Vape Shop Owner Announces Run for Keene Council After Vote to Expand Nicotine Prohibition

City councilor Margaret Rice, one of the few sane voices on this issue, speaks out in favor of self-ownership.

City councilor Margaret Rice, one of the few sane voices on this issue, speaks out in favor of self-ownership.

Just one day after the 85th anniversary of the repeal of alcohol prohibition, the Keene City Council voted 10-4 to publicly express their ignorance on the matter and increase nicotine prohibition within the city limits. All of the testimony on the matter given on at least three separate occasions didn’t matter, despite most testifying against the idea.

Reminding the councilors of the lessons of history didn’t work. Though alcohol prohibition was a tragic, predictable failure, apparently they councilors think that banning the sale to and possession of nicotine by those under the age of 21 is going to somehow keep it out of the hands of middle schoolers. The councilors who voted in favor never addressed the fact that middle schoolers are already able to acquire nicotine despite it being illegal for them to do so. They also didn’t explain how increasing the legal age to 21 from 18 would have any effect on underage possession.

That’s because prohibition is an authoritarian fantasy that never works and always has predictable, destructive, unintended consequences. All they are doing is punishing innocent store owners’ bottom line and increasing the likelihood that more college students will be harassed by the police for simply walking down the street with a vaporizer or cigarette and “looking under 21”.

They’ve ramped up the futile, pointless, counterproductive war on drugs in Keene and we’re all going to be worse off for it. The ban has also sparked a political fire in Dan Cavallero, the owner of Monadnock Vapor, who has announced he’s planning to run for Keene city council in 2019 as a result of this stupid move by the council.

Cavallero has been the most active opponent of the measure, having attended every public hearing and testified, even while on crutches from a recent injury. Here’s the last public hearing video from the city’s MSFI committee which features Cavallero, me, and others testifying against the insanity of prohibition. Sadly, it fell on deaf ears:

Bitcoin Embassy NH Opens Doors, Offers Free “Bitcoin 101” Classes – Covered by Sentinel, NHPR, and Shopper News

"Bitcoin 101" Class at Bitcoin Embassy NH

Chris Rietmann Gives “Bitcoin 101” Class at Bitcoin Embassy NH

Keene, New Hampshire has already established itself as a world leader in real-life businesses accepting Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies at their cash register. Now local area cryptocurrency advocates have taken the next step and opened an educational center to help people learn about crypto – the Bitcoin Embassy New Hampshire.

The Bitcoin Embassy NH joins others around the globe, and is the second in the United States. The first Bitcoin Embassy in the US was Atlanta Bitcoin Embassy, which opened earlier this year.

With the goals of education, networking, and inspiration, head ambassador and instructor Chris Rietmann opened the doors to the Bitcoin Embassy NH in October and has already created a “Bitcoin 101” class that is free to take! Though, donations are certainly welcomed if you find the class valuable. Classes are also available for those looking to learn how to accept crypto at their businesses.

Already the Embassy has received coverage in the Keene Sentinel, NH Public Radio, and a front page feature in the Monadnock Shopper News.

The Bitcoin Embassy New Hampshire is open six days a week, Tuesday through Sunday and is located inside Route 101 Local Goods at 661 Marlboro St. in Keene, NH.

Of course, the Bitcoin Embassy NH is just the latest development in the area. We already have an active Meetup group with meetings every six days and Telegram chat room, so please connect with either or both of those to join the cryptocurrency community in the Monadnock region.

NH Libertarians Lose Ballot Access – Is taking over the old two parties a viable alternative?

Libertarian Jilletta Jarvis Announces Run for NH Governor in 2018

Libertarian Jilletta Jarvis Announces Run for NH Governor in 2018

The 2018 election is over and Jilletta Jarvis, the Libertarian candidate for Governor of New Hampshire has failed to reach the 4% required for the Libertarian Party of NH to retain ballot access, which it achieved in 2016 for the first time in two decades. I want it to be clear, I really like Jilletta and she was a much better candidate than the 2016 offering from the LP, Max Abramson. Jilletta ran a good campaign and was much more active than Abramson, but didn’t even come close to Abramson’s 4%. She got 1.46%. What happened?

It’s pretty clear that 2016 was a fluke. I’d speculated then that Abramson, who barely existed as a candidate, and other “Libertarians” like Gary Johnson at the national level had benefited from people’s frustrations with Trump and Hillary being their main presidential choices. It’s pretty clear this palpable frustration benefited all third parties in 2016, with the Libertarian and Green presidential candidates getting three times their vote totals from 2012. People weren’t voting for the Libertarians and Greens, they were voting against Trump and Hillary.

Add to that the fact that major media entities WMUR and the Union Leader set their debate rules to exclude the Libertarian candidates like Jilletta, and it’s pretty clear she didn’t get a fair chance from all New Hampshire media. Shame on WMUR and the Union Leader for excluding their viewers and readers from knowing about their third choice.

Libertarians Protest Unfair Debates Outside St. Anselm College

Libertarians Protest Unfair Debates Outside St. Anselm College

Of course, the two-party duopoly has long been complicit in excluding libertarians politically. In the 90s when the Libertarian Party of New Hampshire got ballot access for the first time by getting over 3% of the vote, the Republicans and Democrats voted to raise the bar 33% higher to its current level of 4%.

Not all the blame can be placed on the media and government, however. While Jilletta is a wonderful person and a far better candidate than we had in 2016, she wasn’t the most principled libertarian. Doubt my claim? Even the Keene Sentinel knows what a libertarian is supposed to sound like. In a recent piece in the Sentinel, opinion page editor Wilfred Bilodeau said:

She seems enthusiastic and smart, but we were struck at how her libertarian vision differs from some of the party’s more orthodox candidates. She says she’s for smaller government but outlined several programs that would necessitate spending more money. To improve education, she pitched the concept of centralizing public education, with the state collecting all education taxes and determining how to best spend them. That strikes us as anything but a libertarian approach. Overall, we feel Jarvis has some worthy ideas, but her vision for the state seems unfocused, perhaps due to the pressure of trying to appeal to enough voters to garner the 4 percent of the vote needed to keep the party on the ballot.

The good news is the media, at least in Keene, has learned what a libertarian is supposed to say. A true libertarian should be advocating the non-aggression principle and applying it consistently across all government programs. That means eliminating coercion from the system, or eliminating the system entirely. That’s it. If Jilletta believes in some government coercion, she really shouldn’t be the party’s nominee. Watering down the message does not win over votes. Staying true to principles is what the LP is supposed to be about. Hopefully the LPNH will offer more principled state level candidates in the future so we can see how their vote totals compare to Jilletta and her similarly – as the Sentinel described it – “unfocused” predecessors. (more…)

Libertarian Ian Freeman: Top Rated Candidate by Marijuana Policy Project and NH Firearms Coalition

Guns and Weed

Free the Guns and Weed

This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who knows anything about libertarians, but for the record, I’m honored to receive top ratings from both the Marijuana Policy Project and the New Hampshire Firearms Coalition.

Of the three candidates in the race for NH Senate District 10, I was the only one to receive a recommendation from the Marijuana Policy Project, while the Republican and Democrat in the race received a middle “unknown, uncertain, or less favorable” rating.  You can see MPP’s full state senate voting guide here.

I also received a “A” from the New Hampshire Firearms Coalition, once again, as they’d previously endorsed me in my 2016 run for the Democrat gubernatorial primary.  Here’s their ratings PDF for Western New Hampshire.

For those unaware, libertarians believe in the non-aggression principle which says we don’t support the use of aggressive force.  Prohibitions should therefore be ended and people who want to own/produce/sell weapons and chemicals or plants should be free to do so.  Live free or die.

Libertarians Protest Unfair “Granite State Debates”: Last Night & Thursday Night

Libertarians Protest Unfair Debates Outside St. Anselm College Yesterday

Libertarians Protest Unfair Debates Outside St. Anselm College Yesterday

As of 2016’s election, the Libertarian Party of New Hampshire has gained full ballot access as a major party on par with the Democrats and Republicans. This is a big deal as it means we no longer have to jump through ridiculous ballot access hoops like petition gathering to get candidates on the ballot here. This has resulted in more Libertarian candidates appearing on the ballot here in Keene than Republican candidates. If the LPNH’s gubernatorial candidate, Jilletta Jarvis, can receive at least 4% of the vote this year, the party’s major ballot access status will continue for the next two years.

Sadly, the two largest mainstream media entities are working to help stop Jarvis from getting her ideas exposure in their debates they are hosting this week. WMUR-TV and the Union Leader are putting on the “Granite State Debates” and have set the rules to where only the Republican and Democrat candidates will qualify. To get in to their debate, a candidate must have received 12% in a recent poll and have raised over $25,000. Ironically, Darryl W Perry told me that both organizations have opined in favor of getting money out of politics, but when it’s a metric they can use to exclude the Libertarians, they apparently support money in politics.

NH-2 Congressional Libertarian Candidate Justin O’Donnell

The idea that such rules are in any way necessary is totally ridiculous. There are only three ballot qualified candidates for governor. It’s not like they’d need eleven podiums on the stage. They could have kept it fair and allowed in all ballot-qualified candidates, but they stacked the deck against the Libertarian campaigns.   It’s pretty clear the exclusion was done on purpose, likely to appease the other two parties’ candidates, who as we saw recently may refuse to attend if the Libertarian is invited.

It wasn’t just the race for governor. Last night they held their debate for NH’s 2nd congressional district and excluded Libertarian Justin O’Donnell. In an interview with Free Keene, O’Donnell said this on the matter:

Radio and TV broadcasters are given free access to use public airwaves worth more than half a trillion dollars in exchange for a requirement that such broadcasters “serve the public interest” and provide a fair and unbalanced reporting of the news to inform the American people. By hosting a facade of a debate, and failing to include all the options who have qualified to be on the ballot, these broadcast organizations are negligent in their duty to inform the people.

Tomorrow, Libertarians will gather to protest starting at 5pm, two hours before the beginning of the gubernatorial debate at St Anselm College. They will be standing near the college’s New Hampshire Institute of Politics at 100 Saint Anslem Drive in Manchester. LP gubernatorial candidate Jilletta Jarvis will be present. Last night the turnout was approximately a dozen activists – hopefully we’ll have as much or more tomorrow night! The fake “debate” begins at 7pm Eastern.  Here is a facebook event for the protest.

New “Bitcoin Embassy NH” Featured on Front Page of Monadnock Shopper News

Monadnock Shopper News' Front Page Article About Bitcoin Embassy NH

Front Page Article About Bitcoin Embassy NH

Last year, the Monadnock Shopper News, a weekly paper delivered by mail to 40,000 households in Cheshire County, ran a front page story about Bitcoin’s growing popularity in the region at local businesses. This week, the Shopper News once again is featuring Bitcoin on the front page, announcing the major news that New Hampshire now has its own Bitcoin Embassy!

If you live in Cheshire County, NH you probably already have a print copy at your house, but you can also download the PDF of the front page, above-the-fold feature story here.

Bitcoin Embassy New Hampshire, which recently launched inside Route 101 Local Goods at 661 Marlboro Street in Keene, is not the first Bitcoin Embassy in the United States, but it is the second one! The first was opened earlier this year in Atlanta. There are others in various parts of the world but Bitcoin Embassy New Hampshire is the only one in the Northeast part of North America.

The Bitcoin Embassy will be a place for learning, with “Bitcoin 101” classes already available, teaching the basics of Bitcoin and cryptocurrency. Classes are pay-what-you-can-afford, which means if you can’t afford to pay, you can still attend for free. Drop in to take a tour at 661 Marlboro St in Keene and sign up for a class, or visit online at BitNH.me.