Petitioning the government for redress of grievances

This seems oddly familiar…

The White House is setting up a We the People website, where citizens can petition the government… and get a response.

Anyone 13 or older can create or sign a petition on asking the Obama Administration to take action on a range of important issues facing our country. […]

Creating or signing a petition is just the first step. It’s up to you to build support for a petition and gather even more signatures. […]

If a petition meets the signature threshold, it will be reviewed by the Administration and an official response will be issued. And we’ll make sure that the petition is sent to the appropriate policy makers in the Administration.

The initial threshold to get a response from the Administration is 5,000 signatures.

Drug policy reform has dominated every other citizen-based feedback forum (, the various townhall and video townhall events, etc), and I’m sure we’ll do the same here (as we should). It’s the same idea dressed up in new clothes.

Like all similar efforts in this administrations, this rings a bit like providing bread and circuses to the populace – giving them the feel-good sense of government being “open and accountable,” when it’s anything but.

Despite my cynicism, these opportunities do provide us with something of value. Not in terms of reaching the government (they already know their answer to our petition), but in terms of reaching the people and making them aware of how many other people are demanding change.

[Thanks, Dan]
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23 Responses to Petitioning the government for redress of grievances

  1. JDV says:

    “If a petition meets the signature threshold, it will be reviewed by the Administration and an official response will be issued. And we’ll make sure that the petition is sent to the appropriate policy makers in the Administration.”

    I suspect this means it will be skimmed by a harried, overworked, low-level staffer and a form letter will be issued in response.

  2. Duncan20903 says:

    The initial threshold to get a response from the Administration is 5,000 signatures except in the case of questions about merrywanna which will require the signatures of 315 million American citizens before an answer is issued.
    Yes, the population of the US is just under 310,000,000. What’s your point?

  3. ezrydn says:

    Since when did the government start being concerned about “true” figures? Time to whup their elitists butts AGAIN!

  4. darkcycle says:

    This is like the “Walk” button at your local crosswalk, or the “door close” button in the elevator where you work. It is a button that has the response you want written on it, but it’s really not connected to anything. It’s just there to make you feel better and to give you something to do.
    The point that I’m taking is that they are feeling quite a bit of pressure from the ‘little people’, you know, the voters they pretend to need every four years, to be responsive. Or to at least go through the motions pretending to be responsive. This would be an example of the latter.

  5. claygooding says:

    I am waiting for Norml,LEAP,ASA,,,etc to initiate a petition and will sign all,,,,they may just get that 315 million signatures…..

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  7. vickyvampire says:

    This man Obama needs to be a one term-er,but whats the alternative,a suffocating republican.

    The voters they need are those few swing votes that get them over top,most voters are set in Pres, Elections either voting for Republican or or Democrat.

    Oh I see Toke of The Town has another police corrupt story about cop,Please this is becoming daily occurrence,here in Utah,cop smoking heroin in his patrol car,another on trial for strip searching some girls and I think feeling them up.

    The cops may lose their jobs a little jail time.then they are out and about in some other town or state doing God knows what, meanwhile how many stories have we heard this summer of kind decent husbands and wives growing Cannabis for medical purposes to usually relieve cancer for their loved ones,I assure they get longer prison sentences for a few plants his opposed to a cop assaulting someone.

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  10. Dante says:

    Petitioning the Government 101:

    First, the citizens have a need or want that should be addressed by government.

    Next, the government declares it’s desire that we express our needs and wants.

    Next, it sets up a very expensive and bloated bureacracy to manage the receipt & dissemination of said expressions of needs & wants.

    Finally, after years and years of bureacracy, the government …….

    does absolutely nothing. Or worse, they try to help.

    So the citizens STILL have their original concerns.

    Next, the government declares it’s desire that we express our needs and wants.

    And on and on and on and on and on …….. forever.

    And there is your primer on Petitioning the Government. Unless you are actually in the Government and can break the law to actually help people, it is a waste of time.

  11. tintguy says:

    Pehaps that’s the plan. Keep putting these things together until only the ones dumb enough to think it will make a difference respond. Those will be the same people who are only concerned with what the talking heads tell program them to be concerned with… And POOF: a reactionary government is addressing the concerns of the populace!

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  13. claygooding says:

    Perhaps a grievance of federal denial of medical studies allowed for cancer treatment/prevention just to protect their 16 billion dollar budget would ring a sympathetic
    ear,,,,not many people in America,,,rich,poor or in between,that has not lost family and friends….

  14. Stronger Than Dirt says:

    When I was a young man back there in Seminary school,
    there was a person there who put forth the proposition
    that you can petition the Lord with prayer.

    Petition the Lord with prayer?

    Petition the Lord. with. prayer??

    You CANNOT petition the LORD. with. PRAYER!

    When all else fails,
    we can whip the horses eyes
    And make them sleep, and cry

    ~ Jim Morrison “The Soft Parade”

  15. allan says:

    and can we not have 50 different versions of the same petition?

    I be waiting…

    We the people demand that the U.S. government end the fallacious and racist prohibition against cannabis.

    whereas, the prohibition of cannabis is fraudulent and the laws prohibiting cannabis in any of its forms (hemp, medical marijuana, etc) are founded upon racist hallucinations,

    and whereas, President Obama declared that facts and science would be the guiding principle in his administration’s policy decisions,

    and whereas, the Prohibition of cannabis has given foreign drug cartels sole proprietorship of virtually the entire U.S. cannabis market,

    and whereas, said Prohibition has made the relativley obscure cannabis plant into the nation’s number one cash crop,

    and whereas, said prohibition accounts for several hundred thousand arrests each year for a crime (cannabis posession) that is a crime in name only,

    let it be known that as of this day, September 1st, 2011, we the people demand of our government a complete dismantling of the bloated and corrupt prohibition bureaucracy, a removal of all federal laws pertaining to the prohibition of cannabis (in all its forms) and allow the cannabis plant to again be grown – as it was in the first several decades of our nation’s founding – and be subject to the same laws, duties and taxes as any other agricultural cash crop.

    … just thinking out loud…

    • it needs to be about the big picture. we all know it’s the only rational and humane thing to do. in terms that the political classes can understand: ending the war on pot would save some money, but ending the whole thing would save a shitload of money.
      we have absolutely nothing to lose, and in terms of economics, the timing is damn good. after 40 years of spinning in circles having the same idiotic arguments with various drug czars, with precious little to show for it, it is clearly time to do something different.

      if we ask for ending the whole thing, we just may get the compromise of legal recreational pot. but the world wide carnage would continue unabated since pot has very little to do with it all in the first place.

      so instead of continuing to fracture into smaller and smaller pieces, drug law reformers need to stop focusing on their direct interests and form a bigger chorus. and it is imperative to recognize that the core issue isn’t even about drugs: it’s about the most fundamental of rights — the right to self-determination. dopers, gays and other groups currently being denied their rights need to pull together into a force that would actually be large enough to prevail.

      that’s the challenge for the “leaders” of dpa, norml and mpp — stop fucking around and make a serious effort at doing what clearly needs to be done. my money says they just keep doing the same shit that keeps the donations coming.

      we all know that the drug war is a great wrong and being inflicted against all of humanity. how much longer do you think it should be allowed to continue?

    • Duncan20903 says:

      How old are you Allan? In all those decades and decades and decades have you ever seen a herd of cats moving in a motion that even remotely resembles a uniform purpose? Jeez, I thought all you really, really old guys were supposed to be all wise and stuff. It’s a flippin’ miracle that we’ve managed to get as far as we have. But what are we going to do, try to start walking in lockstep like we were funnymental religionists? Ya gotta play the hand your dealt, and these cards lock us in to between 49 and 56 petitions.

      • allan says:


        smarty pants… making me laugh so early this morn! Thanks bud, I needed that. (and I’ll be 60 in a week)

        • Duncan20903 says:

          Allan, I’m really pleased that you took my post in the spirit intended. After hitting submit I started to worry that you might take it as if it were intended to be serious. Well I was serious about the “we have to play the cards we’re dealt” line. While it’s not a Royal Flush neither is it a pair of twos five high.

      • darkcycle says:

        Yeah, cohesive and coordinated action. Not our strong suit. On this couch it’s really difficult to get a pizza ordered, never mind joining ranks for a coordinated campaign. But yeah, that’s what we need: A coordinated and cohesive campaign…and a pizza.

        • tell the jackasses at dpa, mpp and norml to get their shit together or get the hell out of the way.

          they call themselves “leaders” — but they will give you only what you need to be convinced to send them more money.

          if they were really “leaders” we wouldn’t be having this discussion

        • Duncan20903 says:

          I hope you guys can appreciate that the particular character trait that prevents us from from forming a coherent, united campaign is also what makes it impossible to implement a working prohibition of cannabis. So we can hardly decry our commitment to personal uniquity for keeping us from getting cannabis re-legalized because without that character trait cannabis would be long forgotten. I do believe it quite possible that this particular character trait is the only thing that we (almost) all have in common.

          We speak of the financial inducements to prohibitionists which make them such intransigent opponents of cannabis law reform. But I can’t recall seeing anyone mention the possible financial motivation of our advocates. So where does Allen St. Pierre end up working if somebody waves the magic fairy’s wand and makes cannabis legal? Even presuming that he can make at least a lateral move as far as employment where the heck would he find work as an “executive director”? Well, perhaps no one thinks of this because of the scarcity of magic wands.

  16. Dante says:


    What you said.

    But wait! There’s more!

    The Government has also been known to use “plants”. These are government employees who, disguised as regular citizens, are ordered to show up in large numbers to support or resist whatever is best for …. the people who are employed by the federal government.

    Then, for instance, when a Congress person holds a town hall, he can be sure that whatever he wants to talk about will be popular with the crowd because he controls the crowd (via employment).

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