The insidious theft of democracy.

ShortForBob

Super Anarchist
34,892
2,777
Melbourne
Stan Grant at his best.

This article is from the ABC and reflects our current situation, BUT it describes something being played out all over the world, especially now under the cover of Covid.

I've blocked out most references specific to Australia because it's relevant to all.

I obviously can't do the same in the link



insidious weakening of the guardrails of democracy

By Stan Grant
Posted 4h ago4 hours ago, updated 1m ago1 minutes ago

XXXX has defended his actions while issuing the faintest of apologies to those who may have been upset.

Democracy doesn't die only in war. Democracy can die at the ballot box.
Those we elect can steal our democracy. Like a cancer they may silently infect the body politic, steadily growing, until it is all too late.
It is happening all around the world. Democracy is in peril. This week in Australia we have been reminded that it can happen here too.
It has been revealed that Scott Morrison secretly had himself appointed to five additional ministries, and failed to inform his government, the parliament and the Australian people of his crucial governing decisions.
As prime minister, Morrison was running a parallel, hidden mini-cabinet. A government of one. The Governor General David Hurley had sworn Morrison into multiple portfolios, yet many of the PM's supposedly most trusted colleagues knew nothing about it.

XXXX has defended his actions while issuing the faintest of apologies to those who may have been upset. He and the current prime minister, Anthony Albanese, have absolved the Governor General.
Hurley, they say, was acting properly on the advice of the Prime Minister.
But the Governor General is the head of state, the last line of defence to protect citizens from the excesses of power. Critics have argued he should have questioned xxxxx requests more vigorously and advised him the appointments should be publicly disclosed.

The Governor General is meant to be our democracy's fail safe.

Secrecy poisons democracy

Was it illegal? The Solicitor General will determine that. Was it undemocratic? Plenty say yes.
It is undemocratic because democracy doesn't end when we vote. It isn't just about representation. It is about accountability.
Secrecy poisons democracy. Harvard University Professors in Government, Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt, in their book, How Democracies Die, warned of the dangerous creep of executive powers.
"Presidents or Prime Ministers," they write, "who subvert the very process that brought them to power."


Levitsky and Ziblatt say the "soft guardrails" of democracy have been "weakening for decades".
That's what we have alerted to this past week. Not a coup, but an insidious weakening of the soft guardrails of our democracy.
Alarmingly, it was the German jurist and one-time Nazi Carl Schmitt, who wrote the playbook for the authoritarian takeover of democracy. Schmitt set it out in one sentence: "Sovereign is he who declares the exception."
Simply: construct an emergency, claim extraordinary powers, and put yourself above the rules.
XXXXX move was exceptional. The COVID emergency, he said, justified his exception even if that meant ultimately deceiving the xxxxxx people.
This is not to put xxxxxxin the grotesque company of Nazi authoritarians. But it is to sound an alarm. Emergency, secrecy and exceptionalism is where authoritarianism breeds.
Carl Schmitt's shadow darkens the 21st century. Just look around our world. Autocrats are stealing democracy from Turkey, Brazil, India, the Philippines, Hungary, Poland.
In every case leaders have used (or confected) an emergency — refugees, terrorism, economic collapse, religious strife, political extremism — to claim exceptional powers.
They have put themselves above the law; suspended parliament, corrupted the judiciary, imposed unconstitutional measures.
It has gone hand in hand with a crisis of liberalism.
Viktor Orban, wearing a black winter coat over a sharp white shirt, frowns as he speaks, surrounded by microphones

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban even boasts of his "illiberal democracy".(Reuters: Bernadett Szabo)

Playing fast and loose with truth and trust

Liberal democracy has been up-ended. Political scholar Matthew Rose in his book, A World After Liberalism, declares: "We are living in a post-liberal moment."
Liberalism, Rose says, "is losing its hold on Western minds".
In Hungary, Viktor Orban even boasts of his "illiberal democracy".
It has infected the United States. For decades the political class have played fast and loose with truth and trust.
From Nixon's Watergate scandal to Reagan's Iran-Contra affair, Bill Clinton's secrecy, lies, sexual shenanigans, George W Bush's Iraqi invasion, Obama's false prophet of hope, through to the Trump years.


Investigations, criminal trials, imprisonment, impeachment, corrupt bankers bailed out by the White House... no wonder Americans have lost faith in their democracy.
When you survey our world, it is no surprise that Freedom House now counts 15 straight years of declining democracy.
Moises Naim from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace says what we are seeing is a new malignant form of power. This power, he says, "mimics democracy while undermining it, scorning all limits".
"Freedom's survival is not guaranteed," he writes.
Naim identifies what he calls the "3P Autocrat". He says they "dismantle the checks on executive power through populism, polarisation and post-truth": the three Ps.
Stealth, he says, is the autocrat's weapon, "concealing the real operations of power becomes a central strategy for amassing it and retraining it".
For politicians looking for a convenient emergency, to consolidate and embed their power, what better than a global pandemic?
The coronavirus has been the perfect cover for a grand heist of democracy. As Naim argues in his book, The Revenge of Power, lockdowns were an invitation for a power grab.
With unprecedented restrictions on the public, he says, "measures that would have seemed heavy-handed in any other circumstances came to look normal, even banal".


The cover of COVID

xxxxxx has used the emergency of COVID to justify his secrecy and the privilege of his office to reach into all levels of government.
No one needed to know, because as prime minister, he apparently believed he knew better than everyone else.
Viktor Orban — a man who has styled himself as a "little Putin" — did something similar in Hungary. Under cover of COVID he shut down parliament and for a time made himself a one-man government. As Moises Naim argues, Orban "was able to rule by decree".
All around the world, truth and trust have been sacrificed under the guise of emergency. In a world where truth itself has lost its meaning, autocrats have exploited the politics of the "big lie".
Secrecy and lies are destroying democracy.

xxxxxxxx has used the emergency of COVID to justify his secrecy.(ABC News: Marco Catalano)
While there is so much talk about the threat of China, we should also fear the enemy within — the enemy that masquerades as democracy's defender.
Australia isn't India, Turkey, Brazil, Hungary or even the United States. Morrison isn't Orban or Modi or even Trump.
Our institutions are robust. Our electoral processes rigorous. xxxxx voted xxxxxx government out of office.
But there is democratic rot in our system. From state parliament MPs sent to jail, jobs for the boys, rampant misogyny, sexual impropriety, local candidates elbowed aside for head office party heavyweights and favourites.
There is growing inequality. There is concentration of power. And politicians of all stripes who feel they are exceptional — that the rules don't apply.
Democracy as we may have known it is already past. The world is in a battle to resurrect a democracy fit for the 21st century.
This may have seemed like a crisis, out there. After this week we should be under no illusions it is here, too.
To refashion a line from the playwright, Arthur Miller: Democracy, sir, is a fortress; no crack in a fortress may be accounted small.
Stan Grant is the ABC's international affairs analyst and presenter of Q+A on Thursday at 8.30pm. He also presents China Tonight on Monday at 9:35pm on ABC TV, and Tuesday at 8pm on the ABC News Channel.
Posted 4h ago4 hours ago, updated
1m ago
 

Fah Kiew Tu

Curmudgeon, First Rank
10,062
3,241
Tasmania, Australia
Dan Andrews, Premier of Victoria.

Made or had some amorphous committee make decisions that turned out to be so flawed that many people died from covid.

When investigated, NOBODY could be found to take responsibility for the decisions and contracts. Nobody at all put their hand up and said 'Yes it was me who took that decision'.

And the man with overall responsibility - the Premier of the State - was nowhere to be found.

And another major corruption - abuse of staffing and funds for Party political purposes - same thing. The Premier knew nothing and took responsibility for nothing.

Yet Meli is remarkably silent about this.

Yes, I agree totally with the gist of the article and I think Morrison should be 'requested' to resign forthwith for what he did. I think rules should be put in place to totally forbid secret appointments of this or any similar nature. The G-G should refuse any and all such requests, ideally, but if not, they certainly should never be secret or obfuscated.

And I think that the Victorian Government should lose power due to abuse and incompetence. Followed in turn by the NSW Government because - same.

Because I want good governance, not just political point-scoring.

Unlike Meli, whose scales only flip off of her eyes when it's her political enemies who've fucked up and at no other time.

FKT
 

ShortForBob

Super Anarchist
34,892
2,777
Melbourne
I was talking to my commie son about democracy over dinner.
He pointed out that while fascists control people with jack boots, disappearances, torture and general thuggery, both liberal and conservative democracies do the same but "softly" with secrecy and legislation and even with Democracy itself.
It occurred to me that he was absolutely correct.
 

ShortForBob

Super Anarchist
34,892
2,777
Melbourne
Dan Andrews, Premier of Victoria.

Made or had some amorphous committee make decisions that turned out to be so flawed that many people died from covid.

When investigated, NOBODY could be found to take responsibility for the decisions and contracts. Nobody at all put their hand up and said 'Yes it was me who took that decision'.

And the man with overall responsibility - the Premier of the State - was nowhere to be found.

And another major corruption - abuse of staffing and funds for Party political purposes - same thing. The Premier knew nothing and took responsibility for nothing.

Yet Meli is remarkably silent about this.

Yes, I agree totally with the gist of the article and I think Morrison should be 'requested' to resign forthwith for what he did. I think rules should be put in place to totally forbid secret appointments of this or any similar nature. The G-G should refuse any and all such requests, ideally, but if not, they certainly should never be secret or obfuscated.

And I think that the Victorian Government should lose power due to abuse and incompetence. Followed in turn by the NSW Government because - same.

Because I want good governance, not just political point-scoring.

Unlike Meli, whose scales only flip off of her eyes when it's her political enemies who've fucked up and at no other time.

FKT
I'm silent about this because this is a bit bigger than a state premier, go talk about it in Oz pol.
 

Sidecar

…………………………
3,120
1,490
Tasmania
Some of us can see through political partizanship and what about-ism responses on political corruption to understand that it has all gone too far and become too blatant for the good of any fair society. It is not good enough to overlook/justify the corruption of “your” tribe and point fingers at the other tribe, or worse, say that they are more corrupt than your tribe is, therefore support us (or else).

We need to stop creeping, escalating “Trump” style corruption and tactics and get back to a bipartisan place where a proven lie, an “inappropriate” helicopter ride or an expensive bottle of wine “gift” is sufficient impropriety for anyone, regardless of tribe, to be forced to resign or be ousted from any public office.
 

ShortForBob

Super Anarchist
34,892
2,777
Melbourne
Some of us can see through political partizanship and what about-ism responses on political corruption to understand that it has all gone too far and become too blatant for the good of any fair society. It is not good enough to overlook/justify the corruption of “your” tribe and point fingers at the other tribe, or worse, say that they are more corrupt than your tribe is, therefore support us (or else).

We need to stop creeping, escalating “Trump” style corruption and tactics and get back to a bipartisan place where a proven lie, an “inappropriate” helicopter ride or an expensive bottle of wine “gift” is sufficient impropriety for anyone, regardless of tribe, to be forced to resign or be ousted from any public office.
exactly. Manipulation can be overt or quite subtle.
I've just come back from a Gospel music workshop. While the music is fun to sing and harmonies are lovely, when singers start getting into the hand waving and clapping and lookin heavenward thing, its creepy. Mass/crowd manipulation by a hand waving preacher to beat Satan and tear his kingdom down is pretty similar to eloquent politicians telling people to burn the house down and turn on or collectively disapprove of those that reject the message.
 

Mike in Seattle

Super Anarchist
4,328
595
Latte land
Alarmingly, it was the German jurist and one-time Nazi Carl Schmitt, who wrote the playbook for the authoritarian takeover of democracy. Schmitt set it out in one sentence: "Sovereign is he who declares the exception."
Simply: construct an emergency, claim extraordinary powers, and put yourself above the rules.


 

The Dark Knight

Super Anarchist
6,884
1,545
Brisvegas
AA899662-5E23-41A6-B490-9BA3E01441B5.jpeg



Bullshit

You are silent about that because Dan is your hero but you are so blinded by bias that you think that your sides shit doesn’t stink.

You want to come here to talk politics but can’t handle dissenting views. No wonder you once warned me that PA is tough, because you are such a weak person.

You should go find a forum that is more suitable for you like Flower Arranging anarchy.

Fucking coward
 

The Dark Knight

Super Anarchist
6,884
1,545
Brisvegas
Some of us can see through political partizanship and what about-ism responses on political corruption to understand that it has all gone too far and become too blatant for the good of any fair society. It is not good enough to overlook/justify the corruption of “your” tribe and point fingers at the other tribe, or worse, say that they are more corrupt than your tribe is, therefore support us (or else).
The OP is one of the worst posters on the forum for this. She is right up there with the RWNJ Trump fans.

She really is no different to them.
 

The Dark Knight

Super Anarchist
6,884
1,545
Brisvegas
Really? I just thought (once again) what an fucking hypocrite she is since she won’t hear a word against China or that cunt Andrews who completely abandoned democracy during covid. But we should cut her some slack given how stupid, uneducated and ignorant she is.
Andrew’s is one of the worst leaders in the world when it comes using Covid to strip citizens of their rights and corruptly protect himself and his cronies from being accountable for his actions.

Dan Andrews, Premier of Victoria.

Made or had some amorphous committee make decisions that turned out to be so flawed that many people died from covid.

When investigated, NOBODY could be found to take responsibility for the decisions and contracts. Nobody at all put their hand up and said 'Yes it was me who took that decision'.

And the man with overall responsibility - the Premier of the State - was nowhere to be found.

And another major corruption - abuse of staffing and funds for Party political purposes - same thing. The Premier knew nothing and took responsibility for nothing.

Yet Meli is remarkably silent about this.

Yes, I agree totally with the gist of the article and I think Morrison should be 'requested' to resign forthwith for what he did. I think rules should be put in place to totally forbid secret appointments of this or any similar nature. The G-G should refuse any and all such requests, ideally, but if not, they certainly should never be secret or obfuscated.

And I think that the Victorian Government should lose power due to abuse and incompetence. Followed in turn by the NSW Government because - same.

Because I want good governance, not just political point-scoring.

Unlike Meli, whose scales only flip off of her eyes when it's her political enemies who've fucked up and at no other time.

FKT
I think there needs to be a royal commission into the Victorian governments handling of Covid.
 

The Dark Knight

Super Anarchist
6,884
1,545
Brisvegas
DARVO infers the existence of a victim. I'm a bit lost, can you please point out this victim?
Meli thinks she is the victim because the rest of us highlights faults/corruption of her heros and we don't stop when she tries to ignore or distract by starting new threads. She thinks we should respect and even applaud her blind bias and ignorance. She does not want to be posting in Political Anarchy, but in Labor Party of Australia Fan Anarchy.

Meli is a very weak person.
 

ShortForBob

Super Anarchist
34,892
2,777
Melbourne
As per the OP, Covid has created many opportunities for abuse, but it was hardly a manufactured emergency. Still many of the covid emergencies are no longer valid so It's up to those governments to remove such. Or explain themselves and face the Ballot.
However, It's up to we the people to keep the pressure on, short attention spans and idleness are stealing our democracies.

Sadly (and this ties in nicely with @Bugsy 's link) the media put information behind paywall's. making the task of keeping our Governments honest more difficult and expensive than it has to be.

Example
Looking for information on Our emergency legislations.

Legislation information should be easily accessible to the public and many federal and state authorities claim to be accessible.

But, try to get information our of these bodies is like trying to prize a bone from a mastiff's mouth.
Look up their websites, get generic information, call and wait 2 hours on hold, to get flipped off. ( I eventually had to call the Relevant Trade Union to get some leads into a where to find legislation about locked access to the switchboard and mains switch in my daughters apartment block)

All these things are designed to keep the public away from information. The soft approach to control.
 
Last edited:

Fah Kiew Tu

Curmudgeon, First Rank
10,062
3,241
Tasmania, Australia
Meli thinks she is the victim because the rest of us highlights faults/corruption of her heros and we don't stop when she tries to ignore or distract by starting new threads. She thinks we should respect and even applaud her blind bias and ignorance. She does not want to be posting in Political Anarchy, but in Labor Party of Australia Fan Anarchy.

There's been a quite deathly silence by Meli and the usual suspects over the bullying/harassment enquiry in the NSW Parliament.

Seems it's better to say nothing than criticise when - unfortunately - the first and apparently worst person for doing that shit is Walt Secord, long-serving and 'honorable' member of the ALP.

We won't get any improvements until we give up idiotic 'tribal' allegiences and have an overarching standard of good governance. Then, sure, support who you think will do a better job, but the moment you are willing to overlook bad behaviour, corruption and similar because it's 'your side' and the others are worse, you're on that slippery slope. And that, unfortunately, is where Meli is stuck. She simply lacks the ability and willingness to see the damage that being hypocritical and partisan leads to.

FKT
 

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