Senator Ted Cruz: Uber pwnage!

Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) had an interesting spee^Wquestion for Wayne LaPierre during the AWB hearings in Washington today.

Cruz pointed out that the AWB is about “scary-looking guns”, among other things. For those of us that don’t want to watch it, The Dallas Morning News did a pretty good text story about it.

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz displayed a flair for showmanship this afternoon at the Senate’s gun violence hearing as he sought to puncture the argument for a proposed ban on assault weapons.

“What it bans, I would suggest to you, are scary looking guns,” he said.

With a life size photo of a Remington 750, a popular hunting rifle used — as Cruz said, by millions of Americans – the senator argued that the proposed ban focuses on “cosmetic features” such as pistol grips that in no way change the lethality of a weapon.

He produced a plastic pistol grip and held it to the photo to demonstrate.

“If this were attached to this rifle, it would suddenly become a banned assault weapon,” he said, prefacing a question to witness Wayne LaPierre, NRA executive vice president, who concurred with his analysis.

“The problem with the whole bill,” LaPierre said, is that “it’s based on falsehoods from people who do not understand firearms.”

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Macklemore: Billboard #1 and what it means for politics

Back in mid-September, I told earsucker readers about Macklemore as an up and comer in the music biz. I shared his great video “Thrift Shop”, and then that dude totally blew up.

Bad economy be… thanked?

Ryan Lewis has a look. It’s the look that comes through the 99 cent apparel, the half-long/half-stubble haircut, and the cheap clothes. Lewis wears the inestimable look of getting the job done, building class out of thin air.

Lewis is happy to boast that look in this well done, and rather polished music video about a rather unpolished subject (being poor, having to shop at crummy thrift stores, something we doubt any presidential candidates are doing). Singer Wanz throws down his own fortunate rhymes about pink granddad suit thrifting finds, and well… some people just understand the formula for awesome.

The popularity of “Thrift Shop” has even spawned a parody video called Pot Shop (which is damned hilarious and has nearly 1.5 million views).

Now, Macklemore is riding a wave of popularity to become the first unsigned artist to top Billboard’s Hot 100 in nearly 20 years. He has a very special message for those that would grant him greatness and deny him his share through recording contract shenanigans:

Macklemore makes his strong feelings about big labels no secret on the album: In a song titled “Jimmy Iovine” — named for the chairman of Interscope-Geffen-A&M who helped make another white rapper, Eminem, famous — Macklemore takes down record contract politics with the unequivocal closing line, “I’d rather be a starving artist than succeed at getting f—-ed.” Geez, Mack, tell us how you really feel.

It’s always been a love/hate relationship between new talent and behemoth companies with a room full of marketing employees. But thanks to the Internet’s leveling of the playing field, the tables can turn very quickly in favor of the upstarts. A similar parallel has occured in politics as grassroots candidates are able to raise significant amounts of money in short periods and run successful online campaigns. The phenomenon of online social engagement that was unheard of decades ago is now practiced by the majority.

What does this mean for politics? It means the new gatekeepers are blogs. Period.

Politicians and business execs take note, the game has officially changed.

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Heated debate over whether E15 gas ruins engines


The American Petroleum Institute issued a press release warning motorists about a study of the E15 blend of ethanol and gasoline. Turns out, E15 causes expensive damage to engines:

The additional E15 testing, completed this month, has identified an elevated incidence of fuel pump failures, fuel system component swelling, and impairment of fuel measurement systems in some of the vehicles tested. E15 could cause erratic and misleading fuel gauge readings or cause faulty check engine light illuminations. It also could cause critical components to break and stop fuel flow to the engine. Failure of these components could result in breakdowns that leave consumers stranded on busy roads and highways. Fuel system component problems did not develop in the CRC tests when either E10 or E0 was used. It is difficult to precisely calculate how many vehicles E15 could harm. That depends on how widely it is used and other factors. But, given the kinds of vehicles tested, it is safe to say that millions could be impacted.

In 2010 and 2011, EPA gave the green light to use E15 – the 15 percent ethanol gasoline blend – in model-year-2001-and-later cars and some other vehicles. EPA’s action was irresponsible. EPA knew E15 vehicle testing was ongoing but decided not to wait for the results. Why did EPA move forward prematurely? Part of the answer may be the need to raise the permissible concentration level of ethanol so that greater volumes could be used, as required by the federal Renewable Fuel Standard. Most gasoline sold today is an E10 blend, but rising volume requirements under the law can’t be met much longer without going to higher blends. When Congress passed the law, it could not know it was creating this problem. Today we know. The answer is to repeal the RFS before it puts millions of vehicles and many motorists at risk.

The Coordinating Research Council’s initial tests — first released in May of 2012 — are once again coming to light after further testing proved that delicate components in newer cars were most at risk.

AAA, the recognizable and leading auto club in the U.S., also called for an outright suspension of E15 earlier this month, citing a lack of research:

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and gasoline retailers should suspend the sale of E15 gasoline until more is done to protect consumers from the potential for costly auto damage and voided warranties.

Research to date raises serious concerns that E15, a fuel blend consisting of 15 percent ethanol and 85 percent gasoline, could cause accelerated engine wear and failure, fuel system damage and other problems such as false “check engine” lights.

The potential damage could result in costly repairs for unsuspecting consumers. This is especially tough for most motorists given that only about 40 percent of Americans have enough in savings to afford a major auto repair.

In June, the EPA approved the use of E15, and a handful of gas stations in Nebraska, Iowa and Kansas have begun to sell this fuel. There is a strong likelihood that retailers will market E15 in additional states soon unless regulators take immediate action to protect consumers.

Nearly all of the gasoline sold in the United States today is E10, which contains up to ten percent ethanol, primarily produced from corn. The ethanol industry has lobbied hard to increase the amount of ethanol allowed in gasoline as a way to increase sales and help meet the Renewable Fuels Standard.

AAA’s concern with E15 is not about ethanol. In fact, AAA believes that ethanol-blended fuels have the potential to save Americans money and reduce the nation’s dependency on fossil fuels. The problem is that available research, including the EPA’s exhaust emissions tests, is not sufficient evidence that E15 is safe to use in most vehicles.

Ethanol producers, backed by politicians reaping ethanol lobbying money, fired back by claiming the study by the CRC was rigged. Senior Vice President of the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) Ron Lamberty, called out AAA as “hypocrites” and alarmists for “turning a blind eye and most likely allowing people to shorten the lives of their vehicles by using unapproved and untested oil-company produced sub-octane gasoline for decades, while loudly attacking thoroughly tested and approved E15 when only a few stations are offering it for sale, is quite unbecoming for an organization that claims it puts the best interests of the American motorist first.”

Last November in California, E15 was outright banned as an option for motorists because, “it would take several years to complete the vehicle testing and rule development necessary to introduce a new transportation fuel into California’s market.”

The results will no doubt speak for themselves when E15 becomes more widespread at gas stations in other states this year. I for one, will avoid it.

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Poll asks retards: “describe an assault weapon”

Reason/Rupe conducted a phone survey (of mostly retarded people) asking an open-ended question, “In just a few words, how would you describe an assault weapon?”

The list of uninformed opinions they posted shows how incredibly stupid some people are in this country when it comes to limiting the rights of others. In other words, they’ve been successfully brainwashed:

[…] A GUN

I THINK ANY WEAPON THAT CARRY MORE THEN 4 OR 5 BULLET IN A WEAPON

SOMETHING THAT IS QUICK FIRE AND HAS MORE THEN SIX ROUNDS IN IT.

SEMI AUTOMATIC WEAPON CLIPS RAPID FIRE. DESIGNED FOR OFFENSIVE AND DEFENSIVE.

ANYTHING CAN BE AN ASSAULT WEAPON LIKE KNIFE FRYING PAN HAMMER BOARD.

A WEAPON THAT SHOTS VERY FAST THAT HAS A MAGAZINE THAT HOLDS A LOT AMMUNITION AT ON TIME

A WEAPON DESIGNED FOR MASS KILLING

HIGH REPETITION LARGE CAPACITY MAGAZINE AND SIZE OF AMMUNITION

ANYTHING THAT SHOOTS CONSECUTIVELY

PROBABLY ONE OF THE MOST DANGEROUS GUNS, I DON’T KNOW THAT MUCH ABOUT GUNS BUT THEY SEEM KIND OF WICKED […]

That’s just a small sampling, and shows that at least one person out there now thinks a hammer is an assault weapon. Fuck yeah, mission accomplished.

At this point, even sheriffs and police — the very folks who would supposedly be tasked with enforcing “assault weapon” bans — are starting to look at each other and shake their heads in disbelief.

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Seattle gun buyback program turns into free marketplace

Seattle police held their first gun buyback program in 20 years on Monday. When the line of sellers started growing, things got… interesting:

[P]rivate gun collectors were working the large crowd as little makeshift gun shows began dotting the parking lot and sidewalks. Some even had “cash for guns” signs prominently displayed.

Police stood in awe as gun enthusiasts and collectors waved wads of cash for the guns being held by those standing in line for the buyback program.

People that had arrived to trade in their weapons for $100 or $200 BuyBack gift cards($100 for handguns, shotguns and rifles, and $200 for assault weapons) soon realized that gun collectors were there and paying top dollar for collectible firearms. So, as the line for the chump cards got longer and longer people began to jump ship and head over to the dealers.

John Diaz, Seattles Police Chief, wasn’t pleased with the turn of events stating “I’d prefer they wouldn’t sell them,” but admitted it’s perfectly legal for private individuals to buy and sell guns, FOR NOW. Mayor Mike McGinn said at a news conference the private transactions are a loophole that needs to be closed. “There’s no background checks, and some (guns) could be exchanged on the streets that shouldn’t be in circulation.”

But Schuyler Taylor, a previous gun retailer attending the event in hopes of buying weapons, asked “Why not offer them cash versus a gift card? I’m still taking the guns off the streets; they’re just going in my safe.”

People were reportedly, at one point, jumping out of vehicles whilst sitting in traffic – making on the spot deals with the gun buyers.

The free market works! “Cash for guns” is the new cash for gold, that’s golden.

To top things off, some crazy guy nearly ended up selling a used “launch tube assembly for a Stinger portable surface-to-air missile” to a private party to use in the coming revolution. MURICAAA!!!

I can’t wait for one of these silly gun buyback programs to be announced in my area so I can run out and outbid the laughably low prices being offered by law enforcement.

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Alex Jones will give $100K to next Paul Revere

Alex Jones — the tinfoil-hat wearing, alternative-media maven, and liberty activist who’s arguably been right more times than is comfortably acknowledged — is running a high-value prize contest called “Operation Paul Revere”. The contest terms:

Requirements
• Film can be documentary or fictional narrative (any genre)
• All work must be free of copyright issues. If requested by InfoWars, you must provide detailed information regarding the source, creator and background information of your work. If you utilize any 3rd party materials, such as music, you must provide license and/or consent forms to InfoWars upon request. Any news clips used must be short and clearly fair use.
• Videos must be in English or subtitled in English
• Submission deadline is 11:59 PST April 30, 2013
• The majority of the Content must be newly created and previously unpublished
• Submission consists of posting on YouTube and one other alternate video site on or before contest deadline and notifying InfoWars at PaulRevere@infowars.com
• Video title must include “Operation Paul Revere InfoWars.com Contest”
• Video description must include the website (http://www.infowars.com) It is important to “liberty place”, i.e. product placement of InfoWars.com and related Alex Jones awakening information tastefully into your production.
• Slate at beginning stating your name and InfoWars Contest information
• Running length must be between 3 minutes and 2 hours
• Film must contain no profanity, offensive language, nudity or otherwise objectionable material, the determination of which is solely at the discretion of InfoWars
• Multiple unique submissions are allowed and encouraged
• Cash Prize winners will agree to non-exclusive, unrestricted, royalty free use by InfoWars.com and Free Speech Systems, LLC, in perpetuity in the known universe. All contest entrants authorize InfoWars.com and Free Speech Systems, LLC, and its media platforms to air their submission in whole or in part in perpetuity.

Eligibility
• If a collaborative effort, one person must enter
• Contestants must be over 18. Minors wishing to participate must present a signed waiver from parent/legal guardian
• Residents of Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Syria, North Korea, Sudan, Myanmar (Burma), Northern Ireland, and Quebec, or to other individuals restricted by U.S. export controls and sanctions are ineligible for Cash Prizes

Judging Criteria
This is a judged contest. Winner will be picked at the discretion of Alex Jones. Judging criteria will be:
• effectiveness in promoting liberty
• creativity and originality
• aesthetics

Entries will be available for public viewing and comment

Cash Prizes
• 1st Place: $100k cash prize
• 2nd Place: $10k cash prize
• 3rd Place: $5k cash prize

Requirements for payment of cash prizes are

(1) timely delivery of a properly-executed Filmmaker Agreement;

(2) timely delivery of all properly-executed Talent Release Forms (and, if applicable, Music Rights Clearance Forms);

(3) full content clearance by InfoWars of the submitted video

“I’m more excited about this than any other contest we’ve held. It is my goal to release the explosive power of liberty. If you are reading this information, remember YOU are the resistance.” – Alex Jones

Even though it’s a certainty that the contest announcement video will be better looking than the majority of the entries, this is an impressive feat: Jones putting his money where his mouth is.

I’m excited to see what kinds of pro-liberty (and anti-tyrannical fear-mongering, awkwardly entertaining, made-by-folks-who-don’t-realize-how-they-sound) videos this will turn up. Here’s hoping the winner doesn’t turn out to be a two-hour documentary. Because seriously, have you ever watched a two hour documentary with a micro budget? Yawn.

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Tancredo reneges on pot promise, but still cool with it

Former Colorado Congressman Tom Tancredo (Republican/Constitution Party) made a promise last year that if Amendment 64 passed — the marijuana legalization initiative — he’d roll up a doobie and giggle all Tommy Tanchongo on us:

“Look, I made a bet with the producer of the film that if Amendment 64 passed (I did not think it would) that I would smoke pot,” he said through his research and education institute, the Rocky Mountain Foundation. “I will therefore smoke pot under circumstances we both agree are legal under Colorado law. Hey, it’s better than having to do a stupid dance as (Denver) Mayor (Michael) Hancock must perform as a result of losing a bet on the Broncos beating the Ravens.

The promise was apparently only half-hearted, because after some cajoling from his wife he’s now doing the politician thing and saying it’s not going to happen:

Tom Tancredo has just said “no.”

Under pressure from his wife and grandchildren, the former GOP congressman will renege on a public pledge to smoke marijuana, which he made after losing a bet on Colorado’s pot-legalization initiative on Election Day.

Tancredo, a conservative Republican who has been out of Congress since 2009, supported Colorado’s Amendment 64, which legalized marijuana in his home state when it passed on election day. Tancredo said he had never smoked marijuana and that he did not condone its use, but argued that the government shouldn’t tell adults what they can or can’t ingest.

The former congressman never thought it would pass. “I thought it would take at least one more time around to do it,” Tancredo told ABC News last week. He made a bet with film producer Adam Hartle, who was in Colorado to make a film on the pot measure, agreeing to smoke marijuana if it became legal.

Recently, Tancredo said he would make good on the bet, agreeing to inhale “just a puff” with Hartle, leaving the filmmaker to handle the marijuana procurement. On Friday, he even suggested Democratic Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper should join in.

But that made a lot of people unhappy, including Tancredo’s family, and now the former congressman says he won’t do it.

“My wife is absolutely-she’s pissed,” Tancredo told ABC News last week. “Oh man, she is not happy.”

Also upset were his grandkids (really? that part is surprising).

To temper the wimping out, Tancredo has fully acknowledged that marijuana is a state’s rights issue and that the nanny state is a threat to individual liberties.

“My conservative friends just believe what I’m doing is encouraging people to smoke it,” Tancredo said. “I don’t think people should. That decision is up to an individual. An adult, in this society, is not something the government should have any control over.”

All in all, good on Tancredo for having the cajones to finally come around to libertarian principles on individual choice, but we’re more than a tad disappointed he’s only latching on to the issue after the battle is already won.

For his support, we give him honorary dreadlock status — which means very little because he merely ends up looking like a sober white guy acting like a poser at a Phish concert.

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DHS ordering 7,000 rifles “for personal defense use”

The Department of Homeland Security is currently soliciting RFP’s to purchase 7,000 “personal defense” weapons, also known as “assault weapons” when owned by civilians. From Radio Vice Online:

The United States Department of Homeland Security has stated a rifle chambered in 5.56 NATO (compatible with .223) with a magazine capacity of 30 rounds is “suitable for personal defense use in close quarters…”

Well smack me up-side the head. First, a hat tip to Breitbart’s Awr Hawkins who pointed us to a posted General Services Administration (GSA) business opportunity solicitation posted and updated last summer. Basically, the site posts a request for proposal (RFP) for personal defense weapons for the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) division of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

The irony is staggering. The actual text from Solicitation HSCEMS-12-R-00011 has been excellently marked up by Radio Vice Online’s Steve McGough:

Notice the term assault weapon or assault rifle is not used anywhere in the document. The “assault weapon” terminology is only used for non-LEOs and non-military who own those firearms.

The scope of this contract is to provide a total of up to 7,000 5.56x45mm North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) personal defense weapons (PDW) throughout the life of this contract to numerous Department of Homeland Security components. …

In paragraph 3.1 under requirements and testing standards we read…

DHS and its components have a requirement for a 5.56x45mm NATO, select-fire firearm suitable for personal defense use in close quarters and/or when maximum concealment is required.

Isn’t that inconvenient for the gun control politicians? In requirement paragraph 3.9.10, they find a need for a 30-round magazine.

The action shall be capable of accepting all standard NATO STANAG 20 and 30 round M16 magazines (NSN 1005-00-921-5004) and Magpul 30 round PMAG (NSN 1005-01-576-5159). The magazine well shall be designed to allow easy insertion of a magazine.

In paragraph 3.21.2, they again specify the requirement for a 30-round magazine.

The magazine shall have a capacity to hold thirty (30) 5.56x45mm NATO rounds.

If you did not catch the interesting part in one of the quoted sentences above, let me point it out to you. The personal defense weapon should be select-fire capable.

DHS and its components have a requirement for a 5.56x45mm NATO, select-fire firearm suitable for personal defense use in close quarters…

The action shall be select-fire (capable of semi-automatic and automatic fire).

From the Fire Control Section, paragraph 3.10.1.

The fire control selector shall have three positions; safe, semi-automatic, and automatic. The selector shall have positions which are clearly labeled for the mode of fire.

This formal DHS RFP – which is specific concerning requirements – clearly indicates a select-fire rifle is appropriate for personal defense in close quarters.

They will get the good stuff, a selector switch for full auto to blow through all 30 rounds of each magazine included in the request in no time flat. We have to pull the trigger one shot at a time yet ours are the “assault weapons,” not “personal defense weapons,” when we own the same firearm minus the full auto design.

Are they planning on going to war? It sure would seem that way with the ammo they recently purchased.

Who will be the enemy? Those who have only “assault weapons” that fire one shot at a time? I believe the DHS should have the term “assault weapons” since they are the assaulters and we should get the term “personal defense weapons” to defend ourselves and our families.

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No budget, no pay? No thanks, no constitutional!

The US House of Representatives recently passed H.R.325, the No Budget, No Pay Act of 2013.

The No Budget, No Pay Act passed by a vote of 285-144 with 86 Democrats joining 199 Republicans to support this measure, 33 Republicans joined 111 Democrats in opposition. Good bills are rarely passed with bipartisan support, this bill is an exception, right?

The legislation temporarily suspends the debt ceiling and states, “If by April 15, 2013, a House of Congress has not agreed to a concurrent resolution on the budget for fiscal year 2014” the payroll administrator shall hold the salary in an escrow account, which will only be given to the Representatives after a budget has been passed OR “on the last day of the One Hundred Thirteenth Congress.”

This is not a good bill. It does not actually withhold the pay of any member of Congress if a budget is not passed, it simply delays payment until a budget is passed or the term expires. It should more accurately be called the “No Budget, Delayed Pay Act of 2013.”

Aside from no doing what it claims, Peter Grier of the Christian Science Monitor reported on another issue with the bill. Greir wrote “It is quite possible that the ‘no pay’ part of the bill is unconstitutional.
Why is that? Because of the 27th Amendment to the Constitution, that’s why.”

The 27th Amendment reads, in part, “No law, varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives, shall take effect, until an election of the Representatives shall have intervened.”

Despite the fact that the compensation is not changing, the bill could still be unconstitutional as it alters the scheduled dates of pay, which would be “varying the compensation.” It is unlikely any of the Republicans will challenge the bill, and the Democrats reportedly see “the legislation as a white flag on the part of the GOP, something that allows Congress to skirt the debt limit issue and move on to other fiscal arguments.”

Walter Hickey of BusinessInsider.com points out, “According to subsection (b) of section 2 of the bill, nonvoting delegates and resident commissioners will be subject to the same rules. So, despite the fact that the delegates can’t actually vote on a budget, they still will not be paid.”

It’s possible that if No Budget, No Pay is signed into law, that one of the six non-voting Delegates will file a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the bill. Of course, the bill must first pass the Senate.

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The GOP isn’t fracturing, it’s transforming into libertarians

The Week has a three-point list of divisions the Republican Party is currently squabbling over:

1. Libertarians vs. social conservatives

These two GOP strains have never gotten along with each other. One group says government should stay out of people’s personal lives while the other tries to impose its own morality on others.

2. Right wing populists vs. the pro-business crowd

Despite campaign rhetoric, pro-business Republicans are usually just fine with government subsidies, liberal immigration policies, and bailouts — as long as they help keep the profits flowing. But the populist strain in the party sees big business as no better than big government.

3. Deficit reduction hawks vs. small government activists

Though it would seem these two groups have a lot in common, real deficit hawks recognize we must raise taxes along with cutting spending to get the country out from under the debt burden. But the small government fanatics are against all tax increases for any reason.

Republicans have been able to paper over their differences for decades, mainly by uniting the party against the common enemy of “big government.” But when the GOP controlled all branches of government during the Bush years, they actually did nothing to shrink government. It just got larger, helping to exacerbate the tensions between the various factions.

Of course, the real story isn’t GOP factions fighting over these issues, but that libertarians have filled their ranks and converted minds since the the Ron Paul revolution began in earnest back in 2007. Libertarians are flanking GOP statists from all sides and enthusiastically showing the errors and results of the Republican establishment’s deviations from their core principles.

After all, it hasn’t been mainstream Republicans spearheading a Federal Reserve audit, corporate entitlement cuts (opposing bailouts) and ending foreign entanglements, but it’s something that even John Boehner can no longer ignore. The fights that once belonged to libertarians, until the Tea Party movement began forcing those issues into the mainstream, are not something party leaders are willing to come to terms with, but they will.

Now, the Tea Party brand has obviously crested and is being re-enveloped by the indefatigable libertarian brand. In its wake is a generation of liberty activists who have grown up and come of age having failed to see the Republican revolution of the 90s keep its promises. These libertarians now threaten to either: topple the Republican establishment from within towards limited government principles; Further implode it into a powerless vacuum of dissent and antipathy.

This isn’t fracturing, it’s a war of transformation back to small-government principles, and libertarians are riding a tsunami of discontent all the way to victory.

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Kim Dotcom: End government surveillance, encrypt everything

File-sharing megahero Kim Dotcom is giving massive amounts of interviews to accompany his recent launch of Mega.co.nz — the file sharing portal that’s had over a million signups in about a week.

During an interview with Russia Today, Dotcom explained his views on how to end the snooping surveillance state the U.S. government has slowly wrapped around every packet traversing the internet. He wants everyone to start encrypting their online communication:

RT :The new program, Mega, is fully encrypted, and you’re touting it as an encrypted program so that people will want to use it. Do you think this is even necessary, right now, that people need encryption on the Internet?

KD: I think it’s important for the Internet that there is more encryption. Because what I have learned since I got dragged into this case is a lot about privacy abuses, about the government spying on people. You know, the US government invests a lot of money in spy clouds: massive data centers with hundreds of thousands of hard drives storing data. And what they are storing is basically any communication that traverses through US networks. And what that means they are not spying on individuals based on a warrant anymore. They just spy on everybody, permanently, all the time. And what that means for you and for anybody is that if you are ever a target of any kind of investigation, or someone has a political agenda against you, or a prosecutor doesn’t like you, or the police wants to interpret something in a way to get you in trouble — they can use all that data, go through it with a comb and find things even though we think we have nothing to hide and have done nothing wrong. They will find something that they can nail you with and that’s why it’s wrong to have these kinds of privacy abuses, and I decided to create a solution that overtime will encrypt more and more of the internet. So we start with files, we will then move to emails, and then move to Voice-Over-IP communication. And our API [Application Programming Interface] is available to any third-party developer to also create their own tools. And my goal is, within the next five years, I want to encrypt half of the Internet. Just reestablish a balance between a person — an individual — and the state. Because right now, we are living very close to this vision of George Orwell and I think it’s not the right way. It’s the wrong path that the government is on, thinking that they can spy on everybody.

Dotcom is so confident in his website that he has already issued a cash prize challenge, saying “Let’s see what you got.” Well Ars Technica went in and told us, “here’s the problem”:

A lot of the issues with Mega’s cryptographic implementation appear to be tied with the desire to make the service as “thin” as possible, requiring only a Javascript-capable browser (preferably Chrome, according to Mega). On one hand, this means there’s no client required, and the Web browser itself functions as the application platform—this simplifies the testing and deployment of new Mega features, since all Kim Dotcom’s guys have to do is update the site’s Javascript files. It also immediately buys total cross-platform compatibility, working on any computer in (just about) any browser.

On the other hand, the documentation and implementation have no small number of weaknesses and potential exploits. The RSA key pair generation process needs to be overhauled post-haste, and there needs to be some method of backing up and modifying a user’s encryption key.

The fact that encrypted data is not a total mystery to Mega is the most troubling issue.

Troubling indeed.

Thankfully we don’t need Dotcom’s Mega to do all the work of file encryption thinking for us. There are many options available out there, such as TrueCrypt. For browser encryption (without reminding yourself to change http to https or relying on site to do it automatically), Firefox and Chrome users can head on over to the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s HTTPS Everywhere project and begin encrypting all their traffic between browser and servers with a simple (and mostly transparent) plugin/add-on. PGP email encryption is nothing new to savvy geeks, even if they still have to send plain-text e-mail to their non-techie families.

Sadly, easy universal encryption has been slow in trickling down to the masses. And even worse: Even when it finally arrives, there remains the problem of a tyrannical government potentially forcing website owners to hand over unencrypted end-point data on users (for all we know, Dotcom’s servers could be raided again, providing a treasure trove of information to the snoops).

But don’t write off cyber privacy as an unwinnable battle just yet, Kim Dotcom may just be on to something, albeit on shaky grounds.

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Firearms ban list from Diane Feinstein

Here is the article from the Daily Caller:

California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein staged a dramatic press conference Thursday on Capitol Hill with 10 weapons at her side and unveiled legislation instituting a government ban on more than 150 types of firearms, including rifles, pistols and shotguns.

Flanked by other anti-gun liberal lawmakers, including New York Sen. Chuck Schumer and Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin, Feinstein announced the introduction of the “Assault Weapons Ban of 2013.”

The legislation being pushed by Feinstein — who has long history of calling for gun bans — would prohibit the sale, transfer, importation and manufacture of certain firearms.

I’m going to become an outlaw. How many millions of Americans are going to join me? Yep, let’s all roll over and be compliant. Nope, will never happen. I see financial opportunity here. Who else does?

I will bet the 150 firearms listed are not a complete list. There are many others.

We can see this is being done by a bunch of rank amateurs when it comes to firearms and ammo. Let’s not tell them how stupid they are.

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Righteous anger from TMOT on MLK and Obama Inauguration

Those in the know of the liberty movement have probably heard of TMOT (The Minister of Truth) a.k.a. Derrick E. Grayson of Atlanta Georgia. You may, at one point or another, come across a drive time anger session on YouTube.

Today — on the double whammy auspicious date of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and Obama’s Inauguration to a second presidential term — we high-five our brother in truth for this facebook rant:

May God damn all support given to Obama by brain dead Negroes and Blind arsed White Folk. White Liberals called Bush a War criminal. Yet Obama has killed an American without a trail and continues to kill innocent non-combatants overseas under the guise of fighting terrorism. That’s just for starters. Bush was no better.

Negroes support this NON-BLACK rooted devil while ignoring the fact that this man has not even addressed the issues of disparaging criminal prosecutions and sentencing of Negroes for the same crime committed by Whites who receive lesser sentences. He could have issued a simple Executive Order like he always does calling for a moratorium on these sentences and had the Justice Department investigate why the States behave as they do. Do you think Negroes give a damn? Hell no. What’s he gonna do for me is all most give a darn about. To hell with their sons and daughters getting life sentences for non-violent crimes.

You God Damn right, I’m pissed that Obama won and so to would MLK, Jr be as well. MLK spoke out against the Vietnam War. Do you think for one damn minute he would have supported Obama or Bush.

King also told the Negros who wanted him to sit down, “Hell no!” Separate but equal is crap without Justice, equal Justice for all. He once refused to press charges against a racist stating, “I want to address the system that caused him to be a racist.”

Likewise, he would have told Obama or any President, address the issues that creates poverty, crime, joblessness and such as opposed to supporting a system that feeds it. That system is the complicit cooperation Liberal God Damned Democrats and so called Republican Bastard Conservatives who are so damned crooked, they’ll need corkscrews to bury their arses.

You want to know why I’m so mad? Because I’m surrounded by a Nation of Idiots who won’t wake, politicians who think they are Little “g” gods and self serving Slick Daddy Pimp Pastors who lead their flocks to the wolves for slaughter.

~TMOT

TMOT continues to be a rising star in libertarian and constitutional patriot circles. He breezily bridges the racial divide — emulating Samuel L. Jackson’s righteous anger (and by gosh, voice), and combining it with Bill Cosby’s rational criticism of immorality in black society. More important though, he’s adept at addressing audiences as simply… American.

From us here at Hammer of Truth, we just wanted to say: Preach on minister, preach on.

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Lupe Fiasco kicked off stage after performing “Words I Never Said” for 30 minutes at Obama Inauguration bash

“Gaza strip was getting bombed, Obama didn’t say shit. That’s why I ain’t vote for him, next one neither”

Move over Big Boi, Lupe Fiasco is the latest Hip Hop artist to steal the limelight with dissent against the status quo. For thirty minute straight, the rapper held court at The Hamilton Live, regaling the audience with an extremely extended version of his song “Words I Never Said” — a political rap aimed squarely at President Obama’s Inauguration event in which he was invited to perform.

Here’s just one verse of the lyrics:

I really think the war on terror is a bunch of bullshit
Just a poor excuse for you to use up all your bullets
How much money does it take to really make a full clip?
9/11, building 7, did they really pull it?
Uh, And a bunch of other coverups
Your child’s future was the first to go with budget cuts
If you think that hurts, then wait, here comes the uppercut
The school was garbage in the first place, that’s on the up and up
Keep you at the bottom but tease you with the upper crust
You get it, then they move it, so you never keeping up enough
If you turn on TV, all you see’s a bunch of “what the fucks”
Dude is dating so and so, blabbering ’bout such and such
And that ain’t Jersey Shore, homey, that’s the news
And these the same people supposedly telling us the truth
Limbaugh is a racist, Glenn Beck is a racist
Gaza strip was getting bombed, Obama didn’t say shit
That’s why I ain’t vote for him, next one either
I’m a part of the problem, my problem is I’m peaceful
And I believe in the people, yeah

The LUPEND blog has what appears to be the first-hand account:

So Lupe just performed the first verse of Words I never Said for 30 minutes straight. He had to be removed from the stage…. for performing. Im at a loss for words…

20 min straight… **they cut his mic off**. Raps with no mic for 5-10 more minutes, People booing and everything. They cut the power to the stage. All those people… stunned! Security had to remove the homie from the stage.

He did the entire set, all the music from all the songs he was going to play were played… but he only did that verse. He stopped and had water once, and then he started the verse again…and again… and again… and again… No arrests… they just removed him from the stage. Nothing violent or negative was done. Just an #EpicShow!

Take this Day serious. #MLKDay – @LupeFiascoStore

A lot of people (*cough* some reddit liberal douchebags *cough*) are already speculating that the stunt will harm his music career and sales. I beg to differ, HoT fans will remember Kelly Clarkson had a similar prediction made about her by liberal fans when she came out in support of Ron Paul at the end of 2011. Only instead of watching her album sales dip, they skyrocketed in the following weeks as fans lined up to support her decision.

It’s hilarious that Lupe willingly went into enemy territory to make his political point in person (beliefs that somehow escaped the talent bookers). But it’s pathetic that some thugs (Secret Service by the looks of it) would manhandle an internationally acclaimed artist for peacefully protesting with a microphone.

UPDATE: StartUp Rock On, the concert’s organizers, issued a press release early Monday morning that Lupe “left the stage earlier than we had planned. But Lupe Fiasco was not ‘kicked off stage’ for an ‘anti-Obama rant.'”

“We are staunch supporters of free speech, and free political speech,” the organizers said. “This was not about his opinions. Instead, after a bizarrely repetitive, jarring performance that left the crowd vocally dissatisfied, organizers decided to move on to the next act.”

However, careful examination of the video will reveal the truth: Lupe had fans in the crowd, and they were cheering him. Maybe a good jarring of bizarrely repetitive truth is exactly what this country needs right now.

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5 year old girl suspended over “terrorist threat”

Political correctness is determined to find new lows in the United States of Idiocracy, well here’s a doozy.

This week’s shameful story of authoritarian knee-jerk over-reactionaries comes from Mount Carmel Area Elementary School in Pennsylvania, where a 5-year-old girl was suspended for making a “terrorist threat” with a toy bubble machine:

A 5-year-old girl was suspended from school earlier this week after she made what the school called a “terrorist threat.”

Her weapon of choice? A small, Hello Kitty automatic bubble blower.

The kindergartner, who attends Mount Carmel Area Elementary School in Pennsylvania, caught administrators’ attention after suggesting she and a classmate should shoot each other with bubbles.

“I think people know how harmless a bubble is. It doesn’t hurt,” said Robin Ficker, an attorney for the girl’s family. According to Ficker, the girl, whose identity has not been released, didn’t even have the bubble gun toy with her at school.

The kindergartner was ordered to undergo a psychological evaluation during her 10-day suspension, which was later reduced to two days. The evaluation deemed the girl normal and not a threat to others, Ficker said.

Jesus fucking Christ, what the hell is wrong with America these days? Can’t we just let kids the play without cringing at “cops and robbers” or “cowboys and indians” and blowing everything out of proportion?

Is it any surprise, that with shit like this going on, smart people continue to have fewer and fewer children?

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U.S. military spending: less people, more killer robots

At the top of the U.S. budget problem (and tied with Social Security), is the Department of Defense. It is one of the larger of spending programs in the federal budget, raking in over half a trillion per year.

Yet we rarely hear anything about cuts or austerity for the military from the media, who remains focused on lesser value programs.

Well, it turns out the military cuts last year may be a good indicator of things to come this year. From Wired:

About 80,000 Army soldiers and 20,000 Marines are getting downsized. Half of the Army’s conventional combat presence in Europe is packing up and ending its post-Cold War staycation. Replacing them, according to the $613 billion budget previewed by the Pentagon on Thursday: unconventional special-operations forces; new bombers; new spy tools; new missiles for subs; and a veritable Cylon army of drones.

This is the first of the Pentagon’s new, smaller “austerity” budgets: it’s asking Congress for $525 billion (plus $88.4 billion for the Afghanistan war), compared to a $553 billion request (plus $117 billion in war cash) last year. Only the Pentagon is emphasizing (.pdf) what the military is keeping, not what it’s cutting. That’s because congressional Republicans don’t like swallowing these cuts — and really don’t want to acquiesce to a currently-scheduled law that could tack on another $600 billion-plus to the already-scheduled, decade-long $487 billion in cuts. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is preempting the objections, promising a force that’s “smaller and leaner, but agile, flexible, ready and technologically advanced.”

That means no changes to the U.S. fleet of 11 aircraft carriers and 10 air wings, all reflecting the Obama administration’s emphasis on the western Pacific. It means leaving the nuclear triad — the bombers, subs and missiles that can end all life on earth — alone. (With one exception: the military will delay replacing the Ohio-class submarine by two years.) It means electronic weapons to jam enemy defenses and attack online networks. It means elite commando forces like the ones who just rescued two aid workers kidnapped in Somalia. And it means drones for breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert.

If the past choices by the DoD are any indication of what’s in store for the FY2014 budget (factoring in the most recent fiscal cliff crisis). We’re going to see even further cuts to human personnel, but greater spending on drones, weaponry and technology.

We’re arming robots to the teeth, and de-emphasizing the humans who are supposed to be in charge of them, moving us one step closer to a dystopian future run by Skynet.

But rest assured, while Congress and Obama may be proposing hilariously small cuts to military spending, the average voter is far more rational.

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X Date: The new fiscal cliff

ZeroHedge.com reports X Date is approaching, that is “the day past which the US government will no longer be able to rely on ‘extraordinary measures’ to delay the day of reckoning, and will be unable to pay all its bills without recourse to additional debt. It is not the day when the US defaults, at least not defaults on its debt. It will begin ‘defaulting’ on various financial obligations, such as not paying due bills on time and in full, but since this is something Europe’s periphery has been doing for years, it is hardly catastrophic.”

This may come as a surprise to those who still believe the Republican wing of the Republicratic Duopoly supports fiscal responsibility; in mid-January former Vice Presidential nominee Paul Ryan told reporters that the GOP would agree to a short-term increase in the debt-ceiling.

ZeroHedge also reports, “the US hit its debt ceiling on December 31, and has since been utilizing some $200 billion in Extraordinary Measure to stave off X Date” which is expected to come sometime between Feb. 15 and March 1.

What does this actually mean? The Treasury has approximately $201 billion in “Extraordinary Measures” available to spend.

Once the $201 billion, consisting primarily of plundering the government retirement G-fund, runs out, the Bipartisan Policy Center says, “There is no precedent; all other debt limit impasses have been resolved without reaching the X Date.” Which means, the Treasury has never failed during a debt limit impasse to meet a payment obligation, so no one really knows what will happen if the X Date is reached.

The Bipartisan Policy Center also reports, “Treasury will not attempt to ‘firesale’ assets during a crisis.” A firesale would be great! Imagine how much better run the various national parks would be if they were operated by private organizations. Just imagine visiting Yellowstone or Yosemite Park if they were being operated by the Audubon Society with voluntary funding. In total, the federal government owns approximately 635 million acres of land. If the land were to sale for as little as $10,000 per acre, the federal government would bring in $6.35 TRILLION for the land! Of course, there are many more ways the federal government could raise revenue or cut spending that do not involve threats of violence, unfortunately they’re not interested in peaceful solutions.

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Rapiscan revoked: Sometimes, you take the small victories

Well, our civil liberties are taking hits left, right, and sideways, but we have a small victories every now and again.

The U.S. Transportation Security Administration will remove airport body scanners that privacy advocates likened to strip searches after OSI Systems Inc. (OSIS) couldn’t write software to make passenger images less revealing.

TSA will end a $5 million contract with OSI’s Rapiscan unit for the software after Administrator John Pistole concluded the company couldn’t meet a congressional deadline to produce generic passenger images, agency officials said in interviews.

The agency removed 76 of the machines from busier U.S. airports last year. It will now get rid of the remaining 174 Rapiscan machines, with the company absorbing the cost, said Karen Shelton Waters, the agency’s assistant administrator for acquisitions. The TSA will instead use 60 machines manufactured by L-3 Communications Holdings Inc. (LLL), the agency’s other supplier of body scanners.

“It became clear to TSA they would be unable to meet our timeline,” Waters said. “As a result of that, we terminated the contract for the convenience of the government.”

The decision to cancel the Rapiscan software contract and remove its scanners wasn’t related to an agency probe of whether the company faked testing data on the software fix, Waters said.

Yes, the Rap[e]iscan machines will soon be gone!

Apparently, Rapiscan couldn’t come up with the genericized template to pretend that the TSA pervs weren’t REALLY ChoMos in time, so the entire Rapiscan contract is cancelled (they weren’t looking at nekkid pics of everyone, they were just misunderstood, right?)

To [mis]quote Southwest, “you are now free to move about the country [mostly] unmolested.”

Update by SV: TIL what a chomo is. Thanks g4lt, for making me Google that.

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Germany wants 300 tons of its US gold

Back in November, German politicians were grumbling that they wanted to see their gold deposits being held at the New York Federal Reserve Bank.

Now, they’ve upped the ante and are beginning to cash out, demanding shipment of 300 of their 1,536 tons of gold held in the U.S.:

In what sounds like the setup for a stylish Hollywood heist movie, Germany is transferring nearly 700 tons of gold bars worth $36 billion from Paris and New York to its vaults in Frankfurt.

The move is part of an effort by Germany’s central bank to bring much of its gold home after keeping big reserves outside the country for safekeeping during the Cold War.

Shipping such a large amount of valuable cargo between countries could be a serious security headache. A gold robbery — the subject of such movies as Die Hard 3 and The Italian Job — would be embarrassing and expensive for Germany.

The high-stakes, high-security plan is to move the precious metal — 374 tons kept in vaults in Paris and 300 tons stored at the New York Federal Reserve Bank — to the Bundesbank in Germany’s financial center over the next eight years.

The speed at which the German central bank’s transition from an audit to actaully moving gold has been rather swift. As they are now in negotiations Lufthansa Cargo to move the 300 tons of gold across the Atlantic, they’ve allowed themselves until 2020 to complete the process of being able to store half their gold reserves in the Heimatland (homeland).

By 2020, the Bundesbank intends to store half of Germany’s gold reserves in its own vaults in Germany. The other half will remain in storage at its partner central banks in New York and London. With this new storage plan, the Bundesbank is focusing on the two primary functions of the gold reserves: to build trust and confidence domestically, and the ability to exchange gold for foreign currencies at gold trading centres abroad within a short space of time.

Interestingly enough, stashed away in the extended Bundesbank press release was an interesting nugget (translated from German):

Function of Gold – Why do Central Banks hold Gold?
– Diversification
– Universal Acceptance
– Resilience to Shocks (State or currency risks)
– Confidence

This money-like exchange of gold for foreign currencies will likely embolden critics of Ben Bernanke and the Federal Reserve. Bernanke, who was queried by Ron Paul in a 2011 Congressional Committee famously folded on the issue, stated that gold wasn’t actually money, rather “it’s tradition. Long term tradition.”

In Germany, that tradition is alive and well, and demanding the Federal Reserve hand it over.

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White House: “LALALA I can’t hear you!”

Well, the petitions site has its place, and I for one applaud it, but can we please just set a target for the number of required petition signatures and go with it?!

In what seems to be an effort to curb time spent on outrageous petitions, the White House late Tuesday quadrupled the signature threshold for “We the People” petitions to 100,000.

Thank goodness we got an answer on the Death Star before the new rule took effect.

Previously, 25,000 signatures were required to garner an official response from the White House on a petition posted at the “We the People” website.

Right now, given the target is on its third move upwards, it looks as if the White House is only listening for what it wants to hear. If they wanted that, all they had to do is add a disclaimer at the top “ONLY SYCOPHANTS AND YES-MEN NEED APPLY”.

Liberty is tough, people, it’s giving those you don’t want to listen to equal time and equal chance to air their views. I’d hope that here at HoT we all “get it” — that liberty isn’t a one-sided coin — maybe we need a Libertarian in the White House a lot more than we originally thought. :)

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Leadership: The Video

I think it puts him in appropriate company…

-Rob Morris

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Obama issues dictatorial gun proclamation, executive orders

President Barack Obama today was seen signing 23 executive orders on gun control in front of a group of children ignorant about their rights (the orders have yet to be published on the White House website for us to properly ridicule, so we’ll ridicule the whole affair).

Here’s the relevant portion of the accompanying proclamation from WhiteHouse.gov:

Therefore, by the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, I hereby direct the following:

Section 1. Research. The Secretary of Health and Human Services (Secretary), through the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other scientific agencies within the Department of Health and Human Services, shall conduct or sponsor research into the causes of gun violence and the ways to prevent it. The Secretary shall begin by identifying the most pressing research questions with the greatest potential public health impact, and by assessing existing public health interventions being implemented across the Nation to prevent gun violence.

Sec. 2. General Provisions. (a) Nothing in this memorandum shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:

(i) the authority granted by law to an executive department or agency, or the head thereof; or

(ii) the functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.

(b) This memorandum shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.

(c) This memorandum is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.

Sec. 3. Publication. You are hereby authorized and directed to publish this memorandum in the Federal Register.

His game of “Let’s play take away the guns from law-abiding Americans because a few assholes can’t act responsibly” has yet to be officially recognized by anyone with half a brain. Millions of Americans continue to wave loaded AR-15s and handguns with high-capacity lips and a copy of the Constitution in defiance of the latest effort to destroy liberties.

However, many are now anxious about how the government will try to enforce such ludicrous orders and bans being swiftly implemented (with New York governor Andrew Cuomo’s legislation being called “draconian” by the NRA). The flurry of legislation and imperial decrees now contrast to gun sales have hitting astronomical rates since 2008, and exploding in November/December of 2012.

One way in which Obama is flexing unConstitutional executive powers has been to direct doctors and mental health professionals to ask patients whether they own guns (and how many).

The answer to that line of questioning is obvious to liberty-lovers: NONE OF YOUR DAMNED BUSINESS.

UPDATE: Interesting statistic of the day: the DEA has a budget of $2.415 billion (2010) and employs 10,784 (2009), while the BATF has a budget of $1.12 billion (2010) and employs 4,559 (2006). Obama has just budgeted another $500 million for gun control activities.

The War on Drugs has been an epic failure even though it has twice as many federal enforcers and funding. Does anyone seriously doubt the latest “War on Guns” will be any different?

UPDATE II: Scratch that previous update number, the apparent amount being budgeted for the attempt at a gun controlling police state is over $4.5 billion. The biggest expenditure is $4 billion “to help keep 15,000 cops on the streets in cities and towns across the country.”

That’s just over $260 thousand dollars per cop.

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Confirmed: Big Boi really is libertarian, you know

Last month Antwan Andre Patton, aka Big Boi of the Outkast crew, left radio hosts shocked and speechless after telling them he voted for Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson during a segment on racism. Now, in an interview with the Huffington Post (LIVE!), Patton not only confirmed that “hey ya” he’s a libertarian voter… but went even further and stood up as an ardent supporter of libertarian views.

Here’s the interview video, and the relevant transcript:

ALYONA MINKOVSKI, HUFFPOST LIVE: There was a radio interview that you did where you recounted a story of a woman coming up to you after Barack Obama’s election saying, “We won.” And then you said, “I voted for Gary Johnson.” What’s the story behind that? Did you really vote for Gary Johnson?

ANTWAN ANDRE PATTON AKA BIG BOI: Well, I was, you know, leaving to go out of town, and it was a lady — a Caucasian lady — and she was like, “Oh yeah, congratulations on y’all win last night,” you know, with like an attitude. And, you know, just to let her know I was on my P’s and Q’s, I was like, “I don’t know what you talkin’ bout, I voted for Gary Johnson.” And she looked shocked to even know that I knew there were other candidates on the ballot, you know what I’m saying? So, you can’t judge a book by its cover.

MINKOVSKI: Did you vote for Gary Johnson?

PATTON: Yes, I’m a Libertarian. I’m liberty, justice for all, liberty for all. I’m really pro-people, pro-freedom, and, you know, this is all about positivity. Like, you know, I have nothing against the president at all, you know, he’s a nice guy, but, it’s just, you know, the things that they’re standing on right now just didn’t agree with me. Anything that benefits the public and not just big banking, that’s what I’m with.

Not in the transcript but definitely in that interview: his outspoken support of the second amendment for use against tyranny… including whatever guns you want, just so long as you’re responsible (sounds libertarian to me).

Patton, we like the way you move with that positivity (hit him up on twitter to say hi). Libertarians, you can chalk another famous name on the boards.

(h/T Eric Dondero)

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