Last year’s pithy joke popped up in my “Memories” on Facebook this morning, and it reminded me, I’ve made a lot of progress over the past year. The quote holds true… My confidence has grown (or mostly, returned); I feel physically strong and healthy–my blood pressure is 98/62; I’m practicing Bikram Yoga regularly again after an eighteen year hiatus (yeah, OUCH!); and I am so, so, so, eternally grateful I DECIDED to make myself my #1 priority. I hope you will make yourself your #1 priority, too.
Five years ago today, I won my First Amendment First Circuit civil rights lawsuit against the Weare PD affirming YOUR RIGHT to RECORD POLICE in PUBLIC. Remember:
1. Record EVERY police encounter you see. This is a powerful way to keep everyone accountable and safe! If you are just passing by, see your role as being a “witness.” Don’t get involved or confrontational, simply record. If you use Facebook, using the “LIVE” feature can add protection in the event your footage “disappears” later.
2. Creating a local culture of filming police officers in NH is an excellent way to keep our police accountable to the people. We have now been waiting for YEARS for body cams, which, where introduced, strangely, only seem to record “parts” convenient to the official narrative, so ALWAYS BE FILMING FOR YOUR OWN PEACE OF MIND, YO! 🙂
2. Even if your phone is not working, pretend to film because as stated in #1, it helps keep everyone on better behavior when they think they’re being recorded.
3. The police have NO RIGHT to take your phone/recording device without following proper procedures, and if PD tells you they’re taking your recording, or that you are not allowed to film, you have a lucrative lawsuit waiting, so be sure to consult a lawyer immediately… because…
4. Police have NO CLAIM OF QUALIFIED IMMUNITY (their “get out of jail free” card) and WILL be held liable for violations of your right to record them.
In Rialto, CA, where they introduced body cams years ago, they found:
“But Rialto’s randomised controlled study has seized attention because it offers scientific – and encouraging – findings: after cameras were introduced in February 2012, public complaints against officers plunged 88% compared with the previous 12 months. Officers’ use of force fell by 60%.
‘When you know you’re being watched you behave a little better. That’s just human nature,’ said Farrar. ‘As an officer you act a bit more professional, follow the rules a bit better.'”
Don’t rely on them to provide the recordings… DIY!
A New Hampshire state Senate committee recommended the Senate put off action on marijuana legalization until 2020, in a blow to a legalization effort that has sputtered in recent weeks.
A few thoughts regarding the objections listed in the Concord Monitor article:
1. Unless you plan to ban children from ever watching TV again, where shows about MJ are freely available, you really need a better excuse than “we need to protect the chillun”. If we can successfully protect children from a much more dangerous **drug**… ALCOHOL… methinks we can do the same for a safer, natural alternative.
2. It’s “illegal federally” is an excuse in NH now? For shame! What about states’ rights and the 10th Amendment? Or does that only apply when y’all want to circumvent federal stuff you DON’T like… Wayfair and internet taxes spring to mind. Don’t get me wrong, NH should be nullifying the nonsense coming out of DC left, right and center, but this a BS excuse, and y’all know it! I will add, I hope Trump de-schedules cannabis… I assure you he would win reelection in a landslide!
3. Speaking about crack-pots (haha), the most dangerous part of this whole issue is THE PEOPLE WHO STILL BELIEVE THE GOVERNMENT’S EIGHTY+ YEARS OF LIES AND PROPAGANDA. Here are some facts: Cannabis has NEVER been the cause an overdose fatality. It is a PLANT found in NATURE. All human beings have cannabinoid receptors in their bodies. Maybe, just maybe, y’all can stop MEDDLING with peaceful people’s lives and stop criminalizing people’s personal choices. You have done enough harm. Stop, just stop.
PS: Can you imagine if someone tried to “legalize” an amusement park like Six Flags in America today? “You want to strap kids to what and do what???” Stop treating children like hopeless, helpless, delicate flowers, stop coddling them and treat them with the respect they deserve, which means telling them the TRUTH about things. Yes, even “scary things” like drugs, but also the destructive, racist history of the War on Drugs, a war waged by our own government on US.
Last year today, Facebook reminds me, I had lost FORTY pounds by switching to a Keto lifestyle. I’ve lost another 25 pounds since then for a grand total of SIXTY FIVE pounds. I haven’t had a drink of alcohol in 450 days–I had to look that up because I don’t track this number because I don’t think about it, AT ALL. (Yeah, color me surprised too.) I quit biting my nails after 45 years, and now enjoy bimonthly manicures as a reward. On Sept. 29, 2018, I started journalling daily. I know because the first entry reads: “Diary of my last 37 days of my second Senate race against ‘the lion’.” I lost my race, but I am 100% confident my book is going to be better than his. This brings me to my point… Of all these things, here’s what I am most proud of: I have perfected the art of the humble brag… Nay, I have become an EXPERT HUMBLE BRAGGER, and YOU should too!
Seriously. I have been thinking a lot about how much we choose to get in our own way, and what societal stimuli we choose to follow. As a literature and arts junkie, I am only now realizing that drinking yourself to death, or fucking up your life “‘cos YOLO,” is not aspirational. Why are these people elevated and touted as role models? Reading memoirs of authors documenting their alcoholic slides to death is pretty fucking bleak. Hey, Ernest (or Anthony Bourdain), put down the bottle, it only makes the anxiety worse! I guess we revere them because they’re “not boring,” but know what’s not boring? Setting and meeting goals. Achieving what you want. Being your best self.
Which brings me back to HUMBLE BRAGGING. I want YOU to become an EXPERT too, because regardless of whomever decided “humble bragging” was a bad thing, I am here to reclaim it as a POSITIVE.
Why? Because we should be PROUD of the things we achieve that are meaningful to us and improve our lives, even if it is, “I made my bed” or “Today I brushed my teeth.” (Hey, I’ve struggled with depression, too.) Because life is hard enough without taking away or diminishing our own personal pride–which is a wonderful feeling that we should encourage in each other (without being assholes about it). Because we deserve to love ourselves enough to admit it to others.
This is why I love the concept of “humble bragging.” It’s got just enough yin and yang, just enough balance to keep it real. Go on, now you try it! Let me know in the comments below what you are proud of in your own life, some improvement you have been working on and feel good about–big or small! And… go!
Failure is never easy, especially when you are used to succeeding. I finished high school when I was 16, and law school when I was 21. I was crowned “Miss Mafikeng” in 1982, winning a hairdryer for being the prettiest girl in primary school. I was one of the youngest lawyers sworn into the Supreme Court of South Africa. I won a green card in the DV lottery. I immigrated to America with less than $10,000, two suitcases, and one brand new husband. No jobs, little money, knowing no one.
Our first apartment in San Francisco was a studio apartment in the notorious inner city slum, the Tenderloin. My first non-temp job was at Apple Computer, working as a paralegal while I took the California Bar Exam, which I passed on my first try. I worked my way up to better companies, better positions, better neighborhoods. I went back to school to pursue an MBA. I gave it up. Later, I went back to school and completed my MFA.
Life threw curveballs. My mother had a severe stroke at the age of 40, when I was 16. She survived, albeit a bit lopsided. I lost a lot of paper money on stock options when the Internet bubble burst. My husband’s tech start-up failed. I was laid off with thousands of others. Family members passed away. A friend committed suicide. Miscarriages happened. I was wrongly arrested. I fought the case all the way to the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals. I prevailed. My determination means 13 million people now have the affirmed 1st Amendment right to film police encounters in public.
I have now twice run for New Hampshire Senate in District 20, and lost. Granted, I lost against an Institution, a now 11-term incumbent, an eighty year-old man who has only ever worked for the state, the self-proclaimed “Lion of the Senate.” Back in San Francisco, to encourage excellence at the startup where I worked, we used to say, ‘Go Big or Go Home.’
Well… I’m home.
Contemplating my election loss, I recall the shame and frustration I felt as a child when I didn’t get picked for the school choir. I love to sing, but I wasn’t good enough. “What do you mean, ‘No?’” I can see my younger self huffing, unaware then that failure is a part of success, because one thing is certain: If you don’t try, you will never level up.
My number one fear during my campaign was, “What if I do worse than last time?” Even in the face of a mighty New Hampshire Blue Wave, with record-setting new voter registration, and a measurable 10-15% increase in Democratic turnout in my district, my support went up by 2%.
But all that effort, all those yard signs placed, all those rainy, windy afternoons on street corners waving signs, all those meet and greets, all those local TV shows, all those op-eds and essays written, all those Letters to the Editors that appeared from supporters (8:1 in my favor), all those thousands of doors knocked by me and a sea of volunteers, for TWO LOUSY PERCENT? Wasn’t this just a colossal waste of time? Upon reflection, nope.
I stuck to my principles. I told people the truth about the damaging size and scope of the ever-growing, ever-invasive government. I reminded you of the dangers of socialism, which, sadly, do not disappear just because you slap the word “democratic” in front of it. I publicly supported marijuana legalization and educational freedom for all children. I spoke about the neutral beauty and mutual benefits of free markets. I pushed the two Constitutional Amendments, which did pass, at every turn.
The next two years will serve as a reminder to Granite Staters about why limited government, one that lives within its means through low spending and low taxes, one that protects individual rights, is the best way to organize society. When the budget is busted, and your taxes start to rise, and they come for our guns, remember, we could have done better.
Over this past year, I did do other remarkable things: I lost 65 pounds following a Keto lifestyle (low carb, medium protein, high good fats). I quit drinking alcohol. I didn’t waiver on either of these goals, even under boatloads of stress, constantly confronted by pizza-laden tables and open bars at events. I know that in order to advocate the virtues of individual liberty and personal responsibility–from wealth to health–it has to start from the inside out. So I started with what I could control: me.
I encourage you to start with you too. Instead of trying to force everyone to bend to your will, or your idea of the “greater good,” why not simply strive to live your own life according to your values? Donate to the charities you care about. Go help someone who needs it. Take care of you and yours. Save for the future. Figure out how to live a healthy life. Being on Medicaid and smoking cigarettes helps no one, yanno? True freedom comes from living your principles free of government intervention, by setting and meeting your own personal goals, by working to make yourself the best you can be without being told to do it. Do it because you want to, and because you are still free to.
To my husband, Louis Calitz, a special, heartfelt thanks. Every time I freaked out–I wish I’d said this, or maybe if I did this, people would understand the destructive socialist path we are on–he reminded me: Just be yourself, and let the chips fall where they may.
The chips fell, but I stayed true to myself and my message, with a great and wonderful man by my side (and Schmelly Nellie), so I’m OK.
The producer of “Rock, Paper, Hand Grenades,” a local TV show, posted this on social media the day before the election:
“Had the pleasure of meeting this young woman when she came on the show. Have to say…. I’ve always said, ‘If you call yourself a politician, I instantly don’t respect you as much because politicians are just awful’ but I gotta be honest, she had me hook, line and sinker, spoke from the heart and caught my attention. (Not to mention, she’s got some great ideas.)”
This is what gives me hope. I will continue to spread the message of individual liberty, which is literally the recipe for human flourishing, peace, and prosperity. I will continue to fight for the things that make New Hampshire unique and prosperous: Live free or die!
My time will come. In the interim, I’m signing up for singing lessons. Stay tuned for the high notes!
I have officially lost FIFTY POUNDS.
How, you ask?
- I quit drinking.
- I started and stick to Keto, no cheating (low carbs, medium protein, high good fats).
- I move more. I did it through the dead of a NH winter, walking Nellie on the Piscataquog river trail through rain, sleet, and snow. I ride an exercise bike in the basement 2-3 week for 30 mins, low and slow, nothing crazy. I lift weights at the gym sometimes. I’m eager to see how I can move more now that it’s Spring. More gardening, more yoga, more meditation, more play, more LIVING in BALANCE which helps me achieve my goals.
- I made ME my #1 priority.
Fifty pounds is A LOT. Part of me thinks, wow, I should really be much skinnier now! lol But this reminds me how far I let my health and weight go when I was focusing on everyone and everything around me. You can’t fix the world, if you can’t fix yourself.
A better YOU is out there for the taking. For me, this isn’t about a number on the scale, it is about how I *feel*, and I feel FINE.
I’m in my mid-forties, and that’s my PRIME (weird old-lady-on-the-trail hat or not!). Watch out world, I’m coming for you! ***ROAR!!!***
Life in NH is never dull! Look at this turnout for the injunction hearing in the matter of NHDoE vs. Town of Croydon school board.
The state is arguing that *it* needs an injunction to immediately remove 4 kids who were placed in a Montessori school otherwise *the state* will suffer irreparable harm. Notwithstanding the fact that the children are FLOURISHING at their new school, and despite the fact that the taxpayers of Croydon are actually saving $3,000 per kid.
Said the AG’s office: “Public students with public funds need to be in public schools. Those children don’t belong there [at Montessori]!” The state lawyer asked for an injunction, saying that parents can either pay privately, out of pocket for their children to go to Montessori (double taxed jeopardy, anyone?) or the court must order the kids back to the Newport public school IN THE MIDDLE OF THE SCHOOL YEAR.
This, argued with a statist-straight-tist face after the DoE KNEW about the issue in JUNE DURING THE HOLIDAYS and after this is the second year in which this approach has been taken for kids who need it.
In a June letter to the DoE, the Croydon attorney wrote: “This practice [sending kids to the best school for them] will continue,” and yet, the AG and the DoE did NOTHING…
…Until the school year started to… sue and disrupt perfectly happy kids lives… I smell… let me be gracious… incompetence?
The Croydon attorney, who is a former NH Supreme Court judge, more rationally argued–after saying, “We told them in June, so BRING IT ON, BABY!” (best line of the day)–that allowing the children to go to a school better suited to their needs was better. *Doh.* He went on to say: “The bill is already paid until February 2016. The parents want their kids there. The school board wants the kids there. The kids WANT TO BE there. They are paying less money for a better education.”
BUT NOOOOOOO… the state in all its wisdom wants to kids back in their pre-approved reeducation camp. Must not allow this flight, this, shall we say, brain drain to begin, otherwise, oh, lordy mama, everyone might want to… choose what is best for them, and we can’t have that now, can we???
My money is on the DoE’s request for injunctive relief not being granted, mostly because the state dillydallied and didn’t file the motion during the vacay. If that’s the case, 1-0 for Croydon and school choice. Either way, a hearing will be set on the merits of the case, and this too should be interesting. The AGs office, IMO, overplayed its hand in trying for injunctive relief. But, then, this is the nature of statism: you belong to us. They also underestimated the courageous people who believe in what is best for the individual person.
If the court does the right thing–the order about the injunctive relief will come out in the next 48 hours–then the children can at least see out the current school year at their CHOSEN, CHEAPER school.
This case can have a monumental impact on school choice in NH, where, btw, several other schools already send their kids to non-public schools, like Pinkerton and schools in Vermont. Stay tuned for details as they unfold.
The mission? Protect the peaceful people of New Hampshire from the Thin Blue Revenue Seeking Line. How? More than 30 liberty loving locals, Free Staters and others alike, spent Friday night, July 25, 2014, warning motorists in Manchester of a suspicionless “sobriety” checkpoint. New Hampshire boasts many quaint laws, including one that requires police departments to announce the date, time and place of DUI checkpoints.
Around 10 p.m. on this balmy summer evening, activists started lining up along Elm Street, the main thoroughfare from downtown. From our vantage point, the single-direction suspicionless checkpoint was tucked behind an incline, hidden from view to approaching motorists. A coincidence? As someone who has only been fined for speeding on a downhill, I think not.
Men, women, young, old, newbies, seasoned activists, some from Keene dressed in reflective gear and sporting radios, held signs to warn drivers: “Official Extortion Station Ahead,” “4th Amendment Dead Ahead,” “Remain Silent,” “Who Needs Probable Cause?” and “Swine Crossing, Turn Now.” As cars passed, drivers honked, passengers waved, people threw one handed peace signs from windows. Many cars turned to avoid the upcoming collection plate.
The previous weekend, in Seabrook, a suspicionless checkpoint yielded the following results: Out of 556 vehicles illegally searched, 9 driving-while-intoxicated arrests were made. As this Seacoastonline.com Letter to the Editor states: “While it sounds good that nine persons with a blood-alcohol concentration over 0.08 percent were off the streets, that means 547 innocent people were accosted and detained without probable cause and made to ‘show their papers’ in order to travel from one place to another.” On Friday night in Portsmouth, one man was arrested for DUI, one was cited for an open container, and two drug arrests were made.
And that’s the rub. These unconstitutional “sobriety” checkpoints cast their nets wider than their stated goal. Whether arresting drivers for blood alcohol levels above 0.08 percent really keeps others “safe” is up for debate, but arresting people for other offenses is de facto illegal. Another troubling aspect is these checkpoints are being funded by the federales. This past weekend’s Portsmouth checkpoint was funded with a $6,864 grant. The police department also received a second $6,864 grant approved for “DWI/DUI patrols,” which involve officers in cruisers looking for drivers who may be impaired by drugs or alcohol. Not to state the obvious, but isn’t that what they are supposed to be doing already?
In Manchester, only one officer engaged us, leaning out of his cruiser’s window to inform us not to stand in the road (we were in a marked parking bay). As things started to wind down, a driver made the fatal mistake of honking in support of our activism while changing lanes, doing so right in front of a squad car. Next thing: Blinding blues and reds. The motorist pulled over. A second squad car appeared, stopping in the right hand lane, blocking one lane of traffic heading towards the checkpoint. 15-20 activists came forward to observe the stop, many of us whipping out cell phones and video recorders, ready to catch the action on camera. We know the drill. The police know the drill. After all, I fought for that right all the way to the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals, and won. Instead of threatening to steal our cameras, or indeed, confiscating them as they have done in the past, the backup rookie simply said: Please don’t interfere while recording.
Sadly, the driver ended up being arrested. During the exchange with the arresting officer, he answered questions he should not have. An activists handed him a “Know Your Rights” flyer through the open passenger window, but it was too late. A Cop Block activist from Keene escalated the situation, demanding that a supervisor be called and engaging the police in a headstrong way. This, in my opinion, was a mistake. When doing street activism, especially when another person–not an activist–is involved, it behooves you to de-escalate, to figure out a way for the police to save face in order to inflict the minimum amount of harm to all concerned. As the handcuffed driver was being escorted to a cruiser, he consented verbally, on camera, to having one of us drive his car to his home, which was literally around the corner. The police refused to give us his car keys, so at least one tow truck operator got his piece of the pie that night.
Some activists went to the police station to try to bail out the man who was arrested, and almost got arrested themselves. Others resumed waving signs. On the plus side, during the traffic stop, the cruisers’ flashing lights deterred far more motorists than our sign waving had done. Nary a car passed, most turning as soon as they spotted the blue and red lights up ahead. Why? Because peaceful people don’t want to be hassled when going about their lives. Peaceful people don’t want to interact with the police. Peaceful people know a midnight encounter with the Thin Blue Line is probably not going to end well for them, or their wallets.
The Free State Project is attracting thousands of liberty activists to New Hampshire. Friday night’s activities is only one example of the many ways Free Staters are exerting their fullest practical effort to reducing the size and scope of government in New Hampshire. Find out more here in the coming months, and subscribe to the FSP newsletter.
Carla Gericke is president of the Free State Project, a 501(c)(3) organization. Carla is a recovering Silicon Valley lawyer, and holds an MFA in creative writing. She speaks and writes on a variety of liberty topics. The views expressed herein are her own as an activist, and do not necessarily reflect those of, nor are they endorsed by, the Free State Project.
[MY NOTE: This article originally appeared on Shire Liberty News in 2014. Photo from a different protest, “1984 is Not an Instruction Manual” held in 2019 to protest the UnConstitutional police surveillance cameras being installed in downtown Manchester.]
Today, together with my lawyers Seth Hipple and Steve Martin, I attended a forced mediation at the First Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston, MA. This photo was prescient… round and round we go as the wheels of injustice turn s-l-o-w-l-y. Stay tuned for updates as this case progresses…
How does Ron Perlman in drag only get 5.6 on IMDB? 3, 2, 1… Frankie Go Boom is an instant cult classic. Writer and director Jordan Roberts, who narrated Luc Jacquet’s March of the Penguins, and made Around the Bend with Christopher Walken (queuing) impresses with a filthy, quirky rom-com. This mildly-meta, sex-romp, family-saga with two brothers at odd ends of the camera and morality, showcases Chris Noth channeling Hunter S. Thompson, and Lizzy Caplan from Cloverfield and Freaks and Geeks in an edible bikini top. There’s also a drowning pot belly pig, grandpa gangsters, porn stars, angels, and a strong man dipped in metal. This movie will mos def not be everyone’s cup of tea, but if you are looking for a laugh-out-loud, random Saturday afternoon schadenfreude sexploit, this one’s for you. 7/10, available on Amazon Prime for free.