Divisions from this week's firing of the US State Department Japan policy chief Kevin Maher for derogatory comments about Okinawans and the resignation of Japanese Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara over a domestic scandal are unfortunate. From the military rise of China to warmongering on the Korean Peninsula and territorial disputes, closer cooperation, not damage control, is the order of the day....
.LINK: Earthquake series listed
- Our thoughts and prayers go out to the people of Japan and especially our friends and colleagues with the Washington bureaus of Mainichi Shimbun, Asahi Shimbun, Nikkei, and other news bureaus, as well as the Japanese embassy.
- Mount Kerangetang, Sulawesi, Indonesia erupts. Eruption occurred hours after Japanese mega-quake. Mount Bromo, east Java, continues to erupt. Increased seismic activity along the Cascade Range, including Mounts Rainier, St. Helens, Hood, Baker, and Adams. Two volcanos erupt in Far East Russia at same time of Japan mega-quake.
- New 6.2 quake hits off west coast of Honshu.Very shallow depth.
- BREAKING: PACIFIC TSUNAMI WARNING CENTER UPGRADES JAPAN QUAKE TO 9.1 FROM 8.9. 9.1 IS TWICE AS POWERFUL AS 8.9. FOURTH STRONGEST QUAKE IN WORLD RECORDED HISTORY. WORST IN JAPAN IN 2000 YEARS.
- Official missing count in Japan: 88,000. Number reported by Kyodo News Agency.
United States forces have an apt name for the barren land where annual exercises are now taking place with South Korean troops. Tension is palpable, despite the war games, and "fight-tonight" readiness is maintained with good reason: In the words of one observer, the Korean Peninsula is now as dangerous a place as it has been at any time since conflict ended in 1953. -
- Defense Department hires contractors to perform oversight on contractors. Mother Hen, Mr. Fox is here to see you.
- Pentagon buys false personae software. Operation Earnest Voice uses Ntrepid software and is a favorite of David Petraeus.
- House cuts funding to NPR. GOP prefers Fox propaganda over news. It's what Nazis do: Goebbels, Murdoch, it's the same old story.
The defense budget in back in the news – the perennial harbinger of Spring like the first crocuses. This year’s version of the ritualized passion play on Capitol Hill features Secretary Robert Gates’ highly publicized proposal to trim military spending by $78 billion over the next five years. That would amount to roughly $15.5 billion per annum. A closer look reveals that the numbers refer only to the fixed Pentagon budget while excluding the ‘off the books’ outlays for the war/occupations in Iraq and Afghanistan. (Even the official fixed budget greatly understand outlays for our military establishment. Were we to include lifetime medical care, interest on debt, etc. some reasonable calculations that I’ve seen place the aggregate annual cost at $1 trillion+). Conservative estimates of those costs, which assume a steady drawdown of forces and expenditures, pretty much match the projected $78 billion cuts. So, in truth, this heralded bold step to rein in defense spending is a bit of legerdemain. That’s to be expected. These annual exercises usually are little more than stylized Kabuki....