A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006. Now a Popeyes fast food restaurant on Google Maps.

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Entry from February 23, 2017
“Democracy dies in darkness”

“Democracy dies in darkness” is a slogan of the Washington (DC) Post that first appeared in February 2017. Post investigative journalist Bob Woodward popularized the saying, but claimed that Judge Damon J. Keith, of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit,who wrote in a pre-Watergate scandal decision that “Democracy dies in the dark.”
The essence of the slogan is from James Russell Wiggins (1903-2000), executive editor of the Washington Post and President of the American Society of Newspaper Editors, who gave a speech before educators Atlantic City, New Jersey, in February 1960:
“‘Democracy in the Dark’ is a contradiction in terms. (...) If, once chosen, the agents of the people operate in secret, we will still have all the apparatus and all the appearance of self-government, but none of the reality of it. Democracy in the dark is democracy defied. It is democracy diminished. It is democracy doomed. It is democracy destroyed.”
A headline in the Honolulu (HI) Advertiser on February 19, 1960 for this speech was: “Democracy Dies In The Dark.”
Wikipedia: The Washington Post
The Washington Post is an American daily newspaper. It is the most widely circulated newspaper published in Washington, D.C., and was founded on December 6, 1877, making it the area’s oldest extant newspaper.
Located in the capital city of the United States, the newspaper has a particular emphasis on national politics. Daily editions are printed for the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia. The newspaper is published as a broadsheet, with photographs printed both in color and in black and white.
Wikipedia: James Russell Wiggins
James Russell Wiggins (December 4, 1903 – November 19, 2000) was managing editor of The Washington Post and United States Ambassador to the United Nations.
14 February 1960, New York (NY) Times, pg. 71, col. 2:
Wiggins Tells School Aides Clampdowns on News Imperil Democracy
Special to The New York Times
ATLANTIC CITY, Feb. 13—The American Association of School Administrators was warned today that official secrecy was obscuring the future of democracy.
As a result of abused secrecy, even Congressional committees probably know less about American military secrets than do the nation’s enemies, James Russell Wiggins, executive editor and vice president of The Washington Post and Times Herald, asserted.
“Government is being operated, increasingly, in the dark,” Wiggins said. He spoke at the opening of a five-day meeting of the association.
Receives Award
Mr. Wiggins, who is also president of the American Society of Newspaper Editors, sounded his warning in accepting the Golden Key Award from the school administrators and six other educational organizations.
The award cites him as a defender of “the right and responsibilities of all people to know and understand the truth.”
19 February 1960, Honolulu (HI) Advertiser, pg. 18, col. 3:
Secrecy Can Destroy American Government
Democracy Dies In The Dark
EDITOR’S NOTE: This address on secrecy in government was given by J. Russell Wiggins, executive editor of the Washington Post and President of the American Society of Newspaper Editors, to a recent meeting of educators at Atlantic City, N.J.

The proposition I submit is simply this:
“Democracy in the Dark” is a contradiction in terms. The open conduct of public affairs is the first and primary attribute of democratic government; and when that is abandoned, the government that remains, whatever else it may be, is not a democratic government.
(...)(Col. 7 end of piece.—ed.)
Democracy, when it attempts to operate in the dark, ceases to be democracy. We must demand that the great decision-making acts of government take place in broad daylight, in full view, where every citizen willing to put his mind to the task, can make his influence felt on public policy.
We may adhere to popular elections. We may continue popular legislative assemblies. We choose our own executive officers. All these things are the apparatus of democracy.
If, once chosen, the agents of the people operate in secret, we will still have all the apparatus and all the appearance of self-government, but none of the reality of it. Democracy in the dark is democracy defied. It is democracy diminished. It is democracy doomed. It is democracy destroyed.
21 August 1991, The Arizona Republic (Phoenix, AZ), “TV monitoring pulse of democracy” by Greg Joseph, pg. C8, col. 1:
Democracy dies alone, in the darkness.
Google Groups: alt.disney.disneyland
OT: Real News! Not tv News! All republicans are liars - PROVEN AGAIN! Facts being censored, blocked and denied, about the known traitor, ronald reagan, the crook!
Marie Cocco: ‘U.S.(traitors) strangling its democracy’
Just a week ago, the U.S. government celebrated victory after a long effort to get Germany to open a trove of Holocaust files. The accuracy of history, itself, was at stake. History is the lens through which we see more clearly events that partisan passion and cultural myopia cloud in the present. If it is true that democracy dies in the dark, the surest way to kill it is to continue marching down this path of suppression.
Google Groups: misc.activism.progressive
[progchat_action] SEIU Leaders Debate on Democracy Now!
SEIU Leaders Debate
Democracy Now!
February 15, 2008
JUAN GONZALEZ: We turn now to the issue of organized labor and a major battle brewing within one of the country’s largest unions, the Service Employees International Union, or SEIU, which has about 1.9 million members. Last week, the president of SEIU United Healthcare Workers West, Sal Rosselli, resigned from SEIU’s executive committee in a blistering letter to union President Andy Stern, accusing him of expanding his powers at members’ expense.
Rosselli wrote, “Over the past two years, a stark difference has evolved between SEIU’s projected image and its real world practices. An overly zealous focus on growth-growth at any cost-apparently has eclipsed SEIU’s commitment to its members.” Rosselli went on to write, “It is said democracy dies in darkness. It is with deep disappointment and great concern that I have watched dark shadows fall upon SEIU, diminishing our hopes for revitalizing the labor movement.”
10 December 2008, The Berkshire Eagle (Pittsfield, MA), “Words from Woodward” by Scott Lord:
Wednesday, December 10 NORTH ADAMS—Bob Woodward, possibly one of the most famous newspaper reporters of all time, gives himself a failing grade for his coverage of the lead-in to the Iraq war in early 2003.
Throughout his lecture, there were plenty of shiny pearls of wisdom, such as:
“What should we really worry about? Secret government. Democracy dies in darkness.”
Alan Johnson
Woodward’s biggest worry: secrecy in government. “Democracy dies in darkness.”
10:20 AM - 28 Apr 2010
The Atlantic
Federal Judge on Ohio’s Ballot Order: ‘Democracy Dies in the Dark’
Here is the transcript for the extraordinary hearing held Wedneday by U.S. District Judge Algenon Marbley.
Here, the judge barely waits for the lawyer to get to the podium:
THE COURT: Mr. Epstein. Mr. Epstein, would you agree that voting is the linchpin of our democracy?
MR. EPSTEIN: Yes, Your Honor.
THE COURT: I do too. What concerned me about the 2012-54 directive is that it was filed on a Friday night at 7 p.m. The first thought that came to mind was democracy dies in the dark. So, when you do things like that that seeks to avoid transparency, it appears, then that gives me great pause but even greater concern.

OCLC WorldCat record
Democracy in the dark : the seduction of government secrecy
Author: Frederick A O Schwarz
Publisher: New York, New York ; London, England : The New Press, 2015. ©2015
Edition/Format:   Print book : Document   Computer File : English
Database: WorldCat
“From Dick Cheney’s man-sized safe to NSA’s massive intelligence gathering, secrecy has captured the American government’s modus operandi better than the ideals of the Constitution. In this important new book, Fritz Schwarz, who was chief counsel to the U.S. Church Committee on Intelligence-which uncovered CIA plots to assassinate world leaders, including Fidel Castro’s exploding cigar-uses examples ranging from the dropping of the first Atomic bomb, and the Cuban Missile Crisis, to Iran Contra and 9/11 to illuminate this central question: How much secrecy does good governance require? Schwarz argues that while some control of information is necessary, governments tend to fall prey to a culture of secrecy that is ultimately not just hazardous to democracy but antithetical to it. This historical survey provides the essential context to understand recent cases from Chelsea Manning to Edward Snowden. Democracy in the Dark is a natural companion to Schwarz’s Unchecked and Unbalanced, co-written with Aziz Huq, which plumbed the power of the executive branch-a power that often depends on and derives from the use of secrecy. “— Leer menos
Chris Jones
Chris Jones Retweeted Robert Gibson
I like the @washingtonpost’s new motto, but I feel like “Democracy Dies in the Dark,” sounds better lyrically. #freemottoeditChris Jones added,
Robert Gibson@RobGibsn
Proud to support @washingtonpost and the work that this great news organization does for democracy.
7:56 AM - 22 Feb 2017
“Democracy Dies in Darkness”
Light a match:
1) Saves democracy
2) Covers the smell of @washingtonpost
11:32 AM - 22 Feb 2017
Washington (DC) Post
The Washington Post’s new slogan turns out to be an old saying
By Paul Farhi February 24, 2017 at 8:00 AM
The paper’s owner, Amazon.com founder Jeffrey P. Bezos, used the phrase in an interview with The Post’s executive editor, Martin Baron, at a tech forum at The Post last May. “I think a lot of us believe this, that democracy dies in darkness, that certain institutions have a very important role in making sure that there is light,” he said at the time, speaking of his reasons for buying the paper.
But Woodward, who has used the phrase in reference to President Nixon for years, said he didn’t coin it; he read it some years earlier in a judicial opinion in a First Amendment case. He couldn’t recall the specifics of the case or the name of the judge who wrote the opinion.
“It goes way back,” he said. “It’s definitely not directed at Trump. It’s about the dangers of secrecy in government, which is what I worry about most. The judge who said it got it right.”
Woodward’s source appears to be Judge Damon J. Keith, of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit, who ruled in a pre-Watergate era case that the government couldn’t wiretap individuals without a warrant. In his decision, Keith apparently coined a variation on The Post’s motto, writing that “Democracy dies in the dark.”

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityGovernment/Law/Military/Religion /Health • Thursday, February 23, 2017 • Permalink

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