Listen now (63 mins) | Ralph welcomes back old friend and America’s Number One Populist, Jim Hightower to hash out a whole range of topics including what happened with Beto O’Rourke in the recent governor’s race in Texas, the battle between corporate Dems vs. progressive Dems and much, much more. Plus, Ralph warns again about falling for the relentless corporate pitch for Medicare (Dis)Advantage and gives us an update on the ongoing Boeing Max 8 litigation.
What I heard loud and clear from Ralph and Jim is that old-fashioned organizing, like Jim described in W. VA, can be very effective. BUT it requires commitment and hard work, not just "liking" posts and forwarding emails. Nothing new, nothing fancy. Of course there are new technologies that can help, but nothing can replace commitment and hard work.
Thank you a thousand times.
Only one thing. For all the clarity that you bring to the failures, often the question is asked -" what is wrong with the democrats?" or something to that effect. I'm sure you know, there is nothing wrong with the democrats. As Gore Vidal once said, "we have one party in America, the property party, and it has two right wings." The democrats don't really care about social justice. you know this so well. They care about money and power. the noises made about social justice are simply a sales pitch. They far prefer republicans in power to progressives who would actually work for a change of the power structure. The democratic elite far prefer Trump to Sanders. The democrats don't fail. they succeed at what they really want. The want a status quo for the ruling elite. always. all social justice is completely expendable. The defeat of social change for the better is certainly their goal. Knowing this far better than most, it's unsettling to keep hearing the question "what's wrong with the democrats. why don't they acts?"
One more quick note that should be relevant to those who enjoy the RNRH. Mr. Hightower and Mr. Nader brought up the Texas 34th congressional district election on the show. This is the one where the Republican, Mayra Flores, won the special election in June 2022 before losing in the November election to the Democratic Party candidate. The only reason why there was a special election in June was because the Democrat in office, Filemon Vela Jr., resigned during his term to take a job at mega lobbying firm Akin Gump.
It may well be difficult for progressives in Texas to take Texas Democrats seriously when they pull stunts like that. Perhaps the electoral setbacks the Democrats suffered in that district were only temporary, but there are surely some voters who would like to vote for someone they can trust, but they'll ultimately not vote at all, or vote for a third party, given the corporate orientation of so many Democrats in the state. This is just one example of that.
Two Points please:
What an election disgrace from my NY home state as we lost important House seats here!!! Republicans have conjured, with fearful messages, a renewed powerful "cement roots" movement REPLACING the ignored Grass Rooted abandoned people who turned red before their eyes. In the suburbs here (Long Island) were ten times more candidate lawn signs for these true-blue(!)savior Republicans than pasty ignoring Dems(!)
What was sweeping over my fellow citizens? Pushing the Maga obsessed "Gas Rooted" / amazon addicted/ gun lovin'/shallow streaming/bet waging/what- climate- crisis(?)/Army-Navy-Air Force obeying Kings (no Queens?) of Wall St....so: so many of us never even know or care about better ways such as Jim HighTower's with his action "Do Something Box" because we are battling to pay the expensive lives, we lead, or don't lead or wish to lead.
apathy Apathy APATHY seems Ignorance's Success....but the red-energized voters were scared about issues which cannot be solved by mere legislation --like crime-heck it takes community for one thing....and so our community lost, yet monthly I take heed from Wise Jim and encourage others around me to listen and learn and teach and act as best we can. There truly needs to be a RED BLUE- BLUE RED peace accord not such Dischord.
What an interview! What insights we can think from! Please seek Jim's Monthly 4-page Newsletter
I urge you all and his Radio Broadcasts are a marvel in get up & do something good.
Mr. Hightower is a National Treasure like "our" Mr. Nadar.
2nd Point- Original Medicare yes, never Disadvantage ---at my local library I was curious to attend a recent Medicare Plan presentation but was so troubled when I asked the presenter if he was a SHIP non-partisan volunteer, explaining Medigap vs Advantage BUT no, he was a Humana Rep! The library shd not be Partisan ! Pure Disadvantage....to the bewildered early seated elder couple next to me--when I warned them to seek only Medigap (yes, expensive unless dirt poor/ but much more comprehensive and economically necessary here IN MY friggin zip code)
SHIP as its called ,is in all states and in NY it's called HIICAP Health Insurance Information Consoling, which is sponsored by Medicare only funding & volunteers(!) Anyway, until Single Payer is someday voted in (and of which I have great first-hand experience,living in Germany for 7 years)--its Medigap or pay more than just 20%--this is an approximation.
Plan G Medigap (NOT ADVANTAGE) is the best IF one can afford it, costs currently $170 per month but has " $ penalties" for a time until one's previous wage earnings (previous immediate two-year wage history as per filed taxes) fades away. Because my parents were bankrupted by medical bills, and this firsthand learning was devastating to our family, I am a bit obsessed with health insurance.
But because my fellow Americans are purely ignorant of real single payer life -as- we -don't- know- it (obscured by the greed of our "great" Medical Axis) this is the Task which seems to get defeated or not correctly presented and certainly not clearly explained how to fund it! Remember all those many countries which have many years of ongoing single payer are a FRACTION of the population size of US
so rather than join to iron out the tremendous details that single payer involves the Dems & Pubs
avoid, shun, attack as communist etc as too big to handle.
I must wonder if the Republicans miraculously one day woke up and passed a single payer new deal (never ever happen, just musing) then their base would be 75%-85% of Americans, but I realize this is so nonsensical and hoping that Dems- Do- It ,at this point is even more doubtful
BUT the real challenge is always persuasive To better-best present Single Payer and its funding and its restructuring and its remade allowed charges and its incredible ending of all medical induced bankruptcy to ordinary folks. Door to door, person to person, group to group ..heck we need Tom Morello to write "Thinking " Songs to rouse us turtles...not Drinking Songs just to celebrate Friday Night
Tim Donnelly, Little Wrong Islander
I am also in Houston and I am very pleased that Jim Hightower was on the RNRH this week. It is hard for a Texan, especially a Houstonian, to discuss politics without bringing up the oil & gas industry. This was not mentioned in the show, but one thing which would really benefit progressive causes is for progressives, locally and nationally, to understand the needs of oil & gas workers in order to get them on the side of environmental reform instead of working against reform by supporting right-wing energy policy. Many of the oil & gas jobs in Texas, especially those related to drilling, transportation, and refining, are hardly glamorous jobs, but they make for a solid living and, barring other solutions, they are vital to our society. With the general decline of labor over the last ~50 years thanks to neoliberalism, people in this field are naturally defensive of their careers. It’s hard to find companies, especially locally, who can offer the benefits, wages, and stability of oil & gas.
Many of the aforementioned oil & gas workers are racially diverse, working class, and there are a number of women who work in the field or who are training to work in the field. At least in the case of Houston’s downstream (refinery) workers, the oil & gas workers often live and work in places heavily polluted with benzene and other severe environmental hazards. These plants can and have exploded before (see the 2005 Texas City BP refinery disaster) and there are always risks of it happening again especially given some of the lackadaisical regulation of those plants. These workers ought to be part of the progressive base in order to improve those conditions, but progressives, and certainly corporate Democrats, give these workers and their families very little reason to be hopeful that they can maintain their employment, or even gain better employment/employment stability, in their areas with little additional training and other hassles if the energy sector transitions to greener solutions.
Progressives must understand how to use economic theory to develop policies which allow oil & gas employees to continue working for equal/better compensation, stability, and working conditions. The same principle applies to defense industry employees and other industries which need to be significantly curtailed. The policy has to be credible with labor. Privatized corporate welfare policies/projects Democrats love which only serve to enrich the corporate class while reducing labor and labor conditions will naturally not be taken seriously by labor. Government-supported projects with clear goals must be supported so labor believes there are stable, well-paying, safe jobs to be gained as the energy sector transitions to something greener.
At least here in Houston, there is a very successful model of a government project with clear goals that supported employment: NASA and the Johnson Space Center. Of course, even then, NASA has become so privatized that I’m not sure how credible this example is in modern times, but NASA was a great economic engine for this area decades ago during the space race and I think people are aware of that. Just like how high government priority was given to the space race, we need high government priority, and thus funding, for energy transition and transition of the defense sector.
Of course, all of this requires people to understand how federal government spending works and how progressives can use that knowledge to their advantage to support important things often not discussed such as full employment. If progressives can craft solid policy from that understanding, it would be much, much easier to present the public with viable employment solutions. Moreover, progressives cannot continue to support monetarist economic models with their systematic unemployment. Progressives cannot continue to support globalization that allows corporations to take advantage of deregulated labor and environmental policies in other countries. This general form of neoliberalism, which is supported by corporate Democrats, will make work more difficult for progressives just like it did after the neoliberal Clinton and Obama administrations.
Greetings from Houston!
Grassroots movements working on local levels have not worked for decades. The national corporate Deathocrats stop them before any real progress can be achieved. This program provided many examples of just that.
There is a place for such grassroots movements but there must also be a national movement to take on the corporate Deathocrats and remove them from office so they are no longer able to stop the grassroots movements from making tangible progress.
All the work, time and treasure required for the grassroots movements to take one step forward is wasted when the corporate Deathocrats are taking several steps backwards. Even if you are facing the correct direction taking one step forward and several steps backwards still leaves you moving in the wrong direction as the last forty years clearly demonstrates.
All it really accomplishes is turning citizens into the 120 million non-voters when they get discouraged after years of effort leaves them worse off then when they started.
Citizens need to demand that candidates at all levels from dog catcher to president run small donor campaigns and enforce that demand with our votes.
10% national participation in 2024 is achievable if we start now. This could lead to 20% participation in 2026 and more than 30% or more participation in 2028.
The choice is real progress in two or three election cycles or another forty years of moving in the wrong direction by winning small battles while losing the war.
And it will take people like Ralph and Jim Hightower to lead this movement instead of promoting the failed approach of the last forty years.
Ralph has often said that politicians want our votes more than big money.
Now is the time for Ralph to put that theory to a test by making good on his statement on Washington Journal (10-24-2018) that he would have me on the Radio Hour to discuss One Demand that is designed to organize citizens to demand small donor candidates and enforce that demand with our votes.
It is time for Ralph to take one small step for citizens and one giant leap for democracy.
Or we can spend the next forty years moving in the wrong direction and look back in forty years fondly remembering when things were only so bad as Trump and the MAGATS (Make America Great Again Trump Supporters).
Progressives must use this message to hold corporate Democrats accountable for their failures. We should never hear from Sean Patrick Maloney again after his dismal failure in New York including his own seat. Losing the house is still a loss even if less then expected. The need for new leadership is obvious and it is not another corporate Democrat. Local ballot initiatives point the way to a winning message counter to what donors want. Progressives need to stand up to the leadership losers.