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tkoind2 comments

Posted in: Americans know that democracy is something that must constantly be fought for. Japan never had a revolutionary war. Democracy was given to us by MacArthur. See in context

I think this was true once. But now I think most Americans are ready to embrace an Orwellian state as long as it gives them the illusion of safety.

But they are equally ready to send an army out to fight if they truly believe the threat is real. Despite the idiocy of the Iraq war and the mismanaged Afghan conflict.

My parents and the generation before them understood that the state is a threat to liberty and security as much as any foreign power or threat. But modern Americans, the mass mainstream that is, have lost the script on this topic.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Posted in: Gov't likely to seek extra spending to cushion sales tax hikes See in context

Other than unfounded optimism in the markets here and there, where are the actual substantial changes in the economy as a result of Abe's programs. And by changes I mean positive ones.

From where I sit, the decline in the value of the yen has hurt the massive import side of the economy including energy imports. It has raised food and energy costs for most families. And with other prices also rising, is having direct negative impact on families.

Abe's call for increased wages has been answered with the collective industries giving him the finger. So worker wages are stagnated and in many cases dropping. Yet there is this expectation that they can pay more for imports and taxes.

So if they raise the taxes in 2014 as planned, guess who loses out. Working families.

Abe's plan is foolish, lacks substantial structural changes that could improve the economy, is based upon hot air and optimism and very little else. And the foolish public are buying into the hype for now. But they will be licking economic wounds very soon.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Posted in: U.S. scrambles to stop globe-trotting Snowden See in context

I hope he manages to escape into safety. Despite the wrongs this young man has carried out, he has done us all a favor. Whether you realize it or not.

We cannot allow the government to take away our liberties with impunity. It is a patriot's duty to challenge actions that violate the very principles of our constitution. The American people allowed GWB and the government following 911 to leverage their fear into greatly compromising both our liberty and our freedom. But we have only replaced the threat of terror with the threat of government repression of the people. I desire neither.

We should not grow complacent over the loss of privacy, of liberty, of due process and of freedom from a state that tortures people. If we do, then we deserve the oppression that would undoubtedly follow. Our nation was founded upon the principles of freedom and accountability of the government to the people. The principle that a government should fear its people and not that the people should fear its government.

We need to return to this. The only way we can make our government afraid of the people once again is to be united as a people to protect our own liberty. We should challenge the actions of the state. We should demand protection of our liberties. We should vote for people who share these values. And we should support people who risk everything to reveal violations as whistle blowers who are protecting our liberty.

10 ( +16 / -6 )

Posted in: Mandela in critical condition See in context

I have deep respect for Nelson Mandela. He is a symbol of self sacrifice, of tireless compassion for others, of devotion to the cause of liberty and wisdom to manage a transition of state as peacefully as humanly possible when it could easily have been far more bloody and violent.

When I was a student I worked for Anti-Apartheid movements in the US. Working to divest schools, colleges and companies from connections to South Africa. I met people who had struggled in South Africa, I learned about Nelson Mandela, Biko and others. And to this day admire the courage of those who fought so hard and long for ethnic equality.

I am sorry to hear he is gravely ill. It may be time that the world lets go of this wonderful human being. And time that we accept that he is ready to rest. But I am deeply saddened that he is sick and I wish him a well deserved peace.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Posted in: Study opens new cracks in scientific front on climate change See in context

Sounds like corporate funded BS to me. If the risk is there, why not take steps to avoid it?

It is like the guy who is told by his doctor. "Bob, if you keep drinking as much as you do you may die." "There is a chance that you may be ok and that I may be wrong about your body's ability to handle the high intake of alcohol."

So Bob decides to keep drinking at his current levels because of the chance that the doctor is wrong. But what if the doctor is right? In that case good old Bob quickly joins the choir invisible and dies.

I think we should take the risk as real and do all we can to avoid the potential outcome. That is the smart thing to do. Unless you are some corporation heavily invested in keeping the status quo.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Posted in: Swelling numbers of working immigrants would also help expand Japan’s tax rolls—which the country desperately needs to address its unsustainable debt load. Social security and healthcare spending woul See in context

The expats in Japan have been playing this same tune for years to very deaf ears. I think Japan will only do this if it means saving the country from absolute destruction. Until then, not likely.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: NHK may charge viewer fees for Internet, smartphone usage See in context

I am happy to pay for what I use. I don't now, nor have I ever watched NHK. Until there is a cop at my door saying jail or pay NHK, then NHK can get bent. It is a propaganda channel and the money is wasted.

According to some Japanese legal sites, there is no legal consequence for refusing to pay. NHK cannot search your home for devices. They cannot come in and check what you have.

If they come just dismiss them in Japanese. If that does not work. Speak English to them. If they send someone who speaks English switch to Russian. So far that seems to work pretty well. Again, no legal ding for not paying for something I don't use. As long as that is the case, they will not see a yen.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Posted in: Is Edward Snowden who blew the whistle on vast surveillance programs run by the National Security Agency that trawl through telephone and Internet records a hero or traitor? See in context

Probie, it is utter nonsense that this guy is helping terrorists. You have bought into the whole propaganda sell hook line and sinker. Next they will be selling you some bridge in NY for a $100.

Bottom line, someone needs to keep our constitutional rights in mind. Don't you care about your privacy? Does the government really need to monitor EVERYONE's phone logs? No obviously not.

Americans once knew how to see the difference between a government that served them and one that was endangering them. Throughout our history we have had people brave enough to challenge bad policies. And most often the flat headed masses first saw these people as "enemy". From civil rights movements, the Anti-Vietnam war movement, the Wobblies and Unions in the early 20th century, all the way back to the patriots who fought for their rights. The mainstream of their time saw them as wrong, as traitors and as enemies.

But those same people earned us real liberties. They broke away from a repressive colonial state. They unionized and created the very work benefits we all enjoy today. They achieved civil rights. They brought our troops home from a war we had no business being in. And they continue to protect us with their self sacrifice for what is right.

So Probie if that makes these people a traitor then I would never want any loyalty to such a state or a people who would define them so. I believe in liberty and not in fear. I put down my TV a long time ago and have been fighting in political circles for what is write since I can remember. I wish more people would wake up and think about the future instead of just the present too.

13 ( +16 / -3 )

Posted in: Job-cutting foreign banks risk missing Japan trading bonanza See in context

There is no indication that local equities will sustain their recent boom. There is no indication that Abenomics has anything more than a flash trend of optimism to deliver. There are no fundamental changes to indicate that Japan's economy will truly improve.

So if you are at the heart of these issues, and you can see that the current trends are not sustainable, why would you change your long term strategy?

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Posted in: I think ‘Tokyo wangan’ [Tokyo Bay area] is the best option. If possible, it’d be better if the plates were used by six wards, including Minato, Chuo, Ota and Shinagawa wards as well as Koto and Edogaw See in context

Rising poverty. Businesses closing at record levels. Rising cost of living while wages stagnate or decline. And so much more. And where are our politicians focused? License plates.......

How exactly do license plates bring back local shotengai shops and the jobs they once supported. Put affordable housing, food and energy forward? Or shelter people who need support?

These incompetent leaders are the type of guys who on the night before a big critical exam, are studying TV instead of working on the real important matters.

When will Japanese people stop electing these useless twits and start putting people in office who don't have time for this nonsense because they are busy solving real problems.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Posted in: Building America's secret surveillance state See in context

In "1984" Orwell defined a powerful and comprehensive Big Brother state. It was dark, grey, openly repressive and inspired hopelessness to those who recognized it for what it was, and blinded the masses through war and work.

But our real "Big Brother" state is far more sophisticated than anyone could have imagined. It inspires fear which enables it to pass legislation that the masses not only fail to resist, but welcome with open arms. These laws give sweeping power to the government to violate privacy and liberty in the name of providing security.

This sets a stage where other activities can be piled on with little resistance by the masses. We can start to spy on our own people, compromise due process, torture and render people to torture states, suppress freedom and keep lists of people we do not like or do not trust. All the while the people accept it saying "they are protecting me from danger."

Add to that TV, cheap food, sports and other distractions that make the average person more interested in who will win American Idol or what start is sleeping with what other star than they are in politics. And I know many of you have had people say to you, "I am not interested in politics." Then launch into an in depth conversation on the performance specs on some sports participant.

It it any wonder that our liberty is draining away and being replaced by a "Big Brother" state? We even attack those who reveal these facts as traitors.

If we are truly content being sheep. Then we deserve Orwell's vision of an absolutely controlling state. But if we love liberty and freedom, it is the duty of each and every one of us to question, challenge, reveal and protest these policies until we restore our privacy and our liberty.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Posted in: Abe's wife says she is anti-nuclear See in context

My old iphone would make a better PM than Abe, but at least his wife has the guts to disagree with Abe. His approach so far has been to create political fads that the sheep quickly latch onto like any other trend in Japan. But if you scratch the surface there is very little below. No long term vision, no structural changes, no real measures to take care of the people of the country.

Perhaps he does not practice what he believes, truly. But there is very little indication that he is practicing anything of any substance at all, other than leveraging the national wish for economic optimism to temporarily boost the economy and put the burden of that boost squarely on the backs of every working class soul here.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Posted in: Japan, U.S. begin joint island-retaking drill See in context

Pretty clear message to China I would think. So China are you listening? Do pay close attention because this is all for you mates.

12 ( +15 / -3 )

Posted in: Is Edward Snowden who blew the whistle on vast surveillance programs run by the National Security Agency that trawl through telephone and Internet records a hero or traitor? See in context

Police states can only truly exist with the compliance of the masses. Thank you Probie for proving my point here.

When we fail to raise our voices when a government violates our rights, our privacy and our trust, then we give approval to repression and we invite more. Throughout history brave individuals have protected our freedom by risking their own. It is time more of us lazy modern people put down our cheap food, forget about who is winning American Idol or some sports game, stop caring about what star is sleeping with what star, turn off the damned television and take an interest in our own lives. When privacy and freedom are compromised it hurts YOU. Yes you. The ones reading this post.

When we trade liberty for security, as Franklin so perfectly pointed out, we deserve neither. So Probie, if Snowden is a traitor, it is that he is a traitor to the ambitions of those who would make a police state of our nation. But he is a hero to the people who would stand for liberty over fear.

35 ( +41 / -6 )

Posted in: BOJ stands pat on policy; says economy picking up See in context

Weak yen does not make sense for recovering the economy. Why? Imports are more key to spending in Japan than exports. Likewise food, energy and other items are on part with or in some cases exceed exports. While support for the big exporters no longer makes sense as most are migrating jobs out of the country anyway.

Abenomics is a fad no different than any other fad in Japan, extremely popular and well selling today but out of fashion and failed tomorrow. There are no structural fundamental changes in this policy. The economy knows it and once the fad fades it is game over for this policy.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Posted in: Web 'blackout' in Singapore to protest new online rules See in context

Singapore is, has been and will continue to be a masked police state. It has a long history of silencing opposition and keeping its ruling class in power at the expense of any opposition.

Just because the corporates have found a cheap well educated labor source there, and thus moved so many people to work there, does not mean that the state itself is advanced. Singapore is repressive and has demonstrated a willingness to be so time and again.

I would not live there.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Posted in: What are some of the weirdest things or people's behavior you have seen in Japan? See in context

Opening puking in public. In 11 years in Seattle I saw that happen no more than 2-3 times and I was younger and going out on weekends much more often then. I see it in Japan nearly every Thursday-Saturday that I am out in the city, and by out I mean just commuting home around 8 or 9pm.

Wobble Head - That is her head moving or not moment that somehow Japan has encouraged women to do to be "kawaii". That slowly wobbling head that is a toned down version of the dashboard bobble head applied to real human beings.

Duck Lips - Another effort at cute that just looks silly.

Watering the Pavement - I know people think this makes for a cooler environment but in 30 degree heat and 98% humidity this does NOTHING. It is just wasting water for an empty psychological benefit. Please people the world is losing fresh water and you guys are watering sidewalks? Knock it off!

Working late for no apparent reason. I have often seen people working on the same page of an Excel sheet for 4-5 hours and going home at 11pm. Non productive time lost from their lives in order to appear busy and to be able to have their colleagues see them as Gambaro workers. Go home and have a life. The economy and your health depend on this.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Posted in: Stocks close down 3.83% See in context

Stock players are like a room full of cats. Toss something interesting into the room and they all descend upon it. Make a loud noise and they scatter. Try to organize them into something sensible and just use your imagination for how it would be to herd cats.

They are all driven by a singular objective - make a profit. They are short sighted looking at only specific periods of time. They do not consider the big picture beyond its ability to predict a chance at making a profit. And they benefit from both positive and negative economic incomes.

So long as these "Gamblers" are running the show, there will be no stability for the rest of us and no job security of hope for a stable future.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Posted in: Abe outlines reform strategy; pledges to raise incomes by 3% See in context

Abenomics is science fiction. It is a lot of ideas but no basis in tangible, deliverable elements that can be realized today. This promise is just another chapter in an already reality stretching saga that puts us all as charters in a bad fantasy film.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Posted in: Checklist of rules for renting an apartment in Japan See in context

It really depends on the place and the neighbors. I have been in places where even talking at a modest volume seems to be an issue. We could hear everything. And other places that were more solid where we could play instruments at night and not hear it next door, in the hall or outside. So depends on what kind of place you are living in.

The one absolute truth about renting in Japan is that it is hard to know if the place is ok until well after you are in it and already out of pocket on moving in. Visiting and checking the place rarely gives you real insight.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Posted in: Disaster relief funds used to count turtles, promote cheese, wine events See in context

The Japanese should be outraged by this. Let me tell you why.

What do you think will happen next time a disaster hits? Do you think that some donors will wonder whether their donations will actually get to the people who need it? Too much of what has been donated to Japan has not made it to helping anyone who actually needs the help.

Second.

Those of us who are both donating and paying higher taxes are pissed off! We gave in good faith hoping that money will be used to help people, but instead it is helping corrupt officials pay for idiotic programs that do not help.

Third.

Many of us donated not to the red cross or to the Japanese government. We paid our donations to smaller groups who document and provide evidence of everything they did in the north. I know that most of money we raised through charity events we held and through donations we solicited from friends around the world went to groups that took that money and went directly to the people in the north. We saw photos of what they did and we know that helped.

Most of these groups were formed the week after 3/11 and did more to directly help people than the J-governent or J-Red Cross. If amateur groups can substantially help people, why can't the government do more? And do it better?

Useless government here. Utterly useless.

6 ( +10 / -4 )

Posted in: Aging Japan complains over the noise of children See in context

Dear People of Japan.

Life is noisy. Yes, it is true despite how many of you believe that the world is silent and peaceful 24/7. The world is in fact noisy. Kids make noise, cars make noise, people make noise.

What I don't understand is why so many of you are freaked out by a little natural day to day life noise, but you do not seem to mind the blaring sounds of shop staff shouting at the tops of their lungs in high pitch voices, the endless announcement vehicles driving around the city, and endless noise from machines everywhere.

You need a more balanced view of sound. Accept normal sound. Reduce needless noise. Manage public noise, but accept that kids and families are not silent. And for the sake of everyone's sanity, talk and enjoy life even when on trains people. Enjoy being alive and stop stressing over nonsense expectations.

9 ( +13 / -4 )

Posted in: 14 electricity, gas companies to hike rates in July See in context

Abenomics - taking your money and giving it to others. Brought to you by the LDP. Lame Deplorable Party. Thank you Abe-san. Your new yen rate is making money for only a hand full of companies while costing the rest of us more money. No job increases, no long term plan for economic growth for working people. Just an idiotic notion that inflation will somehow appear thanks to consumer confidence.

If these fools would just talk to any normal working family they would quickly understand that the only economic confidence we have is that things are getting harder for us.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Posted in: Syria's Assad 'confident in victory' in civil war See in context

I think most dictators are confident, until they are found hiding in a hole with full facial hair and dirty clothing. Seems to be a strong correlation between this outcome and confidence.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Posted in: Singapore warns foreigners to obey its laws See in context

Singapore is a police state well hidden by a corporate state. If you ever see the real leaders of that country interviewed, they are clearly willing and able to crush any opposition to their positions.

I would never live there, have been offered work there several times, but prefer Japan. Anyway the place is hot as hell 12 months a year, and unless your ideal life is being bored in a tiny country, there is not a hell of a lot to do there.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Posted in: Hashimoto cancels trip to U.S. See in context

Upgrayedd, the problem is that too often women are trafficked into even legal prostitution. And there are considerable social issues to consider that would result in problems.

Keep in mind that no level of protection can guarantee that no disease is spread as a result of prostitution. As long as it is illegal it is quite limited. But if it becomes fully legal, it will be even more available and more socially acceptable over time. Thus increasing the risk of Joe average bringing home something terrible to Jane average and driving up social health costs over time.

Moral issues aside, the practical ones are a good argument against it.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Posted in: Two queens and a PM See in context

Oklahoma!!!! Amazing how that song pops up every time I hear that state name.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Posted in: Hashimoto cancels trip to U.S. See in context

Nice to see a conservative Japanese on the receiving end of a "Chotto Muzukashi". It is just too bad that officials from SF could not have done so in person, tooth sucking and all. That would have been priceless.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Posted in: Russia criticizes EU decision to arm Syrian rebels See in context

Putin hates this idea because Putin is himself the kind of leader who would shell his own neighborhoods if they strongly disagreed with his policies. He does not want a precedent that may come back to bite him when and if he needs to repress his own people.

This is also why China never supports this type of action.

I am happy the Europe will help bring down the Syrian regime. After what they have done to the people, they do not deserve to maintain power.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Posted in: Uniqlo not ready to join global pact to protect Bangladesh factory workers See in context

Lets face it, no matter how cool, hip or trendy, a corporation is in the end a corporation. Profit first, everything else second. Workers are repressed, abused, put at risk and overworked world wide so that corporate leads and investors can accumulate wealth. You and I make that possible by wanting cheap goods rather than goods that benefit workers too.

We are all to blame for this.

Change your habits. Buy fair trade items. Buy from companies that protect workers and communities across their entire production process.

If we do not do this, nothing will ever change. And is it really worth it to save a few yen on a product made by people who don't care about workers? Or would you sleep better at night knowing you are not contributing to this problem?

3 ( +5 / -2 )

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