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Supermodel icons to reunite



Written by Eoin McSweeney, CNN

Naomi Campbell and Cindy Crawford were two of the biggest names in the modeling world in the ’90s and they remain prominent figures today. Soon, fans will be able to re-live some of their most career-defining moments both on and off the runway.

“The Supermodels,” a new docuseries set to stream on Apple TV+, will chart the unprecedented careers of Campbell, Crawford and their contemporaries Linda Evangelista and Christy Turlington who are all regarded as the original “supers,” who helped pave the way for a number of other successful models.

“We hope our journey seen in the docuseries will encourage, motivate and inspire young people around the world,” said Campbell in a post on Instagram. In a similar post, Crawford said she is “excited to reunite with my friends” and explore “the way supermodels transcended the traditional perceptions and limits of modeling.”

When Evangelista famously quipped that she didn’t get out of bed “for less than $10,000,” she signaled a shift in the power dynamic between the fashion industry and its models.

“Their prestige was so extraordinary that it enabled the four to supersede the brands they showcased, making the names Naomi, Cindy, Linda and Christy as prominent as the designers who styled them,” said Apple TV+ in a statement on Wednesday.
Cindy Crawford, Naomi Campbell, Claudia Schiffer, Helena Christensen and Carla Bruni pose with Donatella Versace in September 2017 during a surprise tribute to mark the 20th anniversary of the murder of Italian designer Gianni Versace.

Cindy Crawford, Naomi Campbell, Claudia Schiffer, Helena Christensen and Carla Bruni pose with Donatella Versace in September 2017 during a surprise tribute to mark the 20th anniversary of the murder of Italian designer Gianni Versace. Credit: MIGUEL MEDINA/AFP/AFP/Getty Images

Related video: Naomi Campbell on diversity in fashion

The series will be directed by two-time Academy Award winner Barbara Kopple and it will be produced under Apple’s exclusive agreement with Imagine Documentaries, founded by Brian Glazer and Ron Howard.

The docuseries joins Apple TV+’s range of documentaries, which include “The Elephant Queen,” “Beastie Boys Story” and Bruce Springsteen’s “Letter to You,” which will soon premiere.

The tech giant’s streaming service is not as popular as the more established Netflix and Disney+. They have not been able to produce a tent pole hit and do not have as vast a library like other competitors, Bernie McTernan, a senior analyst at Rosenblatt Securities told CNN.

Streaming usage has soared during the pandemic, but “industry data shows the large, established players are attracting greater time spent vs consumers trying out new platforms,” said McTernan.


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Malicious Campaigns Are Trying to Stop Black and Latinx People From Voting



Women wearing face masks fill out vote-by-mail ballots at the Orange County Supervisor of Elections office on October 15, 2020 in Orlando, Florida. (Photo by Paul Hennessy/NurPhoto via AP)​

Women wearing face masks fill out vote-by-mail ballots at the Orange County Supervisor of Elections office on October 15, 2020 in Orlando, Florida. (Photo by Paul Hennessy/NurPhoto via AP)

Logo_Disinfo Dispatch Padding

Unraveling viral disinformation and explaining where it came from, the harm it’s causing, and what we should do about it.

Back in 2016, “no single group of Americans was targeted by [the Kremlin’s] disinformation operatives than African-Americans,” the Senate Intelligence Committee report into Russia’s election interference concluded.

In 2020, the situation is even worse.

“I would say that we’re seeing more disinformation,” Rai Lanier, an organizer at Michigan Liberation, an activist group and super-PAC focused on criminal justice reform in the greater Detroit area, told reporters during a conference call on Tuesday.

“It’s obviously evolved and more sophisticated since we all know it went down in 2016. As for whether it’s foreign or domestic, I would have to say it’s a mix,” Lanier said.

Activists in Black and Latinx communities across the U.S. say they’re facing an unprecedented surge of disinformation designed to persuade voters not to cast their ballots in November’s election — using social media, telephone calls, messaging apps, and even billboards to suppress the vote.

“We’re seeing Black and Brown voters being heavily targeted with [disinformation] that says vote-by-mail is fraudulent, or voters being told that they would be added to a national watch list because they’re registering to vote — really using some of these old school tactics, but in new school ways with the weaponization of digital media,” Ashley Bryant, of Win Black/Pa’lante, a network of activist groups that are coordinating to counter disinformation against these communities.

While Donald Trump’s campaign actively tried to depress the Black vote in 2016 using social media disinformation, in 2020 those conducting the campaigns are using new tactics, including playing on voters’ concerns about the pandemic.

“There’s been an extraordinary amount of disinformation, particularly targeted at Black Georgians, or Black Twitter and Instagram users, around COVID,” Nse Ufot, CEO of the New Georgia Project, said during the call.

Some disinformation campaigns target vulnerable members of the community by telling them they could catch the virus if they vote in person, while other campaigns said that if voters cast their ballots they are automatically given the coronavirus vaccine — even though one doesn’t exist yet.

These campaigns are especially effective in Georgia, given the fact that communities of color are disproportionately impacted by the coronavirus. “80% of the people who’ve been hospitalized in Georgia, due to COVID are Black and Brown, while 50% of the people who’ve died due to COVID-19 are Black or Brown,” Ufot said. 

In Florida, much of the disinformation targets the large Latinx population, which poses problems for social networks on which it is spread. 

“We’re seeing a ton of Spanish speaking disinformation, which presents a challenge because a lot of the platforms have really only been focused on flagging or trying to remove English language content, and really has been lacking on the Spanish language content,” Bryant said.

But it’s not just social media platforms. Fake WhatsApp messages that appear to come from grassroots community groups are, in fact, targeted disinformation campaigns.

Bryant said a number of these disinformation campaigns focus on religion and faith, using audio, video, and images to push “this narrative of not being able to be a democrat and a Catholic, or you can’t be a good Christian and a Democrat.”

And now, the disinformation and voter suppression campaigns have moved offline and are operating IRL.

Santra Denis, Interim Executive Director of Miami Workers Center, highlighted that one of the biggest concerns among minority communities is a “heightened police presence at polling sites.” 

An example of this was seen Tuesday, when an armed police officer was pictured at a polling station wearing a Trump 2020 mask. The Miami Police Department condemned his behavior and have promised to address the situation.

The threat of police intimidation is particularly of concern in Florida, Denis said, among voters who are new to the country and to voting.

“We are specifically dealing with a community that is very diverse in terms of not only race, but ethnicity, and there are new arrivals to the country who may have maybe their first time voting.”

In Texas, organizers have been facing a billboard campaign that targets Latinx voters. “They have been seeing a lot of billboarding, and signage about vote-by-mail, saying that vote-by-mail is either illegal or saying people shouldn’t participate in vote-by-mail, they shouldn’t use the postal service to return their ballots because that’s not a safe way to do it,” Andre Banks of Win Black/Pa’lante said.

For the moment, it remains unclear who is behind the campaigns.

“It’s very, very hard in real-time to understand where these threats are coming from,” Banks said. “Even people who have every research tool at their disposal, can’t tell on the day whether an attack is coming from a bot, from a paid troll, from a campaign, or from a foreign agent, it’s almost impossible.”

And waiting to find out who is targeting these communities is simply not an option this time around.

“If we wait to learn where the threat is coming from, in order to act, we have completely missed the ability to get our folks educated. Make sure that people have the information they need, and they’re getting out and we’re pushing back,” Banks added.

Here’s what else is happening in the world of election disinformation.

Two websites with Nigerian administrators are churning out U.S. election disinformation

The Election Integrity Project, a network of researchers working to mitigate the impact of attempted voter misinformation and election delegitimization, discovered a pair of connected websites churning out voter disinformation that is being picked up by pro-Trump Facebook groups.

One site billed itself as “a civil rights NGO” and the other posed as a news site that “stands for the truth all the time.” Both published articles with inaccurate claims about voting in the American presidential election. 

While the sites don’t appear to be connected, both of them have Facebook pages with Nigerian administrators, and their social media accounts boost each others’ stories. While Facebook has removed ads with false claims about voting, one of the ads is still visible in several pro-Trump Facebook groups, and posts using the same text as the ads are also still up. 

Here’s how the QAnon grift works

As support for the QAnon conspiracy theory grows among Republicans, many of those who are peddling the theory are now trying to cash in. More than a dozen QAnon influencers who have been kicked off Facebook or YouTube are turning to Patreon to fund their efforts.

An investigation by Media Matters for America has found that at least 14 QAnon grifters are monetizing their popularity among followers, with some making as much as $7,000 a month from divining the cryptic messages coming from Q. And of course, because Patreon takes a cut of all subscriptions, it’s also benefiting from the QAnon grift.

The latest twists and turns in the Hunter Biden laptop story

The FBI commented on the controversy surrounding the laptop that allegedly belongs to Hunter Biden, saying that it had “nothing to add” to the comments made by the Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe on Sunday.

Ratcliffe told Fox News that the emails from the laptop, which were leaked to the New York Post by Rudy Giuliani, were not part of a disinformation campaign. Democrats hit out at those comments, criticizing Ratcliffe for politicizing the ongoing FBI investigation.

So on Tuesday, in response to a demand for more information from Congress, Assistant Director of the FBI, Jill Tyson, issued this carefully worded response:

“Regarding the subject of your letter, we have nothing to add at this time to the October 19th public statement by the Director of National Intelligence about the available actionable intelligence. If actionable intelligence is developed, the FBI in consultation with the Intelligence Community will evaluate the need to provide defensive briefings to you and the Committee pursuant to the established notification framework.”


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Oregon’s ballot measure to decriminalize all drugs, explained



Oregon may take a big first step toward ending the war on drugs this November, with voters set to decide whether the state will decriminalize all drugs through the ballot initiative Measure 110.

The initiative would decriminalize all drugs, including cocaine and heroin, and redirect the savings — along with sales tax revenue from marijuana, which is currently legal in the state — to setting up a drug addiction treatment and recovery program. It’s an attempt to replace the criminal justice approach for drugs with a public health one.

Decriminalization is very different from legalization. In general, decriminalization means the removal of criminal penalties — particularly prison time — for the possession and use of a drug, but not the legalization of sales. So people wouldn’t get arrested for having small amounts of heroin or cocaine on them, but don’t expect stores legally selling either substance to pop up.

Supporters of decriminalization argue that drug misuse and addiction are public health issues, not problems for the criminal justice system. They claim that criminal prohibition leads to hundreds of thousands of unnecessary, racially biased arrests each year in the US — a costly endeavor, straining police resources and contributing to mass incarceration, that does little to actually help people struggling with drug use. Instead, they advocate for resources to be put toward education, treatment, and harm reduction services. Meanwhile, other laws remain on the books to deal with any crime or violence that arises due to drugs.

Opponents argue that decriminalization would remove a powerful deterrent to trying and using drugs, potentially fueling more drug use and addiction. They claim criminal penalties attached to drug possession can also be leveraged — through, say, drug courts — to push people into addiction treatment they otherwise wouldn’t accept. And to the extent there are racial disparities in such arrests, they argue that’s a problem with bias in law enforcement and systemic racism across American society in general, not necessarily a result of drug prohibition itself.

Some critics separately question if the ballot initiative would really direct sufficient funding to addiction treatment. The campaign behind the measure claims, citing state analyses, that it would effectively quadruple state funding to recovery services in particular.

Oregon would be the first state to decriminalize all drugs. To date, the most aggressive steps that states have taken to scale back the war on drugs are to legalize marijuana and to defelonize all drugs, which can still leave criminal penalties like jail or prison time in place. But actual drug decriminalization is untried in the modern US.

Still, Oregon wouldn’t be the first place to decriminalize drugs. Portugal did it in 2001, earning a lot of continued media coverage (including at Vox). The effects seem, on net, positive: Coupled with boosts to drug addiction treatment and harm reduction services, decriminalization seemed to lead to more lifetime drug use overall but less problematic use.

Such an approach could have different results in the US. Supporters are hoping that voters in Oregon, however, will at least be willing to give it a try. If voters embrace the approach, and it works, prohibition opponents could use Oregon to make a case for scaling back the war on drugs more broadly — similar to the approach they’ve taken with marijuana policies.

It begins, however, in Oregon.

Oregon’s Measure 110 would decriminalize all drugs

Oregon’s Measure 110 would remove criminal penalties for the personal, noncommercial possession of a controlled substance, while giving people caught with small amounts of drugs the option to either pay a fine of no more than $100 or get a “completed health assessment” done through an addiction recovery center. The measure would decriminalize all drugs classified Schedule I through IV under federal law, including cocaine, heroin, and meth.

According to the Oregon Criminal Justice Commission, the measure would lead to a roughly 91 percent decrease in drug possession arrests and convictions in Oregon. Black and Native American people, who are currently overrepresented relative to their population for possession arrests and convictions, would disproportionately benefit.

The measure would also direct savings from law enforcement and incarceration costs and tax revenue from marijuana sales to a new drug addiction treatment and recovery program. The funds would be overseen by an oversight council set up by the Oregon Health Authority made up of treatment providers, a harm reduction services provider, a drug researcher, and people who’ve dealt with addiction, among others. The funds will be audited by the secretary of state’s office at least once every two years.

The measure, in other words, takes a two-pronged approach to drug decriminalization: It tries to eliminate the criminal justice system’s role in simple drug possession, while shifting the issue to a public health system by both facilitating health assessments and directing more funds to addiction treatment and harm reduction services.

The potential benefits aren’t just fewer arrests and convictions, but also a reduction in the collateral damage that can come from those arrests and convictions, including a criminal record that makes it harder to get a job, housing, schooling, or a range of social services.

At the same time, the reality is America’s addiction treatment system is still underfunded and underregulated. As Vox’s Rehab Racket series exposed, the current system is full of questionable programs that don’t provide evidence-based treatment but nonetheless can cost tens of thousands of dollars out of pocket.

There’s also some cause for concern that state funds will flow to substandard treatment providers. Local, state, and federal governments already offer some funds and grants for addiction treatment facilities. But many of the agencies that give out these funds often fall under heavy lobbying by the industry — leading them to perpetuate the broken system as it exists today. Oregon’s measure tries to chip away at this problem by setting aside a pot of funds overseen by a council tasked with ensuring the money is spent wisely.

Critics of Measure 110 maintain that it would fail to live up to its promise. They argue that the reallocation of existing spending isn’t enough to fully fund drug addiction treatment services. And some, like Oregon Council for Behavioral Health Executive Director Heather Jefferis, argue the reallocation would take away funds from services, including education and behavioral health, that currently help prevent addiction. “Shifting funds from one part of the continuum of care to another does not equate to increased funding,” Jefferis told me.

The campaign counters, citing in part a state analysis, that Measure 110 would effectively add more than $100 million a year for addiction recovery services in particular — up from the $25 million a year that Oregon currently spends outside of Medicaid and the criminal justice system. “This measure is a big step forward,” Peter Zuckerman, campaign manager for Yes on 110, told me. “But,” he acknowledged, “it doesn’t solve everything.”

The opposition, backed particularly by law enforcement, also argues the measure will lead to more drug use and addiction — as criminal penalties can no longer be used or leveraged to deter people from drug use and direct them to treatment.

While drug courts built on criminal penalties for possession do help some people struggling with drug use, the question is if the threat of jail, prison, or a criminal record is really necessary to get people to treatment. A criminal penalty may even have the opposite effect — deterring people from getting help because they know that, in effect, they’ll be admitting to a crime and possibly exposing themselves to all the consequences that come with that.

Given that decriminalization is so far untried in the US, it’s difficult to say how it would play out. In that sense, Measure 110 would create a real-time experiment for Oregon and the rest of the country.

But first, Oregon’s measure will need to get voters’ approval. It’s unclear how likely it is to pass, due to a lack of polls. But a few big political actors in the state, including the Oregon Democratic Party, have backed the proposal.

Measure 110 is somewhat similar to the Portugal model

There’s no modern example of decriminalization within the US for Oregon voters to draw from. But the measure does very loosely follow the structure of what Portugal did back in 2001: The country decriminalized all drugs, and pushed people toward better-funded and -supported treatment and harm reduction services.

A 2009 report from the libertarian Cato Institute, written by Glenn Greenwald, concluded that decriminalization spared people from the “fear of arrest” when they sought help for their addiction and “freed up resources that could be channeled into treatment and other harm reduction programs.”

After the change, Portugal saw a decrease in drug-related deaths and drops in reported past-year and past-month drug use, according to a 2014 report from the Transform Drug Policy Foundation. But it also saw an increase in lifetime prevalence of drug use, as well as an uptick in reported use among teens after 2007.

Nicholas Kristof wrote in the New York Times in 2017, after visiting Portugal to see its model in action:

After more than 15 years, it’s clear which approach worked better. The United States drug policy failed spectacularly, with about as many Americans dying last year of overdoses — around 64,000 — as were killed in the Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq Wars combined.

In contrast, Portugal may be winning the war on drugs — by ending it. Today, the Health Ministry estimates that only about 25,000 Portuguese use heroin, down from 100,000 when the policy began.

Crucially, Portugal adopted special commissions that attempt to push people with drug addictions to treatment with the threat of penalties, including fines and the revocation of professional licenses. Although the success of the commissions has yet to be thoroughly evaluated, it’s possible that even as decriminalization increased drug use, the commissions and improved access to treatment got so many people off drugs that use fell or held steady overall.

The requirement in Oregon’s measure for a completed health assessment via an addiction recovery center could work similarly to Portugal’s commissions, pushing people to get care instead of paying a fine. But it remains to be seen if these assessments will provide enough encouragement to seek treatment, or if people will generally decide to pay the $100 fine instead.

Also similar to Portugal, Oregon’s measure is pushing to put more money toward addiction treatment. But a lingering question is if the Oregon measure will truly match the scale of Portugal’s big investment into its own addiction treatment system — particularly towards evidence-based approaches like medications for opioid addiction and needle exchanges.

Given these potential differences, Oregon’s approach may not work as well as Portugal’s. But if voters adopt the measure, it would be as close to the Portugal model as any state has gotten in modern times. And if it works, drug policy reformers could leverage the example to spread the idea around the country.

This is part of a broader effort to scale back the war on drugs

Over the past decade, progressives have increasingly called to “end the war on drugs” — citing, in particular, the vast racial disparities in anti-drug law enforcement. While some lawmakers have taken up that call, legislation has often lagged behind what progressive activists — and voters — support. So activists and voters have begun to take matters into their own hands with ballot measures.

Marijuana legalization is one such example. There’s a lot of support for marijuana legalization, with even a majority of Republicans, who are typically more skeptical of drug policy reform, backing the change in public polls. Yet progressive politicians have lagged behind voters on this issue — for instance, former Vice President Joe Biden, the Democratic nominee for president, opposes marijuana legalization (though he backs decriminalization).

Rather than wait for politicians to catch up, activists have gone through the state ballot initiative process to get the change they want. In 2012, that approach made Colorado and Washington the first two states to legalize marijuana. Nine more states, and DC, have since followed (although two states, Illinois and Vermont, did so through their legislatures). Four other states have legalization measures on the ballot in November.

Given their successes with marijuana, drug policy reformers are now looking for other ways to scale back the war on drugs through ballot measures. That includes Oregon’s drug decriminalization measure, as well as other ballot measures, including one in Oregon, involving psychedelic substances. The question now is if the voters will be as receptive to these ideas as drug policy reformers hope they are.

If voters do prove receptive, that could make the new measures the beginning of a broader push in the next few years, similar to what the US has already seen with marijuana. But first, we’ll have to see how the vote works out in Oregon this November.

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‘Moria 2.0’: Groups slam conditions at replacement refugee camp



Concerns rise for thousands of refugees in new shelter ahead of winter, after a huge fire reduced Moria to ashes.

The Oxfam aid organisation and Greek Council for Refugees have criticised conditions at a provisional tent camp for refugees and migrants on the Greek island of Lesbos, saying conditions are worse than they were at the original site that burned down.

Some 8,000 people, mostly families with children, are living in tents not fit for winter, Oxfam said on Wednesday in Brussels.

The charity sent staff to Lesbos, together with the Greek Council of Refugees, to assess the situation at the provisional site after a fire gutted the island’s Moria camp in September. Greece says the blaze was deliberately set by migrants.

The aid workers criticised the new camp, dubbed “Moria 2.0″, saying the shelter was inadequate, there was hardly any running water, and healthcare services were limited and there was no access to legal aid.

“The EU [European Union] and Greek response following the Moria fire has been pitiful. Rather than relocating asylum seekers to proper shelters where they would be safe, the EU and Greece have opted for another dismal camp at the external borders, trapping people in a spiral of destitution and misery,” said Oxfam’s EU migration expert, Raphael Shilhav.

Some tents are only 20 metres from the sea and have no protection from the weather, aid workers said.

Food is only provided once or twice each day, is insufficient and of poor quality, Oxfam said.

Furthermore, there is hardly any running water, so many people wash in the sea. And there is no drainage and sewage system on the site that was formerly a military shooting range.

Oxfam appealed to EU countries to take in refugees from the Greek islands. It said the EU should also help Greece and aid organisations to equip the camps properly. Greece should bring people to the mainland as soon as possible and provide suitable accommodation.

Parts of the provisional camp have already been submerged by flooding due to October rains.

Natalia-Rafaella Kafkoutsou, refugee law expert at the Greek Council for Refugees, said: “We are deeply concerned about living conditions in the new camp and urge Greece to relocate immediately everyone from the island. Though the government’s plan to relocate all residents by Easter is welcome, it fails to address the squalid conditions in the camp, which will deteriorate in winter.”


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