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‘Utterly Arbitrary and Unlawful’: Farmworker Groups Sue to Block Trump Wage Freeze

Organizations representing U.S. farmworkers sued the Trump administration in federal court Monday in an effort to block a Labor Department rule freezing the wages of many farm laborers until 2023, a move that would cost workers an estimated $170 million per year in wages over the next decade.

Filed by Farmworker Justice on behalf of the United Farm Workers (UFW) and the UFW Foundation, the suit alleges that the Labor Department’s rule—published (pdf) in the Federal Register on November 5—runs afoul of the Administrative Procedure Act by “failing to comply with the H-2A prohibition against adverse effects to farmworkers’ wages, arbitrarily and capriciously selecting mechanisms that bear no relation to the farm labor market, and failing to give the public notice and an opportunity for comment on the wage freeze.”

“Secretary Scalia’s decision to freeze farmworkers’ wage rates under the H-2A agricultural guestworker program for two years is an utterly arbitrary and unlawful act.”
—Bruce Goldstein, Farmworker Justice
The lawsuit is seeking both a preliminary injunction to prevent the rule from taking effect on December 21 and a permanent injunction aiming to sideline the regulation.

Bruce Goldstein, president of Farmworker Justice and one of the attorneys in the legal challenge, said in a statement that the plaintiffs are looking to “overturn the unjustified decision by Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia to lower wage rates of several hundred thousand farmworkers,” frontline laborers who have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.

“Secretary Scalia’s decision to freeze farmworkers’ wage rates under the H-2A agricultural guestworker program for two years is an utterly arbitrary and unlawful act that inflicts grave harm to some of the most vulnerable workers in the nation,” said Goldstein.



What we need is $15 minimum wage from coast to coast.

in the fields and at the sinks and stoves of restaurants. Every place. You work for an hour and your pay is $15 per each hour worked. Overtime after 40 hours.


Mittens is half right. Mnunchin didn’t spend all of the money from CARES, instead couched it away and made Congress beg for it again.


This is what I’m referring to.

Partisan Fight Over Fed Lending Programs Escalates

The Fed and Treasury had mostly collaborated smoothly over providing emergency support to financial markets until Mr. Mnuchin said on Nov. 19 that he wouldn’t extend the facilities because he believed he lacked the authority to do so, a legal opinion that isn’t shared by the Fed. He also said that the programs were no longer needed and that around $430 billion in unused funds would be better spent on other assistance.

The Fed said it would prefer the lending programs remain in place until the risks posed to the economy by the coronavirus pandemic, which has led to a new surge of infections in the U.S. and globally in recent weeks, has subsided.

Democrats see the programs as a potential tool for the Biden administration to deliver more aid to hard-hit businesses, cities and states if Congress doesn’t act to approve more spending. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D., Ohio) said to Mr. Mnuchin at Tuesday’s hearing, “You appear to be trying to sabotage the economy on the way out the door.”


businesses, cities and states. not people.



Probably means he will run again for Congress.


I hope so.



This is a good example of how libertarians and DSA members could collaborate in trying to get this overturned. It’s not only a local control issue but has to do with water pollution and other climate issues.




The article also points out that neither Warnock nor Ossoff support M4A. Interesting stuff from Khanna at the end. Progressives will have more power in the narrow Dem House than the Senate (even at 50/50). Let’s see if the Progressive Caucus can take advantage.


Neither Jon Ossoff nor the Rev. Raphael Warnock has endorsed the Green New Deal. But that hasn’t stopped the Sunrise Movement, the activist climate group that champions the sweeping climate change plan, from mobilizing in force for the two Georgia Democrats in their high-stakes runoff races for Senate seats.

The group is aiming to help register 10,000 to 20,000 Georgians who will turn 18 by Jan. 5, the day of the elections. It has people on the ground canvassing and dropping off campaign literature. And while its appeals mention the threat from climate change, it does not present the issue as a litmus test.

“Right now, we’re focused on the bigger picture,” said Shanté Wolfe, who is leading the Sunrise Movement’s work in Georgia. “Our effort is in favor of the greater good.”

The furious efforts in Georgia by the Sunrise Movement and other progressive groups — on behalf of two candidates who do not share their most ambitious policy goals — reflect the urgency that is consuming the Democratic Party’s left flank. Two victories in Georgia would produce a 50-50 tie in the Senate, giving Democrats control of the chamber because Kamala Harris would cast tiebreaking votes as vice president.

Without Democratic control, progressive lawmakers, activists and their grass-roots supporters worry that they will not be able to achieve even a pared-down version of their policy wish list for the country.

The Progressive Change Campaign Committee has already raised $386,000 for the two Democratic candidates. MoveOn, a progressive group, hopes to mobilize many of its 250,000 members in Georgia, and more nationwide, to canvass and phone bank in the state. Our Revolution, the political organization that spun out of Bernie Sanders’s 2016 presidential campaign, is currently contacting its 50,000 member households in the state to encourage them to request mail ballots.

“We are moving heaven and earth and pointing all of our resources as much as we can to help us win those two seats in Georgia,” said Jamaal Bowman, a New York Democrat who will be sworn into the next Congress.

Mr. Bowman said he spoke recently with Stacey Abrams, who narrowly lost the Georgia governor’s race in 2018 and is widely credited with voter turnout initiatives that helped flip Georgia blue this year, to see how he could support her efforts. And he said that he and other progressives in the House — including “the Squad,” a now-growing group that began with four congresswomen of color — were strategizing about how to help in Georgia.

“Georgia is not New York. It’s not California. It has its own culture,” Mr. Bowman said. “But it’s a culture rooted in justice for all, and we just want to make sure we support that initiative as much as we can, as representatives from other parts of the country.”

Even if the Democrats win the two Georgia Senate seats, progressives will still face significant barriers to passing their policies. It is unlikely that all 50 Democratic senators would get behind a left-wing policy proposal like expanding the Supreme Court, or that Mr. Biden would support it.

Representative Ro Khanna of California, the first vice chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, said the Georgia races were “about the here and now.”

“We understand the stakes, and every progressive group that I know of has made that a priority with the same passion and determination as winning back the presidency,” he said.

But he also said the horizon for the movement was long. Even if Democrats fail to win control of the Senate, he said, progressives should try to pass an agenda in the House that includes less transformative policy goals than Medicare for all — including raising the minimum wage, forgiving student loan debt and expanding access to Medicare.

“I don’t think that their outcome should determine the boldness of our agenda,” Mr. Khanna said, referring to the Georgia runoffs. “The mistake would be to pull back.”

For the party’s left wing, the potential limits on a progressive agenda have not dampened the resolve.


I suppose Ro trying to figure out the common ground in dealing with a bunch of corporate Dems is not a bad thing considering one can see on the horizon that Biden won’t be able to get through much of an agenda in the next 2 years. Problem is, with this strategy, Dems won’t have much to show in the way of accomplishments.

I think Warnock could be persuaded on M4A but right now he has to win, and I never underestimate the dirty tricks of the GOP in elections.


If it’s a 50/50 Senate, they will get some. If it’s a Republican Senate, they will have to rely on what Biden can do on his own and point to all the great things passed by the House that Biden would have signed into law if it weren’t for that god awful Republican Senate.


wink wink


The Democrats lost seats in the House but the progressives either were re-elected or gained new seats. The CPC is changing to reflect this fact. What a positive.😊


Agree, that is the argument to make. You won’t pass anything into law anyway, so be bold, pass bills that would actually help people, and show them what they could be having but for obstruction by Republicans and Biden’s Democrats. Don’t have nothing to show in the way of accomplishments because you didn’t try.

Don midwest
Don midwest

the rise and fall of empires

an old story which continues

Yes, in its own distinctive fashion, the U.S. is going down and will do so whether Donald Trump, Joe Biden, or Mitch McConnell is running the show. But here’s what’s new: for the first time, a great imperial power is falling just as the earth, at least as humanity has known it all these thousands of years, seems to be going down, too. And that means there will be no way, no matter what The Donald may think, to wall out intensifying storms, fires, or floods, mega-droughts, melting ice shelves and the rising sea levels that go with them, record temperatures, and so much more, including the hundreds of millions of people who are likely to be displaced across a failing planet, thanks to those greenhouse gases released by the burning of the fossil fuels that Donald Trump loves so much.

Undoubtedly, the first genuine twist in the rise-and-fall version of human history — the first story, that is, that was potentially all about falling — arrived on August 6th and 9th, 1945 when the U.S. dropped nuclear bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It soon became apparent that such weaponry, collected in vast and spreading arsenals, had (and still has) the power to quite literally take history out of our hands. In this century, even a “limited” regional war with such weaponry could create a nuclear winter that might starve billions. That version of Armageddon has at least been postponed time and again since August 1945, but as it happened, humanity proved quite capable of coming up with another version of ultimate disaster, even if its effects, no less calamitous, happen not with the speed of an exploding nuclear weapon, but over the years, the decades, the centuries.

Donald Trump was the messenger from hell when it came to a falling empire on a failing planet. Whether, on such a changing world, the next empire or empires, China or unknown powers to come, can rise in the normal fashion remains to be seen. As does whether, on such a planet, some other way of organizing human life, some potentially better, more empathetic way of dealing with the world and ourselves will be found.

Just know that the rise and fall of history, as it always was, is no more. The rest, I suppose, is still ours to discover, for better or for worse.


Don midwest
Don midwest

Ding-dong, the jerk is gone. But read this before you sing the Hallelujah Chorus: Trump’s defeat is a time for celebrating – let us praise God for victory. But let us also show some humility in our triumph, and think about how we got here

Ding-dong, the jerk is gone. Finally, we have come to the end of Donald Trump’s season of extreme misrule. Voters have rejected what can only be described as the crassest, vainest, stupidest, most dysfunctional leadership this country has ever suffered.

Biden’s instinct, naturally, will be to govern as he always legislated: as a man of the center who works with Republicans to craft small-bore, business-friendly measures. After all, Biden’s name is virtually synonymous with Washington consensus. His years in the US Senate overlap almost precisely with his party’s famous turn to the “third way” right, and Biden personally played a leading role in many of the signature initiatives of the era: Nafta-style trade agreements, lucrative favors for banks, tough-on-crime measures, proposed cuts to social security, even.

What Biden must understand now, however, is that it was precisely this turn, this rightward shift in the 1980s and 90s, that set the stage for Trumpism.

Let us recall for a moment what that turn looked like. No longer were Democrats going to be the party of working people, they told us in those days. They were “new Democrats” now, preaching competence rather than ideology and reaching out to new constituencies: the enlightened suburbanites; the “wired workers”; the “learning class”; the winners in our new post-industrial society.

But the biggest consequence of the Democrats’ shabby experiment is one we have yet to reckon with: it has coincided with a period of ever more conservative governance. It turns out that when the party of the left abandons its populist traditions for high-minded white-collar rectitude, the road is cleared for a particularly poisonous species of rightwing demagoguery. It is no coincidence that, as Democrats pursued their professional-class “third way”, Republicans became ever bolder in their preposterous claim to be a “workers’ party” representing the aspirations of ordinary people.

When Democrats abandoned their majoritarian tradition, in other words, Republicans hastened to stake their own claim to it. For the last 30 years it has been the right, not the left, that rails against “elites” and that champions our down-home values in the face of the celebrities who mock them. During the 2008 financial crisis conservatives actually launched a hard-times protest movement from the floor of the Chicago board of trade; in the 2016 campaign they described their foul-mouthed champion, Trump, as a “blue-collar billionaire”, kin to and protector of the lowly – the lowly and the white, that is.


I haven’t listened to the whole video yet (at bottom of thread), but i like zei’s explanation. I did listen to the very first, 2 min. vid, w/the explanation of the two kinds of labor, whatchyamacallit and surplus. so during, say, 9-2 (variable), a worker produces value that pays for their wages. after that, it’s basically profit. As zei says, the variable is really doing its thing, with robotics and AI.

Summing it up:

the only thing we don’t know is whether they’ll be successful in creating some kind of neoliberal hellscape, where most can barely survive through some UBI while they live as kings, or whether we’ll go extinct through climate change. or, you know, socialism.

(didn’t show the tweet)

Basically, zei says this is the “best introduction I’ve come across of marx’s labour theory of value and theory of crisis” he’s seen.