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Tag Archives: Japan

Trump, FDR, and War, by Jacob G. Hornberger

Just because a president tells you he’s not taking the country into war doesn’t mean he won’t take the country into war. From Jacob G. Hornberger at fff.org:

President Trump’s campaign of “maximum pressure” against Iran reminds me of President Franklin Roosevelt’s similar campaign against Japan prior to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

After England declared war on Germany, owing to the latter’s invasion of Poland, the American people were overwhelmingly opposed to entry into the war. That was because they recognized that U.S. interventionism into World War I, which cost the lives and limbs of tens of thousands of American soldiers and severely infringed on the liberty of the American people, had accomplished nothing.

Americans had no interest in doing it again. Their mindsets were similar to those of our American ancestors, whose founding foreign policy was to avoid involvement in Europe’s forever wars.

In his 1940 campaign for president, Roosevelt told the American people that he was with them in their opposition to foreign wars. He said to them, “I’ve said this before, but I shall say it again and again and again: Your boys are not going to be sent into any foreign wars.”

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Japan and Germany Hysterically Race to Shut Down Nuclear Power (and Their Sovereignty), by Matthew Ehret

Wind and solar power aren’t working out as planned in Germany and Japan, and because they’re shutting down their nuclear power, they’re more at the mercy of imported hydrocarbons than they’ve ever been. From Matthew Ehret at strategic-culture.org:

Recently, the Japanese government announced that they will be shutting down the remaining 7 nuclear reactors at the Daiichi plant that was hit by a major earthquake and tsunami in 2011. This will bring the total number of nuclear reactors down to 33 (compared to 54 in 2011), only 7 of which are in active operation at any given time. Contrary to popular belief, this is not a good thing.

Since the tsunami hit on April 11, 2011 killing 18 000 civilians, there has been a tendency to refer to the event falsely as “Japan’s nuclear crisis”. The fear that has spread across the world resulted in one of the most devastating attacks on sovereign nations which could have only been executed had we done this to ourselves.

Japan – a nation which became the world’s 3rd largest economy due largely to its commitment to advanced scientific and technological progress and early embrace of nuclear power, has lost much of the energy self-sufficiency it once enjoyed when 25% of its electricity came from nuclear which today has fallen to 3%. Since the shutdown Japan has been forced to massively increase its imports of oil, natural gas and coal bringing in 9 million barrels/day and building 45 new coal plants. This dependency has not only subject it to the whims of the speculative markets, but also to the uncertain stability of the Middle East oil production.

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Don’t Whitewash the Hiroshima Bombing, by Peter Van Buren

Is wiping out some 140,000 civilians in a nation suing for peace moral? From Peter Van Buren at theamericanconservative.com:

It reveals a dangerous strain of vengeance in U.S. foreign policy.

Ruins of the Hiroshima Prefectural Industrial Promotion Hall on August 6, 1945.  Everett Historical / Shutterstock

August 6 usually doesn’t make headlines in America. But mark the day by what absence demonstrates: On the 72nd anniversary of the nuclear destruction of Hiroshima and some 140,000 non-combatants, there is no call for reflection in the United States.

In an era when pundits routinely worry about America’s loss of moral standing because of an offish, ill-mannered president, the only nation in history to employ a weapon of mass destruction on an epic scale, against an undefended civilian population, otherwise shrugs off the significance of an act of immorality.

But it is August 6, and so let us talk about Hiroshima.

Beyond the destruction lies the myth of the atomic bombings, the post-war creation of a mass memory of things that did not happen. This myth has become the underpinning of American war policy ever since, and carries forward the horrors of Hiroshima as generations of the August 6 anniversary pass.

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Yikes! Japan has more people over the age of 80 than under the age of 10, by Simon Black

There is no way Japan will be able to continue to fund the present level of old-age benefits. From Simon Black at sovereignman.com:

Earlier this week the United Nation’s Department of Economic and Social Affairs released its 2019 world population report… and there were a number of very interesting findings:

1) World population continues to grow slightly, but the rate of global population growth is at the lowest level since at least 1950.

 2) Global population growth rates are unevenly distributed. Developed nations (including the US, Japan, Western Europe) suffer from alarming declines in fertility rates, while developing countries are experiencing rapid population growth.

The 47 least developed countries in the world (mostly in Africa) are the fastest growing, and just NINE countries are expected to make up HALF of global population growth over the next three decades.

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Meanwhile, over on Planet Japan, by Simon Black

The Japanese government is in massive denial about its pension crisis. From Simon Black at sovereignman.com:

It was only a few days ago that the Japanese government’s Financial Services Agency published its oddly-titled “Annual Report on Ageing Society”.

(Like everything in Japan, English translations often hilariously miss the mark…)

This is a report that the Ministry of Finance puts out every year. And as the name implies, the report discusses the state of Japan’s pension fund, and its future prospects for taking care of its senior citizens.

Bear in mind that Japan has the oldest population in the world; Japan ranks #2 in the world for average age (46.9, just behind Monaco), #1 in the world for the greatest percentage of citizens over the age of 70, and #1 in the world for life expectancy.

In a nutshell, this means that Planet Japan has more people collecting pension benefits, for more years, than anywhere else.

Yet at the same time, Japan’s pension fund is completely insolvent. There simply aren’t enough people paying into the system to make good on the promises that have been made.

At present there are only 2 workers paying into the pension program for every 1 retiree receiving benefits in Japan.

The math simply doesn’t add up, and it’s only getting worse. Planet Japan’s birth rate is infamously low, and the population here is actually DECLINING.

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Japan on a Larger Scale, by James Rickard

Go deep enough into debt and you can’t climb out, as Japan has found out and as the US and Europe are finding out. From James Rickard at dailyreckoning.com:

In my 2014 book, The Death of Money, I wrote, “The United States is Japan on a larger scale.” That was five years ago.

Last week, prominent economist Mohamed A. El-Erian, formerly CEO of PIMCO and now with Allianz, wrote, “With the return of Europe’s economic doldrums and signs of a coming growth slowdown in the United States, advanced economies could be at risk of falling into the same kind of long-term rut that has captured Japan.”

Better late than never! Welcome to the club, Mohamed.

Japan started its “lost decade” in the 1990s. Now their lost decade has dragged into three lost decades. The U.S. began its first lost decade in 2009 and is now entering its second lost decade with no end in sight.

What I referred to in 2014 and what El-Erian refers to today is that central bank policy in both countries has been completely ineffective at restoring long-term trend growth or solving the steady accumulation of unsustainable debt.

In Japan this problem began in the 1990s, and in the U.S. the problem began in 2009, but it’s the same problem with no clear solution.

The irony is that in the early 2000s, former Fed Chair Ben Bernanke routinely criticized the Japanese for their inability to escape from recession, deflation and slow growth.

When the U.S. recession began during the global financial crisis of 2008, Bernanke promised that he would not make the same mistakes the Japanese made in the 1990s. Instead, he made every mistake the Japanese made, and the U.S. is stuck in the same place and will remain there until the Fed wakes up to its problems.

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The Japanification of the World, by Charles Hugh Smith

As it grows faster than the underlying economy, debt becomes quicksand from which the economy cannot extricate itself. From Charles Hugh Smith at oftwominds.com:

Zombification / Japanification is not success; it is only the last desperate defense of a failing, brittle status quo by doing more of what’s failed.

A recent theme in the financial media is the Japanification of Europe.Japanification refers to a set of economic and financial conditions that have come to characterize Japan’s economy over the past 28 years: persistent stagnation and deflation, a low-growth and low-inflation economy, very loose monetary policy, a central bank that is actively monetizing debt, i.e. creating currency out of thin air to buy government debt and a government which funds “bridges to nowhere” and other stimulus spending to keep the economy from crashing into outright contraction.

The parallels with Europe are obvious, but they don’t stop there: the entire world is veering into a zombified financial, economic, social and political status quo that is the core of Japanification.

While most commentators focus on the economic characteristics of Japanification, social and political stagnation are equally consequential. If we only measure economic/financial stagnation, it appears as if Japan and Europe are holding their own, i.e.maintaining the status quo via near-zero growth and near-zero interest rates.

But if we measure social and political decay, the erosion is undeniable. Here’s one example. Few Americans have access to or watch Japanese TV, so they are unaware of the emergence of the homeless as a permanent feature of urban Japan. The central state propaganda media is focused on encouraging tourism, a rare bright spot in Japan’s moribund economy, and so you won’t find much media coverage of homelessness or other systemic signs of social breakdown.

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