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Poems

Jordan Frances Jun 2016
To Brock Turner
Who they call "ex-swimmer"
"All-American"
"Former athlete"
Who I call ******
Assailant
Attacker.
I know they've made excuses for you
For your entire life
You're a daddy's boy, Brock
As he didn't think twenty minutes of action
Constitutes twenty years of punishment
But when the one you hunted wakes up
Choking on the memories you planted in her head
When she still feels the pine needles stabbing her neck
Even once they are gone
Will your father defend her?
You see, she doesn't have the luxury to get off for good behavior
In five, or ten, or twenty years
Or in your case, six months
No jury decides her fate
You already did that, Brock
And I'm sure she was not the only one
Who else's life sentence was issued by you?
How many other women were ripped from their bodies
By your hungry hands and shredding teeth?
When I get angry that you
And my own attacker
Had excuses handed to you like face cards
Because you both were young
Because you were smarter than this
Because you made a mistake
Because your future is more important than mine
I am told to stop being an angry feminist *****
Stop burning my bra and burning bridges
With men who might actually want me close.
I, the angry feminist *****, push people away
Because
I , the angry feminist *****,
am tired of men going to feminist rallies and making **** jokes in the same 24 hours
am tired of men who I've known for years trapping me in a stairwell because I will be their next piece of prey
am tired of men who are the face of male feminism treating women like clothing they can throw away when they get bored
With that,
I am reminded that it is a man's world
and I am no more than a passerby
My outrage cannot change how someone feels about my experience
about their experience
about her experience
My outrage will not cause people to hate you, Brock
My outrage can ignite a spark in someone
who is already *******
My outrage can inspire someone to use their voice
and another
and another
and another
My outrage can become another voice in a sea of fire that consumes the system which allows
you, Brock,
to mean more than your victim.
My outrage is bursting
and it does not end here.
James Jarrett Jul 2014
To put our current legal situation into context you have to ask one basic question; what is law? Is law as we have been lead to believe, the codification of statutes defining what is illegal or not? Or is there some inherent property of moral righteousness that must exist for that law to have force?

I will argue that there is a moral component of law that must be present to make the system of law work. I am, of course, aware that there are many places that laws are passed that have no moral basis at all. There are dictatorships around the world that oppress their peoples and use their codified statutes to imprison and **** any who dissent.

The ultimate example of this is was the **** Germany government who made it legal to **** Jews. It was not only legal, but a system of laws was implemented to guide their extermination. But those laws, even though written out with penalties for those who did not follow them by the legislature, were illegal.

It is a basic component of the human being to know right from wrong. It is the reason that human beings set up laws in the first place. They are set up to make sure that innocents are not victimized by the predacious in our societies. In virtually every place that a human society exists, whether on a group, tribal or civilization level, there are always laws that govern behavior. Even those that break the laws have a sense of righteousness. In prison populations, if the prisoners feel that they are being treated in a fair and just manner they will comply with the rules and follow the system. Take away that feeling of just and fair treatment and prison riots and mayhem ensues. The prisoners realize that they have broken the law and when treated humanely will accept their punishment for the most part. The prisoners know that they have committed a wrong and they knew the possible penalty beforehand and knew what they risked. If torture, mal-treatment and other injuries are added to the punishment then a situation of self-righteousness is set up. The only way to control a prison population under those circumstances is with solitary confinement and complete isolation; if left to exist within prison society it would quickly conflagrate into confrontation.

In places where law exists without any moral authority there is always rebellion brewing just under the surface of society. The dictators and bureaucracies of these societies must rule with an iron fist because they know that one moment of slackness will have them swept from power and executed or exiled. Every single individual who is subject to these laws knows that they are illegal. How can they be illegal if they are written into law you might ask; Is that not the definition of law?

My argument is that it is the moral component of the law that is essential for it to work. It has nothing to with writing a statute and everything to do with human nature. We are after all the ones who create the laws, then write them and in the end follow them. It is at the very core of our nature to organize and codify law because we are innately social by nature and always end up forming some type of society that must have rules. It is also our own feeling of self-righteousness that makes us create the laws.

Certain things are innately wrong and one person should not be able to do this or that to another, and that is the basic creator of law. Laws don’t start out as regulations to govern society. They start out as basic rules of moral behavior; don’t steal from those in our community, don’t **** anyone and don’t try to take my wife. It is this same sense of self-righteousness that drives us to rebel when we know that a law is being applied without any righteous basis.

Take traffic laws for an example. Someone is driving down the highway when they suddenly see blue lights in the rearview. They were oblivious to their speed, lost in thought, and look down at the speedometer and see that they are doing 70 M.P.H. When the cop walks up and gives them a speeding ticket for doing 70 M.P.H. in a 50 M.P.H zone, there is little room for self-righteousness. Most people knowing that they broke the law, and one enacted for public safety, will accept the ticket and pay it without even showing up in court. The next example is the opposite.

Someone is rolling down the highway and the only difference in the scenario is that when they look down they see that they are only doing 45 M.P.H. They continue on for a while, waiting for the cop to go around them. When they eventually pull over, part of it is curiosity as to why he would be stopping them. In this case when a 70 M.P.H. ticket is handed out the reaction is going to be entirely different. That person will go to court. In addition to going to court, if not resolved there, they will spend large amounts of time and money to right the injustice. They will actually spend time and money far out of proportion to the actual injustice that happened because they are self-righteous.

Now imagine that the law was written like this: If you are driving down the highway you can be pulled over and issued a speeding ticket at any time no matter what your speed was. That is the point where the law goes against human nature. People would naturally begin to rebel against it because of its inherent injustice. In the second case it is not only that person’s right to rebel against the law, but also their moral obligation. They have a moral obligation to rebel because they should be seeking to re-establish moral law. If they live in human society then moral law, compatible with human nature should be the rule. If this is not the case, then they are being set up to have very bad things happen.

The Jews in **** Germany also had a moral obligation to fight and for the most part they did not (With the notable and heroic exception of the Warsaw ghetto and a few others) and were led to their slaughter. They had a moral obligation not just to themselves, but to their fellow Jews and compatriots. They were obligated to save their children, their mothers and fathers and other humans and in the end, for the most part did not.

Instead they followed the laws of **** Germany. (Just as the German soldiers at the Nuremberg trials did) They agreed to be registered because to not do so would be breaking the law. They showed up in groups to be transported away because to not do so would be breaking the law. They gave up their goods and businesses and money because not to do so would be breaking the law. There were, of course, severe penalties for breaking the law such as being imprisoned or just disappearing into the night and that drove most to comply.

I know that faith also played a part for many and I am not judging their actions or inaction. I am simply stating the results of what happened by their following the law and putting forward the fact that we are all morally obligated to act when law becomes illegal or immoral.

When law has lost its moral authority and becomes nothing more than something punitive to arbitrarily punish enemies then it is not true law; or at least not true to human nature , by which we all act. In that case all the law becomes is a fear of retribution. No one cares if they break the law for they feel no guilt about doing so and we humans, for the most part, are moral beings. Personally I don’t rob people because it is against the law. I don’t rob people because of the fact that it is morally wrong and I have no desire to violently take from another to gain wealth. I will die before I take the sustenance of another to live.

Once the moral component of law is removed only fear of punishment remains. If someone follows the law it is only because they don’t want to be fined or imprisoned; It I not because they have a moral imperative. But fear only goes so far; when the law becomes illegal its moral authority is transferred to those against whom it is used. They now have righteousness on their side and righteousness has a way of cancelling out fear.

Counter-intuitively, the more injustice that is piled on the more it is met with resistance. The IRA is an excellent example. By the 1960’s their membership was flagging and their armed struggle against the British was at very low ebb. That all changed on ****** Sunday when British troops opened fire into a crowd of demonstrators and killed and wounded a number of them. Instead of being frightened by this, they were outraged and active resistance against them doubled. A vicious cycle was started as the British escalated their actions in response to the increase in attacks and therefore caused even more.

The result of the British crackdown was the highest membership in the IRA in history and the start of a real shooting war. The level of violence escalated to a point never seen before and eventually drove the Brits to sue for peace. The danger of enrolling in the outlawed organization was more than offset by the sense of self-righteous outrage that was generated by the deaths and military lock down of entire neighborhoods. When one joined the IRA it was not a matter of if you would die or be imprisoned, but rather when. Still, even knowing what the outcome would be the ranks of the IRA swelled to enormous numbers. When the British military began a covert assassination program to **** suspected IRA members and affiliates, instead of instilling fear it just added to the sense of outrage and drove more to join and fight.

It was the (Legal) injustice of what was being done that gave the moral righteousness to the IRA and drove them to war. I bring this all up because we are now, in our own society, entering an era of legal lawlessness. We will be forced to make choices about how we respond when confronted with these laws. From the patriot act to the NSA spying, the NDAA authorization of indefinite detention, the IRS and the DOJ it is becoming clear that we are living in an increasingly lawless society.

The lawlessness is not on the part of the people, but rather on the part of those writing the law. The irony is that as the laws become more illegitimate the numbers of them are increasing exponentially. There are already so many federal laws on the books that at any given time any given individual is guilty of a crime. We have now become beholden to the very institutions that are supposed to be serving us as a society. Instead of serving us, the people, they now serve the bureaucracy instead. The bureaucracy and the institutions thereof have become the center of law giving rather than we as citizens. The law, rather than protecting us has become an instrument to protect the bureaucracy and punish those who disagree with it.

We have come to the point where our laws are becoming as corrupt as any given banana republic and if we do not actually want to become one, then we need to make a stand and say enough is enough. I am sure that while I have been writing this that I have committed at least three crimes; either by what I have written or done or thought or possibly what type of lighting I used. Do I care? No not at all. My sense of self- righteous indignation has grown to the point that I have no fear. I have no fear of death or imprisonment. The level of outrage has grown in me to the point that I will go to war.

Will they put me in prison? Go ahead lock me up with a captive audience and let me speak the truth to them; I will leave with an army of self-righteous individuals. Of course the speaking of this truth is illegal in prison, but at this point what is law? We all have hard choices coming up in the future; choices that could affect the rest of our lives and need to decide how to act. In the end how we act is going to be influenced by how the legal system acts. Let me end this with a question: If you receive a letter from the IRS informing you that you are subject to an audit, is your hard drive going to crash? I know that mine is.
T Jones Aug 2014
Not a poem but in protest of flagging truth about racism in Traverse City, Michigan


Traverse City, Michigan: Racism is still alive and well in our area.

We weren't always welcoming
Cross burning's (City of Traverse City, MI)
I'm born and raised in Traverse City, Michigan and still living in the same neighborhood where I grew up. I can remember when blacks were not welcome in most parts of town and the one or two around were military visitors.

We had two known cross burning incidents. One back in the late 80's or early 90's the other was around 1924, ******* groups like Ku Klux **** was behind both cross burning incidents. I found old articles on the earlier one but someone is trying hard to white wash history of Traverse City by hiding evidence of the most resent one. Ones like me who were there remember those dark days like it was yesterday. It don't bode well for tourism or the Cherry Festival if there's a record of racism in our city.

Copy pasting one two different retelling of story reported by our sometimes biased Record Eagle articles regarding the first and and will continue to dig for the other one.

January 31, 2009
KKK was active in early '20s

The 1924 bombings and cross burnings in downtown Traverse City were not the first **** activity in northern Michigan.

The Record-Eagle reported flaming crosses in the Mancelona area on Aug. 1, 1923, a full year before. Six weeks later, Traverse City commissioners refused the **** permission to hold a Sept. 17 open-air meeting at the corner of Front and Cass.

About 300 people showed up anyway and marched to a vacant lot west of Front and Union after the unidentified property owner gave permission, carefully noting that it "did not commit him to any relationship with the organization," the newspaper said.

The Record-Eagle also passed on information from an identified **** source in its Sept. 17 report:

Two, maybe three organizers had worked for weeks in Traverse City. About 150 Traverse City men from "among the leading citizens" had joined. An open-air ritual with the traditional fiery cross burning on a hillside would be held "sometime but not yet" in or near Traverse City, and it would be "merely a part of the **** ceremonies and have no special significance."

People who expected to see hooded men in white robes performing rites at the Sept. 17 rally were bound to be disappointed, the paper said. A new state law banned wearing masks in public. It also would be difficult to tell how many in the audience were KKK members because "every person who has signed the Ku Klux card has pledged to keep his membership an absolute secret."


Traverse City, Michigan wasn't always welcoming to people of color.


Traverse City Record-Eagle

February 1, 2009
Ku Klux **** terrorizes TC in 1924

KKK cross burnings, explosions rock city

By LORAINE ANDERSON
Black History Month has special significance, since it begins fewer than two weeks after the nation's historic inauguration of its first black president, Barack Obama.

But there are parts of that history that Traverse City, like the rest of the nation, would rather forget. The city never had a large black population, but it did not escape a visit from the Ku Klux **** during a frightening night of downtown explosions and cross burnings on Aug. 9, 1924.

Traverse City has never seen anything like that night of terror. Buildings shook. Store windows cracked and shattered. Houses as far away as 16th Street quaked, the Record-Eagle reported.

And though outside agitators were blamed, some local people may have been involved.

It started about 8 p.m. after three explosions went off across the river from the Lyric Theatre, where the State is today.

The crowd at the Lyric all but stampeded toward the door as women and children screamed. Panicked shoppers spilled out of downtown stores. City police phones jangled with alarm.

A large cross burned on the north side of the Boardman River near Cass Street. About 50 smaller burning crosses appeared almost simultaneously at the centers of intersections across the city. Each was crudely nailed together and swathed in oil-soaked rags. Sparks flew when several cars struck them. A city fire truck raced through town to douse flames.

Then, a "touring car" with four men, robed and hooded, though not masked, slowly trolled down Front Street carrying a sign surrounded by red flares blazing three letters: KKK.

Copies of the Ku Klux **** newspaper, "The Fiery Cross," later were found downtown, and police determined that at least two cars were involved in planting and lighting the crosses.

**** leaders called the explosions and flaming crosses a recruiting gimmick, but it was more than that. The 1920s was a reactionary time in the United States. The **** had risen again, starting in 1915, widening its anti-black focus to Jews, Catholics and immigrants, particularly those from southeastern Europe. Its membership was strongest in Illinois, Indiana and Ohio.

The ****'s most powerful year was 1924, when it reached an all-time high of 5 million members nationwide and virtually controlled the government of Indiana. Its most popular slogan was "100 percent pure American."

The **** had a solid base of support in Michigan. The **** fielded two candidates in the Republican gubernatorial primary in 1924 and a ****-backed candidate was elected mayor of Flint. A write-in **** candidate even made a strong showing in a Detroit mayoral race.

In June 1924, 1,000 men joined the KKK in an Oakland County cross burning attended by about 8,000 people. Traverse City's demonstration took place just two months later. But who was really behind it?

"There is some doubt among the authorities as to whether the offenses were actually committed by local people or men from outside. They believe that local people were associated in the affair," the Record-Eagle reported.

An unidentified spokesman for the local **** denied responsibility, speculating that it was the work of **** enemies or rogue Klansmen. He told the Record-Eagle that the **** repudiated terror tactics and burning of "unwatched crosses."

Two weeks after the bombing, city police obtained felony and misdemeanor arrest warrants accusing Ku Klux **** organizer Basil Carleton of Richmond, Ind., of setting off explosives. Indiana police arrested him on Aug. 29.

Witnesses testified in two trials in December and January that Carleton had purchased 25 pounds of dynamite, fuses and three caps from Hannah & Lay Mercantile Co. about two hours before the explosions. A Park Place Hotel clerk said he saw Carleton hurrying away from the direction of the explosions about 10 minutes later. Two **** members testified that Carleton was not at the scene.

Yet he was never convicted. Juries acquitted him in both cases because the prosecutor could not prove to their satisfaction that he was at the scene of the explosion or that he personally set off the dynamite.

The bomber escaped justice. But the good news was that in Traverse City, no night of terror like that happened again.

It was this event that sparked the cross burning in Traverse City. We had only one black family in our city, when Betty Ponder and her family left Traverse City for the first time due to no one wanting to rent to them, population of blacks in our predominately white city drop to zero.


******* Movement Targets Northern Michigan

by Robert Downes

National Alliance advocates the creation of "two Americas"

Traverse City, Mich., noted primarily for its beaches, tourists and cherry pie values, appears to be erupting as a national battleground of opinion over the ******* movement, with forces on both sides of the issue coming out of the woodwork to vent their outrage over racial issues.
On Thursday, June 5, residents along stretches of Washington and Front streets in town came home to find a slick package of information from the National Alliance hanging from their doorknobs. An outgrowth of the American **** Party, the National Alliance is a ******* group which advocates the creation of "two Americas," one of which would be "White Space only with no Jews or blacks." The Alliance, advocates genocidal practices if need be to achieve its goals, and plans to distribute 1,000 information packets in Northern Michigan.

Protest organized to oppose July "NordicFest"
The incident arose only a day after more than 150 people from throughout Northern Michigan gathered at a "Hate-Free TC" meeting to oppose the NordicFest, a skinhead rock festival sponsored by the Ku Klux ****, to be held at a secret location 20 miles south of town, July 3-6.
The NordicFest is being advertised on the Internet and will feature at least six skinhead bands featured on Stormfront Records and Resistance Records -- both of which are purveyors of neo-**** hate music. It will also reportedly feature speakers from the Ku Klux **** and Aryan Nations.

Thus far, the NordicFest's location has been a closely-kept secret by David Neumann of Bloodbond Enterprizes, the concert organizer and a former director of the Michigan Knights of the Ku Klux ****. Neumann has told local media that 300 tickets have been sold for the concert -- about half the number he expects to sell. Reportedly, concertgoers will be provided with maps to the secret location at a checkpoint.

Bands expected to play at the NordicFest include Intimidation One, Aggravated Assault, Blue Eyed Devils, Max Resist and the Hooligans, and No Alibi.

Local churches offering seminars on the ******* movement and the importance of diversity
GATHERING STORM

Journalists have made inquiries on the NordicFest from as far away as London, New York and Colorado as a result of the Northern Express story circulating on the Internet. A segment for National Public Radio is expected to take the issue nationwide, possibly focusing the world's attention on Traverse City on the eve of the National Cherry Festival -- an event which draws more than half a million visitors, many of them from ethnic minorities.
"We're creating a rainbow ribbon that we hope everyone will wear in rejection of skinheads and the ****," said Rabbi Stacey Fine of Hate-Free TC. "We hope to have hundreds of ribbons during the time the **** is here, available from downtown merchants."

Fine says the group also hopes to march in the National Cherry Royale Parade with a three-by-eight-foot banner covered with thousands of signatures in a show of support for racial and cultural diversity. Thus far, Cherry Festival officials say they have received no applications from Hate-Free T.C., but will consider the request if approached.

Dottie Kye of Hate-Free TC says the group doesn't plan to try stopping the NordicFest despite their opposition ot the concert. "We're ignoring it," Kye says. "We celebrate anyone's right to organize and free speech. But our thing is unity and celebrating diversity." In addition to several church seminars on the ******* movement and the importance of diversity, Hate-Free TC is organizing a three-day "Unity Festival" which will feature dozens of musicians, artists, poets, actors and peace activists at the Traverse City Opera House, July 3-6.

Concert organizers Tim Hall and Tom Emmott say that more than 40 musical acts will send a pro-diversity message to area teens, with performers including Willie Kye, Alright Already, John Greilick, Samantha Moore, the Motor Town Juke Boys, Bentley Filmore, the Sisters Grimm, and Lack of Afro, among many others. A concert with Fishbone is planned for later in the month.

"Even if the NordicFest doesn't happen, something positive is going to come of it because it gets people thinking about the prevention of violence"
THE TEEN CONNECTION

The Unity Fest counter-concert is seen as a vital tool in fighting the influence of the ******* movement on teens in the area. After the initial story broke, the buzz in local high schools was that the NordicFest would be offering free beer to minors. Although that notion is clearly erroneous, a small number of teens in the area still cling to the idea and have also been attracted by the rebellious nature of the skinhead rock scene.
Tim Hall believes that his Unity Fest concert will help turn that tide. The three-day concert will be located in the heart of Traverse City in the old City Opera House, with easy access for the hundreds of teens who hang out downtown, often with little to do. "Our message is going to be one that values racial and cultural diversity," Hall said. "And we've had a great response so far. We had to put a lid on the performers when we reached 40 acts, because everyone wants to play at this event."

The Unity Fest will also coincide with the Annual Reggie Box Memorial Blues Blast, which was created five years ago to bring the heritage of black music to Northern Michigan for the overwhelmingly white Cherry Festival. This year's Blues Blast will feature John Mayall, Marcia Ball and the Bihlman Bros. in a free concert downtown on July 6. The concert will also feature a strong message promoting diversity.

The law enforcement view Traverse City Police Chief Ralph Soffredine says members of the law enforcement community, including the State Police and sheriffs from Grand Traverse and Wexford counties, are taking a wait-and-see approach as to whether the NordicFest will even be held.

"People ask what we would do if the skinheads wanted to march, and it's our position that they have the same rights under the First Amendment as anyone as long as they're obeying the law," Soffredine said. "It's a neutral situation for us. We just want to maintain the peace."

He added that skinheads coming to Traverse City would be treated "no different than if longhairs come into town, or square dancers. We'd certainly observe them and respond if there's trouble."

The chief noted that a similar event occurred in the Buckley area several years ago when several motorcycle gangs gathered for a rally. While the event was monitored by local police agencies, few people in the area knew that it occurred.

"Even if the NordicFest doesn't happen, something positive is going to come of it because it gets people thinking about the prevention of violence, which has become a serious problem in our community and our schools," he concluded. "The unfortunate thing is that it sometimes takes a ******* or a racial issue for people to get active."

"Sheriff Barr implies that people who have the courage to confront them will be put in jail."
ANGER FROM ACTIVISTS

Not everyone is happy with the neutral attitude of law enforcement. Judy Lowenzahn of Traverse City thinks that local police agencies should get tough on the **** concert, which has no legally-required bond or liquor license.
"These hateful groups are using skinhead music to recruit soldiers for their facist movement," Lowenzahn said. "If they are allowed to hold this event, in violation of local, state and federal laws and in violation of common decency, we will be capitve audience to their deranged homophobic, anti-semitic, racist, sexist ideology. Those who protest this message, along with those who are their scapegoats will be targets for hate crimes."

Lowenzahn upbraided Grand Traverse County Sheriff Barr after he made comments in a local paper that "I'd just as soon personally let them have their little event and be on their way." Barr added that if there was a confrontation between the skinheads and protestors, "there's going to be someone in jail."

"Does Sheriff Barr suggest that people of color and others who don't fit the aryan model hide inside their homes for the holiday weekend?" Lowenzhan responded. "Rather than offer a plan to protect the community from the violence that grows whenever white supremecists do outreach, Sheriff Barr implies that people who have the courage to confront them will be put in jail."

Northern Michigan targeted because of the predominantly white population
KLUELESS

Up to now, the vast majority of Northern Michigan residents have been klueless on the **** and the ******* movement. Many, for instance, had no idea that there even was a Ku Klux **** operating in the region until Neumann revealed that there are about 60 members operating mostly as "a fraternal organization" between ******* and the Mackinac Bridge.
Similarly, the existence and agenda of the National Alliance is all-ne