Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Gerrymanders and Mergers Global Viral Desease

Brian Klaas is a Fellow in Comparative Politics at the London School of Economics and author of The Despot’s Accomplice: How the West is Aiding & Abetting the Decline of Democracy.
There is an enormous paradox at the heart of American democracy. Congress is deeply and stubbornly unpopular. On average, between 10 and 15 percent of Americans approve of Congress – on a par with public support for traffic jams and cockroaches. And yet, in the 2016 election, only eight incumbents – eight out of a body of 435 representatives – were defeated at the polls
Gerrymandering is the biggest obstacle to genuine democracy in the United States so why is no one protesting 

'Clinging to their selfish fiefdoms': Sydney councils exchange barbs

Merger Changes are half-baked: Anti-merger campaigners are outraged by the NSW government's decision to reverse council amalgamations in the bush but forge ahead with those in Sydney.
"Can I say how inequitable it is - we in NSW are one citizen, not two," Save Our Council spokesman Phil Jenkyn told reporters in Sydney on Tuesday. "It's an outrage. This is a blatant political deal." Mr Jenkyn was speaking at a joint press conference with MPs from the Labor, Greens and Shooters Fishers and Farmers parties. Premier Gladys Berejiklian, in defending the announcement, said regional NSW was very different to Sydney and streamlining metro councils would help tackle issues such as the housing affordability crisis.  Her coalition partner - the Nationals - has been pushing the new premier to scrap all 12 mergers in the regions. 

Greens MP David Shoebridge says it's clear the decision is not in the best interests of the community. 
"If the coalition is admitting it is wrong on forced council amalgamations in places like Oberon and Cabonne, then it can't pretend it is the right thing for millions of residents in the city," he said on Tuesday.
"This half-baked response from Premier Berejiklian has nothing to do with what's good for local government and everything to do with appeasing the division within her own coalition."
Opposition Leader Luke Foley echoed those sentiments, saying the Berejiklian government had failed to listen to constituents.
"This is an anti-democractic policy. Sadly the premier has revealed a stubborn inflexibility," Mr Foley said.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian prepares for north shore by-election backlash over gerrymanders and mergers

Berejiklian government axes Wollongong, Shellharbour council ...

Story image for mergers gerrymander nsw from The Sydney Morning Herald

Council dismissals are authoritarian and undemocratic

... and undemocratic action taken by a NSW Premier in living memory. .... of a plan to gerrymander local government in the Coalition's favour.

Sacked NSW Mayors put Nationals on notice

Government News

Sacked NSW Mayors put Nationals on notice ... step in sustaining a united effort to oppose the forced merger agenda,” Mr Foley said. ... the sackings and new boundaries to gerrymander new councils for his own advantage.

Mike Baird's forced council mergers are a disgraceful rort | Luke Foley | Opinion | The Guardian
The rise of dark money power begs public scrutiny. It requires public regulation and control of the world’s most powerful corporate institutions. That’s why the Sydney Democracy Network, in cooperation with michaelwest.com.au, is launching an intensive year-long series of seminars, workshops and public lectures at the University of Sydney, and a weekly column, Dark Money, all targeted at the threats to democracy posed by dark money, and how best to hold arbitrary corporate power to account.
Sydney Democracy Network.org

The end of political consensus

Leaking in political capitals like Washington can be a sophisticated strategic game with trade-craft elements of a John LeCarre novel involving code words, secret rendezvous in person or by phone and fake messages to advance or defeat a cause and especially to detect a leaker’s identity. Remember during Watergate reporters convening with their secret source in an underground parking garage?