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, 09 Dec 2016 18:43:15 -0800 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 31092e6c44ee66ebc9f384065432d7fd Augustus Trumpus for 12/07/2016 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/12/16/augustus-trumpus Wed, 07 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>All hail Augustus Trumpus! All hail the American Putin, whom none can criticize! All hail the Great All Knowing One, who reveals "realities" that are not there and finds "facts" that mere mortals cannot detect.</p> <p>Once again, The Amazing Donald has demonstrated his phantasmagoric power of perception, having a new outcome in November's election that others haven't seen. Trump has been greatly perturbed by the official results, which showed that while he won the electoral college majority, he was not the people's choice. Instead, Hillary Clinton won the popular balloting by a margin of more than two million votes. Growing increasingly furious at this affront to his supernatural sense of self, the master of factual flexibility went on Twitter with an amazing revelation: "I won the popular vote," decreed our incoming tweeter in chief!<p>Updated: Wed Dec 07, 2016</p> af96c7246089e167f5a55abaa9610f0a The New Founder, Brought to You by the Koch Brothers for 11/30/2016 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/11/16/the-new-founder-brought-to-you-by-the-koch-brothers Wed, 30 Nov 2016 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p></p><p>When you think of America's great Constitutional originators, names like Madison, Adams, Jefferson, Washington, Hamilton and Franklin come to mind. And, of course, Abbott. <p>Updated: Wed Nov 30, 2016</p> ef186e5be2a4fc8319c929a269d04b68 Bing Bing, Bong Bong, Bing Bing for 11/23/2016 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/11/16/bing-bing-bong-bong-bing-bing Wed, 23 Nov 2016 00:00:00 -0800 <p>What an election year. I feel like I've been transported through a cosmic squirrel hole and into a baffling political universe where facts are fiction, bizarre is normal and corruption is a virtue. Am I hallucinating? Or has this insanity really happened?</p> <p>Since I can't yet conjure up the deep meanings (or lack thereof) in this year's national vote, I'll offer instead a reflection on some of the oddities from this rutted and pot-holed general election road we've traveled, jouncing through the destruction brought largely by the furies howling from deep within The Donald.</p> <p>Trump on his own splendiforousness:<p>Updated: Wed Nov 23, 2016</p> d5e79845960c369ceda75dcc32cb9a32 The Koch Connection for 11/16/2016 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/11/16/the-koch-connection Wed, 16 Nov 2016 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Tug on any right-wing thread in America and you'll most likely find that it's tied to the multi-billionaire Koch boys, Charles and David. While the brothers are infamous for funneling hundreds of millions of campaign dollars to presidential, congressional and gubernatorial politicos willing to embrace their self-serving agenda, few know of their equally self-serving push to bend whole state governments their way. In addition to the $37 million that their industrial conglomerate, Koch Industries, has pumped into politicians, PACs and ballot initiatives in the past two decades, the Kochs are dominant players in all things American Legislative Exchange Council:</p> <p>&#8212;To keep watch on the front group, the Kochs placed their own lobbyist on ALEC's corporate board.</p> <p>&#8212;At least five Koch-funded groups are sponsors of and active participants in ALEC, including Americans for Prosperity, State Policy Network (a coordinating body for Koch-minded think tanks in all 50 states), Heartland Institute, Mercatus Center and the Texas Public Policy Foundation.<p>Updated: Wed Nov 16, 2016</p> 14f9b662cd11fcfffb1a95e2028edee3 Takeaways from the Election for 11/09/2016 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/11/16/takeaways-from-the-election Wed, 09 Nov 2016 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Buckle-up, friends, it's going to be a hairy ride.</p> <p>Start with Day One for President Trump (gotta get used to saying that). He will need to be up-and-at-'em no later than 12:01 a.m., for during his campaign he promised to get oodles of big stuff done on his very first day in office: Repeal Obamacare; begin working on impenetrable, physical, tall, powerful, beautiful, southern border wall; meet with Homeland security officials and generals to begin securing the Southern border; fix the Department of Veterans Affairs; repeal every single Obama executive order; suspend Syrian refugee resettlement; get rid of gun-free zones in schools; end the war on coal; defend the unborn; start taking care of ... our military; and convene top generals and inform them they have 30 days to come up with a plan to stop ISIS. </p> <p>Good grief! <span class="column--highlighted-text">Americans have actually put a xenophobic-misogynous-racist-nativist-narcissistic blowhard in the Oval Office. </span>Has our country gone right-wing? Or completely nuts? <p>Updated: Fri Nov 11, 2016</p> e63b3cea1aa02d8b8d7fbe73a55d9cc6 Why We Should Reach Across Borders, Not Close Them for 11/02/2016 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/11/16/why-we-should-reach-across-borders-not-close-them Wed, 02 Nov 2016 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>A nation's border is nothing in and of itself. It's just an inanimate line on a map, in the dirt, on a riverbank. It has no philosophy, personality, feelings or meaning &#8212; beyond what people on either side attribute to it.</p> <p>Unfortunately, thanks to Donnie Trump's xenophobic demagoguery in this presidential election, America finds itself in a destructive border war &#8212; not with Mexico, but with itself. In his rallies, he leads his true believers in angry chants of "Build that wall!" He's demanding that our Southwestern border with Mexico be turned into a hostile barrier of national, cultural and racial separation that will physically scream at Latino people: "KEEP OUT!"<p>Updated: Wed Nov 02, 2016</p> f402e72ad31d0d953d2e75f547776820 The Cannon Ball Saga, An Epic Story From The American Heartland for 10/26/2016 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/10/16/the-cannon-ball-saga-an-epic-story-from-the-american-heartland Wed, 26 Oct 2016 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>There is an epic clash of two cultures &#8212; one with a guiding ethic of harmony between people and nature, the other driven by an ethos that encourages the exploitation of both. Yet, for months, our clueless media gave this match-up little coverage. </p> <p>For the face-off is between Energy Transfer Partners, one of the world's largest pipeline corporations, and the Standing Rock Lakota Sioux Tribe. It's not merely big news, but the panoramic story of America itself. It's a <i>real</i> reality show &#8212; a cultural, political and moral drama featuring raw greed, grassroots courage, class war, ancient rites, human rights, defenders of the common good, the most nefarious Texas oilman since J. R. Ewing, a historic gathering of Native tribes and a Bull-Connor-style sheriff &#8212; all on location near a North Dakota town named Cannon Ball!<p>Updated: Wed Oct 26, 2016</p> f291c940cdbd965fe87e73fe65373c2a A Tale of Two Pipes for 10/19/2016 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/10/16/a-tale-of-two-pipes Wed, 19 Oct 2016 00:00:00 -0700 <p>In bad movies (and bad history alike), the Native American ceremonial pipe figured prominently as symbol of defeat &#8212; typically in a cliched scene of subdued chieftains signing a treaty of surrender and passing around a "peace pipe" in a sorrowful gesture to seal the raw deal.</p> <p>The reality is that the communal smoking of a ceremonial pipe, often filled with tobacco, is a centuries-old tradition rich in spiritual meaning for many Native people who see it as an eternal channel through which tribes seek metaphysical strength, courage and endurance. The ceremonial pipe both shapes and conveys Native people's living history, a story that's perpetually being written. </p> <p>Indeed, a dramatic new chapter is unfolding this year in a volatile confrontation on a remote stretch of the Northern Plains in rural North Dakota. It's a "Battle of Two Pipes," pitting the cultural power symbolized by the Native American pipe against the bruising financial power of a giant pipeline, owned by Energy Transfer Partners.<p>Updated: Wed Oct 19, 2016</p> 2d11385af84e5239ba8e818d24787393 The Ethical Rot of Wells Fargo, From the Top Down for 10/12/2016 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/10/16/the-ethical-rot-of-wells-fargo-from-the-top-down Wed, 12 Oct 2016 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Just when you thought that Big Banker greed surely bottomed out with 2008's Wall Street crash and bailout, along comes Wells Fargo, burrowing even deeper into the ethical slime to reach a previously unimaginable level of corporate depravity.</p> <p>It's one thing for these giants of finance to cook the books or defraud investors, but top executives of Wells Fargo have been profiteering for years by literally forcing their employees to rob the bank's customers. Rather than a culture of service, executives have pushed a high-pressure "sales culture" at least since 2009, demanding that front-line employees meet extreme quotas of selling myriad unnecessary bank products to common depositors who just wanted a simple checking account. Employees were expected to load each customer with at least eight accounts, and employees were monitored constantly on meeting their quotas &#8212; fail and they'd be fired.<p>Updated: Wed Oct 12, 2016</p> f735a214472876a0c68cbb4647f4a6da It's for 10/05/2016 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/10/16/its-our-revolution-and-its-on-the-move Wed, 05 Oct 2016 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Revolutions R Us! From the big one in 1776 that created our nation to Bernie Sanders' 2016 political uprising against America's new plutocratic elites, democratic change comes when workaday people start standing up to the bosses, bankers, big shots, bastards, and BSers who are knocking us down. </p> <p><span class="column--highlighted-text">But wait, you say, Bernie lost! Where's the revolution in that? It's in you and me.</span> <p>Updated: Wed Oct 05, 2016</p> 02b2ad0cc2e44936d1e7d305465d7a0f Laboratories of Democracy for 09/28/2016 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/09/16/laboratories-of-democracy Wed, 28 Sep 2016 00:00:00 -0700 <p>In a 1932 dissenting opinion, Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis noted that the benefit of America's federal structure is that "a single courageous state may, if its citizens choose, serve as a laboratory; and try novel social and economic experiments without risk to the rest of the country."</p> <p>During my two terms as Texas Agriculture Commissioner, I was lucky enough to get the chance to put the Brandeis proposition into practice. There, we succeeded in establishing a broad network of farmers markets, providing state certification and labeling for organic products, promulgating comprehensive pesticide protections, creating food marketing co-ops, encouraging farmers to grow high-value nonconventional crops (from apples to wine grapes), financing and developing locally-owned ag processing facilities, opening the doors of corporate-controlled commerce so small farmers and food artisans could sell their products in supermarkets and even in international markets, and promoting both water conservation and the use of renewable energy sources, Brandeis' "laboratory" realized!</p> <p>But &#8212; oops &#8212; meet unintended consequences of Brandeisian theory: The gaggle of small-minded, far-right extremists who've grabbed the levers of gubernatorial power and established notoriously regressive regimes in Wisconsin, North Carolina, Kansas, Florida, Maine, Michigan, Arizona, Oklahoma, Indiana, and Texas. These governors share an uncanny uniformity in the policies (written by the American Legislative Exchange Council or ALEC) they push and the political language they use &#8212; as if operating from a common plan, advancing the same duo of governmental goals:<p>Updated: Wed Sep 28, 2016</p> 5ab5d94df22847e3935c9bd798c70ccf Donnie is a Trumpist, not a Populist for 09/21/2016 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/09/16/donnie-is-a-trumpist-not-a-populist Wed, 21 Sep 2016 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>To many hard-working people, this is a time of economic uncertainty. Thus, it is important to point out that America's superrich are intentionally and brazenly knocking down the middle class and poor to further enrich themselves. They are aided by clueless, corrupt politicians who don't care about the future of ordinary Americans or of America itself. In these hard times, along comes Donald J. Trump, a swaggering billionaire braggart promising greatness by goading working-class white people into mollifying their pain and anxiety by despising those "other people" situated near them on the social-economic ladder.</p> <p>The media establishment has erroneously put the "populist" crown on Trump, endorsing his absurd assertion that he might be a billionaire, but he's "our" billionaire, fighting for us commoners!<p>Updated: Wed Sep 21, 2016</p> 60b96c11e32dd3dfb497891a5733e0c5 What Can You Possibly Buy for 47 Cents These Days? for 09/15/2016 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/09/16/what-can-you-possibly-buy-for-47-cents-these-days Thu, 15 Sep 2016 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Although most of us take it for granted, America's postal service is an amazing bargain. For only 47 cents, you can purchase A "Forever" postage stamp.</p> <p>Buy one 47-cent stamp, and postal workers will deliver your envelope to any address in the country by plane, train, bus, boat, truck, car, bike, pushcart, mule, on-foot or all of the above. Stick it on a letter, document or other missive, and our phenomenal network of postal workers and letter carriers will deliver it within a few days right to the specific mailbox of your addressee in any of the approximately 43,000 zip codes covering every nook and cranny of this vast country. For 47 cents! Also, that "Forever" stamp from our public postal service means it's good for first-class delivery next year, next decade or forever &#8212; protecting you from future increases in stamp prices. What a deal!</p> <p>But to really get your money's worth, mail something to someone in this zip code: 48222. <p>Updated: Thu Sep 15, 2016</p> cff0728c389da9f4d1b654cb426ac4f8 Cleaning Up After Pundits for 09/07/2016 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/09/16/cleaning-up-after-pundits Wed, 07 Sep 2016 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Being a muckracking political writer often makes me feel like a custodian in a horse barn, constantly shoveling manure. It's a messy, stinky job &#8212; but on the bright side, the stuff is plentiful, so the work is steady. Indeed, I'm now a certified Equine Excrement Engineer, having developed a narrow, but important, professional specialty: cleaning off the horsestuff that careless politicos and sloppy media types keep dumping on the word "populist."</p> <p>As you might imagine, in this year of global turmoil, I've been especially busy. Populism &#8212; a luminous term denoting both an uplifting doctrine of egalitarianism and a political-economic-cultural movement with deep roots in America's progressive history &#8212; has been routinely sullied throughout 2016 by elites misusing it as synonym for ignorance and bigotry:</p> <p>&#8212;When right-wing, anti-Muslim mobs in a few European nations literally went to their national borders to block desperate Syrian war refugees from getting safe passing into Europe, most mainline media labeled the boisterous reactionaries "populists."<p>Updated: Wed Sep 07, 2016</p> 314f864c1a53dd98a2da652e46ceb0d3 How Can a CEO Feel Good About Being Vile? for 08/31/2016 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/08/16/how-can-a-ceo-feel-good-about-being-vile Wed, 31 Aug 2016 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Corporate price gouging is never nice. But gouging people on the price of medicines they rely on to stay alive is worse than not nice &#8212; it's predaceously evil.</p> <p>And if you think corporate morality can't go lower than that, how about gouging people on the price of a life-saving medicine in order to jack up the personal pay of a drug maker's CEO? That's the bottom level of grotesque immorality where Heather Bresch dwells. She is chief executive of Mylan, a pharmaceutical profiteer that markets the EpiPen medical device, which literally is a lifesaver for people who suffer deadly anaphylaxis allergy attacks.</p> <p>These allergy attacks kill nearly 200 people a year in the U.S. alone. Within seconds, something as common as peanuts or a bee sting can cause sever rash, swelling of the airways, drops in blood pressure, shock, and if not treated right away, death. So, naturally, we would want to increase access to the life-saving medicine that prevents these attacks, right?<p>Updated: Wed Aug 31, 2016</p> 74c39f22240a572cfee81b5e927dbb89 Why Can't Our Economy Promote Equality and Shared Prosperity? for 08/24/2016 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/08/16/why-cant-our-economy-promote-equality-and-shared-prosperity Wed, 24 Aug 2016 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Instead of griping about the greedheads of Wall Street and the rip-off financial system they've hung around our necks &#8212; why don't we "Take On Wall Street"?</p> <p>You don't have to be in "Who's Who" to know what's what. For example, if tiny groups of Wall Street bankers, billionaires and their political puppets are allowed to write the rules that govern our economy and elections, guess what? Only bankers, billionaires and puppets will profit from those rules.<p>Updated: Wed Aug 24, 2016</p> 4609062b0ef0c0104d3c6e29a2d10073 Donnie's Little Lies are Huuuuuge for 08/17/2016 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/08/16/donnies-little-lies-are-huuuuuge Wed, 17 Aug 2016 00:00:00 -0700 <p>An old saying asserts that falsehoods come in three escalating levels: "Lies, damn lies, and statistics." Now, however, we've been given an even-higher level of intentional deception: Policy speeches by Donald Trump. </p> <p>Take his recent highly publicized address outlining specific economic policies he would push to benefit hard-hit working families. It's an almost-hilarious compilation of Trumpian fabrications, including his bold, statesmanlike discourse on the rank unfairness of the estate tax: "No family will have to pay the death tax," he solemnly pledged, adopting the right-wing pejorative for a tax assessed on certain properties of the dearly departed. Fine, but next came his slick prevarication: "American workers have paid taxes their whole lives, and they should not be taxed again at death." Workers? The tax exempts the first $5.4 million of any deceased person's estate, meaning 99.8 percent of Americans pay absolutely nothing. So Trump is trying to deceive real workers into thinking he's standing for them, when in fact it's his own wealth he's protecting.</p> <p>What a maverick! What a shake-'em-up outsider! What an anti-establishment fighter for working stiffs!<p>Updated: Wed Aug 17, 2016</p> 2d18438fd3a93860f321189e6553c843 Rampaging Debt Collectors are Committing Highway Robbery for 08/10/2016 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/08/16/rampaging-debt-collectors-are-committing-highway-robbery Wed, 10 Aug 2016 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Some corporations engage in such abusive consumer rip-offs that they're just plain evil. But then there are some profiteers that dig even deeper into the dark void of their corporate souls to achieve the ultimate status: TRULY EVIL.</p> <p>Consider the gang of debt collection firms that are thugglishly and lawlessly rampaging across the country ruthlessly abusing consumer rights and common decency. Susan Macharia, a California administrative employee, is one of thousands of middle-income and low-wage workers each year who get robbed by these relentless money grabbers. Out of the blue, she got a rude call in January from a collector demanding she pay $10,000 for a credit card debt she ran up in 2003. </p> <p>Only, Ms. Macharia had no such debt. In fact, as she told the New York Times, she didn't even have a credit card until 2013. Yet, the collection agency declared that it had a copy of a 2006 court judgement for non-payment filed against her, addressed to her California residence &#8212; so, pay up, or else! But wait, she lived in Atlanta in 2006, not California. Nonetheless, ignoring facts, the callous collection outfit got a court to rubber stamp an order to let the creditor garnish Macharia's paycheck, effectively stealing $800 a month from her.<p>Updated: Wed Aug 10, 2016</p> 697351b2772b60009ce9c1c62a795d75 The Populist Insurgency is Ratcheting Up for 08/03/2016 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/08/16/the-populist-insurgency-is-ratcheting-up Wed, 03 Aug 2016 00:00:00 -0700 <p>What an amazing Democratic primary season it was! And we now have this happy result: WE WON! </p> <p>"We" being the millions of young people, mad-as-hell working stiffs, independents, deep-rooted progressives, and other "outsiders" who felt The Bern and forged a new, game-changing, populist force of, by, and for grassroots Americans. True, this progressive-populist coalition did not win the White House on its first go 'round behind the feisty Sanders insurgency (which the the smug political establishment had literally laughed at when he began his run). But they are not laughing now, for even they can see the outsider revolt against the power elites won something even more momentous than the 2016 election: The future.</p> <p>Back in April 2015, when the blunt, democratic socialist from Vermont issued a call for disenchanted voters to join him, not merely in a campaign for the presidency, but in a long-term movement to "revitalize American democracy so that government works for all of us," even his more optimistic backers couldn't have dreamed the movement would come so far so quickly. Let's reflect on some fundamental changes this progressive uprising has achieved in the past 15 months:<p>Updated: Wed Aug 03, 2016</p> 9a4a2facaa7d9a4d8c074b1c6d4a503f Campaigns End on Election Day. Revolutions Don't. for 07/27/2016 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/07/16/campaigns-end-on-election-day-revolutions-dont Wed, 27 Jul 2016 00:00:00 -0700 <p>The fervent prayer of old-line Democratic operatives and corporate funders is that the Sanders Storm will dissipate now that Hillary Clinton will get the nomination, thus allowing politics &#8212; as &#8212; usual to reestablish its grip on the system. Here's why I think they're dead wrong: </p> <p>First, whatever else you think of Clinton, she's certainly smart, savvy, and accomplished, and she didn't come this far by ignoring important shifts in the political winds. As Sanders' tub-thumping message drew huge crowds, new voters, and that deep pool of small donors, she adjusted her wings to try riding some of the powerful thermals rising from America's grassroots. A career-long corporate Democrat, Clinton began sounding more and more like Sanders, sympathizing with the rising fury of working-class families and becoming at least Bernie-lite on several populist proposals.</p> <p>You can view her adaptations as hopeful or hopelessly cynical, but the point is that Clinton recognizes that a new power is loose on the land. Understanding that the same old Bill and Barack moderate corporatism won't charge up the crowds she needs in November, she's scrambling to tap the electric populism of the Bernie Rebellion.<p>Updated: Wed Jul 27, 2016</p>