Joe Biden’s Failure to Raise the Federal Minimum Wage

W.J. Astore

When Joe Biden was running for president in 2020, he promised to raise the federal minimum wage for workers from $7.25, where it’s sat since 2009, to $15 an hour.  Today, despite his promise and surging inflation, the federal minimum wage remains at $7.25.

My Democratic friends tell me that Biden wants to keep his promise and that it’s not his fault that nothing has been done.  Senators Manchin and Sinema are obstructing him.  Senate parliamentary procedures are roadblocks too.  Poor Joe Biden.  He’s the “leader of the free world,” the most powerful person in America, but his powers are limited by recalcitrant members of his own party, who are blocking Lunch Bucket Joe from helping workers across America.

I’m not buying it.  Occam’s Razor applies here.  Since 2009, the Democratic Party hasn’t raised the minimum wage because the leadership hasn’t wanted to.

Sure, Democrats say they want to do it.  But I trust Americans are familiar with politicians and the sincerity of their “promises.”

Consider the promises made by Barack Obama and Joe Biden to codify Roe v. Wade into law; indeed, Obama in 2007 said it would be his top priority as president, only to backtrack when he took office.  Biden in 2020 made similar promises but accomplished nothing.  But I’m sure it’s not their fault.  They tried but something or someone was always in their way.

Sadly, Democrats like Obama and Biden are compromised, corrupt, and, with respect to helping workers, not that much better than the MAGA Republicans they profess to despise as enemies within.

Consider again the federal minimum wage, which hasn’t gone up since 2009.  Obama/Biden had nearly eight years in office to raise it above $7.25 but they never did.  When Bernie Sanders ran his insurgent campaign in 2015-16, he made a “radical” proposal to raise it immediately to $15.  Hillary Clinton countered with $12 to be phased in over time.  Under much pressure, she eventually gave unconvincing lip service to $15.  She lost the election, of course, to a trumped-up celebrity apprentice and failed casino owner.

Despite this history, my Democratic friends tell me I simply don’t understand separation of powers in the U.S. government.  Presidents Obama and now Biden truly wanted to raise the federal minimum wage but were hamstrung by Congress and members of their own political party.  Interestingly, my Democratic friends rarely mention how their party is aligned with big business and corrupted by big money (as is the Republican Party).

There’s a clear reason why the federal minimum wage remains stuck at $7.25 an hour: Establishment Democrats are simply against raising it.  Sure, they always promise to, but then something always goes wrong.  Just as Lucy always promises to hold the football so Charlie Brown can kick it, only to pull it away every time Charlie goes to kick it.  She doesn’t know why; it just happens.

Once again, the $15 football is swept away when Charlie Brown goes to kick it (Joey Waggoner)

I come back to the words of Thucydides: The strong do what they will and the weak suffer as they must.  Powerful people and institutions, either in or aligned with the Democratic Party, are against raising the federal minimum wage, including Joe Biden. My proof is the total lack of results since 2009 in raising that wage.

Few things would help women and minority workers more than a $15 minimum wage, simply because women and minorities have more of the jobs that don’t pay well.  Unfortunately for them, they can’t hire big-money lobbyists or make huge campaign donations to the Democratic Party.  In America, where money is speech, they simply don’t have the money to have their say.

Assuming Biden runs again in 2024, I’m guessing we’ll hear another promise about a $15 minimum wage.  And then, assuming he wins, we’ll hear yet more excuses about how Joe just can’t get it done because of the filibuster or whatever.  Just think Charlie Brown, the football, and the American worker landing flat on his back as promises for fairer wages yet again go unfulfilled.

73 thoughts on “Joe Biden’s Failure to Raise the Federal Minimum Wage

  1. Go to now, you rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you.
    Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are moth eaten.
    Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. You have heaped treasure together for THE LAST DAYS.

    Behold, the hire of the labourers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by FRAUD, cries: and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord Almighty.
    James 5

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  2. As you noted, Biden (and Schumer for that matter) cites the Senate Parliamentarian, or the filibuster, or Senate procedures as roadblocks on always promised but never delivered actions – to the apparent delight of the donor class.

    Unfortunately it always appears it’s only the Democrats who suffer from these restrictions. Say what one will about the the Republicans, they do whatever it takes to get things they want approved, including in at least one instance firing the Senate Parliamentarian.

    It is this perception of being rule-bound and unwilling to actually fight for the working and middle classes that has caused many to walk away from the Democrats over the last 30 years; too many of them into the arms of the fascist orange reptile who tells them he will save them.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. The Republicans brought in a new ‘Sacred’ rule when Obama nominated Garland for the Supreme Court, that ‘a President cannot make a nomination to the Supreme Court during an Election Year’ when Obama had 8 months prior to the November Election.

      Republicans threw that ‘Sacred’ rule by the way side when Trump nominated Barrett to the Supreme Court and the Republican Senate rushed it through DURING the Election.
      It now appears genuine Integrity is Rare in America – in the Politicians, the People and Journalists.

      So sad and too Bad to come!

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      1. When has “genuine integrity” ~ whatever that means ~ among all politicians and many ~ if not most ~ mainstream mass media journalists NOT been rare in America?

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    2. You were doing very well TOM until you typed “fascist orange reptile”. If you are trying to win people over to your POV respectfully I don’t think this a good strategy. IMHO this is what sends people into the arms of Donald Trump and the Republicans.

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      1. Hi Dennis,

        I understand your point, and I agree that attacking voters (e.g., “basket of deplorables” or Biden’s “ultra-MAGA”) contributes to driving people into the arms of Trump and the Republicans. However, I don’t believe I attacked voters in my comment – I’ve said many have been driven into the arms of the Republicans by their desperation at not seeing the Democrats do anything to help them.

        In terms of my depiction of Trump as a fascist orange reptile, I will say I almost typed traitor. I’m totally outraged by the reporting on the classified information taken to Mir A Lago; given a job I had many decades ago in the military, I fear for the grave damage that could have been done to national security due to Trump’s cavalier and self-absorbed attitude and behavior.

        In any case, I appreciate the spirit of what you wrote and thank you for your comment.

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        1. No problem TOM. Thanks for the reply. I am waiting for the investigation of Trump/Mir A Lago/documents before I pass judgment on Trumps behaviour here. Right now who knows if these “Classified documents” are any different than Hillary’s “Classified documents'” eh?

          Take care.

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      2. Heh. If that’s all it takes to drive people to embrace Trump and Trumpatismo, then those folks deserve everything that they have gotten, get, and will get.

        Just like folks who embrace Biden, Pelosi, Obama, the Bushes and the Clintons, and the rest of that Mob got, are getting, and will continue to get what they deserve.

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      3. Agreed, Dennis. It typically doesn’t take long for an anti-Trump post to degenerate into name-calling. I guess it’s intended to show they’re part of the in-group. It seems childish to me but it’s widespread where Trump is concerned.

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        1. Depending on who one hangs with, it is just as widespread where and when Biden, Obama, the Bushes, Cheneys, and Clintons, and the rest of the corporatist. crony capitalists/neoconservative-neoliberal Mob are concerned.

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        2. Depends on the “names,” I suppose. For me, Crooked Hillary is accurate. So too is Con Man Trump.

          “Fascist orange reptile” — well, that’s name-calling. 🙂

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  3. Gee, I would be much more likely to go back to Penn College if the pay was better. Of course, I have a friend (?) who, when I said that I felt I was worth more than the $7.70 I was paid after ten years, told me that she doesn’t do it for the money. Oh, I was slapped down there, wasn’t I?

    The fact that she is teaching organic chemistry, general chemistry, and now physics as well, along with teaching at St. John Neumann and tutoring three homeschoolers also, probably means she makes about the same, right?

    Wow, I’m sure the colleges would really scream if they had to pay a $15.00 per hour minimum wage to all their employees.

    "See the colleges cry. See the colleges raise tuition--again. See student loans go further through the roof. See the government make even more damn money and more students default. See people move to Europe. See the Republicans win again."
    

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  4. Democrats lost interest in the minimum wage when they found out that a lot of low income blue collar workers voted for Trump. Now they concentrate on issues directly applicable to their base like having taxpayers pay for their Harvard and Yale college degrees.

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  5. Totally OT, but perhaps worth it: i’m not sure what this actually, really means ~ if anything in particular ~ in the Grander Scheme of Things.

    But i have absolutely no doubt whatsoever that it means something very special and important to those who were there to witness it: https://www.insider.com/queen-elizabeth-ii-death-rainbows-windsor-castle-london-photos-2022-9

    Quite a time of change and challenge for the Brits, eh? Within days, England has gone from a male to a female Prime Minister, and from a female to a male Monarch. And Winter is coming on.

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      1. i have no doubt, Bill, that that is exactly how and what many of those who were there and witnessed those Rainbows feel, believe, and think. i know that that was one of the first thoughts that crossed my mind.

        Given what the Brits have been thru over the past couple of years, i’m sure that many of them are looking for signs of “Hope,” in whatever form and format, and from whatever source.

        We Americans could use a couple of signs along those lines, as well, eh?

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you JG for pointing out within days, England has gone from a male to a female Prime Minister, and from a female to a male Monarch.

      Contrary to the Culture and Norms of the Tines, Jesus appeared to a Woman before revealing himself to his Male Disciples and they didn’t believe her.

      That Biblical recorded incident has always been downplayed by the Male dominated Church as not too significant. I disagree.

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      1. For the most part, Ray, i have been able to link Your frequent Scriptural quotes to the topic being chatted on. But in this case, You lost me.

        Can You explain exactly [or even approximately] what Jesus’s “Coming Out” [for lack of a better term] to a Woman before enlightening his Male Disciples has to do with England going from a male to a female Prime Minister, and from a female to a male Monarch?

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        1. JG, you pointed out some facts I didn’t notice about a sex change in not 1 but 2 positions of Power.
          Thinking further on that this morning, there’s another Dimension to the death of the British Monarch.

          As Head of the Church of England, the Monarch fills a position comparable to being the British Pope.
          So now there will be two Males both claiming to have the Position of being the most Representative of Christ on Earth and being above the fray.
          Let’s hope they can get their Acts Together!

          Yes, it is peripheral, but In appearing to a Woman before his Male Disciples in my view, was an example of Jesus’ Feminism, lifting up Women in the Culture and Tradition of those Times, making Women equal to Men.

          If you want to know something peripherally coincidental to Death in the Royal Household, when the US deported me back to CanaDa as an Alien in 1976, I floundered for a while in Montreal.

          Then I got the strong impulse to move to the Nation’s Capital in 1977 making a such big splash in the Local Newspapers for my Public speaking, I was sent to jail for breach of Probation with only 1 term typed in at the bottom of the form with these EXPLICIT words, “not to attend on the Sparks Street Mall or any other Street in Ottawa for the purpose of SPEAKING or shouting”

          Fast forward 20 years to 1997 and a friend who let me sleep on the sofa when I 1st came to Ottawa in 1977 came over to visit and was in a way chastising me saying how I was “pushing the envelope” in 1977 and why did I stop?

          I explained ‘if I did get in the Camera’s eye there would be so many people and groups that would try to destroy me, they would “hound me to death.” I explained I didn’t consider myself Spiritually, Emotionally and Mentally prepared and ready to deal with that deftly.
          The words in quotes are the exact words in that conversation I will never forget because an hour later, there was a news Bulletin Princess Diana died being hounded to death.

          The only coincidence that tied it together was my friend’s last name is Spencer as in Lady Diana Spencer. While I have no illusions tying the conversation to the Death of Princess Diana, I certainly interpreted is as a Sign my assessment was correct, and the Time is not yet come.

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          1. Ray, there are lots more folks than just the British or Catholic Popes claiming to be “the most Representative of Christ on Earth.” That’s why there was a Reformation and then almost a century and a half of Religious Wars in Europe back in the 16th and 17th centuries.

            But Christians aren’t unique in this affliction. They are just like all those folks claiming to be the one “True Representative on Earth of” [pick one]: Yahweh, Allah, Bramha, Etc.

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                1. Orthodox Christians separated from the Primacy of the Papacy in 1054 and Henry VIII separated from the Primacy of the Papacy in 1534.

                  Whether you’re Orthodox, Catholic, Anglican or Protestant, ALL Denominations of Christianity exhort their adherents to mirror the Love of God through Christ with ALL People.

                  The Christ saw then and sees now, there are hypocrites in the Church who are close to Christ with their mouth, and honour him with their lips but their hearts are far from his worshipping God in vain, teaching as Doctrine the commandments of MEN.

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                2. That may be what each of those different institutions exhorted and exhort their followers to do, Ray; but they also insist that THEY are the sole legitimate holders of The One True Claim to being Christ’s representative and spokesmen here on Earth.

                  And that all the other “Christian” sects are mere pretenders. Again: That’s what the Religious Wars of Europe were all about.

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  6. It’s interesting that inflation can bring, in fact invites, surges in profit for companies free as they are to raise prices as they wish and stock market booms raise all boats carrying investors. These windfalls of money are untouchable, the beneficiaries left to enjoy the reward. People on an hourly wage lose from inflation. Not being in the lifted boat of investors they must swim as best they can.

    The only times in American history when the gap between the wealthy and working people has significantly decreased is when the financial system has stumbled, most notably in the 1930’s. Otherwise the gap is always increasing, differing only in the degree of increase. It’s accepted that working people cannot from their income approach the wealthy. The failure to raise the minimum wage only shows that it is also accepted that working people will fall further behind.

    Being the heart of capitalism, controlled by wealth, the US is always striving to set capitalism entirely free, meaning profit without limit along with no floor for workers. The union movement brought some restraint on this drive but the drive never decreases, always working through Congress to roll back modifications and regulations as with Glass/Steagall.

    After the Crash of ’29, in the 30’s there was great anxiety that a dictatorship might come to America, in line with the success of Mussolini and Hitler in Europe and the Bolshevik menace of Communism. Only this real threat facing a capitalism with no plan was able to propel FDR into office and get the country behind his New Deal.

    My point in all of this is that only another real threat to the system will stimulate change. Without it, Congress will remain captive, the people will grumble and nothing significant will change. The unionization of some Starbucks and Amazon warehouses is nice, but hardly a threat sweeping the country. If we see little pressure in Congress for national health care, finessed with Obamacare, it’s hard to see any progress on a minimum wage increase.

    Think of US capitalism as the surf. Progressive changes are sand castles that survive until the next tide comes in. Profit and property rule and the people are accommodated as needed to maintain order, order meaning wealth not under threat. The improvement we saw in the 1950’s looked permanent. It wasn’t. You can’t stop the surf. This is not to say stand by and do nothing, it is to say that there can be no end to the progressive effort because it faces relentless pressure. Bernie capitulating to Hillary was a big mistake. Occupy Wall Street ended with the pounding surf wearing uniforms.

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  7. Great to see the huge outpouring of appreciation of a leader in our times.
    The affinity for King Charles III is palpable.
    The British people are appreciative of and cherish their history.
    ….I know this will not go down well with my American family and friends….but I’m going to say it anyway!
    …this is quite a change from the secret service, security, and mud slung at our American leaders and maybe tells us a lot about the difference between the UK and the USA

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    1. At this point, the primary difference between the UK and USA is that the former is a dead Empire, and the latter is a dying one.

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      1. Jeff, if you were to bear witness to the outpourings in all New Zealand cities today you might be forgiven for thinking the British Empire is alive and well. The great British Commonwealth might be dead in terms of hegemony and influence, but it is still very much alive in spirit with a very proud people. The fair governance and egalitarian society established by the British in its colonies has by and large served them well. Yes, I know about the cases were this has not held true, but by and large the British Empire was a force for good.

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        1. The British Commonwealth may be “alive and well,” Dennis, and the subjects of that Commonwealth very proud of it; but the British Empire is dead. and has been ~ for all intents and purposes ~ since World War II.

          And an “egalitarian society” in a colony is a contradiction in terms. There were the Colonizers and the Colonists, one the one hand, and the Colonized [as in Conquered], on the other.

          And when You say that the Empire was “by and large a force for good,” wouldn’t that depend entirely upon: 1] Your definition of “good”? And 2], whether You were talking to and about the Rulers and those who benefitted from that Rule, or You were talking to and about the Ruled and the price they paid for the privilege of being Vassals?

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        2. QUEEN’S DEATH INTENSIFIES CRITICISM OF BRITISH EMPIRE’S VIOLENT ATROCITIES

          The death of Queen Elizabeth II revived longstanding criticism in the US over the monarchy’s enrichment from the British empire’s violent colonization of African, Asian and Caribbean nations and their diasporas.

          Since her death on Thursday, American commentators, academics, and a former US diplomat, among others, took to social media and elsewhere to call for fully wrestling with the British monarchy’s lasting influence in light of the monarch’s death.

          Continued at https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/sep/10/queen-death-colonies-atrocities-british-empire

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        1. When Prime Minister Harper announced Public Money was to be spent on a Memorial for the Victims of Communism, I thought is was misspent.
          It should have been spent on the Victims of White Christian European Colonialism. There are many more Victims to this very Day!

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    2. The royal touch!

      Having lived in Britain for three years, and having studied history, I appreciate the symbolic importance of the monarchy to many.

      Many other people, including plenty of Britons, see the monarchy as wasteful, obsolete, and unwise.

      Charles has always been a bit of a twit. I think it’s fortunate he’s waited so long. He never had the common touch of his first wife, Princess Diana.

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  8. Caitlin Johnstone with her usual irreverent take on “God save the king”:

    Just stop having a royal family; it’s so dorky. This isn’t Lord of the Rings. They’re like fantasy LARPers running around with swords and scepters and crowns and junk, except fantasy LARP props aren’t normally encrusted with priceless jewels stolen from colonized territories.

    For Americans who are having a hard time understanding what their friends across the pond are going through, imagine if Chicken McNuggets died.

    Or anything else you’ve had since you were a child that you know isn’t good for you but it gives you a sense of comfort that you don’t really understand and can’t really control so you’re not ready to give it up just yet.

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  9. I can understand the importance of the monarchy to Britons.

    But why is there 24/7 coverage here in the USA?

    Shouldn’t we be more concerned that the peasants in Jackson, MS have no drinking water? Among a host of other issues and problems?

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    1. It’s call “diversion”: A concerted effort at shifting the American people’s attention away from the collision course with Reality that America is on.

      On the other hand, there are any number of Americans who would be quite comfortable for a “Leader For Life”; on the condition, of course, that it’s THEIR guy or gal who is that Leader.

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  10. More Irreverence

    You Can’t Drink the Water in Jackson, Mississippi, But: U.S. Adds $675M in Arms, $2B in Financial Aid for Ukraine, Region | 8 Sept 202 | The Biden regime has approved a 675 million package of arms for Ukraine plus 1 billion in financial aid for the country and 1 billion in aid for 18 of its regional neighbors, officials said Thursday. The announcement was made before the fifth meeting of the Defense Contact Group, a group of nations committed to providing support for Ukraine, held here on Thursday. The latest package includes more Guided Multiple Launch Rocket Systems, or GLMRS; 105mm howitzers, artillery ammunition, AGM-88 HARM air-to-surface anti-radiation missiles, Humvees, armored ambulances, anti-tank systems, small arms, and more, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin told reporters here. [In other news: Jackson, Mississippi, water crisis impacts businesses | 8 Sept 2022 | People in Jackson, Mississippi, are going on week two without one basic human necessity: clean drinking water. Now, business owners say they’re suffering too. Lutaya Stewart owns Children’s Edcuare in Jackson. She says her issues with the city’s water system began many years ago.]

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  11. Apparently, it’s not just Americans or Australians who are criticizing the British Monarchy. Here’s one Brit’s perspective:

    THE QUEEN AND HER LEGACY: 21ST CENTURY BRITAIN HAS NEVER LOOKED SO MEDIEVAL

    Anyone in the UK who imagined they lived in a representative democracy – one in which leaders are elected and accountable to the people – will be in for a rude awakening over the next days and weeks.

    TV schedules have been swept aside. Presenters must wear black and talk in hushed tones. Front pages are uniformly somber. Britain’s media speak with a single, respectful voice about the Queen and her unimpeachable legacy.

    Westminster, meanwhile, has been stripped of left and right. The Conservative, Liberal Democrat and Labour parties have set aside politics to grieve as one. Even the Scottish nationalists – supposedly trying to rid themselves of the yoke of centuries of English rule presided over by the monarch – appear to be in effusive mourning.

    The world’s urgent problems – from the war in Europe to a looming climate catastrophe – are no longer of interest or relevance. They can wait till Britons emerge from a more pressing national trauma.

    Domestically, the BBC has told those facing a long winter in which they will not be able to afford to heat their homes that their suffering is “insignificant” compared to that of the family of a 96-year-old woman who died peacefully in the lap of luxury. They can wait too.

    Continued at https://www.mintpressnews.com/queen-elizabeth-ii-her-legacy-21st-century-britain-never-looked-so-medieval/281898/

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  12. Well I think having a monarchy as the British do is a nice feature. Especially I think Elizabeth was a very good monarch. She helped the people in the country have a sense of larger community in a world where there were constant pressures for division, including a major war that threatened its existence. As for King Charles, I think there might be a problem if he gets more into politics, as politics by its nature divides the country. But we’ll see. Frankly I think a lot of people in the US crave a type of monarchy. They want the US President to have a one-person power to accomplish what they want to happen.

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    1. Those people who crave “one-person power” may regret the dictator who’s more likely to make their nightmares a reality than their dreams to come true.

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      1. People like the idea of a benevolent dictator. Plato’s ideal was a philosopher king. But, as the saying goes, power corrupts. Which is why there are so few benevolent dictators.

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    2. Thanks for your balanced post today ALEX. I think you are right that many Americans are more than a little bit jealous of the English Monarchy, feeling and showing an envious resentment to its achievements, and its perceived advantages. And I find MS Johnstone’s views more than irreverent. For me she is the dorky one!

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      1. Like i said earlier, Dennis: There are no doubt lots of Americans who would love to have a “Leader For Life,” as long as it’s THEIR guy or gal who is that Leader.

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      2. The British monarchy today is largely ceremonial. Elizabeth was a powerful symbol: of tradition, of continuity, of service.

        But the monarchs of the past had real power, and apparently more than a few Americans want a monarch of the old style, i.e. a dictator.

        They seem to have forgotten all the lessons of being colonial subjects under a powerful king.

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        1. A big reason for that is because Americans have gotten very comfortable with the idea that America replaced the old European Colonial Empires with a Neo-Colonial Empire of its own.

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        2. Bill, do you think the colonial nations of Canada, Australia and New Zealand suffered being birthed and becoming independent countries under the parental colonial guidance of mother England? I think all three benefitted greatly from adopting English traditions, and particularly the English system of governance and justice. Being colonial subjects under a powerful monarchy even 200-years ago was not oppressive and not so bad for most all Canucks, Aussies and Kiwis. What lessons of being colonial subjects under a powerful King or Queen are to be forgotten by these folk?

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          1. Being colonial subjects probably wasn’t so bad at all for the transplanted Brits who became the Colonists. But what about the “Canucks, Aussies, and Kiwis” who didn’t happen to be White, English, and Protestant?

            How did those Native, Indigenous Folks fare under Rule Brittania?

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            1. The New Zealand Maori’s were treated fairly. The Australian Aboriginals were treated appallingly to this day. And the Canadian indigenous groups comprising the First Nations, Inuit and Métis have without argument fared better than their cousins under American genocide and tyranny below the border.

              And the colonial nations of Canada, Australia and New Zealand under Rule Brittania, now independent, would seem to be faring a lot better today than the failed States of the United States of America described and harped on everyday in blogs by Chris Hedges, JG Moebus and their ilk.

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              1. Jeff, all New Zealanders are entitled to full Government Paid Universal Healthcare. World class. And a living retirement benefit Social Security. And getting back on topic, in April 2022 the NZ minimum wage rates, before tax, was raised to:

                Adult – $21.20 an hour (up from $20.00) – US$14.31.
                Starting-out – $16.96 per hour (up from $16.00)
                Training – $16.96 per hour (up from $16.00)

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              2. The United States is not a Failed State, Dennis. At least not yet.

                But it is definitely a Failing ~ or at best Flailing ~ State that could very easily and quickly make that transition to collapse and disintegration. And if America goes down in flames, how do think that will impact Canada especially, but also New Zealand and Australia? Especially when Uncle Sam is no longer there to protect them from China?

                And apparently, the Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand has a different take on exactly how “fairly” the Maoris were treated:

                COLONISATION, HAUORA AND WHENUA IN AOTEAROA

                Abstract

                COLONISATION HAS DEEPLY HARMED MAORI COMMUNITIES, SERIOUSLY AND CONSISTENTLY UNDERMINING THEIR VITALITY, ASPIRATIONS AND POTENTIALS, PARTICULARLY SINCE THE 1860S, AT INESTIMABLE COST TO THE ENTIRE NATION. The British arrival in Aotearoa commenced a relationship between two very different peoples that has profoundly influenced their distinct and collective fortunes ever since. Despite manifest breaches of te Tiriti o Waitangi, THIS RELATIONSHIP HAS CENTRED ON SETTLER INTERESTS ENSURING THAT MAORI SOVEREIGNTY HAS BEEN DISPLACED IN FAVOUR OF COLONIAL HEGEMONY, ENTRENCHING LONGSTANDING, PREVENTABLE INEQUITIES IN HEALTH AND OTHER IMPORTANT DOMAINS OF SOCIAL LIFE. In this paper we trace some broad indicators of relational health and wellbeing in Aotearoa and consider how Maori thinking about whenua, health and wellbeing might lead healing opportunities for people and whenua. We outline ways in which a unified, dynamic, relational Maori concept based on whenua as the determinant of health could contribute. We believe this could expand, strengthen and revitalise prevention, protection and promotion approaches, to counter the injustices of colonisation, contribute toward health equity and move toward just, sustainable shared futures for the benefit of all New Zealanders.

                Historical trauma

                Colonisation has had profound negative consequences for the health, wellbeing and indeed the very existence of Maori populations in Aotearoa (Reid and Robson 2007; Durie 2012) and of Indigenous peoples worldwide (Durie 2003b; Stephens et al. 2006; Anderson et al. 2016; Paradies 2016). MAORI SOVEREIGNTY, ARGUABLY A NATURAL ENTITLEMENT RATIFIED IN HE WAKAPUTANGA IN 1835 (HEALY ET AL. 2012), HAS BEEN UNDER ATTACK SINCE BEFORE THE INK WAS DRY on te Tiriti o Waitangi, as a central practice of establishing the colonial order in Aotearoa (Belich 1986; Walker 1990). THROUGH LAND ALIENATION, ECONOMIC IMPOVERISHMENT, MASS SETTLER IMMIGRATION, WARFARE, CULTURAL MARGINALISATION, FORCED SOCIAL CHANGE AND MULTI-LEVEL HEGEMONIC RACISM, INDIGENOUS CULTURES, ECONOMIES, POPULATIONS AND RIGHTS HAVE BEEN DIMINISHED AND DEGRADED OVER MORE THAN SEVEN GENERATIONS.

                Continued at https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/03036758.2019.1668439 [EMPHASES added.]

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                1. So Jeff, name me any Empires colonial indigenous people who did not have their rights diminished. I hold my ground that comparatively the Maori’s were treated if not well, but humanely.

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                2. Do You have any documentation to that effect, Dennis? Can You cite any Maoris who will attest to that?

                  Or is that just part of what every descendent of a Colonizer New Zealander just knows and understands to be “The Truth” about how the British Colonizers treated them? My guess is that is part of the Standard Curriculum. Just like every true-blooded, patriotic American knows and understands “The Truth” about America as taught in their Standard Curriculum.

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          2. Hi Dennis: Did you notice how you framed the question? That “mother England” gave “birth” to these colonies, and that they then benefited under the “parental colonial guidance.”

            Well, who am I to attack motherhood?

            Seriously, there were plenty of people, especially indigenous ones, who didn’t believe they were birthed by mother England and didn’t like her “parental colonial guidance.”

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            1. A very large topic Bill. And of course with all colonies of Empires there were varying degrees of injustices for indigenous folks. My point just is New Zealanders have comparatively little to be ashamed of of the way its indigenous natives were treated. Can we respectfully leave this for another blog. Take care.

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      3. Caitlin Johnstone’s articles never say anything good about anything. Expecting any optimism from her on any subject is fruitless and gets tiresome for this reader. I think she writes for clicks.

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  13. In her ”IN THIS DISASTER WE ARE ALL, ULTIMATELY, INNOCENT,” Caitlin Johnstone muses:

    “And we wonder why everyone’s so dysfunctional and self-destructive.

    “We never really had a chance to build a healthy world. Our ancestors went from running away from monsters with sharp fangs to burning witches and heretics to fighting world wars to giving birth to us, and that wave of fear and chaos carried forward right into our own psyches and into the psyches of everyone else on this planet without skipping a beat. If you look at where we came from and how we got here, it’s amazing we’re even as functional as we are.

    “And that’s what we’re dealing with here. A heritage of trauma stretching back into an unfathomably vast expanse of time, incarnating in the current form of some eight billion homo sapiens. If you zoom out and look at the big picture with this understanding, it’s difficult to find real guilt anywhere, in anyone. Even in the most abusive and traumatizing among us.”

    And concludes:

    “Think about a mistake you’ve made in the past. A real bad one, one that makes you cringe whenever you think about it. You wouldn’t make that mistake in the same way again, would you? Of course not, because you now know things you didn’t know back then. You are conscious now of things you previously were not. Depending on how conscious you are now in relation to how conscious you were then you might repeat similar mistakes in similar ways, but you wouldn’t intentionally repeat the exact same error if you had a do-over. In that small way, your consciousness has expanded.

    “That’s all negative human behavior ultimately is: MISTAKES THAT WERE MADE DUE TO A LACK OF CONSCIOUSNESS. A LACK OF EMPATHY, A LACK OF SERENITY, A LACK OF INFORMATION, A LACK OF INSIGHT, A LACK OF KNOWLEDGE THAT THERE ARE BETTER CHOICES, A LACK OF PERCEPTION ON WHAT’S REALLY GOING ON IN THE WORLD, A LACK OF CLARITY ON THE WAYS PROPAGANDA MANIPULATES US INTO SERVING THE INTERESTS OF THE POWERFUL — these are all just different kinds of unconsciousness. Different ways that one can fail to accurately perceive reality.

    “In this churning, chaotic tidal wave of evolutionary trauma that we were all born into, the only thing we really have any amount of real control over is whether we mindlessly repeat our conditioning patterns or start bringing consciousness to them. But even that is greatly limited by how much consciousness we have access to at the time; many people are just barely treading water psychologically and don’t often have the space to pause and bring clarity to their own inner processes. A lot of people are just stumbling blindly along, and it’s not ultimately their fault any more than the blindness of an actual blind person.

    “SO WE’RE ALL INNOCENT, IN THE END. AGAIN, WE MUST OF COURSE PUSH TO BRING CONSCIOUSNESS TO THE PARTS OF HUMANITY THAT HAVE TAKEN A WRONG TURN — TO THE WAR CRIMINALS AND PLUTOCRATS AND MANAGERS OF EMPIRE, AND ALL OTHER ABUSERS AND THE ABUSIVE SYSTEMS WHICH ELEVATE THEM. But underneath that fierce burst of light there can also be a deep compassion and understanding born of a lucid seeing of how we got here in the first place.

    “WE’RE ALL ULTIMATELY DOING THE BEST WE CAN WHILE RIDING THE MOMENTUM OF A CHAIN OF EVENTS FAR BEYOND OUR CONTROL WHICH STRETCHES BACKWARD THROUGH TIME ALL THE WAY TO THE BIG BANG. EVERYONE IS PLAYING WITH A LOUSY HAND WHICH WAS DEALT TO THEM BY THE CHURNING TUMULT OF EVOLUTION AND HISTORY WHILE GRAPPLING WITH THE PUZZLE OF MORTALITY ON A TINY BLUE WORLD OF UNFATHOMABLE BEAUTY THAT IS HURTLING THROUGH A UNIVERSE THAT NONE OF US UNDERSTAND.

    “Let’s be tender with each other.”

    Full text at https://caitlinjohnstone.substack.com/p/in-this-disaster-we-are-all-ultimately [EMPHASES added.]

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  14. On 9/11-XXI: Reflections of one of “Those Who Were Right” 21 years ago

    In the early evening of September 11, 2001 ~ even before President Bush addressed the nation from the Oval Office ~ a series of phone calls among members of the New Orleans Peace and Social Justice community resulted in a gathering two nites later, on September 13th, of almost 60 “conscious, concerned, and committed Citizens” in the basement of a local church.

    And that gathering of “Peacemongers” ~ as the local media termed it ~ resulted in a silent, candlelit March for Peace, Justice, and Truth thru the streets of New Orleans that assembled close to 250 people on Saturday nite, the 15th of September, four days after 9/11: easily one of the earliest and biggest Anti-War/Pro-Peace demonstrations in the country at that time. [ Available online at https://www.nola.com/gambit/news/article_8cc98238-ab66-5a48-81f0-072ab8552e84.html ]

    And “Editor B,” a local independent journalist and filmmaker captured scenes from that March, as well as folks in New Orleans skateboarding, reading poetry, and singing for Peace, Justice, and Truth in the days and weeks after 9/11. [ Available online at https://stupidtelevisionshow.com/media/nopeace/ ]

    At 10:08 of that video is an extended interview of me on Day 6 of OPERATION ISAIAH 2:4, a projected 168-hour “Fast and Prayer Vigil for Peace, Justice, Truth, Repentance, and Reconciliation” ~ held on Jackson Square in the French Quarter, right across from the Cathedral ~ which began at 7:46 am CDT on Tuesday, September 25, exactly two weeks to the minute after the first airplane crashed into the World Trade Center, and continued until 7:46 am on Tuesday, October 2. [Note: the interview was preempted for about five minutes by a genuine, traditional New Orleans Jazz Funeral, which made it even better.]

    Following the launch on October 7 of “Operation Enduring Freedom” and America’s assault on the Land, Country, Nation, and Peoples of Afghanistan, Phase Two of OPERATION ISAIAH 2:4 began on October 16, back on Jackson Square by the Cathedral, and continued until November 7 ~ Day 23 of the projected 28 ~ when cut short by illness.

    [From “On 9/11-XXI: Reflections of one of “Those Who Were Right” 21 years ago ~ 11sep22]

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