Only Two City Councilors Voted Against Expanding Nicotine Prohibition in Keene

Keene City Council Voting for Prohibition - Photo by Vincent Freeman

Keene City Council Voting for Prohibition – Photo by Vincent Freeman

It’s an early step of the ugly political process that may ultimately expand nicotine prohibition up to age 21 in Keene, New Hampshire. As sadly expected, the full city council voted 12-2 last night to order city staff to write up a new ordinance prohibiting the sale and possession of nicotine-related products for under 21s within the arbitrary geographic area known as Keene.

Several councilors spoke with the majority using the spectre of children using nicotine and how dangerous and addictive the chemical is to justify voting in favor of moving ahead with writing the ban, ignoring all the historic evidence of the failure of prohibition. One councilor, Mitch Greenwald, even voted with the majority despite bizarrely acknowledging in his remarks that prohibition hasn’t worked.

Prohibition is a tactic based on aggressive force against peaceful people that has created terrible unintended consequences each time in history it’s been tried. This time won’t be any different. The council will push legal sales outside the city limits and encourage police to harass even more young people than ever before. Tickets will be written just like they are constantly for underage alcohol possession. The tickets will obediently be paid, and the person who got caught will try to be more careful and not be discovered in the future. Oh, and black market sales to 18-20 year olds will expand in Keene.

You can watch the whole, ugly council discussion and vote here:

It was refreshing to see a couple of politicians stand up against the insanity, including both of Ward 4’s councilors, Margaret Rice and Bob Sutherland who not only voted against crafting the ban, but spoke against it. Rice eloquently said, in her speech to the council:

“It’s not my role to tell somebody what they can and cannot do with their own body, provided that they’re not harming anybody else.” (more…)

Libertarian Transgender Sheriff Candidate Featured in Union Leader Article

Aria DiMezzo files for Cheshire County Sheriff as a Libertarian

Aria DiMezzo files for Cheshire County Sheriff as a Libertarian

Aria DiMezzo made history recently by becoming the first-ever candidate for Sheriff in the United States. Now, she’s making major news with the top newspaper in New Hampshire featuring her in an article about the opinions of the three candidates for Sheriff in Cheshire County.

Not only does the UL’s Damien Fisher feature a quote from Aria at the end of the article, the feature’s photo is of Aria.

It’s going to be an interesting election. Finally, the people of Cheshire County actually have a pro-liberty choice for Sheriff.

You can read the coverage from the Union Leader here. Stay tuned here to Free Keene for the latest.

A+ Liberty Rated NH State Rep Sued by Town Gang Over “Zoning” Violations

Mike Sylvia takes a photo with supporters outside court.

Mike Sylvia takes a photo with supporters outside court.

State Representative Mike Sylvia is the liberty “Legislator of the Year” for 2018 according to the NH Liberty Alliance. Of course, because he’s a peaceful threat to the legitimacy of the state, he will inevitably be targeted by state violence. Hence, the people calling themselves the “Town of Belmont” have forced Sylvia into court and are threatening to hit him with $275 a day in fines for allegedly violating the town gang’s arbitrary “zoning” rules.

The town gang’s zoning thug, Steve Paquin, testified under oath that the town selectmen had sent him to target Sylvia and even admitted there had not been a single complaint against Sylvia or his property by any neighbors. The only complaints came from within the town gang’s “selectmen”.

What’s all this about? The gang is alleging Sylvia is living on his property in an RV or the garage. Yes, that’s right. They are threatening him with violence because he’s allegedly living… on his property.

Apparently the main house burned down in 2009 before Sylvia bought it in 2011. The zoning goon claims that because he’s seen Sylvia exiting the door of the RV, observed shoveled walkways during winter, and smoke coming from a chimney on the garage, that he believes Sylvia is living on the property. Apparently living on one’s own property is not allowed within the gang’s territory, unless one has begged for permission from said gang first.

It’s an outrageous case and another example of how zoning is used to target people the town gang doesn’t like and further proof that one doesn’t actually own their property. If another group of strangers can come along with armed men and tell one what one can and can’t do with it, it’s clearly the property of the gang.

Below is the full court hearing on the town gang’s request for a preliminary injunction against Sylvia. Judge James D. O’Neill III took the evidence and testimony under advisement and will issue a ruling on whether or not to grant the town their preliminary injunction before the full trial in civil court. Thanks to Bill D. for the video:

At one point the town attorney tries to call Sylvia to testify and he smartly objected based on the NH Constitution’s Bill of Rights Article Fifteen, which says “no subject shall… be compelled to accuse or furnish evidence against himself”. The judge sustained his objection and he did not have to take the stand, though the robed man didn’t sustain any of Sylvia’s other objections while sustaining nearly all of the town’s attorney, in a typical hearing that favored the state.

Sylvia also cited the NH Constitution’s Bill of Rights Article Two which says:

All men have certain natural, essential, and inherent rights among which are, the enjoying and defending life and liberty; acquiring, possessing, and protecting, property; and, in a word, of seeking and obtaining happiness.

Zoning is not only unconstitutional, it’s also immoral and should be abolished statewide. Property owners should be free to do what they want, so long as they don’t infringe on their neighbors’ similar rights to do as they please. That would be live free or die. Stay tuned here to Free Keene for the latest on this outrageous property rights violation.

After Public Hearing, Keene Councilors Vote 3-1 For Nicotine Prohibition for Under 21s

Photo of the audience at the start of the meeting.

Photo of the audience at the start of the meeting.

Last night a committee of four Keene city councilors met to hear from the people on an awful proposal by a group of busybodies to prohibit the sale and possession of nicotine-related products by people under the age of 21 in Keene.

At least, that’s the summary of the proposal the city clerk had prepared for the council and was plastered at the top of the comment cards available in the room. But wait, was that actually their proposal?

Kate McNally, program manager for “Cheshire Coalition for Tobacco Free Communities”, despite being the person who started this awful political process spoke first and explained that her group was NOT asking the city to prohibit the use of nicotine, just the sale. She seems to realize that criminalizing possession would allow police to target young people for harassment and spoke against that clearly. In a perfect example of how you don’t control the government once you set it in motion, the majority of the committee voted 3-1 to ask city staff to write up an ordinance that would prohibit both sale AND possession of nicotine by people under 21 in Keene. That includes tobacco and all vaporizing products like vape pens and nicotine juice.

Congrats, Ms. McNally – you started this hoping to control just the merchants and you got more than you bargained for. The ban hammer is going to swing much farther and harder than even you wanted.

The council members ignored the pleas of various people including downtown merchants, industry associations, and individuals. No amount of logic and persuasion worked. The history and continued failure of prohibition meant nothing to them. It didn’t matter that the lady from Keene Middle School admitted the failure of nicotine prohibition on their campus. Despite the fact that it’s ALREADY illegal for them to buy and possess, even middle schoolers are using nicotine.

Here’s the full hearing including all testimony minus a quick battery change:

Though the owner of Monadnock Vapor, Daniel Cavallero, pointed out they’d just be creating a black market, the councilors still believe in the failed, authoritarian, sick dream of prohibition and voted to move ahead with drafting the ordinance. Next, the full city council will vote on the committee’s recommendation at next week’s Thursday meeting. Presuming that happens, city staff will draft a prohibition ordinance which will then receive a public hearing in front of the same committee.

Only one councilor, Bob Sutherland, heroically voted against the proposal. He also asked some good questions of McNally toward the end of the hearing. Sadly, he’s the only councilor on the committee who has his sanity.

Live free or die, unless you’re in Keene. Stay tuned here to Free Keene for the latest on this madness.

Hypocritical “Free State Project” Quietly Dumps Cody Wilson from Upcoming Convention

The FSP's Announcement of Cody Wilson's Now-Canceled Speech at Liberty Forum 2019

The FSP’s Announcement of Cody Wilson’s Now-Canceled Speech at Liberty Forum 2019

UPDATED @ 20:31 Eastern 2018-09-22 – I contacted a source within the FSP about this last night, long before going to press. The takedown was confirmed by the source but they would not speak publicly about it.
UPDATED @ 18:10 Eastern 2018-09-22 – See bottom of story for FSP’s response.

Cody Wilson is a libertarian hero who has made countless international headlines in the last several years, first for releasing plans for the world’s first 3D-printable gun, the “Liberator”. After that, he created the “Ghost Gunner” hardware, which makes machining a gun from scratch almost as easy as pressing “start”. All the while, he has bravely thumbed his nose at the oppressive state and federal governments and recently won a major settlement from the federal government that illegally tried to stop him from engaging in the free speech of sharing his 3d-printable weapon files.

Wilson’s a free speech and gun rights champion, no doubt. No wonder the Free State Project had asked him to speak at their 2019 Liberty Forum convention they’ve held in the wintertime here in New Hampshire for over a decade. It wouldn’t be the first time Wilson’s spoken at the Liberty Forum. Here’s a Forbes article talking about Wilson’s speech from 2014’s Liberty Forum. Here’s a video interview of Wilson at the 2014 Liberty Forum by Free Keene blogger Garret Ean.

Sadly, this week an arrest warrant was issued from Austin, Texas police alleging Wilson had met a sixteen-year-old young lady on a website called SugarDaddyMeet.com, took her to a hotel room, had sex with her, gave her $500, then dropped her off at a Whataburger. In Texas the “age of consent”, is apparently 17, which means they are charging Wilson with felony “sexual assault” for the consensual act he committed with his “victim”.

Within a couple of days, the Free State Project (FSP) quietly removed Wilson’s photo and bio from its place on the front page of their NH Liberty Forum website. Wilson’s photo had occupied the top left speaker’s position on their list of expected speakers. That pretty much means he was their top billed keynote speaker.

Cody's still caught in Google's cache of the FSP's Liberty Forum site.

Wilson’s still caught in Google’s cache of the FSP’s Liberty Forum site.

Poof! Just like that, he was gone. It’s not the first time they’ve tried to memory hole something – there was also the time when they tried to suppress video of a well-produced awards ceremony from Liberty Forum 2016 featuring me as a recipient.

Oops! Turns out the FSP forgot to cleanse their Twitter of their announcement of Wilson’s speaking gig which I included as the top graphic here, in case they take the tweet down.

The Free State Project used to be the reason many of us libertarians, voluntaryists, and liberty-loving anarchists moved to New Hampshire. They were known for throwing two great yearly events, including the previously mentioned Liberty Forum and the Porcupine Freedom Festival in the summertime. However in recent years, the FSP has taken a strong turn away from the principles of liberty by jettisoning any people they can associate with any uncomfortable ideas of sexual liberation. Namely, the crazy idea that teenagers could possibly make decisions for themselves. (more…)

First-in-History Transgender Candidate Enters Race for Cheshire Sheriff as Libertarian

Aria DiMezzo files for Cheshire County Sheriff as a Libertarian

Aria DiMezzo files for Cheshire County Sheriff as a Libertarian

In what appears to be a historic first, the Libertarian Party of Western NH has nominated Aria DiMezzo as their candidate for Cheshire County Sheriff. DiMezzo says that her research shows that she may be the first-ever transgender candidate for Sheriff in United States history.

She’s a principled Libertarian who hosts a weekday afternoon talk show on LRN.FM named “The Call to Freedom“. She’s on the show daily from 4-7pm including the 5pm “Crypto Hour” which features her expertise on the subject of cryptocurrency like Bitcoin. (You can watch it via the LRN.FM Twitch channel or listen at LRN.FM.)

The last-minute filing was thanks to the Libertarian Party of NH re-attaining major party ballot access on the level of the republicans and democrats for the first time in over two decades. That means that the party executive committee has the ability to appoint a slate of candidates to fill any races for which no one had yet filed or won enough write-in votes in the primary election. Parties have one week from the primary date to file such a slate.

It’s an interesting approach and throws a surprise libertarian challenger into a long-stale county sheriff’s race that has been a re-match for several terms between incumbent democrat Eli Rivera and longtime republican challenger Earl Nelson.

Aria DiMezzo, LPNH Chairman Chip Spangler, and Robert Call outside the NH Secretary of State’s Office

DiMezzo claims she’s going to be doing real campaigning and has already launched her campaign website which includes her opinions on ending the entire war on drugs. She admits to being a former opiate addict which means she’s got an insight into the world of drug addiction and the insane War on Drugs not shared by her republican and democrat competitiors. As she points out in her essay,

“Each addict has their own unique reason that they turned to drugs as an escape, and the only way to help any of them, if they decide they want help, will be individually and personally. There is no easy, convenient, one-size-fits-all answer. The folly of simplistic solutions like “Arrest them!” is that it allows us to feel like we are doing something about the problem, but we aren’t–at least, not anything beyond exacerbating it.”

 
DiMezzo, on her campaign site, also calls for the immediate release of peaceful, “victimless criminals”. She tells me she’s more than happy to do media interviews and appear at any local events to which she is invited. It’s refreshing to finally have a principled freedom-advocating candidate for which to vote in the upcoming Sheriff election this November 6th.

Robert Call and Aria DiMezzo standing outside the state house in Concord.

Robert Call and Aria DiMezzo standing outside the state house in Concord.

In addition to the surprise appointment of their first-ever candidate for Sheriff in Cheshire County, Keene’s Ward Four (Cheshire District Seven) has also received a libertarian challenger to democrat newbie Sparky Von Plinsky in the form of former Keene mayoral candidate Robert Call. Call is a free sofware advocate and programmer who lives in Keene. Curiously, his democrat challenger Von Plinsky is a former NSA agent. It should be an interesting race!

That gives the Libertarian Party of New Hampshire more candidates on the general election ballot in Keene than the Republican party who could only scrounge up one candidate for just the Ward 5 election. In order to help keep major party ballot access status, the libertarian candidate for Governor, Jilletta Jarvis must receive at least 4% of the vote. If you’re tired of government ruling your life and always growing more expensive and more demanding, you finally have a choice. You can vote for the multiple libertarian candidates that will be on your ballot in the general election on November 6th. Remember, if you’ve never voted before, New Hampshire allows same-day voter registration. Here’s a City of Keene webpage with information about where you should go to vote.

Stay tuned here to Free Keene for interesting libertarian campaign news.