How weird is the Democratic Party establishment?

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 themselves head-first 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 Donald Trump in November’s election: Joe Biden.

While practically everyone in the political swirl admits privately that Joe’s pretty slow, awfully corporate, and practically bent over double with a bag full of very bad political positions he’s taken during his decades-long career as a Washington insider – his establishment cohorts are now resurrecting his dormant campaign by ecstatically proclaiming that he’s a “winner.”

When pressed, their main pitch for Biden is that he’s “decent.” Well, probably even Melania Trump would like to see something better than Donald’s in-your-face, gross-out indecency in a president, but every contender for the Democratic nomination met this minimal threshold of suitability (and before the establishment hoists “Gentle Joe” onto a pedestal of decency, they might check with Anita Hill about his ugly political abuse of her).

A “winner”? How enthusiastic will seniors, low-income families, and others be when they realize Biden has spent 30 years (including during his vice presidency) trying to cut spending for the people’s crucial safety net, declaring: “I meant Social Security as well; I meant Medicare and Medicaid; I meant veterans’ benefits… I tried it once… twice… a third time… a fourth time.”

Also, how excited will young voters be to find that kindly old Joe has constantly backed efforts by big bankers to make it harder for students to get out from under their price-gouging loan payments? And how thrilled will hard-hit manufacturing workers be that Biden has been a constant cheerleader for NAFTA and other job-killing, wage-busting trade scams?

At a time when big majorities are clearly sick and tired of business-as-usual politics and are demanding bold policies for grassroots progress, why would Democrats put up the poster boy of corporate-purchased, inside-the-beltway, status-quo-ism? Not only would Biden be uniquely vulnerable to Trump this fall, but he’ll also lose the political future for Democrats by turning off voter turn-out – especially among young people and others who feel abandoned by the establishment.

Cynically, the Democratic Party’s moneyed and political elites have rushed to hug-up Joe Biden, not because he’s the best the party’s got, but because of what he’s not: He’s not Sen. Bernie Sanders.

The party powers are not only ganging up on Bernie, but specifically ganging up in a political panic against the growing grassroots insurgency of young activists, women, Latinos, Asian-Americans, working-class whites, and others, who’re fed up with the Party’s same-old-same-old politics that’s knocking down the middle class and holding down the poor. Funded by the uber-rich, the elites are colluding in a blatant power play to cut off this rising democratic majority inside the Democratic Party, pushing old Joe forward not because he has any appeal to those they’re trying to shut out, but simply because he’s one of the inside clique – a trusty who’s no threat to the corporate order that’s suppressing America’s democratic possibilities.

Of course, they don’t have the integrity to say this. Instead, they claim Sanders and his supporters are advocating free healthcare-for-all and other ideas that, “scare” voters – even most Democrats. Hello – in the 12 states where it was specifically polled in this election, that overdue reform has won handily, including getting 94.3 percent “Hell Yes” support in the recent Democratic primary in my state of Texas!

Still, the money boys are pressing a Bernie Panic Button, saying he’s too hot, too progressive – too Democratic – to beat Trump. The clueless plutocrat billionaire, Mike Bloomberg (who even stooped to calling Sanders a communist) has set up a one-man SuperPAC to enthrone Biden as the Nominee. Yet, recent polls in key swing states, and in supposedly red states like Texas, confirm that the Vermont anti-establishment populist is the strongest candidate of all Democrats against Trump.

What if the people had a candidate in November who was not controlled by big campaign donors, who has the authenticity to stand unequivocally for what he believes in, and who will fight the corporate powers – as Franklin Roosevelt once put it – “to restore America to its own people”? It could be a landslide for progress.

CENSORED MATERIAL: Free the free press from Wall Street plunderers

Editors’ note: The following is the column that was rejected by the Creators Syndicate, who feared reprisal from the corporations mentioned in the article. Read more about the controversy at the Austin Chronicle; for more information, contact Deanna Zandt, [email protected].


A two-panel cartoon I recently saw showed a character with a sign saying: “First they came for the reporters.” In the next panel, his sign says: “We don’t know what happened after that.” Continue reading →

Blast from the past: Agribusiness Accountability Project, 1973

Back in 1973, Organic Gardening wrote about a new report from the National Academy of Sciences which denounced the lack of quality research in state- and federally-funded programs. And look who makes an appearance: Hightower, who was then part of the Agribusiness Accountability Project. Dig that hair, y’all!

Takeaways from the election

Buckle-up friends, it’s going to be a hairy ride.

Start with Day One for President Trump (gotta get used to saying that). He will need to be up-and-at-’em no later than 12:01 am, for during his campaign he promised to get oodles of big stuff done on his very first day in office, including: “Repeal Obamacare;” Begin working on impenetrable, physical, tall, powerful, beautiful, southern border wall;” Meet with Homeland security officials and generals to begin securing the Southern border; Fix the Department of Veterans Affairs; “Repeal every single Obama executive order;” Suspend Syrian refugee resettlement; “Get rid of gun-free zones in schools;” “End the war on coal;” “Defend the unborn;” “Start taking care of… our military;” And convene top generals and inform them they have 30 days to come up with a plan to stop ISIS.

Good grief! Americans have actually put a xenophobic-misogynous-racist-nativist-narcissistic blowhard in the Oval Office. Has our country gone right-wing? Or completely nuts? Continue reading →

On police violence and #BlackLivesMatter

#BlackLivesMatter

When people hear me talk about populism, some folks think I’m talking about the racist, xenophobic, angry things that get branded as populism. True populism is about bringing people up, not tearing them down. True populism is multiracial and transracial. The #BlackLivesMatter movement is about acknowledging the brutal, painful injustices our Black sisters and brothers have endured and are continuing to endure. When we talk about #BlackLivesMatter, some people hear that we don’t think “all” lives matter. Supporting #BlackLivesMatter, especially in the face of these killings by police officers, doesn’t mean that no one else matters. It means that we white people haven’t done justice by our brethren of color, and it’s time that we step up to the plate. All of us. Together.

Hightower’s statement on Brexit: This isn’t populism!

Yet again, the political and media establishment (excuse the redundancy) misconstrue “populism” as an ignorant and bigoted political fringe. The working-class people of Great Britain have every right to be upset and frustrated with their government: austerity and corporate cronyism, just as it has here in the US, has brought people to their knees. But with ‪#‎Brexit‬, they’ve been bamboozled into believing that their troubles lie with immigrants and EU fees, not with their own elite– the aloof bosses, bankers, big shots, bastards, and bullshitters who think they are the top dogs and the rest of us are fire hydrants. Want to understand what real populism is? Check out this introduction we’ve got over at the Hightower Lowdown:

All of these (and more) have added up to an enthronement of the rich and the normalization of inequity. They threaten to squeeze the life out of America’s core values of democracy, equality, and justice.

But there is a medicine to fight this disease, a powerful antidote deeply entwined with our nation’s history: populism—a political doctrine rooted in the rebellious spirit and commitment to the common good of ordinary, grassroots Americans. Time and again throughout our country’s history, populist rebellions have been sparked when ordinary folks were being run over by abusive concentrations of power. And so it is today: hundreds of thousands of Americans—young and old, white and black and brown—are again speaking up and standing against the armed robbery of the people’s rights and the grand theft of the American Dream. That is populism.

Hightower’s statement after meeting with Bernie Sanders and the surrogates

Presidential campaigns end on Election Day--revolutions don't!

About 20 of us spent 4 hours or so talking with Bernie Sanders about BernieNext, not looking back, but at how far this grassroots populist movement has come in only 15 months. Everyone there is very excited about continuing the rebellion into congressional and local elections and issue campaigns next year, 2018, 2020 and beyond. This year’s phenomenal achievements are only the start. Presidential campaigns end on Election Day–revolutions don’t!