Jim Hightower from Creators Syndicate https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower Creators Syndicate is an international syndication company that represents cartoonists and columnists of the highest caliber. en Tue, 19 Sep 2017 05:44:55 -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 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> 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>