Japan's two-decade romance with Keynesian economics has led to another betrayal — and yet the press and all the supposedly smart economists and analysts seem to believe that just one more fling might bring about a different result.
The Land of the Rising Sun, aka the Land of the Two-Decade Zombie Economy, has just reported an annualized contraction of 0.8 percent in the third quarter. The decline, following a revised 0.7 percent second-quarter downturn, means that the country is once again in a recession — its second in three years (Update: And fifth since 2008). Oh, but don't worry. It's no big deal. The Associated Press insists that it's only a "technical" recession, and more Keynesian "stimulus" could set things right — even though such measures, in place to varying degrees since the 1990s, have consistently failed to bring about sustained, meaningful recoveries:
We've got more than a year to go before the election. Even so, Steve Rattner has made a strong bid for most unusual metaphor of the political season.
On today's Morning Joe, Rattner said that when it comes to the email matter, Hillary needs to "open the kimono." Rattner, a Hillary supporter, went on to suggest that she turn over the server and take questions at length from reporters, as Chris Christie did regarding Bridgegate
On Tuesday night, CBS and NBC teamed with Spanish-language networks Telemundo and Univision to hide from their viewers news that U.S. Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy has been using a private e-mail server to conduct government business and send sensitive material. Surprisingly, ABC’s World News Tonight stepped up to the plate with a scant 50-second report on this new e-mail scandal by chief White House correspondent and a lead in by fill-in anchor and Clinton Foundation donor George Stephanopoulos.
Japan, once a feared world economic powerhouse already at "two decades of little or no real economic growth," just reported that its economy contracted during the second quarter at an annual rate of 1.6 percent.
The common thread throughout the two-decade slump has been the alleged need for ever-increasing levels of Keynesian "stimulus." Apparently refusing to believe there are any other viable alternatives to what hasn't worked for 20 years, the world's press is expecting — and creating pressure for — even more "stimulus."
How absolutely serendipitous it is that alleged comedian and actual White House propagandist Jon Stewart’s last broadcast of The Daily Show is today, August 6, the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, Japan.
You see, Stewart, whose influence is especially nefarious when he is revising and distorting history for his relatively young audience, committed his most outrageous such act when, in a 2009 interview with Cliff May, he agreed that U.S. President Harry S. Truman should be considered a "war criminal" for approving that horrific but necessary bombing mission.
Japan just reported yet another awful retail sales result. Though it far exceeeded predictions of a 7.3 percent fall, the 9.7 percent March 2015 plunge compared to March 2014 doesn't reveal much, as March 2014 saw a splurge at the stores ahead of a steep sales tax increase which took effect on April 1. The really telling figure is the 1.9 percent seasonally adjusted dive compared to February.
Proving once again that they haven't learned, and probably never will, the press and financial commentators are really hoping that the government will respond, after two decades of Keynesian deficit spending and quantitative easing which have given the country slow growth, several recessions and a dispirited populace, with (good heavens) more stimulus.
So when is a recession not a genuine recession? Apparently when it's "technical."
Unfortunately, the term "technical recession" appears to be well on the way to devolving into what has long been considered the real definition of a recession for the purpose of discounting its validity.
In an early Wednesday morning report containing an undercurrent of amazement and frustration that Japan's journey into Keynesianism and quantitative easing on steroids somehow hasn't worked, the Associated Press's Elaine Kurtenback wrote that a steep "April 1, 2014 sales tax hike ... triggered a brief recession and growth since has been flat."
The Land of the Rising Sun with the long-stagnating economy should be so lucky. Six days ago, the Wall Street Journal reported something Kurtenbach should have known when she submitted her writeup, namely that the country is once again on the brink of slipping into contraction:
The New York Times' labeling bias isn't just aimed at U.S. conservatives; the Times' global reach and bias extends overseas, as demonstrated in Wednesday's New York Times was crammed with dangerous and unpleasant right-wingers in Europe, Asia, and of course Israel.
President Obama began a week-long trip of Asia on Wednesday with a stop in Japan, and NBC's Today dutifully heaped praise on the trip and the American Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy. On April 23, Co-host Matt Lauer gushed at the "Historic trip. President Obama greeted by Ambassador Caroline Kennedy as he arrives in Japan this morning. The first state visit by a president there in nearly two decades and Ambassador Kennedy's first major summit in her new role."
The two-and-a-half-minute segment began with reporter Peter Alexander glowing at "A large crowd, including his ambassador, greeted the president today in Tokyo. But that doesn't compare to the thousands who lined the streets here last fall to welcome Caroline Kennedy, riding in a horse-drawn carriage, she was more dignitary than diplomat. Completing the journey her father could not." [See video below.]
Alex Burns at Politico was handed the Kennedy Goo bucket for their latest feature, headlined "Ambassador Kennedy: A Star Is Born." The liberal media establishment are very eager to say Caroline Kennedy is packed with charm in her role in Japan as "political royalty," and if she was a terrible candidate to replace Hillary Clinton in the U.S. Senate, well, diplomacy is more her bag.
After about three weeks, this "iconic daughter of American political royalty" is already a "rock star" in diplomatic circles. In other words, she was born on third base and servile journalists insist she's hit a triple. Someone left the cap off the sugar dispenser:
On Thursday's NBC Today, chief foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell couldn't contain her glee over Carolina Kennedy being appointed U.S. ambassador to Japan: "Caroline Kennedy was almost born to be an ambassador, a picture perfect daughter in a telegenic first family. She captured our hearts all the way through her intense personal heartbreak." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Mitchell acknowledged that Kennedy "has no particular experience in Japan," but quickly brushed it aside: "...she has something that the Japanese consider far more important in an ambassador, and that is a celebrated family name and a direct line to her very good friend in the Oval Office." On Wednesday's Nightly News, Mitchell gushed: "The Kennedy name is magic in Japan."