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White House Obfuscates Email

michael posted more than 10 years ago | from the tired-of-nigerian-lottery-spam dept.

United States 915

markgo2k writes "Do you want to email the president? This John Markoff, New York Times story (reprinted here in the non-subscription Seattle PI) details how the White House no longer promises to read anything you send to president@whitehouse.gov. Instead, you must navigate a multi-page website AND confirm your submission via email. Oh, and they only want to talk about subjects that are of interest to them." The web-form system appears to be a bit overloaded at the moment.

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915 comments

I'd rather not have to deal with the DOJ... (4, Insightful)

sweeney37 (325921) | more than 10 years ago | (#6470156)

He said he particularly disliked being forced to specify whether he was offering a "supporting comment" or a "differing opinion" to Bush.

So when those emails come in, I guess they go in either one of two mailboxes. "With us" or "Against Us".

The "Against Us" email automatically get forwarded to Ashcroft.

Mike

Re:I'd rather not have to deal with the DOJ... (5, Funny)

sosume (680416) | more than 10 years ago | (#6470180)

The "Against Us" email automatically get forwarded to Ashcroft.

Gueass again where that's going.. (and you along with it).. ever been to Cuba? I heard it's got this lovely bay with lots of friendly people in orange suits. Gua .. Guanta .. I can't remember. ;)

Re:I'd rather not have to deal with the DOJ... (1, Insightful)

ShavenYak (252902) | more than 10 years ago | (#6470239)

Actually, they're probably labeled "With Us" or "With The Terrorists". Remember that brilliant statement by the alleged President?

Re:I'd rather not have to deal with the DOJ... (4, Funny)

rusty0101 (565565) | more than 10 years ago | (#6470276)

I am sorry, he is not alledged to be the President. Since the Federal Court system was involved, we have to come to the conclusion that he was Convicted. With good behaviour he may be parolled after 4 years.

Re:I'd rather not have to deal with the DOJ... (4, Interesting)

TopShelf (92521) | more than 10 years ago | (#6470246)

This does raise an interesting point - will this buildup of email addresses marked "for" or "against" the current administration find its way into political party hands, and thus used for a spam list?

It would make perfect sense for the Republicans to send out emails for contributions to those on the "for" list.

Re:I'd rather not have to deal with the DOJ... (5, Funny)

arkanes (521690) | more than 10 years ago | (#6470342)

"Please check this box if you'd like to be contacted by the President or his authorized partners regarding special offers and discounts only available to our valued subscribers"

Re:I'd rather not have to deal with the DOJ... (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6470252)

How about a question regarding policy? I mean how can you know whether you are for or against the policy of the administration if they haven't said anything about some important issue?

The Bush administration doesn't talk much about policies in the Middle East except those related to Iraq or to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Try asking about Israel's nuclear weapons.

Or Saudi Arabia - definitely intimately involved with Al-Quaeda, unlike Iraq.

Re:I'd rather not have to deal with the DOJ... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6470307)

If you're asking a difficult question, just automatically mark yourself as "Against" and the FBI, uh interns, will take care of the rest.

Israel's nuclear weapons do not matter (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6470308)

"Try asking about Israel's nuclear weapons."

Why bother? It is not important.

Re:I'd rather not have to deal with the DOJ... (1)

Dumbush (676200) | more than 10 years ago | (#6470267)

and maybe, just maybe, the "against us" database will feed info to voting machines in future elections

We've come a long way baby (4, Insightful)

Arbogast_II (583768) | more than 10 years ago | (#6470312)

Pretty amusing, when you consider that once, long, long ago, in an America far, far away, the President was an accessible private citizen.

Once, the President of the United States recieved visitors who just walked up to the White House. Once, the President used to walk out to Pennsylvania Avenue and hail a passing buggy for a ride.

My, how times change...

Re:We've come a long way baby (5, Informative)

cybercuzco (100904) | more than 10 years ago | (#6470353)

He was an accessible private citizen until he got shot. Then he wasnt quite asacessible as before, but could still ride about in the open, Until another one got shot. Now his freedom is curtailed in the name of security, and he has neither security or freedom.

To the whole string (1)

tokyobill (259686) | more than 10 years ago | (#6470328)

Do you think one person could respond to everything? Give the guy a break, he's not on slashdot the whole night and day waiting for something good. Try fighting yourself, and see if your comments change. Someone has to fight, can you do it?

I WIN! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6470158)

Pass the dildo, please.

I LOSE! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6470183)

Pass the penis, please.

Overloaded (2, Funny)

xannik (534808) | more than 10 years ago | (#6470160)

And now instead of being a little overloaded it will just be completely unavailable. :-)

which movie? (5, Funny)

mcgregorj (114352) | more than 10 years ago | (#6470164)

"When it comes to a Web site, it's a bit like a movie," Mr. Orr said. "Some will say it's a tour de force; some will say it fell flat."

This website must be "Cabin Boy."

That implies that... (1)

burgburgburg (574866) | more than 10 years ago | (#6470338)

anyone who saw "Cabin Boy" called it it a tour de force.

If you find that person, you put them back on their medication.

first post (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6470166)

too ucs-centric

heh (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6470167)

let's start flying flags with a sickle and wheat and a gold star in protest!

Re:heh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6470237)

What's that, the flag of Kansas?

Now... (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6470169)

So maybe now Bush will stop blowing the budget on viagra, HGH and penis enlargers...

one can only hope

Subjekts like "Weapons of Mass Destrucion"? (-1, Flamebait)

lleo (553518) | more than 10 years ago | (#6470170)

Or War Casualties? Or Duration of Iraqi Missions? Or who the real Pres is? etc etc

Hey fuckface (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6470265)

Fuckstain,

you forget the *new cover sheet* to your TPS report. if you are going to try to be funny by stealing material from a movie, at least get it right. cumdumster.

Re:Subjekts like "Weapons of Mass Destrucion"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6470334)

Or an education system that cannot teach someone to spell the word "Subjects"?

Hmm (5, Interesting)

deman1985 (684265) | more than 10 years ago | (#6470174)

I don't find it very encouraging that the government doesn't promise to read anything we have to say anymore. Isn't it their job to listen to what the public has to say to make informed decisions for the good of the country? What are we paying them for?

Re:Hmm (3, Insightful)

elwinc (663074) | more than 10 years ago | (#6470220)

You want to talk to Bush? It's easy -- just raise $100,000 for his re-election campaign and you'll get 10 minutes of face time! No problem.

Re:Hmm (1, Insightful)

zero_offset (200586) | more than 10 years ago | (#6470293)

Yes, and he's the FIRST PRESIDENT EVER to be difficult to contact.

This entire article is destined to be one giant troll session.

Re:Hmm (2, Insightful)

jdhutchins (559010) | more than 10 years ago | (#6470335)

Don't think that that applies to just Bush. The higher a politician is, the harder it is to contact them. That applies to BOTH parties, not just whatever one you don't like.

Re:Hmm (4, Insightful)

pen (7191) | more than 10 years ago | (#6470257)

When a government doesn't have time to listen to the people it's supposed to govern, you know that it's grown too large. Solution: More power to local governments, less power to governments that are so far removed that we cannot reach them.

Or have we forgotten the lesson we learned from being a colony of Britain?

Re:Hmm (2, Insightful)

rusty0101 (565565) | more than 10 years ago | (#6470341)

Any idea how much spam they are getting? Of that, how much do they really read?

I wonder how many times they have gotten the Nigerian Official's e-mail?

I suspect that the offer's for generic Viagra, HGH, Weight Loss, International Drivers Licence, etc. should also be falling on deaf ears.

I have enough trouble with my own e-mail, and I do not have one of the world's most well known e-mail addresses.

Granted the worst of the offenders have probably excluded all "@*.gov" addresses from their mailing lists, but I am sure they get enough of the rest.

-Rusty

Re:Hmm (4, Insightful)

the gnat (153162) | more than 10 years ago | (#6470350)

Bear in mind when you say this that the modern "states rights" movement largely grew out of the federal government's efforts to end segregation. This isn't a general rule, but there certainly are some occasions where we need a strong federal government that won't listen to popular opinion.

Re:Hmm (2, Insightful)

TheBrownShow (454945) | more than 10 years ago | (#6470285)

It's really just a matter of logistics.

How could the government POSSIBLY read everything that is sent to them? I really just don't think it's even possible.

I mean, do you read EVERY comment here on Slashdot? Wow, you think we've got TROLLS around here? Just imagine the kinds of comments the GOVERNMENT gets!

Re:Hmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6470291)

Recently, I've heard more than one elected official basically say it isn't their job to listen to the people, it is their job to make the "right" decision even if it goes against the wishes of the people.

There is a good point to this - suppose a small minority is being oppressed by 80% of the population, you don't want the governmenr automatically siding with the 80%. On the other hand, it has been used as justification to ignore public comments to the US Forestry Service, the EPA, and the FCC recently. I recall Mr. Bush using the same rationale to basically say that no matter how many anti-war protesters marched the streets, he would invade Iraq anyway.

Anyone who reads their history book knows what we're supposed to do when the government no longer respects the will of the governed, but I just don't see it happening this time.

Re:Hmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6470315)

That official was 100% correct.

This is no democracy, and its a good thing. A democracy is two wolves and a sheep voting on what's for dinner, as the saying goes.

You vote for the person you think will make the best decisions. Once in office, you expect him to represent his constituents good interests, and if he doesnt he gets voted out, or if he's particularly heinous, recalled or impeached.

Re:Hmm (1)

ravenousbugblatter (682061) | more than 10 years ago | (#6470301)

We should really begin to worry if it gets this hard to email our senators and representatives as well, who at least seem to be fairly accesible at this time. Though who knows what kinds of lackeys really read these emails anyway...probably high school interns.

Re:Hmm - MOD PARENT DOWN (2, Insightful)

mumblestheclown (569987) | more than 10 years ago | (#6470326)

oh stop it already.

talk to your LOCAL Representative.. not the president. and stop with the chicken little bullshit.

Waste of the President's time. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6470175)

I can't imagine why anyone would think the president of the United States would bother to read unsolicited email.

Re:Waste of the President's time. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6470305)

You're absolutely right. It's very, very unlikely that any prime minister / president / leader of a country reads the e-mail directly.

However, that doesn't mean that one of his underlings somewhere doesn't read it. (I've sent e-mail to my prime minister, and have had a wonderful e-mail discourse with people very high up in parliament.)

The idea, I think, is that one person can't change the leader's mind. But, many people's views could sway the subordinates, and a well-supported viewpoint will ultimately trickle up to the top.

Re:Waste of the President's time. (1)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 10 years ago | (#6470344)

Which is whats going on here. If you feel strongly enough to email, you can click through the web portal and have your mail forwarded to the right "inbox".

Now, slashbots have moronic kneejerk reactions to the idea of being asked whether they like or dislike a current policy. The conspiracy theory being that they go to jail and all this crap for disagreeing.

I see it as an opportunity to make your thoughts *more* known. Even if my email isnt read, it makes the "i disagree" pile that much bigger.

Anyhow, it's a tempest in a teapot anyhow.

Email is a crappy informal medium. If you really want to be taken seriously, you'd write a letter on actual paper with your signature in ink. And not a boilerplate photocopy.

Since many people use... (4, Insightful)

fruey (563914) | more than 10 years ago | (#6470176)

...president@whitehouse.gov, nobody@nowhere.com and others as email for lots of signups, it's hardly surprising that they don't just let you email directly and promise a response.

Head over to the real whitehouse alternative [whitehouse.com], much more fun.

Wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6470177)

"The web-form system appears to be a bit overloaded at the moment. "

Really? I'm SOOO surprised.

oh Rob! (1)

OctaneZ (73357) | more than 10 years ago | (#6470179)

The web-form system appears to be a bit overloaded at the moment.
*spooky music*
And then slashdot linked to it....

Because... (5, Insightful)

Scalli0n (631648) | more than 10 years ago | (#6470181)

This is probably because emailing is 1000x easier than:

a) Mailing
b) Phoneing (being on hold for hours then talking to a nobody)
c) It gives you a warm happy feeling.

So why shouldn't they filter out their most popular form of communication given that most of it is crap anyway?

That, and my second point:

You shouldn't be emailing your most important concerns to the president - do your congressman, your senator, and your local government, they can probably help you more specifically.

Re:Because... (2)

deman1985 (684265) | more than 10 years ago | (#6470224)

You should still be able to send opinions directly to the whitehouse, however, and have some level of confidence that it will eventually be read, even if it's not taken seriosuly

Re:Because... (1)

Jad LaFields (607990) | more than 10 years ago | (#6470288)

So, snail mail it. Before I read this email, I would never have imagined that anybody at the White House would ever take a poorly written email (as most of my emails are) from me seriously. But a well-written letter on nice paper... I would trust my opinions to that much more readily. Most of the email most people get is crap, and so many people don't consider as good for "Important" email. Or at least thats my impression.

Re:Because... (1)

Scalli0n (631648) | more than 10 years ago | (#6470253)

Nah, I don't expect the president of a nation of 290,000,000 people to read my email, or even his wenches to do so either. I mean, that would be really cool, but on the other side, it'd be a huge waste of taxpayer dollars: imagine this:

"Dear Mr. President,
I live in Bumfuck, Iowa, and when my cat got stuck in a tree, the firefighter made a nasty joke about how it's always my cat that gets stuck in the tree. Please do something.
Sincerely,
Mrs. Stupidhead"


Total waste of taxpayer dollars.

Heh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6470182)

Oh well, what did you expect? So yay, go transparent democracy!

No, they really mean it. Go!

Yeah (2, Funny)

cscx (541332) | more than 10 years ago | (#6470185)

What do you want, a personal response from the Prez? Jeez, I think he's just a bit too busy for YOU.

Thats why you have interns to collate it (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6470207)

Your elected representive is too busy to listen to your opinion right now. Please leave $10,000 after the tone......*BEEP*

Re:Yeah (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6470358)

In Soviet Russia, YOU are too busy for Premier!

convenient (5, Insightful)

salzbrot (314893) | more than 10 years ago | (#6470189)

It is really convenient to have the political opinions of your citizens stored in a database together with name, (e-mail-)address and the like!

President's pardon? (0)

Toby Studabaker (690428) | more than 10 years ago | (#6470191)

Do you think I oughtta mail the prez and ask for a pardon if the brits jail me? I'm telling you again, I did not touch that sweet little girl!

Gee (0, Funny)

Bob Abooey (224634) | more than 10 years ago | (#6470192)

This will certainly put the kabosh on a good percentage of slashdotters who have been emailing the president to whine about how SCO is trying to screw Linux development...

Don't click on the link! (0, Funny)

calethix (537786) | more than 10 years ago | (#6470193)

Or you'll be prosecuted as a terrorist for performing a DOS on their web form. :)

I'm not surprised. (0, Funny)

Randolpho (628485) | more than 10 years ago | (#6470196)

president@whitehouse.gov has got to be the most well-known email address on the planet. How many penile lengthening offers does GWB get a day? I'm sure it's pretty high. Then there's ginseng supplements (maybe he could use them? ;)), and real estate deals, oh, and let's not forget all those important emails from the president of Nigeria!

Re:I'm not surprised. (1)

fgb (62123) | more than 10 years ago | (#6470274)

I think most spammers are going to be very careful about spamming any .gov domains.

Sounds great! (1)

TopShelf (92521) | more than 10 years ago | (#6470201)

I think I'll set up a similar digital "moat" to my email - sounds like a great way to keep out spam. My allowed topics of conversation would be jokes, interesting news stories, personal news, and of course sorority babes promoting their FREE webcams...

other way round (1, Funny)

alexander m (567750) | more than 10 years ago | (#6470202)

given the grammatical skills of the semi-literate currently in the white house, i rather thought obfuscated emails were coming in the other direction...

Not to pick nits, but... (1)

goldspider (445116) | more than 10 years ago | (#6470212)

"the White House no longer promises to read anything you send to president@whitehouse.gov."

...it's not like we had any reason to believe they were actually reading any of that e-mail anyway.

At least they're being honest about it now.

Snail Mail... (3, Insightful)

Tsali (594389) | more than 10 years ago | (#6470213)

It's a pain to use that thing, too... wife actually broke out the pen to mail the president about the redesignation of overtime for professional occupations. She heard back from our congressman within a week but hasn't heard squat back from G.W.

Considering G.W. runs a press conference once every six months, before an invasion, or after he beats up on some third world country, you expect better treatment?

Security through obfuscation, just like the ports.

Bah.

Re:Snail Mail... (1)

jeffy124 (453342) | more than 10 years ago | (#6470319)

since you apparently appear to one who knows, what exactly is the deal with OT change? I've attempted to follow it in the news, but all they are saying are stuff like "the rules are changing" or "it means less OT" without exactly explaining how. Care to shed some light on the subject?

Re:Snail Mail... (1)

Tsali (594389) | more than 10 years ago | (#6470359)

Here's a Google result on it...

http://jobsearch.about.com/cs/careerresources/a/ ov ertime.htm

d33r Mr Pr3sid3nt (-1, Offtopic)

pauly_thumbs (416028) | more than 10 years ago | (#6470214)

eye l|3k ewe ... ewe are |33t.

a/s/l -- wanna cyber -- wanna cyber??

whoops wrong president!

heh....

"they only want to talk about..." (2, Insightful)

PHAEDRU5 (213667) | more than 10 years ago | (#6470218)

"Oh, and they only want to talk about subjects that are of interest to them"

Well, I can remember phoning the White House during the Clinton Administration. Before getting to an actual person I was presented with a survey of some sort. I can't remember what it was about, but I do remember thinking that I preferred NONE of the possible choices for each survey question.

My point is that it appears every administration does this. It's not simply the current one.

Deluges of mail (5, Insightful)

AndyBusch (160585) | more than 10 years ago | (#6470219)

I can appriciate the need for them to implement a "confirmation" action (Did you send this?), to stop spoofing, spamming, etc. However, the "pre-email questionaire" seems a little extreme. I suppose the goal is to ask "are you an insightful commentator or a raving lunatic?", but it takes a "are you a patriot or a terrorist?" tone about it.

Of course, it's now harder to complain to them about it, as well.

re: deluges of mail (5, Funny)

ed.han (444783) | more than 10 years ago | (#6470346)

perhaps the admin staff who pre-sort the e-mails use a variant of the slashdot moderation system and the president only sees the ones rated +5. i can just imagine the modifiers now...

+1 campaign donor
-1 civil liberties kook
+1 convenient ally
-1 democrat
-1 libertarian
+1 republican
+1 useful tool

ed

par for the administration (1)

$lacker1 (688411) | more than 10 years ago | (#6470229)

they won't talk about anything they don't want to, why should the listen to anything they don't want to either.

Things like this dilute the issues... (2, Insightful)

abh (22332) | more than 10 years ago | (#6470232)

Putting stuff like this into the "Your rights" category dilutes issues that actually have to do with rights...

Rights are things like free speech, bearing arms, and freedom from false imprisonment.

Having to use a web form instead of an e-mail address is NOT a violation of your rights.

This is a good thing (4, Interesting)

Cire (96846) | more than 10 years ago | (#6470235)

This is not a big deal. In fact this was a good thing. Before, they had some poor secretary who had to sit there getting a vague idea of what the emails were about. Let's face it, they almost NEVER made it's way up to the top anyway.

Now with the new system they can have some DBA write script to pump out statistics on what kind of feedback/problems/etc most people are writing about. They can actually get a real number and say "we got 10,000 emails this week and 67% of them disagreed with such and such policy." Plus, they can weed out the junk mail. Can you imagine how much spam he must've gotten. Do you think the Pres was using SpamAssassin?

Cire

Re:This is a good thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6470321)

Filling out the questionairre should not be a prerequiste for sending an e-mail though. Instead, they should offer it seperately on their site to streamline the e-mail process and to allow statistical processing.

Somehow I don't think Dubba needs to know my stance on his Whore on Terror if I'm writing him about stock dividends.

Re:This is a good thing (2, Informative)

melevitt (31652) | more than 10 years ago | (#6470357)

This IS a big deal.

Yes, it's a good thing for the Bush spin machine becuase:
a) they control what catagories are presented.
b) They can now state "Well, there's some minor grumbling about [unpopular policy] by the Press, but look at our e-mail statistics! Hardly anyone outside the liberal washington elite are complaining..."

Of course [unpopular policy] won't be one of the catagories you can select.

You don't have to control the answers if you can control the questions.

In Soviet Russia... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6470238)

The president emails YOU!

Innovative use of the tag (1)

peterprior (319967) | more than 10 years ago | (#6470241)

Looks like they have set the title tag to be

<title>Please go to https://sawho14.eop.gov/PERSdata/intro.htm</title>

hrm (2, Funny)

calethix (537786) | more than 10 years ago | (#6470244)

"Once the message is sent, the writer must wait for an automated response to the e-mail address listed, asking whether the addressee intended to send the message."

Maybe president@whitehouse.gov was just getting too much spam and they decided something needed to be done after GW lost too much money to that poor Nigerian widow.

Code Orange (1, Funny)

OctaneZ (73357) | more than 10 years ago | (#6470254)

I'm just waiting for the security level to get bumped a color because the Whitehouse[.gov] is under a coordinated attack by people from around the world!

Click the link! Change the Color!

It's irrelevant anyway... (4, Insightful)

billmaly (212308) | more than 10 years ago | (#6470256)

Bush declared early on that he would not be "doing" email as President, mostly to avoid ANY messages that would or could be construed as incriminating to himself or others.

Chances are, he won't be reading what you send anyway. Frankly, I suspect the concept of "mail your representative/elected official" is largely a thing of the past. Lobbyist's and big politcal money have largely ended any sort of grassroots effect.

I'm a Republican! (-1, Offtopic)

stevew (4845) | more than 10 years ago | (#6470258)

AND I have Moderator points and I know how to use them!

Whoops! DAMN! If I post - I can't moderate this series - but MAN was I tempted!

Congratulations! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6470337)

I give a fuck. Oh yes I do.

White House Obfuscates Email? (2, Insightful)

PHAEDRU5 (213667) | more than 10 years ago | (#6470260)

It actually looks like they're trying to see whether the people mailing them have an IQ higher than a lab rat.

A good idea, IMHO. Filters out the drunk, drugged, and pure loony.

billg@microsoft.com (1)

m00nun1t (588082) | more than 10 years ago | (#6470261)

I knew a girl who, about 5 years ago, worked in Bill Gates office as the person (one of the people? Not sure) who would look after his inbox. According to her, 5 years ago he was getting in the ballpark of 3000 emails/day. I would guess now with the increased internet population and the increased spam levels he'd be getting at least double that, but I bet president@whitehouse.gov gets even more.

Not commenting for or against the post, just though it's an interesting perspective & an interesting management problem.

Use snail mail (3, Insightful)

s20451 (410424) | more than 10 years ago | (#6470264)

Instead of firing off that e-mail, why not click "print" and mail it using the regular postal service?

In Canada at least, sending a letter via regular post to any Member of Parliament [parl.gc.ca], including the Prime Minister [pm.gc.ca], is free. Your letter is also far more likely to be read.

This isn't news, it's "DUH" (4, Insightful)

Ignorant Aardvark (632408) | more than 10 years ago | (#6470270)

The president never really read e-mail anyway. It was just a lot of paid interns who went through it. But because the e-mail address is made public on a very popular site, I'm sure they got a lot of spam and such. In these times of economic concerns, do we really need to be paying people to go through George Bush's e-mail?

I agree with "representing the people" and such, but going through George Bush is just a bit too unfair. He has to look over 300 million people ... you can't expect him to read messages from everyone either. Instead, if you want to make a difference in government, start with your local representatives and senators. They are there to specifically represent the people in your district/state. You can get a message to the president much more easily through them than if you try directly via e-mail. This is how representative democracy works.

Remember... (3, Insightful)

WIAKywbfatw (307557) | more than 10 years ago | (#6470271)

"...government of the people, by the people, for the people..."

What with the general assaults on personal freedoms, Abraham Lincoln and the other Founding Fathers must be spinning in their graves. Democracy isn't dead, but it isn't exactly at its zenith right now, least of all in the USA.

Can anyone think of a time when the freedoms of the average American were more at threat from their own government?

Like I've said before, the ideal of America is beautiful, it's just the reality that's becoming fubar.

Re:Remember... (1)

MikeBabcock (65886) | more than 10 years ago | (#6470330)

I hate to admit this, but last night I went and saw Legally Blonde 2, Red White and Blonde [imdb.com] with my wife (it was her pick, can you tell?)

As embarassing as it was to be seen in that movie at some points (there are moments that are almost disgustingly ... well, go see it, its worth it), its social commentary on the American legislative process was well thought-out and cruel, to say the least.

To summarize, the movie presents it as being nearly impossible to get a bill passed without a lot of posturing and politcking and it has little to do with being a good or bad bill.

Reminds me of the old joke ... (1, Funny)

EisPick (29965) | more than 10 years ago | (#6470273)

This bogus story (does any of you "promise to read" anything emailed to you?) reminds me of the following Clinton-era joke.

Q: If Bill Clinton is now president@whitehouse.gov, then where do I send email to Hillary?

A: root@whitehouse.gov.

So What? (1, Flamebait)

DesScorp (410532) | more than 10 years ago | (#6470283)

They don't promise to answer each and every letter, either. And the President certainly must get even more spam than we do, as widespread as that address is. What makes Slashdot or it's readers so special? God at the whining here.

"He doesn't promise to answer our emails! But we're Slashdot readers! We're Important, damnit!"

We're not any more important than anyone else.

And as far as the bitching about the "pro" and "complaint" mails, that's just to make it easier to sort them. Again, so what? I'm already reading comments on here about the complaints going directly to Ashcroft so *gasp!* all Slashdot readers will be shipped off to Cuba for daring to criticize the President!

Here's a tissue. Shut the fuck up, and step back into the real world.

It's a poorly designed process for mail, but it's not an X-Files conspiracy. Sometimes I think when you sign up for a Slashdot account now, you get your first aluminum foil hat free.

Just like a bunch of other corporations (4, Interesting)

teamhasnoi (554944) | more than 10 years ago | (#6470287)

Paypal for instance, hides its phone numbers deliberately so as to force email responses to issues. (email is easily ignored). Taken from paypalwarning.com (was an expired article on msnbc))

Any Paypal customer with a problem typically has an impossible time calling and talking to a real live person, and personal attention to electronic mail is virtually non-existent. According to Vince Sollitto (PayPal spokesman), Paypal intentionally makes the phone number very difficult to find in order to save costs. This is fine, except their Email "customer service" also leaves a lot to be desired. Many times you will get a canned response that doesn't address your initial Email message, if you get a reply at all. It doesn't do any good to complain anyway. When asked about customer complaints, Sollitto said the company reads them, but takes them with a grain of salt...

Just reminded me of the White House. Congress hardly responds to what the people want (file sharing, etc) why should the President be any different?

Barriers to entry (5, Informative)

XianDeath (543687) | more than 10 years ago | (#6470298)

I noticed this policy the other day while looking for a method of having the daily press briefings emailed to me. I believe this is really just a form of crowd control. The easier it is to contact your elected official, the more often you'll do so. Make the barrier to entry higher, i.e. a phone call which costs you money, and you raise the barrier to entry. I can imagine how many emails they get a day especially since they're probably on every spam email list in the world.

On a side note, for what it's worth, the daily press briefings contain more 'hard' news than I see in the average evening news broadcast. (On a politically snider note, it's also much easier to understand how bad off things are when you can actually read the daily obfuscations with your own eyes, and in most cases, watch them in streaming video sans interepretation by talking heads.)

Also, say what you will about Clinton, but he was the first president to really make an effort at utilizing the internet to diseminate information regarding the executive branch, though granted he was the first president of the 'internet era.' There are several cool innovations he made and several excellent articles over at Slate regarding the White House web (Article #1 [msn.com] and Article #2 [msn.com]) historically.

ear muffs next (-1, Troll)

linuxislandsucks (461335) | more than 10 years ago | (#6470333)

Ear muffs next for Bush so he doesn't have to listen to congess..

But it will be a mute point Bush will be impeached before November..
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