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 Thu, 20 Jul 2017 19:26:18 -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 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> d0598fe80a509f341b2f33e272497001 If Trump Is So Great, Why Is His Approval Rating So Puny? for 06/21/2017 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/06/17/if-trump-is-so-great-why-is-his-approval-rating-so-puny Wed, 21 Jun 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>What's the matter with these people? The Trumpsters in the White House and Congress, I mean.</p> <p>Start with The Donald himself, a guy who can't pass a mirror without casting an adoring eye at his own reflection. What is it about him that requires the top officials of his government to humiliate themselves publically in the White House cabinet room, making them try to outdo each other in a groveling Worship-a-thon of praise for this magnificence? And what's wrong with his Cabinet members? One after another, the Vice President, Chief of Staff, Treasury Secretary, Secretary of State and all the other supposedly-powerful luminaries of the Government of the United States of America were called upon in June's televised cabinet session to say their name, then meekly offer their smarmiest praise of Trump's integrity, agenda and manly leadership. This spectacle of forced adulation of "The Leader" was so eerily insane that even North Korea's Kim Jong Un would've been too embarrassed to orchestrate it!<p>Updated: Wed Jun 21, 2017</p> 757d57d4a4ab7beba1bcf1f4f61722c2 The GOP Will Free You from Having Health Care for 06/14/2017 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/06/17/the-gop-will-free-you-from-having-health-care Wed, 14 Jun 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p>When I think of freedom, I think of it in positive, aspirational terms &#8212; our First Amendment freedoms, for example, or FDR's "Four freedoms" or the uplifting songs of freedom sung by oppressed people around the globe.</p> <p>But right-wing, corporate-funded ideologues have fabricated a new negative notion of "freedoms" derived from individual choice. You're free to be poor, free to be politically powerless or free to be ill and uncared for &#8212; it's all a matter of decisions you freely make in life, and our larger society has no business interfering with your free will.</p> <p>This is what passes for a philosophical framework behind many of the policies of today's Republican congressional leaders. For example, they say their plan to eliminate health coverage for millions of Americans and do away with such essential health benefits as maternity care for millions more is just a matter of good 'ol free-market consumerism. As explained by Jason Chaffetz, a Utah tea party Republican, "Americans have choices. And so maybe, rather than getting that new iPhone that they just love and they want to go spend hundreds of dollars on that, maybe they should invest in their own health care." <p>Updated: Wed Jun 14, 2017</p> 823b04d622d9ace81eb83729bad453ca Will You Enlist in Trump's War? for 06/07/2017 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/06/17/will-you-enlist-in-trumps-war Wed, 07 Jun 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Doggonit, Donald Trump missed the opportunity to become a General Patton-style military commander and glorious war hero back in the Vietnam era. He surely would've been the greatest! Ever in history!</p> <p>But, he says &#8212; alas &#8212; some unspecified foot problem (or something or other) kept him from the privilege of actually getting to go fight in that war. Bad luck, I'm sure. But now that The Donald is the By-God Commander-in-Chief, his inner-warrior has been given a second chance to bloom, and this time he's fully enlisted. In recent weeks, President Trump has escalated a running war of words against Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, bombed the European leaders of NATO with explosive charges that they're unworthy of his support, launched a fierce new barrage of tough rhetoric in his extralegal offensive to ban all travel to the U.S. by anyone from six Muslim nation, and opened an entirely new battlefront by attacking the mayor of London with one of his Twitter missiles.</p> <p>In last year's presidential campaign, Trump declared with typical modesty that, "There's nobody bigger or better at the military than I am." Well, I'm certainly no expert on war, but if a president is going to pick a mess of foreign fights, wouldn't it be better, strategically speaking, to pick on actual enemies rather than on America's allies? After all, there might come a time when we need friends to stand with us.<p>Updated: Wed Jun 07, 2017</p> c64175c0d912bb3564685d13c33cb3f9 Where Does Inequality Come From? for 05/31/2017 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/05/17/where-does-inequality-come-from Wed, 31 May 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p>The vast inequality that's rending our society is not a natural, inevitable or accidental phenomenon &#8212; it's caused intentionally by policy-decisions that corporate and political officials make, often in tandem.</p> <p>Every now and then, we commoners get a glimpse of inequality in the making, as we did recently when the GOP Boss of the House, Rep. Paul Ryan rammed the awful Trumpcare bill through that chamber. Without allowing any public testimony or even getting an analysis of its cost, Ryan browbeat and cajoled the Republican majority to hold their noses and pass this gob of plutocratic wretchedness. Their bill was so bad that, at most, a mere 17 percent of Americans support it.</p> <p>The public's distaste for Trumpcare is well-deserved, for it's an inequality machine: It strips at least 23 million people of health coverage; it lets insurance corporations either refuse to cover people with pre-existing conditions or to gouge them with extreme price increases; and it lets states eliminate the requirement that insurance policies must at least cover such essential health needs as cancer treatment and maternity care.<p>Updated: Wed May 31, 2017</p> c9a6c1292ec7eed9c2cc669ab0cd5a30 What is Worse Than Being Poor? for 05/24/2017 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/05/17/what-is-worse-than-being-poor Wed, 24 May 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p>These are hard times for America's gold miners. They're struggling to haul wealth out of the land, but seeing their pay dropping further and further down.</p> <p>Take Bob Mercer, who's been a top miner for years, but last year, (which has been described as somewhere between lackluster and catastrophic) even Bob was down. He pulled in only $125 million in pay. Can you feel Bob's pain?</p> <p>No, these are not your normal miners. They are hedge fund managers, digging for gold in the Wonderland of Wall Street. If you divided Bob Mercer's pay in his "bad year" among 1,000 real miners doing honest work, they'd consider it a fabulous year. Hedge funds are almost literally gold mines, though they require no heavy lifting by the soft-handed, Gucci-wearing managers who work them. These gold diggers are basically nothing but speculators, drawing billions of dollars from the uber-rich by promising that they are investment geniuses who will deliver fabulous profits for them. But the scam is that Mercer and his fellow diggers get paid regardless of whether they deliver or not. <p>Updated: Wed May 24, 2017</p> 9ded790cea07ffe1b367a12cf92ae6eb Stop Blaming Workers, The Bosses Made This Mess for 05/17/2017 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/05/17/stop-blaming-workers-the-bosses-made-this-mess Wed, 17 May 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>The wailing in our country about the "invasion of immigrants" has been long and loud. As one complainant put it, "Few of their children in the country learn English... The signs in our streets have inscriptions in both languages... Unless the stream of the importation could be turned they will soon so outnumber us that all the advantages we have will not be able to preserve our language, and even our government will become precarious."</p> <p>That's not some diatribe from the alt-right. It's the anxious cry of none other than Ben Franklin, deploring the wave of Germans pouring into the colony of Pennsylvania in the 1750s. Thus, anti-immigrant eruptions are older than the U.S. itself, and they've flared up periodically throughout our history, targeting the Irish, French, Italians and Chinese among others. Even Donald Trump's project to wall off our border is not a new bit of nuttiness &#8212; around the time of the nation's founding, John Jay, who later became the first chief justice of the Supreme Court, proposed "a wall of brass around the country for the exclusion of Catholics."<p>Updated: Wed May 17, 2017</p> 5849f953d93f4e1256de7102936614d6 Trumpty Dumpty for 05/10/2017 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/05/17/trumpty-dumpty Wed, 10 May 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p><i> Comandante </i> Trump, <i> El Jefe, </i> the gringo strongman!</p> <p>That's the image our current Commander-in-Chief seems to be cultivating. He has surrounded himself with generals, he cavalierly threatens war with all "bad hombres," he is drastically bulking up military spending and he imperiously slaps foreign leaders, whole ethnic groups, and entire nations with demeaning tweets and public rants. Posing as Patton-on-the-Potomac, President Donald Trump is out to "Make America Feared Again."<p>Updated: Wed May 10, 2017</p> 60d07073d432536424eef0472eecca49 Populism is Not About Mobs, Anti-Government Rants or Opinion Polls for 05/03/2017 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/05/17/populism-is-not-about-mobs-anti-government-rants-or-opinion-polls Wed, 03 May 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p>If a political pollster asked whether I consider myself a conservative or a liberal, I'd answer, "No."</p> <p>Not to be cute &#8212; I have a bit of both in me &#8212; but because, like most Americans, my beliefs can't be squeezed into either of the tidy little boxes that the establishment provides.</p> <p>I've observed that the true political spectrum in our society does not range from right to left, but from top to bottom. This is how America's economic and political systems really shake out, with each of us located somewhere high or low that spectrum. Right to left is political theory; top to bottom is the reality we actually experience in our lives every day &#8212; and the vast majority of Americans know that they're not even within shouting distance of the moneyed powers that rule from the top of both systems, whether those elites call themselves conservatives or liberals.<p>Updated: Wed May 03, 2017</p> 8c60a80877aa678376ffa823dcd37787 How To Keep 'Public' And 'Service' In Our Public Postal Service for 04/26/2017 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/04/17/how-to-keep-public-and-service-in-our-public-postal-service Wed, 26 Apr 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Journalism, which is supposed to help make sense of our turbulent world, can't seem to make sense of itself.</p> <p>In addition to "news" (which involves reporting on stuff that's real) we're now getting "fake news" (stuff that's completely made up). But wait &#8212; the barons of corporate news are adding to today's tumultuous state of journalism by putting out feeds of "BS news" (stuff they know is untrue but reported as fact, because it advances their political agenda).<p>Updated: Wed Apr 26, 2017</p> 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>