Throughout his second term in office, George W. Bush has been despised
as the second worst President of the United States only next to James Buchanan
who mishandled the secessionist demand for the independence of the Confederate
States of America. One and a half century after the Civil War and four
years after Bush's reelection, some 63.8 million learning-disabled Americans
picked the wrong person as their leader once again. Astoundingly, they claim that they
are making history.
On the morning of November 5 (JST) I was watching live the "historic
moment" on ABC's Vote 2008 program. The podium that President-elect
was going to take was fenced in with 2-inch-thick, 10-foot-tall bulletproof
glass walls as if it was a dictator who was about to
show up to declare the birth of a socialist regime. In his victory speech,
Barack Obama urged the huge congregation of blacks, whites, browns and
yellows to rally behind him for the cause of reconciliation between different
ethnic groups, classes, genders and generations, as if to echo Chinese
leader Hu Jintao who in recent years keeps preaching harmony among his
1.3 billion people.
A little before this took place in Chicago's Grant Park, John McCain gave
his concession speech in Phoenix, Arizona. His way of bowing out was a
little more graceful and sincere than Obama's way of wording his supposedly
touching address. But just the same, the Vietnam War hero failed to win
over people's hearts and minds in part because he is a Republican, but
more importantly because McCain's campaign could not afford to buy up the
seven TV channels for a 30-minute primetime "informercial"
at an estimated cost of $4 million. · read more (743 words)
Thursday, October 16 2008 @ 06:53 AM CDT
Contributed by: Y.Yamamoto
Japan's Finance Minister gives wrong tips in Washington
President Bush and Henry Paulson should have known that they couldn't afford
the time to ask the Finance Ministers from Group of Seven countries for
tips on how to turn around the situation for the following two reasons:
1) The financial turmoil triggered by the failure of Lehman Brothers is
a challenge primarily facing the American people. If this can be fixed
at all, it's none other than the Americans who can fix it. It's been proved
time and again that they can reinvent their nation all on their own.
2) Asking Finance Ministers of G7 nations for their advice on how to stave
off the total meltdown of the financial system, as Bush and Paulson did
last week, is a total waste of time. Especially Shoichi Nakagawa, Japan's
Finance Minister, told them the "success story" about how his
country could recover from the burst of the bubble economy in the 1990s
by injecting an enormous amount of "public funds" into dying,
sometimes dead, financial institutions. The bailout funds totaled 46.7
trillion yen ($458 billion in today's exchange rate). But the fact remains
that Japan's rescue plan did not work with the Japanese failing to learn
bitter lessons from the bust. Back home, Yamato Life, for one, filed for
bankruptcy protection on the same day Nakagawa was delivering his lecture
in Washington. The insurer's President Takeo Nakazono shamelessly attributed
his company's failure to the "unexpectedly fast depreciation of securitized
subprime loans." Bush and Paulson should have known that Japan's prescription
has been tested unworkable. · read more (531 words)
Saturday, October 04 2008 @ 11:23 AM CDT
Contributed by: Y.Yamamoto
In the wake of the near-meltdown of the entire financial system, the U.S. House of Representatives has passed into law the 700
billion bailout package presented by President Bush and Secretary of Treasury
Henry Paulson, with John McCain and Barack Obama fully supporting the plan in a truce
unprecedented in the history of presidential elections. Now it's increasingly evident that there are no fundamental differences between
the policy lines of the two camps. Neither do we see a major difference between President Bush and the self-styled maverick Republican.
These days we are asking ourselves: "Would
Governor Palin have voted for the bill if she were a congresswoman and
had not been picked by McCain as his running mate just to fill the '18 million cracks' Hillary Clinton had left behind?". Most probably she would have voted against it because the bailout plan
is one of those "bridges to nowhere" the Alaska governor is not inclined to subscribe. Palin's way of thinking now looks much closer to Ron
Paul's than to the Republican presidential candidate's.
Even after the bill was sweetened by the additional tax breaks and the cap on
the deposit insurance raised from $100,000 to $250,000, there still are 171 lawmakers in the House who think the emergency measure is unacceptably
"un-American" and nothing but a "financial socialism."
This indicates that America as a whole still has some resilience
with which to potentially get back on the right track on its own. Admittedly, though, we cannot expect
either McCain or Obama to bring about real change. · read more (212 words)
Friday, July 11 2008 @ 04:55 AM CDT
Contributed by: Y.Yamamoto
Ron Paul, who still remains in the 2008 presidential race, bases his non-interventionist
platform on the wrong assumption that everything happening outside of the
United States is a "blowback" resulting from the past interventionist
policies. Despite his naivete, however, there's no denying that a growing
number of American people have been inclined to relearn from the founding
fathers, be it George Washington or Thomas Jefferson. Their principles
all come down to this: "Let's mind our own business, nothing else."
Ron Paul seems to fret about his fellow countrymen mistaking his non-interventionism
for isolationism, but that is not an important issue.
The 34th G8 Summit was hosted by Japan from July 7 through July 9. Toyako
in Hokkaido was chosen as its venue because environmental degradation in
the northernmost island is not so serious as in the other part of the archipelago.
The 8 leaders, along with their counterparts from the European Union, China,
India, and some African nations, chitchatted over their pet issues
such as what measures to take to cut the greenhouse gas emissions and how
to cope with the global food crisis already affecting tens of millions
of Africans and about to hit the industrialized nations as well. To demonstrate
how the leaders in the developed countries are concerned about the worldwide
degradation of environment, the Summit's host even staged a tree-planting
ceremony on a lakeside ground.
Despite the Japanese media's acclaim for the success of the 3-day-long gathering, these
guys were just exchanging empty words and symbolic gestures. That being
the case, Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda was the best person to preside
over the pointless meetings. The Japanese people, for that matter, are
the best people to host the ceremonial Summit. · read more (334 words)
On Sunday afternoon in Akihabara district downtown Tokyo, the 25-year-old
man drove a 2-ton rental truck straight into the crowd of shoppers and
then emerged from the vehicle to randomly stab pedestrians with his Smith
& Wesson dagger knife. Hours before, he had had to settle for the small
truck because a larger one was not available at the time. So he couldn't
kill as many people as he had initially planned. Even so, his mission was
successfully completed: the lanky guy could kill 7 pedestrians, injure 10 others, and more important,
make the headlines at home as well as abroad.
An off-duty NTV cameraman was on the scene and did an excellent job with
the tragicomedy as it was unfolding, using his digital camera. His 6-minute-long movie was
shot so professionally that you could see or even hear the entire edifice
crumbling. To reporters and commentators in local media organizations, however, the sound of silence remains inaudible and what's really going on is still invisible. The same holds
true with foreign correspondents stationed here. Believing the collapse of the nation is something utterly counter-intuitive, they keep disseminating
stereotypical, bland and sanitized "analyses" of what is not going on here. · read more (440 words)
Monday, May 26 2008 @ 11:21 AM CDT
Contributed by: Y.Yamamoto
When I was doing my daily mining routine on YouTube late last week, I came
across some videos relating to Ron Paul. Actually there are 124,000 videos
posted by his campaign office and supporters. and some of them have been
viewed more than a million times. Until then, I hadn't known that the congressman,
R-Tex, still remains in the presidential race, because of the media blackout in and outside
From this Japanese blogger's point of view, the only candidate
who could make a difference is one who will pull the plug on the dead organization called the United Nations and give Japan the 1-year prior
notice to terminate the incongruous pact called the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation
and Security between the United States and Japan, as soon as s/he takes
office. In the light of these criteria, either Obama, Clinton or McCain
is out of the question. But since I came to know the obstetrician-turned-politician has persevered in the 2008 race on the "Libertarian" ticket, I have started thinking that for the American voters, hopes for real change may not have been thoroughly extinguished.
Admittedly, I am skeptical about the wisdom of categorically ruling out military or non-military intervention. No matter whether President Paul would opt to withdraw from WTO, his Secretaries of Commerce and Treasury Departments would have difficulty handling protectionist measures, including currency manipulation, China and some other country would certainly step up. His Secretary of Defense would face equally formidable problems, at home with defense contractors, and abroad with those nations whose Founding Fathers were, unlike their American counterparts, interventionists or even expansionists. Despite all these sticking points, I am inclined to buy into Ron Paul's philosophy because at any rate it precludes him from making America police the whole world with its overstretched troops deployed in 130 countries, let alone with the help of unreliable and overdependent allies such as Japan.
This afternoon, Amazon delivered my rush order for The Revolution: A Manifesto authored by the insightful septuagenarian. According to this book, Paul's
team could raise $4 million online on the single day of November 5, 2007,
and the record in the U.S. elections history was surpassed on December
16 when they could raise more than $6 million. This really indicates Ron
Paul and his colleagues are now gathering momentum for a real change. I
have a hunch that at latest by the time he, as well as myself, turns 85
in 2020, the American voters will send the real change agent to the White
House. It's hard, sort of, to visualize what it will be like under the
Libertarian administration, because we are too used to the false dichotomy
between the Republicans and the Democrats. But if you assume that Ron Paul
will most probably opt to put in place an Internet-enabled model of E-Democracy,
you can somehow envisage what his minimalist government would look like. · read more (182 words)
Sunday, May 25 2008 @ 07:21 AM CDT
Contributed by: Y.Yamamoto
The May 25 edition of the Japan Times carries an article about Zhang Ziyi's
fund-raising drive in the interest of Sichuan residents afflicted by the
May 12 jolt. The piece is placed just below a news story that quotes Wen
Jiabao as hinting that the death toll "may top 80,000" (what a difference a week made) and asking
the visiting U.N. Secretary General for "900,000 more tents."
According to the JT report, Zhang Ziyi was "surprised to find one
group she solicited on the sidelines of the Cannes film festival knew little
about the disaster in Sichuan Province." Stunned at the "ignorance"
on the part of the participants in the film festival, the Beijing-born
star actress said: "I was as angry as a madwoman. I said, 'Are you
idiots? You are well-dressed and you look like you identify with society,
but you don't know what's going on on planet Earth.'" · read more (203 words)
Saturday, May 17 2008 @ 01:01 AM CDT
Contributed by: Y.Yamamoto
Hu Jintao visited the port city of Yokohama on May 9. The Kanagawa Prefectural
Police Department was on full alert throughout the city, especially in
the China Town where some pro-Tibetan and pro-Taiwanese elements were poised to
protest. Actually, Hu and his entourage let down these folks by quickly leaving the city after visiting
Yokohama Yamate Chinese School which is located in a quiet neighborhood
atop a hill. YYCS is where only wealthy parents find the tuition affordable.
Down in the valley, people were hanging about in the mazy streets of the
China Town in anticipation of Hu's visit. When I walked by a Chinese eatery
I frequent, I was stopped by its owner, 83-year-old chef-emeritus and some
employees. Although the owner and a waitress were wearing an apron colored like
the Five Starred Red Flag, they are not particularly patriotic. I said:
"If he dares to come down to the China Town, why don't you invite
him in your shop and treat him to the frozen gyoza dumplings?" They
burst into laughter. A male employee exclaimed: "Why not? That sounds really great."
Recently some frozen dumplings imported from China were found tainted with
phosphorus pesticide by far exceeding the limit.
Two days earlier in Tokyo, the Chinese leader had a chat with his Japanese counterpart over this and that,
including how to proceed with the ongoing probe into the phosphorus-rich gyoza.
But the communique signed by the leaders of the two ailing (or failing)
giants indicated that no concrete action plans to boost the "future-oriented"
bilateral relations had come out of the summit. The only specific thing was Hu's promise to rent out
a pair of panda bears to the Ueno Zoological Gardens in Tokyo.
In response, the Tokyo Governor mumbled, "Am I supposed to feel grateful
for Hu's gift?". · read more (857 words)
Sunday, April 27 2008 @ 05:41 AM CDT
Contributed by: Y.Yamamoto
For some personal reason, I have not logged in to my blog publishing platform
since November last year. But that does not mean I have quit blogging for
good. In the last four years since I launched this site, the number of hits
to the system has topped 710,000. Even though this indicates, by
the rules of thumb, that no more than 350,000-400,000 people actually read my pieces,
I want to express on this occasion my gratitude to these frequent
visitors to my site. I do not particularly feel grateful, though, to tens of thousands of those sickening worms called spammers. I am getting more and more inclined to believe that they are on the payroll of anti-virus or spam-filtering software vendors.
During my long absence from the blogosphere, I seldom watched TV or read newspapers, either,
because something in my skull refused to be updated on the sequels of the same old serial farce. The path that connects my sensory nerves to the brain had become too congested with junk. Unfortunately I'm not good at passing around empty words on an ear-to-mouth basis, without fully internalizing them. The only things that drew
my attention were the Dalai Lama making a disappointing about-face, the
Japanese leg of the Olympic torch relay completed without major disruptions, and
the municipal government and all the citizens in Obama City, Fukui Prefecture,
enthusiastically rooting for Barack Obama..
Now the Tibetan "spiritual leader" seems to be saying he is not
a secessionist and that he supports the Beijing Olympics, after all. In Japan, Tokyo
Governor Shintaro Ishihara, known for his cheap anti-Chinese rhetoric,
seems to have decided to shut his mouth even at the sight of the Five-Starred Red Flags flying all over the venue of the torch relay in the April breeze heralding the holiday-studded Golden Week. He just wanted to see the Japanese "security runners", 90 of them, successfully prevent
the sacred flame from being extinguished by Tibetan separatists living
here. Six persons were reportedly arrested but they did not include those who badly assaulted protesters trapped under the huge blanket of the FSRF. The Governor is now in a position to kowtow to the IOC as well as
the CCP because of his bid to host the 2016 Olympics. As for the Obama craze in Obama City, they become enraptured every time the Democratic presidential
hopeful wins a primary. They have even formed a hula dancing team because
Obama was brought up in Hawaii. A not-too-sexy hula dancer in her 60s was
telling an NHK reporter that she would "do her best" to support
Barack Obama. · read more (358 words)
Monday, December 03 2007 @ 01:16 AM CST
Contributed by: Y.Yamamoto
Vladimir Putin menacing the poor Russians
Russian President Vladimir Putin now looks fully poised to hand over his
autocratic power to one of his henchmen in the presidential elections scheduled
for March 2, 2008.
The early returns from the December 2 parliamentary elections have already
indicated that the former KGB spy, who is responsible for the deaths of
Alexander Litvinenko, Anna Politkovskaya and many other courageous dissidents,
is now on a roll in terms of paving the way to installing his
puppet as the next president of the Russian Federation.
The Russians at large have, time and again, proved courageous and proud
people that dared to challenge authority to change their life for the better, if reform
has sometimes been attempted in the wrong direction as it was 90 years
ago. To that end they have even attempted to kill Czars. But primarily
because of the iron-fist rule by Joseph Stalin and his successors, now
they have been reduced to a bunch of docile and self-deprecating folks.
That's too bad, but we don't care too much about the way things are unfolding
in the today's Russia, because it's their headache, not ours. After all
it's them who are destined to suffer the consequence of all this, in a decade or two from now.
is someone who is learning a heartening lesson from Putin, it's Chinese leader
Hu Jintao and his people. They have already learned WHAT NOT TO DO from
Mikhail Gorbachev, the last president of the Soviet Union. But now the
communist leadership in China is learning WHAT TO DO. Without doubt Hu
is increasingly becoming sure that the introduction of a representative
democracy won't necessarily be the end of the world. Monopoly of power by
the Chinese Communist Party will withstand a transformation of the system
if it only means that Hu has to change his headwear from the red hat to a differently
colored one. Indeed, Deng Xiaoping was right when he said, "Whether
a cat is black or white makes no difference. As long as it catches mice,
it is a good cat." · read more (210 words)