Mainstream media discussion of the macro economic picture goes something like this: “When there is a recession, the Fed should stimulate. We know from history the recovery comes about 12-18 months after stimulus. We stimulated, we printed a lot of money, we waited 18 months. So the economy ipso facto has recovered. Or it’s just about to recover, any time now.” But to quote the comedian Richard Pryor, “Who ya gonna believe? Me or your lying eyes?” However, as Hayek said, the more the state centrally plans, the more difficult it becomes for the individual to plan. Economic growth is not something that just happens. It requires saving. It requires investment and capital accumulation. And it requires the real market process. It is not a delicate flower but it requires some degree of legal stability and property rights. And when you get in the way of these things, the capital accumulation stops and the economy stagnates.
Days before Tokyo won its bid to host the 2020 Olympics last September, Japanese PM Shinzo Abe stated that Fukushima contaminated water was "under control." Now, as Reuters reports, the nation's nuclear watchdog has uncovered that, following "uncertainty about the reliability and accuracy of the September strontium reading," which prompted a re-examination of samples, levels of Strontium-90 were five times the levels previously recorded. The Japanese NRA blasted TEPCO, “We did not hear about this figure when they detected it last September. We have been repeatedly pushing TEPCO to release strontium data since November. It should not take them this long to release this information." One can only wonder why - when the promise of $500 million of government support is on the line... and new cracks are appearing.
While the Fukushima nuclear disaster and its 'clean-up' remain oddly missing from most mainstream media headlines, the farce continues to unfold. As Reuters reports, Japan's nuclear regulator has criticized TEPCO for incorrectly measuring radiation levels in contaminated groundwater. The NRA blasted, "something like this cannot happen ... This (data) is what becomes the basis of various decisions, so they must do their utmost to avoid mistakes in measuring radiation."
There are two major factors that have emerged in the last five years that have sparked a surge in LNG investments. First is the shale gas “revolution” in the United States, which allowed the U.S. to vault to the top spot in the world for natural gas production. This caused prices to crater to below $2 per million Btu (MMBTu) in 2012, down from their 2008 highs above $10/MMBtu. Natural gas became significantly cheaper in the U.S. than nearly everywhere else in the world. The second major event that opened the floodgates for investment in new LNG capacity is the Fukushima nuclear crisis in Japan. Already the largest importer of LNG in the world before the triple meltdown in March 2011, Japan had to ratchet up LNG imports to make up for the power shortfall when it shut nearly all of its 49 gigawatts of nuclear capacity. In 2012, Japan accounted for 37% of total global LNG demand. The future of LNG may indeed be bright, especially when considering that global energy demand has nowhere to go but up. But, investors should be aware of the very large threat that Japanese nuclear reactors present to upstart LNG projects.
After ruling as unconstitutional Chicago ordinances that aim to reduce gun violence by banning their sale within the city’s limits, U.S. District Judge Edmond E. Chang said Monday that while the government has a duty to protect its citizens, it’s also obligated to protect constitutional rights, including the right to keep and bear arms for self-defense. As AP reports, the decision is just the latest to attack what were some of the toughest gun-control laws in the nation; with the NRA noting it "shows how out of step and outrageous Chicago’s ordinances really are." Despite the city's ban "to protect its citizens," Chicago last year had more homicides than any city in the nation.
How Many Constitutional Freedoms Have We Lost?
Just when one though the bad news out of Fukushima would trickle down, no pun intended, if only because purely statistically it was improbable that any more bad news would leak out, here comes TEPCO which at a press conference this morning announced that "roughly 300 tonnes of radioactive water has seeped from a storage tank, marking the worst leak in more than 2½ years of efforts to contain the effects of the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami." In other words, not only is the irradiated coolant water overflowing the storage tanks, it is also leaking straight into the environment, including the surrounding soil, ocean and who knows where else.
Tepco is struggling to contain the highly radioactive water that is seeping into the ocean near Fukushima. The head of Japan's NRA, Shinji Kinjo exclaimed, "right now, we have an emergency," as he noted the contaminated groundwater has breached an underground barrier and is rising toward the surface - exceeding the limits of radioactive discharge. In a rather outspoken comment for the typically stoic Japanese, Kinjo said Tepco's "sense of crisis was weak," adding that "this is why you can't just leave it up to Tepco alone" to grapple with the ongoing disaster. As Reuters notes, Tepco has been accused of covering up shortcomings and has been lambasted for its ineptness in the response and while the company says it is taking actions to contain the leaks, Kinjo fears if the water reaches the surface "it would flow extremely fast," with some suggesting as little as three weeks until this critical point.
Tepco Has NO IDEA How to Stabilize the Reactors
In America, our cultural method of debate tends to divide individual issues into carefully separated spheres of discussion. This hyperfocus on single issues, from gun rights to illegal wars to invasion of privacy, draws us away from looking at the bigger interconnected picture, otherwise known as the “macro.” Each social or political conflict is compartmentalized by the mainstream, the dots are left isolated and the overwhelming overall threat to our foundational principles is marginalized. The problem with this civic philosophy is that the general public is left without peripheral vision and unequipped to comprehend that there is a process in motion, an overarching plan that is eating away at the edges of our liberty from every angle, one small piece at a time. That is to say, we have been conditioned to obsess over the pieces and ignore the plan.
How Many Constitutional Freedoms Do We Still Have?
On occasion, truth is stranger than fiction; and in the somewhat surreal world in which we now inhabit, The Onion's perfect parody of where we are headed could have been lifted from any mainstream media front-page with little questioning from the majority of Americans. For your reading pleasure, the 62-year-old with a gun that is the last man standing between the American people and full-scale totalitarian government takeover.
The punchlines: "...the issue here is whether or not America pays its bills. We are not a deadbeat nation... And if the Republicans in Congress have made a decision that they want to shut down the government in order to get their way, then they have the votes, at least in the House of Representatives, probably to do that.... So we've got to pay our bills. And Republicans in Congress have two choices here. They can act responsibly, and pay America's bills, or they can act irresponsibly and put America through another economic crisis. But they will not collect a ransom in exchange for not crashing the American economy ... We've got to stop lurching from crisis to crisis to crisis when there's this clear path ahead of us that simply requires some discipline, some responsibility, and some compromise. That's where we need to go. That's how this needs to work.".... Yet should the "worst" (i.e. living within its means) happen to the US, then "Social Security checks, and veterans benefits will be delayed. We might not be able to pay our troops, or honor our contracts with small business owners. Food inspectors, air traffic controllers, specialist who track down loose nuclear materials wouldn't get their paychecks. Investors around the world will ask if the United States of America is in fact a safe bet. Markets could go haywire, interest rates would spike for anybody who borrows money. Every homeowner with a mortgage, every student with a college loan, every small business owner who wants to grow and hire.... As the speaker said two years ago, it would be, and I'm quoting Speaker Boehner now, "a financial disaster, not only for us, but for the worldwide economy.""
Still think "we are not a deadbeat nation"?
The Constitution of the United States is an undeniably powerful document. So powerful in fact, that it took establishment elitists with aspirations of globalized governance over a century to diminish the American people’s connection to it. It’s been a long time coming, but in the new millennium, there is now indeed a subsection of the masses that not only have no relationship to our founding roots, they actually despise those of us who do! There are a number of reasons for this dangerous development in our culture...