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 Thu, 19 Sep 2019 17:30:05 -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 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></p><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>Updated: Wed Sep 18, 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> ada0e325f2a133aa007391dbfeeedb2f Facing the Fates for 06/26/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/06/19/facing-the-fates Wed, 26 Jun 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>In "Democratic Promise," Larry Goodwyn's definitive history of America's 19th-century Populist movement, he describes the migration of hundreds of thousands of abjectly poor Southern farmers into Texas in the 1870s and '80s. They were escaping the scurrilous "company store" system of crop lending that predatory financiers had imposed on the rural South, trapping farmers in perpetual peonage. The people's only way out of oppressive debt was literally to abandon their farms and flee the state. Family after family loaded their meager belongings onto horse-drawn wagons, nailed a "Gone to Texas" note to their cabin doors and headed west, seeking land and some sort of positive future.</p> <p>"Farm families unhitched their wagons, dug in on the rim of the Great Plains, and scratched for survival," Goodwyn wrote. "<span class="column--highlighted-text">They were desperate years, more desperate than outsiders could know.</span> It was here that the organizational base was created for what historians would later call 'the agrarian revolt.'"<p>Updated: Wed Jun 26, 2019</p> bdc5d63875d4e02e6110a3feb0e80b68 Is Health Care More Important Than Health Care Profits? for 06/19/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/06/19/is-health-care-more-important-than-health-care-profits Wed, 19 Jun 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Last year, Donald Trump said something stupid.</p> <p>OK, nothing astonishing about that &#8212; just another day (or hour) in DonaldWorld. But this stupid thing he said did astonish an entire nation, specifically Britain. Apparently, Trump had seen a televised report by his most trusted foreign policy adviser &#8212; Fox News &#8212; showing people over there protesting about their government-supported National Health Service. See, tweeted our presidential son of privilege, even the Brits are fed up with the idea of health care for all, rejecting a socialized system that, according to Trump, "is going broke and not working." <p>Updated: Wed Jun 19, 2019</p> 38ff65ec4a2a8469d428d3fa60c210dc Trump to Working Class: 'Adios, Chumps' for 06/12/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/06/19/trump-to-working-class-adios-chumps Wed, 12 Jun 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Congratulations on that nice pay raise you got last year, a 7% hike &#8212; wow!</p> <p>Seven percent might not sound all that big, but after 40 years of stagnant wages, even a small uptick can help cover some of your old credit card bills or get an upgrade on your 10-year-old pickup. <p>Updated: Wed Jun 12, 2019</p> 11a3f7d4287a01adc6e6cb545d312fdb How to Arm Nature Against Corporate Profiteers for 06/05/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/06/19/how-to-arm-nature-against-corporate-profiteers Wed, 05 Jun 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>There's a hunters' nightmare in which a group of them flush some rabbits out of the brush, but rather than scampering away, the furry bunnies turn <i> toward </i> their stalkers. "Run!" shouts one of the hunters. "Run for your lives! The rabbits have guns!"</p> <p>Arming animals would make the sport of hunting a bit more sporting, wouldn't it? Well, what if we did give all wildlife a fighting chance against the destructive firepower of profiteers who so carelessly ravage their habitats and kill them off? Of course, we can't arm nature with guns, but we could recognize that other species and ecosystems are living creatures with intrinsic legal rights to exist and flourish, thus giving nature its day in court to defend its well-being.<p>Updated: Wed Jun 05, 2019</p> 28559ad9cf0905b714e616c0e69d465e Our Privacy Rights Are Being Sold, Stolen and Stripped for 05/29/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/05/19/our-privacy-rights-are-being-sold-stolen-and-stripped Wed, 29 May 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>To get a job these days, chances are you'll have to pee in a bottle. Every company with a credit card, store card or website &#8212; or even a clerk who asks you nosy questions at the checkout counter &#8212; is looking to peddle "data" about your buying habits. In many states, you have to hand over your fingerprints to renew your driver's license. Public and private spaces alike are constantly scanned by ever more observant surveillance cameras.</p> <p>When we're asked for our Social Security number to open a bank account, many of us simply shrug our shoulders rather than raising hell. And if we happen to be poorer than a banking customer &#8212; a footloose kid hanging on a street corner or an unemployed motorist guilty of "driving while black," for example &#8212; we're liable to be locked up and lost in a vast criminal "justice" system that considers itself not responsible for any rights, especially privacy rights.<p>Updated: Wed May 29, 2019</p> 279c0a50179d8179d31951c5b9a84a03 How Ridiculous Is Trump's Border Stand? for 05/22/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/05/19/how-ridiculous-is-trumps-border-stand Wed, 22 May 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>The most ridiculous thing about Donald Trump's xenophobic, demagogic assault on Central American amnesty seekers is that his frantic demand to build a $5 billion border wall to deny them entry to the U.S. is not his most ridiculous ploy. </p> <p>Even more ridiculous is his panicky political assertion that the caravans coming north through Mexico are gangs of rapists, murderers and assorted terrorists out to slaughter and conquer us! Never mind that the migrants he demonizes are overwhelmingly women, children and peaceful families who, in fact, are fleeing the terrifying gangs, extortionists and corrupt officials who've turned their lives in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras into hell. But rather than greet these refugees with a policy of common compassion and long-term solutions, Trump and his fellow Republican screechers have militarized the border to shut them out, separate them from their children, incarcerate them and turn them into political pawns for Trump's reelection campaign.<p>Updated: Wed May 22, 2019</p> 5215b491b273b04b5a27b32fb3be7975 What Does Made in America Mean to Trump? for 05/15/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/05/19/what-does-made-in-america-mean-to-trump Wed, 15 May 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>"MAGA," blusters Donald Trump. "Make America Great Again!" America's ranching families, however, would like Trump to come off his high horse and get serious about a more modest goal, namely Make America COOL Again.</p> <p>COOL stands for Country of Origin Labeling, a straightforward law simply requiring that the labels on packages of steak, pork chops, etc. tell us if the meat came from the USA, China, Brazil or Whereintheworldistan. That's useful information, empowering consumers to decide where their families' food dollars go. But multinational meatpacking giants like Tyson Foods, JBS, and Cargill don't want you and me having this basic knowledge and power to decide for ourselves. <p>Updated: Wed May 15, 2019</p> 57c894dca5458dcdd6f1e48983f303fd Let's Re-fund America for 05/08/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/jim-hightower/05/19/lets-re-fund-america Wed, 08 May 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>The powerhouses of Wall Street have tunneled directly into the cloistered backrooms of Washington deal making, extracting trillions of dollars worth of government bailouts, special tax breaks and regulatory favors every year. Yet, in a stupefying act of hypocrisy, they have also been the major force pushing policymakers to embrace extreme laissez-faire bunkum and to inflict the most austere budgetary minginess on the American people.</p> <p>Through their lobbyists, front groups, economic shills, media hacks and the politicians they've purchased, these pampered princes of high finance have gained a stranglehold on policy, choking off the public investment that our country desperately needs. In a nonstop drone, their operatives chant: "America is broke. Fiscal doom looms. Government spending is the cause. Austerity policies are our only hope."<p>Updated: Wed May 08, 2019</p>