Japan

Saul Takahashi – Japan’s Descent into Authoritarianism

August 15, 2016

The appointment of Tomomi Inada as Japan’s Defence Minister, and the lack of tough questioning of Inada from the domestic media, is yet another indicator of how far Japan is in its descent into authoritarian rule under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Inada is a longstanding rightwing extremist with a history of expressing nationalistic and militaristic views. She said in 2006 that the objective of schooling must be to raise “elites” who would sacrifice their lives for their country. Regarding the infamous Yasukuni shrine, where it is said that the souls of soldiers fallen in battle rest, Inada believes that Japanese must pray at the shrine to “vow they will be next” in dying for the nation. In 2011, she argued that Japan should develop nuclear weapons. Yet, these chilling statements were barely even reported on in the mainstream media upon Inada’s appointment, essentially giving her a free pass. Read

JOHN LAFORGE – How US Hiroshima Mythology Insults Veterans

August 10, 2016

“The atomic bomb had nothing to do with the end of the war at all.” — Maj. Gen. Curtis LeMay, WWII Air Force Commander of the 21st Bomber Command, Sept. 20, 1945. With President Obama’s May 27 visit to Hiroshima, reporters, columnists and editors generally adhered to the official story that “the atomic bomb…ultimately spared more Japanese civilians from a final invasion,” as Kaimay Yuen Terry wrote for the Minneapolis StarTribune, or that, “Without it, more Japanese would have died in a US assault on the islands, as would have tens of thousands of Americans,” as Mike Hashimoto wrote for the Dallas Morning News. Read

Joe Lauria – The secret race to get Congo’s ore to destroy Hiroshima

August 8, 2016

Since the first use of a nuclear weapon in Hiroshima 71 years ago today, on Aug. 6, 1945, the story of where the uranium for the bomb came from and the covert operation the U.S. employed to secure it has been little known. That is until the publication next week in the United States of a new book, Spies in the Congo, by British researcher Susan Williams (Public Affairs Books, New York), which unveils for the first time the detailed story of the deep cover race between the Americans and the Nazis to get their hands on the deadliest metal on earth. At the outset of World War II, when the U.S. launched the extraordinarily secret Manhattan Project, uranium from North America and most of the rest of the world was less than one percent enriched and considered inadequate to build the first atom bombs. But there was one mine in the world where, through a freak of nature, the ore contained up to an unheard of 75% enriched uranium: Shinkolobwe mine in the present-day Democratic Republic of Congo. Read

Trends This Week – Trump imploding and the rigged economy – 08.03.16

August 3, 2016

Gerald Celente takes a deep dive into the news of recent days, especially the self-destructing Donald Trump and ever present war drums pounding in the background of the Presidential Reality Show. He updates listeners on critical economic trends, as well. Despite high expectations that the Bank of Japan would stimulate its nation’s foundering economy by driving interest rates further into negative territory, and that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe would fire his third Abenomic stimulus arrow, both missed the target. On the news that the BOJ held rates and the stimulus arrow was far smaller than markets anticipated, the NIKKEI trended closer to bear territory and Asian markets moved lower. Indeed, central banks are caught in a rate trap. Download this episode (right click and

64 women to sue in three Japanese courts over health woes from cervical cancer vaccines

July 20, 2016

A group of lawyers for 64 women who are suffering health problems from cervical cancer vaccines said Tuesday the victims will file damages lawsuits against the government and two drugmakers that produced the vaccines through four district courts on July 27. Of the 64 women, 28 will lodge their suit with the Tokyo District Court, six with the Nagoya District Court, 16 with the Osaka District Court and 14 with the Fukuoka District Court, according to the lawyers. Initially, the victims, mainly teenagers, will demand ¥15 million in damages each, for a total of ¥960 million, and increase the amount later depending on their symptoms. The victims’ health problems include pain all over the body. Read

Alternative Visions – Trump, Free Trade, and the Global Slowdown – 07.15.16

July 15, 2016

A centerpiece of Trump’s campaign, that is gaining support for him among white working class voters in key swing states like Pennsylvania and Ohio, is his attack on free trade treaties from NAFTA to TPP. Today’s show examines the conditions behind the current stagnation of global trade the past 18 months, growing wage stagnation and income inequality in the US, and increasing US voters’ associating of their loss of quality jobs and declining wages with free trade. Dr. Rasmus briefly reviews policies in China, Japan, Europe, and the slowing of world trade. How US economic elites—from the Business Roundtable and others— are becoming terrified of Trump’s successful manipulation of voter discontent with free trade. The elements of Trump’s position on trade are discussed, including ‘tearing up’ treaties, imposing tariffs on Mexico and China, charges of China as currency manipulator, tax policy incentives encouraging job offshoring, and US visa policies. Jack critiques Trump’s positions and concludes that Trump—like Obama before and Hillary now—is simply pandering to the discontent and will reverse his promises on trade if elected. Pandering to the trade issue, however, may just provide Trump enough votes to win key states’ electoral majorities.

Chris Hedges – We Must Understand Corporate Power to Fight It

June 13, 2016

In the winter of 1941, a Jewish gravedigger from Chelmo, the western province of Poland, appeared in Warsaw and desperately sought a meeting with Jewish leaders. He told them the Nazis were rounding up Jews, including the old, women and children, and forcing them into what looked like tightly sealed buses. The buses had the exhaust pipes redirected into the cabins. The Jews were killed with carbon monoxide. He had helped dig the mass graves for thousands of corpses until he escaped. On the way to Warsaw, he had gone from village to village, frantically warning the Jews. Scores of Jews, in the villages and ultimately in Warsaw, heard his testimony of horror and dismissed it. A handful of listeners, however, including Zivia Lubetkin, who two years later would help lead the uprising by 500 armed Jewish fighters in the Warsaw Ghetto, instantly understood the ultimate aims of the Nazi state. Read

Alternative Visions – Is There a Global Supernova Bond Bubble About to Explode? – 06.10.16

June 10, 2016

Jack discusses the global bond market conditions today, many times the size of the world’s stock markets and far more important. Bond guru, Bill Gross, this week forewarned of a ‘supernova’ explosion coming in global bond markets as a consequence of the $10 trillion (and growing) in government bond negative interest rates (not counting corporate bonds). Is there a ‘bubble’ in global bonds? Will it bust? When and Where? Jack agrees with Gross and explains why there is—located so far in Europe and Japan but spreading to the US and taking off in corporate bonds as well. How the bond bubble is the consequence of central banks’ (US, UK, Europe, Japan) monetary policies since 2008. How tens of trillions of dollars in money injections by the central banks—in quantitative easing and zero rate programs—have done little for stimulating real investment, jobs, incomes and consumption—and instead have pumped up global stock and other financial markets. The bond bubble as the latest consequence. Jack predicts why central banks’ NIRP policies fail to boost real investment and real growth, but are already having negative consequences for retirees’ and workers’ wage incomes, growing financial instability, and the slowing real economy. Central banks’ monetary policies have failed miserably. What’s next? Talk of ‘helicopter money’, ‘guaranteed income’, and bank ‘bail ins’ after the next bust. Jack warns of likely major global stock market correction coming soon—in the wake of likely Brexit, NIRP, global oil prices again falling, and US economic slowdown and predicts a US recession for 2017. NEXT WEEK: ‘Will There Be a BREXIT?’

Alternative Visions – US Jobs Growth Plummets & Global Economy Slows – 06.03.16

June 3, 2016

Jack reviews today’s just released jobs numbers confirming his prior prediction jobs growth would slow in wake of US GDP slowdown last quarter. Plus an overview of US economy and a prediction of recession in early 2017. In the second half of the show, a review of latest developments in global economy--with commentary on how the IMF outmaneuvered the Syriza government in Greece again, the likelihood of UK ‘Brexit’ from the EU, $10 trillion in negative interest rates and more than $10 trillion in global non-performing bank loans, the recent G7 meeting in Japan and prime minister Abe’s warning of another ‘Lehman event’ on the horizon, the European Central Bank’s recent decision to now buy corporation bonds, like Japan, China’s rotating financial asset bubbles, eventual currency devaluation, capital flight, corporate bankruptcies, and out of control private sector debt acceleration. (see jackrasmus.com blog for recent articles, ‘Is US Economy Heading for Another Recession?’ and ‘How the IMF outmaneuvered Syriza—Again’)

s.e. smith – An American Fukushima May Be Closer Than You Think

June 1, 2016

The 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster was horrific to watch unfold. It will take decades — and billions of dollars — to clean up, as more problems seem to emerge by the minute. Most recently, Tepco announced that it’s still missing a large amount of spent fuel — in part because radiation remains so high that robots and other devices cannot function inside the plant to give workers a better picture of what’s going on. The disaster and subsequent cleanup have attracted global attention, with many nations questioning whether they want to continue using nuclear power. In the United States, Congress ordered the National Academy of Sciences to conduct a detailed study on the Fukushima disaster. The second part of that review was just released, and the results are ominous: The “devil’s scenario” that led to catastrophe at Fukushima could repeat itself on U.S. soil. Read
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