Third Sitting New Hampshire State Rep Flips to Libertarian Party!

Libertarian State Representative Brandon Phinney

Just-Flipped-to-Libertarian State Representative Brandon Phinney

The Libertarian Party of New Hampshire held another press conference today announcing the awesome news that now a THIRD sitting state representative has flipped parties to the LPNH!  The LPNH has already made two previous historic announcements earlier this year with state representatives Caleb Dyer of Pelham and Joseph Stallcop of Keene changing from republican and democrat respectively to the Libertarian Party of NH and then forming a Libertarian caucus in the state house for the first time in twenty years.

Representative Brandon Phinney, who was elected in 2016 as a republican, said during his official announcement at today’s press conference, that the republican party leadership has been chastising their legislators for not following the leadership’s demands.  Phinney said in his speech that he was stifled by party leadership and that he and the other liberty minded reps were labeled “terrorists”!  He said, “What I found was that both parties were seeking to manipulate the potential legislation and the legislative process for political gain…I was not elected to do the bidding of a political party at the expense of my principles.” He finished his speech by saying, “Integrity and a clear conscience is desperately needed in the New Hampshire house and together with representatives Dyer and Stallcop, I believe that our cause will ignite a shift in political affiliation in this state”.

Phinney was joined in speaking by the chairman of the national Libertarian Party, Nicholas Sarwark, who came up from their offices in DC to help commemorate the occasion.  In his speech, Sarwark delivered an invitation to legislators, politicians, and others saying, “if you’re tired of living a lie, if you’re tired of standing up for things you don’t believe in, come out of the closet. Become a libertarian. Come home. ”  It was Sarwark’s first time visiting the Live Free or Die state.  Here’s the full press conference from this morning in Concord:


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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…)

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…)

The Power of Cop Blocking With Large Numbers of People

Large Group Copblocks DUI Checkpoint in Manchester, NH

Large Group Copblocks DUI Checkpoint in Manchester, NH

As one of the original copblockers (badge #5), I’ve been in the streets a lot over the years. I’ve helped save people from harassment by the police on countless occasions, informed thousands of young people about their rights, and have been arrested several times.

There’s no doubt that a couple of dedicated copblockers can make an impact out there. I’ve seen that happen. However, have you ever hit the streets with a dozen people on your side?

I’d bet you haven’t. We just don’t have enough people in most places to accomplish numbers like that. Police accountability activism in the streets is a risky place to be, so its hard to find people who are willing to go out, even among vocal supporters.

I have had the pleasure of being out with large groups and let me tell you, it’s a game changer, especially in New Hampshire, where there aren’t a whole lot of police in most towns. Even in its biggest city of over 100,000 people, Manchester, the police DUI checkpoints have basically been shut down by groups of up to a few dozen people. The DUI checkpoint activists come out every time the police do a checkpoint and the activists bring reflective signs, cameras, two-way radios, and set up at strategic locations to alert drivers to the existence of the checkpoint and encourage them to turn away. At a recent such event, there was a relatively small turnout of only about a dozen people and they reported 90% success at getting cars who were going to turn into the checkpoint road to turn away from it instead! There was one arrest at the event, as a couple visiting Keene copblockers ventured away from the group to target the checkpoint directly with their cameras. Activist Christopher Waid was threatened and arrested as he crossed the street into the median. You can check out video of that here. What would have happened if there were a dozen people backing Chris up instead of just one? (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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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…)