1 - Medron - It’s Mah Birthday! - It’s Mah Birthday! It’s Mah Birthday!
Yes, I’ve survived another arbitrary orbital period around the sun to a point in time and space that roughly corresponds to the anniversary of my first prison break and the traditional doctor’s first slap on the butt. And since I’m not Chuck Norris, I probably didn’t slap him right back and send him into next week. Oh well. As life goals go, that would be awesome, but I’d like to remember my accomplishments.
With that in mind, I’ve got a lot to remember, and I rather enjoy those memories. And I look forward to more in the future. For now, I’ll just enjoy this little birthday dance.
Cause it’s Mah Birthday! It’s Mah Birthday!
2 - Charles - Confederation of Dixie - John Jefferson Freemon was the hometown hero in the western Virginia Blue Ridge Mountain town of Lexington. He had been the captain of his high school football team. He continued to play football for the local Washington and Lee University and led them to multiple championships. He became a successful doctor after graduation and saved many lives. He served in the Virginia legislature, and then in the United States House of Representatives. And finally, he won election to become the Vice-President of the United States of America. He was the most famous face in Lexington, Virginia, and his friends and family loved him for it. His patients loved him. He was a genuinely nice man, and the only people who hated him were his political enemies. They hated him enough to Impeach him, and he returned home to a heroes’ welcome.
3 - Charles - Confederation of Dixie - The States that make up the Confederation of Dixie were always a breed apart from the other American States. Many of them seceded during the First Civil War. The richest families of that Old South had been the pinnacle of a society built on slavery, and they fought to the very end to protect their way of life. That society had faded away in the two centuries following its defeat, and the South that rose again during the Second Civil War was an entirely different civilization. It was built on the greatest concentration of industrialized capacity in America, and home to First World education systems that had graduated generations of educated citizens. They didn’t secede when the Federal government went mad. They simply refused to follow the mad orders, and that was enough to earn the ire of those who still thought they ruled America.
4 - Charles - Confederation of Dixie - The States of Dixie grew immensely powerful and rich in the years leading up to the Second Civil War. Their factories armed the American military, and most of the military bases were in those States, or States friendly to them. Most of the fuel and food that fed them came from Southern States as well. Even the President and Vice-President were Southerners, coming from populations labeled “oppressed minorities” by previous political generations. So when President Samuel Mateo Lopez, and Vice-President John Jefferson Freemon were Impeached, the States of Dixie did not take kindly to the act. They may have even told the new President to perform certain impossible anatomical acts when he demanded that they bend the knee to him. His reaction is why Dixie calls it the Second Civil War, rather than the Second Great Depression as most of the American States do.
5 - Charles - Confederation of Dixie - Vice-President John Jefferson Freemon returned to his western Virginia home to a heroes’ welcome. His friends and family loved him. The long-term patients he had cared for in his doctor’s practice loved him. Those who had donated or taken part in his campaigns for decades loved him. He was the most popular person in Lexington, even before the new President sent the FBI to arrest him and his family on charges of armed insurrection. They arrested or investigated anyone with any connection to Freemon, and denied Freemon’s attorney the ability to speak with his client. The FBI even convinced Virginia to disbar him, and then arrested him on charges of passing Freemon’s messages to other insurrectionists. Combined with the attempted arrest of President Lopez in Texas, the obvious persecution of political rivals simply made Freemon even more popular in western Virginia and beyond.
6 - Charles - Confederation of Dixie - The Federal government quickly secured a confession from Vice-President Freemon on charges of promoting an armed insurrection against the government. The confession specified that his family, who had also been arrested, were not aware of his treason, and had no part in it. He named other co-conspirators though, and federal arrest warrants quickly rounded up many more politicians throughout Virginia. Some managed to cross State lines to request asylum from political persecution, where they questioned the very nature of the confessions. They denied the charges and claimed that the Feds had threatened to hurt Freemon’s family if he didn’t confess and name co-conspirators. The Feds dismissed the charges as obvious conspiracy theories and continued to hunt for and arrest political enemies linked to the previous administration throughout Virginia and beyond.
7 - Charles - Confederation of Dixie - When the Federal government began arresting those related to the previous Presidential administration and charging them with a multitude of crimes, Virginia’s central law enforcement agencies cooperated in every way they could. The mountainous counties of western Virginia were not so amenable to what they called a federal witch-hunt, and obstructed where they could. They declared themselves sanctuary counties and refused to share information with the Feds. They hid politicians or smuggled them out to safer States that did not cooperate with the Feds. The Feds responded by arresting those county Sheriffs and administrators who stood against them in public. That sent resistance against their arrests into less public methods. “Sic semper tyrannis” became the most common tag on the streets. It was the Virginia motto that meant, “Thus always to Tyrants.”
8 - Medron - One Year Later - One year ago, Saturday, I remember going to eat at a Pizza Ranch. Rumors had been percolating for a while about the virus ripping through the Wuhan Province of China. Hence the term China or Wuhan Virus that it was being called at the time. Also Wuhan Flu, even though we knew it wasn’t a typical flu. Trump had banned travel from China and it appeared to be holding or slowing the flow of the virus from there, but I remember wondering if that was the last time I would go to a buffet. One year later, I have not been to a buffet.
9 - Medron - Five Years Later - Five years ago, Philando Castile was shot five times in Falcon Heights, near Minneapolis, after following standard policy and informing an officer that he had a firearm. He died. Four years ago, the officer who shot him was acquitted on all charges. A month later, Justine Damond was shot dead by a Minneapolis officer after she called 911. His body camera was not turned on. Two years ago, he was convicted on some charges and sent to jail for over twelve years. One year ago, George Floyd died while a Minneapolis officer held a knee to his neck for nine minutes. That set off a year of protests, riots, lootings, and the general burning of entire neighborhoods in Minneapolis. The court case charging the officer with murder and manslaughter has now started, and the city is braced for more violence. Five years later, I’m still glad I don’t live in the Twin Cities.
10 - Medron - One Year Later - One year ago, I traveled up north. I got my hair cut before going. I wore a suit. I was going to court, you see. I sold my house up there, and the people buying it stopped their monthly payments a year before. So after a year of working with two different lawyers to get the house back in my name, and then telling them to leave, I was finally going to court to get them evicted. There were rising worries about the Wuhan Virus back then, but things were still normal in Middle America. I got the eviction order, to be executed on the 20th, and went home. The national emergency was declared 3 days later. “14 Days to Flatten the Curve” began, and all eviction orders were suspended in Minnesota. No one could be evicted during a stay at home order, after all. It wasn’t until August that existing evictions were allowed to be processed again, at which time I finally got the squatters removed. After they built up several more thousand dollars in utility bills that go against the property. And me. I paid to have their garbage removed. I paid to fix the worst of the visible damage they caused to the property. I finally have a buyer lined up, with an agreed upon price that doesn’t lose me my shirt, and a plan to sign the papers within the month. One year later, I need to get my hair cut again, and I’m getting ready to travel up north once more.
11 - Medron - One Year Later - One year ago, the economy was humming. My hometown had an unemployment rate of something like 1%, which is the same as saying that everybody who wanted a job had a job. The trick was finding people who wanted to work for their money. Then we started “14 Days to Flatten the Curve,” to slow down the growth of the Wuhan Virus and keep the hospitals from being overloaded. That quickly transitioned into “Lockdowns Save Lives,” the never-ending effort to stop the spread at all. The government and government scientists dictated what businesses or schools were allowed to stay open and paid people not to work. Those businesses like mine that were deemed essential had to let many people go, and then had trouble finding people for what work remained when the government paid them not to. One year later, finding people who want to work for their money is still the big trick.
12 - Medron - One Year Later - One year ago, we were starting to realize that there was a shortage of various medical devices. Some States and businesses had simply refused to spend the money to fill the stockpiles they were required to have. As the Wuhan Virus… oh wait… that’s a racist term. As Covid 19 spread and various entities checked their stockpiles, they suddenly realized how badly they were behind the curve. The manufacturers were in China and China had bought up the production runs. Trump directed new production in America, but that would take time to catch up to demand. Businesses donated their masks to hospitals, and other people got creative. Cloth soon disappeared off the shelves. And don’t get me started on the toilet paper. One year later, masks are the new fashion accessory, since we all know that “Masks Save Lives.” And those who don’t or can’t wear them are trying to kill you…
13 - Medron - One Year Later - One year ago, my place of business was humming along nicely. I work in the hospitality industry, and we were doing well most nights. Then, came the national emergency due to the Covid 19 outbreak. We locked down for 14 days, which became a month, and then two months and then three. Some States still haven’t left lockdown. Some States never did a lockdown at all. But the no matter where you are, the media has been united in their constant reminders that “Lockdowns Save Lives,” that “Masks Save Lives,” and that we must all “Follow the Science” as told by far more knowledgeable, government or media approved, minds. Travel of any kind had to end. Gatherings for any reason had to be stopped. Even medical treatments were not allowed. One year later, I’m doing my company’s economic books, and looking at the cliff we hit a year ago. Right now. Right here. It all started today.
14 - Medron - One Year Later - One year ago, we were shutdown. The economic engine that drove America into the best economy of my lifetime went into lockdown and businesses across America began to close for good. If it had just been the “14 Days to Flatten the Curve,” that was originally promised, we would have come out unscathed. But that did not happen. I have watched with horror over the last year as uncaring bureaucrats drunk on the power they held to performed more and more insane crackdowns on average Americans. And the media and the government alike attacked those who dared to protest against it. The sneering contempt they had for anyone who questioned them was palpable. The vitriol they gave to those who refused to bend the knee and obey without question was unmistakable. One year later, I no longer doubt what they think of the Middle Americans.
15 - Medron - One Year Later - One year ago, we were told to stop gathering together for any reason. Only essential workers were allowed to go outside the home. Church was banned in many areas. Political rallies in support of the President were shut down in many areas, and called mass spreader events whenever they occurred. And when rally goers were shot dead in the street hours later, the media did not dwell on their well-earned fate. BLM and antifa “Mostly Peaceful Protests” against the police were celebrated as democracy in action though, and Democrat politicians were happy to attend and support them. And when those protests devolved into looting and burning down neighborhoods hours later, the media and politicians declared that it never happened, despite the independent broadcasts showing it in living color. One year later, all know which gatherings the media declares good, and which must be suppressed.
16 - Medron - One Year Later - One year ago, the lockdowns began. Months later, the BLM and antifa protests began to fill the streets with their protests against the police and the government in general. We watched government buildings attacked on a nightly basis for months. We watched some of them burn, while barricades surrounded others as explosions lit the street and sky. We watched businesses looted and people shot dead on a nightly basis. We watched entire neighborhoods burned down until many of our cities looked like Third World Countries in the midst of civil wars. Things quieted down when the media declared Biden the winner of the Presidential election. But now they are back at it again, attacking the Federal courthouse in Portland. The more things change, the more they stay the same. One year later, the barricades are back up again.
17 - Charles - The Confederation of Dixie - The Second Great Depression saw the Commonwealth of Virginia in desperate times. Richmond had long since been taken over by those far more loyal to Washington D.C. than to Virginia, and they did not take well to any who refused to bend the knee to the Federal government. That is why modern Virginians call it the Second Civil War. But it takes a great deal of money to keep a restive population under control, and the Feds ran out. They could print as much as they wanted to, but the almighty dollar’s buying power decreased to the level of a Third World Banana Republic. Which America had been performing an excellent imitation of in previous years. When the dollar crashed, the economy collapsed, and Richmond lost the ability to enforce Federal will on the many counties far from the capital. It was the beginning of the end for Richmond.
18 - Charles - The Confederation of Dixie - Richmond was the center of power in the Commonwealth of Virginia before the Second Great Depression. Before the politicians of the day took the final steps that herald the ends of empires. They thought their word was law, and they thought they could win if they silenced their opposition once and for all. They thought they could arrest or kill enough of the peons to quell the others. As is often the case with those like them, they did not see the end before it came. It was no grand Hollywood movie about resistance overthrowing the oppressors. It was far more mundane an end. The politicians of Richmond ran out of money, and when they could no longer buy loyalty, those they had bought went elsewhere in search of a paycheck. Richmond survived the chaos that followed, but its influence in the affairs of Virginia did not.
19 - Charles - The Confederation of Dixie - Richmond’s turn as the capital of the Commonwealth of Virginia came to an end with a whimper, not a roar. Richmond had enforced ruinous taxes on their business sector and plundered the public treasuries to fund pet political projects for decades. Federal bailouts funded by more prosperous States kept them afloat, but the Second Great Depression cut that funding source off at the knees. The last vestiges of their public law enforcement agencies finally collapsed, leaving the city in the hands of private security forces, gangs, and drug cartels. Though it was often difficult to differentiate them from each other. Violence spiked throughout Richmond and the surrounding metro areas, and many people began leaving for safer areas. Those who could not leave watched the cities fall into another cycle of shootings, lootings, and burnings.
20 - Charles - The Confederation of Dixie - Most of the western, central, and southern Virginia counties simply walked away from Richmond when the capital ran out of the money to pay the soldiers and police it took to keep them in line. Gaining their freedom was not that simple though. Many disagreed with the idea, and in an age of convenient kitchen chemicals and commercial fireworks, those disagreements could become explosive. Those counties that broke with Richmond soon found themselves targeted by arsonists and worse. The military called it asymmetrical warfare. The counties trying to survive the end of civilization as they knew it called them terror attacks.
21 - Charles - The Confederation of Dixie - The northeastern counties of Virginia did not walk away from Richmond or Washington D.C. when the time came. Some tried. Most did not. There was too much historical inertia built up over the decades for them to reverse the flow of history in a few days or weeks. Those that tried were crushed under the weight of a bureaucracy that would not accept any competition. Even hemorrhaging money and power on a world-wide scale, the American Federal government could still take care of matters closer to home. They wielded what law enforcement, military, and media capabilities they retained to jail any political enemy they could, and destroy the fortunes and lives of those they could not. It was not a happy time for those who did not sufficiently support and acknowledge the very fair and honest election of the new President.
22 - Medron - Dot’s Pretzels - A few years ago, family introduced me to Dot’s homestyle pretzels. Now I don’t like pretzels, and was quick to say that. They smiled and told me to try it. I fell in love that moment, and have generally kept some of them with me ever since. Almost always when I travel. They are that good. They recently came out with a new Southwest version, and as a lover of Mexican food, I was eager to try it. Hated it. So I resigned myself to the normal pretzels and went on with life. Until this weekend when I found out they now make some cheese crisp thing. I bought it, opened it, and thought they looked an awful lot like Cheetos. Then I ate them and agreed. A lot like Cheetos. Only better. And I like Cheetos. So now I have a new snack to look out for. So much exactly what my doctor wants for me. ;)
23 - Charles - The Confederation of Dixie - Some thought the Second Great Depression was the end of America as we knew it. Others believed it was time to start a new golden age of America. They were all right in the end, though none exactly in the way they feared or hoped. There were many times when history proved to be in the balance. Times when the wrong thing done by the wrong person could have derailed everything we know happened. One of those times was when confidential sources began to spread the word that Ruby Freemon had died in Federal custody during an extended interrogation session. The Federal government denied the reports that former Vice President John Jefferson Freemon’s wife was dead, but they also refused all “proof of life” requests from the Freemon Family lawyer. That did not go over well with the political opposition.
24 - Charles - The Confederation of Dixie - When news that the former Vice President’s wife may have died during an extended interrogation session while in Federal custody leaked out, matters went from bad to worse in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Conspiracy theories flooded the airwaves and internet hubs, and the official media networks silenced and deplatformed any who spread them. They were all obvious lies after all, and no one should be allowed to spread such disinformation without consequences. Some people never even heard the rumors, because they were given no airtime on the mainstream networks. Other people skipped from network to network to follow the news and rumors as more and more investigators sought to find the missing Vice President’s wife.
25 - Charles - The Confederation of Dixie - The search for the former Vice President’s wife started a firestorm of media interest on some networks. It was dismissed as obvious fake news by other networks, and numerous networks that covered it found themselves entirely shut down by an alliance of other networks. Those networks that survived invariably had one hundred percent control of their own servers and network access. Some broadcasted from outside the United States entirely. Some networks blocked anyone from accessing them, and virtual private networks were the only way many people could access that news at all. It was a difficult time to broadcast news that the new administration did not approve.
26 - Charles - The Confederation of Dixie - “Where is Ruby Freemon?” became a common question in certain parts of Virginia, and a dangerous question to ask in other parts. Many private investigators pursuing the question found their business licenses revoked without warning, just before they were arrested for impersonating a private investigator. Some disappeared into the vast Federal prison system. Others managed to restore their business licenses, though usually only after they agreed to cease all activities concerning the search for the former Vice President’s wife. It was a dangerous time to look for somebody the Federal government insisted was not missing at all.
27 - Charles - The Confederation of Dixie - The Freemon Family attorney was arrested for violating a gag order concerning the arrest and detention of former Vice President Freemon, his children, and his wife who had most assuredly not gone missing while in Federal custody. The Virginia Bar revoked her license to practice law. The attorneys named in her paperwork to represent her in case of her arrest all declined to represent her. The judge assigned her a public defender rather than allow her to represent herself. The public defender accepted a plea bargain in her name. When the former attorney tried to protest, the judged ruled her in contempt of court. When she continued to protest, she was deemed mentally unbalanced and sent to a mental health facility to see to her future health. It was a dangerous time to have any link with a family charged with sedition against the Federal government.
28 - Charles - The Confederation of Dixie - The propagation of “Where is Ruby Freemon?” tags in the street angered both the Federal and the Virginia governments in equal measure. They arrested anyone caught painting the tags and charged them with spreading disinformation. It was a crime the new administration took very seriously, and no bail was granted to anyone charged with undermining the United States via such a foul act. The disappearance of the former Vice President’s wife was fake news, and any public discussion of the matter had to be silenced. It is ironic that even as they ran out of money, they filled the jails and prisons with new political enemies, to the point that more people were soon jailed for political crimes than criminal crimes. It was a dangerous time to question the Federal government’s narrative.
29 - Medron - Cancer and the Big Corona - My mom has cancer. It is not the first time. She has survived them all so far, thanks to the Mayo Clinic and their excellent team of doctors, nurses, and over a century of medical research and development. It’s a slow growing blood cancer that will need treatment, but they have drugs that take care of it with few of the after effects of chemotherapy. She will start them soon. And today she got her second corona shot. Thanks to the medical research and production initiated and pushed by President Trump’s Operation Warp Speed, there is an effective vaccine right now, one year after all of this crazy started. Today is the first day of the rest of our lives, and the best medical system on the planet is what made that possible. Seyla.
30 - Medron - First Passover - This is a rather important week for the Western World. Thousands of years ago, before there even WAS a Western World to speak of, several families moved to Egypt to survive a drought. They lived there for centuries, had many children, and were enslaved to build great monuments to Egypt’s power. Until one day, Egypt decided there were too many of them and killed every male infant. One of them survived to be raised as a prince of Egypt, and when he grew up he demanded that the ruler let his people go. The ruler would not and God sent many plagues to break Egypt’s will. The last of them was the worst of them. An angel of death would come and kill the first-born male of every family, and only pass over them if they painted the blood of a lamb on their doorposts. Thousands of years later, this First Passover and the freedom it granted is still celebrated all over the world.
31 - Medron - Palm Sunday - Two thousand years ago, a Jew went to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover. He was a teacher that many listened to, riding into the city on a lowly donkey. But people placed their clothes on the ground before him as if he was a conquering king. They cut palm leaves off and cleaned the streets. They called on him to save them from centuries of Roman oppression. And the leaders of Jerusalem looked on at what the country bumpkins were up to and sneered. This was no king. He was a stupid hick preacher from a small town in the middle of nowhere. Nothing good came from there, let alone this idiot with delusions of grandeur. They would not let this… Jesus… do anything important while he was here. They did not know that Palm Sunday would still be celebrated all over the world two thousand years later.