canadian lawyer, as a member of the board of directors and then as president and CEO, tasked with executing on Viking’s new strategy of “acquir[ing] income-producing assets throughout North America in various sectors, including energy and real estate.” In a series of transactions, Doris gradually built up a portfolio of oil wells and other energy assets in the United States, relying on large amounts of high-cost debt to get deals done. But Viking has never achieved consistent GAAP profitability; indeed, under Doris’s leadership, from 2015 to the first half of 2021, Viking’s cumulative net income has totaled negative $105 million, and its financial statements warn of “substantial doubt regarding the Company’s ability to continue as a going concern.”4 At first, despite the Guardian 8 crew’s match-making, Camber showed little interest in Viking and pursued another acquisition instead. But, when that deal fell apart, Camber re-engaged with Viking and, in February 2020, announced an all-stock acquisition – effectively a reverse merger in which Viking would end up as the surviving company but transfer some value to incumbent Camber shareholders in exchange for the national listing. For reasons that remain somewhat unclear, this original deal structure was beset with delays, and in December 2020 (after months of insisting that deal closing was just around the corner) Camber announced that it would instead directly purchase a 51% stake in Viking; at the same time, Doris, Viking’s CEO, officially took over Camber as well. Subsequent transactions through July 2021 have brough Camber’s Viking stake up to 69.9 million shares (73% of Viking’s total common shares), in exchange for consideration in the form of a mixture of cash, debt forgiveness,5 and debt assumption, valued in the aggregate by Viking at only $50.7 million: Camber and Viking announced a new merger agreement in February 2021, aiming to take out the remaining Viking shares not owned by Camber and thus fully combine the two companies, but that plan is on hold because Camber has failed to file its last 10-K (as well as two subsequent 10-Qs) and is thus in danger of being delisted unless it catches up by November. Today, then, Camber’s absurd equity valuation rests entirely on its majority stake in a small, unprofitable oil-and-gas roll-up cobbled together by a Canadian lawyer. An Opaque Capital Structure Has Concealed the True Insanity of Camber’s Valuation What actually is Camber’s equity valuation? It sounds like a simple question, and sources like Bloomberg and Yahoo Finance supply what looks like a simple answer: 104.2 million shares outstanding times a $3.09 closing price (as of October 4, 2021) equals a market cap of $322 million – absurd enough, given what Camber owns. But these figures only tell part of the story. We estimate that the correct fully diluted market cap is actually a staggering $882 million, including the impact of both Camber’s unusual, highly dilutive Series C convertible preferred stock and its convertible debt. Because Camber is delinquent on its SEC filings, it’s difficult to assemble an up-to-date picture of its balance sheet and capital structure. The widely used 104.2-million-share figure comes from an 8-K filed in July that states, in part: As of July 9, 2021, the Company had 104,195,295 shares of common stock issued and outstanding. The increase in our outstanding shares of common stock from the date of the Company’s February 23, 2021 increase in authorized shares of common stock (from 25 million shares to 250 million shares), is primarily due to conversions of shares of Series C Preferred Stock of the Company into common stock, and conversion premiums due thereon, which are payable in shares of common stock. This bland language belies the stunning magnitude of the dilution that has already taken place. Indeed, we estimate that, of the 104.2 million common shares outstanding on July 9th, 99.7% were created via the conversion of Series C preferred in the past few years – and there’s more where that came from. The terms of Camber’s preferreds are complex but boil down to the following: they accrue non- cash dividends at the sky-high rate of 24.95% per year for a notional seven years but can be converted into common shares at any time. The face value of the preferred shares converts into common shares at a fixed conversion price of $162.50 per share, far higher than the current trading price – so far, so good (from a Camber-shareholder perspective). The problem is the additional “conversion premium,” which is equal to the full seven years’ worth of dividends, or 7 x 24.95% ≈ 175% of face value, all at once, and is converted at a far lower conversion price that “will never be above approximately $0.3985 per share…regardless of the actual trading price of Camber’s common stock” (but could in principle go lower if the price crashes to new lows).6 The upshot of all this is that one share of Series C preferred is now convertible into ~43,885 shares of common stock.7 Historically, all of Camber’s Series C preferred was held by one investor: Discover Growth Fund. The terms of the preferred agreement cap Discover’s ownership of Camber’s common shares at 9.99% of the total, but nothing stops Discover from converting preferred into common up to that cap, selling off the resulting shares, converting additional preferred shares into common up to the cap, selling those common shares, etc., as Camber has stated explicitly (and as Discover has in fact done over the years) (emphasis added): Although Discover may not receive shares of common stock exceeding 9.99% of its outstanding shares of common stock immediately after affecting such conversion, this restriction does not prevent Discover from receiving shares up to the 9.99% limit, selling those shares, and then receiving the rest of the shares it is due, in one or more tranches, while still staying below the 9.99% limit. If Discover chooses to do this, it will cause substantial dilution to the then holders of its common stock. Additionally, the continued sale of shares issuable upon successive conversions will likely create significant downward pressure on the price of its common stock as Discover sells material amounts of Camber’s common stock over time and/or in a short period of time. This could place further downward pressure on the price of its common stock and in turn result in Discover receiving an ever increasing number of additional shares of common stock upon conversion of its securities, and adjustments thereof, which in turn will likely lead to further dilution, reductions in the exercise/conversion price of Discover’s securities and even more downward pressure on its common stock, which could lead to its common stock becoming devalued or worthless.8 In 2017, soon after Discover began to convert some of its first preferred shares, Camber’s then- management claimed to be shocked by the results and sued Discover for fraud, arguing that “[t]he catastrophic effect of the Discover Documents [i.e. the terms of the preferred] is so devastating that the Discover Documents are prima facie unconscionable” because “they will permit Discover to strip Camber of its value and business well beyond the simple repayment of its debt.” Camber called the documents “extremely difficult to understand” and insisted that they “were drafted in such a way as to obscure the true terms of such documents and the total number of shares of common stock that could be issuable by Camber thereunder. … Only after signing the documents did Camber and [its then CEO]…learn that Discover’s reading of the Discover Documents was that the terms that applied were the strictest and most Camber unfriendly interpretation possible.”9 But the judge wasn’t impressed, suggesting that it was Camber’s own fault for failing to read the fine print, and the case was dismissed. With no better options, Camber then repeatedly came crawling back to Discover for additional tranches of funding via preferred sales. While the recent spike in common share count to 104.2 million as of early July includes some of the impact of ongoing preferred conversion, we believe it fails to include all of it. In addition to Discover’s 2,093 shares of Series C preferred held as of February 2021, Camber issued additional shares to EMC Capital Partners, a creditor of Viking’s, as part of a January agreement to reduce Viking’s debt.10 Then, in July, Camber issued another block of preferred shares – also to Discover, we believe – to help fund Viking’s recent deals.11 We speculate that many of these preferred shares have already been converted into common shares that have subsequently been sold into a frenzied retail bid. Beyond the Series C preferred, there is one additional source of potential dilution: debt issued to Discover in three transactions from December 2020 to April 2021, totaling $20.5 million in face value, and amended in July to be convertible at a fixed price of $1.25 per share.12 We summarize our estimates of all of these sources of potential common share issuance below: Might we be wrong about this math? Absolutely – the mechanics of the Series C preferreds are so convoluted that prior Camber management sued Discover complaining that the legal documents governing them “were drafted in such a way as to obscure the true terms of such documents and the total number of shares of common stock that could be issuable by Camber thereunder.” Camber management could easily set the record straight by revealing the most up- to-date share count via an SEC filing, along with any additional clarifications about the expected future share count upon conversion of all outstanding convertible securities. But we're confident that the current share count reported in financial databases like Bloomberg and Yahoo Finance significantly understates the true, fully diluted figure. An additional indication that Camber expects massive future dilution relates to the total authorized shares of common stock under its official articles of incorporation. It was only a few months ago, in February, that Camber had to hold a special shareholder meeting to increase its maximum authorized share count from 25 million to 250 million in order to accommodate all the shares to be issued because of preferred conversions. But under Camber’s July agreement to sell additional preferred shares to Discover, the company (emphasis added) agreed to include proposals relating to the approval of the July 2021 Purchase Agreement and the issuance of the shares of common stock upon conversion of the Series C Preferred Stock sold pursuant to the July 2021 Purchase Agreement, as well as an increase in authorized common stock to fulfill our obligations to issue such shares, at the Company’s next Annual Meeting, the meeting held to approve the Merger or a separate meeting in the event the Merger is terminated prior to shareholder approval, and to use commercially reasonable best efforts to obtain such approvals as soon as possible and in any event prior to January 1, 2022.13 In other words, Camber can already see that 250 million shares will soon not be enough, consistent with our estimate of ~285 million fully diluted shares above. In sum, Camber’s true overvaluation is dramatically worse than it initially appears because of the massive number of common shares that its preferred and other securities can convert into, leading to a fully diluted share count that is nearly triple the figure found in standard information sources used by investors. This enormous latent dilution, impossible to discern without combing through numerous scattered filings made by a company with no up-to-date financial statements in the public domain, means that the market is – perhaps out of ignorance – attributing close to one billion dollars of value to a very weak business. Camber’s Stake in Viking Has Little Real Value In light of Camber’s gargantuan valuation, it’s worth dwelling on some basic facts about its sole meaningful asset, a 73% stake in Viking Energy. As of 6/30/21: Viking had negative $15 million in shareholder equity/book Its financial statements noted “substantial doubt regarding the Company’s ability to continue as a going ” Of its $101.3 million in outstanding debt (at face value), nearly half (48%) was scheduled to mature and come due over the following 12 months. Viking noted that it “does not currently maintain controls and procedures that are designed to ensure that information required to be disclosed by the Company in the reports it files or submits under the Exchange Act are recorded, processed, summarized, and reported within the time periods specified by the Commission’s rules and forms.” Viking’s CEO “has concluded that these [disclosure] controls and procedures are not effective in providing reasonable assurance of compliance.” Viking disclosed that a key subsidiary, Elysium Energy, was “in default of the maximum leverage ratio covenant under the term loan agreement at June 30, 2021”; this covenant caps the entity’s total secured debt to EBITDA at 75 to 1.14 This is hardly a healthy operation. Indeed, even according to Viking’s own black-box estimates, the present value of its total proved reserves of oil and gas, using a 10% discount rate (likely generous given the company’s high debt costs), was $120 million as of 12/31/20,15 while its outstanding debt, as stated above, is $101 million – perhaps implying a sliver of residual economic value to equity holders, but not much. And while some market observers have recently gotten excited about how increases in commodity prices could benefit Camber/Viking, any near-term impact will be blunted by hedges put on by Viking in early 2020, which cover, with respect to its Elysium properties, “60% of the estimated production for 2021 and 50% of the estimated production for the period between January, 2022 to July, 2022. Theses hedges have a floor of $45 and a ceiling ranging from $52.70 to $56.00 for oil, and a floor of $2.00 and a ceiling of $2.425 for natural gas” – cutting into the benefit of any price spikes above those ceiling levels.16 Sharing our dreary view of Viking’s prospects is one of Viking’s own financial advisors, a firm called Scalar, LLC, that Viking hired to prepare a fairness opinion under the original all-stock merger agreement with Camber. Combining Viking’s own internal projections with data on comparable-company valuation multiples, Scalar concluded in October 2020 that Viking’s equity was worth somewhere between $0 and $20 million, depending on the methodology used, with the “purest” methodology – a true, full-blown DCF – yielding the lowest estimate of $0-1 million: Camber’s advisor, Mercer Capital, came to a similar conclusion: its “analysis indicated an implied equity value of Viking of $0 to $34.3 million.”17 It’s inconceivable that a majority stake in this company, deemed potentially worthless by multiple experts and clearly experiencing financial strains, could somehow justify a near-billion-dollar valuation. Instead of dwelling on the unpleasant realities of Viking’s oil and gas business, Camber has drawn investor attention to two recent transactions conducted by Viking with Camber funding: a license agreement with “ESG Clean Energy,” discussed in further detail below, and the acquisition of a 60.3% stake in Simson-Maxwell, described as “a leading manufacturer and supplier of industrial engines, power generation products, services and custom energy solutions.” But Viking paid just $8 million for its Simson-Maxwell shares,18 and the company has just 125 employees; it defies belief to think that this purchase was such a bargain as to make a material dent in Camber’s overvaluation. And what does Simson-Maxwell actually do? One of its key officers, Daryl Kruper (identified as its chairman in Camber’s press release), describes the company a bit less grandly and more concretely on his LinkedIn page: Simson Maxwell is a power systems specialist. The company assembles and sells generator sets, industrial engines, power control systems and switchgear. Simson Maxwell has service and parts facilities in Edmonton, Calgary, Prince George, Vancouver, Nanaimo and Terrace. The company has provided its western Canadian customers with exceptional service for over 70 years. In other words, Simson-Maxwell acts as a sort of distributor/consultant, packaging industrial- strength generators and engines manufactured by companies like GE and Mitsubishi into systems that can provide electrical power, often in remote areas in western Canada; Simson- Maxwell employees then drive around in vans maintaining and repairing these systems. There’s nothing obviously wrong with this business, but it’s small, regional (not just Canada – western Canada specifically), likely driven by an unpredictable flow of new large projects, and unlikely to garner a high standalone valuation. Indeed, buried in one of Viking’s agreements with Simson- Maxwell’s selling shareholders (see p. 23) are clauses giving Viking the right to purchase the rest of the company between July 2024 and July 2026 at a price of at least 8x trailing EBITDA and giving the selling shareholders the right to sell the rest of their shares during the same time frame at a price of at least 7x trailing EBITDA – the kind of multiples associated with sleepy industrial distributors, not fast-growing retail darlings. Since Simon-Maxwell has nothing to do with Viking’s pre-existing assets or (alleged) expertise in oil and gas, and Viking and Camber are hardly flush with cash, why did they make the purchase? We speculate that management is concerned about the combined company’s ability to maintain its listing on the NYSE American. For example, when describing its restruck merger agreement with Viking, Camber noted: Additional closing conditions to the Merger include that in the event the NYSE American determines that the Merger constitutes, or will constitute, a “back-door listing”/“reverse merger”, Camber (and its common stock) is required to qualify for initial listing on the NYSE American, pursuant to the applicable guidance and requirements of the NYSE as of the Effective Time. What does it take to qualify for initial listing on the NYSE American? There are several ways, but three require at least $4 million of positive stockholders’ equity, which Viking, the intended surviving company, doesn’t have today; another requires a market cap of greater than $75 million, which management might (quite reasonably) be concerned about achieving sustainably. That leaves a standard that requires a listed company to have $75 million in assets and revenue. With Viking running at only ~$40 million of annualized revenue, we believe management is attempting to buy up more via acquisition. In fact, if the goal is simply to “buy” GAAP revenue, the most efficient way to do it is by acquiring a stake in a low-margin, slow- growing business – little earnings power, hence a low purchase price, but plenty of revenue. And by buying a majority stake instead of the whole thing, the acquirer can further reduce the capital outlay while still being able to consolidate all of the operation’s revenue under GAAP accounting. Buying 60.3% of Simson-Maxwell seems to fit the bill, but it’s a placeholder, not a real value-creator. Camber’s Partners in the Laughable “ESG Clean Energy” Deal Have a Long History of Broken Promises and Alleged Securities Fraud The “catalyst” most commonly cited by Camber Energy bulls for the recent massive increase in the company’s stock price is an August 24th press release, “Camber Energy Secures Exclusive IP License for Patented Carbon-Capture System,” announcing that the company, via Viking, “entered into an Exclusive Intellectual Property License Agreement with ESG Clean Energy, LLC (‘ESG’) regarding ESG’s patent rights and know-how related to stationary electric power generation, including methods to utilize heat and capture carbon dioxide.” Our research suggests that the “intellectual property” in question amounts to very little: in essence, the concept of collecting the exhaust gases emitted by a natural-gas–fueled electric generator, cooling it down to distill out the water vapor, and isolating the remaining carbon dioxide. But what happens to the carbon dioxide then? The clearest answer ESG Clean Energy has given is that it “can be sold to…cannabis producers”19 to help their plants grow faster, though the vast majority of the carbon dioxide would still end up escaping into the atmosphere over time, and additional greenhouse gases would be generated in compressing and shipping this carbon dioxide to the cannabis producers, likely leading to a net worsening of carbon emissions.20 And what is Viking – which primarily extracts oil and gas from the ground, as opposed to running generators and selling electrical power – supposed to do with this technology anyway? The idea seems to be that the newly acquired Simson-Maxwell business will attempt to sell the “technology” as a value-add to customers who are buying generators in western Canada. Indeed, while Camber’s press-release headline emphasized the “exclusive” nature of the license, the license is only exclusive in Canada plus “up to twenty-five locations in the United States” – making the much vaunted deal even more trivial than it might first appear. Viking paid an upfront royalty of $1.5 million in cash in August, with additional installments of $1.5 and $2 million due by January and April 2022, respectively, for a total of $5 million. In addition, Viking “shall pay to ESG continuing royalties of not more than 15% of the net revenues of Viking generated using the Intellectual Property, with the continuing royalty percentage to be jointly determined by the parties collaboratively based on the parties’ development of realistic cashflow models resulting from initial projects utilizing the Intellectual Property, and with the parties utilizing mediation if they cannot jointly agree to the continuing royalty percentage”21 – a strangely open-ended, perhaps rushed, way of setting a royalty rate. Overall, then, Viking is paying $5 million for roughly 85% of the economics of a technology that might conceivably help “capture” CO2 emitted by electric generators in Canada (and up to 25 locations in the United States!) but then probably just re-emit it again. This is the great advance that has driven Camber to a nearly billion-dollar market cap. It’s with good reason that on ESG Clean Energy’s web site (as of early October), the list of “press releases that show that ESG Clean Energy is making waves in the distributive power industry” is blank: If the ESG Clean Energy license deal were just another trivial bit of vaporware hyped up by a promotional company and its over-eager shareholders, it would be problematic but unremarkable; things like that happen all the time. But it’s the nature and history of Camber/Viking’s counterparty in the ESG deal that truly makes the situation sublime. ESG Clean Energy is in fact an offshoot of the Scuderi Group, a family business in western Massachusetts created to develop the now deceased Carmelo Scuderi’s idea for a revolutionary new type of engine. (In a 2005 AP article entitled “Engine design draws skepticism,” an MIT professor “said the creation is almost certain to fail.”) Two of Carmelo’s children, Nick and Sal, appeared in a recent ESG Clean Energy video with Camber’s CEO, who called Sal “more of the brains behind the operation” but didn’t state his official role – interesting since documents associated with ESG Clean Energy’s recent small-scale capital raises don’t mention Sal at all. Buried in Viking’s contract with ESG Clean Energy is the following section, indicating that the patents and technology underlying the deal actually belong in the first instance to the Scuderi Group, Inc.: 2.6 Demonstration of ESG’s Exclusive License with Scuderi Group and Right to Grant Licenses in this Agreement. ESG shall provide necessary documentation to Viking which demonstrates ESG’s right to grant the licenses in this Section 2 of this Agreement. For the avoidance of doubt, ESG shall provide necessary documentation that verifies the terms and conditions of ESG’s exclusive license with the Scuderi Group, Inc., a Delaware USA corporation, having an address of 1111 Elm Street, Suite 33, West Springfield, MA 01089 USA (“Scuderi Group”), and that nothing within ESG’s exclusive license with the Scuderi Group is inconsistent with the terms of this Agreement. In fact, the ESG Clean Energy entity itself was originally called Scuderi Clean Energy but changed its name in 2019; its subsidiary ESG-H1, LLC, which presides over a long-delayed power-generation project in the small city of Holyoke, Massachusetts (discussed further below), used to be called Scuderi Holyoke Power LLC but also changed its name in 2019.22 The SEC provided a good summary of the Scuderi Group’s history in a 2013 cease-and-desist order that imposed a $100,000 civil money penalty on Sal Scuderi (emphasis added): Founded in 2002, Scuderi Group has been in the business of developing a new internal combustion engine design. Scuderi Group’s business plan is to develop, patent, and license its engine technology to automobile companies and other large engine manufacturers. Scuderi Group, which considers itself a development stage company, has not generated any revenue… …These proceedings arise out of unregistered, non-exempt stock offerings and misleading disclosures regarding the use of offering proceeds by Scuderi Group and Mr. Scuderi, the company’s president. Between 2004 and 2011, Scuderi Group sold more than $80 million worth of securities through offerings that were not registered with the Commission and did not qualify for any of the exemptions from the Securities Act’s registration requirement. The company’s private placement memoranda informed investors that Scuderi Group intended to use the proceeds from its offerings for “general corporate purposes, including working capital.” In fact, the company was making significant payments to Scuderi family members for non-corporate purposes, including, large, ad hoc bonus payments to Scuderi family employees to cover personal expenses; payments to family members who provided no services to Scuderi; loans to Scuderi family members that were undocumented, with no written interest and repayment terms; large loans to fund $20 million personal insurance policies for six of the Scuderi siblings for which the company has not been, and will not be, repaid; and personal estate planning services for the Scuderi family. Between 2008 and 2011, a period when Scuderi Group sold more than $75 million in securities despite not obtaining any revenue, Mr. Scuderi authorized more than $3.2 million in Scuderi Group spending on such purposes. …In connection with these offerings [of stock], Scuderi Group disseminated more than 3,000 PPMs [private placement memoranda] to potential investors, directly and through third parties. Scuderi Group found these potential investors by, among other things, conducting hundreds of roadshows across the U.S.; hiring a registered broker-dealer to find investors; and paying numerous intermediaries to encourage people to attend meetings that Scuderi Group arranged for potential investors. …Scuderi Group’s own documents reflect that, in total, over 90 of the company’s investors were non-accredited investors… The Scuderi Group and Sal Scuderi neither admitted nor denied the SEC’s findings but agreed to stop violating securities law. Contemporary local news coverage of the regulatory action added color to the SEC’s description of the Scuderis’ fund-raising tactics (emphasis added): Here on Long Island, folks like HVAC specialist Bill Constantine were early investors, hoping to earn a windfall from Scuderi licensing the idea to every engine manufacturer in the world. Constantine said he was familiar with the Scuderis because he worked at an Islandia company that distributed an oil-less compressor for a refrigerant recovery system designed by the family patriarch. Constantine told [Long Island Business News] he began investing in the engine in 2007, getting many of his friends and family to put their money in, too. The company held an invitation-only sales pitch at the Marriott in Islandia in February 2011. Commercial real estate broker George Tsunis said he was asked to recruit investors for the Scuderi Group, but declined after hearing the pitch. “They were talking about doing business with Volkswagen and Mercedes, but everything was on the come,” Tsunis said. “They were having a party and nobody came.” Hot on the heels of the SEC action, an individual investor who had purchased $197,000 of Scuderi Group preferred units sued the Scuderi Group as well as Sal, Nick, Deborah, Stephen, and Ruth Scuderi individually, alleging, among other things, securities fraud (e.g. “untrue statements of material fact” in offering memoranda). This case was settled out of court in 2016 after the judge reportedly “said from the bench that he was likely to grant summary judgement for [the] plaintiff. … That ruling would have clear the way for other investors in Scuderi to claim at least part of a monetary settlement.” (Two other investors filed a similar lawsuit in 2017 but had it dismissed in 2018 because they ran afoul of the statute of limitations.23) The Scuderi Group put on a brave face, saying publicly, “The company is very pleased to put the SEC matter behind it and return focus to its technology.” In fact, in December 2013, just months after the SEC news broke, the company entered into a “Cooperative Consortium Agreement” with Hino Motors, a Japanese manufacturer, creating an “engineering research group” to further develop the Scuderi engine concept. “Hino paid Scuderi an initial fee of $150,000 to join the Consortium Group, which was to be refunded if Scuderi was unable to raise the funding necessary to start the Project by the Commencement Date,” in the words of Hino’s later lawsuit.24 Sure enough, the Scuderi Group ended up canceling the project in early October 2014 “due to funding and participant issues” – but it didn’t pay back the $150,000. Hino’s lawsuit documents Stephen Scuderi’s long series of emailed excuses: 10/31/14: “I must apologize, but we are going to be a little late in our refund of the Consortium Fee of $150,000. I am sure you have been able to deduce that we have a fair amount of challenging financial problems that we are working through. I am counting on financing for our current backlog of Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) projects to provide the capital to refund the Consortium Fee. Though we are very optimistic that the financial package for our PPA projects will be completed successfully, the process is taking a little longer than I originally expected to complete (approximately 3 months longer).” 11/25/14: “I am confident that we can pay Hino back its refund by the end of January. … The reason I have been slow to respond is because I was waiting for feedback from a few large cornerstone investors that we have been negotiating with. The negotiations have been progressing very well and we are close to a comprehensive financing deal, but (as often happens) the back and forth of the negotiating process takes ” 1/12/15: “We have given a proposal to the potential high-end investors that is most interested in investing a large sum of money into Scuderi Group. That investor has done his due-diligence on our company and has communicated to us that he likes our proposal but wants to give us a counter ” 1/31/15: “The individual I spoke of last month is one of several high net worth individuals that are currently evaluating investing a significant amount of equity capital into our That particular individual has not yet responded with a counter proposal, because he wishes to complete a study on the power generation market as part of his due diligence effort first. Though we learned of the study only recently, we believe that his enthusiasm for investing in Scuderi Group remains as strong as ever and steady progress is being made with the other high net worth individuals as well. … I ask only that you be patient for a short while longer as we make every effort possible to raise the monies need[ed] to refund Hino its consortium fee.” Fed up, Hino sued instead of waiting for the next excuse – but ended up discovering that the Scuderi bank account to which it had wired the $150,000 now contained only about $64,000. Hino and the Scuderi Group then entered into a settlement in which that account balance was supposed to be immediately handed over to Hino, with the remainder plus interest to be paid back later – but Scuderi didn’t even comply with its own settlement, forcing Hino to re-initiate its lawsuit and obtain an official court judgment against Scuderi. Pursuant to that judgment, Hino formally requested an array of documents like tax returns and bank statements, but Scuderi simply ignored these requests, using the following brazen logic:25 Though as of this date, the execution has not been satisfied, Scuderi continues to operate in the ordinary course of business and reasonably expects to have money available to satisfy the execution in full in the near future. … Responding to the post- judgment discovery requests, as a practical matter, will not enable Scuderi to pay Hino any faster than can be achieved by Scuderi using all of its resources and efforts to conduct its day-to-day business operations and will only serve to impose additional and unnecessary costs on both parties. Scuderi has offered and is willing to make payments every 30 days to Hino in amounts not less than $10,000 until the execution is satisfied in full. Shortly thereafter, in March 2016, Hino dropped its case, perhaps having chosen to take the $10,000 per month rather than continue to tangle in court with the Scuderis (though we don’t know for sure). With its name tarnished by disgruntled investors and the SEC, and at least one of its bank accounts wiped out by Hino Motors, the Scuderi Group didn’t appear to have a bright future. But then, like a phoenix rising from the ashes, a new business was born: Scuderi Clean Energy, “a wholly owned subsidiary of Scuderi Group, Inc. … formed in October 2015 to market Scuderi Engine Technology to the power generation industry.” (Over time, references to the troubled “Scuderi Engine Technology” have faded away; today ESG Clean Energy is purportedly planning to use standard, off-the-shelf Caterpillar engines. And while an early press release described Scuderi Clean Energy as “a wholly owned subsidiary of Scuderi Group,” the current Scuderi/ESG Clean Energy, LLC, appears to have been created later as its own (nominally) independent entity, led by Nick Scuderi.) As the emailed excuses in the Hino dispute suggested, this pivot to “clean energy” and electric power generation had been in the works for some time, enabling Scuderi Clean Energy to hit the ground running by signing a deal with Holyoke Gas and Electric, a small utility company owned by the city of Holyoke, Massachusetts (population 38,238) in December 2015. The basic idea was that Scuderi Clean Energy would install a large natural-gas generator and associated equipment on a vacant lot and use it to supply Holyoke Gas and Electric with supplemental electric power, especially during “peak demand periods in the summer.”26 But it appears that, from day one, Holyoke had its doubts. In its 2015 annual report (p. 80), the company wrote (emphasis added): In December 2015, the Department contracted with Scuderi Clean Energy, LLC under a twenty (20) year [power purchase agreement] for a 4.375 MW [megawatt] natural gas generator. Uncertain if this project will move forward; however Department mitigated market and development risk by ensuring interconnection costs are born by other party and that rates under PPA are discounted to full wholesale energy and resulting load reduction cost savings (where and if applicable). Holyoke was right to be uncertain. Though its 2017 annual report optimistically said, “Expected Commercial Operation date is April 1, 2018” (p. 90), the 2018 annual report changed to “Expected Commercial Operation is unknown at this time” – language that had to be repeated verbatim in the 2019 and 2020 annual reports. Six years after the contract was signed, the Scuderi Clean Energy, now ESG Clean Energy, project still hasn’t produced one iota of power, let alone one dollar of revenue. What it has produced, however, is funding from retail investors, though perhaps not as much as the Scuderis could have hoped. Beginning in 2017, Scuderi Clean Energy managed to sell roughly $1.3 million27 in 5-year “TIGRcub” bonds (Top-Line Income Generation Rights Certificates) on the small online Entrex platform by advertising a 12% “minimum yield” and 16.72% “projected IRR” (based on 18.84% “revenue participation”) over a 5-year term. While we don’t know the exact terms of these bonds, we believe that, at least early on, interest payments were covered by some sort of prepaid insurance policy, while later payments depend on (so far nonexistent) revenue from the Holyoke project. But Scuderi Clean Energy had been aiming to raise $6 million to complete the project, not $1 million; indeed, this was only supposed to be the first component of a whole empire of “Scuderi power plants”28 that would require over $100 million to build but were supposedly already under contract.29 So far, however, nothing has come of these other projects, and, seemingly suffering from insufficient funding, the Holyoke effort languished. (Of course, it might have been more investor-friendly if Scuderi Clean Energy had only accepted funding on the condition that there was enough to actually complete construction.) Under the new ESG Clean Energy name, the Scuderis tried in 2019 to raise capital again, this time in the form of $5 million of preferred units marketed as a “5 year tax free Investment with 18% cash-on-cash return,” but, based on an SEC filing, it appears that the offering didn’t go well, raising just $150,000. With funding still limited and the Holyoke project far from finished, the clock is ticking: the $1.3 million of bonds will begin to mature in early 2022. It was thus fortunate that Viking came along when it did to pay ESG Clean Energy a $1.5 million upfront royalty for its incredible technology. Interestingly, ESG Clean Energy began in late 2020 to provide extremely detailed updates on its Holyoke construction progress, including items as prosaic as “Throughout the week, ESG had met with and continued to exchange numerous e-mails with our mechanical engineering firm.” With frequent references to the “very fluid environment,” the tone is unmistakably defensive. Consider the September update (emphasis not added): Reading between the lines, we believe the intended message is this: “We didn’t just take your money and run – honest! We’re working hard!” Nonetheless, someone appears to be unhappy, as indicated by the FINRA BrokerCheck report for one Eric Willer, a former employee of Fusion Analytics, which was listed as a recipient of sales compensation in connection with the Scuderi Clean Energy bond offerings. Willer may now be in hot water: a disclosure notice dated 3/31/2021 reads: “Wells Notice received as a preliminary determination to recommend disciplinary action of fraud, negligent misrepresentation, and recommendation without due diligence in the sale of bonds issued by Scuderi Holyoke,” with a further investigation still pending. We wait eagerly for additional updates. Why does the saga of the Scuderis matter? Many Camber investors seem to have convinced themselves that the ESG Clean Energy “carbon capture” IP licensed by Viking has enormous value and can plausibly justify hundreds of millions of dollars of incremental market cap. As we explained above, we find this thoroughly implausible even without getting into Scuderi family history: in the end, the “technology” will at best add a smidgen of value to some generators in Canada. But track records matter too, and the Scuderi track record of failed R&D, delays, excuses, and alleged misuse of funds is worth considering. These people have spent six years trying and failing to sell power to a single municipally owned utility company in a single small city in western Massachusetts. Are they really about to end climate change? The Case of the Fictitious CFO Since Camber is effectively a bet on Viking, and Viking, in its current form, has been assembled by James Doris, it’s important to assess Doris’s probity and good judgment. In that connection, it’s noteworthy that, from December 2014 to July 2016, at the very start of Doris’s reign as Viking’s CEO and president, the company’s CFO, Guangfang “Cecile” Yang, was apparently fictitious. (Covering the case in 2019, Dealbreaker used the headline “Possibly Imaginary CFO Grounds For Very Real Fraud Lawsuit.”) This strange situation was brought to light by an SEC lawsuit against Viking’s founder, Tom Simeo; just last month, a US district court granted summary judgment in favor of the SEC against Simeo, but Simeo’s penalties have yet to be determined.30 The court’s opinion provided a good overview of the facts (references omitted, emphasis added): In 2013, Simeo hired Yang, who lives in Shanghai, China, to be Viking’s CFO. Yang served in that position until she purportedly resigned in July 2016. When Yang joined the company, Simeo fabricated a standing resignation letter, in which Yang purported to “irrevocably” resign her position with Viking “at any time desired by the Company” and “[u]pon notification that the Company accepted [her] resignation”…Simeo forged Yang’s signature on this document. This letter allowed Simeo to remove Yang from the position of CFO whenever he pleased. Simeo also fabricated a power of attorney purportedly signed by Yang that allowed Simeo to “affix Yang’s signature to any and all documents,” including documents that Viking had to file with the SEC. Viking represented to the public that Yang was the company’s CFO and a member of its Board of Directors. But “Yang never actually functioned as Viking’s CFO.” She “was not involved in the financial and strategic decisions” of Viking during the Relevant Period. Nor did she play any role in “preparing Viking’s financial statements or public filings.” Indeed, at least as of April 3, 2015, Yang did not do “any work” on Viking’s financial statements and did not speak with anyone who was preparing them. She also did not “review or evaluate Viking’s internal controls over financial reporting.” Further, during most or all of the Relevant Period, Viking did not compensate Yang despite the fact that she was the company’s highest ranking financial employee. Nevertheless, Simeo says that he personally paid her in cash. Yang’s “sole point of contact” at Viking was Simeo. Indeed Simeo was “the only person at Viking who communicated with Yang.” Thus many people at Viking never interacted with Yang. Despite the fact that Doris has served as Viking’s CEO since December 2014, he “has never met or spoken to Yang either in person or through any other means, and he has never communicated with Yang in writing.” … To think Yang served as CFO during this time, but the CEO and other individuals involved with Viking’s SEC filings never once spoke with her, strains all logical credulity. It remains unclear whether Yang is even a real person. When the SEC asked Simeo directly (“Is it the case that you made up the existence of Ms. Yang?”) he responded by “invoking the Fifth Amendment.”31 While the SEC’s efforts thus far have focused on Simeo, the case clearly raises the question of what Doris knew and when he knew it. Indeed, though many of the required Sarbanes-Oxley certifications of Viking’s financial statements during the Yang period were signed by Simeo in his role as chairman, Doris did personally sign off on an amended 2015 10-K that refers to Yang as CFO through July 2016 and includes her complete, apparently fictitious, biography. Viking has also disclosed the following, which we believe pertains to the Yang affair (emphasis added): In April of 2019, the staff (the “Staff”) of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement notified the Company that the Staff had made a preliminary determination to recommend that the SEC file an enforcement action against the Company, as well as against its CEO and its CFO, for alleged violations of Section 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 thereunder [laws that pertain to securities fraud] during the period from early 2014 through late 2016. The Staff’s notice is not a formal allegation or a finding of wrongdoing by the Company, and the Company has communicated with the Staff regarding its preliminary determination. The Company believes it has adequate defenses and intends to vigorously defend any enforcement action that may be initiated by the SEC.32 Perhaps the SEC has moved on from this matter and will let Doris and Viking off the hook, but the fact pattern is eyebrow-raising nonetheless. A similarly troubling incident came soon after the time of Yang’s “resignation,” when Viking’s auditing firm resigned, withdrew its recent audit report, and wrote a letter “advising the Company that it believed an illegal act may have occurred” – because of concerns that had nothing to do with Yang. First, Viking accounted for the timing of a grant of shares to a consultant in apparent contradiction of the terms of the written agreement with the consultant – a seemingly minor issue. But, under scrutiny from the auditor, Viking “produced a letter… (the version which was provided to us was unsigned), from the consultant stating that the Agreement was invalidated verbally.” Reading between the lines, the “uncomfortable” auditor suspected that this letter was a fake, created just to get him off Viking’s back. In another incident, the auditor “became aware that seven of the company’s loans…were due to be repaid” in August 2016 but hadn’t been, creating a default that would in turn “trigger[] a cross-default clause contained in 17 additional loans” – but Viking claimed it “had secured an oral extension to the loans from the broker-dealer representing the lenders by September 6, 2016” – after the loans’ maturity dates – “so the Company did not need to disclose ‘the defaults under these loans’ after such time since the loans were not in default.” It’s easy to see why an auditor would object to this attitude toward financial disclosure – no need to mention a default in August as long as you can secure a verbal agreement resolving it by September! Against this backdrop of disturbing behavior, the fact that Camber just dismissed its auditing firm three weeks ago on September 16th, even with delisting looming if the company can’t become current again with its SEC filings by November, seems even more unsettling. Have Camber and Viking management earned investors’ trust? Conclusion It’s not clear why, back in 2017, Lucas Energy changed its name to “Camber” specifically, but we’d like to think the inspiration was England’s Camber Castle. According to Atlas Obscura, the castle was supposed to help defend the English coast, but it took so long to build that its “advanced design was obsolete by the time of its completion,” and changes in the local environment meant that “the sea had receded so far that cannons fired from the fort would no longer be able to reach any invading ships.” Still, the useless castle was “manned and serviced” for nearly a century before being officially decommissioned. Today, Camber “lies derelict and almost unheard of.” But what’s in a name? Article by Kerrisdale Capital Management Updated on Oct 5, 2021, 12:06 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: valuewalkOct 5th, 2021

Former Trump aide Omarosa, newly freed from her NDA, suggests Trump won"t "be healthy enough" for a 2024 run

Omarosa Manigault Newman recently won a legal battle against Donald Trump, who tried to enforce an NDA over a tell-all book she wrote in 2018. Omarosa Manigault Newman. Paul Morigi/Getty Images for Sky News Omarosa Manigault Newman told MSNBC Trump "needs to come clean " about his health. She gave no evidence or details of his supposed problems. Trump, 75, has insisted he is healthy. Trump recently lost a legal battle to enforce a nondisclosure agreement with Manigault Newman. See more stories on Insider's business page. Former Trump aide Omarosa Manigault Newman said Sunday that if Donald Trump wants to run for president again in 2024 he "needs to come clean to the American people" about his health.Fresh off her court win against the former president, Manigault Newman told MSBC's Rev. Al Sharpton that she's concerned about the fact that Trump "hasn't come forward and talked about his health."She did not give any details of what gave her cause for concern, or provide any evidence of a particular reason that Trump, who is 75, should need to worry."I don't know if he will even be healthy enough to run in 2024," she said, according to MSNBC. "I think he needs to come clean to the American people about where he is on that before deciding to get into a very stressful and strenuous race for the White House." Trump himself has repeatedly said he is in good health.Watch the full interview with Manigault Newman below:Last month, Trump lost an expensive three-year legal battle to enforce a nondisclosure agreement with Manigault Newman, who was among the first of many former staffers to disparage him in a tell-all book.Her book, titled "Unhinged: An Insider's Account of the Trump White House," was published while Trump was still in the White House and is a highly critical account of the year she spent working for him between 2017 and 2018.In an interview last month, Trump said the only thing that would stop him from running for president in 2024 would be a "bad call from a doctor," Insider reported previously."You get that call. Come on down and see because we've got a bad report ... Things happen, through God, they happen," Trump told David Brody, a host on the right-wing network Real America's Voice.His implication was that nothing like this had happened yet - appearing to contradict Manigault Newman.He added: "I feel so good and I hate what's happening to our country. Our country has never been in a position like this. We were so good ten months ago and we're so bad now."Trump was hospitalized in October 2020 after contracting COVID-19, but later recovered and was vaccinated.Following his three-day stay at Walter Reed Medical Center, Trump said he beat COVID-19 "because I'm a perfect physical specimen and I'm extremely young," The Guardian reported.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 4th, 2021

2024 presidential rivals and GOP leaders condemn Trump for dining with white supremacist Nick Fuentes

Only a few leading Republicans thus far have condemned embattled former President Donald Trump for meeting with an avowed antisemite. Former President Donald Trump.Spencer Platt/Getty Images Several top Republican officials have condemed Trump for meeting with white nationalist Nick Fuentes. Trump recently had dinner with Fuentes and Kanye West, who has also made anti-Semitic comments. Insider is keeping a running tally of top Republicans who condemn the former president. Several GOP leaders, including some potential 2024 rivals, are explicitly condemning embattled former President Donald Trump for meeting with avowed white supremacist Nick Fuentes. But their scorching statements remain the exception so far for the GOP's reaction to Trump's latest scandal. Trump has claimed that he has no idea who Fuentes was. He has claimed that he tried to give rapper Kanye West, who was also at the dinner, advice. West, who prefers going by Ye, has made a number of antisemitic comments in recent months, which led multiple companies, including Adidas, to break ties with him. The trio had dinner at Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort last week."Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, was asking me for advice concerning some of his difficulties, in particular having to do with his business. We also discussed, to a lesser extent, politics, where I told him he should definitely not run for President ...," Trump wrote on his social media platform, Truth Social. Trump added that West "expressed no anti-Semitism" during the dinner.Fuentes, a 24-year-old known as a white nationalist, has long history of blatantly racist and anti-Semitic comments. He was also the cause of a previous uproar when far-right Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia and Paul Gosar of Arizona spoke at a conference of a Fuentes-founded organization. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy called their attendance "unacceptable."Here's the list of Republicans who have condemned Trump thus far:Sen. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana:"President Trump hosting racist antisemites for dinner encourages other racist antisemites,"  Cassidy wrote on Twitter. "These attitudes are immoral and should not be entertained. This is not the Republican Party."—U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. (@SenBillCassidy) November 28, 2022 Republican National Committee chairwoman Ronna McDaniel:Republican National Committee chair Ronna McDaniel did not mention Trump specifically while rejecting Fuentes' ideology. "As I had repeatedly said, white supremacy, neo-Nazism, hate speech and bigotry are disgusting and do not have a home in the Republican Party," she said in a prepared statement. Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson: "I don't think it's a good idea for a leader that's setting an example for the country or the party to meet with [an] avowed racist or antisemite," Hutchinson told CNN on Sunday. Hutchinson, a two-term governor who will soon be leaving office. He has said he is "very seriously" considering a 2024 presidential campaign.Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie:"This is just another example of an awful lack of judgment from Donald Trump, which, combined with his past poor judgments, make him an untenable general election candidate for the Republican Party in 2024," the one-time Trump ally and likely 2024 presidential contender told The New York Times.—Chris Christie (@GovChristie) November 26, 2022 Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming: "First, @RepMTG and now, @realDonaldTrump hanging around with this anti-Semitic, pro-Putin, white supremacist. This isn't complicated. It's indefensible," Cheney, the top Republican on the House January 6 committee, wrote on Twitter.Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois:"The brown shirts shouldn't intimidate you," Kinzinger, the only other Republican on the January 6 committee, wrote on Twitter. "They are all incels with no self esteem. Hey @GOPLeader, @RepMTG had spent some time with Nick here, how does that sit with you?  You cool with holocaust denial etc?  Probably right?"Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nyt5 hr. 51 min. ago

GOP Gov. Asa Hutchinson said Trump"s meeting with white supremacist Nick Fuentes was "not accidental" and hopes "someday we won"t have to be responding" to the former president

Gov. Asa Hutchinson criticized Trump's "failure to condemn" white supremacy after the former president said he didn't know who Nick Fuentes was. Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson; former President Donald TrumpManuel Balce Ceneta, File/Associated Press; Andrew Harnik/Associated Press Trump said he didn't know white supremacist Nick Fuentes when Kanye West brought him to dinner. Gov. Asa Hutchinson said Trump failed to condemn white supremacy and Holocaust denialism. Hutchinson, a frequent Trump critic, has said he's considering running for president in 2024. Outgoing Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson was among the first elected Republicans to condemn former President Donald Trump for meeting with white supremacist Nick Fuentes last week.In an interview with CNN on Sunday, Hutchinson, who has served two terms as the governor of Arkansas, was asked about the meeting, which occurred at Mar-a-Lago on Tuesday and also included rapper Kanye West."Well, I hope someday we won't have to be responding to what President Trump has said or done. This instance it's important to respond," Hutchinson said, going on to acknowledge host Dana Bash's mention of his time working as a US attorney who prosecuted racist militia members."The last time I met with a white supremacist, it was in an armed standoff. I had a bulletproof vest on, we arrested them, prosecuted them, and sent them to prison. So no, I don't think it's a good idea for a leader that's setting an example for the country or the party to meet with a vowed racist or antisemite," Hutchinson continued, adding leaders should avoid empowering extremists.Trump said he agreed to dinner with West but the rapper unexpectedly brought several people with him, including Fuentes. A 24-year-old activist and podcaster, Fuentes is known for sharing racist and antisemitic views, including denying the Holocaust. He attended the 2017 "Unite the Right" rally, during which a neo-Nazi killed a counterprotester with his car, and has been described by the Justice Department as a "white supremacist."—Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) November 27, 2022 In several Truth Social posts, Trump denied knowing who Fuentes was or anything about him, but has not condemned the views Fuentes espouses."You can have accidental meetings. Things like that happen," Hutchinson said. "This was not an accidental meeting. It was a set-up dinner with Kanye."The governor also said that leaders need to be "absolutely clear" that white supremacy and denying the Holocaust is not acceptable, adding that Trump's "failure to condemn" it represented the "extreme" minority of the GOP.Hutchinson, who could not run for re-election in 2022 due to term limits, has become a frequent critic of Trump, dismissing election fraud claims and calling him responsible for the Capitol riot. He also said in August he was considering running for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024. Trump announced plans to run earlier this month.Most elected Republicans have not condemned Trump's meeting with Fuentes, however, some other potential 2024 hopefuls have spoken out, including former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.Trump's office did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderNov 27th, 2022

Ex-Obama aide says Trump will deny he knows Nick Fuentes but continue to "wink and nod" at white supremacists

"He always tries to claim he does not associate with white nationalists, that he does not know them," Alaina Beverly told MSNBC. Former President Donald Trump speaks at a rally in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., Saturday, Sept. 3, 2022.Mary Altaffer/AP An ex-Obama aide said Trump denying knowing Nick Fuentes is his "M.O." "He always tries to claim he does not associate with white nationalists," Alaina Beverly told MSNBC. Her comments come after Trump's meetup with Fuentes and Ye in Florida last week. A former White House aide to President Obama said President Trump denying that he knows Nick Fuentes after their recent meet-up in Florida is his usual style. "He always tries to claim he does not associate with white nationalists, that he does not know them. But he'll wink & nod in the same breath & say 'Proud boys, stand back & stand by," Alaina Beverly said during an appearance on MSNBC's "The Katie Phang Show," referring to when Trump name-dropped the far-right group during a presidential debate in 2020. Beverly's comments come after Trump hosted fallen rap mogul Kanye "Ye" West, who asked the former president to be his running mate in 2024, and Fuentes, a Holocaust denier,  at his Mar-a-Lago resort last week. Fuentes is notoriously known for participating in the 2017 Charlottesville "Unite the Right" rally ad and has been labeled a "white supremacist" by authorities and by the Anti-Defamation League, Insider reported.—The Katie Phang Show (@katiephangshow) November 26, 2022In a statement to Axios, Trump said that Ye "arrived with a guest whom I had never met and knew nothing about," although the outlet noted that a source said he took a liking to Fuentes. The visit left Trump's advisers to scramble and try to get ahead of the fallout, calling it "a fucking nightmare.""This is a man who uses the defense of ignorance all the time but continues to further the types of violence, the types of hate crimes, the types of white supremacy that helped keep him in the public eye and help to secure him in office," Beverly told MSNBC. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderNov 27th, 2022

John Bolton says Donald Trump"s style is "old and tired" and that voters have "just switched Trump off in their brain"

During an interview with The Guardian, Bolton suggested that the Republican Party is due for a "fresh face." National Security Advisor John R. Bolton listens as President Donald J. Trump meets with Prime Minister of the Netherlands Mark Rutte in the Oval Office at the White House on Thursday, July 18th, 2019.Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images John Bolton said that Trump is "old and tired" in an interview with the Guardian. The former national security adviser suggested that the GOP needs a "fresh face." It comes after disappointment within the party following the midterm election results.  John Bolton, who was President Trump's national security adviser, said the former president is old news, criticizing him after the turnout of the midterm election and suggesting that the GOP needs a "fresh face.""There are a lot of reasons to be against Trump being the nominee, but the one I'm hearing now as I call around the country, talking to my supporters and others about what happened on 8 November, is the number of people who have just switched Trump off in their brain," Bolton said Saturday in an interview with The Guardian."Even if they loved his style, loved his approach, loved his policies, loved everything about him, they don't want to lose and the fear is, given the results on 8 November, that if he got the nomination, not only would he lose the general election, but he would take an awful lot of Republican candidates down with him."Trump, who announced he's running for office again, has faced backlash from members of the Republican party after the several candidates he endorsed flopped in the midterms. Recently, former Former Attorney General Bill Barr echoed similar concerns during an interview with PBS saying Trump "has been fading for months now, and the recent midterm elections, I think have really popped his balloon."Bolton insisted that people are looking at a candidate like Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis would be a contender for the 2024 nomination. The governor won reelection with a 20-point margin over Charlie Crist. "DeSantis has had a very successful run as governor of Florida. He won re-election on 8 November with a big majority," Bolton told The Guardian. "A lot of people look to him as the next-generation candidate. That's one of Trump's biggest problems – his act is old and tired now."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderNov 27th, 2022

Trump said Kanye West is a "seriously troubled man, who happens to be Black," and defends controversial Mar-a-Lago dinner

Trump recently hosted Kanye West at a controversial dinner at Mar-a-Lago along with white supremacist Nick Fuentes. Rapper Kanye West, now known as Ye, speaks during a meeting with then-President Donald Trump in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington D.C. on October 11, 2018.Calla Kessler/The Washington Post via Getty Images Trump recently hosted Kanye West at Mar-a-Lago for dinner along with white supremacist Nick Fuentes. While defending the dinner, Trump said the rapper was "a seriously troubled man, who happens to be Black." West claimed Trump screamed at him during the dinner over the rapper's ambitions to run for president in 2024. Former President Trump described Ye, the rapper formerly known as Kanye West, as "a seriously troubled man, who happens to be Black," as he defended hosting him at Mar-a-Lago for a controversial dinner.Ye brought Nick Fuentes, a notorious white supremacist and Holocaust denier, to the dinner, which sparked widespread controversy and condemnation. Trump has claimed that he did not know who Fuentes was prior to the meeting.Trump claimed on Truth Social on Saturday that Ye had requested the meeting at Mar-a-Lago and that he gave the rapper much-needed "advice." The former president said that Ye had been "decimated in his business and virtually everything else" but noted that he has "always been good to me."Numerous companies have cut ties with the rap star after he generated controversy by making antisemitic comments and wearing a shirt with the words "White Lives Matter" on it – a slogan widely used by white supremacists, according to the Anti-Defamation League.Ye, who has suggested he plans to run for president in 2024, claimed that Trump screamed at him during the dinner and told him he would lose if he ran. The rapper said Trump was "perturbed" when he asked him to be his running mate.Trump said in his statement that he told Ye not to run for office as it was "a total waste of time, can't win."The former president recently announced his plans to run for president for the third time.Ye previously ran in 2020, but his campaign ended after he gained only 70,000 votes, per the BBC. Trump also claimed that Ye brought three people to the dinner, two of whom he didn't know and one being someone he hadn't seen in years. His latest statement slightly contradicts a previous one in which he claimed he knew nothing about any of Ye's guests. Sources told NBC News that one of the guests was Karen Giorno, who was the Trump campaign's Florida director in 2016, and someone Trump knew personally.One anonymous longtime Trump adviser told NBC News that the fallout from the Mar-a-Lago dinner was a "fucking nightmare."The White House, former GOP governor Chris Christie and Trump's former ambassador to Israel have been among those criticizing Trump for dining with Ye and Fuentes.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderNov 27th, 2022

Chris Christie slams "attention-hungry" Trump for dinner with white supremacist Nick Fuentes proving he is an "untenable" candidate for 2024

Former GOP Gov. Chris Christie said Donald Trump's decision to host white supremacist Nick Fuentes for dinner showed an "awful lack of judgment." Former President Donald Trump, left, and former Republican Gov. Chris Christie, right, in a composite image.Getty Images Donald Trump recently hosted white supremacist Nick Fuentes for dinner at Mar-a-Lago. Former GOP governor Chris Christie it showed Trump's "awful lack of judgment." The governor, a one-time Trump ally turned critic, said he was an "untenable" candidate for 2024. Former Republican Gov. Chris Christie said that former President Donald Trump was not suitable to be president after he hosted white supremacist Nick Fuentes for dinner at Mar-a-Lago."This is just another example of an awful lack of judgment from Donald Trump, which, combined with his past poor judgments, make him an untenable general election candidate for the Republican Party in 2024," the former New Jersey governor told The New York Times.Trump's dinner with Fuentes, which was also attended by Ye, the rapper formerly known as Kanye West, sparked widespread controversy.The 24-year-old activist and livestreamer is notorious for espousing racist, anti-Semitic, and other bigoted views. The Justice Department has labeled him a "white supremacist," and the Anti-Defamation League has described him as a "well-known white supremacist pundit and organizer."The former president has since claimed that he did not know who Fuentes was prior to the dinner. Christie suggested that the controversial Mar-a-Lago dinner was a ploy for Trump to get attention."He can't stand not having attention all the time," Christie told The New York Times. "And so, having someone show up at his club — even if you believe that he didn't know who Nick Fuentes was — and want to sit with him feeds the hunger he feels for the attention he's missing since he left the presidency."Christie ran against Trump in 2016 in the Republican presidential primaries but later went on to become a close adviser to the president.The former governor went on to distance himself from Trump following the latter's 2020 election loss and has since turned into a vocal critic.Last week he encouraged Republicans to "stop being afraid" of any one person in an apparent reference to Trump.Christie has suggested multiple times that he is considering running to be the Republican nominee for president in 2024 against Trump. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderNov 26th, 2022

Trump tells Ye that white supremacist Nick Fuentes "really gets me" during Mar-a-Lago visit: report

Trump told Axios that Kanye West, known as Ye, brought the notorious white supremacist with him to a dinner at Mar-a-Lago. American rapper and producer Kanye West embraces real estate developer and US President Donald Trump in the White House's Oval Office, Washington DC, October 11, 2018.Ron Sachs/Consolidated News Pictures/Getty Images Trump dined with white supremacist Nick Fuentes and Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, at Mar-a-Lago.  In a statement to Axios, Trump denied knowing who Fuentes was or what his views were.  Fuentes is well known for espousing racist, anti-Semitic, and other bigoted views. Former President Donald Trump hosted notorious white supremacist and Holocaust denier Nick Fuentes at his Mar-a-Lago resort on Tuesday, multiple media outlets reported on Friday. Kanye West, now known as Ye, brought Fuentes as his guest to the former president's Florida mansion, where Ye said he discussed teaming up on the 2024 presidential ticket."Kanye West very much wanted to visit Mar-a-Lago. Our dinner meeting was intended to be Kanye and me only, but he arrived with a guest whom I had never met and knew nothing about," Trump said in a statement to Axios. The meeting was confirmed by Politico and the New York Times. In a post on Truth Social, the social-media platform that Trump launched last year, the former president said that Ye had "unexpectedly" arrived for a planned dinner with three of his friends, "whom I knew nothing about." The ex-president, who announced his 2024 presidential bid earlier this month, said nothing disavowing Fuentes' views in his statement. A spokesperson for Trump didn't immediately respond to Insider's request for comment. Axios reported that Trump appeared impressed by Fuentes, citing an unnamed source. At one point during their visit, Trump told Ye, "I really like this guy. He gets me," the source told Axios. Fuentes is well known for espousing racist, anti-Semitic, and other bigoted views. The 24-year-old activist participated in the 2017 white supremacist "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville, during which a neo-Nazi killed a counter-protester and injured 35 others. The Justice Department has characterized Fuentes as a "white supremacist" and the Anti-Defamation League, a civil rights group, has labeled him a "well-known white supremacist pundit and organizer."Trump was widely criticized in 2017 for claiming there were "very fine people" among the white nationalist marchers in Charlottesville. He was also condemned for not rejecting an endorsement in 2016 by David Duke, a well-known white nationalist and former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard. During a presidential debate against Joe Biden in 2020, Trump told the far-right extremist Proud Boys to "stand back and stand by" when asked to denounce them.As of Friday afternoon, Fuentes has not addressed the visit to Mar-a-Lago on any of the social platforms that continue to host him.Ye, who has said he plans to run for president in 2024, tweeted a video labeled "Mar-a-Lago debrief" on Thursday, in which he's speaking to Milo Yiannopoulos, a disgraced "alt-right" activist who appears to now be working on his campaign. Ye said that Trump was perturbed and caught off guard by Ye's suggestion that Trump sign on to be Ye's running mate, but that he was "really impressed" with Fuentes. "Unlike so many of the lawyers and so many people that he was left with on his 2020 campaign, he's actually a loyalist," Ye said of Fuentes' support for Trump. Ye, who has yet to file the necessary paperwork to become a presidential candidate, was until recently blocked from using Twitter after he made multiple anti-Semitic remarks, including saying he "was going death con 3 on JEWISH PEOPLE." Ye has also lost many of his business partnerships, and Adidas is investigating allegations that Ye behaved inappropriately with employees during their Yeezy partnership. Yiannopoulos resigned from the conservative media site Breitbart in 2017 after making comments appearing to condone pedophilia. He's made a slew of other noxious statements, including calling Islam and feminism "cancers" and calls himself an "ex-gay."Reports about the meeting between Trump, Ye, and Fuentes surfaced on Wednesday, when Ye and Fuentes were seen walking through an airport together. Politico and The Daily Beast reported that Fuentes and Ye were seen together at Mar-a-Lago.  This isn't the first time a prominent Republican has met with Fuentes and later claimed not to know anything about his bigoted and dangerous views. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, a far-right Republican from Georgia, spoke at an event organized by Fuentes in February and later told reporters she didn't know Fuentes and wasn't familiar with his views.Greene also hired Yiannopoulos as an intern in her congressional office earlier this year. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderNov 25th, 2022

Why El Salvador’s Bukele Is Doubling Down on Bitcoin Despite the Crypto Crash

President Nayib Bukele is buying more Bitcoin, despite the Crypto crash. The cryptocurrency crisis, worsened by the dramatic collapse of fast-growing crypto exchange FTX in mid-November, has raised questions about the future of these digital currencies. Bitcoin, the largest and most well known among them, has fallen to a two-year low in recent days. But one of the cryptocurrency’s most prominent backers is doubling down. On Nov. 17, El Salvador’s President Nayib Bukele, who last year made his country the first in the world to adopt Bitcoin as legal tender, responded to the crypto slide with a pledge that the government would purchase one Bitcoin every day going forward. On Nov. 22, Bukele’s administration sent a bill to El Salvador’s Congress that would allow it to sell $1 billion in so-called “volcano bonds”—government debt, denominated in U.S. dollars and paying out 6.5% interest a year to bond holders—in order to buy even more of the cryptocurrency and build a coastal “Bitcoin City.” [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] It may be difficult to understand why Bukele remains so enthusiastic about a policy that has been, by almost all metrics, a disaster. Bukele’s attempt to get Salvadorans to use the notoriously volatile cryptocurrency has left the country looking like a much riskier place to invest. The policy has stalled El Salvador’s negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a $1.3 billion loan, needed to plug big gaps in its public finances. Bukele’s government has been courting alternative sources of cash, announcing new trade talks with China on Nov. 9. But few economists believe Salvadoran vice president Félix Ulloa’s claim that China is willing to help El Salvador with the all-time-high $21 billion debt burden it owes to foreign lenders. If it can’t find new creditors to help service that debt, El Salvador runs the risk of a default early next year. Though Bukele has refused to disclose how much taxpayer money he has spent on Bitcoin, the best guess, based on his purchase announcements, is $107 million, with a further $200 million on administration and infrastructure—equivalent to nearly 4% of the developing country’s 2023 budget. El Salvador’s Bitcoin holdings are now worth less than $40 million. To cap it all, Salvadorans just aren’t that into Bitcoin: an in-person survey of 1,269 residents published by the José Simeón Cañas Central American University (UCA) in October found that less than a quarter of respondents had used the cryptocurrency in 2022. Just 17% said the Bitcoin rollout had been a success, while 66% said it was a failure. And 77% want Bukele to stop using public funds to buy Bitcoin. Marvin Recinos—AFP/Getty ImagesA government worker is seen at an ATM of the state-owned Chivo electronic wallet in San Salvador, on November 17, 2022. And yet, Bukele’s Bitcoin policy hasn’t hurt his approval rating, which has remained reliably above 85% since he took office in 2019. In fact, the cryptocurrency is arguably giving the President exactly what he wants. On the world stage, Bitcoin has pulled media focus from El Salvador’s long-running problem with gang violence, and from the authoritarian moves that Bukele has made to deal with it, including mass arrests, ousting supreme court judges who oppose his agenda, and launching an unconstitutional bid for reelection in 2024. At home, Bitcoin is a key part of the narrative that Bukele is pushing, both of El Salvador—as a rejuvenated, innovative country, delivering new opportunities for young Salvadorans—and of his presidency. He presents himself not as a classic strongman, but as a provocative young visionary challenging the Western financial elite. That means Bukele has little incentive to abandon Bitcoin—despite mounting losses for his country, says Tiziano Breda, Central America analyst at Crisis Group. “It’s Bukele’s ultimate [goal] to rebrand the country,” he says. “And he doesn’t seem like a person who can admit failure. He will go until the last consequences of this experiment.” Why Salvadorans don’t care about Bitcoin Most credit the President’s wide-ranging crack down on gang violence for his sky-high approval ratings. Bukele has overseen the arrest of more than 50,000 alleged gang members and a dramatic fall in El Salvador’s murder rate. Watchdogs say that has come at the cost of “eviscerating human rights” both for gang members and innocent Salvadorans caught in the crossfire. But civil society pushback has been relatively weak, Breda says, with Bukele successfully dismissing protest groups and critical media as puppets for the two establishment parties who ruled El Salvador for three decades before him. Though most Salvadorans don’t like Bitcoin, they view the policy more as an eccentricity of Bukele’s than as a serious threat to economic security, says Ricardo Castaneda, a San Salvador-based economist at the Central American Institute for Fiscal Studies. Mounting concern about public finances hasn’t yet translated into severe economic pain, he says: the government has shielded the population from the worst of global inflation by subsidizing gasoline prices. And remittances from the U.S., which make up a staggering 26.7% of El Salvador’s GDP, have not slowed. Marvin Recinos—AFP/Getty ImagesSoldiers listen as El Salvador’s President Nayib Bukele addresses them near a military barracks on the outskirts of San Juan Opico,west of San Salvador, on November 23, 2022. Bukele, meanwhile, insists that Bitcoin is the long-term solution to El Salvador’s economic problems. Like most crypto enthusiasts, he says the price will soon rally and eventually deliver huge profits to El Salvador. In the meantime, the President’s Twitter account shows an endless stream of retweets of foreign crypto influencers: they’re celebrating El Salvador’s coffee and beaches, and sharing tales of Salvadorans who left their country decades ago and now, apparently thanks to Bitcoin, have decided to return. A looming credit crunch There are clouds on the horizon for Bukele’s Bitcoin dream, though. El Salvador has to come up with a way to pay around $667 million in bonds that come due in January 2023, and another $1 billion in 2025. The government has announced plans to buy back portions of that debt by using reserves from its central bank, in hopes of inspiring enough confidence in the market to allow it to sell new bonds. Analysts say such moves might help El Salvador avoid default next year. But with shrinking cash reserves and unsustainably high levels of debt to service, the risk will remain. If Bukele can’t find buyers for his “volcano bonds” or another way to plug the fiscal hole, he may be forced to return to negotiations with the IMF. The lender would likely make a loan conditional on Bukele removing Bitcoin as legal tender and introducing tighter regulations on the use of cryptocurrencies, to reduce the risk of criminal groups using El Salvador to launder money. Bukele will only accept those terms when the economy starts to struggle enough that Salvadorans feel it, per Castaneda. “There is already a small crack there,” he says, noting that 58% of respondents to the October UCA poll identified El Salvador’s greatest problem as the economy—a 15% spike from May and the highest proportion in the last decade. (The drop in concern about crime likely helped). “If things don’t improve, that crack will get bigger and bigger, and then the applause will turn into boos.” Until then, Bukele will likely keep rolling the dice on Bitcoin. “He’s like a gambler in a casino who’s losing,” Castaneda says. “Instead of walking away or being more careful, they go all in.”.....»»

Category: topSource: timeNov 25th, 2022

Kanye West says Donald Trump screamed at him during dinner at Mar-a-Lago, telling Ye he will lose in 2024 if he runs for president

The rapper said he asked Trump — who is running for the 2024 GOP nomination — to be his running mate, and that the former president was "perturbed." Kanye West, aka Ye, tweeted a video on Thursday alleging details of his interactions with Trump at the Mar-a-Lago resort.Edward Berthelot/GC Images and Joe Raedle/Getty Images Kanye West said former President Donald Trump screamed at him during dinner at Mar-a-Lago. The rapper said Trump told him Ye would lose in 2024 if he ran for president. Ye talked about meeting Trump in Florida in a Thursday video dubbed "Mar-a-Lago debrief." Ye, the rapper formerly known as Kanye West, said former President Donald Trump started "screaming" at him during dinner at the Mar-a-Lago resort and told the rapper he would lose if he were to run in 2024."When Trump started basically screaming at me at the table telling me I was going to lose, I mean has that ever worked for anyone in history?" the rapper said in a video he tweeted on Thursday evening."I'm like whoa hold on, hold on, hold on. You're talking to Ye," he said in the video. The clip was one of several videos posted by the rapper on Thursday with the slogan "YE24."—ye (@kanyewest) November 25, 2022Ye dubbed the video a "Mar-a-Lago debrief," during which he gave his side of the story about what happened during a visit to Trump's Florida residence on Tuesday.The rapper said Trump was "perturbed" by Ye asking the former president to be his running mate in 2024."I think that was like, lower on the list of things that caught him off guard," Ye added.Ye also spoke briefly in the video about his political beliefs. "Since we know, and all the Christians in America that love Trump know that Trump is a conservative, we're going to demand that you hold all policies directly to the Bible," he said.The rapper also claimed Trump said something seemingly unpleasant about Ye's ex-wife, Kim Kardashian."You can tell her I said that," Trump said to Ye, according to the rapper. The video censored the exact words that Ye alleged Trump said about Kardashian.However, Ye appeared offended by the comment."And I was thinking like, that's the mother of my children," the rapper said in his video.Ye's video on Thursday comes just days after he said he asked Trump to be his 2024 running mate. However, Ye has yet to file the basic paperwork to become a candidate — unlike Trump, who announced his 2024 bid on November 15. A representative for Trump and an attorney representing Ye did not immediately respond to Insider's requests for comment.The rapper was seen at Mar-a-Lago with white nationalist live-streamer Nick Fuentes on Tuesday, per Politico and The Daily Beast. Fuentes is well-known for being a participant at the 2017 white supremacist "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville.Ye ran for president under the banner of the "Birthday Party" in 2020. He only appeared on the ballot in 12 states, having missed the deadline for the others. He collected around 60,000 votes out of an estimated 160 million, per the BBC.The rapper has been a lightning rod for controversy, particularly after he went on several anti-Semitic rants. Major brands such as Adidas, Balenciaga, and Vogue cut ties with Ye amid the debacle, bringing his estimated net worth down from $1.5 billion to $400 million.A bombshell Rolling Stone report this week also covered a slew of accusations from Yeezy collaborators about troubling behavior from the rapper. This included an allegation from unnamed Yeezy staff that Ye screened an explicit video of Kardashian during a staff meeting in 2018. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderNov 25th, 2022

"If You Don"t Know What"s On The Thanksgiving Menu, It"s You"

"If You Don't Know What's On The Thanksgiving Menu, It's You" By Michael Every of Rabobank If you wanted to embody how the turkeys running things react when confronted with the fact that they voted for Thanksgiving and Christmas, it would be Bankman-Fraud being invited to speak at a New York Times event next week alongside Yellen, President Zelenskiy, and Ben Affleck/Batman. Alleged harems, billions of dollars in client money missing, and public accusations it was used as a personal and political piggy bank? Hey – have a seat alongside the global elite (and Batman) to say sorry and tell us about all the good things you did! Madoff obviously wasn’t available. If only this nonsense were a one-off, but the market heads into the US Thanksgiving holiday in fine mood because ‘the Fed minutes were dovish’, confirming their wrong-all-year view. Yet the compromise between Fed doves, who are there, and Fed hawks, who are running things, is that while the pace of hikes will slow, the ultimate level of rates will be higher. If I carve you with a smaller knife, but more times, is that ‘dovish’? Try ‘turkey-ish’! Philip Marey, well ahead of the Street in calling a 5% peak, has his view here: he thinks 50bp is coming in December, but rates aren’t going down at all until 2024. That’s a sour cranberry, or real stuffing for some turkeys given Treasury yields fell after the minutes, and the dollar sold off. Note the RBNZ flirted with 100bp yesterday before going a record 75, and are saying their overnight cash rate needs to hit 5.5%, even at the cost of 3-quarter recession. Yes, rates are contractionary there – and they want them to be: “Spend wisely this Christmas,” said Governor Orr as he signed off, literally encouraging Kiwis to not be turkeys, and to save, not spend. Likewise, the BOC governor just told parliament that Canadian rates need to rise even higher because inflation is not under control. Again, note the absence of turkeys. In China, there is buzz about another cut in banks’ reserve requirement ratios (RRR). There are still turkeys who think this matters despite umpteen RRR cuts already to no effect. As Covid cases soar, lockdowns intensify, and footage of unrest emerges at the world’s largest iPhone factory, Bloomberg asks, ‘Is a Wealth Tax How Xi Fills China's Empty Coffers?’ Months ago Western investment banks were piling into ‘wealth management opportunities’; now, some are slashing jobs after seeing only ‘poultry’ returns. Relatedly, Bloomberg flagged ‘High-Yield Party Returns to Emerging Markets Too Cheap to Ignore’ earlier this week; how long until the ‘Oops, They Got a Lot Cheaper’ headline emerges? In Europe, ECB speakers were generally hawkish. However, European politicians said ‘yelp’ – which is what a turkey says, as well as having the more regular meaning of surprise/panic. From January, Germany will start a “double-kaboom” policy. Not losing to two late goals in football, which the rest of Europe would love, but a EUR200bn gas and electricity subsidy, which Europe won’t. Households and SMEs will see gas prices capped at 12 EUR cents gross/KwH for 80% of their previous consumption until April 2024, and electricity at 40 EUR cents/KwH. For industry, the gas cap is 7 EUR cents net for 70% of consumption, and electricity is 13 EUR cents plus taxes, levies, and surcharges. Notably, Germany has already faced EU anger over the fact that it can afford to save itself while others can’t: with Germans looking after Germans in this crisis, which Germans looking after Germans got the EU into, expect EU knives to be sharpened. Moreover, Politico says ‘EU plans subsidy war chest as industry faces ‘existential’ threat from US’, noting: “If it weren't enough that energy prices look set to remain permanently far higher than those in the US thanks to Russia's war in Ukraine, US President Joe Biden is also currently rolling out a $369 billion industrial subsidy scheme to support green industries under the Inflation Reduction Act. EU officials fear that businesses will now face almost irresistible pressure to shift new investments to the US rather than Europe. EU industry chief Thierry Breton is warning that Biden's new subsidy package poses an "existential challenge" to Europe's economy. The European Commission and countries including France and Germany have realized they need to act quickly if they want to prevent the Continent from turning into an industrial wasteland… the EU is now working on an emergency scheme to funnel money into key high-tech industries.” In short, the EU will resist US mercantilism; which is resisting Chinese mercantilism; which Europe has had no issue with for decades. Yet Europe overlooks that they are the least prepared bloc for such a realpolitik backdrop: talk about turkeys voting for Christmas! Indeed, they are saying they will push back against pro-EU President Biden while: Running large twin deficits, as the German fiscal deficit is about to get much larger due to the “double-kaboom”, which smells like a potential market Cluster-Truss; The EU energy crisis is only being tempered by imports of LNG from the US; The EU are reliant on US weapons to fight the must-win war in Ukraine; The EU are reliant on exports to the US; and The EU are reliant on Eurodollar swaplines from the US to maintain financial stability at a time when the Fed is raising rates, which it still is. More realistically, the EU also announced a gas price cap that does not actually cap gas prices; and the G7 announced a Russian oil price cap that does not actually cap the price of Russian oil. On energy, gas prices are low now, but will only rise over 2023. Oil prices are sending a clearer signal, but wait and see what happens if the Fed does what the market wants for Christmas. I have kept saying that when we see long US yields go down and commodities tumble it will mean something: we are seeing that now. Yet yelp all you want, but that is not compatible with a weaker dollar. If the US is in trouble, try being everyone else with a lag. Mercantilism is a force very much on the US side, and is as much a story for 2023 as any ‘pivots’. As they say, if you don’t know what’s on the Thanksgiving menu – it’s you. Tyler Durden Thu, 11/24/2022 - 20:15.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytNov 24th, 2022

Billionaire Trump neighbor says his Mar-a-Lago crowd aren"t real friends: "It"s all transactional"

Mar-a-Lago is full of Trump admirers, but billionaire Jeff Greene said that the former president's status is what attracts them to the club. Former President Donald Trump, left, waves to guests during an election night party at Mar-a-Lago, Tuesday, November 8, 2022 in Palm Beach, Florida.Phelan M. Ebenhack for The Washington Post via Getty Images Trump doesn't have real friends at Mar-a-Lago, a Florida billionaire told the Financial Times.  Despite the atmosphere of adulation, it's "all transactional," Jeff Greene told the paper.  Reporters have long noted Trump's love of associating with the rich and famous.  A billionaire who lives near Trump in Florida said that former President Donald Trump is not surrounded by true friends at the club, according to the Financial Times.Real estate mogul Jeff Greene told the paper that the atmosphere of adulation there is "all transactional."The paper said Greene joined as a Mar-a-Lago member in 2010. It was not clear if he remained part of the club.Trump is well-known for holding court among allies and admirers at his Florida home, often soaking up applause when he walks in the room, as filmmaker Alex Holder said earlier this year. And the FT described the many fans — including wealthy "Trumpettes" — who flock to Mar-a-Lago and lavish praise on the former president. Greene suggested this is all fake. Asked who Trump's close friends are, Greene told the paper: "I don't think he has any friends."He said that one person he knows who plays golf with Trump "all the time" was never invited to the White House when Trump was president, implying that Trump did not really much care for him.In 2018, Greene made a failed attempt at running for Florida governor as a Democrat, eight years after a 2010 attempt at the US Senate.Before the 2018 campaign — when Trump appeared to take offense at an attack ad Greene ran — the pair had a cordial relationship, Greene told the paper. But that was largely due to his wealth, Greene suggested. "He would come over to my table, I think because I was a billionaire," he told the FT. "He likes billionaires."Former President Donald Trump made a 2024 White House run official on November 15, 2022, in the grand ballroom at Mar-a-Lago.Kimberly Leonard/InsiderIt's a characterization that also came up in "Confidence Man," the recent book by Trump-watching New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman.In an excerpt seen by Insider, Trump considered his time as president worth it because he made "so many rich friends and nobody knows who they are." Haberman wrote that she found the remark "jarring" when Trump said it.Speaking of the legions of fans who gravitate towards Trump's club, Greene told the paper: "They want to be around him because he's the ex-president."Trump "likes people to defer to him . . . and tell him how good he is," Greene told the FT.Despite this, Greene said he felt more welcome at Mar-a-Lago than at other clubs.Others, such as British hard-right politician Nigel Farage, told the paper that he considered Trump a "good friend" who "meant it" when he said in 2016 they would be friends for life.A spokesperson for Trump did not immediately respond to a request for comment, sent on Thanksgiving. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderNov 24th, 2022

DeSantis" scathing book about Obama shows his "individual freedom" philosophy, his disdain for the media, and how he studies other politicians

DeSantis wrote the book shortly after he got married and had been honorably discharged from the Navy, ahead of his US congressional race. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis wrote a book in 2011 called "Dreams from Our Founding Fathers: First Principles in the Age of Obama."Joe Raedle/Getty Images DeSantis published a book in 2011 that was intended as takedown of Obama and his policies.  The book tells readers about DeSantis' political philosophy, but not about the governor's own life. DeSantis wrote the book during the Tea Party movement and before he ran for Congress.  Before Republican Ron DeSantis became a well-known governor from Florida who takes frequent aim at President Joe Biden, he had his sights set on cutting down another Democratic president: Barack Obama. He did so throughout his 2011 book, "Dreams from Our Founding Fathers: First Principles in the Age of Obama."The book's title aimed to criticize Obama by playing with the name of the president's first memoir, "Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance." DeSantis even used a similar cover to the one Obama had. DeSantis wrote the book as he was coming of age in politics during the Tea Party movement. Then in his mid-30s, he had just been honorably discharged from the Navy, and would soon run successfully for the US House, where he would serve from 2013 to 2018. While written more than a decade ago, the book sheds light into how DeSantis thinks about policy and about other politicians. In it, DeSantis tries to make the case that Obama's policies strayed from the Constitution and that the former president was committed to "redistributing wealth." Insider obtained a hard copy of the book to read, and had seven takeaways: The book is hard to get"Dreams from Our Founding Fathers" probably won't make it onto a lot of holiday gift lists even for politicos because there aren't many copies in circulation.According to NPD BookScan, which tracks retail sales of US print books, "Dreams from Our Founding Fathers" sold 125 copies through July of 2022. That means the books available for sale now go for a high price — on Amazon, for instance, prices range  from $369.99 to $1,683.99. To obtain a hard copy of the book, Insider called the Miami-Dade Public Library System, which had to order a copy from the library sharing service Interlibrary Loan. A copy of the book arrived to Miami-Dade two weeks later from Flagler College in St. Augustine, Florida.Readers otherwise have the option of accessing the book electronically.Florida GOP gubernatorial nominee Ron DeSantis signs an autograph for supporters after speaking at a rally outside a campaign office on October 28, 2018 in Melbourne, Florida.Paul Hennessy/NurPhoto via Getty Images'Dreams' isn't a memoir Many politicians write books to tell voters who they are, what they care about, and where they came from. They'll tell stories about lessons their parents taught them growing up, and how they were compelled to dedicate themselves to a life of public service."Dreams from Our Founding Fathers" is not that book. Readers looking to learn more about DeSantis' childhood in Dunedin, Florida; how he proposed to his wife, Florida first lady Casey DeSantis; or his fairy tale wedding at Disney World won't find those details in it. The book's only personal reference is in its dedication, which reads, "To Casey." But it does get into DeSantis' disdain for Washington. For instance, he accuses Democratic leaders of having an "inclination to spend other people's money, a lust to control the lives of their fellow citizens and desire to perpetuate oneself in office." "It seems like they consider the Constitution to be a quaint afterthought, a sometimes annoying impediment to their desire to redistribute the money of their fellow citizens and to engage in social engineering," he wrote.DeSantis sees 'individual liberty' as supremeDeSantis' book homes in on the Tea Party, a Republican movement that wanted government to be smaller and to spend less. The group's following swelled during Obama's first years in office, and took strong stances against his program to help home owners avoid foreclosure, his economic stimulus plan, and his healthcare law known as the Affordable Care Act. DeSantis in his book accuses Obama and his supporters of working toward "more centralized government power and less individual freedom" to bolster "the power of the state and its collectivist goals." America, he wrote, "is at a Constitutional crossroads" and should return to the Founding Fathers' stance that the government's most important job is "the protection of individual liberty."As governor, DeSantis has championed himself as the defender of "freedom." He has argued that he can even use the hand of state government to limit workplace trainings on diversity, equity, and inclusion, as well as teachings in schools on race and gender.In the name of defending individual choices and freedom, he also has taken actions such as blocking schools from making students wear masks and preventing employers from mandating vaccines from workers or customers."What I'm doing is using government to give space to the individual citizen to be able to participate in society to be able to speak his or her mind," DeSantis said at a political event in September. DeSantis has said little about what's in store for a second term in Florida, but in his 2022 Election Night victory speech, he said, "The survival of the American experiment requires a revival of true American principles." The comments appear to echo the "first principles" from DeSantis' book.  Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis greets Rose Simhon after signing two bills at the Shul of Bal Harbour on June 14, 2021 in Surfside, Florida. The bills are HB 529 and HB 805. HB 805 ensures that volunteer ambulance services, including Hatzalah, can operate. HB 529 requires Florida schools to hold a daily moment of silence.Joe Raedle/Getty ImagesDeSantis carefully studied Obama and criticized him personally"Dreams from our Founding Fathers" doesn't just take heavily from Obama's autobiography. Throughout, DeSantis uses excerpts from Obama's campaign promises, speeches, and legislation.It shows DeSantis had carefully studied the president and his agenda."The age of Obama has seen an expansion of government on virtually every level," DeSantis wrote. DeSantis was also critical of Obama personally, calling him "first in his own mind" and saying, "he actually believed that he was a historically special figure." In one section of the book, DeSantis wrote that Obama lacked the humility of George Washington, the first US president.He wrote that Obama had a "palpable cockiness" and "made outlandish claims about his own significance as an individual."He accused the Obama campaign of having a "messianic posture." Eleven years later, the DeSantis campaign ran an ad during his 2022 gubernatorial reelection campaign that intimated DeSantis was uniquely chosen by God as a "fighter."Obamacare looms large DeSantis, who majored in history when he was an undergraduate at Yale University, quotes from the Constitutional Convention and the Federalist Papers throughout this book. He argues that America should be a place where the government has limited power and sticks to a few core functions. Universal healthcare falls outside of those functions, according to DeSantis. Much of his book is critical of the Affordable Care Act, which Obama signed into law during his first term. DeSantis particularly takes issue with the provision known as the "individual mandate" that forced citizens to buy health insurance or otherwise pay a tax. (In 2012, Supreme Court upheld the ACA's tax as constitutional.)He also criticizes several other taxes and regulations in Obamacare and uses the law as an example of the expansion of government, and the slew of rules and regulations that come with it.Somewhat surprisingly, considering his current stance on such issues, DeSantis in his book doesn't touch on any of the so-called "culture war" elements of the healthcare law dealing with transgender rights or reproductive healthcare. DeSantis instead warned that the healthcare law would push the US toward a "purely government-run, single-payer system." Ultimately, though, the law strengthened corporate insurers, and Democrats funneled even more funding to the ACA during the last two years. When DeSantis was in Congress he voted to repeal the ACA — though the measure failed in the Senate.  Republicans did succeed in zeroing out the fine on the uninsured as part of their tax bill, and Democrats haven't pushed to bring the provision back. As governor, DeSantis hasn't agreed to have Florida opt into Obamacare's Medicaid expansion that would allow 800,000 Floridians with low earnings to receive government-financed healthcare. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis responds to a local TV reporter's question after he signed legislation to make it harder for social media companies to punish users who violate terms of service agreements, on Monday, May 24, 2021, inside FIU MARC building in Miami, Florida.Carl Juste/Miami Herald/Tribune News Service via Getty ImagesDeSantis showed derision for the pressAs governor, DeSantis has become famous for confronting media that he views as overly hostile toward him. He frequently bashes the "corporate media," argues with reporters about their questions, and blocks some reporters from political events. He regularly does interviews on Fox News and other conservative outlets — but not elsewhere.His negative views of the press as biased date at least as far back as when he was writing his book. In it, he accuses the press of treating Obama with "kid gloves" because his politics and worldview "corresponded nicely with the political orientation of most rank-and-file journalists." Obama, DeSantis wrote, "garnered flattering media coverage by a press thoroughly enamored with his progressive politics." Another DeSantis book would yield a big paydayThe publisher of "Dreams from Our Founding Fathers" is High-Pitched Hum Publishing in Jacksonville, Florida, a cooperative publisher known as a "vanity press" in literary circles. That means that as an author DeSantis payed to get his book published and to help pay for expenses such as printing. Typically, famous politicians reap massive advances that enrich them significantly. But in 2011 DeSantis was not well-known. His US House financial disclosures from 2013 to 2015 show he received $13,278 in book royalties over that period, according to an Insider tally. Eleven years later, DeSantis still isn't wealthy. He has a net worth of $318,986.99, doesn't own property, and carries $21,284.92 in student loans, his financial records show.If the governor were to write another book — at a time where he's considered to be the second-most famous Republican in America next to former President Donald Trump — he'd undoubtedly see a big payday, show records from other presidential prospects.For instance, GOP Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, another 2024 presidential prospect, earned a $184,167 advance for his book. When Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts was running for the Democratic nomination for president last year, she received a $730,350 advance for her book. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytNov 24th, 2022