In October of 2021, nine peaceful people were arrested at a . It started when armed state goons approached activists Frank “Footloose” Staples and Terese Grinnell and requested they to follow them to a partitioned area in the back of the room. Once out of sight of the packed audience, the thugs arrested Footloose and Terese, causing them to verbally announce what was happening. Prior to being asked to walk out, the two were sitting in the audience quietly, so they are still unsure regarding why they were arrested in the first place, as they didn’t make any noise prior to the arrest. So far, the court process has yet to clarify the situation.
Seven other people were also arrested for speaking out during the arrests of Footloose and Terese. The “New Hampshire Nine” had a court hearing on Friday to deal with some pending motions and unlike the rest of the Nine, Footloose is representing himself in the case. If you’ve seen his other videos, you know that means it won’t be dull. Here’s a video with highlights from his visit, including he and other activists bravely refusing to stop recording when threatened by a masked court goon. You can see the .
It’s also worth noting that there is an unconstitutional “Supreme Court” of NH order in place prohibiting recording in all parts of state courthouses except the courtrooms themselves. Those restrictions were put in place because of Keene activists recording over a decade ago and haven’t been meaningfully challenged ever since. Kudos to New Hampshire native Footloose for standing up for the right to record and the right to transparency. It was nice to see him back down the armed goon AND he did it while on bail conditions for his previous ridiculous victimless arrests.
Stay tuned here to Free Keene for the latest on his saga.
It was standing-room-only this Thursday afternoon as the state house Federal Relations committee held a historic hearing on CACR 32, likely the first-ever proposed constitutional amendment to peacefully declare independence from the United States. Freedom-loving activists packed the large-sized room, nearly forcing the hearing into Rep’s Hall, which can hold four hundred. Many people testified in favor of the bill and with the exception of a few Empire Loyalist state reps who spoke against it, everyone else who spoke was in favor of it, except for one guy. I was able to get independent video of the entire three-hour hearing as well as the press conference prior to it. Thank you to everyone who turned out.
Here’s the full hearing video:
Here’s the press conference prior to the hearing:
Unfortunately, the committee voted 21-0 against the proposed amendment. NHexit.US has the full story and video of the committee’s discussion and vote.
Dried Psilocybin Mushrooms, photo from Northspore.com
Thanks to the efforts of activist group Decriminalize Nature, cities across the United States have decriminalized the possession of mushrooms containing psilocybin. From Oakland, CA to nearby Northampton, MA, city councils have voted unanimously to direct law enforcement to essentially ignore people who possess psychedelic mushrooms. Plus, the entire state of Oregon legalized shrooms via a ballot initiative in 2020.
Thus far, however, no state has yet decriminalized psilocybin mushrooms via the legislative process. Perhaps New Hampshire will be the first with HB 1349, a bill that proposes to make the possession of up to 12 grams of psilocybin mushrooms a mere violation with a $100 fine, instead of a felony.
It’s easy to be skeptical that such a change can happen here in New Hampshire, given the state was slow to decriminalize cannabis, but finally did in 2017. However, the tide is shifting on the issue of psilocybin mushrooms. The reason that city councils are voting unanimously to decriminalize shrooms is because they really do help a lot of people with serious mental problems like PTSD and depression. The studies on this are numerous and growing. It is hard for city councilors to deny retired military veterans who testify that psilocybin has cured them of PTSD, or people with terminal diseases who will testify that psilocybin has helped them be at ease with death. Plus, it has long been known that psilocybin mushrooms are safe to use, even compared with cannabis.
Drug Harm to Society and the User
As I pointed out in my testimony in front of the state house Criminal Justice committee on Wednesday, the most relevant thing they should consider is that the New Hampshire Supreme Court ruled in December of 2020 that using psilocybin mushrooms for religious reasons is legal in New Hampshire. Jeremy Mack was arrested for possession of psilocybin mushrooms and convicted in Superior Court. He appealed, arguing it was his right, as a member of the Oklevueha Native American Church to use psilocybin as part of his religion.
In a UNANIMOUS decision, the NH supremes overturned Mack’s conviction, pointing out that the New Hampshire constitution has stronger religious freedom protections than the United States constitution. While the US constitution protects the right to religion, the NH constitution protects your right to worship God how you choose:
Every individual has a natural and unalienable right to worship God according to the dictates of his own conscience, and reason; and no subject shall be hurt, molested, or restrained, in his person, liberty, or estate, for worshipping God in the manner and season most agreeable to the dictates of his own conscience; or for his religious profession, sentiments, or persuasion; provided he doth not disturb the public peace or disturb others in their religious worship. -Article 5, NH Constitution Bill of Rights
Given this amazing court decision, the religious use of psilocybin mushrooms is already fully legal in New Hampshire. Now the legislature should catch up and stop the police from even arresting psilocybin users at all, by passing HB 1349. I am optimistic for its chances. At the hearing on Wednesday, the only person who spoke against the bill was a drug warrior from the NH State Police, who trotted out the usual scare tactics of “DANGER” and “THE CHILDREN”. Though by pointing out that his kids told him shrooms are available for sale in their school, he inadvertently admits the abject failure of his precious War on Drugs.
Here’s the full hearing video:
If you live in New Hampshire and want to help this bill get passed, please reach out to the Criminal Justice committee via this group email: HouseCriminalJusticeandPublicSafety@leg.state.nh.us and ask them to pass HB 1349.
On Tuesday a democrat in New Hampshire’s house introduced a bill in support of free software. The House Bill (HB) 1273 would be a step forward for software freedom. It proposes to help protect the user freedom of New Hampshire residents in a number of important ways.
- Prohibits the state government from requiring residents to use proprietary software, whether in remote court appearances, tax filings, standardized test-taking, coursework in public schools, or matters relating to any state benefits
- Forbid employers from using non-compete clauses to prevent their employees from contributing to free software
- Prohibits NH law enforcement from participating in the investigation or prosecution of copyright claims brought by proprietary software developers against free software developers
- Forms a state commission to promote the use of free software in state agencies
Now much of the legislation is a bit wishy-washy with no real teeth, but there are some parts that in theory if passed could have a beneficial impact on our freedom. Other parts could be a little more problematic for those who are libertarian and do not believe in the use of violence to achieve social and political objectives (outside that of a defensive nature anyway). Fortunately most of the bill is tailored toward government and is more defensive in nature than not. Some not so great parts would likely also not have much real world impact.
One part in particular should get libertarians everywhere excited. While it probably was not intended by the legislator proposing the bill, a democrat, it would none-the-less be an amazing step forward in reducing the harm of violent thugs in government. The bill would ensure that users have the right to access the source code for any device utilized in the creation of evidence. This would in effect result in evidence being thrown out whereby the government could not produce the source code to the device that created it. Evidence from such devices as radar guns would no longer be valid in court for all practical purposes. The reason for this is that the suppliers of such devices will not release such source code and thereby prosecutors won’t be able to comply with the law. Before the socialists get upset by this though it’s something everyone should be concerned about. It’s already well known that these devices are full of bugs and this would likely result in evidence being invalidated everywhere if the code were released- not just in NH- and so the device manufacturers would never want to do this short of significant improvements to the code. The solution is to pass this in more states and force manufacturers hand-else let this stand as a means of eliminating a law that should not be in that there is no party that can actually show injury.
To have any real chance of seeing this pass the legislation would likely need to be significantly trimmed. Some parts are problematic such as the forbidding of employers from using non-compete clauses to prevent their employees from contributing to free software for instance. This would likely be unpopular with many state legislators who otherwise support software freedom while also supporting ones right to negotiate a contract free of government interference. Maybe there is a way to put this into law that were more freedom-focused, like letting such terms be unenforceable via law, but either way much of the legislature isn’t going to want to interfere in the private affairs of employee-employer relations either way. I suspect this is likely to have little impact in either case given non-compete clauses within the free software world are already taboo and many of us (myself included) would not sign (or require it) such in an employment contract.
One interesting aspect of the bill is that it would prohibit NH law enforcement from partaking in investigation or prosecution of copyright claims against free software developers. While I can in good conscious support this and would go farther to argue for the elimination of copyright it’s unclear to me where this is currently an issue. Maybe it’s connected to the breaking of digital restrictions such as would be the case with something like DeCSS. A free software program that breaks encryption on commercial DVDs. This falls under copyright law and might be prosecuted by state agencies although that said it’s normally a federal offense. State law enforcement can generally however prosecute federal crimes as I understand it or otherwise partake in federal investigation and prosecution thereof. Of which is more common I do believe with civil asset forfeiture cases.
In spite of some of the issues with the legislation a small contingent of libertarians showed up to more or less in support the legislation as well as others from the free software community. One Jon “maddog” Hall, the Board Chair for the Linux Professional Institute, for instance came out and spoke in favor of the legislation.
Jon “maddog” Hall is the Board Chair for the Linux Professional Institute
The main theme surrounding the hearing seemed to be that of software security and the cost of implementation. New Hampshire’s head of IT for instance also spoke from what appeared to be a purchased lobbyist point-of-view. Declaring more or less that it would be of significant burden and cost to transition to free software (while saying they’re already using free software humorously). The opposing side of course pointed out the truth in that there is always a cost to migrate from one release of a program to another, but it’s not significantly different from that of migrating to free software. Not to mention that while free software isn’t about price, but the liberty, security, and control, this twisting and confusing of the bill was quite disingenuous. The long term costs are reduced as no license agreements need be acquired. Commercial support is generally available too despite the head of IT trying to confuse the reps by comparing commercial software to free software. These are for all intensive purposes one and the same. You can acquire commercial support from Redhat for instance for free software and even much of Microsoft’s own code is based on free software. This bill was about libre, not gratis where libre means freedom, and gratis means price.
While the head of NH IT argued against free software on the basis of features, commercial support, and security the reality is these are more often than not mute points given features can be added to free software unlike the proprietary software he favored. Security bugs can be fixed not at the whim of a particular company, but that of either, you, the community, or the commercial entity you contract with for said free software (example: Redhat). Yes- you can buy free software and many companies do. Just because something is libre doesn’t mean you can’t or shouldn’t pay for its development/support. And unlike proprietary software free software can be seen, read, and audited by third parties with or without the consent of the company producing it (once released). These are the things that ensure security- not anti-virus software or proprietary software vendors of which the former is a kin to putting up a fence and expecting it to stop ants from coming onto your property. The head of IT didn’t stop there- even implying that free software was insecure through association with Bitcoin. While not said outright during the hearing he referenced recent socially engineered attacks on municipalities. Somewhat recently there were reports of municipalities being ‘hacked’- which were in reality social engineering attacks primarily involving the traditional banking system. It was only after the attacks occurred and the money paid by employees of the municipalities to criminals overseas that said money was utilized to purchase Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies. If there is a flaw- it’s not the software- and it’s certainly not the result of it being libre.
Video Of The Hearing On House Bill (HB) 1273
As we reported here at Free Keene last year, nine peaceful activists were ticketed for violating the unconstitutional ordinance against “picketing” outside the NH governor’s house in Newfields, New Hampshire. All but one of the nine have fought the bullshit charge.
Last month, the first “not guilty” verdict came in the case of Frank “Footloose” Staples. Now, five more of the “Newfields Nine” have also been found not guilty. Libertarian attorney Seth Hipple filed a motion to dismiss where he argued the Newfields picketing ordinance is unconstitutional, but the robed woman ignored those arguments when finding the defendants not guilty, which means the illegal ordinance remains in place.
Here are the videos from the trials of five of the Newfields Nine, both trial dates combined into one video:
Activist Frank “Footloose” Staples, the founder of Absolute Defiance, has been persecuted by the state gang for his peaceful actions near NH “governor” Chris Sununu’s house at 71 Hemlock Ct in Newfields roughly a year ago. Footloose led a series of protests in the park across the street from the Sununu home over unconstitutional executive orders like the statewide mask mandate and other restrictions on business.
Footloose Arrested at Sununu’s House
Whenever the state gang can identify the leader of a protest, they are inevitably targeted for attack and now Footloose has been arrested and ticketed multiple times. First, he was ticketed for attempting to hold a peaceful candlelight vigil near Sununu’s house, along with eight other people, aka “The Newfields Nine”. The police called this a violation of the town’s “picketing” ordinance, which was written specifically to protect Sununu from that dreaded free speech.
Just over a month later, he was arrested for “disorderly conduct” at a Shire Choir caroling event near Sununu’s house. All he was doing in the incident was speaking. According to police, he spoke too loudly.
In November, he was put on trial for the “picketing” and “disorderly” charges. I was there to record the full trials. The robed woman in Brentwood district court took the cases “under advisement” and ruled nearly two months later. She found Footloose not guilty of “picketing”, but conveniently didn’t rule on the constitutionality of the ordinance. She found him guilty of “disorderly conduct”, a Class B misdemeanor. He plans to appeal, but the next step is sentencing on April 7th at 9am. Stay tuned here to Free Keene for the latest.
First up, the “disorderly conduct” trial:
Here’s the “picketing” trial: (more…)