After a decade of attending various cannabis legalization and decriminalization hearings at the Concord state house, this week’s hearing for HB-1648 was refreshing. HB 1648 is a really good cannabis decrim bill that goes even further than the one that passed in 2017 that made possession of under 3/4ths of an ounce of flower and under 5 grams of concentrate a violation instead of a misdemeanor. If it passes this year, HB 1648 will eliminate any penalty for people over 21 possessing those amounts. It will no longer be something police can act on at all.
The bill is not perfect, of course, as I point out during my testimony in the two-hour long hearing. It still treats people under 21 like children by retaining violation-level penalties for people between 18 and 21, and also penalizes people under 18 for possession by forcing them into the juvenile system. That’s not fair or right. Also, the limits on the amounts that would be legal to possess are too low. That said, it’s a major step in the right direction and does it without creating a taxing and regulatory structure.
The real shocker at the public hearing this week was the lack of any police presence. Having attended these cannabis hearings over more than a decade, this is the first time where the police not only did not speak against the bill, but weren’t even there watching. The chiefs of police association did sign the blue sheet against the bill, and were the only ones to sign against it. All other signatures were for the bill. Plus, of all the various people who spoke, there was only one who spoke against it, the woman from prohibitionist busybody group “New Futures”. All the other voices were in favor of the bill passing.
Nobody told the house Criminal Justice panel that rather than punishing people under eighteen by putting them into the harsh juvenile system if they are caught with cannabis, the most the state agents should do is call their parents. He said further, “The idea that kids should be subject to more criminal liability than adults kind of flies in the face of reason, when you think about it. I mean, we’re going to attach a criminal penalty to your behavior because your mind is not well enough formed yet to make decisions that have a lasting impact. Well, don’t you think it’s possible that taking criminal sanction against somebody has a lasting impact on their life? Maybe they shouldn’t be bound to that by a decision they make so young.”
With nearly 60% of the vote, Vermin Supreme is victorious in a closed primary vote held by the Libertarian Party of New Hampshire! The entertaining, longtime satirical candidate has run for President of the United States under both the republican and democrat parties over the year and this time has thrown his boot in the Libertarian party’s primary ring for their 2020 nomination.
Supreme has spent a lot of time campaigning in New Hampshire, including an epic, armed pony march on Concord’s state house last month. His New Hampshire campaign manager and national chief strategist, Richard Manzo said this about his decisive win in an exclusive interview for Free Keene, “I think this is very much a proof of concept, that recruiting younger members to the LP is possible with the right messenger. I think the young people we recruited to the party tipped the scales in Vermin’s favor.”
For the last three presidential elections, the national Libertarian Party has put forward terrible presidential candidates. Bob Barr, the former republican congressman, was their embarrassing choice in 2008. The national LP’s selection in 2012 and 2016, former republican governor of New Mexico Gary Johnson, was barely an improvement on Barr. These choices were bad enough because they propagate the mistaken idea that libertarians are somehow right-wing. However, if Barr or Johnson actually had embraced the non-aggression principle and were communicating it during their campaigns, I could forgive them. At least they would have been on-message. They weren’t.
Today at their annual convention in Concord, the LPNH tallied up the votes that were mailed in by their membership in a closed party presidential primary. Using ranked choice voting, 44 of their 110 members cast votes in the primary, with 26 of the 44 voters choosing Vermin Supreme. That’s over 59%! It was a decisive victory.
Maybe there’s hope for the national Libertarian Party, as even the satirical Supreme is a better presidential nominee than former republicans, simply for the entertainment factor alone. However, it wouldn’t surprise me if they choose another former republican governor, this time Bill Weld, as their nominee. In 2016, Weld was given their vice-presidential nomination and went on to promote Hillary Clinton during his campaign appearances. The only time Weld ever addressed the non-aggression principle during his campaign was when I asked him about it at his appearance at Keene’s Central Square.
Good luck, Vermin. In a world where LP members appreciated good satire and had a sense of humor, you’d win nationally. Sadly, I don’t expect to see that happen. Kudos to LPNH’s members for sending a message to national with their nomination.
Concepts like self-sufficiency and independence are great, but just how obtainable are they? True, we each alone are responsible for our self-actualization and for our actions, but at the end of the day interdependence is the name of the game (thus the emphasis by many FreeKeene.com bloggers on mutual aid). After all, as Leonard Reed pointed out, even something as seemingly simple as a pencil necessitates the involvement of many.
So it is with the sustenance we each rely on to survive. Your cheeseburger and fry lunch from Local Burger may involve lettuce and tomatoes grown in California’s Central Valley, beef raised in Wyoming and slaughtered and packaged in Oklahoma, cheese from Wisconsin, potatoes from Idaho, salt from Pakistan. You get the idea.
In this economy that is built on the division of labor almost all of us turn to others for most, if not all of the food we consume.
In 2018, when my lady and I lived in Las Vegas we were able to run out for anything at any hour of the day. But during most of 2019, when we lived in a small town in the Intermountain West that lacked a grocery store, we had to plan our resupply expeditions. We could acquire enough eggs, raw milk, meat, and other vittles to keep us provisioned for long stints. But we found that having fresh greens on hand was difficult.
One year later from their threats against a local Asian cuisine restaurant, I’ve got a Christmas gift for the City of Keene gang – the video they didn’t want you to see where multi-term mayor Kendall Lane reveals his racist view about New Hampshire’s low crime rate:
The clip is from a just-released documentary called “Young Guns“, from a Keene State College student, Reece Dunn who was visiting from the UK. Anonymous sources inside the college informed me that when this video premiered at the Monadnock Film Festival in 2018, there was immediate action from the people calling themselves “the City of Keene” to squash it inside the college. However, the college couldn’t do much as Dunn had already left and returned back to the UK. Dunn ultimately decided to release his student film publicly on YouTube this holiday season. The short documentary is about a young man from a total gun prohibition state exploring a place where there is very little restriction on gun ownership.
In the process, Dunn ended up talking to Lane about growing up with the New Hampshire gun culture and ultimately asks Lane why New Hampshire’s violent crime rate is so low. Lane says, “I have theories about why New Hampshire is particularly safe…” then pauses a while before stuttering and stumbling and then finally says, “part of the reason New Hampshire is so safe is because quite honestly it, the state is 98% white. The state is very homogeneous. There’s not a lot of diversity in New Hampshire.”
Only advocates of peace are allowed to blog at FreeKeene.com
It’s a shocking statement from the same mayor who gave a speech at an anti-racism candlelight vigil in late August of 2017 after Keene resident Christopher Cantwell made international news for being a leader of the Charlottesville, Virgina white nationalist “Unite the Right” protests.
Lane’s ridiculous statement in Dunn’s documentary can be interpreted in a couple of different ways. He could believe that white people are more peaceful than people of other skin colors or he could believe that people of different races living nearby each other and mixing together leads to more violence. Whatever the interpretation, the beliefs he expressed sound a lot like Chris Cantwell’s white nationalist views that Lane appeared to speak against just two years ago.
Lane is wrong for the same reasons Cantwell is wrong. The racists can drag up their statistics and studies all they want to prove their claims about various groups of people, but to libertarians it is the individual who matters. Individuals from different parts of the country and world come here regardless of skin color, perhaps because they value the freedom they can have here. In particular, the freedom to defend one’s self, family, and community with whatever weapons one chooses.
New Hampshire attracts people who value freedom and the freedom to self-defense without having to beg for a government permission slip first is the reason we have more peace and dramatically less violence than other places. Even though New Hampshire has a state gang, they are less oppressive than other states in the area of gun ownership, and so we have less violent crime as a result.
Lane chose to not run for re-election this year and will end his term in January when he’ll be replaced by mayor-elect George Hansel. Hopefully this video will end any chances of Lane trying to run for other political offices. Meanwhile, Lane should stop listening to Chris Cantwell’s radio show and reconsider his dated, collectivist, racist views.
State Rep. Mike Sylvia is no stranger to civil disobedience.
In a slap in the face to the idea of property rights a robed man from Belknap’s “superior court” has ruled against A+ rated liberty state rep Mike Sylvia for living on “his” property. This week, nearly two months after a civil trial, James D O’Neill III issued a 15-page order, ruling in favor of the Belmont town gang, awarding them legal fees and further ordering Sylvia to no longer stay at “his” property.
I previously reported on this case here at Free Keene in 2018, but here’s a quick rundown on the case history: Sylvia purchased the property in question after the home burned down in 2009. The only standing building left was a garage. Sylvia parked an RV on the property as he worked on the property but soon found himself being stalked by a “zoning enforcer”, Steve Paquin. Paquin, apparently on orders from the city council to target Sylvia, would regularly drive by and creep on Sylvia, observing smoke coming from a chimney on the garage and footprints in the snow going from the RV to the garage. Paquin even speculated about Sylvia’s bathroom habits, his reports ultimately leading to the town gang issuing Sylvia threats demanding hundreds of dollars per day in fines for violating their precious zoning rules.
According to the “Town of Belmont” criminal enterprise, they have a right to destroy people’s lives and steal their wealth because some strangers wrote some words on paper and called it “zoning”. According to these arbitrary rules that none of us agreed to, the town gang says you must ask their permission before laying down to sleep in what you thought was your property, since you know, you paid for it with your hard-earned money.
Zoning thug Steve “Creeper” Paquin wants to watch you on your property.
But no, you don’t actually own your property. Ownership is proven by control. If you don’t control a thing, you don’t own it. Sylvia’s case proves clearly again that the group of strangers called “the state” actually owns all the property. You can’t do what you want without asking their permission, including simply existing on it. Asking permission is evidence that you are not exercising a right, but begging for a privilege. Begging is not the way of free people, nor the actions of an owner.
Sylvia acted like he owned the land. He, correctly, doesn’t believe he should have to ask permission to live a place he should have a right to be. Sadly, there are men with guns calling themselves “the Town of Belmont” and “State of New Hampshire” that have decided to force their beliefs down on Sylvia and all the rest of us who believe in property rights.
Judge O’Neill’s order prohibits Sylvia from “occupying the garage and/or recreational vehicle” unless he is given a permission slip from the town. He’s further prohibited from using a “water appliance or fixture” on the property until a “compliant septic system” is installed. The hundreds of dollars a day in fines the town has assessed against Sylvia and the property were ordered held in abeyance and will only be imposed if Sylvia disobeys the robed man. Sylvia has however been ordered to pay the town gang’s legal fees, for which they’ll present an invoice for some likely ridiculous amount.
What is the state gang’s excuse for their violence? Besides their obvious thirst for obedience, compliance, and control, they would argue that there’s some kind of danger to public health because the garage doesn’t have a septic system. Ignoring the fact that RVs have their own waste tanks that can be safely disposed of, the property is wooded. Sylvia even asked the creeping zoning thug during trial if he was aware of an old outhouse that was in the woods. Even if there isn’t an outhouse and Sylvia was pooping directly in the woods, so what? Are we supposed to believe that human feces is somehow more dangerous to the neighbors’ property than all the bear, moose, dog, and other animal dung that’s left throughout the woods?
Robed man James D O’Neill III says the state owns your property.
Sylvia believes that he was targeted by the town gang specifically because of his actions as a state representative. One less-discussed responsibility of New Hampshire’s state reps is they also make up the “County Convention” which controls the county taxes. Given he’s an award-winning state rep, rated A+ for liberty votes, Sylvia is a threat to the county’s budget as he will not vote to raise taxes. Therefore he was targeted by the town gang for retaliation.
Arguing this in court didn’t help, of course, because the man in the robe is paid by the same state gang that targeted Sylvia in the first place. But no, that’s not a conflict of interest. Sylvia also argued that Paquin couldn’t prove he was actually sleeping or pooping on the property, but that doesn’t matter in civil court, where the court decides based on the “preponderance of the evidence”, not the criminal court standard of reasonable doubt. Therefore, the testimony of the sole creepy witness was sufficient for the court to rule against Sylvia.
Zoning is a nightmare for anyone who believes in property rights and the only solution is to abolish it entirely statewide. We’re going to need a lot more libertarian activists in New Hampshire before that can be done. Meanwhile, Sylvia has literally been kicked off what he believed was his own property by the people calling themselves “the state”, and thrown out into the cold.
Sylvia told me in an exclusive interview, “Property rights, according to the judge don’t really exist”. He says he was unable to find any cases where property rights have been looked at by the NH Supreme Court and is not sure whether or not he will be appealing the decision. He’ll be considering future action legislatively to address the corruption in town governments. You can read his response to the ruling here on his blog. Stay tuned here to Free Keene for any further developments in this case.
Public interest lobbyist and former Chair of the Libertarian Party of New Hampshire, Darryl W Perry has launched a gubernatorial campaign. Perry, who was a Libertarian Presidential candidate in 2016, officially launched his campaign on December 4, on a platform of criminal justice reform, lower taxation, ballot access reform and voting rights.
Perry has previously lobbied for the repeal of the death penalty, which Governor Sununu vetoed twice. He has also lobbied for more fair ballot access laws, voting rights, and other reforms of the criminal justice system; all issues that he will highlight during his campaign. (more…)