While Donna is finishing the e-Zine in Phoenix today (Friday - August 3rd 2012), I am writing from our campsite at the first Jackalope Freedom Festival in Arizona’s Rim Country to get a prime spot and to have time setting up the geodesic dome that we created for the Porcupine Festival in New Hampshire this past June.
"Rim Country" in Arizona refers to a high plateau in the northeastern part of Arizona less than 2 hours from Phoenix. At about 4500 feet in elevation, the town of Payson, Arizona is a popular respite from the summer's egg-frying sidewalks of 'The Valley of the Sun'. Another 35 miles will put you into the tall pines on 'The Rim'. Towns like Heber, Show Low, and Alpine feature heavily wooded areas that include trophy game and lots of lakes and wild life. A little south of Alpine and you find yourself in forests that you would easily be confused with the Pacific Northwest.
Strangers to Arizona have no idea of the variety of climates available. Alma Sommer arrived last night with a visitor from New Jersey that she picked up from the airport to drive to Jackalope. I am certain that he was very surprised that he needed a jacket in Arizona... in August.
We're on the edge of a 30-acre meadow in the tall pines with green grass and a sandy soil. Having enjoyed Porcupine Festivals for the past 3 years, several of us knew of wild areas in northern Arizona at least as nice. But finding a campground as nice as Roger's Campground that would be as friendly to freedom would be a challenge... so we didn't try very hard and decided to just 'go native'.
Alma Sommer is a local activist in Scottsdale, Arizona with a very positive attitude that wanted to have a freedom festival in Arizona, and simply willed it into existence.
But first... 'What the heck is a Jackalope'? In a nutshell, a Jackalope is a made up animal at tourist traps along the highways that was created by taxidermists by placing antlers on the head of a large jackrabbit (Jackrabbit/Antelope). Postcards and t-shirts and coffee mugs etc. feature the creature. These souvenirs can be found all over the world on shelves and in attics of relatives of Arizona tourists. Other names for the event were floated, but this is the one that stuck.
My wife, Donna, and I left Arizona on June 4th 2012 for a month long road trip around the USA. We drove to Montana, then to New Hampshire, down to Texas, and back to Arizona. We continued the daily 3-hour radio show M-F, sharing our adventures and talking to people about their communities, allowing them to advocate for their particular home state.
Donna and I know Arizona well. We have visited almost every mountain range and river valley, and are familiar with its culture and politics, but we needed confirmation before we decided to invest in an area where we would try to ride out the economic collapse of the dollar (that be a'com'n). So we went to take a look.
I am originally from Florida and moved to where my mother's family resided in Arizona when I was twelve. Donna spent a summer in Florida between her 3rd and 4th year at Penn State as an Epcot worker at Disney World in Orlando. But we have not spent a lot of time in the Southeastern part of the United States together. I think we might make an effort to search the Gulf Coast on our way to the Florida Keys where I spent many enjoyable hours as a pre-teen, and again as a young man of 14. I still remember the relaxed atmosphere of Island life where the traffic stopped to watch every Sunset.
We spend our entire lives seeking this serenity, but as easy as it is to achieve for many with a certain mindset, it alludes most of us our entire lifetime. I remember a scene from the family movie 'Swiss Family Robinson' where after creating a comfortable life on the island, the husband said to his wife, "It's amazing all the things you don't need when you don't have anyone around to pity you for not having them".
We have been conditioned to value the valueless and to ignore, and even shun, the simplest of pleasures. The Jackalope Freedom Festival, in my mind, is a step in that direction. While other efforts always seem to devolve into government paperwork for tax write offs and structured outcomes, I'm advocating for a return to the value of voluntary communities that are not planned, regulated, and pre-determined. Nothing other than the idea of 'Leave me Aloneism' would govern, and associations are voluntary and often temporary.
Over the decades I have discovered that, at events, attendees are the most entertaining. Even the best rock concert is a flop when attended with the wrong people around you, and the best vacation ever is often the worse guided tour ever imagined when shared with people you love and enjoy sharing time with.
So the Jackalope Freedom Festival IS the people. No schedule, no requirements and no expectations. It's already been decided that one of the new attendees will be helped in the massive gathering of wood for the bonfire that will take place whenever we get a big enough pile of wood (with heavy consideration for where in the meadow we'll place it to avoid a forest fire - fortunately it has rained here a lot... Monsooooon). I visited some of the early arrivals this morning to find a young family that lives in Mesa, Arizona that have brought some show-and-tell Rabbits and Japanese Quail. The quail begin laying eggs in 4 weeks from hatching and the hundreds of Quail and Rabbits they produce bring their young homeschooled family extra income, and they want to share their success. The mom is very involved in the homeschool community and we'll be certain to take advantage of their knowledge during a presentation sometime Saturday.
Shooting skills will be shared with those interested throughout the weekend at a location less than half a mile away. A listener to freedom talk radio shows has been living in a converted Greyhound bus for over 20 years and is educating us on his quality lifestyle that includes a roof full of solar panels and satellite dishes for communication and entertainment... And we haven't even got started yet!
The attendees are the event. I brought my donated and refurbed 1977 Tioga RV so I have a bathroom and a place to wash up (so Donna will be comfortable), but others attending had 5 Portable bathrooms delivered for $260 for the comfort of themselves and others. I don't even know who did it. It was made very clear to everyone that if they didn't bring it... don't count on it being brought. Armed with this knowledge and the ability to communicate with each other, problem solved.
In the Sitgreaves National Forest there are no fees, there is no charge for the festival, and there are no requirements that you bring anything. But you are on your own. This "Bugout Shakedown" is a learning experience with friends of like mind in a beautiful and comfortable location with a daytime temperature of 80 and a nighttime temperature of 55,... in Arizona,... in August.
Hours of conversation with the early arrivals (about 15 people and 6 sites) have not included political activism or voting or discussions about the latest war or legislation.... just how best to live your life with family and friends... COOL!
It became clearer than ever before to me over the last 2 months that human beings on this planet are grouped into ranch herds to be harvested as livestock for the benefit of a very few. This is only possible with our voluntary compliance.
I don't seek to support replacements for the corrupt individuals on the thrones of power; I seek to remove the thrones of power that we have allowed to exist in our minds. The realization that there is no "legitimate" power that rules your peaceful and voluntary interactions with others IS the WIN!... the rest is just a mop up operation.
What I have come to realize, and was likely the most important thing that I came to fully realize over the last 2 months, was the most effective opposition we could have against those that benefit the most from our being herded. It started to fully form during the June controversy around a store clerk's refusal to sell cigarettes to an individual using a Welfare Visa Cash Card from the US Government. The clerk lost her job, and the Welfare recipient smokes at taxpayer expense. Just seemed like bad PR for the government and it got me thinking,
With a utility bill as identification, any human being in the United States can qualify for many government programs.,... why? While the movement to eliminate any non-citizen from taking advantage of their neighbor's paycheck has gotten a lot of attention, the idea that producers must subsidize the cigarettes of others is left unaddressed.
I have come to the realization that the collective effort to provide every Human Being a utility bill (refrigerator, microwave, lighting, communications, cooling and heat) is less about forced social welfare for those in need and more about making certain that everyone consumes the energy supplied by those that benefit from full consumption.
It doesn't take a full time conspirist to realize that Big Oil/Energy & Big Banking have been at the center of many of our problems for a very long time.
A good friend of mine moved totally off grid 8 years ago (he's a supervisor of the refueling process at the Palo Verde Nuclear power station in Arizona BTW). He demonstrated the ability to be totally grid free (Well, Septic, Solar, Wind, Satellite) in a 2600 sq.ft. home with all of the goodies. This summer the price of solar panels dropped to less than a 5th of what he originally paid, and he doubled his production capacity. The United States government reacted by applying a 30-40% increase to import these panels, while at the same time wasting billions on US failed companies to offer what is already immediately available.
Battery Technology is the next boom under the strain of government manipulation, but Thomas Edison had already become a serious competitor to Standard Oil over a century ago with his Nickel Iron technology, and this old tech is being rediscovered and combined with carbon nanotubes to produce a power-dense, rapid charging-and-discharging battery that lasts long enough to will to your children.
So, as a freedom activist, how would I best spend my time maximizing individual liberty?.... by not supporting the beasts that are devouring us. Trade with Value, use commodities in as many transactions as possible (search for the "Silver Calculator" apps for Android and iPhone), learn about Solar, Wind and other power producing technologies and how you can even make your own panels with cheap cells purchased on the Internet, follow battery and super capacitor technology, and above all understand how you are contributing to your own demise.
FreedomsPhoenix has created a new category called "Battery Project" where we will be sharing our own efforts to understand what is possible while building our own cells. This is just a small part of an independent future free of manipulation and coercion once we fully understand how we are the cause of our own enslavement.
POWER to the People!