Three Cheers for Dissent!

“We know that most people’s intentions are good.  We don’t question their motives.  We never said they’re unpatriotic, although they say some pretty ugly things about us.  We believe very strongly in preserving the right to differ in this country, in the right to dissent.  And if I have done a good job at anything since I’ve been president (it) is to insure that there have been plenty of dissenters.”  

Lyndon B. Johnson; November 17, 1967

It seems like LBJ had a sense of humor at least.  He admitted that you have to go through unpleasant times and deal with difficulties in order to preserve the right to dissent.  He admitted that the right to protest is part of the backbone of this country.

I was watching the 1983 PBS film on Vietnam on VHS.  I had to stop the tape and copy down this quote copy down this quote from President Johnson.

Three cheers for dissent!  We need it now, more than ever.  Let’s update and transform that 1960’s protest spirit.  Make phone calls.  Write letters.  Give money to the most effective charities, if you have any money.  Take to the streets.  Bring it on.

Vietnam, a Television History:

The tally to date:

Waiting for the Big One

Elephant's tea party, Robur Tea Room, 24 March 1939, by Sam Hood
Elephant’s tea party, Robur Tea Room, 24 March 1939, by Sam Hood (in NWS, Australia).

It seems obvious to many of us that no good will come of this.  Inept and misguided government is just what some people want.  Yet it’s likely to lead to problems and disaster, both large and small.

If the only serious problem is that problem which is connected to global climate change, then that will be bad enough.  It still remains to be seen how far they will go and how far they can go, in regard to that.

Some of the appointees and advisers may be capable and intelligent.  Let’s hope that some of them are realistic about things and sensible to a point, at least.

Then too, others believe that the current president is learning?  But will he learn enough?  If he does learn enough, will it be too late?

It seems as if things are often being ran by amateurs in situations that call for hardened, seasoned professionals.

I try not to lose too much sleep worrying about it.  Awful things might  happen.  They’re the elephant in the room.  The ice keeps getting thinner.  We need to do more than just hope or pray or just cross our fingers.

Let’s hope that none of these things come to pass.   This is a short list of a few of the possibilities.

  1. Climate change deniers could convince the people in power to make catastrophic and deadly decisions.  This could put the whole world at risk.  Hopefully this won’t get out of hand.  Yet even a little backsliding could prove to be deadly.
  2. If there’s a serious terrorist attack on the U.S. mainland, then who knows what will happen?  Are they preventing terrorism or (inadvertently) causing it or inviting it?  Or both?  You can’t fight fire with gasoline.
  3. The war drags on.  Will there be new wars?  Money and violence continue to feed each other and to feed off of each other.
  4. Ill-advised economic strategies could cause a massive economic disaster.  Are they creating jobs more slowly than they’re taking jobs away?
  5. One serious problem is already afflicting us.  It seems as if one-third of America lives in a different reality than the other two-thirds.  It also seems that a one-third minority is largely “in charge.”  It might be more like one-quarter, it’s hard to measure.  Meanwhile though, the nation is divided and confused.  The right and the left, the rich and the poor could take their antagonism to even uglier stages. Both parties have made mistakes, and maybe, even poisoned the well. People!  America, can we talk?  Can we have a dialogue?  Can we try to get along?


PS. I could go on and on.  I may add to this list as the years go by.  Keep calm and carry on?  Maybe.  But don’t forget to protest.

More voices predicting various forms of gloom and doom:

Noam Chomsky:

Seeing the Big Picture


It’s important to see the big picture.  You need to see how things fit in with other things. You need to see how they interact with each other.

Subtleties and nuanced thinking are very important.

A sense of history is very important.  You need to be well-versed in the past.  To know that which was will help you to better deal with what’s going on now.

A sense of the future is also very important.  We need to have a clear sense of how what we do now will affect future generations.  We need to try not to harm those who are babies or children now.  Some of us care about those who are yet to be.

Many people in power these days, here and elsewhere, seem to see all of these things as their enemies or as nonsense. They say things like “How can science predict the future? Anything can happen!  Nobody knows ….”

Yet this disdain for intense, reasoned, realistic, nuanced, complicated thinking will come back to haunt them.  It may come back to haunt all of us.

Their Bad List

COMPETITION (from February 25, 2008 and CC 5) larger

There are certain things that the new USA political administration does not like.  Some of these they merely disdain or attempt to ignore.  Others, they’re disgusted by.  Then there are those things, those groups, those people and those types of people who frighten them. The current administration can become very uneasy, unsettled and even angry at the drop of a hat.

You, or someone who you know, probably belongs to one or more of these groups.  Be on your toes.

Most of the groups which they are against are subject to exceptions.  If you have a extreme amount of money and/or are totally with them then you’ll probably get a pass.

Many people are used to being constantly “under attack.”  For others of us, this is a new experience.  Being constantly insulted and assaulted is different from being occasionally insulted and assaulted.

This is a rough draft of an enemies list.  I’ll add to it over the next few years and revise it, if the situation changes.

(To be continued, to be continuous)

If someone ever makes a list of things that they do like, things which make them happy, I’d like to see it, thanks.

  1. People from all other countries besides the United States of America.
  2. Liberals, radicals and progressives within the United States of America.
  3. Moderates and conservatives within the United States of America.
  4. The media, especially the print, radio, TV and Internet media.
  5. The checks and balances systems.
  6. The United States Constitution.
  7. Most women.
  8. Most young people.
  9. Most elderly people.
  10. Most children.
  11. Poor people.
  12. Most sick people.
  13. Educated people.
  14. African-Americans.
  15. Native Americans.
  16. Latin Americans.
  17. The LGBT community.
  18. Artists.
  19. Dreamers.
  20. Poets.
  21. Painters.
  22. Actors and Actresses.
  23. Musicians.
  24. Directors.

Checks and Balances


This country is having its checks and balances system tested as it’s never been tested before.  It’s as if someone’s carefully exposed to a series of deadly diseases in order to test their immune system.  Or as if a car’s being road-tested on the bumpiest of all possible bumpy roads.

The presidency and the U.S. Congress are largely in the hands of people who seem to have devious or conflicted motives.   They can’t seem to think straight, let alone act straight. The same is true for a majority of State governments.

This government seems to be faulty at best and fanatical at worst.  We’ll see whether they try to do anything to truly help the lion’s share of American citizens.  Or will they just try to help corporations and cronies?

The rule of law, a vigorous press and the noisy voice of the people all seem to be their enemies.  We’ll try to stop them from fighting against these or watering them down.

There are some checks and balances within the system.  There are some people in the U.S. Congress, in both parties, with clear vision and a conscience.  Let’s hope so.  Let’s hope that they can come up with some things that both sides and the middle can agree on.

There’ll be enough bills and plans that are totally unacceptable.  We’ll fight against those as best we can.

This post is a follow-up to my What Do We Do Now post from January.

I’ll add to this list and too, improve on it. Some of these are extracurricular checks and balances in ways.  Yet we must explore every possible option.Here’s a start though.

Other checks and balances include:

  1. The courts support and uphold the laws.  This holds a lot of promise. Hundreds of years of law can’t be summarily dismissed or swept under the carpet.  We need to follow our laws, especially the U.S. Constitution. These laws aren’t as easy to change or to dismiss as some might hope. The judiciary will not be thwarted easily.
  2. Support and defend vigorous and diligent press.  Mister D.T. and his group try to discredit any opposition or exposure from the press.  In doing this, they’re trying to weaken or eliminate an important check and balance on their activities.  We need to support and encourage strong work from all of the mass media. This includes print media, radio, television and the internet.  Who telling the truth and who’s controlling the truth?
  3. Spontaneous and vigorous protest by the people is very important.   Keep those phone calls, letters and emails coming folks!  The phone seems to be the most effective but the rest could help too.  I like to support the U.S. Postal service.  Going to Town Hall meetings and taking to the streets can also play a part. Dialogue, connect and don’t stop.
  4. Economic boycotts may also help.  Don’t buy products from companies that support those who you don’t support.
  5. Give to the charities who doing the best work.  Some these are obvious, such as the ACLU.  You can let your money help the groups and causes which are having a real effect.
  6. Follow the money.  Try to find out what’s going on financially between the lobbyists and the politicians.  If there’s something they’re hiding, it will come out eventually. Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.

Which businesses are best to boycott per this fragile regime:

Which charities are best to give to, take one:

So far, as of March 9th, 2017:



Barack Obama Prepares to Leave Office

“Look, politics is a battle of ideas. That’s how our democracy was designed. In the course of a healthy debate, we prioritize different goals, and the different means of reaching them. But without some common baseline of facts, without a willingness to admit new information and concede that your opponent might be making a fair point, and that science and reason matter, then we’re going to keep talking past each other.”

Barack  Obama, from his farewell speech on January 10, 2017


In 2008, I got to see Barack Obama speak three times.  I was never as enthusiastic about a candidate for president.  I thought that he could really bring this country around.

He visited Detroit a few times during the campaign.  First, I saw him speak at Joe Louis arena.  Then I saw him at Hart Plaza on Labor Day.  He went on during the Detroit Jazz Festival, which took place on the same site.  They had to readjust the space after he left.

Then I saw him speak right in my own neighborhood.  He walked out of the Main Library and spoke on Woodward, between the library and the Detroit Institute of Arts.  All three speeches were good.  All three events were interesting experiences.

It’s been an interesting two terms.  He wasn’t perfect.   There were things that he did that I didn’t agree with.  The opposition against him in the House of Representatives kept him from doing what he really wanted to.   Generally  though, he was a good president.  He came in with the country in pretty bad shape and he helped to make it better.

He always seemed to be an intelligent and articulate man who really cared about the United States and all of its people.  If he could have run for a third term I’ll bet that he would have won.

How much will I miss Barack Obama?  Ask me in four years.  I’ll know by then.

Meanwhile, all best to him and to his family, Michelle, Malia and Sasha. I hope that the rest of their lives go well and that they find good places to go to next.


“If every economic issue is framed as a struggle between a hardworking white middle class and an undeserving minority, then workers of all shades are going to be left fighting for scraps while the wealthy withdraw further into their private enclaves.”

Barack  Obama, from his farewell speech on January 10, 2017

Money and Violence

A wad of shredded money.
A wad of shredded money.

First, It seems as if the love of money and the love of making money has risen to the top.  Good old mammon!

There’s no glory in being poor.  No one enjoys struggling just to get by. Yet the “money thing” can have an enormous negative effect on people today, on the earth/ environment and on the quality of life for future generations.

I can smell it.  It’s in the air.  A lot of people are going to try to make as much money as they can (especially for themselves, but for their friends and cronies as well).  The collateral damage and the trail of ruined lives will be discounted and ignored.  They likely won’t be truly ethical and responsible unless they’re forced to be by the courts.

Will the people who put them into power see any of this money?  Will they see any of it at all?  Wait and see.

Second, try to avoid and prevent violence at all costs.  Non-violent protest is more effective and more powerful in the end.  Violence protest is a trap. Violence will only help them to increase and consolidate their power.   They’ll likely attempt to turn non-violent protests into violent ones.  This may be intentional or not. Watch for it.  Be vigilant.  Often, it’s just the nature of the beast.  Yet there are things that we can do, at this point.

In September 2001, the violence turned another way.  Let’s hope that doesn’t happen again.  If violent protest is bad, terrorist acts and acts of war are even worse.  Far worse. Events may well overtake consideration and deliberation.  For now, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Let’s hope that they don’t intentionally use violence to consolidate their power.  Yet if the opportunity arises, can we doubt that they’ll take it? Fear and intimidation can be powerful forces.  Strategic use of injustice and of “dirty tricks” can be effective, if you can discount any sense of fair play.

There’s money to be made from war.  Now they want to go back to the nuclear arms race? To many of us, that is not a comforting thought.

What’s wrong with peace whenever it’s possible?  What’s wrong with diplomacy over bullying?

What’s the relationship between money and violence?  What are the connections?  What can we, the common people do about it all?

December 23, 2016

Bikini Island, on July 25, 1946.
Bikini Island, on July 25, 1946.