The Pledge for All Americans

As an American within the borders of these United States or within the borders of our protected borders of our territories or those of our allied nations, with an honest and wholehearted intent, you commit to honor and respect our laws as they stand until amended or revoked, to protect our citizens, to the best of your abilities, to protect the health and well-being of our citizens and yourself from all known and present dangers, imminent and perceivable, foreign and domestic, and to help maintain the peace and dignity of every man, woman, child and creature within our borders in a manner that allows you to face your creator with a full an honest heart and a head held high.  To this you solemnly swear.

It’s a tall order, but it is also the closest thing you’ll find to an honest goal that included Americans, existing citizens and those aspiring to be citizens.

Constitutions should be based on high, yet practical aspirations and goals we can achieve that provides for a broader understanding of what it means to be American, not to be limited to just “citizens,” but also residents awaiting citizenship status.  This is a pledge of allegiance for all people within our borders who wish to identify as Americans and who are citizens and wish to seek citizenship as Americans.  I’m beginning to understand the issue now, I hope.

My apologies, my fellow American, very frustrated, aspiring-to-be citizens.

#MAGA #PLEDGE #USA #Immigration

Published October 9, 2017 by M.E. Strayhorne 

© Mary Strayhorne ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Advertisements

The Bureaucratic Mechanism:  Its Role in Party Politics and Federal Corruption 

By M. E. Strayhorne

Incompetence buries talent and truth, perverting justice with impunity. This is the bureaucratic weapon and the underlying threat of big government and unchecked power. Don’t believe me, as an exercise, try asking three employees of the Social Security Administration to confirm the status of a disability payment. What are the implications of receiving three completely different answers? After attempting this myself, I found myself getting the answers from another agency entirely–the Treasury Department. This wisdom came with a warning from the third helpful agent–don’t call too much or “they” will just stop payment. A warning or a threat? (12/01/2017)

Below is an educated perspective on using bureaucracy as a tool to enable actions and outcomes without supervision.  It provides a lesson in why checks and balances, antitrust laws, and oversight and accountability measures are critical.

Reflect on these itemized examples before you move on to the excerpts and editorial:

  • Big banks ‘too big to fail’ due to sheer size of its internal bureaucracy exhausting the resources of the Justice Department leading to weak settlements though nonprofits (that profit from the agreement on “consulting services”), thus circumventing Article III justice (Judicial branch; and
  • Executive Branch plausible deniability and scapegoating of appointed officials (who also seem to avoid prosecution–i.e., Lois Lerner, the IRS, Eric Holder, the Justice Department, Hillary Clinton, State Department, Susan Rice, and pretty much every U.S. Presidential administration in part since Nixon).

**Note:  not all administration members or federal employees are affirmatively acting in a way that suggests corruption. The excerpt eludes to this and common sense should reign in your analysis. It is the assembly line separation of tasks and limited technical or professional knowledge that allows the mechanism to work and absolve individuals. In a sense, you could argue that politicizing the bureaucratic function of the executive branch creates a faction of federal employees, involking precautions made in the Federalist Papers against factions.

Incompetence buries talent and truth, perverting justice with impunity.

The bottom line may be that it is time to reign in political party activities with its own system of checks and balances, perhaps a Political Activity oversight function that requires the participation of an electoral-college type or concerned citizen body that does not rely on tax exemptions from the federal government, nor is funded by private organizations.  I have to think about that some more.  Moving on.

    • Max Weber on Bureaucracy

      Max Weber took an interdisciplinary approach to political philosophy, combining both sociological evaluations and political theories.  Here, Weber discusses, in part, the right to inquiry into bureaucratic actions and the power of bureaucracy.  The bureaucracy is what I like to refer to as the unofficial fourth branch of government (and I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in this idea).

      Max Weber (1864-1920) grew up the son of a prominent civil servant and a young contemporary of Prussian statesman Otto von Bismarck during the political changes that gave rise to the Weimar Republic and eventually its fall and the beginning of the Nazi era, having an opportune position to witness the rise of the German regime prior to World War I and the Nazi Regime under Adolf Hitler.

      Read this excerpt and tell me if you see any use of these executive powers having been exploited over the course of American governance, beginning with FDR (to limit this analysis for convenience only…boundaries are good).

      From the section “Effective Supervision and the Power Basis of Bureaucracy”:

      Effective supervision over the officialdom depends upon certain preconditions.
      Apart from being rooted in the administrative division of labor, the power of all bureaucrats rests upon knowledge of two kinds: First, technical know-how in the widest sense of the word, acquired through specialized training. This kind of knowledge is also represented in parliament or whether deputies can privately consult specialists in a given case, is incidental and a private matter. There is no substitute for the systematic cross-examination (under oath) of experts before a parliamentary commission in the presence of the respective departmental officials.This alone guarantees public supervision and a thorough inquiry. Today, the Reichstag simply lacks the right to proceed in this fashion: the constitution condemns it to amateurish ignorance  (emphasis added).

      The bureaucratic procedure and process assign the proper protocol to allow access which is on-the-record under oath in the presence of departmental officials.

      “However, expertise alone does not explain the power of the bureaucracy. In addition, the bureaucrat has official information, which is only available through administrative channels and which provides him with the facts on which he can base his actions. Only he who can get access to these facts independently of the officials’ good will can effectively supervise the administration” (emphasis added)

      Yes, it is only at the discretion of a bureaucratic official to share the information. Good luck producing a paper trail showing the chain of proof–official discretion gets a first bite at those apples.

      “According to the circumstances, the appropriate means are the inspection of documents, on-the-spot inquiry and, in extreme cases, the official’s cross-examination under oath before a parliamentary commission. This right, too, is withheld from the Reichstag [German parliamentary body], which has deliberately been made incapable of gaining the necessary information. Hence, in addition to dilettarttism, the Reichstag has been sentenced to ignorance-plainly not for technical reasons, but exclusively because the bureaucracy’s supreme power instrument is the transformation of official information into classified material by means of the notorious concept of the secret secret. In the last analysis, this is merely a means of protecting the administration against supervision(emphasis added).”

      National security, executive privilege and incompetence seem to be the three widely used excuses for failure or refusal to be transparent.  Government is legally abliged to be transparent to the governed and it is also the Government’s responsibility to protect us from all threats even with transparency in place.  FOIA does not seem to trump national security or executive privilege.  We’ve been had, my fellow American comrade.

      “While lower ranks of the bureaucratic hierarchy are supervised and criticized by the higher echelons, all controls, whether technical or political, over these policy-making echelons have failed completely.  The manner in which administrative chiefs answer questions and critiques in the Reichstag is often disgraceful for a self-confident people; it has been possible only because parliament cannot avail itself, through the “right of investigation” (Enqueterecht), of the facts and technical viewpoints, knowledge of which alone would permit steady co-operation with and influence upon the administration. This must be changed first” (Emphasis added).

      [ ]

      “Of course, the Reichstag committees are not supposed to immerse themselves in comprehensive studies and to publish fat volumes-this will not happen anyway because the Reichstag is too busy with other things. The parliamentary right of inquiry should be an auxiliary means and, for the rest, a whip, the mere existence of which will force the administrative chiefs to account for their actions in such a way as to make its use unnecessary.”

      Committees too busy with other things?  Like healthcare?  The budget?  And yet, independent commissions seem to be created to have all the time in the world to investigate the new boss.

      Read Weber’s observations.  Then, analogize the events unfolding now.  Who are the culprits?  The new guys in power or the old administration?  Answer that for yourself.

      My Final Thoughts

      We the people need to figure out how to get back what is rightfully ours:  a governing body with a primary focus on equality for all Americans . Politically-fueled divisiveness is dividing and conquering the American and aspiring American people and it is time to drop the axe.

      I urge you to learn your history and do so with hard copy books as a primary source.  Be highly skeptical of any electronic media — including this blog, as it is at the mercy of a third parties. Also, be skeptical of the publication date of all print publications. Know your history!

      Source:

      Weber, Max. Economy and Society: An Outline of Interpretive Sociology, eds. Guenther Roth and Claus Wittich, 1978, Berkeley: University of California Press, available at: https://ia800305.us.archive.org/25/items/MaxWeberEconomyAndSociety/MaxWeberEconomyAndSociety.pdf (last accessed Sep 28, 2017).

      #bureaucracy

      © Mary E. Strayhorne ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

      The Founders Intent with Respect to the Electoral College

      A response to Lawrence Lessig’s article, “The Constitution lets the electoral college choose the winner. They should choose Clinton.” (24 Nov 2016 Washington Post).  Lawrence Lessig is a professor at Harvard Law School and the author of “Republic, Lost: Version 2.0.” In 2015, he was a candidate in the Democratic presidential primary.

      Lessig limited his argument on two major points:

      1. The founders intended the electoral college to be a circuit breaker, yes, but to prevent the mob mentality of a minority of states with greater population concentrations forcing ideology on the majority of states.
      1. Clinton has been subject of many investigations and scandals over the years, including being up for potential indictment during the campaign for her actions holding public office, which, if followed through during her presidency, she’d be impeached, like Nixon….effectively a disqualification.  Trump has not been indicted, nor was their any pending indictable offenses.

      “it will require other talents, and a different kind of merit, to establish him in the esteem and confidence of the whole Union, or of so considerable a portion of it as would be necessary to make him a successful candidate for the distinguished office of President of the United States.”

      Perhaps, there should be an amendment to the constitution that disqualifies a candidate under investigation for alleged indictable crimes carried out while holding public office.  The reason being that even if they do get into office, they may be impeached anyway and, if not, they certainly hold a powerful position to actually curb investigative activities during their term or give the appearance of impropriety.  A long held principle in the law is that a judge must recuse himself to avoid the look of impropriety in the interest of justice.  Why should the executor of the law (or even legislators and administrators also) not be held to the same standard?

      From Federalist 68 on the electoral college:

      Read More

      Post-Trump Victory & Uncertainty: A Note to the Fearful Masses

      To anyone who fears a Trump-fueled racist fallout, read this and allow it to guide your wisdom and strength in these uncertain times.
      Being American is not about race, it is about nationality and how one identifies themselves.

      We are all Americans.

      We welcome you and your views. We also welcome the right of people to use the democratic process to choose a leader.

      Though Trumps words were poorly chosen, we still have an opportunity to communicate to this leader that we will not stand for the mistreatment of any citizen or visitor to our country. Period. Read More

      Censoring the Internet

      China’s scary lesson to the world: Censoring the Internet works – By Simon Denyer, Washington Post, May 23, 2016

      BEHIND THE FIREWALL: How China tamed the Internet | This is part of a series examining the impact of China’s Great Firewall, a mechanism of Internet censorship and surveillance that affects nearly 700 million users.

      In China, the government can censor the pics and memes you send to your friends via IM– Posted on Jul 19, 2017 by Caleb Chen

      “Chinese censorship has hit new dystopian levels. Internet censors in China are now able to delete an image sent from Party A to Party B, before the image makes it to Party B. While China has long had the power to scrub text and remove public posts, the ability to censor images in one-on-one WeChat is new and demonstrates exactly how far the government’s tendrils extend into Chinese tech companies.”

      Also, take a look at the E|S|P previous post on censorship and surveillance:

      Our Inevitable Descent into Censorship: A story that begins with surveillance – by Mary Strayhorne, Mar 26, 2016
      Credits

      Featured image source:  Cartoon by Brian Gable, The Globe and Mail, Toronto (published by CartoonArts International / The New York Times Syndicate, Feb 6, 2006, available at  https://www.nytsyn.com/cartoons/cartoons?start_date=1901-01-01&search_id=5782576&media_type=cartoons#271380) (last accessed Sep 12, 2017).

      E|L|P Daily Dose of Founding Perspective

      Today’s founding perspective is from Thomas Jefferson on the nature of politics and government:

      “Let those flatter, who fear; it is not an American art. To give praise which is not due might be well from the venal, but would ill beseem those who are asserting the rights of human nature…Open your breast, sire to liberal and expanded thought. Let not the name of George the third be a blot in the page of history…The whole art of government consists in the art of being honest. Only aim to do your duty, and mankind will give you credit where you fail. No longer persevere in sacrificing the rights of one part of the empire to the inordinate desired of another; but deal out all equal and impartial right…This is the important post in which fortune has placed you, holding the balance of great, if a well poised empire.”

      (As quoted in Jon Meacham’s Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power)