NHCLU Files Motion Challenging Border Patrol Checkpoints!

Border Patrol in Derby Line, VT

Border Patrol Agents Hassle Us Over Recording Video of their Checkpoint

Good news! The privacy-invading internal border patrol checkpoints that appeared in New Hampshire’s North Country this summer have been challenged in court by the NH Civil Liberties Union!

From their press release:

As stated in the ACLU-NH’s motion, during these border patrol checkpoints, the Woodstock Police Department (“WPD”) and the New Hampshire State Police separately worked in concert with United States Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) to circumvent the independent protections provided by the New Hampshire Constitution against dog-sniff searches in the absence of a warrant or reasonable suspicion. Specifically, federal CBP agents used dog-sniff searches in situations where New Hampshire law enforcement would have been barred from conducting similar searches. Resulting evidence from these federal searches was then turned over to state law enforcement for drug prosecutions. (more…)

NH Blogger Rails Against Border Patrol Checkpoints, Calls Out Libertarians

Border Patrol Agents

Border Patrol Agents Bothering Innocent Motorists

NH blogger Susan the Bruce has written an excellent post excoriating the police state and its invasive internal Border Patrol checkpoints, one of which was set up this weekend just south, curiously, of the NH Cannabis Freedom Festival. Sure enough, more people were arrested for drug possession at the checkpoint than were arrested for immigration, according to the article at the Union Leader.

In her blog, Susan writes:

NH was one of the states that fought hard against REAL ID. That opposition was in character with the “live free or die” philosophy we’re supposed to be famous for embracing. It was in character with our reputation as a libertarian leaning state.

Somewhere along the way we stopped fighting REAL ID and meekly submitted. Sixteen years of indoctrination – a combination of fear based agitprop and training to submit to authority, changed our tune from Just Say No to We Have to do this for National Security. REAL ID means that the state maintains a database of information on people, including Social Security numbers and photos.

She’s right. This year in the state house the supposed privacy nut state rep, Neil Kurk, capitulated after years of holding firm against REAL ID, and endorsed the state’s partial embracing of the federal ID standards. One who wishes to acquire a non-REAL ID-compliant card can still get one, but according to someone I know who visited the DMV this week, the DMV bureaucrats are pushing the new REAL ID version.

NH Internal Border Patrol Checkpoint

NH Internal Border Patrol Checkpoint

I recommend reading Susan’s whole post, it’s well-done and there’s very little she says that I can disagree with. Until the end, that is. She says in the final paragraph:

There hasn’t been a peep out of the liberty and freedumb crowd about this. Not a word from the allegedly liberty loving Free Staters. The folks who do the wailin’ about gummint encroachment on our lives are strangely silent when it comes to “show us your papers” stops. Their interest in gummint interference extends to deregulation and tax cuts. Actual violations of privacy and civil liberties don’t interest them in the slightest.

I may not be a “Free Stater”, but I love liberty and am friends with many of them. I have seen plenty of liberty people upset about these checkpoints and they have posted their outrage online… on facebook. Which means no one hears it except those connected to the person on facebook – such posts only hit the libertarian echo chamber. Sadly, most of the people who are here are not bloggers like Susan and me. They are just as outraged as she, but fail to communicate it effectively to a wider audience. (more…)

Decentralized Freedom Festivals Rise in Friendly Competition to Porcfest 2017

Will Coley's Five-Hour Rave at Somaliafest & Shirefest 2017

Will Coley’s Five-Hour Rave at Somaliafest & Shirefest 2017

Last year at the Porcupine Freedom Festival, Will Coley of Muslims 4 Liberty threw and was the DJ for what people have said was the best party at Porcfest 2016. This year, Will again performed at Roger’s Campground as an electronic music DJ and played for five straight hours, two hours of which was beyond the campground’s “quiet time” of 11pm! However, Will’s party was not held during Porcfest 2017 – it happened during the new decentralized festival(s) that are taking place before Porcfest happens.

Depending on who you asked, the people on the campground from Friday June 16th through Tuesday the 20th were either attending Somaliafest or Shirefest. Other festivals sprung up over the weekend as Shire Dude proclaimed that the rule of Shirefest is that every attendee has to have their own fest. Some people were having fun with this idea, and it really encompasses the decentralized nature of these friendly competitors of the longtime king of Summer camping freedom festivals, Porcfest.

Please note, this article is not intended to be an attack against the people who have run Porcfest over the years. They did their best in a largely thankless role to make the various Porcfests successful. I’m writing this to assess the question of whether centralizing Porcfest harmed the event and introduce the competition, which are not centralized.

Despite generally philosophizing about the benefits of decentralization, some libertarians have embraced centralization in the process of creating the liberty movement’s largest and most successful camping freedom festival. Depending on what needs to be done, centralization can provide some benefits. However, there are costs involved. Some would argue the centralization of Porcfest’s organization led to its decline. Let’s look closer at what happened. First, for those of you newer to the ongoing New Hampshire Freedom Migration, a little history: (more…)

Modernizing the Shire Society Forum for 2017

Shire Society Forum

Join other Shire Society members inside and outside the Shire on the Forums.

Before the behemoth that is Facebook, there were forums. On these forums, people in communities were able to communicate about various things, and with the right amount of moderation, it worked well. Then Facebook came along and sucked up all the people and gave them terrible forums called “groups” where the only moderation tool is to delete discussion threads.

With forums, moderators can move threads between the forum’s subforums, meaning off-topic posts could be moved to more appropriate places in the overall forum. This cannot be done on facebook. There, one group is not connected with another group. An off-topic post will either be allowed to clutter the group, or it will be destroyed. There is no move option. That’s only one reason why Facebook groups suck, but it’s a major one.

Early on, there were two main forums in the NH liberty movement, the NH Underground and the Free State Project forums. Eventually, we launched the Free Keene Forum which eventually became the Shire Society Forum a couple of years after the signing of the Shire Society Declaration in 2010.

All three forums still exist, but have nowhere near the popularity they once had. Many new people to the movement don’t even know they exist.

Shire Society Bumper Sticker

Have you signed the Shire Society Declaration yet?

In order to stay as relevant as possible and compete as much as possible with the evil Facebook, last year the Shire Society Forum was upgraded to a more “modern” forum software, “Vanilla Forum”. It was better than the old software, “SMF”, in some ways, but lacking in others. Now, the Shire Society Forum is modernizing further for 2017 with the switch to the “Discourse” forum software.

So far my experience with Discourse has been very good. It’s snappy – posts appear instantly without having to reload an entire webpage. It’s got a modern feel and allows logins via a bunch of major accounts, including Google, Yahoo, GitHub, Facebook, and Twitter, and sharing of posts via Facebook and Twitter.

The Shire Society Forum has, despite its decline in popularity, still attracted new users over the years. Each month, there are new potential movers to the Shire who arrive and post an introduction, which is a requirement in order to enter the forum. Would you be willing to come welcome them? The forum has subforums for all the regions and major cities in New Hampshire and we’d welcome your input.

Please give the new Shire Society Forum a try. I hope you like it. Death to Facebook!

New Hampshire’s Amazing, Unmatched Bitcoin Community

Manchester, NH Bitcoin Meetup

Manchester, NH Bitcoin Meetup

It’s not a coincidence that New Hampshire has arguably the highest concentration of bitcoin and crypto-friendly people anywhere. For more than a decade there have been active migrations of libertarian, voluntarist, and liberty anarchists moving to New Hampshire. Many of these movers are activists who are into alternative currencies and the bitcoin community here has exploded as a result.

The oldest migration of libertarians to New Hampshire is the Free State Project, which as of September 2016 boasts nearly 2,000 participants already in New Hampshire, with 18,000 more pledged to move by the year 2021. There’s also the more decentralized Shire Society which has been encouraging liberty-loving people to declare their personal independence and move to “The Shire” since 2010.

These early movers are not only users of bitcoin, but are also some of the key developers and creators of the bitcoin world. Liberty migrants to New Hampshire created the iconic, most-installed-in-the-world Lamassu bitcoin vending machine in Manchester. Some are developing the evolutionary “Open Bazaar” and “LBRY” software. Decentralized ride-sharing app “Arcade City” has also sprung up just this year, and within a week of it being announced, signed up 1000 drivers worldwide. Arcade City founder and liberty migrant Christopher David said, “With its libertarian leanings and an influx of free staters, New Hampshire is perfectly positioned to become a major hub for bitcoin and blockchain startups. That’s a big reason why I moved here.”

Cheshire Fair 2015

Bitcoin Outreach Booth at the Cheshire Fair

Here are some more fun facts about the burgeoning bitcoin scene in the Shire: Manchester is home to the world’s longest-running weekly bitcoin meetup, plus regular meetups are being held in Keene and the Seacoast. According to Overstock.com, the highest concentration of their bitcoin orders comes from New Hampshire. Plus, you can actually use bitcoin in real life here, at mom-n-pop businesses like “Corner News”, “Local Burger”, and multiple food trucks in Keene, plus “Pizza 911”, “Dancing Lion Chocolate”, and more in Manchester. It turns out that Keene, the Southwestern NH city of 23,000 people, even outdoes San Francisco in amount of bitcoin-accepting business per capita! Take a look at CoinMap.org to see the dozens of New Hampshire businesses that are taking crypto!

New Hampshire also boasts New England’s only public Bitcoin Vending Machines (BVM), connecting people with bitcoin from as far away as New York and Boston. (more…)