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.

U.S. Politics

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.
BREAKING: Kevin McCarthy wins Speakership. Now it’s up to Biden to neutralize the Freedom Caucus.
Kevin McCarthy prevailed on the 15th round of voting for Speaker early Saturday morning following a day of high drama. On the first vote of the day, 14 rebels defected to McCarthy, giving him serious momentum heading into tonight’s vote. But on the 14th round, he fell one vote short. Republicans mov…
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January 6

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?
The January 6 Report and Trump’s Gospel of Success
On the anniversary of the insurrection at the Capitol, the House select committee’s report documents the former president’s culpability—and his state of mind.
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"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." 😢

Antitrust Enforcers to Ban Indentured Servitude
Yesterday, the Federal Trade Commission proposed a ban on non-compete agreements that prevent workers from switching jobs. This move could boost wages by $300 billion a year, or $2000 per worker.
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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.
🎧 LEVER TIME: How The Airline Industry Became A Living Nightmare
On this week’s Lever Time: David speaks with a leading expert in airline history and regulation; and discusses the shadowy power wielded by our country’s largest law firms.
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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.
Financial World Celebrates Slowing Wage and Employment Growth in New Jobs Report
In the debate over American workers’ welfare versus the Federal Reserve’s inflation-cooling rate hikes, the workers are losing.
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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.
Here’s How We Protect Earth’s Defenders | Atmos
After a deadly decade for environmental activists and defenders of the Earth, The Frontline asks: is there a way out?
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COVID-19 (Misinformation)

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.

Elon Musk’s New Twitter Files Reporter Has Ties to Great Barrington Declaration
The writer at the center of Musk’s latest dump may be a relative unknown, but there’s more to David Zweig than meets the eye.
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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.

Under Musk, Twitter Continues to Promote US Propaganda Networks - FAIR
Dozens of accounts that are part of US overt propaganda networks are given special treatment from Twitter, violating Twitter’s own policies.
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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.

Ron DeSantis unleashes famed bigot to ruin beloved college in Florida
Students and alumni respond to the attack
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Reproductive Health

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.

South Carolina Supreme Court Recognizes that Privacy Rights Protect Abortion Access - Bolts
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... Read More
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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."

Here’s what you need to know about new workplace protections for pregnant, nursing workers ⋆ Michigan Advance
The $1.7 trillion federal spending bill President Joe Biden signed last week ushers in expanded protections for workers who are pregnant or nursing. Proponents of the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act and the PUMP for Nursing Mothers Act — both included as amendments to the spending bill — say the measu…
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Contact Sports

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."

Ep. 139: F$%k the NFL ft. Manny Fidel
Listen now (71 min) | The NFL’s callousness was on full display when Damar Hamlin needed medical care.
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That's it for this week. If you enjoy getting this weekly independent news update, know that OptOut needs increased funding to continue doing what we're doing. Please make a tax-deductible donation now to fight for ethical, unconflicted media.

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