The Boston Globe: The appeal of ‘Live free or die’ – Antigovernment activists putting down roots in N.H.

Posted on May 29th, 2009 by bile
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Dale Everett, Richard Onley, Ian Freeman, Keith Carlsen, and Patrick Shields (from left) discussed efforts yesterday to obtain the release of fellow Free Stater Sam A. Miller from jail. They were not successful. (Cheryl Senter for The Boston Globe)

By Sarah Schweitzer
Globe Staff / May 29, 2009

KEENE, N.H. – From a jail cell in this rural corner of New Hampshire, Sam A. Miller waged a philosophical battle, one milk carton at a time.

The soft-spoken electrical engineer declined food for nearly a month, save for swigs of milk. To eat, he said, would be caving to the tyrannical government powers that placed him here for illegally filming in a courthouse and refusing to reveal his legal name to jail officials. (He says it’s private; jail officials obtained it from a fingerprint trace.)

His resistance has made him a folk hero among antigovernment types who have been making their way to New Hampshire from points across the country since their leaders put out a clarion call six years ago.

The Free Staters, as they are known, hope to lure thousands of like-minded souls to the state, with the goal of paring government to a bare minimum by eliminating things like taxes, speed limits, and zoning laws.

Thus far, just 427 Free Staters have relocated. Yet, here in Keene and in pockets across New Hampshire, Free Staters are making their case in increasingly provocative ways.

“Like Ghandi, like Martin Luther King, we need to educate and enlighten the public,” said Miller, who joined the Free State movement after breaking up with his fiancée.

The actions have ranged from the odd, such as when Free Staters filed another person’s fingernails without a manicurist’s license on a public sidewalk or held an unlicensed puppet show, to the irksome, as when they tried to dig a garden in a downtown Keene park, to the instigative, such as the day they stood on a street corner with a marijuana bud held aloft. Sometimes, they simply veer toward obstinate, wearing hats in a courtroom after being asked to take them off or refusing to remove a couch from a lawn.

When arrests have followed, Free Staters have sought to film the criminal proceedings from beginning to end, including scenes from courthouse lobbies, where filming is not allowed in some cases, such as in Keene District Court. The lobby filming has yielded more arrests (often, with Free Staters going limp as officers approach) and more footage that Free Staters post on websites such as, which has proved an effective recruiting tool.

The so-called liberty actions have been met with some bemusement by residents of this gently tolerant city, population 22,800, home to Keene State College, near the border of Vermont. But some say the tactics have taken on a menacing hue, such as when Free Staters have gathered on the streets of downtown Keene with holstered guns on their waists, visible on their waists.

“When they first came to town, there was a welcoming spirit. A lot of people were like, ‘OK,’ ” said Richard Van Wickler, a Keene resident and superintendent of the Cheshire County Department of Corrections. “But unfortunately what happens is that when [Free Staters] take the radical approach, that invites people to get angry.”

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A blow to transitioning away from violent monopolies

Posted on April 17th, 2009 by bile
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The Pirate Bay “spectrial” has ended in a guilty verdict, prison sentences for the defendants, and a shared 30 million kronor ($3.5 million) fine. According to the Swedish district court, the operators of the site were guilty of assisting copyright infringement even though The Pirate Bay hosted none of the files in question and even though other search engines like Google also provide direct access to illegal .torrent files.

These two points formed the basis of The Pirate Bay’s defense, but the court found them ultimately unpersuasive in its 107 page verdict. “By providing a site with, as the district court found, sophisticated search functions, easy upload and storage, and a website linked to the tracker,” the defendants were guilty of assistant copyright infringement, the court said.

In an Internet press conference this morning, defendant Peter Sunde Kolmisoppi compared the whole trial to (of all things) The Karate Kid, a movie in which the good guy is roughed up by bullies, goes through a long training process, learns to “wax on, wax off,” encounters his bully again in the final round of a karate tournament, and kicks him in the face with his “crane technique.” Kolmisoppi sees parallels. In the end, he insists, “we’ll kick their ass.”

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TSA launches PR campaign

Posted on November 25th, 2008 by bile
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The group that created Smokey Bear and McGruff the Crime Dog has a new potential icon: Stephanie the airport screener.

A $1.3 million ad campaign launched this month teams the Ad Council and the Transportation Security Administration trying to change behavior of passengers who no longer automatically accept post-Sept. 11 airport security procedures. The public relations push explains the terrorist threat and the reasons behind annoyances at checkpoints.

A passenger focus group conducted for TSA by New York City business consulting firm Blue Lime found that “unquestioning compliance has diminished.” Passengers say they are more afraid of missing their flight than they are of an airplane being attacked, the 73-page Blue Lime report found.

In a 97-second video, Washington National Airport screener Stephanie Naar gently explains that homemade bombs “are the No. 1 threat to aircraft, and we know terrorists have concealed these items in shoes.” The TSA hopes to make passengers more accepting of removing footwear at checkpoints.

I think the fact that Blue Lime used language like “unquestioning compliance” says it all. These people want obediance. They don’t care about performing a good job as made obvious by the greater then 50% miss rate they have in their own tests. They don’t care about customer service made obvious by the huge amount of complains, the ridiculousness and randomness of their search policies, and at a fundamental level the fact they don’t perform their job as a result of customer demand but the dictate of politicians who have little accountability to anyone. They provide a “service” at the barrel of a gun. Who would expect professionalism in that case?

The Court of Public Relations: Part 1

Posted on July 12th, 2008 by bile
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Is the government really based on the consent of the governed?

Find more of Sam’s work at the Obscured Truth Networks’s Youtube page.

If you want to see the entire thing you can check it out at but I believe its a rough draft. In the least the aspect ratio is wrong. I’ll post the other official parts as they become available.

City of Opportunity files for bankruptcy

Posted on May 13th, 2008 by bile
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The government of Vallejo, California, files for bankruptcy, thanks to diminished returns from its tax-thefts to pay its tax-eating police, fire, and other unions. (Via Drudge.)

UPDATE from Tim Wangelin: a list of the 242 public servants publicly serving the tax-payer of Vallejo by making $100,000 or more a year.

UPDATE from Robert Mayer: “Vallejo, California’s motto of ‘City of Opportunity’ couldn’t be more appropriate…if you’re government bureaucrat, that is. Using the handy online search tool you linked to, I was shocked to discover that this city of a mere 125,000 employs 77 people in the fire department who make over $150K per year! Is this the most fire-prone city on the planet or what?”…

Writes Kitty Carr: “I loaded that database [of government workers in bankrupt Vallejo, CA, making more than $100K), and the number is actually 292, not 242. The highest salary is $435,638 (Police Department token woman) and the lowest is $100,499 (Community Development Department, which is not to be confused with the Development Services Department.) Of the 292 on the list, there are 148 members in the Police Department and 100 members in the Fire Department.

“Thirty-one government ‘workers’ make over $200,000, including nine in the Police Department and 30 in the Fire Department.

“According to 2003 Census data, the population of Vallejo is 119,708. The per capita income for 1999 was $20,415, but I think it is now somewhere between 54,000 and 61,000.”

UPDATE from Steven St. Jean: “The ‘police department token woman’ mentioned by Kitty Carr was one Joann West, a spokeswoman who took a retirement payout of over $435,000 last year. Realizing it was in ‘public relations’ trouble for such malfeasance, the city spent yet more tax money to hire a propaganda expert. Who did they hire? You guessed it:

“‘On Monday, Vallejo hired West, a former spokeswoman for the city’s Police Department, to guide the city through the intense public scrutiny that’s sure to come in the next few months.

“’West was the highest-paid Vallejo employee last year, taking a $435,638 payout when she retired from the Police Department.’”

City of Opportunity indeed… for bureaucrats.

State bureaucrats trained to lobby for REAL ID

Posted on September 25th, 2007 by bile
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State bureaucrats have converged in Washington DC for a two-day conference on REAL ID compliance. Panels cover such topics as how to get the required funding, how to meet the Act’s deadlines, and how to share data across states.

One session in particular caught the eye of Jim Harper, director of information policy studies at the Cato Institute (Full disclosure: I’m an adjunct scholar at Cato). It’s a panel discussion called “Bringing your public onboard for smoothing legislative changes.” The summary states that “every State DMV needs to find a way to educate their public so that they can ensure the legislature changes necessary to become Real ID compliant.” The panel will also “examine how much of your (i.e., the DMV’s) budget a public relations exercise is worth.” Such a “public relations exercise” would presumably be conducted at taxpayer expense.

Fascist police state. It’s going to be really interesting the next few years. I really hope the several states stick to their guns and refuse to implement REAL ID. It could be a very important showdown. Knowing that it’s unconstitutional I wonder if the federal government has the guts to bring it before the Supreme Court.