Not really a book review, this, but hey…

(Trigger alert… The following contains inappropriate and metaphorical sarcasms and an obvious attempt to make light of what often annoys and distresses the perspicaciously inclined.)

61EMCGL1eCLI learned a while back that Donald Trump Jr wrote a book titled, Triggered, and humorously (or not, it’s hard to say) subtitled, How the Left Thrives on Hate and Wants to Silence Us.

After feeling surprise and some level of doubt as to whether he actually wrote a book and, being what most people would call a member of that group that is labeled “…the Left” I thought, with a grin, “How ever does one respond to a title like that?”  Up front, I can tell you that it’s not by rushing out to buy little Donny’s book, though I am sure it’s a meat loaf of a book in every aspect, but… and as it often does, my inner didact overtook control of my head and my hand and I wrote this letter, tongue so firmly in cheek that it’s bleeding…

Dear Donald Junior,

A reasonable man at all times, there are certain words and concepts that annoy me to the point of intolerance, so yes, I suppose that I can be triggered.  When confronted with social arrogance, unwarranted condescension, willful ignorance, or sometimes… merely irked by the presence and tone of obnoxious, self-centered, and privileged twits, I’ve been known to see red, and I suffer what I call “red-outs” that are a lot like blackouts, but infinitely more intense.  They can last for significant periods of time, during which I am unaware of my actions.

Interestingly, when consciousness returns, I generally find myself alone and utterly at peace in the absence of the antagonist who had “triggered” my response.   

I like to think that, as a reasonable man, I simply walked away when thus confronted, but lately?  I can’t help but imagine that somewhere outside of town, in the midst of a dense plot of woods, forbidding at every edge with thistles and thick brush, there is a quiet, half-acre field where every now and then, the sun arises to disclose a fresh spot of newly disturbed soil, the top of which displays the slightest rise in elevation above the surrounding grass… like the top of a loaf of fresh leavened bread.  Although it’s impossible possibility, of course, since I am a peace-loving man, the mere thought of it, however, feeds my inner anarchist and both pleases and shames me simultaneously.

I haven’t read your book and surely never will, but… is this what you were trying to express?

Sincerely,   

Triggered in Ohio

As always, when I write letters like that, I never send them, but I do feel an enormous sense of relief at venting, however subtle, however metaphorically incorrect. Mark Twain called these things “…secret supplications of the heart.”

As such they are… as truly they must remain.

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Creative Commons License “Not really a book review, this, but hey…” by James Lloyd Davis is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

False Idols and Other Affectations

As you go through life and learn things, you begin to recognize that there are fables and mythologies that we use in substitution for the realities we’d rather not enshrine with acceptance.

War, for instance, is always the result of an imposition of one or more nations upon another, institutional armed robbery and murder on a massive scale disguised by some sanctifying metaphor, such as the bombing of Iraq into the Stone Age by way of a magnificent display of “shock and awe” we label as necessary in “…the defense of freedom.” Or, the enthusiastic religious conversion of entire indigenous nations in the Americas by hordes of passionate armed and armored “missionaries” by way of the sword and the cannon “…in the name of the Prince of Peace” and to save them all from their pagan depravity. And then to bring the civilizing influences of compulsory, uncompensated labor and perpetual subjugation to those few who managed to survive their conversion.

Hypocrisy permits more crime and hides more violence than ever did honest, if criminal intent, but we manage to enshrine the most militant and murderous among us for the sheer chutzpah they display in their zeal for oppression.

Is it any mystery that when the tyranny of these cruel, avaricious and self-serving men is recognized for what it was that people are ready to tear down their iconic images enshrined in bronze?

“But it’s George… and everyone knows that George was an honorable man, the father of our nation.”

Nations have many fathers… and mothers.

Judge a man by his actions, not his aspirations or his words. Whatever high minded principle those men we call our Founding Fathers chose for their particular camouflaging mythology… in their case the divine imperatives in a statement that “…all men are created equal…” which did not include the black men they owned as a farmer owns cattle or sheep. Nor did it include women of any color. Washington owned people. More specifically, he owned black people… men, women, and children who made him rich with the unpaid and harshly compelled labor of their hands. And while he owned them, they could never enjoy the liberties, rights, and privileges for which he fought. Make no mistake, our nation was not birthed by men who took any of their mythologies to be inclusive, but fought for the sovereignty of their own and personal wealth in order that they could be richer by half and not taxed into want and commonality by a king who gave them no respect.

Hypocrisy is the father of all nations. Hypocrisy has killed more people than we can possibly count. Hypocrisy enables oppression, genocide, and tyranny. It’s time we stopped sanctifying and sheltering the icons of false idols.

It’s time to wake the hell up.

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Creative Commons License False Idols and Other Affectations by James Lloyd Davis is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

Peoples’ Daily Brief – Sunday Edition

21 June, 2020

We don’t even have to enumerate or declare the problems.  We live with them daily and even when we isolated ourselves in our homes at the height of the pandemic, the media surged its insistent edge of disease and Trump, Trump and disease… day after day through our phones, our iPads and our cable.  Unemployment, pestilence, strife and oppression daily, symptomatic expressions of something inherently wrong at the core of our lives.  What makes it worse is that we don’t get solutions, just problems.

We don’t have a government any more.  We don’t have that structure that offers us solutions.  The government we had?  Even if it was nothing more than lip service, they offered us solutions.  As near as I can tell, our government was taken over by hedge fund managers, a hostile takeover, a downright purchase of something that wasn’t supposed to be for sale… and in the manner of all corporate pirates, they’ve dismantled it top to bottom, selling off the assets as they do and leaving all the liabilities to its shareholders, the working men and women of America.  It’s not enough that they’ve screwed us in the workplace, broken the backs of our unions, now they’ve taken our government and put it up for auction, for sale to the highest bidder.

If anyone’s going to fix it, it will have to be us to do the work… so let’s talk solutions.  Just you and me.  For the moment let’s pretend we have the power to fix it.

Solutions are the elusive side of the equation, but sometimes?  Even the questions are tricky.  Personally, I’ve often used a simple declarative statement as a kind of colloquial expression to put a cap on a discussion that’s devolved into a standoff, something to the effect that, intellectually speaking, “…perspective is everything.”  And I seldom have to go beyond that simple premise, since we… or most of us anyway… can generally agree to accept our differences with the dispassionate understanding that we will not always agree.   As pithy sayings go, “perspective is everything” speaks clearly, seems simple enough, a rather basic and, perhaps, fundamental expression of the underlying imperative behind intellectual things in general.  Finding solutions for seemingly insoluble problems is an intellectual exercise after all.

Perspective is everything.

However… and for the purposes of this essay, let me specify that what I am saying in essence is this… “Every aspect of our culture, including at the very least, our social tendencies, our morals, our philosophy, our social constructs… including the bases for government and law, our biases, et cetera, et alia, are founded and ultimately dependent upon our collective acceptance of a common world view, or… the accepted perception of that view, our own and humanity’s place in the world or the universe at large, and in context and concert with one another.”

Having so specified that, let me now hit you with a corollary statement.

“When our institutions fail us and the need arises for either reform or deconstruction that must precede the building of new institutions, the first duty of those who would be the agents of change is to question the most fundamental perceptions on which that failed endeavor was constructed and, if necessary, construct a new foundation on which any new institution will be built.”

Fairly simple, right?  Well, not really.

People get upset when you challenge their notions and the people who establish the validity of a nation’s notions, at least here in America, although you could probably suggest it works that way elsewhere… the people in charge tend to be the people who are quite pleased with the way things are because… they hold the authority… the power, if you will.  They also tend to use that power to their advantage.

Revolutionary ideas are the hope of the dispossessed.  Their oppressors?  Not so much.  So, if the majority of people represent the dispossessed and the wanting… while a shrinking minority has all the money and all the power, who do you think will finally decide whether the foundations of that nation in which there is a large and growing disparity have failed?  The answer is obvious when the minority rules, so where’s the relief for the rest of us?  It will take a revolutionary idea to solve these insurmountable problems.  Do we need a revolution?  Must revolutionary ideas always be the source of revolution?  Good question, but for now, let’s leave it unanswered and try to determine how a neutral observer would see our situation.

In the academic arena, though one could hardly name Academe as neutral in these issues, since their existence seems to depend on the charity of wealthy individuals.  Spare us the objections otherwise, since the very premise of capitalism is the pursuit of money as the prime motivator of all human interaction.  Capitalism is not and never will be the engine of intellectual inspiration.  Value for value is the rule.  There will be exceptions, of course, but not enough to drive an idea that is inimical to the status quo and the power structure it supports.  It would be ideal, though, if the product of academic inquiry was valued according to the neutrality that guides it, but it does not.

Who influences research?
The people who pay for it.
Who pays for the research?
The government and corporations.

But if the corporations influence the government, which they do, and inordinately so, the answer to the question, “Who pays for research…” is then reduced by half.  Once again you could plead the integrity and subsequent neutrality of scientific research.  And once again, I will tell you that the prime rule of capitalism, which is the language and the religion of corporations, is… value for value.

“You give me what it is that I want and I will give you cash.”

And if I am perfectly happy with the way things are, will I give you money for research that I know will provide a conclusion that calls for a change?  Will I pay you to tell me that in order to solve the problems, I must surrender my privilege?  If I was St. Francis, perhaps, but I very much doubt that St. Francis would be working today as vice president in charge of research grants for a major corporation.  I really do.

Forget, for the moment that we will argue incessantly over what the solution may be, let’s just imagine that we have narrowed it down to a solution that brings equality and justive into our lives as realities, not merely the mumbled aspirations that have passed for a reality since the nation was born by a C-section from mother England.  The question is, “How do we get from what we have to what we want without the bother of a revolution?”

If we, the people, are ever to decide our fate by choosing to work inside the system to champion revolutionary ideas that would ultimately level the field in both social and economic influences, would we need an academic study that we can present to our government representatives… stating our case in order that they might fix the problem through legislation?  Do they even do things like that anymore?  I say… “What a waste of time that would be, since for every study that proves our premise, the statist elite could produce ten… and likely one of them would derive from the same university that gave us ours, but reach an opposite conclusion.”  Such is the power of wealth.

It’s a very old game, this oligarchy maneuver… and it works just as well within the democratic illusion as in the supreme authority once claimed for itself the divine right of kings.  Even Senators, Congressmen, and Presidents, when all else fails, still fall back on the old God Gambit with some measure of success because many among us still fall for the oldest trick in the authoritarian playbook.  It’s a shame, really, because we could trust an academic approach when it is honest, and who better to do the necessary groundwork than those who specialize in the study of change as intellectual historians, philosophers, ethicists… people like Quentin Skinner who wrote:

“The history of philosophy, and perhaps especially of moral, social and political philosophy, is there to prevent us from becoming too readily bewitched. The intellectual historian can help us to appreciate how far the values embodied in our present way of life, and our present ways of thinking about those values, reflect a series of choices made at different times between different possible worlds. This awareness can help to liberate us from the grip of any one hegemonal account of those values and how they should be interpreted and understood. Equipped with a broader sense of possibility, we can stand back from the intellectual commitments we have inherited and ask ourselves in a new spirit of enquiry what we should think of them.”

So… if we know that the system is corrupted… and many more do than will say so aloud… what is the remedy?  Maybe the complexities that we see in the systems we have inherited are confounding our perceptions… a purposeful and camouflaged field of smoke and of mirrors.  Perhaps the solutions are so damnably simple, so maddeningly obvious that a child, lacking the sophistication of indoctrination through education, could show us how it’s done.  The task then is not one of academic research, but of surrender.  The surrender of a nation’s notions when they fail to give us what we need.  It should be easy.

It’s not, though… is it?  Ask yourself, “Why?”
You know and I know the answer to that one.

Because it’s hard.  Damned hard.  You will have to work for it and you will have to fight for it and you will have to lay everything on the line for it… your time, your substance… maybe even your life.  That may well be the price of what you want for yourselves and your children.  That’s a risky proposition, no?  If you have the least amount of privilege working for you, you have something to lose, don’t you?
In that case, you might think it not worth the cost.  Many do.
The justifications for standing in the gap for the rich and the powerful are manifold, convincing, and rewarding enough to ease the pull of a “woke” conscience.

It costs most people nothing to go back to sleep.
Ultimately, only you can decide if it’s worth it.
So… is it?
Worth it?

It would be and it is to the many black men and women who have been demeaned, humiliated, harassed, beaten, jailed, falsely accused and even murdered at the hands of law enforcement for so long that no one can remember a time when justice stood for anything but a lie.  We could start by fixing what is the greatest and most pressing of all, since the oppression of any among us diminishes all of us.

Let’s fix the worst parts first and as we gather strength in solidarity, the rest of it becomes just that much easier.  So… where do we begin?

Defunding the police is only the beginning.

It’s time change the laws that criminalize poverty and create a conveyor belt from the schoolyard to the prison yard with such predictable ease and unquestioning justification that the least study could shock people who seem to never notice what is right there in their face… or is really ignorance… and not selective blindness?

I get tired of quoting facts that never seem to break through, but if you believe the Black Lives Matter movement is unjustified in its depth and span nationwide, then you are the problem and I’m wasting my time with you… and you with me, so walk away and have a nice life.  The truth will reach you soon enough.  I just hope that it comes from revelation and not from the trouble and the strife your apathy has purchased.

If you’re interested, watch this video from The Real News Network in Baltimore, titled, Why do police shoot people in the back?

Or listen to this interview from Reveal, titled, Uprising

If you want to take the time, go to this site for the numbers. The Prison Policy initiative

It’s not just a policing problem.  Our entire criminal justice system needs an overhaul and since 911 and the development of massive data collection by our government and the known abuses thereof, an intelligent observer might deduce that we are becoming, if not already, a police state that could rival that of the old Soviet Union.

Do some research.  It’s depressing.

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But wait !! There’s more !!

If you are really curious, you might want to read a few good books on the subject.  Over the next week I’ll compile a list and on Sunday, a week from today, I will publish a reading list.  Who knows?  Maybe this could be the cause you have been looking for.  We have a lot of problems, but if we tackle them one at a time, we don’t have to start a revolution… we will be the revolution.

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 Creative Commons License Peoples’ Daily Brief by James Lloyd Davis is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

Peoples’ Daily Brief – 18 June, 2020

(( The featured image above, a photo map of the Capital Hill Autonomous Zone in Seattle, and other photos suppied below were copied from the Black Rose Anarchistic Federation Twitter Account. The link to the group’s web site is:  https://blackrosefed.org/ ))

It’s not easy to get any credible news from corporate media about the Capital Hill Autonomous Zone in Seattle, but it’s out there in the ether of the internet if you look for it.  On Monday, I found a decent article from Jane C. Hu that debunks much of the mythology and hype that’s provided by cable new and the bigger newspapers concerning events there.  The article gives you a true sense of what’s happening in an eyewitness account and you can read it here at  SLATE

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The pictures posted here are from the 8th and 9th of June, but the article was written on the 16th.  As you can see and read in the referenced article, the Autonomous Zone is not yet in flames or the scene of crime, chaos and hunger as has been suggested elsewhere and, as far as I can tell, Trump’s military intervention hasn’t shown up as yet.  Maybe he’s waiting to announce that the tanks are rolling into Seattle at his rally in Nuremberg Tulsa this weekend, raw meat for his fans.  Or, he may do nothing at all because he is an impotent gas bag.  It’s a toss-up.  No one can confidently predict what he will do or what he will say.  In order to distract attention away from the release of John Bolton’s book, Trump is liable to do anything… and in his mind, the more outrageous, the better.

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If I lived in Seattle, I would think it wise to stay away from the Autonomous Zone on Saturday when the Oklahoma rally is in full swing.  God knows what Trump will do to get a rousing ovation from his mob of vengeful minions.

69fillmorewestSpeaking of which, I saw pictures of Trump enthusiasts who’ve already already begun waiting for Trump since Monday… lined up with camping gear, sleeping bags, barbecues and lawn chairs outside the BOK Center in Tulsa.  They looked like Dead Heads lined up outside Fillmore West back in the old days, only better-fed and considerably less hirsute.

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Anarchism in the United States has a surprising depth and length to its history, dating back to the nineteenth century with adherents and spokesmen who were recognized as seminal thinkers in their movement worldwide.  Regardless, the average American, the product of its public schools and even its universities, is generally unaware of it.  Socialism, anarchism, and other populist movements are, after all, inimical to the American institutions that have been so carefully constructed to contain and control any equalizing factors, socially and economically.  Notions we hold iconic and dear, such as “democracy” and “liberty” and “freedom” hardly describe the realities our institutions have produced.  In the nation that most of us recognize today we see injustice and inequality at the very core of American life.

Our nation’s notions, taken as a theme, paint a lovely picture of “equal opportunity” and “liberty and justice for all” while the reality of our lives is better expressed by the institutional murder and mass incarceration of the poor… and of them, primarily of our people of color.  We live a lie in the light of these faux notions, though our institutions maintain them with a brutal and, for them, necessary containment through suppression of ideas.  Socialism and anarchism are considered “dangerous” concepts because they offer viable alternatives to the injustice that affords both privilege and profit to the “exceptional” few while the rest of us compete for the scraps that fall from the tables of these “movers and shakers and job-creators” who are the only true benefactors of our institutions.

It’s not an anomaly or difficult to perceive that socialism and anarchism, which concepts are anathema to the present institutional product of injustice and exceptionalism, are considered taboo and labeled unAmerican… even in our highest academic institutions, where intellectual freedom is also and subtly constrained, regulated by the dictates of funding.  (A thesis for another day.  Soon?)

Voltairine_de_Cleyre_(Age_35)If Americans were to understand the way in which their lives and even their thoughts are manipulated to the benefit of a privileged minority, they might decide to make use of the real power that is forever in their hands through organization, solidarity, and the recognition of a common interest in opposing that which does not serve their common welfare.

Consider the words of Voltairine de Cleyre, the world-famous feminist and anarchist of her time, whose name most Americans would not recognize today.

She wrote…

“The most that a working-class party could do, even if its politicians remained honest, would be to form a strong faction in the legislatures which might, by combining its vote with one side or another, win certain political or economic palliatives.
“But what the working-class can do, when once they grow into a solidified organization, is to show the possessing class, through a sudden cessation of all work, that the whole social structure rests on them; that the possessions of the others are absolutely worthless to them without the workers’ activity; that such protests, such strikes, are inherent in the system of property and will continually recur until the whole thing is abolished — and having shown that effectively, proceed to expropriate.”

What is happening in Seattle today and what happened during the Occupy Wall Street movement, indeed what is happening whenever Black Lives Matter events and demonstrations around the country disrupt the hypnotic deceptions of our everyday life, is the expression of a hunger for the two very basic things our society and our institutions cannot, have not, and will never provide, universal justice and true equality.

Something to consider.  Maybe it will spread.

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 Creative Commons License Peoples’ Daily Breif by James Lloyd Davis is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

Peoples’ Daily Brief – 16 June, 2020

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Graphic depiction of the Covid 19 virus from the CDC web site.

According to data made available by Reuters, new cases of Coronavirus infection are increasing cumulatively nationwide in the US and in some states the rate of increase is dramatic, even alarming. We are aware that our Federal governmnt is acting as though the pandemic is essentially over, so I can imagine some of you may have doubts, but you can review the specifics as they affect the nation and your home state, with all the latest available data here at… Reuters – Coronavirus/Trends USA

You will note that the data is over a week old.  Nonetheless, the graphs reflect the latest figures available.  It is difficult, and in some cases, nearly impossible to locate timely data as those Federal government agencies devoted to science and the provision of data seem to have lost their former ability to provide accurate, timely data and we checked and found that even the CDC’s figures have the same time delay as we found in most reporting agencies one can find in the media at large.

Not one to speculate, we won’t suggest that there seems to be a reluctance… or a lack of motivation, perhaps… on the part of governors in some states, notably those where the GOP holds sway, to provide timely data on the pandemic.  Not one to speculate, and though we might be inclined to assume that these governors find the numbers embarassing, given that those states could probably benefit from more responsible methods of containing the pandemic… methods that have proven successful in other states and in nations worldwide, but we won’t make that assumption.  Not one to speculate, we will refrain from suggesting that some of these governors, notably those in states controlled by the Republican Party, in an effort to restore profitability to American corporations are endangering the health of their constituencies by ignoring experts who warn of a resurgence of Coronavirus infections.  No, in the name of journalistic integrity, we won’t make such accusations and will exercise editorial restraint accordingly.

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In the meantime, the Trump administration is full speed ahead with his first big political rally in months, which is to be held at Nuremberg… or, rather… Tulsa, Oklahoma, where, Trump claims in a Tweet, “Almost…” a million people… willing to sign a pledge not to sue Trump or his campaign for a Coronavirus infection as a result of the crush from the crowd… have tried to register for attendance at the campaign event.

“Come on now.  He didn’t really say that, did he?”
Well, we went on Twitter to check and we copied this Trump Tweet, pasted it below so you could judge for yourself…

“Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump
Almost One Million people request tickets for the Saturday Night Rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma!
9:28 AM · Jun 15, 2020”

Of course, we have no idea how Trump’s concept of “Almost…” applies to “…One Million” in specific mathematical terms and, given his history with numbers… well, you know.  Perhaps we could have surveyed the over 227,000 Twitter followers who “liked” the above Tweet to get a sense of their desire to attend, but we are told by our PDB tech staff that they do not believe, “…the algorithm driving these bots does not afford them the capability to respond to a specific request.”  Something about parameters…

We’ll just have to take Trump at his word on this one. ( truth, but hey…)

Trumping in the rain Jonathan Newton the Washington Post

Jonathan Newton/Washington Post

Trump and his “team” have pretty much decided to pretend that the pandemic does not exist, despite the recent spikes in activity following relaxation of stay-at-home directives in many states nationwide.  I wondered about his justification for the accelerated risk involved in commencing his practice of mass rallies in a raging pandemic, but read yesterday in the Washington Post what I believe to be the most incredible pronouncement Trump has made in the past three and a half years he’s been in office, perhaps the most puzzling and outrageous statement to come from any American Prsident in history… ever.  He actually told reporters during a photo-op at a Cabinet meeting when about the risk of Coronavirus that, “If we stop testing right now, we’d have very few cases, if any.”

Yes, America, he said that.

Breathtaking, innit?  We spent a good ten minutes trying to grasp the significance… the enormous implications surrounding that simple declaration from the Leader of the Free World in order to be able to provide you with some sort of intelligent analysis in response, but failed.  In fact, words fail us altogether on this and… perhaps there are no words to add here and the only intelligent and appropriate response is a long and stunned silence.
Accordingly…
(silence)
(silence)
(silence)
(silence)
(silence)

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In other news, and for some insight, we took a brief and magical mystery tour of the Trump/Pence campaign web site, careful not to push any buttons or links thereon for fear that the contents of our computer’s hard drive could be exposed to corrupting influences in the form of “cookies” that will eventually and perpetually thereafter load up our digital mail box with God-only-knows-what in the way of right-wing campaign literature and assorted commercial offers for hair restoration and “male enhancement” products, but we did notice that they have a page devoted to recruitment in various coalitions of voters for Trump and we thought to make a list and pass it on to you, our readers, though without the links that might pull the content of your computer’s hard drive into the Trumpian ether, nevermore to return.

If you want to find his web site yourself, you don’t need our help and you won’t have any trouble at all.  Just follow the yellow brick road….wizard-of-oz-original1

But the list…  Trump’s campaign web site offers Trump supporters the opportunity to join several coalitions, each of which has an invitation to text a specific and, apparently, well-considered tag to a common number.
They are as follows…

Women for Trump (Text EMPOWER to _____)
Latinos for Trump (Text VAMOS to_____)
Black Voices for Trump (Text WOKE to_____)
Veterans for Trump (Text FIGHT to_____)
Evangelicals for Trump (Text STAND to_____)
Cops for Trump (Text COPS to_____)
Democrats for Trump (Text DEMOCRAT to_____)
Pro-Life Voices for Trump (Text LIFE to_____)
Workers for Trump (Text WORKERS to_____)
Irish Americans for Trump (Text SHAMROCK to_____)
Greek Voices for Trump (Text GREEK to_____)
America’s Sheriffs for Trump (Text SHERIFFS to_____)
Catholics for Trump (Text CATHOLICS to_____)
Military Families for Trump (Text FAMILY to_____)
Moms for Trump (Text MAMA to_____)
Asian Pacific Americans for Trump (Text ARISE to_____)

Now, to be sure, while there is nothing wrong with soliciting groups and voting blocs in pursuit of a vote, the trouble with listing them altogether on a single web page like that?  Well, it tends to bring attention to other and specific political, social, ethnic and religious groups that are not included for solicitation of support.

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Brendan Smialowski | AFP | Getty Images 2018

Noticeably absent from the list, for instance, are these groups…

Muslims for Trump
Mexican Americans for Trump
LGBTQ Voices for Trump
Tenors for Trump
Baritones for Trump
QAnon for Trump
KKK for Trump
Very Fine People for Trump
Russians for Trump
Despots, Oligarchs & Tyrants for Trump
…and so on.

Not that we want to suggest that Trump’s campaign is not soliciting the support of those groups that were omitted from his list, or that he does or does not intend to represent their interests in the White House if he is elected for another four years.  After all, he has been undeniably and extraordinarily helpful to both tyrants and Russians during his Presidency… more than any other American President in the history of the universe… more than Obama… more than anyone… ever.

Once again, let us say that, in the interest of safety, we are not supplying links to the Trump Campaign web site nor to the various coalitions of voters for Trump that we’ve copied and listed above for your edification.  We do that so that you can avoid the risk of visiting the site yourself.  In that respect and not unlike war correspondents, we are citizen journalists here at PDB who are more than willing to take the risks required in order to bring you accurate and timely reporting from the oft-hazardous battlespaces of the internet.  However, since we are not accommodating the Trump campaign by providing links… and in the interest of fairness, we won’t provide any links to the Biden web site either.

We do so in an entirely unnecessary, somewhat cynical, but quaint acknowledgement of the old Fairness Doctrine which, though nobody pays attention to it anymore, was a good idea.  Of course, if we were really serious about following the equal time mandate, which was the central theme of the Fairness Doctrine, we would be providing similar coverage of the Biden campaign.  But in all fairness to them, the less said the better.

That’s it for today…
Be careful, America.
Pay attention and remember…

“A vote is like a rifle; its usefulness depends upon the character of the user.”
Theodore Roosevelt

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Creative Commons License Peoples’ Daily Brief by James Lloyd Davis is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

Peoples’ Daily Brief – 15 June, 2020

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BRITTA PEDERSEN/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

We begin to take for granted that which has always been the cornerstone of our lives, and in America, we always assume access and protection under the universal and all-inclusive privilege of what we consider to be the most  basic human rights while… in this present moment in America… those same rights are daily challenged by powerful forces at work to undermine them.  Not all at once, but just a little bite here, a little bite there.  Not in a comprehensive, all-out assault on our freedoms, a thing you can grab hold of and fight, but in the small, unnoticeable steps that mark the progress of the inevitable, movement so slight we hardly notice… until one day we wake up, notice the lack of something that was always there for us before and wonder, “What the hell happened?”

Fascism will not overtake us when we are aware of its presence, but when it works behind the scenes we hardly even notice its advance.  It’s a deadly game of Simon Says, creeping up behind us by degree.  Freedom of speech, as it is exercised in the freedoms of the press that we take for granted, is one of those metaphorical, but no less substantial cornerstones on which all other liberty depends.  Knowledge is power and when the people are uninformed, they are doomed to be exploited.

Americans tend to disregard events overseas… as though, somehow, events in other nations do not concern us.  We are, after all, “America!!” and we often assume that we set the course for all the world.  Nonetheless, events in other nations have… historically and significantly… affected Americans in ways that have forever altered our trajectory as a people.

“Surely,” you may think, “the troubles of one unfortunate journalist in the Philippines, a tiny, insignificant nation… all the way on the other side of the planet from Pittsburgh… cannot possibly affect me.”

You would be wrong.

We have a President who is acutely aware of the power and methods used to advantage by the leader of that tiny, insignificant nation, methods that propelled him to a position of virtually unchallenged authority, methods that align him with historical tyrants of mythical proportions.  Donald Trump has even expressed a profound and public admiration for the Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, just as he has expressed admiration for and affinity with the likes of Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong-un.

Journalists in America and worldwide should view the successful prosecution of a journalist for doing her job in the Philippines with the utmost alarm.  More specifically and especially here in America, where our President, the one man holding the highest position of authority, has proven himself to be a profoundly antagonistic critic of journalists, going so far as to call them collectively, “the enemy of the people” jounalists should decry this abuse of human rights in the Philippines and its assault on the freedom of the press… not only journalists, but all Americans as well.   We claim that our nation is served by a government of, for, and by the people and any nation that even pretends to be governed by democratic processes cannot possibly survive an assault on the free press that informs it.

Pay attention.  Read this article from James Risen at the Intercept…  Maria Ressa’s Libel Conviction Is a Blow to Press Freedom



Creative Commons License Peoples’ Daily Brief by James Lloyd Davis is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

Peoples’ Daily Brief – 12 June, 2020

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AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

Is the Seattle protest becoming the modern-day equivalent of the Paris Commune?  President Trump seems to think so.  While the protests there are turning peaceful after the police decided to tone down their aggressive tactics against protestors, Trump appears to be threatening a military invasion to stem the “anarchists” who dare to declare their  Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone, a two city-block area in Seattle a “No Cop Co-op.”

Oh, anarchy !!   However, according to an Associated Press news release, the most dangerous activity these anarchistic terrorists are engaged in presently is a “…street fair with political discussions and a drum circle.”  Oh, yes, and a few vendors.  What is a street fair without a few vendors supplying the utter essentials, eh?

They are, however, setting up street barricades, à la manière de Les Miserables, the Victor Hugo classic novel that finds its climax in the revolutionary Paris Commune that ruled large portions of the city of Paris for a few months in the spring of 1871.  Alarmez!

Although I am reasonably certain Donald Trump is not aware of historical references, he is, apparently, alarmed that the sane, though to him seemingly cavalier response by local leadership is not “dominating the battlespace” of those two city blocks.  He is distressed to the point that he issued a Tweet, threatening… or so it sounds to me… to send troops, saying, “Take back your city NOW. If you don’t do it, I will.”

He said that, really.  Here is his full Tweet… verbatim:

“Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump
Radical Left Governor @JayInslee  and the Mayor of Seattle are being taunted and played at a level that our great Country has never seen before. Take back your city NOW. If you don’t do it, I will. This is not a game. These ugly Anarchists must be stopped IMMEDIATELY. MOVE FAST!  2:08 PM · Jun 11, 2020”

“…ugly Anarchists…”
Is that even a thing?

Read the full story here at the  Associated Press

Donald Trump’s dangerous stance on the use of the military for the enforcement of “law and order” within our boundaries is a clear indication of more than misunderstanding their role in line with the Constitutional provisions for the nation’s defense.  It’s not a matter of ignorance.  Simply put, and like all tyrants, he simply does not care.



Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at the Treasure Island Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas

REUTERS/David Becker –

So… given the President’s predilection for pomp, hyperbole and theater, is it real?  Should we be alarmed or merely shake-of-the-head and cluck-of-the-tongue bemused, saying, “Christ on a cupcake, Donald, go play with your toys and leave us alone.”

That tendency on our part has given him infinite license over the past three and a half years and he has taken use of our bemusement and distraction in the interim to dismantle our government and even to deconstruct the norms under which our government has operated forever.  Maybe it’s time to take this man at his word.  Maybe it’s time to start worrying.  Better yet, maybe it’s time to get serious enough to impeach him and…. No, wait…!!

Marjorie Cohn has written an excellent analysis of the current situation.
Read it here in  Truthout



Creative Commons License Peoples’ Daily Brief by James Lloyd Davis is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

Coming Soon -The Peoples’ Daily Brief, news & analysis from your very own CIA

download (1)“Knowledge will forever govern ignorance; and a people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives.”

James Madison

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.

z01Should 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.

Creative Commons License 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.

Night Letters to America – 8/1/2019

From the Merriam Webster Dictionary online…
night letter (n): a telegram sent at night at a reduced rate for delivery the following morning.

Presidential Grandiloquence – Part One

When I think of the American presidency, I think of slogans and of epochs.  The duration of each administration’s sway upon the nation could be termed as an epoch, historically… a period of time that is often defined by the character and stated ideals of each individual President inevitably framed by slogans.  More often, however, the slogans are lost and their idealistic definitions are tempered in remembrance by the realities surrounding each administration, by facts rather than by the carefully chosen words they use to define themselves.

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Bob Daugherty, AP Archives

For instance, the administration of Lyndon Baines Johnson attempted to characterize itself with florid descriptions of his signature achievements in civil rights and social justice legislation, an idealistic political agenda branded with vaunting, and not necessarily inaccurate labels.  We cannot fault such ambitious programs as the War on Poverty and The Great Society, but all pretense comes to a crashing end and his happy place in history took a back seat to the stain of his one and horrific misadventure, the war in Vietnam, a can that had been kicked down the road by two previous administrations, but an issue he chose to tackle in the worst manner possible, with a war that was never actually declared, but was viciously and violently waged for a decade, killing over 55,000 Americans and untold hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese.

unnamedHis successor?  Recent revelations disclose the fact that Richard Nixon sabotaged Johnson’s peace initiatives by brokering a secret deal with North Vietnam before he was President as he rode to victory on the phrase, “Peace with honor” which was, in retrospect, a monument to cynical mendacity.  But then, Nixon was no stranger to the perversion of truth.  In fact, he earned a second term on a symphony of “law and order” with horns and percussion, played with verve and passion to his beloved audience, “the silent majority” of Americans who were dismayed by political and social upheaval over the war that Nixon had prolonged with his deception.  But no one quite imagined how cynical it might be for Nixon to run on a platform that invoked law and order until they learned that the thrust of his entire administration was marked with such incredible violations of law and disruption of order that his corruption and crimes eventually forced him to resign in disgrace.  Only a pardon by the next and quickly forgotten President Ford kept him from serving a justified term in a Federal prison.

jimmy-carterJimmy Carter’s presidency is difficult to characterize, since an honest man is not generally as glib in the realm of self-aggrandizement as the average politician, so he was more often defined by his critics and particularly by his successor in rather vilifying and dismissive words.  Nonetheless, Carter was possibly the most forward thinking President in terms of a national energy policy, a political agenda that recognized the growing dangers of indiscriminate and  poorly regulated use of fossil fuels and the very real cost of dependence on foreign oil.  But like Obama in his second term, however, Carter suffered from an animated opposition by a Republican-controlled Congress during his first term, a fact that essentially crippled many of his initiatives.  The death blow to his administration was certainly not of his making… a hostage crisis in Iran following a popular Islamist revolt.  The uprising was the result of an American led coup and regime change in the mid-1950s and the hatred of the revolution for the USA was fueled by subsequent, generous American support of an oppressive regime.  The hostage crisis was such an embarrassment to the nation that someone had to take the blame.  Carter became the perfect scapegoat.  His campaign for a second term quite collapsed when our military attempted to rescue the hostages and failed, the result of a peculiar regional weather event and an unfortunate accident in the wake of it.  Carter’s Republican opponent in the election, Ronald Reagan, took advantage of both the incident and the ongoing, ever-present embarrassment, the loss of national pride… and won handily.

ReaganBerlinWall130612Ronald Reagan?  Where can I start?  The apostle of “trickle down economics” who invoked an image of an old, disproved, and rationally absurd economic theory that favors corporations and the wealthy as “engines of the economy” declaring corporate success as “a rising tide that lifts all boats…” Riding this absurd metaphor like a boogey board, Reagan proceeded to dismantle America’s post-WWII prosperity by shifting the burden of all taxation to middle and lower class Americans… by destroying the influence of labor unions… by giving tax breaks to the wealthy… by reducing “unnecessary” programs of social welfare… and by de-regulating commerce… thus creating a new American aristocracy and initiating economic trends that have given us the greatest disparity in wealth and income since the Gilded Age.  Yet, even today, both Democrats and Republicans invoke his style with reverence as some sort of political benchmark for the ages.  Unfortunately, that benchmark proved to be built upon such unstable foundations that it became a formula for failure.  It has been the cause of unprecedented economic disparity and its philosophy can do naught but foment social inequity, based as it is on a lie… but let’s move on.

George H. BushThe first President Bush, the product of a more florid era of political rhetoric, had a particular gift for the iconic phrase… with such poetic entries as “a thousand points of light” which program was, essentially, another way to give awards to rich people who have so much money they can spend a little bit of it on poor people.  The theory is that philanthropy, the largesse of wealthy people can ultimately supplant the need for social welfare.  But the phrase that actually got him elected “Read my lips…” when he declared “…no new taxes…” is the phrase that eventually brought him down in his attempt for a second term because reality forced his administration to reconsider and he… you guessed it… raised the tax rate.

clinton-saxBill Clinton came in behind Bush on the merits of such sentiments as “It’s the economy, stupid.”  Clinton “…didn’t inhale.” And, he “…never had sex with that woman.”  In fact he was, as my sainted grandmother would put it, “…so full of it…” one has to wonder how he ever got away with as much as he did.  I don’t know what to say about Clinton, since this Democratic president, though adorned with the mantle of a liberal freely given him by his peers in spite of his apparent and obvious predilections to conservatism, managed to move the Party of FDR and the New Deal into territory once held by Republican elites.  How did he do it?  Charm and charisma?  The ability to smile and to tell us an absolute lie while doing the exact opposite of what he said?  Perhaps, but his legacy is written in the growth of policies that imprisoned more non-violent offenders and for such interminable periods of time that their lives were essentially destroyed.  Prison populations soared.  The war on poverty was lost in the Clinton administration through “workfare” programs and tough, even brutal attitudes toward crime and punishment.  And though his administration did more to oppress black people in America than was ever publicly acknowledged, his ability to play the saxophone and the audacity to wear sunglasses while doing so on television, earned him the erstwhile label, “America’s first black president.”  Charming.

bush_cheney-620x412The second Bush, pictured here in proximity to the toxic Mr. Cheney, was chosen by the American Supreme Court rather than by the electorate… the result of difficult and obscene mismanagement of the election in the crucial State of Florida where Bush brother Jed was Governor.  Little Georgie Bush had run on the notion of his Christianity against Gore, the Vice-President under Clinton.  The sitting President’s support of Gore was more or less withheld, since Clinton’s sexual indiscretions had finally caught up with him and made him politically toxic.  Bush was hardly charismatic, even a bit “unclever” when speaking in public and, for the life of me, I cannot remember much about his rhetoric on the run up to the election… though there was some talk about “compassionate conservatism” supposedly based upon the fact that Bush was a “born again” Christian.  However… in America and, to my recollection and personal experience, compassionate Christian evangelicals tend to be a rather judgmental group, given more to compassion within their own ranks than toward the public at large… but that’s not relevant here, is it?  Either way, following the 911 attacks, George H. W. Bush’s little boy, George was given unprecedented license by a too-generous and overly patriotic Congress and he used it to take America to war in Afghanistan to go after the Taliban, which harbored Al Qaeda, which was the group that planned the attack.  Then, for reasons known only to God, the Holy Spirit and Dick Cheney, Bush decided we had to go to war with Iraq, which had no connection whatsoever to Al Qaeda or the attacks on 911.  Following a subsequently relentless attack on Iraq, punctuated and propagandized with televised displays of “shock and awe” scorched earth military attacks… when Bush had utterly broken the governments and infrastructure of both Iraq and Afghanistan, such as it existed, he led America into a huge debt spiral from the cost of both wars and subsequent unaudited defense contracts which attempted to put the countries we had destroyed back together again.  When he saw what he had done… and in spite of the huge national debt… Bush decided to give enormous tax breaks to America’s rich people because… well who the hell knows why… but his Presidency very nearly caused a second Great Depression… which it was, although nobody was willing to admit it, so we’ll pretend it was not a Great Depression, but a really bad recession… even though most Americans who weren’t rich have yet to recover what they lost, but the rich people got richer, and they own all the media, so…   Anyway, we can’t really blame Little Boy Bush for the problem since, from what I hear, Dick Cheney was in charge, but hey…

Then came Obama…  But let’s save that for next week when we will continue to deconstruct everyone’s favorite president.

Creative Commons License Night Letters to America by James Lloyd Davis is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

I hope you will become a regular reader and I heartily invite you to comment below.  I love your feedback, even when it’s criticism.  It makes all the trouble worthwhile and it keeps me honest.