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 Sat, 18 Nov 2017 11:13:01 -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 6c35cf31398e0063128451b9c5396080 Donald Trump's Strange Bro-mances with Duterte and Putin for 11/15/2017 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/11/17/donald-trumps-strange-bro-mances-with-duterte-and-putin Wed, 15 Nov 2017 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>"We've had a great relationship," exulted a giddy Donald Trump, following his two-day schmoozefest in Manila with the thuggish president of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte.</p> <p>Duterte, a self-styled "toughie" who boasts of personally killing many people and who likes to compare himself to Satan, has been on a murderous rampage since his election last year. In the name of eliminating drugs, he has unleashed a massive military assault across the country, not merely targeting dealers, but also anyone using drugs. His onslaught against his own people is a human rights atrocity, with untold thousands essentially being executed in what are antiseptically termed "extrajudicial killings" &#8212; ie, illegal, unjustified... murderous.<p>Updated: Wed Nov 15, 2017</p> d4030816d4e5494bcb5ba8d91ad1721b Why Reward Bad Corporate Behavior with More Tax Breaks? for 11/08/2017 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/11/17/why-reward-bad-corporate-behavior-with-more-tax-breaks Wed, 08 Nov 2017 00:00:00 -0800 <p>As anyone who has ever been to any of the many cities that are graced with a Trump hotel, casino, golf resort, etc. likely knows, Donald Trump insists that his name be gaudily displayed in giant letters across every structure he owns &#8212; preferably in gold. </p> <p>Now, he's taken ownership of a massive new structure that'll reach across all of America, and he might not want his name slapped all over this one. It's Trump's towering redo of our country's tax law &#8212; and, no surprise, his plan is truly golden. For the super-rich, that is, revealing in hard numbers whom his presidency really serves: Not just the 1 percent, but especially the 1-percent-of-the-1-percent who are multimillionaires and billionaires... like &#8212; guess who? &#8212; him.</p> <p>First and foremost, the Trump tax plan slashes the payments that giant corporations make to support our nation. He claims that this will let corporate elites raise the wages of workers and create jobs, winking at the fact that, of course, the elites will pocket every dime of Trump's tax giveaways. And he doesn't mention a little secret gotcha: A third of his corporate benefits would go to foreign owners of American corporations.<p>Updated: Wed Nov 08, 2017</p> 587d41f8f1738302e13fc00870d1ca70 Why Does Amazon Get Corporate Welfare? for 11/01/2017 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/10/17/why-does-amazon-get-corporate-welfare Wed, 01 Nov 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Jeffrey Preston Bezos is the man of unbounded ambition who founded Amazon, the online retailing colossus that trumpets itself as "Earth's most customer-centric company." He's considered a model of tech wizardry for having totally reinvented retail marketing for our smart-phone, globally-linked age. Amazon peddles a cornucopia of goods through a convenient "1-click" ordering system, rapidly delivering the goods right to your doorstep. </p> <p>No one has imagined corporate domination more expansively nor pushed it harder or further than Bezos, and his Amazon stands today as the most advanced and the most ambitious model of a future under oligarchic control, including control of markets, work, information, consumerism, media and beyond. He doesn't merely see himself remaking commerce with his vast electronic networks, algorithms and metrics &#8212; but rebooting America itself, including changing our society's concept of a job, the definition of community, and even our basic values of fairness and justice. It amounts to a breathtaking aspiration to transform our culture's democratic paradigm into a corporate imperium, led by Amazon. </p> <p>Amazon's most recent announcement is that it wants to get inside your home &#8212; and, ironically, it's using "security" as its rationale. Rather than Amazon leaving products you order on your doorstep, the corporation wants a key to unlock your door so its delivery crews can do you the favor of placing the products you order inside your abode.<p>Updated: Wed Nov 01, 2017</p> 0b4b1b0723145ce2cc49ec2ec0141a06 Trump's Wars for 10/25/2017 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/10/17/trumps-wars Wed, 25 Oct 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p>So, President Trump makes what was to be a condolence phone call to the young widow of Sgt. La David Johnson, one of the four American soldiers killed on a military patrol in Niger &#8212; and all of a sudden, the White House explodes in yet another political conflagration and a new burst of presidential lies.</p> <p>Was Trump disrespectful to the widow by not referring to her dead husband by name, but as "your guy," then declaring that Sgt. Johnson "knew what he was signing up for"? She and two witnesses to the call say "yes"; Trump and his White House PR flacks issued a furious string of "no."</p> <p>But rather than simply let it go at "no," Trump couldn't resist patting himself on the back and politicizing the whole exchange. He bragged that the has called the family of every soldier killed since he's been commander-in-chief. Turns out the chief lied about that &#8212; many grieving families say they got no call from him. Then he took a cheap shot at Obama and other former presidents, declaring that most of them didn't call any families of dead soldiers. Another lie, for Obama and others did, in fact, make calls.<p>Updated: Wed Oct 25, 2017</p> 86790ac173c96b3de31959503b3c3b9a Are You Ready for Corporate America's Robot Economy? for 10/18/2017 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/10/17/are-you-ready-for-corporate-americas-robot-economy Wed, 18 Oct 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p>With corporations socking away massive profits, and with the labor market fairly tight, why are worker's wages still stuck at miserly and even poverty levels?</p> <p>One big reason is that corporate boards and CEOs have their heads stuck in a dreamy future. Nearly every economic sector is actually spending vast sums of money on workers &#8212; just not human workers. While few Americans are aware of it, bosses are quietly investing in hordes of sophisticated autonomous robots powered by a cognitive technology called artificial intelligence. Instead of paying a decent wage to you, corporations are buying millions of these cheap, human-esque thinking machines in order to take a shocking number of jobs from... well, from you.</p> <p>Accountants, bank loan officers, financial analysts, insurance claims adjustors &#8212; all of these "numbers jobs" are already falling to bots that can calculate much faster and more accurately than people.<p>Updated: Wed Oct 18, 2017</p> 9a08d262f4795ffff1aa2d244a9be008 We are Luddites for 10/11/2017 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/10/17/we-are-luddites Wed, 11 Oct 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p>"THE ROBOTS ARE COMING! THE ROBOTS ARE COMING! ... EEK! THEY'RE ALREADY HERE!"</p> <p>Today's proliferation of industrial robots is an advanced generation of powerful, autonomous machines driven by artificial intelligence. The profiteers and techies propelling us into the deep unknown of a robot economy concede that the fast-evolving machines will be radically disruptive, not just in the workplace, but throughout society. Yet, they insist that AI will end up a godsend, even for the millions "adjusted" out of their jobs. Trust us, they say, genuflecting to Efficiency and Productivity, their twin gods of economic progress. Intelligent robots will reduce labor costs (efficiency) and increase output (productivity), thus generating the one product the Powers That Be constantly demand from our economy: more wealth. Just wait, they say, this is gonna be BIG!</p> <p>Those who question the establishment's mantra that labor-reducing technologies are inherently good and will magically enrich everyone are derided with high tech's ultimate insult &#8212; LUDDITE!<p>Updated: Wed Oct 11, 2017</p> 3b0babaa20dadba1cc47f7b4312b154d Think Your Job Is Safe From The Robot Invasion? for 10/04/2017 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/10/17/think-your-job-is-safe-from-the-robot-invasion Wed, 04 Oct 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Industrial automatons have been on the march for years, devouring the middle-class job opportunities of factory workers. But this time is different.</p> <p>If you think your family's future is safe because you don't rely on factory work, think again. Rapid advances in AI have already turned yesterday's science fiction into today's brave new "creative destruction" &#8212; the constant churn of economic and cultural innovations that destroy existing ways of doing things. A network of inventors and investors, hundreds of university engineering and math departments, thousands of government-funded research projects, countless freelance innovators and the entire corporate establishment are "re-inventing" practically every workplace by displacing humans with "more efficient" AI robots.</p> <p>This mass-scale deployment of robots has already ushered in a whole new world of work. It's a CEO's capitalist paradise, where the workforce doesn't call in sick or take vacations, can't file lawsuits, doesn't organize unions &#8212; and is cheap. <p>Updated: Wed Oct 04, 2017</p> 2612d3beed1a800d99bf24f73af0d1de Do Better than a Rip-Off Health Care System for 09/27/2017 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/09/17/do-better-than-a-rip-off-health-care-system Wed, 27 Sep 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p>News flash: Republican congressional leaders have come up with yet another grand scheme to fix America's health care system. So, look out &#8212; because when they say "fix," they mean it in the same sense as your veterinarian uses the word!</p> <p>For the gazillionth time, GOP lawmakers have put a shiny new ribbon on their same old ugly package of health insurance deforms. As before, this latest plan would eliminate coverage for millions of Americans, raise the price of insurance for the middle class and deliver much less care. But one guy says he loves it: "A great bill," tweeted Donald Trump.</p> <p>I'm guessing that, once again, our Twitterer-in-Chief hasn't actually read the bill he is praising, or even scanned the factual summary of what it does. But, he might want to hear the opinions of his fellow corporate chieftains who have read every word of it. For example, the CEO of Blue Cross Blue Shield flatly rejects the re-write, because it "would allow states to waive key consumer protections [and] undermine safeguards for those with pre-existing conditions." Also, he points out that the plan would increase uncertainty in the marketplace, making coverage more expensive and jeopardizing Americans' choice of health plans.<p>Updated: Wed Sep 27, 2017</p> 860bbfd3acf7e6a7c0542536934fe4a0 Populist Victories Won In This Conservative Colorado Town for 09/20/2017 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/09/17/populist-victories-won-in-this-conservative-colorado-town Wed, 20 Sep 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p>What's been happening politically and culturally this year in Colorado's second largest city is inspiring. Progressive/populist organizing to build grassroots movements to counter plutocratic rule and govern in the people's interest now have a model of success in one of the least likely places.</p> <p>Since the 1990s, Colorado Springs has been shaped by an inordinate number of right-wing institutions. Yet, the Springs also is home to a hardy band of progressives, including environmentalists, unionists, women's champions, scrappy entrepreneurs, LGBTQ activists, students and teachers, a sizeable immigrant population, social justice church groups and some sensible libertarians. </p> <p>With Bernie Sanders bringing new, highly energized voters into play, young people who had previously evinced zero interest in the old Democratic-Republican duopoly were rallying behind Bernie's grassroots populism. His revolutionary call to rein in America's corporate oligarchs also sparked a fire in older, working-class people, including Repubs and none-of-the-above folks who'd given up on the idea that either party gave a damn about people like them. A shift was occurring in Colorado Springs' political zeitgeist &#8212; one that might open a path for new alignments and a progressive-populist movement.<p>Updated: Wed Sep 20, 2017</p> e429ee30ad32578aff80b774a2661dc8 How To Get A Health Care System For People, Not Just For Corporate Profit for 09/13/2017 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/09/17/how-to-get-a-health-care-system-for-people-not-just-for-corporate-profit Wed, 13 Sep 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p></p><p>Believe it or not, we can get Congress to enact a new program providing good quality, lower-cost health care for your family and (what the hell, let's think big here) for every man, woman and (especially) every child in our society.<p>Updated: Wed Sep 13, 2017</p> 3b985b0a0c85f4406903b6c7a34b0162 The Gaping Hole in Trump's Border Wall for 09/06/2017 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/09/17/the-gaping-hole-in-trumps-border-wall Wed, 06 Sep 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>How much of our money does Donald Trump want to pour into his xenophobic fantasy of erecting an impenetrable wall on our Mexican border?</p> <p>The big-businessman-turned-president insists that costs be damned &#8212; just build it! That seems to be a very un-businesslike approach &#8212; but then, it's not his money, is it? For those of you who do care, one measure of what the total tab might be is that he's now demanding $1.6 billion from Congress to start construction. How much wall will that buy? Seventy-four miles. And how long is the U.S.-Mexican border that he wants to seal off? One thousand, nine-hundred miles long. So, $1.6 billion down, and only 1,826 miles to go!<p>Updated: Wed Sep 06, 2017</p> fe5ca1a529e84900d9fff80a7ad4d8c3 Sand: The Endangered Natural Resource for 08/30/2017 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/08/17/sand-the-endangered-natural-resource Wed, 30 Aug 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Little known fact: Practically every skyscraper in every one of the world's cities is essentially made of sand. As are nearly all shopping malls, condo complexes, office towers, parking garages, airport terminals, dams and other large structures. America builds with concrete &#8212; gabillions of tons of it &#8212; and concrete is nothing but sand mixed with a bit of gravel and water, then bound together with cement and a few other ingredients, and allowed to harden. In addition, every glass window in those structures is made of melted sand. Then there's the network of transportation routes we navigate to reach each of those buildings &#8212; millions of miles of highways, tunnels, streets, subways, sidewalks, and airport runways &#8212; all mostly made of concrete or asphalt &#8212; all comprised mostly of sand.</p> <p>As evermore people migrate to cities, sand follows to accommodate them. Mountains of sand are poured into constructing new homes. "A typical American house requires more than a hundred tons of sand, gravel, and crushed stone... and more than 200 tons if you include its share of the street that runs in front of it," David Owen reported this May in The New Yorker magazine.</p> <p>Two other huge sand hogs are devouring ever-increasing volumes of this resource: Beach restoration and Big Oil fracking.<p>Updated: Wed Aug 30, 2017</p> 3482538a6ad85855f16e8fae3ea1c9ff Tweeter-in-Chief Versus the Wisdom of Robert E. Lee for 08/23/2017 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/08/17/tweeter-in-chief-versus-the-wisdom-of-robert-e-lee Wed, 23 Aug 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>I hate to say this, but I'm starting to feel sorry for Donald Trump. He's only been in office for half a year, and already he's running out of Americans to attack.</p> <p>Of course, he came into office having already notched his AK-47 Twitter rifle with hundreds of hits on the American citizenry, including such entire groups such as "nasty women," Mexican-Americans who have Latin-sounding names and Muslim-Americans who are, you know ... Muslims. Since then, he's repeatedly used the presidential bully-pulpit for mass-bullying assaults on every news outlet and reporter who refuses to be a Sean Hannity-suck-up to The Donald.<p>Updated: Wed Aug 23, 2017</p> 28ab55811f9080caff5a4b0f4538003b A Corporate Supercell Spawning A Hailstorm Of Special-Interest Legislation for 08/16/2017 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/08/17/a-corporate-supercell-spawning-a-hailstorm-of-special-interest-legislation Wed, 16 Aug 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Just days after last November's election, jubilant members and top staffers of the notorious corporate front group, American Legislative Exchange Council, gathered for a celebratory lunch and planning session at the group's DC headquarters. But rather than looking toward Congress and the newly Republicanized White House, these schemers were drooling over so many right-wing state governments. "There's a sea of red," gushed an ALEC official, asking with delight, "What are we going to do with these new legislatures?"</p> <p>Corrupt them, of course. ALEC &#8212; funded and run by such multinational giants as AT&T, Exxon Mobil, the Koch brothers and Walmart &#8212; essentially functions as a hush-hush escort service. Since 1973, it's been hooking up high-dollar corporate customers with on-the-make state lawmakers willing and eager to sponsor special interest bills. In closed-door sessions convened by ALEC, state officials and corporate lobbyists make legislative whoopee, generating "model bills" that the participating legislators carry back and introduce almost simultaneously in their multiple states. </p> <p>For the last few years, ALEC has provided a major, nationwide burst of energy that's powering state preemption laws. Its strategists realized that their corporate backers' long legislative wish list (including holding down wages and freeing corporations to pollute water supplies) is repugnant and socially destructive. Preemption, however, provided a way for lawmakers to shift attention from the appalling substance of their corporate agenda to an arcane process debate about state-local governance. This back-alley channel lets corporations and the right-wing fringe outlaw or repeal progressive responses by our communities, nullify our elections and overturn court decisions favoring local people. <p>Updated: Wed Aug 16, 2017</p> 456255a486621ab552fb3ebb21b2e94a Wall Street Thieves Find New Ways to Steal From Us for 08/09/2017 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/08/17/wall-street-thieves-find-new-ways-to-steal-from-us Wed, 09 Aug 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p>The self-described "Geniuses of Wall Street" are being stupid. Again.</p> <p>In 2007, their stupid schemes and frauds crashed our economy, destroying middle-class jobs, wealth and opportunities. Far from getting punishment, however, these financial scofflaws were bailed out by their Washington enablers &#8212; so the moral lesson they learned was clear: Stupid pays!</p> <p>Sure enough, only a decade later, here they come again! Rather than investing America's capital in real businesses to generate grassroots jobs and shared prosperity, Wall Street is siphoning billions of investment dollars into speculative nonsense &#8212; such as high-profit securities "secured" only by rickety bundles of subprime auto loans.<p>Updated: Wed Aug 09, 2017</p> 268306d4973eeddf9c3d3c9e1a6e35b4 A Deere in the Spotlight for 08/02/2017 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/08/17/a-deere-in-the-spotlight Wed, 02 Aug 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>When I was a boy, I loved spending time with my Uncle Ernest and Aunt Eula on their small northeast Texas farm. They pulled a frugal living from their 50 acres, raising a little bit of everything. Doing a lot with a little to make ends meet, Ernest and Eula operated on principle of frugality expressed in an old country rhyme: <i> Use it up/ Wear it out/ Make it do/ Or do without. </i></p> <p>This meant that when their tractor broke down, they fixed it themselves. Likewise, if their old Zenith console radio went on the fritz, they didn't just order a new one &#8212; they brought out their tool kit and fixed it. <p>Updated: Wed Aug 02, 2017</p> e2f6a73bf5135a7fc2d088aa20273706 Do-It-Yourselfers Unite! for 07/26/2017 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/07/17/do-it-yourselfers-unite Wed, 26 Jul 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Planned obsolescence has long been a consumer expense and irritation. Now brand-name profiteers are pushing a new abuse: Repair prevention. This treacherous corporate scheme does more than gouge buyers on the original purchase. Using both legal ruses and digital lockdowns, major manufacturers are quietly attempting to outlaw the natural instinct of us humanoids to fiddle with and improve the material things we own in order to charge us to fix it. Indeed, the absurdity and arrogance of their overreach is even more basic: They're out to corporatize the very idea of "owning."</p> <p>Chances are you've bought an Apple iPad, Chevy Malibu, Amazon Kindle, Samsung TV, GE Frigidaire or some other brand-name consumer product equipped with a dazzling array of digital doodads. And in doing so, you unwittingly consented to the corporation's repair-prevention "gotcha" tucked into its license agreement. But in addition to deceiving and/or intimidating buyers into believing they're legally required to trek to the high-dollar Corporate Tech Genius Store for routine maintenance, powerhouse corporate marketers are increasingly forcing customers to bring all their repair business to them. <p>Updated: Wed Jul 26, 2017</p> db5d0f225ca1883bc442b8b3f74c6616 The Partisan Use Of Preemption Is Surging for 07/19/2017 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/07/17/the-partisan-use-of-preemption-is-surging Wed, 19 Jul 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p>We the People are being burgled. Again. </p> <p>The latest hit is just the latest in a long string of political robberies, a nationwide crime wave being pulled off by moneyed elites and their political henchmen. With each heist, they haul off a little more of our democratic power: the ability of the working majority to have any real say in the corporate and governmental decisions that affect us. </p> <p>The elites are master thieves, often plucking pieces of our power without us realizing it, until we try to use it and &#8212; phhttt &#8212; it's gone. And yet another democracy-stealing tool has recently been fabricated and quietly distributed to profiteering corporations and right-wing ideologues throughout the country: PREEMPTION.<p>Updated: Wed Jul 19, 2017</p> ccaa888084b18c9cd05bcdbdfcc2ec9d Should We Entrust Our Schoolchildren to Corporate Profiteers? for 07/12/2017 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/07/17/should-we-entrust-our-schoolchildren-to-corporate-profiteers Wed, 12 Jul 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Where are Charlie and Dave, Mrs. Koch's two mischievous boys?</p> <p>While the Koch brothers have stayed out of the national limelight since the White House was acquired by Trump and Company, that doesn't mean the two right-wing billionaire brats are any less active in trying to supplant American democracy with their little laissez-fairyland plutocracy. In fact, in late June, you could've found them in one of their favorite hideaways with about 400 other uber-wealthy rascals, plotting some political hijinks for next year's elections.</p> <p>This is the Koch Boys Billionaire Club, which meets annually at some luxury resort to schmooze, strategize, hear a select group of GOP elected officials kiss up to them &#8212; then throw money into a big pot to finance the Koch's planned takeover of America. It costs $100,000 per person just to attend the three-day Koch Fest, but participants are also expected to give generously to the brothers' goal of dumping $400 million into buying the 2018 elections.<p>Updated: Wed Jul 12, 2017</p> 96f4a6b93a44c827f575684cd1591a2b Amazon Buys Out Whole Foods Market for 06/28/2017 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/06/17/amazon-buys-out-whole-foods-market Wed, 28 Jun 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Excellent news, folks: A decade after Wall Street greed crashed our economy and crushed the working class, jobs are suddenly plentiful! </p> <p>As an Associated Press article joyously put it, "The U.S. job market has settled into a sweet spot of steadily solid growth." At long last, the American dream is back for working families, right? Well ... in a word: No. Further down in the article, AP's sweet news turns sour with this little admission: "About all that's still missing [in the jobs market] is a broad acceleration in pay."<p>Updated: Wed Jun 28, 2017</p>