(Graphic by New York Times)

In the same way that poor diets affect our physical health, America’s infodemic has been fueled by bad information diets. About 2,100 newspapers have folded since 2004, driving a ~58% decline in newsroom employment.

Donald J. Trump is the most corrupt President in American history, presiding over the most corrupt administration in over two centuries.

Source: September 2020 CREW report on the President’s Conflicts of Interest

He was impeached over abusing his official power for personal gain and obstructing Congress’ investigation. He obstructed the Justice Department’s investigation of his campaign. He has taken emoluments in violation of the Constitution after his election and inauguration, monetizing access and influence in his presidency through his businesses and carrying foreign entanglements into the highest office in our union, from China to Turkey to Saudi Arabia and (most famously) Russia.

Congress tolerated his emolumental corruption under both Speaker Ryan…

The United States continues to suffer from a devastating pandemic. Our union still has not taken the basic steps necessary to suppress this pandemic, and it’s costing us dearly every day we don’t act with purpose, learning from other nations that took the steps necessary to serve and protect those who have least amongst us.

Offline, we wash our hands so we don’t catch or pass on a disease. We emphasize physical hygiene to our kids.

Online, we need to practice information hygiene and teach everyone how to use social media responsibly, just as we do cars, guns, water, & fire.

It takes 20 seconds to wash your hands properly.
It takes 20 seconds to check info before you share an update.

How? SIFT” the content.

Investigate the source.
Find better coverage.
Trace claims, quotes, & media to original context.

Whether we wash our hands or scrub our feed of viral misinformation, we can…

Dear Facebook,

Please reconsider the stance you have taken on running false political ads.

Politicians can and will lie on the stump, in debates and town halls, on social media, or on campaign websites. If you want to be a host to the full spectrum of political speech, maximizing freedom of expression — as you claim – then let their updates flow onto profiles and pages, and then add layers of context and veracity to add friction to conspiracies and misinformation.

But please remember that media and tech companies do not have to take money from governments or campaigns or…

“What would you say if you saw it in another country?”

For years, professor Brendan Nyhan has asked us “what would you say if you saw this in another country?

This Twitter thread, using a fictional nation in Africa that President Trump invented, is how a foreign correspondent might report this dire moment in the politics of “Nambia.” I’ve pulled the tweets together, below.

The world is waiting to see how — or if — the United States of America checks a corrupt, illiberal president whose inability to execute his fiduciary duties to the nation makes him unfit for office.

Emerging technology has the power to make democracy stronger or weaker. Understanding where, when, and how is the hard part. Please subscribe to Civic Texts to get insights about how technologies are changing our democracy texted right to your inbox.

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Declassified whistleblower complaint about President Donald Trump and Ukraine

Original source document: https://intelligence.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=708

Dear Chairman Burr and Chairman Schiff:

I am reporting an “urgent concern” in accordance with the procedures outlined in 50 U.S.C. §3033(k)(5)(A). This letter is UNCLASSIFIED when separated from the attachment.

In the course of my official duties, I have received information from multiple U.S. Government officials that the President of the United States is using the power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign country in the 2020 U.S. election. This interference includes, among other things, pressuring a foreign country to investigate one of…

Opening data won’t remove the need for an option to file suit under Freedom of Information laws. There will always be people who try to prevent the public and press from learning of fraud, waste, incompetence or abuse of power.

But instead of people being stymied trying access information they’ve already paid for, they’ll be able to find it through a search engine or apply it through an infomediary that reuses that data.

Over time, proactive disclosure will generally reduce FOIA demand.

How the United States implements this new open government data law will put that to the test.

Yesterday, the Open Government Partnership placed the United States of America under review after the U.S. government failed to deliver a fourth National Action Plan for Open Government, as required for continued participation in the global multi-stakeholder initiative that it launched in 2011.

As I wrote over at E-PluribusUnum.org, …

Alex Howard

Dad, writer, citizen, chef, cyclist, skeptical optimist, cereal dilettante. Open government advocate at E-PluribusUnum.org.

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