We competed with Big Tech before it was cool. Now we’re launching a social network.

Shire Society Logo

With Forums, Chat, and Social Media, Shire Society Shields Users from Big Tech

More than a decade ago, Facebook was still growing into the social media behemoth they are today. If you were around back then, you remember when it was actually useful for reaching friends across the world and keeping-in-touch.

There was a time, for instance, when you could create an event on Facebook and click an “invite all” box to invite all your friends to the event. Super handy! Every friend received an invite in their inbox and could make the choice to attend or not. The previous activist method of organizing – forums – did not have this calendar event feature, and understandably the activists migrated to Facebook as it seemed more useful for making things happen.

Then Facebook removed the “invite all” option from their events almost a decade ago.

That was the first clue that things were not going in a good direction. At the time, you could still download a third-party browser plugin that brought the invite-all option back, but eventually Facebook changed their code so the plugin no longer worked. That was the end of easily being able to organize events on Facebook.

Anti-Facebook Neon Sign

You’re leaving now, right?

Later, Facebook made it so you had to pay them if you wanted all your followers to see your posts. In more recent years we’ve seen anti-state events being taken down entirely and in recent days blanket bans applied to people with certain political views.

With record numbers of people leaving megacorporate state-worshiping sites like Facebook and Twitter for less-big-but-still-centralized communications platforms like Signal and Telegram, it’s finally cool to get off “Big Tech”.

Naturally, your friendly freedom-loving activists here at Free Keene have been encouraging this for more than a decade. It started when we launched the Shire Forum over a decade back. Originally the Free Keene Forum, it transitioned to become the Shire Society Forums after the Shire Society was formed in 2010. As one of the forum’s founders, I never cared for Facebook’s groups and wanted to keep forums alive as they were independents, self-hosted and open source.

Eventually the Shire Society Forums expanded to include other things like cryptocurrency discussion and non-Shire NH activism and media threads, so it was renamed simply “Shire Forum“. For the last few years it’s been running some super-modern forum software called Discourse. If you are a liberty-minded person considering a move to New Hampshire or already living here and you haven’t been on forums in many years – or ever – give the Shire Forum a try.

LRN.FM Matrix Chat

Join at Matrix.LRN.FM

Keene-area liberty activists have also been on the Telegram platform for chatting for most of the last decade. It’s long been the top-of-class of all centralized chat platforms on the planet. Slick, easy-to-use and great for group chats. However, while the source code for their clients is open-source, it’s not decentralized and so several years back we evaluated the Matrix – a decentralized, federated chat server system – and put its main client, then called “Riot” through the paces. It was good, but not great, and not easy-to-use like Telegram was. After about a year of trying it out, most of us gave up.

However, in 2020 we launched our own Matrix server after the centrally-hosted Discord corporation unceremoniously booted the LRN.FM chat server from its centrally managed platform. We knew it was coming and I’d heard that Matrix had a new client out called “Element” and that it was way better than its original “Riot”, so we launched our own Matrix server at Matrix.LRN.FM. It has been great, and the increase in freedom is palpable. No corporate masters are holding an axe over our heads.

Matrix is open source, self-hosted, and federated, which means that all of the Matrix servers on the planet are by default connected together, so users from one Matrix server can reach the rest of the planet’s Matrix users on other servers. Unless, a server admin disfederates, or blocks another server for whatever reason. Matrix is way more decentralized than Big Tech monsters like Discord. Technically, Matrix is polycentric – with many centers. If you don’t like one Matrix server, you can join another, or start your own. Element is indeed way better than Riot. If you want to try freer chat, join the LRN.FM Matrix server where you can join existing rooms or create and moderate your own, private or public. All freedom lovers are welcome, not just NH people.

Mastodon

Join the “FTL Social” Mastodon

The decentralizing liberty activist communications story doesn’t end there, however. Just this week we also launched our own federated, self-hosted social media platform called “FTL Social“. It’s running the open source Mastodon software which is also federated and polycentric, like Matrix. It’s open to voluntarists, liberty-loving anarchists, and libertarians from around the world who are looking for a place where their posts won’t be subject to the whims of statist Big Tech admins and their snitch users. Please join at social.freetalklive.com and check it out. It’s a killer replacement for Twitter and works great.

Don’t forget one of the most important decentralized change we’ve seen in our lifetimes – cryptocurrency! If you want to contribute to these projects I’ve listed here, please use the cryptocurrency addresses you can see in the right column here at Free Keene. Longtime readers here already know that crypto is the killer decentralized solution for money and can’t be shut down by greedy, evil politicians.

Last, but not least is LBRY. It’s the decentralized blockchain-based media protocol that has been hosting Free Keene’s videos since 2018. They recently launched a cool new video site called Odysee that has seen a big jump in activity in the last week. LBRY is based in Manchester and run by liberty activists.

I hope this article gave you some ideas about better options to protect your communications from the tech giants who hate freedom. See you in the decentralized, open source, polycentric fediverse!

In addition to subscribing directly here at the Free Keene blog, you can follow our posts on our new Mastodon account and our Telegram channel.

Underground New Year’s Eve Party “QUARANKEENE Space Disco” Raises Over $1,100 for Charity

Tonight, New Year’s Eve, while government goons are threatening people and telling them to stay home, over one hundred revelers are together in a secret venue in the Keene area for “QUARANKEENE Space Disco”! Organizers of the party say it will feature now-prohibited activities like karaoke and dancing. Featuring multiple live DJs, delicious food, good times, and all donations at the door will be given to the NH Liberty Defense Fund. The Liberty Defense Fund is of course accepting cryptocurrency as well as Goldbacks. Here’s the official event flyer:

QUARANKEENE Space Disco 2020

QUARANKEENE Space Disco 2020

Event co-organizer “Soundwave” said, “2020 has been a soul-crushing year for people across the planet. With lame-ass stay-at-home ‘dance parties’, drive-in concerts with zero crowd energy, and inhumane mask mandates, people have been unable to sing, dance, and connect with other humans. We’re not afraid of a virus that doesn’t show symptoms in the supermajority of the people it infects and kills a small fraction of the elderly, obese people who do actually show symptoms. This whole COVID thing has been a massive excuse to expand government control over people’s lives and transfer more wealth to the elite, while destroying small businesses. We decided the best thing we could do to fight this insanity is to throw a killer party.”

Indeed, tonight’s venue is a previously successful Keene-area restaurant that was closed permanently early on in 2020. The courageous venue owner, Malaise Lindenfeld, is also one of the plaintiffs in the federal lawsuit against the statewide mask mandate as well as the City of Keene’s mandate. Lindenfeld said, “Our most basic freedoms have been coopted by politicians who forget that they serve at our pleasure and not the other way around. If each of us were to take a stand and say “I will not comply”, it will go a long way towards the fight against tyranny.”

QUARANKEENE is the latest in a series of Space Disco parties that began in August 2019, co-founded by DJ Capital Interest. The goal is to eventually throw an epic party in space, but until then build excitement by throwing space-themed parties here on Earth. DJ Capital Interest explained, “The Space Disco is literally going to outer space. Our life mission is to open the solar system’s first discotheque outside of Earth’s atmosphere by joining forces with the world’s leading space and party companies.” Regarding tonight’s party, DJ Capital Interest said, “Space Disco Summer 2020 was by far the best dance club in the country and Space Disco NYE 2020/21 is shaping up to be the best Winter dance club, thanks to so many independent thinkers concentrated in New Hampshire.”

UPDATE: The party raised over $1100 in cash plus a bunch of Goldbacks, a few ounces of silver, and multiple different cryptocurrencies for the Liberty Defense Fund! It was a smashing success.

Mask Freedom Rally Speech Highlights from Keene’s Central Square

Well over one hundred freedom-loving people gathered on Saturday in Keene’s Central Square to protest both Keene’s mask mandate and “His Excellency’s” recent “orders” mandating groups over 100 to wear masks, or else. There were some great speeches including former law enforcement officer Dan LeClair – running for NH Senate District 10 – who struck at the root, saying, “It’s about government taking away our right to decide for ourselves what we should do with our own bodies…there is nothing greater than an individual’s right to freedom.”

Here are highlights from all the day’s speakers including organizer David Lheureux, Republican 2020 candidate for NH Governor Karen Testerman, Republican 2020 NH Senate District 10 candidate Dan LeClair, me, Republican candidate for NH Governor Nobody, and NH Health Freedom’s Cheryl Rounds:

It’s worth noting that this event took place after “His Excellency” Chris Sununu “ordered” any scheduled event over 100 people to have face masks, or else the event organizers will be hit with misdemeanor charges, and we definitely hit over 100 people. One count near its peak had 120. Big thanks to 8.3L organizer David Lheureux for putting it together.

Dear Jazzy Girl, My Best Friend and Companion

Jazzy - Always Smiling

Jazzy – Always Smiling

Dear Jazzy Girl, my best friend and companion,

We figure you were about sixteen-and-a-half when you passed away on Monday. I don’t need to tell you about the immense number of people whose lives you touched over those years. You were there and you had that experience, conscious for every moment, until your final day. What you may not know, is the impact you had on the world – because you were good. I wanted to tell you why you were so special.

Did you know we may never have met if it weren’t for the sad death of a puppy? My partner Jackie and I adopted a very young Pit Bull mix puppy from the Humane Society in Florida, where you’re from as well. She was only a couple of weeks old and surely she’d have been as sweet as you, as being a Pit Bull doesn’t mean she’d have been a bad dog. But tragically she died within a couple of weeks. Turns out her whole litter was missing organs, purportedly due to inbreeding, and she was the last of them to die. It was sad, but that door closing quickly led to you being brought into my life.

I’m not a dog expert. Maybe some dogs are really born bad, but I’d be willing to be that a bad dog is usually thanks to a bad owner. Not necessarily that the owner is purposefully abusive, but perhaps just ignorant, not realizing the consequences their actions or inaction might have on their dog. Perhaps they also underestimate animal intelligence. I always presumed you understood me and that you were smart. You never disappointed me.

Young Jazzy

Photo from September 2004 – you were about six months old.

When I got you in 2004 I did some research into dog training methods. I came across the “no free lunch” method and it felt right. Dogs need to be in a hierarchy – they are a pack animal. The “no free lunch” method is all about establishing the dog’s position as beneath the humans and rewarding it with love for its good behavior. Unlike independent-minded humans, a dog needs to be able to find its place and be comfortable there. In your case, you were directly beneath humans and on top of the pack of dogs, ever the alpha.

“No Free Lunch” is simple and effective. Anytime you wanted something, you had to give me something first. When you sat, I said “good sit”, and praised you. I gave you love and attention – not food, as some do when attempting to train their dog. So, any opportunity I had, I’d employ “no free lunch”. If you wanted to go outside, I’d ask you to sit first. Same thing when we’d come back inside the house. If we were playing with a toy or something, I might ask you to sit before giving it back to you. We quickly expanded to a multitude of things you could do in order to get what you wanted.

I figured you were smart, so anything you did that I named with “good” in front of it, I presumed you remembered the word and its associated act the very first time I spoke it. I don’t think you ever disappointed that expectation. Of course, just because I said “no free lunch” is simple doesn’t mean its always easy. You definitely pushed the envelope to see what you could get away with. You’d act like you didn’t know what I’d said, doing the wrong thing, on purpose. I remember the times when I’d already successfully taught you several commands and you’d run through your whole inventory of tricks – EXCEPT the one I asked you to do, expecting I was going to give you what you wanted. You were frequently testing me. Training a dog with the “no free lunch” method, in my experience, requires significant discipline on the part of the trainer. You were trying to beat me at the game and I had to hold firm on not giving you the thing you wanted, no matter how adorable you were.

Eventually, you were performing multiple tricks on command in order to do special things, like receive a meal. You could sit, stand, roll over, wait, come, lay down, roll over, bow, give kisses, speak, shake right, shake left, look, back up, and probably some more I don’t recall off the top of my head. At some point, you realized that you were well fed and you weren’t going to run out of food, so we moved to an open bowl where we just kept adding to it daily and you decided how much to eat and when.

Renee Spinella and Jazzy on the Rainbow Bench!

Renee Spinella and Jazzy on the UCC Rainbow Bench!

You were indeed quite beautiful. You regularly received compliments from total strangers who frequently commented that you had an unusually expressive face and raved about how pretty you were. You had collected a large number of fans including neighbors, libertarian activists, people in the area lucky enough to encounter you, and even people on the internet who watched you on the Free Talk Live Jazzycam during our nightly radio shows. You mostly slept through the shows, but hey, talk radio’s not for everyone. Free Keene blogger Garret Ean even named you Keene’s #1 Dog Activist and you deserved it. You were regularly my secret weapon to get hundreds of Keene State College students every year to accept CopBlock know-your-rights flyers. You participated in and helped bring attention the United Church of Christ’s rainbow bench situation, were a regular attendee of the Porcupine Freedom Festival and Forkfest, the official greeter at Keenevention, and of course were at my side through countless instances of freedom activism and beyond.

Even more impressive was that bulk of your amazing activism & outreach career came in your senior years, since you didn’t move back in with me until you were 10. When Jackie and I broke up in 2006, after being with you and training you for those first two years, I chose to let you go. They say if you love something, let it go. I love you and I loved her, and I’d always rather a breakup go as smoothly as as possible, so I made the choice to let Jackie have you. As it turned out, she was unable to take care of you immediately, so we got to spend another six months together, until Jackie was finally ready, then I sadly gave you to her. That happened to be right around the time when I moved to New Hampshire as part of the NH Freedom Migration. (more…)

“No Mandatory Masks” Protest Set for Keene on 8/15, Regardless of How Council Votes

Nicole and David Lheureux in Plymouth

Nicole and David Lheureux in Plymouth.

David Lheureux wasn’t expecting to be a protest leader, however he couldn’t ignore our freedoms slipping away and decided he was going to do something about it. This Spring, the self-described “gearhead” created “8.3L”, or “Eight Point Three Leader”, named after a six-wheel military truck used to pull big trailers. I spoke with Lheureux by phone this morning and asked him about the vehicular mascot. He told me, “Engine heart of vehicle, we need to think about our hearts and what’s driving us.”

What is driving you? Is it fear or love?

As he created the group, the medical authoritarian state began to rise and along with it came mask mandates being passed across the country and now beginning to crop up even in supposed “live free or die” New Hampshire. This week, Keene’s city gang bosses are expected to vote Thursday night on a proposed mask mandate targeting business owners with fines.

Masks- the new symbol of tyranny.

It’s also a symbol of obedience and fear.

Lheureux’s event, set for Central Square 11a-4p on Saturday August 15th, will be going on regardless of the Keene council’s vote on the issue. We know from the BEARCAT debacle that they don’t actually care about rights or what people want. Expected speakers at the event include the two gubernatorial candidates who are taking on tyrant-king Chris Sununu in the primary, Karen Testerman, and Keene’s own “Nobody“!

The Keene event follows Lheureux’ successful mask freedom event in Plymouth last week.

While positioned by its proponents as pro-health, the face mask is actually anti-human. Combined with so-called “social distancing” – which is anything but social – the masks prevent people from making the most human of connections with others – being able to see facial expressions.

Sadly, large numbers of Americans have fallen right in line and begun wearing them as their corporate overlords have been demanding. Most aren’t willing to lose a job in a protest over a work uniform, understandably. However, because the corporations are working hand-in-hand with the state to propagate obedience, the seeming ubiquity of the masks leads more people to comply, if not for fear of receiving a threat from a uniformed government gang member, then certainly because of the immense societal pressure from fearful peers and neighbors. Some of whom are so scared of COVID – which has killed a very small percentage of people – they will yell at or even physically attack non-mask-wearing free people.

We need more businesses like this - no masks allowed

We need more businesses like this.

Worse, some have even politicized the issue and conveniently ignore that the mandates and lockdowns come from both Democrat and Republican government goons. I don’t care what politicians and their pet doctors say – they are liars and they are always seeking more power. 2020 has been a banner year for the power-seekers thus far. They’ve successfully locked down swaths of the population, deployed checkpoints and armed, masked gangsters in the streets, destroyed countless businesses with their insane restrictions, and are now telling people what they have to wear. It’s tragic.

Thank goodness there are still people in New Hampshire who care about human freedom. See you at Keene Central Square on 8/15 11a-4p for the “No Mandatory Masks” protest. Bring your favorite signs or whatever else you think is appropriate to get your message of freedom across.