Hello again, OptersOut!
It’s been quite a week. Biden is on the verge of signing his first major piece of legislation more than 40 days into his presidency. The Senate recently passed a $1.9 trillion COVID relief bill. The good news is that the bill contains much-needed funds for the states, needy Americans, and vaccinations.
If you want a full rundown of the good, check out any major paper. That’s not why you’re here. We know that. So, without further ado, let’s get into the bad news.
This new legislation fails to meet President Biden’s promises and is stingier than previous relief packages by some metrics. (This could be damaging for the Democratic Party in the midterms.)
The new COVID bill does not deliver the promised $2,000 survival checks that Biden, Jon Ossoff, and Rafael Warnock promised on the campaign trail in Georgia. It does not deliver the promised $15 minimum wage despite being perhaps the best opportunity to pass such legislation. Vice President Kamala Harris declined to use her power to overrule the Senate parliamentarian, and the White House didn’t pressure Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.). Worse, the new bill actually cuts out millions of people who previously received checks under Donald Trump. Roughly 12 million adults and 5 million children will no longer be eligible.
That said, we can all take comfort in the fact that there is more money for vaccines. Perhaps the new COVID strains can be kept at bay—though we’re still gambling by reopening.
Outside of the COVID relief news, the Biden administration has softened its stance on Saudi Arabia, which continues its war in Yemen. Today, airstrikes hit the capital, Sana’a. Despite ordering an end to U.S. support for offensive operations, and despite a recent intelligence report blaming Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman for the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, the Biden White House has assured the kingdom that it will continue a partnership with the country.
With that, here are our picks for this week-in-review roundup exclusively from OptOut participating outlets. As always, if you enjoy the content, please consider subscribing or donating to them. As independent sites, podcasts, and video channels, they depend on support from the public, not corporations or oligarchs who want some good PR.
The Daily Poster: Kyrsten Sinema's Swamp Tale
David Sirota and Andrew Perez chronicle Kyrsten Sinema’s journey from Green Party activist to corporate conservative. Sinema, who previously said she got into politics to help the underserved, recently gave a performative thumbs down to a proposal to allow debate on a $15 minimum wage in the Senate.
TYT Investigates: Legal Documents Show Manchin Has Stakes in Companies That Pay Less Than $15 an Hour
“The senator’s opposition to the $15 hourly minimum wage benefits his undisclosed financial interests.”
Sludge: Luria Seeks to Block Public Campaign Financing
Rep. Elaine Luria (D-VA) was elected to the House in 2018, promising to reject corporate PAC money. This week, she fought against a provision in H.R.1, the Democrats’ sweeping election reform bill, for public funding for congressional campaigns.
What’s Left: Jen Psaki is not your friend
While it’s still early days, we’re already seeing Psaki doing her job of fudging the truth. For example, she falsely claimed the US doesn’t place sanctions on leaders of foreign governments to justify Biden’s reluctance to put maximum pressure on Suadi crown prince MBS over his role in the Khashoggi killing. (She later changed her language after it was revealed this wasn’t true.) While Psaki is winning #Psakibomb plaudits for zingers on how different Biden’s immigration policy is from Trump’s, immigrant rights’ advocates have expressed concern about the continuity between the Trump and Biden administrations in their carceral approach to child migrants.
Acute Condition: Big hospital systems are more powerful than ever. They're ready to capitalize on it.
Big hospital systems are using the COVID-19 pandemic to consolidate further. Now, several large hospital systems are teaming up to sell patient data.
FAIR: Purging Inconvenient Facts in Coverage of Biden’s ‘First’ Air Attacks
FAIR dissects what’s wrong with mainstream coverage of Biden’s “first” airstrikes in Syria. Surprise: They weren’t his first.
Africa is a Country: The fight against descent-based slavery in Mali
Descent-based slavery, where people are enslaved based on having an enslaved ancestor, persists in Mali. Anti-slavery activists continue to be killed to this day. Read about the ongoing efforts to end the tradition in the face of governmental inaction.
Counterpunch: What the Ecuadoran Elections Mean for the U.S.
The pink tide is sweeping Latin America. Bolivia’s upcoming elections could see the rise of another left-wing government. In the elections early last month, leftist Andres Arauz nearly won outright. The combined total between Arauz and indigenous eco-socialist Yaku Perez topped 50 percent. Should Arauz prevail, we can expect to hear more from right-wingers and regime change advocates.
Empire Files: Biden's First Act of War Hits 3 Countries
Empire Files breaks down how Biden’s first offensive was not as limited as has been described by mainstream press.
The Nomiki Show: The Andrew Cuomo Scandal Saga, Explained
What to say about Andrew Cuomo? Nothing with this guy is ever simple. New York's scandal-plagued governor has raised to new heights the skill of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.
The Jacobin Show: Fighting Low Pay and Sexism on the Job — Karen Nussbaum
On The Jacobin Show, Karen Nussbaum, a founder of the organization 9to5: National Association of Working Women, discusses what it was like to organize clerical workers in the 1970s, how her friendship with Jane Fonda led to the hit comedy 9 to 5, and the continued importance of collective bargaining for women workers today.
The Red Nation: Decolonizing Guam w/ Jessica Nangauta, Maria Henandez, and Monaeka Flores
The Red Nation talks with organizers of Prutehi Litekyan/Save Ritidian (PLSR) about the militarization of Guam and the Chamorro people's struggles against U.S. imperialism.
A Time of Monsters: Hot Caucus with Rara Imler and Yesi Padilla
In this episode recorded on International Sex Workers Rights Day (3/3), Aaron (@posadist_trapgd) invites leftist organizers and the hosts of Hot Girl Agenda, Rara Imler (@islandgoth) and Yesi Padilla (@StolenVelour_), to discuss their podcast, the state of sex work on the left and the place of sex work within a socialist society, restorative justice and the nature of forgiveness, organizing as femmes of color, community protection, and more.
Thanks as always for following OptOut and our participating outlets. Take care out there and see you next weekend.