A Forum for Vigorous Debate, Cornerstone of Democracy

[For the journal--guidelines, focus, etc.--go to www.theamericandissident.org. If you have questions, please contact me at todslone@hotmail.com. Comments are NOT moderated (i.e., CENSORED)!]
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, not to mention Sweden, England, and Austria.

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

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after she permanently banned me w/o warning and w/o due process, clearly stipulates that “Patrons whose privileges have been revoked may have the decision reviewed by the Board of Library Trustees.”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

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

American Public University System

An Egregious Aberrancy

At a for-profit university, the First Amendment

automatically becomes something to be ignored 

or, if someone does not wish to abide by that 

fundamental for-profit principle, 

then he shall be punished for exercising his basic human rights. 

The shame and hypocrisy of American Military University 

incarnates that principle, 

for a university should never be run like the military, 

which somehow manages to simultaneously position itself 

as protector of freedom, while punishing freedom 

whenever it might appear within its ranks.  

American Military University does not mandate workshops on freedom,

but rather on rubrics grading and student retention,

and pushes oddities like dyke studies, though PC-conformity 

is certainly not a manifestation of freedom of thought…

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Free Speech Organizations--Apathetic and Pathetic

Organizations et al Contacted Regarding 
Sturgis Library’s Removal of My Civil Rights 
(In 2012, Sturgis Library director Lucy Loomis permanently banned me w/o warning, w/o due process, and w/o a written notice.   Sturgis is my neighborhood library.  My taxes help pay for it.  Loomis' decree prevents me from attending any political or cultural events held at my neighborhood library, thus truncating my civil rights.  Since 2012, the following organizations and people were contacted in an effort to obtain justice.  Only the State Secretary of Records of Massachusetts proved helpful by forcing Loomis to open her records to public scrutiny.  The only reason for the banning appeared in an email she wrote to Ted Lowry, President of the Trustees:  "for the safety of the staff and public."  Yet I do NOT have a criminal record of violence and never make threats!  Indeed, Loomis never states I made threats.  Since the banning, not one person has been harmed or threatened by me.  Scan down my blogs to read entries posted on this despicable assault on FREEDOM OF SPEECH in Barnstable County on Cape Cod...  

-Town Manager (argued no jurisdiction/no interest, though the former was false considering that he was forced to contact the library by the State Records chief)
-Town Attorney (no jurisdiction/no interest)
-ACLUM (interested at first, contacted Sturgis, then silence, then a simple, no)
-Police Station (paid 50 cents for the police report, which does not mention precise reasons or even the duration of the trespass order)
-Barnstable Patriot (no response)
-Barnstable Enterprise (no response… and now defunct)
-Cape Cod Times (no response)
-Eleanor Claus, President of the Town Library Committee at the time (no response) 
-Ted Lowry, president of the library trustees (no response)
-American Library Association (no jurisdiction over libraries and disinterest) 
-ALA’s Office of Intellectual Freedom (no response)
-ALA’s Freedom to Read Foundation “Defending the First Amendment in Libraries and Beyond” (No response)
-25 library directors in the Cape Cod Clams Library System (No response)  Dan Santos, Sturgis Library trustee, responded to the directors, arguing that my argument was mere “intellectual masturbation”
-Barnstable Council of Aging (No response)
-New England First Amendment Center (Northeastern University/called me/worked on the case, then slowly disappeared) 
-PEN New England “defending freedom of expression” (No response) 
-First Amendment Center, Nashville, TN (suggested Town Attorney… who said it was out of her jurisdiction!)
-Institute for Justice—Arlington, VA (No response)
-State Senator O’Leary (presented Sturgis with a whopping check.  No response)
-State Representative Sarah Peake (also presented Sturgis with a whopping check.  No response)
-Elizabeth Hacala, Executive Manager, Massachusetts Library Association (No response)
-Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (No response)
-J. Gregory Milne, candidate delegate to the Barnstable County Assembly of Delegates (No response)
-Ann Canedy, town council rep (would do nothing)
-State rep Cleon Turner (got angry, labeled me impolite, then no response) 
-State rep Brian Mannal (expressed interest, then no response)
-Massachusetts Secretary of Records (ordered the library to make public all documents with my regard, a minor victory)
-Cape Cod Poetry Journal, editor Bonnani (no response, held workshop at Sturgis)
-Cultural Center of Cape Cod, poetry curator Gouveia got angry because I questioned his sincerity
-Massachusetts Common Cause (11/14/13)   [No response]
-Freedom House (11/18/13) [No response]
-Cape Cod Community College English instructors- one puerile, indirect response from Prof. John French “Hi Sally, I suppose I will be a target soon...LOL  I hope he brings it on while I am at 60mg of Prednisone.  John” [Pathetic non-response]
-PEW Research Center [No response]
-Center for Individual Rights [No response]
-Center for Inquiry—Campaign for Free Expression [No response]
-Cape Cod Writers Center (Dir. Nancy Rubin Stuart) [3 or 4 different times and never a response]
-Barnstable Village Civic Association [No response]
-Barnstable County Human Rights Commission (sent 12/27/13) (Zero interest)
-Library Journal (1/09/14) Irrelevant, evasive response
-Center for Civic Media, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Chris Peterson, Research Assistant [No response]
-Social Justice Committee of the Unitarian Church of Barnstable (3/28/14).  Apathetic response.
-Brandeis Center for Human Rights (3/30/14)  No response.  
-Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (May 2014) No response.
-National Coalition Against Censorship (June 2014) No response.  
-Adam Kessel, Principal in the Boston office of Fish & Richardson (July 2014) No response.
-Dr. Nancy Dempsey, Professor and Coordinator of Criminal Justice, Cape Cod Community College, organizer of the local National Human Rights Day forum [No response]
-sunshineweek@asne.org. Requested sunshine success stories, so I sent mine.  [No response]
-NPR (Cape Cod) WCAI (Woods Hole) [No response]

-National Endowment for Democracy [No response]

Friday, October 13, 2017

Alexandra Alter

The Hillary Poets of the Hillary Resistance

Poetry has become very important again, at least according to New York Times hack-journalist-for-the- publishing-and-literary world Alexandra Alter.  In her article, “American Poets, Refusing to Go Gentle, Rage Against the Right,” she quotes a number of Hillary poets, though somehow doesn’t mention Hillary in it.  Under the previous political regime, the poets were conspicuously silent… or rather lap-doggie.  Poet Jane Hirshfield explains: “When poetry is a backwater it means times are O.K. When times are dire, that’s exactly when poetry is needed.”  Yes, everything was wonderful under Obama and yes, somehow poetry will take down he, who Hillary couldn’t.  
Across the nation today, poets have awakened and are walking like groupthink zombies out of the “backwater,” though only partially, because they’re still holding their PC-pens and writing from the confines of their groupthink “backwater” safe-spaces.  They are raging, though not against the poesy establishment, not against the poesy academy chancellors, not against the black poesy laureate autocratically-anointed by the black Librarian of Congress appointed by the former black president, not against the poesy academic gatekeepers—those poesy executive directors of poesy societies and poesy academies and publishers of establishment poesy rags—, not against their well-fed poesy idols usually entrenched in academic sinecures, and not against the inherent corruption in the according of poesy stipends, poesy grants, and poesy tenure slots.  
Most poets couldn’t even fathom questioning and challenging such things and persons.  After all, doing that would mean being free-minded and going against the academic grain, rocking the establishment boat, and bucking the literary system, those giant hands that feed only poets in lockstep.  Not a good poesy-career move at all!  Far too risky!  Far too much individuality required!  
As for the new raging verse, Jeff Shotts, one of those poesy executive editors (Graywolf Press), argues:  “This isn’t just confessional poetry, but poetry that’s meant to stir us into action.”   Action for Hillary, the Prevaricator, once again in 2020?  Action for more Russian-collusion inanity?  Alter informs that the poets are forming part of the Hillary-resistance movement (without mentioning Hillary of course).  Will their icon Maya Angelou step out of her academic cocoon to denounce Trump?  Well, I guess not.  She’s dead.  “There’s going to be a major shift in our poetry,” announced Alice Quinn, yet another of those poesy executive directors.  Poetry Society of America is her fiefdom, you know, that members-only society, where only members can anoint new members. “The poems that I have been reading, which are freshly minted, most of them, have a powerful sense of urgency and reckoning and responsibility,” she stipulates.  Responsibility to speak truth as staunch individuals and to poesy-power figures like her?  Of course not!  
Self-declared gender-free poet Danez Smith, whose verse is used by Black Lives Matter, provides some lines of “urgency and reckoning”:  “on the TV/ is the man from TV/ is gonna be president/ he has no word/ & hair beyond simile/ you’re dead, America.”  Brilliant!  Daring!  Original!!!  Well, apparently Alter must think so.  “We turn to poems in moments of crisis for comfort,” announces Jennifer Benka, yet another of those poesy executive directors.  Yes, poets with lofty titles!  Her fiefdom is the omnipotent Academy of American Poets.  Dare criticize it and be banned forever!  Yes, that’s what happened to me quite a while ago!  Read all about it here!  After all, curiosity didn’t kill the poet, PC-groupthink did that!  Do the Hillary poets care about my banning?  Of course not!
“We’ve seen this spontaneous swell of people coming to read poems that speak to this moment,” says Benka.  Oh, yeah, now they’ll be putting some of those Academy-approved poems in those academic safe-spaces next to the crayons, legos, and teddy bears!  
Alter informs that “Poetry readings around the country have come to resemble leftist political rallies.”  Does she mean the violence and rioting against those with the wrong opinions?  Such rallies are of course not inclusive or at all open to diversity of thought and remind of Stalinist Pravda poetry and of the incarcerated Cuban poets, who could not and did not walk in lockstep with the communist Castro regime, the one praised by, well, you know.
According to Alter:  “Major publishing houses are rushing out their own volumes” of resistance verse.  And yet what is really needed is a drain-the-poesy-swamp movement, not more poesy-swamp- creature empowerment under the guise of resistance.  Alter notes, for example, that Boston Review published “Poems for Political Disaster,” which has a foreword by academic poet laureate, Juan Felipe Herrera, and includes poems by academics Stephen Burt, Monica Youn and Jorie Graham.  Alter, however, does not inform that they are indeed academics and, of course, is incapable of questioning and challenging the poesy establishment.  Her job depends on that incapacity.   All she can do is ahh and ooh before elitist establishment names and titles.  Can she and those establishment poets possibly comprehend the words of Emerson, which inevitably damn them?  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.”  
Interestingly and again without any manifestation of capacity to question and challenge, Alter notes “But poets tend to be liberal, and the submissions skewed heavily to the left.”  But if the poesy machine is liberal then clearly the poesy machine will be actively suppressing poets not deemed liberal (i.e., of the groupthink PC-mindset).  In other words, in the darkness of suppression, how can one know just how many poets might not be of that liberal-ilk?  
Amit Majmudar, editor of Resistance, Rebellion, Life, a book of 50 poems published by Knopf, argues regarding to his call for submissions:  “I was equally open to an anti-globalization poem as I was to a Trumpocalypse Now poem.”  Was he sincere or would sincerity have eliminated him from being chosen editor?  Likely the latter!  Alter, again mesmerized by “badges and names,” notes poems by former academic poet laureate Robert Pinsky, Eileen Myles, Kevin Young and Solmaz Sharif will be in that volume.  
Finally, most poets shamefully hate and reject vigorous debate, cornerstone of democracy.  When criticized they will normally remain silent, especially if the critic is not of the known elite-poesy variety, or they will call the critic a “troll” or some other infantile ad hominem, or they will simply respond with vacuous politesse.   Burt chose silence regarding my critical cartoon with his regard, “The Professors—Why Poetry Doesn’t Matter.”  Myles called me a “troll,” regarding the critical cartoon with her regard, “The Poets—Identity Politics, But Still Bourgeois to the Core.”  Majmudar chose the vacuous-politesse option regarding the critical cartoon on him and others, “Poetasters of the Resistance.”  “Thanks for your creative engagement, George! Keep up the good work!”  Oh, yeah.  I’ll try to do that, Mr. Majmudar!  And if he were not a flaming hypocrite, why did he reject my poem, “The Fall of Hillarius, the First,” but publish Frederick Seidel’s poem, “Now”?  “Now a dictatorship of vicious spineless slimes/ We the people voted in has taken over.” […]   Brilliant!  Daring!  Original!   Now, if Alter possessed an iota of “fair and balanced” in her literary reportages, she would have included a counter sentence or even two in her extremely PC-biased article.  Now, which establishment poesy magazine out there would be willing to publish this counter essay?  Not one, of course!  And that constitutes the core flaw embedded in the heart of the lit resistance…