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, 01 Oct 2016 04:58:27 -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 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> 1a05bcb1c4f196804abb001d672b0a15 What's Next for the Bernie Sanders Revolution? for 07/20/2016 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/07/16/whats-next-for-the-bernie-sanders-revolution Wed, 20 Jul 2016 00:00:00 -0700 <p>As we approach the upcoming Democratic convention, let's look back at the race... and forward to the future.</p> <p>The mainstream media tried to reduce the two Democratic campaigns as a Hillary v. Bernie war. The reality, though, is that most Sanders backers were enthusiastic precisely because his campaign's purpose was far bigger than the usual personality politics. Supporters were signing up for a revolution against corporate rule. </p> <p>To achieve this, we have to keep mobilizing for a truly democratic movement, and this is much harder than one presidential run. Sanders and close advisors are strategizing to help grow the grassroots rebellion &#8212; from school boards to Congress. This new coordinating effort will build on the framework and momentum of the campaign.<p>Updated: Wed Jul 20, 2016</p> a55fed8a6336de2b0ecafe1e35fbda28 How to Make a Political Platform Progressive for 07/13/2016 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/07/16/how-to-make-a-political-platform-progressive Wed, 13 Jul 2016 00:00:00 -0700 <p>An old cowboy aphorism offers this advice: "Speak the truth. But ride a fast horse."</p> <p>I relived this truism last weekend in Orlando, Florida, where I spent two hot, muggy days wrangling over policy issues as one of the members of the Democratic Party's national platform committee. Depending on the moment and the issue, the experience was both invigorating and infuriating, with refreshing outbreaks of broad and bold democratic vision, interspersed with too many rigid, Tammany Hall tactics used to dictate corporate-friendly policies. Bernie Sanders' 40-percent minority of platform members (of which I was one) managed to "Bern" the platform with more than two dozen big and very important amendments. As a result, instead of the same old business-as-usual blah-blah of party platforms, Democrats and their nominee, Hillary Clinton, are now on public record in support of the most progressive policy agenda in decades. </p> <p>More about those specific policies in a moment, but first, let's get on that horse. <p>Updated: Wed Jul 13, 2016</p> 4597b53dde2c8f299f1e378cfbd54453 It's Getting Hot in Indianapolis for 07/06/2016 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/07/16/its-getting-hot-in-indianapolis Wed, 06 Jul 2016 00:00:00 -0700 <p>If the chieftains of industry and their political henchmen want to know what's roiling the riffraff, they could read Thomas Piketty's landmark, 1,000-page book on inequality: Capital in the Twenty-First Century. Or, they could listen to one of Bernie Sander's hour-long, tub-thumping speeches. Or, they could just spend three minutes and 32 seconds watching an online video showing a Carrier Corporation executive speaking to hundreds of workers in the air-conditioning giant's Indianapolis plant this past February.</p> <p>The proud Steelworker union members thought maybe they'd been called to the factory floor to hear about new orders for their quality products. After all, sales at parent company United Technologies were zooming &#8212; expected to jump at least $2 billion to $58 billion in 2016.</p> <p>Instead of receiving praise and good news, however, they got an ugly surprise. In the fuzzy video recorded on a worker's phone, UTC/Carrier honcho Chris Nelson doesn't bother with any opening pleasantries. He gets right to the point, reporting in the dry tones of a corporate lifer that the bosses have decided that, "The best way to stay competitive and protect the business for the long term is to move production from our facility in Indianapolis to Monterrey, Mexico." KABLOOEY! He couldn't finish his sentence, for the entire assembly exploded like a human cluster bomb, with cries of disbelief, raucous booing, and a steady barrage of f-bombs. <p>Updated: Wed Jul 06, 2016</p> 7e69b6f98641c7347b9fae488d0f1132 Why was the Brexit Vote so Shocking to Global Elites? for 06/29/2016 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/06/16/why-was-the-brexit-vote-so-shocking-to-global-elites Wed, 29 Jun 2016 00:00:00 -0700 <p>The most shocking thing about "Brexit" &#8212; the British people's resounding vote to pull their country out of the European Union &#8212; is that it came as such a shock to the British establishment.</p> <p>After all, say the flummoxed elites, everyone who is anyone in Great Britain was opposed to exiting. The prime minister, leaders of all the major political parties, nearly every banker and corporate chieftain and most media barons had sternly lectured common Brits that talk of withdrawal was irresponsible fiddle-faddle that could undermine the global economic order. </p> <p>Indeed, Tony Blair, Britain's former prime minister, has lashed out at British voters for having "a shared hostility to globalization," referring to their June 23 decision to exit the Union. A decade ago PM, Blair had been a backer of schemes to expand EU's authority over the citizens of Great Britain and 27 other European nations, so he took the Brits' electorial rejection personally. In a New York Times op-ed, he rather prissily blamed the Brexit vote on populist demagogues who had caused "palpitations in the body politic." Obviously befuddled, he asked: "How did this happen?"<p>Updated: Wed Jun 29, 2016</p> 077badd2adc72d657dc5917564b0c028 Souring Chicago's Sweet Treat for 06/22/2016 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/06/16/souring-chicagos-sweet-treat Wed, 22 Jun 2016 00:00:00 -0700 <p>For generations, kids from age 3 to 100 have loved munching on chocolaty Oreo cookies dipped in a glass of milk. But just over a year, ago, the tasty treat suddenly went sour. </p> <p>In May 2015, bakery workers in Nabisco's monumental 10-story plant in Chicago's Marquette Park neighborhood had been expecting some sweet news from their corporate headquarters. Rumor had it that their renown facility &#8212; after more than half a century and millions of Oreos &#8212; was about to receive a $130-million modernization investment to upgrade equipment and to add new production lines. So, the future looked bright and spirits were high on May 15 of last year when management convened members of Local 300 of the Bakery Workers Union to announce that the investment was indeed going to be made.</p> <p>In Salinas, Mexico.<p>Updated: Wed Jun 22, 2016</p> 9b06755e9cdfdc7b40c403f7aef992c4 Is There Even an Iota of Courage in the GOP Hierarchy? for 06/15/2016 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/06/16/is-there-even-an-iota-of-courage-in-the-gop-hierarchy Wed, 15 Jun 2016 00:00:00 -0700 <p>This year's freakish presidential election has now devolved into an ethnic brouhaha between two foreigners: A Mexican and a German.</p> <p>The "Mexican" is Gonzalo Curiel. He's a federal judge who was actually born in Indiana, raised and educated as a Hoosier, and is presently presiding over a U.S. district court in San Diego. The German is Donald Drumpf, soon to be the Republican nominee for America's highest office. Drumpf has had fraud cases against him by former students of his Trump U (U as in "university"). These students who paid tens of thousands of dollars say they were conned out of their hard-earned money by Trump U. The judge presiding over this case is Gonzalo Curiel, and Trump the candidate recently became unhinged over the idea that "a foreigner" would be allowed to pass judgment on an upstanding American citizen like himself.</p> <p>But, wait &#8212; Curiel is a full-blooded American citizen! No he's not, cried The Donald, he's "a Mexican," pointing to the jurist's family heritage. But, wait again &#8212; Donnie himself is not pure-blood Americano (only Native Americans can claim that). In fact, The Donald's forbearers have been in our country for only about 120 years. His grandfather, Friedrich Drumpf, immigrated to the U.S. from Kallstadt, Germany, about 120 years ago and Anglicized his name from Drumpf to Trump.<p>Updated: Wed Jun 15, 2016</p> a5c6c7d0988d5f1f646af2402ab4c5fb Bringing Back Bill for 06/03/2016 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/06/16/bringing-back-bill Fri, 03 Jun 2016 00:00:00 -0700 <p>What's past, as Shakespeare has told us, is prologue.</p> <p>2016 has been a wild political season. This year, despite the unnerving presidential freak show the Republicans are putting on, Hillary Clinton is the one who recently stunned me. Attempting to convince very wary working class families that she will stand against the abuses of her Wall Street financial backers, while also lifting up the poor and shoring up the middle class, Clinton made this horrifying, spine-tingling declaration: She'll Bring Back Bill! Specifically, Hillary promises that her former-president husband will be put "in charge of revitalizing the economy."</p> <p>Good grief! Isn't Bill the big galoot who turned his economic policy over to Wall Street's Machiavellian, Robert Rubin? Yes. And didn't Bill break his 1992 campaign promise to raise the minimum wage in his first year, putting it off until his fourth year, and even then providing only a token increase that still left the working poor mired in poverty? Yes, again. And didn't he push into law a "welfare reform" bill that has shredded the safety net for America's poorest, most-vulnerable people? Afraid so.<p>Updated: Fri Jun 03, 2016</p> 633d5af4b757d4669ddd8fdb5747d496 A New Species of Jumping Beans for 06/01/2016 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/06/16/a-new-species-of-jumping-beans Wed, 01 Jun 2016 00:00:00 -0700 <p>When I was about six years of age, my uncle showed me something that made my eyes bug and my mind boggle: four beans that moved <i> on their own. </i> Leaping legumes!</p> <p>It wasn't trickery, but an odd twist in the natural world that creates the novelty of "Mexican jumping beans." They're not beans &#8212; they're brownish seedpods from a desert shrub in northwest Mexico. A larva from a small moth invades the pod, attaches itself to the inner wall with a silk-like thread, and waits in relative coolness for its metamorphosis into mothdom. When you hold the "bean," however, the warmth of you palm discomforts the larva so that it twitches and pulls on that thread, causing the pod to "jump." </p> <p>Decades later, I find myself wide-eyed again, astonished by the odd movements of a news species of Mexican jumping bean I've named <i> corporados greedyados. </i> Far from being a creation of the natural world, these jumpers are enormously profitable. Native to our land, they've long reaped the benefits of U.S. corporations, including having high-skilled and loyal blue-collar workforces, corporate-friendly labor and consumer laws, publicly funded education and training, an interstate highway system, extensive tax breaks, on-call police to safeguard their corporate order, military defense of their worldwide commercial pursuits, and more. But now they're twitching in the conglomerate pods and abruptly jumping to Mexico. Giving no more notice than a cursory shout of <i> adios, </i> they're leaving U.S. workers, communities, the future of our middle class, and our unifying ethic of fair play in the dust of their corporate greed.<p>Updated: Wed Jun 01, 2016</p> 005333820f17ed4bf20b575a3b16a630 Pent up Fury Beneath the Bernie and Donnie Phenomena for 05/25/2016 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/05/16/pent-up-fury-beneath-the-bernie-and-donnie-phenomena Wed, 25 May 2016 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Jack Nicholson dryly noted that his mother once called him a son of a bitch &#8212; and didn't comprehend the irony.</p> <p>2016 has certainly been an odd year for the political and corporate elites. They certainly couldn't predict (and then subsequently stayed in denial about) the groundswell from the masses in terms of the popularity of Bernie Sanders and Donnie Trump. Much like the Nicholson example, the aloof Powers That Be are oblivious to irony: They are the ones who gave birth to the mass anger that now confronts them. </p> <p>The political cognoscenti have not understood the massive public rage from today's "unAmerica" of glaring inequality and mass downward mobility that is the direct product of their wrenching the system with such power tools as: "free" trade agreements, union busting, defunding public services, downsizing, offshoring, price gouging, Citizens United, privatization, the Wall Street bailout, student debt, tax dodging, criminalization of poverty, militarization of police ... and so god-awful much more.<p>Updated: Wed May 25, 2016</p> aab60727d21f780c90c01652171043e1 Introducing Glencore, Rapacious Global Lord for 05/18/2016 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/05/16/introducing-glencore-rapacious-global-lord Wed, 18 May 2016 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Giant corporate entities have become so far-flung and impersonal that "human relations" departments have been created within the soulless structures to cloak the fact that there's really nothing human about them. HR <i> is </i> mostly known for sending the corporate rank and file peppy motivational memos that boil down to: "The beatings will continue until morale improves." </p> <p>The beatings of American workers (wage slashing, axed benefits, union busting, mass firings, offshored factories, and brutish abuse of worker rights) have been increasing in frequency, intensity, and scope &#8212; mostly ordered by CEOs in the posh, faraway headquarters of multi-tentacled global empires. These detached autocrats are wrecking the lives of hardworking people for no reasons but institutional greed, calculated self-interest ... and because our corporate-coddling government lets them get away with it. Let's meet one of the most powerful of these lords of rapacious global capitalism &#8212; Glencore. </p> <p>Never heard of Glencore? Neither had I until February, when I visited some members of the United Steelworkers Union outside a Glencore-owned aluminum plant (Sherwin Alumina) on the Texas Gulf Coast. In 2014, after months of negotiating a new contract, Glencore suddenly tossed these workers a take-it-or-leave-it offer that would drastically cut wages, increase healthcare costs, and eliminate pensions for new hires. (Glencore's profit that year was $4.6 billion). Fed up, 98 percent of the union's members voted against the contract. Glencore's reaction was to lock them out and replace them with contract workers. <p>Updated: Wed May 18, 2016</p>