150+ Reasons to Move to Keene, Updated for 2016

keene-postcardInspired by the Free State Project’s 101 Reasons to Move to New Hampshire, in 2008 the original 101+ Reasons to Move to Keene was released, then later updated to 130+, and finally 150+. The list is a collaborative effort by local early movers for the Free State Project and describes many of the things that make Keene a unique activism opportunity and great community in which to live.

With the FSP reaching its goal of 20,000 pledges to move to New Hampshire, it’s time for future-movers to start seriously looking at their destination options.

Keene is big enough to have the conveniences of a city, but small enough to be walkable. For activists of all stripes, it’s easier to have a larger impact here because the population is smaller than Manchester. Check out the 150+ Reasons to Move for details on the area’s conveniences and demographics. Plus, liberty activists already have a major footprint here. Free Keene is not only an international source of news of activism across NH for Google News, but locally we serve as a much-needed third news-and-opinion destination for Keene area inhabitants.

Liberty activists here have built bridges with the community through volunteering, sponsoring local charity, and even working to assist Keene police when they are doing the right thing.

DJVCS PosterThough many more people move to the big city, Manchester, for obvious reasons like more jobs, Keene is high on the list of destination choices for many people planning their move. That’s likely because of the historic, publicity-generating activism that has transpired here over the years. There’s even a feature-length documentary about a year of activism here, “Derrick J’s Victimless Crime Spree“.

Recently, Keene activism has become more political with multiple candidates for office, petitioned warrant articles for school board, and election media generated by FSP early movers, like Darryl W. Perry’s excellent mayoral debate, which received accolades for its fairness.

As a result of the loads of media, both internal and mainstream that we’ve generated over the years, more people in Keene know about us – for better or for worse. That means there are a segment of people who fear change that have and will continue to lash out at liberty activists here. However, as the Free UBER activists found in Portsmouth, that’s what happens ANYWHERE the state is threatened and that activism is publicized. People form strong opinions for/against said activism.

Keene’s not without it’s challenges, but it’s the challenge that attracts so many here. Keene is the Western outpost of the Shire and we are shining the light of liberty to keep the encroaching statists from NY, VT, and MA at bay. Consider Keene as your destination for the Free State Project. Here are 150+ reasons why you should.

Judge Dismisses “Free The Nipple” Charges on Technicality, Issues Prudish Order

Free the Nipple Hampton Beach

Free the Nipple, Hampton Beach 2015

In the Summer of 2015, Heidi Lilley and B. Liz MacKinnon were ticketed on Gilford beach in alleged violation of the town’s ordinances. In late December, they went to trial at Laconia district court and Free State Project early mover and attorney Dan Hynes put on an excellent defense. Judge James M. Carroll took the case under advisement and has now issued his six-page order: both cases are dismissed!

Don’t get too excited. If you read the order, you’ll find that Judge Carroll is no hero of constitutional rights or equality. Page three of his order ridiculously cites the private Motion Picture Association of America’s ratings system as evidence of a supposed “societal desire” to regulate female toplessness. Carroll argues that because the state’s three prudish witnesses (the three snitches) don’t appreciate female toplessness and because the town gave notice of the existence of the ordinance, that somehow means the town ordinance doesn’t violate the Equal Protection Clause of the US Constitution or Article 1 of the NH Constitution’s Bill of Rights.

Given that Article 1 only mentions men when it says, “All men are born equally free and independent”, is it Judge Carroll’s opinion that only men were born free and that women can be told what to wear, for the good of “society”? He’s not foolish enough to come right out and say that, but his order does make excuse after outrageous excuse for the town’s ordinance, claiming it’s constitutionally sound:

The township’s compelling interest is met in maintaining the beach as a natural resource to be enjoyed by young and old , men and women, families and single persons while preserving appropriate standards that allow the township to maintain their local values and mores…The Court does not find that the prohibition violates any constitutionally protected right…the movement “does not have ‘a right to impose one’s lifestyle on other who have an equal right to be left alone.

Topless Tuesday, Keene's Central Square, 2010

Topless Tuesday, Keene’s Central Square, 2010

So, if the social mores were that all women must wear burqas, because seeing any skin at all bothered people, it sounds like Carroll would consider that mandate constitutional as well.

Though Carroll defends the right to marry either gender, he says that such marriage is a protected right, while toplessness is not. On the final page, he claims the toplessness in this case had no artistic value, while on page three he acknowledges the female nipple “has been the subject of great beauty in art”. Apparently Carroll is an art critic now, too.

Ultimately, Carroll decides the case in the favor of the defendants, but not on the excellent constitutional or equal protection arguments made by attorney Hynes, but simply on a technicality of the system: (more…)

Repealing Prohibition on Prostitution: Full Hearing Video and Press Conference

Elizabeth Edwards is a Free State Project early mover and elected democrat state representative who has heroically put forth the only proposed repeal of the prohibition on prostitution that I’ve heard of in my near-decade here in New Hampshire.

Were HB 1614 to pass, adults in NH would be able to trade sex for money without fear of arrest, prosecution, and jail. It does NOT create a regulatory structure (legalization) it just strikes the statutes criminalizing prostitution, and keeps in place prohibition on sex slavery.

It’s an excellent bill and surprisingly, everyone who testified on it, testified in favor. However, the cowardly chiefs of police did submit written testimony against it. Here’s full video of the press conference and the hearing in front of the Criminal Justice committee:

Will the bill have a chance the first year out? Probably not, but kudos to representative Edwards for putting it up for consideration. This is a conversation that people need to have at the state house about economic freedom and self-ownership. Stay tuned here to Free Keene for the latest.

If you want to help move forward pro-liberty political change here, please join the New Hampshire Liberty Alliance, whether you are in NH or not – you can help.

VIDEO: Speaking Truth to Power, January 19th and 26th

Here’s another video compilation of me speaking to various NH state house committees over the last couple of weeks:

Bills I testified on included:

  • HB 1616 – would give NH people an opt-in to federal REAL ID compliance for their driver’s license.
  • HB 1610 – would make possession of up to two ounces of cannabis by people 21+ legal
  • CACR 24 – proposed constitutional amendment to enshrine the right to travel
  • HB 1476 – would allow people under 16 to work with parental permission rather than a school bureaucrat

If you want to help move forward pro-liberty political change here, please join the New Hampshire Liberty Alliance, whether you are in NH or not – you can help.

Hearing on Underage Drinking Bill

On January 26th, I recorded most of the hearing on a bill (HB 1606) that would allow 18-20 year olds to drink alcohol with someone 21 and up. In addition to fear-mongering cops testifying against the bill, the video ends with an epic nearly 20 minute Q&A for me by the reps on the criminal justice committee. Also, don’t miss the excellent testimony by Keene representative Tim Robertson. Here’s the video (it’s not the full hearing as I had to leave for a different hearing):

If you want to help move forward pro-liberty political change here, please join the New Hampshire Liberty Alliance, whether you are in NH or not – you can help.

Video of Hearing on Proposal to Repeal Hawker / Peddler Statutes in NH

Last week in the state house Commerce committee, Joe Hannon, an A+ rated state rep by the NH Liberty Alliance, introduced a bill (though he was not the sponsor) to repeal the state’s regulations on hawkers and peddlers and an interesting discussion ensues. I weighed in as the final speaker on the matter. Here’s the full video of the hearing from January 19th on HB 1647:

If you want to help move forward pro-liberty political change here, please join the New Hampshire Liberty Alliance, whether you are in NH or not – you can help.

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