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Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

Why Republicans Declared Open Season On American Voters

As a general rule, I don't agree with Republican lawmakers, since they're generally wrong. But after looking into one of their main issues, I have to agree with them: Our elections are being rigged.

Anyone who takes an honest look can see that the electoral process all across the country is being stolen in broad daylight — by Republican lawmakers. In state after state, GOP governors and legislators are on a rampage to rig the system so you can't vote. By "you" I mean African Americans, Latinx voters, Asian Americans, indigenous peoples and practically all other nonwhite citizens. And seniors, union members, poor people, students, immigrant families and others with a tendency to vote for Democrats. By fraudulently shouting that "you people" are engaged in massive, orchestrated campaigns to vote illegally, GOP officials insist that they must steal your democratic right to vote in order to protect the "sanctity" of the vote!

Bizarrely, they are actually confessing their own embarrassing weakness and political ineptitude. In short, they are practically shouting, "We can't win!" Their lineup of squirrelly, increasingly kooky candidates — and their anti-people, corporate-serving agenda — have no ability to draw majority support. So, their only hope to be elected is to jerry-rig America's democratic process with a slew of barriers, locks, red tape, bans and other gimmicks and shut millions of citizens out of their polling places.

It's both pathetic and disgraceful, but their 7 million-vote defeat in last year's presidential race has spooked the Republican majority into a stampede of voter-suppression initiatives this year, pushing new proposals in Congress, the courts and state legislatures. The Brennan Center for Justice reports that at least 235 bills have been introduced in 43 states to further obstruct Americans from casting ballots.

The new schemes are aggressively repressive, aimed at preventing absentee voting, cutting early voting, eliminating mail-in voting, restricting the number and convenience of polling locations, and otherwise making it hard for people to exercise their most basic right of citizenship. Some proposals target specific groups, such as disallowing voting booths on college campuses and preventing early voting on Sundays (when many Black churches provide rides to the polls following services). And some are flagrantly autocratic, such as an Arizona bill allowing legislators to toss the voters' choice in presidential candidate and declare another candidate the victor.

In February, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz was roundly denounced for running off to a sunny luxury resort in Cancun, Mexico, during the deep freeze that devastated millions of his constituents. But I wasn't mad that Ted fled; I was mad that the government let him back into our country.

Cruz is, after all, the two-legged, maniacal, self-aggrandizing ego who arrogantly tried to discard the ballots of millions of voters in the presidential election. Then, in January, he amplified claims of voter fraud along with then-President Donald Trump, who duped a crowd of Trumpeteers into storming our nation's Capitol in an attempt to seize control of our government by force. Now, having failed to pull off his coup of clowns, the extremist wannabe autocrat is asking the Supreme Court to suppress the people's democratic will.

In particular, he has teamed up with the sour old corporate plutocrat Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to insert themselves into an Arizona case involving discrimination, specifically meant to disenfranchise Latinx, indigenous Americans, and Black voters. Cruz and McConnell demand that the court's six Republican justices kill America's landmark Voting Rights Act by excising Section 2. It prohibits states from altering election rules to give minority voters less opportunity than Anglos to participate in the political process.

In 2016, Arizona's Republican lawmakers passed a nasty provision declaring that any ballot cast in the wrong precinct, no matter how valid the ballot, must be tossed in the trash, rather than merely being allocated to the voter's correct precinct. This almost entirely affects people of color, for GOP election officials play partisan games with them by frequently moving their voting places, often at the last minute with little notice. Ted and Mitch, however, see nothing nefarious in this sneaky cheat. Indeed, they want the court to nullify Section 2, allowing states to change the time, place, and manner of voting whenever they want, even if the changes hurt minority voters.

The theft of our democracy doesn't happen in a violent coup but in a thousand legalistic cuts by crooks like Ted Cruz. He's just one example of the gross, repugnant thievery by political thugs who're not just stealing people's birthright but stealing from America itself. To help reject their depravity — and see what they are doing in your state — go to CommonCause.org.

To find out more about Jim Hightower and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators webpage at www.creators.com

What That Deep Freeze Revealed About Texas

It's written that Nero, the debauched ancient emperor, fiddled while Rome burned. Whether or not that's true, it certainly is true that Ted Cruz, the self-indulgent Texas senator, fiddled around while his state froze.

While Ted fled Texas for the sunny clime and luxury of the Ritz-Carlton resort in Cancun, Mexico, dozens of his constituents died in the five-day deep freeze, and millions more suffered physically and financially. They had no heat or water, thanks to the 25-year failure of Texas Republican leaders like Cruz to protect the state's electric grid from such a predictable weather crisis. This deadly, frigid, multibillion-dollar chaos in energy-rich Texas was not the result of a polar vortex but a small-minded vortex of right-wing political hokum that puts the interests of a few corporate profiteers over the well-being of the people.

Among those who now must pay the price of the GOP's fealty to corporate interests is a hard-hit group that gets little media notice: small, local farmers. As a regular customer of farmers markets, I know many of these hardy, innovative people, and I've had the privilege of working with them since my days as Texas Agriculture Commissioner. They are America's most productive, most ecologically conscious and most community-spirited ag producers, yet state and national farm policies work against them, even trying to displace them with industrial farm giants.

For example, massive federal farm programs pay tens of billions of our tax dollars each year in crop insurance and direct subsidies to offset the vagaries of agriculture, but they don't cover local organic and sustainable food producers. Indeed, the bulk of payments go to those least in need — the multimillion-dollar agribusiness operators, including Wall Street syndicates.

So, in my area of central Texas, such efficient, enterprising farms as Boggy Creek, Eden East, Green Gate and Hat & Heart had row after row of veggies turn to greenish-black glop by the killer storm. Through no fault of their own, they lost the money they invested to produce those crops, lost the money they would've gotten by selling them, and will have to find money from somewhere to put in a new crop and then tend to it for six weeks or so with no income.

Not only must our corporate-controlled electric grid be replaced; so must our corporate-controlled ag policy — and our corporate-controlled elected officials.

There is a weasel word that politicians have taken to using in the past few years whenever something goes wrong on their watch: "unacceptable."

We just heard it slither out of the mouth of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott. Responding to withering public criticism of the state's chaotic and disastrous response to a killer winter storm, Abbott fumed, "What happened this week to our fellow Texans is absolutely unacceptable." Well, gosh, Guv, it surely is, but wait — aren't you the governor, the guy in charge? But a detail like that can't get in the way of a weaselly political rant, so Abbott pointed his outrage at ERCOT, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, the agency charged with maintaining a reliable flow of electricity to Texas homes, schools, businesses, etc.

But wait again: ERCOT merely administers policies set by the Public Utility Commission, and that corporate-cozy body has failed for years to mandate that the state's privatized, for-profit electric utilities weatherize their power generators to prevent freeze-ups. And who appointed the three members of that commission? Why, Greg, it was you! In fact, the chairwoman and one of the two other members of PUC are former top staffers of the governor.

Also, Abbott has been governor for six years, and not once has he proposed legislation to require that the corporate owners of electric utilities protect the grid from freezes, as is commonly done in North Dakota, Vermont and other subzero, icy places.

Oh, he also claims that the 2021 winter vortex was unprecedented and therefore couldn't have been anticipated. Oops ... wait again. A notorious rolling grid failure in a 2011 snowstorm left millions of Texans in deadly darkness — a disaster that was also called "unacceptable." But then, Abbott and other GOP officials did accept it, quietly refusing to require winterization, even as they accepted big campaign donations from those corporate giants that caused the breakdown.

We're now treated to the clownish spectacle of Abbott, other GOP politicos, and even the PUC fulminating about the "unacceptable" failure of the state to provide power, demanding a legislative investigation and calling for heads to roll!

But wait once again: Aren't they the heads?

To find out more about Jim Hightower and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators webpage at www.creators.com

Why Rural Doesn’t Have To Equal Red

To say that President Joe Biden lost the rural vote is to sugarcoat the dire situation Democrats face out beyond the suburbs. Why? Well, scoff too many lazy politicos and pundits, rural America is indelibly red, filled with white rubes and racists, so Dems should write them off and concentrate resources where the big numbers are.

Aha! Might it be a problem for a political party to dismiss an entire diverse constituency of millions as a block of static numbers in some consulting firm's big-data computers — rather than, say, as human beings to be courted and won over? The national Democratic Party is a myopic, data-driven operation, as was inadvertently admitted two days after the presidential election by Rep. Cheri Bustos, head of the party's congressional campaign arm. According to The New York Times, "'Something went wrong,' Ms. Bustos said, blaming incorrect modeling of the electorate in polling."

Hello ... how about an incorrect understanding of, concern for, and outreach to rural families and communities? They are being crushed by Big Agriculture monopolies, joblessness, artificially low crop prices, farm foreclosures, Wall Street land speculators, corporate exploitation, opioids, public service cutbacks, climate change (floods, droughts, fires, storms), lack of broadband service, out-migration of youth, COVID-19, suicides, and a host of other Biblical-level plagues. Sure, Republican officials are uncaring and push policies that cause and sustain the pain of all the above. But where the hell are Democrats?

Pointing at GOP uglies is not a helping hand, and — let's be blunt — much of the rural electorate now writes off Democrats as aloof Washington-based elites who look down on them and simply don't give a damn about "out there." Even the party's good, responsive candidates and organizers in rural areas are finding it a hard row to hoe to convince farmers, workers, local business people, and other natural allies in the hinterlands that Dems are on their side. After all ... the party of the New Deal has not really been there for them in years.

In 2009, for example, it looked for one brief moment like then-President Barack Obama might stand up and finally bust the beef and pork trusts that openly rip off family farmers and ranchers. Thousands of abused producers testified at field hearings; a real ag reformer was appointed to go after the corporate profiteers; excitement spread across farm country ... and then nothing . Meat monopolists such as Tyson, Smithfield, and JBS shrieked at the White House and the Democratic-controlled Congress, so all of that grassroots testimony was shelved; the reformer resigned in disgust and protest; and the monopolists are now bigger than ever.

Note that rural America is not just about farmers, and it certainly is not monochromatic, for at least 1 in 5 rural voters are people of color — including African American, Latin American, Native American, Asian American, and others. According to Matt Hildreth of RuralOrganizing.org, a third of all new immigrants find work in enclaves far outside our major cities, as we learned last spring when untold numbers of immigrant workers at those same Big Three meat monopolists died after working in COVID-19-infected slaughterhouses. While then-President Donald Trump was the one who sanctioned this, the Democratic establishment did little more than file an objection and avert its eyes.

If Dems don't stand firm for rural people, why would rural people stand for them? As we saw last November, they won't. In fact, the Biden campaign hardly showed up last year. While the party has a rural program on paper, it has little on the ground — it's estimated that People's Action, just one of the great independent progressive groups that work with rural voters, ran a bigger and much more effective rural outreach effort than Biden did. And when the Dems do deign to go to the countryside, they basically assail the GOP but shy from even speaking the name of the real elephant stomping on the rural economy and culture: unbridled corporate power.

If Democrats ever hope to win rural/small-town America (or even to "lose better" — i.e., by smaller margins), that journey begins by literally moving a permanent party presence to the countryside, listening to the diversity of people there, standing with them, and delivering on their needs. We don't have to create a special vehicle to reach them, for a powerful office already exists with enormous authority and resources to help them restore vitality and prosperity: the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

To find out more about Jim Hightower and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators webpage at www.creators.com.

Special Gifts For Special People

Ho-ho-ho, wait till you hear about the gifts I gave to some of America's power elites for Christmas.

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. If they receive only the American average, it might make them a bit more humble — and less cavalier about ignoring the needs of regular folks.

To the stockings of GOP leaders who've so eagerly debased themselves to serve the madness of President Donald Trump, I added individual spritzer bottles of fragrances such as "Essence of Integrity" and "Eau de Self-Respect" to help cover up their stench. And in the stockings of Democratic congressional leaders, I put "Spice of Viagra" and "Bouquet du Grassroots" to stiffen their spines and remind them of who they represent.

For America's CEOs, my gift is a beautifully boxed, brand-new set of corporate ethics. It's called the golden rule: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." Going to pollute someone's neighborhood? Then you have to live there, too. Going to slash wages and benefits? Then slash yours as well. Going to move your manufacturing to sweatshops in China? Then put your office right inside the worst sweatshop. Executive life wouldn't be as luxurious, but CEOs would glow with a new purity of spirit.

To the Wall Street hedge fund hucksters who've conglomerated, plundered and degraded hundreds of America's newspapers, I've sent copies of Journalism for Dummies and offered jobs for each of them in their stripped-down, Dickensian newsrooms. Good luck.


And what better gift to the Trump family — Donald, Ivanka and Jared, Eric, Donnie Jr. and the whole nest of them — than to wish that they live with one another constantly and permanently? No, really, each of you deserve it.

Yes, I have finally mastered the art of finding perfect gifts for people on my list — gifts that rise above crass commercialism and are genuinely appreciated by the people who receive them. I wholeheartedly recommend such gift-giving to you.

This holiday season got me thinking about America's spirit of giving, and I don't mean this overdone business of Christmas, Hanukkah and other holiday gifts. I mean our true spirit of giving — giving of ourselves.


Yes, we are a country of rugged individualists, yet there's also a deep, community-minded streak in each of us. We're a people who believe in the notion that we're all in this together, that we can make our individual lives better by contributing to the common good.

The establishment media pay little attention to grassroots generosity, focusing instead on the occasional showy donation by what it calls "philanthropists" — big tycoons who give a little piece of their billions to some university or museum in exchange for a building named after them. But in my mind, the real philanthropists are the millions of you ordinary folks who have precious little money to give but consistently give of yourselves, and do it without demanding that your name be engraved on a granite wall.

My own daddy — rest his soul — was a fine example of this. With half a dozen other guys in Denison, Texas, he started the Little League Baseball program, volunteering to build the park, sponsor and coach the teams, run the squawking PA system, etc., etc. Even after I graduated from Little League, Daddy stayed working at it, because his involvement was not merely for his kids ... but for all. He felt the same way about being taxed to build a public library in town. I don't recall him ever going in that building, much less checking out a book, but he wanted it to be there for the community, and he was happy to pay his part. Not that he was a do-good liberal, for God's sake — indeed, he called himself a conservative.


My daddy didn't even know he had a political philosophy, but he did, and it's the best I've ever heard. He would often say to me, "Everybody does better when everybody does better." If only our leaders in Washington and on Wall Street would begin practicing this true American philosophy.

To find out more about Jim Hightower, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators webpage at www.creators.com.

Accepting Biden Win, McConnell Aims To Shut Down GOP Denial

Accepting Biden Win, McConnell Aims To Shut Down GOP Denial

WATCH: Sen. Graham Urges GOP Victory In Georgia To ‘Protect’ Trump From Prosecutors

WATCH: Sen. Graham Urges GOP Victory In Georgia To ‘Protect’ Trump From Prosecutors

GOP Leader McCarthy Echoes Trump’s Lies About Vote Count

Kevin McCarthy GOP Leader McCarthy Echoes Trump’s Lies About Vote Count Photo by Gage Skidmore/ CC BY-SA 2.0

This Holiday Season, Think About The Amazon Workers

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 — and, of course, some of your hard-earned money.

The media sings the praises of Bezos' concept and business. But what you may not know is that, as head of the Amazon beast, Bezos is hard on his labor force. In fact, he was awarded a less-coveted prize by the International Trade Union Confederation in 2014: "World's Worst Boss."

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Does Anybody Care Who Is Appointed Agriculture Secretary? We Should

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."

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.

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On Thanksgiving, Celebrate Agriculture — Not Agribusiness

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.

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.

The 51-44 Senate vote was so close because we were able to expose Butz as ... well, as butt-ugly — a shameless flack for big food corporations that gouge farmers and consumers alike. We brought the abusive power of corporate agribusiness into the public consciousness for the first time, but we had won only a moral victory, since there he was, ensconced in the seat of power. It horrified us that Nixon had been able to squeeze Butz into that seat, yet it turned out to be a blessing.

An arrogant, brusque, narrow-minded and dogmatic agricultural economist, Butz had risen to prominence in the small — but politically powerful — world of agriculture by devoting himself to the corporate takeover of the global food economy. He was dean of agriculture at Purdue University but also a paid board member of Ralston Purina and other agribusiness giants. In these roles, he openly promoted the preeminence of middleman food manufacturers over family farmers, whom he disdained.

"Agriculture is no longer a way of life," he infamously barked at them. "It's a business." He callously instructed farmers to "get big or get out" — and he then proceeded to shove tens of thousands of them out by promoting an export-based, conglomerated, industrialized, globalized, heavily subsidized, corporate-run food economy. "Adapt," he warned farmers, "or die." The ruination of farms and rural communities, Butz added, "releases people to do something useful in our society."

The whirling horror of Butz, however, spun off a blessing, which is that innovative, freethinking, populist-minded and rebellious small farmers and food artisans practically threw up at the resulting Twinkieization of America's food. They were sickened that nature's own rich contribution to human culture was being turned into just another plasticized product of corporate profiteers. "The central problem with modern industrial agriculture ... (is) not just that it produces unhealthy food, mishandles waste, and overuses antibiotics in ways that harm us all. More fundamentally, it has no soul," said Nicholas Kristof, a New York Times columnist and former farm boy from Yamhill, Oregon. Rather than accept that, they threw themselves into creating and sustaining a viable, democratic alternative. The "good food" rebellion has since sprouted, spread and blossomed from coast to coast.

This transformative grassroots movement rebuts old Earl's insistence that agriculture is nothing but a business. It most certainly is a business, but it's a good business — literally producing goodness — because it's "a way of life" for enterprising, very hardworking people who practice the art and science of cooperating with Mother Nature, rather than always trying to overwhelm her. These farmers don't want to be massive or make a killing; they want to farm and make delicious, healthy food products that help enrich the whole community.

This spirit was summed up in one simple word by a sustainable farmer in Ohio, who was asked what he'd be if he wasn't a farmer. He replied, "Disappointed." To farmers like these, food embodies our full "culture" — a word that is, after all, sculpted right into "agriculture" and is essential to its organic meaning.

Although agriculture has forestalled the total takeover of our food by crass agribusiness, the corporate powers and their political hirelings continue to press for the elimination of the food rebels and, ultimately, to impose the Butzian vision of complete corporatization. This is one of the most important populist struggles occurring in our society. It's literally a fight for control of our dinner, and it certainly deserves a major focus as you sit down to your Thanksgiving dinner this year.

To find small-scale farmers, artisans, farmers markets and other resources in your area for everything from organic tomatoes to pastured turkey, visit the LocalHarvest website.

To find out more about Jim Hightower, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Web page at www.creators.com.

Republicans Sabotage Democracy To Preserve Their Power

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 — particularly African Americans, Latinx people, Native Americans, union members and young people — from even entering polling places. This scheme is more than voter suppression; it's straight-out election sabotage.

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Bringing A Rich, Race-Baiting Politician Down To Earth

Some people who get elected to Congress grow in office; others just bloat. Rep. Michael McCaul is a bloater.

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 — with no need to work for a living — McCaul decided to become a congressman, winning a grotesquely gerrymandered GOP district in 2004.

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Something Is Very Rotten At Big Meat, Inc.

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."

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 — about $25 an hour in today's dollars. Now the median wage for hourly workers in meatpacking plants is down to about half that — $13.23 per hour — some 30 percent less than production workers in other manufacturing jobs.

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We’re All In This Together (Unless You’re A Corporate CEO)

Wow, how about that Dow?

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.

Recently, the stock market has been zooming up, up and away. So, like ancient priests watching burbling, hissing volcanos to determine if the gods are pleased or angry, the believers in the infallibility of the Dow are hailing today's economy as boom times! No need for another big round of pandemic relief payments or any other urgent actions by government, exclaim the Trumpeteers, because — Boom, Boom, Boom, look at that Dow! — shareholder wealth is pouring down on us like manna from heaven.

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Why Don’t The Republicans Have A 2020 Platform?

Wow, what a surprise! Have you seen the Republican Party's official platform?

Perhaps, like me, you would have expected it to be a mishmash of Trumpian miasma, laissezfairyland corporate economics, QAnon lunacy, police state authoritarianism and all the other wackiness that today's GOP has been embracing. But, no. Astonishingly, this 18-page policy statement flat-out rejects the elitism, knownothingism and nutballism coming out of the White House and the mouths of nearly every Republican Congress critter.

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Trump’s Bass-Ackward Government Is Rule By Corporate Lobbyists

Gosh, President Donald Trump has really been busy lately: busy assailing Sen. Kamala Harris as "nasty;" busy choosing a new pandemic adviser, whose only qualification is that he praises Trump on Fox News; and busy dissing and dismantling our post offices.

But, instead of all this Trumpian political stuff, 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 and ideologues who've spent their lives trying to rig our government to serve the moneyed elites. Now, empowered by Trump, these special interests are our government, literally setting and running America's economic, environmental, labor, health, education, financial and other public policies. And what a job they're doing — on us!

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Trump Is Willing To Destroy A Prized National Asset To Maintain His Power

Every now and then, an enormously beneficial soul comes along — someone whose work is so productive, honest and inspirational that he or she ought not be allowed to die. That's how I felt last month when I heard that John Lewis had slipped away from us.

Since the late 1980s, it had been my good fortune to have known, admired and learned from this civil rights icon and U.S. representative from Georgia. Throughout his exemplary life of progressive activism, Lewis hurled his heart, soul, and head (literally!) into fighting the Powers That Be to gain and protect the voting rights of all Americans. As a young movement leader in 1965, he was with Martin Luther King Jr. among the marchers on the front line in Selma, Alabama, who had their heads busted by state troopers for daring to insist that African Americans be allowed to vote.

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Fly The Flag! True Patriotism In A Time Of Chaos

I'm flying a flag these days. The Stars and Stripes, Old Glory, America's flag, OUR flag! I've strapped it to my 2011 made-in the-USA Ford Fiesta, and I'm zipping around town as proudly as anyone else in the red, white and blue Bubbaland of South Austin, like some modern-day Patrick Henry on wheels. As with so many others, I'm flying our flag out of an assertive, perhaps defiant pride. For I am proud, damned proud, to be an American citizen. And in this time of true woe and deep national divide, I'll be damned to hell before I meekly sit by and allow this symbol of our nation's founding ideals ... liberty and justice for all ... to be captured and defiled by reactionary autocrats, theocrats, xenophobic haters, warmongers, America Firsters, corporatists, militarists, fearmongers, political weasels and other rank opportunists.

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Crime Is Going Up — Not In The Streets But In Corporate Suites

There's a crime wave underway in America, but the Powers That Be are getting sore necks from looking the other way. I'm talking about corporate crime. When it comes to robbing us blind, the Armani-clad criminals in corporate boardrooms have it all over the hoods on the street. The FBI reckons that property crime cost U.S. taxpayers $16 billion in 2018. Securities traders alone cream four times that amount from their clients in fraudulent deals every year. And as far as white-collar crime goes, securities fraud is small potatoes. From oil spills to price fixing to peddling defective or dangerous products, corporations are responsible for the costliest and deadliest crimes in this country.

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Corporate Lobbyists Run Amok In Trump’s White House

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.

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 — from Amazon to Walgreens — 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.

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