Ian Freeman, Malaise Lindenfeld, Aria DiMezzo, co-plaintiffs lawsuit against mask mandates in NH.
In a fifty-seven page lawsuit filed today in federal court in Concord, New Hampshire, Aria DiMezzo and other plaintiffs including downtown restaurant “Pho Keene Great” are targeting the mask mandates issued by the “City of Keene” and “His Excellency”, NH Governor Chris Sununu.
Attorney Robert Fojo, who also sued Nashua earlier this year over their mandatory mask ordinance, is heading up the suit. In the detailed complaint, Fojo argues the City of Keene’s mask mandate is illegal, as New Hampshire is not a “home rule” state. Municipalities in New Hampshire are only allowed to create ordinances if state law authorizes it. Fojo says cities and towns do not have that authorization when it comes to masks. Additionally, Fojo says the Keene ordinance and Sununu’s state-level mask mandate on groups over 100 people is also a violation of people’s constitutionally protected rights.
In multiple counts, the suit points out the mask restrictions violate the right to assemble, due process, freedom of religion, and the freedom of speech via facial expressions and literally having one’s air passages restricted. Attorney Fojo cites some strongly-written Texas court decisions from this year including Abbott 20-0291 where the Texas Supreme Court agreed unanimously that, “The Constitution is not suspended when the government declares a state of disaster.” and Salon A La Mode, et al 20-0340, where the same court wrote, “All government power in this country, no matter how well-intentioned, derives only from the state and federal constitutions. Government power cannot be exercised in conflict with these constitutions, even in a pandemic…If we tolerate unconstitutional government orders during an emergency, whether out of expediency or fear, we abandon the Constitution at the moment we need it most.”
Sadly, too many people in New Hampshire have been obeying myriad outrageous infringements on our liberties. Some obey out of irrational fear of a relatively unremarkable virus that the media and governments across the world have blown way out of proportion. Others obey the draconian edicts because they are afraid of what their obedient neighbors might think. Business owners comply too, some because they either believe the government’s propaganda or think the restrictions are what their frightened customers want and they don’t want to lose their business. Other business owners obey the diktats simply because they are afraid of what the government goons will do to them if they don’t do as they are “ordered”.
As a result of this pervasive culture of fear, very few NH business owners have stood up against these arbitrary “orders” endlessly emanating from “His Excellency”, and yes, Sununu’s orders really do refer to him in that way.
Magician and Comedian Penn Jillette Wearing a Pho Keene Great Shirt!
Thank goodness for Pho Keene Great, the best-named restaurant in all of New Hampshire that made international headlines after the “City of Keene” gang threatened their moniker during the 2018 Christmas holiday. Owner Malaise Lindenfeld is a local entrepreneur with a knack for opening and operating successful, trendy restaurants. Sadly, like so many businesses across New Hampshire and elsewhere, two of her three area restaurants, Audrey’s Cafe and Piedra Fina have been closed permanently due to the power-mad restrictions imposed this year by tyrant king Sununu.
When asked about her involvement in the lawsuit, Lindenfeld – who immigrated from Venezuela – said, “I am leary of being forced to do things “for the greater good”. Historically, the government starts with small actions and then moves on to sweeping changes that erode our freedoms. COVID-19 could be a case study on how this is true. We started with closing restaurants for two weeks to flatten the curve, and moved on to general lockdowns and mandatory mask wearing. Every time a new rule is made we are told that it is just one small sacrifice for the greater good. “If we could save one life”, we are told, it will all be worth it. But each small sacrifice adds up to one large violation of our rights. I have seen this as a Jew and as a Venezuelan, and I know that ultimately this is not about the greater good after all, but about the greater concentration of power. I am not willing to quietly relinquish my freedom.”
Lindenfeld’s co-plaintiff needs no introduction to those paying attention to the news in the last week. Aria DiMezzo who launched from relative obscurity to international headline-grabber by securing the republican nomination for Cheshire County Sheriff despite being a self-described “Anarchist She-Male” who also happens to be the High Priestess of the Reformed Satanic Church in Keene. Given Keene’s mask mandate targets all “business” including non-profits, her Keene-based church has standing to sue the city gang.
We will not obey.
DiMezzo weighed in regarding her reasons for being co-plaintiff in the case, saying, “It’s not about whether masks are effective or ineffective. That isn’t the issue here. It’s about whether the government can force me to put on a identifier…It’s about whether the government can turn you, my brothers and sisters, my friends, my family in humanity, against me on the basis of what I wear. This is not a Jewish star in Nazi Germany. However, precedents are important. If we allow this to happen, there is no telling what might come next.”
The third co-plaintiff is me, Ian Freeman, co-founder of Bitcoin Embassy NH in Keene and also minister of the Shire Free Church, which in addition to operating the Embassy, owns the building housing the Embassy. The Embassy also runs the local cryptocurrency meetup group that continued to hold meetings even in the early days of COVID in defiance of governor’s orders prohibiting gatherings of over ten. All the lawsuit co-plaintiffs were co-organizers of a mask freedom rally held in Keene’s Central Square after Sununu issued his “order” banning unmasked gatherings of over 100. The order targets organizers of such events with the penalty, not the attendees, much like the Keene mask ordinance that puts the consequences on local business owners, turning them into unpaid enforcers against their own customers, effectively forcing them to cut their own business’ throats.
This lawsuit isn’t perfect. It targets only the most symbolic of the insane restrictions put in place over the last six months – the mask mandates in Keene and statewide. It’s merely a starting point. The ideal suit would be to target all the governor’s orders and the statutes that enable him to issue them in the first place, however our attorney says that needs to be done in state court and our case here is federal. Attorney Fojo already has a couple of relevant cases pending in state court with other clients. Stay tuned here to Free Keene for updates regarding any progress or failure in regards to the legal pushback against this insane medical authoritarian state growing around us. Whether our suit prevails or not, we’ll never win so long as people keep obediently doing what these government goons tell them. When will you stop obeying?
Good morning from Roger’s Campground! If you’ve been reading Free Keene over the last week you’ve seen some excellent Forkfest/Porcfest video blogs from Derrick J. I’ve been so busy, it’s been hard to find time to do much of anything besides record my daily talk radio show and hang out with people here at Roger’s during Porcfest/Forkfest 2020.
This year, the Free State Project made the wise choice to decentralize the event. Gone are the unpopular vendor fees and any control the FSP had previously taken over the campground as they scaled back Porcfest 2020 to a minimal number of speakers and a geographic area of only the pavilion and bowl area of Roger’s Campground.
Soapbox Idol at Porcfest 2020
A pervasive myth about Porcfest is that it needs big named speakers to attract a large audience. This year proved that is not the case as very few speakers were present and yet the attendance seemed similar to last year, which had way more speakers. One regular vendor said this year was his best year out of the 5-6 he’s done and the Porcfest vendor organizer Shawn Grissom said his sales were on par with last year.
Clearly, Porcfest attendees preferred the hands-off, decentralized method of organizing and this year had a laid back vibe. It was fun to be able to broadcast from the event for the first time in four years. Or, since Porcfest was in a very specific part of the campground this year, was I instead broadcasting instead from Forkfest?
Some, like Free Keene’s Derrick J Freeman, say that Forkfest 2020 began on June 22nd this year, instead of the popularly promoted June 29th. His rationale was that Forkfest was originally created to protest Porcfest’s organizational missteps and he felt that with the decentralization this year that Porcfest had returned to its optimal form, so he and Steven Zeiler of Anypay announced they’d be having their annual dance party on June 26th during the Porcfest week of Forkfest.
Space Disco @ Forkfest 2020
However, that’s just his opinion. Forkfest is a totally decentralized libertarian camping festival. There are no organizers and no board of directors. Not everyone agrees that Forkfest started on June 22nd. Others believe it is starting today, June 29th. Originally, those who attended in 2019 had no idea that Porcfest would be decentralizing control of their event, so Forkfesters were expecting that Forkfest would be a separate week entirely and had come to some level of consensus that the forked event should happen the week after Porcfest in 2020 instead of the week before, which is how it had been done since its premiere in 2017.
The FSP made their decentralization plans for Porcfest known in mid-May, only several weeks in advance of the two events. As a result, some people – me included – decided that Forkfest is now a two-week long event and Porcfest is an event that happens during the first week. Longtime attendee Jay Noone has collectively called both events the “New Hampshire Freedom Festival”. Admittedly, the range of opinions has created some confusion, but regardless a good time is likely to be had whether you attend one week or both or part of each. You decide what defines Forkfest.
Forkfest 2020 Early Tent Party
Is two weeks too much for most people? Probably, based on the large number of people who left the park Sunday June 28th, which was the final day of Porcfest. However, other people are just showing up now for what they planned was going to be the only week of Forkfest 2020, June 29th through July 5th.
Sunday evening/night had some new arrivals join us for lots of hanging out with dozens still present on the campground as well as multiple venues staying open including a few food vendors and Colin’s large party tent which featured a bar and busy poker table. We’ll see how the rest of the week pans out for the fourth-annual Forkfest as it builds towards a hopefully epic Saturday night on Independence Day which will feature both a fireworks show and a concert featuring a new band, “FUD”, featuring Aria DiMezzo, Captain Kickass, and Michael Gordon.
Early 2nd Week Forkfest 2020 Hangout
It’s too early to say what’s going to happen and we have no ticket sales from which to base any expectations, as Forkfest has no tickets. To attend, you just come to Roger’s Campground during the appropriate dates and connect with other freedom-loving folks. You can also create whatever event you’d like to have people attend. The experience you have at Forkfest is up to you. You can learn more about the event and get connected with other attendees via the Telegram chat and Forkfest forum via the unofficial website, Forkfest.party.
Please do come on up this week until July 5th to Forkfest 2020 and meet a bunch of other liberty-loving people hanging out together in the beautiful White Mountains of New Hampshire. Bring along your favorite form of money like cryptocurrency or Goldbacks as many vendors and individuals accept multiple payment methods. See you soon!
Monday morning of PorcFest started out slow. “Oh no,” I thought. Nobody’s coming. But by the evening it was clear that PorcFest was indeed happening. It has become a lot more spread out. In the past, most of the activity happened down on the main field. Entrepreneurial people saw the opportunity to sell things to the people concentrated there and began renting sites close to the field to capitalize on the market. Over time, FSP Inc began charging the vendors for their prime real estate, imposing rules and restrictions, and creating bureaucracies to manage what they affectionately named “Agora Valley.” Well intentioned I am sure, but the results were perfectly predictable: No more vendors in Agora Valley.
The effect of the regulations are that everyone dispersed throughout the campground. Even though FSP Inc tried to reverse course by removing most restrictions and “property taxes,” it was too late. The market internalized the new reality. The last vestige of control remains: In order to reserve a site in the previously coveted first three rows of campsites, one must first contact an official PorcFest organizer and state their intention for a particular site; then he contacts the campground, and only then can the vendor call up the campground and claim their desired sites. This caused huge delays reminiscent of a Politburo. Now when you drive into the campground for Porcfest, you see rows and rows of empty campsites. In the past, the field and its adjoining sites were bursting with activity. The good news is that there is plenty of activity to be found around the campground with “splinter cells” emerging from this diaspora. People going their own way. Fewer monopolies. More coffee served in more places. Lower barriers to entry, but less economies of scale.
Also one interesting thing is that transportation technology has changed the game at PorcFest. Now everyone has these electronic transport pods — scooters, skateboards, wheels — that they are flying around on really fast. It is really easy to get from one end to the other. “It used to be a pain to get to where Ernie is, but I rode the wheel over there, and it was a pleasure,” said Porcfest attendee Steven Zeiler. This year’s Porcfest is big, it is exciting, it is high energy, it is fun, and I think everyone involved (including attendees) are doing a terrific job bringing the best they have to offer.
This is a microcosm of the freedom experiment, and if we are to succeed on scale, then we must succeed in our independent mini village in the woods. Good to see Porcfest moving away from central control and more in the direction of what they are now calling “Independent offerings,” and they now play a more supportive role rather than a central planning role. Good!
The Porcupine Freedom Festival is in its 17th year, and every year brings changes. Sometimes a step forward, sometimes a step back. You can follow along and see for yourself what life is like at this event as I document each day for you.
Here is the first video in the series. Steven and I begin construction on the Dome, the centerpiece and hub of activity within “Energy City.” The mini city encompasses 3 “city blocks,” (campsites) and contains spaces for meeting, eating, moving and dancing, stretching and exercising.
Abby and Ryan provide fresh fruits and vegetables with their tent “Porcupine Produce” right at the entrance to the city. Propane heaters and picnic tables flank the sides. James provides the Bistro lighting and ambiance by illuminating the trees of the city. Steven rocks the dome with heavy beats that can be heard from far and wide. Derrick leads morning yoga under the shade of the big tree by the exercise area, complete with weight bench, free weights, and a barbell. Health, strength, and energy to achieve liberty in our lifetime.