National radio commentator, writer, public speaker, co-editor of the monthly "Hightower Lowdown" and author of "Thieves In High Places: They've Stolen Our Country And It's Time to Take It Back," Jim Hightower has spent three decades battling the Powers That Be on behalf of the Powers That Ought To Be -- consumers, working families, environmentalists, small businesses, and just-plain-folks.
Trump’s bassackwards government
Gosh, our Trasher-in-chief has really been busy lately, calling Kamala Harris “nasty” and calling our post offices “a joke.”
But, instead of trash-talking, shouldn’t a president be, you know, running the government? Nah… that bores him. Besides, that’s why he packed his cabinet with all those corporate lobbyists who are skilled at trying to rig our government to serve moneyed elites. Now, empowered by Trump, these special interests are our government, literally setting and running America’s economic, environmental, health, and other public policies. And what a job they’re doing – on us!
Check out Andrew Wheeler, head of Trump’s EPA. He had been the top lobbyist for a coal mining giant, constantly fighting environmental rules to make this notoriously foul industry clean up its act. Now, the befouler’s lobbyist is making the rules, allowing Big Coal and other fossil fuel giants pour more toxic contaminants into our air and water.
Wheeler wails that his poor, multibillion-dollar former clients must be freed from “burdensome” requirements to limit the damage they do to the health of America’s people and our planet. Burdensome? His latest edict frees oil & gas corporations from having to fix methane leaks in their wells, pipelines, etc. Fixing leaks is burdensome? Hello, if you had a gas leak at your house, would you not want to “burden” the company to come fix it?
Not only is methane a potent greenhouse gas causing climate change, but Wheeler’s don’t-worry-about-it favor to his industry buddies comes just as scientists have discovered that methane leaks are two to three times worse than his EPA has been reporting. This means the industry is driving us toward a climate crisis faster than anyone realized.
Talk about nasty, the Trumpeteers have turned government totally bassackwards, protecting polluters from the people, rather than vice versa.
Which food future will you choose?
America certainly has an abundance of food (even though many Americans do not), yet we face a momentous choice of whether to pursue a food future rooted in the ethic of sustainable agriCULTURE – or one based on the exploitative ethic of agriINDUSTRY.
What better symbol of agri-industry’s vision of “food” than that ubiquitous Thanksgiving bird, the “Butterball” turkey. The Butterball has been hoisted onto our tables by huge advertising budgets and regular promotion payments to supermarkets. The birds themselves have been grotesquely deformed by industrial geneticists, who created breasts so ponderous that the turkeys can’t walk, stand up, or even reproduce on their own (thus earning the nickname “dead-end birds’). Adding torture to this intentional deformity, the industry sentences these once-majestic fowl to dismal lives in tiny confinement cages inside the sprawling, steel-and-concrete animal factories that scar America’s rural landscape – monuments to greed-based corporate “husbandry.”
As the eminent farmer-poet-activist Wendell Berry tells us, eating is a profound political act. It lets you and me vote for the Butterball industrial model or choose to go back to the future of agriculture, which is the art and science of cooperating with, rather than trying to overwhelm, nature. That cooperative ethic is the choice of the remarkable “Good Food Uprising” that has spread across the country in the past 30 years. Now the fastest-growing segment of the food economy, it is creating the alternative model of a local, sustainable, small scale, community-based, organic, humane, healthy, democratic – and tasty! – food system for all.
To take part in the good food movement and find small-scale farmers, artisans, farmers markets, and other resources in your area, visit www.LocalHarvest.org.
When and where was the first Thanksgiving Feast?
Let’s talk Turkey!
No, not the Butterball sitting in the Oval Office. I’m talking about the real thing, the big bird, 46 million of which we Americans will devour on this Thanksgiving Day.
It was the Aztecs who first domesticated the gallopavo, but leave it to the Spanish explorers to “foul-up” the bird’s origins. They declared it to be related to the peacock – Wrong! They also thought the peacock originated in Turkey – Wrong! And, they thought Turkey was located in Africa – well, you can see the Spanish were pretty confused.
Actually, the origin of Thanksgiving is confused. The popular assumption is that it was first celebrated by the Mayflower immigrants and the Wampanoag natives at Plymouth, Massachusetts, 1621. They feasted on venison, furkees (Wampanoag for gobblers) eels, mussels, corn, and beer. But wait, say Virginians, the first precursor to our annual November Food-a-Palooza was not in Massachusetts – the Thanksgiving feast originated down here in Jamestown colony, back in 1608.
Whoa, there, hold your horses, pilgrims. Folks in El Paso, Texas, say it all began way out there in 1598, when Spanish settlers sat down with people of the Piro and Manso tribes, gave thanks, then feasted on roasted duck, geese and fish.
“Ha!” says a Florida group, asserting the very, very first Thanksgiving happened in 1565 when the Spanish settlers of St. Augustine and friends from the Timucuan tribe chowed-down on “cocido” – a stew of salt pork, garbanzo beans and garlic – washing it all down with red wine.
Wherever it began, and whatever the purists claim is “official,” Thanksgiving today is as multicultural as America. So let’s enjoy! Kick-back, give thanks we’re in a country with such ethnic richness, and dive into your turkey rellenos, moo-shu turkey, turkey falafel, barbecued turkey…
How wasteful is the Pentagon?
Remember when candidate Trump promised not only to wall-out all migrants crossing our Mexican border, but also to make Mexico pay for his xenophobic wall?
Well, Mexico hasn’t paid a peso… and won’t. So, he keeps running to Congress, demanding that it pony up unlimited billions of our tax dollars for his pet political project. Aside from one token appropriation, however, Congress has said: “Ummmm… no.”
But that’s no hill for a narcissistic climber. Unable to get tax money legitimately, Trump has simply stolen it, taking money from the US military budget. Ignoring the constitutional mandate that only Congress is empowered to control the flow of government money, Trump filched $6.1 billion from our military last year, snatched another $3.8 billion this month, and intends to swipe at least another $3.4 billion before the year is out.
This executive “reprogramming,” as the White House euphemistically calls its daylight robbery, is being pulled off by masking Trump’s wall obsession as a “national emergency.” The Pentagon brass has been yanking funds meant for the Army, Air Force, Navy, Marines, National Guard… and ultimately from our fighting forces.
Presidential autocracy aside, Trump’s massive larceny raises three other interesting issues of public morality: One, his trickery sets a precedent not only for future presidents, but also for our young people’s behavior; Two, our congress critters, especially Trump Republicans, are setting a new standard of craven meekness in the face of this direct executive assault on their authority and on our democracy; and, Three, by simply kissing off a budget loss of more than $13 billion, saying it’s in excess of the military’s needs, the Pentagon is admitting that the war machine is routinely taking way too much of the public’s money.
“Defying Congress, Trump Plans to Renew Fight for Border Wall Funding,” New York Times, March 10, 2019.
The amazing fall of Donald Trump’s wall
Big, high walls can be troublesome. Ask Humpty Dumpty.
However, for a real-life, epic story about wall troubles, ponder the trials and tribulations of our very own president. He can’t seem to get his one, “big beautiful wall” funded or even taken seriously, much less built. Trump has continuously demanded that Congress shell out more than 10 billion of our taxpayers’ dollars to erect a monster of a wall across some 2,000 miles of the US border with Mexico, ranting that his magnificent edifice would keep “aliens” from entering the US from the south. But even when his own party controlled both houses of Congress, his grand scheme went unloved, unfunded, and unbuilt.
Still, he persists. In January, he directed officials to put up a demonstration section of his 30-foot-tall wall to show the world how effective the Trump bulwark would be. But the thing blew over! Not from a hurricane-force storm, but from moderate winds topping out at only 37 miles an hour. Embarrassing.
More embarrassing was a personal visit Trump made to San Diego last September for a media event hailing a new supertech model of wall that he declared would be “virtually impossible” for violators to climb, signing his name on the structure. “I tell you this strongly,” Humpity-Trumpity said, “No more people can come in.”
But a climbing group in Kentucky built a replica of that wall and held an up-and-over competition – winning time was 13.1 seconds! Dozens of competitors easily topped it, including an eight-year-old girl and a guy who climbed it one-handed while juggling various items with his other hand.
Trump has, however, proven that one thing truly is impenetrable – his head. Absolutely no embarrassment, logic, or factual evidence can enter his locked mind and show him how silly this extravagant folly is.
Finding hope in America’s progressive core
Good grief, cry many progressives – how has America turned so right-wing that a flabby, narcissistic, wannabe-dictator like Trump was even in the running?
But wait – aside from a minority of racist, xenophobic, misogynistic voters, plus a bunch of uber-wealthy corporate profiteers making a killing from his rich-man’s agenda – most of Trump’s rank-and-file voters are not right-wingers at all. To see evidence of this, look at the multitude of overtly progressive ballot issues that won majority support on Tuesday, even in so-called “Trump Country.”
53 percent of Arizona voters said yes to a tax surcharge on incomes above $250,000 a year, specifically to raise teacher pay and recruit more teachers.
A whopping 78 percent of Oregon voters approved a populist proposition to put strict controls on the corrupting power of big-money corporate donations in elections.
61 percent of Floridians voted to raise the state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour, a working class advance vehemently opposed by corporate giants and right-wing groups.
57 percent voted yes on a Colorado provision requiring corporations to let employees earn paid time-off for medical and family needs.
Between 53 and 69 percent of voters in six states – including in such supposedly conservative bastions as Arizona, Mississippi, and South Dakota – approved initiatives liberalizing and even legalizing marijuana and other drug use.
Plus, there were some big symbolic victories, such as Mississippi replacing a Confederate symbol on its state flag with a magnolia blossom, and the people of Nebraska overwhelmingly voted to amend their constitution to excise an antiquated provision authorizing slavery as a punishment for certain crimes!
The hope that resides in these progressive policy positions is the prospect that a truly great American majority might yet be forged – not around some mega-politician – but around our people’s basic values of fairness and justice for all.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Funny and informative!!!
My wife and I have been listening for years. We have also been newsletter subscribers for years. With Jim’s background in Texas politics he also brings credibility to his the show.
I have been following Hightower since 1988 when I heard him at the Dem convention (I believe).. he is sharp, quick and HYSTERICAL! I love listening. I just wish they were 30x longer!! Keep up the good work.
Short and Sweet
He breaks down issues regarding the problems in America, from economic to racial. A true progressive patriot!