Quo vadis, America? To where are we headed? by James Lloyd Davis is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
“Knowledge will forever govern ignorance; and a people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives.”
We sometimes forget this essential truth, but… in a nation whose government purports… or at least aspires to be, as stated by Abraham Lincoln in his brief, but continuously relevant Gettysburg Address, a “…government of the people, by the people, for the people…” the American electorate is infinitely more important than the people they choose to represent them. Even more important than the one they choose for the White House. Those Presidents we elect are afforded the very best relevant and timely information gleaned from sources around the world, summarized and provided daily with analysis in a concise but comprehensive report from professionals in the Central Intelligence Agency. That report is known as “The President’s Daily Brief” or the PBD.
Should not “We, the people…” also be as well-informed and as often, in similar depth and by analysts of our own, people who are willing to cull the infinite sources of news and provide a concise report on the issues that affect us… especially when it is “We, the people…” who will judge this President according to what we know about him at the ballot box every four years? We used to have such a report and it was called the “daily local paper”, available in just about every town and city in America. These newspapers have declined in number and significance and are disappearing at an alarming rate, creating “news deserts” and forcing many Americans to rely on media increasingly controlled and dominated by people who use them to propagate an agenda. Be it political, social, or financial, the motivations of these journalistic conglomerates do more to contribute to disinformation than small independent dailies could have ever accomplished, which generally they did not because their integrity was a huge part in the sum of their value to their readership. For those of you who weren’t there when daily papers were the main source of the news in this country, the words “journalism” and “integrity” were once synonymous, a thing we quite took for granted, if not true universally in fact, at the very least in universal aspirations.
Today? I mean today, this day… as opposed to yesterday. So many “things” are going on and grabbing the attention of the corporate media which is available and on line 24/7/365… a flood of troubles and strife… such that so many other “things” are slipping under the radar. In order to remain intelligently informed, the average American would have to have an analyst on staff in the kitchen just to keep up with how their government is slowly slip-sliding away into oligarchy.
Consider me your own personal Kitchen Cabinet CIA analyst. And when I say CIA, I am saying that I will be an analyst of events from your very own Citizens’ Intelligence Agency and I will cull multiple news outlets and give you considered analysis of what the media seems to be missing. I’ll do it as often as I can and if it catches on, I will do it on a daily basis
These reports will be posted here my web site and it will be known as the CIA/PBD… or more specifically, the Citizens’ Intelligence Agency’s report, the People’s Daily Brief… your very own CIA/PBD, not unlike the President would get if our President bothered to read anything at all beyond a Tweet or a headline. It will be comprehensive, complete with links and references to relevant and timely articles from multiple news sources at home and abroad… and not merely links to those sources but a perspective and thoughtful analysis of the events as I perceive them.
Follow my reports and I will keep you informed.
Watch this space.
The Citizens’ Intelligence Agency’s Report and The People’s Daily Brief by James Lloyd Davis are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
It is bad enough when bigotry and ignorance prevails in the nation of your birth… worse yet when the institutions that serve it are corrupted… when they become the authors of deception. Last night on Fox, Tucker Carlson stated that white supremacy is a hoax perpetuated by Democrats. He said, “They’re making this up. It’s a talking point, which they are using to help them in this election cycle.”
Fox News dominates cable and the networks. Consistently, more Americans watch Fox News than any one of the other cable or broadcast networks. Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson have a bully pulpit for their corrosive, dangerous lies. Theirs is a huge audience and this is the kind of propaganda they feed them on a nightly basis. Is it any wonder that so many Americans have no concept of what is happening around them? This is the very reason that an amoral, bigoted, utterly incompetent, and dangerous criminal sits in the White House today.
Someone asked me today… “What do you do to stop it?”
This is what I do: wherever I can, whenever I can find the time… I seek out the truth, write what I find, and I put it out there on the internet, the only place where ordinary Americans can possibly be heard beyond the confines of their social influence.
And so can you.
The power of disinformation, the strength of a lie resides in constant repetition within an unchallenged venue. The greatest weapon against it is truth. Just as it is in violent warfare, the battle for dominance between truth and a lie depends upon the power and the strategic application of the armament involved. If the lie enjoys a position of power, then truth is an insurgent… and it must be everywhere at once and unrelenting.
“If the truth shall kill them, let them die.”
Every writer knows the truth about words… that of themselves and in their studied form… they are limiting, vague… that they can be chains that hold you back. A writer like Toni Morrison is able break the binds and strictures of language in such a way that the words become a liberating force within the reader… permitting a depth in simplicity that could never be otherwise achieved except within her flawless style. Such a writer is rendered thus immortal.
“No one ever talks about the moment you found that you were white. Or the moment you found out you were black. That’s a profound revelation. The minute you find that out, something happens. You have to renegotiate everything.”
I watched and listened. This is both a report and an opinion…
It was enlightening to finally watch and listen to him today after two years of silence and to observe that Robert Mueller walks and speaks with an unexpected air of humility. For some reason, I expected more gravitas and the baritone certitude that some men in high office seem to exude… accordingly, his demeanor makes him more believable, the voice of an intelligent, reticent, and capable observer.
Three things he seemed especially focused upon that I could discern as important matters to relate were these:
1. Indictment of a sitting President was and is NOT allowed under DOJ guidelines and thus no indictment… nor even an accusation against the President was ever going to be part of the process or the report, but Mueller re-iterated that if the President could have been exonerated of wrongdoing through obstruction, the report would thus state, however it did state that he could NOT be thus exonerated.
2. “…the work (the Mueller Report) speaks for itself.”
3. “…there were multiple systematic efforts to interfere with our election.”
God only knows what the pundits will make of Mueller’s statements… I’ve more or less stopped listening, but the greatest take away can be summed up in the following three statements:
Read the Mueller Report.
Read the Mueller Report.
Read the Mueller Report.
When you do… and if you read it with an open mind and an understanding of the law, our Constitution, and the moral imperatives of governance… you will come to the logical conclusion that immediate impeachment of President Trump and all of those in government who have enabled him in his wrongdoing is not only justified, but essential to the preservation of our Republic.
I suppose the greater tragedy in events surrounding the Mueller report and the incredible maelstrom of misinformation that surrounds what may or may not be contained therein is that not only the American people, but such a large number of their representatives in Congress have not read it and spend more time demanding to know what is not included in the report than in actually discovering what is.
Read it for yourself and see if you do not agree with me when I say that “Even the redacted version presents as clear a case of obstruction of justice as any sentient human being needs to impeach the President. It only needs to be read.”
Read it and then contact your representatives and tell them that Trump must be impeached now… today.
Read it here: DOJ Mueller Report in .pdf file
You can view the press conference here: Mueller Press Conference 5/29/2019
For the purpose of clarity and for my own use in comprehending the content, I copied and pasted the text of the legislation for the Green New Deal (House Resolution 109) into an MSWord .doc file and reformatted the language in less daunting form so it can be read more easily (hopefully). It contains the same language, but in a smoother context, one that I find renders it less intimidating so I could actually make sense of it.
I thought I would pass it on to you, so hopefully you’ll take the time to read it. Granted, it’s not much in the headlines these days, given the feud and fuss over the de-fanged and blacked-out Mueller Report, which, it turns out, is quite an indictment of Trump as it is… but rest assured, the people who rolled out the Green New Deal are not about to give up and neither should you. The problems it points out are not going to vanish and the solutions it presents are bold, viable, and absolutely necessary for the future of us all.
I’ve included links to both the original text and my own format below:
If you like to read legislative text in the raw, (some people are like that) go here:
But if you are legislatively challenged and want to read the MSWord outline I created for easier reading, go here:
Click here to read the Green New Deal in plain English format
Feel free to copy it and pass it on to anyone who might benefit. The more people who are aware of what it actually says, the less chance there is that Koch and Exxon funded think-tanks can fool us by trying to put out disinformation.
I’ll be writing more about it in the future, but I thought that this profoundly interesting and even engaging introduction to the content of the program might be worth a look:
Senator Elizabeth Warren is calling aloud for impeachment and a Republican group is buying advertisements on Fox that call for accountability. The media, of course, is aflame with indignation… somewhat slow to arise, but welcome nonetheless. How sad that it took so long for the “I” word to surface with any substance behind it, if indeed, the mob sounds and pitchforks can be considered substance, Yet, even now, before any of these leaders have surely had sufficient time to read, much less digest the entire Mueller report… and before they have seen the likely most damaging information that the frog-faced Trump-friendly philistine Barr has seen fit to withhold from intelligent eyes, they are ready now, after more than two years of obvious and in-your-face criminality and corruption, to finally call up the posse, to saddle up and ride. Sad that it took so long for our Congress to finally grow a spine.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m happy they’re so motivated now, dismayed perhaps… knowing that such lynch mobs sometimes lose their steam… knowing that the courts could now become the new and crippling blockades to action… knowing that the candidates and the righteously indignant whoevers will then point to and blame the judiciary as the new stumbling block to justice… knowing that this is but the beginning, so far from the end of it… assuming that Trump is no Nixon, having neither the wit nor the will to resign, but will fight this to the bitter end.
In the meantime, he will continue to fragment and dismantle what remains of our Federal government, a task that pleases many of those who now decry and defame him with newfound zeal for integrity, born-again passion for justice. And by the time the mob starts to gather, it’s not really about integrity or courage… is it? Life goes on and Pence is waiting in the wings. The cure could be worse than the cancer.
Me? I wanted the man impeached from day one, but I’m still reading the Mueller report and I don’t have a staff to do all the reading and write me a summary… and I never really trusted the media, so I’ll get back to you later with the substantive stuff.
For now? Save me at least one very big stone that I may guiltless in good conscience cast with all righteous indignation and wrath.
In a 60 Minute interview that aired on Sunday last, CNBC reports that Nancy Pelosi said, “I do reject socialism. If people have that view, that’s their view. That is not the view of the Democratic Party.” All due respect to Nancy Pelosi, de facto leader of the party in minority that ascended once again to control at least the House, sailing into control on the winds that filled their sails… winds of change that emanated from progressive Democrats and other activists within her party determined to reverse the trends of economic inequality, corporate control of politics, and right wing hegemony, including candidates who were willing to openly identify themselves as democratic socialists… but, perhaps she’s not listening, or even knows the electorate as well as she believes.
It’s obvious, however, that the Democratic Party, the same Party that gave America its longest running, wildly popular President, Franklin D. Roosevelt, is no longer the party of the New Deal, nor the kind of party that could so embrace the common good of all its members, giving Americans a legislative agenda that offered us Social Security, the WPA, the FDIC, the National Labor Relations Board, the Glass–Steagall Act, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Tennessee Valley Authority and countless other bold social programs designed to lift our nation up from the economic collapse in 1929 that was caused by the unparalleled greed of irresponsible bankers, financiers, and monopolistic industrialists. These programs were vilified by conservatives in their day as a dangerously anti-American socialist agenda which, even in the current conservative climate, are today accepted as inevitable, necessary, beneficial programs that are every bit as American as Mom, the flag, and butter crusted, cinnamon infused, and sugar topped, sweet apple pie.
Nonetheless, and for years now, particularly during the past four decades… since conservatives in both parties canonized Ronald Reagan and began to sing his profane little tune of corporate welfare and the mythology of trickle down economics, Democrats have moved increasingly to the right with their economic policies, suffering a major tectonic shift, claiming territory once held entirely by Republicans, during the Clinton administration.
To be sure, these neo-liberal Democrats retained those “radical” ideas that were inviolable in the minds of most Democrats, like equal “opportunity”, abortion rights, women’s rights, and other fashionable causes célèbres that identified them with a liberal brand, but only in so far as they did not compete with a conservative economic agenda that favored the heavy corporate donors who were so enamored of Clintonian Democracy. These neo-liberal disciples of the apostle Billary now control the DNC and operate the strings of the corporate media like puppet masters in a Punch and Judy drama in which they assume the role of “Not Trump” as opposed to, say, the Party of Economic and Social Reform. So… where does that leave the progressives in the Party?
What does that bode for the future, when the leadership of the Democratic Party has no desire to aid or entertain the “green dream” of so many of its younger membership, now clearly the more active, not really interested in neo-liberal politicians who pat them on the head and tell them to get in line and accept the same sort of incrementalism and corporatist theories that have made paupers of the majority of working Americans. Big labor pays Nancy’s freight while corporations spend millions in an effort to make unions illegal. And our college-educated minority? They are, too many of them, in debt and in servitude to their student loans for life… like most Americans who try to get ahead… saddled with crippling debt and no clear path to the elusive, if not mythic, American Dream. Our aged are in danger of being priced out of medical care, in spite of Medicare… and they will be for the unforeseeable, and for some, very short future… for as long as pharmaceutical companies act like mafiosi with medications that should be as inexpensive as clean water, which is less expensive and much less clean than it was forty years ago… and in some areas? Toxic. Does any of this sound familiar?
But why talk about distressed populations? They were abandoned long ago for lack of political clout, worthy now of little more than lip service. Nancy Pelosi says in effect, if not with the words, “Let them eat cake.” Does she imagine herself so correct that she no longer listens? It’s time for the Party of FDR to go back to its roots. Let’s hope that it’s not too late. If the Democratic Party of today seems impotent now in relation to Trump? Where will they stand next year when they demand more loyalty of the electorate than they’ve ever given us in return.
“As an American citizen of German birth I finally testify that I am painfully familiar with certain political trends. Spiritual intolerance, political inquisitions, and declining legal security, and all this in the name of an alleged ‘state of emergency.’ … That is how it started in Germany.” Thomas Mann in response to accusations by the House Un-American Activities Committee that he was a communist.
The novelist who gave us a classic novel, The Magic Mountain, was an early and fierce critic of Adolf Hitler and the poisonous culture of the Nazis. Because of his public, even fearless words against them, he was forced to flee his native Germany in 1933, eventually finding refuge in the United States where he became a citizen in 1944. Yet, even in America, he found himself similarly threatened and hounded by the forces of McCarthyism as he publicly protested and wrote against the oppression of American writers and intellectuals during the infamous House Un-American Activities Committee hearings that amounted to nothing less than fear mongering persecution, eventually leading to blacklisting and even to prison sentences as in the case of the Hollywood Ten. As a result of his public criticism of yet another fascist movement, he was finally forced to leave the U.S. and return to Europe.
The McCarthy era was a low point in American history, proving beyond doubt that the fears of those Americans like Sinclair Lewis, who in 1935 imagined the seed of fascism could find fertile soil in the American psyche, were more than prophetic, The House Un-American Activities Committee and the later McCarthy hearings in the Senate demonstrated that “it can happen here” and it did to the extent that the foundations of intellectual oppression and propagation of fear was laid. All that was lacking was the proper demagogue, a role that McCarthy tried desperately to fill. Thankfully he was thwarted. The saving graces of our nation at the time were the decency and strength of its leadership, as exemplified in people like attorney Joseph Welch who challenged McCarthy at the Army hearings, and the power of the free press, the courage of journalists like Edward R. Murrow. The eventual shaming of the demagogues who very nearly destroyed the character and intent of our Constitution was inevitable, but not before they exacted a terrible price on their victims, literally destroying the reputations and careers of thousands of people on the basis of lies and baseless accusation, creating an environment of fear and mistrust.
All of that seems now to have returned and we are once again faced with the ugly specter of fascist intent and unprecedented demagoguery in the person of Donald Trump. Time and again, this amoral, despotic individual has proven himself invulnerable to every criticism, moving by incremental steps toward autocracy by pushing against the moral and institutional constraints that we always believed were inviolable. He toys with Congress, attacks our courts, vilifies his critics, challenges and ruthlessly mocks the authority of anyone in our government who tries to oppose him.
On any given day, one could point to any one of a dozen of his actions as a dangerous precedent, the sort of behavior that would eventually bring down any previous politician… and yet, it almost appears as if he draws strength from every cry of “foul” that comes his way. What is it that makes this man invulnerable?
Has he so wearied his critics with his lack of shame that they simply give up in frustration? We know well enough that for all his faults, his enablers are willing to forego any appearance of personal integrity for the rewards they receive when he satisfies their corrupt intent, giving them the license they’ve always craved in pursuit of autocracy. But now, even his greatest critics within the government seem impotent, utterly restrained from meaningful action against him.
Is it possible that they too see opportunity in the phenomena he’s unleashed? Are they afraid of him? Or merely and similarly as jaded as his enablers. The answers may not come from a normal perspective. Perhaps they will come from a parallax view, an unpopular and skewed perspective from the fringes of our society, from a perspective that may no longer exist in our contemporary culture. Perhaps it will come from the distance, from the past, from the echoes of what we once held dear but seem, somehow, to have lost.
Where is our Sinclair Lewis?
Where is our Thomas Mann?
Where is our Joseph Welch?
Where is our Edward R. Murrow?
Or have we become the very force that feeds the beast we fear, if not through outright support, then with silent acquiescence? Is this present circumstance the sum of our failures, the substance of our corruption as a nation? If we hope to survive, we’d better find out just what it is we have lost and regain it. And soon.
Time is not our friend.
National priorities are too often shaped in a centralized fashion and in circles of focus and influence that entirely eliminate the application of a democratically discerned and representational administration of the will of the majority. Too complex? Simply put, then, we have allowed a culture of autocracy to usurp and assume not only the responsibilities of the self-governed, but the lion’s share of the economic benefits we have produced through our collective productivity.
Not unlike the same brand of top-down priorities that compelled the first Americans to write a firm letter to King George telling him to take his taxes and a hike simultaneously, while acting as though it was quite within their rights to govern themselves bottom-up without that divinely inspired autocracy the crown represented at the time.
At the time, it was one hell of an idea, and remarkably successful. A fluke, perhaps, due to the fact that all the crowns in Europe were too busy competing with one another in global warfare over this and that trade dominion in other backwater continents and had not the time to care about a few British bumpkins in Boston and Philly… ordinary farmers and tradesmen with delusions of democratic grandeur.
We got lucky. Look what happened to the French.
They did not fare so well by half for all their fundamental revolutionary esprit.
Perhaps that’s why, as a nation, we eventually got soft, insulated as we were from the tyrannies and terrors of European conflict… until such time as our war profiteers saw profit to be had in our involvement, plunging us all into so much overseas warfare that we somehow got the idea it was our raison d’être, that we were the anointed defenders of… what? Freedom?
Under that curious brand we became the world’s unpaid mercenaries, this uber-militaristic nation with some apparent national will to martial all our nation’s resources toward maintaining a military power unparalleled in our time, quite at the expense of our own common welfare, in order to wage incessant war for this or that “ally”… though less, if at all, in the name of some idealistic purpose than for commercial access to and control of such needful commodities as oil which belong to poorer, weaker nations… warfare in the name of profit… though we are quite in denial of the true reasons… and for the sake of what? Appearances? Hard to tell, but in so doing and by continuing to allow it, we’ve managed to create for ourselves an ever more parasitical autocracy than mad King George could have ever hoped to effect.
Maybe it’s time for another Philadelphia Brand course correction.
Maybe it’s time to write another letter… an email, perhaps, but this time with a lot of BCCs. Not to the people who supposedly represent us in the seat of our government, but to all the CEOs of all the global corporations that own them and pull their various strings.
What, after all, do we really have to lose? And… who knows? Like those earlier Americans, we just might get lucky.