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How did we get here? Part one of an examination

Foreword: This diary is the first in a series examining, inter alia, the political economy of the United States. Much of what you read here will be historical, and general in application.  The drive behind these diaries remains an examination of the current political-economic structure and function, and my conclusions about the 2012 elections. Although this article doesn't mention anything about 2012, please feel free to begin to draw conclusions, make note of any areas you dispute, offer critiques, comparisons, contrasts, and above all, references for future inquiry.

I think that we need to know where we have been in order to know where we are. Thus, I am attempting to write a series of diaries that chronicle, to me at least, some of the major events and major people/entities which contributed to the direction, the trajectory of the US, socially, politically, and economically, since we can't separate one trajectory from the other.

We in the USA face a crossroads with the coming election. The polarization of both sides (which I think of as the Right and the Middle, the Left being irrelevant at this time) may be leading to tumultuous times. I think it best to discuss the phenomenon.  As I am not a lawyer, please post legal cases that may pertain, along with links, if they are available.  I welcome comments and criticism.  

I think an examination of Japan will help us (or me at least), examine what happens in the US at present, so this diary concentrates on the Japanese business model, with many simplifications.

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Japan: New Explosions and Rising Radiation Fears

Reports are conflicting about the latest explosion at a nuclear reactor plant in Japan today. Some say radiation levels are rising dangerously. Others say levels rose noticeably only inside the plant.

Things change quickly. Kyodo News Agency has more. And this ABC News reporter in Japan is updating frequently via Twitter. I'd rather read her twitter feed than ABC News which continues to bombard us with videos that play automatically when you click on a news article.

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Updated Figures on Crisis in Japan

1 am MT: The Kyodo News Agency reports more than 2,000 people have died or are unaccounted for. In Minamisanriku, a town in Miyagi with 10,000 people, more than 5,000 people are unaccounted for. The police chief thinks the toll in Miyagi could exceed 10,000. Hundreds of bodies have been found under rubble. In one town hit by the Tsunami, the town hall and a nursing home were swept out to sea. Neither the mayor nor the elderly patients have been heard from.

20,000 buildings have been damaged or destroyed and more than 300,000 in six perfectures have been evacuated. The power outages may last weeks. The LA Times has some descriptive photos of the destruction here. For this family, it's like watching a scene from that new show Waking Dead. What an awful shock. One day life is fine, the next day it's gone. These picture pretty well capture the extent of the property damage in that area.

At least 160 people have been tested for radiation exposure from the nuclear reactors. Six reactors have now failed or are in danger of failing.

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8.9 Earthquake and Tsunami Hit Japan

Update: 2:45 a.m. MT: Evacuations ordered in Hawaii, see Donald's comments below. Here's a live news stream for night owls. The "hit time" is set for about 3:00 am Hawaii time. Coastal inundation zones are most at risk. If you are in one, it's time to evacuate now. The Mayor of Honolulu is on now and he sounds like everything is under control, all the agencies are working with each other -- including police, fireman planning, hospitals, hotels. "Don't believe the worst is going to happen, but prepare for the worst that could happen." He's very calm. They've prepared for the homeless, the animals at the zoo, etc.

The water system will be shut down on Maui around when the tsunami hits so everyone needs to get water. But things should get back to normal quickly.

A huge earthquake, 8.9 in magnitude, has hit Japan, triggering a massive tsunami.[More...]

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