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The views and opinions expressed in this post solely belong, to Steven Harris 

“A small event that leads to a chain reaction of events with unintended consequences that were unseen at the time of the inciting event” (1)

 

How we got here:

 

1984 began back in 2001, on 9/11/2001.

 

Yup, that day our government went after the suspected attackers, declared a global War on Terror, in practice a military war against an ideology set in Afghanistan and just about every country in the Middle East until it arrived at that we the citizens are the enemy to the interests of the United States. It was not enough to suck out 60% of tax BUSH SIGNS ANTI TERRORISM BILL INTO LAW.dollars to sustain a dozen foreign wars (some declared, others, not they had to come for our freedoms, the ones they said they were fighting to protect from the outset. The reality is that the freedoms of Americans have been under assault since 9/11 with the USA PATRIOT Act which strips us of our hard-fought-for rights, except if you are a person of color, that would be the rights you probably wanted to have. The early 2000s is around the time we now know the National Security Agency begun to spy and collect data on all Americans in massive sweeps from the archives of whistleblower Edward Snowden—collections that products of Microsoft, Google, Cisco and other tech companies have complied willfully to allow the government in via back doors circumvented encryption touted in each company’s sales pitch and into private files with the same access as the citizens who bought these products.

This is not new information, by now this has become well-documented and noncontroversial as to it being a real situation. At the time Apple claimed to be the lone holdout—whether they decided to uphold user privacy for more phone sales against phones that willfully are cracked for the authorities as another bullet point to sell more iPhones: secure from the US government, is another story. The case remained if the FBI wanted in, they’d have to do their best to hack in.

 

Then the Paris attacks happened.

 Screen-Shot-2015-11-15-at-06.25.21

With the world and media on its side, French President Hollande declared a state of emergency in November 2015 which is the next best thing to ramp up spying on citizens short of an American-style USA PATRIOT Act law, which Holland is working hard to extend at present. With the police state firmly in place, based on bogus information that the attacks were coordinated in an encrypted PlayStation Network chat room they took aim at encryption. With that, the French had all they needed to take aim at one of the last remaining areas of freedom in the digital realm which is always guarded by encryption, the security technology that scrambles information so that only the intended recipient and can read it back. France wanted Apple to do what the FBI is insisting Apple do with the iPhones in everyone’s pockets. The law failed and digital privacy won. (2)(3)(4)

 

Then the San Bernardino attack happened.

Right-wing Republicans from California to New York immediately went to work on legislation to do what France failed to do in an example that Republican can do things, and swiftly, other than obstructing the President. The debate continues as they seek to ban, block, circumvent an151202165015-08-san-bernardino-shooting-1202-super-169d create backdoors to strong encryption and with it destroy a little more our freedoms they will claim to be protecting in next election cycle. In 1984, Orwell would have called that doublespeak.

That’s how we got to where we are today with FBI standing with those states who want to abolish strong encryption in the name of the shooters in San Bernardino and have Apple build a backdoor in its popular iPhone operating system, literally letting the terrorist win by killing our own privacy, some might say. The French pressed its case with a state of emergency (cough, martial law) that’s crystallizing in a police state—the FBI is forging its case for Apple to submit with a 227-year-old All Writs Act to hammer its way into everyone’s smartphone data. (6)(7)(8)

 

You see, we have a slippery slope here, privacy has long been under attack, and we’re already halfway down that slippery slope.

 

We’re living in a strange time with our form of governance and economic system when a multinational corporation like Apple holds the interests of private citizens with more regard than a federal government funded and elected by those same private citizens. We are reaping the ill effects of political indifference and apathy to a system that has decayed and become equally apathetic to those on whose backs it is funded and supported, all the while this corporatio160224162849-apple-vs-fbi-scale-780x439n we rail about so often, for not paying its taxes for one, can claim the moral high ground against the FBI who wants to throw the baby out with the bathwater. Strange times in America indeed.

 Our freedoms, digital and otherwise, are a constant threat from those in power—the same who were fine with spying on you and me until they lost their shit when they found out sitting Congress members and even the President have been under surveillance at various points. Only then did the American people get its precious few privacy advocates among our elected officials, but it’s not nearly enough when the two chambers of Congress are lead by conservative obstructionist extremists and the public can barely be bothered to protest in a meaningful way.

 

It was said that “We get the politicians we deserve” and we also get the companies we deserve, as Facebook, Microsoft, and Google have not committed to similar stances as Apple, not to forget this is probably against the interest of Apple, the world’s biggest explicit profit-seeking corporation, as well if it doesn’t sell any more phones and tablets, though at least Google’s new CEO offers vestigial praise for Apple and privacy. If you read the Snowden archives or Glenn Greenwald’s 2014 book “No Place To Hide” you’ll find that Microsoft and Google and several tech companies like Cisco are complicit with the NSA and FBI and are already operating back doors. In my opinion, we are in a very dangerous place when the only protect citizens have for their privacy is a capitalist market force called differentiation. Apple really is thinking different. (9)

 

How did we get here again? Slippery slope.

 

Steven Harris is an Apple systems administrator and computer engineer for American Public Media.

Endnote references:

(1)https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=KJmKTPzxBPc

 

(2)https://blog.easydns.org/2016/02/22/the-us-government-has-no-credibility-to-compel-anybody-to-weaken-security/

 

(3)https://www.theguardian.com/world/video/2015/nov/14/paris-attacks-francois-hollande-declares-state-emergency-france-video

 

(4)https://www.france24.com/en/20160126-france-state-emergency-hollande-civil-liberties-security-terrorism

 

(5)https://fortune.com/2016/01/13/france-encryption/

 

(6)https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/what-all-writs-act-1789-has-do-iphone-180958188/?no-ist

 

(7)https://appleinsider.com/articles/16/02/23/in-new-court-filing-apple-cites-9-other-cases-in-which-fbi-asserted-the-all-writs-act

(8)https://www.newyorker.com/news/amy-davidson/a-dangerous-all-writ-precedent-in-the-apple-case

 

(9)https://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2016-02/24/google-ceo-paris-speech-sundar-pichai

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Kanye West Isn’t Your Father

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Fox News

Disclaimer: This is the opinion of one young writer, and does not reflect the views and opinions of KingOfReads.com or its proprietor.

I’ve spent a lot of time with Kanye West’s music. I was born in 1994, so Kanye arrived on the scene at a time when I was a developing Queer boy. I had so many feelings, these uncontrollable hormonal emotions, that Kanye’s music really spoke to in some ways. That said, he was trash. Like most of our heroes, he was trash. But we ate it up, didn’t we? Now, some of us have outgrown him. Some of us need to grow up.

Kanye has, yet again, let his ego do the talking. Whether you believe he is serious or not, he wants us to believe that he is running for president. He also wants you to believe he loves Black people. It’s dangerous for you to believe either. Kanye has a non-Black wife, whom he has allowed to scold and threaten the Black people running the foundation named after his Black mother. Kanye was (is?) an ardent supporter of Donald Trump. Kanye implied that slavery was a choice. Kanye’s given you every indication that his interests lie with his current state of mind and y’all (spelled: Black cishet men) ignore the fact that said interests consistently cause harm. That makes you complicit. So let’s talk about it.

Kanye Sunday Service

As JustLatasha once said, “I’m sorry your fathers never came home.” Kanye is not your long-lost Daddy. Neither is Nas, Jay-Z, J. Cole, or Robert Kelly. These men are businessmen. Their allegiance is to the money they make. Don’t get me wrong. I’m anti-capitalist, but I understand that Black people need money to survive, and in order to leverage capital for progress against oppressive systems. All these men have enough money to survive for several hundred years. Yet, instead of redistributing it or supporting the work of people who have been fighting toward Black liberation for decades, they sprinkle a few tax-deductible dollars into organizations that may or may not actually appropriate these funds correctly, or give you a soundbite that makes you think they’re on your side. Then, they turn around and say things like “we’ve moved past kneeling” and “400 years?! That sounds like a choice.” They spew rhetoric, not backed by facts or even well-thought-out opinion, that undermines people who have done the reading, who have done the research required to participate in the discussion. The problem is, at every turn, Black cishet men want to believe that they’re “playing chess not checkers” when it’s clear they aren’t even on the board.

Y’all have this faith in these men, as if they somehow are providing something substantive in your life. Let’s take a look at a few of the “chess” moves Kanye performed today. He told you vaccines were “the mark of the beast”. He said one of the police officers who aided in the murder of George Floyd didn’t deserve to be in jail. He implied that God was punishing us with COVID-19 and that prayer was all that was needed to stop it. But when he was asked about taxes, this man who’s worth more than some small countries said “I haven’t done enough research on that yet. I will research that with the strongest experts that serve God and come back with the best solution.” And the worst part is that he doesn’t have to answer for any of this. You’ll all do it for him. You’ll defend him until the day he dies because you see him as a patriarch, a father-figure, here to guide you through life in the way your father never could. Guess what, Tiger, daddy isn’t really out for a pack of smokes. He’s in Wyoming with his White wife and a whole lot of money he doesn’t want your dirty little fingers to touch.

Do you feel attacked? You should. Toyin is dead. Tony McDade is dead. Trans women are dying at such a rapid pace, I have lost track. George Floyd’s gasping death is still playing in my mind, and Breonna Taylor’s killers are still not answering for their crimes. These are our chess pieces. You, not Kanye, should be moving them, but your fingers are too preoccupied defending a man who doesn’t know you exist and never wanted to.

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Kanye West Rambles Through an Interview About His Presidential Run

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Kanye West’s Twitter announcement on Independence day confused a lot of people. There was no record of him registering to run, his only two endorsements seemed to be Kim Kardashian and Elon Musk, and… well… it’s July. It all just seemed like him trolling the masses again. Well, I guess Forbes’ Randall Lane wasn’t content to wait on further information, because they went ahead and called him up to ask him what’s tea. The results were a mixed, babbling bag.

The actual interview was 4-hours long and Forbes picked as much out as I’m sure their poor servers could handle, but the picture is still one of a man who is only clear that he is a Christian man. He claims that God is the one who chooses the president, that God needs to be let back into schools, and implies that COVID-19 is the result of us making God mad. “We pray. We pray for the freedom,” he said, “It’s all about God. We need to stop doing things that make God mad.”

He also seems rather paranoid, and even that is threaded through his religious views. On vaccines, seemingly as preventative care against coronavirus, he said “[t]hat’s the mark of the beast. They want to put chips inside of us, they want to do all kinds of things, to make it where we can’t cross the gates of heaven.”

There’s a lot to process here, but the gist is that Kanye is portraying himself as serious, but seems unable to give much in the way of answers that don’t relate back to God. We’ll let y’all know when he starts making sense.

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Rich Dad, Poor Behavior: 50 Cent and Lil Wayne Joke About ‘Exotic Women’, Daughter Responds.

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A video of 50 Cent and Lil Wayne has surfaced wherein Curtis talks about wanting an “exotic” woman and seems to express an urge to physically attack women who call him out on his “preference”.

If I’m honest, even the most ardent of wig-snatchers might have simply ignored the video, dismissing it as yet another 50 Cent super villain moment. Half-Dollar is in a near-perpetual hotseat for doing things like making fun of Power cast members and attacking his own son on Instagram. What makes this different is the company he’s keeping and the reaction the video elicited. In the video, you can see Weezy’s few remaining locs jostling as he giggles like a 12-year-old with a nudie magazine. Weezy has a daughter. She felt the need to respond.

Before I go any further, I’d like to commend Reginae Carter for what she’s done here. Black women should never feel the need to “take the high road”, but she does. More admirable is how she centers the uplifting of the women who may have been affected by her father’s actions. That’s an incredibly difficult thing to do when family is involved.

All that said, this is not an isolated incident. As I said, 50 Cent is constantly making remarks like this. Most days, he gets ignored. Weezy’s lyrics have always been misogynoiristic, colorist, and he himself has made it clear that he doesn’t have a desire to learn. There’s a long history of these things being ignored. Our community doesn’t do enough to protect Black women. Oluwatoyin Salue’s tragic demise is proof of that, so it feels especially sinister when we see the real-world affects of these sentiments in real time.

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