Free State Great in Winter of '08
Free State Project Liberty Forum '08
"Moving Liberty Forward"
The Free State Project (FSP) Porcupine Festivals have been four in number thus far: 2004-2007; and they've been summer events in scenic northern New Hampshire campgrounds to keep costs down.
Then last year (2007) our hardworking FSP supervolunteers decided to add a winter gathering more in the nature of a convention... at a hotel setting. Thus, the "Free State Winter Forum" concept was introduced in February 2007, at the Holiday Inn in Concord (NH). Irena Goddard was the head ramrod a year ago and, with a host of hardworking help, put together an uplifting weekend for the freedom minions—which I documented here. For 2008, Chris Lawless becomes the winter forum organizer and Irena serves as president of the FSP.
Last February the Forum featured celebrity pro-freedom journalist John Stossel. This year the Forum features celebrity pro-freedom candidate for president (and international man of intrigue) Ron Paul. Next year, how are we going to top that? I guess President Paul will need to move his Inaugural Ball to the Free State!
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My journeys to and from the Free State are becoming a comfortable routine; though I'm formally an early mover to New Hampshire—having written a diary of the experience—the exigencies of life require me to keep a footprint in my origin state of Michigan for a while. Thus, to attend this year's Liberty Forum I'll keep in the States and drive over in two days, staying in the Syracuse, New York, area for one night. Let me give a plug to the Knights' Inn of Liverpool, NY, off the I-90 turnpike exit 37: fast WiFi, clean comfortable rooms, microfridge; they recycle: ~$50 FRNs.
On day 2 I usually enjoy pointing my 2002 Starter-Audi A4 through the mountains of Vermont along Hiway 9, then picking up US 101 through Keene and Peterborough in the Free State—Keene is a college town with a fine brewpub called Elm City Brewing Company and in yon Peterborough lies a fabulous pub named Harlows, which I've written about elsewhere. But at neither of these elegant institutions have I ever, ever dallied or imbibed (much) while on the road! Unfortunately, this year I need to make better time and avoid any higher-elevation precipitation, so it's Mass Pike toward Boston and turn left toward Nashua, NH, on Route 3.
My road mind this year is unusually quiet. My thoughts of what lies ahead—both in terms of the Liberty Forum and American/Western-World culture generally—turn toward the importance of Ron Paul's candidacy for president. He's speaking at the forum. On the night I arrive (1/3/8) the Iowa caucuses will have concluded, and two days after my departure the citizens of New Hampshire will have cast their presidential primary votes. How Dr. Paul performs will change the course of history. He's dropping by our convention on Sunday, January 6, and no doubt the facilities will be packed to the rafters.
At the same time the freedom movement offers up this monumental Ron Paul Hail Mary! political campaign, I'm reflecting on having come to a major threshold in my own political thinking and writing. Particularly in connection with the 9/11 Truth Movement, I've suggested as a species we're on the verge of a Grand Awakening in consciousness. People who tap that deep golden vein of energy become self-sovereign; accordingly, they see the immensity of their internal reservoir of life, peace, and abundance, while saying goodbye to the destructive control machinery of the past.
More on the Grand Awakening later.
Arrival at the hotel, Thursday, is in plenty of time to recon the area, thread the Nashua traffic midst high mounds of old snow, grab some cheap Taco Bell morsels, and pick up a liter of 18-year-old Elijah Craig single-barrel bourbon whiskey at a $10 discount in the state liquor store. Elixir-sipping purposes only.
Most of the forum-goers will be arriving tomorrow, but tonight we can register and take in a reception and historical reenactment sponsored by SAKAL/CAI. Chris has also planned to use this reception for Free State authors to speak on behalf of their work, which I sadly neglected to prepare for. Besides myself (managing to ramble out a few words for New Pilgrim Chronicles), James Maynard and Gardner Goldsmith speak brightly of their books, The Light of Alexandria and Live Free or Die, respectively. I look forward to the day when we'll have dozens of Free State authors, not to mention scores of musicians and artists inspiring our path and lightening our load.
The historical reenactment was of famous New Hampshire citizen-political figures in colonial times discussing the plusses and minuses of ratifying the US Constitution. I'm appreciative of the careful effort put forth by these good men, though the acoustics are poor. And I can't truly follow the lines of argument; the one man, playing Rev. William Hooper, seems to have the best lines: "Sir, I'm not inclined to sign this document until it has the protections already afforded to the citizens of New Hampshire, including its bill of rights and the right of the people to revoke the government's charter." Or words to that effect. Good show. The more interesting photo I take is of the fellow playing George Washington (yes, I know he's from Virginia) looking out through an elaborate cage.
Those are the high points from yer humble Freedom Rider's perspective this cold day in early '08 and on the eve of big doin's.
2008 brings in a newer personal regime these days for yours truly, seldom any staying up into the wee hours enjoying the flights of reason lifted by beer and cheer. Partly it's the aging process catching up with me, partly it's recognition that I've become sated in that department over the years, and partly I've begun to relish being clearheaded in the morning so I can do my real job: write better stuff. (But I do miss sitting around a campfire in the northern Free State woods, passing around a jug, taking in the latest highs of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Planet Earth. It's the fresh air.)
So, Friday morning, with clear eyes and full heart, I walk from the elevators to the welcoming ceremonies in Salon A. Chris Lawless, bless him, begins by telling his own story of making the Free State his home: he was someone who wouldn't think of passing out literature or doing anything political, much less seeking liberty with his feet... or running political conventions. Then one day he had an epiphany—basically he was tired of libertarian all talk and no do, and learned of the Free State Project. He knew, as a matter of personal integrity, it was time to pick up his roots and put them back down in New Hampshire as soon as possible.
Stuff is getting better. Largely because of the First 1000 program, the number of people expected to early-move in 2008 is 500... to join roughly the same number of freedom activists who are already here. It's been my experience that the ones who arrive in the Free State hit the ground running and spend quality time in this libertarian cause or that one. (No one comes to the Free State to be a dimwitted deadbeat.) Irena Goddard, our new FSP president—much thanks to outgoing prez Varrin Swearingen!—then makes her pitch for FSP 3.0. (She hails from the software jungle.) Suffice it to say 3.0 is set up to better exploit our benevolent presence in cyberspace.
Irena intros Sharon Harris, a cofounder of the Libertarian Party of Georgia and president of Advocates for Self Government, to deliver the opening address. Sharon continues with the upbeat message, talking about how to make liberty "sticky." Stickiness is in reference to some work on how ideas become successful in society, based partly on Malcolm Gladwell's The Tipping Point. Another source for her chat on the importance of communicating well is the classic work on temperament by Myers-Brigg, probably best set forth in Please Understand Me by Kiersey and Bates. Now that we represent a deep threat to the established order, it becomes doubly important that we understand our audience(s) and move their minds toward the truth.
Sharon provides two memorable quotes:
"The entire history of human progress is about liberating individuals from state power." — ?
Pointing out to an audience of libertarians, "Not to lay anything heavy on you, but the future of Western Civilization rests on your shoulders." — David Bergland, Libertarian Party candidate for President, 1984
Next, I want to take in the Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) presentation by Peter Christ—Peter is a former police captain who framed the idea for LEAP and cofounded the organization—whom I ran into last night at the reception. Shown here making an animated point. But instead I opt for the immigration presentation by Gardner Goldsmith. Immigration is a wedge issue for conservatives, driving too many of them away from liberty and into the raised arms of Big Brother and Real ID. I want to hear a top-notch libertarian solution... and I do. Gardner is a writer and host of "Against the Grain" on WTPL FM in New Hampshire. He lays out a clear, constitutional argument for turning immigration over to the states and leaving naturalization (the question of citizenship) to the federal government; as a practical and a moral matter, the free flow of workers and trade across the border is a good thing. That's it! It's what I've been looking for among the noise on immigration. I want to mention a young gentleman pictured on the right, Tennyson McCalla, who apparently is the FSP's primary photojournalist for this event. Very impressive mind. I raised a question to Gardner regarding the benefits
of open immigration to countries from whom the immigrants are coming, and Tennyson laid out a scholarly pro-liberty response as if he'd been on the fast track at Cato. He may be one of these self-taught fireballs we'll be hearing much more from in the future. Most excellent; we old guard types are seeing so much of the phenomenon lately, especially in the Free State: "Liberty, the Next Generation." In the photo, I think he's motioning for me to hurry up and make my point. :)
As if to underscore the disastrous consequences of the immigration bills being proposed by Democrats and Republicans in Washington, a fellow FS denizen after the talk tells me he and his family were traveling by train to the Free State for this forum... and border patrol personnel boarded the train in Erie, PA, and Rochester, NY, to ask for papers! The unthinkable is happening now, folks. Though apparently the officers were not wearing swastikas.
I have to attend to some writing and personal business in the afternoon, missing some other speakers who certainly have good things to say:
Carla Howell—cofounder and chair of Committee for Small Government, resurrecting the campaign to repeal the Mass. income tax.
Don Gorman—Mr. Liberty in New Hampshire.
Peter Bagge—speaking on the "lonely life of a libertarian artist," he's the most well-known (and incisively funny) pro-liberty cartoonist for the past several years.
Unfortunately, tomorrow, for much the same reason I'm going to miss several of the other speakers as well. To view a synopsis of what these dedicated freedom fighters have to say, please tune in to the FSP Liberty Forum site. It's cocktail hour when I return to the floor; tonight we're getting the straight skinny on the recent FBI assault on and expropriation of the Liberty Dollar, courtesy Bernard von NotHaus, founder and monetary architect of that "private voluntary barter currency." Alas, he arrives on stage as a reincarnated "Captain Roughseas" doing what appears to be a stab at dinner theater. Well, regardless of acting or public speaking aplomb, the man inspires you: he's putting the Liberty Dollar back in business with new mintage. The feisty little rebel won't back down. The (First) Great Act of Defiance.
A lot going on, especially in the innumerable conversations one undertakes during weekends like this. There isn't nearly enough time to cover each one, but I must reveal what I heard at dinner theater from Walter, someone I'd never met. About my age (50-something), Walter seems to have made some good money in his day, enough to be considering leaving America for Belize if things don't start freeing up soon. Well, Walter completely on his own has been spending the past week (and some weeks before) doing an informal poll of patrons of coffee houses in the towns along the Merrimack River corridor. He asks folks if they're planning to vote (yes = 97%), how they're planning to vote, then if they express uncertainty he hands them a Ron Paul flyer. He tells me McCain is coming on strong, but Ron Paul is still solid at third or fourth. He wonders where he might go in the next couple of days, and I suggest Keene to catch the college kids.
Caught some good Zs staying away from the night life; also managing to keep a leg up on the reportage. Saturday begins with attendance of the presentation by Jeff Dickstein. I had wanted to also see Peymon Mottahedah's "Live Free of IRS Lies and Abuse," which takes a different angle on combating coercive taxation, but I was running too late. Mr. Dickstein is a longtime patriot attorney with the highest number of victories of any tax attorney in the world; he is currently handling the litigation pro bono for Bill Benson who has challenged the validity of the income tax on ratification grounds. In other words, Mr. Benson shows that the 16th amendment was not ratified by the required number of states, and was fraudulently accepted into law in 1913 by then secretary of state Philander Knox.
The Benson case recently has taken a dangerous turn, with the IRS wanting to enjoin Mr. Benson against any further publication or conversation that the income tax is not valid. I find it difficult to comprehend that any court of the United States would not immediately dismiss any attempt by government to curtail free speech. But apparently we can add it to "the long train of abuses and usurpations that evinces a design to reduce us under absolute despotism." Disturbing. Also, I learn a lot about the history of important US tax cases; and—like saving the Liberty Dollar or other libertarian causes—these crusaders need financial help. Freedom isn't free.
Saturday is a bonanza of speakers, and again
I'm sorry to be missing most of them. Barry Cooper, Scott McPherson, Jim Babka, Wayne Green, F. Paul Wilson, NH Representative Dan Itse, and Ed Hudgins. The consolation is I spend some quality time writing this diary, you know, expediting getting out the word. Later I wander through the exhibition space engaging several in meaningful chitchats and appreciations. These guys below are part of the youth brigade.
I'll bet the New England branch of Homeland Stupidity puts out a briefing paper tomorrow: "Young Arab (Looking) Terrorists Support Ron Paul." I spend a couple of minutes talking with them; they attend Columbia University. The one on the right tells me the only presidential candidate supported visibly by the students there is, you guessed it, our own RP. What about Bama Bama Obama? Well, yes Obama gets a lot of support, but not too many of them know why or care enough to carry a sign.
At the reception, I order a Sam Adams, perfect accompaniment to the revolution; I'm finding even without the beer in general this weekend my spirits are high with a wonderful feeling of inner peace. Perhaps it's part Eckhart Tolle (taking me out of my head) and part understanding the stars are finally aligned for us to prevail on the cosmic field of human action... or maybe it's the Elijah Craig 18-year-old, single-barrel bourbon whiskey.
The banquet speaker tonight is John Sununu, freshman US senator from New Hampshire. He's actually John E.Sununu son of theJohn (H.) Sununu who was former governor of NH and chief of staff for one of those Republican dipwads (Bush I?) admin. Word on the floor is young John voted for the Patriot Act, supports the war, supports the drug war, accepts the official conspiracy theory of 9/11, supports the income tax and the Federal Reserve system... and he never returned my telephone call to do something about the Liberty Dollar "taking." Aside from that, evidently, he's "America's most Libertarian Senator," says so right here on the scorecard.
Well, I guess for yours truly the timing is not good having Herr Sununu delivering lame Republican bromides (even spiced with his admittedly admirable opposition to renewing the Patriot Act) on the dais tonight: I've just spent several hours in the conference rooms, today and yesterday, learning of some of the most blatant acts of government tyranny. Tyranny. Yup. Right here in River City. Later, as I'm writing these diaries, I pen a long list of such abuses... and (along with the paltry Ron Paul showing in the upcoming NH primary) the list makes me so depressed I inconsiderately inflict that feeling of despair on my lady love back in Michigan. Here's the list:
The illegal and arbitrary raid on the Liberty Dollar
The attempted injunction against Bill Benson's First Amendment rights for promoting his book, The Law that Never Was.
An aggressive military buildup of weapons in space by the US government (to rain down hell on any who resist empire)
Secret programs of the NSS (national security state) producing killers and terror false flags... e.g. 9/11
Massive voter fraud and electronic elections tampering
And I didn't even include smearing and ignoring the Ron Paul campaign! You get the point. It's depressing and this evening, I've just about had it up to here with all things government. Including US Senators. Looking around at the faces of all these principled leaders of the libertarian resistance, I feel their resentment, too: "Sununu plays a key position for the opposing team; what the heck is he doing at our pep rally?!" Let's at least hope all the FSP picks up is his meal ticket, especially since Sununu picks up and leaves w/o questions; hey, who has the tar and feathers?
But from the banquet last night and tonight, from conversations with these multiple Thomas Paines, Paul Reveres, and Ben Franklins of the liberty movement, I feel a great upwelling of pride to be riding with them. I remember a quote from Howard Wooldridge of LEAP who spoke in Michigan on drug freedom earlier in the year, and it lifts my spirits: words to the effect "not all the bad men in the world can stop a good man who keeps on a comin'." Another gem from Howard's speech that night is more famous, and perhaps more apropos:
In times of change, the Patriot is a scarce man: brave, hated, and scorned. When his cause succeeds, however, the timid join him, for then
it costs nothing to be a Patriot. — Mark Twain
Pictured on the side here is Bob Shulz, whom I'd heard something about from the 2007 Liberty Forum. Talking about patriots! He was a speaker today; actually, I'd have much rather he were the banquet speaker tonight than Honorable Son of Sununu. Oh well! Bob winds up sitting at my table and though he'd never met any of us before, he treats us as if we were all high-level allies in the fight for Constitutional government... giving us the inside skinny on what the Supremes appeared to be doing wrt We the People's petition for redress of grievances: in essence, the Supreme Court was going to reveal on Monday that the redress case would not be heard. (!)
Which means the next step is "withdrawal of allegiance." Who's with me? Thomas Jefferson expresses it best:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
What's going to bring this Official US gang of thieves and murderers to justice? Will it be exposure of their orchestration of the 9/11 attacks? Will it be a million-man march of farmers, each planting a hemp seed on the Capitol Lawn? Will a 21st century Thomas Paine write the next Common Sense? Will hundreds of thousands of peace officers simply refuse to arrest their neighbors for consensual crimes? Will doctors and nurses launch a humanitarian expedition to the Middle East to care for millions of victims of depleted uranium poisoning? How about everyone filling their piggy banks with new Liberty Dollars and/or undertaking a general tax strike on April 15, 2008? Hack the IRS database, penetrate the states' DMV and victimless-felony databases, unlock the CIA's torture chambers and free the inmates? Elect Ron Paul? All of the above?
Well, something's gotta give. The people will rise up and put down the tyrants... one way or the other. As Jim Rockford so wisely said, "General, I'm a civilian. I outrank you."
And so we do.
My table at the banquet last night was interesting; there's an attractive 20-something couple apparently living with a good-looking 40-something couple up toward Dartmouth. It was unclear to me whether they were biological family, the acoustics were pretty bad. But the young woman named Emily uttered a phrase that's coming to mind more and more: she said her occupation is to help develop alternative systems of living for people so "they can better achieve their dreams."
Wow! She expresses my own BIG THAWT for the year.
I see people of the world in general, one at a time, coming into a "grand awareness" of the immense, virtually unlimited creative power within them. As we all begin to tap into our internal energy sources, we reach the ultimate in control of our own lives. Thus, we no longer need this control/domination by external agencies, by others, certainly not by archaic central states and their bands of pinheads and blindly obedient mindless brutes. I feel as a species we are on the threshold of this awakening, which makes sense of all the life-enhancement speculations of Ray Kurzweil and others.
Back to "the now." Today is the Ron Paul Visitation and the end of ceremonies; we've been told today will be crammed with people and we should try to check out early. No problemo. Instead of monitoring the LP presidential debate, or "Working with the GOP" (I had enough of that last night), or black-belt freedom-fighter Christopher Gronski's presentation "Facilitating Freedom Fellowship" during the early session, I put all my things in the car for a smooth getaway.
Toward "fewer think tanks and more do tanks"
Mostly by luck, at 10:30, I pick an extremely relevant and interesting talk by Brad Porter, coexecutive director of Free Assembly for Constitutional Thought. The topic is "Toward a Civic Constitutionalism," good stuff, the basic idea being to socialize the Constitution as a fundamental principle or way of looking at things—rather than dwelling on a particular interpretation of clauses. Brad begins by telling us a recent poll says more people know two of the three Simpsons' kids than three of the five guarantees of the 1st Amendment. It's alarming not only because of the lack of understanding of the Bill of Rights but the lack of centrality of the "Constitution Way" to Americans' lives. The reason officials carelessly break the Constitution is because the people have been dumbed down to feel it's only an ancient piece of paper.
Fortunately we're seeing a recovery of Constitutionalism in spades with the
Ron Paul Nation movement. The emergence of RP, especially among young people and college kids, as a revolution against the statist status quo, as Brad Porter states, transcends the person of Ron Paul himself. What these kids and the rest of us (whom Ron Paul himself later today in his speech refers to as "the libertarian remnant") are about is restoring the rule and liberty of the Constitutional way of life.
Note: I want to stress to Al Sharpton and his National Action Network that the use of "spades" is only a metaphor and implies no racial stereotyping.
Thus, the entire panoply of government power, especially the power collected at the federal level, is due for a massive and unprecedented shakedown—an end to the autocracy, the income tax, the Fed, and the welfare-warfare horse they all rode in on. There are a lot of people who depend on that autocracy, particularly in the old media. The movement toward constitutional governance is just catching its second wind and the Ron Paul campaign, if we take measures now, will seed a broad quasi-populist coalition of limited-govt. advocates for whom constitutional republic is a holy mantra healing our world. Well put Brad; definitely a first-round draft pick with a fabulous future on Team Liberty.
Before Dr. Paul arrives I want to grab some grub; they're having a boxed lunch over at the restaurant/pub. New Hampshire's such a strange place: you have one of very few five-star hotels in the state, with full booking for the primary. And this is Sunday lunch hour. Where are the staff? Egads, I wander into the restaurant —surprisingly few guests in the dining area at 11:45 (are they all in church?)—looking for one of the elusive boxes. In the near-patronless bar I note Jim Maynard and his wife Pat have occupied a surrounding table waiting for service; no one in the dining/drinking establishment seems to want to find out why we're here! The bartender is friendly enough, so I inquire about the box lunches that the three of us have an interest in. He gives us a tip: just buy off the menu and dine right here, you'll save $5.00 per sandwich. Hey, five FRNs is five FRNs: though declining in value rapidly, I'll surely have enough for an extra cup of coffee tomorrow. :)
Climbing the highest mountains for Dr. Paul
Note: I did not plant that sign, but I'm really impressed by whoever did. I'll bet tomorrow the hotel maintenance staff will pretend not to see it.
I'm glad to run into Jim and Pat; my whole approach to this forum has been to take the time to have good, even leisurely conversations with a few people
rather than multiple "hi and byes." They have just attended the Libertarian Party presidential debate; they found one of the candidates particularly appealing. But, although I appreciate the libertarian correctness of the candidates, at least with my main man George Phillies and maybe this guy the Maynards like, I wonder in light of the Ron Paul phenomenon whether the LP presidential campaign is just a side show.
Which perhaps sounds like blasphemy coming from me, a longtime, longsuffering LP member and leader—I was a cofounder of the Libertarian Party of Michigan, newsletter editor, chair several times, and candidate several times, running for US Congress as late as 1994—but I'm stating the obvious. Ron Paul as imperfect as he is from a perspective of rational, spiritual, transhumanism is as day to night compared to the Cartel candidates. And he can actually WIN! Even if he doesn't win, he carries the fight deep into the belly of the beast, such that near-term deathblows to the Pathocracy will be delivered by an outraged and informed populace.
So I call RP a WIN/win prospect vs. the LP candidate's prospect for HEROICALLY WORKING HIS ASS OFF/being totally ignored. There's a lot more to this discussion, naturally, but The Good Doctor is in the building and the time has come to join the throng in the main hall.
I have taken a seat toward the back, so I can make an clean early exit. (I have this thing about crowds, plus I want to be able to get the car down from the lot and out the exit without a traffic jam. It's about a six hour drive to my layover point back at the Knights' Inn, and I want to have some evening left for writing.) Yes, the room is well packed and we're all excited; we get a warmup from the head guy from the John Birch Society. He's an excellent speaker articulating a basic constitutional rule that "the federal powers are few and defined," everything else belongs to the people (except for aborting a fetus or keeping prayer out of the schools).
I'm thinking this time Ron will come out and give us his "passionate orator" side that few have ever seen. Nope, same ol' Ron I remember back in the day (Seattle LP Convention, 1987), when largely because RP generates the crowd-excitement of broccoli I voted for Russell Means as our presidential candidate.
Ron's talks all sound the same, and usually hit the Constitution, the Federal Reserve, the income tax, and the warfare-welfare machinery stoked by Congress; he tends to dwell on specifics, too... interminably. But you know what, who cares! It goes back to what Brad Porter mentioned above, that the message of Constitutional Liberty transcends any candidate and any person. RP just happens to be that extraordinary person of character—did you know Ron Paul works out like an athlete-in-training and is as fit as a Gary Player (or Jack LaLanne when Jack was 70)—who embodies the message as well as anyone ever has; he's going to be the libertarian movement's first entry into full worldwide celebrity, and we couldn't find a better man for the job. Jack LaLanne at 91 -->
Ron Paul's personality not ego-driven, it's cause-driven.
Do any of us have a problem with some of his stands? Of course; I've articulated my main concerns in a couple of columns, and I've learned he's far too inclined toward supernatural Jesus for anyone who puts reason and science at a high status in his/her value system. But even where he's wrong, we'll all be free to do what we want because he respects the Constitution and our standing as sovereign individuals. For chrissakes—and this is what I ask anyone who favors any standard-issue Cartel candidate—"Which candidate is most likely to do something about the government taking all that stuff from the Liberty Dollar offices, or the government refusing to hear a redress of grievances, or the government prohibiting free speech on a tax that never existed, or the government crushing you or your neighbor for smoking a joint or any other arbitrary reason?"
McCain? Romney? Hillary? Obama? The Tweedles?
So I'm majorly geeked and on my way, slipping out and climbing in the A4. On the road with good memories, planning
to make the Free State my main stay in the year 2008. Earlier I got someone to take a picture to prove I was here; used to be a lot younger and better looking.
Trip home is all right, temperature got into the 60s! When you see the country
at ground level, you perceive so many people struggling to get by, with honesty and grit but working under largely unknown burdens. I realize how important someone like Ron Paul is to the "common man," because for the most part these regular folks are the ones taking it in the neck every day by the state and its cronies.
And you see a lot of beautiful countryside. I'm tooling along making good time on Monday, just crossing the line into Pennsylvania when I notice on my right the Taj Mahal of rest stops. It's just opened up this year. Man I got to take some pictures:
Will the real Pennsylvania please stand up?
I'm wondering what poor SOBs in Pennsylvania provided the funds for this beauty... or was it me and the rest of the United States through so-called federal money? The above probably isn't the best picture, but it includes a big ol' plaque reminding me of what I would have known but hardly ever consider any more while driving through the thoroughly modern Police State of Pennsylvania (one of many):
The Declaration of Independence
The Constitution of the United States
So here looking over immense winter pastures of grapevines toward a deep gray bulge of Lake Erie on the horizon, I think of the origin of it all, what rebel Pennsylvanians, Free Staters, Ron Paul's army, and every man and woman with courage know in their hearts is also the destiny we will live (and die) for: freedom, the original idea. Make it so.
 Sorry, but when he—his name is John McManus—gratuitously inserted a phrase into his intro that the Constitution prohibits the "scourge of abortion," it made me want to hurl chunks. And all this stuff about God, puhhhleeeze; nine out of ten grownups prefer reason. Building a Constitutional coalition with these theologically inclined ones is going to present quite a challenge, but I remain hopeful.