Facebook and fake news

Fake news is a very real problem. We’ve seen that if you tell a lie often enough, it becomes accepted as the truth. If someone posts a story on Facebook that catches on, the lie goes viral. Good journalism is under attack, so when the NYT or WaPo debunk misinformation, many, especially Trump followers, dismiss the researched and reported evidence because they’ve been told that it comes from a tainted source that has lost credibility. The Facebook phenomenon was a good thing until, inevitably, I suppose, it began to be exploited by those who saw in it an opportunity to spread misinformation and hate.
I believe that hate speech should, like all speech, be protected, but what we are seeing is something else: that people don’t know what is true because our institutions and the foundations of American democracy are being eroded by irresponsible and ignorant people like Donald Trump. He only has to assert a few times that the system we have is rigged until people come to accept a baseless accusation as a truth, opening the door to voter suppression and no confidence in the institutions that made American democracy “great” and without which we are no better than a banana republic.
Facebook is a very convenient and effective platform for spreading lies that contain just enough truth to render them credible to the credulous.
I’m still very anxious about a Trump presidency, each day more so. With Trump calling the shots, muzzling the press and ostracizing anyone with the audacity to criticize him, news outlets have to walk a very fine line. How can the Fourth Estate do its job of telling truth to power when the reporters and their publications may be subject to vindictive retaliation?
These are parlous times.

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Trump’s massive deceit

Trump’s big infrastructure plan? It’s a trap. by Ronald A. Klain

First, Trump’s plan is not really an infrastructure plan. It’s a tax-cut plan for utility-industry and construction-sector investors, and a massive corporate welfare plan for contractors.

Very convincing. Devastating.

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Mulling it over two days later

In the immediate hours after the election, I was reeling and I wrote something I regret. I realize it’s not true:

It’s over now. It’s over for Hillary and for many of her contemporaries who fought so hard for civil and women’s rights and were finally closing in on the unattainable prize. That cohort may not live to see a woman in the White House.

It’s never over. Hillary won’t be president, but she’s not going to stay home and bake cookies. She never has. I am confident she will continue to serve.

As for her contemporaries, they’re not staying on the sidelines either. It’s time to plan for the next election. Elizabeth Warren, where are you?

As for the rest, be active and get involved! That’s how you make a difference.

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Irrepressible

nextwomanpres

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November 9, 2016 · 10:00 PM

The morning after

I didn’t realize how deeply I felt about a victory for Hillary till I found myself crying when I finally accepted that Hillary wasn’t going to make it. Like so many others, I was stunned. Literally dumbfounded. 

This is a huge amount to process. Every woman I meet is walking around dazed, zombie-like. It doesn’t sink in. It will take time to accept the unthinkable. We are truly in uncharted waters.

There is no question in my mind that if Hillary, with all she’s accomplished, were a man, she would easily have won. Women know this. Sexism was blatant when she competed with Obama eight years ago and now it’s back with a vengeance. The double standard applied in the 2016 presidential campaign boggles the mind. In what universe would a man with Hillary’s experience and accomplishments run neck and neck, let alone lose, to a challenger like Trump? Why was his record of fraud (Trump University), racial redlining in his housing projects, indiscriminate lies, sexual predation, etc. so easily swallowed while she was vilified for crimes she didn’t commit?

What will a Trump victory mean for women? For access to safe abortion when necessary? For indigent women’s access to contraception? What will it mean for the immigrants, especially Muslim and Latino?

It’s over now. It’s over for Hillary and for many of her contemporaries who fought so hard for civil and women’s rights and were finally closing in on the unattainable prize. That cohort may not live to see a woman in the White House.

We will have to move on. Rather than expend energy on speculation, it behooves us to continue to fight the good fight. Each of us has to find her own way to continue and contribute to the struggle.

A version of this is at Women’s Voices for Change:

Post-Election Opinion: ‘We Can’t Allow Ourselves to Be Daunted’

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Obamacare: Despite gaps, women are catching up

Obamacare Scores Big for Women but Stops Short of the Goal

mammogramBefore the ACA, also known as Obamacare, women were at a distinct disadvantage. Most health insurance plans required women to pay higher premiums than men did. In addition, people were not covered for pre-existing conditions that often made them ineligible for health insurance. For women these included pregnancy, a previous Caesarean section, and even conditions stemming from sexual assault. Many plans excluded maternity coverage. As a result, women paid approximately $1 billion more per year than men did for health care and some women could not afford any health insurance at all.

Obamacare changed all that. Women are now demonstrably better off.

Continue reading Obamacare Scores Big for Women but Stops Short of the Goal

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Earthrise and Saturn closeup

I was exploring Quartz and came upon these breath-taking images.

Our Blue Marble, seen at dawn, rising from the moon, is an awesome sight.

by Japan’s Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). Taken by the Kaguya lunar orbiter

by Japan’s Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). Taken by the Kaguya lunar orbiter.

A reverse view of Saturn, made by combining 165 images, reveals additional, fainter rings around the planet.

A reverse view of Saturn, made by combining 165 images, revealed additional, fainter rings around the planet. (NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute)

(NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute)

Saturn, its shadow and its rings
A view of Saturn from its night side. Even when not directly in front of the sun, its rings still reflect light around the planet.

A view of Saturn from its night side. Even when not directly in front of the sun, its rings still reflect light around the planet. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute)

(NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute)

 

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