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 Tue, 25 Apr 2017 14:48:23 -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 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> cd0097fa0cc7b377a426667de95b1313 A Political Party Worth Joining for 01/04/2017 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/01/17/a-political-party-worth-joining Wed, 04 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>The best political party in America is not the Dems nor the Repubs. By far, the best political party is a real party named "Fighting Bob Fest." </p> <p>It's a daylong, outdoor political festival run by a coalition of Wisconsin progressives who believe in "putting the party back in politics." Held in Madison every September, Bob Fest is like a "state fair" of politics, not only featuring give-'em-hell speechifying and hot populist issues &#8212; but also terrific edibles from a dozen food trucks, bottomless kegs of great local beers, lively music, dozens of activist booths, games, political humor, a farmers market and... well, fun!<p>Updated: Wed Jan 04, 2017</p> 07ee8d3863474f70a022337ce7392133 Merry Christmas: Right-Wingers, the Red Pope and Jesus for 12/28/2016 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/12/16/merry-christmas-right-wingers-the-red-pope-and-jesus-64774 Wed, 28 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Aah, 'tis the season for family, friends, eggnog, chipmunks singing Christmas carols &#8212; and all-out, no-mercy, blow-'em-all-to-hell war.</p> <p>Not war like in Afghanistan. No, no &#8212; this is the far right's God-awful "War on Christmas." In this season of Peace on Earth, a delusional faction of rightists has cooked up a hokey "cultural crisis" to rally their own followers by fomenting hatred of ... well, of whom? "Blasphemous-liberal-Democrat-atheist-humanists," they shout! </p> <p>The infidels are not accused of lobbing actual bombs in this "war," but Words of Mass Destruction. Specifically, wail the purists, unholy left-wingers go around saying "happy holidays," rather than "merry Christmas," as Jesus taught us to say. Or was it Constantine the Great in the fourth century who came up with that?<p>Updated: Wed Dec 28, 2016</p> 3d80c013d0d0f2379622acf1f324c6fa What Is the 'Trump Fix'? for 12/21/2016 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/12/16/what-is-the-trump-fix Wed, 21 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>In Donald Trump's presidential campaign, it was his frequent, unbridled slaps at Wall Street elites and arrogant, job-busting corporate executives that gave him the "populistic" patina he needed to win. But wait a minute: Who are those guys escorting The Donald into the Oval Office?</p> <p>Oh, my God, they're Wall Street elites and arrogant corporate executives! Trump campaigned on the theme of remaking Washington by "draining the swamp" of pay-to-play corporate favoritism and cronyism. But those swamp critters are the very ones who are buying favors from the president-to-be by putting up tens of millions of dollars to pay for his inaugural extravaganza and his transition operation.<p>Updated: Wed Dec 21, 2016</p> 58c25919197eea2e5a2429121c3d1704 Why in the World Would Trump Tap Perry to be Energy Secretary? for 12/14/2016 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/12/16/why-in-the-world-would-trump-tap-perry-to-be-energy-secretary Wed, 14 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Perk up people - for I bring you tidings of great joy: Gov. "Oops" is back! </p> <p>Yes, Rick Perry, the former Texas governor who specialized in putting the "goober" in gubernatorial, is being brought back from well-earned obscurity in rural Texas to join the menagerie of characters in "The Donald Show." For us lovers of low political comedy, Perry is literally an early Christmas gift from on high &#8212; not from heaven (not that high), but from the dizzying heights of Trump Tower. That's where the orange-haired Impresario-in-chief has been holding tryouts for his Washington cast, and Perry is a slapstick-perfect choice for Trump's bizarre cabinet.<p>Updated: Wed Dec 14, 2016</p> 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>