Modernizing the Shire Society Forum for 2017

Shire Society Forum

Join other Shire Society members inside and outside the Shire on the Forums.

Before the behemoth that is Facebook, there were forums. On these forums, people in communities were able to communicate about various things, and with the right amount of moderation, it worked well. Then Facebook came along and sucked up all the people and gave them terrible forums called “groups” where the only moderation tool is to delete discussion threads.

With forums, moderators can move threads between the forum’s subforums, meaning off-topic posts could be moved to more appropriate places in the overall forum. This cannot be done on facebook. There, one group is not connected with another group. An off-topic post will either be allowed to clutter the group, or it will be destroyed. There is no move option. That’s only one reason why Facebook groups suck, but it’s a major one.

Early on, there were two main forums in the NH liberty movement, the NH Underground and the Free State Project forums. Eventually, we launched the Free Keene Forum which eventually became the Shire Society Forum a couple of years after the signing of the Shire Society Declaration in 2010.

All three forums still exist, but have nowhere near the popularity they once had. Many new people to the movement don’t even know they exist.

Shire Society Bumper Sticker

Have you signed the Shire Society Declaration yet?

In order to stay as relevant as possible and compete as much as possible with the evil Facebook, last year the Shire Society Forum was upgraded to a more “modern” forum software, “Vanilla Forum”. It was better than the old software, “SMF”, in some ways, but lacking in others. Now, the Shire Society Forum is modernizing further for 2017 with the switch to the “Discourse” forum software.

So far my experience with Discourse has been very good. It’s snappy – posts appear instantly without having to reload an entire webpage. It’s got a modern feel and allows logins via a bunch of major accounts, including Google, Yahoo, GitHub, Facebook, and Twitter, and sharing of posts via Facebook and Twitter.

The Shire Society Forum has, despite its decline in popularity, still attracted new users over the years. Each month, there are new potential movers to the Shire who arrive and post an introduction, which is a requirement in order to enter the forum. Would you be willing to come welcome them? The forum has subforums for all the regions and major cities in New Hampshire and we’d welcome your input.

Please give the new Shire Society Forum a try. I hope you like it. Death to Facebook!

Open Debate Demonstrations at NH1

photo1251496523539261357On Wednesday & Thursday nights NH1 held a pair of debates for the Gubernatorial & Senatorial candidates from the Republican & Democratic Parties. The Libertarian Party nominees for those offices as well as independent US Senate candidate Aaron Day were not invited to the debates. The Ballot Access Fairness Coalition in conjunction with the Libertarian Party of New Hampshire held a pair of protests outside the NH1 studios to protest these closed debates.

Despite ballot retention requiring 4% in the general election (i.e. the vote threshold needed for a party to retain ballot access without needing to collect a burdensome number of petitions), Libertarian Gubernatorial nominee Max Abramson polling between 4-6% 14695463_10154592488493419_5179680641474970355_nand Libertarian US Senate nominee Brian Chabot polling at 4%, NH1 only invited candidates polling over 10%. In short, NH1 set the threshold at a level that only the Republican & Democratic Party nominees could meet.

The protests – including one on a cold rainy Thursday night – served to bring awareness, not only to the candidates excluded from these debates, but also to the media bias that often serves to protect the ruling duopoly.

Open Debate Demonstrations Planned

Why is NH1 excluding the libertarians?

Why is NH1 excluding the libertarians?

We are currently less than three weeks from the 2016 general election, and the Presidential debates are behind us. You can now, if you haven’t already, begin looking at the other races on the ballot, and learning about your options. NH1, which has previously given somewhat favorable coverage to alternative candidates, will be hosting a Gubernatorial debate on Wednesday Oct 26, and a US Senate debate on Thursday Oct 27. Despite ballot retention requiring 4% in the general election (i.e. the vote threshold needed for a party to retain ballot access without needing to collect a burdensome number of petitions), NH1 has only invited candidates polling over 10%. (more…)

Final Robin Hood NH Supreme Court Hearing Set For November 9th

Robin Hood Chalk Art

Robin Hood Chalk Art in Downtown Keene

Keene’s Robin Hooders are heading back to the NH Supreme Court on November 9th at 9:30am for what should be the final round in a three-plus-year run through the courts.  Robin Hooders are the activists who have made international headlines for saving thousands of innocent motorists from parking tickets in the small city of Keene.

The city’s persecution of the peaceful activists has failed at nearly every legal turn. In its first visit to the NH Supreme Court, only one aspect of the city’s case was sent back to the superior court for review. The city gang then lost again at the superior court level and are now appealing that most recent decision to the Supreme Court.  (You can read both sides’ legal filings here.)

The NH Supreme court has already decided the allegations of “tortious interference”, “civil conspiracy”, “negligence”, and the demand for financial compensation were unfounded and the activities engaged in by the Robin Hooders are protected by the first amendment.

The appeal is for the NH Supreme court to look ONLY at the lower court’s ruling regarding the request for the “buffer zone” injunction.  The court will hear oral arguments from heroic free speech attorney Jon Meyer and the city’s expensive tax-paid private attorneys on 11/9 at 9;30am.  (The city’s attorneys are claiming they’re taking this case pro-bono, but that’s only after they charged the city likely over $100,000 for the first three court hearings.)

Here’s a Facebook event for the hearing – hope to see you there!

NH State House Crypto Commission Member to File Bill Repealing Lone Regulation of Cryptocurrency

Representative Barbara Biggie of Milford

Representative Barbara Biggie of Milford Vows to File Bill Repealing NH’s Lone Cryptocurrency Regulation

A week after their first meeting, the “Commission to Study Cryptocurrency” has made their official recommendation to the full legislature. In the conclusion of this week’s meeting, commission chairman and state representative John Hunt of Rindge said, “Some states have done a lot of regulation. New Hampshire has chosen the seemingly most de minimis regulatory authority of what all the states have done. Obviously, the maximum de minimis would be to repeal what we’re doing and that can be left up to the next legislature. But at this time, this committee will take no position on what is the right answer.”

However, when asking each commission member what they want to do, representative Barbara Biggie of Milford said her concern is that regulation will “snuff the industry, the cryptocurrency industry in New Hampshire and around the country, so I think we should stay out of it right now, regulating-wise”. Hunt asked Biggie if she’d sponsor a bill to repeal the lone existing regulation which authorizes the banking department to license businesses as “money transmitters” who transmit “convertible virtual currency”, and she said she would!

While banking department representative Maryam Torben-Desfosses claimed they are not considering Bitcoin Vending Machines or businesses or individuals who accept and spend bitcoin as “money transmitters”, that did not assuage the concerns of the bitcoiners in the room. Those who attended the previous meeting were surprised at Desfosses’ claim that attendees at the last meeting saw value in the banking department’s regulation. Just in case the state representatives also misremembered the last meeting’s public comments, the people at this meeting (which included new faces from last time) again spoke firmly against any regulation whatsoever.

It’s frequently said that working inside the system is a waste of time, but in New Hampshire many state reps will listen to you and showing up and being heard absolutely made a difference here. That said, we need more liberty-oriented crypto-enthusiasts to move here and get active. Please join the Shire Society today and start planning your move to New Hampshire.

You can watch the full second (and final for 2016) meeting of the commission here:

Jury Nullification Cited as Reason Not to Charge State Rep for Buying Cannabis

Rick Naya, NH Hempfest Organizer and Joe Lachance

Rick Naya, NH Hempfest Organizer and State Rep Joe Lachance

The Attorney General’s office in New Hampshire has released a report regarding their investigation of claims that former state representative Kyle Tasker had sold cannabis at the NH state house in Concord, to other state representatives. Several liberty-oriented state reps including Amanda Bouldin, Joe Lachance, Pam Tucker, Ted Wright, and the late Shem Kellogg were all investigated by the AG’s office but none will be charged.

The report details the investigations of each state rep and though they believed they had a case for “dry conspiracy” charges against both former-cop-turned-LEAP speaker Lachance and Tasker, they used their discretion and decided not to charge them. The report specifically cites jury nullification when giving their explanation as to why they aren’t charging Lachance – that’s great news for activists who’ve been doing jury nullification outreach here in the Shire for years.

Jury nullification is the long-held right of jurors to vote their conscience, regardless of what the law says and the facts in the case are. Though Lachance clearly broke the law, each juror has the right to acquit simply because they believe the law is bad. It’s a powerful right and courts around the country as well as the federal courts will do everything they can to keep jurors from knowing about it. However, here in New Hampshire is established court precedent that not only can jury nullification information be given to jurors outside the court, but even defendants and attorneys can explain nullification during trial!

NH Jury Logo

NH Jury Rights

The NH attorney general doesn’t like jury nullification, as it’s a threat to their power. They appear however to have realized that the changing political tides regarding cannabis legalization plus jurors’ awareness of nullification would likely mean they were wasting their time prosecuting Lachance. They also say in the report that a jury would likely reject “dry conspiracy” charges for Tasker as well (who is facing various felonies for other victimless crimes) and say his other charges will suffice to, “hold him accountable for his drug crimes”. Of course, there are no victims in those “drug crimes” which include possession and sale of cannabis, MDMA, and mushrooms and so Tasker should also not be charged with them, and neither should anyone else.

That’s really the question here – if the NH AG acknowledges that cannabis charges are likely to not pass a jury due to nullification, then why don’t they treat every person caught with cannabis the same way they did the state reps? The reason is they know most people will quietly take a plea deal and further, if they don’t take the deal, they can drop the charge to a class B misdemeanor which means the defendant can’t get a jury trial, virtually guaranteeing a guilty verdict and hundreds of dollars (per victim) flowing to the state’s coffers. Cannabis prohibition means big money for the state gang, so they’ll keep charging the little people until the law is changed. Hopefully that will happen in 2017 if the new governor doesn’t stand in the way, whoever it ends up being.

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