By Jim Hightower
Let me say one word to you: Nuts.
Now, let me say a name to you: Ted Cruz.
They've become synonymous, with the Texas senator perennially topping every national list of goofy, right-wing political partisans.
He can't really be called a lawmaker, for he's not a serious participant in that process, instead devoting his senatorship to cockamamie political stunts and picking silly PR fights with an ever-growing list of enemies (Insider joke: Why do his Senate colleagues take an instant disliking to Cruz? Answer: It saves time).
Running out of people to attack, Ted has recently found another species for his vitriol: fictional icons. Yes, he's been padding his right-wing credentials by going toe-to-toe with Mr. Potato Head, Mickey and Pluto and, believe it or not, Muppets.
This mighty U.S. senator has dedicated the power, prestige and public resources of his office to demonizing "Sesame Street's" popular creatures, specifically attacking Big Bird and going after the lovable 3-year-old Elmo. In an embarrassing imitation of Sen. Joe McCarthy, the vile commie-baiting demagogue of the 1950s, Ted rants that he has proof that Muppets are covert tools of "government propaganda."
So, this ridiculous excuse of a senator is saving America from... Muppets.
But for a whole bag of assorted nuttiness, you can't start without Sen. Rick Scott's 11-point plan to "Rescue America." A disgraced former health care mogul, this mega-millionaire reinvented himself as a wingnut Florida senator, and he now chairs a political arm of the Republican Party.
In February, he set forth a stunning policy agenda of far-out right-wing extremism that he says his party will push if they retake the senate this November, including:
- Implementing new federal taxes on the poorest half of Americans so, as Scott so patronizingly puts it, everyone will "have skin in the game."
- "Stopping socialism," which Scott says includes sunsetting Social Security and Medicare.
- Spending unlimited billions to build former President Donald Trump's folly of a wall across the entire 1,200-mile U.S.-Mexican border -- and, just to rub in the partisanship, name the thing after The Donald.
But politicos aren't the only nuts at the circus. For example, No. 1 rich man Elon Musk watched his personal fortune inflate to $270 billion, nearly double the previous year. Second-place finisher, Jeff Bezos, hauled in $190 billion for the year (that's more than $360,000 a minute for every single minute of his life).
So much taken by so few who do so little while harming so many.
Both Musk and Bezos erected their corporate empires on the backs of hundreds of thousands of nonunion workers they routinely exploit, plus millions of taxpayers they bilk. Indeed, their recent surge of wealth comes not from their innovation or hard work, but from the windfall of bloated Wall Street stock prices, further-enriching them without either one lifting a finger.
Yet corporate media and politicians hail them as geniuses, Big Thinkers, FUTURISTS!
Take Big Thinker Bezos. He's the self-centered ego whose top achievement this year was to have the world's largest superyacht built for him -- a luxurious, half-billion-dollar, 400 foot-long, seagoing palace. But -- oops! -- Jeff's pleasure craft couldn't get to the ocean because it's too tall to go under a bridge just downriver from the Dutch city where he's having it built.
No problem -- gooberhead Bezos simply instructed local officials to dismantle their century-old historic bridge so his toy could pass through.
But, no go, for outraged locals learned of his imperious scheme and quickly organized a massive rotten-egg brigade, pledging to pelt the colossal yacht (and possibly the mayor). Very bad political optics.
So, the American mogul's billions were not allowed to buy this special treatment. It's still unclear how he'll get it out to sea, but as one Dutch wag suggested in a tweet, "You can still take your giant boat out for very short trips (nine miles from the shipyard to the bridge and back)."
Meanwhile, Musk has demonstrated his clueless brilliance by condemning government subsidies for big businesses: "It's insane," he bleated, grandly adding that he didn't want any government support for his enterprises: "I'm literally saying, 'Get rid of all subsidies.'"
Uh, your nuttiness: Your entire conglomerated empire (Tesla, Solar City, SpaceX and Starlink), as well as the personal fortune you've amassed, would not even exist without the hundreds of millions of dollars in federal, state and local subsidies you've extracted from taxpayers.
If these privileged ones are so smart, why are they so stupid?
Populist author, public speaker and radio commentator Jim Hightower writes "The Hightower Lowdown," a monthly newsletter chronicling the ongoing fights by America's ordinary people against rule by plutocratic elites. Sign up at HightowerLowdown.org.