An open letter to Senator Obama

by: JonPincus

Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 12:11

(We continue to hear that they're working on a statement, but it's getting late, so we decided to take the initiative to make sure we have something out before the weekend.

Please repost widely! - promoted by JonPincus)

sent by Mike Stark to Senator Obama's office and his campaign at roughly 11:45 a.m. EDT today.  also posted on the Get FISA right wiki and elsewhere)

An Open Letter to Senator Obama

From the 15,000+ (and rapidly growing) members of the group

"Senator Obama - Please Vote NO on Telecom Immunity - Get FISA Right"

Dear Senator Obama,

On October 24, 2007, your campaign spokesman said, "To be clear: Barack will support a filibuster of any bill that includes retroactive immunity for telecommunications companies."

On June 20, 2008 you said, of retroactive immunity, "I will work in the Senate to remove this provision so that we can seek full accountability for past offenses."

As the largest grass-roots group on your campaign website,, and in the spirit of your open/responsive government campaign pledges, we wish to share our ideas for how we may work together to further the goal of eliminating retroactive immunity from the FISA legislation scheduled for debate in the Senate next week. Although this is only one of the problems we see with legislation allows the government to wiretap the communications of its citizenry without a warrant, it's the area we think we can help you the most.

First, Senator Obama, we ask that you make the same tools that we used to call undecided voters in Iowa and New Hampshire available for us to call our fellow citizens in West Virginia, Nebraska, Delaware, Florida and other states that have Senators committed to voting against the amendment that would strip telecom immunity. You have the tools and we have the people power. Together, we are confident we can bring Change; we can make the government listen to the people instead of the telecom lobbyists.

Second, Senator Obama, we ask that you attend the Senate debate and schedule floor time to speak about the violence done to the rule of law when Congress retroactively immunizes the illegal conduct of a special interest. We know you understand that justice should not be sold to the highest special interest bidder; we also know that you can persuade other Senators that are not so clear on the issue. Of course, if you do this, our committed members will surely capture the video of your inspiring oratory, load it to YouTube and spread your words to our friends and family far and wide. We trust in your ability to bring a new way of doing business to Washington and look forward to helping you make that Change a reality.

Senator Obama, the caption reads, "I'm asking you to believe. Not just in my ability to bring about real change in Washington... I'm asking you to believe in yours." We're ready to put these words into practice.

Thank you.

The 15,000+ (and rapidly growing) members of
"Senator Obama - Please Vote NO on Telecom Immunity - Get FISA Right"

JonPincus :: An open letter to Senator Obama

1) if you agree with the letter, please help get the word out by reposting it or emailing to friends.

2) over the long weekend talk to your friends and family about the issue, and why it's so important.  what a perfect topic for Independence Day!

3) come back rested and reenergized Sunday night, and we'll really get things going!

See What else you can do on the wiki for lots more, including links to calling tools from Blue America and Cause Caller.

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My understanding (0.00 / 0)
is that they are looking over this and the statement is delayed until tomorow.

John McCain: Beacuse lobbyists should have more power

Good (4.00 / 1)
Honestly who gives a crap about their stupid statement. There is only one thing they can say and it doesn't take long to write those two letters.


Michael Bloomberg, prince of corporate welfare

16000 members and 5min page load time (4.00 / 1)
Membership is zooming - we've blown the doors off the previously largest group. Also trying to look up the size of the group is crushing their server. 5min load time at least - not that 16000 is a lot - they must have some bad queries on the back side for looking up members - they should fix that.

Michael Bloomberg, prince of corporate welfare

blackeye time (0.00 / 0)
the site is now down.

Michael Bloomberg, prince of corporate welfare

[ Parent ]
This Is A Great Letter (4.00 / 4)
It's very well-crafted.  My kudos to all those involved.

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3

Obama site status (0.00 / 0)
The site states "We're doing maintenance. Some of the parts of the site are down temporarily."

Is this because they weren't prepared for the traffic?  Is the site closed down for a reason?  To stop more registrations?

A random quick click on a dozen pages came up with (0.00 / 0)
several pages reporting Maintenance not just FISA.

Ill give them benefit of the doubt of course. And I've removed my quick hit. Quick Hit shouldn't mean no investigation.  


The government has a defect: it's potentially democratic. Corporations have no defect: they're pure tyrannies. -Chomsky

[ Parent ]
kinda strange given they have likely had much higher traffic (4.00 / 1)
they have undoubtedly had higher traffic during the primary.

but the group membership lookup stuff has been slow for a couple days - Id give them the benefit of the doubt that the site went down because they have some bad code in there and we've made it noticeable.

certainly works to our advantage either way in that a down site under these circumstances is likely to generate a MSM story.

someone should submit it to slashdot and boingboing.  

Michael Bloomberg, prince of corporate welfare

[ Parent ]
it's different kinds of traffic (4.00 / 2)
at the risk of falling into credentialism: I used to be do web strategy at Microsoft, and before that did a lot of work in software engineering and security -- I was even on a National Academy of Sciences/CSTB committee on "Dependable software".  Which doesn't mean I'm right, of course, but I do have some expertise here.

myBO was built with specific use models in mind, and we're using it very differently, so it's not surprising that something like this would happen.  none of these site were designed for discussion -- the functionality as really minimal compared with a place like OpenLeft or Slashdot -- and we're doing a lot of that.  it's not just myBO; Facebook had repeated intermittent issues right before a big primary day (Super Tuesday or March 4, can't remember) because of the load generated by the One Million Strong for Barack group as well as the Clinton, Ron Paul, and McCain groups.

so who knows, but my best guess is that it's what we in the trade call "failures under heavy load"

[ Parent ]
i write web apps (0.00 / 0)
the code or queries on these groups lists must be horrible - looking up 20 member ids on a list of 15,000 using a page number as an offset is common and trivial.

just saying. :)

Michael Bloomberg, prince of corporate welfare

[ Parent ]
FISA page back up (0.00 / 0)


The government has a defect: it's potentially democratic. Corporations have no defect: they're pure tyrannies. -Chomsky

too heavy load and its meaning (0.00 / 0)
So joining the anti-FISA is impossible for now.  I bet it comes back on line late tonight.  Then many new members will have gone on to other things.

What does that mean for the group effort as a whole?

Meanwhile still no statement from headquarters.

Back on line (0.00 / 0)
The site seems to working again.

yep - but what a piece o crap (4.00 / 1)
where'd they get this website, at Sears?  

Michael Bloomberg, prince of corporate welfare

[ Parent ]
Looks like somebody has been reading Alinsky (4.00 / 4)
"Rule 4: Make opponents live up to their own book of rules."

Montani semper liberi

Testing, testing (0.00 / 0)
Is this thing on?

"It sounds wrong...
     ...but its right."

DfA/Feingold petition (0.00 / 0)
Sign the Senate Petition to Stop Telecom Immunity, at Democracy for America, in cooperation with Russ Feingold.

I stand united with Senator Feingold and opposed to the so-called FISA "compromise" bill.  Any bill that ultimately grants retroactive immunity to telecommunications companies that helped President Bush spy on Americans must not pass.  Vote no.  Support a filibuster.  I am depending on you to stop this bill.

who knows? (0.00 / 0)
But will they?

This is all hunky dory but... (0.00 / 0)
I resent the tone of the letter.

It is the tone of supplicants.
Please St. Obama, please do this for us.
Please be what we thought you were.

We're behind you 100% anyway. We don't care what you do or say.
We're all going to vote for you and pray for you and vote again.


If you want results, you say that this candidate is in the process of betraying everything that he said he stood for - and the chance of his getting our votes is nil if he continues on this course.

Are we such chumps?
He'll take W.C. Fields' advice - Why would he give us suckers an even break or smarten up a bunch of chumps?

P.S. - the latest is that he is now saying that he won't be setting a timetable for withdrawal from Iraq - it will all depend on the situation on the ground and the advice of the people in the field.  


What else can we do? (0.00 / 0)
Firstly, Obama isn't becoming Bush. He's becoming a Democratic leader? You know, timid and disappointing?

Secondly, what other options do we have? We can't force him, unless someone gets his private phone number we can't call him up every five minutes until he caves and we can't really abandon him.

All we can do, aside from withdrawing donations and canvassing (and that's not to say that those things shouldn't be done for a while) is this kind of emotional blackmail.

It's a shitty situation and a missed opportunity - imagine what the blogosphere could have got either Clinton or Obama to sign up to if we got a sheet of policy proposals and promised to back whichever one of them publically affirmed their support for them - but it's just about all we've got left.

Forgotten Countries - a foreign policy-focused blog

[ Parent ]
What else can we do? (4.00 / 1)
The only thing that will motivate Obama is to threaten to withdraw endorsements.

Chris Bowers endorsed Obama while acknowledging that he was not going to pursue a progressive agenda.

Perhaps he and others might realize that Obama should actually earn his endorsement.

All these little pathetic petitions to Obama begin with assurances of support.
"We will vote for you. Don't worry we're on your side, boss. But... could you consider tossing a few crumbs in our direction?  Please don't take offense..."

This is truly ridiculous.

If people are promising to support and vote for Obama no matter what he says, he will only pay attention to those who will vote for him only if he represents their views. In this case, Obama is courting the evangelicals, warmongers and domestic fascists because he knows they are not planning to vote for him unless he does.

Let him pander to us instead.
Let him worry about us.

Right now, we are being played for chumps.
And we are chumps.
It seems  to be enough for liberals that Obama sometimes deigns to acknowledge our existence.
Then he goes on his merry way to the right.

[ Parent ]
It Is Pretty Hilarious (0.00 / 0)
Seeing him bend over backwards trying to get the votes of folks who either aren't going to vote for him, or have already decided they will vote for him, just based on what he's already said, and their disgust with BushCo.

Does he have any evidence that there are most undecided voters he could pick up there, rather than elsewhere?

Or is it that he just likes those people a whole lot more than he likes us and the US Constitution?

Generally speaking, people seek the approval of people they like. So...

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3

[ Parent ]
What I think he's missing is... (0.00 / 0)
that there are many voters who Obama thinks are in his pocket that are becoming increasingly disinterested in his candidacy. They are talking about alternatives.

Yesterday, he issued a statement about "refining" his views on troop withdrawal from Iraq. Basically, he moved to a "I'll listen to the advice of the commanders in the field" position. The language he came up with was identical to what Bush has be spewing lo these many years. McCain's crowd was quick to point this out.

If Obama thinks that people who hinged their hopes for an end to the war in Iraq upon his candidacy will vote for him anyway, he's nuts.

[ Parent ]
Preparing for Nothing (4.00 / 4)
As I prepare myself for a horribly empty response from Obama I'd like everyone following this story to think about this when Obama says he appreciates this "small" group of concerned citizens but will be selling us down the river anyway.

The group is now 17,300 and growing rapidly still, despite website problems.

Why is there no rival "Please Obama Grant The Telco's and Bush Immunity - Its For Our Safety" group supporting the FISA bill?

Michael Bloomberg, prince of corporate welfare

Because There Doesn't HAVE To Be One (0.00 / 0)
Why is there no rival "Please Obama Grant The Telco's and Bush Immunity - Its For Our Safety" group supporting the FISA bill?

They have the power!

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3

[ Parent ]

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