Bicyclist Traveling From Florida to New Hampshire NOW!

Johnathon Dunker stops for a selfie at the VA border.

Johnathon Dunker stops for a selfie at the VA border.

One week ago, Johnathon Dunker made the announcement on the Free Talk Live forum that he’s kicking off a 1,500 mile bike ride from Florida to New Hampshire! He says he’s moving to NH as part of the Shire Society, and his destination is Keene (after he visits the Porcupine Freedom Festival).

Dunker has been riding upwards of 100 miles per day for over a week, starting in Sebastian, FL. As of this writing, he’s currently in Virginia. He is part of an ongoing migration of liberty-minded activists who are picking up their lives and moving to be near other libertarians and voluntarists so we can have a greater impact on one state. (It’s already working!)

Longtime readers of this blog will remember when Will Buchanan (now known as Will Anderson) moved to New Hampshire for the Free State Project by walking across the country from Oregon. Like the most hardcore activists, Will’s still here, working with the New Hampshire Liberty Alliance in the state house.

Dunker, while not following in Anderson’s exact footsteps is definitely making his move to the Shire with the same spirit. Not many people make a big deal out of their move. This is the first such spectacle in nearly a decade, and it’s awesome! Dunker has been calling in to Free Talk Live over the last week with updates, in addition to posting a bunch of photos and GPS tracking maps to his blog at DunkerBike.com. He’s also been interacting with people on his discussion thread on the Shire Forum. (more…)

Oppressive Regimes Threatened By Free Satellite Signals – Help LRN.FM Fund More Via Patreon!

Destruction of Satellite Dishes in Iran

100,000 Satellite Dishes Confiscated & Destroyed in Iran

In many parts of the world, especially poorer ones, internet access is barely available, and if it is at all, it’s expensive and slow. There also isn’t much in the way of in-home entertainment options as cable TV is non-existent as people cannot afford it. To get their news and entertainment, many people in the world turn to the sky, especially in oppressive regimes.

In places like China, Cuba and Iran, satellite receivers and dishes are illegal. Police even conduct regular raids of homes suspected of using satellite, still people’s thirst for freedom of information persists. In a story from last year about Iran destroying 100,000 siezed satellite dishes and receivers, Al Jazeera reported:

Iranian police regularly raid neighbourhoods and confiscate dishes from rooftops, and under Iranian law, satellite equipment is banned and those who distribute, use, or repair them can be fined up to $2,800…”Reforming this law is very necessary as using satellite is strictly prohibited, but most people use it,” he said. “This means that 70 percent of Iranians violate the law” by owning satellite dishes.

At the destruction “ceremony”, General Mohammad Reza Naghdi, the head of Iran’s Basij militia, explained the dangers of freedom of information via satellite:

“The truth is that most satellite channels… deviate the society’s morality and culture…What these televisions really achieve is increased divorce, addiction and insecurity in society…Most of these satellite channels not only weaken the foundation of families but also cause disruptions in children’s education and children who are under the influence of satellite have improper behaviour” (emphasis added)

Satellite Dish Graveyard in Mosul, Iraq

Countless Satellite Dishes Confiscated and Destroyed by the Islamic State in Mosul, Iraq

Yes, he really used the phrase, “under the influence of satellite”! Besides his fearmongering, Naghdi is not admitting the real reason oppressive governments crack down on freedom of information.

Information, in this case delivered via Free-to-Air satellite, is a clear danger to the authoritarian state. They spend so much effort brainwashing their people via state schools and controlling local broadcast media, they can’t just allow all that to be undone by signals they can’t control coming from the sky!

Wouldn’t it be nice to have the message of liberty, cryptocurrency, and peace beamed down to the people under the boot of oppressive regimes worldwide?

The good news is it’s been happening 24/7 for most of this decade, thanks to LRN.FM’s Free-to-Air satellite channels over North and Central America and Sub-Saharan Africa! LRN.FM features dozens of liberty-oriented shows, both in live and podcast form, uncensored, streamed 24/7 online and broadcast internationally via Free-to-Air satellite. Free-to-Air means that no subscription is needed to receive the channels. They are TV or radio channels broadcast “in-the-clear”, direct-to-home.

As you can see here on our new satellite funding Patreon, we’re already making an impact on people in places like Cameroon, Africa. (Number 130 on the press freedom index for 2017.):


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NH Governor Signs Bill Protecting Bitcoin & Cryptocurrency From Regulation!

Bitcoin NH License Plate

Now Protected in NH

On Friday, New Hampshire’s new governor Chris Sununu signed a bill, HB 436, which makes NH the first state to explicitly protect cryptocurrency like Bitcoin from regulation!

This is a historic day and this move clearly positions New Hampshire as the most bitcoin-friendly state in the United States. NH was already the #1 most free state according to the “Freedom in the 50 States” study and this makes it even more free. New Hampshire also now stands in even more stark contrast to New York, the least free state, since New York a couple years ago did the opposite and attacked cryptocurrency businessess with their oppressive “bitlicense”, which drove bitcoin businesses OUT of NY. Now those businesses can escape safely to NH as this just-passed bill offers them a safe haven from the ravaging, destructive effects of government interference.

NH’s new cryptocurrency protection language is very simple and clear. It adds an entry to the money transmitter statutes that exempts:

Persons who engage in the business of selling or issuing payment instruments or stored value solely in the form of convertible virtual currency or receive convertible virtual currency for transmission to another location.

Liberty Lobby‘s Darryl W Perry, who headed up a campaign to contact the governor about this issue said, “After nearly three years of trying to get virtual currency explicitly exempt from money transmitter laws in the Live Free or Die State, I am happy to see this first major obstacle cleared.”

In 2015, a bill (HB 666) was passed that spooked many in the international bitcoin community as it added cryptocurrency to the “money transmitter” statutes. This caused at least one bitcoin business to cease doing business with customers in New Hampshire and quite a bit of buzz about New Hampshire losing its vaunted crytpo-friendly status. How did this happen in a state with the largest concentration of bitcoin enthusiasts per capita? Honestly, we were caught off-guard, but now that’s all changed. In 2016 a state house committee to study cryptocurrency was formed, whose meetings I attended and video recorded.

Representative Barbara Biggie of Milford

Representative Barbara Biggie of Milford, Sponsor of Bitcoin Protection Bill

After hearing from multiple NH bitcoiners in the committee meetings, state representative Barbara Biggie stepped up and filed this bill. As Darryl and I pointed out at the hearing, the bill as filed wasn’t quite what we’d hoped for. It created a new definition and exemption for “virtual currency” in the statutes, but still left in statutes a definition and regulation for “convertible virtual currency”. We explained to them that this was confusing and they should be striking the regulation for “convertible virtual currency” rather than creating the additional terminology.

You know what? They listened AND did us one better! The commerce committee amended the bill and turned it into the best possible protection for bitcoin businesses in New Hampshire! (more…)

Celebrating Bitcoin Pizza Day + Makerspace, Golf Course, Jiu Jitsu Businesses Now Accepting Bitcoin in Keene!

On May 22nd of 2010, a computer programmer made the first recorded real-life bitcoin purchase – two pizzas for 10,000 bitcoin. Now, seven years later, 10,000 bitcoin is now worth about 25 million US dollars! To celebrate “Bitcoin Pizza Day”, eight Keene-area bitcoiners met up Monday afternoon at Little Zoe’s Take and Bake Pizza (Keene’s bitcoin-accepting pizzeria!) and ordered up several pizzas. We chatted with owner Ed Forster while he prepared the pizzas that we would later take to the Think Penguin headquarters, bake, and enjoy. Conversation included discussion of the recent meteoric rise in bitcoin price (over $2,200 per BTC on “Bitcoin Pizza Day” to now over $2,600 three days later as I write this) and the frustrations many of us have over the internal strife on the programming side of the bitcoin world.

Keene-area Bitcoiners Visit Little Zoe's Pizza!

Keene-area Bitcoiners Visit Little Zoe’s to Celebrate Bitcoin Pizza Day!

This week’s news about the possible resolution to bitcoin’s internal strife via a large consensus of major players in the bitcoin world is heartening. It’s been getting more difficult to justify pitching Bitcoin to businesses in the area. Due to the high fees, it becomes less-and-less likely that customers will want to actually spend it. However, because it was the world’s first cryptocurrency, Bitcoin has a big lead on the competition – most importantly its large acceptance infrastructure for business by merchant services providers like Bitpay. Bitpay is great, but they only allow for business to accept bitcoin, not any of the competing alternatives like DASH, or Ether. Sadly, there’s not much serious competition at this time to what Bitpay is doing to help real-life mom n’ pop businesses accept bitcoin like we have in Keene.

Make It So: The Monadnock Makerspace

Make It So: The Monadnock Makerspace – Now Accepting Bitcoin!

Because of the great crypto activists who’ve moved here as part of the active libertarian migrations to New Hampshire, Keene’s number of bitcoin-accepting businesses per capita continues to increase. Per capita, Keene is trouncing San Francisco by multiple factors, even if you factor out the internet-based businesses in Keene that are listed on the Coin Map.

This Spring, several new businesses began accepting bitcoin in Keene thanks to the help of the Keene Bitcoin Network:

  • Make It So: The Monadnock Makerspace – Downtown Keene’s makerspace is now accepting bitcoin for memberships.
  • Pine Grove Springs Golf Course – Since 1900, nine holes of golf in Spofford, now with bitcoin.
  • Flow Jiu Jitsu – Learn self-defense and pay with bitcoin.
  • The Portal Map – Yearly map of the Monadnock region featuring local businesses prints 80,000 copies per year and is accepting bitcoin for advertising.
  • LocaCopia – Wild harvest reclamation service teaches you how to care for your fruit trees – for bitcoin.

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74% of NH Senate Votes to Decriminalize Cannabis & Governor Promises to Sign!

Cannabis

NH Senate Votes 17-6 for Decrim!

This time, it wasn’t even close. The senate of New Hampshire finally did the right thing after years of debate and failed votes. Yesterday, they voted overwhelmingly, 17-6 to decriminalize possession of up to 3/4ths of an ounce of cannabis and up to five grams of hashish! That’s 74% of the NH senate voting in favor, after nearly 90% of the state house did the same.

On the same day as the senate passing this bill, (HB 640) NH’s new governor issued a press release promising to sign the bill! (Something the last governor refused to do.)

The bill is certainly not perfect, as it still has civil fines for cannabis possession but it’s no longer an arrestable offense and is no longer going to be charged as a misdemeanor, unless the person is caught three times in three years. In that case, the fourth ticketing would be a class B misdemeanor, but the person still cannot be arrested. The first offense is fined at $100 and subsequent offenses within that three year period would be $300 each. The floor discussion today made it clear this bill was a compromise from both the law enforcement side and those who want to end prohibition.

Besides the continuing fines and the fact that law enforcement will continue to confiscate people’s weed, the worst part of the bill carves out an exemption where 18-21 year olds are treated more harshly than those 21 and up. Possession of cannabis-infused products remains a misdemeanor for those 18-21, sadly. Hopefully this will be rolled back in the future.

The bill is however a step in the right direction. That said, when will we have a state rep with the courage to put forward a total end to cannabis prohibition? New Hampshire needs to stop there and stop trying to do what other states have done and legalize with a regulatory and tax scheme. Let’s just try freedom and watch the cannabis industry boom in the Shire.

Add this great news to the 101 Reasons Lives in New Hampshire!

UPDATE: 5/12 6:20pm – possession of cannabis-infused products is still a misdemeanor for those 18-21, I misread the bill earlier when I reported wrongly that all possession for those ages is still a misdemeanor.

Here’s partial video of the senate floor hearing and vote:

Keene Democrat State Rep. Joseph Stallcop Flips to Libertarian, Making History!

In February of this year, republican state representative from Pelham, Caleb Dyer became the only sitting state rep in the United States to join the Libertarian Party. Now, just three months later, New Hampshire is making libertarian political history again as Keene democrat representing Ward One, Joseph Stallcop, today announced at a press conference at Concord’s state house, that he is also flipping to Libertarian! Here’s the full press conference video:

Not only does New Hampshire now have more sitting state reps than the other 49 states combined, but Dyer and Stallcop, both 21 years old, are forming what is likely the youngest political caucus in the history of the United States.

Now that state reps from both parties have openly defected to the libertarians, the big question is which state rep will be next? Will the courage of these two young men inspire the other libertarian reps who are still operating as republicans and democrats to “come out”? ¬†Former state reps Eric Eastman and Joe Lachance also recently revealed they have flipped from republican to join the Libertarian Party of New Hampshire.

State Representative Joseph Stallcop, for Keene's Ward One

State Representative Joseph Stallcop, of Keene’s Ward One

Rep. Stallcop joining the Libertarian Party is also historic as he is the second sitting democrat state representative to have ever done so in the 45-year history of the national party.

New Hampshire, of course, also holds the distinction of having the first-ever democrat state rep to have flipped, when prior to the 2000 election, late state representative Steve Vaillancourt joined the party as a sitting democratic state rep and then ran for re-election in 2000 as a libertarian and won! This fact contradicts those naysayers in the liberty movement who have been claiming it’s impossible for libertarians who make the flip to actually win re-election. What they are saying is impossible has already been proven possible by New Hampshire’s own political history! In addition to Vaillancourt, in the nineties New Hampshire had multiple libertarian state reps who also won re-election.

At this morning’s press conference, Stallcop gave an excellent speech that revealed the command-and-control structure in the NH democratic party, which echoed Dyer’s experience in the republican party. Thinking for one’s self when in the major parties is apparently discouraged and voting his conscience resulted in his democratic colleagues lying to and looking down on him. One was overheard saying of him, “Maybe we shouldn’t have college students doing this job.” (more…)