One word in particular, one sound, one horror that I can’t get out of my head is this: George Floyd crying out “momma,” as his life was cruelly and senselessly crushed in yet another brutal, White-on-Black murder by a so-called “officer of the law.” This can’t be America, can it? Continue reading →
Jim Hightower’s Radio Lowdown
As you may or may not know, Hightower has been hosting live Facebook chats throughout the pandemic with activists and agitators from around the country. This week, he chatted with George Goehl of People’s Action and MariaElena Fournier of Michigan People’s Campaign about what’s actually working to win rural voters (hint: it’s not “verbal leafletting”) and why writing off “Trump country” as such is unAmerican.
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Links for this show:
To See Each Other: https://peoplesaction.org/to-see-each-other/
There’s a hunter’s nightmare in which a group of them flush some rabbits out of the brush. But rather than scampering away, the furry bunnies turn toward their stalkers. “Run,” shouts one of the hunters. “Run for your life – the rabbits have guns!”
Arming animals would make the sport of hunting a bit more sporting, wouldn’t it? Well, what if we did give all wildlife a fighting chance against the destructive firepower of profiteers who so carelessly ravage their habitats and kill them off? Of course, we can’t arm nature with guns, but we could recognize that other species and ecosystems are living creatures with intrinsic legal rights to exist and flourish, thus giving nature its day in court to defend its well-being.
Like us humans, the lakes, forests, wildlife, etc. could have legal status to sue and be represented by lawyers to protect themselves from mindless exploitation, injury, and death. This Rights-of-Nature concept is already being applied in such countries as Ecuador and New Zealand – and more than three dozen US cities and towns have passed ordinances acknowledging that various natural resources in their areas have inherent rights to take polluters and other despoilers to court.
Ironically, the corporate powers – who have perverted law, logic, and nature to have their lifeless, profiteering entities declared “persons” – are aghast that Mother Nature can have rights that can counter the corporate claim that their right to profit is absolute.
At its core, the Rights-of-Nature movement is asserting the obvious: Earth’s biosphere is not a free candy store for our taking. We are one with the natural world and must find ways to cooperate fully with it for our own survival. To learn more and connect to action, go to the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund: www.celdf.org.
For millions of people around the globe – especially young people – the pressing issue of our time is this: The world is on fire! On fire with climate change, creating a new and intensifying norm of deadly weather extremes that make a dystopian future a distinct possibility – constant wildfires, rising seas, desertification, global crop failures, widespread hunger, water shortages, etc.
Luckily, we are a sentient species with the scientific ability to know that the chief cause of this global destruction is not angry gods, but us – specifically humankind’s massive extraction and burning of oil, gas, coal, and other fossil fuels. So, there’s a rising chorus of people shouting “FIRE!” And, sure enough, our national government is rushing to the scene to put it out.
Unfortunately, our president and his crew of right-wing fire-breathers in Congress are not directing the government’s hoses at the corporate extractors, but at us, the people, scientists, environmentalists, and other activists who’ve dared to point to the flames and call for global action to stop the conflagration. They seem to think the problem will go away if they can make the protesters go away.
Worse, they’re fanning the flames by turning the EPA into the PPA – the Polluters Protection Agency. They’re slashing dozens of public restraints on the polluters, while also opening up our oceans and wilderness areas to their polluting greed and stalling the rational shift to a green energy future.
The good news is that the people are revolting (in the very best sense of that term!) against our corrupt leaders’ rush toward climate catastrophe. Our hope is not in “leaders,” but ourselves – as it has been throughout American history. From the Boston Tea Party forward, creative and gutsy public protest has been democracy’s best friend.
Looking for older commentaries?
You’ll find them over on the Hightower Lowdown now, in the radio archives. Note: we post new episodes there on Tuesdays and Thursdays; however, some radio stations around the country air Hightower’s commentaries on their own schedule.
America lost one of its best public interest agitators last week, and I can’t let him go without a tip of the hat. David Freeman was not a household name, but he certainly was a household hero – a smart, tenacious champion for consumers, clean energy, and common sense over the price gouging, pollution, and general greed of Big Energy. Continue reading →
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. Continue reading →
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Meet Jim Hightower.
National radio commentator, writer, public speaker, and New York Times best-selling author, Jim Hightower has spent four decades battling the Powers That Be on behalf of the Powers That Ought To Be – consumers, working families, environmentalists, small businesses, and just-plain-folks.
Twice elected Texas Agriculture Commissioner, Hightower believes that the true political spectrum is not right to left but top to bottom, and he has become a leading national voice for the 80 percent of the public who no longer find themselves within shouting distance of the Washington and Wall Street powers at the top.
Hightower is a modern-day Johnny Appleseed, spreading the message of progressive populism all across the American grassroots.
He broadcasts daily radio commentaries that are carried in more than 150 commercial and public stations, on the web, and on Radio for Peace International.
Every month he pens a rousing newsletter, The Hightower Lowdown, that blasts through the corporate media blockade to lend new reporting and populist perspective on the events of the day.
A popular public speaker who is fiery and funny, he is a populist road warrior who delivers more than 100 speeches a year to all kinds of groups.
He is a New York Times best-selling author, and has written seven books including, Thieves In High Places: They’ve Stolen Our Country And It’s Time To Take It Back; If the Gods Had Meant Us To Vote They Would Have Given Us Candidates; and There’s Nothing In the Middle Of the Road But Yellow Stripes and Dead Armadillos. His newspaper column is distributed nationally by Creators Syndicate.
Hightower frequently appears on television and radio programs, bringing a hard-hitting populist viewpoint that rarely gets into the mass media. In addition, he works closely with the alternative media, and in all of his work he keeps his ever-ready Texas humor up front, practicing the credo of an old Yugoslavian proverb: “You can fight the gods and still have fun.”
Hightower was raised in Denison, Texas, in a family of small business people, tenant farmers, and working folks. A graduate of the University of North Texas, he worked in Washington as legislative aide to Sen. Ralph Yarborough of Texas; he then co-founded the Agribusiness Accountability Project, a public interest project that focused on corporate power in the food economy; and he was national coordinator of the 1976 “Fred Harris for President” campaign. Hightower then returned to his home state, where he became editor of the feisty biweekly, The Texas Observer. He served as director of the Texas Consumer Association before running for statewide office and being elected to two terms as Texas Agriculture Commissioner (1983-1991).
During the 90’s, Hightower became known as “America’s most popular populist,” developing his radio commentaries, hosting two radio talk shows, writing books, launching his newsletter, giving fiery speeches coast to coast, and otherwise speaking out for the American majority that’s being locked out economically and politically by the elites.
As political columnist Molly Ivins said, “If Will Rogers and Mother Jones had a baby, Jim Hightower would be that rambunctious child — mad as hell, with a sense of humor.”