Once a year, the world's political and business leaders flock to a small town in the Alps to drink champagne, chow down on fondue and chocolate-covered strawberries, hit the ski slopes, bathe in hot tubs and exchange business cards as they congratulate themselves on the fine job they're doing running things. Oh, and while in Davos, Switzerland, they also take part in the World Economic Forum (WEF), which took place from January 22-25.
Many people may wonder why Yingluck Shinawatra's Pheu Thai Party’s government, which came to power supported by the poor-based Red Shirt mass movement, seems to be paralysed in the face of violent and criminal actions by Sutep Tuaksuban's Democrat Party mob. It is not due to “invisible hands” from the throne or covert military support for Sutep. In fact, the top elites regard Sutep and his acolytes as lowly street gangsters.
Banjo-picking American troubadour Pete Seeger died on January 27 at the age of 94. In a career that spanned eight decades, he sang for migrant workers, peace activists and anti-capitalists. Seeger died peacefully in his sleep around 9.30pm in New York Presbyterian Hospital, where he had been for six days. Family members were with him. Seeger was an iconic figure in protest music. In his younger days he performed with Woody Guthrie and in his nineties, leaning on two canes, he marched with Occupy Wall Street protesters.
“Seattle’s only Socialist City Council member announced Monday that she will make good on a campaign pledge and accept only [US]$40,000 a year in salary — bringing her down to the average wage of a worker in the city,” NBCNews.com said on January 27.
Division among ruling circles in the United States and internationally about what to do about the revelations of wholesale NSA spying continues to deepen. A January 17 speech by US President Barack Obama, which was supposed to move the discussion forward, was a flop. Polls indicate it failed to change people’s minds. He gave his usual “on the one hand, and on the other” type speech trying to appease both sides, but came down in defence of the NSA program.
Spartacus (Revealing Antiquity) By Aldo Schiavone (translation by Jeremy Carden) Harvard University Press, 2013 208 pp., $29.95 Karl Marx was a great admirer of ancient Roman and Greek philosophers and leaders. However, there was one he singled out as the “finest fellow antiquity had to offer”: Spartacus, the Thracian who led the most significant slave revolt against the Roman empire. Marx was not the only member of the Spartacus fan club. German Communists led by Rosa Luxemburg named their party after him.
For a second, just imagine that one of the highest ranked male tennis players in the world is taking part in the obligatory post-game interview having just won a marathon five setter. Now imagine the interviewer is themselves a veteran of the sport for decades, one who undoubtedly knows the game inside and out. Now imagine the first question they ask the winner is: “So who would you most like to date?”
Bill Gates is worried -- too many people are talking about raising the minimum wage. Appropriately, the world’s richest man spoke on the eve of the World Economic Summit in Davos. Gates is a great symbol of the Davos summit, an annual away day for global capitalism.There, the world’s 1% mouth concerns about poverty and climate change while working on policies that fuel inequality.
The Democrat Party’s mad dogs unleashed violence around Bangkok’s voting stations on January 26. Voting stations throughout the country were supposed to be open for people to cast their votes before the February 2 general election. Advanced voting is a required service since it is compulsory for people to cast their ballot. In many areas of Bangkok, angry residents argued with the anti-democratic protesters. They also protested against local election commissioners who closed voting stations whether or not they were surrounded by Sutep Tuaksuban’s Democrat Party thugs.
High Hopes Bruce Springsteen Columbia Released January 17, 2014 www.brucespringsteen.net A recent documentary on veteran US rocker Bruce Springsteen asked fans to describe their hero in three words. The responses, compiled in the film Springsteen & I, were fairly predictable: "Badass, sensitive, perfect"; "Hope, energy, power”; “Earnest, inspiring, intense” and so on. The non-Springsteen fans reading this could probably think of a few far less kind words. But if I were to choose three, they would be: "Open to interpretation."