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 Fri, 15 Jan 2021 08:16:29 -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 df172f3d3abc513c59c2f9c2f694d316 Who's Really Behind the Desecration of Our Capitol? for 01/13/2021 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/01/21/whos-really-behind-the-desecration-of-our-capitol Wed, 13 Jan 2021 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>What exploded in our nation's Capitol on Jan. 6 is an outrage, a desecration of America's democratic ideals!</p> <p>But I don't merely mean the ransacking and terrorizing of Congress by violent Trumpeteers who were deluded by the lying, megalomaniacal president into thinking they could throw out the votes of 81 million citizens. Rather, let's also shine a light on those pious establishment peers who've practically knocked one another over in their rush to the microphone so they could assail the mob and call for decorum and healing of the angry political division in our society. For example, the GOP's Senate leader, Mitch McConnell, called the invading horde "thugs" and prissily lectured, "Self-government ... requires a shared commitment to truth and shared respect for the ground rules of our system" <p>Updated: Wed Jan 13, 2021</p> 0ac5dc0a38ad4eb9d90a4fe22225e9eb We Are All Still Animals for 01/07/2021 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/01/21/we-are-all-still-animals Thu, 07 Jan 2021 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>You animal, you! Well, yes, we homo sapiens are animals, as dour scolds of human behavior ceaselessly point out. They reduce our existence to the nasty and brutish law of the jungle, insisting that selfishness and survival of the strongest is the natural order. The noted philosopher of animalism, Professor Donald Trump, expressed this soulless view in a book he titled "Think Big and Kick Ass": "In a great deal you win ... You crush the opponent and come away with something better for yourself."</p> <p><span class="column--highlighted-text">But the animal kingdom itself suggests a better route to winning than crush-your-opponent competition: cooperation.</span> While animals do eat other animals, the species that are the most successful survivors are not the strongest but the ones that work together in a sharing society. From ants to elephants, animals in the wild organize to hunt together, build family and group homes, nurture and teach their young, spread their available food throughout the community, mourn lost ones, etc.<p>Updated: Thu Jan 07, 2021</p> 5a55c7f3181147210e942ba4129ab8ec 'Lord of the Flies,' Revisited for 12/30/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/12/20/lord-of-the-flies-revisited Wed, 30 Dec 2020 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Many of us read William Golding's "Lord of the Flies" in high school &#8212; and it's still being taught. The 1954 novel depicts the gradual descent into barbaric darkness by a group of English schoolboys shipwrecked on a small, deserted island. Its portrayal of innate human depravity was hailed at the time for its unblinking "realism." Only ... it was total bulls&#8212;-.</p> <p>In his superb 2019 work "Humankind: A Hopeful History," Dutch historian Rutger Bregman documents that Golding had no knowledge of behavioral science and was hardly an impartial judge of children's propensities. Rather, he was an alcoholic prone to depression who beat his kids. "I have always understood the Nazis," Goldman once said, "because I am of that sort by nature." So, he made up the story, and it wasn't about children's dark nature, but his own.<p>Updated: Wed Dec 30, 2020</p> abd272ea6b2e4d4ae26f1a31f689a5e2 Special Gifts for Special People for 12/23/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/12/20/special-gifts-for-special-people-e9d65 Wed, 23 Dec 2020 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Ho-ho-ho, wait till you hear about the gifts I gave to some of America's power elites for Christmas. </p> <p><span class="column--highlighted-text">To each of our Congress critters, I sent my fondest wish that from now on, they receive the exact same income, health care and pension that we average citizens get. </span>If they receive only the American average, it might make them a bit more humble &#8212; and less cavalier about ignoring the needs of regular folks. <p>Updated: Wed Dec 23, 2020</p> 928a83af8b2f71289cb2cc7e8f724987 Timeless Truths for Trying Times for 12/16/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/12/20/timeless-truths-for-trying-times Wed, 16 Dec 2020 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>In a spoof of country music's sad songs of heartache and woe, the old "Hee Haw" TV show periodically featured a couple of its regulars dejectedly wailing a song of total anguish:</p> <p>"Gloom, despair, and agony on me<p>Updated: Wed Dec 16, 2020</p> 45adc71e0b017ec4cc78543e495f577e Thinking of Amazon Workers This Holiday Season for 12/09/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/12/20/thinking-of-amazon-workers-this-holiday-season-3d603 Wed, 09 Dec 2020 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>During the hectic holiday shopping season, Jeff Bezos' Amazon may seem like a great option, especially for us procrastinators. Anything you want can be shipped directly to your doorstep. All it takes is a few clicks on the Amazon website &#8212; and, of course, some of your hard-earned money. </p> <p>The media sings the praises of Bezos' concept and business. But <span class="column--highlighted-text">what you may not know is that, as head of the Amazon beast, Bezos is hard on his labor force</span>. In fact, he was awarded a less-coveted prize by the International Trade Union Confederation in 2014: "World's Worst Boss." <p>Updated: Wed Dec 09, 2020</p> c943f31562a8d2a6c2f4d1fc4222cc8a Who Cares Who the Secretary of Agriculture Is? for 12/02/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/12/20/who-cares-who-the-secretary-of-agriculture-is Wed, 02 Dec 2020 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Years ago, Robert Kennedy noted that making economic, political and social progress is hard because such advances require rejecting the same old business-as-usual policies that sustain the establishment's profits and power. "'Progress' is the nice word," he said. "But change is its motivator. And change has its enemies."</p> <p><span class="column--highlighted-text">His recognition that gutsy, honest leadership is necessary to confront the wealthy interests and advance the Common Good is directly applicable to one of the most important Cabinet appointments President-elect Joe Biden will make: secretary of agriculture.</span><p>Updated: Wed Dec 02, 2020</p> bd6f4c7d52b1c8ddfa3af738ba57a5d7 The AgriCULTURE Attitude for 11/25/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/11/20/the-agriculture-attitude-3dd89 Wed, 25 Nov 2020 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p><span style="background-color: initial;">America's most food-focused holiday traces its roots back to the abundant feast that Pilgrims and Indians enjoyed together in the fall of 1621. Not even half of the 100 or so Mayflower Pilgrims and crew who had arrived at Plymouth Rock the previous December survived their grim first year in the New World ("new," of course, only to those undocumented immigrants &#8212; not to the local citizens).</span><br></p> <p>Still, to celebrate and offer thanks for their survival, the English migrants planned a communal meal following the fall harvest. And in appreciation to the Wampanoag for teaching them to raise corn and gather the region's seafood, they also invited Massasoit, the tribal leader, to join them. He did, surprising the hosts by arriving with 90 members of his community. But they didn't come empty-handed; instead, they brought much of the fare for what became a sumptuous, three-day banquet featuring venison, duck, goose, wild turkey, eel, mussel, lobster, gooseberries, plums, cornmeal pudding, popcorn balls (who knew!), barley beer and fortified wine. And you thought you overate at Thanksgiving!<p>Updated: Wed Nov 25, 2020</p> d7503e1c3320cd508562de939eef7c12 This Thanksgiving, Let's Celebrate AgriCULTURE, Not AgriBUSINESS for 11/18/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/11/20/this-thanksgiving-lets-celebrate-agriculture-not-agribusiness Wed, 18 Nov 2020 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p><span style="background-color: initial;">In December 1972, I was part of a nationwide campaign that came tantalizingly close to getting the U.S. Senate to reject Earl Butz, then-President Richard Nixon's choice for secretary of agriculture.</span><br></p> <p>A coalition of grassroots farmers, consumers and scrappy public interest organizations (such as the Agribusiness Accountability Project that Susan DeMarco and I then headed) teamed up with some gutsy, unabashedly progressive senators to undertake the almost-impossible challenge of defeating the Cabinet nominee of a president who'd just been elected in a landslide.<p>Updated: Wed Nov 18, 2020</p> e969fa86bdc4cc2d476d7756bda66a4d Trump's Anti-Labor Department for 11/11/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/11/20/trumps-anti-labor-department Wed, 11 Nov 2020 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>In building glittery enclaves like Trump Tower, luxury resorts and casinos, our shady dealmaker of a president has routinely used lies, bankruptcies, union busting and plain-old wage theft to stiff the working people who built and staffed them. So, it's no surprise that, while bombastically asserting at rallies that he's the workers' champion, he's been waging a savage war behind the administrative curtain to make employees wholly subservient to the profiteering whims of CEOs and rich investors. How savage? Consider just a few of Trump's nonstop assaults on workplace safety &#8212; direct life-and-death threats to millions of people in America's workplaces. Trump and his appointees have done the following:</p> <p>&#8212; Eliminated the Fair Pay and Safe Workplace rule requiring federal contractors to follow safety and labor laws.<p>Updated: Wed Nov 11, 2020</p> 11d1f31b01938d970d14eeef05b52707 The Worst of Times, the Best of Times for 11/04/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/11/20/the-worst-of-times-the-best-of-times Wed, 04 Nov 2020 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Many years ago, literary critic Dorothy Parker skewered an unfortunate author with her sharp wit: "This is not a novel to be tossed aside lightly. It should be thrown with great force!"</p> <p>That's how a lot of us feel about this presidential election year, which has been distinguished by an incumbent who is so self-centered, incompetent and both mentally and morally unsteady that he's more dangerous than a baby who's gotten hold of a hammer. Swinging wildly, he's tried to win by demolishing the truth, shattering the law, smashing basic rights, annihilating fair play, trashing the common good, busting up social trust, splintering justice and ... well, generally eradicating the egalitarian principles that unify Americans into a functioning democracy. The worst, most divisive election ever, right?<p>Updated: Wed Nov 04, 2020</p> d4cb2e79ca5641acf5e4faabbd41beb6 Should Gig Giants Keep Gigging Workers? for 10/28/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/10/20/should-gig-giants-keep-gigging-workers Wed, 28 Oct 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>There's a mournful Peggy Lee song that asks the existential question: "Is that all there is?" Some progressives are asking that when looking at whether to vote this year &#8212; Biden or Trump ... is that all there is? </p> <p>First, for me, that's an easy choice if we want to have even a small chance of making any little-d democratic progress in the next decade or two. Second, no, that's not all there is. Just scroll down the ballot in most voting districts and you'll find a choice of solid progressive contenders in congressional, state legislative, city council, sheriff and school board races, and other races for grassroots offices, all of which offer tremendous potential for both big policy changes and for expanding America's progressive movement.<p>Updated: Wed Oct 28, 2020</p> 928c8b782cb4c41876598752b56aae50 A Wealth of Riches, a Poverty of Morals for 10/21/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/10/20/a-wealth-of-riches-a-poverty-of-morals Wed, 21 Oct 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Let's say you're a millionaire. That's a lot of money, right? Now let's say you're a billionaire. That's a lot more money! But how much more?</p> <p>Think of all those dollars as seconds on a clock. A million seconds would total 11.5 days &#8212; a nice stash to have in the bank of time. But how much time does a billion seconds buy you? Nearly 32 <i> years </i>. Rich is nice, but billionaire-rich is over the moon.<p>Updated: Wed Oct 21, 2020</p> 93e2a2275902ecc2c95f1ca813892f91 Sabotaging Democracy for 10/14/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/10/20/sabotaging-democracy Wed, 14 Oct 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Little-known fact: In more and more races, the GOP doesn't have broad enough appeal to fairly produce an election majority, so it has resorted to rigging the system so a minority prevails. As far-right tactician Paul Weyrich once bluntly put it: "I don't want everybody to vote. ... Our leverage in the elections quite candidly goes up as the voting populace goes down." Thus, the right's electioneering strategy is to shrink turnout by blocking its opponents' core supporters &#8212; particularly African Americans, Latinx people, Native Americans, union members and young people &#8212; from even entering polling places. This scheme is more than voter suppression; it's straight-out election sabotage.</p> <p>Leave it to sour Republican leader Mitch McConnell to flat-out deny the existence of that elephant in America's voting space: "There's very little tangible evidence of this whole voter-suppression nonsense that the Democrats are promoting," he recently grumbled. Well, yeah &#8212; if, like Mitch, you squeeze your eyes shut real tight and plug your ears with corporate campaign cash, you'll see, hear and speak no evil of the corrupt practices occurring right in front of us. Otherwise, it's easy to see how hyperpartisan Republicans have intensified their efforts to steal targeted peoples' right to vote: Over the past decade, half the states have erected hundreds of new barriers. In a crass perversion of language, they couch their theft as "protecting the integrity of the ballot," but &#8212; to re-aim McConnell's dismissive word &#8212; that's nonsense ... and morally abominable.<p>Updated: Wed Oct 14, 2020</p> 2c49cfcc66f9ad316c1011debf200eda Bringing a Rich, Aloof, Race-Baiting Congress Critter Down to Earth for 10/07/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/10/20/bringing-a-rich-aloof-race-baiting-congress-critter-down-to-earth Wed, 07 Oct 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Some people who get elected to Congress grow in office; others just bloat. Rep. Michael McCaul is a bloater.</p> <p>A self-absorbed, right-wing Trumpeteer, this Texas lawmaker is about the richest guy in the U.S. House, wallowing in some estimated $113 million in personal wealth. McCaul made his money the old-fashioned way: He married it. His wife inherited a fortune, so &#8212; with no need to work for a living &#8212; McCaul decided to become a congressman, winning a grotesquely gerrymandered GOP district in 2004.<p>Updated: Wed Oct 07, 2020</p> afab64adf70d0c2bbe3867831e397598 Trump's Rule of Lies and Partisan Judges for 09/30/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/09/20/trumps-rule-of-lies-and-partisan-judges Wed, 30 Sep 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Shortly after taking office, President Donald Trump puffed himself up in full Trumpian pomposity to proclaim to us rubes: "We will honor the American people with the truth, and nothing else." </p> <p>Well, "nothing else" ... unless you count a record-shattering number of more than 20,000 documented lies that this huckster has uttered in only three-and-a-half years, making dishonesty the cornerstone of his corrupt administration. He's now spewing a furious torrent of lies, insisting that a tsunami of voter fraud is about to hit our land and deny him reelection. He practically shrieks like Chicken Little, claiming that Democrats are meeting in secret cabals across America to pervert millions of ballots and steal the White House from him (as though it's one of his personal properties). <p>Updated: Wed Sep 30, 2020</p> 1cfda42aaaa2cd28bd834d7880053842 How the Right Rigs Elections for 09/23/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/09/20/how-the-right-rigs-elections Wed, 23 Sep 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Is it really so hard? Voting, I mean &#8212; smooth democratic elections with all citizens able to easily cast their ballots and with every ballot fairly counted. Is that too much for people to ask?</p> <p>After all, the mechanisms for assuring universal suffrage are well known, and the logistics are not exactly rocket science. Speaking of which, modern technologies could be our friend here &#8212; helping us vote by mail, or even by email. That's what David Wolf did back in 1997 when he became the first astronaut to upload a secure email ballot from space to Mission Control in Houston, which passed it to his local election officials. Hello ... if astronauts can express their democratic choices while whizzing around Earth, shouldn't the rest of us be able to have our say in neighborhood polling places or, if we choose, from our own homes?<p>Updated: Wed Sep 23, 2020</p> 4eb2a96e6e08542e5d9cf0e4919acc56 Pandemic in the Plants for 09/16/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/09/20/pandemic-in-the-plants Wed, 16 Sep 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Until recently, few people considered the sources of their meat. Then, a coronavirus walked into one after another of Meat Inc.'s humongous rural factories, where more than 90% of U.S. bacon, hamburger, chops, wings and other animal parts are processed. Within weeks, the industry's business model &#8212; immense plants, side-by-side congestion, worker powerlessness and profit-driven executive suite carelessness &#8212; had created hotbeds of contagion. Although the toll is undoubtedly higher, 494 meat factories have acknowledged coronavirus outbreaks that have infected at least 42,534 workers and killed 203.</p> <p>In counties with few doctors and often no hospitals, bodies piled up; workers were refusing to show up; plants were forced to shut down; supermarkets and restaurants across the country rationed meat sales; and &#8212; worst of all in the corporate view &#8212; profits plummeted. <i> What to do? </i><p>Updated: Wed Sep 16, 2020</p> aa3fd94f50a6422878560523ead8b116 Something Is Rotten at Big Meat Inc. for 09/09/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/09/20/something-is-rotten-at-big-meat-inc Wed, 09 Sep 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Upton Sinclair's landmark 1905 book, "The Jungle," exposed the food contamination and worker exploitation hidden in the fetid stockyards and meatpacking plants of Chicago and other major American cities. The muckraking journalist dubbed the nasty and brutish meat factories "a monster ... the Great Butcher ... the spirit of capitalism made flesh."</p> <p>The nauseating details of worker and consumer abuses that Sinclair exposed were so horrific that the ensuing public revulsion and outrage were transformative. Congress quickly passed a food purity law (the 1906 Federal Meat Inspection Act), and union organizing drives sparked nationwide contract bargaining that eventually gave long-oppressed meatpacking workers the clout to improve factory conditions and pay. Indeed, by 1970, the Amalgamated Meat Cutters and the United Packinghouse Union had won enforceable safety rules and solid middle-class wages &#8212; about $25 an hour in today's dollars. Now the median wage for hourly workers in meatpacking plants is down to about half that &#8212; $13.23 per hour &#8212; some 30% less than production workers in other manufacturing jobs.<p>Updated: Wed Sep 09, 2020</p> fa05a0c4342eb0992ad0c94ff4896eed The Dow Jones v. the Doug Jones for 09/02/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/09/20/the-dow-jones-v-the-doug-jones Wed, 02 Sep 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Wow, how about that Dow?</p> <p>The Dow Jones Industrial Average, I mean, Wall Street's up-to-the-minute report on whether corporate stock prices are going up, down or sideways. It's the one economic indicator that our nation's media and political establishment watch religiously, claiming it tells them how our national economy is performing. <p>Updated: Wed Sep 02, 2020</p>