A Forum for Vigorous Debate, Cornerstone of Democracy

[For the journal (guidelines, focus, etc.), go to www.theamericandissident.org ].
Encouraged censorship and self-censorship seem to have become popular in America today. Those who censor others, not just self, tend to favor the term "moderate," as opposed to "censor" and "moderation" to "censorship." But that doesn't change what they do. They still act as Little Caesars or Big Brother protectors of the thin-skinned. Democracy, however, demands a tough populace, not so easily offended. On this blog, and to buck the trend of censorship, banning, and ostracizing, comments are NEVER "moderated." Rarely (almost NEVER) do the targets of these blog entries respond in an effort to defend themselves with cogent counter-argumentation. This blog is testimony to how little academics, poets, critics, newspaper editors, cartoonists, political hacks, cultural council apparatchiks, librarians et al appreciate VIGOROUS DEBATE, cornerstone of democracy. Clearly, far too many of them could likely prosper just fine in places like communist China and Cuba or Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Russia.

More P. Maudit cartoons (and essays) at Global Free Press: http://www.globalfreepress.org

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Patricia McGuire

Editorial--Issue #34

Torn in Two
Firewalls that once strictly separated news from opinion have been replaced by hopelessly blurred lines. Once-forbidden practices such as editorializing within straight news reports, and the inclusion of opinions as if fact, are not only tolerated; they’re encouraged. […] I’m commonly asked, “Can ‘the news’ be fixed?” In simple terms, there are two components necessary to do so: We must correctly identify (and admit) our problem, and then take steps to correct it. We have yet, as an industry, to take step one.
—Sharyl Attkisson

Journalist ideologues do not like the First Amendment because it permits those outside of their ideological cocoon to openly question and challenge the absence of reason and fact normally inherent in ideology.  Authoritarians hate the First Amendment because it permits criticism. The ploy of journalist ideologues now seems to be to dismiss free-speech activists as haters and white-nationalist racists. It is mind-boggling, childishly simplistic, and downright stupid to bellow HATE, HATE, HATE, though in a far too often successful effort to KILL DEBATE.  Too much following!  Too much groupthink!  WANTED:  Individual free-speech activists!!!
    Fascists today in America seem content bellowing:  Hate! Hate! HATE! Racist! Racist! RACIST! Islamophobe! Islamophobe! ISLAMOPHOBE!  Nazi! Nazi! NAZI!  Yet such ad hominem is not a counter-argument and contradicts democracy’s cornerstone, vigorous debate.  Boston Globe Assoc. Editor and Columnist Renee Graham joyously and mind-bogglingly declares, in evident absolute lack of any semblance of journalistic objectivity, let alone integrity: “‘Free speech’ activists, greatly outnumbered, found no purchase here for their thinly-veiled hate.”  The title of her essay, “Trump Is White Supremacists’ Leader,” might lead an individual thinker into arguing therefore “Obama Is Black Supremacists’ Leader.” But double standards prevail and annihilate such a logical counter-statement.  On the nation’s college campuses, chanting choruses of children condemn free speech and vigorous debate.
       We live in darker and darker times. “Liberalism is white supremacy!” bellowed BLM protesters at William & Mary College and prevented, via the heckler’s veto, Claire Guthrie Gastañaga, executive director of the ACLU of Virginia, from speaking. In other words, for those successful fascist protesters, freedom of speech, a core tenet of liberalism, must be eliminated. It has gotten to the point where one cannot express an alt-opinion without getting moderated (i.e., censored) into oblivion, as if one didn’t even exist. InsideHigherEd.com recently did that with several of my alt-opinions, which therefore inspired this issue’s front cover. For the censored alt-opinions, see wwwtheamericandissidentorg.blogspot.com/2017/08/doug-lederman-and-scott-jaschik.html and wwwtheamericandissidentorg.blogspot.com/2017/08/scott-jaschik-and-doug-lederman.html.  Both IHE editors, Scott Jaschik and Doug Lederman, incarnate the shame of academe today. College president Patricia McGuire, also depicted on the cover, responded in full approval of the censorship of my response to her article, which I’d sent to her.  
     On another note, Poets & Writers magazine offers “Writing Prompts” in each issue. So, if you want a prompt for The AD, check out P&W’s website and write something critical, critical, critical on any of the amazingly inane featured articles, including “Writing Prompts” like the following:    
Last month, Crayola announced the retirement of one of their yellow crayon colors, Dandelion, which will soon be replaced by a blue crayon. Since Binney & Smith first began producing Crayola crayons in 1903, many colors have been cycled in and out. Some colors have remained the same shade but changed names over the years, such as Peach, which was previously named Flesh Tint, Flesh, and Pink Beige. Read more about the history of Crayola crayon colors, and write a poem inspired by some of the names you find most evocative, perhaps finding thematic potential in how the types of names have evolved over the years.
    Yes, let’s all write poems inspired by crayon colors! You cannot make this shit up, as the saying goes. Now, here’s an unabashedly racist, sexist and even ageist zine, though with the seal of approval of ideology (i.e., identity politics).  And, of course, if you’ve been sufficiently brain-washed (i.e., multiculti/diversity-indoctrinated), you will be compelled to disagree with my observation.  
Quillsedge Press is accepting submissions for our “50 over 50” anthology through September 22. Women poets over the age of 50 are eligible to submit. Translations welcome if the original poet is also a woman at least 50 years old. Discounted fees for women of color. For full guidelines, visit www.quillsedgepress.org.
    Now, how about submissions from men over 50 and discounts for white men?  Ideology with its inevitable double standards always trumps reason in our brave new world… Quillsedge ain’t the only anything-but-the-rude-truth mag out there.  In fact, they all seem to be thus. Here’s a few of the more inane amongst them, as listed in Poets & Writers:  
—Coffee Poetry Anthology edited by Lorraine Healy, published by World Enough Writers (imprint of Concrete Wolf). Send us poems that involve coffee in some fashion. 
—We need poems, short fiction, and creative nonfiction to fill an upcoming anthology with the theme “Tattoos.” Sponsored by Main Street Rag Publishing Company. 
Common Ground Review is looking for wave-themed poetry for our 2018 Spring/Summer issue: New wave, sine waves, radio waves, tidal waves, hand waves, any wave function—surprise us! 
     Finally, since poets love to deify poetry and themselves, they ought to stand up—not in groupthink pussy-hatted clusters—but as individuals and speak truth to power, especially where it might actually be a wee bit risky for their lit careers.  Think of Villon, who spoke truth to the ruling theocrats of Paris in the 1400s and ended up in a medieval hole in the ground (“En fosse giz, non pas soubz houz ne may”), then forever exiled. Poets who don’t want to make waves will come up with all kinds of lame excuses and seek to belittle the rare ones who do, as in sour grapes, tired trope, full of himself or whatever…  

Monday, December 4, 2017

Dr. Ted Thornhill

Below is the brief correspondence RE the cartoon.  Thornhill of course did not respond.  

From: George Slone
Sent: Friday, December 1, 2017 10:17 AM
To: editorinchief@eaglenews.org; news@eaglenews.org; opinion@eaglenews.org
Cc: tthornhill@fgcu.edu
Subject: Thornhill lampooned

To Ed.-in-Chief Zack Rothman, News Ed. Alexandra Figares, and Op-Ed. Bruno Halpern, Eagle News, Florida Gulf Coast University 
Well, vigorous debate is a good thing!  Hopefully, you might publish the attached cartoon I just sketched on one of your professors… or is the “White Racism” issue now hermetically closed at FGCU?  Please do let me know of your decision.  Thanks! 

From: Zack Rothman
Sent: Monday, December 4, 2017 11:35 AM
To: George Slone
Subject: Re: Thornhill lampooned

Hello George,
Unfortunately, since we're a student newspaper and are only able to publish student work, we won't be able to use your cartoon. However, we do accept letters to the editor from non-students. You're more than welcome to submit one.
Zack Rothman

From: George Slone
Sent: Monday, December 4, 2017 4:09 PM
To: Zack Rothman
Subject: Re: Thornhill lampooned
Hi Zack,
Thanks for the response!  I just posted the cartoon here: http://wwwtheamericandissidentorg.blogspot.com/2017/12/dr-ted-thornhill.html
Feel free to share it.  Someone besides me ought to shake Thornhill up a bit and bring his attention to the privilege and cocoon status of his position!  Alas...
G. Tod

Monday, November 6, 2017

Jeanie Hill

Hypocrite at the Helm:  Jeanie Hill
In 2015, I requested a review of the permanent no-trespass order in effect against me since 2012 in accord with Sturgis Acceptable Behavior Policy: “Patrons whose privileges have been revoked may have the decision reviewed by the Board of Library Trustees.”  Sturgis Library did not respond to that request.  Several weeks ago, I again made the request, though noted this time I’d be informing the Barnstable County Human Rights Commission.  I received the following brief response, which essentially confirms that as a patron, I have a right to a review, but because there is an order in effect, I do not have a right to a review. Therefore the policy is hypocritical.  Therefore those who adopted it are hypocrites at the helm.  In essence, for a speech crime, I was convicted without possibility of parole, let alone due process.   Following the response letter is my response.

From: George Slone
Sent: Wednesday, November 8, 2017 6:34 PM
To: sturgislibrary@comcast.net
Cc: editor@barnstablepatriot.com
Subject: Att: Jeanie Hill 

To Jeanie Hill, President, Sturgis Library Trustees:  

Well, I don’t even know if you’ll bother to read this letter, let alone receive it, for your personal email is not even listed on Sturgis Library’s website, nor is your photo.  Hey, how can I cartoon you w/o a photo?  

Anyhow, thanks for your brief response:  “There is a no trespass order in effect; therefore your request to be reinstated at Sturgis Library is denied.” 

Since the trustees did not respond to my 2015 request, I was surprised you responded at all, though suspect my mention of the Human Rights Commission might have pushed you in that kindly direction.   

In essence, I do not need Sturgis Library… but nevertheless seek redress of a wrong:  no-trespass order w/o warning and w/o due process for the speech crime of having criticized director Lucy Loomis in writing one week prior to the order in 2012. 

Oddly, as a patron or former patron, in accord with your Sturgis Acceptable Behavior Policy, I purportedly have the right to a review:  “Patrons whose privileges have been revoked may have the decision reviewed by the Board of Library Trustees.”  However, because there is a no-trespass order in effect, I do not have a right to a review.  Go figure!  

To be honest, and I know that’s difficult for you and other hypocrites at the helm, why not replace “may” with “may or may not” in that statement to reflect reality?  But I suppose doing that would essentially annul the statement itself.  Why present a semblance of patron rights when clearly patrons cannot have rights under a director given free rein to dictate?  Can you grasp that simple thought?  

Why therefore was that policy really adopted… and shortly after the no-trespass order issued against me?  Did the trustees feel the need, for who knows what reason, to present the library under a false light of democratic process?  Loomis is an autocrat.  As long as she or others of her ilk are in power, Sturgis Library will be autocratic, no matter what hollow policies you and she decide to adopt.  Can you grasp that?  

Finally, is it not aberrant that librarians aren’t even interested in debate regarding their own policies, including your Collection Development Policy statement “libraries should provide materials and information presenting all points of view.”  That statement is a clear example of librarian hypocrisy.  After all, my point of view and those I publish have been permanently banned!  And of course you and Loomis will never address that egregious anomaly, for it is intellectually easier to simply avoid it and demonize the messenger as dangerous.  

A patron like me will only have rights at places like Sturgis, if he does not question and challenge the hypocrites inevitably at the helm.  Or if he does question and challenge them, he will only have rights if he spends thousands of dollars for legal assistance.  In my case, I decided not to do that, though the thought of that possibility still remains, as I approach my 70th birthday…

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Lucy Loomis

The following email was sent to Sturgis Library director Lucy Loomis in 2015.  No response was ever received.  And yet her “Sturgis Acceptable Behavior Policy,” adopted one year after she permanently banned me w/o warning and w/o due process, clearly stipulates that “Patrons whose privileges have been revoked may have the decision reviewed by the Board of Library Trustees.”  In the absence of accountability, people in power positions like Loomis can do and say whatever they want, including adopting policies and not abiding by the policies adopted.  Hypocrites at the helm likely constitute the majority of people in power positions today in America's ever declining democracy...

From: todslone@hotmail.com
To: sturgislibrary@comcast.net
CC: sturgisreference@comcast.net; khorn@clamsnet.org; fblowrie@gmail.com; sangus@kinlingrover.com; ppronovost@capecodonline.com; editor@barnstablepatriot.com; pen-newengland@mit.edu; mgiangregorio@aclum.org
Subject: Cartoonists assassinated, free speech massacred, a plea for justice in Barnstable, MA
Date: Mon, 9 Mar 2015 18:29:48 -0400

To Director Lucy Loomis, Sturgis Library:
It has been almost three years now since you permanently banned me from my neighborhood library, the one my tax dollars help support.  No due process was offered, as you know, despite my request.  How odd to me that this could and in fact did happen in America!  My civil rights are being denied today because, as you know, I am not permitted to attend any cultural or political events held at my neighborhood library.  And yet I have never been charged with a crime, let alone misdemeanor.  
In any event, I am requesting that you consider rescinding your order because the sole reason you provided for it, that I represented a potential physical danger (“for the safety of staff and public”) is clearly an invalid one.  After all, not one person on Sturgis Library’s staff or in the United States of America in general has been harmed, let alone threatened, by me.  
As you know, my only real “crime” was NOT one of potential violence, but rather the written criticism I’d disseminated with your regard, in particular, the library statement that “libraries should provide materials and information that present all points of view.”  My point of view and the points of view of all those people published in The American Dissident, as you know, are currently banned at Sturgis Library, thus proving that statement to be hypocritical.  
Freedom of speech was massacred in Paris several months ago by Islamist haters of freedom of speech.  Do you really wish to continue siding with those free-speech hating murderers of cartoonists?  Please be reminded that freedom of speech, vigorous debate, and due process are in fact democracy’s very cornerstones, while banning speech because you do not like it or somehow think it is violent is definitely not, nor is obligatory deference to those in power, be they presidents or library directors.  
Finally, you will note that when I was visiting Sturgis almost on a daily basis, never was I informed that I might have been breaking a library regulation.  In fact, is freedom of speech not permitted at Sturgis?  If so, I should have at least been warned and directed to that regulation.  
Thank you for your attention and hopeful reconsideration.  

Barbara Burgo

Hypocrites at the Helm—Open Letter #2—Pathetic Apathy
When one refuses to toe the line of expected docility—a twisted notion of “civility”—and openly questions and challenges pillars of the community, who cannot bear to be criticized by ordinary citizenry, one automatically becomes persona non grata—essentially non existent, hallucinatory.
—P. Maudit  

To the Commissioners of the Barnstable County Human Rights Commission—Barbara Burgo (Chair), Alan Milsted (Vice Chair), Elizabeth Barlow, Tia Cross, Dr. Kate Epperly, Dr. Jacqueline Fields (Commissioner Emerita), Richard Lavoie, Patricia Oshman, Paul Thompson, and Richard Vengroff:  
Perhaps one or several of you were curious and actually read my 2014 open letter to you, “Dereliction of Duty."  Or perhaps you weren’t on the HRC back then?  If so, you can still read that letter.  It is heartening for me to note that HRC Coordinator Elenita Muñiz has been replaced. How not to remember her grotesque statement: “Racism is alive and well in this country and everyone who is white-skinned is racist.”  Will the new Coordinator Susan Quiñones prove to be less racist and more interested in issues of freedom of speech?  Well, she has refused to respond to my two emails.  Did she distribute this Open Letter to you, as requested?  
It is also heartening for me to note that John Reed is no longer Chair.  Amazingly, Reed seemed a bit confused as to human rights.  He and you ought to study Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as well as the First Amendment. Reed had actually told me in front of you during one of your meetings that a court case in the building had just rendered it illegal to satirize public figures like him.  Can it get any more mind-numb than that?  Reed had also told me in front of you that it was forbidden to take photos at Commission meetings.  Yet thanks to photos, human rights violations and free-speech haters can be documented!  Moreover, due to my attendance, Reed had requested police presence—a perhaps common kill-the-messenger tactic of autocrats.  Do I have a criminal record of violence?  Of course not!  Do I make threats?  Of course not!
Library director Lucy Loomis used the same tactic in 2012.  The only reason she provided to the president of the library board of trustees, Ted Lowry, for permanently banning me w/o warning or due process from Sturgis Library was “for the safety of the staff and public.”  Yet not one staff member or anyone else has ever been threatened by me—physically.  However, Loomis evidently felt severely threatened intellectually, for I had criticized her in writing prior to the trespass order (see Open Letter and Open Letter #2), regarding especially the Collection Development statement that “libraries should provide materials and information presenting all points of view.”  My point of view and those published in The American Dissident have been permanently banned. Perhaps James LaRue, director of the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom, can help you rationalize that aberrancy.  
Today I am not permitted to attend any cultural or political events held at my neighborhood library.  Does that not constitute a violation of my civil rights?  Will the new chair Barbara Burgo prove to be less apathetic and stand for a local citizen’s basic human right to freedom of speech?  Or will she prove to be yet another business-as-usual hypocrite at the helm steering in accord with the wishes and close-knit ties of community pillars—the other commissioners, librarians, newspaper editors, town councilors, educators, and businessmen. In the absence of intellectual accountability, as in the case of Loomis and Sturgis Library, democracy and freedom are at stake. The Washington Post rightfully states, “Democracy dies in darkness.”  Well, here in Barnstable County, it is dark. Neither the Barnstable Patriot (Deborah Boucher Stetson) nor the Cape Cod Times (Paul Pronovost) will publish an account of the permanent banning.  
Of the many organizations I contacted, including your Commission, only the State Secretary of Records chose to stand for freedom and ordered Loomis against the will of Town Manager Thomas Lynch to open Sturgis Library records to public scrutiny, which enabled me to finally discover her email, the only document regarding the permanent trespass order.  Will any of you, especially the new commissioners, stand for freedom and at least dare buck the system of hypocrites at the helm and write a letter to Loomis and the library trustees to at least request my basic human rights be restored in Barnstable?  How can Town Manager Mark S. Ells and town councilors justify giving thousands of dollars to Sturgis every year when Loomis can, at a whim, ban town citizens permanently?  
In 2015, I requested a review of the no-trespass order in accord with Sturgis Acceptable Behavior Policy, which your collaboration likely helped enact: “Patrons whose privileges have been revoked may have the decision reviewed by the Board of Library Trustees.”  Sturgis Library did not respond to that request.  Several weeks ago, I again made the request, though noted this time I’d be informing you of it.  Jeanie Hill, President of the Board of Trustees, responded briefly:  “There is a no trespass order in effect; therefore your request to be reinstated at Sturgis Library is denied.”  In essence, that is an example of circular (faulty) reasoning:  As a patron, I have a right to a review, but because there is an order in effect, I do not have a right to a review.  
For the speech crime of having criticized Loomis in writing, the punishment is permanent banning without possibility of parole.  Only severe intellectual conformity can allow each of you to accept that.  In his famous essay, “Self-Reliance,” Ralph Waldo Emerson rightfully stated:  “I am ashamed to think how easily we capitulate to badges and names, to large societies and dead institutions. Every decent and well-spoken individual affects and sways me more than is right.  I ought to go upright and vital, and speak the rude truth in all ways.” Might there be one of you apt to “go upright and vital” and buck the system of hypocrites at the helm?  [To view links, consult this Open Letter on The American Dissident blogsite.]

G. Tod Slone, Ed., The American Dissident, A Journal of Literature, Democracy, and Dissidence

www.theamericandissident.org / todslone@hotmail.com / 217 Commerce Rd., Barnstable, MA 02630