Happy 2023! This is going to be a big year for OptOut and our numerous independent news outlets. I'll send out another email next week outlining our exciting plans for this year.
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Here is your first corporate media-free news roundup of the year! Today I'll go through a number of topics from a busy first week of 2023 and share one or two of the best articles, podcasts, or videos about each one.
Welp, the new Republican majority in the U.S. House has already thoroughly embarrassed itself, taking 15 attempts to elect a member of its own party as speaker. California Rep. Kevin McCarthy finally passed the finish line after the extreme right of the GOP bullied him into promising only to permit a clean debt ceiling increase if spending was kept at 2022 levels. In today's inflationary economic environment, that amounts to "a massive, massive cut," according to journalist RYAN GRIM.
But there is a possible solution for Joe Biden:
Now that Republicans have vowed a showdown over a global financial crisis, which’ll start hurting the economy long before it hits this summer, Biden does have a way out. Plenty of constitutional experts will tell you that the debt limit is simply unconstitutional. Just ignore it.
The two-year anniversary of the deadly, Trump-inspired insurrection at the U.S. Capitol occurred this week. THE NATION's Chris Lehmann lays out what the January 6 Committee's final report misses.
The committee gives an impressive litany of the many times White House aides and Justice Department officials sought to talk Trump down from the deranged, kitchen-sink narrative of election theft that he and enablers such as John Eastman and Rudy Giuliani cobbled together on the fly. But the legal and moral brief here doesn’t get to the heart of the matter: What sort of semi-functional adult buys into this sort of crap?
"Non-compete" agreements could be history, as Matt Stoller explains in BIG. Biden's FTC chair, Lina Khan, proposed a rule to eliminate contracts that bar workers from leaving their jobs to work at a competitor. The move could boost wages by $300 billion a year, or $2,000 per worker.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce called the action "blatantly illegal." 😢
Mayor Pete has never headed a major transportation system, and yet, he's the secretary of transportation for the entire United States. He didn't heed repeated warnings to crack down on the corrupt airline industry, and holiday travel went about as well as you might expect. THE LEVER's podcast explains.
After the Southwest Airlines debacle that saw over 2,500 flights canceled and up to a million travelers stranded over the holidays, David Sirota explores how the U.S. airline industry became one of the most concentrated and despised industries in the country with the help of William J. McGee, a senior fellow for aviation and travel at the American Economic Liberties Project.
THE INTERCEPT's Ken Klippenstein describes the glee of Wall Street, econ profs, and corporate and legacy media at slowing wage and employment growth.
“This looks like the right direction of travel re: jobs,” New York Times economic reporter Jeanna Smialek said on Twitter, above a chart depicting a steady decline in jobs. “But it’s probably not *as much* of a slowdown as the Fed wants, yet,” Smialek hedged...
Despite the Fed's sworn oath to interest rate increases, there are other ways to control inflation.
Instead of rate hikes, [Democratic Sen. Elizabeth] Warren suggested several other ways to bring down inflation, including fighting corporate price gouging with aggressive antitrust policies, bringing more parents into the workforce by subsidizing child care, strengthening supply chains by ending tax breaks for corporations that offshore jobs, and bringing down drug prices by allowing Medicare to negotiate them.
The Indigenous guard in the Venezuelan Amazon [are] living an isolated, fearful life. Their story reveals an alarming pattern where protecting land and the environment often turns deadly. A report last year from international human rights group Global Witness documented the killing of 1,733 environment and land defenders over the past decade.
OptOut's Walker Bragman reports that the guy whom Twitter owner Elon Musk entrusted with his latest dump of allegedly damning material about the former leadership of the company is a COVID-19 misinformation specialist who helped promote a document that pushed a herd immunity strategy based around mass infection and minimal government intervention.
Musk, one of the richest human beings in history who is bankrupting Twitter in real time, sure talks a big game about government censorship, but the platform he paid way too much for is still promoting U.S. government propaganda, FAIR reports.
Anti-Critical Race Theory Hysteria
Florida's governor appointed Christopher Rufo, the rightwing think tank guy who created the panic over critical race theory being allegedly taught in grade schools, to the Board of Trustees at Sarasota’s New College of Florida. After Virginia Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin ran a successful 2021 campaign on an "anti-woke" education platform, the GOP doubled down, lying about both the nature of critical race theory and its ubiquity. The party didn't do so well in the 2022 midterms, but Ron DeSantis just can't quit his anti-woke crusade.
In a 3–2 decision on Thursday, the South Carolina Supreme Court struck down the state’s ban on abortions after six weeks, ruling that it is unconstitutional because it violates the state’s right to privacy.
The ruling is the first time since Dobbs that a state supreme court has struck down an abortion restriction on state constitutional grounds.
And there's some more good news, STATES NEWSROOM reports. The recent federal spending bill "requires a business with 15 or more employees to make reasonable accommodations for pregnant workers unless doing so puts an undue hardship on the employer."
THE INSURGENTS podcast addresses the NFL's callous reaction to Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin's cardiac arrest, which occurred in a game last Monday. All week, he has been fighting for his life. Fortunately, he has made progress and is "neurologically intact."
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