View RSS Feed

Memories of the 28th Century

Openness in Government

Rating: 3 votes, 5.00 average.
Republics belong to the people governed, and as would be the case in a business co-op where all of the employees own the business, in a republic all of the citizens own the government, and they should be able to know what is going on. Republic isn't the most effective or efficient form of government, but it is what we have here in the U.S.A. And the citizens should have all of the information necessary for running it. The only reason why the citizens don't have all of the information now is that the people running the government are hiding things mostly for their advantages. I former times that argument that some things have to be kept secret for national security, but under Trump it become abundantly clear that the secrecy is to hide crimes.

It used to be that one of the differences between our country and the nasty governments was that we had a generally open government, while the unpleasant governments were closed, secretive; they were hiding things from us and from their citizens. Thanks to Trump that difference had disappeared. If I had been made Emperor, then the change would be understandable (although not every autocracy is a closed government), but there is no good reason for a republic to hide much of anything.

I never heard of it before, but the World Justice Project has a Government Openness Index (see link below). The available index is for 2015, so it is behind the times. I find it interesting that no countries scored above 0.80 on a 0 to 1.0 scale, interesting but not surprising. There are scores for only part of Africa. I wasn't surprised that there were no scores for some countries. They also have a "Rule of Law" Index, and that is similar. The site is worth looking at, but I wonder how accurate it is.

Both the rule of law and government openness are important for the economic well-being of a country. It is difficult to invest in a country where the legal status of anything is not clear, or where rules may change depending on who you are. I wonder how the U.S. would rank now with Trump and his family trying to run the country for personal advantage. It appears that Trump is trying to follow the example of Putin, and that would be worthwhile, if he could. Putin is said to be the world's wealthiest person with a net worth of two hundred billion dollars, but the U.S. is not set up for an individual to steal that much, but few (if any) presidents have left office poor.

The attempts by Trump to run the government like a criminal gang have to be resisted, and it appears from what little we can see of it that Mueller is closing in on Trump. At some point it will become clear that there is enough on Trump that Trump will have a choice of resigning or being impeached. In either case he will have to find a friendly foreign country to move to, because he will be subject to criminal charges after he leaves the White House, unless Pence gives him a pardon or amnesty, which is likely to happen.

In the past, the U.S. has usually had extremely open government, except when the government was led by someone who had something to hide. Nixon hid whatever he could, and Clinton should have hidden more. Someone today mentioned the contrast between Clinton's sexual adventures and Kennedy's. It seems that Kennedy was better at it, but there weren't as many people trying to get dirt on him. There was a general awareness that he was doing something on the side, but there were no details or names until well after he died, and at that point no one wanted to make trouble about it. From what I understand (and I don't claim to be an expert on it) Warren Harding had the worst problem with criminals around him, but he was not personally part of the Teapot Dome or any other criminal activity. I wonder what the whole story about Harding was. But Harding was an anomaly, as was Nixon.

As citizens we deserve the complete story of everything, and in a republic that is ours; it isn't prying into the affairs of the king. We should demand what is ours, and all of the information is ours. Unless the people want to make me Emperor, there is no reason why we don't get all of the information.