When You Ain’t Got Nothin’


Mike Papantonio is the host of Ring Of Fire Radio, along with Bobby Kennedy and Sam Seder.  He was the main speaker at a recent event and I was honored to be asked to do a short presentation to set the tone for the day and to introduce Mike. You can watch that program here.

And Mike’s wonderful presentation is online. He is a master and I urge you to have a look – watch it here.

Now, on to this week’s post.


Reading time – 66 seconds  .  .  .

Bob Dylan’s Like A Rolling Stone hit the charts in 1965 and quickly became a classic. One line in the song is,

“When you ain’t got nothin’ you got nothin’ to lose.”

And, of course, that’s true. If you’re at the bottom, there is no downside risk to nearly anything. Now let’s flip that around.

People who have amassed lots of wealth and who have before them the opportunity for even greater wealth have everything at risk. Or, paraphrasing Dylan’s words, when you have everything, you have everything to lose. It’s human nature to want to protect what we have, so the more one has at risk, the more fiercely one will resist change and fight to protect all that one has accumulated.

And now you know why the 1% maintains a stranglehold on the status quo. Now you know why America’s vexing challenges never get met, why you don’t get what you want and why prospects for your children and grandchildren look so bleak.

All that fierce status quo protecting is going to require a great force in order to change it. Yet if things are to get better, if our problems are to be solved and if the future is to be the way you envision it for your children and grandchildren, the status quo will have to change. But what do you think we can do about it?

Hint: Anthropologist Margaret Mead gave us the answer:

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

You just might be one of those thoughtful, committed citizens who will change the world. In fact, here is something you can do TODAY.

CRITICAL HEADS-UP: Tonight at 7:30PM EDT there is an important online screening and discussion (yes, you can watch in your jammies) of the 30-minute movie LEAKED: The Internet Must Go. If you want tLeakedo find out what net neutrality means, if you think the internet should not be a tool solely for the benefit of the wealthy, sign up, show up and tweet up tonight.


Ed. note: There is much in America that needs fixing and we are on a path to continually fail to make things better. It is my goal to make a difference – perhaps to be a catalyst for things to get better. That is the reason for these posts. To accomplish the goal requires reaching many thousands of people and a robust dialogue. Please help by offering your comments, as well as by passing this along and encouraging others to subscribe and do the same.  Thanks.  JA

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One Response to When You Ain’t Got Nothin’
  1. Frank Levy Reply

    I disagree with both you and Bob Dylan.

    Those that “have nothing to lose” in fact have everything to lose if they, and we, do not join forces to improve real opportunity for everyone, and ensure that basic civil and constitutional laws are enforced and upheld – voting rights, marriage equality, sensible immigration laws, women’s health, improving public education, forcing corporations to pay their fair share of taxes, etc. Because, if we don’t act, things will get worse.

    Those that have everything have nothing to lose if they support true equal opportunity for all – higher wages, the voting rights act, access to health care for women, defeat of the Citizens United decision, improving the public education system. Because doing so would actually strengthen the economy and the country as a whole, and put more money in their pockets. It is a simple business decision – improve the lives of the 99% and everything gets better for the 1%. The more people have more, the more secure in their lives that people are, the more money they spend on the goods and services provided by the 1%.

    Obviously, the 1% is immune to moral and ethical arguments, or the lessons taught by their faiths, so let’s just make it a simple business discussion…help me improve all aspects of my life, and the lives of my children and grandchildren, and I will spend more money with you.

    On the other hand, if what the 1% is defending is the creation of a Christian America – an American theocracy – reason, and good business decisions are not part of the discussion and we are all doomed. If we do not join forces and push back against this tyranny of religious short-sightedness we get what we deserve.