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 Nov 2019 00:49:26 -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 3666c323445992d4834b0ac8e7028188 The Wealth Monopoly for 11/13/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/11/19/the-wealth-monopoly Wed, 13 Nov 2019 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>I should start this homily on inequality by distinguishing income from wealth. Income is your annual wages or salary, as well as your earnings from a business, pension or government benefits such as Social Security, etc.</p> <p>As the average U.S. worker's real wages have stagnated for more than a decade, income disparity has become enormous. The bottom 90% of us average $30,000 a year, while the top 0.01% and 0.001% (about 1,400 taxpayers) rake in average annual incomes of $35.1 million and $152 million, respectively.<p>Updated: Wed Nov 13, 2019</p> 53cda303dea8eee24fdfadac25bd601b Superrichinoids: The Weirdest Species of All for 11/06/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/11/19/superrichinoids-the-weirdest-species-of-all Wed, 06 Nov 2019 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>I love nature shows on TV. They take you into the jungles, the ocean depths, the deserts, the frozen poles and our own backyards to probe the behavior and intellects of our fellow creatures and the cosmic forces that shape them.</p> <p>However, there's one exotic creature the shows have ignored, and it is crying out for scientific analysis: Humanoid superrichinoids. While some in this rare species act somewhat normal, simpatico with us homo sapiens, as a group, the superrichinoids exhibit aberrant, socially destructive tendencies. In particular, they have an irrational, insatiable desire to accumulate boundless personal wealth. It's beyond greed, a belief that too much is never enough, that one's net worth is one's true worth and that life is a primal competition to be No. 1, the acknowledged richest of all!<p>Updated: Wed Nov 06, 2019</p> e07660c1bd4b8557e7a3481bfae9c2af How Repugnant Is Big Oil? for 10/30/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/10/19/how-repugnant-is-big-oil Wed, 30 Oct 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p></p><p>When you're undergoing a dental procedure, there's one thing you never want to hear you dentist say: "Oops!"<p>Updated: Wed Oct 30, 2019</p> 9de5f367f11d6eabd053116b11150fc8 Where Trump Can Find a Good Farm Policy for 10/23/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/10/19/where-trump-can-find-a-good-farm-policy Wed, 23 Oct 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Government by the rich is called plutocracy. Government by police power is autocracy. Government by thieves is kleptocracy. Government by Trump and the gang, however, is all of the above, which adds up to something called kakistocracy: government by the very worst people in our society.</p> <p>Forget Trump himself for a moment and look at the freakshow of top officials he's appointed to "manage" our government &#8212; a menagerie of Sleazy, Sleepy, Goofy, Dopey, Larry, Curly and Moe. They're "managing" to enrich the rich (including the Trumps), increase corporate power, knock down the middle class and hold down the poor.<p>Updated: Wed Oct 23, 2019</p> 51009300e7f099f68b2cc2255660b365 Where to Get the Money to Start Fixing Inequality for 10/16/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/10/19/where-to-get-the-money-to-start-fixing-inequality Wed, 16 Oct 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>When Jesse Jackson ran a strong populist campaign for president in 1988, advocating bold new policies and programs to address inequality, establishment skeptics scoffed, "Where ya gonna get the money?" Jackson answered directly: "Get it from where it went." </p> <p>He meant from corporations and the rich, which had been rigging the economic system and government policies to shift income and wealth from the workaday majority to themselves. Thirty years later, that shift has become an avalanche, with income and wealth inequality reaching the plutocratic excesses of the Gilded Age. Just <i>three</i> men &#8212; Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates and Warren Buffett &#8212; now own more of the nation's wealth than the 165 million Americans who make up the bottom <i>half</i> of our population. <p>Updated: Wed Oct 16, 2019</p> 86224283bb8fb4025c8899e66381751d The Gloppy Mess of Merger Mania for 10/09/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/10/19/the-gloppy-mess-of-merger-mania Wed, 09 Oct 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Here's a recipe for you: Chop up 6 Oscar Meyer wieners, stir in 1 cup of Heinz ketchup, blend with 1/2 cup each of Cool Whip and Maxwell House Coffee, sprinkle a 1/2 cup of Planters peanuts over the mixture, add 3 spoonfuls of A.1. Steak Sauce and then top it off with a jar of Cheez Whiz and blast it in the microwave.</p> <p>Sound like a gloppy mess? It would be if anyone could stomach the idea of making it, but an even messier version of the glop was cooked up in 2015 by corporate profiteers. That's when Kraft Foods Group was merged with H. J. Heinz, thus conglomerating more than 200 brand-name food products &#8212; including all of the above &#8212; into one $28 billion-a-year behemoth. The combine was hailed at the time as a whiz-bang deal, a product of sheer corporate and financial genius that would generate extraordinary efficiencies, growth and profits, proving that bigger is always better. <p>Updated: Wed Oct 09, 2019</p> 989e256542a3ad065ff94943397c5531 Kroger: Don't Lose Local News for 10/02/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/10/19/kroger-dont-lose-local-news Wed, 02 Oct 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p></p><p><p>Updated: Wed Oct 02, 2019</p> 6e1e61a820db261e394a2967d8e93699 Who's Behind the Increasing Suppression of Your Right to Protest? for 09/25/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/09/19/whos-behind-the-increasing-suppression-of-your-right-to-protest Wed, 25 Sep 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>As British playwright and political rabble-rouser George Bernard Shaw noted, "You don't learn to hold your own in the world by standing on guard, but by attacking, and getting well hammered yourself."</p> <p>That certainly has been true of progressives in our country. We've never been able to advance our people's little-D democratic goals by idly hoping the established powers will do it for us; they're the ones doing it to us, imposing plutocratic rule to increase their fortunes at our expense. Rather, <span class="column--highlighted-text">it has been audacious American rebels who've incrementally advanced our democratic possibilities by defying the repressive laws of the authoritarian order. That's what the revolutionaries of 1776 did, and so have subsequent generations of abolitionists, suffragists, unionists, populists, feminists, integrationists, anti-corporatists and other grassroots activists.</span> <p>Updated: Wed Sep 25, 2019</p> a6deb741ee399dc5de93734ddee411ae When the World's on Fire, What Should We Do? for 09/18/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/09/19/when-the-worlds-on-fire-what-should-we-do Wed, 18 Sep 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p>For millions of people around the globe &#8212; especially young people &#8212; the pressing issue of our time is this: The world is on fire! On fire with climate change, creating a new and intensifying norm of deadly weather extremes that make a dystopian future a distinct possibility &#8212; constant wildfires, rising seas, desertification, global crop failures, widespread hunger, water shortages, etc.</p> <p>Luckily, we are a sentient species with the scientific ability to know that the chief cause of this global destruction is not angry gods but <i>us</i> &#8212; specifically humankind's massive extraction and burning of oil, gas, coal and other fossil fuels. So there's a rising chorus of people shouting, "FIRE!" And sure enough, our national government is rushing to the scene to put it out. Unfortunately, our president and his crew of right-wing fire-breathers in Congress are not directing the government's hoses at the corporate extractors but at us &#8212; the people, scientists, environmentalists and other activists who've dared to point to the flames and call for global action to stop the conflagration. They seem to think that the problem will go away if they can pretend it doesn't exist &#8212; and that if they just ignore us protesters, we'll go away, too.</p> <p>Worse, the Trumpsters are fanning the flames by turning the EPA into the PPA &#8212; the <i>Polluters</i> Protection Agency. Rather than fighting climate change, they're going all out to coddle the drillers, strip miners, frackers, pipeliners, refiners, exporters and other fossil fuel profiteers by slashing the dozens of public restraints that We the People have put on the climate polluters' rapacious greed. For example, this month, Trump & Co. is trying to throw out rules that protect neighbors who live near Big Oil's facilities from being poisoned by toxic methane emissions, which also are potent causes of global warming. Also, at a time when the U.S. should be taking the economic, environmental and moral lead in phasing out fossil fuel production, Trump & Co. is opening up vast regions of our oceans and wilderness areas to environmental plunder while simultaneously fighting our nation's rational shift to a green energy future.<p>Updated: Wed Sep 25, 2019</p> 76e3de04d04c268df01b7bfbc5e4a249 Why Would We Trust Plutocrats to Save Us From Plutocracy? for 09/11/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/09/19/why-would-we-trust-plutocrats-to-save-us-from-plutocracy Wed, 11 Sep 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote of being leery of a loud-talking huckster who visited his home: "The louder he talked of his honor, the faster we counted our spoons," Emerson exclaimed. </p> <p>Likewise, today's workaday families should do a mass inventory of their silverware as an integrity check on a mess of loud-talking corporate honchos. Suddenly, 181 of these union-busting, tax-cheating, environment-contaminating, consumer-gouging corporate hucksters are asking us to believe that they stand with us in the fight against ... well, against them. Wall Street banksters, Big Oil polluters, anti-union extremists and a myriad of other profiteers grouped into a prestigious collective called Business Roundtable, issued a "grito" in August, trumpeting their future intentions to serve not just themselves but every "stakeholder" (which is what they call employees, customers, supplies, et al.). <p>Updated: Wed Sep 11, 2019</p> ca3cbe2be29ebe220fd739b90cd37b79 Here's the Real Deal on 'Medicare for All' for 09/04/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/09/19/heres-the-real-deal-on-medicare-for-all Wed, 04 Sep 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>What do we want our health care system to do? Care for our health! Yours, mine, our families', our country's. But don't look for such straightforward logic or ethics in the labyrinthian industrial complex that now controls the "care" we get &#8212; or are denied. The structure itself must be changed if care and the Common Good are ever to be prized over profit.</p> <p>The proof of that is made clear by the Affordable Care Act, the admirable attempt passed almost a decade ago to mitigate the effects of unrestrained corporate greed. Dubbed Obamacare, the ACA dramatically decreased the number of uninsured Americans. And yet &#8212; because its Democratic authors caved to corporate demands that the profiteering structure be kept intact &#8212; Obamacare cannot deliver the universal coverage and range that other (often less wealthy) countries provide.<p>Updated: Wed Sep 04, 2019</p> 15025b0bf9a93c7a08c3ece0218178c7 The Problem With Health Care Is 'the System' for 08/28/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/08/19/the-problem-with-health-care-is-the-system Wed, 28 Aug 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>The British people have been widely admired for their steady demeanor in times of adversity &#8212; stiff upper lip and all that. Until Donald Trump, that is.</p> <p><span class="column--highlighted-text">In June, our presidential popinjay descended on London with a bombastic proposition that caused the upper lips of the entire British population to quiver at once.</span> There as a guest, and treated to the full pomp of a state visit, The Donald blurted out what he hailed as a "phenomenal" gift in the form of a new U.S.-U.K. trade deal: He offered to bring in America's health care profiteers to start privatizing Britain's National Health Service.<p>Updated: Wed Aug 28, 2019</p> 03918729cd69ec4a3daadfb581528800 If You Drain the Swamp, Where Do the Swamp Critters Go? for 08/21/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/08/19/if-you-drain-the-swamp-where-do-the-swamp-critters-go Wed, 21 Aug 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Donald Trump bragged in June that "we're draining the swamp," declaring victory over "the unholy alliance of lobbyists and donors and special interests who made a living bleeding our country dry." Bravo!</p> <p>But wait ... where did all those swamp critters go? Don't look now, but &#8212; <i>psssst</i> &#8212; they've been brought right into Trump's corporate-cozy administration to continue serving the same old interests that are bleeding our country dry. For example, just hours before gloating about draining the swamp, Trump named Mark Esper &#8212; former head lobbyist for the giant military contractor Raytheon &#8212; to head the Pentagon. There, Esper will oversee the doling out of hundreds of billions in tax dollars each year to such corporate powers as ... Raytheon!<p>Updated: Wed Aug 21, 2019</p> 12366b313f5c0c05762c87284b00346e Government for the Rich, the Poor Be Damned for 08/15/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/08/19/government-for-the-rich-the-poor-be-damned Thu, 15 Aug 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Donald Trump <i>loooooves</i> farmers. We know this because he says so. "Farmers, I LOVE YOU!" he declared in December. And we've learned that whenever The Donald says something, it's true &#8212; even when it's not.</p> <p>These days, he's loving farmers to death. Trump has ignored the obvious need to get monopolistic price-fixing bankers, suppliers and commodity buyers off their backs. And he's ineptly playing tariff games with China and other buyers of U.S. farm products, causing exports and farm prices to tumble. The result is that our ag economy is tumbling into a deep ditch, slamming farm families and rural America with a rising tsunami of bankruptcies.<p>Updated: Thu Aug 15, 2019</p> 3a587b87a71d1428a9cf91c1840b07f6 Let's Decode Trump's Afta-NAFTA Trade Deal for 08/07/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/08/19/lets-decode-trumps-afta-nafta-trade-deal Wed, 07 Aug 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>"Keep your eye on the ball" is a core principle not only for baseball players but also for us commoners trying to assess exactly what the spinmeisters of global trade are hurling at us. Their deals are and always have been large-scale hustles, filled with hypocrisy, deceit and greed. Promoted as fair and good for all, they're invariably rigged with profiteering schemes that lock into law advantages for corporations over the common good of consumers, the environment, labor, independent businesses, governments and all other democratic forces.</p> <p>Further, they are works of deliberate deception, drafted in strict secrecy and couched in page after page of arcane legalese that intentionally obscures the corporate thievery so We the People don't know that we've been had until it's too late. T<span class="column--highlighted-text">hey hide the ball to keep you, me and even Congress from seeing specifically who'll profit and who'll pay.</span> So, heads up, for here comes another sucker pitch.<p>Updated: Wed Aug 07, 2019</p> e7d0d6dde9658aa7a4d0074bb87f499f Will Democrats Be Democrats or Fraidy-Cats? for 07/31/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/07/19/will-democrats-be-democrats-or-fraidy-cats Wed, 31 Jul 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>"Trust me!" bellowed the billionaire Donald Trump to working-class voters in 2016, promising he'd be the champion of what he called "the forgotten Americans."</p> <p>Trust him? He's a lifetime real estate huckster infamous for ripping off workers and opposing union labor. You'd have better odds trusting a coyote to guard your last lamb chop!<p>Updated: Wed Jul 31, 2019</p> fa036f0c64c03cdaa23521533e4cb4af Punishing Trade Pirates? It's Complicated for 07/24/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/07/19/punishing-trade-pirates-its-complicated Wed, 24 Jul 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>There's a hierarchy of larceny in our world, from pickpockets to the Wall Street syndicates running sophisticated mass swindles. But atop the heap are "bandit nations" &#8212; countries whose industrial and political elites conspire in economic espionage aimed at stalking and stealing the ideas, technologies and innovations of other economies. Their global robbery, "intellectual property theft," plunders billions of dollars a year. Recently, U.S. corporate leaders have been in a sputtering rage over these state-sanctioned criminal enterprises. "Pirates!" they shriek, accusing China, Russia, some European competitors and even developing nations of spying, hacking and otherwise filching U.S. patents and such.</p> <p><span class="column--highlighted-text">Pirates? Well, what else to call a country that makes such robbery core to its economic development strategy? (WARNING: Inconvenient historical truth dead ahead.) </span>You could call it the United States of America.<p>Updated: Wed Jul 24, 2019</p> 311b328006f4e5aa3a55af26747d9143 The Mad Corruptions of Trump Inc. for 07/17/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/07/19/the-mad-corruptions-of-trump-inc Wed, 17 Jul 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Where's Shakespeare when we need him? Only the Bard of Avon could do literary justice to the tortured madness of Donald Trump, who fluctuates between petulant self-pity and weird self-praise.</p> <p>His brags are especially weird because they usually involve achievements he hasn't made. It's as though his saying something makes it true &#8212; even though everyone except his most naive devotees can clearly see that he's either hallucinating or lying. In June, for example, at a rally launching his reelection campaign, he retrumpeted an old campaign promise to "drain the swamp," assuring the adoring crowd that "that's exactly what we're doing right now." Trump gilded the lie with this beauty: "We stared down the unholy alliance of lobbyists and donors and special interests."<p>Updated: Wed Jul 17, 2019</p> 66c473fb652c66c99a82e2abb1fe4887 Up Against Monopoly for 07/10/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/07/19/up-against-monopoly Wed, 10 Jul 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Farm Aid, the top-notch group of researchers and advocates who've tracked family farm issues for nearly 34 years, reports that just two giants now control 60% of all raw milk processed nationwide &#8212; a concentration that works to suppress the farm price of milk. But the processor monopoly is more severe than that number suggests. Because of rigged marketing rules and the perishable nature of milk, farmers sell regionally, and these markets are even more locked down by the Big Two. The largest &#8212; Dean Foods, an $8 billion behemoth &#8212; controls 90% of dairy markets in Wisconsin and Michigan, 70% in New England and 70-90% in several other states.</p> <p>Most of today's farm commodities are sold into noncompetitive markets controlled by fewer and fewer multinational corporations. For example, the Big Four processing/marketing giants control production of 55% of all turkeys, 59% of chickens, 66% of hogs, 70% of soybeans, 80% of corn and 84% of beef. Again, the real level of price-busting concentration is greater than these percentages indicate, for most of the regional markets where farmers actually sell are controlled by only one or two buyers.<p>Updated: Wed Jul 10, 2019</p> e2e716bd7b6c4f1011e21ea5b0339a0c The Devastation of Farm Country Is Biting Us All on the Butt for 07/03/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/07/19/the-devastation-of-farm-country-is-biting-us-all-on-the-butt Wed, 03 Jul 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>A massive depression has been building for years across our vast rural expanse, but don't feel alone if you didn't know, for most of our media and political establishments have failed to notice, much less inform the general public. In America's power centers, farming is almost entirely ignored as something arcane and "out there" &#8212; and out of mind. In 1960, John F. Kennedy lightly summed up this attitude: "I don't want to hear about agriculture from anyone but you," the urbane president reputedly told Orville Freeman when appointing him Agriculture head. "Come to think of it, I don't want to hear about it from you, either."</p> <p>But hear about it we must, and <i>do something</i> we must. <span class="column--highlighted-text">Today's crisis promises not only to devastate our country's rural economy and culture but also to enter our kitchens and bite us on the butt.</span> Today's catastrophe is far more desperate than outsiders know &#8212; and is caused by another perfect storm of corporate monopolization, financial manipulation and rigged ag policies. How severe is the storm? Start with one eye-popping indicator: The 2018 median farm income for U.S. farm households was minus $1,553! ("Net farm income" is the money left over after a farm family subtracts the cost of producing their crops from the amount they get paid for them.) You can't pay for groceries, rent, medical bills, kids' clothing, a trip to Disneyland, etc. on negative income. And $1,553 in debt is the "median," meaning that half of America's farm families went even deeper into the hole.<p>Updated: Wed Jul 03, 2019</p>