I attended my first ever Trump Rally. This one took place Friday, August 28, 2020, the day after the Republican Convention commenced. I went with the goal of talking with as many people as possible about Ross Ulbricht and asking them to please sign the petition to Free Ross from prison. Trump has pardoned many political prisoners, and Ross deserves to be free. He is serving a double-life sentence (plus 40 years) with NO PAROLE for a first-time, non-violent drug offense. That’s C-R-A-Z-Y!
This is the full, uncut video from everything my camera captured today. Because of the Free State Project, there were 6 people from around the state who showed up on less than 24 hours notice to be there to support Ross. Amazingly, only one came from Manchester — the city where the event took place and the city with the most Free State Project participants. Sign the petition and let Trump know that Ross should be free!
We figure you were about sixteen-and-a-half when you passed away on Monday. I don’t need to tell you about the immense number of people whose lives you touched over those years. You were there and you had that experience, conscious for every moment, until your final day. What you may not know, is the impact you had on the world – because you were good. I wanted to tell you why you were so special.
Did you know we may never have met if it weren’t for the sad death of a puppy? My partner Jackie and I adopted a very young Pit Bull mix puppy from the Humane Society in Florida, where you’re from as well. She was only a couple of weeks old and surely she’d have been as sweet as you, as being a Pit Bull doesn’t mean she’d have been a bad dog. But tragically she died within a couple of weeks. Turns out her whole litter was missing organs, purportedly due to inbreeding, and she was the last of them to die. It was sad, but that door closing quickly led to you being brought into my life.
I’m not a dog expert. Maybe some dogs are really born bad, but I’d be willing to be that a bad dog is usually thanks to a bad owner. Not necessarily that the owner is purposefully abusive, but perhaps just ignorant, not realizing the consequences their actions or inaction might have on their dog. Perhaps they also underestimate animal intelligence. I always presumed you understood me and that you were smart. You never disappointed me.
Photo from September 2004 – you were about six months old.
When I got you in 2004 I did some research into dog training methods. I came across the “no free lunch” method and it felt right. Dogs need to be in a hierarchy – they are a pack animal. The “no free lunch” method is all about establishing the dog’s position as beneath the humans and rewarding it with love for its good behavior. Unlike independent-minded humans, a dog needs to be able to find its place and be comfortable there. In your case, you were directly beneath humans and on top of the pack of dogs, ever the alpha.
“No Free Lunch” is simple and effective. Anytime you wanted something, you had to give me something first. When you sat, I said “good sit”, and praised you. I gave you love and attention – not food, as some do when attempting to train their dog. So, any opportunity I had, I’d employ “no free lunch”. If you wanted to go outside, I’d ask you to sit first. Same thing when we’d come back inside the house. If we were playing with a toy or something, I might ask you to sit before giving it back to you. We quickly expanded to a multitude of things you could do in order to get what you wanted.
I figured you were smart, so anything you did that I named with “good” in front of it, I presumed you remembered the word and its associated act the very first time I spoke it. I don’t think you ever disappointed that expectation. Of course, just because I said “no free lunch” is simple doesn’t mean its always easy. You definitely pushed the envelope to see what you could get away with. You’d act like you didn’t know what I’d said, doing the wrong thing, on purpose. I remember the times when I’d already successfully taught you several commands and you’d run through your whole inventory of tricks – EXCEPT the one I asked you to do, expecting I was going to give you what you wanted. You were frequently testing me. Training a dog with the “no free lunch” method, in my experience, requires significant discipline on the part of the trainer. You were trying to beat me at the game and I had to hold firm on not giving you the thing you wanted, no matter how adorable you were.
Eventually, you were performing multiple tricks on command in order to do special things, like receive a meal. You could sit, stand, roll over, wait, come, lay down, roll over, bow, give kisses, speak, shake right, shake left, look, back up, and probably some more I don’t recall off the top of my head. At some point, you realized that you were well fed and you weren’t going to run out of food, so we moved to an open bowl where we just kept adding to it daily and you decided how much to eat and when.
Renee Spinella and Jazzy on the UCC Rainbow Bench!
You were indeed quite beautiful. You regularly received compliments from total strangers who frequently commented that you had an unusually expressive face and raved about how pretty you were. You had collected a large number of fans including neighbors, libertarian activists, people in the area lucky enough to encounter you, and even people on the internet who watched you on the Free Talk Live Jazzycam during our nightly radio shows. You mostly slept through the shows, but hey, talk radio’s not for everyone. Free Keene blogger Garret Ean even named you Keene’s #1 Dog Activist and you deserved it. You were regularly my secret weapon to get hundreds of Keene State College students every year to accept CopBlock know-your-rights flyers. You participated in and helped bring attention the United Church of Christ’s rainbow bench situation, were a regular attendee of the Porcupine Freedom Festival and Forkfest, the official greeter at Keenevention, and of course were at my side through countless instances of freedom activism and beyond.
Even more impressive was that bulk of your amazing activism & outreach career came in your senior years, since you didn’t move back in with me until you were 10. When Jackie and I broke up in 2006, after being with you and training you for those first two years, I chose to let you go. They say if you love something, let it go. I love you and I loved her, and I’d always rather a breakup go as smoothly as as possible, so I made the choice to let Jackie have you. As it turned out, she was unable to take care of you immediately, so we got to spend another six months together, until Jackie was finally ready, then I sadly gave you to her. That happened to be right around the time when I moved to New Hampshire as part of the NH Freedom Migration. (more…)
Good morning from Roger’s Campground! If you’ve been reading Free Keene over the last week you’ve seen some excellent Forkfest/Porcfest video blogs from Derrick J. I’ve been so busy, it’s been hard to find time to do much of anything besides record my daily talk radio show and hang out with people here at Roger’s during Porcfest/Forkfest 2020.
This year, the Free State Project made the wise choice to decentralize the event. Gone are the unpopular vendor fees and any control the FSP had previously taken over the campground as they scaled back Porcfest 2020 to a minimal number of speakers and a geographic area of only the pavilion and bowl area of Roger’s Campground.
Soapbox Idol at Porcfest 2020
A pervasive myth about Porcfest is that it needs big named speakers to attract a large audience. This year proved that is not the case as very few speakers were present and yet the attendance seemed similar to last year, which had way more speakers. One regular vendor said this year was his best year out of the 5-6 he’s done and the Porcfest vendor organizer Shawn Grissom said his sales were on par with last year.
Clearly, Porcfest attendees preferred the hands-off, decentralized method of organizing and this year had a laid back vibe. It was fun to be able to broadcast from the event for the first time in four years. Or, since Porcfest was in a very specific part of the campground this year, was I instead broadcasting instead from Forkfest?
Some, like Free Keene’s Derrick J Freeman, say that Forkfest 2020 began on June 22nd this year, instead of the popularly promoted June 29th. His rationale was that Forkfest was originally created to protest Porcfest’s organizational missteps and he felt that with the decentralization this year that Porcfest had returned to its optimal form, so he and Steven Zeiler of Anypay announced they’d be having their annual dance party on June 26th during the Porcfest week of Forkfest.
Space Disco @ Forkfest 2020
However, that’s just his opinion. Forkfest is a totally decentralized libertarian camping festival. There are no organizers and no board of directors. Not everyone agrees that Forkfest started on June 22nd. Others believe it is starting today, June 29th. Originally, those who attended in 2019 had no idea that Porcfest would be decentralizing control of their event, so Forkfesters were expecting that Forkfest would be a separate week entirely and had come to some level of consensus that the forked event should happen the week after Porcfest in 2020 instead of the week before, which is how it had been done since its premiere in 2017.
The FSP made their decentralization plans for Porcfest known in mid-May, only several weeks in advance of the two events. As a result, some people – me included – decided that Forkfest is now a two-week long event and Porcfest is an event that happens during the first week. Longtime attendee Jay Noone has collectively called both events the “New Hampshire Freedom Festival”. Admittedly, the range of opinions has created some confusion, but regardless a good time is likely to be had whether you attend one week or both or part of each. You decide what defines Forkfest.
Forkfest 2020 Early Tent Party
Is two weeks too much for most people? Probably, based on the large number of people who left the park Sunday June 28th, which was the final day of Porcfest. However, other people are just showing up now for what they planned was going to be the only week of Forkfest 2020, June 29th through July 5th.
Sunday evening/night had some new arrivals join us for lots of hanging out with dozens still present on the campground as well as multiple venues staying open including a few food vendors and Colin’s large party tent which featured a bar and busy poker table. We’ll see how the rest of the week pans out for the fourth-annual Forkfest as it builds towards a hopefully epic Saturday night on Independence Day which will feature both a fireworks show and a concert featuring a new band, “FUD”, featuring Aria DiMezzo, Captain Kickass, and Michael Gordon.
Early 2nd Week Forkfest 2020 Hangout
It’s too early to say what’s going to happen and we have no ticket sales from which to base any expectations, as Forkfest has no tickets. To attend, you just come to Roger’s Campground during the appropriate dates and connect with other freedom-loving folks. You can also create whatever event you’d like to have people attend. The experience you have at Forkfest is up to you. You can learn more about the event and get connected with other attendees via the Telegram chat and Forkfest forum via the unofficial website, Forkfest.party.
Please do come on up this week until July 5th to Forkfest 2020 and meet a bunch of other liberty-loving people hanging out together in the beautiful White Mountains of New Hampshire. Bring along your favorite form of money like cryptocurrency or Goldbacks as many vendors and individuals accept multiple payment methods. See you soon!
Monday morning of PorcFest started out slow. “Oh no,” I thought. Nobody’s coming. But by the evening it was clear that PorcFest was indeed happening. It has become a lot more spread out. In the past, most of the activity happened down on the main field. Entrepreneurial people saw the opportunity to sell things to the people concentrated there and began renting sites close to the field to capitalize on the market. Over time, FSP Inc began charging the vendors for their prime real estate, imposing rules and restrictions, and creating bureaucracies to manage what they affectionately named “Agora Valley.” Well intentioned I am sure, but the results were perfectly predictable: No more vendors in Agora Valley.
The effect of the regulations are that everyone dispersed throughout the campground. Even though FSP Inc tried to reverse course by removing most restrictions and “property taxes,” it was too late. The market internalized the new reality. The last vestige of control remains: In order to reserve a site in the previously coveted first three rows of campsites, one must first contact an official PorcFest organizer and state their intention for a particular site; then he contacts the campground, and only then can the vendor call up the campground and claim their desired sites. This caused huge delays reminiscent of a Politburo. Now when you drive into the campground for Porcfest, you see rows and rows of empty campsites. In the past, the field and its adjoining sites were bursting with activity. The good news is that there is plenty of activity to be found around the campground with “splinter cells” emerging from this diaspora. People going their own way. Fewer monopolies. More coffee served in more places. Lower barriers to entry, but less economies of scale.
Also one interesting thing is that transportation technology has changed the game at PorcFest. Now everyone has these electronic transport pods — scooters, skateboards, wheels — that they are flying around on really fast. It is really easy to get from one end to the other. “It used to be a pain to get to where Ernie is, but I rode the wheel over there, and it was a pleasure,” said Porcfest attendee Steven Zeiler. This year’s Porcfest is big, it is exciting, it is high energy, it is fun, and I think everyone involved (including attendees) are doing a terrific job bringing the best they have to offer.
This is a microcosm of the freedom experiment, and if we are to succeed on scale, then we must succeed in our independent mini village in the woods. Good to see Porcfest moving away from central control and more in the direction of what they are now calling “Independent offerings,” and they now play a more supportive role rather than a central planning role. Good!
The Porcupine Freedom Festival is in its 17th year, and every year brings changes. Sometimes a step forward, sometimes a step back. You can follow along and see for yourself what life is like at this event as I document each day for you.
Here is the first video in the series. Steven and I begin construction on the Dome, the centerpiece and hub of activity within “Energy City.” The mini city encompasses 3 “city blocks,” (campsites) and contains spaces for meeting, eating, moving and dancing, stretching and exercising.
Abby and Ryan provide fresh fruits and vegetables with their tent “Porcupine Produce” right at the entrance to the city. Propane heaters and picnic tables flank the sides. James provides the Bistro lighting and ambiance by illuminating the trees of the city. Steven rocks the dome with heavy beats that can be heard from far and wide. Derrick leads morning yoga under the shade of the big tree by the exercise area, complete with weight bench, free weights, and a barbell. Health, strength, and energy to achieve liberty in our lifetime.
Massive crowd watching speakers at BLM event in Keene.
Finally, average people are showing concern for police violence! It only took thousands of innocent bodies piled up over many years and countless millions of peaceful people arrested for victimless crimes before enough people got mad enough to do something. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’re probably aware of the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis cops who brazenly choked him to death for several minutes while being recorded on video as Floyd tried to plead with the gang of killers and alert them that he could not breathe.
However, what happened to Floyd was the spark that lit a flame – literally, with large numbers of people coming out from their homes to join in protests demanding police accountability and railing against police violence, which is used more often against blacks, but affects all of the human race. The protestors even torched the Minneapolis third precinct station after police abandoned the property after days of protests outside, which was an amazing victory and was refreshing to see the people’s understandable anger targeted where it was actually deserved.
KPD’s Cristina Paterno and Cheshire Sheriff Eli Rivera hear you, but will they listen and change?
Sadly, some protests have also been sullied by violence committed against people and the destruction of private property in many cities. The destruction of innocent-owned private property has been significant and tragic. However, New Hampshire has thankfully avoided these losses, likely because people here are much more free to defend their property from attackers, with weapons if necessary. The people who are targeting private property are unwelcome among the peaceful protestors and are likely a mix of police acting as agents-provocateur and opportunists who are looking to destroy and/or steal.
Today in Keene, several hundred people gathered in Central Square at 4pm today for a Black Lives Matter protest that rivaled the BLM event from Manchester, NH on Saturday. After nearly fifteen years in Keene, I’ve never seen anything this big in Central Square, ever. Today’s event was probably 4-5 times larger than the biggest 420 rallies in Central Square more than a decade ago.
Large crowd in Keene kneels, fist up.
The honking from drivers was nearly non-stop including multiple large trucks and tractor trailers laying on their horns to cheers from the excited crowd. Keene’s police chief Steven Russo and Cheshire County’s sheriff Eli Rivera were both present in the heart of the park holding signs saying, “We hear you” and taking pictures with people. To their credit, this was a smart move. By physically joining the protestors, the police acting like humans can diffuse anger and deescalate tensions. However, talk is cheap, and “hearing” isn’t the same as “listening”, and it’s certainly not actually changing their behavior.
Will the Keene police stop arresting peaceful people for victimless crimes? It’s the insane war on drugs and other prohibitions that have resulted in people of all shapes and sizes and colors being attacked, imprisoned, and murdered by police nationwide for decades. Keene’s police have made a myriad of drug busts and assisted the DEA in raiding a popular local head shop on Main Street several years ago. A stroll through past posts at Keene Cop Block shows just a fraction of the lives the local police have ruined in the name of their authoritarian prohibitions. Are they going to now see how they harmed their brothers and sisters, issue an apology, change their ways and send back the BEARCAT armored tank to its manufacturer?
I sure hope so, for their sake, but then again, I’m an optimist.