Bernie Is Coming for Bezos - The Wednesday AM Quickie 6/21/23

We've been getting days of rain up here, which has to be good for the wildfire situation, but some places are flooding now. - Corey

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Bernie Sanders Opens Amazon Labor Investigation

The Washington Post, which is owned by Amazon founder and chairman Jeff Bezos, reports that Vermont socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders has set his sights on the monopolistic online retailer. Sanders has previously used his chairmanship of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions to rake Starbucks founder Howard Schultz over the coals for union-busting. Now Bezos could face the same sort of long-overdue reckoning.

Sanders tells the Post it's an "an absolute possibility" that Bezos or Amazon CEO Andy Jassy could be called to testify about what Sanders, in a letter to Jassy sent yesterday, calls "dangerous and illegal conditions at Amazon's warehouses."

"Amazon sets an example for the rest of the country," Sanders told The Washington Post in an interview about his decision to focus on the e-commerce giant. "What Amazon does, their attitude, their lack of respect for workers, permeates the American corporate world." ...
He pointed to a recent report compiled by a coalition of labor unions using federal data that found Amazon’s serious-injury rate was double the warehouse industry average in 2021. He also cited government investigations that found health and safety violations at Amazon facilities, and his own conversations with Amazon warehouse workers.
"Amazon is one of the most valuable companies in the world, worth $1.3 trillion and its founder, Jeff Bezos, is one of the richest men in the world worth nearly $150 billion," Sanders wrote. "Amazon should be one of the safest places in America to work, not one of the most dangerous."

Some Democrats still give Sanders a lot of grief about not being a member of their party, but once again he's revealing the deficits of the mainstream party's corporate-friendly approach to politics. Taking on a major employer over worker abuse is an example of what government can and should be doing to stick up for ordinary people.

Meanwhile in the House, the New York Times reports that Republicans are busy thinking up new ways to persecute the country's growing numbers of homeless people. Apparently Hunter Biden's personal problems aren't quite enough to keep them all occupied. A shame, truly.

Hunter Biden Takes Plea Deal on Tax, Gun Charges

The Washington Post reports that President Biden's son Hunter will plead guilty on two misdemeanor tax crimes and admit to the facts of a gun charge in a deal with a Trump-appointed federal prosecutor in Delaware that will likely keep him out of jail. The deal gives Biden probation on the tax charges -- failure to pay in 2017 and 2018 -- and a diversion agreement on the gun charge, which stems from his failure to disclose his drug problem when he bought a gun in 2018.

The younger Biden's attorney said the deal means the long-running criminal investigation involving the president's son "is resolved." But Delaware U.S. Attorney David Weiss, the lead prosecutor in the case, said the investigation "is ongoing," suggesting that matters beyond the tax and gun issues are still under scrutiny. ...
Biden's defenders have argued that Hunter Biden is a recovering addict accused of relatively minor offenses — the type of case that would not typically be prosecuted by federal authorities, barring some additional aggravating factors that are not present in this case. They suggest the investigation would have been dropped long ago if he wasn't the president's son.

Hard to argue with "Biden's defenders" there!

Trumpdates: Stolen Documents Trial Set for August

Trump-appointed federal Judge Aileen Cannon set what the New York Times calls "an aggressive schedule" for the stolen documents case yesterday, with a tentative trial date of August 14, and a requirement that all pretrial motions be filed by July 24. However, experts say that trial date is unlikely to hold due to the complexity of the case and the classified evidence at issue. Donald Trump's "legal team is also still in flux." Trump's former lawyer and Jan. 6 coup plotter John Eastman is currently facing disbarment proceedings.

Separately, the Times took a deep look at a Saudi-brokered Trump real estate deal in Oman which puts him directly in business with the Omani government. More than 1,000 migrant laborers making as little as $340 a month are already toiling away in the heat on the project, which Eric Trump calls "the Hamptons of the Middle East" and one ethics watchdog describes as "the kind of corruption our founding fathers most worried about."


  • Samuel Alito Also Took Gifts from a Billionaire Hedge funder Paul Singer had business before the Supreme Court after paying for Alito's luxury Alaska fishing excursion. via ProPublica.
  • Judge Blocks Arkansas Anti-Trans Law U.S. District Judge James Moody ruled the state's trans healthcare ban was unconstitutional and discriminatory. via the Washington Post.
  • Missing Tourist Sub Wasn't Safety Classed The oxygen supply on the lost OceanGate sub that was carrying five passengers to view the wreckage of the Titanic will run out tomorrow morning. via NBC News and the New York Times.
  • French Government Orders Shutdown of Climate Action Group The direct action umbrella organization Les Soulèvements de la Terre (Earth Uprising) was part of a March demonstration in which "5,000 protesters battled with more than 3,000 police officers." via the Guardian.
  • North Carolina's GOP House Speaker Faces Sex Scandal In a lawsuit, former Apex City Councilman Scott Riley Lassiter accuses Speaker Tim Moore of having group sex with people seeking his "political favor." via the Associated Press and Law & Crime.
  • Misogynist Influencer Andrew Tate Indicted for Human Trafficking Romanian prosecutors say Andrew and his younger brother Tristan misled, trafficked, and sexually exploited, seven women; one unspecified member of Tate's gang is also charged with rape. via the Times.



That's how high the heat index was in parts of the southern U.S. yesterday, especially Texas. According to NBC News, 32 million Americans were under excessive heat warnings.


6/21: It's Hump Day! Sam speaks with Lauren Kirchner, investigative reporter at Consumer Reports, to discuss her recent reporting on the chemicals known as PFAS. Then, Sam's joined by Alex Sammon, politics writer at Slate, to discuss his recent piece entitled "Want to Stare Into the Republican Soul in 2023?"


'Pharma Skeptics' Fail to Question Big Pharma's Structure

Here's a couple of interesting bonus articles on RFK Jr. and Rogan.

Conservative Pivot Back to Homophobia Is Completely Unsurprising

Look, it's two more men whose ignorant opinions I couldn't care less about, except to the extent that they're harmful.


"Our book has been banned because Tango has two dads... Whatever one believes about the value of respecting two-mom or two-dad families, there is no substance to any claim that it's harmful or inappropriate at any age for children to learn that we exist."

-- Justin Richardson, co-author of the children's picture book "And Tango Makes Three," speaking to the New York Times about a lawsuit he filed with a group of Florida students challenging the constitutionality of a public school district's decision to ban the book. Richardson's book, which he wrote with his husband, is based on a true story about two male penguins at the Central Park Zoo who raised a baby chick, named Tango by zookeepers.

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