Peter Boyle

“They must think we are all idiots”, said an exasperated Friend of Green Left last week in response to the parliamentary debate about rising petrol prices.
A pile of bags and clothing on an old shopfront verandah on Cuff Road in Singapore’s Little India is “home” to a group of about 50 migrant workers who have been spat out by an economy that relies heavily on so-called “guest workers”.
“Macquarie Bank bosses’ pay cut after profit cut warning”, was the headline of an article by Michael Sainsbury and Katherine Jimenez, in the May 21 Australian.
“Two things keep me sane”, wrote in a Green Left Weekly subscriber with her payment for renewal, “Green Left Weekly and Radio National”. She is just one of a large number of loyal readers and supporters of this important project for change.
“How many minutes to midnight, do you reckon it is?”, asked a Green Left Weekly buyer at a street stall last week.
The first new subscription to come in on May 1 was from Graeme, from the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, who had read about the Climate Change — Social Change conference on the internet. He took out a one-year subscription to Green Left Weekly and sent us this note of appreciation:
I’m not going to yet another ritualised May Day march this year. But neither is anyone else in Sydney!
For most of us here in wealthy and relatively insulated Australia, the word “crisis” sounds like an exaggeration. We hear about the global warming crisis, the world financial crisis and now the food crisis but these seem like abstractions to most of us. “Crisis, what crisis?” is a familiar rejoinder.
Ben Bernanke is the chairperson of the US Federal Reserve Bank. If he sneezes at the wrong time, the world’s sharemarkets take another dive and currency speculators rush for their global roulette table. So when he addressed the US Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs on April 3 he was choosing his words very carefully. And there was one word he was wary about using: “recession”.
“It was lunchtime in one of Haiti’s worst slums, and Charlene Dumas was eating mud. With food prices rising, Haiti’s poorest can’t afford even a daily plate of rice, and some take desperate measures to fill their bellies. Charlene, 16 with a 1-month-old son, has come to rely on a traditional Haitian remedy for hunger pangs: cookies made of dried yellow dirt from the country’s central plateau.
Katarina Pujiastuti, a political activist in Jakarta, reports growing queues for petrol, massive electricity blackouts, and industry fuel shortages plaguing oil-rich Indonesia.
Malaysia's National Front (BN) government continues to refuse the Malaysian Socialist Party's (PSM) application to register as a political party, claiming that the PSM is a threat to national security. On the basis that the right to form a
It has to be one of the most unbelievable stories of the century: New Idea, a magazine that trades on gossip about royals and other celebrities, is blamed for exposing Prince Harry’s deployment in the British military intervention in Afghanistan. It is about as believable as the plot of Mark Twain’s The Prince and the Pauper, in which a young prince swaps places with a street lad to see what life is like in “Paupersville”.
“I hear nothing, I see nothing, I know nothing!”, said Sergeant Hans Schultz in the 1970s US sitcom Hogan’s Heroes.
Parliamentarians are grossly overpaid. A backbencher gets paid more than twice median income, and that’s before adding allowances, generous superannuation, free air travel for life, etc. The PM gets double that: $330,356 (before expenses and perks). Last year, and the year before, the pollies awarded themselves a 7% pay rise while average wages rose 3.8%, putting the recently announced parliamentarians’ one-year salary freeze into perspective.
“M” was born in a small town in Western Australia’s wheat belt. Around those parts, lads like M were called “Keller fellers”. They were wildly applauded when they performed for the local football team but they knew about certain lines that they could not cross. An outsider could not see those invisible fences, but to the locals, white and black alike, they may as well have been painted in fluoro paint.

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