Thoughts on the “internet’s take action button” calling on Congress to pass COVID relief

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The CEO of GoFundMe, the largest crowdfunding platform in the world, the site that millions of Americans have turned to in the hopes that their fellow Americans would throw them some pennies to keep them from falling through the gaping holes in our nation’s basic systems, and the self-styled “internet’s take action button” penned a remarkable op-ed in USA Today.

After cataloging the extraordinary volume of COVID-19-related fundraisers the site has hosted over the past year, and categorizing those desperate pleas into heartbreakingly telling categories —…


Books We Should Chat About sticks around for another year. (Or at least another month.)

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Photo by Eugenio Mazzone on Unsplash

It’s finally officially 2021 and the President’s tweets are extremely boring, the White House Press Room podium isn’t a campaign prop, Dr. Fauci is liberated to tell us the hard truths, we’re back in the WHO and the Paris Climate Agreement, we’re not trying to undermine NATO, there’s no budget for a new border wall, our federal approach to immigration can no longer be summarized as “cruelty,” and grownups are working on an actual federal response to COVID … it’s a new day in America! Phew!

Many things, of course, are the same as they were on January 19, in…


Thinking about lawlessness for the cause of justice.

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In the 12 days since Donald Trump launched an armed insurrection on the heart of our democracy — domestic terrorism that growing evidence indicates was well planned and had some points of coordination inside the federal government — there have been a few ways he and his have been held to account:

  • Trump was impeached for a second time by all of the Democrats and ten Republicans in the House
  • Some state legislators who violated the 14th Amendment by participating in sedition are facing consequences ranging from removal from committees to possible expulsion from their office
  • Virtually all of mainstream…


The coup is still going to fail and 2021 starts in 13 days

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Image source: Getty

I was very excited about the email I’d planned to send yesterday celebrating the triumph of organizing (and some signs of rejection of Trumpism) in Georgia on Tuesday, what the wins might portend for governing this year and elections next cycle, and the very real evidence that the deep south isn’t made up of red states but of voter suppression states. …


A Consolidated List

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Photo by Valentin Antonini on Unsplash

Back in January, in the Before Times, I posted a challenge to myself:

This year, I’m committing to writing more about what I read. It’ll help me remember the books better, and I think it’ll be an important part of living up to another commitment I’ve made for 2020: intentionally expand the set of people I learn from, grow, and build with.

I said I’d post a monthly reading list of five-ish books for us to chat about.

And here we are. In December. The After is in sight but we’re still very much in the During. And I mostly…


How we got here and where it’s taking us

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Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

Three related pieces of information:

  1. There has been a dramatic increase in people giving money directly to help other people through cash transfer apps, rather than through nonprofit organizations.

“The coronavirus pandemic has mainstreamed a once-radical form of charity — or solidarity, depending on your politics and vantage point — in which strangers use peer-to-peer payment apps to give money directly, and instantly, to each other.”
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The Giving Apps: How Venmo and Cash App Upended a Century-Old Charity Model | Caitlin Dewey | OneZero|

2. 19 million Americans are facing eviction in January if the federal government doesn’t make immediate…


Observations on Activist CEOs, and the Politics of Privacy, and Surveillance

Salesforce is purchasing Slack, and there are slew of things that are interesting about it.

One is the seemingly unstoppable march of consolidation. Bigger tech companies controlling more of the platforms that drive our work, home, and social lives as the behemoths buy up the upstarts has extraordinary political implications. It makes it more likely that the answers to the big socio-polticial questions tied up in questions around privacy, advertising, hate speech, and more will be those that continue to favor growing big tech.

Another is the disparate fortunes of companies servicing the 25% or so of people who are…


How a political campaign is hiding in a startup

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image source: www.wsj.com%2Farticles%2Fcan-hims-move-beyond-the-marketing-message-that-made-it-a-hit

Anything related to healthcare is a thicket of politics. It’s regulated at essentially every level of government, it accounts for something approaching 20% of the U.S. economy with relevance for essentially every market sector, from education to real estate, and it is literally about life and death. There is nothing about healthcare that isn’t political.

The fundamentally political questions at the core of everything healthcare:

  • Is all healthcare or any healthcare a human right or is healthcare a consumer product — you get what you can pay for? …


It’s refreshing when it’s transparent.

On October 22, 2020, millions of people got a long email from Expensify CEO David Barrett with the subject line, “Protect democracy, vote for Biden.”

The message begins with some bold statements:

I know you don’t want to hear this from me. And I guarantee I don’t want to say it. But we are facing an unprecedented attack on the foundations of democracy itself. If you are a US citizen, anything less than a vote for Biden is a vote against democracy.

That’s right, I’m saying a vote for Trump, a vote for a third-party candidate, or simply not voting…


Where we’re at, and what to do for the next few weeks

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First things first: yes, what we’re watching unfold from the Trump White House is an attempted coup. The basic definition of a coup is “an illegal, unconstitutional seizure of power,” and a President who refuses to leave or participate in the basics of transition after losing an election is in fact an illegal and unconstitutional seizure of power.

It’s a coup attempt even if some of the people perpetrating it tell reporters off the record that it’s all just so much posturing.

It’s a coup attempt even if it turns out mostly to have been for the purpose of bilking…

Shayna Englin

I write a free newsletter on strategy, politics, communications, and the big ideas driving our world. Sign up at https://shaynabe.substack.com/

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