democracy

Labor special minister of state Gary Gray must be stupid if he thinks we should feel sorry for him. Gray’s pay went from $675,000 a year to $130,000 when he left Woodside Petroleum to become a politician. Gray wants to close the pay gap between corporate CEOs and politicians — and not by cutting obscene CEO pay. He would prefer to widen the gap between politicians and the people they represent.
Thousands of supporters of Thailand’s Red Shirt movement (the popular name for the United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship) once again turned Bangkok’s busy Ratchaprasong Intersection into a sea of red on November 19. Protesters turned out in their thousands to mark six months since the military attacked and dispersed a mass protest camp that occupied the area in April and May. More than 90 people were killed and thousands injured. Hundreds of protesters are still imprisoned.
Remembrance Day, on November 11, was celebrated again this year in the Australian media with pictures of red poppies and flag-draped coffins and historic photos of Australian soldiers who gave “the ultimate sacrifice” from the human-made wasteland of Flanders to the stony deserts of Afghanistan. Paying tribute to the ten soldiers killed this year in the long war in Afghanistan, Governor-General Quentin Bryce said that Australians were good at remembering: “We seem to know what we ought to hold onto and what is best let go.”
“Rise like lions after slumber/In unvanquishable number!/Shake your chains to earth, like dew/Which in sleep had fall’n on you/Ye are many —they are few.” These days, the stirring lines of Percy Shelley’s “Mask of Anarchy” from 1819 may seem unattainable. I don’t think so. Shelley was both a Romantic and political truth-teller. His words resonate now because only one political course is left to those who are disenfranchised and whose ruin is announced on a British government spreadsheet.
“The whole process was a fake!”, said Khin Maung Swe, a 68-year-old leader of the National Democratic Force (NDF), a breakaway from the National League for Democracy (NLD) led by Aung San Suu Kyi. “We just won 16 seats [out of the 163 the NDF contested] because of the so-called advance votes.” Khin Maung Swe expressed outrage at the process of counting votes in Burma’s elections held on November 7 for the first time in 20 years. Opponents of the military junta said it rigged many “advance votes” — votes cast before the official date of the election — through threats and bribes.
The federal election result and the surging Green vote have livened up the Victorian election campaign. The latest Newspoll figures show 19% support for the Greens, the and major parties are struggling to work out whether to launch a full-frontal attack or whether that would deliver more votes to the Greens. The Greens are eating into Labor’s support base on the left and Labor is worried.
Seventy people from across New South Wales took part in the Socialist Alliance state conference on October 7 to discuss politics and political campaigns in NSW and plan for the March 2011 state elections. The conference decided to run a “red-green” election campaign based on the slogan “NSW not for sale, community need not corporate greed!”
The easy view to adopt after the drubbing received by the Democrats in the November 2 midterm elections would be that we’re back to normal, and Americans are just mental. That is because the people leading the hatred of US President Barack Obama are characters such as Glenn Beck, spokesperson for the right-wing Tea Party. Beck hosts a TV show in which, during the last 18 months, he’s likened Obama to Hitler 349 times. Every night, he must tell viewers that Hitler started out with a healthcare plan, then things spun out of control so he invaded France.
In response to an unprovoked and grotesque attack on the NSW Greens’ offices, discovered as staff arrived to work on November 8, the Socialist Alliance released the following statement. * * * The NSW Socialist Alliance condemns the cowardly attack, involving faeces, on the offices of the NSW Greens sometime over the night of November 7-8. Such actions have no place within a democratic society and should be rejected by all supporters of democracy.
"The Queensland government yesterday completed the second sale in its asset privatisation program, offloading the Port of Brisbane for $2.3 billion to a group of local and offshore buyers”, the November 11 Courier-Mail said. The port was sold to a consortium called Q Port Holdings, one of only two bidders in the final race to buy the asset. Q Port Holdings will pay $2.1 billion for a 99-year lease on the port and $200 million for future upgrades of the port’s motorway.

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