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This was a big week for OptOut!

We hope you all saw that we published our first piece of original reporting. In partnership with Center for Media and Democracy and the Important Context newsletter, we dug into the funding behind conservative activist Candace Owens’ BLEXIT Foundation.

Owens founded her group in 2018 hoping to spark a realignment of voters of color from the Democratic Party to the GOP. Owens has framed her organization as a counter to Black Lives Matter. It is unabashedly pro-cop and rejects the concept of systemic racism. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the group hasn’t caught on with its intended audience. But there is one group that bought in: wealthy, right-wing billionaires.

Look through our story to learn about some of the funders of Owens’ pet project. OptOut plans to do more collaborative work in the future with our participating outlets.

Candace Owens’ ‘Blexit’ Operation Bankrolled by Wealthy White Conservatives
Right-wing billionaires bought into Owens’ effort to bring Black Democrats into the Republican Party, but the results are unimpressive.
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With that, please enjoy our selection of other top stories for the week.


This week COVID-19 vaccine manufacturer Moderna revealed that it was considering hiking the price of its lifesaving jab by 400%. STATUS COUP had a good breakdown of the implications.

Moderna Hikes Vaccine Price by 400%
Also: Supreme Court vs Labor, Southwest Promotes Execs After Meltdown
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BORDER/LINES broke down the implications of the Biden administration’s recent expansion of Title 42 and its immigration policy more broadly.

Biden administration proposal expands Title 42 and the parole ticking time bomb—01-09-23
Immigration news, in context
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Fascism is making an unfortunate comeback around the world. UNICORN RIOT published a story this week about the resurgence of Greece’s Golden Dawn group, which saw its Nazi leaders prosecuted in 2020.

Neo-Nazi Group Golden Dawn Makes Resurgence in Greece - UNICORN RIOT
After many years in hiding, the far-right, neo-Nazi organization Golden Dawn made its public reappearance with an organized march in Florina, Greece.
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Since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, a number of states have clamped down on abortion rights, or eliminated them altogether. In Nebraska, lawmakers are considering a heartbeat bill, which could ban the often-lifesaving procedure after just 6 weeks. NEBRASKA EXAMINER reported the story.

Nebraska anti-abortion senators proposing ‘heartbeat’ bill | Nebraska Examiner
Nebraskans would have about six weeks after conception, instead of 20, to decide on abortion, under a bill being proposed this session.
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THE NATION gave us a good rundown of a potentially consequential case before the Supreme Court that could gut labor’s power.

The Supreme Court Is About to Make It Even Riskier to Strike
The Roberts court is famously anti-union. With Glacier Northwest v. Teamsters, it’s poised to make it easier for employers to sue striking workers.
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A new report revealed that greenhouse gas emissions rose last year. GRIST covered the report and explained why there is good reason for hope.

US emissions rose in 2022. Here’s why that’s not as bad as it sounds.
As renewables overtook coal, economic growth outpaced the rise in carbon emissions.
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Republican lawmakers, looking to protect big oil, have sought to combat ESG, or environmental, social, and corporate governance, movement to make corporations more socially responsible. Texas recently banned its state government from doing business with companies that take sustainably into account and a number of other Republican states may follow suit. However, a new report suggests that this could be a costly blunder. STATES NEWSROOM covered the news.

Study: States that limit business with banks that ‘boycott’ fossil fuels could pay high cost - Pennsylvania Capital-Star
‘In the long run, we’re worried that ... taxpayers and pension holders will actually get hurt with higher risk and low return,’ an analyst said.
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Did you read our latest climate-focused newsletter? OptOut Climate Editor Cristian Salazar rounds up the best independent reporting about climate change, energy, and the environment every other Wednesday.

California’s deadly atmospheric river storms
Independent climate news from the OptOut network—fueled by facts, not the oil and gas industry.
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HELLGATE did some truly excellent coverage this week of the striking nurses in NYC.

Portraits: NYC Nurses on Strike - Hell Gate
“It’s not about the money, it’s about patients’ safety and patients’ lives.”
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Since COVID-19 struck, labor has been having a resurgence. In November, however, the Biden administration, with the support of his Democratic governing trifecta (now lost), imposed an unpopular employment agreement on rail workers to prevent them from striking. IN THESE TIMES published a piece about the power of strikes this week.

Strikes Are Stronger Than Laws
There’s a simple reason why the government can’t win unless you let it.
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FAIR wrote a retrospective on the American press coverage of Venezuela as the country’s opposition-controlled parliament voted to end the so-called “interim government” led by Juan Guaidó.

Guaidó Is Gone, but Media Dishonesty Is Here to Stay - FAIR
Corporate media remain as unwilling as ever to question US foreign policy, regardless of its deadly consequences.
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