Unhappy Labor Day

W.J. Astore

Saw this reminder today and thought of how President Joe Biden has consistently failed to deliver to laborers across America:

President Biden campaigned on the promise of setting the federal minimum wage at $15, which some argue is long overdue and even inadequate. The current federal minimum wage is $7.25, and has been since 2009 when it was last increased. 

Biden had the opportunity, once he was elected, to act on this promise. He chose not to. As early into his administration as February, when the Senate Parliamentarian (an unelected position) ruled that raising the minimum wage to $15 could not be included in Biden’s “American Rescue Plan” bill, Biden gave up the fight. “It just doesn’t look like we can do it,” Biden said, despite the fact that his own Vice President Kamala Harris could have easily overruled the Parliamentarian. 

So I guess Biden’s new tactic is to focus on the MAGA “fascists” and distract people from issues like his failure to keep his promise on a $15 federal minimum wage.

Whether this will work remains to be seen. Supposedly, women are energized to vote because of the SCOTUS decision against abortion, but again both Biden and Barack Obama, after promising to codify Roe v. Wade into law, did nothing. So why are women energized to vote for the do-nothing Democrats?

Meanwhile, Ukraine is getting even more money for a seemingly endless war with Russia, even as America faces an impending crisis over millions of pending evictions due to failure to pay rent. There’s a trillion dollars for the Pentagon and nearly $70 billion for Ukraine but forget about rental relief for millions of Americans greatly stressed by Covid-19, inflation, and mostly flat wages.

Happy Labor Day, everyone.

My dad always said that the harder he worked physically, the less he got paid

25 thoughts on “Unhappy Labor Day

  1. Biden’s moniker of “Lunch Bucket Joe” was always as phony as he is. His nickname within the Beltway of “the senator from MBNA” was the accurate one.

    At every step of his career, he has supported the racists and oligarchs – with a particular focus on supporting the owners (to use George Carlin’s term).

    His support of a 2005 bill that stripped students of bankruptcy protection from the usury rates of college loans led to the current crisis in student loan debt (whatever one thinks of his “relief” proposal).

    And now we are told to believe he’s standing tall against the MAGA fascists.

    Little discussed since by any Democrat, the WaPo reported in February 2021 the majority of those arrested for the Capitol riot had major financial problems, including bankruptcies.

    One wonders if Joe Biden through his career had actually lead his colleagues in legislating for those he claimed to support, would a Donald Trump have been able to capture the popular rage against an unfair system and be elected President in 2016?

    Liked by 3 people

    1. There is a story about Clarence Thomas when he was up for confirmation and Joe Biden was leading the fight against him. Biden said that Thomas wasn’t thinking like a black man should be thinking. When a reporter asked Thomas about that Thomas reportedly said, “Tell Senator Biden I no longer work on his plantation.”

      Liked by 1 person

  2. We are living in an age when propaganda from the mainstream media offsets reality. The big volume media is almost wholly on the side of the Democrats and they rely on that. So in their telling Ukraine is winning their war, all we need is a little more time and money and weapons for their victory to be complete. And in their telling the Green New Deal is wonderful in spite of Europe’s continuing crisis due to their cutoff of Russian energy and events like California warning their residents not to charge up their electric vehicles as the grid is too fragile.


  3. Money spent for weapons that are used up in the Ukraine doesn’t create more US housing, it doesn’t heat more US homes, it doesn’t improve US education, or US communication or transportation networks, nor does it repair broken infrastructure like the water supplies in Jackson or Flint. For Americans it might as well be burnt in a fire, except that that would actually be better, because it would at least not be inflationary, or used to kill people!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. To date, none of America’s top leaders have said how US support for Kyiv is expected to achieve anything other than to weaken Russia. No one has articulated what a “weakened” Russia looks like or how we’ll know when that standard has been reached – or even why weakening Russia is a vital interest to the US that is worth taking huge risks.

    Since we don’t know what we’re trying to accomplish, no one can tell the American people how much the effort is going to cost, how long it’s going to last, or even what success would look like. If this sounds familiar, it should: it is basically the same aimless, incompetent foreign policy the United States has been pursuing for decades.

    The US has created a new mission without a clear objective and no identifiable end state. The Russia-Ukraine war just passed the six-month mark. The danger isn’t as much that we might still be trying to divine the Administration’s objectives six years from now – though that sad outcome is entirely possible – but that this war could one day spill over Ukraine’s borders and get us sucked into a war we should never have fought and from which we could never benefit.


    Liked by 2 people

  5. I certainly agree with your assessment of Biden who I continue to dislike more as I learn more. It’s very depressing to think that as the election nears, we have so little choice. I know I will be voting for the Dem rep that we have, but all one can say about him is that. he’s not insane, unlike the Republican who is running against him; but he has no fire and no interest in improving the way things go in my purple state. As ’24 nears it would be nice if there was a possibility of a third party, but I know there isn’t, despite the fact that I will vote Green, because it seems unlikely that the Dem. presidential candidate will be anyone I can stomach, and I certainly can’t vote Repub.
    Maybe your blog, Bill, will encourage the growth of a third party – I hope!
    Dennis, I really liked your comment outlining our insane support for Ukraine despite not knowing what the end result should be. I hope a majority of Americans will start to understand that soon!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Hello RANNEY, Daniel L. Davis who wrote this article is a Senior Fellow for Defense Priorities and a former Lt. Col. in the U.S. Army who deployed into combat zones four times. He fought in the war in Afghanistan that no one ever bothered to set an objective for. In fact no one in power even articulated what success would look like. And for all his efforts he knows that he fought for nothing – no victory of any sort was ever achieved.

    America’s longest war, the conflict in Afghanistan, cost $975-billion when 2019 estimates are factored in according to the website The Balance. The White House’s latest Ukraine spending proposal asks for an additional $2.7- billion in military support for Ukraine and $4.5-billion in direct economic support for the government in Kiev. Since Putin ordered the invasion, Congress has authorized $53 billion in funding for the war in Ukraine. If passed, the latest aid package will bring the total to about $67-billion. And its only been 6-months. Do you think the American people will start to understand soon?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. LTC Davis is not the only Veteran of America’s Forever War who knows that he fought for nothing except the profits and power of the military-industrial-congressional complex and the surveillance-secrecy-security panopticon that owns and operates, scripts and handles, and commands and controls the politicians and bureaucrats running this government.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. In response to your question, likely not, or at least not until more Americans start dying there, and maybe not even then. I was taken aback by the airstrikes in Syria in August but saw little about it after the fact. Until Americans die, we (collective) seem to pay little attention to the money expended. After all, if we need more money, we just need to get better jobs, right? Or a second one even. But, there is always money for guns, bombs, warplanes,…

      We’ve only been there, Syria, since 2015 so I’m guessing we still have a few years to go. Gee, I remember when Syrian students at a symposium at Penn College were remarking how the rebels were asking the US government for help long before 2015, like in maybe 2008 or so, when those students were still able to attend the college.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Posting from AP new story related to the Syrian airstrikes below. I was having issues posting when I did the one above:

        US airstrikes target Iran-backed militia in eastern Syria
        August 24, 2022

        “…Colin Kahl, the U.S. undersecretary of defense for policy, told reporters the U.S. airstrikes demonstrated that “the United States will not hesitate to defend itself against Iranian and Iran-backed aggression when it occurs.”
        … the U.S. decision to launch the strikes was based on both the nature of the militia attacks and the fact that, based on recovered drone parts, “we believe we have Iran dead to rights on attribution” for an Aug. 15 attack at the al-Tanf Garrison, where U.S. troops are based in the south….he said the coordinated attack on two U.S. facilities at al-Tanf at the same time fueled concerns that “Iran intends to do more of this and we wanted to disabuse them of any sense that that was a good idea.”
        Syrian state media said…artillery had targeted two U.S. bases near the Al-Omari oil field and Koniko gas field in Deir Ez-Zor…. U.S. forces had cordoned off the area.;;;Deir Ez-Zor is a strategic province that borders Iraq and contains oil fields. Iran-backed militia groups and Syrian forces control the area and have often been the target of Israeli war planes in previous strikes….The Al-Omari oil field is the largest in Syria, which the U.S.-backed Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces captured from the Islamic State group in 2017.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. in re. to “So why are women energized to vote for the do-nothing Democrats?”
    Well, as we know, there are a fair number who are single-issue, identity-liberal, lesser-of-the-evils voters. That part of the electorate is fairly reliable, and they don’t seem to really care about whether their team will do anything about the squandering of public treasury on global warmongering, or about climate destabilization, general economic insecurity nor the broader assault on democracy. Will there be enough of those loyal Dems in Nov. and/or 2024 to offset the discouraged part of the electorate who have seen through the good-cop / bad cop charade? I don’t have a feel for this this time.

    But I do sense that there is a broad recognition of decline in quality of life, in morality, in national pride and in expectations about the future; and eventually the duopoly will be more broadly seen for what it is and neither of its faces will appeal to a majority.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Maybe the goal in Ukraine is to push the Russians out and let Ukraine control their own country. It isn’t a civil war, it wasn’t a defensive action by Russia, it was an invasion of a country by another country. Yeah, I know Russia has their reasons, gas pipelines, etc. but if other countries reject those reasons and offer a defense of Ukraine, I don’t see that as wrong. Certainly more understandable than our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.


    1. Putin and the Russians are no angels. Yet the proposed expansion of NATO into Ukraine was bound to provoke an aggressive response — and so it has.

      The war is slowly destroying Ukraine. I would think the U.S. goal would be to help negotiate a peace treaty to end the war and the suffering. Instead, the U.S. is providing nearly $70 billion dollars in “aid” to Ukraine, most of it in the form of expensive weaponry, justified as essential to defending Ukraine against Russia aggression.

      Cui bono? So far, the biggest winners in the U.S. are the weapons makers, along with the military-industrial complex, which is depicting the Russian attack as proof that U.S. military spending must continue soaring in the cause of defending America against the Russia bear (and I guess Chinese versions of the same).

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Re. ” it wasn’t a defensive action by Russia,”: this opinion is contrary to the evidence, though of course that is the narrative in the mainstream western media, and from the halls of power in Washington.

      It’s important to understand (as much as possible) the entire historical context of this war- up to and including the present. That might start following the dissolution of the USSR, when the U.S. (along with NATO allies) promised Gorbachev & Shevardnadze, that, in return for their non-interference with German reunification, NATO wouldn’t expand “one inch eastward” towards Russia; a promise that was breached multiply, primarily under the Clinton Administration when various former Soviet republics were brought into NATO. Russia was unable to do anything about this, of course, but insisted that Ukraine must remain militarily neutral and that (along with its continued access to the Black Sea via its Crimean naval base) were essential to its security.

      A fair number of former high-ranking officers from military, intelligence and diplomatic corps, as well as international relations experts and Russia-expert scholars, had long warned that the U.S. should respect those security concerns, and specifically warned against bringing Ukraine into NATO. Most of their writings/ presentations are still accessible online.

      Fast forward to 2014, and the Washington-engineered and supported coup in Ukraine, which was launched right after its President Yanukovych had announced an economic deal with Russia, which would have ensured peaceful cooperation for decades at least. The Washington-selected replacement government took steps decidedly hostile & life-threatening to both Ukraine’s ethnic Russian population (the majorities in E.Ukraine), but also to Russia itself – threatening to retake Crimea after it chose to annex to Russia and actively seeking (with U.S. encouragement) to join NATO and place its weapons on Russia’s border.

      Ukraine also had ignored the two Minsk Accords to which it had signed. Those were to have ensured the Donbass region’s citizens some measure of self-determination.

      Many times along the way, Lavrov and Putin had pleaded and demanded that the Minsk Accords should be respected and that Russia’s security concerns must be respected – and that Ukraine (and the U.S.) should negotiate with them. These pleas were ignored and dismissed out of hand – Blinken & Biden calling them “non-starters” , and for his part, Zelensky agreeing, then refusing to meet. All the while, Ukraine had increased its attack on the ethnic-Russian separatists – (who had declared their independence after the burning alive of dozens of ethnic Russians in the Odessa Union Hall, which had also led Crimea’s petition to annex to Russia). The movement of Ukrainian forces into the Donbass, and the shelling of its population centers, which the populations had been baring for years, escalated in late 2021. So too did the clamor of Ukraine and the U.S. to admit it to NATO – something the Biden Administration was clearly promoting.

      So Russia was clearly under existential threat. If one denies this and instead condemn Russia’s operations in E. Ukraine as unprovoked offensive war, they would have to ask just what the U.S. itself would do if it was Mexico in which a foreign coup (say, by Russia) had taken place, and if Mexico joined a military alliance with Russia, and placed its strategic weapons on their border with the U.S., minutes’ striking distance away from major U.S. population centers. Well, we all already know the answer to that scenario: during the Cuban Missile Crisis, the U.S. was preparing to launch first-strike thermonuclear weapons into Russia.


      1. I am aware of much of the history of this situation. And I know that NATO expansion was provocative. However historical analysis doesn’t change what is happening on the ground. What do we tell Ukraine citizens who are being killed and their cities destroyed? Putin declares that there is no such thing as Ukraine, they are Russians. Yet he didn’t even tell his own troops they were going to war. So do we tell the Ukrainians just roll over, surrender, give up your passports and identities and become Russians? When the bombs and bullets start flying, agonizing over the past doesn’t mean much to the victims. I would hope that in addition to the military aid, the US and Europe nations are negotiating furiously behind the scenes to end this war. We don’t know. Ukraine asked for help. Other nations have a choice to help or not, and I am not making any moral judgement on the choices made. Also, I’m personally tired of hearing about the evils of the “mainstream media”. There are thousands of sources of information these days, unfortunately FACEBOOK seems to be the leading source for a lot of people. Anyone relying on one or two sources is probably not getting a full story. But when someone dismisses the media outright, please tell me what makes that person’s sources more reliable.


        1. You raise several points, implications or questions, so I may respond to several here.

          First: I don’t think I or anyone else has to say anything to Ukraine citizens who are the unfortunate victims – the intentionally sacrificial lambs- in this war. They are victims, no doubt and possibly, dupes.

          It was they who elected Zelenskyy, who ran on a platform of peaceful resolution of the conflict in the East but who, instead of honoring the Minsk Accords to which Ukraine was party, instead, yielding to the Nazi elements, prosecuted a war against separatists in the Donbass, declared intention to take Crimea, pushed for NATO membership and weapons, and refused (yielding again to the Nazis’ threats) to negotiate with Russia.

          Of course our own leaders (and those of NATO allies) do have some responsibility. Washington’s engineering & enabling of the 2014 coup set up this whole mess; and their encouragements about NATO and their leaning on Zelenskyy not to negotiate are certainly damnable.
          But I had no more control over that then the Ukrainians did about Zelenskyy. Ours, contrary to the narrative, are NOT democratic nations.

          And, interested in peace and justice, I’ll be damned if I remain silent about the continued escalation of this proxy war that was perhaps all along intended to be fought “to the last Ukrainian”.

          Yes, however I might lament that it happened, the war itself was provoked; no one offered Russia the chance to negotiate, and certainly didn’t offer Russia any feasible alternative, given the existential nature of the threat.

          Neither Ukraine’s President nor the U.S., which was apparently to a large extent calling the shots, wanted to prevent it from starting, and the Biden Administration and Congress have both made it eminently clear that they don’t want to end it via negotiations any time soon.

          Lastly, as to the main stream media and information: just as with any source – whether it be Fox, OAN, CNN/MSNBC, et al, they all / each at least occasionally reflect the journalistic standard of factual reportage. (Kind of like the saying, “even a broken clock is right at least twice a day”.) The journalistic ethic not only requires the verification of facts and accurate reporting thereon, but also ‘telling the WHOLE truth’, i.e. not eliding other facts which might be inconvenient to the overall narrative.

          The trouble is, that, especially since the corporate takeover & consolidation of media into fewer hands, and coincidentally in time at least, the development of close relationships (some even business partnerships) with now-politicized intelligence agencies (about which, Ray McGovern and others have written with alarm), these media have become far less reliable or trustworthy. The illustrations of this are so numerous that it would take a chapter or two in a book to list them.

          The failure to report events and facts and context accurately extends, unfortunately, to the willingness to repeat, unquestioningly, the assertions of these same sources in what is called the MIC (but now includes Intel agencies, and think tanks that promote American Exceptionalism and projection of U.S. power around the globe.

          So what independent alternatives might exist? Well, you won’t find them on FB. Those with the highest principles, being unable to exercize them in main stream platforms, have migrated to online publishers such as Consortium News, MintPress News, or platforms like Substack. As the corporate mega-platforms like YouTube, Twitter, Google and others have increasingly censored / demonetized / deranked the dissident journalists, such independent streams are for all their only options. There are quite a number and i’ll name but a few here. In addtion to writers like WJ Astore here, just a few of the journalists/ analysts worthy of respect incl.:
          Aaron Maté
          Abby Martin
          Matt Taibi
          Chris Hedges
          Caitlin Johnstone
          Glenn Greenwald
          Sy Hersh
          Michael Tracey
          I.F. Stone

          Analysts & Scholars:
          William Binney (NSA, ret.)
          Noam Chomsky
          Stephen F. Cohen (dec.)
          Patrick Lawrence
          Ray McGovern
          John Kiriakou
          John Mearscheimer
          Jeffrey Sachs


        2. To repeat, we don’t tell the Ukraine citizens anything. Why is it up to us to tell them what to do? And one thing is certain: the more the U.S., et al escalate the war with more weapons supply, the more likely that the end will be more catastrophic for Ukraine. Russia’s initial ‘special operation’ (as they called it) was to secure E. Ukraine- to de-Nazify it, end the slaughter of its population, and ensure that it could maintain its Vladivostok naval base & vital Black Sea access – and keep NATO from placing its weaponry on the border. We can’t know for certain whether the operation would have been terminated once those goals were met, but what is clear is that the West’s response has likely led the Kremlin to dig in its heels to make sure Ukraine can resume the war at a later date. (One might recall reading that Poroshenko has admitted that Ukraine only signed the Minsk Accords to buy time so that it could regroup and build up its military presence; and that it never had any intention of honoring those. )


      2. I wouldn’t dismiss the MSM outright. But of course the MSM is owned by a few major corporations, loosely aligned with the U.S. government, so you have to be alert to the agenda and bias (like any other source).

        WRT Ukraine: I don’t want to sound callous, but how did Ukraine become the east flank of American defense? As a retired U.S. military officer, I’m concerned with supporting and defending the U.S. Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic. Is Russia’s invasion of Ukraine a threat to America? Why is the U.S. Congress on track to approve up to $70 billion in aid (mostly military) for Ukraine? Who is benefiting here? Does the U.S. government really care about the Ukrainian people? (Hint: Does the U.S. government care that much about your average American?)


  9. OT but worth a look. Lots to chew on here… .


    Eight former secretaries of Defense and five former chairs of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on Tuesday penned an open letter on best practices for “healthy” civil-military relations amid what they called today’s “extremely adverse” political environment.

    The former officials — including Mark Esper, defense secretary in the Trump administration — emphasized in the letter 16 “CORE PRINCIPLES AND BEST PRACTICES” FOR CIVILIAN AND MILITARY PROFESSIONALS TO LIVE BY AMID WHAT THEY SAID WAS AN “EXCEPTIONALLY CHALLENGING” CIVIL-MILITARY ENVIRONMENT.

    They specifically cited political polarization caused by the disruption of the peaceful transition of power after the 2020 election — when former President Donald Trump refused to concede his loss to President Joe Biden, and a mob of his supporters subsequently stormed the Capitol to stop certification of the election results. Continued at https://www.politico.com/news/2022/09/06/defense-leaders-civil-military-relations-adverse-political-climate-00054918 .

    The Open Letter begins as follows:


    We are in an exceptionally challenging civil-military environment. Many of the factors that shape civil-military relations have undergone extreme strain in recent years.

    Geopolitically, the winding down of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the ramping up of great power conflict mean the U.S. military must simultaneously come to terms with wars that ended without all the goals satisfactorily accomplished while preparing for more daunting competition with near-peer rivals.

    Socially, the pandemic and the economic dislocations have disrupted societal patterns and put enormous strain on individuals and families.

    Politically, military professionals confront an extremely adverse environment characterized by the divisiveness of affective polarization that culminated in the first election in over a century when the peaceful transfer of political power was disrupted and in doubt.


    Continued at: https://warontherocks.com/2022/09/to-support-and-defend-principles-of-civilian-control-and-best-practices-of-civil-military-relations/ [EMPHASES added.]


    1. Having read and re-read the Open Letter, the biggest question i have is: To Whom is it addressed?

      Is it to America’s Ruling Political Class Elites? Is it to the leadership of the US Military? Or is it to the American People as an Early Warning Sign of “interesting” times ahead?


  10. The Link Between Presidential Election~2016, ~2020, and ~2024

    One of the most disturbing aspects about the looming 2024 Presidential election is that ~ at the moment, at least ~ there is a pretty decent chance that it will be a rematch of 2020: Trump versus Biden.

    Just like 2020 was essentially a rematch of 2016: Trump versus Clinton. Both elections offered a choice between Trump and one of Washington’s long-term and -established premier Insiders.

    Back in 2016, one had to ask oneself: “Are Trump and Clinton actually, really the very Best that this country can come up with for choices to be its Chief Executive and Supreme Leader?”

    Just like one had to ask the same question in 2020 about Trump and Biden: “Is this still REALLY the Best that America can come up with?”

    The conclusion reached in 2016 and in 2020 was that, if Trump, Clinton, and Biden were “the very Best” that our Ruling Political Class had to offer Americans as their next President, then this nation is in deeply serious and seriously deep trouble.

    Thus, the prospect of that happening again in 2024 ~ on top of the already seriously deep and deeply serious geopolitical, economic, social, and cultural trouble this nation is in right now, two months before the 2022 Midterms ~ is very disturbing, indeed.

    Liked by 1 person

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