First Post: Self-Organizing

How Bernie Sanders supporters are using Reddit, Facebook and clipboards to self-organize; Jeb Bush's opposition to encryption; Amsterdam's Internet of Things network.


  • Tech and the presidentials: Must-read: How Bernie Sanders supporters around the country are organizing themselves, frequently in advance of the campaign or with limited help from it, using Reddit, Facebook and clipboards, as reported by Ben Schreckinger for Politico.

  • One key Sanders supporter is Aidin King, a 23-year-old winery employee who administers the Bernie Sanders for President subreddit, which has 90,000 subscribers. (Notably, the Sanders campaign has made no moves to take over the Reddit page–those of you with long memories will recall how the Obama campaign’s online organizing team took over a supporter’s grassroots MySpace page back in 2007. One of the people responsible for that decision, Chris Hughes, is now the owner of The New Republic. The other one, Scott Goodstein, is working for the Sanders campaign.)

  • Related: On Facebook, Zack Exley shares that he joined the Bernie Sanders campaign six weeks ago, where he says he’s “doing the massively-scaled movement organizing work that I’ve been dreaming about, and only scratching the surface of, for two decades.” Exley was director of online communications and organizing on John Kerry’s 2004 presidential campaign, and also co-founded and was the president of the New Organizing Institute.

  • Interviewed for a Time magazine cover story, GOP frontrunner Donald Trump (who is also self-organizing his campaign) says he would get rid of the artificial separation between Super PACs and candidates, arguing “Now you’re not supposed to talk, you’re not supposed to – they go out and play golf, they get together, but they don’t talk. Who believes that? So I want transparency. I don’t mind the money coming in. Let it be transparent. Let them talk, but let there be total transparency.”

  • Paging Larry Lessig: Trump also says this about Members of Congress and campaign finance:

    All they do it fundraise. They don’t really govern. They just fundraise. Their whole life is raising money. And I say what percentage of the time you’re raising money as opposed to legislating? …I mean they’re constantly – it’s that time of year, you come in. I mean that’s all they do is raise money….It’s the rare politician that can do what’s right in the face of massive contributions.

  • And in a comment that is sure to interest companies like Apple, which have billions in profits parked overseas to avoid paying U.S. taxes, Trump says, “We should let them back in. Everybody. Even if you paid nothing it would be a good deal. Because they’ll take that money then and use it for other things.”

  • GOP presidential candidate Jeb Bush says he’s against encryption, reports Jenna McLaughlin for The Intercept. This is kind of like saying you are against math. The actual quote, from a South Carolina event sponsored by Americans for Peace, Prosperity and Security, was ““If you create encryption, it makes it harder for the American government to do its job — while protecting civil liberties — to make sure that evildoers aren’t in our midst.”

  • The New Yorker’s Jeffrey Toobin makes a really good point about the latest twist in the Hillary Clinton email server brouhaha: the post-facto discovery that some of her emails might have contained classified information is largely meaningless, because government bureaucrats routinely classify far too much information and often do so for reasons have little to do with actual national security. And, as he notes, “Criminal violations for mishandling classified information all have intent requirements; in other words, in order to be guilty of a crime, there must be evidence that Clinton knew that the information was classified and intentionally disclosed it to an unauthorized person. There is no evidence she did anything like that. This is not now a criminal matter, and there is no realistic possibility it will turn into one.”

  • Future, Imperfect: Cosmopolitan’s Jill Filipovic reports on how Twitchy, a conservative online platform founding by rightwing blogger Michelle Malkin that monitors Twitter, has become an “organized harassment tool.” The site, which Malkin sold to Salem Media, gets 2 million unique visitors a month. She notes that “Twitchy’s terms of use disallow content that is ‘fraudulent, unlawful, threatening, abusive, harassing, libelous, defamatory, obscene, vulgar, offensive, pornographic, profane, sexually explicit or indecent,’ but those terms don’t seem to be enforced.”

  • The Awl’s media writer John Herrman says the AshleyMadison.com data dump “is in some ways the first large scale real hack, in the popular, your-secrets-are-now-public sense of the word. It is plausible—likely?—that you will know someone in or affected by this dump.”

  • This is civic tech: A bottom-up network of Amsterdam residents have built an open “Internet of Things” wireless network, Martin Bryant reports for The Next Web. “Unlike other ‘smart city projects’,” he notes, “this one is entirely crowdsourced by citizens and was put together in just six weeks.” Ten $1000 LoRaWAN gateway devices were all it took to cover the entire city.