Penn Jillette Models Pho Keene Great Shirt, Promises to Visit!

Magician and Comedian Penn Jillette Wearing Pho Keene Great Shirt!

Magician and Comedian Penn Jillette Wearing Pho Keene Great Shirt!

The Pho Keene Great victory over the dastardly City of Keene gang continues to reverberate throughout the world. Now, the already popular Pho Keene Great t-shirt is being modeled by magician and comedian Penn Jillette on his Twitter account, where he’s followed by over 1,840,000 people.

In another tweet, Jillette also promises he’ll be stopping in to Pho Keene Great, presumably when he next visits his nearby hometown of Greenfield, MA.

Long-time readers of Free Keene will remember when years ago Jillette expressed his desire to move here to Keene and join “with the Free Staters”. Looks like he has continued to pay attention.

Pho Keene Great t-shirts have been continuing to fly off the shelves at Route 101 Local Goods. Proprietor Chris Rietmann says orders continue to come in daily both online and in-person at 661 Marlboro St in Keene, NH. Plus, fans can now order Pho Keene Great hats and bumper stickers! Yes, you can pay with cryptocurrency like Bitcoin, DASH, and a bunch of other cryptos.

Pho Keene Great is expected to open its doors sometime in March, according to co-owner Isabelle Rose.

Ron Paul’s No Chicken – Speaks at Anarchapulco Despite Recent Murder

Ron Paul and Ian Freeman wearing a Pho Keene Great hat.

Ron Paul and Ian Freeman wearing a Pho Keene Great hat.

Hello from the second night of the fifth annual Anarchapulco in Acapulco, Mexico! It’s my third year broadcasting my talk show from the event, which I last year said had surpassed Porcfest as the must-attend annual liberty event.

Unfortunately, this year’s event received quite a bit of bad press in the couple weeks prior. A self-proclaimed anarchist, John Galton was shot to death. Galton had been living in the area after allegedly escaping prosecution for cannabis “crimes” by the US Federal gang. Despite the murder having nothing to do with Anarchapulco as Galton was co-organizer of a different and now-canceled event called Anarchaforko, Anarchapulco was targeted by the media anyway.

No one knows the real story behind the murder. Various theories abound. Was the murder an inside job, a cartel killing, or something else? Would Anarchapulco founder Jeff Berwick be gunned down during his own event? This had the liberty community buzzing away before Anarchapulco 2019 began. Would the speakers show up? Would the attendees? I even heard that some craven busybodies had been contacting speakers and encouraging them to cancel.

Anarchapulco 2019 Logo

Anarchapulco 2019 Logo

Turns out, the event is a major success, with excellent attendance, likely more than last year, which was a sellout. This year the organizers rented the entire resort and it seems to have been worth it. They’re already planning for 2020.

That said, it is likely some attendees chose to stay home due to fear. According to one participant, Anarchapulco tickets were allegedly being offered for sale before the event at a very low price on some facebook group. There was discussion by some over what, if any, extra security would be provided. This, despite no credible threat being made against the event.

It’s true that some speakers didn’t make it either, but that happens at any convention, especially one the size and complexity of Anarchapulco, where there are several stages operating simultaneously. It’s inevitable cancellations will occur. Shit happens.

The real test was Dr. Ron Paul, who was scheduled to speak this evening as the event keynote. If he didn’t show, I think the tone of the event would have shifted to depressed and negative from excited and positive.

Lyn Ulbricht chats with Ron Paul at Anarchapulco 2019

Lyn Ulbricht chats with Ron Paul at Anarchapulco 2019

Not only did Ron Paul show up and give a great, uplifting speech, he came in the front like a boss, rather than slipping in the back, and spent plenty of time with his fans on his leisurely pace to the main event stage. He stopped many times for long periods to chat and pose for photos. Afterwards, there was a special dinner with Dr. Paul and he hung around to spend even more time with regular event attendees both before and after the dinner, in different parts of the hotel. We just kept seeing him over and over posing with people for photos. It was great.

There’s a reason Ron Paul is a libertarian hero and people flock to see him speak. He has always stood for his beliefs, whether in D.C., Texas, or in Acapulco. He’s never backed down.

When some suggested we at Free Talk Live not attend at all and even my co-host Mark Edge proffered we hide away broadcasting in a green room, I said no way. I don’t live in fear. I’m glad and honored to have Ron Paul at my side – literally.

Thanks for coming to Anarchapulco 2019, Ron. You rock.

Bitcoin-for-Taxes Bill in NH Unanimously Approved by House Subcommittee

Here’s full video of the subcommittee that was assigned to look at HB 470, the bill that would authorize the “State of New Hampshire” to accept bitcoin for tax payments. The subcommittee voted unanimously to approve the bill with amendments. It now goes back to the full Executive Departments and Administration committee for another vote. Stay tuned here to Free Keene for the latest on this legislation.

BREAKING: City Approves Pho Keene Great Sign!

City Approves Pho Keene Great Sign!

City Approves Pho Keene Great Sign!

After the story Free Keene helped break about soon-to-open Vietnamese restaurant “Pho Keene Great” went viral, there’s a surprising development now three weeks later: Pho Keene Great’s sign has been approved – with the logo and name unaltered!

According to Isabelle Rose, Pho Keene Great’s part-owner, not only has the sign been approved, but it happened without them having the meeting that was scheduled with the city manager to discuss the manager’s concerns over the supposedly “offensive and not appropriate” name of the business.

It’s unfortunate that the new city manager, Elizabeth A. Dragon created the ridiculous situation in the first place, but apparently cooler heads at the city gang prevailed and Dragon has backed down. Good choice, considering the “City of Keene” would only continue to be ridiculed by people and headlines around the world if they continued to push all the way to court, where they would likely lose, just like they did when they tried to crush Robin Hood of Keene’s free speech.

The City of Keene happens to own the building in which Pho Keene Great will be opening, but that shouldn’t give them any further rights to control the name of a business. Especially after that same city manager had signed a lease agreement back in April of 2018 knowing full well what its name would be. They then collected rent from Pho Keene Great for the rest of the year before Dragon called Rose on Christmas Eve to object to the name and demand her temporary sign be taken down.

Pho Keene Great - T-Shirts Available at Rt 101 Local Goods!

Pho Keene Great – T-Shirts Available at Rt 101 Local Goods!

I spoke with Rose today about the good news and she confirmed the sign will look as it does in the mock-up photo posted to Pho Keene Great’s facebook page, minus the street address. What a win! Further, Rose told me in an email:

“We stood our ground regarding our business name. And, on the basis of the First Amendment, we defended it. The City cannot regulate content. Further, no where in the contract did it stipulate we could not use that business name. The government cannot demand or require us to do anything that supersedes our baseline rights. We are deeply grateful to everyone that offered and gave their support and appreciate all opinions and input, even with those that were offended by our business name. Thank you.”

That’s not the only win for Pho Keene Great, however. The city’s predictable stupidity led to a media explosion with coverage coming from countless major media from all over. You can’t buy advertising that good and as a result of the publicity, the Pho Keene Great official t-shirts have been flying off the shelves at Route 101 Local Goods.

The little local shop was slammed with orders both in real life and on the internet from as far away as Australia and Afghanistan. Route 101’s owner Chris Rietmann says his shop has never been so busy and he’s shipped out well over 1,000 shirts so far. The story went so big, there were even people trying to sell knock-off shirts on other websites. However, only the official shirt sold at Route 101 Local Goods is the one where profits benefit Pho Keene Great, so get yours here online or stop in at 661 Marlboro St. in Keene!

Isabelle Rose, at her food truck in 2016.

Isabelle Rose, at her food truck in 2016.

Route 101 Local Goods was the location of Rose’s original bitcoin-accepting Vietnamese food truck, which is where she got her start serving delicious Pho noodle soup to people in the area and led to her teaming up with another local business owner to upgrade to a full sit-down restaurant – Pho Keene Great. Though NHPR ran a story this week suggesting some kind of conspiracy between me and Rose, the fact is that I’m merely the property manager for Route 101 Local Goods and I had nothing to do with the naming of her new restaurant. Though, I do love the name and when I heard about it last year, I predicted the city might step into the trap. And they did.

Now rather than gearing up for a protracted legal fight that would only hurt the taxpayers of Keene, Pho Keene Great’s owners can focus on opening their doors in the heart of downtown Keene’s Central Square, next to the City offices this March as planned, with an awesome logo and name intact. Hooray!

Chris Cantwell has become what he once hated – a total statist.

Chris in Simpler Times, Acting as Security for the Hallowkeene Dance Party in 2014.

While Christopher Cantwell still looks like himself on the outside, his beliefs have completely changed in the last few years and become even worse than they previously were. Tuesday night, Johnson Rice, Aria DiMezzo and I had Chris in the LRN.FM studio for a special internet-only, in-depth conversation that exclusively aired on the LRN.FM Twitch channel. If you can stomach the watch, it’s fascinating in a train-wreck sort of way.

In my last article about him, written shortly after his arrest in Charlottesville at a white nationalist hate rally, I explained that despite Chris’ libertarian activism being covered by this blog in the past, he had never been a blogger at Free Keene, nor was he ever invited to be. When he came to Keene in the early part of this decade, he was just crass libertarian comedian Chris Cantwell from Long Island. He wasn’t a racist, but still caused much controversy for his hatred for the police.

Today, Chris has embraced the police as his potential tool of oppression, even though they recently threw him into a jail cell for months in Virginia. As he revealed in our conversation Tuesday night, he literally wants to become the state. Shortly after 2 hours, 22 minutes in he actually says he wants to force his beliefs on others, and then moments later says, “I want to be the government, yeah.”

His dramatic shift to statism isn’t a first for the Free State Project libertarian migration, which was the original reason Chris chose to move to New Hampshire. Early mover to Manchester Amanda Bouldin went from being an anarchist to a hostile-to-libertarians leftist. Conversely, Chris has gone from being an anarchist to a actual NAZI. There’s not a shred of a libertarian left in him. Libertarians, voluntarists, and liberty-loving anarchists believe people should be judged as individuals, by their words and actions. Chris is obsessed with race and admits in the conversation that it’s lazy to judge people based on the group into which they are born, but nonetheless runs with the idea anyway, as he considers the laziness of racism to be an efficient filter for his ideal society.

Previously a libertarian against the war on drugs, he's now for prohibition.

Previously a libertarian against the war on drugs, he’s now for prohibition.

Further, Chris actually seems to believe he has some chance of becoming the state, by leading some kind of white nationalist takeover of the government. About the only thing we agree on is his support of secession. Politics does indeed make for strange bedfellows. Of course if NH were ever to secede, we’d be at odds again as I support open borders and he supports a closed-border police state.

The conversation we had on the Twitch-only show (though I’ve since exported it to Youtube here) had some particularly bizarre moments including Chris holding the confusing position of having used cannabis while supporting continuing prohibition against it. He speaks out of both sides of his mouth by acknowledging the benefits of harm reduction and decriminalization but refusing to advocate for policy changes in that direction. It’s a perplexing perspective. Despite his own personal knowledge of the ineffectiveness of prohibition and the various studies proving it is an abject failure that creates the opposite of its intended results, he rejects all that on the near-religious belief that outlawing something reduces its use. It’s a belief wholly at odds with how he used to think on the issue.

At one point in the conversation he actually refers to himself as a caricature. What does he really believe? Outside of another total personality shift to a communist, that which he currently hates, or perhaps maybe going transgender, it’s hard to imagine where Chris will go from here.

Speaking of transgender, Chris also had a segment with the Anarchist Shemale, Aria DiMezzo. Aria wrote about it on her blog, and was disappointed she didn’t get more time on-air to fight with Chris. I’d invited her there with the expectation that Johnson wasn’t going to stay through the whole show and that Aria could take his chair later. Turns out, Johnson stayed the whole time. She was also upset that we didn’t go toe-to-toe with Chris on trans issues, which I honestly know next-to-nothing about.

Only advocates of peace are allowed to blog at FreeKeene.com

Only advocates of peace are allowed to blog at FreeKeene.com

Others, Aria included, wanted to see more challenges from Johnson and I, and were upset that I laughed at Chris’ sick jokes. I’m the first to admit, I laugh at inappropriate things and I’ve always enjoyed Chris’ sense of humor. But Johnson and I definitely challenged his racist and insane statist beliefs. People will hear what they want to hear, of course, and people are highly emotional when it comes to Chris. They give him way more power and weight than he actually has. Some say we shouldn’t give him a platform, but then widely share the very video they say we shouldn’t have made.

Others, like me, can see the value in giving enough rope to Chris to verbally hang himself. We don’t think that bad ideas should be shut down, but instead they ought to be countered publicly. The answer to ugly speech is more speech, not de-platforming or censorship. If you don’t think I was the best person to counter Chris’ ideas, that’s fine. If you hate me because I’m kind to Chris, that’s fine too. Hate only hurts the hater. That’s ultimately the true irony here, that hating Chris only makes you more like him.

Chris has become what he once hated – an arch statist. He has rejected the libertarian principle of non-aggression and instead embraced coercive, institutionalized violence as his tool. Of course, violence begets violence and he will reap as he sows.

Though Chris is certainly responsible for his horrible beliefs, he’s ultimately a creation of a society that has long embraced the aggression of government as a tool to control their neighbor. If you hate Chris but you support the coercive state, you ought to look in the mirror. People cover their support for state violence by believing in nonsense like the “social contract” and refusing to see the threats of violence that back all government programs. They hold conflicting positions, like supporting the state while believing they themselves support peace. To his credit, at least Chris is honest about his reasons for supporting the state. He knows it’s a tool for the violent to control others and is eager to use it for his purposes. If you support the state, you helped make Chris into a monster.

Here’s the full, unedited, over three-hour show:

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.