2012年12月21日

おなじみの政党が再び日本を統治する 心機一転の公約には期待せぬよう


A Familiar Party Returns to Rule Japan, Promising a Fresh Start.
Don’t Hold Your Breath
( TIME )

They’re back. For nearly the entire post-World War II era, the
Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) has ruled Japan, its blend of export-
led economics and lavish public-works spending spawning both the
nation’s economic boom and then protracted financial contraction.
Now, after a three-year interlude in which the Democratic Party of
Japan (DPJ) betrayed its mandate to breathe fresh air into the
country’s stale politics, the conservative LDP has returned to
power, with a decisive win in the Dec. 16 general elections.

The LDP captured 294 seats in the 480-seat lower house of parliament,
with its minority partner, the Buddhist-influenced New Komeito Party,
picking up another 31 seats. (Prior to the election, the LDP held
only 118 seats.) The LDP’s hawkish party leader Shinzo Abe, who
served for one year as Prime Minister before resigning because of
gastrointestinal troubles in 2007, will almost assuredly return to
the same post. He will be Japan’s seventh Prime Minister in less
than seven years.

Sunday’s election was the first since the devastating March 11,
2011, tsunami, earthquake and ensuing nuclear crisis. In the weeks
and months after the triple disaster, some Japanese predicted that
3/11 would spur the DPJ to battle the vested interests and
bureaucratic gridlock that have paralyzed the Japanese political and
economic systems. But such hopes soon fizzled. Japan’s voters duly
punished the ruling party, which suffered its worst showing since its
founding in 1998. The DPJ’s lower-house representation dropped from
230 seats to just 57. Even Abe conceded on Sunday that the LDP’s
landslide was due less to an affection for his party and more to a
protest vote against the DPJ. Less than 60% of Japanese voters
bothered to cast ballots, a further sign of their political
disenchantment.

Earlier this month, Japan entered its fourth recession since 2000,
and it was clear that economic considerations motivated those
Japanese who voted to abandon the DPJ. But it is the LDP’s foreign
policy platform that may have the biggest global impact. The grandson
of a politician once accused of war crimes, the 58-year-old Abe has
fashioned himself into even more of a nationalist since his previous
stint in power, and he made standing up to China one of his campaign
mantras. China may be Japan’s largest trading partner, but it also
plays the role of economic usurper, having eclipsed Japan as the
world’s second largest economy in 2010.

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posted by K.Andoh | Comment(0) | 日本 | このブログの読者になる |

2012年12月18日

サンディー・フック銃撃事件 ランザはなぜ学校を狙ったのか


Sandy Hook Shooting: Why Did Lanza Target a School?
( TIME )

The killing of 26 people, including 20 children, at Sandy Hook
Elementary in Connecticut has understandably shocked the nation, and
details are just beginning to emerge about the shooter, Adam Lanza, a
20-year-old man who also murdered his mother. Events like these
inevitably reopen debates about gun control, or more tenuously lead
people to complain about American culture itself. Yet on the very
same day, a 36-year-old Chinese man attacked 22 children with a knife
at a primary school in China, suggesting that there is a critical
factor with mass homicides that gets far less attention.

For all the disbelief and dismay, we actually know pretty well that
most such events are committed by individuals with a particular set
of characteristics. As my colleagues Mark Coulson, Jane Barnett and I
noted in a 2011 article in the Journal of Police Crisis Negotiations,
school shooters have generally been found to 1) have a history of
antisocial-personality traits, 2) suffer from mental illnesses such
as depression or psychosis and 3) tend to obsess about how others,
whether other individuals or society at large, have wronged them.
(These conclusions are similar to the findings of a 2002 U.S. Secret
Service report on school shootings.) These individuals seethe with
rage and hatred and despondency, until they decide to lash out at
individuals or a society they believe has done them great wrong.
Mental health, as well as our failure to address it as a society, is
at the core of these events.

Not all mass homicide perpetrators target schools, but schools do
seem to be an unusually common target. People wonder why angry men
(and an occasional woman) so often target innocent children who have
done them no wrong. In the case of Sandy Hook, although early reports
suggested that Lanza’s mother, Nancy Lanza, may have worked there,
the school superintendent has since clarified that she was not a
teacher or a substitute. In many other cases, there is no obvious
connection. Watching the horror and great sadness that has descended
over the nation in the past 24 hours, we have our answer. These
perpetrators have lashed out against society in the most vicious way
possible, inflicting the most pain that they could. That is the point
of targeting a school.


In the Shadow of Sandy Hook, a Powerful Pro-Gun Organization Keeps
Silent
( TIME )

As one of early America’s industrial centers, Connecticut was a
hotbed of weapons manufacturing -- so much so that it was referred to
in the 19th century as the “Arsenal of America.” In 1851, Samuel
Colt, inventor of the revolver, built a factory on a parcel of land
on the banks of the Connecticut River near Hartford. The legendary
saying attached to Colt was “Abe Lincoln may have freed all men, but
Sam Colt made them equal.”

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posted by K.Andoh | Comment(0) | 米国 | このブログの読者になる |

2012年12月14日

「パワーボール」5億ドルという賞金 宝くじの不運な勝者たちの大悲劇


$500 Million Powerball Jackpot: The Tragic Stories of the Lottery’s
Unluckiest Winners
( TIME )

Wednesday’s Powerball jackpot is now expected to be an unimaginable
$500 million, the second-biggest jackpot in history behind March’s
$656 Mega Millions pot. But winning the lottery can have its
pitfalls. Distant relatives and fair-weather friends can come
clamoring for their share; spouse can turn on spouse; kidnapping and
murder can suddenly become very real threats. And sometimes, the
greatest danger to the newly well-off can be the winners themselves.
Here are ten cautionary tales of some of the biggest-winning losers
in lottery history.

Andrew “Jack” Whittaker

Whittaker may have been the wealthiest man ever to win a major
lottery jackpot. When the 55-year-old West Virginia construction
company president won a $315 million Powerball jackpot in December
2002 -- at the time, the largest jackpot ever won by a single ticket
-- he was already worth some $17 million. And Whittaker knew to
distribute his new mega-wealth, pledging to give 10 percent of his
fortune to Christian charities, donating $14 million to his Jack
Whittaker Foundation, and even giving a $123,000 house, a new Dodge
Ram Truck, and $50,000 in cash to the woman who worked at the
convenience store where he had purchased his winning ticket.

But even Whittaker couldn’t escape his own demons. Beset by legal
difficulties and personal problems, he began drinking heavily and
frequenting strip clubs. On Aug. 5, 2003, thieves stole $545,000 from
his car in a West Virginia strip club parking lot while he was
inside. In January 2007, Whittaker reported to the police that
thieves had completely emptied his bank accounts. On Jan. 25, 2004,
robbers once again broke into his car, stealing an estimated $200,000
in cash that was later recovered. And a string of personal tragedies
followed. On Sept. 17, 2004, his granddaughter’s boyfriend was found
dead from a drug overdose in Whittaker’s home. Three months later,
the granddaughter also died of a drug overdose. Her mother, Ginger
Whittaker Bragg, died five years later on July 5, 2009. Whittaker
himself is alleged to be broke -- a claim he made as early as January
2007 for failing to pay a women who successfully sued him. He’s also
being sued by Caesars Atlantic City casino for bouncing $1.5 million
worth of checks to cover gambling losses. “I wish I’d torn that
ticket up,” he sobbed to reporters at the time of his daughter’s
death.

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posted by K.Andoh | Comment(0) | 米国 | このブログの読者になる |

2012年12月11日

真珠湾2.0


Pearl Harbor 2.0
( TIME )

The “infamy” of December 7, 1941, is deeper than most Americans
have ever imagined. The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor was almost
certainly the result of a Soviet plot --“Operation Snow”-- carried
out by Harry Dexter White, a figure of enormous influence in the
Roosevelt administration and a known Soviet spy.

Americans remember Pearl Harbor as the work of a Japanese military
machine hell-bent on a war of conquest. The truth is more complicated.

The Russians, meanwhile, knew that they could not simultaneously
repel an expected German invasion from the west and respond to the
Japanese threat from the east. A series of skirmishes with the
Japanese at Nomonhan in 1939 had revealed serious weaknesses in the
Soviet military.

The NKVD, predecessor of the KGB, knew that a war with the United
States would divert Japan from its ambitions in Mongolia and Siberia
--t hreats that tied up 25% of the Red Army -- and allow Russia to
deploy its full military power against the Germans. Fortunately for
Stalin, his intelligence service had an “agent of influence” in
Washington perfectly situated to provoke a U.S.-Japanese war -- Harry
Dexter White, a high-ranking Treasury official.

Fearing exposure, White temporarily gave up his subversive
activities. But in May 1941, as the non-aggression pact between
Hitler and Stalin began to unravel, NKVD agent Vitalii Pavlov managed
to reactivate White with an urgent mission -- to provoke a war
between the United States and Japan so that Russia would not have to
fight on two fronts.

From his perch in the Treasury Department, White had become closely
acquainted with the key figures in FDR’s administration. He knew,
for instance, that Stanley Hornbeck, the State Department’s expert
on Asia, hated the Japanese and believed that Asians were naturally
timid and easily bluffed. And White wielded enormous influence with
his boss, Secretary of the Treasury Henry Morgenthal Jr., whose
personal friendship with the president made him the most powerful
member of the cabinet.

Skillfully manipulating Morgenthau and Hornbeck, White was able to
turn U.S. policy toward Japan in an increasingly belligerent
direction. When FDR almost agreed to relax a U.S. oil embargo in
return for Japan’s gradual evacuation of China, White drafted a
hysterical letter for Morgenthau’s signature:

To sell China to her enemies for the thirty blood-stained coins of
gold, will not only weaken our national policy in Europe as well as
the Far East, but will dim the bright luster of America’s world
leadership in the great democratic fight against Fascism.

Instead of compromising, the United States demanded that Japan
withdraw from China immediately, neutralize Manchuria, and sell
three-quarters of its military and naval production to the U.S.

Perceiving the demand as an insult and a threat, the skittish
Japanese government concluded that war was inevitable. They moved
ahead with a contingency plan for an attack on the Pacific Fleet at
Pearl Harbor and the Philippines, and Stalin, thanks to Harry Dexter
White, were spared a war on his eastern flank.

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2012年12月07日

戦争なしの未来?その可能性は思いのほか大きく


A Future Without War? It’s More Likely than You Think
( TIME )

There’s war in Afghanistan, a crisis in the Gaza Strip and
percolating conflicts across sub-Saharan Africa. But for politicial
scientists, that’s actually the good news.

The fact is, global conflicts have been on a downward trend for the
last half-century. And now, a group of researchers in Norway says
their data indicates that the future could be even more peaceful.

In a paper soon to be published in International Studies Quarterly,
Havard Hegre, a professor of political science at the University of
Oslo, claims that the number of ongoing conflicts will be halved by
2050 -- with the greatest decrease coming in the Middle East.

Hegre, along with his colleagues at the Peace Research Institute
Oslo, put together a statistical model that took into account factors
such as infant mortality, education, youth population, ethnic make-up
and conflict history. They ran the conflict simulation program 18,000
times before drawing conclusions.

Given the carnage on your average evening news broadcast, the idea
that humans are resisting our violent impulses would appear to be a
fantasy. However, despite the apparent prevalence of war, it is in
fact in decline. In 1992 every fourth country was involved in an
armed conflict; by 2009 that number had fallen to every sixth country.

The question that remains unanswered is why. Hegre explains that
while it is difficult to emphasize one factor over another, education
is key. “India is on the list because it is so large and it has a
history of conflict in the North, but if they made an effort to
expand education, they will reduce their risk of armed conflict,”
says Hegre.

Another factor is economic development. Europe, despite its current
economic troubles, is nevertheless still at low risk for armed
conflict. This is because “developed economies tend to have invested
a lot in exchange between different networks,” explains Hegre,
“violence destroys those networks.” In other words, the more you
have to lose, the less appealing war is.

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