‘The media enable extreme candidates’

There should be a lot of reflection after the US election, by the Republican and Democrat parties, and by the media. They have all enabled a train wreck campaign.

And the outdated first past the post electoral system with all it’s variations from state to state is also a major culprit.

The media have had major influences on entrenching a two party system despite the existence of other parties. What may suit the media for ‘entertainment’ value does not necessarily serve democracy well.

One major media player, the New York Times, writes in What 2016 Has Taught Us:

The media enable extreme candidates and the parties are too fragile to stop them. Social media sites and TV news transmitted every political spitball and insult spewed over the past 18 months. But they had little capacity to establish widely shared truths or foster constructive debate about issues like climate change or criminal justice.

In democratizing the media, Twitter and Facebook have also made it possible for Americans to encounter only the messages they want to hear.

Desperate for ratings, Fox News, CNN and other networks handed Mr. Trump an open mike early in the contest.

The New York Times was a part of this, and has been a part of establishing the media corruption of democracy in the US.

And having fanned the flames of extreme partisanship for years, Republican leaders were powerless in the primaries to stop Mr. Trump’s rise, and then were afraid to alienate his supporters by opposing him in the general election.

Mr. Trump used his media savvy and entertainment value — often in the form of insults — to keep all eyes on him. Imagine how much further a more disciplined demagogue might go applying a similar formula.

It’s not over yet. While Trump’s chances appearing to be slipping he could still win the presidency. And if he loses he could go on to cause major disruption to the governance of the Unites States – using the media again.

Even if the Republicans, the Democrats and mainstream media learn from their massive mistakes and take significant measures to rectify things the US now has a well established alt-media, who use the Internet to spread misinformation and lies, and have proven successful at trashing the chances of some candidates.

A sizeable chunk of the US population are happy to be carried along by alt-media that tells them what they want to hear, regardless of how ridiculous or devoid of facts and decency it may be.

What about New Zealand?

It is different here because of size – ‘everybody knows everybody’ makes it harder for alt-anybody to have much influence.

It is different here because New Zealand is a single state, with one Parliament and with one electoral system administered by an independent body.

And it is different because of MMP. This gives more power to the people, and the people have tended to restrict political power. In the twenty years of MMP the voters have never given oner party sole charge – the last few elections we have come close but the major party running Government has always had to deal with other parties to get a majority.

MMP has it’s drawbacks. It limits the chances of major reforms, and we could do with major reforms of our tax and welfare systems.

The major parties have hobbled MMP through a ridiculously high threshold to protect some of their power from new party challenges.

But MMP’s advantages clearly outweigh the down sides. It allows the voters to stop the hijacking of our Government by small powerful groups.

MMP allowed rich people with mixed agendas to set up parties that contested elections, like the Conservative Party and the Internet Party, but the voters rejected them.

(I think there were some worthwhile things offered by both parties but they both had financiers/leaders with serious deficiencies).

MMP has a moderating effect on governance, and on those doing the governing, and in the main this is a good thing.

MMP, along with country size, limits the opportunities of alt media to influence our democracy and our governance.

Fringe players like Cameron Slater (Whale Oil) and Martyn Bradbury (The Daily Blog), who both have ambitions of revolution through alt-media, have failed to establish the influence and power of US websites.

New Zealand nutters can get far more ridiculous content from offshore, which they do. But this is very small scale and non-influential. So far the majority have not been sucked in to alt-media scams here.

The media here do help promote more extreme candidates. Winston Peters has been a favourite headline maker for a long time. Colin Craig and Kim Dotcom didn’t want for media attention, they just blew their media advantages.

It was interesting to see the mainstream and social media reaction to Gareth Morgan launching his The Opportunities Party. He was given plenty of attention and publicity – far more than the average party start up who are usually ignored and starved of the attention they need for making any impact.

But the Kiwi clobbering machine was evident straight away, with a lot of the media coverage involving a trashing of Morgan.

Our New Zealand political parties could do much better. Our mainstream media could do much better. Our social media, particularly the main political blogs could contribute far better too – for example The Standard showed in the weekend that dirty blogging is still prevalent there. And I noticed Manolo still lying and attacking someone at Kiwiblog yesterday unchecked.

We don’t have the huge problems faced by Government, by democracy and by media in the US. We haven’t come close to enabling an extreme candidate to take over a position of significant power.

But we have plenty of room for improvement.

If we want a decent democracy we have to do more to demand one.

Regeneration for Labour?

It’s been fairly well known that the Labour Party has needed some major regeneration since 2008 and post-Helen Clark. It’s also been fairly obvious that this hasn’t worked very well, with a decreasing vote for Labour in each election this century to an embarrassing low in 2014.

The Standard has offered candidates a forum “for the upcoming Labour Party internal elections the chance to guest post about why they’re running”.

Yesterday they had a Guest post: Eva Hartshorn-Sanders for Senior Vice President

This was “fully moderated to prevent excessive trolling” which is fair enough for a post like that.

The post is quite long and quite negative, especially in the opening paragraphs. And quite politically waffly.

Comments are interesting with some fair questions. with Patrick Leland asked: “One thing you didn’t mention is what you would actually do if elected. Can you please elaborate?”

Eva responded:

The Senior Vice President position sits on NZ Council and is part of the governance team. From working with NZ Council over the past four years, there is a lot of policy, legal and strategic decisions that they will be making going forward – and I would be able to bring my skills to help as part of this core work.

Important decisions going forward relate to the selection of candidates and the list selection work as part of the Moderating Committee – I understand this process from helping to run the Ikaroa-Rawhiti bi-election selection process and working on the drafting with Roger Palairet for the recent constitutional amendments.

Some of this has been answered above – networking is important for campaigning, fundraising, and membership growth. I also think the SVP has an important role for staying in touch with members and working with caucus. The links and connections are important.

Also quite waffly – I still have no idea about specifically what she would try to do, but I also have no idea what a senior vice president is expected to do.

Probably prompted by this in her post…

I have worked in law, policy, campaigning and organising.  This includes nine years working in Government in NZ, two years as a senior legal and political adviser for the (Labour) Leader of the Opposition in the UK House of Lords, private practice and now at the PPTA as a public and employment lawyer.  As part of my job, I travel the country speaking to union members about the issues that are important to them, in their schools and communities.  I have strong links with women throughout the country through my pro bono work for the National Council of Women and the New Horizons for Women Trust.  I have governance experience as a Board member of New Horizons, focussed on governance, policy, sponsors and donors, audit and risk, and for the State Sector Retirement Savings Scheme, where I helped to ensure that members were able to access their whole pension for the purposes of their first home loan.

…Adam asked a pertinent question: “You seem to be a careerist political type, do you think you have enough experience outside of politics to bring to the role?”

A careerist political type? That’s interesting. Lots of experience. I had my first job at the age of 11 delivering pamphlets – that has to be useful for this role, right? I have worked in all sorts of jobs through my life – if that’s the sort of thing you were asking about? Burger King “maintenance man” in 2000, cafe assistant, retail work, working at a creche, multiple babysitting jobs, Judo coach at Camp America (CCUSA), government, politics, union. And I do NGO work for fun – not really that political – unless you want it to be.

lprent also raised questions about two critical issues for Labour: “So I’m surprised that I don’t see a mention in your post of the two really big issues that I see for both the president and vice-presidential roles. Strategies for raising money and increasing membership.”

Building membership is an important part of our future. I think we need to continue to modernise the Party and its structures, to make sure that we all have a place within in it to be active and to have a voice.

That may help retain some members but I don’t see how it addresses attracting new members. Labour has a reputation for not being particularly welcoming of different voices.

Re the fundraising aspect – I would be one in a team that will be implementing the fundraising strategy from Fraser House, taking expert advice from professional staff. But I have some experience in this area running events for PPTA, NCW and the New Horizons for Women Trust, including working with sponsors and donors portfolio.

The fundraising strategy from Fraser House appears to have been working poorly for some time. For years Labour’s fundraising has been way behind National’s, and the Greens now raise more funds than Labour.

Labour has major problems with a lack of members and money. Perhaps they aren’t part of the senior vice presidents job description but Eva appears to be more of a willing worker within the party as it is than potential for regeneration.

While Eva looks young and may be new generation she sounds ‘same old’, and that hasn’t been working well for Labour. I don’t see much drive for party regeneration.

“Donald Trump is a unique threat to American democracy”

While it isn’t surprising to see the Washington Post Editorial Board opposing Donald Trump’s candidacy for president the timing and the force with which they have expressed their opposition seems unusual, possibly without precedent.

DONALD J. TRUMP, until now a Republican problem, this week became a challenge the nation must confront and overcome.

The real estate tycoon is uniquely unqualified to serve as president, in experience and temperament.

They detail:

  • He is mounting a campaign of snarl and sneer, not substance.
  • To the extent he has views, they are wrong in their diagnosis of America’s problems and dangerous in their proposed solutions.
  • Mr. Trump’s politics of denigration and division could strain the bonds that have held a diverse nation together.
  • His contempt for constitutional norms might reveal the nation’s two-century-old experiment in checks and balances to be more fragile than we knew.

Any one of these characteristics would be disqualifying; together, they make Mr. Trump a peril.

And they go on to list:

  • Start with experience. It has been 64 years since a major party nominated anyone for president who did not have electoral experience. That experiment turned out pretty well — but Mr. Trump, to put it mildly, is no Dwight David Eisenhower.
  • There is nothing on Mr. Trump’s résumé to suggest he could function successfully in Washington.
  • he displays no curiosity, reads no books and appears to believe he needs no advice. In fact, what makes Mr. Trump so unusual is his combination of extreme neediness and unbridled arrogance. He is desperate for affirmation but contemptuous of other views. He also is contemptuous of fact.
  • Mr. Trump offers no coherence when it comes to policy. In years past, he supported immigration reform, gun control and legal abortion; as candidate, he became a hard-line opponent of all three. Even in the course of the campaign, he has flip-flopped on issues such as whether Muslims should be banned from entering the United States and whether women who have abortions should be punished . Worse than the flip-flops is the absence of any substance in his agenda. Existing trade deals are “stupid,” but Mr. Trump does not say how they could be improved. The Islamic State must be destroyed, but the candidate offers no strategy for doing so. Eleven million undocumented immigrants must be deported, but Mr. Trump does not tell us how he would accomplish this legally or practically.
  • What the candidate does offer is a series of prejudices and gut feelings, most of them erroneous.
  • The Trump litany of victimization has resonated with many Americans whose economic prospects have stagnated. They deserve a serious champion, and the challenges of inequality and slow wage growth deserve a serious response. But Mr. Trump has nothing positive to offer, only scapegoats and dark conspiracy theories.
  • Mr. Trump speaks blithely of abandoning NATO, encouraging more nations to obtain nuclear weapons and cozying up to dictators who in fact wish the United States nothing but harm. Republicans…put forward a candidate who mimics the vilest propaganda of authoritarian adversaries about how terrible the United States is and how unfit it is to lecture others. He has made clear that he would drop allies without a second thought. The consequences to global security could be disastrous.
  • Most alarming is Mr. Trump’s contempt for the Constitution and the unwritten democratic norms upon which our system depends. He doesn’t know what is in the nation’s founding document. When asked by a member of Congress about Article I, which enumerates congressional powers, the candidate responded, “I am going to abide by the Constitution whether it’s number 1, number 2, number 12, number 9.” The charter has seven articles.
  • he doesn’t seem to care about its limitations on executive power. He has threatened that those who criticize him will suffer when he is president. He has vowed to torture suspected terrorists and bomb their innocent relatives, no matter the illegality of either act. He has vowed to constrict the independent press. He went after a judge whose rulings angered him, exacerbating his contempt for the independence of the judiciary by insisting that the judge should be disqualified because of his Mexican heritage. Mr. Trump has encouraged and celebrated violence at his rallies.
  • Mr. Trump campaigns by insult and denigration, insinuation and wild accusation.

According to WaPo Trump is the worst of the worst.

The party’s failure of judgment leaves the nation’s future where it belongs, in the hands of voters.

Many Americans do not like either candidate this year . We have criticized the presumptive Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, in the past and will do so again when warranted. But we do not believe that she (or the Libertarian and Green party candidates, for that matter) represents a threat to the Constitution.

Mr. Trump is a unique and present danger.

I acknowledge that many people, including some in New Zealand and regulars here at Your NZ, see Trump as a refreshing alternative to establishment politics and power in the US and think that he could do great things.

But like the Washington Post I have serious concerns about his playing to populist prejudice, his lack of experience, his lack of substance, and his international threats that could put the world at risk.

Democracy has it’s strengths, especially when compared to the alternatives.

But democracy in the US, in an overreaction to a corrupted, money and business dominated clique) risks making a farce of itself and threatening the stability and well being of the democratic world.


Editorial: Donald Trump is a unique threat to American democracy

Transcript: Donald Trump’s interview with The Washington Post editorial board

 

Trump plays birther card

Donald Trump has played the ‘birther’ card before, against Barack Obama.

And he’s just tried the same trick against Ted Cruz in the Republican race for presidential nomination.

Donald Trump Goes ‘Birther’ On Ted Cruz

First Donald Trump took aim at rival Ted Cruz’s evangelical credentials. Now he’s questioning whether the Canadian-born Texas senator is even eligible for the White House.

“Republicans are going to have to ask themselves the question: ‘Do we want a candidate who could be tied up in court for two years?’ That’d be a big problem,” Trump said of Cruz’s birthplace and citizenship in an interview with the Washington Post. “It’d be a very precarious one for Republicans because he’d be running and the courts may take a long time to make a decision. You don’t want to be running and have that kind of thing over your head.”

This is another Trump sideshow. He must be feeling some pressure.

Back in 2011, when Trump first floated a GOP presidential run, he famously questioned whether President Obama was actually born in Hawaii.

After the Trump-fueled controversy over Obama’s birthplace, the question over Cruz’s was a natural one that’s already come up. Cruz was born in Calgary, Canada, in 1970 while his parents were working in the oil industry. Though his dad is from Cuba, his mother was a U.S. citizen, having been born in Delaware.

Experts say there is no question about Cruz’s eligibility.

Legal scholars have agreed that Cruz and the other candidates before him would indeed be eligible for the White House. Neal Katyal, who was acting solicitor general in the Obama administration, and Paul Clement, who was the solicitor general under George W. Bush, wrote in the Harvard Law Review that “there is no question” Cruz is eligible and that “”Cruz has been a citizen from birth and is thus a ‘natural born Citizen’ within the meaning of the Constitution” and the “Naturalization Act of 1790.”

The possibility that Cruz may not be eligible for the White House is something that Trump himself even dismissed last fall.

“I hear it was checked out by every attorney and every which way, and I understand Ted is in fine shape,” Trump told ABC News last September of his rival’s constitutional eligibility because of his birthplace.

And Trump has previously accepted Cruz doesn’t have an eligibility problem.

But the latest reversal comes as Cruz is seriously threatening Trump’s lead in Iowa and elsewhere — especially with evangelical voters critical to winning the Hawkeye State’s caucuses on Feb. 1.

Playing the birther card may play to the far right that seems to be excited about Trump but I doubt that it will help him gain wider support that will be crucial if he is to succeed.

Clare Curran for Dunedin mayoralty?

The ODT has a story about rumours that Labour MP Clare Curran may stand for the Dunedin mayoralty.

Mayoral hopes verified, denied

The fog of war is descending as Dunedin’s mayoral aspirants jockey for position a year out from local body elections.

While some candidates are already putting their hands up for the top job, including Cr Andrew Whiley, others, including sitting Mayor Dave Cull, are continuing to play their cards close to their chests.

But that hasn’t stopped the rumour mill kicking into high gear in Dunedin. Much of the early attention is focused on one woman _ Clare Curran.

Ms Curran, Labour’s sitting Dunedin South MP, has been linked to a tilt for the Dunedin mayoralty by a variety of sources speaking to the Otago Daily Times.

She sounds like an unlikely candidate for Mayor.

The rumour is said to have come from inside Ms Curran’s office, although she vehemently denied the ”mischievous” suggestion when contacted.

”You will not see my name on the ballot paper next [local body] election.

”I’m the MP for Dunedin South. I’ve got a job.”

As far as political denials go that’s a strongish one.

Political commentator Bryce Edwards, of the University of Otago’s politics department, said a mayoral bid by Ms Curran ”sounds unbelievable”, but Labour was ”going through some quite serious reorganisation”.

Declining support for Labour in Dunedin South during the last two general elections could ”absolutely” mean Ms Curran was a candidate for change, as the party looked to renew itself, he believed.

”No doubt there will be some MPs that are having pressure applied to them to move on. It’s entirely feasible Clare Curran is one of those people.

”Questions are being asked within Labour about the ability of incumbent MPs to hold their party vote up. That’s the real measure that the party is judging all of their incumbents on.”

Ms Curran’s name recognition and profile would give her ”a strong shot” at Dunedin’s mayoralty, and she would also follow in the footsteps of some prominent Labour colleagues, Dr Edwards said.

It needs more than name recognition, although David Benson-Pope was elected to council in 2011, presumably more on name than reputation as a failed MP.

Curran just seems like an unlikely mayor to me.

But her future in Labour doesn’t look great.

Mark Osborne National’s Northland candidate

National has selected and announced their candidate for the Northland by-election. NZ Herald:

The National Party has chosen Mark Osborne as its candidate for the Northland by-election.

The party said Mr Osborne, an asset manager for Far North District Council, was based in Taipa, 60km northwest of Kerikeri.

“Through his work as a Northland public servant, former general manager of Te Ahu Charitable Trust, trustee of Mangonui School, and experience running family-owned local business Doubtless Beauty, Mr Osborne has strong ties to Northland,” the party said.

“National is working hard and delivering for the north,” said Mr Osborne, a married father of two children.

And some more detail about the selection from the Northern advocate:

Mr Osborne was selected by party delegates at a meeting in Kerikeri on Saturday. Voting had to go to a fourth round until he had an absolute majority of the 118 delegate votes.

He was up against Mita Harris, Matt King, Grant McCallum and Karen Rolleston.

The Advocate understands the final ballot was between Mr Osborne and Mr McCallum, a Maungaturoto dairy farmer.

About 150 people attended the meeting at the Kerikeri Sports Complex.

Mr Osborne immediately took leave from his job as Far North District Council asset manager until the election result is known.

He has previously managed Kaitaia’s Te Ahu Centre and co-own Doubtless Beauty with his wife Jodi. They live in Taipa and have two children.

He pledged to work to maintain a strong voice for Northland in John Key’s government.

David Farrar hadn’t rated Osborne as his top choices:

I’d say Karen and Grant are the front runners but all five candidates are credible and strong, and it will come down to the 120 local delegates, as they meet them and hear from them over the next fortnight.

A Whale Oil report in NORTHLAND SELECTION UPDATE:

Mark Osborne and Karen Rolleston had very good selection speeches, and came across as more competent than the other three.

The other three were passable but not as polished as Mark and Karen.

And:

Mark Osborne may be the surprise package. He seems to be well liked in many different areas across the electorate. He has certainly won some awards for his business efforts.

From Scoop:

“National is working hard and delivering for the north,” said Mr Osborne.

“National’s focus on investment and growth helped to create 7500 more jobs in Northland last year and Northland is currently one of the fastest growing regions in the country.”

Mr Osborne highlighted eight ways National’s plan is lifting Northland’s growth rate and helping more Northlanders into work:

• Building the Puhoi to Wellsford Road of National Significance to link Northland to Auckland
• Investing $255 million over three years in local roads and highways across Northland
• Backing Northland’s primary industries through the $750m Primary Growth Partnership.
• Attracting more investment and job growth in Northland through the Northland Regional Growth Study.
• Reforming the RMA to address the costs, delays, and frustrations that are holding our regions back.
• Rolling out much faster broadband services for Northland.
• Introducing the Maori and Pasifika Trades training initiative across Northland
• Supporting Northland families with free doctors’ visits for under-13s and investing over $134 million to improve and expand Northland’s school network since 2008.

“These are vital initiatives for Northland’s future. I’ll work hard to see them delivered and build on that momentum by keeping Northland’s strong local voice in the John Key Government.”

Based in Taipa, Mark Osborne is an Asset Manager for Far North District Council. Through his work as a Northland public servant, former General Manager of Te Ahu Charitable Trust, Trustee of Mangonui School, and experience running family-owned local business Doubtless Beauty, Mr Osborne has strong ties to Northland. Married to Jodi, he is also a father of two.

Internet Party candidate shortlist

The Internet Party have posted their candidate shortlist online:

“Meet the shortlist of 22 for our Candidate Challenge”

This list has been chosen after a series of meetings around the country.

The Internet Party is delighted with the response to our candidate application.

About 150 people from a diverse range of backgrounds have applied. Preliminary screenings to assess potential candidates will begin soon. These are happening around the country at the dates and venues below. All Internet Party members are encouraged to attend to meet other members and your potential Internet Party candidates. Following the preliminary events, a final Internet Party Candidate Search event will take place in Auckland on Saturday June 7.

@InternetPartyNZ

20 tickets left for tomorrow’s #CandidateChallenge at Q Theatre! Get in while you still can! Will be streamed also.

 

The party leader has already been chosen – Laila Harre

The combined Internet-MANA list will be:

  1. Hone Harawira (Mana)
  2. Laila Harre (Internet)
  3. Annette Sykes (Mana)
  4. John Minto (Mana)
  5. Internet candidate
    – alternating Mana-Internet from there

It’s going to be very challenging for them to get four or more MPs so the top candidates from this Candidate Challenge list are an outside chance only of getting into Parliament.

UPDATE:  

Today is a big day for the Internet Party. The final Candidate challenge. Time for our members to pick 15 leaders.

That is 15 selected from 22.

But the party executive committee will get to have the final say. The current committee is self appointed:

There will be an inaugural Executive Committee consisting of the founders of the Internet Party. The inaugural members of Internet Party Assets Incorporated will be the inaugural members of the Executive Committee. In the Internet Party’s second year, there will be an Annual General Meeting for Members to elect an Executive Committee as per these rules.

The selection process:

12 SELECTION OF PARTY LIST

12.1 The Executive Committee shall determine the selection and approval of Party List candidates and Electoral candidates for election to Parliament.

Selection Pledge

12.2 All candidates must sign and agree to abide by a formal written selection pledge which shall contain (without limitation):
12.2.1. Confirmation that the candidate is a New Zealand citizen;
12.2.2.Confirmation of eligibility and suitability for nomination to Parliament;
12.2.3. An undertaking to uphold and abide by the objectives and rules of the Internet Party;
12.2.4.An undertaking to promote and abide by the manifesto of the Internet Party; and
12.2.5.Any other matters the Executive Committee considers relevant.

12.3 The Executive shall also distribute to candidates:
12.3.1. The process for resigning from the Party List or as an Electorate Candidate, as determined by the Executive Committee; and
12.3.2. Any other matters the Executive Committee deems appropriate.

Selecting the Party List

12.4 The Internet Party’s Executive Committee shall produce the Party List. The process for selecting the Party List is:
12.4.1. In a general election year, the Executive Committee shall decide the time periods and deadlines for each stage of selecting the Party List;
12.4.2. The Party Secretary shall call for nominations for the Party List in accordance with the time period and deadline set by the Executive Committee;
12.4.3. Only Full members may be nominated for the Party List. Full members may nominate themselves for the Party List;
12.4.4. At the close of nominations, the Executive Committee shall rank nominees and produce an “Indicative Party List”, with no less than 9 and no more than 121 candidates;
12.4.5. The Party Secretary will distribute the “Indicative Party List” to members for consultation;
12.4.6. Members will rank the candidates on the “Indicative Party List”, in accordance with their own preferences, and will return the ranked “Indicative Party List” to the Party Secretary within a time period set by the Executive Committee;
12.4.7. Having regard to the ranked lists provided by members, the Executive Committee will produce a “Final Party List” at its sole discretion that will constitute the final Party List.

12.5 The Executive Committee will be responsible for determining the procedure for implementing the provisions of clause 12.4 and the Party Secretary must notify all members of that procedure prior to nominations being called for.

Selecting Electorate Candidates

12.6 Once the Party List has been finalised, the Executive Committee may ask candidates on the Party List to stand in electorates as Electorate candidates.
12.7 Which electorates candidates are asked to stand in is at the discretion of the Executive Committee.
12.8 Party List candidates may decline to stand in an electorate and can remain on the Party List.

Considerations

12.9 In determining the ranking of candidates in the Final Party List, the Executive Committee shall actively maintain and promote economic, cultural, social, ethnic, age, geographic, and gender diversity, and will promote equality as far as is practicable.

Democratic participation

12.10 Every Member is entitled to actively participate in ranking the Indicative Party List.

Remuneration

12.11 The Executive Committee is empowered to remunerate members of the Party List through agreement with them.

https://internet.org.nz/rules

The process promotes participatory democracy but the final say on everything is by a (currently) non-democratically chosen executive committee.

It appears that the leader (Laila Harre) was head hunted and appointed by the executive.