Saturday, 6 February 2016

The role of money in politics and other political news and views

Financing Democracy - Funding of Political Parties and Election Campaigns and the Risk of Policy Capture - The recent debate on the role of money in politics has shed the light on the challenges of political finance regulations. What are the risks associated with the funding of political parties and election campaigns? Why are existing regulatory models still insufficient to tackle those risks? What are the links between money in politics and broader frameworks for integrity in the public sector? This report addresses these three questions and provides a Framework on Financing Democracy, designed to shape the global debate and provide policy options as well as a mapping of risks.

MAIN FINDINGS

Finance is a necessary component of the democratic processes.
Mmoney enables the expression of political support.
It enables competition in elections.
However, money may be a means for powerful narrow interests to exercise undue influence e.g. newly elected officials maybe pressured to "return the favour" to corporations.
Infrastructure and urban planning are particularly vulnerable to the risk of policy capture.
Consequences include inadequate policies that go against the public interest.

Loopholes in existing regulations

Current funding rules need attention to ensure a level playing field for all democratic actors.
Loans, membership fees and third-party funding can 'go-around' current spending limits.
Countries are struggling to define and regulate third-party campaigning (charities, faith groups, individuals or private firms).
While many countries have adopted online technologies to support proactive disclosure.
There is a need for more efficient and independent oversight and enforcement.
Political finance regulation as part of an overall integrity framework

Political finance regulations are ineffective in isolation.

They need to be part of an overall integrity framework that includes the management of conflict of interest and lobbying.
Fewer than half of OECD countries have set or tightened lobbying standards.
Janet Napolitano Reviews Peter Bergen’s ‘United States of Jihad’ - Bergen seeks to understand why some Americans choose to become jihadists, how our institutions have responded to terrorism and how American society has been changed by terrorist threats.

After reading “United States of Jihad,” one can only conclude that where American jihad is concerned, the sole constant is change. Al Qaeda has already spawned numerous spinoffs. The most recent and violent iteration is ISIS. Our security agencies and law enforcement must continue to adjust and improve, and the public itself must play an ever more important role, even as the risk of another attack such as the one in San Bernardino cannot be eliminated. It is important that we remain resolute and neither lower our expectations nor jettison our values out of some misguided belief that jihad presents easy answers or that conventional efforts must be totally scrapped. And we must keep our perspective. After all, an American residing in the United States in the years after Sept. 11 was 5,000 times more likely to be killed by a fellow citizen armed with a gun than by a jihadist.
High Court not the answer to Nauru depravity - Frank Brennan writes that: "There is no joy to be found in our High Court applying a Constitution even more bereft of human rights protections than the Nauruan Constitution. It's time for our politicians to address the political and moral question: what purpose is actually served by sending this mum and her baby back to Nauru, given that the boats have stopped and will stay stopped regardless of where we now place this mother and child and others like them? It's time to walk and chew gum at the same time. It's not an either/or proposition. There is no longer any need for a circuit breaker. The circuit is permanently cut. We can prevent people smuggling, save lives at sea, maintain the integrity of our borders and deal decently with the residual caseload of asylum seekers including this mother and her child.

Behind the plot to kill ICAC - An extraordinary combination of forces and interests has put the future of NSW's corruption-fighting body at risk, writes Neil Chenoweth.

Rubio sees surge of support after strong showing in Iowa

China’s growth prospects - China’s diminished growth prospects are in the news and seem to spell bad news for just about everybody. This column assesses the evidence, arguing that China’s economic growth will be much slower from now on, reducing international trade. Perhaps the biggest challenge for China will be future political tensions in reconciling economic dreams with economic realities.

Campaigns and Elections: TV Crosses Party Lines to Deliver Voters

The United States botched the Syria talks before they even began - The Obama administration’s failure to think through shifts in policy has all but guaranteed that Syria’s war will drag on.
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