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 Mon, 27 Feb 2017 20:59:23 -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 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> 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>