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Japan Follows US Lead In Crushing Rights As System Breaks Down

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Japan under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is following the US in drafting plans which will attempt to remove peoples rights and impose duties along with beefing up police powers to maintain public order. Abe is drafting changes to the Constitution and specifically aiming to change Article 9 which would looses restrictions on the military. Its a worrying time as Obama recently signed into law the NDAA Act which enables US citizens to be arrested indefinitely without charge or trial and now Japan is making similar moves. The breakdown of the global monetary system is clearly worring the elities.

Reported from ZeroHedge:

If there was ever a clear sign that the leadership of Japan is fully aware that the country is about enter a terminal economic catastrophe this is it. Using the cover of currency devaluation and a rising stock market, Japan’s Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, is attempting to make it easier to change the country’s constitution so that they can eliminate freedom of speech and set the stage for a military dictatorship.  Reuters reports that:

The draft deletes a guarantee of basic human rights and prescribes duties, such as submission to an undefined “public interest and public order.” The military would be empowered to maintain that “public order.”

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RIGHTS VS DUTIES

Critics see Abe’s plan to ease requirements for revising the charter and then seek to change Article 9 as a “stealth” strategy that keeps his deeper aims off the public radar.

“The real concern is that a couple of years later, we move to a redefinition of a ‘new Japan’ as an authoritarian, nationalist order,” said Yale University law professor Bruce Ackerman.

The LDP draft, approved by the party last year, would negate the basic concept of universal human rights, which Japanese conservatives argue is a Western notion ill-suited to Japan’s traditional culture and values, constitutional scholars say.

“The current constitution … provides protection for a long list of fundamental rights – freedom of expression, freedom of religion,” said Meiji University professor Lawrence Repeta. “It’s clear the leaders of the LDP and certain other politicians in Japan … are passionately against a system that protects individual rights to that degree.”

The draft deletes a guarantee of basic human rights and prescribes duties, such as submission to an undefined “public interest and public order”. The military would be empowered to maintain that “public order.”

One proposal would ban anyone from “improperly” acquiring or using information about individuals – a clause experts say could limit freedom of speech. A reference to respect for the “family” as the basic social unit hints, say critics, at a revival of a patriarchal system that gave women few rights.

“The constitution is there to tie the hands of government, not put duties on the people,” said Taro Kono, an LDP lawmaker often at odds with his party on policies. “There are some in both houses (of parliament) who don’t really understand the role of a modern constitution.”

ZeroHedge sums it up in one line

Let’s see, print money, make the stock market go up and keep people servile as you destroy the country and rip up the Constitution.  Sound familiar?

 

Source: ZeroHedge, Reuters

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Greek Government Provides Emergency Cash For Electricity Supplier

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Greece is on the verge of the electricity network collapsing, but the government is to provide €250 million in emergency funding to keep the lights on. You could argue that it was the fault of government policies that caused the situation in the first place. The power utility PPC was used as a property tax collector but ultimately many desperate people choose not to pay and have their electricity cut off instead. Greece also has to pay over the odds to secure fuel for generating power as a result of mistrust of suppliers of Greece paying its bills.

Greece will provide 250 million euros  in emergency funds to its ailing electricity providers to prevent a California-style energy crisis, government officials said on Friday.

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The temporary aid will shore up the accounts of main power utility PPC, allowing it to maintain operations and reimburse other suppliers of electricity and natural gas on whom the smooth functioning of the country’s energy system depends.

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Greece’s energy market has fallen into disarray due to a combination of stagnant power demand, rising fuel costs and a government decision to use PPC as a tax collection vehicle.
 
An increasing number of consumers stopped paying their electricity bills after the government started collecting a 1.7 billion euro property tax through them last year, in a desperate effort to meet its budget targets under an EU/IMF bailout.
 
Non-payments blew a hole into the accounts of PPC, which is Greece’s biggest power producer and its sole electricity retailer. PPC, which posted a record loss in the fourth quarter, is also the biggest client for upstart producers generating about 23 percent of Greece’s electricity.
Source: Athennews

Hungarian Bill Could Take Power From Central Bank

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An article in the NewYork Times discusses a bill in Hungary that threatens the independence of the Hungarian Central Bank.  In a positive move the government proposes to have more political influence on decisions taken by the Central Bank.

In an interview with the Hungarian Web site Index.hu, Andras Simor, head of the National Bank of Hungary, said that a proposal to increase the number of political appointees participating in decisions on monetary policy added up to “almost a total takeover” of the institution.

In a further positive move the Prime Minister Orban has managed to persuade the banks to take some burden sharing.

Mr. Orban has also nationalized some pension funds and levied significant windfall taxes on the retail, energy, telecommunications and financial sectors. The government demanded that banks absorb losses to help take the pressure off Hungarian consumers who took out loans in Swiss francs and euros, which became onerous to repay after the local currency, the forint, fell sharply against those currencies.

On Thursday the government announced that it had reached an agreement with the banks to share part of the burden of the repayment plan and to let them write off some of their losses against the windfall tax.

…it gets even better

Mario Draghi, the president of the European Central Bank, issued what amounted to a written protest against the changes. In a legal opinion dated Wednesday and signed by Mr. Draghi, the bank complained that the Hungarian government had not consulted it about changes in the central bank law, as required, and expressed concern that the Hungarian central bank’s independence from political influence was under threat.

 

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