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Chris Martenson: Japan Is Now Another Spinning Plate In The Global Economy Circus

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Japan Is Now Another Spinning Plate In The Global Economy Circus

At the circus, you are sometimes treated to the spinning plate act where a performer tries to keep an improbable number of plates spinning at once, racing from one plate to the next as their wobbles indicate the need for another dose of momentum. Considering the number of spinning and wobbling plates that our central planners are managing, it's easy to be both amazed and anxious at the same time.

The difference between the spinning plate analogy and real-world economic and financial systems is that if a failure occurs out in the real world, it has a very high chance of spreading across and through the other elements of the system. Contagion is the fear, as if in finally toppling, one plate will crash into its neighbor and set off a chain reaction of falling plates.

To carry this metaphor, Japan is a wobbly plate.

For those who are in a hurry today, the bottom line is that Japan is in serious trouble right now and is a top candidate to be the next black swan. Here are the elements of difficulty that concern me the most, each one serving to reduce Japan's economic and financial stability:

  • The total shutdown of all 54 nuclear plants, leading to an energy insufficiency
  • Japan's trade deficit in negative territory for the first time in decades, driven largely by energy imports
  • A budget deficit that is now 56% larger than revenues (!!)
  • Total debt standing at a whopping 235% of GDP
  • A recession shrinking Japan's economy at an annual rate of 2.3%
  • Renewed efforts underway to debase the yen

As I wrote a shortly after the earthquake in March 2011, Japan is facing an economic meltdown. If it is not careful, it may well face a currency meltdown, too. These things take time to play out, but now almost exactly a year after the devastating earthquake of 2011, the difficulties for Japan are mounting -- as expected.

Exacerbated by the earthquake and tsunami, Japan’s current predicament has been developing over many years and represents the aftermath of a burst financial bubble (involving stocks and real estate), an inability to let failed institutions actually fail, and repeated and stubborn attempts to preserve what ultimately could not be sustained.

Where many analysts predicted that the tsunami would be GDP positive because of the re-building that would follow, I predicted economic difficulties would be the main result due to broken supply chains, reduced factory output, and increased drag due to rising energy imports.

The Big Story – Energy

Japan is like the world’s largest petri dish, and the experiment at hand is about what happens to an advanced, industrialized economy when its electricity production is cut. As always, our view is that energy is the master resource. Our observation is that complex systems behave in unpredictable ways when starved for energy, but directionally, they tend to shrink and ‘simplify.’

Electricity is a critical form of energy, and thus the amount of electricity produced and a country’s GDP are very highly correlated. Sure, there is always some easy conservation that can be done that would allow an electricity shortfall to be met without any serious economic impacts. Street lights can be turned off, air conditioning and heating can be moderated, and other low-impact conservation efforts can reduce electricity consumption without doing much more than lowering utility revenues.

However, there is a certain point beyond which conservation can do no more and electricity restrictions begin to bite into economic activity. Plants end up running slower or even shutting down, productivity declines, and work can stagnate.

Before the Fukushima disaster, Japan relied on nuclear power for 30% of its total electricity production. As of March 26, 2012, that number is going to be 0%.

Japan's trade deficit balloons to record high as nuclear crisis pushes up fuel imports

As public worries grew, nearly all the 54 nuclear reactors in Japan were stopped for inspections. The government wants to restart at least some of the reactors, after checking for better tsunami and quake protection.

Resource-poor Japan imports almost all its oil. Until the Fukushima disaster, the country had trumpeted nuclear technology as a safe and cheap answer to its energy needs.

Now, Japan is importing more natural gas and oil as utilities boost non-nuclear power generation. Imports of natural gas in January vaulted 74 percent from a year earlier and imports of petroleum jumped nearly 13 percent.


Japan's KEPCO to shutdown its last nuclear reactor

TOKYO, Feb. 20 (Xinhua) -- Japan's Kansai Electric Power Company (KEPCO) is going to shutdown its last nuclear reactor for a regular check, the No. 3 reactor at Takahama nuclear plant in Fukui, central Japan, late on Monday afternoon.

KEPCO said that the shutdown operation would be completed by Tuesday morning. With this shutdown, there are only 2 operating commercial reactors remained out of 54 all over Japan.

According to the local media, the remaining two reactors, the No. 6 reactor at Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant in Niigata Prefecture will be offline on March 26. 


If you are thinking that shutting down some 30% of a nation’s electricity production capacity is an extreme move, you are right. 

A Breach of Trust

There’s very good reason to suspect that the Japanese nuclear plants may not be re-opened anytime soon, as there is now enormous distrust of government authorities, especially after the release of a report last week charging that the government had secretly considered evacuating Tokyo even as it was downplaying both the severity of the Fukushima accident and the risks:

Nuclear Crisis Set Off Fears Over Tokyo

Feb 27, 2012

TOKYO — In the darkest moments of last year’s nuclear accident, Japanese leaders did not know the actual extent of damage at the plant and secretly considered the possibility of evacuating Tokyo, even as they tried to play down the risks in public, an independent investigation into the accident disclosed on Monday.

The 400-page report, due to be released later this week, also described a darkening mood at the prime minister’s residence as a series of hydrogen explosions rocked the plant on March 14 and 15. It said Mr. Kan and other officials began discussing a worst-case outcome of an evacuation of workers at the Fukushima Daiichi plant. This would allow the plant to spiral out of control, releasing even larger amounts of radioactive material into the atmosphere that would in turn force the evacuation of other nearby nuclear plants, causing further meltdowns.

The report quoted the chief cabinet secretary at the time, Yukio Edano, as having warned that this “demonic chain reaction” of plant meltdowns could have resulted in the evacuation of Tokyo, 150 miles to the south.

“We would lose Fukushima Daini, then we would lose Tokai,” Mr. Edano was quoted as saying, naming two other nuclear plants. “If that happened, it was only logical to conclude that we would also lose Tokyo itself.”

The report also described the panic within the Kan administration at the prospect of large radiation releases from the more than 10,000 spent fuel rods that were stored in relatively unprotected pools near the damaged reactors. The report said it was not until five days after the earthquake that a Japanese military helicopter was finally able to confirm that the pool deemed at highest risk, near the No. 4 reactor, was still safely filled with water.

“We barely avoided the worst case scenario, though the public didn’t know it at the time,” Mr. Funabashi, the foundation founder, said.


After this damaging assessment, the people of Japan have every right and reason to be suspicious of official pronouncements about the safety of the remaining nuclear power plants. The Fukushima disaster is horrible and still unfolding, despite its near disappearance from the news.

We did an incredible job of covering that disaster, drawing upon experts, parsing the data, buying satellite images, and coming to our own conclusions. Very early in the situation, we advised people in Tokyo to get out, even as the Japanese government harbored those same ideas but spun a different tale. Our assessment of the disaster, especially after the entirely-too-energetic explosion of Reactor #3, was far more serious than the official story and did not jibe with what most people were being fed by official sources and the mainstream media.

At any rate, Japan has now shut down nearly all of its reactors for maintenance and safety reviews, and it is our assessment that re-starting them will take longer than currently planned due to public opposition and distrust of Japanese officials. Such are the wages of violating the public trust.

The Economic Impact of Shutting Down the Plants

Japan is facing a summer of extreme electricity shortages, and this will impact the economy quite significantly. With shortages of as much as 25% of peak load, imports of oil and gas running into the trillions of yen, and consumers facing as much as a 20% hike in their electricity bills if the import costs are entirely passed along, it is clear that a serious challenge looms for Japan, especially this summer.

Nuclear-Free Summer Looms Over Japan’s West in Risk to Recovery From Quake

Feb 28, 2012

Japan’s economic rebound from the deepest contraction among advanced nations after Greece and Portugal may be stunted this year as power shortages threaten its western region.

The Kansai area, which accounts for about a fifth of Japan’s economy and escaped the worst of electricity cutbacks after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, last week lost its final operating nuclear plant. Power supply may be up to 25 percent less than peak summer demand if plants are not restarted, according to Kansai Electric Power Co.

Shortages drive up costs and force manufacturers to shift work schedules to lower-use periods, disrupting supply chains and adding to reasons to go abroad. 


One other factor to consider here is that the fossil fuel plants -- natural gas (NG) and coal -- are currently running flat out to make up the shortfall. Many of these plants, especially the NG plants, were not designed for sustained max-load power generation. Their design parameters were for them to be peak load plants, operating flat out for brief bursts, not sustained periods. It remains to be seen if these plants can cover operate at capacity for very long.

In 2011, these assessments of the impact of shutting down Japan’s nuclear power were made:

The following are some estimates of an economic impact if all of Japan's reactors went offline.


Power generation costs would rise by over 3 trillion yen ($38 billion) per year if Japan replaced nuclear energy with thermal power generation.  Higher electricity costs would lift production costs by 7.6 trillion yen per year. The ministry did not provide estimates of how such an increase in costs would affect economic output.


Shutting down nuclear power permanently would reduce economic output by 2.5 percent per year -- equivalent of over 14 trillion yen -- over the next decade.

"Higher electricity costs would increase costs for corporations and individuals and weigh on both capital spending and consumption," said Daiwa's Mikio Mizobata, senior researcher.


- Fossil fuel imports would increase by about 3.3 trillion yen in the first year after all the nuclear power reactors are shut down, which would shave 0.4-0.5 percent of Japan's gross domestic product.


Because imports subtract from GDP (while exports add), any additional spending on fossil fuels to replace the shut-in nuclear power will subtract from Japan’s GDP. Remember, Japan has virtually no domestic fossil fuel production, so they have to import 100%.

And Import They Have…

Japan’s trade deficit

Trade Deficit in Japan Hits Record

Feb 19, 2012

Japan posted a record trade deficit in January as the yen’s strength and weaker global demand eroded profits at manufacturers and slowed the nation’s recovery from the earthquake and tsunami last year.

The trade gap widened to 1.48 trillion yen ($19 billion) and shipments dropped 9.3 percent compared with a year earlier, as energy imports surged, the Ministry of Finance reported on Monday in Tokyo.

Shipments to China, Japan’s largest market, fell 20 percent from a year earlier, the biggest decline since August 2009. Exports to Europe slid 7.7 percent and shipments to the United States advanced 0.6 percent.

The earthquake and tsunami led to the idling of nuclear plants and a surge in energy imports. Japan’s liquefied natural gas imports rose 12.2 percent to a record in 2011 as power utilities increased thermal power generation.

Energy needs accounted for most of the gain in imports in January.



It is a very big deal that Japan is slipping into negative trade territory for the first time in three decades. Last spring I was writing about how the global flow of funds -- the massive tide of liquidity sloshing back and forth -- involved Japan to a large degree. Japan was the hub of a massive carry trade, was buying huge amounts of US Treasurys and, in general, was a vast emitter of liquidity flows to the world.

With its reconstruction costs and now with its trade deficit, Japan becomes a net consumer of funds. In other words, the flow of funds reverses. This represents, at the very least, a change to the global liquidity tide charts.

In Part II: Implications of a Collapsing Japan, we lay out the case for how close to the brink of economic crisis Japan truly is, and why the country is likely to stumble faster and further in 2012 than the shaky situation in Europe that is currently grabbing the world's attention.

Make no mistake. A material retrenchment of the Japanese economy will have profound impact across the globe. One notable example: If Japan has to stop buying US Treasuries to direct capital to its domestic needs or -- even worse -- begins selling Treasuries for the same reason, the Federal Reserve will have to put its printing presses into overdrive to make up the gap. 

Got gold?

Click here to access Part II of this report (free executive summary; enrollment required for full access).


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Mon, 03/05/2012 - 13:50 | 2224403 dasein211
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Japan just had a tsunami and a nuclear catastrophe. Anyone who thought it wouldn't matter is delusional.

Mon, 03/05/2012 - 13:51 | 2224421 Spastica Rex
Spastica Rex's picture

Plenty of those folks around.

Mon, 03/05/2012 - 14:18 | 2224526 FEDbuster
FEDbuster's picture

Life in the Matrix.

BTW didn't Kyle Bass say these same things all last year?

Mon, 03/05/2012 - 14:24 | 2224545 Ahmeexnal
Ahmeexnal's picture

gold plummets back to the 1600s.

time to buy with "ambas dos manos".

Mon, 03/05/2012 - 14:28 | 2224561 Caviar Emptor
Caviar Emptor's picture


Mon, 03/05/2012 - 15:18 | 2224807 BigJim
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 Japan is like the world’s largest petri dish...

What a terribly pejorative way to refer to the Japanese people. Like they're amoebae or something!

I've always thought of them being more like voles, myself.

Mon, 03/05/2012 - 14:43 | 2224628 Floordawg
Floordawg's picture

Not that I necessarily disagree with that notion, but your the fuzzy fuck that said "BUY SILVER" back in September at... $43.

"Chupa mis huevos gordos, puto."

Mon, 03/05/2012 - 15:08 | 2224769 Ahmeexnal
Ahmeexnal's picture

and?  silver is for real men. if you can't handle the volatility, why don't you go back to "investing" with your monster high dolls?






Mon, 03/05/2012 - 15:22 | 2224853 Floordawg
Floordawg's picture

I'm all for the PM's, and all in tough guy.

Now why don't you head back to the mirror and check out how your Nancy Reagan power suit fits.

Mon, 03/05/2012 - 22:52 | 2226699 dubbleoj
dubbleoj's picture

Yep, his speech at the EuroCatalyst event 2 months ago was phenomenal and he said Japan was next

Mon, 03/05/2012 - 19:46 | 2226164 BigInJapan
BigInJapan's picture

Yes, and most of them are right here in Japan.

Mon, 03/05/2012 - 13:54 | 2224430 Future Tense
Future Tense's picture

It's funny that everyone is now focused on the sovereign debt of Europe, Japan, and the UK and have forgotten all about what happens to the American banks when the commercial real estate loans that have been pushed back until 2013 - 2015 begin to mature (and explode).  The following provides an excellent outlook on the commercial real estate market in the years ahead:

Mon, 03/05/2012 - 14:29 | 2224564 Caviar Emptor
Caviar Emptor's picture

Agree. I was all over this here on ZH a few months back. There were several earthquake tremors already felt and 2012 will be the start of the unravel. You know who will be a troubled bank on short order. 

Mon, 03/05/2012 - 14:31 | 2224571 JohnKozac
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The brewing bubble in higher education – in 2000 student debt made up 3 percent of all household debt. Today it has doubled to 7.5 percent and has grown by 511 percent in the last decade.

There is high-quality evidence suggesting that higher education is deep in a bubble.  When I examine the weakness in the housing market I also think of the massive expansion of debt with student loans.  The biggest expansion in student debt occurred in a decade where household incomes stalled out.  Many of the recent graduates are struggling to find good paying work so it has become much tougher for these young professionals to purchase homes.

Until and unless "they" allow the free market to actually work, we will be in a quagmire..perhaps for 20+ years like Japan.

Mon, 03/05/2012 - 14:41 | 2224617 Conrad Murray
Conrad Murray's picture

WSJ Headline - "Student loan debt hits home for Bernanke. His son, who is in med school, to rack up $400K of student loan debt"

Mon, 03/05/2012 - 15:04 | 2224755 MachoMan
MachoMan's picture

ben prints an even $500k, uses 400k to pay off loan, and extra 100k is parked at tbtf bank never to see light of day due to lack of decent borrowers and too low rates.

Mon, 03/05/2012 - 15:11 | 2224789 Race Car Driver
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Daddy could print that in Franklin's on a short roll and put it in the kids lunchbox before school.

Mon, 03/05/2012 - 14:33 | 2224578 AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

Why not? US of A by its position is specific.

You know, US citizens can hammer it, a pyramid does not collapse by its top. It collapses through its bottom.

Looking at the top makes easy to sell stories but you cant escape reality, Japan, Europe and the UK are under the US in the pyramidal structure of the US world order so...

Mon, 03/05/2012 - 14:42 | 2224618 EscapeKey
EscapeKey's picture

Are you kidding me? The banks will be bailed out once again, and the bill put on the taxpayer.

There is precisely 0% chance that the banks will ever be required to shoulder the burden of their bad investments.

Mon, 03/05/2012 - 14:49 | 2224662 AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

Yes, the tax payer.

Funny that even with shock articles made on US citizen government raising more revenues from debt than tax collection, the tax payer mantra is so popular among that tribe of US citizens that wish to perceive themselves as people who abide by reality.

No, the burden is endured by anyone who allow immediate consumption, in a top to bottom pattern.

The banks do not bail out anyone
The tax payer bail out no body

Countries that keep 'accepting' fiat money in exchange of their commodities are bailing the world out.

Mon, 03/05/2012 - 15:32 | 2224918 BigJim
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 Countries that keep 'accepting' fiat money in exchange of their commodities are bailing the world out.

Correct. But more to the point, their US-sanctioned/appointed/maintained rulers are the ones accepting US fiat.

If the people of Saudi, Bahrain, Kuwait, Iraq etc themselves had their way, I doubt the USD ponzi would last til nightfall.

Tue, 03/06/2012 - 03:21 | 2227209 Vlad Tepid
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Finally something substantive and contributory!  Keep it up.

Mon, 03/05/2012 - 14:00 | 2224455 fuu
fuu's picture

"Japan just had a tsunami and a nuclear catastrophe."

360 days ago...

Mon, 03/05/2012 - 14:30 | 2224565 dasein211
dasein211's picture

If the radiation half life is in the millions of years and if you were there to experience it AND if the economic effects take a few months to push through... It just happened.

Mon, 03/05/2012 - 15:11 | 2224764 fuu
fuu's picture

I was simply commenting that it was nearly a year ago.

Mon, 03/05/2012 - 14:21 | 2224535 Silver Bug
Silver Bug's picture

Japan has been a ticking time bomb for a long time now. It is quite amazing how long they have been able to extend and pretend. Their day is coming soon though.

Mon, 03/05/2012 - 14:33 | 2224577 Caviar Emptor
Caviar Emptor's picture

True dat. Japan has simply been riding strategic partner coat-tails. Before the tsunami ever happened there was the decline in auto market share. And before that the decline in consumer electronics dominance and steep decline in market share. Even chemicals and heavy industry. Needless to say that all roughly coincided with the bursting real estate bubble and deflationary "balance sheet recession" (hate that term, but I do think it applies as one issue but does not see the real big picture)

Mon, 03/05/2012 - 15:10 | 2224780 MachoMan
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Of course, that doesn't change the fact that they really do make great stuff...  tvs and autos are ace...  but I don't think ben is interested in allowing a fire sale exchange rate.

Mon, 03/05/2012 - 19:50 | 2226169 pavman
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I recently read that you can borrow from Japan @ 0.1% interest rates thanks to the carry trade.  Thinking I should buy a house w/ a 30 year Yen mortgage.... it'll be all that much simpler to pay back when the bottom drops out of the Yen currency and they have to start talking quadrillions of Yen debt.  Contrast that with the 53.5% Greek bond rate... hmm.

Is it me, or does it seem like Japan is the pressure valve for Euro/US currency idiocy?  Almost like they've taken perception marketing to the next level.

Mon, 03/05/2012 - 21:01 | 2226347 MachoMan
MachoMan's picture

all countries are pressure valves...  everyone has to reach the same pressure at all times or else risk blowing up...  hence why uncle sugar has all the cards and orchestrates the whole mess.

Mon, 03/05/2012 - 14:51 | 2224675 AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

Wake me up when the bomb explodes.

Because the bad, bad situation is that Japan can put its nuclear plants off line, and make up for the loss by importing other types of energy...

Very bad, bad situation.

Mon, 03/05/2012 - 15:11 | 2224791 trav7777
trav7777's picture

and oil goes up in price...gee, WHODA THUNK THIS SHIT?

Japan has NO CHOICE but to restart all of the reactors.

At some point, SOMEONE is going to have to have the fucking adult conversation about what to do with spent fuel.

Instead however, we get counterfeit ideas that end up crowding out truth, such as "you can have power without power plants."

Mon, 03/05/2012 - 16:26 | 2225305 AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

Made me laugh.

No choice? When?

From basic observations, the Japanese have proven they could shut up their nuclear plants and go for oil, in spite of their so called bad situation.

And indeed, in an environment of high oil prices, which states even more how bad their so called bad situation is.

Japanese had the choice not to let their nuclear plants go off line.

This is right now. Not in the future.

Kicking the can is so US citizen.

Mon, 03/05/2012 - 20:49 | 2226300 Ahmeexnal
Ahmeexnal's picture

Don't look now, but Japan has been buying iRanian oil....and paying with....G-LD.


Mon, 03/05/2012 - 22:00 | 2226565 sullymandias
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What to do with all the spent fuel? That's easy. Up the space elevator, give it a little nudge, and it'll fall into the sun in a few decade's time.

No space elevator yet, but that's going to be a real boost to world GDP when they start building it!

Tue, 03/06/2012 - 22:25 | 2230785 BiggerInJapan
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Japan CANNOT HAVE ANOTHER meltdown. all rest is bollocks since fukushima was already too much.

Tue, 03/06/2012 - 03:24 | 2227212 Vlad Tepid
Vlad Tepid's picture

Wake me up what Japan discovers it's sitting on the motherlode of geothermal and tidal energy...

Mon, 03/05/2012 - 14:38 | 2224599 JennaChick
JennaChick's picture

Have made a ton of money going long USDJPY when Armada Markets wrote a couple of weeks ago that this is it. Japan is going down big time!

Mon, 03/05/2012 - 15:34 | 2224934 BigJim
BigJim's picture

Wall Street is littered with now-homeless bond traders who decided 'this was it!' and it was time to short JGB.

Mon, 03/05/2012 - 13:50 | 2224409 Don Birnam
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"Where Lesbians Find Love"

Are these all Limbaugh's former sponsors who have now signed with ZH ?


Mon, 03/05/2012 - 13:55 | 2224439 VulpisVulpis
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You'll find that the ads are catered to relevant browsing history on your computer via cookies, so, the question is


Pinkwinking lately?

Mon, 03/05/2012 - 14:01 | 2224459 Conrad Murray
Conrad Murray's picture

I love these comments. Never gets old seeing slimy perverts outed by questioning the ad serving.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to investigate this opportunity involving a Chinese midget and a donkey.

Mon, 03/05/2012 - 14:03 | 2224472 GeneMarchbanks
GeneMarchbanks's picture


Donny Boy! Tell me, are you one of the 99% of men?

Mon, 03/05/2012 - 14:45 | 2224637 Citxmech
Citxmech's picture

The side-bar ads are not all the result of cookies - I'm always getting "free credit score" ads and "Russian" and "Thai" women "looking for love" ads, and I assure you I have never performed any searches that should result in any of these.

Mon, 03/05/2012 - 19:55 | 2226181 BigInJapan
BigInJapan's picture

I get Bentley ads...


I drive a 650cc Mitsubishi minivan...

Mon, 03/05/2012 - 22:02 | 2226305 Ahmeexnal
Ahmeexnal's picture

You base your premise on the (utrue) fact that you are the only one using your computer (and/or WIFI link).

Tue, 03/06/2012 - 02:17 | 2227140 Temporalist
Temporalist's picture

Citx depending on your surfing habits you are being served as a demographic, a male, middle age, credit card owner, mortgage/home owner, small business owner/self employed, car owner, single.  I'm sure that demo is prominent on ZH as well so combining the two leads to those ads.


That is me guessing but no need to reply I'm just saying that you will be served on any information they believe they have.

Tue, 03/06/2012 - 03:06 | 2227198 Cliff Claven Cheers
Cliff Claven Cheers's picture
I had to google it.



Anal Bleaching

Do you have darker anal skin and yearn for a sensual shade of pink? PinkWink Anal Cream provides a safe, powerful solutions to dramatically lighten skin tones in this intimate area.

Mon, 03/05/2012 - 14:03 | 2224474 azusgm
azusgm's picture

May have been reading Ann Barnhardt's latest.

Mon, 03/05/2012 - 14:15 | 2224520 Ralph Spoilsport
Ralph Spoilsport's picture

Yikes. Sounds like Barnhardt has gone over the edge.

Mon, 03/05/2012 - 14:19 | 2224529 tarsubil
tarsubil's picture

LOL. Yeah, like about a decade ago.

Mon, 03/05/2012 - 14:25 | 2224548 FEDbuster
FEDbuster's picture

She just got there quicker than most people.  She is quite right in most of her assessments.  When she closed her firm after the MFG customer account heist, she won my attention and support.

Mon, 03/05/2012 - 15:38 | 2224961 BigJim
BigJim's picture


  A woman died in the Washington D.C. area and a priest by the name of Fr. Guarnizo had her funeral Mass. Before the Mass began, while Fr. Guarnizo was vesting in the sacristy, the dead woman's daughter presented herself in the sacristy and introduced herself and her lesbian sodomy partner to the priest as "my lover." At this, the priest very calmly advised the both of them that they may NOT present themselves for reception of the Eucharist. This is EXACTLY correct. The priest would have sinned had he NOT so advised the lesbians. Why? Because these women specifically told the priest that they were in a state of unrepentant mortal sin. To receive the Eucharist in a state of unrepentant mortal sin is to desecrate the Eucharist and thus to condemn themselves even further. This is specifically blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah...

Lesbian Sodomy partner? How does that work, exactly?

Mon, 03/05/2012 - 20:53 | 2226315 Ahmeexnal
Ahmeexnal's picture

You clearly never saw the "ASS TO ASS" scene in Requiem for a Dream.

Mon, 03/05/2012 - 23:58 | 2226872 wee-weed up
wee-weed up's picture

Ah, you really don't wanna know... but if you must, let's limit it to a one word explanation - attachments.

Tue, 03/06/2012 - 01:39 | 2227071 Heyoka Bianco
Heyoka Bianco's picture

No biger winner in the hypocrisy game than the Roman Catholic Church (The World's First Multinational Corporation (comes with its own army and genuine Pope Power!)) giving lectures on "states of unrepentant mortal sin."

Mon, 03/05/2012 - 14:05 | 2224484 GeneMarchbanks
GeneMarchbanks's picture

'Pinkwinking lately?'

Either that or he just found out his daughter is a lesbo.

Mon, 03/05/2012 - 14:34 | 2224581 Caviar Emptor
Caviar Emptor's picture

PinkWank is the "brother site". For those bros who like to wank to PinkWink

Tue, 03/06/2012 - 03:30 | 2227219 Vlad Tepid
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I need a Google ad that will help me unlearn the hentai-o-rama that ZH becomes when someone outs themselves on the thread...

Mon, 03/05/2012 - 14:13 | 2224510 A Nanny Moose
A Nanny Moose's picture

Smackdown!! That's gonna leave a mark.

Damn The G00glez

Mon, 03/05/2012 - 17:17 | 2225627 _ConanTheLibert...
_ConanTheLibertarian_'s picture

What ads? Adblockers have been around for ages and work quite well.

Mon, 03/05/2012 - 13:51 | 2224417 djsmps
djsmps's picture

CNBC has really been on a roll the last 24 hours. The latest top headline is: Stocks Signal US Economy May Be Far Stronger: Birinyi

Mon, 03/05/2012 - 20:03 | 2226195 pavman
pavman's picture

Time to get those shorts ready; let me know when Time's cover reads: US Economy Has Recovered

Mon, 03/05/2012 - 13:51 | 2224418 bebopgun
bebopgun's picture

Japan needs its currency to crash. They are desperate for a weak yen to make their exports more competitive.

Mon, 03/05/2012 - 14:02 | 2224462 Conrad Murray
Conrad Murray's picture

Kill the currency to save the economy. It's so easy a tribesman could do it.

Mon, 03/05/2012 - 14:25 | 2224550 WestVillageIdiot
WestVillageIdiot's picture

What kind of maniac thinks that way?  It is really frightening that all of the sociopaths in charge think the same vile thoughts. 

Mon, 03/05/2012 - 13:54 | 2224423 LawsofPhysics
LawsofPhysics's picture

Hhmm.  I was thinking more along the lines of got oil? or got coal? or got natural gas?  I like Chris's work, but he lost me at the end there. ZIRP is printing, the Fed has never stopped.

Tue, 03/06/2012 - 02:19 | 2227144 Temporalist
Temporalist's picture

Perhaps ZIRP is printing but it's a slow drip instead of direct to the vein.

Mon, 03/05/2012 - 13:54 | 2224429 Chief_Illiniwek
Chief_Illiniwek's picture

Chris Martsenson, meet Kyle Bass.

Mon, 03/05/2012 - 13:59 | 2224452 LawsofPhysics
LawsofPhysics's picture

now there is a presidential ticket I could get behind.

Mon, 03/05/2012 - 14:05 | 2224485 Conrad Murray
Conrad Murray's picture

My fellow Americans, today my administration made a very tough decision regarding the future of entitlement programs. We have decided it is in the best interest of our country to do away with Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. These programs will be replaced with....DOOOOOOOM Bunkers full of canned ham and nickels!

Mon, 03/05/2012 - 14:11 | 2224502 LawsofPhysics
LawsofPhysics's picture

so long as the locations of all these bunkers with free stuff is clearly marked, I see where you are going with this and I like it...


Mon, 03/05/2012 - 14:10 | 2224496 Northeaster
Northeaster's picture

Aside from their debt/GDP issues, I think the glaring problem that Bass pointed out was their (Japan) population problem. Their population is aging and shrinking with less people contributing to the Ponzi. Here in the States, we don't have that kind of problem as our population is growing YoY at 1%. Of course, as Bass also points out, that presents its own problem, the amount paying to support a non-productive populace (i.e. growing aging populace and welfare/entitlements). Which is partially why, as Bass points out yet again, the "illegals" that work in this country, they pay taxes, thereby helping the fraud continue and why aside from the propaganda, neither political party will touch in a earnest fashion.

Tue, 03/06/2012 - 02:29 | 2227153 Temporalist
Temporalist's picture

Well according to ZH only 54% of young alduts have a job in the US so if Japan needs the US consumer, and the young people aren't working, Japan goes down as a result of US not buying, they have to print more to stay competitive, that pisses off dollar and euro and yuan...continuing currency wars.

I guess every population has age issues. Spain, Greece, Middle East. Nort Africa all have youth unemployment issues.


But at least Japan is doing better because. the. news. analysts. say. so.

"Japanese unemployment inched up and household spending fell more sharply than expected in January, government data showed Friday, but analysts said the nation’s economic recovery was still on track."

Mon, 03/05/2012 - 13:54 | 2224431 battle axe
battle axe's picture

Thank god the  Japanese are huge savers, because if they didn't

 fund there own debt then they would be hosed....

Mon, 03/05/2012 - 14:30 | 2224566 FEDbuster
FEDbuster's picture

Why not have their central bank create a few quadrillion more Yen, then lend it to the Japanese government.  I forgot that's our solution (we are hosed).

Mon, 03/05/2012 - 21:18 | 2226415 DosZap
DosZap's picture

battle axe

Thank god the  Japanese( are) WERE huge savers, because if they didn't

 fund there own debt then they would be hosed....

Their dead dik broke,they put all their savings into the governement bonds.

The geriatrics have had to spend every dime to just get by...................and their population if more grey than USA.

They (like us) are in for a major fall.

Mon, 03/05/2012 - 13:55 | 2224433 Vincent Vega
Vincent Vega's picture

Regarding going broke, I believe it was Hemingway who penned: gradually, then suddenly. Perhaps his words will prove true for many sovereigns.

Mon, 03/05/2012 - 13:55 | 2224435 GeneMarchbanks
GeneMarchbanks's picture

Japan is too big to fail and if you think the Troika plays a good game of 'kick the can' wait until the Japanese start patching up massive holes with band-aids and such.

The Japan story is overdone and Martenson and Mauldin are so late to this party it ain't even funny.

Mon, 03/05/2012 - 14:38 | 2224600 Caviar Emptor
Caviar Emptor's picture

Sorry. Japan has lost a strategic game which was all about exports and now is also about politics. Yes Mauldin is late to the story, but there ahve been new twists to this vicious spiral, and Japan is again at another cross-roads. Much more serious now that everyone else is also in depression. Before they could always joke that they'd rebound like one of the Asian Tigers

Tue, 03/06/2012 - 03:40 | 2227226 Vlad Tepid
Vlad Tepid's picture

I'm always looking at these things from a historical perspective and not really a trading angle but what someone else said upthread about Japan being a dumping ground for toxicity via the carry trade really got me thinking.  The Anglo-American...Axis, for lack of a better word, has played Japan as a patsy ("Sure, we'll be your friend.  Just do A, B & C for us and we'll tell the bwaass to let you in, kid.") This has historically been a dangerous game to play with Japan from WWII to the trade wars in the 80s.  If Japan gets screwed, or more approriately, if the people, who are more separate from their gov't every day, start to think they're getting hosed YET again, they might decide to tilt into the axis of China (limitless markets) and/or Russia (limitless (yeah, I know Chris, not LIMITLESS) energy).  This would be bad for the US as we would lose our patsy when Japan stands up.  How they treat their US bonds and the US military bases ensconced on their land wil be a big tell...

Mon, 03/05/2012 - 14:36 | 2224591 JohnKozac
JohnKozac's picture

Is there only one honorable way out for the Samarai Nation of Japan?

Mon, 03/05/2012 - 14:00 | 2224453 Dr. Engali
Dr. Engali's picture

It's too bad digital money doesn't burn. They could use it for warmth.

Mon, 03/05/2012 - 14:48 | 2224655 Dr. No
Dr. No's picture

Well, my Bitcoin mining has my graphics cards humming along partially heating my house.  Can be some nice heat output there.  I will need to throttle back with spring apon us however.

Mon, 03/05/2012 - 14:04 | 2224454 SDRII
SDRII's picture

The big deal of Japan into deficit means one less buyer for Treasuries. China limiting Auto production etc.. Take a look at the Japan "deflation". Last month it was TVs while energy up 5%. Japan deflation = carry trade. Cant have that closed out, can you?


Japan defect first?


Mon, 03/05/2012 - 14:05 | 2224467 sablya
sablya's picture

I was pondering Japan over the weekend and wondering how such a huge Debt-to-GDP ratio could be sustained.  And, even with that huge debt, it is almost as if they never printed any money since they are in a perpetual secular deflation.  How can these things be?  If the Japanese citizens are holding all the debt, then what happens when they need to raise cash?

it seems similar to the Chinese ghost cities in conjunction with the Chinese real estate bubble.  Nature abhors a vacuum.  

Mrs. Balloon goes on a blind date with Mr. Cactus - hit it off, and go for "the kiss".  Suddenly, Mr. Cactus hears a loud noise and Mrs. Balloon disappears.  Poor, sad, Mr. Cactus can never find anyone to love.

Mon, 03/05/2012 - 14:02 | 2224468 tarsubil
tarsubil's picture

When you consider the human suffering that is going to come out of this, it is hard to joke about. This is a terrible tragedy.

Mon, 03/05/2012 - 14:03 | 2224470 fuzed
fuzed's picture

If everyone melts down (economically, or at least 'currency' wise)  does it count?  i.e. if every tree in the forest falls over, aren't all boats at the same level?  (channeling Yogi Berra)

Mon, 03/05/2012 - 14:03 | 2224471 fuzed
fuzed's picture


Mon, 03/05/2012 - 14:03 | 2224473 Flakmeister
Flakmeister's picture

This is what knee-jerk energy policy gets you....(along with a host of other things)....

I always thought it would be the UK to throw in the towel first, looks like Japan, if only becuase they got a huge push from the earthquake...

Mon, 03/05/2012 - 14:12 | 2224506 GeneMarchbanks
GeneMarchbanks's picture

Last I checked only one of those has made a recent new record in petrol prices and has a 9% of economy as manufacturing. But, be a sycophant if you wish...

'It ain't over till it's over' -- Yogi Berra


Mon, 03/05/2012 - 14:04 | 2224481 Ralph Spoilsport
Ralph Spoilsport's picture

Time for Godzilla to come back and set things to rights.

Oh, no. There goes Tokyo! Go Go Godzilla!

Mon, 03/05/2012 - 14:10 | 2224501 Dr. Engali
Dr. Engali's picture

That would make for a lot of broken windows, and new economic stimulus.

Mon, 03/05/2012 - 14:37 | 2224593 Conrad Murray
Conrad Murray's picture

Watch the movie backwards. Godzilla comes, rebuilds the place, then moonwalks off into the ocean.

To get the drift - Support for Japan: "Godzilla can not do it alone"

Mon, 03/05/2012 - 14:09 | 2224497 Jason T
Mon, 03/05/2012 - 14:10 | 2224499 AN0NYM0US
AN0NYM0US's picture
Erich Brenn "Plate Spinning"

Mon, 03/05/2012 - 14:12 | 2224507 Offtheradar
Offtheradar's picture

They have no choice but nuclear.  Millions upon millions of people living on a island with no petroleum resources.  Hey GE engineers.  If your going to design hot reactors to be built along the coast, maybe backup generators and pumps might be better placed on the roof instead of the basement.  I had a little kid ask me why the back up systems weren't put up high.  I had no explanation to give.  Maybe kids should review engineering plans for reactor designs and start asking the engineers these types of questions. We might get better designs.  Ed

Mon, 03/05/2012 - 14:48 | 2224657 zerozulu
zerozulu's picture

"island with no petroleum resources". So no hope of "Liberating" them?

Mon, 03/05/2012 - 22:30 | 2226649 Totentänzerlied
Totentänzerlied's picture

A Fat Man and a Little Boy already liberated them.

Tue, 03/06/2012 - 07:34 | 2227354 Vlad Tepid
Vlad Tepid's picture


Mon, 03/05/2012 - 14:19 | 2224527 Physicist
Physicist's picture

Martenson is the same snake oil salesman that thinks an empirical fit to an exponential curve is a proof.  He should apply for a job at Gluskin Sheff.

Mon, 03/05/2012 - 14:21 | 2224537 Flakmeister
Flakmeister's picture

Care to share any of your deep insights with us?

Mon, 03/05/2012 - 14:45 | 2224639 LawsofPhysics
LawsofPhysics's picture

I'll second that.  Yes, and if you would, please relate it to the flux of energy, or the energy the must be spent per day in order to provide the same quality of life for 7 billion people.  I am all ears.

Mon, 03/05/2012 - 15:23 | 2224859 Taint Boil
Taint Boil's picture



A cool global Crude Oil Clock. Looks like about a 1000 barrels per second ...... actually that number seems low.

Mon, 03/05/2012 - 14:19 | 2224528 apberusdisvet
apberusdisvet's picture

Thanks to Fukushima, all areas within a 1000 mile radius (including the Pacific Ocean) will become a nuclear petri dish that will be examinied ad infinitum 20 years from now by the few survivors still standing.

Mon, 03/05/2012 - 14:40 | 2224609 Caviar Emptor
Caviar Emptor's picture

One Japanese guy was exposed to both nuclear explosions in 1945. He died an old man a couple of years ago. 

Mon, 03/05/2012 - 14:47 | 2224651 Jim in MN
Jim in MN's picture

See?  Everyone died.  Doesn't that prove...something?

Mon, 03/05/2012 - 18:58 | 2226027 Offtheradar
Offtheradar's picture

On a long enough timeline...........

Tue, 03/06/2012 - 07:36 | 2227355 Vlad Tepid
Vlad Tepid's picture

One of the doctors who survived Hiroshima and was the first to treat survivors, Shuntaro Hiida, is still alive and moved to Fukushima prefecture to treat survivors...tough old goat.

Mon, 03/05/2012 - 14:27 | 2224555 zerozulu
zerozulu's picture

Japan as a marvelous nation, fascinating culture and a flourishing economy has come to the end. You admit it or not.

Tue, 03/06/2012 - 07:37 | 2227356 Vlad Tepid
Vlad Tepid's picture

I admit only that your understanding of Japanese history is only high school deep.

Mon, 03/05/2012 - 14:28 | 2224556 sunny
sunny's picture

"For those who are in a hurry today, the bottom line is that Japan is in serious trouble right now and is a top candidate to be the next black swan."

A black swan event is totally unexpected, and off-the-wall surprise.  Various gurus have been predicting the demise of Japan for years.  The collapse of the Japanese economy is about as surprising as the sun coming up in the east, it's only a minor matter of timing.  Sheiish, Martenson should know better.


Mon, 03/05/2012 - 14:32 | 2224576 spentCartridge
spentCartridge's picture


They don't put the back up safety system on the roof because that's where they store all the fucking spent fuel.




Mon, 03/05/2012 - 19:01 | 2226043 Offtheradar
Offtheradar's picture

OK.  How about build 1 more level for the backup systems then?

Tue, 03/06/2012 - 02:37 | 2227168 Temporalist
Temporalist's picture

The Japanse should know what the potential for disaster is.

Even Frank Lloyd Wright knew better.

Frank Lloyd Wright Teaches Lessons in Earthquake Preparedness


Mon, 03/05/2012 - 14:34 | 2224582 Hugo Chavez
Hugo Chavez's picture

Japan, Inc. was going to take over the world in the eighties and buy up america and thoroughly dominate us economically.

Now all the usa haters like ananonymouse have pinned all their hopes on china.

Not going to happen in anyones lifetime, if ever.

Mon, 03/05/2012 - 15:53 | 2225046 BigJim
BigJim's picture

  Not going to happen in anyones lifetime, if ever.

Damn right! Amerika will last 1000 years! As will our rock-solid currency!

Mon, 03/05/2012 - 17:19 | 2225637 Dr. Acula
Dr. Acula's picture

We've had curreny collapse here before (the continental dollar). Nothing new.

We will survive. But your kids will have to move back in when they are 30 years old.


Tue, 03/06/2012 - 07:41 | 2227360 Vlad Tepid
Vlad Tepid's picture

The US was a religious, strict and educated monoculture.  Now we are, in TRoosevelt's words, a "polyglot boardinghouse for the world."  Not so fortuitous.

Mon, 03/05/2012 - 14:42 | 2224621 Caviar Emptor
Caviar Emptor's picture

Japan's energy crisis is in early phases. 

Mon, 03/05/2012 - 14:45 | 2224635 AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

Many would like an energy crisis like that...

Mon, 03/05/2012 - 14:44 | 2224631 AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

US citizens have quite a special look on events, self centered as they are.

Japan's situation is so bad that considering that recent bad situation, they can afford to put their nuclear plants off line and maintain a deficit to import other types of energy and compensate.

Really a bad situation... Is a US citizen able to think of a worse situation?

Now, if one remembers the little consumption game launched by US citizens, Japan plays well the cards they have.

They've shut down temporarily their nuclear plants, make up for the miss by importing other types of energy like oil, whose extraction has plateaued, so taking it from someone else.

Possibly the US of A, as apparently, their consumption in oil is not as sharp as it used to be.

Oil has been made available and Japan has jumped in to consume a share by itself, preventing others from using it as Japan would not have imported that oil if they had stayed nuclear online.

In a near future, nuclear plants will be pushed back on line and uranium consumption will resume.

Mon, 03/05/2012 - 15:54 | 2225049 r101958
r101958's picture

Good post AA. Also, the Japanese could import ALL their oil for 4 full years (4.4 mil brl/day) at $150 a brl and only have to use the US treasuries they currently own.

Tue, 03/06/2012 - 07:42 | 2227361 Vlad Tepid
Vlad Tepid's picture

" current value" is the operative phrase.

Mon, 03/05/2012 - 14:46 | 2224645 Jim in MN
Jim in MN's picture

Human cost of the nuclear disaster:


5 likely died of starvation in no-entry zone

NHK has learned that at least 5 people probably died of starvation after being stranded in the evacuation zone around the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant following the disaster last year.

The earthquake and tsunami that struck eastern Japan in March last year left 1,605 people dead in Fukushima Prefecture.

Local authorities in the area say that at least 5 others found later in the no-entry zone around the Fukushima nuclear plant had starved to death.

The government evacuated residents around the plant after the accident.

But some people were left behind. One man in his 70s, who lived about 5 kilometers from the plant, was found in late March on the 2nd floor of his home. The 1st floor had sustained damage from the tsunami.

A woman in her 60s was found dead last April inside her home, where she lived alone. She had had trouble walking.

All of the 5 dead were found grossly under weight.

Police and medical authorities examined the 5 bodies and said they appeared to have been stranded, either because they were unable to evacuate on their own or could not ask for help.

Monday, March 05, 2012 18:40 +0900 (JST)

In very related news, Cyndi Lauper visits children in the disaster zone:


Mon, 03/05/2012 - 14:49 | 2224664 slewie the pi-rat
slewie the pi-rat's picture

the japanese are a rugged bunch

i think they'll get through this.  how?  i don't know

i've been rooting for them against tough odds since the tsunami

the sap is flowing the birds will sing

the sadness still overwhelms the stoic warrior

yet, she must fight, today


Mon, 03/05/2012 - 14:54 | 2224693 lolmao500
lolmao500's picture

While they are at it, they should evacuate everything within 300km of Fukushima.

That includes Tokyo and it's 40 million population.

Fukushima at some point will get worse... just a matter of time. So better do it now.

Mon, 03/05/2012 - 16:03 | 2225115 r101958
r101958's picture

I lived in Japan for 10 years and they get by on a lot less than we do. What worries me with their situation is that many normal folks save their money in government savings accounts (postal savings accounts and bank savings that pay less interest than ours). If the government chooses to go on a printing spree then they will be causing a great deal of pain to their own constituents.

Mon, 03/05/2012 - 16:35 | 2225373 Poor Grogman
Poor Grogman's picture

The PTB might well like, a Japanese currency meltdown that, way the Japanese serfs could move to the USD just like Zim. Imagine the extra life and power that would add to the USD.

Mon, 03/05/2012 - 16:41 | 2225412 HAhyperion
HAhyperion's picture

Yes the real tsunami the liquidity tide.  Japan and China each holding slighlty above $1T each of Bernache bills, individually more than all others combined.  Japans T holdings tripled in a decade. And 3rd largest US trade partner.  The wave will crash back and forth like an angry tide.  Read last week first sludge, 20M tons of debris from actual not metaphorical tsunami to hit Hawaii first wks of March -- then on to California beaches.   

Mon, 03/05/2012 - 17:00 | 2225533 AchtungAffen
AchtungAffen's picture

When shit hits the fan ther in Nihon, will they have any other choice but to fly straight towards Iscandar?

Mon, 03/05/2012 - 17:42 | 2225755 pashley1411
pashley1411's picture

Godzilla vs. Rhodan = the ultimate Keynesian stimulus

Mon, 03/05/2012 - 19:42 | 2226153 BigInJapan
BigInJapan's picture

Nino Brown:

If I'm going down, I'm taking a whole lot of people with me!


Japan augering in is no joke, and it will take the G7 and China with it.

Fucking socialists.

Mon, 03/05/2012 - 19:50 | 2226175 Antifaschistische
Antifaschistische's picture

If the Yen collapses, will the 2013 Acura NSX go for 1/2 off?   That's what I'm hoping for.  Same for Ducati when SHTF in Italy.  

I know, I know...same goes for the US when the dollar collapses and foreigners want a John Deere tractor.  I think that's what we make now.  Oh, and KitchenAid mixers. 

Mon, 03/05/2012 - 20:17 | 2226227 BigInJapan
BigInJapan's picture

It won't matter - it's going to be built in the USA, anyway.

Mon, 03/05/2012 - 21:35 | 2226476 sullymandias
sullymandias's picture

How about this for a scary bullet point?

  • Japan sliding into the Pacific ocean as we enter into our next expanding Earth growth spurt.

We're going to need to shut down a lot more nuclear plants, and move all that nuclear waste to higher ground.

Mon, 03/05/2012 - 22:12 | 2226600 malek
malek's picture

 "demonic chain reaction” of plant meltdowns could have resulted in the evacuation of Tokyo, 150 miles to the south.

Now that is the most ridiculous disaster scenario I have ever heard - following that logic why didn't they plan for the evacuation of whole Japan?

Tue, 03/06/2012 - 01:44 | 2227087 Heyoka Bianco
Heyoka Bianco's picture

The supposedly "incredible job" Martenson did on "reporting" on the FUkushima disaster is as hysterical and unfounded as anything put out by Greenpeace. Current studies, by multiple independent agencies, are saying the event was less damaging than originally reported (and certainly less deadly than the tsunami itself, or the rolling blackouts caused by shutting down every reactor in Japan).

Just one example: he reports on the "high radioactivity" reported in a Tokyo neighborhood, but never gets around to the correction: it was a bunch of bottles of material left over from make luminous watch dials decades ago.

Tue, 03/06/2012 - 02:26 | 2227156 cnhedge
Thu, 06/28/2012 - 15:17 | 2570413 Silversem
Silversem's picture

I trade the Nikkei with a Contract For Difference, my instrument of choice.

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