5 min read

Weekend Picks: The United States of Oligarchy

Here's what our participating outlets have been up to this week.

Dear OptersOut,

Apologies for the delay. Substack was down for several hours today. But I wanted to make sure you got your OptOut links for the week. I’ll jump right into it.


News

Sludge: Powerful Reps Rely on Corporate PACs to Pay Their Committee Taxes

credit: Gage Skidmore
In order for House lawmakers to gain more influence over legislation and political decision making, they have to pay their parties dues in the hundreds of thousands of dollars each year. Combined with laws that make it easy for companies eager to buy influence to make donations and an economy where corporations have an increasingly larger share of the money, the dues systems leads to the most powerful lawmakers also being the ones most closely tied to private lobbying interests.

Read Sludge


Jewish Currents: Former AIPAC Senior Operative Launches Group to Cultivate Democratic Support for Israel

credit: Lorie Shaull
“This has been tried over and over again,” said Lara Friedman, president of the Foundation for Middle East Peace (and a Jewish Currents contributing writer). “The general thought seems to be that if the Israeli story is told the right way to an audience, it will sell to them,” agreed Yousef Munayyer, a non-resident fellow at Arab Center Washington, DC. The reality is that “there is no amount of storytelling that will cover up the ugly truth of systemic discrimination, occupation and apartheid,” he continued. “What is driving Democrats and progressives away from Israel is the dehumanizing behavior and policies of the state of Israel itself.”

Read Jewish Currents


The Daily Poster: FBI Now Probing Cuomo’s Corporate Immunity Law

credit: Zach Seward

Read up on the latest in Cuomogate.

The probe follows a Daily Poster investigative series detailing how one of Cuomo’s biggest donors, the Greater New York Hospital Association (GNYHA) — a lobby group that represents hospital systems and nursing home operators — said it “drafted and aggressively advocated for” the corporate immunity provision. Cuomo’s administration quietly inserted the measure into his state’s budget as thousands lay dying from COVID-19 in New York nursing homes.

Read The Daily Poster


Sick Note: A doctor dreams of moving to Canada

Since the pandemic started, telemedicine has been a vital way for people to get some kind of care, imperfect as it is, without risking their safety. But medical billing is incredibly complicated, and telehealth is no exception. Kalodimos said that if he can only talk to a patient over the phone, without a video component to the call—for example, if the patient is too poor to have a smartphone with video capability, let alone a computer—that makes billing for the visit harder or impossible.

Read Sick Note


What Went Wrong: Why everyone is so mad at Substack all the time

Given that this is a Substack newsletter, I figured it’d be good to share Harry Cheadle’s rundown of the latest drama surrounding the platform. By the way, OptOut isn’t planning to use Substack forever; it was a quick way to get this started, but once we launch the app we’ll switch over to our own platform and hope to create several different newsletters you can sign up for, including a quick, daily read.

Read What Went Wrong


Counterpunch: India’s Right-Wing Government is So Hungry for Profit It Will Risk a Famine for the Country

credit: Randeep Maddoke
India’s right-wing government has been deploying all the modern tools of repression against a historic farmers’ protest. Much is at stake. For the people of India, their agricultural system is about to get far more precarious. For its farmers, ruin, and bankruptcy for millions, is all but guaranteed. For the government of Narendra Modi and his elite backers, it’s a crossroads moment; they calculate that their political power is assured for decades if they can refashion the politics of rural India and force dependency upon the farmers.

Read Counterpunch


Analysis

Gilded Age: Marianne Williamson on the United States of Oligarchy

Mark and Walker have a wide-ranging discussion with author and former presidential candidate Marianne Williamson about the corporate oligarchy that dominates the U.S., spirituality, Covid-19, and lots more.

Listen to Gilded Age


The Laura Flanders Show: Dreaming and Building Immigrant Freedom

Laura Flanders speaks with “Roberto Lovato about his memoir, ‘Unforgetting,’ and with MacArthur genius award-winner, Cristina Jiménez, co-founder of United We Dream, who talked powerfully about how her generation experiences the good as well as the bad of immigration activism…You’ll hear her story about growing up as an undocumented teen, and her grassroots work advocating for Dreamers in the face of ICE crackdowns and COVID 19.”

Listen to The Laura Flanders Show


The Humanist Report: America Must Confront Its History of Anti-Asian Racism & the Fetishization of Asian Women

Mike Figueredo makes some very important points after this week’s horrific mass murder of Asian women.


DOOMED: GroyperCon: The Rise of Nick Fuentes with Devin Burghart‪

Find out the latest on the extreme right from Matt Binder.

Devin Burghart of the Institute for Research & Education on Human Rights joins DOOMED with Matt Binder to discuss the groypers and their gathering from last month during CPAC, the rise of Nick Fuentes, what's making him stand out among the sea of failed rightwing personalities, and more!

Listen to Doomed


Tim Black TV: Biden Fires Staff For Being Like Kamala and Obama

Tim Black breaks down the archaic insanity of Biden firing staffers for past weed smoking (in a city where it’s legal).


The Majority Report: Mehdi Hasan Humiliates Lincoln Project Member

Corrupt grift factory the Lincoln Project continues to crumble, and Mehdi Hasan takes no prisoners.


The Jacobin Show: A Hidden Victory for Workers in the Stimulus

Paul Prescod explores a provision in the recent stimulus bill that saves the pensions of over 1 million workers and discusses the dismal state of retirement in the United States with Ken Paff, the national organizer of Teamsters for a Democratic Union.

Thanks for reading, folks, and have a good and safe week.