White House Responses To 'We The People' Petitions Slowing To A Hand-Picked Crawl Of Canned Responses

from the could-dismiss-1/3-of-petitions-with-'lolwut'-response dept

The administration's goal of becoming the “most transparent” in history still needs a lot of improvement to get anywhere near the lofty goals announced during the (first) inauguration. One of the few steps in the right direction has been the “We the People” website, which allows anyone to post a petition and have it answered by the White House if it reaches 25,000 signatures within 30 days.

While the aim is noble, in practice the site has become a bit of joke, both in terms of participation and response. Most responses so far have been canned administration talking points that double down on whatever the current position is on the issue. And from the looks of the petitions currently sitting above the 25,000 threshold, there's no shortage of ridiculous ideas searching for presidential validation.

But among the multiple requests for state secession and Death Star construction are some issues that the administration should be responding to — like marijuana legalization/regulation, repealing the Defense of Marriage Act, free access to tax-funded scientific research — but clearly is choosing not to. A US News and World Report article points out that the White House's hit-and-miss approach seems to treat the petition site as another soapbox for cherry-picked issues.

The White House's “We the People” website just got its most popular petition to date: a request to officially designate the Westboro Baptist church as a hate group. The petition was started on Dec. 14, the same day a shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., left 27 people dead, 20 of them children, and the day the fringe church announced it would picket the victims' funerals.

The petition now has more than 260,000 signatures, far and above the 25,000 signature needed for official response.

But the White House has not yet responded to the Westboro petition—or to any of the rather uncommon requests that have flooded the site over the last few months (to secede from the Union, to make American Sign Language an official language or to nationalize Twinkies).

The White House immediately responded, however, to a petition calling to reduce gun violence after the Newtown shooting, an issue President Barack Obama has said he's keen to address. In a sit-down video response, Obama carefully explained the ways in which he'd work to make children's schools more safe.

Looking through the archives, many petitions that have been answered fall well below the 25,000 signatures needed to “force” a response, while many others well over the limit continue to be ignored. For every ignored secession request (Texas holds the lead with 123K signatures), there's a response for White House beer recipes (12,240 signatures). For every request to strip the Westboro Church of its tax exempt status (multiple – leader has 70K+ signatures), there's a response to a petition for ending “pet homelessness” (11,729 signatures).

While many of the current leaders have dubious import (deport Piers Morgan for attacking the 2nd amendment – 88K signatures), the simple fact is that the responses are being doled out in a fashion that makes a majority of the site's offerings nothing more than colorful wallpaper. The rationale behind the White House's general lack of response is unsurprising:

J.H. Snider, a fellow at Harvard University's Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics, predicted in The Huffington Post in October 2011 that “We The People” would “probably only have a short life … because the interests of the public and elected officials differ.”

Those few that have been answered have generated their own criticism. In response to multiple petitions concerning the legalization of marijuana, the administration handed the “reply” duties over to its current drug czar, who was more than happy to reassert his position's normal talking points.

On the plus side, the administration has responded to 87 petitions so far and has even spent some time explaining why it cannot respond directly to certain requests. And it's a step in the right direction that the site is still up and running. But as long as the White House continues to address only its pet issues, while ignoring a majority of the posted petitions, the more this site becomes nothing more than the internet version of the supervisor who asks for suggestions from the staff before implementing his own ideas — lots of nodding and thoughtful noises, but very little in direct response or action. 

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Comments on “White House Responses To 'We The People' Petitions Slowing To A Hand-Picked Crawl Of Canned Responses”

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Anonymous Coward says:

This hand picked, canned, response was very clear as to what it would be after the answered petition from the very first one. It was at that point I decided to ignore the site as being a waste of time.

In case you don’t remember the first one it was about legalizing marijuana. The petition quickly reached it’s required support in votes. The answer was straight out of a canned read back.

It was very evident from the chosen words this was to be a feel-good and nothing more. To give citizens the illusion of having input into government while behind the blanket the puppet masters chose their actions without referral to the audience.

The totally broken and ignored campaign promise when first elected of a transparent government amounted to a presidential ‘decree’ that government offices would attempt at all times to be more open. No sort of program was put in place to ensure those were followed with some sort of carrot and stick for enforcement. Without the carrot and stick, it’s like saying ‘purty please’? to those who weren’t elected but continue to operate as if it was the Bush family still in office.

Understand, I don’t do drugs but that’s not the point. The point is after the first petition went through all the qualifying needed to get an official answer, it was not really treated responsibility nor with respect. As a result of how quickly it got to the top, the amount of votes needed for that official answer was raised substantially I assume as a reaction in hopes of filtering some of the petitions.

Not an Electronic Rodent (profile) says:

Re: Re:

to those who weren’t elected but continue to operate as if it was the Bush family still in office

From this side of the pond that’s an optimistic understatement – the bush administration looked more transparent than the current one. Obama looks more and more like the US equivlent of Tony Blair – a used car salesman who promises one thing with a winning smile when the reality of what he’s delivering is wholly different and far more dissapointing.

Zos (profile) says:

Site’s been a joke since the day it was launched. Weed was the first petition to hit the thresh hold (and several of the top ten after that)

We got a canned response from the drug czar. The next few got canned press release statements and politiflak.

Only thing left to do is troll it into oblivion to expose the absurdity, and i’d say we’re well on our way to that.

art guerrilla (profile) says:

Re: Re:

@ zos-
exactly, zee, i think you have it right: they took the germ of a good idea and perverted it for the appearance of pretending to care what the li’l peeps have to peep about…
the only choice left is to nuke it from low orbit, and the deluge of ‘ridiculous’ petitions shows that, for those that want to see…

to paraphrase a president The They ™ had eliminated: when you make peaceful dissent impossible, you make violent revolution inevitable…

The They ™ sure do seem hellbent on pushing us to the limit, if not over the edge…

(warning copyright violation to follow)
‘don’t push me ’cause i’m close to the edge, i’m tryin’ not to lose my head, ha ha haa…’

art guerrilla
aka ann archy

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

The site is a nice distraction.
I can display my concern over important issues by ticking a box online. Then I know my voice has been heard and they will take care of it. Because my attention span will be onto the next thing and forget to follow up and be pissed they ignored it.

How about we start a petition that they shut down the damn thing and actually consider the public view instead of giving us a scripted reality show where the outcome was decided beforehand.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Skip the demand to shut it down. How about a petition requiring a distinct and individual response to each and every successful petition.

There are some things which the government can’t/shouldn’t do in response to these things other than recognize that people are for the idea. I would favor a drone strike on the WBC but I don’t think the government should do it.

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

If there can not be real discussion, and they avoid difficult topics it is a pointless exercise.
They were supposed to already give responses, not magic 8 ball answers designed to not draw any attention.

I think a petition telling them to stop blowing smoke up our collective asses with this system would make the point well.

art guerrilla (profile) says:

Re: Re:

twinkie twinkie little snack
how i want your fructose back
sponge cake made from sponges too
sugary evil in white filling goo
twinkie twinkie little snack
how you addict me just like crack

hi, i’m art, and i’m a twinkie addict…
it all started in high school: every day i would give the white-haired crack-pushers my pennies wrapped in foil, and they would slip me the golden turds of love…
EVERY DAY i would have:
two tuna fish sandwiches,
two cartons of moo juice,
and two packs of sweet sweet delicious evil twinkies…
how they seduced me…
how they reduced me…
(while enlarging me)
oh, twinkie, whither now, sweet, golden twinkie of death…

*now* what are we going to eat when the zombie apocalypse happens ? ? ?

art guerrilla
aka ann archy

Anonymous Coward says:

this is only in being to make it look as if the Government gives a crap about what the people think. in reality, all the people are wanted for is to keep paying money to whoever thinks they are entitled to it and to fall for the bullshit spouted when someone wants to be voted into office to continue being paid a fortune for doing nothing except screwing those that just gave him the job!

izzitme101 (profile) says:

J.H. Snider, a fellow at Harvard University’s Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics, predicted in The Huffington Post in October 2011 that “We The People” would “probably only have a short life … because the interests of the public and elected officials differ.”

And herein lies the real problem. How and when will elected reps be held responsible for the lies they tell for votes?

joePublic (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Every four years for the Prez. Some people like to be lied to when the lies sound good. like Bill Clinton with a tear and a bible. people want to feel rather than think. Reminds me of the mediums that will tell you they are speaking to your dead relatives. They use generic terminology and you bend it to suit your situation. Mental slight of hand. Hope and change anyone? Seriously? People have been mentally melted by anything with a screen.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Is not that people rather feel, is that people don’t know what to do.

The obvious improvement would be to the people to organize and write their own laws and review the ones that we already have and target politicians that don’t deliver what was written to them to approve, just like the corporations are doing, this is a game that both sides can play only the people have the strength in numbers if it ever we can come together to make it happen.

The thing is, trust is broken, we don’t know who to trust or how to do it, although we already have the tools to make it happen.

I am confident that someday people will start writing their own laws just like people write open source code, everybody will pull out a copy of the laws and make ammendments and the ones that a large number approve will be the ones that people would like to see become law, people will start to form groups and some will develop trust others will be thrown to the wolves.

weneedhelp (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

“is that people don’t know what to do.” – Exactly!!!
I cant tell you how many times PPL say to me, what do we do? What can I do about it?

And it kills me that I have no answer. The emotional part of me says” Fuck ’em lets get armed and storm the Congress. But I know that most likely wouldn’t work and would be met with martial law and a bloody massacre.

Well lets have a sit-in at the White House. The lamestream media would have a field day and before you know it they would be wing-nut-jobs or the like.

Dunno what will be a tipping point, but from what I have noticed happening in the short time since 9/11 and where it appears we are going, it may be the only choice we have left in the future.

Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

You see this is the problem, we are not the ones chosing the parties that make part of the race, we are not making the laws, we are not making the rules and that is why it doesn’t matter who people pick.

Change only will come when people start to do some work in that direction.

People interested in some part of the law should look up the relevant legislation and have a repository that they can download the entire thing from easily, and make changes to it, then they have to show it to others to see how it fares and see the criticisms that it takes, some will become experts in doing it and others less capable will just give up, but those who do it can be the ones writing for everybody else until they become corrupt or to hard strong in some direction and need to be replaced.

When that happens it doesn’t matter who you vote for, as long as he, she or it knows where they take orders from there will be no problem.

I also hope that we become more like ants, that don’t have an actual central government but just simple rules that govern their whole social interactions and make it work, I fantasize with a distributed form of government that goes way beyond what we have today.

Tex Arcana (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Keep dreaming.

Humans are vicious, lazy, selfish, destructive creatures; most are psycho- or socio-pathic; another good percentage are just broken; and the rest (a sad minority) are just trying to pick up the pieces.

In other words, it would be utterly impossible for us to even come close to being like ants. Societies have tried many, many times in human history, and have all failed.

Agent Smith was right: we are a virus, a disease. And we’re lucky to have managed to “advance” as far as we have without molding ourselves.

But that day is coming.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

That is my hope, vicious, lazy, selfish creatures spontaneously give rise to cooperation structures exactly because of those traits, but only if everybody is on the same level.

If I have to be on the same streets with the vicious people either I start to preach not to be vicious in self interest or I die at the hands of the other vicious people who are just like me.

We all want to survive and we all want to have better lifes, and so we all at some point recognize that we need each other, I can hate you, but I do need you, I can’t do it alone unless I am willing to go back to the stone age standard of living.

Which is why democracy is all about numbers, so the majority can force the minority to comply.

What I do want is that every egoistic selfish bastard on the face of this earth have to live under the same rules as everybody else so everybody understands what needs to be done, things evolve naturally from there.

Tex Arcana (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

That’s just it: the very bastards we are both decrying, are the very bastards trying to grind us into the dirt under their heels!! They don’t WANT equality, because they think they’re better than the rest; they don’t WANT fairness, because they only know how to lie, cheat, and steal to get what they want; they don’t WANT democracy, because those very numbers of which you speak are what prevent them from getting what they want: which is POWER.

There is only one true solution: and that’s a strong central government that has rule of law behind it, and people willing to remember what it means to be a public servant, and are willing to do what it takes to make sure the right and necessary things get done.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

A central government is what allows those bastards to be in control, you funnel all the resources and decision making into one place and you get a corrupt system every single time, you spread that responsibility to a lot of groups and no one alone will have the power to corrupt that system very easily.

A central power is a single point of failure.

What you want is to remove the law making capabilities of congress people and leave them only with the menial task of administering public resources.

Maybe not even that, if people can come up with a way that people could pick people for the right jobs.

Divide and conquer, divide the power the government has forcing them to listen to all the groups and forcing it to build consensus instead of mandating it.

Tex Arcana (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

Without a central authority that can actually enforce the rules that WE want in place, unscrupulous humans will run rampant and hurt people for their own profit–it’s happening now, in fact, because the Corporatists have changed the rules to allow those psychos get away with murder, sometimes literally. You can’t watch tv without seeing shit that’s worthless crap, much like the snake oil from the 19th century, and into the 20th, before that central government you so despise grew strong enough to regulate.

You cannot have rule of law without some central authority to help enforce said law.

If you want to decentralize and eliminate government, why don’t you go see what no government gets you? I hear Somalia is a great place to experience that–it’s called “anarchy”, btw. And those Corporatists that espouse “lesser government” really want “no government” at all… So they can make unbridled profits at the expense of their customers.

Is that what you really want? To watch your children eat something that will make them sick? To use a car that will blow up in their faces? To have a building collapse on them and kill them?

Because that’s what you’ll get without strong law and regulation.

weneedhelp (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Re:

Sorry Tex I dont agree. There was a short time when YouTube had its community flagging inappropriate content and it worked really well. Porn vids were flagged in minuets. All it took was for the community to get involved.

In an anarchy, or school yard tactics, the greater numbers protect the lesser. Example: When I was younger and their was a fight between PPL that was it. They fought and the crowd kept it for lack of a better word safe. When we hit the ground and someone was a clear loser it was broken up and that was it. You lost I won, now lets go have a keg.

I have seen these social mores at work in different situations all throughout life in many situations.

“Is that what you really want? To watch your children eat something that will make them sick? To use a car that will blow up in their faces? To have a building collapse on them and kill them?

Because that’s what you’ll get without strong law and regulation.” – And that is exactly what you have been brainwashed to think. I dont know of many food businesses with lousy food or food that makes ppl sick that survive.

“that’s what you’ll get without strong law and regulation.” – We already have that WITH GOV regulation. I guess you dont watch Kitchen Nightmares that much huh? Dont if you like to eat out.

I guess you dont like home renovation shows either. Despite having strict codes to adhere to while building/remodeling, PPL dont always follow them. You can have regulations out the wazoo and PPL will always try to cut corners.

What we do know is that almost every central government in history has failed. I gotta go home now but have a little read if you have time:
Six Thousand Years of Failed Governments
(She gets a little God-y at the end)

and in case you dont:
If man is evil, government will be evil, and that is precisely what history proves.

Just for “fun”

Tex Arcana (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:7 Re:

Unfortunately, you’re wrong, on a number of counts.

First off, I’m not brainwashed: EVERYTHING I state comes from observation. And I observe on a DAILY basis what lax regulation or lawlessness gets you. For instance: a man has died because someone didn’t make sure TNMP put their auger in the ground in the right place, it split a gas line, a house blew up, and a man died. Had the regulation been a bit stricter, this accident wouldn’t have happened. Or the dozen or so times during the past year it’s happened.

Another observation: the bank “bailout”, which was a direct result of a deregulated banking and mortgage industry that, as soon as it was deregulated, played immoral and illegal games with mortgages and people’s money, to the point where it helped collapse the economy–and then they ripped off the taxpayers to the tune of $850 billion.

Yet another: outsourcing of jobs. And that’s just so the 1%ers can fatten their already fat profits, while they put people out of jobs and in turn given them dangerous products with the dangers carefully hidden so the consumers have no clue of the dangers.

Riiiight, schoolyard rules work in one place only: a schoolyard. When those “rules” get translated to adults and economies, you get Somalia. In other words, “ANARCHY”.

Perhaps you’re one of the robber barons, who’s going to profit obscenely from the anarchy, by selling poisoned food and clothing and defective devices. Who cares if the great unwashed DIE?? As long as the die -over there- and not on your lawn, am I right??

Either way, the only person who’s delusional and brainwashed is YOU, sir: the TeaParty crazies have gotten to you.

weneedhelp (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:8 Re:

Your example is weak: For instance: a man has died because someone didn’t make sure TNMP put their auger in the ground in the right place, it split a gas line, a house blew up, and a man died. Had the regulation been a bit stricter, this accident wouldn’t have happened.

There are strict guidelines and a media campaign to call utilities before digging. They come out for free. No amount of regulations would have changed the outcome that some ass dug without a survey. Now it is unfortunate that that man died but if the workers and PPL around noticed he was digging without survey flags and didn’t say anything, shame on them. Ever hear of call before digging

“Another observation: the bank “bailout””
I think you need to reevaluate your position on that:

“you get Somalia” Somalia is not a good example of a true anarchy because you have factions fighting to be the central power. You missed the point of social mores and how they can more effective than any rules and regulations put forth by GOV.

“Perhaps you’re one of the robber barons, who’s going to profit obscenely from the anarchy, by selling poisoned food and clothing and defective devices. Who cares if the great unwashed DIE?? As long as the die -over there- and not on your lawn, am I right??” – Yes [sigh] I am a robber baron that gets to blah blah blah. /s

“Either way, the only person who’s delusional and brainwashed is YOU, sir: the TeaParty crazies have gotten to you.” – So much assumption fail here its crazy. I never once clamored for smaller government. I agree that the size and scope of government has gotten unmanageable and not cost effective. So if I were you I would keep the ASSumptions to a minimum.

See normally in a discussion you would have point, counter point. It is a clear indicator of a troll when valid points are ignored. Despite all of the valid arguments made above you choose to ignore them. Ex: Despite heavy regulation in the food industry we see the conditions in restaurants that are deplorable.

Strict regulation in any industry can have positive and negative consequences, and stricter/more does not always lead to better.

“Yet another: outsourcing of jobs. And that’s just so the 1%ers can fatten their already fat profits, while they put people out of jobs and in turn given them dangerous products with the dangers carefully hidden so the consumers have no clue of the dangers.” – You do realize, or not, you sound just like a Tea Party follower.

Tex Arcana (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:9 Re:

What I realize is you’re a Corporatist: he who thinks corporate organization and thinking solves all ills. And you and your ilk couldn’t be more wrong, if you walked off a cliff–then again, walking off said cliff like the pack of lemmings y’all are would solve a HUGE number of problems.

How do I know this? You quoted BusinessWeek, the primary media mouthpiece for all things corporate. “Corporate” and “business” are the very antithesis of all things human and life-oriented, because their ONLY goal is “profit ?ber alles”. i.e., “kill the customer, just as long as we get their money.”

Yes, I troll: I troll to make people THINK outside their comfort zones, their cubicles; if just ONE comes away with just one positive or contrary thought, and can move forward from that moment a better HUMAN, then I’ve succeeded.

And that’s what matters to me.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

” it doesn’t matter who people pick”

This is complete bollocks.

Who one votes for may not matter when it comes to a specific issue, but it does matter overall – to insinuate otherwise is simply ignorant or more likely deceitful.

In the past, differences between the parties were much smaller and the candidates attempted to find talking points which would get votes but today there is a huge difference which is so obvious one can not ignore it.

In present day politics it is rather simple to see that it does make a difference, unless one is willfully blind.

Poor Karl Rove, maybe next time bazillions of dollars will buy the white house, but not this time.

Jake says:


This administration has made the Bush administration look like they were made of glass. Even the award for transparency given to Obama was done in private, without it even being listed on the President’s public schedule. From going after whistleblowers to stepped up surveillance, this administration is more Orwellian than any before it.

weneedhelp (profile) says:

Re: 1984

See at least with the Neoconservative Republicans they were open whith the fucked up shit they wanted to do. You could almost respect it. But with the DemocRATS, its all secret.

At least Bush had the nerve to admit he thought he was the Decider, and the mission was accomplished, and he saw the first plane hit on TV before the footage was even given to the media.

Two sides of the same coin, the 2 party system is a farce to separate the populace. It has worked rather well.

When will the sheeple that buy into this crap learn?

Anonymous Coward says:

Not surprising at all.

Even the silly stuff should get a response. The pet homelessness petition got a response including “…the federal government’s role in this area is limited, and these issues are primarily within the jurisdiction of states and local governments.” There’s nothing wrong with that sort of response. Instead of ignoring the Death Star petition, explain that international treaties prohibit weapons in space – or just say that it’s going to be too expensive, or flat out say that they are being stupid to suggest building something that only exists in science fiction and has no purpose other than to destroy the planet.

(After spending a few minutes on that site, I really really want a way to write a response myself as to why the petition is stupid or the White House is the wrong agency to be petitioning. Or at least a way to anti-sign some of those petitions to show my opposition.)

btr1701 (profile) says:

> “We The People” would “probably only have a short life … because
> the interests of the public and elected officials differ.”

If that doesn’t say it all in a nutshell. The government that is theoretically supposed to exist only to represent the will of the people… has different interests than those very people and is therefore ignoring them.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

This may be the case, short term, and many of those who benefit from such an arrangement are too ignorant to see its faults. However, historians point out that this dichotomy has not ended well for any of the members of such societies in the past. Why would anyone think it will be different this time?

Anonymous Coward says:

I think the problem is that the president offered a response from his office, when in reality it should go through some kind of moderation which could give an easy response as to why the idea won’t work/won’t be commented on and does it in a clear and concise manner. Maybe in a way that could remove duplicate petitions as well.

Sure it sounds like an appeal to some kind of authority to say that not every opinion is as equal as others and needs some kind of moderation, but at least some kind of response by someone who was educated on the subject is better than just being ignored by the administration. It’s a fake sense of acceptance instead of a very real sense of neglect.

Anonymous Coward says:

I fantasize with Democracy 2.0.

Society would be divided into small cells that would define and make rules and live by those rules inside those small cells and other cells would adopt those rules or not organically spreading the rules forming a body the rules would be enforceable everywhere if they can gain and sustain a majority of say 75% or 3/4th of all the cells to use it and if it drops below that it cannot be enforced on the whole and so it dies or goes dormant only being applied in selected places that chose to make use of it.

Cells would be the new congress people, it could be a neighborhood thing, and if it gets big another level would be city wide, than state, than country.

I don’t see the need for using proxies anymore, and I see a need to make laws more organic in the ways that they come to life and expire.

Network designers deal with collisions that could be useful to solve collision of ideas in a networked governance kind of way.

joePublic (profile) says:

Re: Re:

I was waiting for the sarcasm tag. What you described is called the United States Constitution. The states are the cells, designed with the power to make decisions for themselves, with a central government to handle few tasks, such as defense. We are so smart now, they we figure those primitive people wouldn’t set up the same system today. The Constitution was put in place to hold off our current version of government as long as possible.

Tex Arcana (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:


You think we’re smart??

Like hell. You give way too much credit.

A few are smart; a very few. Most of those are just ruthless, and willing to cut your throat for that extra dollar.

Some COULD be smart, but either choose to be dumb, or just can’t be bothered. They’d rather play their games/watch tv/get high.

the rest are dumb, plain dumb; and the “education system” is constantly failing them every year. Look at TexASS: uberfuhrer Perry and company are doing their damnedest to completely dismantle the public school system–allegedly to give their cronies more money via “private school vouchers”; but the real reason is so the common people will end up even dumber than they are now. Which leads right to a corporate government that’s set up to funnel even more money to the 1%, while turning the 99% into slaves. Stupid, drooling slaves.

Great society you’re espousing there, boudreax.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

“A few are smart; a very few …. the rest are dumb, plain dumb; and the “education system” is constantly failing them “

You seem to be claiming it’s black or white, no gray.
Not sure where you attended school, but they taught us about the Bell Curve, perhaps you were out sick that day.

I understand what you are saying, but not everyone is stupid. Many of those who espouse the anti public education rhetoric may simply be gullible, I don’t know. But one can not simply state that everyone is stupid. There are many who are succeeding in public education, both teachers and students. One may get a skewed point of view because public education varies greatly across counties, states and country.

AJBarnes says:

For an administration that promised ‘transparency’, they sure hold a lot of events (including Coronation, uh… check that, inaguration of their beloved leader, behind closed doors. Laws are enacted by presidential fiat (legalization of illegal immigrants despite overwhelming vote by both houses to not go there). Maybe the problem is there’s no way to read these petitions while his majesty is on yet another vacation, spending millions of dollars we don’t have playing golf and having armed guards protect him and his family. The priorities of this administration are suspect…

Jonathan says:


AC 11:20am, clearly you’ve been drinking the partisan Kool-Aid because you have it exactly backwards.

Ignore platforms. Platforms are as meaningful, as respected and as binding as those ornamental “vision statements” corporations like to come up with from time to time. Basically, marketing claptrap.

In *policy*, which arguably is the product we employ officials to create, the differences are thin. If you look at him dispassionately and desaturate the black-white red-blue bullshit out of the picture, OBAMA IS A GODDAMN MODERATE REPUBLICAN.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

I agree somewhat. Obama is a centrist, this is the position of many in the field of political “science” who should know. When I state this postion to some people, I get a rather angry reaction because they believe him to be some sort of left wing radical. They would not know a liberal if it bite them on the ass.

My argument that it does matter, stands. Here are a few reasons why:
1) I will not vote for a party that talks crazy BS, one party certainly out did the other in this category
2) Politics is compromise, some are apparently incapable
3) If it did not matter, why are some who lost so upset
4) I’m happy that money alone was not allowed to purchase the whitehouse

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

The insurance goons have been selling their middleman skimming scheme for decades. It has been a slow progression of inserting themselves between patient and doctor which has resulting in massive profits. This did not happen overnight. People need health_care, not health_insurance.

Jonathan says:


AC 11:46am, such regimes always do end badly, but it’s great while it lasts which could easily be several lifetimes, and often enough those at the top are spared their lives, if not their fortunes.

There are three significant differences this time around. First, the improved precision, range, effectiveness and safety of today’s less-than-lethal force projection and surveillance technologies allows any size bunch of rabble to be monitored, subdued and/or dispersed with minimal effort and minimal casualties, and almost everyone can get their disloyal, wretched arses back to work the very next day.

Second, the body of knowledge regarding psychology is (as far as we know) far more comprehensive than in any other attempt thus far, which can often be used to carefully manage public opinion in such a way as to prevent protests from ever brewing, or to reliably and effectively deflect, invalidate or obscure legitimate grievances. One notable tactic is sabotaging solidarity by sowing mistrust widely and narrowly, thus crippling any spontaneous collective effort not guided from above (and do you trust your leader if she’s not paying you?). Another notable tactic is that classic “divide and rule”, in the form of encouraging the masses to sort themselves into two near-diametrically opposing camps; transferring tangible or intangible goods to both camps intermittently, unpredictably and unevenly to give the illusion of competition; and sitting back and watching the show, with a little nudge from agents provocateurs as needed.

Finally, most people are entirely dependent on the status quo social order. Dick Cheney’s “The American lifestyle is non-negotiable” sounds odious to anyone paying the least attention but guides pretty much every USian in practice. The educated classes are unlikely to endanger their present holdings, future prospects, shiny toys, social status, or even creature comforts by engaging in a battle with the hand that “feeds” them, and will often take part in the defense of the status quo from the class beneath them.

commenter8 (profile) says:

Sign This One!

Oil and gas companies, which are raking in record profits, certainly don’t need $4 billion a year in subsidies, and even the oil company CEOs admit they don’t need it!

Why are cuts to Social Security and Medicare even being discussed while literally billions in corporate welfare are constantly spilling out of the Treasury?

White House petition to end corporate welfare here: http://wh.gov/Qa6f

Tex Arcana (profile) says:


Fine, I stand corrected.

Replace “dumb” with “ignorant”; but the result is the same: people incapable of thinking critically, and thinking their way out of a paper bag.

The motherfuckers running TexASS right now are right now, as we speak, trying to eliminate “critical thinking” from the classrooms. WHAT THE FUCK!?!? They’ve already utterly gutted the public school system–once ranked amongst the best, it’s now an utter shambles, and getting worse every week.

I got lucky: I got to attend a very private college preparatory school, where we graduated already college sophomores. Where those who flunked out, and went to other private schools, ended up on the dean’s list. Where, when those that egregiously flunked out and went to public schools, ended up valedictorians.

So I’ve seen both sides of the fence, and I gotta tell you: continue gutting education the way it’s going NATIONWIDE, and we will end up with a nation full of ignoramuses who all couldn’t collectively think their ways out of a paper bag. And with a very few sucking every dime they can out of their pockets, and keeping them impoverished.

Oh, snap: it’s already happening.

Fuck it: it’s time for a really big asteroid to reset this damn planet. Maybe the roaches will do a better job next time around.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Texas is run by people with a crazy ass agenda, one geared toward some dystopian nightmare. It really is sad, and these same conspirators are out there attacking state by state and it is spreading. Many states in this nation have not succumbed to this insanity and hopefully people will become more aware of what is being done to them and put a stop to it.

Your vote does matter and do not let anyone tell you otherwise.

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