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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.


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.

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Simple Steps To Sell Unused Diabetic Test Strips For Cash Online




Is Selling Diabetic Strips Legal?

If you are looking to sell your unused diabetic test strips for money online or in person then you probably wondering if you are allowed to sell diabetic test strips. You may be wondering if you are breaking any laws or regulations. The answer is that it is perfectly fine to sell your unused diabetic test strips online. There is nothing wrong with it at all. There are a few considerations that you need to remember if you are ready to start.

  1. Generally, these reselling companies will not buy opened boxes or damaged boxes. They don’t want to put anything on the market that would be unsafe or damaged. They want to create a safe and trusted environment for all of their clients. They want to provide the best product possible so only boxes in great condition can be resold.
  1. You are not allowed to sell any medical product that is expired. This is a regulation that applies to anyone and everyone that sells into a secondary market. Regulations against the sale of expired goods are put in place to protect the future consumers against unsafe or inaccurate products.
  1. You can’t sell unused diabetic test strips that are received through Medicare or Medicaid. This is because you are not allowed to profit on federal medical benefit programs. Your boxes should be marked if they are from this program.

What Are The Benefits To Selling My Unused Diabetic Test Strips?

There are many benefits to participating in the program.

  1. You get to participate in a program that offers discount strips to people who can’t afford the large medical prices in the pharmacy. This is good because it allows people to keep a little money in their pockets at the end of the month.
  1. You get the opportunity to clean off the clutter in your shelves, drawers, and counter space. It is always great to have extra space. It is even better to get paid to clean off everything.
  1. You get paid. This is pretty simple. There are few benefits better than getting paid is fast pocket cash. Having extra money around is a great way to go out to dinner more often or buy an extra pair of shoes.

Is It Safe To Do It Online?

Yes, it is perfectly safe to participate in the program online. There are companies that offer sales services in a physical store or through a pick-up service. However, not everyone has access to these locations or services. Just about every company allows the clients to mail in the boxes for review. It is an easy alternative to finding a physical location to drive to.

Companies are looking for long-term clients not one offs. So, they are purposefully making sure that the process is safe, secure, trusted, and efficient to grow the relationship.

How Do You Sell Unused Diabetic Test Strips Online?

Companies want your business not just once but multiple times. In order to do this they need to build your trust that the system is easy and simple to use. There are only three steps to completing the entire process.

  1. You need to register with the online company. This means that you need to set up a profile and provide shipping and payment information. This allows you to track the progress of each sale and determine payment information. You should never have to provide any secret information about yourself.
  1. You then can mail-in the boxes. Often the shipping is free so you don’t need to worry about those extra costs. Some companies have physical locations or pick-up services but mailing-in the boxes is an easy way to never have to leave your home.
  1. Once the company receives the boxes they will confirm the quality and quantity of the boxes. You will get paid as soon as this is done. It should only take a day or two for you to get your payment. Most companies use online payment processors like PayPal for ease and convenience. 

Are There Any Bonuses Offered?

Some but not all companies provide bonuses. Check the website of each to ensure you understand the rules for getting the bonuses. Companies like offer bonus cash each time you hit a certain level each transaction. 

Final Thoughts

Providing unused boxes for sale is a great way to get a little extra cash in your pocket. Make sure you are ready to participate and are sure that you truly don’t need the extra strips.



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Wendy Williams Is Walking Back Claims She and Nene Leakes were Followed



On Monday’s episode of TV-host Wendy Williams’ talk show, she told her audience that her and Real Housewives of Atlanta stars Nene Leakes and Marlo Hampton were followed by security while shopping at luxury department store Bergdorf Goodman. 

The host of her eponymous “The Wendy Williams Show” told audience members and viewers that she went to the store after getting an invite from Nene and Marlo. The trio shopped the entire store and followed up the spree with lunch on the upstairs floor. They all bought something, with a sales rep handling each of them every step of the way. 

Despite the sales rep, Williams claimed that security followed them throughout the store. “Can I tell you something about security? They treated us like the hood that they treat us,” said Williams as she used the back of her hand to indicate the experience was due to the color of her skin. Williams went on to explain, “You can earn what you want, you can do what you want, but when you are what you are, you better not be surprised at how people treat you.”

During Nene’s recent appearance on The Breakfast Club, the RHOA star said, “I was there, but I didn’t see it like how she saw it. I didn’t see it like how Marlo saw it. I did see security and just thought they were there.” She went on to hint that she didn’t feel as though they were followed even though she said Marlo felt that way.

After Nene’s comments, Williams again used her talk show to clear up what she meant when she brought this whole shopping experience to light. “One of them says, ‘you realize we were followed the whole time.” That’s the part I left out of my story. A lot of you said, ‘well Wendy if you were followed why did you buy anything?’ I didn’t know anything about that. There’s some people that have their eyes on that kind of stuff. When you’re born brown it’s just a natural thing. I’m smart enough to understand when I was treated graciously. That’s the story. I didn’t feel any of that, I didn’t see any following.”

The “one of them” Williams was referring to was Marlo Hampton – a claim that falls in place with what Nene said on her radio appearance. Williams and Nene have a very public friendship, and sometimes a (rumored) public feud. With their relationship, it is certainly possible the TV host coordinated her revised account with Nene to continue riding the press and publicity of her claim, while leaving themselves an out to throw Marlo under the bus if this entire claim blows up in their faces. 

For Bergdorf Goodman’s part, the store released a statement prior to Williams’ clarification on the incident. It read: “Bergdorf Goodman and its parent company Neiman Marcus Group are committed to ensuring that all shoppers, guests, and employees are treated with respect and dignity in a safe and secure shopping environment. Our policies strictly prohibit profiling of any kind, and any claims will be thoroughly investigated.”

In an interview with Essence, Marlo said that she thought “maybe this is a new security that they’re offering to where they’re like, ‘hey they need security, they’re so fabulous. But in all actuality it’s really sad if he really was watching us or racially profiling us, because me having my little nephews, it’s sad with them having dreadlocks and their natural hair and I just feel that — and not just retail stores, the police, just in this world, we need people to really be better trained in diversity because my money is not black, it’s not brown, it’s not white–it’s green like theirs.”

Regardless of how each saw the shopping spree unfold, it is obvious that at least one of them felt victim to “shopping while Black” – an experience not unknown to most Black people. Given the rash of “___ while Black” incidents, we hope Wendy Williams didn’t use this encounter as a publicity stunt.



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The Savoy Media Group Presents Memphis Majic





Memphis Majic Trailer

MEMPHIS MAJIC, by Emmy-nominated Director Eddie Bailey, takes a look at the City of Memphis through the lens of a 30-year old Memphis-born street dance called Jookin! Featuring street dance superstar, Lil Buck, MEMPHIS MAJIC seamlessly connects urban dance, Hip-Hop, politics, and history that reveals how one of America’s most important cities was built. Memphis Majic is a universal story that bridges the gap between generations and gets to the heart of the human spirit. 


“A MUST SEE documentary. Memphis Majic is fascinating…”

Neil Rosen, CUNY TV

“Memphis Majic is a revelation!…”

Warren Hudlin, Vice Chairman – Museum of Moving Image

Lil Buck – Memphis Majic

MEMPHIS MAJIC debuted on February 19, 2019 as a part of Black History Month celebrations on iTunes, Google Play and Video On Demand. It is also available on Amazon Prime.

Director Eddie Bailey is available for interviews: 

Atlanta – January 10-12, 2020 

Los Angeles – January 16-20, 2020 

New York- January 27-31, February 1-15, 2020



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