Only Two City Councilors Voted Against Expanding Nicotine Prohibition in Keene

Keene City Council Voting for Prohibition - Photo by Vincent Freeman

Keene City Council Voting for Prohibition – Photo by Vincent Freeman

It’s an early step of the ugly political process that may ultimately expand nicotine prohibition up to age 21 in Keene, New Hampshire. As sadly expected, the full city council voted 12-2 last night to order city staff to write up a new ordinance prohibiting the sale and possession of nicotine-related products for under 21s within the arbitrary geographic area known as Keene.

Several councilors spoke with the majority using the spectre of children using nicotine and how dangerous and addictive the chemical is to justify voting in favor of moving ahead with writing the ban, ignoring all the historic evidence of the failure of prohibition. One councilor, Mitch Greenwald, even voted with the majority despite bizarrely acknowledging in his remarks that prohibition hasn’t worked.

Prohibition is a tactic based on aggressive force against peaceful people that has created terrible unintended consequences each time in history it’s been tried. This time won’t be any different. The council will push legal sales outside the city limits and encourage police to harass even more young people than ever before. Tickets will be written just like they are constantly for underage alcohol possession. The tickets will obediently be paid, and the person who got caught will try to be more careful and not be discovered in the future. Oh, and black market sales to 18-20 year olds will expand in Keene.

You can watch the whole, ugly council discussion and vote here:

It was refreshing to see a couple of politicians stand up against the insanity, including both of Ward 4’s councilors, Margaret Rice and Bob Sutherland who not only voted against crafting the ban, but spoke against it. Rice eloquently said, in her speech to the council:

“It’s not my role to tell somebody what they can and cannot do with their own body, provided that they’re not harming anybody else.” (more…)

Hypocritical “Free State Project” Quietly Dumps Cody Wilson from Upcoming Convention

The FSP's Announcement of Cody Wilson's Now-Canceled Speech at Liberty Forum 2019

The FSP’s Announcement of Cody Wilson’s Now-Canceled Speech at Liberty Forum 2019

UPDATED @ 20:31 Eastern 2018-09-22 – I contacted a source within the FSP about this last night, long before going to press. The takedown was confirmed by the source but they would not speak publicly about it.
UPDATED @ 18:10 Eastern 2018-09-22 – See bottom of story for FSP’s response.

Cody Wilson is a libertarian hero who has made countless international headlines in the last several years, first for releasing plans for the world’s first 3D-printable gun, the “Liberator”. After that, he created the “Ghost Gunner” hardware, which makes machining a gun from scratch almost as easy as pressing “start”. All the while, he has bravely thumbed his nose at the oppressive state and federal governments and recently won a major settlement from the federal government that illegally tried to stop him from engaging in the free speech of sharing his 3d-printable weapon files.

Wilson’s a free speech and gun rights champion, no doubt. No wonder the Free State Project had asked him to speak at their 2019 Liberty Forum convention they’ve held in the wintertime here in New Hampshire for over a decade. It wouldn’t be the first time Wilson’s spoken at the Liberty Forum. Here’s a Forbes article talking about Wilson’s speech from 2014’s Liberty Forum. Here’s a video interview of Wilson at the 2014 Liberty Forum by Free Keene blogger Garret Ean.

Sadly, this week an arrest warrant was issued from Austin, Texas police alleging Wilson had met a sixteen-year-old young lady on a website called SugarDaddyMeet.com, took her to a hotel room, had sex with her, gave her $500, then dropped her off at a Whataburger. In Texas the “age of consent”, is apparently 17, which means they are charging Wilson with felony “sexual assault” for the consensual act he committed with his “victim”.

Within a couple of days, the Free State Project (FSP) quietly removed Wilson’s photo and bio from its place on the front page of their NH Liberty Forum website. Wilson’s photo had occupied the top left speaker’s position on their list of expected speakers. That pretty much means he was their top billed keynote speaker.

Cody's still caught in Google's cache of the FSP's Liberty Forum site.

Wilson’s still caught in Google’s cache of the FSP’s Liberty Forum site.

Poof! Just like that, he was gone. It’s not the first time they’ve tried to memory hole something – there was also the time when they tried to suppress video of a well-produced awards ceremony from Liberty Forum 2016 featuring me as a recipient.

Oops! Turns out the FSP forgot to cleanse their Twitter of their announcement of Wilson’s speaking gig which I included as the top graphic here, in case they take the tweet down.

The Free State Project used to be the reason many of us libertarians, voluntaryists, and liberty-loving anarchists moved to New Hampshire. They were known for throwing two great yearly events, including the previously mentioned Liberty Forum and the Porcupine Freedom Festival in the summertime. However in recent years, the FSP has taken a strong turn away from the principles of liberty by jettisoning any people they can associate with any uncomfortable ideas of sexual liberation. Namely, the crazy idea that teenagers could possibly make decisions for themselves. (more…)

Free the Nipple Appeal at NH Supreme Court – Video

Attorney Dan Hynes, also an A+ rated state representative by the New Hampshire Liberty Alliance, appeared in the New Hampshire Supreme Court on Thursday morning and pointed out the absurdity of prohibiting female toplessness, absolutely eviscerating the city of Laconia’s clearly discriminatory ban. In contrast, the state’s attorney actually argued that it was an issue of morality as she simultaneously admitted that a woman could wear pasties over her nipples and then it would be legal, even if the pasties were printed photos of nipples!

Are there really people who believe that the sight of nipples on a woman is immoral, but because it’s legal to cover them with photos of nipples, then it’s now moral?

Further, what exactly is immoral about female nipples being shown in public?

Here’s the full hearing in front of the NH Supreme Court:


(Thanks to NHPR’s Annie Roepik for the audio.)

In case you missed it, here’s the original Free the Nipple trial from the original Gilford arrests (the case prior to this one, where the ladies won at the district court level). Hynes does an excellent job and the entire thing is pretty entertaining: (more…)

The Schmidts, Prominent Anti-Chalking Haters, Foreclosed On, Leave Trashed House

Matthew and Jennifer Schmidt in Keene District Court

Matthew and Jennifer Schmidt in Keene District Court

This blog has for more than a decade chronicled the ongoing NH Freedom Migration of libertarian-type folks moving to New Hampshire and getting active for liberty. Over those years, we’ve seen plenty of opposition by various people and groups of haters. Anonymous hitpiece blogs (all long since offline, so I can’t link them), full-color attack mailers, hate flyers distributed around town, and in recent years, actual real-life counter-protests and even seminars about libertarians and how evil we supposedly are.

It’s truly an honor to be attacked. They say you don’t take flak unless you’re over the target. No one should be surprised that there will be vehement opposition when libertarians actually start making an impact as we have done here in New Hampshire. Most libertarians don’t understand what it’s like to be hated, because outside of New Hampshire, the libertarian movement is little more than a sideshow. They have near-zero impact with their political campaigns, and that’s about all they do besides argue on the internet.

Haters' Home Foreclosed, Sold Under $48k

Prominent Haters’ Home Foreclosed, Sold Under $48k

Here in the Shire, libertarian activists regularly get mainstream media coverage in newsprint, on TV and radio. Here we matter, despite the online trolls who spend their precious time trying to convince us we don’t. Of course, the fact that they spend such inordinate time on us is evidence against their own claims.

Every now and then a hater will get out from behind their computer monitor and actually make a real life appearance. Sometimes they are memorable and hilarious, like the time Sam Dodson was assaulted by a former coffee-shop owner wielding a coffee cup (both have long since left NH). Sometimes they are threatening and violent. However, very rarely are their efforts sustained for any meaningful amount of time. Every hate group that has risen has also fallen away, however one couple really stood out above all the other haters, Matthew and Jennifer Schmidt. (more…)

Political Prisoner Christopher Cantwell: Exclusive Interview From Jail Cell

Pre-Racism Chris Cantwell talks about Bitcoin to attendees at the 2014 Cheshire Fair

For background on who Keene resident and white nationalist Christopher Cantwell was before his turn toward racism, please see my previous article, “The Curious Case of Christopher Cantwell” here. You may have heard that he was recently denied bail after being initially granted it by a different Albemarle county Virginia judge, regarding alleged pepper spraying of people at a violent protest involving despicable white nationalists and also-despicable “anti-fascists” aka “antifa”.

Chris recently received more than fifteen minutes of infamy when VICE news did a documentary about the hate-fueled protests a few weeks ago in Charlottesville, VA. Video of him spraying pepper spray in the middle of a fight between the protestors quickly surfaced and VA police issued multiple felony warrants for his arrest and he ultimately turned himself in. Despite having a history of attending court and no criminal history of violence on his record, Chris was denied bail, with the judge in the appeal actually citing his free speech, offensive as it is, as a reason for the denial! Judge Cheryl Higgins said, according to a paraphrase by Daily Progress:

while he may be a “shock jock,” his comments following the rally should not be ignored and “tend to show a certain level of approval of the violence that was used.

Chris Cantwell's Fourth Try at An Attorney, Elmer Woodard

Chris Cantwell’s Fourth Try at An Attorney, Elmer Woodard

She then stripped him of the $25,000 bond option that another judge earlier in the same day had granted. This after an hours-long bail appeal hearing where Cantwell’s bizarre attorney actually had him take the stand to testify – generally considered to be a terrible legal strategy this early in a case. According to the Daily Beast, Cantwell’s attorney is Elmer Woodard:

who appeared in court wearing an early-1800s-style red waistcoat with gold buttons, bowtie, white muttonchop whiskers, black velcro shoes, and a a 1910s-style straw boater hat. Cantwell said Woodard was his fourth choice for legal counsel after three other lawyers declined to take his case.

Inept attorney aside, Cantwell’s racism and his violent rhetoric, while despicable and deplorable, is not reason to deny bail. Unfortunately, far too many people, even supposed libertarians who should know better, are applauding his political imprisonment. I caution you to remember the famous poem from the World War II era’s German pastor Martin Niemoller:

Chris in Simpler Times, Acting as Security for the Hallowkeene Dance Party in 2014.

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Socialist.

 

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out — Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

 

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out —
Because I was not a Jew.

 

Then they came for me — and there was no one left to speak for me.

Whether Chris shot pepper spray aggressively or in self-defense remains to be seen. He’s supposed to be innocent until proven guilty. To keep him in pre-trial detention harms his ability to prepare his defense and anyone who cares about a fair justice system should be outraged.

You can hear him tell his side of the story in this recent episode of Free Talk Live from this Saturday where we had him on live from his jail cell in Albemarle County, VA. It starts at about 44:29 in to the show:

Judge Finds Free The Nipple Laconia Ladies Guilty; Appeal Vowed

Free the Nipple Hampton 2015

This is a crime? – Hampton Beach “Free the Nipple”, 2015

Today was the day of the latest “Free the Nipple” trial in New Hampshire’s Laconia district court. Though the ladies who protested the nipple ban in 2015 were found not guilty after a hilarious trial that I captured on video, this time around three of the ladies were found guilty for a topless event that happened in Laconia early in 2016. Both seemingly conflicting verdicts were given by the same judge. The ladies and their attorney intend to appeal.

Unfortunately I was not there to record today’s trial due to a car breakdown. I was told it was a very short event, as all the testimony in the case was given by the witnesses in a prior hearing in October on a motion by defense attorney Dan Hynes to dismiss the case. Thankfully, Free Keene blogger and legal expert Melanie Johnson was at the original hearing in October to take notes.

Though the very same judge, James M Carroll found the ladies who were topless in 2015 in Gilford not guilty on a technicality because NH is not a “home rule” state, this time he found the Laconia ladies guilty! Heidi Lilley, Kia Sinclair, and Ginger Pierro were sentenced to a $100 fine suspended given 12 months of good behavior.

Judge James M Carroll of Laconia District Court

Judge James M Carroll of Laconia District Court

In November of 2016 Carroll denied Hynes’ motion to dismiss saying that Laconia prosecutors had found an “enabling statute” that allowed the city to ban toplessness.

Since New Hampshire is not a “home rule” state, cities and towns are only supposed to be allowed to make things illegal that they’ve been enabled to prohibit specifically by the state legislature. According to the Concord Monitor’s Nick Reid, the prosecutors argued that RSA 47:17:XIII grants the town the right to regulate female toplessness. The statute does say that cities and towns can,

“regulate the times and places of bathing and swimming in the canals, rivers and other waters of the city, and the clothing to be worn by bathers and swimmers.”

Attorney Hynes, who is also a state representative, told me he’s disappointed in the court’s decision and intends to file an appeal with the NH supreme court. He’s previously stated the statute is unconstitutional and that he doesn’t believe banning female toplessness was the legislature’s intention. He says he’ll also be supporting legislation in 2018 to repeal the statute in question. Stay tuned here to Free Keene for the latest for this important equal rights case.