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Member since: Thu Feb 14, 2008, 10:58 AM
Number of posts: 23,510

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Experience: I write fake news

I’m furthering ignorance, certainly, but I don’t think people have died as a result of my work

Source: The Guardian

I’ve been writing articles for far-right websites in the US for a year now. I didn’t set out to do this; it started in October 2016, when I was finishing my PhD in London. My funding ran out, and I started writing content to pay the rent. I found clients through websites that allow potential writers to bid for work, and then build a portfolio of reviews from clients. There is an enormous amount of work available – everything from writing product copy to ghost-writing novels.

The first jobs I got were pretty shady. I was writing fake Amazon reviews and descriptions of perfume that had yet to be produced. A reliable client put me in touch with a colleague who runs a number of websites, one of which focuses on news about, and reviews of, guns.

I have never seen a gun, let alone used one, but I took the job. The site carries reviews of handgun accessories, and for each product there is a link to Amazon. My client gets paid for every click-through he generates through Amazon’s affiliate scheme. There are vast numbers of such sites: I’ve written fake reviews of amplifiers, baby products, printers and sex toys.

At first, I was paid $20 for 1,000 words. As the site began to make more money, I got paid more; I now get triple my original rate. I have never met my client, but we talk once a month to set priorities. He is young, American and not into guns. We write under a number of pseudonyms that are designed to look trustworthy to right-leaning American gun enthusiasts: generally, retired men with links to the military. I write for about 15 hours a week, and make £2,400 a month. I don’t have a contract, or any guarantee of ongoing work, but it suits me. I am still finishing that PhD.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2018/jan/26/experience-i-write-fake-news?CMP=twt_gu&__twitter_impression=true

Jesus. H. Christ on a trailer hitch.

Lupita Nyong'o to Publish a Children's Book

Source: NYT

Lupita Nyong’o, the Academy Award-winning actress and voice of Maz Kanata in “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” will write her debut children’s book “Sulwe” for Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers next January. The picture book is aimed at readers between the ages of 5 and 7. An illustrator has not yet been announced.

“Sulwe,” which means “star” in Ms. Nyong’o’s native language, Luo, is the story of a 5-year-old girl growing up in Kenya. In the book, Sulwe has the darkest skin color in her family, a fact that makes her uncomfortable and determined to find a way to lighten her skin. As the story unfolds Sulwe embarks on a whimsical adventure in the night sky that, coupled with advice from her mother, helps her see beauty differently.

For Ms. Nyong’o, the decision to touch on these heavy and often difficult themes in a children’s book was obvious. The story plants seeds in a child’s mind, allowing for later access to lessons that children “don’t necessarily recognize when they are reading the books,” said Ms. Nyong’o in an interview. When thinking about her own journey into acceptance and self-love, Ms. Nyong’o cited reading with her mother as critical to her development.

Like Sulwe, Ms. Nyong’o struggled with her complexion and self-image as a child. Growing up, she remembers becoming more aware of herself in grade school and caring about the opinions of others. It was around that time that she also noticed the language people outside of her family used to describe her “brown and pretty,” lighter skinned sister.

Read more: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/17/books/lupita-nyongo-to-publish-a-childrens-book.html?smid=tw-nytimesarts&smtyp=cur

Zinke touts opening up public lands at Vegas gun show

Source: The Hill

By Miranda Green - 01/25/18 02:28 PM EST
Zinke touts opening up public lands at Vegas gun show

Interior Department Secretary Ryan Zinke took his professed love for hunting to the world's largest gun trade show in Las Vegas this week, where he spread the word on the importance of public land access.

Speaking on the Josh Tolley radio show from the event Thursday morning, Zinke said he attended the Shooting, Hunting Outdoor Trade Show — which he referred to as "Trump country" — to "let people know that our public lands belong to our people and not the government."

"Local voices have been ignored," Zinke told the radio host, adding that the administration is "opening our roads and letting people enjoy their land and putting the 'R' back in recreation," appearing to allude to Republican.

"These special interest groups don’t want people on what they perceive as their land — you cannot even ride a mountain bike in a lot of lands, so we need to adjust that."

Read more: http://thehill.com/business-a-lobbying/370733-zinke-touts-opening-up-public-lands-at-vegas-gun-show

Kris Kobach's Office Leaks Last 4 Social Security Digits of Nearly Every Kansas Lawmaker

Source: Gizmodo

This is starting to just get sad.

Prior to receiving notice from Gizmodo this morning, Kris Kobach’s office was leaking sensitive information belonging to thousands of state employees, including himself and nearly every member of the Kansas state legislature.

Among a bevy of personal information that, according to a statement on the website, was intended to be public, the Kansas Secretary of State’s website was exposing the last four digits of Social Security numbers (known as SSN4) of thousands of current and former candidates for office, as well as thousands, or potentially tens of thousands, of high-ranking state employees at apparently ever Kansas government agency.

The combination of a person’s name and SSN4 creates what’s commonly called “personally identifiable information,” the unauthorized disclosure of which is unlawful under numerous state and federal laws. Putting these statements of substantial interest online without redacting the SSN4 information is beyond reckless; it’s stupid.

Read more: https://gizmodo.com/kris-kobach-s-office-leaks-last-4-social-security-digit-1822415622

Employee who sent false alert in Hawaii not cooperating with FCC probe, official says

Source: The Hill

The employee responsible for sending a false mobile alert across Hawaii warning of an incoming ballistic missile is not cooperating with Federal Communications Commission (FCC) investigations looking into the matter, an FCC official said Thursday, according to media reports.

Lisa Fowlkes, who heads the FCC's Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau, told lawmakers at a Senate Commerce Committee hearing that, while leaders at the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency were cooperating with investigators, the employee who accidentally sent the notification was not.

"We are quite pleased with the level of cooperation we have received from the leadership of the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency thus far," Fowlkes said, according to Axios.

"We are disappointed, however, that one key employee, the person who transmitted the false alert, is refusing to cooperate with our investigation," she added. "We hope that person will reconsider."

Read more: http://thehill.com/policy/technology/370722-employee-who-sent-false-alert-in-hawaii-not-cooperating-with-fcc-probe

Irony is dead: Nikki Haley criticizes world leaders for invoking conspiracy theories

Source: Think Progress

On Thursday, UN ambassador Nikki Haley criticized President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority for allegedly invoking conspiracy theories during a recent speech in which he blasted the Trump administration for its handing of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, including its provocative move to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Referring to a portion of the speech in which Abbas gave a lengthy lecture about the origins of Zionism, Haley said, “A speech that indulges in outrageous and discredited conspiracy theories is not the speech of a person with the courage and the will to seek peace.”


Conyers's son launches campaign for his House seat: report

Source: The Hill

John Conyers III, the son of former Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.), is running for his father’s old seat, setting up a race to square off against one of his family members in the Democratic primary.

Conyers III filed paperwork on Wednesday for the seat vacated by his father who resigned in December amid sexual misconduct allegations, according to The Detroit News.

He will now face off against his cousin, state Sen. Ian Conyers (D), who has already jumped into the race.

When Conyers resigned from his seat — which he held for five decades — he endorsed his son. That decision surprised many, including Conyers III, who has never run for office.

Read more: http://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/370681-conyerss-son-launches-campaign-for-his-house-seat-report

NAACP Legal Defense Fund sues over Trumps decision to rescind protected status for Haitians

Source: PBS News Hour

The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund filed a racial discrimination lawsuit Wednesday against the Department of Homeland Security, the current head of the agency, DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, and the former acting head of the agency, Elaine C. Duke, over the Trump administration’s decision to rescind Temporary Protected Status for Haitian immigrants.

The lawsuit, which the group filed in the U.S. District Court in Maryland, argues that the agency and its leaders’ move “discriminates against immigrants of color” and asks the court to void the decision and reinstate the status for thousands of Haitians. The NAACP Legal Defense Fund, which is a separate organization from the NAACP, is representing the NAACP and its Haitian members and says the the Department of Homeland Security took “irrational and discriminatory government action, denying Haitian immigrants their right to due process and equal protection under the Fifth Amendment.”

“Governmental decisions that target people based on racial discrimination violate our Constitution,” said Sherrilyn Ifill, President and director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund in a statement. “The decision by the Department of Homeland Security to rescind TPS status for Haitian immigrants was infected by racial discrimination. Every step taken by the Department to reach this decision reveals that far from a rational and fact-based determination, this decision was driven by calculated, determined and intentional discrimination against Haitian immigrants.”

To make its case, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund references in the lawsuit President Donald Trump’s alleged derogatory comments about Haitians and about limiting immigrants from the island nation to increase immigration from European countries.

Read more: https://www.pbs.org/newshour/politics/naacp-sues-over-trumps-decision-to-rescind-protected-status-for-haitians

Inside the Dysfunctional Relationship of Donald Trump and Theresa May

Forget closer transatlantic ties and a state visit to London, it’s been a year of public clashes.

Source: Bloomberg

When Theresa May returned to the grandeur of the British Embassy on Washington’s Massachusetts Avenue in January last year, her aides had no idea how spectacularly awry her visit to Donald Trump’s White House had gone.

Debriefing her advisers, the U.K. prime minister remembered something: “Oh, yes,” she said. “He did hold my hand at one point.” Already fearful of the political fallout at home from getting too close to Trump, the astonished officials asked if the incident had been captured on camera. “Yes, I think so,” May replied, according to people present.
Theresa May and Donald Trump at the White House.
Photographer: Christopher Furlong via Getty Images

The resulting image, splashed on British front pages, came to define her visit, the first by a foreign leader after Trump’s inauguration. What May’s entourage couldn’t have predicted is that the gaffe would also turn out to be the high point in the first year of the latest incarnation of the “special relationship” between the U.S. and the U.K.

Just under 12 months later, the two are due to meet in Davos at the World Economic Forum on Thursday, and there’s unlikely to be any hand-holding. In that time, the alliance first coined by Winston Churchill and famously nurtured by Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s has become increasingly dysfunctional and at its least cordial in decades.

Read more: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2018-01-24/inside-the-dysfunctional-relationship-of-donald-trump-and-theresa-may

Thursday's front page of the Detroit Free Press:

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