Jim Hightower’s Radio Lowdown

Who’s making our medicine?

Let’s talk pills. To treat everything from allergies to heart problems, half of Americans take a prescription medicine every day, […]

Can the Easter Bunny save us?

Glorious news, people! The renowned professor of pandemicology, Dr. Donald Trump, has found the magical antidote to coronavirus that had […]

What should happen to “Pandemic Profiteers”?

Wartime profiteering has been as common in our country as war itself. Indeed, during the American Revolution assorted corrupt merchants […]

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.


 

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.

Trump Flees Afghanistan, but US still there

Trump Flees Afghanistan, but US still there

It’s over. Donald the Dealmaker says that he has ended America’s long nightmare in Afghanistan, finally terminating 18-plus years of grinding war (the longest in US history). After more than 2,400 Americans killed (another 20,000 wounded), more than 100,000 Afghan citizens killed (countless more maimed), and roughly $2 trillion wasted – Trump is crowing that he’s negotiated an end to that ridiculously expensive and pointless military adventure.

Continue reading →

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 →

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Meet Jim Hightower.

Looking for photos and more of Hightower? Check out the media kit.

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.”

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Books

Swim Against the Current (2008)

Swim Against the CurrentThe New York Times bestselling author and America’s funniest activist gives the lowdown on how to put up-not shut up-in the fight for our future.

Hightower, the country’s #1 populist, has picked up some useful advice over the years, from “never eat at a café featuring ‘bargain kebobs'” to “never hit a man with glasses; hit him with something much heavier.” As he and his longtime co-conspirator Susan DeMarco have rambled through grassroots America, however, they’ve also come up with more serious words of wisdom to share here, namely: question authority, trust your values, seek alternatives, break away, stand up for your beliefs, and swim against the current!

Their book introduces readers to people across the country who have actually done this-people in business, politics, health care, farming, religion, and other areas who are taking charge, living their values, doing good, and doing well. Hightower and DeMarco show how they are doing precisely what the elites want us to believe can’t be done: changing their lives and making a difference. He tells the stories of these people and offers inspiration and information that will help readers tap into their own maverick potential in order to navigate a different, more satisfying course of their own.

Whether they are young and just starting out or older and searching for a different path, the commonsense folks in this book have escaped the corporate tentacles to find their own way toward a richer life and a better American future. They are creating a new, deeply democratic model for the country, edging it back onto the long road toward egalitarianism and the common good.

Hightower and DeMarco are at their contrarian, sharp-witted, and straight-shooting best as they celebrate the triumph of grassroots gumption over the tight-fisted grip of corporate control.

Thieves in High Places (2004)

Thieves in High PlacesAmerica is at an historic divide between rulers and rulees and the rulees are restless. Hightower’s THIEVES IN HIGH PLACES is an epistle to the American people about vision and choices, and it’s a clarion call to action. The question Jim Hightower is asking is: What kind of country do you want America to be? Not only for you, but for your children and theirs? In THIEVES IN HIGH PLACES Hightower takes on the Bushites, the Wobblycrats, and the corporate Kleptocrats, digging up behind-the scenes dirt that the corporate media overlooks like BushCo’s “Friday Night Massacres”, what’s happened to our food, and the Bush plan for empire. Also drawing on Hightower’s Rolling Thunder Down-Home Democracy Tour, Hightower has tapped into the thriving activist networks that are our country’s grassroots muscle, and his book tells their uplifting stories of retaking control of their communities.

Let's Stop Beating Around The Bush (2004)
Let's Stop Beating Around The BushThe bestselling grassroots guru is back with his incisive take on the state of the union and life today in the good ol’ U.S.A.

America in 2004 is color coded — and it’s not just a matter of red, white, and blue. The terror alert bounces from yellow to orange. The economy offers up a hundred shades of red ink. The environment is turning brown. National security is cloaked in gray shadows. And, as he did in the bestselling Thieves in High Places, Jim Hightower covers it all with uncommon insight, political fearlessness, and laugh-out-loud humor.

America’s #1 populist gives us Let’s Stop Beating Around the Bush — a hard-hitting, fact-filled review of the real state of the union that you won’t get from the establishment media. With his daily radio commentaries and award-winning monthly newsletter, no one has chronicled the madness of King George the W, the wimpiness of corporate Democrats, and the aggressive avarice of Wall Street with the thoroughness and tenacity of Hightower. Now he brings that investigative punch into this wild and woolly hook of fiery essays.

With his satirical “Six Perfectly Good Reasons to Re-elect George W. Bush”; his mix of damning indictments and uplifting stories; and side bars, cartoons, games, and puzzles, Hightower has clone the impossible: he has created a subversive read that makes politics fun again.

The People Are Revolting! (In The Very Best Sense Of That Word) (2003)

The People Are Revolting! (In The Very Best Sense Of That Word)

With his aw-shucks charisma and no-nonsense attitude, he dishes out what’s wrong with the eroding integrity of our democracy: politicians for sale to the highest bidder, the economic boom of the 90s not trickling down to the regular folks and more corporate scandals than you can shake a stick at. Offers a compelling collection of Hightower talks plus the best of his daily “Common-Sense Commentaries” on radio, all with an introduction by the late Senator Paul Wellstone.

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If the Gods Had Meant Us to Vote They Would Have Given Us Candidates (2000)

If the Gods Had Meant Us to Vote They Would Have Given Us CandidatesJim Hightower, America’s favorite subversive, is still mad as hell, and he’s not going to take it anymore. But he will give you a sizeable piece of his mind on Election 2000. This plain-talking, name-naming, podium-pounding populist zeros in on everything that ails us, from the global economy and media to big business and election winners everywhere. In his hard hitting commentary and hilarious anecdotes, Hightower spares no one, including the scared cows — and especially the politicians — who helped steer us into this mess in the first place. An equal opportunity muckrucker and a conscientious agitator for “We the People”, Hightower inspires us to take charge again, build a new politics for a better tommorow — and have a lot of laughs along the way.

There's Nothing in the Middle of the Road But Yellow Stripes and Dead Armadillos (1998)
There's Nothing in the Middle of the Road but Yellow Stripes and Dead ArmadillosRevised, and with a New Introduction by the Author

“I am an agitator, and an agitator is the center post in a washing machine that gets the dirt out.”
–Jim Hightower

Hightower is mad as hell and he’s not going to take it anymore! He’s also funny as hell, and in this book he focuses his sharp Texas wit, populist passion, and native smarts on America’s political, economic, scientific, and media establishments. In There’s Nothing in the Middle of the Road But Yellow Stripes and Dead Armadillos, Hightower shows not only what’s wrong, but also how to fix it, offering specific solutions and calling for a new political movement of working families and the poor to “take America back from the bankers and bosses, the big shots and bastards.”

“If you don’t read another book about what’s wrong with this country for the rest of your life, read this one. I think it’s the best and most important book about out public life I’ve read in years.”
–Molly Ivins, author of Molly Ivins Can’t Say That, Can She?“When do we get to vote for Jim Hightower for president? Will somebody please tell me? When do we get to vote for Jim Hightower for president?.”
–Michael Moore, author of Downsize This!

“Listen to Jim Hightower. His is a two-fisted, rambunctious voice unafraid to speak truth to power, eloquently and clearly…He’s one of the best.”
–Studs Terkel