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Sorry, but this misses the point entirely.

The White House does in fact owe a response to the petition. That's the deal they set up themselves. They owe it to the people to live up to it.

And that response will be as meaningless as most of the responses they've given. So what? What will it do or change? Will this response prevent another Aaron Swartz incident?

You miss the point.

Getting the law (or even policies on prosecutorial practices) changed to prevent another such incident is a VERY HARD task. Taking small steps toward that task is NOT "meaningless".

The victory to be celebrated here is NOT that the problem has been solved. It is not even that the White House now has to help work to solve the problem. The victory to be celebrated here is that the White House actually has to say something. (And they DO have to... if not, then the press coverage will increase until reporters demand an answer on their own. Heck, refusing to comment would be GREAT for our cause.)

Do you have any idea how difficult it is to make the White House at least make a statement about your issue? It is something powerful lawmakers and world-spanning corporations often find themselves unable to accomplish.

Now, that's not much: the White House's response may consist of meaningless blather. But it is not nothing: the White House has been forced to respond. And it helps to increase the momentum toward taking some kind of REAL action.

The petitions at WhiteHouse.org don't fix problems, but when something is NOT being discussed by lawmakers, this kind of thing can help get that conversation started. Belittling it isn't helping.

And they DO have to... if not, then the press coverage will increase until reporters demand an answer on their own.

No, the media coverage will the same as it has always been since Obama announced his candidacy: fawning adoration, mixed with just enough mild skepticism to create the impression amongst themselves and others that they really do perform some sort of journalistic function and that what we see in the media really is "news" and not just propaganda.

Poke a Mainstream Media "reporter" deep enough and you'll always touch MSNBC.

What a skewed view of the world - I hardly think you will find MSNBC by poking FOX reporters, NYT reporters or Christian Science Monitor reporters (not to mention al-Jazeera, BBC, RT, etc.) And Obama has gotten plenty of bad press.

I hardly think you will find MSNBC by poking... NYT reporters or Christian Science Monitor reporters (not to mention al-Jazeera, BBC, RT, etc.)

I assume this is a joke, particularly the NYT. And I'm not seeing ABC, CBS, NBC (owned by GE, which has gotten massive "green energy" subsidies from Obama), PBS, the former Current TV, not to mention almost every newspaper in the US, anywhere in your list. Kinda lopsided, huh?

As for the foreign media organs, the BBC, al-Jazeera, and RT are all famously anti-American. Obama still manages to get much better press that any Republican. They hate America and they like Obama. Odd.

I suspect that _just signing_ a petition almost creates no impetus for change. The whitehouse response, while it might get some attention, is just that - a PR response. if everyone who signed the petition instead wrote a letter to their respective congressman/woman , it might've affected some more changes.

I don't want to belittle the petition, but it makes it look like change is being afected, while in actual fact, it is nothing more than managing PR for the whitehouse.

I agree 100% with this.

This is an interesting question, and the answer is not as obvious as you seem to think.

Given that absurd amounts of discretionary power have been placed in the hands of civil servants, and that this power is not likely to be removed anytime soon, the root of the matter is this:

Will future civil servants temper their actions because they don't want to find their names in the middle of another shitstorm like this?

It's a psychological question. It's personal.

Not only that. Just last month Carmen Ortiz was being talked up as a serious candidate to be the next governor or AG of Massachusetts. [0]

Now she is extraordinarily unlikely to ever hold elected office. I know that I -- a committed Democrat -- will cheerfully send money to any opponent in a primary and even an odious Republican in a general election running against her. The local tech scene is full of people who feel the same and can organize the state's most productive industry.

One US attorney on the verge of greatness has seen the career consequences of serious misbehavior. We can only hope more will see them because the nation's prosecutorial culture is nasty, vicious, anti-democratic, brutal, and out of control.

0 - http://www.dailykos.com/story/2013/01/30/1183402/-As-Gov-Pat...

Will future civil servants temper their actions because they don't want to find their names in the middle of another shitstorm like this?

I would agree with this statement if you changed it to read 'temper their actions against well connected individuals'. I'm still unsure if this is a net gain.

This whole event is going to cast a pall on one prosecutors' political aspirations and serve as a warning to others. What kind of response will make you happy?

As you say, many responses have been meaningless, but this contradicts your point: it is indeed a force if they express a preference on the issue, and their lack of stance on many topics reveals that words have consequences. There's nothing wrong with calling Obama out on this, even if not much results, because the population will realign if Obama takes the opportunity to advocate for a difference from the status quo.

Not to mention that the Whitehouse is the world's great bastion of representative democracy. Like hell they don't owe their own citizens a response. That's why they setup the petitions system.

The first comment so totally missed the point that it curved around and nearly smacked the author on the head.

"world's great bastion of representative democracy" and kill lists and 100 mile Constitution-free search & seizures and signing bills without Congress having read them and ignoring immigration laws and on and on

Yep. Still the bastion of democracy.

I see that are you still believe in "democracy". Please do some serious research and follow the money. Let us know when you finally realize that you live in a plutocracy.

You are assuming I live in the United States.

That said, it's not been that long since Carmen Ortiz had this petition aimed at herself: https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/remove-united-stat...

As you can see, the petition reached over twice the required amount(and when it reached 25k, there was a discussion about raising the required amount to 100k). The site's been criticized several times now, because of this reason.

I personally think they should add a tab for petitions that reached the requirement, so that these petitions aren't lost, which would make it easier for people to see which petitions still require an answer.

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