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Creeping Socialism (PART 2) - Values are What Man's Economic Activity is All About


Westerners still blindly believe in the
myth that the hogwash disseminated by
such dumbs as Mao Zedong or Joseph
Stalin has something to do with Marxism.
Presumably this ignorance has made the
hotbed for Obama's cheap socialism.

Many books have been written on why and how Japan's bubble economy burst in the early 1990s. Now a myriad of words are being spent on the meltdown of financial markets in Wall Street and the global depression it allegedly triggered, to explain why and how the most recent bubble bust.

However, we are learning practically nothing from these lectures because it's an utter truism that any bubble is doomed to burst sooner or later. There is no such thing as a sustainable bubble.

The real question, therefore, is why and how the bubble had to form, to begin with.

Professional pundits who tend to scratch the surface would readily answer this question by attributing the current crisis solely to the greed prevailing in the financial market in Wall Street or anywhere else. But I think they are oversimplifying the issue.

My American Heritage Dictionary defines greed as "a rapacious desire for more than one needs or deserves." But do we know a person who doesn't have greed as it is defined there?

Actually the core problem lies in man's desire, rapacious or not. But desire for what? We all have desire for many worldly things, including money of course. The materialist way of thinking is also centered around desire, but it cannot really explain the driving force of man's economic activity because materialists tend to get around the value issues. Although we are all drowned in the endless chain of means, the ultimate object of our desire is the purpose of life, which is sometimes referred to as "values."

I know that the Americans and Americanized people are not good at abstract thinking because they have an allergy to philosophy. But I don't think we can get around the question of what man's values are in the face of the ongoing crisis.

To make it even more difficult for these people to identify the real issues, they also have an allergy to Marxism. American Marxist Leo Huberman (1903-1968) used to lament that all his compatriots knew about Marxism was that it was a horrible thing. Maybe they were, and still are, mixing up the German political economist with such dumbs as Mao Zedong and Joseph Stalin.

But I think I must cite some important thought on the value-creating chain from Marx's writing because he is the first, and perhaps the only, thinker to have shed light on the basics of man's economic activity in the industrialized world. So-called socialists see virtue in production, or labor, while they always use the word consumption with a negative connotation. At least they think consumption is a necessary evil. Marx's way of thinking is 180-degrees different from such a puerile asceticism.
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Creeping Socialism (PART 1): Intractable Illness

Anna Politkovskaya refused to get
gradually suffocated by Vladimir Putin.
She paid the price for that in October
2006 when she was gunned down
by an assassin hired by the Kremlin.

I categorically refuse to agree to socialist ideas if the word socialism should be understood in association with the hogwash dessiminated by the likes of Mao Zedong and Joseph Stalin. But among other types of socialism, I think what I call "creeping socialism" is its most perilous mutant. The reason I feel that way is twofold.

Firstly, since creeping socialism is not a product of methodical thinking, it does not have logically verifiable substance. It's nothing more than an elusive climate prevailing in a nation. You can't rebut this type of socialism on theoretical grounds even if you find something fishy in the vague compassion shown in public discourse toward the weak and the poor.

Take the Americans as a case in point. Obviously their empathy toward minority groups mostly stems from the guilty conscience they harbor on behalf of their ancestors who may have owned slaves, traded them or taken part in the colonization of underdeveloped nations. It's not Obama that started all this. It dates back to the early-1960s when John F. Kennedy used the words affirmative action for the first time. In the last 40-plus years since JFK, the American people rid themselves of all mental barriers to having a black or female president.

Yet there is a sticking point in the undercurrent of this climate. The last question they would dare to ask themselves is: "Are we really prepared for having a gay president in the near future?" I don't think how to address the spouse of the president would be the only problem. And what if a president has no living family, like myself? But again, you can't logically prove this tide to be wrong.

Although the moral code John F. Kennedy advocated may not have aroused suspicion among his contemporaries, there is no denying that he was going to make up for his father's immoral acts in Wall Street in the 1920s, at least subliminally. And he was simply wrong when he said, "Ask not what your country can do for you," because in doing so, the President was, in effect, urging the children and grandchildren of the victims of the likes of Joseph Kennedy, Sr. to ask what they could do to further sacrifice themselves for the American elite.

The bottomline of this hypocrisy is a constant relativization of values. Now it seems the entire value system is endangered in today's America. All along the American people have been conditioned to make believe it's a necessary evil to relativize values on the pretext that mounting conflicts between ethnic groups and genders would otherwise eat into the unity of the country.

Due to their intellectual laziness, another fallout from this trend, it never crosses their minds that they can possibly pursue the same end in a different way because god bestowed upon everyone a wisdom to exercise the right amount of tolerance while adhering to one's own values. In short, they are preserving national unity at the cost of their values. Ironically enough, the relativization of values has also resulted in a unique form of totalitarianism. Someone has exquisitely termed this climate "Digital Maoism." This makes one think that the negative tradeoff between national unity and values of each individual has taken a serious toll on America's strength.

Let me add something here in relation to the value issues. You may think I am mixing up a moral value with an economic value. But to me they are one and the same thing. Otherwise, every time you use the word, you would have to predefine which value you are talking about.

In the following installments of this series, I will spell out exactly how man's sense of values plays its role of the major driving force for economic activities and how specifically creeping socialism undermines the value system of a nation.
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Diplomacy of Symbolism

In diplomacy, you sometimes turn to exchanges of symbolic gestures and nice but unbinding words. But if you overdo it, or let the other side indulge in it, you will not only reduce international relations to a ritual, but can endanger your own interests, typically by swallowing prohibitively high costs today for benefits you may or may not reap tomorrow. This is how the Japanese reacted when Hillary Clinton chose their country as the first leg of her first overseas trip as U.S. Secretary of State.

The Tokyo government flipped out over her maiden visit because deep inside it felt Japan didn't deserve the honor especially when the political turmoil and social unrest do not seem to come to an end anytime soon.

For one thing, it came to the surface on Saturday in Rome that a wino was at the wheel of Japan Inc. Shoichi Nakagawa, Japan's Finance Minister, was supposed to brief the press corps on the outcome of the G-7 Finance Ministers' Meeting. But he repeatedly fell asleep, and whenever he came to, all he could do was to mumble incoherent responses to reporters' questions in heavily slurred speech.

When forming his cabinet last fall, Prime Minister Aso handpicked Nakagawa as his Finance Minister although he knew very well the man had repeatedly made a scene because of his alcoholism. The media were also determined to hush up his mental illness. Amid Clinton's stay in Tokyo, Aso and Nakagawa tried to dodge criticisms by giving implausible explanations such as jet lag, overdose of cold medicine, etc. But finally he had to step down because the news had been repeatedly aired on TV and YouTube all over the world.

In early stage of the global crisis, Nakagawa was giving the likes of Henry Paulson a lot of lectures on how his country could "recover" from the burst of the bubble in the 1990s. Obviously the wino thought, like all of his intoxicated fellow countrymen, that the current distress was attributable solely to the sabu-puraimu mondai, or subprime woes, and the riiman shokku, or Lehman shock. The empty-headed Aso shared the same opinion that the crisis had long been gotten over in Japan with the ¥46.7 trillion (more than $500 billion) bailout measures taken by Koizumi and thus the current crisis is not homegrown. Based on the same misperception, he kept saying Japan would be the first to come out of the depression this time around. But, in fact, their country now seems to be the last in getting away from the crisis, either with or without a drunkard sitting at the wheel.

According to the data released on Monday, Japan's GDP shrunk by an annualized 12.7% in the last quarter of 2008, while the U.S. and the Euro-zone countries only suffered a 3.8% and 6% setback, respectively, in the same period. By now everyone has realized that the Japanese government has been disseminating complete hogwash, while doing absolutely nothing to counter the deepening crisis.
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Which do you think is more at fault, the swindler or his victim?

Nationwide and around-the-clock, people are cautioned
over and over not to remit their money to the designated
bank account until they positively identify the payee as
someone they know in person

These days most of you must have grown increasingly puzzled over where Japan is heading. Where the heck will the wave of never-ending political fuss and social unrest wash these people ashore?

According to media-retained pollsters, Prime Minister Aso's approval rating still keeps dipping after sinking below 20% soon after he took office. The popularity that former Prime Minister Koizumi was enjoying seems to dwarf Aso's. It's nothing new that the media give exorbitantly high marks to a new PM, or PM-to-be, and then downgrade him to the bottom in a matter of months. But, can these figures still indicate something? Absolutely nothing.

1) These figures are utterly unreliable because they are unaudited. Even if they were, still you couldn't be sure that they are not falsified. Japanese auditors have time and again proved venal.
2) Pollsters never give their pollees a valid alternative. Respondents must tick a leader they favor from among the same old figures such as Aso, Ozawa and Koizumi. There is no such choice given in the questionnaire as "Whoever leads this nation, Japan won't change for the better."
3) As a result, those who refuse to answer always outnumber other groups of pollees.

You should, therefore, look somewhere else for the true indication of where this country is heading.

For one thing, Aso's most recent "gaffe" about the postal privatization is somewhat intriguing in that respect. On February 5, the manga-loving Stanford-dropout whose IQ is said to be 80, said out of the blue that he started to think the Postal Privatization Law of 2005 might have to be thoroughly reviewed. Although the law stipulates that the way to privatize and split the now-defunct Japan Post into six independent entities in phases may be subject to adjustments every three years, what Aso hinted at was possibly to reverse the privatization process itself. Moreover, it was too late for the first triennial review and too early for the second.

In order to justify his sleep-talk he is now saying that at the beginning he was opposed to the privatization bill but finally convinced by Koizumi to support it. Actually that means he made an aboutface for the second time and is now making a third by quickly taking back the Feb. 5 slip of the tongue.

It's been an open secret that since there was more than $3 trillion at stake in the privatization, U.S. policymakers who had vested interests in American financial institutions salivated a lot in anticipation of a huge cut from the privatization deal across the Pacific. That is why Washington put it high on the agenda of the "U.S.-Japan Regulatory Reform and Competition Policy Initiative" which had actually served as the one-way representations of the U.S. demands from its far eastern ally since the early-1990s. (As of today, there are signs that someone "suggested" the Japanese Wikipedia entry about the policy initiative be deleted.)

It has to be a unilateral initiative simply because Japan is in a position to one-sidedly reciprocate America's favor to shelter it with its nuclear umbrella although you can't tell for sure the U.S. will never take it back when it actually starts pouring. This is basically why Japan's domestic and foreign policies have kept wavering all the time without any internal necessity. Aso is no exception.

An independent Canadian journalist based in Tokyo theorizes that the Koizumi administration railroaded the postal privatization bill to comply with the undue demand by Washington. He says that Koizumi's finance minister Heizo Takenaka is a disciple of Henry Kissinger, who, in turn, is a loyal henchman of David Rockefeller. This may be yet another delusion we hear from those "truth-seekers." But where there is no fire, there's no smoke.

The single most important flaw inherent to allegations made by conspiracy theorists is the fact that they always make believe those who repeatedly fall victim to malicious plots are innocent. Actually a victim is a politically correct way of naming an accomplice. In a sense, it's these morbidly suggestible and docile people that make otherwise decent people feel inclined to act like swindlers.

Let's turn our eyes to their domestic behavior. For one thing, take a look at the following numbers which I recapitulated based on the statistics compiled by the National Police Agency:

Bank Transfer Scams - 2008Stats by NPA
Number of Attempts28,096
Number of Successful Attemps27,531
Success Ratio98%
Total Defrauded Amount in K¥43,113,671
Above Amount Restated in K$479,041
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A Hidden Cost of the Alliance

On Monday, U.S. military chief Gen. Walter Sharp called on North Korea to refrain from further brinkmanship in reference to the recent moves which are suspected to be the preparation for launching the Taepodong-2 ballistic missile. He reportedly said, "Many, many countries around the world are watching North Korea right now to see if it will act responsibly."

Give me a break, General. Haven't you learned that the right thing to do in the face of a provocative move by Pyongyang is not to talk, and not to watch?

When I was a canid-phobic kid, my mother used to tell me to avoid eye contact with dogs while refraining from running away from them. For the 7-year-old kid, it was quite difficult to observe this rule, but I don't think it's too hard for a general to practice it, because any adult knows that a dog that barks a lot will never bite. In 1939, Hitler invaded Poland giving little signs of it beforehand. Two years later, Japan did the same in Pearl Harbor, having been emboldened by the initial success of what its European ally had named "blitzkrieg" or lightening war.

It's now obvious that Obama, Clinton, Gates and their generals should prepare their country for a possible lightening without talking too much about transient successes and failures in their Munich Conferences.
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A Convoluted World with Japanese Americanized, Americans Japanized and Germans Germanized

The maverick congressman looks to have grown haggard in his most recent video,
but he still remains optimistic about America's future.

Currently I am working on a provisional closing of my earthly books. Soon after I got started with the task, I realized that I should totally write off sizable pieces of asset, both tangible and intangible, in which I have invested my time, energy, money and emotions in the last 46 years. The junk that has hollowed out my balance sheet is my Americanism.

I have studied, worked, made a family, fathered kids and destroyed the family ties, all in a way an average American might have conducted himself in this country where civil liberty is an empty promise. I was Americanized from tip to toe, until that person of African ancestry became the President of the United States.

Since WWII, every nation in the world has been more or less Americanized. But no other sovereign nation has imported the American way of life as thoroughly and quickly as my country of birth has. When two different cultures meet, an allout conflict is unavoidable, most of the time. But that has never been the case with this country. Because Japan had long lost its cultural identity since it got into China's cultural orbit in the 5th century, it could absorb any foreign influence like a sponge in subsequent centuries. It was what I call a cultural salad that had paved the way for Japan's postwar Americanization.

I acquired my American way of thinking quite differently. Otherwise, I wouldn't have thought about writing it off at this late stage of my life.

What I found intolerable with today's America was the fact that there are unmistakable signs the vast majority of its people have been Japanized. For one thing, the Obama administration decided to set aside $33 billion for the State Children Health Insurance Program. Also the administration is going to fatten unemployment benefits while at the same time artificially creating 3 million nonvalue-creating jobs out of thin air. All in all, the stimulus package would eventually cost every American citizen $6,700, if the burden were to be evenly distributed. Now Obama and his followers are out of their minds. They wouldn't listen to the voices of reason, such as the one from Republican Congressman Paul Ryan, who asked, "Must we repeat Japan's stimulus mistakes?"
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Obama's Mastery of Asiatic Way of Escalating Things Will Be Tested OK

Now that America's Japanization has reached its final stage with the arrival of Obama, let us take a relook at how the Japanese, and some other Asian peoples, escalate things. Admittedly, though, I know very little about the Indonesians.

Even apes utter a war cry before starting their scratching warfare. Small wonder that the first thing the Japanese do when challenged is also to make a verbal response.

The problem is that everyone knows the Japanese will never scratch, or bite. What they call "diplomacy" is nothing but an endless exchange of words for its own sake, if they sometimes turn to something else such as their thick checkbook. They are silly enough to think that just hardening or softening rhetoric will produce an intended outcome despite their past experience which has more often than not proved otherwise. The last thing that would occur to them is that even in diplomacy, you lose unless you win in this world chronically facing short supply of resources. As a result of oversupply of words, their tactic seldom works.

Usually it takes quite some time, sometimes decades, for the Japanese to realize that words produce nothing. By that time, they always miss the right timing to take the right action. In ferocious international relations, the right timing, once missed, never visits you once again.

When they finally understand dialogue will not work, they "resort" to symbolic gestures which they call "pressure." The most typical way of putting pressure on the opponent is to refuse to draw a check. In dealing with the shrewd North Koreans, they have stepped up economic sanctions, little by little. Each time they did so, the North Koreans could shrug that off. They thought they could get by without Japanese aid primarily because they could always count on the deep-pocketed China to make up for the resultant shortfall.
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America's Political Polygamy

I have nothing whatsoever against polyamory. Not only that, I have spent a little too polyamorous adulthood myself. But it's a different story when it comes to polygamy. And it's a natural thing to analogize a bilateral treaty to a marriage. If you don't think your marriage requires an exclusive commitment, why don't you discuss the matter with your spouse?

Being a country with a forked tongue, the Unite States has seemed to have two or more cornerstone alliances in Asia for quite a while. The political polygamy has been especially evident since the early 1970s.

Soon after the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty went into effect in 1970, President Richard Nixon visited China to lay the groundwork for the normalization of diplomatic ties with the communist country. The main reason Nixon abruptly changed his China policy was because he thought China, alone, could help America out of the Vietnam quagmire.

Unlike the docile Japan, China is a nation that doesn't do anyone a favor for nothing. Needless to say, Mao Zedong and Chu Enlai urged their American counterparts to reciprocate. China's archrival Japan had already become Asia's economic powerhouse and was still on a strong uptrend. Some historians say that in Beijing, Nixon and his National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger said, "Let us take care of Japan to your interests." We don't know if that is exactly what they said, but everybody knows that they promised to make Japan's Prime Minister Eisaku Sato expedite the ratification of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and to tell him to further promote the hogwash about Three Nonnuclear Principles he had been advocating since 1967 to eternalize the "nuclear allergy" of the Japanese people.

When Nixon said he was sure that he could neutralize Japan forever, Mao must have thought, "Who could ask for anything more?"

The downright breach of trust upset the Japanese people at the beginning, but over time they became inclined to forgive, or forget, the fateful act of betrayal on the part of the Americans.
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A Physiognomical Look into Clinton's Dubious Personality

Like Abraham Lincoln or Karl Marx, I am a firm believer in physiognomy.

As anyone with an unclouded eye can tell, a person's integrity, or absence of it, never fails to surface over time. Not only that, most of the time you notice it at first glance. At least it doesn't take as long as 48 months to unmask a person you are dealing with. Virtue, or vice for that matter, is not something that is solidly encased in the crust. And underneath the skin, there are only flesh and bones - nothing else. In short, what a human being looks is what he or she really is - no more, no less.

Early last year, Samantha Power, then-top aide in Obama's campaign office, likened Hillary Clinton to a monster. Admittedly this Power woman had a keen eye. But I don't want to be sued by the Monster Anti-Defamation League which then issued a statement complaining that "being lumped together with Hillary Clinton is really a low blow." So, I will try to use politically correct words here to describe the new U.S. Secretary of State. Otherwise, an anti-defamation league of monsters or lxars might take me to court.

From the viewpoint of this Japanese blogger, she looks like Madame Pinkerton as much as she deserves to be called those un-PC names.

In Puccini's opera "Madame Butterfly," a U.S. naval officer by the name of Benjamin Franklin Pinkerton comes over to Nagasaki aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln. Soon after he marries a geisha and fathers a boy named "Sorrow," Pinkerton gets repatriated. When departing, he promises to return "when the robins nest in the spring." He does not abide by his promise. When he finally comes back, the spring is long gone, and he brings along his real wife Kate. The geisha disembowels herself with her father's sword.
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死ぬことは転職するのとはわけが違う。自分が今までに成し遂げたことと、やり残したことを整理したうえで誰かに引き継ごうという気持ちは全くない。例えば、この TokyoFreePress が当方の死後どうなるのかという事もあまり気にしていない。

とは言うものの、生涯を通して自分の「生」をプリプログラムして来たように、現在私は自分の「死」をプリプログラムしている。(訳注 1) もしかしたら、自分の死後、誰かが私のプログラムを解読してくれるかも知れないと思うからだ。



残念ながら、約 53ヶ月前に、この言葉をマニフェストの中で使ったとき、当方の真意を理解してくれる人はほとんどいなかった。何人かの人が心得顔で笑っていたが、この人たちも理解していたとは思えない。当方のタブーへの挑戦は笑い事ではないのだから。

グレート・ファイアウォール (訳注 2) が張りめぐらされているサイバー空間の中にあって反体制運動を続けている中国のブロガーたちにとって、チベット問題、言論の自由、議会制民主主義を論じる事はタブーとなっている。同様に、日本のブロガーにとっても、中国の場合より数は少ないが、天皇制や記者クラブ・システムのような絶対的タブーが存在する。類似のタブーはアメリカにはほとんど存在しない。このことから、中国が最もタブーが多い社会、それに次いで日本、アメリカが最もタブーの少ない国、と結論づけることが出来るだろうか?それほど単純な問題ではない。

日本には、当方がグラス・ファイアウォールと名づけている検閲制度が存在する。(訳注 3) ガラスのファイアウォールは、アメリカにも存在しないわけではない。(訳注 4) グラス・ファイアウォールはグレート・ファイアウォールよりもはるかに手強く、乗り越え難い壁である。というのも、ガラス製のため遠くからはまったく見えないからだ。今まで当ブログはグラス・ファイアウォールの問題を繰り返し取り上げて来た。しかし、耳を傾ける人はきわめてわずかだった。ガラスの壁に突き当たったのは彼らではなく当方なのだから無理からぬ事だと思っている。そのうちに当ブログのオーディエンスの中に、当方をチキン・リトル (訳注 5) かイソップ物語の狼少年のように見るようになった人も少なからずいるのではないかと思う。主流メディアにとって、グラス・ファイアウォールに挑戦する者を封じ込めることは朝飯前である。彼らを無視するだけで用が足りるのだ。

タブーに挑戦するジャーナリストにとって、もっと手強いものがある。心の中のファイアウォールである。これにはパリに本部のある「国境なき記者団」 (Reporters without Borders) でさえ気づいていない。フロイトの精神分析理論は心の中に潜む「検閲」のメカニズムにメスを入れる事によって形成された。心の中のファイアウォールは、3種類の検閲機構の中で最も厚く、また見えにくい壁である。

そのようなわけで、TokyoFreePress が挑戦し続けて来たタブーは常に3重の壁で護られていた。
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