December 16, 2016

Today Obama had a press conference before going on vacation for the holidays. I assume that means this is his last press conference.

Today the FBI agreed with the CIA assessment that Russia was in fact trying to get Trump elected. And the CIA said yesterday it was personally overseen by Putin. Which is not surprising but it’s interesting to see them name names.

Yesterday I came across a document written by formal congressional staffers who saw how the GOP was able to stonewall Obama when he came into office. They had a lot of good points about how to fight in a way that actually makes a difference. [Ed. The Indivisible Guide]

The last time Democrats were out of power to this degree, pre-2006, Facebook and Twitter barely existed. When you think of it that way, you can describe the Obama years as the first time the opposition party was able to supercharge their organization via social media.

Which makes a lot of sense to me. I was an active protester when Bush was president. His election, his wars, his recession, all of it. He was a bad president, and he was punished for it at the polls, along with his entire party.

And yet the protest movement back then paled in comparison to what I’m beginning to see now. Bush was bad for liberals, but to many people, it’s clear Trump feels like he’ll be bad for democracy itself. This is different, and the opposition is growing and strategizing in response to that threat.

Oh, yesterday Facebook announced several initiatives for addressing Fake News on their platform. I’m impressed that they’re taking the threat seriously, and impressed by how quickly they were able to get the changes released.

Everyone is entitled to their own opinions. But when someone is willfully lying or misleading, society works best when it’s loudly and clearly called out as fraudulent. If you can’t win a political debate on the merits, maybe your side deserves to lose?

I’ll argue with a conservative about any topic, any day. In some cases they may convince me, in some cases I might convince them. That’s all healthy. But liars, especially professional liars, shouldn’t be coddled by our communication mediums. News hosts should call them out. People should know they’re lying. And Facebook should assist those efforts to whatever degree they can.

So that’s a glimmer of hope. If society can make it harder to blatantly and willingly spread a lie, I trust that democracy can survive. It’ll be interesting to see what other tech companies do in this vein.

Additional note: 670,000 people signed up for Obamacare today. That’s a new record. I just saw an article in the Washington Examiner that says the GOP is full speed ahead. They’re definitely going to repeal. And then they’re definitely going to wait to replace. And they definitely think the Democrats are bluffing when they say they won’t help with a watered down replacement. Hm.