This is the weekly newsletter of OptOut, a news aggregation app for exclusively independent media that's currently in beta testing for iOS (download it now!). Find out more about the app at optout.news.
This week's newsletter introduces two new OptOut network outlets and aggregates independent news about the Spotify controversy, misinformation, definitions of censorship, economic justice, and education, among other topics.
Welcome Two New OptOutlets!
We are pleased to announce that Democracy at Work and WORT Local News have joined the independent OptOut news network.
Democracy at Work is a nonprofit media network that produces several video and podcast shows about economic justice. These programs include Economic Update from economist Richard Wolff and Anti-Capitalist Chronicles from David Harvey, the foremost Marxist thinker about political economy.
Nonprofit media that analyzes capitalism critically as a systemic problem and advocates for democratizing workplaces as part of a systemic solution.
Check out the latest edition of Economic Update, in which Wolff talks about "the recreation of 'company towns' (e.g., Kalamzoo, Mich.) by the richest U.S. capitalists, Biden and the reality of U.S. jobs lost, how and why the U.S. follows U.K. decline, and rising mass alienation from established political leaders and parties."
WORT FM is a nonprofit community radio station in Madison, Wisconsin. It has a number of interesting programs, and some are available as podcasts. We're starting our relationship by promoting the podcast version of WORT Local News, an hour-long program four days a week.
Listen to the most recent episode.
On todays show, a marathon of public comments on the Enbridge oil pipeline, new legislation looking to curb gun violence, a host of issues in the Madison Metro School District, and in the second half, Transparency Talk looks into our court system, and Radio Chipstone gets an ice boat ride.
This leads me to some great news. Later this year we will add a new feature: live radio! In addition to live video streams via YouTube and Twitch, our news aggregation app will featured live radio from around the country as well. OptOut will truly be your one-stop shop for daring, independent media.
Spotify and Censorship
Joe Rogan and Spotify continue to dominate headlines, and for good reason. Don't miss extremism researcher Jared Holt's Sh!tpost episode about the pandemic conspiracy theories that Rogan's podcast is spreading.
Pod Damn America talks with musician and Nirvana producer Steve Albini about just how much the music streaming platform screws artists.
Counterpunch reviewed criticisms of Neil Young's decision to remove his music from Spotify because the company had done nothing to combat the dangerous Covid-19 misinformation spewing forth from Joe Rogan's enormously popular podcast, which Spotify paid more than $100 million to distribute. Formerly left-associated commentators such as Glenn Greenwald went into their predictable histrionics about authoritarianism, and the right wing's usual suspects used the opportunity to plug the saga into their typical culture war formulae.
Now Spotify has removed a bunch of Rogan's podcast episodes, likely spurred on not only by his Covid misinformation but also renewed public spotlight on his deeply problematic approach to race, including his frequent use of the n-word.
Speaking of Greenwald, The Bitchuation Room tears apart his latest distortion of reality. While the "free speech warrior" bravely defended an incredibly wealthy man's right to disseminate public health misinformation on a corporate platform, he had quite a different take on public school systems banning books that allegedly promote critical race theory.
In Greenwald's bizarre alternate universe, it's authoritarian censorship when a private company considers pulling harmful content, but it's fine when a political party attacks racial history education for political gain.
Regarding one such bill that Greenwald has no problem with: Prism reports that Florida's Individual Freedom Act, which appears likely to pass, "will make it illegal for public school students to feel 'discomfort' when they are taught about race. While white students will be coddled and lied to about our nation's history, their BIPOC teachers feel directly targeted.
Also in education: True North Research zeroes in on Charles Koch-funded women's groups that are using the pandemic to advance school privatization. They love charter schools, but they are also trying to squeeze as much money as they can out of the state for private and often religious school tuition.
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In Jacobin, Matt Bruenig explains the significance of Rep. Rashida Tlaib's (D-Mich.) latest bill, which he says would reduce child poverty by two-thirds.
The child allowance contained in this bill fully eliminates what we might call the child component of poverty, meaning that, after its enactment, no family would ever find themselves below the official poverty line solely because they have children.
And now for the bad news. President Joe Biden, the longtime champion of credit card companies, has flip flopped on a Trump ruling that allows private equity firms to skim fees from Americans’ 401(k) retirement accounts, reports David Sirota of The Daily Poster.
OptOut curator Michael Sainato reports for The Real News Network that the health industry's current pandemic-era staffing woes stem from "years’ worth of top-down administrative adjustments and policy decisions that healthcare professionals were decrying before anyone knew about COVID."
Libby Watson writes in Sick Note about the relationship between poverty and poor health.
Being sick makes you poor; being poor makes you sick. It’s hard to recover from illness, for example, when you’re sleeping three restless hours a night and pushing your exhausted body to do manual labor every day. Even if you can cope with this, sometimes your body has other plans, and you need a root canal...What then? You’re left with no choice; you have to cash out the tiny investment you’ve been able to make in your future, in escaping poverty, in that “American dream” we hear so much about. Bad luck, try again later.
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In Other News
Eliz Mizon of Chompsky explains how The New York Times' tech workers, who have access to an anti-union Slack channel they're not permitted to post in, found a clever way to voice their opinions.
The Marshall Project has a story about the crackdown on reform-minded prosecutors.
On FAIR's Counterspin podcast, Natalia Renta, a senior policy strategist at the Center for Popular Democracy, explains Puerto Rico's debt problem.
One overarching part of this narrative is the fact that Puerto Rico has been a colony of the United States since 1898. And it hasn’t had the opportunity really to develop its own economic future, economic plan, without the United States’ imposition.
That's it for this week. Thanks as always for following the great work of the independent OptOut media network!
OptOut is an independent news aggregation app developed by the OptOut Media Foundation, a nonprofit charity devoted to assisting independent news outlets (EIN: 852348079). The app will launch in the Apple App Store in early 2022, and an Android version will follow. See the links below for more information.