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 Wed, 28 Jul 2021 18:33:43 -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 4cb8d74db562e74a8a5624592b89ac06 The Oracle Speaks for 07/28/2021 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/07/21/the-oracle-speaks Wed, 28 Jul 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Playing the billionaires' news game, mega-investor Warren Buffett once held a portfolio of 31 dailies and 49 weeklies, including such major city papers as the Buffalo News and the Omaha World Herald. He specialized in squeezing out competitors. His scheme was to create monopoly papers and then chop staff and news content, letting him glean annual profit margins above 30%. </p> <p>But alas for poor Warren, along came the internet, allowing people to root around for free to find local information missing from his hollowed-out papers. Unsurprisingly, his newspapers soon began losing readers, advertisers and profits. So, in 2020, Buffett bailed, selling off his entire portfolio. But rather than concede that maybe his slash-and-burn, profit-maximization approach had produced inferior products, "The Oracle of Omaha," as Wall Street had labeled him, blasted the whole idea of the local newspaper as a dinosaur, a doomed species beyond anyone's ability to save it. Local newspapers are "toast," he proclaimed.</p> <p>But wait, Your Oracleness, when done right, timely local publications both chronicle and help shape a community's story. And that's a social benefit that is as valuable &#8212; and as marketable &#8212; as ever. It's not that people have given up on local news, but corporate-owned papers have. They're <i> not </i> really local; <i> not </i> very newsy; and <i> not </i> of, by and for the workaday people in our multifaceted communities.<p>Updated: Wed Jul 28, 2021</p> fa4940b40d505207906f74e7f58d5ecb Alden Global Capital Is Killing the Newsroom for 07/21/2021 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/07/21/alden-global-capital-is-killing-the-newsroom Wed, 21 Jul 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>If Hollywood wanted to make a gritty movie about the work of dig-it-out newspaper reporters who uncover big local stories of government doings and corporate misdeeds, it couldn't have chosen a more picture-perfect location than the boisterous newsroom of New York's Daily News. Once the largest-circulation paper in America, the Daily News embodied the rich history of brawny tabloid journalism, even serving as the model for DC Comics' Daily Planet, workplace of Clark Kent and Lois Lane in "Superman."</p> <p>But there'd be a problem with filming at the Daily News now: Its owners have eliminated the newsroom, leaving reporters, editors, photographers, et al. with no shared workplace. Yes, today, it's a newspaper without a newsroom.<p>Updated: Wed Jul 21, 2021</p> 683e503bae38ee30885adace68ecc014 The Grand Larceny of Bank(er) Robbery and Executive Mediocrity for 07/14/2021 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/07/21/the-grand-larceny-of-banker-robbery-and-executive-mediocrity Wed, 14 Jul 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Exciting news from Wall Street: Our wealth markets are booming!</p> <p>For the 15th month in a row, everything from the Dow Jones Average to gold prices to bank stocks are rocketing to new records, showering us with wealth from above. Oh ... wait. Maybe you're one of the majority of workaday Americans who don't own stocks or gold, so maybe you're not celebrating Wall Street's big boom. But just chill, because conventional corporate wisdom assures us that the wealthy will invest their good fortunes in enterprises that someday, somewhere will create jobs and eventually will produce trickle-down gains for everyone.<p>Updated: Wed Jul 14, 2021</p> 99167c3d40906f0df8f99e72f24fefc4 The Odd Virus Attacking Republican Governors for 07/07/2021 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/07/21/the-odd-virus-attacking-republican-governors Wed, 07 Jul 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>WARNING: A mutant coronavirus named <i> Gubernatorious Imbecilious </i> is spreading across the country, threatening to become pandemic.</p> <p>Originating earlier this year in the Texas governor's office &#8212; infamously known as the "Laboratory of Bad Government" &#8212; the brain-eating virus escaped, is now drifting unchecked on the political winds and has already infected occupants of governorships in Florida, Idaho, Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota. <p>Updated: Wed Jul 07, 2021</p> e99825c178861d4165b4c5382297926c Who Controls Our Water? for 06/30/2021 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/06/21/who-controls-our-water Wed, 30 Jun 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>"The pump don't work 'cause the vandals took the handles." Thus sang Bob Dylan in 1965, and we can now clearly see those vandals: In addition to polluting corporations, they're the national, state and local officials who have routinely failed over the years to prevent the waste and defilement of our water supply while also failing to budget for even minimal upkeep and modernization of water delivery. As a result, the system is badly broken.</p> <p>Federal funding for our water systems has plummeted 77% since its peak under former President Jimmy Carter. At the same time, the need for more national investment has dramatically increased: The U.S. population has surged by 110 million; aging water infrastructure is outdated and breaking down; state and local politicians have ignored problems (replacing an old pipe is not a prized photo-op); and necessary upgrades to cope with new contaminants and extreme weather events have gone unfunded by politicians catering to pro-corporate financial interests and anti-government ideologues.<p>Updated: Wed Jun 30, 2021</p> e44895eaa236c3c571336244f326c435 What Are You Drinking? for 06/23/2021 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/06/21/what-are-you-drinking Wed, 23 Jun 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p>A mechanical marvel of human ingenuity was plopped down on Mars by NASA last February. Its name, Perseverance, fits the Mars rover perfectly, for the robotic vehicle embodies a feat of scientific know-how, long-term dedication to public purpose, and a tight focus on teamwork. Think about the 20-year span of institutional tenacity required for myriad scientists and others to imagine, design, plan, construct, test and otherwise develop the project. And then they hurled this extraordinarily complex machine on a seven-month, 300-million-mile journey through space, navigating to a pinpoint landing in Jezero Crater, a 3.6-billion-year-old, dried-up Martian lakebed. Now Perseverance is probing the Red Planet's watery past for evidence of primordial life.</p> <p>Meanwhile, back at the ranch, during the same week of this WOW! achievement on Mars, millions of people in NASA's home city of Houston were also probing dried-up waterways: the faucets in their homes, businesses, and schools. On Valentine's Day, an Arctic cold front ripped through the state, and suddenly, basic infrastructure failed, and tap water in this sprawling metro became nonexistent or contaminated. Houstonians were left scrambling for essential, life-sustaining H2O.</p> <p>They were not alone. Nearly 1,300 water systems across Texas were sputtering and failing at the same time. Worse, this calamitous crisis stemmed directly from the even bigger failure of another essential piece of modern infrastructure: the electric grid. During the weeklong deep freeze, almost all the Lone Star State's jury-rigged network of corporate-owned and -run power systems failed, leaving 4.5 million homes and businesses without electricity. In turn, this fiasco caused the pumps, pipes and pressure controls of hundreds of local water networks to freeze up and break down, cutting off potable water for days.<p>Updated: Wed Jun 23, 2021</p> 57947e8e12a919536fd6ab4cf91f8a98 Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk and You: Which One Pays Taxes for 06/16/2021 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/06/21/jeff-bezos-elon-musk-and-you-which-one-pays-taxes Wed, 16 Jun 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>While Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. proclaimed, "I have a dream," it was full of lofty ethical stuff like "justice for all" and ... well, it was so 1963.</p> <p>We now live in a Facebook-Instagram-Google world of billionaire ethics and expectations, so dreams need to glitter with a 2021-ish grandiosity to go viral. So, who better to take us there than that visionary of instant gratification, Jeff Bezos? "Ever since I was five years old," says the megabillionaire boss man of Amazon, "I've dreamed of traveling to space." Now that's intriguing, in part because Jeff regularly acts like he is from outer space &#8212; so, is this a homeward-bound odyssey?<p>Updated: Wed Jun 16, 2021</p> f57c9c01d6dc7a7b8fb07e4c96e92264 To Fix the Labor Shortage, Start with the Wage Shortage for 06/09/2021 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/06/21/to-fix-the-labor-shortage-start-with-the-wage-shortage Wed, 09 Jun 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>A recent newspaper article had an astonishing headline: "Labor shortages end when wages rise."</p> <p>Gosh, Captain Obvious, what an amazing discovery! Someone notify the Nobel Prize committee, for this revolutionary revelation about How-Things-Work surely will win this year's prize in economics. Better yet, someone notify Sen. Mitch McConnell and that whole gaggle of Republican governors whose theory of labor economics begins and ends with the medieval demand that workers be whacked with a stick to make them do what the bosses want.<p>Updated: Wed Jun 09, 2021</p> 64d5281f1d68e2ad695cbbf16d42741a Your Dog Knows Better Than to Let the GOP 'Fix' Our Postal System for 06/02/2021 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/06/21/your-dog-knows-better-than-to-let-the-gop-fix-our-postal-system Wed, 02 Jun 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>It was surprising when Donald Trump declared he would make fixing the U.S. Postal Service one of the top personal priorities of his four-year White House adventure. It quickly became obvious, though, that he was using the word "fix" in the same way your veterinarian uses it when you bring in your dog.</p> <p>Yes, Trump was saying, "Let's fix this puppy," and he wasted an inordinate amount of his presidential power and prestige in a failed attempt to neuter an agency that literally delivers for the people. Think about it: For a 55 cent stamp, America's extraordinary postal workers and letter carriers will take your piece of mail and deliver it by truck, car, airplane, boat, motorbike, mule &#8212; and, of course, by foot &#8212; to any address across town or across the country. The post office is a public system that works; it is both essential and effective. Indeed, the U.S. Postal Service ranks at the top of federal agencies in popularity, with 91% of the public approving its work. Thus, an uproar of protests (including by Republicans) spread across the country, killing Trump's attempt to gut the agency.<p>Updated: Wed Jun 02, 2021</p> 315e3f56a060a8d5c5d91a7af857647e Bigots and Jolly Bankers for 05/26/2021 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/05/21/bigots-and-jolly-bankers Wed, 26 May 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p><span style="background-color: initial;">Amazingly, the agricultural commissioner of Texas is the one top official in my state willing to take a bold stand against racial discrimination.</span><br></p> <p>Sid Miller is his name, and he proudly went to federal court in April in an effort to stop a new government aid program that he considered discriminatory against a particular disadvantaged group of agriculture producers &#8212; namely, his group: <i> White </i> farmers and ranchers! <p>Updated: Wed May 26, 2021</p> 152ef7e587aaa4cc7b7b85c375f5b139 The Plutocrats Cry. People Cheer for 05/19/2021 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/05/21/the-plutocrats-cry-people-cheer Wed, 19 May 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Not only are the rich different from you and me; they're becoming more different than ever.</p> <p>I'm not referring to mere millionaires but to the billionaire bunch. In the past year, while ordinary Americans have lost jobs, businesses and homes due to the economic crash caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, America's 664 billionaires have found themselves nearly 40% richer than before the pandemic! These fortunate few collectively added more than a trillion dollars to their personal stashes of wealth in 2020. And practically all of them got so much richer by doing <i> nothing </i>: Their money made the extra money for them, because corporate stock prices zoomed even as regular people lost income.<p>Updated: Wed May 19, 2021</p> 14bfadfc6a65cf5bfe2d0c320a7dd870 Shameless Monopolies and Makers for 05/12/2021 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/05/21/shameless-monopolies-and-makers Wed, 12 May 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>For the past several years, monopolistic price fixing by two multibillion-dollar milk processing behemoths &#8212; DFA (an outfit deceptively named Dairy Farmers of America) and Dean Foods &#8212; has squeezed thousands of dairy farms out of business, paying farmers less for a gallon of milk than it costs them to produce it. The Big Two controlled some two-thirds of all raw milk processed nationwide, essentially forcing farmers to sell on the processors' terms.</p> <p>Last year, then-President Trump's Justice Department ("justice") allowed the $14 billion DFA empire to devour the $8 billion Dean conglomerate, leaving individual farm families at the mercy of one domineering colossus. DFA now controls <i> 70% </i> of our nation's entire raw milk supply.<p>Updated: Wed May 12, 2021</p> e6af439862551ac91e88f6acd108280c Doing Good Business in the Food Economy for 05/05/2021 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/05/21/doing-good-business-in-the-food-economy Wed, 05 May 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>A cadre of business school economists, high-tech speculators and corporate planners have been hyping and investing billions in a food-economy model that renders many millions &#8212; family farmers, local restauranteurs, independent food processors, small grocers and food workers &#8212; passe. No need for such costly and cumbersome "units," argue these schemers for a revolution enabled by artificial intelligence, robotics, genetic engineering and cell-cultured foodstuffs. A few conglomerates will consolidate and automate every step from planting to plate, producing and distributing the calories necessary to sustain the masses and "free" all the "small" people tied up in food production to do something more useful.</p> <p><span class="column--highlighted-text">The fatal flaw of this soulless corporate concept can be exposed in one word: pandemic. </span>As we've seen again and again this past year, the essential ingredient in a resilient food system is <i> the human spirit </i> &#8212; the very element that corporatizers are most determined to eliminate. When COVID-19 slammed into the economy last spring and shut down or shriveled food service by restaurants, delis and school cafeterias, the grit, ingenuity and community commitment of independent providers quickly kicked into gear. Moreover, the consuming public suddenly came to appreciate anew the value of neighborhood cafes, farm stands, bakeries, food trucks, dedicated grocery workers, servers, food pantries, the Community Supported Agriculture movement and thousands of other hardworking "units" that put dinner on the table for us, even at risk to themselves. While we mourn the terrible, ongoing loss of lives, businesses and jobs among America's food providers, let's also note the countless uplifting stories of producers and consumers coming together, not merely to exchange money for goods but also to nurture community and do a bit for the Common Good. <p>Updated: Wed May 05, 2021</p> d3e5408412161c0e0d7ab3be8a4a50be Rich Whites Trying to Suppress Native Americans. Again for 04/28/2021 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/04/21/rich-whites-trying-to-suppress-native-americans-again Wed, 28 Apr 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>It's tough being rich. For one thing, you have to be on constant alert to keep commoners from encroaching on your turf and disturbing your lifestyle, tranquility and ... well, sense of proper social order.</p> <p>So, surely, everyone can appreciate the angst of the swells who summer in the Hamptons, an ultra-tony seaside enclave of New York City's old-wealth families and Wall Street elites. Located on the far-eastern tip of Long Island, for generations, they've effectively used local ordinances to keep us riffraff from entering their exclusive communities. But now, to their shock and dismay, they find their fortresses of privilege besieged by &#8212; believe it or not &#8212; American Indians!<p>Updated: Wed Apr 28, 2021</p> 9ec9b55c1faee48c7ef79048f93c0005 Why Do We Celebrate Earth Day? for 04/21/2021 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/04/21/why-do-we-celebrate-earth-day Wed, 21 Apr 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>"Here it comes again," grump the barons of Big Oil and other corporate plunderers of our natural resources: another damn Earth Day. After 51 years, they gripe, this global hoorah is outdated; time for people and the media to move on from the old Save-the-Earth hoopla.</p> <p>Do they think we have sucker wrappers around our heads? First, Earth Day is not a hoorah but a call to action. Second, "Save The Earth" is not hoopla but an imperative cause for human survival. And third, the persistence of the movement is directly related to the persistent greed of the plunderers. After all, this day doesn't celebrate a planet but the feistiness of the human spirit, the tenacity of millions of everyday people committed to the ethic of good stewardship &#8212; people like Diane Wilson of Seadrift, Texas, a fourth-generation shrimper on the Gulf Coast. <p>Updated: Wed Apr 21, 2021</p> 5c5fd9bdd2872d586c9918f9fadeb1bb To Bust Monopoly Power, Start With Dinner for 04/14/2021 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/04/21/to-bust-monopoly-power-start-with-dinner Wed, 14 Apr 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>No longer just a parlor game, monopoly is what's for dinner. Practically every commodity and every step in producing our families' most essential consumer purchases is in the tight grip of four or fewer global conglomerates:</p> <p>&#8212; Four chemical conglomerates &#8212; Bayer (German), BASF (German), ChemChina (Chinese) and Corteva (U.S.) &#8212; control more than 60% of the world's commercial seeds market.<p>Updated: Wed Apr 14, 2021</p> 1cead2b4502fd63337f437b710cede61 Is America Big Enough to Go Big Again? for 04/07/2021 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/04/21/is-america-big-enough-to-go-big-again Wed, 07 Apr 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>It's time for America to go back to the future &#8212; a future of true greatness created by a people united to build a strong nation for the Common Good.</p> <p>From the start of our United States, rather than shrinking at the right-wing bugaboo of "Big Government," Americans have backed leaders who dared to do big public projects: Abraham Lincoln's fight for a transcontinental railroad and a land-grant college network to serve small farmers; Teddy Roosevelt's establishment of our national park system; Franklin D. Roosevelt's electrification of rural America, creation of social safety nets and conservation initiatives; Dwight Eisenhower's interstate highway system; Harry Truman's GI Bill; John F. Kennedy's moonshot; and Lyndon Johnson's anti-poverty and civil rights achievements.<p>Updated: Wed Apr 07, 2021</p> 5143d4db1301029a52865a1d72943a09 Follow the People for 03/31/2021 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/03/21/follow-the-people Wed, 31 Mar 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Usually, the Powers That Be swat away the kind of big-ticket reforms our country needs by haughtily asserting a few hoary economic fables they dress up as immutable "truths." </p> <p>"We don't have the money." <p>Updated: Wed Mar 31, 2021</p> bb4f39df4a91e99eee41d9c7d2e39600 Can GOP Autocracy Outlaw American Democracy? for 03/24/2021 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/03/21/can-gop-autocracy-outlaw-american-democracy Wed, 24 Mar 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Hey, you, get away from those polling places! No trespassing! We don't want your kind here! Scram!</p> <p>How's that for a winning political message? It is stupid, shameful and ultimately self-defeating, yet being blatantly anti-democratic and anti-voter is the official electoral strategy being enthusiastically embraced nationwide by Republican officials and operatives. Admitting that they can't get majorities to vote for their collection of corporate lackeys, conspiracy theorists and bigoted old white guys, the GOP hierarchy's Great Hope is crude repression &#8212; rigging the rules to shove as many Democratic voters as possible out of our elections.<p>Updated: Wed Mar 24, 2021</p> b9c2a0d22621e60803ac0a0afc12496e Is Your Job in the Robot Kill Path? for 03/17/2021 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/03/21/is-your-job-in-the-robot-kill-path Wed, 17 Mar 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Some people find hunting for sport to be abhorrent, so hunters have come up with euphemisms to make what they do sound gentler on the ears of the nonhunting public. For example, animals aren't killed; they're "harvested." And dead prey is not gutted but "processed."</p> <p>Corporate America has taken note of this verbal ploy and is now adopting it, for CEOs urgently need euphemisms to soften the image of their constant hunt for ways to kill jobs and funnel more money to themselves and top investors. Their urgency is that they're now pushing a huge new surge in job cuts &#8212; this time targeting college-educated, white-collar professionals! Their weapon is the same sort of neutron bomb they've used to dispatch millions of blue-collar workers: robots. <p>Updated: Wed Mar 17, 2021</p>