Improving Scrutiny of Government Officers
|To modernize the Democratic party and counter the effective but diabolical marketing agitation-propaganda psy-ops of the Mercers, Bannons and their Ilk, we need to use electronic democracy to ensure that people have a direct channel to information, to working together and to communicating with elected officials and party leaders. We need to institute the lessons from OFA (see Post on Lessons from Organizing for America).|
This will have the benefits of:
- Countering targeted but deceptive moral messaging.
- Ensuring that we get the best possible candidates for our efforts
- Ensuring genuine debate and deliberation in choosing candidates, platforms and laws.
- Countering deceptive advertising and big money.
- Promoting local democracy and thus strengthening the democratic features of our system
Extreme Vetting of potential officers
Key to making any kind of government, and especially a Democratic republic, more functional and responsive to the people (representative) is to put effective controls over officers. That requires better scrutiny of candidate officers and accounting for their behavior at the end of their term. Any control mechanisms can be subverted, so the controls have to be designed well from the start and applied systematically and using the most virtuous people available to execute them.
Election Judges need Juries
In our society that means using Jury like structures to judge the deliberations. We already use election judges to manage elections. However, a just judicial system employs juries to ensure that decisions are made objectively, on the facts, and in the case of elections represents a broad spectrum of the population. Using election judges with the power to supervise the process but not boss, requires juries. The juries need to be run under well defined democratic deliberation procedures with the powers needed to get testimony & debates under oath and examine records. They should have the power to make recommendations, refer for prosecution and put out reports.
We need such juries involved because neither legislatures, Judges or Executives should be trusted to police themselves, even if they can, on principle. Judges are expected to be less political than legislators and executives, juries can be representative of a spectrum of points of view. They need formal oversight and that would be the purpose of election judges. Judges know how to both unobtrusive as possible but also ensure the panels follow best process. Eventually we can do this for the country as a whole yet. But for now we could make this part of the Democratic Party process.
Professional Investigators would drive the process. Election Juries would moderate debates, question candidates and review accounting data based on professional expertise.
Vetting and Accounting
The controls I'm talking about start with democratic features that worked well for hundreds of years in Athens. The greek terms for them are Dokimasia and Euthenia. There is a lot of talk about "extreme vetting", mostly in the context of preventing immigration. And politics has all been about "accountability" as a slogan for years. But the Greeks effectively implemented these concepts thousands of years ago. We can do the same thing, updating them for the Present.
- Dokimasia δοκιμασία; Scrutiny as in Vetting/Testing
- Euthuni Ευθύνη (modern pronunciation: Efthýni); Scrutiny as in Accountability
- The greek term is also associated with Euthenics, which is the study of improving human conditions. And the Greek Goddess of Prosperity. As used by the Ancient Athenians it was a performance review that officers had to endure.
Essentially a Jury works with investigative officers to investigate and vet candidates for office or re-election. They would perform the following functions:
- Each Jury would be constituted for a short term from the Jury Pool
- They would perform or review background checks on the Candidates.
- They would interview them under oath (eventually) and with a Judge overseeing the interview on their plank, history, past transgressions, etc...
- Those deliberations would be public record.
- They would Judge debates between candidates (threshold), under oath (objective), and question them.
- They would have the power to issue a report with majority and minority opinions.
- If someone lied to them they could request the Judge cite them for contempt.
- If a candidate lies to the Jury, later they can be tried for Perjury.
- A second Jury type structure would review the finances and performances of Officers at the end of their term.
- These structures would be supplemented by electronic reporting of Town Halls, Leaders Meetings and a requirement that all of them are televised, shared electronically, and that people can participate electronically.
Of course, the Democratic party can't implement this idea initially in it's full fledged form. The Juries ought to have powers to put people under oath, to question and to review records. The juries be formal but they'd have no prosecution power, they'd be like grand juries in that they could refer evidence to the courts for actual prosecution. We might not be able to force others do do this but we could institute these ideas within our party informally.
Trouble Reporting, Surveys and Votes
Vetting and Accounting also needs to be performed using electronic democracy. The candidates might not be under oath, but everything said or talked about would be a permanent record that we the people can use to judge their merits for reelection and such.
In addition to the vetting and accounting milestones, the system should provide issue reporting so that complaints and infractions can be reported, tracked, returned to periodically until marked as resolved. Anyone should be able to report an issue. And it should stay open until someone at a final accounting session moves it be closed as resolved by the Accounting "Jury." Or until the person reporting the incident or issue reports it as resolved.
Additionally, anyone should be able to suggest items for legislative consideration, propositions, amendments, etc... and these should be deliberated on until sufficient majorities support them to move them on to the formal legislature or take public action.
Encouraging Participation and Activism
We Democrats need Social Media. We need objective reporting. We need a systematic way to ensure that everyone's concerns are addressed. And we can do that by taking control of our electronic media and making it as "bottom up as Possible." More Democracy is the answer to the fascism we are encountering. Not circling wagons or hiding. The "other side" is using our emotions and prejudices to con us.
- Related Posts:
- Further Reading