Crooked Media - Something's g'auto give

Tuesday, September 26, 2023

“I never dated Matt Gaetz. I have much higher standards in men.”

- Former Trump aide Cassidy Hutchinson delivering the KO to dispel Rep. Matt Gaetz’s (R-FL) claims

President Biden’s historic visit to a UAW picket line is not only a demonstration of his personal commitment to labor, but also a symbol of the current inflection point in the modern American struggle between corporations and workers. 

  • In a we-can’t-overstate-how-historic-this-is first, president Joe Biden joined a picket line of striking auto workers in Michigan on Tuesday. Biden was unequivocal in his support for the workers and his desire to see the Detroit Three automakers (General Motors, Ford, and Stellantis) give the UAW the contract they deserve. He said through a bullhorn, “You’ve heard me say many times: Wall Street didn’t build this country. The middle class built this country. And unions built the middle class. That’s a fact. Let’s keep going. You deserve what you’ve earned, and you’ve earned a hell of a lot more than you get paid now.” I mean…wow!!! 

  • Biden accepting UAW President Shawn Fain’s invitation to join him at the picket lines breaks with all American tradition, in a good way. It also reflects the unique political landscape of today. Organized labor is having one hell of a 2023, and public support for unions is at an historic high. Even Republican creeps who have long supported Right To Work laws and opposed unions like Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) are suddenly feeling the heat and doing an about-face

  • But Biden’s choice is rattling the political establishment (not bad for an 80 year old), and drawing criticism from some of his Obama-era colleagues. Steven Rattner, who headed Obama’s auto industry task force, said, “For him to be going on a picket line is outrageous. There’s no precedent for it. The tradition of the president is to stay neutral in these things. I get the politics. The progressives all said, ‘We don’t want a mediator; we want an advocate.’ And he bowed to the progressives, and now he’s going out there to put his thumb on the scale. And it’s wrong.” With all due respect (not a lot!!), Rattner and those like him are the ones who are wrong. Presidents have, for decades, put their thumb on the scale for big businesses and tacitly sided with corporations in these negotiations even while publicly professing neutrality. Joe Biden has not “bowed to progressives,” he’s acting on his long-held values as a supporter of organized labor.

Meanwhile, the Biden Administration has also set its sights on one of the world’s largest corporate offenders. 

  • On Tuesday, the Federal Trade Commission and 17 states accused retail giant Amazon of illegally using monopolistic practices by squeezing merchants and retailers out and favoring its own practices. It’s the government’s most significant challenge to the behemoth corporation yet. Along with the group of state attorneys general, the FTC said that Amazon prevented merchants on its own platform from offering lower prices and forced them to ship with its logistics service if the merchants wanted to qualify for the Amazon Prime subscription bundle. The agency argues that those practices led to higher prices and a worse shopping experience for consumers. 

  • After years of mounting scrutiny (and too many years of paying $0 in federal taxes) the $1.3 trillion mega-corporation has a reach in virtually every major American industry as well as the foundational infrastructure of the internet. FTC Chair Lina Khan has been on the Amazon monopoly beat for some time now, having gained national attention when she was still in law school for a paper entitled “Amazon’s Antitrust Paradox.” That paper has been continually cited in the movement to expand enforcement of antitrust laws. But Khan’s case against Amazon today is a bit different, focusing instead on consumer prices and a fee structure for merchants that hand Amazon one out of every two dollars a seller makes on the platform. Those markup costs, Khan argues, are then passed on to consumers. 

Record corporate profits happening alongside some of the highest levels of economic inequality since the Gilded Age are not a coincidence. Corporations are not sharing their profits with the workers who create them, and the majority of Americans are suffering to maintain the greed and excesses of the few. Only one party seems to be concerned about addressing this, and it was important for President Biden to show that he is fighting for working-class Americans. Meanwhile, GOP 2024 frontrunner and disgraced former president Donald Trump will visit a non-union auto-parts shop on Wednesday, in a show of solidarity with…union-busting corporations? The UAW reported that there has been no contact between the union and Trump. What a shock!

Could civil rights be in danger because of a case about hotel websites? This is the Supreme Court we’re talking about, so, you bet.  The Court’s almost back in session in October, and when the justices get messier than anything Andy Cohen has to contend with, Strict Scrutiny is just the pod you need to make this term a little less scary. Each week host Melissa Murray, Leah Litman, and Kate Shaw unpack what’s on the docket for this term, and help you keep up with the slew of legal news headed our way. Make sure to subscribe to Strict Scrutiny to hear last year’s SCOTUS decisions and be the first to hear about the new term drama every week, wherever you get your podcasts.

A New York judge ruled on Tuesday that disgraced former president Donald Trump committed repeated fraud by inflating the value of his assets, and consequently Trump has been stripped of control over some of his signature New York properties. It’s a major victory for Attorney General Letitia James (D-NY), who brought the lawsuit against Trump, as the judge decided that no trial was necessary to determine that Trump and his Trump Organization had used fraudulent asset valuations to secure sweeter loans and insurance deals. James argued that Trump inflated the value of his properties by as much as $2.2 billion. She’s seeking a penalty of about $250 million in a civil trial scheduled to begin as early as Monday. Justice Arthur Engoron issued a scathing decision, saying that Trump and his co-defendants including his two adult sons, Eric and Don Jr., made fictional assessments in accordance with their business needs. Engoron also levied sanctions against Trump’s lawyers for repeating arguments that the judge had previously rejected. He ordered each to pay a $7,500 fine, and noted that he had previously warned Trump’s lawyers that the arguments in question bordered on frivolity, and continuing to repeat them was “indefensible.” Get! Their! Asses!

The Supreme Court has rejected the GOP-drawn Alabama congressional map for the second time in three months and ordered it to be redrawn. Republicans have repeatedly drawn the map to pack most of the state’s Black voters into a single congressional district to limit their power. 


More Democratic senators, including fellow New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, have called on Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) to resign. Meanwhile, Republicans think he should stay because otherwise they will be outed as the sole party who turns a blind eye to corruption in its ranks. 


Spotify announced on Monday that it will use artificial intelligence to translate podcasts into different languages using the host’s own voice. Scary!!!


USAID Director Samantha Power called on the Armenian government to protect the rights of civilians as thousands of ethnic Armenians fled the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh on Tuesday. 

As we knew he would, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has made the worst possible deal to appease the far-right of his GOP conference, which continues to drive the country toward a government shutdown. To meet the deep spending cuts demanded by his Freedom Caucus colleagues, McCarthy naturally decided to start with vital social safety-net programs. So what’s on the agenda? Slashing housing subsidies for the poor by one-third amidst a national housing-affordability crisis. Moving one-million women and children receiving WIC food assistance to the waitlist. Reducing federal spending on home-heating assistance for low-income households by more than 70 percent as we head into the winter months. In summary: House GOP leadership is proposing callous, unconscionable cuts to the programs that aid the most vulnerable Americans. As McCarthy’s speakership hangs in the balance, he’s demonstrating unbridled malice toward average Americans while simultaneously moving no closer to averting a shutdown. Republicans on the House Appropriations Committee have also called for a truly shocking 80 percent cut to funding for public schools, and a 50 percent cut to WIC. Members of the House Freedom Caucus think even these barbaric cuts are insufficient. The “pro-life” “pro-family” party, everyone!!!

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The Writers Guild of America East and West leadership approved its tentative deal with the studios, and the strike is set to end on Wednesday after 148 days. 

After a long exile from the Democratic Party after his 2000 third-party bid, Ralph Nader sees the writing on the wall and has tacitly thrown his support behind President Biden to prevent the re-ascendance of fascism. He calls Biden, “better than he has ever been” while remaining critical of him “on empire and Wall Street.” We’ll take it, I guess!

. . . . . .

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