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How the White House's We the People E-Petition Site Became a Virtual Ghost-Town

BY Dave Karpf | Friday, June 20 2014

The White House once boasted that 5.4 million people have created We The People accounts, resulting in 9.2 million signatures. But the statistic only shows that there are less than 2 signatures per person, which means that the average user is signing a single petition and then never returning again. David Karpf explains how and why the White House's e-petition site has failed to take off. Read More

First POST: Rumblings

BY Micah L. Sifry | Friday, May 30 2014

Edward Snowden and the NSA duke it out; Google pushed for improvements in the USA Freedom Act; tech moguls come out as backers of Lawrence Lessig's SuperPAC; and much, much more Read More

First POST: Hashing it Out

BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, May 27 2014

How the #YesAllWomen hashtag erupted in response to the Santa Barbara killings; the Internet's broken business model; why tech companies are (mostly) losing in Congress; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Incentives

BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, December 10 2013

HealthCare.gov has turned the corner; David Karpf asks if Change.org is watering down its issues as its gains users; and everyone is worrying when the great Facebook News Feed crash will come; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Profanity

BY Micah L. Sifry | Thursday, October 31 2013

The Washington Post exposes the NSA's hacking of Google and Yahoo; the US promises, yet again, to overhaul its FOIA administration; the states start to pass their own new privacy laws; and much, much more. Read More

You Can't A/B Test Your Response to Syria

BY Micah L. Sifry | Wednesday, September 4 2013

Senate hearing Sept 3, 2013. Department of Defense Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Daniel Hinton.

While Congress wrestles with President Obama's unexpected request for formal legal authorization before he orders airstrikes on Syria, it's been fascinating to watch the country's big online advocacy groups try to figure out their own position on the crisis. Should the US bomb Syria in order to punish Bashar Assad for using chemical weapons on his own people, risking a wider American involvement in the conflict and potentially further destabilizing the region? Or should the US stay out of that kind of direct involvement, even if that risks emboldening Assad and could lead to more frequent uses of chemical weapons in the future? These are just some of the hard questions at stake. And what makes any decision even harder is the fast-moving and relatively unique nature of these events. Even tougher for big e-groups like MoveOn.org, Democracy for America, the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, which collectively claim about ten million list members, the Syria crisis isn't an issue that these groups were formed to address. Nor is there an obvious consensus "progressive" position to promote, beyond the one these groups were all touting in the last few weeks (along with many others, including some conservative organizations), which was the need to bring the question before Congress. Some people are strong anti-interventionists, wary of green-lighting another American incursion in the Middle East. Others worry about genocide, and don't want to look the other way when mass killings of civilians take place. Read More

MoveOn.org Endorses Silicon Valley Incumbent Mike Honda

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Monday, August 12 2013

MoveOn Political Action announced Monday that its members have endorsed Silicon Valley's incumbent Democrat Mike Honda. Read More

How "Big Data" And Behavioral Science Powered Progressive Groups in 2012

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Saturday, November 10 2012

An October canvas in Richmond, ViA. Photo: Flickr/AFL-CIO

Exclusively for Personal Democracy Plus subscribers: The Obama campaign wasn't the only center of data-driven, technology-enabled field work on the left. Groups like MoveOn and the AFL-CIO's super PAC, Worker's Voice, also used the Internet to leverage their understanding of behavioral psychology and user-generated content into a massively scaled persuasion and get-out-the-vote effort. Read More

Was Darcy Burner's Primary Loss a Sign of a Declining Netroots?

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Thursday, August 9 2012

As Cyndi Lauper once sang: "Money changes everything."

That's something that everyone can agree on in American politics, but that's about the extent of the agreement. The question is whether the trend in self-financing wealthy candidates and Super PACs is dampening the enthusiasm of the American left this election cycle. Some look at the failure of netroots favorite Darcy Burner's recent bid for Washington State's 1st Congressional District as an example of all that is wrong in political races, and others — those who were involved — say that the circumstances in that particular race were unique, and that larger lessons about the health of the netroots organizing model can't be extracted from the experience.

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This Isn't What Political Air Time Usually Means

BY Miranda Neubauer | Wednesday, May 23 2012

MoveOn.org is asking supporters for $150,000 in donations to fly a plane above high-dollar fundraisers for Mitt Romney with "a message that reminds voters how he represents his corporate and 1% donors." MoveOn previously hired a plane to fly over Romney's Liberty University graduation speech with the message "GOP = HIGHER SCHOOL DEBT." Read More

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In Mexico, A Wiki Makes Corporate Secrets Public

Earlier this year the Latin American NGO Poder launched Quién Es Quién Wiki (Who's Who Wiki), a corporate transparency project more than two years in the making. The hope is that the platform will be the foundation for a citizen-led movement demanding transparency and accountability from businesses in Mexico. Data from Quién Es Quién Wiki is already helping community activists mobilize against foreign companies preparing to mine the mountains of the Sierra Norte de Puebla.

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NY Study Shows How Freedom of Information Can Inform Open Data

On New York State's open data portal, the New York Department of Environmental Conservation has around 40 data resources of varying sizes, such as maps of lakes and ponds and rivers, bird conservation areas and hiking trails. But those datasets do not include several data resources that are most sought after by many New York businesses, a new study from advocacy group Reinvent Albany has found. Welcome to a little-discussed corner of so-called "open government"--while agencies often pay lip service to the cause, the data they actually release is sometimes nowhere close to what is most wanted. GO

Responding to Ferguson, Activists Organize #NMOS14 Vigils Across America In Just 4 Days

This evening peaceful crowds will gather at more than 90 locations around the country to honor the victims of police brutality, most recently the unarmed black teenager, Michael Brown, who was shot and killed by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, on Saturday. A moment of silence will begin at 20 minutes past 7 p.m. (EST). The vigils are being organized almost entirely online by the writer and activist Feminista Jones (@FeministaJones), with help from others from around the country who have volunteered to coordinate a vigil in their communities. Organizing such a large event in only a few days is a challenge, but in addition to ironing out basic logistics, the National Moment of Silence (#NMOS14) organizers have had to deal with co-optation, misrepresentation, and Google Docs and Facebook pages that are, apparently, buckling under traffic.

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