President Obama chose the social news site Reddit for his latest direct-to-voters online town hall Wednesday afternoon…The Reddit forum, or subreddit, went live at four minutes after the hour–and within 15 minutes had more than 2000 comments…

The site struggled to keep up with the sudden deluge of traffic, with the forum alternately crashing and being placed under read-only constraints.

Once things got going, Obama answered questions about internet freedom, an issue unsurprisingly close to the hearts of Redditors.

“We will fight hard to make sure that the internet remains the open forum for everybody – from those who are expressing an idea to those to want to start a business…”

He railed against dark money and anonymous election donations:

“Money has always been a factor in politics, but we are seeing something new in the no-holds barred flow of seven and eight figure checks, most undisclosed, into super-PACs; they fundamentally threaten to overwhelm the political process over the long run and drown out the voices of ordinary citizens. We need to start with passing the Disclose Act that is already written and been sponsored in Congress – to at least force disclosure of who is giving to who. We should also pass legislation prohibiting the bundling of campaign contributions from lobbyists.”

“Over the longer term, I think we need to seriously consider mobilizing a constitutional amendment process to overturn Citizens United (assuming the Supreme Court doesn’t revisit it). Even if the amendment process falls short, it can shine a spotlight on the super-PAC phenomenon and help apply pressure for change.”

I heard about this about 15 minutes before it started and knew damned well he’d crash the servers.

Read through the whole article and draw your own conclusions.

  1. Dallas says:

    He’s fantastically popular with his technically savvy supporters.

    Teapublican camp is rumored to be setting up shop at a Western Union.

  2. orchidcup says:

    Money has always been a factor in politics, but we are seeing something new in the no-holds barred flow of seven and eight figure checks, most undisclosed, into super-PACs; they fundamentally threaten to overwhelm the political process over the long run and drown out the voices of ordinary citizens.

    I am not sure what an ordinary citizen is exactly, but I agree that undisclosed contributions from corporate persons is a corruption of the political process. The Supreme Court has long recognized that the rights of metaphysical corporate persons supersede the rights of individuals, a direct abrogation of Constitutional principles.

    I would rather see a Constitutional amendment that declares human beings as individuals are the only constituents of human rights as defined by the Constitution.

    • John says:

      Regardless of what Obama has done in the past or what his motivations are, campaign finance reform and more accountability would be a very good thing. If you don’t like Obama fine, but anyone who doesn’t think we need more transparency is not paying attention.

      • alsoran says:

        The cynic in me thinks Obama is only bringing this up because his competition has way more money than he does.

        • John says:

          Obama has spent more so he has less money left but both he and Romney raised about the same amount of money.

          Not that that makes it okay. They both are probably beholden to various financial backers though. But it’s good to see that Obama recognizes there is a problem.

          I would be shocked if he did something about it though. :/ I am a cynic.

  3. NewformatSux says:

    So perhaps it was his tech savvy followers that disappeared videos of minorities from NBC News? They put in Condi Rice, but no Susana Martinez, no Prez of Puerto Rico.

  4. Mike from Illinois says:

    When corporations like the banks, that caused a depression and then got bailed out by Bush, start going to jail, then I will agree that they should have the same rights as people.

    • orchidcup says:

      A corporation does indeed have the same rights as people.

      Corporate Personhood is easy to understand but rarely understood.

      The subject deserves study by every citizen that believes the Constitution was ratified to protect the human rights of individuals, not collective interests that are viewed incorrectly as individuals.

      Corporate Personhood

      Have fun discovering why your rights as an individual have been usurped by collective rights that were never intended to be ensured by the Fourteenth Amendment.

  5. Peppeddu says:

    There’s this thing called Amazon EC2

    When you see a storm coming you provision additional servers, when you’re done you shut them down.

    They’ve got enough capacity to handle thousands of “Town Halls” at the same time.
    This storm was well planned in advance, so there’s no reason why Reddit couldn’t handle the extra traffic.

    EC2 can even be configured to kick in automatically when certain conditions are met (say traffic overload?)

  6. NewformatSux says:

    “human beings are divided into the few who want to rule and the many who do not care to rule themselves but do not want to be ruled by others either. Then those who want to rule must conceal their rule from the many they rule if they wish to succeed. How can they do this? Machiavelli went about conceiving a “new mode of ruling,” a hidden government that puts the people “under a dominion they do not see.” Government is hidden when it appears not to be imposed on you from above but when it comes from you, when it is self-imposed.”

  7. Don't Taze Me says:

    Is this a political roundup?

    Should those with negative comments expect a mysterious knock at their door in the middle of the night?

    • deowll says:

      There is some evidence that business people that contribute to those who oppose Obama can expect the IRS to go through their books with a fine toothed comb, etc. Did Obama personally authorize it? Maybe not but his staff is highly partisan and a lot them seem to be willing to do things I suspect they will eventually have to explain to a judge or at least they should.

  8. Big Brother says:

    Yes, please provide your address and times of availability. We can be at your house between the hours of 7:00 am and 3:00 pm Monday through Thursday. Please be presoaked and ready for electro-shock therapy. Waterboarding is optional. Your papers will be inspected for completness and accuracy. And remember, resistance is futile.
    Have a wonderful day.

  9. NewformatSux says:

    Obama in 2008 outspends McCain 750 million to 250 million, opts out of public financing and says Yes We Can!

    In 2012, he plans to raise one billion dollars, but it doesn’t work out, still outraises Mitt Romney, but as with his governance wastes all the money he spent, finding himself with a huge deficit. So he then complains about how his rival is using big money to outspend him!

    • John says:

      What are you talking about? He didn’t mention Romney. Someone asked him how he feels about money in politics and he said he felt like it was a corrupting influence that could cause problems in the long term.

      But it wasn’t about Romney or being outspent. It’s about corruption in politics. It is about the flaws of the current system, not either candidate.

      And not that it is really relevant, but it looks to me like both campaigns raised about the same amount of money.

      • NewformatSux says:

        He has a deficit of cash on hand. I wrote that he outraised Romney, but he was expecting to outraise him by much much more, to be able to bury him with ads.

      • NewformatSux says:

        An incumbent is always at the advantage if he limits the campaign spending of others, whether it be corporate or individual.

  10. NewformatSux says:

    Can anyone explain the purpose of posts like this?

    • Not Really Sure says:

      Filler material between “Caption This Photo” posts?

      • NewformatSux says:

        Never mind. The editors have edited out the posts I was responding to. Some random person comes in with broken English about how this is a wonderful post, and I like computers or something like that.

        • tcc3 says:

          Those people almost always have hot linked names – they’re just spam. Perhaps some sort of SEO page ranking scam?

  11. deowll says:

    Interesting and not political article about something Adam used to fuss about but how we are supposed to actually take their advice in the real world is harder to see.

  12. Yumpin Yoe Goebbels says:

    Nice to see all you Big Enders and Little Enders are still squabbling about which rich peckerhead to vote for. While the Republic goes down the toilet.

  13. This guy gets it says:

    My favorite question posed to Obama at the town hall “meeting”:

    “Would you rather fight 100 duck-sized horses or 1 horse-sized duck?”

    Ha ha.

    • John says:

      I’d have to go with the duck-horse. I would saddle it and I would ride it.

      • Zealots to the left of me, zealots to the right of me says:

        Funny, I think Obama said the same thing.

  14. Donn O'Malley says:

    As long as Money is part of politics it will be corrupt. As much as I hate the corporate greed that pays into politics, that is part of having the system we have. Anonymity is very important!! Anonymity has always been integral in replacing whatever corrupt power structure is in place…..

    If you want politics to be truly fair and open, don’t allow private donations at all. If you really want donations, treat it like tip sharing, all $ goes into one pot and all participants get an equal share. Maybe then our politicians would have to stand on their ideas/solutions/experience/ability to get things done and quit trying to win by manipulating everybody.

  15. Al says:

    Not surprised. Everything else he touches has crashed too.


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