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124 of 133 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Now these are high crimes.
Jim Hightower has issued a call to arms in this his latest book. It is a call to action that should be answered by the vast majority of Americans for the current system is serving very few of us. Hightower has only stated the obvious in regard to our current government structure but he does so in a very clear manner that may just get the attention of America. Too often...
Published on October 8, 2003 by Dennis Phillips

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Jim Hightower's Recipe for a Better America
Do corporations have too much political influence? That is the main question presented in this book by Jim Hightower. Politicians, it seems, are no longer responsive to the needs of the people and have now placed money and power over principle. In this book, Jim Hightower discusses the problems presented by greedy CEO's and the corrupt politicians who happily accept their...
Published on April 10, 2005 by Bryan Carey

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124 of 133 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Now these are high crimes., October 8, 2003
Jim Hightower has issued a call to arms in this his latest book. It is a call to action that should be answered by the vast majority of Americans for the current system is serving very few of us. Hightower has only stated the obvious in regard to our current government structure but he does so in a very clear manner that may just get the attention of America. Too often we just accept things as they are because speaking out is too much trouble. If we aren't careful, we are going to lose the America we love to corporate greed and corruption. Bush won't help us for he and his whole crew are company men all of the way and are doing everything they can to help the process along. In Jim's words, "Never have so few done so much for so few." The things Hightower documents in this book are not only unbelievable but also downright scary.
The Democrats don't escape Hightower's wrath either. Bill Clinton and the Democratic Leadership Council are just about as guilty as are the Republicans. These people figure that if they don't fight the corporate greed that is ruining America they can expect large campaign contributions. It has obviously worked since as Democrats we no longer seem to have the trouble raising money that we used to. On the other hand, as a party we no longer have a soul. The reason the Democratic Party exists is to fight for labor, the poor, and all of the other good hard working Americans who look to our party for protection from the, "haves and the have mores." Quite simply, I don't care how much money Microsoft puts in DNC coffers; our principles should not be for sale.
Just as the reader starts to get really depressed, Hightower hits us with the good news. People all over the country are starting to stand up and be counted. It's not a political thing, as both Democrats and Republicans have worked together for the common good of their community. From little projects like planting flowers along a highway to taking on and defeating big corporations who want to bring part-time minimum wage jobs to the community while destroying local business. Yes friends, the MacWal-Marting of America can be brought to a halt and Jim has the stories to prove it. This book also has the dirt on some of America's corporate giants and some of the things these people do in the name of profit are just downright disgusting. I'm not sure if I will ever go into a Wal-Mart again. There are also chapters that expose the food industry, sweatshops, (hello again Wal-Mart) and the decline and fall of our right to privacy.
Ending on a high note, Hightower issues his call to action. He has shown the reader how corporate greed and government avarice can be defeated and at the end he gives us the contact information we need to join the fight. This is an excellent book, laced with both humor and acid. Every American should take a look at this book. You may not agree with all Hightower has to say but he will most assuredly give you something to think about.
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77 of 84 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Every American Should Read This Book, October 22, 2003
Jim Hightower tells it like it was, is and always be. He proves that neither party represents the common man. He holds no punches and delivers his message with a Texas flair. At times funny and at times deadly serious, Jim takes us backdoor to what is really happening to our country. Only a few selected people control this country and they are doing EVERYTHING in their power to keep control. He also talks about how the neo-conservatives have hi-jacked the Republican Party and why the Democrats are no longer the progressive party. Jim shows why all of Texas don't like GW Bush and he shows facts how Bush actually hurt Texas, rather than helping it. Bill O'Reiliy clams he is a populist. But he NEVER tells the truth when it comes to the Republicans and most importantly, to President Bush. To keep from getting into hot water with his bosses, O'Reiliy just avoids the subject or sugarcoats it. Jim Hightower is not like that. He is a true populist who tells it like it is and don't care if Republicans or Democrats don't like it.
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35 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Funny, Angry book shows the way to recapture Real Democracy!, November 1, 2003
OK, so you're sitting there feeling helpless that "BushCo" (that corporate monster that now inhabits the White House) has raised close to $100 million in donations to its Presidential campaign, is literally in the back pockets of nearly every Fortune 500 company in this country and thus has access to its money, has Big Oil on its side and seems virtually untouchable with the
might and power it has accumulated in its greedy quest to inhabit the White House for another four years, right?
As in, OK, this is one big helluva David and Goliath type of thing. How on earth can We The People topple someone who has become almost a dictator with every moneyed and powerful entity on his side and probably more power than any President since this country came into existence?
Well, sit yourself down in your favourite comfy chair or couch, pour a nice hot cup of reality tea and read this book. Jim Hightower shows us the way, the very REALISTIC way, that We The People can take back our Government from the greedy minions of "BushCo" who would subvert the very foundations that the Founding Fathers laid forth for posterity.
It's called, "Grass Roots", and it's a very powerful weapon that "BushCo" can't stop, given enough of a juggernaut by We The People. Gather round the kitchen table and listen to Jim Hightower tell you of very REAL success stories of Real People like you and like me who defeated Big Corporations (read that, Big Money) using grass roots organising and a bit of moxey and a
hell of a lot of anger.
You know the one beautiful thing about Americans? We may seem, at times, to just sit there and take it: OK, now, shut up, go shop and spend that tax break we gave you, oh, and don't question us, we know what we're doing, so just move along, move along. Well, Americans are a rebellious bunch, as has been proven by our history, and eventually, they wise up to the Fat Cats and rise up against them and defeat them.
It's happened time and again throughout our history. And it's beginning to happen again. Big Money, Fat Cats, Corporate Raiders and all those evildoers would have you go spend your money at Wal-Mart and thus shut down all of your local businesses due to what they call "predatory pricing" (just drive
through the east side of my home town of Kent, Ohio, and see what our Wal-Mart did to our locally owned businesses! It's a wasteland of empty buildings out there!).
They would have you continue to feed the system of slave labour in China, where workers (often women and children) are forced to work sometimes 20 hour workdays for mere pennies a day. I dunno about you, but this seems like slavery to me. But gee, how DOES Wal-Mart keep its prices so low, anyway? Wanna know how? Read this book. It will shock you into never wanting to buy another thing from anyone whose products are produced in overseas sweat
shops, among many of the indictments against Wal-Mart in this funny, angry book.
They would dump toxic waste wherever they please, not caring that it could sicken you and yours, raid your retirement funds and give themselves multi-billion dollar bonuses and live high off the hog while you struggle to pay your basic bills, and laugh all the way to the bank when their Corporations go belly-up like a dead fish on a Lake Erie beach, throwing your friends and neighbours out of work and scrambling to figure out what to
do now that they have no retirement funds.
Sure, this book will make you plenty mad when you read it, but you'll laugh yourself silly and have fun at the same time! But Hightower also gives an inspiring road map back to real Democracy, the way our Founding Fathers meant it to be. You'll find out how ordinary citizens complaining around kitchen tables over coffee learned to muster their resources and hold Big
Money and Big Corporations accountable and defeat their attempts to ruin their communities.
Tell your friends! Tell your family! Tell your co-workers! Tell people at your church, synagogue and mosque! Tell them that YES! We CAN defeat "BushCo" and bring back the Democracy of Jefferson, Madison and Monroe! And moreover, we CAN create a fair, just and sustainable world for our children, grandchildren and future generations. (And I'm not just talking about the
good ol' US of A, either!)
Thanks. Now, go read! :-)
And when you're done, get out there and start organising! Do it for yourself, do it for your children, do it for the future of your country! Don't let Corporate raiders and white collar criminals spend another four years looting your towns, your banks, your retirements funds and spewing toxic waste along the way, all the while laughing their way to the bank while you stand there with a pink slip and no retirement funds, a hapless victim of these greedy and soulless minions.
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34 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Gentleman of the Old Southern School, November 15, 2003
Carol Grosser (San Antonio, TX United States) - See all my reviews
I am a Texan by birth. Growing up in a family where politics were discussed nightly at the dinner table, I learned that according to my Mom, Franklin Roosevelt was a saint and I only remember my father arguing against any point she might make. I never recall the words "Bush." Suddenly out of the night sky, "Bush" appeared suddenly, running for office saying "Bush" was a Texan. Then there is a "Bush" who is suddenly a Floridian--do you suppose Bush citizens are like mushrooms? Springing up overnight to fertilize lowly cultures with their visionary capitalism? Texas used to be a well-educated Democratic (though somewhat conservative) state until the "Shrubs" appeared because Texas wisely used a lot of their oil money to fund higher education. When the "Shurbs" appeared, things changed. Yokels just don't know how to combat Rovers and Shrubs although we fight the overgrowth of underbrush daily, both physically and politically. Hightower was how Texas used to be and how maybe someday it will be again--intelligent, honest, and able to look at reality without flinching.
I read Hightower's book concurrently with another very important book called "Bush's Brain." It is a story of how the Bushes took over Texas and how Rove did it. It was remarkable to me to learn in "Bush's Brain" that Rove essentially destroyed Hightower's political future (his capacity to earn his living). I don't know about you, but when someone tries to kill me by destroying my capacity to feed myself, I get downright onery and even insulting!!! Jim Hightower's book, given this knowledge, makes him the most remarkable human being I have ever known. To have a brilliant man's political career so ruthlessly destroyed by a total scoundrel and still to have the objective reasoning capacity and supreme humor that he maintains is beyond extraordinary. I really love this man! Jim Hightower's loss as Agriculture Commissioner of Texas due to Rove's Watergate-type tactics was a horrible loss for the nation as Jim Hightower as Agriculture Commissioner of Texas was the beginning of protecting ground drinking water by peddling back on pesticide and herbicide use. This is where we lost our nation. Rove was like a mold that got its start in Texas (a slice of the bread) and spread through the United States (the whole loaf).
I think Hightower's book should be on the required reading list for all educational establishments and citizens of the world. He explicitly delineates how our democracy failed and what we need to do to get it back. If you haven't read this book and "Bush's Brain", don't even talk to me--you are illiterate and not worth talking to.
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38 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Telling it like it is!, October 28, 2003
By A Customer
Hightower may not be right about everything. But Kleptocrats is almost too kind a word for the crooks that George Bush brought into office.

I can't imagine what the right wing loonies would have done had Clinton started a war and then gave out tens of billions in profits to a company he controlled and another than is intimately connected to his party. That's Halliburton and Bechtel, both crony companies of this White House and, yes, Bush did wag the dog.

People from outside Texas have heard so much from Texas idiots, it sometimes seems as if there's no intelligent life there. Just this grasping, greedy need for power and to do as much damage to other parts of the country as possible. Hightower is proof, along with people like Molly Ivins, that there are still people in Texas in who can think independently.

No, they don't goose step down the strasser with the other crytofascists who use the catchall term, "conservative" to disguise their true nuttiness ... and just how much they actually despise American freedoms and beliefs. The people Hightower is talking about would lock up George Washington and most of the other founding fathers.

My god, they were revolutionaries who wanted sweeping changes. What a crazy liberal notion. But then to the extent there was support for the United States from Britain during the Revolution, it was the liberals. Conservatives wanted to keep their boot right on our necks.

So do the Kleptocrats.
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38 of 41 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting and Funny; the Best of the Best Sellers?, October 7, 2003
By A Customer
Well, this is the internet, isn't it. Unfortunately, that means a lot of people have the opportunity to say dumb stuff about a book that they probably haven't read. Anti-American? I'd like a definition of what it means to be "American" please.
I digress...
In any event, I've read Michael Moore, but he is a bit too smug and self-promoting for me. I've glanced through Ann Coulter but she just hangs herself left and right. I heard Jim Hightower talk recently and liked his good 'ol boy hell raising spirit (and, more so, the fact that he looks you in the eye and is fairly methodical in answering questions down to the detail). I work for a large corporation and see first hand a lot of what he talks about, so a lot of his discussion of big business (especially as tied to government) rang true with me (and by my research is mostly spot on). In general though, I don't find many of the "Top Sellers" to be all that eye opening and prefer to try to do my own research apart from these books.
So I guess my final review is: its a humerous book, seemingly more meaty than others in its class, and serves as a one of the better introductions of topics that are in the spotlight today (in that it doesn't insult you with idiotic humor, like Coulter, or the smugness of Mike Moore).
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32 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Telling it Like It Is., September 30, 2003
This is an excellent book although the WalMart chapter made my so annoyed that now I won't shop at any WalMart. Can anyone believe that a company would take out "stealth" life insurance policies on unwitting employees just to make more money? Aren't the billions they're already making enough? This is sleazy, disgusting and it's WalMart to the core! Anyway, the rest of the book is good too. It's an eye opener.
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44 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars He's Back - and with all The Facts that Shame the Elite!, September 8, 2003
... God bless Jim Hightower's courageous heart! He encourages the rest of us to pick up our crosses and start walking down the righteous path of confronting the enemy in the face. "BEGONE, YE DOUR-FACED DEMONS!" as Art Kleps once wrote. Now, Hightower is no fool. He walks his talk with the best of them. If anyone knows just how much we working folks are getting the shaft, it is good old Jim. His list of ENVIRONMENTAL sins, alone, that have been commited by this administration is absolutely startling!!
... Just check this out from pages 94 and 95: ... "HSD to the rescue! As the Homeland law was being written, corporate lobbyists suddenly got patriotic, warning that terrorists could benefit by knowing such "critical infrastructure" information as what chemicals a plant is using or producing. Therefore, a provision was slipped into the law prohibiting all agencies of government from releasing any such information that a corporation gives to HSD. Cute. Now any corporate lawyer who can spell L-O-O-P-H-O-L-E has an out from public disclosure - anything the corporation wants to hide can be sent to HSD and safely tucked out of sight. ... Bonus Gift: This HSD tuck-away also means that "critical infrastructure" information about a corporation's pollution, explosions, and other unpleasantness can't be dislodged for use in civil lawsuits that workers, neighbors, environmentalists, governments, or anyone else brings against the corporation. So why go to the expense of preventing pollution and safety problems when you can just hide them in HSD?"
... You know, in the Greek Orthodox Church, when people recite the OUR FATHER Christian prayer, they end it with: "and deliver us from the PONIROO," which does not mean "evil" - but SLYNESS, a kind of WICKED, sneaky intelligence that is selfish and evil, not noble and selfless. Indeed! All of the information Jim includes in this book will help to keep us from having the wool pulled over our eyes by the wicked, selfish, sly sharks who only care about their own crooked ways in order to satisfy their greedy desires through continuing to stay in power and glorifying themselves, not God or the common good. This current Rulership of Thieves ( "Kleptocracia" in Greek) does not exemplify how "the other half lives." It's nowhere near as large as HALF! It's as small as a fraction of ONE percent, and maybe FIVE percent of our population at the most. Anyone who does not belong to this elite club of 5 percent and votes to keep them in power is committing economic suicide! ... Right-On, Jim! - The Aeolian Kid
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31 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Political Journey, October 8, 2003
Dave A Dower (Montclair, NJ United States) - See all my reviews
If you need a little inspiration in your life and feel like your being stepped on all the time by the big guys, get this FANTASTIC read by Jim Hightower!Incredibly researched, a biting down to earth Texas humor, and above all it makes you feel like you can do your small part to make this world a better place!This guy covers all the meaty topics, from the Enron heist, to the big corporations (Walmart) destroying all the small town mom and pop businesses, to child slave/sweatshop labor, Bushes environmental 'terrorism' acts (a term I made up), and the best of all small stories of how the regular 'ol jenny and jims of this great America take on these crooked corporations and injustice in our daily lives and beat them in the end!I love Michael Moore a lot for his expose of the daily attack on our American way of life from the Bush administration, but I have to say he is lacking one thing that Hightower totally delivers, and that is optimism and a good spirit!This book could not have been better in my opinion, and it surely is not biased and/or partisan/one sided (knocks on the Republicans & the Democrats).At times, hardcore political commentary can be hard to read if it becomes to fact based with no trace of humor, but with Hightowers' unique sense of humor and great wit, you will never be prone to a sudden dose of sleepy eyes.Way to go!
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30 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant With One Big Flaw, August 16, 2003
David C N Swanson (Charlottesville VA United States) - See all my reviews
They say a great actor can read the side of a cereal box and make you cry. I doubt it. Jim Hightower couldn't read the side of a cereal box if you paid him, not without dragging in about 85 analogies and bits of wisdom his neighbor told him about how to relate to hogs and chickens. But by the time he was through improving on that cereal box, you'd be stomping your feet and clutching your sides to control the laughter, and in the process you'd have learned what nutrition was in the box, how it got there, and how much the people packing the boxes got paid for their labor.
Hightower's new book, "Thieves in High Places," takes 200 pages to make about 200 important points using about 500 colorful metaphors, generating at least 400 belly laughs, and while you can read the thing in one evening, it'll stick with you for good.
For those who've read Hightower's earlier books "If the Gods Meant Us to Vote They Would Have Given Us Candidates," "There's Nothing in the Middle of the Road But Yellow Stripes and Dead Armadillos," or his newsletter "The Hightower Lowdown," or if you listen to his radio show or have heard him speak on his Rolling Thunder Down Home Democracy Tour, this book will not come as a huge surprise, but it may just be his best riffing and ranting yet, and you will enjoy it. For those new to Hightower, or even new to the idea that politics might be either useful or fun or both, get yourself a copy of this book and a quiet place where you can laugh out loud and think about it.
Much of this book, in fact, is explicitly addressed to people who have never been politically active before but who have finally gotten fed up enough to get involved. This book presents a case that the United States is moving toward fascism, and does so without exaggeration or hyperbole, does so in fact with gut wrenching humor and a prodding, inciting, encouraging call to get off our butts and fight back - now, before it's too late.
For those used to hearing this kind of talk or who work as political activists all the time, this book compares quite favorably to others that are out there - say Michael Moore's or Arianna Huffington's - and compiles in one place not just a superb collection of soundbites, but an immense arsenal of facts. You may even be surprised to discover that things are much worse than you've been told, but also that more Americans are already fighting back, that more of us get it than you have been willing to let yourself hope.
Hightower recounts a lot of grassroots successes, but he doesn't go easy on painting the disaster that is our current national government. Let me just mention a few high points (or low points). Pages 27 to 32 list in tiny font an endless stream of anti-environmental measures put in place thus far by the Bush administration. It's enough to make you start looking for another planet. Pages 57 to 62 make the currently quite important point that Joe Lieberman would not be much of a change.
Pages 81 to 88 lay out the even more important and less talked about case that the pit our money is being lost in - even more than it is being lost to the Bush tax cuts for millionaires - is the Pentagon budget, that over half of every tax dollar goes into this pit, and that other priorities, like schools, health care, and jobs, will take a back seat until limitations are imposed on military waste.
Pages 102-103 make the case quite compellingly that the Democratic Party has been on a losing course because it has tried to be Republican-Lite. Here's the Democratic bumper sticker according to Hightower:
Pages 106-107 lay out what a winning platform for the Democrats would be: progressive taxation, single-payer health care for all, free quality education for all from preschool through college, alternative energy, and public financing of elections. Of course, there is one Democrat running for President with that very program: Rep. Dennis Kucinich, and I kept waiting - in vain -- for Hightower to say so.
What Hightower does say - and this may be worth the price of the book by itself - is that these progressive positions are actually very popular. On pages 118-122, Hightower lays out a collection of mainstream public polls that paint a picture of Americans as very progressive - something Fox News just doesn't tell us. This could explain the number of people bewildered by the fact that not only they but all of their friends as well disagree with what Fox News tells them is the popular point of view.
The only complaint I have with this book is that it closes with a fantasy about a mythical presidential candidate who walks and talks remarkably like Jim Hightower. If Hightower wants to run for President, I'll support him, but I'd almost rather see him keep up just the sort of agitating he's been doing and back the candidate who is articulating the same positions from within the Democratic party, namely Dennis Kucinich.
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Thieves in High Places: They've Stolen Our Country and It's Time to Take It Back
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