Peter Boyle

The good news this week is that the Green Left Weekly Fighting Fund has reached a third of the way to its $250,000 target for 2007!

Just a week after Treasurer Peter Costello delivered the federal budget, which contained $31.5 billion in tax cuts over four years among other pre-election bribes, a Newspoll published in the May 15 Australian found that support for Labor had increased to 59% (on a two-party preferred basis) from 57% the previous month. Several other polls have since confirmed this trend.

Tom Lewis, 83, is a long-time Green Left Weekly subscriber in a small town between Bundaberg and Gin Gin, Queensland. His eyesight is rapidly failing and he can no longer read. But last week he renewed his subscription to the paper and made a $100 donation to our fighting fund.

Australia’s top silk and civil rights advocate Julian Burnside QC has suggested introducing a law that makes it an offence for politicians to lie. I don’t know how practical this would be, but imagine if politicians could be forced to tell the truth and ’fess up like the makers of Ribena?

Labour Party Pakistan (LPP) general secretary Farooq Tariq was released from detention in the early hours of May 7. Tariq and more than 1000 others were rounded up the previous Friday in a failed attempt by the government of General Pervez Musharraf to weaken a mass reception for a visit by suspended Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry to Lahore. Chaudhry was suspended for being too independent of the Mushurraf regime and too respectful of the rule of law.

It’s like having one of those nightmares that seems to grow more horrible as it drags on. We’ve been looking forward to the next federal election for a chance to get rid of John Howard, but with each day federal Labor leader Kevin Rudd sounds more and more like Howard.

This year’s proposed US spending on the Iraq war is larger than the military budgets of China and Russia combined. The combined spending requests would push the total for Iraq to US$564 billion, according to the non-partisan Congressional Research Service (CRS).

Paul Wolfowitz, president of the World Bank and formerly US President George Bush’s deputy secretary of defence, doesn’t seem to comprehend why he is in trouble. He has admitted to ordering a US$60,000 pay increase for his lover, a World Bank employee, before seconding her to the US State Department as part of a generous compensation package.

Last week, right-wing Sydney Radio 2GB “shock jock” Alan Jones was let off with a ticking-off from Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) for inciting on air the infamous anti-Lebanese bashing spree in Cronulla in 2005.

“Democracy remains a great danger to those who have privilege and control. When you are part of the top 1% of the population that has as much income as the bottom 75% of the people, democracy is a permanent threat to your interests.”

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