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Banned From Newspapers for Criticizing... Newspapers! iJim Hightower Up Against the Corporate Wall


#21

Couldn’t agree more; We lost a beloved retail chain (Mervyn’s) to vulture capitalists who bought the company for its real estate, then raised rent on the stores and drove the company into bankruptcy; Sears too was saddled with huge debt from a leveraged buyout and never recovered; the list goes on


#22

As Dylan said, long ago, “Money doesn’t talk - it swears.”


#23

No, the 'news media, is bought and completely bent towards making a profit or, as with the hedge-funds, with an eye to bankrupting them after paying huge bonuses and salaries before dumping them. You remark is remarkable out of touch with the modern reality of who (and very few) owns the media.


#24

All of corporate media nbc, cbs, abc, cnn, msnbc, faux new et all hide the truths by not reporting them, not reporting all the news. They are pimps of special interests.


#25

Fans can support Jim directly by subscribing to his “Lowdown” site @

I’ve been a subscriber to the Hightower Lowdown since its inception.


#26

“All governments lie.” My favorite Izzyism.


#27

Subscribe to his site - The Hightower Lowdown.


#28

Yeah…I subscribed for years and got subscriptions for all my kids…


#29

I am itching for a people’s revolution to take back every penny from these vulture creatures.


#30

I just did., thanks


#31

There is no substitute for a newspaper, internet material can be controlled and altered but a newspaper is hard evidence. I am sure it’ll make a comeback. You can take a newspaper up to the top of a mountain or bottomed of the sea to read when you will, no internet or batteries required just a little light to read by.


#32

See Robert Kuttner, Everything For Sale (1996), for an earlier look at the financialization of everything that made the Crash of 2008 inevitable.

Not coincidentally, 1996 was also the year in which Brooksley Born assumed the Chair of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and began to argue that the unregulated trading of certain large financial derivatives be made transparent. She was openly opposed and her arguments belittled by Fed Chair Alan Greenspan and Clinton Treasury Secretaries Robert Rubin and Lawrence Summers, and by former SEC Chair Arthur Levitt, leading to testimony before the Senate in late 1998 or early 1999.

Also not coincidentally, the collapse of trillion-dollar hedge fund LTCM in September, 1998 (advised by two Nobel laureates in Economics), resulted from precisely the kind of trades Ms. Born and FDIC Chair Sheila Baer were concerned about. After her brush-off before the Senate she resigned, and Congress went on to pass the Commodity Futures Modernization Act later that year. Proposed by Texas Senator Phil Gramm and signed by President Clinton, this was the legislation that repealed the Glass-Steagall acts, which repeal is seen by honest historians as paving the way for the Crash of 2008 less than a decade later.


#33

There is a link that downloads the column near the bottom of the page at:

It may not be there for long, as Gatehouse recently acquired the other Austin paper, the Austin-American Statesman.


#34

Thank you. Got it.


#35

I’ll tell the guy I got it from. May you be the first of many here to read it for yourself!


#36

Scott, thanks. I read the article and Jim’s original column. I wish I had something useful or hopeful to say, but I don’t. This country is so short-sighted. Our slide into fascism is what? 50% done?

It’s so hard to find journalism one can trust. Jim and Amy Goodman may be the only ones left. What other source is 100% reliable…or, LOL, altruistic?


#37

Toni–yes, we are in deep doodoo. We’re in uncharted waters, so alternatively one might say we’re out on thin ice with no skates! Nobody has “The Answer,” the way through the bottleneck and around the fossil fools, certainly not I. Even preparing for whatever it turns out to be is almost a fool’s game. because it could take many shapes and will likely change rapidly and be drastically different from place to place.

That said, the first priorities for any household are always water and food, which at some point many people will not be able to take for granted. In my circles people mostly agree at least in principle that it’s a good idea to have rain barrels or a cistern to collect at least a little water (and hope all your neighbors do the same), and to get used to growing and preserving some food, which is possible even in an urban apartment. One can’t survive on that little, but I look at it as training for the next stage when it arrives. Community gardens can feed a lot of people, and the local agriculture movement (Slow Money), while presently focused on quality, could shift to ramp up quantity once the foundations are laid.

It’s best to undertake those steps in the context of a local physical community–easier said than done for many reasons, but we need to be working in that direction, tearing down the privacy fences and getting to know our neighbors.

After that come sewage, then communication and transportation. Fortunately clothes will not be a problem, especially as jobs requiring a certain appearance decline, as there is enough in the thrift stores and people’s closets to last five years, by which time we could get the mills running again! The solar revolution continues to ramp up, so lighting and heating should not be the biggest problems, though air conditioning will be low on the list nearly everywhere.

Bad politics could thwart any or all of this. The best we can do is to build on what has happened recently, including developing alternatives to the duopoly, and hope we can shift the focus from elections to the monster mobilization that will be required to keep the mean temperature rise below 2 degrees C (3.6 degrees F), much less 1,5.

Jim and Amy are among the best, but there are others who take truth seriously, with the comedians, formerly known as fools or jesters, especially important! Everybody makes mistakes, and the sources that our sources have available are not particularly reliable either, so it’s best to develop a skeptical attitude toward all of it, especially on a time scale of less than 24 hours.

Above all, resilience, also called flexibility or adaptability, from the individual level up at least to the level of state government. Stan Goff, a remarkable Special Forces vet, says “make chaos your ally,” and also advises to make friends with everyone who is armed, from your Tea Party neighbor to the police to military veterans and those currently serving. Stan wrote a book titled Full Spectrum Disorder about 15 years ago which is a well-informed reality check.

Finally, as an atheist I am a big fan of Reinhold Neighbur’s “Serenity Prayer,” on a par with hatha yoga and meditation for remaining centered. We also have to get accustomed to the idea that the population of Planet Eaarth (McKibben) will almost inevitably be a good deal smaller by the end of this century. I wouldn’t bet money on any particular causes, as it could be any or all of our worst nightmares. Yet I have read that the people in the Nazi extermination camps went on with their lives, singing and dancing in the evenings and taking care of each other as best they could.

Whew! I did not see all that coming. I hope it doesn’t come across as depressing, as I consider myself an optimist. Frankly (pun intended), I think FDR’s little sermon on “nothing to fear but fear itself” is right on, but read the original (his First Inaugural Address, easy to find on the internet), as he was very specific about the kind of fear that is paralyzing and destructive, as opposed to the kind that spurs us to action.

Always good to see your comments on these pages.


#38

Likewise…thanks for the pep talk.

My problem is that I’m tired of tilting at windmills. The more I read and learn, the more I realize the monolith in front of us. As political as I’ve been all my life, I achingly confess now to a toxic level of naïveté and chagrin. Ugh. People, posters like you give me the nudge to wake up each day. Yes, I’m familiar with Frankl’s theories, logotherapy, and meditation. Haven’t tried the hatha yoga yet.

One of my kids whose field is natural resource policy feels it’s really too late. Maybe I let her glum orientation affect me. Plus, I think all my kids roll their eyes at my Chicken Little alerts…I should forward your post to them! Thanks!


#39

Well, you’re ahead of me with Frankl. I’ve started Man’s Search For Meaning at least three times and had to stop because I didn’t have the time or the energy to wade through stuff that heavy. Now that I’m retired it’s in a special little pile somewhere close by, and three years into retirement I’m beginning to get through the multiple backlogs.

Funny you should write of a “monolith.” I’m a big-picture guy, but I don’t see a monolith anywhere, more like a house of cards, a shaky structure lacking any sound foundation that could and eventually will collapse of its own accord, which could be accelerated if we could figure out just where to push and tug, and how hard without bringing it down on top of us.

But I may be taking too long a view. There is indeed what appears to be a seamless network made up of the MILPSHC (I’m probably leaving out several components), the corrupt financial system (of which the topics of the article are unfortunately typical), government at all levels, and even academia because of the influence of big money (Kochs et al) giving money in exchange for control over curriculum, and “public-private partnerships” to customize research and its outcomes.

It seems to be self-reinforcing and impregnable, but I don’t think that is the case. It seems to me to be unstable in the extreme due to its dependence on tight coordination among a plethora of systems both natural and built, many of which are breaking down before our very eyes. Full disclosure: I have no formal training in systems theory except a bit for complex systems, which most of the ones of interest now are. But my background in math and engineering provides me with a good basic understanding of how systems work and how they fail, extending also to economic systems, supposedly my area of expertise.

From ecosystems to the electric power grid to NATO and the EU to telecommunication, things just aren’t working. Time-Warner worked; Spectrum doesn’t. AT&T was a monopoly that guarded its territory ferociously, but it worked. It was the best phone system in the world, and arguably served the public interest better than any other large corporation ever has. Such improvement in phone service as has occurred–arguably negative, considering the problems that didn’t exist before the Bell System was broken up–is due entirely to technology, which AT&T was already implementing at the time, and some of which was invented by them. MY Tea Party friend, who is my age within a couple of months, grew up on a farm in North Dakota, never went to college, and retired earlier than he had planned as the SE regional troubleshooter for Verizon because every report had to be entered into three different incompatible systems–almost as bad as the Pentagon!

Big stuff breaking is scary, but not half as scary as if it were to continue as-is.

I didn’t go to grad school until 25 years after college, because more of what I did (STEM) was clearly not the problem, and I had no idea of how even to begin to address the problems that were obvious, which were and are political and social. I salute you for fighting those battles while I was fixing houses for a living, and I can certainly see how that would feel like beating your head against a wall. We didn’t realize it then, but politics was already a rear-guard action, which as I now understand absolutely had to be fought, through one losing battle after another. Few if any of us had any idea how bad the situation had already become, and it’s probably good that we didn’t.

Now that structure is one of the most shaky. I live in North Carolina, and a new US Representative-elect who was apparently the beneficiary of massive ballot theft (sic) that has been going on for years said he would not oppose a new election if the recent one is shown to have been fraudulent. “Damn white of him,” and he IS of course white. Opportunities for progress are once again growing, and lo, people are seizing them. Young people with their heads on straight are even taking up farming as a calling, a way of life.

Natural resource policy, eh? Your son is obviously a saint, as that must be one of the most thankless jobs on the planet right now. But it’s day and hers will come, and soon. Now is the time to learn the ropes, because if we can prevent a merger between the two parts of the Kabuki duopoly the dam will burst and we will all have to row like the Harvard Crew to save what can still be saved. ALL of the experts on global warming say it’s NOT too late for that one, but that the task gets greater and the potential successes narrower almost by the day.

I haven’t even touched on the BIG big picture, the unprecedented mobilization that will have to occur if the planet is to remain habitable, and the magnitude of the changes that will have to occur over a span of just three decades. We can look back at any three decades since WW II and get a glimpse of how it might be possible, but only dimly. We are looking at a total restructuring of society and the economy. Such has happened before, and things really do happen faster today than they did even 50 years ago. A LOT faster. I may be able to post a short comment on this enormous undertaking tomorrow, as we’re expecting to be snowed in.

I have always considered tilting at windmills to be an honorable task. Don Quixote, if we are to believe his Boswell, was seeing things that weren’t there. But if I understand the story correctly, the moral is that all of the people who have wrought change for the better were able to see things that were yet to be and bring them to fruition. There is even a quote from RFK that expresses that ideal.