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, 15 Jul 2020 00:09:38 -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 0757e47c6d23ade81b0fd4e41ba2f47d Spinning Around on Trump's Money-Go-Round for 07/15/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/07/20/spinning-around-on-trumps-money-go-round Wed, 15 Jul 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>The Donald is in a funk. He's been outsmarted by an inert virus. His poll numbers are tanking, and even his demagogic pep rallies are falling flat.</p> <p>So, who to turn to for political comfort? Why, of course, Trump's true loyalists: his diehard cadre of Washington's corporate lobbyists. I don't merely mean those elites of K-Street and Wall Street who dominate his Cabinet, constituting the official Trump government of, by, and for corporate greed. He also has a "kitchen cabinet." Operating out of public view, it's an unofficial collection of highly paid influence peddlers who're still practicing the dark art of bending government power to the wishes of selfish corporate interests. Each of them is paid hundreds of thousands of dollars a year by brand-name clients &#8212; from Amazon to Walgreens &#8212; to get favors from Trump. In turn, these little-known lobbyists have now adopted The Donald as their chief client, funneling millions of special-interest dollars into his reelection campaign with the understanding that he'll keep channeling tax breaks, regulatory exemptions and public dollars to the corporate donors. It's the Washington money-go-round, merrily corrupting our government.</p> <p>Who are these no-name corrupters? David Urban is one, considered the best-connected corporate huckster in the Trump swamp. He's an old college pal of both Pentagon chief Mark Esper and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Moreover, he's become such a close buddy of Donald himself that he's known as a "Trump Whisperer," able to work around the furies that rage in that strange orange head. <p>Updated: Wed Jul 15, 2020</p> 612800ce4c1ac3144f256f2bf2e5341c Sacrificing People to Corporate Profit for 07/08/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/07/20/sacrificing-people-to-corporate-profit Wed, 08 Jul 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>I think I've figured out the real reason President Donald Trump refuses to wear a coronavirus mask: He realizes that we'd all recognize him as the masked robber who has been moving furtively behind the scenes during the pandemic to rig the rules against workaday folks in order to further enrich corporate elites.</p> <p>With media attention riveted by COVID-19 body counts and political flare-ups over mask wearing, Trump & Co. have felt free to monkey-wrench labor laws, dynamite environmental regulations, jiggle open the locks on corporate profiteering, manipulate the tax code and generally burglarize our people's commitment to the Common Good. It's like Robin Hood and his Merry Band &#8212; only in reverse, stealing from the many to give more to the rich few.<p>Updated: Wed Jul 08, 2020</p> 45acbb75ad3b246f73d87d9d5b0c5d64 The GOP's Grotesque Plan to Cope With COVID-19 for 07/01/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/06/20/the-gops-grotesque-plan-to-cope-with-covid-19 Wed, 01 Jul 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Harking back to the embarrassing days of Gov. Rick "Oops" Perry, my state of Texas is once again saddled with a Republican gubernatorial goober. Greg Abbott is this guy's name, and he's another incompetent right-wing ideologue whose botched handling of our state's COVID-19 crisis makes President Donald Trump look like a master administrator of public health.</p> <p>Unfortunately for you non-Texans, Gov. Abbott's extreme gooberness is now surging across our borders to afflict people in your state. Before we go there, though, ponder his slapstick performance here, where he's been swatting futilely at the fast-moving coronavirus.<p>Updated: Wed Jul 01, 2020</p> 4f742bf9936aadadc0c2ac8e2516f539 Moving Forward During the COVID Crisis for 06/24/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/06/20/moving-forward-during-the-covid-crisis Wed, 24 Jun 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>In February and March primary elections, a cabal of backroom political geniuses rushed out a coordinated campaign, screeching that impending doom would await the Democratic Party if it were to actually run on democratic ideas like Medicare for All, paid sick leave, universal basic income and expanded unemployment aid. Too bold, they wailed, too socialistic-y-sounding ... too <i> scary </i>! Clueless billionaire Mike Bloomberg actually hurled the "communism" smear at Sen. Bernie Sanders' policy ideas. Better to go slow with Joe, they warbled, for he's the safe choice &#8212; a trusted lifelong insider who'll excite voters with his unexciting, steady-as-she-goes conventionality.</p> <p>Then, KABLOOEY! In a flash, conventionality started coughing, gasping and dying. Instantly, the public was clamoring for (and even the GOP-controlled Senate was voting for) the very remedies that Biden & Co. were so loudly decrying as extremist. <p>Updated: Wed Jun 24, 2020</p> b1ef666c49043c3d5f043910f65448a9 COVID-19 Is Prompting a Societywide Recalculation for 06/17/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/06/20/covid-19-is-prompting-a-societywide-recalculation Wed, 17 Jun 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Laissez-faire ideologue Ronald Reagan used to delight in mocking the very idea that government should provide health protection, food aid, income support or other public assistance to people in need. The Gipper derided "big government" as both a hopeless bungler and an insatiable beast that devours individual freedom, quipping that, "The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: I'm from the Government, and I'm here to help." The line was a sure-fire crowd pleaser, winning applause and guffaws from those who bought into his demagogic warnings about "creeping socialism."</p> <p>However, then came COVID-19, and those guffawing at stale jokes about big, bad government have suddenly been drowned out by anxious and angry cries bursting out of practically every ZIP code in our land: "Where the hell is our government?!" It turns out that the right-wing's socialist boogeyman is far less terrifying, even to right-wingers, than the absence of actual socialism when you need it.<p>Updated: Wed Jun 17, 2020</p> ae984ce545d0c5f18970ec6733d461fe George Floyd, Me, You ... and a Donald Trump Coup! for 06/10/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/06/20/george-floyd-me-you-and-a-donald-trump-coup Wed, 10 Jun 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Viewing the video of George Floyd's gruesome murder, one word in particular from him stuck in my head, one painful human utterance that conveys the horror of it all. "Mama," Floyd cried out in desperation and disbelief as his life was cruelly and senselessly suffocated in yet another brutal white-on-black slaying by so-called officers of the law.</p> <p>This can't be America. Can it? <p>Updated: Wed Jun 10, 2020</p> 1d3ba25dc5fe1d04f6106cc500fa282f The Militarization of 'Officer Friendly' for 06/03/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/06/20/the-militarization-of-officer-friendly-8bbfc Wed, 03 Jun 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>From 1776 forward, Americans have opposed having soldiers do police work on our soil, but in recent years, Pentagon chiefs have teamed up with police chiefs to circumvent that prohibition. How? Simply by militarizing police departments.</p> <p>Through the little-known 1033 program, the Pentagon has been shipping massive amounts of surplus war equipment to our local gendarmes. This reflects a fundamental rewiring of the mindset now guiding neighborhood policing. Police chiefs commonly send out squads brandishing heavy arms and garbed in riot gear for peaceful situations. Recruiting videos feature clips of SWAT team officers dressed in black, hurling smoke grenades into homes and then storming them, firing automatic weapons. Who wants anyone recruited by that video working their neighborhood? <p>Updated: Wed Jun 03, 2020</p> 129ce8c8edb94dbfa11e24aba90fe943 What's Behind a Mask? for 05/27/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/05/20/whats-behind-a-mask Wed, 27 May 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p><span style="background-color: initial;">For future historians and artists who'll chronicle today's health and economic crisis, one humble item will stand out as the chief cultural emblem of the times: wearing a mask. Or not.</span><br></p> <p>These low-tech, low-cost, high-impact coverings for the nose and mouth are so simple and effective at helping reduce the COVID-19 infection rate that our top political leaders' failure to produce, distribute and require them en masse when the pandemic first spread ranks somewhere between stupid and criminal. Yet, following the visual example set by doctors, nurses and other health professionals (including morticians!), the people themselves took the lead, rapidly making homemade masks a booming cottage industry and a charitable act. Artists quickly chipped in with creative designs. Impish youngsters put masks on public statues. Cartoonists masked their characters. And, of course, satirists produced photos of President Donald Trump wearing a mask ... over his eyes.<p>Updated: Wed May 27, 2020</p> 185bdb3fbe3ec624b0161f8f7fb5c6d3 What Is for 05/20/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/05/20/what-is-iyyikowa-and-why-do-we-need-more-of-it Wed, 20 May 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Charles Dickens, writing about the inequality and social turmoil leading to the French Revolution, noted, "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times."</p> <p>So it is today, with the horrific COVID-19 killer both ravaging the globe and intensifying the inequality that was already rending social unity. Consider the experiences of one especially hard-hit group in our country: Native Americans. The Navajo Nation alone has become one of the worst of America's COVID hotspots, with a higher death rate than all but four states. Yet, in an example of the worst of times, Trump & Co. delayed disbursement of $8 billion in coronavirus relief funds that Congress had set aside for tribal governments. The disease raged through Indian Country for six crucial weeks while Trump officials sat on the money. People died.<p>Updated: Wed May 20, 2020</p> 1f9387abcb787e6d52a26338e6864472 Trump Blasts Into a New Frontier ... for War for 05/13/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/05/20/trump-blasts-into-a-new-frontier-for-war Wed, 13 May 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p></p><p>Bring on Captain Kirk, Spock and the whole intrepid "Star Trek" cast. And while you're at it, toss in some "Dr. Strangelove," for President Donald Trump is on a mission to turn science fiction into official military policy. Or is it the reverse? Either way, he's casting himself as a cosmic warrior with a heroic vision to turn the spectacular majesty of space into, as he put it, "the world's new war-fighting domain." How fantastic is that?<p>Updated: Wed May 13, 2020</p> db32ff9c153f088c1a31c6cd22c90b84 What's the Difference Between Corporate CEOs and Pigs? for 05/06/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/05/20/whats-the-difference-between-corporate-ceos-and-pigs Wed, 06 May 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Monty Bennett was just another faceless right-wing millionaire on the long list of high-dollar donors to Donald Trump &#8212; until he suddenly surfaced in April as the nation's biggest bagger of government cash in the emergency Paycheck Protection Program.</p> <p>The PPP is the $660 billion rescue package for America's thousands of small businesses, helping them keep people employed during today's shutdown of the U.S. economy due to the coronavirus pandemic. Bennett was among the first in line for payroll relief, applying for $126 million and immediately getting about 55% of that. But wait. There's nothing mom-and-popish about Monty's business. Operating through a maze of tightly interwoven financial trusts and corporate subsidiaries, he runs a sprawling Dallas-based conglomerate named Ashford Inc. that owns and operates 130 hotels and luxury resorts across the country including the Marriott Beverly Hills and the Ritz-Carlton in the U.S. Virgin Islands.<p>Updated: Wed May 06, 2020</p> 7f1d2775c2b6e00058bc39182d219711 What's the Gimmick in Trump's Plan to 'Rescue' the Public Postal Service? for 04/29/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/04/20/whats-the-gimmick-in-trumps-plan-to-rescue-the-public-postal-service Wed, 29 Apr 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>One thing we've learned for sure this year is that no national crisis is too awful to keep Trump & Company from exploiting it for their plutocratic political purposes. </p> <p>Obviously, COVID-19 is a god-awful crisis, having killed more than 55,000 Americans so far while also killing most of the U.S. economy. It couldn't be worse. But late one night, deep inside the White House, a dim bulb flickered in our present president's head: "Eureka," Donald Trump exclaimed, "here's our chance to kill the U.S. post office!"<p>Updated: Wed Apr 29, 2020</p> 2171958b05dfd3459422caef8d03f7d7 The Deadly Economic Disease Behind COVID-19 for 04/22/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/04/20/the-deadly-economic-disease-behind-covid-19 Wed, 22 Apr 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>In this horrible time of economic collapse, it is truly touching to see so many corporate chieftains reaching out in solidarity to the hard-hit working class. </p> <p>We know they're doing this, because they keep telling us they are &#8212; practically every brand-name giant has been spending millions of dollars on PR campaigns in recent weeks asserting that they're standing with us, declaring over and over, "We're all in this together."<p>Updated: Wed Apr 22, 2020</p> 86afe7bbb01bcc2ab06bf01b2b9938ca War Mania for 04/15/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/04/20/war-mania Wed, 15 Apr 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Our nation is suffering a decadeslong compulsion to wage war. It's not that the American <i> people </i> are crazed for constant and senseless military conflict; <span class="column--highlighted-text">the hierarchy has so rigged our war machine that it now operates on autopilot, perpetually dispatching our combat forces into hostilities with little reason, public awareness or national consensus.</span></p> <p>Ponder this: Since the Sept. 11 attacks in 2001, the U.S. has been in multiple wars <i> every single day </i>. How many can you name? Sure, we hear about the big conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria, but here's a sobering statistic: More than 200,000 U.S. troops are now deployed for war in at least 177 countries and territories. I say "at least" because, as the respected military publication Stars and Stripes reveals, nearly 44,000 additional troops are assigned to places the Pentagon simply lists as "unknown." Of course, the hierarchy knows where these secret military actions are, but We the People are not to be told.<p>Updated: Wed Apr 15, 2020</p> 6ea4df4e90162c408d0ed071fb139b6c To Have a People's Government, We the People Must Build It for 04/08/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/04/20/to-have-a-peoples-government-we-the-people-must-build-it-53456 Wed, 08 Apr 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p><span style="background-color: initial;">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 back-seat window and </span><i style="background-color: initial;"> shouted, </i><span style="background-color: initial;"> "Wake up and piss, kids. The world's on fire!"</span><br></p> <p>I stared at her wide-eyed and whopper-jawed, wondering where that came from. <p>Updated: Wed Apr 08, 2020</p> a2c160766244d15fe1d9fec1ce572c12 America's Political Soul for 04/01/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/03/20/americas-political-soul Wed, 01 Apr 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Making real democratic change is messy, inherently anti-establishment and fundamentally about choosing sides. Throughout our history, we have periodically needed large, disruptive political shake-ups to assure the survival and expansion of the democratic ideals that make America's social cohesion possible. Those shake-ups have not come from the comfortable center. Indeed, the abolition of slavery, women's suffrage, the rise of labor, the People's Party platform of 1892, trust-busting laws, the New Deal, civil rights protections, environmental safeguards, same-sex marriage, immigrant justice, et cetera have been won against the adamant opposition of centrists. </p> <p>Which brings us to the present progressive/centrist divide in the ongoing Democratic Party primaries. <span class="column--highlighted-text">How to choose sides? It's not as hard as it might seem if you ask two fundamental questions about the Big Change ideas being put forth by the progressive movement.</span> <p>Updated: Wed Apr 01, 2020</p> 1475127772d56dccc35bef20b236825d Pandemic Profiteers, Trump and Peter Cottontail for 03/25/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/03/20/pandemic-profiteers-trump-and-peter-cottontail Wed, 25 Mar 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Wartime profiteering is an especially vile form of corporate greed, yet it has been as common in our country as war itself.</p> <p>Indeed, during the American Revolution, assorted corrupt merchants and traders lined their pockets by controlling the supply and jacking up the prices of various goods they sold to the Continental Army and the general public. Often, though, feisty colonials struck back at the gougers. In 1777, for example, when a Boston merchant was found to be hoarding imports of coffee and sugar to create an artificial shortage so he could charge the area's families exorbitant prices, a band of enraged Beantown women took matters into their own hands. They beat up the guy and confiscated his stock!<p>Updated: Wed Mar 25, 2020</p> d5704174d08bb421f3d0f2678ec69105 What Does Small Government Buy Us? for 03/18/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/03/20/what-does-small-government-buy-us Wed, 18 Mar 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Suddenly, America is a nation of socialists, asking in dismay, "Where's the government?"</p> <p>These are not born-again Bernie Sanders activists but everyday people of all political stripes (including previously apolitical multitudes) who're now clamoring for big-government intervention in their lives. Nothing like a coronavirus pandemic to bring home the need that all of us have &#8212; both as individuals and as a society &#8212; for an adequately funded, fully functioning, competent government capable of serving all. Alas, as everyone can see in our present moment of critical national need, government today has been reduced to a rickety medicine show run by an inept, small-minded flimflammer peddling laissez-fairyland snake oil.<p>Updated: Thu Mar 19, 2020</p> 6fb4242d66c664fff7e0a1416545a411 How Weird Is the Democratic Party Establishment? for 03/11/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/03/20/how-weird-is-the-democratic-party-establishment Wed, 11 Mar 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Just when you thought this political year couldn't get any weirder, along comes the entire Democratic Party establishment rushing en masse to the cliff's edge, hurling itself headfirst into the presidential contest. What has spurred this gaggle of political operatives, fat-cat donors and former presidential hopefuls is a collective impulse to unite behind the very worst candidate the party could possibly put up against President Donald Trump in November's election: Joe Biden.</p> <p>While practically everyone in the political swirl admits privately that the former vice president is pretty slow, awfully corporate and practically bent double with a bag full of very bad political positions he's taken during his decadeslong career as a Washington insider, his establishment cohorts are now resurrecting his dormant campaign by ecstatically proclaiming that he's a "winner."<p>Updated: Wed Mar 11, 2020</p> 7dbafa36748941f173b5e64c2757ab35 Trump Flees Afghanistan, but US Still There for 03/04/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/03/20/trump-flees-afghanistan-but-us-still-there Wed, 04 Mar 2020 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>It's over. Donald the Dealmaker says that he has ended America's long nightmare in Afghanistan, finally terminating 18-plus years of grinding war (the longest in U.S. history). After more than 2,400 Americans killed (another 20,000 wounded), more than 100,000 Afghan citizens killed (countless more maimed) and roughly $2 trillion wasted, Trump is crowing that he's negotiated an end to the ridiculously expensive and pointless military adventure.</p> <p>Only ... he hasn't. His flimsy four-page document, signed with a group of Taliban officials on Feb. 29, is not an end to hostilities and does not require disarmament or even a cease-fire. <span class="column--highlighted-text">It's just a cynical, face-saving device so Trump can withdraw a few troops and then claim in his reelection campaign that he's fulfilling his 2016 promise to end "endless wars." </span>This so-called Afghan peace accord merely asks Taliban warlords to agree to &#8212; get this &#8212; a <i> seven-day </i> "reduction in violence." There's not even a clear statement on what constitutes a reduction or violence, much less any agreement on steps toward achieving real peace.<p>Updated: Wed Mar 04, 2020</p>