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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Manchester Activists Protest US Syria Strikes

Last weekend, Manchester liberty activists gathered downtown for a protest aimed at US military intervention in Syria. While libertarians support self-defense of the individual, they also support consensual methods of paying for group defense. If someone wants to go attack people in other lands, those supporters should be the ones who pay for it. People who want peace should not be forced, through taxation, to foot the bill for violent adventurism. Hopefully, secession will help disconnect the people of New Hampshire from the depredations of the evil federal government in the future.

The protest did attract some media attention as WMUR-TV reporter Siobhan Lopez filed this video report. Thanks to Kathy Peterson for the photo.

Protesting US Attacks on Syria

Protesting US Attacks on Syria

NH Bitcoiners Speak to Senate Committee About Bitcoin Protection Bill – VIDEO

Bitcoin NH License Plate

Bitcoiners Love NH

The New Hampshire house of representatives recently passed a historic Bitcoin protection bill, that if it makes it through the senate and governor will make New Hampshire the opposite of New York. New York is infamous for its “bitlicense” regulations that drove multiple bitcoin businesses out of the Empire State. In contrast, New Hampshire, if this bill passes, would become a state with explicit protection against regulating Bitcoin businesses as “money transmitters”.

Last week, HB 436 had its public hearing before the senate commerce committee and a bunch of bitcoiners from across the state came out to sign and testify in favor of the bill, which would help ensure Bitcoin businesses continue to launch in and relocate to New Hampshire. It would further solidify New Hampshire’s place in the world as a cryptocurrency hotspot.

The speakers in favor far outnumbered those speaking against, which was really only the NH banking commission, who obviously does not want to lose hold of any of their precious power.

Those who spoke were on point and did a great job communicating with the senators on the committee. Turns out that two of those senators, Andy Sanborn and chairman Daniel Innis both already own bitcoin!

Will the bill pass the senate and be signed by the governor, or will the banking bureaucrats pull out all the stops to crush it? Stay tuned here to Free Keene for the latest on the NH Bitcoin scene.

Here’s the full hearing video:

Cheshire Sheriff Heroically Nullifies Immigration Enforcers, Creating NH’s Only Sanctuary County!

Sheriff Eli Rivera

Sheriff Eli Rivera

Cheshire County Sheriff Eli Rivera has been making headlines this week for his compassionate stance against working with federal immigration enforcers. Rivera, a longtime fixture in the community and multi-term sheriff, announced via his website last week:

After taking some time to reflect on this current issue, as Sheriff, I’ve decided that the Cheshire County Sheriff’s Office will not seek to enter into an agreement with the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE) to enforce federal immigrations laws. Furthermore, we will not participate in raids, stings or operations that are solely intended at locating an undocumented person or persons. Any representative of ICE requesting our assistance must have an active criminal warrant issued by a judge or must be actively pursuing a criminal investigation that relates to public safety for us to participate.

It’s a welcome policy in a place where being brown or black makes one stick out like a sore thumb, given the population here in Cheshire County is about 96% white.

According to the Sentinel’s report on Rivera’s announcement Keene Police’s acting chief, Steve Russo has yet to comment on the issue, but his late predecessor Brian Costa‘s position was similar to Rivera’s, saying, “We have no interest going forward, nor do we have the resources for deputizing our officers as part of ICE to go out and seek illegal or undocumented immigrants…We govern ourselves by our mission statement”, which says KPD is “to protect life and property and to maintain order within the City while assuring fair and respectful treatment of everyone.”

Costa said of that mission statement in his interview with the Sentinel earlier this month, prior to his untimely passing, “It’s not just a group of words…It’s how we do business.”

Brian Costa

KPD’s Late Chief Brian Costa

It sounds like Sheriff Rivera is on the same page as Costa. In his excellent statement, Rivera continues:

In addition, we will not ask a person their immigration status or detain a person based on an administrative civil detainer that is not issued by a judge. As Sheriff, I do not want undocumented immigrants to fear the Sheriff’s Office, instead I want them to be able to approach and speak to any of my deputies without the fear that they will be turned over to ICE. If in the course of our duties we happen to come across an undocumented person we will handle each encounter in a way we deem appropriate for each situation…

 

If you are an undocumented person in Cheshire County and feel uncertain about approaching law enforcement for fear they will turned you over to ICE, feel free to call me, Sheriff Eli Rivera, at the Cheshire County Sheriff’s Office.

According to the WMUR report on Rivera’s policy, some control-freak politicians are butthurt over this. Good. Unlike those cowardly politicians, kudos to Rivera for having the courage to do the right thing and truly protect the people of Cheshire county from the evil hands of the federal government. It would be better of course if Rivera would also stop cooperating with the feds on other victimless crime enforcement, like the insane War on Drugs, but this is a BIG step in the right direction.

I’m glad to live in a place where law enforcement acts more human, more often, than anywhere else I’ve ever been. You’ve got Rick Van Wickler, Cheshire County’s jail superintendent who is also a longtime speaker at Law Enforcement Action Partnership, a compassionate group of mostly former police which you may remember as being previously called, “Law Enforcement Against Prohibition” until they expanded their mission to include other issues where police reform is badly needed,  Van Wickler has been a constant presence in Concord at state house hearings about drug legalization, speaking strongly in favor of any efforts to end prohibition in New Hampshire.  He also runs his jail much more compassionately than the supermajority of the others in the United States.  Add to that, a relatively calm and approachable group of Keene police, and now this excellent news from Sheriff Rivera.

Thank you, Eli. You’ve earned my vote in the next election. The land known as Cheshire county in the Shire should be a sanctuary for all peaceful people. Your immigration policy helps us get closer to that ideal. Next step, NH seceding from the United States! Viva New Hampshire!