taikan comments

Posted in: McCain warns Obama is big taxer See in context

Ronald Reagan coined the phrase "tax and spend Democrat" to make Democrats appear fiscally irresponsible while painting Republicans as fiscally responsible defenders of taxpayers. However, rather than being fiscally responsible he became the first big "borrow and spend Republican." In the process, he created a situation where the next Democratic administration was forced to raise taxes in order to start paying down the debts that Reagan's administration incurred, thereby reinforcing the image of Democrats as the party of "tax and spend" policies.

Bush has followed the exact same path. As a result, all Americans will have to pay more in taxes (whether in the form of income taxes, the social security tax, or some other form of taxation) in order to pay for the tremendous debts that the Bush administration has incurred in the name of the American people. This has enabled McCain to label Obama as another "tax and spend Democrat," when the reality is that whoever becomes the next President of the US will have to raise taxes, if for no other reason then simply to pay the interest on the debt that the current administration has racked up.

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Posted in: Republicans spend $150,000 on Palin's look See in context

No one reported on how much Hillary, Chelsea, and Bill spent on their wardrobes, accessories, and grooming.

How much do you think has been spent by McCain, Obama, and Biden for nice suits, watches, haircuts, etc. How about their wives and children?

The difference is that the Clintons, McCain, Obama and Biden have paid for their nice clothes, etc. with their own money, not with money donated for the purpose of assisting them in getting elected. It will be interesting to see what impact this has on middle-income supporters of the Republican ticket, especially those who donated to the campaign.

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Posted in: Ishihara rebukes countries over climate change stance See in context

He's the right-wing xenophobe governor of Tokyo. Enough said.

Being a right-wing xenophone (or, for that matter, a left-wing xenophile) doesn't mean that everything such a person says is incorrect.

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Posted in: Iran: Obama seems more rational than McCain See in context

"Al Qaeda supports Obama."

Wolfpack, you got this one completely wrong. The Washington Post and a number of other papers have reported that a key website used by Al Qaeda states that Al Qaeda supports McCain, not Obama.

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Posted in: Palin backs shipping Alaskan LNG to Japan See in context

The amount of Alaskan LNG shipped to Japan rather than the "lower 48" will be replaced in the US by LNG obtained from other sources such as Qatar, Nigeria and Algeria. If the US prevented the export of LNG from Alaska to Japan, then Japan would purchase an equivalent amount of LNG from the same sources that the US currently uses, such as Qatar, Nigeria and Algeria, using the same US dollars Japan currently is holding that it otherwise would use to purchase Alaskan LNG. Thus, the net effect, in terms of both LNG and dollars, is the same regardless of which country (the US or Japan) obtains the LNG being shipped from Alaska.

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Posted in: U.S. drops terror charges against 5 at Guantanamo See in context

If these men were serial killers or rapists who had committed their crimes in the United States, they would have been freed by now (regardless of guilt) because of the government's unconstitutional withholding of exculpatory evidence and failure to prosecute them in a timely fashion.

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Posted in: Obama extends his campaign into Republican states See in context

According to the article, McCain said that the next President of the United States "won’t have the luxury of studying up on the issues before he acts.” I, for one, am truly scared by the prospect of an American president who does not study up on the issues before acting.

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Posted in: Mid-sized insurer Yamato Life goes bust, affecting 1,000 employees See in context

In the short term, the key to whether other Japanese financial institutions are affected in a way similar to Yamato will be the nature of the debt instruments in which those institutions invested. If a significant portion of the debt instruments in which they invested are backed by American real estate or were issued by companies that are overleveraged, then those financial institutions will have problems. If not, then financial institutions in Japan will be able to withstand the initial round of financial company failures. In the long term, the health of Japanese financial institutions will depend on whether the Japanese companies to which they have extended credit are able to weather the current financial storm.

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Posted in: McCain steps up attacks on Obama over ties to Ayers See in context

The sad truth is that neither one of them is willing (or perhaps able) to tell the American people what he actually would do if elected. They both ducked all of the difficult questions during the most recent debate, and they continue to focus on matters that are peripheral to the issues one of them will have to face as President.

McCain's increased emphasis on supposed issues of "character" reflects the fact that the American public's concern of the moment is the economy, a topic on which McCain lacks credibility. If something happens to bring issues relating to national security back to the forefront, you can expect McCain to stop emphasizing irrelevant matters such as Obama's service on a charity's board of directors with Ayers and to start emphasizing his military experience. Unless, of course, what raises national security concerns seems to indicate that the surge hasn't worked, in which case McCain's goose really is cooked.

Even though economic issues favor Obama, he also has failed to be candid with the American populace about how their lives are going to be negatively impacted by the current situation, including the likely fallout from the economic crisis.

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Posted in: Race little altered by 2nd McCain, Obama debate See in context

Sushi -- Your distortion of McCain's record is just as bad as Sarge's distortion of what Obama said.

McCain may not have been a war hero when he was dropping bombs, but he became one when he defied his captors and refused to accept an early release when that would have meant leaving his fellow POWs behind. Also, while McCain did support the deregulation that has given rise to the current economic crisis, particularly the Gramm-Leach-Bliley bill that repealed the Glass-Steagall Act, it was a Democrat, Bill Clinton, who elected not to veto it and instead signed it into law.

Clearly, McCain and Obama have different views of the world and how to solve the world's problems, and that includes their differing views about how to deal with the current financial crisis. However, that is not a valid basis for impugning the character of either one of them.

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Posted in: Race little altered by 2nd McCain, Obama debate See in context

Sarge -- Even you should be able to see the difference between Obama saying that the US had no reason to invade Iraq and saying (as you did) that he was in favor of keeping Hussein in power.

The uncomfortable truth is that the politics of world power has little, if anything, to do with morality, and everything to do with what a particular country believes (correctly or incorrectly) is in its best interests at the time. Saddam always was a brutal dictator. However, in the 80s, because he fought a war with Iran, many in the US establishment thought it was in the US' best interests to support Saddam. Thus, during the presidencies of Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, the US actively helped Saddam Hussein stay in power. It also helped Saddam to obtain and use poison gas, both against the Iranians and against the Kurds in Iraq. It was only after Iraq invaded another US ally, Kuwait, that the US concluded that Saddam's actions were no longer in the US' interest, and therefore turned against him.

The point of Obama's statement is that Saddam Hussein posed no threat to the US or to US interests, and therefore it made no sense for the US to expend its resources to depose Saddam and at the same time give the Iranians an opportunity to expand their influence in the Middle East.

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Posted in: Aso elected LDP president See in context

If, as is widely expected, Aso calls for a lower-house election in the very near future, the Japanese people will have an opportunity to voice their opinion of the selection of Aso and the manner in which the LDP has been governing the country. Undoubtedly there will be many Japanese people who vote for DPJ candidates rather than LDP candidates, just as there were many Americans who voted for Gore or Kerry rather than Bush. However, if the LDP wins the election, that should serve as adequate evidence of the Japanese electorate's views.

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Posted in: U.S. officials say Al-Qaida 'imploding,' unpopular See in context

Anyone who thinks AQ is failing should remember what Osama Bin Laden said in a tape released in 2004. Speaking about how AQ's actions were affecting the American economy, he said: "We, alongside the mujahedeen, bled Russia for 10 years until it went bankrupt and was forced to withdraw in defeat. . . . We are continuing this policy in bleeding America to the point of bankruptcy."

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Posted in: For quality broadband, it's Japan by a mile See in context

helloklitty, I have two questions. First, what did former Prime Minister Mori do that entitles him to credit for the high quality of broadband service in Japan? Second, is Japan willing to send him to the US so he can work his magic again?

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Posted in: U.S. government bails out AIG with $85 billion loan See in context

The AIG shareholders also need to be punished by having their stock declared worthless. The only way to keep this from happening again is to let the greedy get their collective noses rubbed in it.

In theory, this would be a good idea. However, almost 74% of AIG's shares are owned by financial institutions and mutual funds. Many of their shares, in turn, are owned by pension plans. That's why the government decided it couldn't allow AIG to fail.

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Posted in: U.S. government bails out AIG with $85 billion loan See in context

Are you unaware that Democrats control both the House and Senate?

And are you aware that the Republicans controlled the House and Senate from 1994-2006, and on top of that also have been in control of the White House since January 2001? Not that it makes much of a difference, because both major political parties in the US, like the LDP and DPJ in Japan, are under the control of the large corporate entities the members of whose management are the major donors to political parties and campaigns.

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Posted in: Bush scraps comments on financial crisis See in context

Remarks defending a person who reached back a decade to attack Bill Clinton for the current Wall Street debacle.

Yabits -- Nippon5 didn't attack Bill Clinton. He merely said that the law was changed during the Clinton administration. That's correct. The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, which essentially repealed the Depression-era Glass-Steagall Act that had limited the types of businesses in which banks could be involved, was passed in 1999 by the 106th Congress. At the time, the Republicans had a 54-46 majority in the Senate, and a 223-211 majority in the House (with one independent).

The real problem is that the Depression-era generation pretty much died out, and those who came after them thought the Depression-era limits on speculative activity were too restricting. There's a lesson to be learned from this that can be applied to a wide variety of things, including not only the regulation of financial markets (in the US and in Japan), but also whether Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution should be repealed.

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Posted in: U.S. government takes over mortgage giants See in context

The irony of the government taking over FNMA is that originally it was a government agency. It worked extremely well after its initial creation as part of FDR's New Deal. However, in 1968 it was privatized. Nevertheless, it still continued to work quite well so long as it purchased mortgages that met certain qualification standards as a way of freeing up funds to enable lenders to make new mortgages. However, because of its private ownership, management decided to take more risks in order to obtain greater short-term profits. As a result, the managers got rich but the taxpayers are having to pay for the managers' incompetence as exemplified by their excessive risk-taking.

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Posted in: Iraq says it is close to deal on U.S. troop withdrawal See in context

The recent report from the GAO concluding that Iraq is likely to end the year with a $79 billion budget surplus (the report can be found at http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d04902r.pdf) is likely to add to the pressure on the Bush administration to reduce the US presence in Iraq, because it shows that Iraq has more than enough resources to finance its own military, police and reconstruction.

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Posted in: Longest-serving GOP Sen Ted Stevens indicted See in context

failure to report income is tax invasion

Betzee, I suggest you read the indictment. The only charges are for violations of Title 18, section 1001 of the US Code. That section prohibits the making of a materially false statement in connection with a matter under the jurisdiction of the government. A charge for income tax evasion would be based on a violation of Title 26, sections 7201, 7202 or 7203 (depending on the specific facts of the violation).

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Posted in: Longest-serving GOP Sen Ted Stevens indicted See in context

The indictment of Stevens is just the latest in a string of indictments (and guilty pleas) arising from an investigation into contributions and gifts of various types made by VECO and its executives to a number of Alaska state and federal office holders. Do not be surprised if Congressman Young (R - Alaska) is indicted in the future.

What is perhaps most interesting about the indictment of Stevens is that it does not include any bribery or tax evasion charges. Because those charges potentially could result in a longer prison term, the failure of the indictment to include them could mean that the government lacks sufficient evidence to bring those charges, or it could mean that the government is holding them over Stevens' head as a means of persuading him to quickly plead guilty to the "false statement" charges.

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Posted in: It’s time for emperor to rev up his own sound truck See in context

The Constitution that the US required Japan to adopt during the post-WWII occupation includes a provision similar to the First Amendment to the US Constitution that guarantees freedom of speech. Because of the way that provision is worded, it has been interpreted by the Japanese courts as protecting the rights of groupts (regardless of political orientation) to engage in demonstrations, including the use of sound trucks.

The US Supreme Court developed a rule allowing "reasonable time, place and manner" restraints on speech, even though such restraints are inconsistent with the literal wording of the First Amendment to the US Constitution (which states that "Congress shall make no law ... abridging the freedom of speech"). As a result, there are many laws in the US restricting when, where and in what manner people can exercise their "free speech" rights. Japan's Supreme Court tends to be more literal, and thus has not developed a rule allowing government to pass laws that restrict speech in the same ways that speech is limited in the US.

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Posted in: How effective do you think the lay jury system will be when it starts in Japan next year? See in context

USAR -- Political views are not taken into account in the selection of judges in Japan. After passing the bar exam, all future judges, prosecutors and attorneys in Japan go through the same training, which includes working in judicial chambers. At the end of that process, those who performed well and who expressed an interest in becoming judges are invited to become what are essentially judge trainees. After 5 years they are able to make some minor decisions on their own, and if they perform well then after 10 years they become full fledged judges.

GJP2006 -- Knowing how to put on a case for a jury is not the same as being trained as a critical thinker. For the most part, putting on a case for a jury focuses on identifying the "emotional triggers" that will cause jurors to vote a particular way. In any event, training has been made available both to prosecutors and private attorneys in Japan regarding how to deal with lay jurors and the new trial procedures required to implement the saiban-in system.

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Posted in: Chavez seeks alliance with Russia for protection from U.S. See in context

Regardless of what one thinks of Chavez, Venezuela's deals with Russia make sense from his perspective. Although Venezuela is one of the five founding members of OPEC, it's oil production is less than one-third that of Russia, so strengthening its ties with Russia and Russia's largest oil companies may have significant long term benefits for Venezuela. As for the deal to purchase weapons, the US stopped selling weapons to Venezuela and Chavez needs them to protect his government from its enemies, real and imagined, including the people of Venezuela.

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Posted in: How effective do you think the lay jury system will be when it starts in Japan next year? See in context

High conviction rates are the norm in any legal system for a variety of reasons. Often it is because the "finders of fact," whether they are lay jurors (as in the United States) or professional judges, do not truly believe in the presumption of innocence, but instead come to the courtroom with an underlying belief that a defendant would not be prosecuted if he/she is not guilty. This varies greatly depending on location. For example, in the US jurors in large cities tend to be much more skeptical of law enforcement than jurors in suburban or rural areas. Other times, it is because prosecutors fear the stigma attached to losing a case, and therefore only bring cases in which the likelihood of conviction is very high. [Note: Saying that the likelihood of conviction is very high is not the same as saying that the defendant actually committed the crime which he/she is accused of having committed.]

As for the supposed tendency of Japanese to defer to a "sempai," that is not the case within the legal system. Many types of cases currently are decided by three-judge panels, and the discussions and arguments among the three judges, particularly in civil cases, often are intense. In part, this is because (unlike in the US) in Japan there is no tradition of issuing dissenting opinions, so all the judges on the panel ultimately must reach a consensus before a decision is issued. Whether lay jurors will feel comfortable arguing with judges, however, is another matter, and likely will vary greatly depending on the personalities of the lay jurors sitting on any particular panel.

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Posted in: Fuji Heavy, Mitsubishi Fuso, Honda recalling vehicles See in context

Westurn -- This situation is little, if any, different from that in the United States. It took a massive court judgment to get Ford to issue a "fix" for a design defect in the Pinto that caused it to explode when hit from the rear, even though the design problem and its $8 solution had been identified before the vehicle was released for public sale. Automakers everywhere are the same. They want to make the maximum profit, and that sometimes leads to design and/or manufacturing decisions that, in retrospect, turn out to have been ill-advised.

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Posted in: NATO forces kills 4 Afghan civilians See in context

Sarge -- From your perspective (and mine), there is no doubt that being a militant "sucks."

However, if a military force comprised of Muslims had attacked the United States and toppled its "hard-line Christian" government, wouldn't you be willing to join the resistance forces, even against a stronger military power? From their perspective, that's what they are doing, with the added "attraction" that they fervently believe that if they die in the process, they will go to paradise. Personally, I think they are crazy, but from their perspective their actions are logical and honorable. That's why it's so difficult to defeat them, as the former Soviet Union found out.

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Posted in: Bush claims privilege to withhold CIA leak records See in context

What's missing from this string is an understanding of executive privilege, which like most privileges was created by court decisions. As reflected in those court decisions, the purpose of executive privilege is to protect the confidentiality of advice given to executive decision makers in the government so that those charged with providing such advice will give their full and candid views without fear such views may later be disclosed. However, as with all testimonial privileges, it can be deemed waived if it is not consistently asserted. By revealing to Fitzpatrick information that otherwise might have been covered by the privilege, without being compelled to do so pursuant to a grand jury subpoena, to the extent the information might have been protected by executive privilege from disclosure in a civil case, the President waived any such privilege.

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Posted in: Obama ridicules McCain economic adviser for calling Americans 'whiners' in 'mental recession' See in context

It's difficult to argue that Gramm's comment about the US being a "nation of whiners" is incorrect. Also, in the context of the consumer driven economy that Bush has encouraged, Gramm's comment about problems in the US economy being caused in part by a "mental recession" is correct.

However, as reflected by the stock market and the commodities market, the negative thoughts about the economy held by the common people are shared by most economists, commodities traders and investment bankers, as well. In addition, the fact that people have negative thoughts about the economy does not detract from the fact that the US also is suffering from some very real, and very serious, economic problems that are not merely the result of a "mental recession," but instead are the result of stupid decisions by the current administration.

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Posted in: Bush lifts ban on offshore oil exploration to cope with soaring gas prices See in context

Sarge -- If oil is going to be the main source of power for the next few decades, wouldn't it be in the long term interests of the US to encourage other countries to drill and sell as much of their oil as possible while the US conserves as much of its oil as possible? That way, when the rest of the world starts to run out of economically available oil, the US still would retain sizable reserves.

In other words, isn't it better for the "thirsty man" to drink someone else's water when he can, so that he still will have his own water to drink when others run out?

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