Below is my column in the New York Post on what a flipping of either (or both) houses might bring for President Joe Biden.
While the President has cited his own impeachment as the danger of such a change, it may be the least of his worries. As we wait for the final tally on seats in both houses, here are three areas that represent a more serious threat to the President than removal from office.
Here is the column:
In the movie “The Longest Day,” Maj. Werner Pluskat tried to warn his superior about the approaching armada that he was seeing on the horizon. His superior asks where they are heading, and Pluskat responds, “Straight for me!”
In the days before the midterm “D-Day,” President Joe Biden increasingly sounded like Pluskat.
Last Thursday, Biden warned supporters that the Republicans have made clear “they’re gonna impeach me.” When Biden warned that he might be impeached if voters do not stop a Republican wave, there was an audible laugh which prompted the President to added “No, I’m not joking.”
While Biden may or may not be the subject of an impeachment, a Republican-controlled House has plenty to investigate, and impeachment is unlikely his greatest fear.
Here are the top three concerns, and there is every indication that Biden is wise to be worried.
Hunter Biden and Influence Peddling
House Democrats repeatedly moved to block investigations into the alleged multimillion-dollar influence-peddling operations by the Biden family. For his part, Attorney General Merrick Garland steadfastly refused to appoint a special counsel despite an overwhelming basis for such an appointment.
Biden has repeatedly denied knowledge of Hunter Biden’s business entanglements despite numerous emails and pictures showing him meeting with Hunter associates. Hunter’s partner, Eric Schwerin, alone made at least 19 visits to the White House and other official locations between 2009 and 2015.
There are emails of Chinese, Ukrainian and other foreign clients including some thanking Hunter Biden for arranging meetings with his father. People apparently were told to avoid directly referring to Joe Biden. In one email, Tony Bobulinski, then a business partner of Hunter, was instructed by Biden associate James Gilliar that the Bidens wanted to avoid such references: “Don’t mention Joe being involved, it’s only when u [sic] are face to face, I know u [sic] know that but they are paranoid.”
Instead, the emails refer to Joe Biden with code names such as “Celtic” or “the big guy.” In one, “the big guy” is discussed as possibly receiving a 10% cut on a deal with a Chinese energy firm; other emails reportedly refer to Hunter Biden paying portions of his father’s expenses and taxes.
An investigation into the alleged influence peddling by Hunter, his uncle James and his father could reveal additional information of how foreign interests pumped millions into the Biden family. As we learn more of this influence-peddling operation, the FBI may face increased questions over its response to the allegations as well as many in the media, who were actively involved in burying the story before and after the election.
Social Media and Censorship-by-Surrogate
The president has at times acted as a virtual censor-in-chief, denouncing social-media companies for “killing people” by not censoring enough. Recently, he expressed doubt that the public can “know the truth” without such censorship by “editors” in Big Tech. There is growing evidence of long-suspected back channels between government and Democratic political figures and Big Tech. Some of those contacts were recently confirmed but Congress again refused to investigate.
If officials coordinated the censorship of citizens, it could lead to lawsuits (in addition to already pending actions) and embarrassing disclosures. The government cannot do indirectly what it is barred from doing directly. The investigation could produce considerable collateral damage for political and media figures alike.
Pandemic politics and policies
Republicans have pledged to open a full investigation into what officials knew about the origins and risks of COVID-19. Specifically, members like Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) have pledged to uncover material showing what officials like Dr. Anthony Fauci knew about the lack of efficacy of masks as well as guidelines on limiting groups or the closure of businesses and schools. These investigations might also reveal the coordination of health-care guidelines with teacher unions and political allies.
These investigations could eventually be linked in critical ways. For example, many of those who questioned the efficacy and cost of the massive lockdown were barred on social media (and attacked in the mainstream media). Fauci is accused of quickly scuttling such discussion, and critics point to his own alleged approval of gain-of-function research at the Wuhan lab.
These investigations could also present a serious challenge to Attorney General Garland. Not only will the Hunter Biden investigation shed light on his inexplicable opposition to a special counsel, but Garland has been very aggressive in prosecuting contempt of Congress against Trump officials. He may now face contempt referrals from a new Republican-controlled House and will be asked to show the same aggression against Biden officials or associates.
It is not clear whether Biden’s more personal existential plea moved the needle for voters, but it was arguably his most honest pitch as he contemplated the perilous future if either house flipped to the GOP.
Nike Escalates Design Battle Against Lululemon
The sportswear giant is accusing lululemon of patent infringement.
The sportswear giant is accusing lululemon of patent infringement.
The Gucci loafers. The Burberry (BBRYF) trench coat. When it comes to fashion, having a unique design is everything. This is why brands spend millions both creating and protecting their signature looks and the reason, as in the case of Adidas (ADDDF) , extricating a brand's design from creators who behave badly is a costly and difficult process.
There is also the constant effort to release new styles without infringing on another group's style. This week, sportswear giant Nike (NKE) - Get Free Report filed a lawsuit accusing lululemon (LULU) - Get Free Report of infringing on its patents in the shoe line that the Vancouver-based activewear company launched last spring.
After years of selling exclusively clothing, accessories and the odd yoga mat, lululemon expanded into the world of footwear with a running shoe it dubbed Blissfeel last March. These were soon followed by training shoe and pool slide styles known as Chargefeel, Strongfeel -- all three of the designs (including a Chargefeel Low and a Chargefeel Mid design) have been mentioned in the lawsuit as causing "economic harm and irreparable injury" to Nike.
Nike's History Of Suing Lululemon Over Design
The specific issue lies in the technology used to build the shoes. According to the lawsuit filed in Manhattan federal court, certain knitted elements, webbing and tubular structures are too similar to ones that had been used by Nike earlier.
Nike is keeping the amount it hopes to receive from lululemon under wraps but is insisting the company infringed on its patent when releasing a shoe line too similar to its own. Lululemon had previously talked about how its shoe line "far exceeded" its leaders' expectations both in terms of sales and ability to expand.
In a Q1 earnings call, chief executive Calvin McDonald said that the line "definitely had a lot more demand than we anticipated."
Nike has already tried to go after lululemon through the courts once before. In January 2022, it accused the company of infringing on six patents over its at-home Mirror Home Gym. As the world emerged out of the pandemic, lululemon has been billing it as a hybrid model between at-home and in-person classes.
The lawsuit was also filed in the U.S. District Court in Manhattan but ultimately fizzled out.
When it comes to the shoe line lawsuit, Lululemon has been telling media outlets that "Nike's claims are unjustified" and the company "look[s] forward to proving [their] case in court."
Some More Examples Of Prominent Design Battles
In the fashion industry, design infringement accusations are common and rarely lead to high-profile rulings. While Nike has gone after the technology itself in both cases, lawsuits more often focus on the style or pattern on a given piece.
Shein, a China-based fast-fashion company that took on longtime leaders like H&M (HNNMY) and Fast Retailing (FRCOF) 's Uniqlo with its bottom-of-the-barrel pricing, has faced numerous allegations from smaller and independent designers over the copying of designs -- in some cases not even from fashion designers but artists painting in local communities.
"They didn't remotely bother trying to change anything," U.K.-based artist Vanessa Bowman told the Guardian after seeing her painting of a local church appear on a sweater on Shein's website. "The things I paint are my garden and my little village: it’s my life. And they’ve just taken my world to China and whacked it on an acrylic jumper."china pandemic
George Santos: A democracy can’t easily penalize lies by politicians
When candidates can get elected to Congress based on a mountain of lies they’ve told, is it time to reconsider whether such lies are protected by the…
George Santos is not the first politician to have lied, but the fables he told to get elected to Congress may be in a class by themselves. Historian Sean Wilentz remarked that while embellishments happen, Santos’ lies are different – “there is no example like it” in American history, Wilentz told Vox in a late-January, 2023, story.
Columnist Peggy Noonan wrote that Santos was “a stone cold liar who effectively committed election fraud.”
And now Santos has taken the dramatic step of removing himself temporarily from the committees he’s been assigned to: the House Small Business Committee and the Science, Space and Technology Committee. The Washington Post reports Santos told his GOP colleagues that he would be a “distraction” until cleared in several probes of his lies.
While Santos’ lies got some attention from local media, they did not become widely known until The New York Times published an exposé after his election.
Santos’ lies may have gotten him into hot water with the voters who put him in the House, and a few of his colleagues, including the New York GOP, want him to resign. CBS News reported that federal investigators are looking at Santos’ finances and financial disclosures.
But the bulk of Santos’ misrepresentations may be protected by the First Amendment. The U.S. Supreme Court has concluded that lies enjoy First Amendment protection – not because of their value, but because the government cannot be trusted with the power to regulate lies.
In other words, lies are protected by the First Amendment to safeguard democracy.
So how can unwitting voters be protected from sending a fraud to Congress?
Any attempt to craft a law aimed at the lies in politics will run into practical enforcement problems. And attempts to regulate such lies could collide with a 2012 Supreme Court case United States v. Alvarez.
Lies and the First Amendment
Xavier Alvarez was a fabulist and a member of a public water board who lied about having received the Congressional Medal of Honor in a public meeting. He was charged in 2007 with violating the Stolen Valor Act, which made it a federal crime to lie about having received a military medal.
The Supreme Court rejected the government’s argument that lies should not be protected by the First Amendment. The court concluded that lies are protected by the First Amendment unless there is a legally recognized harm, such as defamation or fraud, associated with the lie. So the Stolen Valor Act was struck down as an unconstitutional restriction on speech. The court pointed out that some false statements are “inevitable if there is to be open and vigorous expression of views in public and private conversation.”
Crucially, the court feared that the power to criminalize lies could damage American democracy. The court reasoned that unless the First Amendment limits the power of the government to criminalize lies, the government could establish an “endless list of subjects about which false statements are punishable.”
Justice Anthony Kennedy, who wrote the majority opinion in Alvarez, illustrated this danger by citing George Orwell’s dystopian novel “1984,” in which a totalitarian government relied on a Ministry of Truth to criminalize dissent. Our constitutional tradition, he wrote, “stands against the idea that we need” a Ministry of Truth.
Lies, politics and social media
George Santos, unlike Xavier Alvarez, lied during an election campaign.
In Alvarez, the Supreme Court expressed concern about laws criminalizing lies in politics. It warned that the Stolen Valor Act applied to “political contexts, where although such lies are more likely to cause harm,” the risk that prosecutors would bring charges for ideological reasons was also high.
The court believed that the marketplace of ideas was a more effective and less dangerous mechanism for policing lies, particularly in politics. Politicians and journalists have the incentives and the resources to examine the records of candidates such as Santos to uncover and expose falsehoods.
The story of George Santos, though, is a cautionary tale for those who hold an idealized view of how the marketplace of ideas operates in contemporary American politics.
Democracy has not had a long run when measured against the course of human history. From the founding of the American republic in the late 18th century until the advent of the modern era, there was a rough division of labor. Citizens selected leaders, and experts played a critical gatekeeping role, mediating the flow of information.
New information technologies have largely displaced the role of experts. Everyone now claims to be an expert who can decide for themselves whether COVID-19 vaccines are effective or who really won the 2020 presidential election. These technologies have also destroyed the economic model that once sustained local newspapers.
Thus, although one local newspaper did report on Santos’ misrepresentations, his election is evidence that the loss of news reporting jobs has damaged America’s democracy.
Lies that harm democracy
The election of George Santos illustrates the challenges facing American democracy. The First Amendment was written in an era when government censorship was the principal danger to self-government. Today, politicians and ordinary citizens can harness new information technologies to spread misinformation and deepen polarization. A weakened news media will fail to police those assertions, or a partisan news media will amplify them.
As a scholar of constitutional law, comparative constitutionalism, democracy and authoritarianism, I believe that Justice Kennedy’s Alvarez opinion relied on a flawed understanding of the dangers facing democracy. He maintained that government regulation of speech is a greater threat to democracy than are lies. Laws that targeted lies would have to survive the most exacting scrutiny – which is nearly always fatal to government regulation of speech.
Justice Stephen Breyer’s concurring opinion argued that a different test should be used. Courts, Breyer said, should assess any speech-related harm that might flow from the law as well as the importance of the government objective and whether the law furthers that objective. This is known as intermediate scrutiny or proportionality analysis. It is a form of analysis that is widely used by constitutional courts in other democracies.
Intermediate scrutiny or proportionality analysis does not treat all government regulations of speech as presumptively unconstitutional. It forces courts to balance the value of the speech against the justifications for the law in question. That is the right test, Justice Breyer concluded, when assessing laws that penalize “false statements about easily verifiable facts.”
The two approaches will lead to different results when governments seek to regulate lies. Even proposed, narrowly written laws aimed at factual misrepresentations by politicians about their records or about who won an election might not survive the high degree of protection afforded lies in the United States.
Intermediate scrutiny or proportionality analysis, on the other hand, will likely enable some government regulation of lies – including those of the next George Santos – to survive legal challenge.
Democracies have a better long-term survival track record than dictatorships because they can and do evolve to deal with new dangers. The success of America’s experiment in self-government may well hinge, I believe, on whether the country’s democracy can evolve to deal with new information technologies that help spread falsehoods that undermine democracy.
Miguel Schor does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.congress covid-19 spread
10 Top Penny Stocks To Watch With High Short Interest This Week
More short squeeze penny stocks to watch before February 2023.
The post 10 Top Penny Stocks To Watch With High Short Interest This Week appeared first…
This week could bring some fluctuations to the stock market. Whether you’re investing in penny stocks or more expensive shares, several key factors will shape the year’s first quarter. Economic data releases, earnings announcements, and the highly anticipated January FOMC meeting are just a few of the things that will play a role. However, it’s worth noting that penny stocks often behave independently of broader market trends.
There has recently been a growing interest in cheap stocks with high short interest. Why does that matter? A short squeeze occurs when investors who have bet against a stock by borrowing shares are forced to buy back those shares at higher prices to cover their losses. This phenomenon can result in a rapid surge in the stock price. Where can you start searching for short-squeeze stocks?
Short interest data is a good starting point. There are no guarantees that stocks with a high level of short interest will squeeze. But they are usually the first ones people will take a closer look at. This article focuses on a list of penny stocks that meet these criteria. Additionally, we will try to find any potential catalysts to provide you with a better understanding of the current market conditions surrounding these companies.
With this information, you can decide whether they are worth adding to your watch list. This is also a continuation of our list of short squeeze stocks from the article “Penny Stocks To Buy: 5 Short Interest Stocks To Watch Now.” The complete list will be provided at the end of the article.
Short Interest Stocks To Watch
Faraday Future Intelligent Electric Inc. (FFIE)
Short Data: Fintel – 18.35%, TDAmeritrade – 29.20%
Faraday Future has been on our list of penny stocks to watch for months, and during that period, FFIE stock has continued climbing. A mix of new milestones, speculative trading action, and support from the Fintwit community have helped breed optimism in the stock market for the EV company.
Faraday Future is a smaller EV upstart that has progressed forward in launching its flagship product, FF 91 Futurist. A rework of its leadership and funding seems to have brought more reassurance to traders watching the company. Most recently, Faraday appointed its GLobal Executive VP of Global User Exosystem, Tin Mok, to the Board of Directors.
The news comes just a few weeks after signing a deal with the City of Huanggang Province in China to relocate its future FF China Headquarters to support the US-China “dual home market” and dual “DNA strategy.” Now, attention is likely on Faraday’s production commencement of the FF 91 Futurist. The company set the end of March to begin production and the end of April (or before) to start rolling out deliveries.
Is FFIE a short-squeeze penny stock? According to Fintel & TD Ameritrade data, the FFIE stock short float seems to be sitting between 18% and 29%.
Sientra Inc. (SIEN)
Short Data: Fintel – 122.36%, TDAmeritrade – 124.06%
Sientra stock has one of the group’s highest listed short float percentages. According to Fintel and TD, that figure is between 122% and 124%. Like all types of data, the accuracy of the actual reporting can come into question at such extremes. Nevertheless, it doesn’t discount the figures shown by these outlets today.
SIEN stock has only recently begun catching attention after hitting fresh 52-week lows last week. The stock slipped following a reverse split earlier this month. Now, however, it looks like traders are starting to speculate on the company’s next move. The medical aesthetics company won approval from the United Arab Emirates Ministry of Health and Prevention to market its smooth surface, High-Strength Cohesive (HSC and HSC+) silicone gel breast implants in the United Arab Emirates.
But the news may be secondary to market data. That doesn’t only include the short interest. Thanks to the reverse split, it could also put SIEN on the list of low-float penny stocks to watch. Lower floats mean less supply in the market and can translate into higher volatility. Keep this in mind if SIEN is on your watch list.
Gossamer Bio Inc (GOSS)
Short Data: Fintel – 35.22%, TDAmeritrade – 30.21%
Last year, Gossamer announced Phase 2 trial data in its study of seralutinib for treating pulmonary arterial hypertension. Among several points of focus was a serious adverse event in the seralutinib arm of the study. Overall treatment-emergent adverse events were reported in 86% and 93% of patients in the placebo and seralutinib arms.
Even with that as the case, there was optimism regarding efficacy results. Pulmonary Hypertension Division head at the University Hospital in Giessen explained, “highlit compelling potential differentiation for seralutinib as an anti-proliferative, anti-inflammatory, and anti-fibrotic therapeutic candidate with possible reverse remodeling effects.”
Earlier this month, State Street Corporation and Millennium Management filed Schedule 13Gs showing stakes in GOSS stock ranging from 5.1% to 29.47% (State Street). While those reports have been out for weeks, it may be something traders are paying attention to if GOSS is on their list of penny stocks to watch. In addition, short data from TD and Fintel have the short float percentage on GOSS stock sitting between 30% and 35%.
Pardes Biosciences Inc. (PRDS)
Short Data: Fintel – 24.88%, TDAmeritrade – 8.12%
The short data between Fintel and TD varies right now. Of the two, Fintel’s is the highest, with a PRDS stock short float percentage of nearly 25%. One thing Pardes has experienced that some of the others on the list haven’t is a more prolonged uptrend that began late last year.
The biotech company has been developing its PBI-0451 platform as a potential oral antiviral drug candidate to potentially treat and prevent COVID-19. Despite easing concerns, the virus still exists, and companies are still looking to “build a better mouse trap,” so to speak. In a quarterly update, CEO Thomas Wiggans explained that Pardes “made significant progress in our pursuit to bring a stand-alone, easily administered oral treatment to patients suffering from COVID-19, highlighted by the commencement of our PBI-0451 Phase 2 trial in September 2022,” and that the company looks forward to “sharing the preliminary results from this study in the first quarter of 2023.”
As the clock ticks on this quarter, some speculation has begun to form. Multiple analysts have set price targets much higher than current levels, and the short data has come into focus this week. JMP Securities and SVB Leerink have set $9 price targets for PRDS stock.
Short Data: Fintel – 20.17%, TDAmeritrade – 20.15%
The beaten-down medtech company has faced plenty of headwinds due to its mixed performance. The most recent update from SmileDirectClub prompted a bit more optimism in the stock. It gave an update highlighting a plan to drive profitability and positive cash flow. It also issued preliminary Q4 revenue guidance, which came in below estimates. Even with that as the case, shares of SDC stock woke up after the company presented its cost-saving strategy for the year.
“SmileDirectClub has taken decisive steps over the past year to embed rigorous financial discipline throughout the business and ensure we are positioned to capitalize on the investments we have made to place our company on the leading edge of innovation in oral care technology,” said CEO David Katzman.
Ahead of the official year-end results coming in February, traders are looking at the SDC stock short data. Right now, Fintel and TD both show this at around 20%.
List Of Short-Interest Penny Stocks To Watch
- Faraday Future Intelligent Electric Inc. (NASDAQ: FFIE)
- Sientra Inc. (NASDAQ: SIEN)
- Gossamer Bio Inc (NASDAQ: GOSS)
- Pardes Biosciences Inc. (NASDAQ: PRDS)
- SmileDirectClub (NASDAQ: SDC)
- Tattooed Chef (NASDAQ: TTCF)
- Aemetis Inc (NASDAQ: AMTX)
- Blue Apron Holdings Inc. (NYSE: APRN)
- Vroom Inc. (NASDAQ: VRM)
- Biora Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ: BIOR)
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