Libertarian National Chair Nicholas Sarwark Announces Move to New Hampshire

Nicholas Sarwark, LP Chair

Nicholas Sarwark, LP Chair Moving to New Hampshire ASAP.

When the national Libertarian Party‘s Chairman Nicholas Sarwark found the idea of migrating with other libertarians to New Hampshire, it was just an idea. Now, with thousands who have migrated here to the Shire since 2003, it’s no longer an idea but a successful proof of concept. We’ve had incredible, unprecedented activist successes, and it’s still early in the migration of the Free State Project.

In case you’re unfamiliar, thousands of the Free State Project‘s pro-liberty members decided in 2003 to migrate to New Hampshire over all the other states. Here are 101 reasons why they chose New Hampshire. Sarwark had heard about this back then and signed up. Then in 2016, the Free State Project reached its goal of 20,000 signers of their pledge to move libertarians and voluntarists to New Hampshire where our activism can be concentrated and have an actual impact. It has. As a result of our high concentration, a real liberty community has developed, unlike anywhere else in the world.

Sarwark witnessed the incredible and unmatched liberty community here in New Hampshire when he visited last month during the Porcupine Freedom Festival. In a post to his social media yesterday, Sarwark says of Porcfest:

Despite being a signer from way back, it was my first time attending. The experience was incredible, a sense of community, caring, cooperation, and peace. It’s not easy to describe, but it’s amazing to experience.

For a long time we early movers to New Hampshire envisioned a day when it would become so obvious that liberty is on the rise here that liberty-loving people would no longer be able to ignore our success and feel they needed to join in the fun. It appears we have reached that threshold. Sarwark’s public announcement is some of the biggest news that the FSP could really hope for in this area. In his post, he also says this:

Libertarian Party Logo 2016

The Libertarian Party Logo

Having stepped away from day-to-day operations of the car dealership here in Phoenix, I realized that there’s nothing stopping me from moving now. Valerie and I discussed it, talked to our kids about it, weighed out the pros and cons and decided together that we are moving to New Hampshire.

Assuming all goes according to plan, next month we will start our next chapter in the Granite State, surrounded by an intentional community of liberty lovers from all walks of life and I will trade my 17 year-old signer number for a brand new mover number.

Live free or die.

It’s a decisive move for Sarwark, who clearly had the experience at the Porcupine Freedom Festival that it was intended for – to let you experience what life is like when you’re literally surrounded by more liberty-loving people than you could possibly get to know.

Hopefully his decision will prod other libertarians to realize how futile it is to continue doing what they’ve always done, that we’re stronger when we concentrate our efforts in one place, and that the idea of concentration of activism is now a proven concept. Sarwark’s move is smart and should be seriously considered by anyone who cares about liberty. Kudos.

I Attended the Historic 2019 Porcupine Freedom Festival + Forkfest

Forkfest Sponsors Porcfest!

The New Hampshire Freedom Festivals!

This year, after a four-year absence, I returned as an attendee to the Porcupine Freedom Festival, aka Porcfest. I’m happy to say that Porcfest 2019 was a success and even featured some history-making civil disobedience. More on that in a moment. First, kudos to Rodger and Jessica Paxton and their crew for throwing an excellent festival – in spite of the now-expected political bungling by the Free State Project‘s board of directors. Longtime Porcfest attendee, and Free Keene blogger Rich Paul had this to say:

The tension that has subdued Porcfest for the last few years is finally healed. It feels like 2012 again.

Before I continue my review of the event, a little background:

After its rise to being one of the most well-attended libertarian gatherings on the planet and also becoming the most cryptocurrency-welcoming event as far as its vendors are concerned, the Porcupine Freedom Festival, which is organized each year by volunteers, but ultimately controlled by the Free State Project corporation, ended up making a few key errors. Yes, it was a mistake for them to kick me and my radio show out after a few volunteers made a stink back in 2016, but I don’t hold a grudge, and at the time even published a blog encouraging people to continue attending Porcfest.

That’s one of the more obvious mistakes they made, as despite my urging of people to continue to attend, attendance did drop sharply the following year, from what I have been told. However, the other things they botched were even more damaging to the event.

For years, and from before they decided to ban me, people who’ve attended the Porcupine Freedom Festival each Summer in Northern New Hampshire have complained that its recent years have been lacking in fun, partially due to an ever-increasing burden of rules at the event and centralized decision making on the part of the Free State Project’s board of directors. For instance, longtime vendors felt pushed out of the “Agora Valley” prime trading zone by the artificial extra costs imposed by the FSP onto the RV campsites in that area.

Nearly Empty Agora Valley @ Porcfest 2019

Nearly Empty Agora Valley @ Porcfest 2019

Where did these artificial costs come from? The story of Agora Valley is one that libertarians should know well and should have seen coming, but the libertarians running the FSP failed to see it and fell into the same centralized control trap they typically argue against. In the earlier years of the Porcupine Freedom Festival at Roger’s Campground, the first few rows of the RV camping area became, through natural market functions, the most desirable real estate in the park. The reason is that all the major speakers and events are held at the Pavilion at the bottom of the hill, so most campers will pass through that part of the RV area on their way to attend Porcfest’s various events. Eventually the zone was dubbed “Agora Valley” and vendors would compete to reserve the prime spots first for the upcoming year’s event, however the cost to the vendors at the time was the normal lot fee charged by the campground.

Eventually, someone at the FSP got the bright idea that Agora Valley should be managed by the FSP’s festival organizers, and a vendor’s fee and agreement was created. When asked, the FSP’s representatives generally will defend the fees as reasonable, since they include a ticket to the event, promotion to the event’s VIPs, as well as a listing in the event’s “Whova” event program app, for a very small premium on top. They are right – the Agora Valley vendor prices are reasonable. However, the market is clearly speaking, more this year than ever before, that the fees and rules are not welcome.

One way the marketplace responded to the failures of Porcfest’s central planning was to fork the entire event back in 2017 and create a decentralized libertarian camping festival called Forkfest, which just finished its third year. Click here to read more about the creation of the alternative, yet friendly event.

However the other way the market responded during this year’s Porcupine Freedom Festival, was the creation of the “Where it’s at” zone deeper in the RV area. Longtime Porcfest vendors and attendees, fed up with paying more than they had to or simply frustrated by the restrictions for Agora Valley, decided to opt-out and setup a hot zone of economic activity in the RV rows past the Valley’s “jurisdiction”. This mass exodus left Agora Valley nearly a ghost town at this year’s Porcfest.

To be fair, according to Shawn Grissom, this year’s Porcfest vendor coordinator, there were vendors in the lonely Agora Valley that did very well this year. That said, even Grissom agreed the FSP should let go of trying to organize the campground and focus on their event production alone. Let the market self-organize again in the camp/RV area.

Heroic Open-Air Drug Market at Porcfest 2019

Heroic Open-Air Drug Market at Porcfest 2019

Aside from the centrally-planned failure of Agora Valley, the rest of the 2019 Porcupine Freedom Festival went off well and received rave reviews. The Paxtons did a great job of bringing balance back to where Porcfest wasn’t just a family vacation spot – with approximately 200 kids and teenagers in attendance – but also a great party. This year there was a naked guy down at the campfire at night on at least a couple of occasions that I saw, along with a topless young lady, plus an amazing open-air drug market.

During the final night’s Free Ross auction to benefit imprisoned liberty hero and founder of the Silk Road underground market, Ross Ulbricht, there were two vendors set up just outside on a couple of picnic tables right next to each other. One vendor offered items for sale on a whiteboard such as “not mushrooms” and “not pot” while the other seller’s blackboard offered shrooms, flower, and edibles. It even included a shout-out to #freeross.

The little things like that made this year’s Porcfest feel like Porcfests of the past, but what made this year’s Porcupine Freedom Festival historic was what happened at the end of the Free Ross auction. After two hours and well over $10,000 had been raised from bidders on dozens of donated items, two activists donated a couple of eighth-of-an-ounce containers of cannabis to the remaining auction items. The auction was run by Mancamp founder Jay Noone and since he doesn’t have a auctioneer’s license, the entire event was civil disobedience. Noone then made Porcfest and likely New Hampshire history by auctioning off the cannabis to two lucky winners including me and the his assistant, Angie. What fun! (more…)

Forkfest 2019 – Update from the Campground

Forkfest Logo

Come out to join us – it’s not too late for this year yet!

The sun has risen on day number three of Forkfest 2019 at Roger’s Campground as we appear to be on track to top last year’s event. One key indicator – besides new faces showing up this year in the early two days – is the number of food vendors here this year. Day one was pretty slow as always, but by the evening of day two, there were at least four campsites offering food for sale including Matt Roach & Vincent at RV 82 who set up and were operational before anyone else, offering biscuits and gravy in the morning then other delicious hot food later in the day including a chicken chili and cornbread combo. By day’s end, “Taco Munch” had opened up in the tenting area, I heard Silver Dave was serving up food near the dome, and Bardo Farm sausages were being offered by Shawn the soda guy in the RV zone.

It’s not too late to come out and join us! Forkfest 2019 runs through Monday when it will culminate in the return of the Big Gay Dance Party under the Capital Interest Lounge dome at RV site 58. Coming up to join us? Make sure you get connected to the unofficial Forkfest Telegram chat and say hello. Also, you should explore the Forkfest Forum which has details on a handy events calendar and active two-way radio channels here on the campground.

If you don’t already know, Forkfest is the yearly camping party in the woods that began in 2017 at Rogers Campground in the beautiful White Mountains of New Hampshire. This year, Forkfest happens the five days prior to the Porcupine Freedom Festival and you’re invited to come and create whatever experience you’d like others to have. No one is in charge and the event is decentralized. (In fact, some people have different names for the event, including Somaliafest, Shirefest, and Banned Camp) It’s up-to-you what happens at Forkfest.

Death Penalty to End in NH as House & Senate Override Governor’s Veto!

ACLU Sign to End Death Penalty in NH

ACLU Sign to End Death Penalty in NH – Photographed in Keene

New Hampshire today became the 21st state to abolish the death penalty, as the state Senate and House have now both voted to override the governor’s veto. Despite the death penalty having no deterrent effect on violent crime, governor Sununu stood firmly with the police, as he has foolishly done on cannabis legalization, and against the overwhelming tide of history.

It’s refreshing to see some level of compassion win the day and see the police state taken down, even if it’s only symbolic. New Hampshire hasn’t actually put someone to death since 1939 and though one man is currently in state prison with a death sentence, according to the Washington Post, the state prison system has no plan to acquire any lethal injection drugs.

According to one anonymous state rep, bloodthirsty Republican legislative leadership apparently cranked up political pressure in their attempt to stop more compassionate Republicans from voting along with Democrats to end the insanity of the death penalty. While they were successful in changing some votes to back the governor, they ultimately failed as many Republicans followed their conscience instead of party dictates. The bill first passed the House in March by a vote of 279 to 88, while the House’s veto override passed last week by a closer 247 to 123 vote. In April, the NH Senate voted 17 to 6 to abolish the death penalty while its veto override today passed 16 to 8.

All the New England states now no longer have the death penalty! Kudos to all liberty reps who did the right thing and shame on any who sided with the cop-loving governor.

Successful “Bitcoin Pizza Day” in Crypto Mecca – 2019

For the third year in a row, local cryptocurrency users in the Crypto Mecca of Keene, NH gathered at local crypto-accepting pizza joint, “Little Zoe’s” to celebrate Bitcoin Pizza Day. The annual celebration, set on May 22nd, commemorates what is regarded as the first real-life cryptocurrency purchase in 2010, when Laszlo Hanyecz purchased two pizzas for 10,000 Bitcoin (BTC). This year, the holiday was covered by 60 Minutes.

In Keene, a bunch of people gathered from as far as Amherst, MA and Brattleboro, VT to celebrate with delicious pies from Little Zoe’s Pizza in Keene, NH where for years owners Ed and Melanie Forster have offered take-and-bake pies of excellent quality. This year, Little Zoe’s acquired an oven for their store and are now offering their pizzas hot, with outdoor seating as the seasons allow.

Bitcoin Pizza Day 2019

Crypto users gathered at Little Zoe’s Pizza in Keene for Bitcoin Pizza Day 2019.

Today was a perfect day with warm weather and plenty of sunlight for the various crypto fans, old and new, who gathered together in celebration of a form of money that eliminates governments and banks from the picture and delivers a useful, secure form of international money that does what it promises. Cryptocurrency allows value to be sent securely and near-instantaneously, across the globe or right next door, for next to zero fees.

There’s a reason why Bitcoin (BTC) has grown over a decade from a value of $0, to this week as high as over $8,000 per BTC. This isn’t a fluke.

In addition to being useful for sending value globally, cryptocurrency is also attractive to local mom & pop business owners. That’s because with cryptocurrencies, the customer pays the very small fee to send their crypto to the business. This is the reverse of a credit card transaction where the business pays a typically 3% fee, out of their profits for each transaction. In contrast, that means that when accepting cryptocurrency, the business keeps 100% of the sale.

Bitcoin Fork in Road

Do you take the road less traveled?

Unfortunately, due to a disagreement among Bitcoin programmers, a “hard fork” or schism happened in August of 2017 that resulted in there becoming two competing “bitcoin” – Bitcoin (BTC) vs Bitcoin Cash (BCH). By that point in time, there were already thousands of would-be competitors to Bitcoin, like DASH, Monero, and others. Because Bitcoin (BTC)’s programmers failed to fix the problems with BTC’s escalating network transaction fees, the competitors were able to successfully offer drastically lower cost alternatives, right on time, when the market most needed alternatives.

Enter Anypay.global, a Point-Of-Sale crypto payments processor that also launched in August 2017 and is based in nearby Portsmouth, NH and co-founded by longtime Keene activist and Free Keene blogger, Derrick J Freeman. Anypay wisely launched offering two options for local businesses to easily accept cryptocurrency at the point-of-sale: Bitcoin (BTC) and DASH. Local businesses who were already accepting BTC were eager to adopt DASH as a lower-fee alternative, because it was the right option for their customers, as DASH’s sending fees are usually less than $0.01 worth of DASH, whereas today’s Bitcoin (BTC) fees can be as high as over $2.00 worth of BTC.

Since then, even more local businesses have begun accepting cryptocurrency including DASH aka “Digital Cash”, BTC, and the newer competitor to BTC, Bitcoin Cash (BCH). Most local businesses accept all three, thanks to the Anypay app, which has expanded to allow business owners to accept multiple cryptos including even Ripple (XRP), Dogecoin (DOGE), Horizen (ZEN), Smartcash (SMART), and a privacy coin called ZCash (ZEC).

Thanks to Anypay, people paying in DASH or Bitcoin Cash at local merchants like Little Zoe’s are able to receive 10% back into their wallet, near-instantaneously. Last year, Anypay launched a promotional feature called “DASH-Back“, which provided DASH-paying customers with a 10% instant rebate along with a DASH-bonus to the business owner. As Anypay’s public charts reveal, the program continues to pay out, with over 52 DASH given out over the course of the program. That’s over $7,900 worth of DASH at today’s DASH price, approx $152.

Recently, Anypay quietly activated “Bitcoin Cash-Back” or “BCH-Back”, which also offers a 10% instant rebate to any customer paying with BCH. From observing customers at recent meetups happening every six days in the Keene area, it appears that DASH and BCH are the clear kings of retail crypto use here in the Crypto Mecca. I discussed the situation here in greater detail on the recent episode of Dash Force News, where I compared the local crypto scene here in the Shire to the scene in Tokyo, another world-capital for crypto-acceptance-and-use:

If you’re new to cryptocurrency and want to learn more, sign up for the free “Bitcoin 101” class at the Bitcoin Embassy NH at 661 Marlboro St. in Keene. If you love freedom and crypto and don’t yet live in New Hampshire, you ought to seriously consider it.