This week on Truthdig Radio in collaboration with KPFK: Texan populist Jim Hightower and Robert Scheer discuss Rick Perry’s entry into the presidential race while Texas Observer Editor David Mann tells us about Perry’s “army of God.”
Listen to the full episode, play individual interviews or continue reading the full transcript below.
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Jim Hightower and Robert Scheer
Texas Observer Editor David Mann
Peter Scheer: This is Truthdig Radio from KPFK Los Angeles. I’m Truthdig.com managing editor Peter Scheer. Brace yourselves for a double-barrel blast of Rick Perry, who turned the campaign for presidency upside down this weekend when he announced his candidacy. “Governor good hair,” as he is known in Texas, has the ultraconservative Christian credentials of Michele Bachmann and the executive experience of Mitt Romney, but without all that health care baggage. Today our two expert Texans probe the life and times of this polarizing figure. Later in the show, Texas Observer editor David Mann reveals Rick Perry’s Army of God; and America’s favorite populist, Jim Hightower, dishes Perry with Truthdig editor Robert Scheer. Stay with us.
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Peter Scheer: You probably recognize Jim Hightower from his column and radio show, but the Texan populist was also once that state’s agricultural commissioner, a job he lost to—guess who?—Rick Perry. Earlier today he spoke with Truthdig Editor-in-Chief Robert Scheer.
Robert Scheer: So, hi, it’s Robert Scheer with Jim Hightower. And the reason I want to talk to you, obviously, is that you know more about Texas, certainly, than any progressive, maybe any human being. You have even held elected office in Texas. And you know, we got the governor, another Texas governor, looks like he might become president; I think he’s going to jump to the head of the pack here. And so I just wanted to start with a couple of questions that I had, and then you can throw in anything you want. But I’ve been reading up on Texas, and it seems to me that this “Texas miracle” that’s been described, in some ways is a tribute to an early history of Texas populism, going back to the Texas Constitution, which made it more difficult to cheat homeowners on their mortgages. And as a result, [in] Texas you couldn’t get one of these liar’s loans, and you couldn’t be swindled quite as easily by the banks that told you to take all your equity out, and that you had to have 20 percent down; and that you couldn’t pocket the money, it had to actually be for the improvement of the house; and so forth. Does this go back to the mid-19th century?
Jim Hightower: Yes. In fact, the first Texas state constitution outlawed banks; you were not allowed to form a bank. And to create a corporation, you had to get a two-thirds vote of both the House and the Senate. So … because Texas was settled by debtors and mavericks and mutts. People who didn’t like banks, didn’t like the railroad towers that were squeezing the farmers out. So the original constitution and the original laws were very pro regular people, and very anti the amalgamation of power by corporate and financial interests.
Robert Scheer: But that was true of a number of states. For instance, Iowa also banned banks; California had a restriction on interest rates, as did many banks; but it got watered down, or it got overruled by federal power. How did Texas manage to largely avoid this housing meltdown by retaining its laws? Regulation?
Jim Hightower: Yes, regulation. And also a political culture that says that the home is sacrosanct, and that it should not be easy to take that away from families. Now, let me be clear: We have become a thoroughly corporatized state. After years of governors—and particularly Perry, but before him George W.—turning over the regulatory powers; turning them into mush, really, and letting corporations regulate themselves. The whole Enron thing, for example, came out of Kenneth Lay and the relationship with George W. And we were among the first states to deregulate this energy speculation that is really what Enron was involved in, that led to disasters in California and ultimately to Enron itself and Lay. But having said that …
Robert Scheer: Let me just throw in as a footnote …
Jim Hightower: … continue to have protections.
Robert Scheer: … yeah, but as a footnote, you also gave us Phil Gramm, the Texas senator who …
Jim Hightower: When he ran for president, however many years ago, some Republicans said, ‘Well, sometimes Phil’s his own worst enemy.’ And I said, ‘Not while I’m alive, he’s not.’ [laughter]
Robert Scheer: But Phil Gramm, just to remind listeners, was the guy who teamed up with Bill Clinton to get the Financial Services Modernization Act and the Commodity Futures Modernization Act, the two pieces of legislation that reversed the restraints of the New Deal on the greed of Wall Street. But I want to stick to this housing thing, because again, the thing that’s really hobbled California—this is going to be a lot, talked about a lot during the campaign, you know, the “Texas miracle.” And they’re going to say, oh, it’s because we have the free market and we have deregulation. And I want … the housing meltdown is at the root of our whole economic problem, and it’s what’s hurt people in California, Florida, Arizona, Nevada. And Texas was able to avoid the worst part of that kind of meltdown, again, because—and I don’t want to overstate it—but it seems to me that despite these Republican governors, they did hold on to enough of that protection of the homeowners so that the banks could not swindle them with these, you know, loans—if you take out more than it’s worth, and we’ll give you a different appraisal, and that you actually had to have a 20 percent stake in it. And I just wonder how come Texas was able to keep its common sense as far as home ownership?
Jim Hightower: Well, I think we had some independent bankers who are very conservative in the classic sense of conservatism. That you should not, as a matter of business or public policy, put people in a situation to fail, and that’s going to cost them their home and their money, and maybe the family itself. So that kind of ethic was in the banking community; it’s—you know, again, I don’t want to overstate it, because there is—we’ve got the same banks; Bank of America is huge here. And so the same kind of conglomerates that’ve got speculation in their blood, rather than selling loans, are loose in Texas. But we still have those laws in place that, in this case, does protect middle-class folks.
Robert Scheer: Looking at these comparisons—again, because the “Texas miracle” is going to be much examined, and the claim is going to be made that Texas produced, what, 35 percent of the new jobs in the last few years. And the counter argument of people like Paul Krugman is yeah, but what kind of jobs? And first of all, Texas has had a lot of growth in population, but it’s in part an immigrant population; people come from other states needing jobs, but can’t do that nationally. And that also your rate of poverty is very high, and that you and Mississippi, as I understand it, are the two tied for absolute bottom, of the most people who receive the minimum wage or less in their income. So you have a great deal of poverty there in Texas.
Jim Hightower: Well, yes. And that is not by accident. It is because the kind of jobs that have been created here in Texas—for quite some time, but certainly during Perry’s 10-year tenure—are really job-ettes. They’re low-wage, no benefit, no upper mobility, no job security attached to them at all. In fact, here’s a stat for you: In the 10 years Perry’s been in office, Texas has created more minimum-wage jobs than all other states combined. So I don’t think that’s a model for America that most Americans would want to have brought to them. And you know, the result, we also have the highest number of families and of children without health coverage of any state in the union. We have one of the highest rates of the gap between the rich and the poor; we have the most regressive tax system, the fifth most regressive tax system, in the country. You know, right on down the line, it’s not a pretty picture.
Yeah, this “Texas miracle” is fine if you’re rich, but if you’re just middle class or poor, then it’s not good at all; in fact, this is a very hardscrabble economy for most people. I’ll give you an example: The big Perry-Palooza that Perry had down in Houston a couple of weeks ago, when he got 30,000 people, evangelicals and Republicans, to turn out to a thing—that was a very low turnout; it was held in a 72,000-seat football stadium, so it didn’t look all that good. But nonetheless, on that same day the reporters who were covering Perry could have gone out to the convention center in Houston, where there were 100,000 people gathered. Now, those 100,000 were among the many poor people in Houston who were attending a back-to-school event that the school district put on to give away backpacks and give away immunizations, to do immunizations, to give haircut vouchers, and that sort of thing.
That is a measure of the real economy in Texas. While Perry was over there praying, including praying for people who don’t have jobs, there were 100,000 families who stood in line, some of them camped out from the wee hours of that day, to be able to get access to these basics, these essentials for their children. And by the way, they had to shut down at 10 a.m. in the morning because everything had been given away.
Robert Scheer: That’s amazing.
Peter Scheer: This is Truthdig Radio on 90.7 KPFK, and you’re listening to Jim Hightower of JimHightower.com in conversation with Robert Scheer of Truthdig.com.
Robert Scheer: How is he going to deal, Gov. Perry, with this whole immigration issue? Because actually your population, you got more legislators recently because your, basically, Hispanic population increased. And you got a curious love-hate thing going with the immigrant population, which has long carried the state.
Jim Hightower: You know, Texas has not had, at the grass-roots level … yeah, I mean we’ve got our immigrant-haters; we’ve had the border-patrol types, and let’s build a fence, and all that sort of stuff. But it’s not on a scale like California has had, or Arizona has had, in large part because we have a long, long history of family relationships, particularly with Mexican-Americans, in this state that has ameliorated a lot of that. It’s hard to hate somebody if you’re related to them. Well, maybe that’s not true [laughs]; it depends on your family. But there’s a relationship there that makes a difference.
Now, Perry had previously been pretty decent as a governor, saying I don’t want to do this Arizona-style legislation against undocumented workers. But now that he’s, when he kind of began to get this inclination that, wow, you know, I could be the darling of the tea party nut balls, then he began to go more in that direction. So he passed a bill preventing Texas cities from becoming sanctuary cities, meaning that the cops in those cities would be cops and not border patrol officers. He passed a voter ID bill.
So whatever little advance he had made with Mexican-Americans, or Latinos generally, it was totally destroyed by his actions in this session of the Legislature. In fact, he spoke to the National Association of Elected Latinos in San Antonio just a month or so ago, and got just a chilling reception from them; he was zinging out his zingers, and nobody was catching them; nobody was applauding, and in fact they were looking at their watches and continuing to finish their lunch, and he got tepid applause at best.
Robert Scheer: You know, Jim Hightower, I appreciate you taking this time, because we’re going to have to all learn a lot about Texas. And the big issue that he’s going to raise, he already raised in his opening statement, he wants to keep Washington out of the lives of people; Washington is the enemy, government spending. And you’ve been in Texas your whole adult life, and you’ve observed it; it seems to me federal money has gone into Texas with a certain amount of abandon, whether it’s defense or whether it’s road building, and Gov. Perry used stimulus money pretty effectively to help bridge over what was a budget gap, didn’t he?
Jim Hightower: Absolutely. He made a big fuss about I’m not going to take that … unemployment money from the Obama administration, because we have state’s rights. But then he ended up having to go to the federal government and borrow from them to cover the loss in our state unemployment fund; in fact, it was bankrupt. And he himself, by the way, has been a recipient of farm subsidies, he and his family, and he’s not abashed at all about taking federal money to benefit the corporate powers in this state.
And by the way, before we go into the notion … that Perry is such an opponent of government intrusion into life, a bill that he passed—and indeed he declared it an emergency piece of legislation, meaning it rose to the top of what the Legislature dealt with—was a sonogram bill. So any woman needing an abortion in this state must now have a device up her uterus so she can view the embryo, and a state-scripted lecture from her doctor about why she should not have an abortion. And I believe you can’t get more intrusive than the state being in a woman’s uterus.
Robert Scheer: Well, yeah, that’s obviously a powerful point. But who is the real Gov. Perry? And this remark he made about—he’s attacked, now, the Fed, and the Fed chairman; he’s called him, implied that he’s a traitor, Bernanke. And yet, you know, come on; the business community in Texas—these guys want the government, the banks bailed out. You say Bank of America is down there—there wouldn’t be a Bank of America if there hadn’t been a government bailout. So is the business community going to get behind this guy? And, what, they think he’s just being cynical and he’s playing to the tea party people, and trying to steal Ron Paul’s …
Jim Hightower: On the one hand, as I say, he’s Michele Bachmann with a better hairdo, in terms of the hard-core right-wing appeal. But his real heart is as a George W. Bush corporate plutocrat, though without the intelligence or the ethics of Bush …
Robert Scheer: Really? That’s frightening. Tell us more about that! Wait a minute, wait a minute …
Jim Hightower: You said, people said well, it couldn’t get worse than Bush; well … you know, Molly Ivins in one of her last columns, the great iconic Texas …
Robert Scheer: Oh, we carried her on Truthdig faithfully, let me tell you. I love Molly.
Jim Hightower: … yeah, and Molly in one of her last columns in the Bush years said the next time I tell y’all that somebody, some governor from Texas should not be president, pay attention. [laughter] Well, pay attention, cause this guy is actually worse than Bush.
Robert Scheer: In what ways?
Jim Hightower: His total fealty to … well, one, his lack of integrity. I mean, he will say anything and he will change positions and do anything to advance himself. And by the way, also, to make money for himself; Perry became a multimillionaire while in public office. That’s kind of strange, because we don’t pay our public officials that much money here in Texas. And he got that by dealing with lobbyists who cut him into deals, and made money for him. His big donors are the people who gave more than $100,000—AT&T, Wal-Mart, Koch Brothers, Clear Channel, Boone Pickens, Time Warner, Exxon Mobil, Bank of America, right on down the line. This is who he really is.
Robert Scheer: So he’s not going to betray their interests; he’s going to want the Fed to bail them out, he’s going to want big government in effect, right?
Jim Hightower: Absolutely, yeah.
Robert Scheer: And so let me ask you about his intelligence. [laughs] I never thought of George W. Bush as having the highest level, and you’re telling me this guy is not as, what …
Jim Hightower: Yeah, he’s …
Robert Scheer: Not as gifted?
Jim Hightower: No. He’s a very gifted speaker, which Bush is not. He has become a very gifted campaigner. But not, you know … he’s not smart at all. And in fact his grades got released, and that was pretty sad. [laughs] Like a D in economics.
Robert Scheer: So let me ask you a question that we ask …
Jim Hightower: OK, one more and then I’ve got to dash.
Robert Scheer: … yeah, I understand. Let me just say, a question that I could ask of anybody in the country anywhere: Why do these guys retain popularity? I mean, you know, he’s …
Jim Hightower: Well, he’s not that popular. The reason he’s governor is not because he’s so brilliant, although he’s running around the country now saying, look … I got 58 percent of the vote for re-election last year. What he doesn’t tell you is we … the Democratic Party has essentially collapsed here. It’s now building back at the grass-roots level, by the way, and that’s a positive thing. But for the last, certainly the 10 years he’s been running, it has been very weak because it has not run as the Democratic Party; they quit being Democrats. And the result is, people quit voting. We had the lowest voter turnout in America last year; we had 33 percent of eligible voters go to the polls. So that means he’s the choice of about 18 percent of the people. The sad thing is, the Democrats couldn’t get 19 percent. But that’s our fight, right there; it’s not even really the Perrys. And if Obama were to lose—and I can’t imagine him losing to a Perry—but if he were, it would be because he’s not been a Democrat; he’s not stood up in a way that excites and makes believers out of his own people.
Robert Scheer: You know, Jim Hightower, I want to thank you for taking this time. I think people are going to be—you’re the go-to person to try to figure out Texas and figure out this governor, and so thanks for …
Jim Hightower: I’m happy to help. [laughs]
Robert Scheer: Take care.
Jim Hightower: OK, Robert. Thanks a bunch. Bye bye.
Peter Scheer: That was writer and radio host Jim Hightower and Truthdig Editor-in-Chief Robert Scheer on Truthdig Radio.
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Peter Scheer: We all know about Rick Perry’s giant prayer rally in Houston. But did you know that there’s a group of fringe Christians who believe the Democratic Party is controlled by demons? And they want Rick Perry to carry their banner into the White House. Here to talk about that and more is Texas Observer editor David Mann. You’re here to talk about Gov. Rick Perry, who’s been—correct me if I’m wrong—he’s the longest continuous governor of any state in the union?
David Mann: I don’t know about that; I assume he is. He’s the longest-serving governor in Texas history, I know that for sure. And if he finishes out his current term, he would have been in office for 14 years.
Peter Scheer: So—that’s amazing, considering that Texas—George W. Bush was the first governor of Texas to serve more than one consecutive four-year term, right. So Texas had a two-year term until the ’70s, and when Bush came into office he was the first governor to really have more than one term. But Rick Perry now has … he’s been elected three times to the governor’s office, right?
David Mann: Yeah, he’s been elected three times on his own, and he also served the final two years of Bush’s term back in 2001, 2002, when Bush went to the White House. And it’s important to note that Texas doesn’t have term limits, so Perry, if he doesn’t win the White House, could conceivably keep serving as governor; in fact, some people here have been referring to him as “governor for life.”
Peter Scheer: Which is kind of amazing, considering the history of how long these governors have served, right?
David Mann: It is. I mean, usually people kind of either wear out their welcome, or wear themselves out, or kind of they’ve accomplished everything they want to do, or they’ve moved up, in Bush’s case. And so it is kind of remarkable in this modern age that somebody would serve that long and not suffer some kind of voter fatigue. People have long talked about a Perry fatigue, but that is yet to materialize. And Perry is such a skillful campaigner, and the Democratic Party here is in a down period, to say the least. So he’s continued to win elections, and if he wanted to I think he could keep going as long as he wanted to.
Peter Scheer: I have a friend from Austin, which is admittedly weird, but he tells me that Perry isn’t really that liked in the state of Texas. Is that true?
David Mann: Yeah, I think he’s a very polarizing figure. Certainly Democrats and liberals really don’t like him; he kind of drives Democrats crazy here in the same way that Bush did. But there’s quite a few Republicans that don’t like him either. They don’t like his cronyism, his patronage; some of his major proposals they feel like haven’t been conservative, like proposing toll roads; like proposing that teenage girls get the HPV vaccine; he passed a business tax that a lot of conservatives didn’t like. So there’s quite a few Republicans that don’t like him in Texas. And you have to remember that when Perry ran for re-election in 2010, he had not one but two opponents in the Republican primary, and he won that primary; but there still was 50 percent of Republican primary voters that voted for somebody else besides Rick Perry. …
Peter Scheer: And he beat Kay Bailey Hutchison, who was a very popular political figure in Texas.
David Mann: Yeah, he just trounced her in that primary. And also a third candidate, a tea party candidate. And he won 50 percent in a three-way primary, which is very impressive. But again, it does show that there is some Republican opposition to him in the state.
Peter Scheer: So you’ve written extensively for the Observer on budget cuts and the budget situation in Texas, which is very bleak. And here in California and everywhere in the union, there’ve been a lot of budget problems with the states. But you write in a recent article, “Texas spends less per resident than any state in the country, but the two-year spending plan that lawmakers approved on Memorial Day weekend is especially cold-blooded.” Can you just—I wonder, actually; you’ve also written some profiles on people who are really hurting with the budget cuts, including a tea party supporter. And I wonder if this is the kind of thing that will play well in the primaries, or if stories emerge of what he’s done in Texas, people will be maybe more wary of Rick Perry.
David Mann: That’s an interesting question. I think it would seem like at the moment, balancing the budget without raising taxes, which is the line that Perry will use, could be quote popular in a Republican primary. I think the question would be, if he gets into the general election, is that going to be popular with general election voters and people who are more moderate? As you say, we had a huge budget deficit in Texas; it was as bad or worse, depending on how you run the numbers, than California’s budget deficit. It was about a quarter to a third of state spending, again depending on which numbers you use. But we were up at about $27 billion in our total shortfall for the two-year budget that’s upcoming, and that’s a huge number. And Perry decided, along with other Republicans, that we were going to balance that budget through spending reductions alone. Tax increases were off the table, and so was using our so-called rainy day fund, where we had $9 billion that we were apparently, or supposedly, saving for a rainy day, that we ended up not using.
Peter Scheer: Right. How does it get any rainier than this recession.
David Mann: Exactly. So what we ended up doing was cutting programs very severely, including a reduction of $4 billion to public education, which is really the first time in at least 40 years that Texas has reduced spending on public schools. And of course Medicaid, health care programs also saw severe reductions, and basically every state agency in government saw their funding cut between 10 and 25 percent. So we’re looking at a really rough two years; the Texas budget is not in good shape; it’s not going to be in good shape two years from now when they have to do another budget. And of course there’s a human toll. Millions of people across the state are really going to be suffering; teachers are being laid off, schools are being consolidated and shut down, people are losing health care programs and health insurance to the state. It’s not a pretty sight.
Peter Scheer: Can you share with us one of those stories that you read about?
David Mann: Well, sure. One of the … there’s two that really come to mind. One is a guy I talked to who runs a community mental health clinic in San Antonio. And as you mentioned, Texas spends less per resident than any other state, and we’re especially bad when it comes to mental health treatment; I think we’re 49th in mental health spending. So this mental health clinic gets precious few dollars from the state; they have a waiting list that stretches several hundred people; they can never keep up with the need. And they’re looking at a cut of about 30 percent to their funding. And it’s already meager funding; they already can’t meet the need, and now they’re trying to find a way to cut that even more. And when I talked to the guy who runs the clinic, he … you know, he didn’t really know what he was going to do. Do you lay off key staff, do you just reduce services. … I mean, in the end you’re just going to have to turn people away who have severe mental illnesses, and they’ll either end up on the street or end up in jail, or both. And when you hear that kind of thing, it’s kind of heart wrenching.
Then you mentioned a guy who was a tea party supporter; he was another person I talked to, he actually owns a nursing home. And nursing homes at one point in the budget cycle were looking at about a 30 percent reduction in their rates that they get from the state. And this guy’s a tea party supporter, and he told me, ‘You know, I like the tea party rhetoric; I want to reduce government spending. But I just didn’t think that nursing home residents would be facing such a severe cut.’ Now, in the end, they did soften those cuts to nursing homes quite a bit. But like I said, nursing home residents and just about everybody else in the state are looking at severe reductions.
Peter Scheer: We’re speaking with David Mann, the editor-in-chief of The Texas Observer, about Gov. Rick Perry. Let me ask you about—you had a story on your site recently, I imagine in the publication, about Rick Perry’s Army of God. And it was about a group of the New Apostolic Reformation, a group of sort of extreme religious figures who visited Perry and said that God speaking through them … well, maybe you can explain this better than I can, but the idea that sort of God is directing him to run.
David Mann: Yeah, these folks are really on the edge of even the evangelical movement. These are folks that believe that they are literally modern day prophets and apostles, and that they are in communication with God, and that God is making prophecies through them of things that will happen. And even for evangelical Christians, I think their philosophy is quite radical. And they do have a relationship with Gov. Rick Perry. As you mentioned, in our reporting we discovered a meeting in 2009 where two Texas pastors who are in this movement, and kind of professed themselves to be prophets, had a meeting with Gov. Perry and prayed with him and prayed over him and delivered a prophecy. And they said God had prophesized that Texas will take a leadership role, that Texas will be a prophet state in installing godly government in America, and within that, Gov. Perry would have a prominent role.
And he’s … it’s not clear exactly how close a relationship he has with this movement; there’s kind of a loose affiliation of prophets and pastors around the country, some in Texas, some in Missouri and Kansas City. But we can say that quite a few of the people who sponsored Rick Perry’s recent prayer event, “The Response” in Houston a couple of weeks ago, a number of the people who organized that and supported it and sponsored it were in this New Apostolic Reformation movement, and do think of themselves as modern day prophets. This isn’t a movement I was very familiar with before we did this story, and I don’t think a lot of people have really heard of any of these folks. In fact, many of the people in Texas Republican politics who we talked to hadn’t heard of some of this. And I think when this gets wider publicity, it could be potentially a political problem for Perry. Because this is not just the religious right; these folks make Rick Warren and John Hagee look fairly moderate by comparison.
Peter Scheer: Right, they believe that the Democratic Party is controlled by Jezebel and other demons, and they do things like—I’m just getting this from your story—like driving stakes with biblical quotes into the ground in every Texas county, things like this?
David Mann: Yeah, they’ve done some elaborate ceremonies. They believe that certain institutions are run by demonic forces. Alice Paterson, who’s one of the prominent prophets, has said that she believes the Democratic Party is run by demonic forces. Another prophet has made similar remarks about the Statue of Liberty, and that’s gotten some press. The Masons, you know, they’ve made remarks about Freemasonry being a demonic force. And they have done elaborate ceremonies at Mason buildings and temples around Texas, where they pray over them and try to cast out the demonic forces. In fact, some of the prophets have claimed to have seen demons in plain sight at public meetings. So as I said, it’s definitely a group of people with some fringe beliefs, with some fairly radical beliefs, and things that some voters could find kind of frightening, even evangelicals.
Peter Scheer: What is his support like among Latinos—big block of voters in Texas—and is that a threat, possibly, in the general?
David Mann: Yeah, Perry has shown that he will try to appeal to Latino voters. He’s gotten anywhere between 30 and 40 percent of the Latino vote here in Texas, in his gubernatorial races; he’s been very close to some prominent leaders in the Latino community, and especially along the border, he’s gotten close to mayors and sheriffs down there and gotten their endorsements. So he’s certainly shown in the past that he recognizes the voting strength, the potential voting strength of the Latino community, and shown that he will make a play for that vote. Over the summer he did an event in Los Angeles with some Latino religious right leaders, and clearly has shown that he thinks his conservative cultural beliefs, especially on abortion, will align with some Latino voters. And much like George W. Bush did, I think Perry will certainly try to appeal to the Latino vote in the general election.
Peter Scheer: Well, thanks so much for sharing these insights with us.
David Mann: My pleasure.
Peter Scheer: That was Texas Observer editor David Mann. This is Truthdig Radio; I’m Peter Scheer. … [Thanks to our guests] Jim Hightower and David Mann of The Texas Observer. I also want to thank our board op Jee, engineer Stan Misraje and Alan Minsky. For Robert Scheer and the rest of us at Truthdig, thanks for listening.