Weekend Picks: Billionaires, Climate, and Bipartisan Attacks on Ilhan Omar
I hope everyone had a good week. I spent most of it sick (not Covid!), and thankfully I'm almost back to normal now.
For today's newsletter, I've picked several topics and multiple pieces of content for each topic.
The American dream, amirite?
Whether or not you believe that anyone should be able to possess $1 billion or more, you should check out this content.
Lately we've witnessed Bill Gates' (net worth: $127 billion) cruel opposition to U.S. pharmaceutical companies letting the rest of the world manufacture their Covid-19 drugs, as well as misconduct allegations against him. WhoWhatWhy's latest podcast explores Bill Gates' history as a monopolist obsessed with intellectual property who used philanthropy to make people forget his unsavory persona.
Means Morning News has a good episode, "Billionaires in Space," which covers ProPublica's blockbuster piece on the low tax rates of the United States' wealthiest citizens and Jeff Bezos' (net worth: $193 billion) upcoming trip beyond the Earth's atmosphere. You can watch the video with a subscription to Means TV and listen to the podcast version a day later:
Welp, JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon (net worth: $1.9 billion) lied before the Senate in May about his bank's record $1.5 billion in overdraft fees last year as the pandemic ripped through the U.S.
Attacking Ilhan Omar (Again)
Democrats and Republicans are as polarized as they've been in many years, but something they love to collaborate on is attacking Somalian-American refugee Rep. Ilhan Omar every now and then when she criticizes the American and Israeli war machines.
Luke O'Neil writes, "Any attempt to tell the truth about this very simple fact — that we and our apprentices in Israel are the authors of some of the most despicable war crimes in recent history — is cause for an apoplectic political meltdown."
The Majority Report covers this latest attack and the inevitable death threats Omar is getting because of it.
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Sonali Kolhatkar, founder of Free Speech TV's "Rising Up With Sonali," writes about yet another pipeline, Pipeline 3, that drags dirty oil from Canada through Native lands in the upper midwest. Biden could cancel the pipeline with the stroke of a pen, an activist tells her.
Big Oil-funded Republican state attorneys general are resorting to their Obama-era playbook of suing the federal government to block environmental safeguards and preserve their right to destroy the planet.
Around the Globe
In Peru, a leftist is poised to take the presidency, even as his far-right opponent is crying election fraud in true Trumpian fashion.
Derek Davison interviews the Quincy Institute's Annelle Sheline about how the U.S. and the U.N. have it all wrong with Yemen policy. The Foreign Exchanges podcast:
The Nigerian government recently banned Twitter, so people have resorted to virtual private networks to keep communicating online. Digital humanities professor James Yeku for Africa Is a Country:
In Other News
Sludge/Brick House reminds us that "President" Joe Manchin, a coal millionaire whom the real president and the Senate majority leader have allowed to stymie their agenda with no reported threats to his Energy Committee chairmanship or caucus membership, was a prominent member of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a pay-to-play trade group that pumps out pro-corporate model legislation for the states. Its members include state lawmakers, who are overwhelmingly Republican, and corporations, which send their lobbyists to write laws with the politicians.
The Center for Media and Democracy, where I write and edit, has been busy covering ALEC. Its annual economic survey, which ranks states based on their perceived economic outlook, is horribly out of touch with working people. And the ringleader of the presidential recount circus in Arizona, Karen Fann, is a top-ranking ALEC board member.
Harry Cheadle analyzes the GOP as a minority party in What Went Wrong?
For years the GOP has had little in the way of a positive policy agenda and is trapped between its mostly unpopular messaging and the demands of its constantly fired-up right-wing base. Lacking the tools to govern the country, it has instead dedicated itself to preventing the Democrats from governing. The result has been paralysis. And the federal government will stay paralyzed until the Republican Party abandons the political tactics of a desperate cornered animal.
Mostly white American conservatives are freaking out about critical race theory, which they seem to think means merely acknowledging that white people were, and often still are, racist. Tim Black says that the problem with America is that many white people are terrified of the possibility that they benefit from the country's history of racism and may be racist themselves.
How about a little positive news? The Real News covers food co-ops.
In a sector known for exploitative pay and poor working conditions, people at the worker-owned cooperative are proving it’s possible to pay food workers decent wages, while not making work hell.
To close this newsletter, I present to you this Humanist Report video without comment.
Thanks as always for following the OptOut independent news network. See you next weekend!