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28 August 2008

Empire of Poverty (Hinkon-taikoku), America!

That is the title of a book written by Mika Tsutsumi, who wrote this book, which I wrote the review of.

She has lived in New York as college student and office worker but since she experienced 911 turmoil, she started to learn what went wrong in the U.S.

In this book, she paid attention to poverty issue. Some of the things mentioned overlap in her previous book.

The book became best-selling non-fiction book in Japan. It was sold at the price of 700 yen (US$7).

At first she talked about subprime loan crisis. The real estate business took mean advantage of poor people who have dreams of having their own houses, which they could never afford by their cheap salaries. They ended up losing  houses and dreams and then being poorer than before.

50 million people don't have medical insurance. 60 million live by the wage under $7 per day. 35 million people are in hunger. That was a result of free economy. The poor gets poorer, the rich gets richer.

Although so many are in hunger, but at the same time so many of them are suffering from obesity. The poverty and the obesity are linked. Poor people cannot afford healthy food. They had to buy cheap junk food which is filled with oil and contain less nutrition. They get fat but lack nutrition that result in sickness but they have no medical insurance to cure. The medical insurance issue she mentioned is similar to Micheal Moore's "Sicko."

Americans favour free competition, smaller government, and privatization. Hurricane Katrina was a catastrophie caused by privatization. FEMA was privatized and disaster prevention budget was cut-off.

In the last chapter, she described working poor became new type of military drafting system. A truck driver was offered high-paying job in Iraq by a military contractor. After months of labor in Iraq, he got leukemia because he drunk highly radioactive water. He had no insurance coverage to take care of his illness. Even though he got a big money for that job, he had to use all of it to cure the illness and ended up being poorer and getting heavy illness.

The poor people had no choice but to work for the military which offers only very hard and dangerous tasks.

That is the true figure of America, now. The popularity of Obama seems to be supported by those who experience such hard situations.

Today the U.S. marked very historical moment, Afro-American was nominated for presidential candidate of major political party. Some might hope because he is Black, he should know how the oppressed feel.

Can Ob(s)ama-Bi(nla)den change things better for the U.S. rather than fighting against terrorists outside their country? No more war and poverty, please! 


17 August 2008

Visited Auschwitz in Poland

This is the sequel of already posted article "Ich bin ein Berliner." My trip in Europe last month. After I enjoyed my 2 day stay in Berlin, I flew to Krakow, the old capital of Poland. From the city, I went to one of the famous World Heritage sites. It took 1 and a half hour to get to Auschwitz Museum by car. It was clear and sunny day. The place looked strangely beautiful although what happend there was so scary. At first I went to the second part of the former concentration camp, Birkenau.



Over 1 million people were said to be murdered there. The below photo is the bombed gas chamber. Nazis bombed the chamber when they left that place to destroy the evidence. It looked like Roman ruin to me.



The below is where the prisoners slept and their toilet.



Also the below is the site of forced labour in the ditch.


The below is the freight train car used for deportation of the prisoners. No seats in it. They had to stand up inside for days without food.


Then I went to the Auschwitz. That is me in front of the famous gate "ARBEIT MACHT FREI. (Labor makes you free.)" But the prisoners never became free. 90% of them died inside the camp.


You can also see the video clip of my vist of the museum.  
What lessons do we get from Auschwitz?
I think the most important thing is to learn what was the cause of such genocide. What was the beginning?
I recommend you to watch the DVD titled "Hitler, The Rise of Evil." Anti-semetism was not the only reason. What you can learn might help prevent similar event from occurring in the future.

04 August 2008

Stupid comic book and Fireworks

On 2nd of August, I went to U.S. Navy Base in Yokosuka city, 30 kilometers from Tokyo.


On that day, "Navy Friendship Day" festival was held there. "Friendship?" Huh? Are they our friends?

The navy is bringing very dangerous ship to the sea near our capital. That is CVN 73, George Washington.

They were providing comic books that describe life of the crews, how much they are excited to live in Japan, how much they love Japan. Such a cliche just irritated me. b9a82c62c14637c58116978ab3e70557.jpg

In fact the story were all fiction including the scene of the fire in laundry room. A crew extinguished the fire from a dryer immediately and prevented it from spreading. 


In May the CVN 73 caught a big fire on the sea near South America. The fire spread out to 80 compartments in the ship. It took 12 hours to extinguish the fire. The cause of the fire was announced 2 months later and it was from cigarette in non-smoking area. The fire was flashed off flammable fuels near it. The fuels were placed in prohibited area.

The morale of the crews was proved to be terrible. We can never rely on such crews for controlling the dangerous nuclear ship. I've already written a post about danger of nuclear aircraft carrier on this blog several times. I also posted You Tube video clip for this issue.

At night I saw fireworks lighting over the sea. It was very beautiful scene. I really enjoyed especially because I could see it lying on the football field inside the base.


The cost of maintaining the base facilities came from our tax. If they are protecting our land, I wouldn't care. But they just use that for their purposes and threaten our lives. We don't want them around us any more.


America should change their policy. They have to care about their own people rather than people outside their country. Abondon foreign bases and go back to traditional isolationism.

Last month I saw the documentary film featuring the U.S. soldiers and their miserable lives. The title was "AMERICA BANZAI, crazy as usual." The film featured Iraq war veterans who ended up being homeless after they came back home. Young soldier who refused to go to Iraq and dishonorably discharged. I hope this would be shown in the U.S. The director of the film is Japanese.

Living as American seems so hard except being Paris Hilton.