Archives for category: Freedom

Ray Richmond is a writer in Los Angeles. This article appeared in the Los Angeles Times. I won’t reproduce it in full because that would violate copyright law. I hope you will open the article and read it. It expresses my own feelings of personal fear, fear for the future of my nation and my fellow citizens, fear for our democracy, and deep uneasiness about the future.

I never thought I’d have to write that I sense fear from my fellow citizens when it comes to speaking out against a presidential administration. But I do.

I never thought I’d have to write that our president is the biggest and most compulsive liar that I’ve ever encountered in American public life. But I must.

I never thought I’d have to write that the leader of the United States has the demeanor of a middle school-aged adolescent, with mature development arrested at age 13. But it’s true.

I never thought I’d have to write that my government has declared literal war against the truth, or that the president’s chief spokesperson would go on television and with a straight face and present the idea of “alternative facts.” But they have.

I never thought I’d have to write that my president is so insecure and consumed with the size of his support that he would personally phone the acting chief of the National Park Service to produce photographic evidence of a larger turnout at his inauguration. But he did…

I never thought I’d have to write that members of President Trump’s senior staff all were using a private Republican National Committee email server after having made Hillary Clinton’s doing so the centerpiece of the general election campaign. But it has.

I never thought I’d have to write that the winner of the presidential campaign is loudly and persistently making dubious claims of voter fraud despite having come out on top. But he does….

I never thought I’d have to write that an American president this week stood in front of the hallowed CIA Memorial Wall and made a self-aggrandizing speech about his own greatness and popularity, unable to see past his own narcissistic reflection. But he did.

I never thought I’d have to write that five members of the president’s inner circle, including two of his children, are registered to vote in two states. But they are.

I never thought I’d have to write that Steve Bannon, the president’s chief strategist, has gone so far as to tell the New York Times, “The media should be embarrassed and humiliated and keep its mouth shut and just listen for a while. The media here is the opposition party.” But he did.

I never thought I’d have to write that the leader of the once-free world could consume himself with bad-mouthing movie stars and TV shows in tweets and all but declare war on information itself. But he does….

I never thought I’d have to write that waking up in the morning to the news — once an activity embraced with relish — so fills me with dread. But it does.

I never thought I’d have to write that going about the business of my daily life feels utterly empty and foreboding due to what appears to be the purposeful destruction of our hallowed institutions of democracy in real time. But it has.

I never thought I’d have to write that I feel helpless in the face of tyranny and autocratic rule from a man who believes himself at once omnipotent and infallible. But I do.

I never thought I’d have to write that I sense I’m a stranger in my own land. But I do.

GregB, a regular reader and commenter, left the following thoughts about the four years ahead of us:



“I commented on another site today about Al Franken that “it took a great comedian to show DC what a great senator looks like.” The perverse reality we live in today is amplified by the fact that comedians give us better news and analysis than “journalists.” Think of Jon Stewart and Jon Oliver as great examples. Tonight Samantha Bee had the best expose of hypocrisy of Kellyanne Conway and how “journalists” can’t cut through her bs. But her interview with exiled Russian dissident journalist (no quotes) Masha Gessen was amazing. Here’s a quick checklist of things that Gessen went through that Donald’s regime will likely do which mirrors Putin.


First pre-election speculation if Donald were to win:


— it feels like we’re staring into an abyss


Post election things to expect (most efforts to successfully resist that she knows of have failed and her biggest worry is a nuclear holocaust):

— he’s certain to do irreparable harm to the environment that will make the survival of the human species impossible,
— the impossibility of going on to democracy after Trump

(after Bee does a chart that shows what the path is to rock bottom, what low points do you expect to see in our near future?)

— he’s going to lift the sanctions against Russia
— he’s going to start banning one newspaper after the other from the White House
— he is going to start thinking about wars
— he is going to go to the Putin model of holding one press conference per year
— suppose some cities refuse to cooperate with deportation, so he calls on the American people to start reporting on immigrants, and that’s when we start getting into really disgusting territory
— that will be the beginning of the culture of citizen against citizen
— so there’s a Russian joke: We thought we had reached rock bottom and then someone knocked from below
— (in language) he’s very similar to Putin, he uses language to assert his power over reality
— what he’s saying is “I create the right to say whatever the hell I please and what are you going to do about it?”
— it’s instinctual, it’s like a bully in a playground
— the point is to render you completely powerless
— because everything you know how to do (to point out reality) is useless
— the thing to do to resist is to continue panicking, to keep being the hysteric in the room and say, “This is not normal”
— just remember why you’re panicking, write a note to yourself about what you would never do, and when you come to the line, don’t cross it


Thanks Samantha and Masha. It would have been good advice in Germany 1933 and seems apt for the US in 2017.


The distinguished researcher Gene V. Glass writes here about legislation proposed by two Arizona legislators to prohibit the teaching of “social justice” in schools or colleges.


Schools found to be in violation would be fined 10% of their state monies.


I am not sure what the definition of “social justice” is. Fairness, equality, equal rights? The Constitution? The Bill of Rights?

I was never fortunate enough to meet Dr. King, but I was a member of the vast crowd that stood on the Mall when he spoke to the March on Washington on August 28, 1963. I became a good friend of his close aide Bayard Rustin, who like Dr. King, was eloquent and passionate about justice.


Dr. King was frequently criticized by friends and foes. The foes thought he was a dangerous agitator who was encouraging rebellion against the social order, which he was. Moderates said he was pushing too hard, too fast, for too much, at the wrong time and the wrong place. Some who should have been his friends said he wasn’t sufficiently radical; they said he was too cerebral, too willing to compromise, out of touch with the masses that were ready to engage in violence. Dr. King believed in nonviolence as a principle, not as a strategy. He believed in justice and equality as principles, not as temporary goals. Some of his erstwhile allies turned to Malcolm X, who did not share Dr. King’s commitment to nonviolence.


On this day set aside to remember Dr. King, read or watch one of his speeches. Think about the courage it required to stand up for the oppressed, to face death every day, and to do so in a spirit of love.


The March on Washington speech


His speech against the war in Vietnam, which caused some of his allies to turn against him.


I have been to the mountaintop speech, his last speech, delivered the day before he was assassinated. At the time, he was in Memphis, where he had come to help sanitation workers who were trying to form a union to advocate for better wages. This speech was prophetic. Whenever someone from the .001% claims that they are engaged in the struggle for civil rights and simultaneously attacking unions, I remember why Dr. King was in Memphis.


And here are more, from a CNN piece that asks whether you can identify any of Dr. King’s speeches other than “I have a dream,” or his “Letter from a Birmingham City Jail,” both of which are taught in school.



Meryl Streep spoke last night at the Golden Globe awards, where she received a lifetime achievement award. She spoke about kindness, decency, compassion. She spoke about the role of the artist and the importance of the arts. She spoke about immigrants and the power of diversity. She urged everyone to support a free press, specifically the Committee to Protect Journalists. She called out an unnamed powerful person who mocked and mimicked a disabled reporter. All in a few minutes.


Please watch.


Donald Trump responded with a tweet, saying that Streep is “overrated” and that she “doesn’t know me but attacked me.”


So one cannot attack Trump’s words or actions unless you “know” him. Hmmm.