Enough With The Phony Baloney Petition Stuff Please

I swore I wasn’t going to emerge from my hole except for Good News Fridays but dangitall, y’all are annoying me. Mama Beale has half a mind to send y’all to your rooms without supper.

So here we go. America, please stop yapping about those “petitions to secede.” This is not a real thing. This is a social media thing, magnified by the traditional media looking for its latest shiny-sparkly election-related toy. And it’s completely absurd.

First of all, CBS News, no: states are not petitioning to secede. Individuals in states are petitioning. Crackpots all around the country, and yes, all 50 states have them. To my knowledge, no state legislature has taken any action (and I’m not entirely sure what that action would be, anyway.) But the fact is, there is no “official” support for these efforts. Please stop amplifying the crazies.

Look, any idiot can create a petition at the WhiteHouse.gov site. This is not a real thing. Some petitions which got less attention from the media include:

“force all states to pay their share of the national debt before they can secede”;

“strip citizenship from everyone who signed the petition to secede and exile them”;

“Keep The United States United”;

Peacefully grant the University of Illinois Chief Illiniwek back as the school mascot;

• “have the President attend a Fark.com party. If scheduling does not permit, at least have a beer with Drew Curtis.”

I might actually sign that last one.

I took a look at Tennessee’s petition and the thing just screams fakery. Just glancing over the first 100 or so names I see signatories from Alabama, Illinois, Florida, New York, California, Georgia, Virginia, Minnesota — in short, not everyone is a resident of Tennessee. And several people didn’t even list their address. I’d say about 30-40% of the names are from out of state. So no, 26,000+ people in Tennessee did not sign this petition.

(UPDATE: And as Newscoma notes, these things are just glorified exercises in e-mail phishing.)

I’m going to guess some Tea Party groups got their people to sign as many of these petitions as possible so they could drive the news narrative with their “we hate the President” message. I mean, it may not even be that coordinated, who the hell knows. The point is, we all know that a certain percent of the electorate is batshit insane and it’s not a shock that these people have found an outlet for their anger at an online petition site.

What is a shock is how quickly the news media jumped all over this. You know, as if it were a real thing. Y’all know that this White House petition site is no different from any other online petition site, right? Like Change.org and petitiononline.com? I mean, I thought we all knew to ignore these things back during the Bush Administration. I guess I was wrong.


Okay, I’m going away again but you do not want to make me come out of my room to scold you again. You kids, pipe down out there. Do your damn homework, eat your vegetables, and stop feeding the zoo animals.


Oh, huzzah. Someone actually looked at the petitions and did some of that wonky math-y, graphics-y stuff.


In total, we collected data on 702,092 signatures. Of these, we identified 248,936 unique combinations of names and places, suggesting that a large number of people were signing more than one petition. Approximately 90%, or 223,907, of these individuals provided valid city locations that we could locate with a US county.

Mousing over that graph, it appears most of the signers are from Texas and Alabama. Shocking, I know.


Filed under hoaxes, Media

21 responses to “Enough With The Phony Baloney Petition Stuff Please

  1. “about 30-40% of the names are from out of state.”

    that’s what i love best. people from other states are petitioning for us to secede. i think that is sooo rude! 😉

  2. greennotGreen

    “…we all know that a certain percent of the electorate is batshit insane…”

    Yes, 27%. This result has been replicated many times, so I think it’s safe to name the actual percentage.

    BTW, S.B., while I understand that you’re busy, please understand that I’m recovering from chemo and I need my mental stimulation!

    • I don’t agree with the 27% so I didn’t write that down. I know, I’ve read that post over at Kung Fu Monkey a zillion times but I really think it’s closer to 22%. That’s the core crazification factor, IMHO.

      Sorry to hear about the chemo! Gah. Wishing you a quick and speedy recovery. I lift my glass of kale juice to you.

  3. Mary L. Wilson

    Lordy, SB, when I saw the TEAs out there wanting to separate from our Union because they HATE our President, I knew it would be a matter of minutes…sure enough…The Chair of the Roane County TEAs took that ball, got lots of media attention and is now claiming 22,000 Tennesseans signed on to his fanatic hatred. And I knew we had a few (too many) who could not resist being a part of this sham. I think this is just an inkling of what the TN Legislature plans to do ‘going forward’…they just have to write some more idiotic, crazed, no basis in fact bills so that our TEA Governor can let them pass into Law without his signature…since they do not need his approval.

    • ….and is now claiming 22,000 Tennesseans signed on to his fanatic hatred…

      Poor dears, they’re so desperate for legitimacy. They lost an election and just can’t handle it. How long before one of the Breitbarts decides, “if all these people signed these petitions, the election must have been stolen?” It will be the new birtherism.

      Anyone can look at these petitions. It’s not rocket science. I wonder how many people signed all 50 of them?

  4. democommie

    Has Mark Rogers phoned in his concession speech, yet. Y’know the one where he concedes that he is a partisan hack?

    I was at a party on Saturday and my good friend’s twin brother (also a good friend, sorta) a former hippieyippiedopercokerfreeloverock’n’rolleranitwarwhatevah was complaining that people in MA were being unfair in their estimation of Scott Brown, as Brown could “reach across the aisle”. I told him, in not quite those words, that he was completely full of shit. I told him that Brown, just like Romney, is a straightup opportunist. Anyone who had any doubt of that need only track his campaign ads attacking Elizabeth Warren for her being/not being a Native American. I told him Brown was nothing but a fucking grifter. That pissed him off, but, since he still has some vestiges of hippieness in his shrivelled GOPsoul, we had a laugh.

  5. Pingback: On-line Petitions – Newscoma

  6. Dru

    I like that Austin is petitioning to secede from Texas in order to remain part of the United States. Austin is chock full of sane Texans unlike the other parts.

  7. Pingback: Secession Craziness (Really) | The Moderate Voice

  8. I’d pretend this was a serious matter and ask this stupid question… would they establish embassies in so many countries, issue their own passports, print new stamps,etc., etc., etc., ?

    • I don’t see how they could possibly afford all of that.

      It would be fun to see just one state try to function without all of the federal largesse. Texas would be overrun by Mexico in about 5 minutes.

  9. democommie

    “I don’t see how they could possibly afford all of that.”

    I think a campaign involving snackfoods, 7-11’s and PatriotistiKKKal fervor would help defray the expenses.

    “Twinkies for JEUSINESS!”

    “Slim Jims for FREEDUMB!”

    that sortathing.

  10. deep

    There are some funny parodies though:

  11. Jim from Memphis

    The petition to secede stuff is extremely stupid. Obama won and he is president. Of course, the Republicans won the House where all spending bills must originate. It seems the people have mandated that the Republicans lead on spending and taxes and Obama just needs to take care of the Executive duties. Let the House pass the budget and then sign it like the people want.

  12. democommie

    Uh, Jim, you’re apparently one of those folks who thinks that the reptilicans won the house races by means fair. Newsflash, they rigged the districts by gerrymandering.

    Sadly, the rest of the U.S. has to suffer the effects of the asinine machinations of the teabaggists (who are completely co-opted by the Plutocrats in the area of fiscal legislation).

    Perhaps you didn’t know this. Now you do. The Party of No remains the Party of No Brains.