Jim Hightower from Creators Syndicate https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower Creators Syndicate is an international syndication company that represents cartoonists and columnists of the highest caliber. en Fri, 26 May 2017 09:55:28 -0700 https://www.creators.com/ http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/tech/rss Jim Hightower from Creators Syndicate https://cdn.creators.com/features/jim-hightower-thumb.jpg https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower c9a6c1292ec7eed9c2cc669ab0cd5a30 What is Worse Than Being Poor? for 05/24/2017 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/05/17/what-is-worse-than-being-poor Wed, 24 May 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p>These are hard times for America's gold miners. They're struggling to haul wealth out of the land, but seeing their pay dropping further and further down.</p> <p>Take Bob Mercer, who's been a top miner for years, but last year, (which has been described as somewhere between lackluster and catastrophic) even Bob was down. He pulled in only $125 million in pay. Can you feel Bob's pain?</p> <p>No, these are not your normal miners. They are hedge fund managers, digging for gold in the Wonderland of Wall Street. If you divided Bob Mercer's pay in his "bad year" among 1,000 real miners doing honest work, they'd consider it a fabulous year. Hedge funds are almost literally gold mines, though they require no heavy lifting by the soft-handed, Gucci-wearing managers who work them. These gold diggers are basically nothing but speculators, drawing billions of dollars from the uber-rich by promising that they are investment geniuses who will deliver fabulous profits for them. But the scam is that Mercer and his fellow diggers get paid regardless of whether they deliver or not. <p>Updated: Wed May 24, 2017</p> 9ded790cea07ffe1b367a12cf92ae6eb Stop Blaming Workers, The Bosses Made This Mess for 05/17/2017 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/05/17/stop-blaming-workers-the-bosses-made-this-mess Wed, 17 May 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>The wailing in our country about the "invasion of immigrants" has been long and loud. As one complainant put it, "Few of their children in the country learn English... The signs in our streets have inscriptions in both languages... Unless the stream of the importation could be turned they will soon so outnumber us that all the advantages we have will not be able to preserve our language, and even our government will become precarious."</p> <p>That's not some diatribe from the alt-right. It's the anxious cry of none other than Ben Franklin, deploring the wave of Germans pouring into the colony of Pennsylvania in the 1750s. Thus, anti-immigrant eruptions are older than the U.S. itself, and they've flared up periodically throughout our history, targeting the Irish, French, Italians and Chinese among others. Even Donald Trump's project to wall off our border is not a new bit of nuttiness &#8212; around the time of the nation's founding, John Jay, who later became the first chief justice of the Supreme Court, proposed "a wall of brass around the country for the exclusion of Catholics."<p>Updated: Wed May 17, 2017</p> 5849f953d93f4e1256de7102936614d6 Trumpty Dumpty for 05/10/2017 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/05/17/trumpty-dumpty Wed, 10 May 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p><i> Comandante </i> Trump, <i> El Jefe, </i> the gringo strongman!</p> <p>That's the image our current Commander-in-Chief seems to be cultivating. He has surrounded himself with generals, he cavalierly threatens war with all "bad hombres," he is drastically bulking up military spending and he imperiously slaps foreign leaders, whole ethnic groups, and entire nations with demeaning tweets and public rants. Posing as Patton-on-the-Potomac, President Donald Trump is out to "Make America Feared Again."<p>Updated: Wed May 10, 2017</p> 60d07073d432536424eef0472eecca49 Populism is Not About Mobs, Anti-Government Rants or Opinion Polls for 05/03/2017 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/05/17/populism-is-not-about-mobs-anti-government-rants-or-opinion-polls Wed, 03 May 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p>If a political pollster asked whether I consider myself a conservative or a liberal, I'd answer, "No."</p> <p>Not to be cute &#8212; I have a bit of both in me &#8212; but because, like most Americans, my beliefs can't be squeezed into either of the tidy little boxes that the establishment provides.</p> <p>I've observed that the true political spectrum in our society does not range from right to left, but from top to bottom. This is how America's economic and political systems really shake out, with each of us located somewhere high or low that spectrum. Right to left is political theory; top to bottom is the reality we actually experience in our lives every day &#8212; and the vast majority of Americans know that they're not even within shouting distance of the moneyed powers that rule from the top of both systems, whether those elites call themselves conservatives or liberals.<p>Updated: Wed May 03, 2017</p> 8c60a80877aa678376ffa823dcd37787 How To Keep 'Public' And 'Service' In Our Public Postal Service for 04/26/2017 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/04/17/how-to-keep-public-and-service-in-our-public-postal-service Wed, 26 Apr 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Journalism, which is supposed to help make sense of our turbulent world, can't seem to make sense of itself.</p> <p>In addition to "news" (which involves reporting on stuff that's real) we're now getting "fake news" (stuff that's completely made up). But wait &#8212; the barons of corporate news are adding to today's tumultuous state of journalism by putting out feeds of "BS news" (stuff they know is untrue but reported as fact, because it advances their political agenda).<p>Updated: Wed Apr 26, 2017</p> 776a1df0670c1743b77e541d1cf4387c To Have A People's Government, We The People Must Build It for 04/19/2017 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/04/17/to-have-a-peoples-government-we-the-people-must-build-it Wed, 19 Apr 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p>In high school, I had a girlfriend who was involved in student government and all sorts of good works. While she paid attention to all that was happening in those years of the early '60s, she essentially was a moderate &#8212; certainly not some movement rebel. Or so we thought... until one lazy, Sunday afternoon. As we aimlessly "cruised the drag" of our small town in a '54 Chevy, we were paused at a red light across from a root beer stand where some teens were hanging out. Suddenly, my "moderate" girlfriend lunged halfway out of the backseat window and <i> shouted </i> "Wake up and piss, kids, the world's on fire!"</p> <p>I stared at her wide-eyed and whopperjawed, wondering where that came from. </p> <p>I've thought of that moment recently as I've seen instance after instance of the innate rebelliousness of the American people erupting across the country in surprising ways, unexpected numbers, and with astonishing intensity. No need to wonder where this comes from, however. The outbursts are a spontaneous, rapidly expanding mass rejection of Trumpism.<p>Updated: Wed Apr 19, 2017</p> f725cdb9e7071e350d291ecfdad78b2d How Can We Stop Banksters From Robbing Us? for 04/12/2017 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/04/17/how-can-we-stop-banksters-from-robbing-us Wed, 12 Apr 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p>In an insightful song about outlaws, Woody Guthrie wrote this verse: "As through this world I travel/ I see lots of funny men/ Some'll rob you with a 6-gun/ Some with a fountain pen."</p> <p>The fountain pens are doing the serious stealing these days. For example, while you would get hard time in prison for robbing a bank at gunpoint, bankers who rob customers with a flick of their fountain pens (or a click of their computer mouse) get multimillion-dollar payouts, and they usually escape their crimes unpunished. After all, it's their constant, egregious, gluttonous thievery that has made "banker" a four-letter word in America, synonymous with immoral, self-serving behavior.</p> <p>Take John Stumpf, for example. The preening, silver-haired, exquisitely-tailored CEO of Wells Fargo was positioned on the top roost of the financial establishment and hailed as a paragon of big-banker virtue... until he suddenly fell off his lofty perch. <p>Updated: Wed Apr 12, 2017</p> 0b99384369c52af36faaa71efae361c7 Activism Is The Only Hope Of Restoring America's Democratic Principles for 04/05/2017 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/04/17/activism-is-the-only-hope-of-restoring-americas-democratic-principles Wed, 05 Apr 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>The list of progressive innovations at the grassroots level goes on and on, dealing with one big, complex issue after another that small-minded, corporatist ideologues refuse to tackle (often under the "principle" that government &#8212; i.e., the public, i.e., you and me &#8212; shouldn't be involved). Not only should we, but we must, for our activism is the only hope of restoring America's democratic principles and uniting ethic of the common good. </p> <p>For instance, homelessness, we're told by pious politicos, is impossible to cure, and so more and more cities are resorting to criminalizing people struggling to live on the streets. But wait, say proponents of a new way of thinking: Yes, some street people are addicts or mentally ill, but the vast majority are out there because they lost jobs, got hit with major medical bills, suffered family violence or had other personal crises. And, get this &#8212; they're homeless because they don't have a place to live! Until the 1980s, when Ronald Reagan reduced tax incentives for developers to create low-income homes, America didn't have mass homelessness. <span class="column--highlighted-text">But now we're millions of units short of housing that hard-hit people and families can afford. So why not address the cause?</span><p>Updated: Wed Apr 05, 2017</p> 53c0fc445890de3fba3fc88fd64ecac9 A Clueless Dealmaker's Deal Goes Down for 03/29/2017 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/03/17/a-clueless-dealmakers-deal-goes-down Wed, 29 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Question: What do you get when you mix together a barrel of fables, a sack of mendacity, a gross of hyperboles, a bucket of spite and a jar of venomous vituperation &#8212; all covered with a thick layer of subterfuge? Answer: the fiasco called Trumpcare.</p> <p>Why? That's the big question the mass media is asking about the sudden failure of the Republican leaders' relentless seven-year push to demonize and kill Obamacare.<p>Updated: Wed Mar 29, 2017</p> c70b502118ea98c6bb382c1799ba475f Real News for 03/22/2017 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/03/17/real-news Wed, 22 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p>A decade ago, some barons of the media establishment designated themselves America's official arbiters of political truth. One of their tools is PolitiFact, a project of the Tampa Bay Times and several other major newspapers, which issues an award for the year's most outrageous falsehood. Last year's election was infested with so much disinformation and dishonesty, however, that PolitiFact's 2016 Lie of the Year was not a single prevarication, but that cluster bomb of whoppers collectively branded "Fake News."</p> <p>Just as troubling as fake news is the media's systematic omission of grassroots news that people could really use. What's missing is real news of the ordinary Americans in practically every zip code, who are finding innovative solutions to big problems that the elites do nothing about. Uplifting local actions are blooming throughout our land, yet most people are unaware of them or the results: that people and communities everywhere are breaking the corporate chains that shackle them. Here are a few examples:</p> <p>Inequality. In 2014, American CEOs earned 350 times more than the average worker, creating the world's greatest income gap. Washington's response to the grotesque inequity has been to blow political hot air at it and hope it drifts away. It hasn't. So, in December, the mayor and city council of Portland, Oregon, decided to stop talking about the ever-widening gap and actually try to shrink it. They added a surcharge to the local tax bill of any corporation that gives its top exec more than 100 times the median pay of its rank and-file employees, providing a financial incentive for corporate boards to seek some balance and at least to consider pay fairness. The main sponsor of the provision called it, "The closest thing I'd seen to a tax on inequality itself." The mayor called Portlanders problem solvers willing to tackle big issues and test new ideas that can be adapted and refined by others: "Local action replicated around the country can start to make a difference."<p>Updated: Wed Mar 22, 2017</p> fb278073d24f23ebd3075947bd8673c7 How Magical Is Donald Trump? for 03/15/2017 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/03/17/how-magical-is-donald-trump Wed, 15 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Trump & Company claim they have a sweeping mandate from voters to remake America &#8212;but wait, it is just a magic trick &#8212; almost half of the electorate chose not to vote in last November's presidential election. </p> <p>Here's another fact: Those of us fighting for populist justice are stronger than we've been in decades. But how can that be, since Trump is in the White House? Because the vast majority of people agree with the ideals, issues and ideas of progressive populism, not with Trumpism. Even most of his supporters were not voting for what they're getting &#8212; a plutocratic/autocratic agenda that'll steamroll the working class and poor.</p> <p>Trump was not elected on issues, but on anger. Yes, many white supremacists, misogynists, nativists and xenophobes did turn out to support his raw bigotry, but a lot of Trump voters simply heard him speaking one truth repeatedly: The system is rigged by and for the elites. That group of voters was filled with a deep, seething fury created by corporate, political, and authoritarian elites who've been flattening the majority of people for years, then callously stepping over them as if they don't exist. That's true &#8212; so the riggees, furious at being flattened by the corporate and political powers, saw Trump as a great big bois d'arc stick they could grab to thump the whole smug establishment upside its collective head.<p>Updated: Wed Mar 15, 2017</p> f68c606af69c873b19ea359d6b2a39e9 What Should We Do About a Mentally Ill President? for 03/08/2017 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/03/17/what-should-we-do-about-a-mentally-ill-president Wed, 08 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>It's time to face up to the obvious: The President of the United States is deranged.</p> <p><span class="column--highlighted-text">I don't mean that he's merely idiosyncratic or pushing policies that I think are crazy, nor do I say this as just another political jab. I mean that Donald J. Trump literally is mentally ill.</span><p>Updated: Wed Mar 08, 2017</p> e2f58162dde1e787924c469477ed5b2a The Chicken and the Egg for 03/01/2017 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/03/17/the-chicken-and-the-egg Wed, 01 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Those who say that we ordinary people can't have any effect on today's corporate behemoths should check out two breakthroughs last year by a group the establishment has long derided as somewhere between wacko and criminal: animal rights activists. Members of groups like the Humane Society get demonized, outlawed, sued and jailed by agribusiness interests for persisting in trying to make life even slightly less awful for animals captured in America's industrial food system. But 2016 was a good year for those groups ... and for the animals.</p> <p>Let's look at Perdue Farms. Perdue is a $6 billion poultry giant (the fourth largest in the U.S., producing 676 million chickens in 2015). It has been a major pusher of the industry line that there's nothing wrong or cruel about breeding birds with breasts so heavy that they can't stand, or keeping them jammed so tightly in cages that they can't spread their wings, or denying them access to the outdoors &#8212; or even sunlight. But Jim Perdue, grandson of the founder and now CEO, was having trouble reconciling his corporation's rhetoric with hard reality. After listening to critics, he began discussing alternatives with the animal rights group Compassion in World Farming.</p> <p>Then, on July 1 &#8212; <i> bam </i> &#8212; Perdue announced a wholesale shift in his company's approach to handling the birds, including providing them with lots of sunlight; giving them space to run, flap wings, and play; breeding smaller, healthier birds; and using more humane slaughter methods. Also, Perdue will compensate growers not just to cut costs, but also for enhancing the birds' quality of life. One of the industry rationales for cruelty is that kindness raises prices and cuts profits. But Perdue is finding that healthier birds actually reduce costs, and that more humane practices attract supermarkets, restaurants, and families to Perdue's products. Success by Perdue could shift the whole miserable industry.<p>Updated: Wed Mar 01, 2017</p> 8648403da41fba16970ec811a0afa5ef Wall Street Plowboys for 02/22/2017 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/02/17/wall-street-plowboys Wed, 22 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0800 <p>John Steinbeck's novel "Grapes of Wrath." Woody Guthrie's ballad "Deportee." Edward R. Murrow's documentary "Harvest of Shame." Every decade or so, the public is shocked by yet another discovery that migrant farmworkers are being horribly abused by the wealthy masters of the corporate food system. And here we go again.</p> <p>Last November, the New York Times reported that the workers who grow and harvest the cornucopia of fruit and veggies in the rich fields of California's Salinas Valley live in a constant crisis of poverty, malnutrition and homelessness. Toiling in "America's salad bowl," they literally cannot afford to eat the fresh, nutritious edibles they produce.</p> <p>The Valley is a gold mine of groceries, generating billions of dollars in sales that have enriched landowners and corporate executives and turned Salinas Valley into farm country with Silicon Valley prices. Unable to afford good food, the workers eat poorly &#8212; 85 percent are overweight or obese, and nearly six out of 10 have been diagnosed with diabetes (while many more, uninsured and unable to afford testing, go undiagnosed). Especially appalling, about a third of elementary schoolchildren in the Salinas City district are homeless. They sleep with their families in tents, abandoned buildings, tool sheds, chicken coops, or on the ground, next to the rows of crops they tend.<p>Updated: Wed Feb 22, 2017</p> 7c5099a1f9ca585f2a043dd5ef0f91b6 It's Time To Put Food Policy Back On The Table for 02/15/2017 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/02/17/its-time-to-put-food-policy-back-on-the-table Wed, 15 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>During the farm crisis of the 1980s, an Iowa farmer asked if I knew the difference between a family farmer and a pigeon. When I said no, he delighted in explaining: "A pigeon can still make a deposit on a new John Deere."</p> <p>That's funny &#8212; except, it really wasn't. Worse, the bitter reality of the tractor joke is still true: The farm crisis has not gone away, though hundreds of thousands of farm families have. <span class="column--highlighted-text">The economic devastation in farm country continues unabated as agribusiness profiteers, Wall Street speculators, urban sprawlers and corrupted political elites squeeze the life out of farmers and rural America.</span><p>Updated: Wed Feb 15, 2017</p> 26c11de676cd91b3871c75f0ab849ac3 Hallelujah, Trump Rushes to Aid the Needy! for 02/08/2017 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/02/17/hallelujah-trump-rushes-to-aid-the-needy Wed, 08 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Of all the economic pain in America that Washington ought to be relieving, what group would you choose as the top priority?</p> <p>Public opinion surveys consistently reveal that the great majority of us say that people on the lower rungs of the economic ladder &#8212; the poor and the failing middle class&#8212; are the ones Congress should focus on. But, then, regular people don't run Congress &#8212; or Donald Trump's White House.<p>Updated: Wed Feb 08, 2017</p> e9ffeeb42111bd16a1f4c3139bce8d28 Is Trump's America Our America? for 02/01/2017 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/02/17/is-trumps-america-our-america Wed, 01 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Who are we? </p> <p>Are we the great America of courage, spunk, openness, inclusion, opportunity and democratic promise &#8212; as expressed in the Declaration of Independence, the Preamble to the Constitution, Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, Roosevelt's Four Freedoms and Emma Lazarus' sonnet engraved on the Statue of Liberty?</p> <p>Or are we the sad America of fear, cowardice, bigotry, xenophobia, intolerance and autocracy &#8212; negative traits emanating from the darkness of Donald Trump's miserable dystopian view of our society, which has now resulted in him unilaterally imposing a contemptible and chaotic ban on immigrants from seven Muslim nations.<p>Updated: Wed Feb 01, 2017</p> 66bbf7d05cf11c7dafe714a597fce8d5 Why So Many People Loathe Congress for 01/25/2017 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/01/17/why-so-many-people-loathe-congress Wed, 25 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Uncle Sam wants you!</p> <p>Not the symbolic Uncle Sam, but Sam Johnson. Although he's been a member of Congress more than a quarter of a century, it's unlikely you've ever heard of him. He's a lawmaker who holds a congressional seat, but just sits in it, achieving so little that he's unnoticeable. </p> <p>But look out! Johnson has suddenly leapt into action. And we all need to take notice, because this Texas Republican has unveiled what he calls his "Plan to Permanently Save Social Security." <p>Updated: Wed Jan 25, 2017</p> 6f2afff0bbdf622589c1a48099b7bfef We Can Beat Back the Reign of Trump for 01/18/2017 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/01/17/we-can-beat-back-the-reign-of-trump Wed, 18 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Buckle up, friends. Most Americans are about to be detoured onto a rough and rocky back road called "Trump Way." The autocratic tycoon was unabashed on the campaign trail in promising his victory would ensure millions of people a dire future, including mass deportations of immigrants, refugee bans and frontal assaults on women. But they're not the only ominous prospects. It will surprise many of the working stiffs who voted for the blustery billionaire to learn something he didn't communicate in his hectoring, "truth-telling" speeches: <span class="column--highlighted-text">His little-discussed economic agenda is filled with provisions that would permit 1-percenters to travel more luxuriously than ever in the smooth, fast lanes of life, while the middle class and the poor are flagged onto Trump Way for a hairy, four-year ride of even more downward mobility.</span> The proposed package includes:</p> <p>&#8212;Immediately seizing control of the National Labor Relations Board, turning it into a corporate bulldozer to destroy workers' rights, particularly the right to organize unions<p>Updated: Wed Jan 18, 2017</p> 2c60f3055aca34840938ce4e3d6c48c5 Searching for Integrity in Trumplandia for 01/11/2017 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/01/17/searching-for-integrity-in-trumplandia Wed, 11 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0800 <p>It's about time America has a president who will stand up to those greed-headed corporate executives who keep hauling our middle-class jobs out of country. Bring those jobs back home, Donald Trump bellowed, or I'll slap you with a huuuge tariff when you try to sell your foreign-made products here.</p> <p>Great stuff, Donnie. And to prove you mean business, I know just the CEO you should target first: Her name is Ivanka. Yes, your daughter! </p> <p>Ivanka's multimillion-dollar line of clothing and accessories are sold through major national retailers, ranging from Macy's to Amazon, and she pitches her Ivanka Trump-branded dresses, handbags, boots, blouses, etc. to America's working women. Yet, practically all of her products are made on the cheap in factories anywhere but America, with most coming from the low-wage bastions of China, Indonesia and Vietnam. Imagine the message it would send to runaway corporations and the integrity it would establish for The Donald if he slapped his first tariffs on Ivanka's goods!<p>Updated: Wed Jan 11, 2017</p>