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jim_hightower.jpgAD: WHERE DO YOU GET YOUR INFORMATION?

JH: All over, really. I read two or three newspapers a day, plus we get a lot of information from the many public interest groups working around the country – groups like Public Citizen, PIRG, Common Cause, etc. We look at all the independent media resources like Alternet, Commondreams.org, Buzzflash, Truthout.org. And I have a researcher on staff who scours dozens of magazines, books, websites, and other info.

AD:HOW DOES IT FEEL TO BE THE DISSIDENT VOICE THAT PEOPLE LOOK TO?

JH: I don’t see myself so much as a dissident voice as the voice of the true American mainstream. Mine is not the message that corporate America and BushCo want you to hear, but it’s what America’s workaday majority are thinking and feeling. I’m only a dissident in the sense that I won’t keep quiet in the face of the Bushites’ autocratic, plutocratic, anti-democratic, militaristic, imperialistic attempt to snatch power away from We The People. We have no right to be quiet. Too many freedom fighters have fought and died for that right. The Nobel-prize winner Gunter Grass said “the first job of every citizen is to keep your mouth open.”

AD: WHY DO YOU THINK THERE ARE SO MANY ACTIVISTS IN A-TOWN?

JH: I find Austinites to be well-read, well-educated, savvy people, and that tends to create aware activists who get involved in the issues that shape their lives.

AD: WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE WAZE BUSH IS LEADING THIS NATION?

JH: We’re at another one of those “when in the course of human events” moments that our founding fathers talked about. We have a fundamental choice where we need to decide who the hell is in charge here. We The People? Or a bunch of insane zealots hell-bent on making the world safe for Halliburton.

AD:IS KERRY A WHITE KNIGHT OR IS HE JUST THE LESSER OF TWO EVILS?

JH: Getting John Kerry into the White House is just the start of our progressive struggle, not the end goal. We have to get the Bushites out, for they are perverting our democracy into their autocracy and plutocracy, and Kerry is the way to rid ourselves of Bush. But that’s not a progressive victory. Once Bush is gone, we must redouble our grassroots effort to push a solid progressive agenda and build a true progressive movement.

AD: WHAT ARE THE MAIN SOURCES AND FUNCTIONS OF PROPAGANDA IN THE UNITED STATES AND HOW CAN THE AVERAGE CITIZEN LEARN TO TELL FACT FROM FICTION?

JH:Today’s corporate media barons are not merely the hired agents of monied interests – they ARE the interests, fully corporatized, conglomeratized… and well-practiced in the art of journalistic lying to perpetuate the power and profits of the elites.

A handful of self-serving corporate fiefdoms now controls practically all of America’s mass-market sources of news and information.

Crude corporate censorship of our news by these boardroom types is not as common as the subtle, internal self-censorship done by general managers, top editors, and some reporters who avoid topics and dilute stories that their corporate hierarchy might find offensive, or simply incomprehensible.

Two-thirds of Americans says they can detect a corporate bias in their news. We can wring our hands about it, but it’s smarter to do something. Which means seeking out and utilizing multiple sources of information – particularly independently owned newspapers, magazines and websites, community radio, and public television.

If you take in enough different sources of information, it becomes easy to discern the propaganda from the truth.

AD: HOW CAN THE READERS OF THIS PAPER GET INVOLVED TO CHANGE THINGS? AND WHERE WOULD YOU SEND THEM TO GET THE REAL NEWS ON WHAT’S GOING ON?

JH:For news, I wouldn’t discount major newspapers like the Washington Post or New York Times. But I would mix in other sources like the Austin Chronicle, Democracy Now (on cable access TV), Alternet.org, TomPaine.com, Commondreams.org, The Nation, Mother Jones, The Progressive, The American Prospect, C-Span, the BBC, and PBS…and, of course, the Hightower Lowdown!

AD: WHAT DO YOU LIKE MOST ABOUT AUSTIN?

JH: The agitating spirit of the people and the fun-loving nature of our town.

AD: LEAST?

JH: The unending construction downtown and the constant giveaways of our tax dollars and other support to giant corporations at the expense of local small business, our environment, working families, and the uniqueness of Austin.

AD: WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE BUILD UP OF OUR TOWN?

JH:Too much top-down, too little bottom-up.

AD: WHAT LIVE MUSIC BRINGS YOU OUT?

JH: Just about anything on KGSR

AD: WHERE DO YOU EAT IN AUSTIN?

JH: All sorts of locally owned restaurants – Z Tejas, Cafe Josie, Chez Nous, Threadgill’s, Asti, Ruby’s BBQ, 7, Los Manitas, Curra’s, T&S Seafood, and probably a dozen more that I’m not thinking of at the moment.

AD: WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE AUSTIN DAZE?

JH: I’m dazzled. We need your independent, free-thinking voice more than ever.

AD: DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE STEVE MARTIN QUOTE?

JH: Well, excuuuuuuuse me!

AD: ANYTHING ELSE?

JH:Keep up the good work!
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