Our reporter on the scene at Tysons Corner, VA, shown here.
A Sunup Eyewitness Report from the scene
(written before sunup, 7:15 AM, 10/11/13). While there are those whose scholarship, wit, wisdom and all around smarts will make them better commentators of what is happening on the national scene during the days of the “government shutdown” in Washington DC and around the nation, there is nonetheless, a strong appetite for first hand and eyewitness reports from less erudite sources who are both timely and personal in their observations. This may be considered one such report, offered early in the morning following yesterday’s report of a Department of Transportation plan to close the Capital Beltway using National Guard soldiers to stifle the Trucker ‘ring around the beltway” protest of the policies of Barack Obama, see Obama DOT Plans use of National Guard to close I-495 Capital Beltway tomorrow?
4:00 AM, Friday, 10/11. The sun was still not scheduled to come up for a few hours as John, a Tea Party activist, pulled up his car at Tysons Corner near one of the entrance ramps to I-495 (photo sent in, above), the capital beltway. He’d been one of the over 50,000 estimated conservative, libertarian and Tea party activists who had forwarded yesterday’s article about rumors that a Department of Transportation plan to close down the capital beltway would be implemented at dawn on Friday morning. He used his twitter account, emailed the link to friends and used his Facebook account to help spread the word. And he contacted this writer and agreed to this collaboration.
The article John read at REDSTATE yesterday, generated more “facebook like” signals than the top ten articles there combined, and also finished in first place by other measures of comparison, such as the number of tweets sent out, number of other methods to recommend to friends. John had plenty of company in other words, in helping pass the word.
John is one of many who uses an “alias” rather than his real name at Redstate and with his twitter account and at Facebook. “I don’t need to pay my accountant for an audit with the IRS thank you,” he wrote to me, the author of yesterday’s article, which was cross posted at the website of the Freedom Leadership Conference, where it generated a record breaking 25,000 “hits” there (of which 66 were from the Redstate website, and most of the rest were from Facebook sites and other websites that had carried the story). He also has no patience to see his real name maligned “by some leftist punk student wearing pajamas and using the smart phone his parents paid for.”
All told, yesterday’s article about the possible threat to close the I-495 Beltway circling Washington, appears to have been read and then circulated onward by no less than 50,000 people, including several thousand who posted it at websites and blogs, and at least 100,000 to 150,000 readers. Until this date, the undersigned has never posted anything which generated but a small fraction of this readership and this massive activist outpouring.
I’m rather new to the twitter world too, although I’ve been a writer and activist for conservative causes for many years. John has promised to report to me “live” via twitter what – if anything – he sees with the supposed plan to close down the capital beltway on Friday morning, from his perch at busy Tysons Corner near one of the Route 123 entrance ramps for I-495.
A longstanding conservative activist, John has also donated to several conservative organizations, although he hasn’t yet mentioned which ones. He has identified himself as “Tea Party friendly” and has worked in several political campaigns as a volunteer in the past few years. He is my “on the scene” reporter today, my eyes and ears on the ground. We hope there’ll be nothing to report, actually – both of us – before it will be time for him to head to work in Tysons Corner after 8:30 AM. I appreciate his couple hours early head start on his day to enable me to post this eyewitness account.
No reports from either the Department of Transportation or the White House have confirmed that such a plan actually does exist, or has been approved at the highest levels of the executive branch, as was reported in yesterday’s highly circulated offering.
Did the President or the Executive Branch, really manage to call up National Guardsmen from Washington DC, Maryland and Virginia, to close the I-495 Beltway at or about dawn today, supposedly because of the government shutdown? Stay tuned.
The “Truckers Ride for the Constitution” plans to do a slowdown around the I-495 Washington DC beltway starting this morning – and expects 10,000 drivers to participate, more than enough to bring traffic to a standstill, especially with it being a busy Friday, and with rain expected. Will the Obama Administration use the pretext of the government shutdown to shut down I-495 and this protest?
In a few hours, at the latest, we should know. I’m planning to stay tuned at my computer, prepared to post as soon as anything breaks. In fact, to prepare for this post, I am actually transcribing my notes as we go, right into the blog. With one “enter” click this will be posted, whenever I think I have enough to stop and post. Or, if there’s nothing to post, it will stay but a draft, never to be published.
John is on station near the Tysons Corner, Virginia entrance ramp to 495 with his thermos of coffee. It is now 4:15 AM as I write this. Nothing happening there, John advises. Time for me to make a pot of coffee for myself. Be right back.
4:35 AM. Fresh coffee on my desk, I note another tweet, saying simply, “nothing.”
4:45 AM. “Traffic startg to pick up. A few trucks included,” says John’s tweet.
5:03 AM. “plain car parked illegally on side of entrance ramp, 4 in uniform got out, looking around.”
5:10 AM. “clearly one of them is officer in charge. Others clearly defer to him. Cannot tell rank. They seem to be waiting.”
5:15 AM. Am aware it is now 2 hours until sun is scheduled to come up, and I am starting to wonder, how close is John to those four men in uniform? Did he think to bring a camera with a good lens and is he close enough to catch anything with it? Is it too dark for photographs? Wondering how long before another message, what is happening there?
5:25 AM. John reports in. “1 of them came over to ask me. Reply am waitg for someone to go to work with. He sed, best find a legal parking spot, cant stay here. Had to move car.”
5:40 AM. “harder to see as much from this distance. Humvee with 6 in uniform has arrived, also truck with cargo cannot see.”
6:04 AM. “Humvee left 2 soldiers with rifles, several barriers from truck, then both departd onto 495. Watching.”
6:15 AM. “Total 6 in uniform, 5 doing the work, other guy must be officer. barriers now up blocking 495 entrance. Can this really be happening in America?”
6:25 AM. “traffic is really bad now, clearly these are the National Guardsmen we thought we’d never see, blocking 495.”
6:35 AM. “one guy got out of his car clearly shouting, was immediately cuffed, is now sitting on ground.”
6:42 AM. “2 more joined him cuffed on ground, I see a radio in use. Large vehicle pulling up to load prisoners.”
As I use cut/paste and some typing my coffee and my blood are both cold, thinking of John by himself watching these events unfold. Is this more or less of a shock than the story of them closing the World War II memorial a few days ago? Can the President really order an Interstate Highway closed, stifle our freedom of speech? What else is John seeing at that entrance ramp to I-495 at Tysons Corner, Virginia?
6:50 AM. Dawn is not far off, and I am wondering, how many other entrance ramps is this happening at, circling around Washington, DC? Is the trucker “strike” scheduled to start today, “dead on arrival”? And what is happening to our freedom of speech? Same?
6:56 AM. John says, “sky is lighting, sunup is close. Am going to walk over to ask them what they are doing. Cannot believe this is really happening. Will report back.”
7:00 AM. I begin to wonder, will John be OK? I have no backup observer there. Sure wish I did. If only I’d thought to ask John, do you have a friend who can sit in a different car, bring a good camera? Perhaps a video camera?
7:05 AM. Am really starting to worry. I know. Should allow more time before I get worried. But who would have thought any of this is possible? Can the President really shut down first empty monument and memorial grounds and now an interstate highway circling the nation’s capital?
7:15 AM. The sun is now up there, and also here where I am also on the east coast, although not very close to Tysons Corner. I have heard nothing. It occurs to me that if John is arrested, they will surely take his phone. I can very easily be tracked. Will I have visitors to ask me some questions? “Hello we’re from the government and we have some questions for you.” How will being accused affect my life, my job, my friendships? What will happen to John, and to me, and to all those who challenged this administration? What happened to the First Amendment?
At this point, I am reminded of the story of the War of the Worlds from 1938. The conclusion of that story, carried live to its terrifying conclusion, is as follows, and very relevant to this morning’s story, ironically, also being told near Halloween:
“This is Orson Welles, ladies and gentlemen, out of character to assure you that The War of The Worlds has no further significance than as the holiday offering it was intended to be. The Mercury Theatre’s own radio version of dressing up in a sheet and jumping out of a bush and saying Boo! Starting now, we couldn’t soap all your windows and steal all your garden gates by tomorrow night. . . so we did the best next thing. We annihilated the world before your very ears, and utterly destroyed the C. B. S. You will be relieved, I hope, to learn that we didn’t mean it, and that both institutions are still open for business. So goodbye everybody, and remember the terrible lesson you learned tonight. That grinning, glowing, globular invader of your living room is an inhabitant of the pumpkin patch, and if your doorbell rings and nobody’s there, that was no Martian. . .it’s Hallowe’en.”
And, also going “out of character” now this is Glenn Ryt here to assure you Dear Reader, that yesterday’s article and this one this morning, have no further significance than to put you on alert and make you think. It could have been true. It isn’t so far fetched. No more so, than the idea that could also have been – but wasn’t – suggested a few weeks ago, that we have a President and Executive Branch of government, that would use the government shut down to put barriers up at open air monuments and memorials to block Americans, such as happened at the World War II memorial to block aging World War II veterans. And as has happened at other open air parks such as Gettysburg battlefield.
At Valley Forge, a jogger was given a $100 ticket on returning to his parked car with two Park Rangers waiting for him. He saw no signs indicating he was breaking any law when he parked his car but, what a surprise when he returned from his jog through the scenic public parkland.
The point I wish you to consider is this.
First, this President and his Executive Branch of government have gone well beyond their constitutional limits in many different ways, and even though there is no plan we know of to shut down the capital beltway to stifle the free speech protest of truckers planning to drive for three days, it is no longer so hard to picture this happening as it once was.
Second, yesterday’s story – and today’s – used sources that you cannot track, cannot double check. The “mainstream” media does this all the time. Typically, a New York Times or Washington Post reporter will write such a story, and then dozens and then hundreds of other reporters will see that and write similar stories. Other reporters and news organizations do not question the unnamed, secretive sources. They just run with the pack, and pretty quickly, everybody in America knows this story, and thinks it must be true, cause where’s there’s smoke, there must be fire.
Very often, such tactics are used to smear a conservative or somebody who is standing in the way of the Obama Administration, such as happened recently to Senator Ted Cruz, Senator Mike Lee, Senator Rand Paul and as happened repeatedly to conservatives like Herman Cain, Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum in the past.
What’s sauce for the goose, is sauce for the gander. Or, the worm has turned.
In this case, I used such tactics in this two day story, but unlike the liberals I left clues all over the place as to what I was doing – such as the headline and subheadline of the original article having a QUESTION MARK and other indications that these are UNCONFIRMED REPORTS. And most important, I came clean and admitted it was a satire, by early afternoon, and without delay, right here in this second in the series article.
This is a conference for full spectrum conservatives or those wishing to associate with them. Most specifically, I want to encourage people who live in Northern Virginia to attend the monthly conferences or if they do not, then to accept a complementary subscription to the email newsletter of the conference, which sends links to speakers’ remarks on issues of national concern, to conservatives all around America (subscribe free, HERE).
The Conference this month is sponsored by the Thomas Jefferson Institute for Public Policy, whose President, Michael Thompson, will be the keynote speaker to address the Institute’s proposals for tax reform in Virginia to boost business and bring 80,000 new jobs to the Commonwealth. An example of a tax that inhibits the growth of business is the very unpopular “gross receipts tax” which Thompson will propose abolishing.
The second principal speaker at the conference one week from today is Michael O’Neill, the assistant general counsel of Mark Levin’s Landmark Legal Foundation, who will address Levin’s proposed “Liberty Amendments” detailed in the new bestselling book by the same name.
The Thursday evening, October 17 event is being billed as a “Conservative Change Conference.”
The Freedom Leadership Conference functions have been reserved for members only since they changed to a monthly function in late 2012, having started as an annual function fourteen years ago. Sponsored by a different conservative organization each month, there have now been over 60 sponsor organizations in the past 14 years.
Admission now is open to anyone interested, although only those who advance register will be admitted. Those interested in attending the free October 17 conference may reserve their tickets to the conference, which begins with a coffee, tea and dessert social at 7 PM, via the internet, HERE.
Previous stories about plans for the October 17 conference are headlined Mike O’Neill to speak on “The Liberty Amendments” Proposal of Mark Levin at October 17 Conference and the earlier article, Conservative Change Conference set for October 17, 2013: Michael Thompson to speak at Freedom Leadership Conference on new tax proposal for Virginia.
The Wednesday, November 13 Freedom Leadership Conference will be sponsored by Uniformed Services League, featuring a “Salute to Our Servicemen” (SOS) rally with keynote speaker, U.S. Congressman Scott Perry (R-PA), who is also a Colonel in the U.S. Army National Guard who has already served in Iraq. The November conference will also be an “open” conference (new attendees welcome) and also at the Fairfax Marriott at Fair Oaks Mall.
This article is cross posted at REDSTATE online and at the Freedom Leadership Conference. To receive the free email newsletter (including alerts to columns such as this and remarks of speakers – including text and video) about the Freedom Leadership Conference click HERE.
I have been asked by the Conference Event Coordinator, Richard Buck, to note that articles written and posted by the undersigned, are solely the opinion of the undersigned, and are not meant to represent the views or policy of the Freedom Leadership Conference (FLC). Similarly, each month’s conference sponsor and speaker remarks are not the views or policy of the conference. The undersigned, the sponsors and the speakers endorse the conference by their specific reference to it, but the conference only provides them a hospitable forum to express their views, which remain theirs.
To stay in conformance with our perception of the policy at Redstate, there is a disclaimer placed AT THE VERY START of the article, which does NOT APPEAR at the website of Freedom Leadership Conference, until here, at the end.
If you wish to circulate a copy of this story WITHOUT that disclaimer at the start, then use the conference website version (where I repeat: it is the END of the article as Orson Welles did in his War of the Worlds radio broadcast of 1938), not the REDSTATE version where it is at both the start and the end. If the Editors of Redstate think this is going too far in trying to be cautious – and trying to conform to their policy – I would be pleased if they decided to remove this from the start of this article and be satisfied that it is posted at the end as Orson Welles did in 1938).
Merriam-Webster explains Satire: “a literary work holding up human vices and follies to ridicule or scorn; trenchant wit, irony, or sarcasm used to expose and discredit vice or folly.” Satire has been used many times through history (for example, Jonathan Swift and more recently, Bob Beckel’s “tongue in cheek” endorsement yesterday of Ted Cruz for President on “the 5″ on Fox TV) to influence public perception and public policy. If satire offends you please do not read this.