Civil Disobedience Thanksgiving at the Un-permitted MALIC Center in Keene, NH
Will Coley, new mover to Keene and imam of the soon-to-open MALIC Center – Keene’s new mosque – recently made headlines over the city’s demand he obey them and ask permission to exercise his right to religion. Here’s the Union Leader story and the NHPR piece about the conflict.
Will originally made the mistake of trying to ask the city gang’s blessing to install a sign. He should have known that asking for permission to exercise a right never ends well. The answer is almost always no, and fees and hoops galore are demanded by the bureaucrats. Unfortunately, despite telling the city gang that the sign was going up, after consulting with the local Muslims he is serving, they asked him to try to go through the city’s demands for the sign permission slip. So, the sign is not up.
MALIC Center Imam Will Coley Speaks to City Committee About Immigration
However, now that an inch has been given, the city gang is ready to take a mile of obedience, fees, meetings, and paperwork. In a letter addressed to Will by the city’s “Planning Director” Rhett Lamb, Lamb tells Will he’ll need a “change of use” for the building and an “certificate of occupancy” to gather in the structure, neither of which have anything to do with a sign. However, they have everything to do with submitting to a group of strangers who think they have a right to control your life and property.
Will has told me that the local Muslim community may be willing to bend on the sign issue, but not on the right of assembly. No one should ever have to ask permission to exercise their right. A mosque or church is created because we say so, not by asking some officious bureaucrat’s permission. The right to property and to seek happiness is a fundamental right ostensibly protected by the New Hampshire constitution – the very same document the people calling themselves “the City of Keene” supposedly operate underneath. Here’s its Article 2 regarding property: (more…)
Last year I had the pleasure of attending and broadcasting my talk radio show, Free Talk Live, from the third annual NH Hempfest! This year it’s back, rebranded to the “NH Cannabis Freedom Festival“, again at the beautiful Roger’s Campground from August 25th-27th. Like last year’s event, this year promises to be packed full of wall-to-wall live musical performances by some great bands. (And this year they are accepting bitcoin – get your tickets here!) If you were wondering what this excellent festival was like last year, Free Keene blogger and radio host Robert Mathias was there and spent the last year of his life putting together a feature-length documentary about it!
Set to the music of the live bands that were recorded professionally throughout the weekend and filled with gorgeous aerial shots of the vistas at Rogers Campground, the new NH Hempfest Documentary features plenty of footage giving you a taste of what it was like to be there in person. Mathias’ lovingly crafted, somewhat trippy feature film shows the beginnings of the festival from the setup day, through the weekend, including three full music videos recorded live from performers “Pigeons Playing Ping Pong”, “Zach Deputy”, and “Twiddle”. The documentary also keeps viewers up-to-date on the latest developments regarding cannabis decriminalization in New Hampshire, and does an excellent job portraying a solid anti-state, pro-liberty message to the cannabis crowd, a demographic ripe for the ideas of freedom. Kudos to Spirit Love Productions‘ Robert & Ann Mathias and Justin Campagnone for the stellar job putting this together.
Keene Signals its Support for Secession by its Recent Peaceful Civil Disobedience
In case you aren’t aware, the police have their own gang symbol. It’s called the “thin blue line” – a blue line horizontally sandwiched between two black bars. You’ll frequently see it on the back of vehicles presumably containing police or their immediate relatives. Of course, anyone can buy these stickers now, so police have other ways of recognizing their own, like these family “professional courtesy” passbooks, but regardless, the blue line is still seen on their cars, their clothing, and now flags. It helps create the “us vs them” mentality that some police have. Worse still, some people insist on treating the police as though they are better than the rest of humanity. Their word is gold in court, they get special burials when mass calamity happens, deferential treatment in many of the crimes the corrupt officers commit, and more.
In a recent Keene Sentinel piece about multiple city councilors gushing over their recent decision to paint a horribly garish blue line down the middle of Marlboro St, local commenter Johnson Rice points out that the city is actually committing civil disobedience against the federal government: (more…)
Several longtime cannabis freedom activists at the 2017 Concord smoke-out.
Since 2009, on April 20th at 4:20pm people from across New Hampshire gather in front of the State House in Concord to commit mass civil disobedience by smoking, vaporizing, or otherwise consuming cannabis in public. As has happened in previous years, we were again joined by multiple state representatives including Libertarian Caleb Dyer of Pelham, NH as well as Keene’s Ward One Democrat, Joseph Stallcop, and Republican Glen Aldrich of Gilford.
This year’s event began with speakers at 3pm including representatives Dyer & Stallcop, me explaining the right of Jury Nullification, and Libertarian Party of NH chairman Darryl W Perry. The overcast weather threatened rain which thankfully never materialized and the temperature was cool and pleasant with a couple dozen already in attendance at 3pm by the street, smoking cannabis and chalking messages on the pavement. As we closed in on 4:20pm (the time that cannabis is used in celebration globally) the numbers of attendees swelled to easily over 100 people.
Just a portion of the excellent crowd, photos courtesy Justin Campagnone
Event organizer and executive director of the 420 Foundation, Shire Dude emceed (and live streamed) the event. As the crowd gathered directly in front of the state house close to 4:20, we heard from speakers including Carla Gericke of the Foundation for New Hampshire Independence, the executive director of the NH Cannabis Freedom Festival, Rick Naya, and medical cannabis consultant John Padellaro who told us how cannabis helped him with his inoperable brain growth. Padellaro also said, “I don’t support legalization. I support ending prohibition.” This sentiment was echoed by speakers Perry and Gericke, with Gericke also calling on New Hampshire’s new governor, Chris Sununu, to pardon all peaceful drug offenders and end funding for “Granite Hammer”. Perry and representative Dyer’s speeches focused on the current legal status and future of cannabis reform in New Hampshire while Naya reflected on the previous 420 rallies and people we’ve lost to prohibition. In his off-the-cuff speech, representative Stallcop of Keene told the attendees, “we need to stop looking at each other in terms of left or right. I see, in all honesty, there is right and there is wrong…We will stand together as one people and say that this is our decision, this is our choice.” (more…)
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The livestream will be from 3:00 to 4:20pm EST.
Activists gather at the statehouse in Concord, New Hampshire. They convene annually to protest cannabis prohibition. This year’s rally is the first to be hosted by the 420 Foundation‘s new Executive Director, Shire Dude. Hey, that’s me!
After the 420 rally, check the livestream again, at about 10:00pm. The Manchester Police Department has announced a checkpoint. If there is one, I intend to broadcast the response from Manchester activists.
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.
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.”
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!