Author Topic: Not sure if it will do any good but....  (Read 1890 times)

The Good Reverend Roger

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Re: Not sure if it will do any good but....
« Reply #60 on: December 30, 2011, 03:25:18 pm »
A few thouand signatures.  How many divisions do they have?

Cutting through the crap, here, this is the most relevant and correct post on this subject so far.

Obama is not going to listen to fucking petitions.  End of story.
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Re: Not sure if it will do any good but....
« Reply #61 on: December 30, 2011, 03:41:47 pm »
Ok. So why do we have the right to petition at all? And why would the white house website create a forum for petitions if they were just going to get ignored? Did petitions once actually serve a purpose or have they always been a waste of time? And-is there a way that we could make petitions useful not so much as to influence government rather than public opinion and agitate them into doing something more tangible?
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The Good Reverend Roger

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Re: Not sure if it will do any good but....
« Reply #62 on: December 30, 2011, 04:03:17 pm »
Ok. So why do we have the right to petition at all? And why would the white house website create a forum for petitions if they were just going to get ignored?

1.  You have the right to peaceably assemble.  Petitions are pretty peaceable.  Also, amendment IX says you have all kinds of rights that aren't listed.  Sometimes I count them all, just to make myself crazy.

2.  To get a list of the malcontents.
"The illusion of freedom will continue as long as it's profitable to continue the illusion. At the point where the illusion becomes too expensive to maintain, they will just take down the scenery, they will pull back the curtains, they will move the tables and chairs out of the way, and you will see the brick wall at the back of the theatre."
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Cain

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Re: Not sure if it will do any good but....
« Reply #63 on: December 30, 2011, 04:03:56 pm »
Quote
This is what annoyed me. And it does strike me as condescending, and Cain (or anyone else), if you don't see that, I'm sorry. You're expecting me to give some sort of irrational, emotionally self-serving answer, and you just want to nip that in the bud, when I wasn't going to do anything of the sort, and you should know me well enough at this point to know that my answer would not have included any warm fuzzy feelings. Because that isn't better than nothing. But whatever, like I said I figured someone pissed in your cornflakes.

The main reason I said that is I hear a LOT from people in politics, from all different causes and ideologies, that "at least doing something is better than doing nothing".  Which is, to my mind, a specious argument.  What it does boil down to, 99% of the time, is "doing X makes me feel good, even if it actually does nothing".  And you're better than that, and if I made that choice look unpalatable to choose, then I'm sure you'd think about it from a different angle and maybe see something I wasn't, or else be open to having your opinion changed.  It was cutting off a potential way the discussion could go, because it leads nowhere.

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Re: Not sure if it will do any good but....
« Reply #64 on: December 30, 2011, 04:04:01 pm »
I think it is important to note that petitions CAN work, just not on a federal level.  They work fine on the state level.  I don't know about other states, but Medical Marijuana is legal in Maine because of a petition.  Gay marriage has been banned or passed because of state level petitions.  If we had the capability of doing citizen's initiatives on a federal level, then petitions could have some significant impact.  It's that lack of machinery that makes petitions pretty useless nationally.

However, state by state, you can build up some momentum to create change.  Not to open this can of worms, but I think if marijuana were ever to become legal, that's how it will happen.  State by state, adding pressure to the federal government to take some kind of action.  Same with marriage initiatives, abortion initiatives (for better or for worse). 

But, of course, these petitions are very different than something you see on-line.  
« Last Edit: December 30, 2011, 04:05:44 pm by Classic RWHN (now with 33% more) »
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Re: Not sure if it will do any good but....
« Reply #65 on: December 30, 2011, 04:12:43 pm »
@cain- cool :)
@rwhn- thats a fair point too. You need more of a domino effect to create that sort of push. How would that work with this indefinite detention thing?
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Re: Not sure if it will do any good but....
« Reply #66 on: December 30, 2011, 04:20:13 pm »
Your flaw is in thinking "a few malcontents on the internet" constitute The Public (itself a convenient fiction).

Obama's response is already pre-determined.  It is "fuck you, you already voted for me.  If it bothers you so much, cast a ballot for Gingrinch.  Or Nader.  Ahahahaha".

The Public is just one interest group, 50% of whom don't ever vote, and, of the remaining 50%, roughly 45% will vote for one particular party because of the beastly, partisan and naked ideological commitment of the other, 45% do the same for the opposing party, 2.5% are "independents" who vote based on an ill-concieved notion of political centrism and 2.5% support third parties. 

The Public aint shit compared to Goldman Sachs, Wackenhut or the Pentagon.  The only way this law is going to get repealed is if someone goes to far and locks up Somone Important and With Connections, ie; a member of the ruling elite.  Until then, The Public will just have to suck it up.

I have an honest question regarding realpolitik:  Is there a general line that could realistically be crossed that would make an online petition effective?  Sure, a few thousand mouse clicks won't do much, but what about a million?  1.5 million?  1.57 million?  (Which, at that point would be over half of the population...) 

What I'm trying to say is whether there's some point where the "people", while not having the physical or monetary resources to compete with Government Inc., would somehow hit a psychological limit that would indeed influence Obama's behavior; and if that limit is realistically possible to reach.

Is there a tipping point for public opinion affecting policy?  Sure.

But, you have to consider the particulars of the political situation.  In 2007-8, the Democratic Congress enshrined, legalized and expanded the power of the Executive massively, despite a Republican President being in charge.  Why?  Because they knew they had a good chance at seizing the Presidency in 2008 and so those powers would become their powers.

Same dynamic is at play here.  Even if Obama threatened to veto the bill, what would happen?  The Republicans would put the legislation somewhere cosy, wait until a Republican President was in the White House and then try it all over again.  And almost certainly succeed.

There are other things can they do as well.  They can sneak in the provisions under funding Bills, social security-related legislation, healthcare reform and so on.  Things which Obama's base would punish him for if he refused.  Which he wont, because he has accepted the Bush-Cheney view on counter-terrorism and civil liberties, but even if he hypothetically did not, the vast majority of the ruling class do.

And that's the thing.  The ruling class interests are aligned in such a way that even elite dissenters are unable to effectively fight back against it.  Feingold, Ron Paul, Alan Grayson (before he lost his election) and so on have the luxury of speaking out, because they're already effectively sidelined.

One of the other unique factors influencing US politics is the high degree of partisan affiliation among the grass roots voters, while there is a good deal of agreement at the higher levels, especially on issues concerning National Security, Finance and so on.  Therefore, the chances of a unified front among the general population are low, as those who try to do so will invariably be labelled as party traitors by their own side, and marginalized as a consequence.  Usually, bipartisan movements in the US are those which agree with the National Security/Financial policy situation, such as the alliance between humanitarian interventionists and neoconservative hawks over Iraq, or the agreement between Republicans and Democrats over bailing out the banks.

As such, any mildly competent administration can play these factions like puppets, setting one group against another (usually via the media gossips, who are for the most part the useful idiots of the ruling class, but still somewhat more savvy than the general public) and achieve the outcome that is desired.  But that outcome is set by the bipartisan consensus of the ruling class, which is not only the executive/senate/house but also the "invisible government" of influential think tanks, investment banks, the military, spooks and so on.  There are, of course, factional struggles and disagreements within this grouping.  But, by and large, what they say goes.  When they decide what it is they are saying.

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Re: Not sure if it will do any good but....
« Reply #67 on: December 30, 2011, 04:23:53 pm »
Your flaw is in thinking "a few malcontents on the internet" constitute The Public (itself a convenient fiction).

Obama's response is already pre-determined.  It is "fuck you, you already voted for me.  If it bothers you so much, cast a ballot for Gingrinch.  Or Nader.  Ahahahaha".

The Public is just one interest group, 50% of whom don't ever vote, and, of the remaining 50%, roughly 45% will vote for one particular party because of the beastly, partisan and naked ideological commitment of the other, 45% do the same for the opposing party, 2.5% are "independents" who vote based on an ill-concieved notion of political centrism and 2.5% support third parties.  

The Public aint shit compared to Goldman Sachs, Wackenhut or the Pentagon.  The only way this law is going to get repealed is if someone goes to far and locks up Somone Important and With Connections, ie; a member of the ruling elite.  Until then, The Public will just have to suck it up.

I have an honest question regarding realpolitik:  Is there a general line that could realistically be crossed that would make an online petition effective?  Sure, a few thousand mouse clicks won't do much, but what about a million?  1.5 million?  1.57 million?  (Which, at that point would be over half of the population...)  

What I'm trying to say is whether there's some point where the "people", while not having the physical or monetary resources to compete with Government Inc., would somehow hit a psychological limit that would indeed influence Obama's behavior; and if that limit is realistically possible to reach.

Do you mean 157 million would be over half the population? Because I don't see the Federal government being interested in what 1.57 million people have to say on an internet petition. On a State level, though, I think the government would listen to 1.5 million.

[addressing Twid & the thread in general now]
The thing about petitions is that in some contexts, they are useful. A petition can put a measure on the local ballot. A petition can tell a politician that her constituents are upset about something and that if she doesn't do something about it they will vote her out of office. A petition can inform a company that they are losing too much business due to their practices, and put economic pressure on them to change.

On a Federal level, petitions, especially online petitions, also serve a purpose. The ones on whitehouse.org in particular serve a purpose. You see, if a petition gets more than a certain minimum of signatures (what is it, 25,000?) the White House has promised to issue a statement addressing that particular concern. That way, all the people who clicked to sign the petition feel like they have been heard, because an official at the White House addressed the petition, making them feel like they DID SOMETHING RAH! without ever leaving their computer.

It is basically a very cheap and very effective (I might even say brilliant) way to get people to shut up and stay home, and its only real practical function from where we sit is to force the White House to issue statements addressing ridiculous things like whether they are in contact with aliens from other galaxies and whether they are going to do anything about all the stray dogs in Mexico.

Now, if every click sent a dollar to an independent lobbying fund that backed the petition, it might actually do something, out in the real world.
« Last Edit: December 30, 2011, 04:25:31 pm by Nigel »
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Cain

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Re: Not sure if it will do any good but....
« Reply #68 on: December 30, 2011, 04:25:29 pm »
Ok. So why do we have the right to petition at all? And why would the white house website create a forum for petitions if they were just going to get ignored? Did petitions once actually serve a purpose or have they always been a waste of time? And-is there a way that we could make petitions useful not so much as to influence government rather than public opinion and agitate them into doing something more tangible?

The Administration cares about public opinion...just not in quite the way you may be thinking.

Once you know where the public stands, you can then see if that is acceptable for the administration's planned policies or not.  If they are, great.  If not, then a PR campaign is needed.  Manipulation of public opinion has been the name of the game since the 1920s...lets not forget, the man who invented the term "Public Relations", and indeed the industry itself, was a propaganda officer for the USA during the First World War.  PR is the propagandists term for propaganda, and you have to know what people are thinking, before you attempt to change their minds.  Preaching to the choir can look suspicious after a while, after all.

Also, petitions allow people to blow off steam.  Safety valve.  Hell, even in Communist China you can bitch about the government...just not to the government.  That is because the Chinese system of rule is not as complex and sophisticated as those of liberal democracies.

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Re: Not sure if it will do any good but....
« Reply #69 on: December 30, 2011, 04:36:54 pm »
Do you mean 157 million would be over half the population? Because I don't see the Federal government being interested in what 1.57 million people have to say on an internet petition. On a State level, though, I think the government would listen to 1.5 million.

My decimal points had a panic attack.  Yes, I meant 157 million.  Either way, I can definitely get behind what you, Cain, RWHN, and the rest are saying.  Petitioning the federal government from the safety of your computer screen does not result in the intened outcome.
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Re: Not sure if it will do any good but....
« Reply #71 on: December 30, 2011, 04:44:58 pm »
But could it be effective the other way around? Could a petition be worded in such a way to inject a new idea into the publics consciousness? And what would be the best way of doing that? If im going to start playing around with this id probably want it to be more omf than trolling.
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The Good Reverend Roger

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Re: Not sure if it will do any good but....
« Reply #72 on: December 30, 2011, 04:46:50 pm »
But could it be effective the other way around? Could a petition be worded in such a way to inject a new idea into the publics consciousness? And what would be the best way of doing that?

Buy CNN.
"The illusion of freedom will continue as long as it's profitable to continue the illusion. At the point where the illusion becomes too expensive to maintain, they will just take down the scenery, they will pull back the curtains, they will move the tables and chairs out of the way, and you will see the brick wall at the back of the theatre."
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Cain

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Re: Not sure if it will do any good but....
« Reply #73 on: December 30, 2011, 04:49:27 pm »
http://www.frogloop.com/care2blog/2010/4/28/slacktivism-why-snopes-got-it-wrong-about-internet-petitions.html

http://firstmonday.org/htbin/cgiwrap/bin/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/3336/2767



Neither of these links refute my thesis.  If you look carefully, you'll notice none of these reforms have to do with national security or financial regulation policy, two of the most critical components of how the state and ruling class actually act and where they defend their perogatives, as a class, most vigorously.

Where there was success it was because the matter was essentially non-consequential, or because it benefited one institutions or faction in its struggle against another, and public opinion was part of the overall campaign.  But the parties are unified over issues relating to terrorism, the middle east, oil, gas, investment banks, derivatives and a whole host of other subjects, and on those issues, no amount of petitioning will have an effect.

The Good Reverend Roger

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Re: Not sure if it will do any good but....
« Reply #74 on: December 30, 2011, 04:52:37 pm »
Okay, Roger.  You're talking to a wall, here.  The Horrible Truth™ is never listened to, and they'll run off and sign themselves up for "summer camp" in the guise of an online "petition" that might even get read by a junior staffer before it's sent off to the FBI to be run through/added to the kook filter.

But that's okay.  Talking to yourself is nothing new, is it?  No.  Granted, it usually happens after a facefull of peyote and bourbon, but there's nothing saying you can't do it straight.
"The illusion of freedom will continue as long as it's profitable to continue the illusion. At the point where the illusion becomes too expensive to maintain, they will just take down the scenery, they will pull back the curtains, they will move the tables and chairs out of the way, and you will see the brick wall at the back of the theatre."
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