Archive for the Australia Category

CNN joins spy plane ride as US prepares new military provocations in South China Sea [World Socialist Website]

Posted in Anti-China media bias, Anti-China propaganda exposure, Anti-communism, Australia, Black propaganda, Capitalist media double standard, China, China-bashing, Corporate Media Critique, Economic crisis & decline, Encirclement of China, False flag, Media smear campaign, Obama, Pentagon, Philippines, Psychological warfare, South China Sea, State Department, US imperialism, USA, USA 21st Century Cold War, Vietnam on May 24, 2015 by Zuo Shou / 左手

By Peter Symonds
23 May 2015

Just days after a CNN news crew joined a P8-A Poseidon surveillance aircraft over a Chinese-administered islet in the South China Sea, it is clear the flight was a calculated provocation aimed at ramping up pressure on China. American officials immediately exploited the reportage to underline Washington’s determination to challenge Chinese territorial claims in these key strategic waters, regardless of the consequences…

Article’s original title: “US prepares new military provocations in South China Sea”

Article link: http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2015/05/23/scse-m23.html

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“Is the US planning a “Gulf of Tonkin” incident in the South China Sea?” [World Socialist Website] – http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2015/05/18/pers-m18.html

“US faces another debacle on Pacific economic treaty” – TPP, fake free trade pact, in trouble [World Socialist Website]

Posted in Anti-China propaganda exposure, Australia, Canada, Capitalism crisis early 21st century, Chile, China, China-bashing, Economic crisis & decline, Economy, Encirclement of China, EU, European Union, Germany, Japan, Malaysia, Media cover-up, Mexico, New Zealand, Obama, Peru, Protectionist Trade War with China, Singapore, south Korea, U.K., US imperialism, USA, USA 21st Century Cold War, Vietnam on April 5, 2015 by Zuo Shou / 左手

By Mike Head
4 April 2015

Having suffered a decisive defeat in its efforts to block other countries from joining the new China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), the US government faces mounting difficulties with regard to its most far-reaching move to dominate the Asia-Pacific region: the so-called Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

In Hawaii last month, the latest round of five-year-long TPP talks between the 12 governments involved broke up without any further agreement. For the third year in a row, the White House’s deadline for a final deal looks set to be breached in 2015.

Significantly, the main stumbling block this time was reportedly not ongoing differences between the US and Japan over auto and agricultural markets, but doubts over President Barack Obama’s capacity to get congressional approval for the pact.

Falsely presented as a “free trade” deal, the TPP is the opposite. It is aimed at creating a vast US-controlled economic bloc. In return for favoured access to the US market, which is still the largest in the world, the TPP requires its members to scrap all legal, regulatory and government impediments to American investment and corporate operations.

The TPP is an essential component of Washington’s military and strategic “pivot” to Asia, aimed at establishing unchallenged hegemony over the region, including China, which has thus far been excluded from the treaty. The “partnership” seeks to restructure every aspect of economic and social life across the Asia-Pacific in the interests of Wall Street finance capital and the largest US corporations, particularly the IT, pharmaceutical and media conglomerates.

A similar drive is underway to incorporate the European Union into a Transatlantic Trade and I nvestment Partnership (TTIP) bloc. Like the TPP, the European treaty is being negotiated behind the backs of the international working class amid tight secrecy, with hundreds of the world’s largest corporations taking part.

Obama has resorted to blatant anti-Chinese rhetoric in a bid to overcome opposition to aspects of the TPP from sections of the Democratic and Republican congressional leaderships. In one recent interview, the US president declared: “If we don’t write the rules out there, China’s going to write the rules and the geopolitical implications of China writing the rules for trade almost inevitably means that we will be cut out or we will be deeply disadvantaged. Our businesses will be disadvantaged, our workers will be disadvantaged.”

Washington is concerned that other imperialist powers, such as Germany, Britain and Japan, could strengthen their positions in China at the expense of the US unless America “writes the rules” for world trade in the 21st century.

Global financial commentators are drawing attention to what is at stake. Under the headline, “Round two in America’s battle for Asian influence,” David Pilling wrote in the London-based Financial Times on April 1: “Washington’s attempt to lead a boycott of the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank ended in farce after Britain broke ranks and other nations from Germany to South Korea fell over themselves to join. If round one was a defeat for America, round two hangs in the balance.”

Pilling noted that the TPP’s exclusion of China, on the grounds that its economy was state-owned and centrally planned, was obviously concocted. “In a peculiar display of diplomatic contortion,” he wrote, “Vietnam — a country whose economy is as centrally planned and as rigged [sic] as the best of them — is somehow considered fit for entry.”

The Financial Times Asia editor pointedly added that the TPP was “just as likely to annoy America’s allies in the region as reassure them” because of its intrusive demands, which include the dismantling of state-owned enterprises, tendering restrictions, financial regulations, data protection rules and intellectual property laws.

Washington’s aggressive drive to establish the TPP and TTIP economic blocs marks a reversal of its post-World War II role, when the ascendancy of American industry permitted it to champion the reconstruction of its Japanese and European rivals, albeit always for its own benefit, including via the expansion of markets for its exports.

Today, amid the ongoing decline of US industry, its ruling elite depends increasingly on the parasitic activities of Wall Street, the exploitation of patents by Silicon Valley, Hollywood and the drug companies, and contracts for the supply of military hardware. These rapacious interests will most directly benefit from the TPP.

Many details remain secret, but pro-TPP lobbying efforts highlight the anticipated profit bonanzas. Mireya Solis of the Brookings Institution think tank stressed advantages such as “internationalisation of financial services, protection of intellectual property and governance of the Internet economy.”

US technology firms would benefit from a ban on requiring companies to house customers’ data within a specific country. “If we’re going to serve the customer of Malaysia from, say, a data center in Singapore, the data has to be able to move back and forth between those two countries,” Brad Smith, Microsoft general counsel, told the Wall Street Journal.

Central to the treaty are punitive Investor-State Dispute Settlements (ISDS) clauses, which permit transnationals to sue governments for losses allegedly caused by official policy decisions. WikiLeaks last month published a chapter of the TPP treaty showing that firms could bypass a country’s courts to obtain damages for changes in “environmental, health or other regulatory objectives.”

Apart from the US and Japan — the two biggest partners by far — the other TPP participants are Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.

The willingness of many of these countries to make the required concessions to the US has been undermined by Obama’s failure to secure support for a Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) bill so that he can sign the TPP and then have it ratified by Congress with a single “yes” or “no” vote. Without TPA, Congress could force amendments to the negotiated pact, effectively rendering the agreement void.

According to a Japan Times report: “Several negotiating partners, including Canada and Japan, have publicly stated they will not put their final negotiating positions on the table until Congress grants TPA for the Obama administration. With a presidential election looming in the United States, further delay creates a real risk of TPP being delayed until 2017.”

Much of the US congressional resistance is bound up with protectionist lobbies, based on national-based industries and their trade unions. In response, the Obama administration is ramping up a campaign that explicitly spells out the expected benefits to corporate America.

On March 30, the White House published letters from former senior economic officials, including 10 ex-commerce secretaries representing every administration, Democratic and Republican, since 1973, urging congressional leaders to give Obama TPA authority.

The commerce secretaries stated: “Once completed, the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) will give the United States free trade arrangements with 65 percent of global GDP and give our businesses preferential access to a large base of new potential customers.”

This demand for “preferential access” by US imperialism threatens to break up the world economy into the kind of rival blocs that preceded World War I and World War II.

Edited by Zuo Shou

Article link: http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2015/04/04/tppo-a04.html

“A decisive turning point in the crisis of American imperialism” – AIIP is here [World Socialist Website]

Posted in Assassination, Australia, Beijing, Capitalism crisis early 21st century, China, Denmark, Early 21st Century global capitalist financial crisis' US origins, Economic crisis & decline, Engels, France, Germany, IMF - International Monetary Fund, India, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, Obama, Pentagon, Police State, south Korea, Taiwan, Torture, Trotsky, US imperialism, USA, USA 21st Century Cold War on April 2, 2015 by Zuo Shou / 左手

1 April 2015

Yesterday was the deadline for countries to sign up as founding members of the China-backed Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). It will go down in history as marking a significant defeat for the global foreign policy and strategic objectives of United States imperialism.

Against strenuous opposition from Washington, more than 40 countries have now indicated they want to be part of the AIIB. Major European powers including Britain, France and Germany, as well as Norway, Denmark and the Netherlands, are on board. Almost all countries in the South East Asian region, which count China as their major trading partner, have also signed up. India is also a signatory, together with Taiwan.

The most significant blow against the US was struck by Britain, its chief European ally, which announced its decision to join on March 12. It opened the floodgates for others to follow, including two key US allies in the Asia-Pacific -— Australia and South Korea. Japan is also reported to be considering joining, possibly as early as June.

The full significance of the US defeat and its far-reaching implications emerge most clearly when viewed from a historical perspective.

One of the chief objections of the Obama administration to the new bank was that it would undermine the International Monetary Fund and World Bank. Together with the Bretton Woods Agreement of 1944, they constituted central pillars of the global economic order established after World War II by the United States, which played the central role in rebuilding world capitalism following the devastation of the 1920s and 1930s and the wars and revolutionary struggles it produced.

Of course, both of these institutions, together with the Marshall Plan for the restabilisation of war-torn Europe, operated to the economic and strategic benefit of American imperialism.

But while America drew enormous gains from the post-war order, it was not narrowly conceived. There was a recognition in ruling political and economic circles that if American capitalism was to survive, it would have to use the enormous resources at its disposal to ensure the growth and expansion of other capitalist powers, above all, those against which it had fought a bitter and bloody conflict.

Post-war reconstruction enabled the expansion of Germany and turned it once again into the industrial powerhouse of Europe. At the same time, concessions to Japan on the value of its currency -— it was pegged at 360 yen to the dollar -— opened up export markets for its industry. The decision to build trucks and other military equipment in Japan during the Korean War laid the foundations for the development of Japan’s auto industry, as it incorporated, and then developed, the advanced production techniques that had been established in the US.

The industrial and economic capacity of the United States, even when it took reactionary forms as in the case of the Korean War, was utilised to facilitate a new phase of global capitalist expansion—the post-war boom.

What a contrast to the present situation! American capitalism is no longer the industrial powerhouse of the world, ensuring the expansion of the capitalist economy as a whole. Rather, it functions as the global parasite-in-chief, as its rapacious banks, investment houses and hedge funds scour the world for profitable opportunities, engaged not in the production of new wealth, but in the appropriation of wealth produced elsewhere, often via criminal or semi-criminal operations.

In the immediate post-war period, the US was the champion of free trade, recognising that the restrictions and beggar-thy-neighbour policies of the 1930s had produced a disaster. Today, through measures such as the Trans Pacific Partnership and similar arrangements being prepared with regard to Europe, Washington seeks to forge exclusivist agreements aimed at protecting the monopoly position of US corporations. America, Obama has stated, must write the global rules for trade and investment in the 21st century.

American influence in the post-war period was not confined to the immediate economic sphere. Notwithstanding all its contradictory features, American society appeared to have something to offer the world as a whole, which had suffered decades of war, fascism and military forms of rule, along with economic devastation.

Again, the contrast with the present situation could not be starker. American democracy, once held up as a beacon for the rest of the world, is a withered caricature of its former self, no longer capable of concealing the dictatorship of the financial and corporate elites.

Social conditions are characterised by deprivation and state violence, reflected not least in the daily police killings. America has the highest rate of incarceration in the world, and in Detroit, once the centre of the American industrial economy, paying the highest wages, water shutoffs are being imposed. The US government carries out torture, abductions, assassinations and mass spying on its own people and others around the world. The country is ruled by criminals who cannot be held accountable for their crimes.

In the wake of the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991 and the removal from the scene of its global rival, the American ruling class was gripped by the idea that while its economic position had been severely weakened -— the stock market crash of 1987 was a harbinger of things to come -— American hegemony could nevertheless be maintained by military means.

But as Frederick Engels had earlier explained in refuting another exponent of “force theory,” the notion that economic developments—the advance of industry, credit and trade—and the contradictions to which they gave rise could be “blown out of existence” with “Krupp guns and Mauser rifles” was a delusion.

The past 25 years of American foreign policy, based on the use of cruise missiles and drones, combined with invasions and regime-change operations grounded on lies, have produced one debacle after another.

Now the chickens are coming home to roost, as other capitalist powers, great and small, begin to conclude that hitching themselves to the American juggernaut is the surest road to disaster. That is the historic significance of their decision to join the AIIB.

How will American imperialism respond? By increasing its military provocations, threatening to plunge the world once again into war.

Charting the rise of American imperialism in the late 1920s, Leon Trotsky noted that in the period of crisis, its hegemony would operate “more openly and more ruthlessly than in the period of boom,” and that it would attempt to extricate itself from its difficulties and maladies at the expense of its rivals, if necessary by means of war.

However there is another, and, in the final analysis, decisive, aspect to the economic decline of American imperialism, marked so powerfully by the events of yesterday.

For decades, the American working class was disoriented by the idea of a continually rising power -— that America’s “best days” were always ahead. Reality is now coming home with ever-increasing force.

Events are shattering the delusions of the past and will propel the American working class on to the road of revolutionary struggle, creating the conditions for the unification of the international working class in the fight for world socialist revolution.

Nick Beams

Article link: http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2015/04/01/pers-a01.html

Obama’s cheap shot at China misguided [China Daily]

Posted in Anti-China propaganda exposure, Anti-communism, Australia, Black propaganda, China, China-bashing, China-US relations, Encirclement of China, Japan, Obama, Pentagon, Philippines, Psychological warfare, South China Sea, south Korea, US imperialism, USA, USA 21st Century Cold War on March 31, 2015 by Zuo Shou / 左手

by Stephen Harner

2015-1-29

Using the State of the Union address to deliver a “cheap shot”…is what President Barack Obama did on Jan 20, when he declared “…as we speak, China wants to write the rules for the world’s fastest growing region”.

And what he said next was just as provocative: “That would put our workers and businesses at a disadvantage. Why should we let that happen? We should write the rules…” Obama was clearly referring here to the US-crafted Trans-Pacific Partnership, seeking a way to spur the Congress to grant him the “fast track” authority needed to bring talks to conclusion.

That he would allege a competitive threat or rivalry with China, which is not participating in the TPP talks and was never invited to do so, to trigger congressional action evidences once again how the Obama administration has cynically made the myth of a “China threat” a central feature of its “pivot to Asia” political and economic strategy.

When first introduced, this was Pentagon-driven military and security-oriented. Its goal was to maintain US military and political hegemony in the region by reorienting toward China and augmenting through new weapons, protocols, and battle plans, Cold War alliances with Japan, [s]outh Korea, the Philippines, and Australia.

Since then the “pivot” has been embellished and informed by a distinctly neoliberal “universal values” agenda that conflates US political and economic ideology with commercial interests and by preventing any substantive change to the “rules” established in the post-World War II “American century”.

For Obama the only rules that can or should be followed – particularly, in Asia – are those recognized by the United States: “In the Asia-Pacific, we are modernizing alliances while making sure that other nations play by the rules – in how they trade, how they resolve maritime disputes, how they participate in meeting common international challenges….”

Many US readers will find nothing remarkable or untoward in such a statement. They fail to understand how people in Asia read and respond to the same words…

Excerpted / edited by Zuo Shou

Full article link: http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/opinion/2015-01/29/content_19434305.htm

Spotlight: Snowden files unveil U.S. attempt to control Internet [Xinhua]

Posted in Australia, Canada, Germany, Internet Global Hegemony, Iran, National Security Agency / NSA, New Zealand, U.K., US imperialism, USA on January 27, 2015 by Zuo Shou / 左手

BEIJING, Jan. 19 (Xinhua) — The world-shocking global surveillance by the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) is just the beginning of the spook organization’s sprawling efforts to control the Internet, show new revelations attributed to NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.

The NSA is “planning for wars of the future in which the Internet will play a critical role” and seeking the ability to destroy enemy infrastructure remotely, German magazine Der Spiegel revealed in a recent report, citing “top-secret documents” from Snowden’s archive it has seen exclusively.

POLITERAIN, NOT SO POLITE

The Spiegel disclosure highlighted an NSA project code-named “Politerain,” which is operated by digital snipers with Tailored Access Operations, the department responsible for breaking into computers.

In its job posting, the program says it is “looking for interns who want to break things.”

On the basis of hacking into third-party computers, interns are also told to formulate plans to “remotely degrade or destroy opponent computers, routers, servers and network-enabled devices by attacking the hardware.”

Politerain spies, according to the leaked documents, have various programs for specific purposes. For example, Passionatepolka can be used to “remotely brick network cards,” Berserkr to implant “persistent backdoors” and “parasitic drivers,” and Barnfire to “erase the BIOS on a brand of servers that act as a backbone to many rival governments.”

Ultimately, the goal of the internship program was “developing an attacker’s mindset,” noted the German magazine.

SPYING IS JUST “PHASE 0”

Internal NSA documents, Der Spiegel said, indicate that surveillance of the Internet is merely “Phase 0” in the U.S. digital war strategy.

The aim of the surveillance is to detect vulnerabilities in enemy systems, which is “the prerequisite for everything that follows,” the German magazine added, citing the files.

Once “stealthy implants” have been placed to infiltrate enemy systems, thus allowing “permanent accesses,” then Phase 3 has been achieved — a phase headed by the word “dominate” in the documents.

At that stage, according to the report, NSA spooks can control and destroy “at will through pre-positioned accesses” critical systems and networks, which include anything important in keeping a society running: energy, communications and transportation.

“The internal documents state that the ultimate goal is ‘real-time controlled escalation,'” said the Spiegel report.

D WEAPONS

Atomic, biological and chemical weapons are widely referred to as the ABC weapons. Now the list has been extended to D — digital weapons.

“The next major conflict will start in cyberspace,” Der Spiegel quoted one NSA presentation as saying. To that end, the U.S. government is currently undertaking a massive effort to digitally arm itself for network warfare.

“For the 2013 secret intelligence budget, the NSA projected it would need around 1 billion dollars in order to increase the strength of its computer network attack operations. The budget included an increase of some 32 million dollars for ‘unconventional solutions’ alone,” revealed the report.

The NSA aims “to use the Net to paralyze computer networks and, by doing so, potentially all the infrastructure they control, including power and water supplies, factories, airports or the flow of money,” according to the Spiegel disclosure.

Among the D weapons is malware, and several programs of that sort have emerged in recent years that a number of indicators show are attributable to the NSA and its Five Eyes alliance, which also includes Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

The Spiegel report referred to Stuxnet, which was used to attack the Iranian nuclear program, and Regin, “a powerful spyware trojan that created a furor in Germany after it infected the USB stick of a high-ranking staffer to Chancellor Angela Merkel.” The latter was also used in attacks against the European Commission.

PLAUSIBLE DENIABILITY

In what is called a guerilla war over data, the Snowden files show, little differentiation is made between soldiers and civilians, and any Internet user could suffer damage to his or her data or computer.

The potential damage D weapons can inflict goes well beyond the online world. For example, if U.S. spies use Barnfire to destroy or “brick” the control center of a hospital, “people who do not even own a mobile phone could be affected,” Der Spiegel noted.

While launching cyber-attacks, intelligence agencies like the NSA have adopted “plausible deniability” as their guiding principle, seeking to make it impossible to trace the sources of the attackers, the German magazine added.

“It’s a stunning approach with which the digital spies deliberately undermine the very foundations of the rule of law around the globe,” commented the magazine.

“This approach threatens to transform the Internet into a lawless zone in which superpowers and their secret services operate according to their own whims with very few ways to hold them accountable for their actions,” it added.

Article link: http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/indepth/2015-01/19/c_133929625.htm

“Japan Hits the Skids” – Retail Sales Apocalypse leaves Abenomics in Tatters [Counterpunch]

Posted in Australia, Canada, Capitalism crisis early 21st century, Corporate Media Critique, EU, European Union, Japan, USA on June 13, 2014 by Zuo Shou / 左手

by MIKE WHITNEY

June 1, 2014

Plunging retail sales and rising inflation have rocked Japan’s anemic economy and cast doubt on the future of Abenomics. While the US Commerce Department announced that first-quarter growth in the United States had slipped into negative territory for the first time since 2011 (-0.1 percent), the news from Tokyo was even grimmer. Following a tax hike that began on April 1, retail sales have collapsed sabotaging far-right prime minister Shinzo Abe’s hope for a strong recovery and steering the economy towards another slump. According to Bloomberg News:

“Japan’s retail sales dropped at the fastest pace in at least 14 years… Sales in April declined 13.7% from the previous month, the trade ministry reported today… The drop-off follows a consumer splurge ahead of the April 1 tax increase, and highlights the task Prime Minister Shinzo Abe faces in steering the nation through a forecast contraction this quarter… The economy is forecast to shrink an annualized 3.4% this quarter.” (Bloomberg)

Economists around the world had cautioned Abe not to raise the consumption tax while the economy was still weak and wages were trending lower. But the urge to shrug more of the costs of government onto working people was too hard to resist. Abe pushed the tax hike through parliament, paving the way for yesterday’s retail meltdown. Check this out from Zero Hedge:

“Following last night’s record plunge in Japanese retail sales… Household Spending cratered 4.6% YoY – its biggest drop since the Tsunami… Industrial Production tumbled 2.5% MoM – also the biggest drop since the Tsunami (topped off by a) surge in Japanese CPI.” (Zero Hedge)

So while retail sales are dropping like a stone and wages continue to stagnate, inflation has suddenly burst onto the scene pushing up food and energy costs and increasing the hardship on Japan’s dwindling workforce. (inflation in April soared 3.4 percent on all items from a year earlier, while goods prices are up 5.2 percent) With debts and deficits piling up at an unprecedented pace and the economy slowing to a crawl, Abenomics is looking like an unmitigated catastrophe.

Abe’s retail bloodbath is the result of a class-based economic policy that attempts to shift more of the nation’s wealth to fatcat stock speculators, corporations and establishment elites while the working people shoulder more of the costs of funding the government. Behind the public relations hype about “fighting deflation”, Abenomics so-called “structural reforms” are nothing more than a full-on attack on the meager incomes of Japan’s working people, 37 percent of whom are limited to part-time work with no benefits, retirement, health care or security. For these people–who number in the millions–life has only gotten harder under Abe.

At the same time, corporate bosses and the IMF are encouraging Abe to implement unpopular economic reforms quickly before the economy slides back into recession. The anti-worker “third arrow” of Abenomics will further undermine job security and working conditions while cutting corporate taxes. According to the Japan Times, “The Cabinet is likely to approve this year’s growth strategy on June 27″ which will involve “corporate tax cuts…reforming public funding, utilizing foreign labor, promoting entrepreneurship and more women in the workforce, and revitalizing local economies.” In other words, tax breaks for big business, slashing public spending, more cheap foreign labor, tax incentives for startups, and “special strategic zones” where worker safety and other regulations are jettisoned so corporate kingpins can rake in more dough. Abe’s third arrow is a wish list for voracious CEOs and carpetbagging business tycoons whose only objective is to extract more wealth from the sweat of working people.

Abenomics has been particularly destructive for those living beneath the poverty line, Japan’s down-and-outs. Besides raising the national sales tax, Abe has cut welfare benefits to shore up the governments flagging finances. The policy has triggered a sharp uptick in the number of working poor. According to the Japan Times, “the number of part-time, temporary and other non-regular workers who typically make less than half the average pay has jumped 70 percent from 1997 to 19.7 million today — 38 percent of the labor force.” This is the crux of the problem that you will not read about in the business-friendly, pro-corporate dissembling media, that is, that Japan’s economy suffers from chronic lack of demand due to falling incomes, shitty wages and system that favors the upward distribution of wealth. All of these have gotten worse under the exploitative leadership of Shifty Shinzo, Japan’s all-time worst PM.

Naturally, the perennial squeeze on workers is having an impact on consumer spending and industrial output. Check this out from Reuters:

“Japan’s household spending in April fell at the fastest rate in three years in a sign that consumption could be slow to recover from an increase in the nationwide sales tax, raising questions over the pace of economic recovery.

Industrial production fell more than expected in April as companies cut output to avoid a pile up in inventories in the lull after the sales tax hike took effect…Industrial output fell 2.5 percent in April, more than a median market forecast of a 2.0 percent fall.” (Reuters)

To summarize: Industrial production, down. Manufacturing, Down. Wages, Down. Profits for Japan’s biggest and greediest corporations, Up, Up, Up!

Also, higher inflation coupled with droopy wages (wages dropped 0.1 percent year-over-year) have pushed consumer confidence to its lowest level since 2011. Recent data show that consumer confidence plunged to 37.5 percent, the worst since the right-wing Abe took office. Additionally, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is about to drive the so called misery index, “which adds the jobless rate to the level of inflation, to its highest level since June 1981 when Japan was emerging from depression after the oil shocks of the 1970s.” (Bloomberg)

So while the media bimbos and their corporate taskmasters continue to applaud Abe’s willingness to destroy the economy and crush working people in the name of all-out class warfare, the results have been less than spectacular. In fact, the Japan’s economy is skittering headlong into another gigantic slump thanks to excessive monetary flim-flam, targeted tax gouging, and slavish pandering to the loafer class of moocher elites. Check this out from Roger Arnold at The Street:

“The essential policy tools of Abenomics are massive monetary and fiscal stimulus aimed at forcing the yen lower, which should cause exports to rise and domestic production to increase, leading to increased domestic job production and consumption: the virtuous cycle…

But it isn’t working…Abenomics is making the real economic and fiscal situations in Japan worse, not better. They are digging a bigger sovereign debt hole and accelerating the trajectory toward insolvency.” (Arnold: Abenomics’ Failure Is the Global Canary, The Street)

You bet it isn’t working, just like it’s not working in the United States or Europe or Canada or Australia or anywhere else the mercenary bank cartel has extended its hoary tentacles. Abenomics is failing because it was designed to fail. It was designed to do exactly what it does; transfer everything of value to a handful of crafty, self-serving freeloaders who have the political system by the balls and are extracting every last farthing they can before the economy collapses in a heap.

If you’re in the 1 percent, the system works just swell. For everyone else, not so much.

Excerpted; full article link: http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/05/30/japan-hits-the-skids/

“WWI Centenary marked by European political squabbling” – Warmongering nations glorifying historic mass slaughter [Xinhua]

Posted in Afghanistan, Australia, Belgium, France, Germany, Turkey, U.K., U.K. War Crimes on February 24, 2014 by Zuo Shou / 左手

BEIJING, Feb. 16 (Xinhuanet) — The centenary marking of the outbreak of World War One, which claimed more than nine million lives, begins in July this year. What should be a unifying moment of remembrance for the millions who died has instead succumbed to political squabbling [sic] as the key participants in that conflict argue about how the war should be remembered. CCTV’s Jack Barton has this report from the historic battlefields of Flanders.

A First World War museum in Flanders, Belgium where more than two million soldiers and civilians were killed or wounded. It touches on key battles, but attempts to look deeper.

“We have stories here in the museum from the German side, from the British side and Australians as well as Belgians and not only soldiers, but civilians to show what war really did to people.” Peter Slosse, Ypres, Department of Tourism said. The Flemish government wants commemorations surrounding this year’s World War One centenary to include a signed agreement by all the conflict’s protagonists that war is morally wrong.

“Which of course is something that the British and the French government had great difficulty with since with troops in Mali, the Central African Republic and Afghanistan.” Pieter Lagrou, Professor of History of Brussels Free University said.

And some Germany officials believed that Britain’s intention to inject a trimphiant tone into official event could even harm the relations between the two countries.

“That is a big moment of national pride and celebration, once more Britain had been on the right side, on the winning side beating evil dictatorships in Europe and saving Europeans from themselves. In Germany for quite obvious reasons there is little reason for national celebrations[,]” Pieter Lagrou, Professor of History of Brussels Free University said.

The centenary starts on July 28.

When the official commemorations begin there will be many who come to remember the battles, but there will also be those who come to remember and honor the soldiers as well as the civilians who died in what was supposed to be the war to end all wars.

Hundreds of thousands of people are expected at commemoration ceremonies from France to Gallipoli in Turkey. People like Australian John Reid whose great grandfather died trying to carry a wounded soldier to safety.

“I think it’s remembering all the people who fought here and died here and the horror of it all and the fact that people like my great grandfather’s wife Nora May could never make it out here to see the grave or lay flowers.” John Reid, Grandson of Anzac Soldier said.

Like many John hopes that by the start of the centenary the commemorations will be able to strike a unifying and respectful tone of remembrance, free of political squabbling.

(Source: CNTV.cn)
Editor: Lu Hui

Original article title: WWI Centenary marked by political squabbling

Article link: http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/video/2014-02/16/c_133119244.htm