No retrial for Asahara – clock ticking

Tokyo Court Rejects Aum Cult Leader’s Retrial Plea, Kyodo Says


By Stuart Biggs

March 19 (Bloomberg) — The Tokyo District Court turned down a request for a retrial for Shoko Asahara, the leader of the Aum Shinrikyo cult who was sentenced to death for the murder of 19 people in sarin gas attacks in Japan, Kyodo News reported.

The retrial plea, filed in November by Asahara’s second daughter, was turned down because what it claims is new evidence wouldn’t be sufficient to overturn his sentence, Kyodo said, citing unidentified people familiar with the case. The report didn’t provide further details of the contents of the plea.

Asahara, whose real name is Chizuo Matsumoto, was sentenced to death in February 2004 for the attack on the Tokyo subway in 1995 that killed 12 people and another attack in the city of Matsumoto a year earlier that left seven people dead. The group is alleged to have killed 27 people in total.

Asahara, 54, lost a final appeal against the death sentence in September 2006, Kyodo said.

14 years later, Asahara might face the gallows this year…

Michelle Malkin – Kabuki, stage left

(Updated below)

Wow, politics as theater. What a deep and insightful insight!

The Kabuki Theater of AIG Outrage

Michelle Malkin – Wed Mar 18, 3:00 am ET

All the world’s a stage, wrote Shakespeare, and in the world of Washington, the curtains have opened on the most elaborate farce of the year. Welcome, taxpayers, to the Kabuki Theater of AIG Outrage — where D.C.’s histrionic enablers of taxpayer-funded corporate bailouts compete for Best Performance of Hypocritical Indignation.

Democratic Sen. Chris Dodd, the corporate crony who is the largest recipient of AIG donations, is now leading the charge to tax the retention payments in order to recoup the $450 million the company is paying to employees in its financial products unit.

But Dodd, it turns out, was for protecting AIG’s bonuses before he was against them.

Fox Business reporter Rich Edson pointed out that during the Senate porkulus negotiations last month, Dodd successfully inserted a teeny-tiny amendment that provided for an “‘exception for contractually obligated bonuses agreed on before Feb. 11, 2009,’ which exempts the very AIG bonuses Dodd and others are seeking to tax.” Pay no attention to what his left hand was doing. Dodd’s right fist is pounding mightily, mightily for the sake of the taxpayers.

If Washington’s newfound opponents of rewarding failure want to do taxpayers a favor, how about giving back their automatic pay raises? How about returning all their AIG donations? How about taking back all the bailout money to all the failed enterprises, from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to AIG, the automakers and the big banks? Barry? Harry? Nancy? John? Chris? Bueller? Bueller?

Exit stage left. The curtain falls.

Are there even curtains at kabuki performances?

BTW, as Glenn Greenwald notes, one of the central themes of this piece – that Chris Dodd was key to ensuring that these bonuses could be paid – is part of a falsehood-based smear campaign (UPDATE: Apparently not baseless after all…) (UPDATED AGAIN: Dodd “accepted responsibility” for agreeing to the Obama-Geithner plan to pay the existing bonuses… whatever!):

…here is a February 14 article from the Wall St. Journal on the debate over executive compensation limits:

The most stringent pay restriction bars any company receiving funds from paying top earners bonuses equal to more than one-third of their total annual compensation.  That could severely crimp pay packages at big banks, where top officials commonly get relatively modest salaries but often huge bonuses.

As word spread Friday about the new and retroactive limit — inserted by Democratic Sen. Christopher Dodd of Connecticut — so did consternation on Wall Street and in the Obama administration, which opposed it.

Can that be any clearer?  It was Obama officials, not Dodd, who demanded that already-vested bonus payments be exempted. And it was Dodd, not Obama officials, who wanted the prohibition applied to all compensation agreements, past and future.

Ironically enough, Malkin’s own eagerness to repeat wingnut talking points is about as staged and scripted as anything on Capitol Hill, not unlike a certain traditional Japanese dramatic form. But I guess since she uses blogging software instead of the Senate floor, no  appropriate cliches have arisen to describe the right-wing noise machine.

(Thx to M-Bone for pointing this out)

UPDATE: So Dodd did push to pay the committed AIG bonuses?

UPDATE AGAIN: Dodd “accepted responsibility” for agreeing to the Obama-Geithner plan to pay the existing bonuses… whatever!

Who has more “construction workers”?

In my previous post, an investment analyst suggested the following:

Japan should focus more on creating jobs in the construction industry, to which 10 pct of its workforce belongs, he said.

To which my gut reaction was, MORE construction workers? Come on. As with the general worry that massive stimulus could create crippling levels of dependency on government largesse, a large permanent construction workforce could prove an end in itself, spurring fruitless construction projects like so many Towers of Babel.
So today I want to take a look at just what Japan’s workforce looks like and whether this guy has a point. Japan’s level of construction employment currently comes in at around 8.75%, having steadily declined since 2002:

Construction workers make up just 5% of the US non-farm civilian labor force. But then again, if you add prisoners and soldiers into the mix, you find the breakdown is  5.1% of the core workforce does construction, around 1.6% is in prison and another 1.03% is in the armed forces.

At that point the level of workers taken in by the “employment creation industries” (a term of my own creation) adds up to 7.8%. Given the comparatively miniscule incarceration and military service rates for Japan and the chronically higher unemployment rate in the US, the picture doesn’t end up looking so different from Japan.

I still don’t know whether Japan really needs more construction workers, but at least I know that there’s a somewhat equivalent population of workers in the US that makes Japan a less of an outlier.

It’s all about the Benjamin

There are times when I want to just quit my job, lock myself in an Internet-connected bomb shelter, and spend all my waking hours reading updates from the troubled mind of Benjamin Fulford:

The exposure of Satan worshippers accelerates as the Federal Reserve Board heads for collapse.

The confessions of child sacrifice and cannibalism by a Satan worshipper on prime time US television is a sure sign Satan worship is coming to an end:

This confession confirms other sporadic confessions and a few rare historical court cases describing human sacrifice among Satan worshippers pretending to be Jews or Christians. As the Federal Reserve Board heads for collapse many more of the Satan worshippers who are often found amongst the super rich are sure to be exposed.

An aristocratic Satan worshipper contacted me to say that “Satan has gone to heaven,” and ask “what are we to do now?” My answer is they should abandon the Western concept of an eternal clash between Good and Evil and replace with the Asian concept of Yin and Yang or harmonious opposites. They can then also start worshipping life instead of fooling themselves about some sort of war between Satan and God.

We are likely to see many more horrendous confessions over the coming months and years. In order to have a fresh start for the planet I think we need to forgive those who confess.

This guy David Icke, a promoter of the idea that “reptile people” are in secret control of the world order, called Benjamin Fulford a “disinformation artist” because Fulford says he needs proof before he’ll believe the Illuminati are actually reptilian Here Icke feverishly denying that money really exists:

More Benjamin…

About the Bush-China connection

The Skull and Bones drug dealing syndicate was a major player in the opium trade so they have been dealing with Chinese mobsters for over 150 years. However, while the two sides did business, they were also enemies who did not fully trust each other. The Bush family were heavily involved with China and the Chinese mob. They were also blackmailing top Chinese power brokers over illegal slush funds they had. Papa Bush’s brother Jonathan Bush lived in Beijing and had high level contacts. However, the Bush, China connection has since been severed because the Chinese figured out it was the Bush faction that was trying to depopulate China with Sars and Bird Flu etc. The Chinese were planning all-out warfare against the US because the US elite were planning to kill 80% of the world’s population. That plan has been stopped and there are now negotiations on to build a win-win permanent world peace.

On the DPJ Ozawa scandal:

Japan’s prosecutors ordered by US to trump up charges against opposition leader Ozawa’s secretary

The US criminal regime ordered the current Japanese puppet/slave colonial government to trump up charges against the secretary of opposition Democratic Party of Japan’s leader Ichiro Ozawa, according to senior sources in the Japanese secret government. The reason was that Ozawa said “the only US forces we need here are the 7th fleet.”

As the US secret government comes to an end it is using every dirty trick in its book both in Japan and the US in a desperate but doomed effort to stay in power. No matter what they do they will not be able to con the Japanese people like they did during the last lower house election that was held on September 11 4 years ago. For one thing they no longer have any money so they will not be able to bribe the TV stations to run their propaganda. Furthermore, if members of the current slave regime continue to betray their people with dirty tricks like this they will surely end up in jail.

The Japanese Democratic Party promises to renegotiate the US/Japan security treaty once they come into power. If the US carries out any more dirty tricks it will hurt them in the negotiations. The Japanese opposition would like to retain a US presence as a counter-balance to China but they might change their mind if the US continues to abuse this country.

Shining Path is back… what about Fujimori?

According to the NYT, Shining Path, the Peruvian Maoist rebel group, has made a comeback:

The war against the Shining Path rebels, which took nearly 70,000 lives, supposedly ended in 2000.

But here in one of the most remote corners of the Andes, the military, in a renewed campaign, is battling a resurgent rebel faction. And the Shining Path, taking a page from Colombia’s rebels, has reinvented itself as an illicit drug enterprise, rebuilding on the profits of Peru’s thriving cocaine trade.

The front lines lie in the drizzle-shrouded jungle of Vizcatán, a 250-square-mile region in the Apurímac and Ene River Valley. The region is Peru’s largest producer of coca, the raw ingredient for cocaine.

… Coca, the mildly stimulating leaf chewed raw here since before the Spanish conquest, is largely legal; cocaine is not.

Coca, a hallowed symbol of indigenous pride, is ubiquitous here. Qatun Tarpuy, a pro-coca political party, paints images of it on mud huts. Women harvest coca in clearings along the winding dirt road, and children dry the leaves in the sun.

It is also nearly impossible to find a coca farmer here who admits that his crops are sold for anything other than traditional use, but somehow, studies have found, as much as 90 percent of the coca goes to produce cocaine.

In 2007, the latest year for which data is available, coca cultivation in Peru increased by 4 percent, reaching the highest level in a decade, according to the United Nations. At the same time, Peru’s estimated cocaine production rose to a 10-year high of about 290 tons, second only to that of Colombia.

Since the Shining Path retreated here after the capture of its messianic leader, Abimael Guzmán, in 1992, it has followed the much larger Colombian rebel group, the FARC, in melding a leftist insurgency with drug running and production.

While the Shining Path was involved in coca before, now it is a major focus. According to military and anti-drug analysts, the faction here, while still professing to be a Maoist insurgency at heart, is now in the business of protecting drug smugglers, extorting taxes from farmers and operating its own cocaine laboratories.

Coca farmers here describe today’s Maoists as a disciplined, well-armed force, entering villages in groups of 20 in crisp black uniforms. Little is known about their leaders, aside from the belief that two brothers, Victor Quispe Palomino, known as José, and Jorge Quispe Palomino, alias Raúl, are at the helm.

Soldiers speak respectfully of the rebels’ command of the jungle terrain and of their ability to harass with gunfire more than a dozen forward operating bases that have been established in recent months. “Their columns seem to melt into the jungle,” said Maj. Julio Delgado, an officer at a base in Pichari, one of the largest towns in the valley.

The rebels contend that they no longer assassinate local officials or sow terror with tactics like planting bombs on donkeys in crowded markets, atrocities the group was infamous for in the 1980s. This metamorphosis was confirmed by testimony from villagers who had come in contact with them, interviews with imprisoned rebels and a 45-page analysis written by the rebels, tracing the group’s evolution from its origins under Mr. Guzmán, that was captured by military intelligence here in December.

Meanwhile, the last we had heard of former Peruvian president and Shining Path nemesis Alberto Fujimori was in 2007 when he made Japanese political history as perhaps the first person to run for parliamentary election while under house arrest in a foreign country (he lost). Today, he remains in a Peruvian jail after the country’s Supreme Court upheld his 2007 convictions for abuses of power during his time as president. His trial for human rights violations is apparently still ongoing. This BBC profile provides a pretty much up to date record of Fujimori’s status, in addition to an overview of his background (I never knew he was an agricultural engineer before becoming president!).

Fighting fire with fire – ominous divine eye silently watches, condemns Saitama litterers

Here is the image that will be in my nightmares from now on:


If you think you can toss your waste in the Minuma Rice Fields nature preserve, think again – the red torii are watching you. Judging you.

A citizens’ group in Saitama prefecture has set up dozens of these unsettling warnings to try and stop litterers from ruining their greenery and historical farmland. A member of the group commented that they would prefer not to set these things up since they understand the negative effect on the scenery, but the move was taken out of frustration after signs and cameras didn’t work. The group claims it has been effective in reducing the amount of trash. I mean, what’s worse – hellish, gazing torii or mountains of construction waste in one of Japan’s precious nature preserves?

Torii (often translated as “traditional Japanese gates”) are traditionally placed at the entrance to Shinto shrines and symbolize that you are venturing into sacred space. In recent years, the practice of using torii (or mock torii with distorted proportions) to ward off potential litterers has grown as word of mouth has spread with the help of positive TV coverage. The added eye was an original innovation of the Saitama group. According to Wikipedia, this custom is predated by the use of tiny torii to keep public urinators in check.

Ideas to save Japan’s economy

There has been no shortage of ideas to shore up Japan’s economy in the face of the global economic slowdown and the general collapse of exports, Japan’s main engine of growth over the past few years. Let’s look at some of them.

Today’s Nikkei (p. 3) featured a government-convened expert panel featuring the elite leaders of top corporate think tanks, gathered to provide ideas on how to approach additional fiscal economic recovery spending. Their suggestions ranged from the mundane to the borderline extreme to Andy Rooney-ish whining:
  • Motoshige Ito, Tokyo University Professor: Temporarily waive gift taxes to encourage the elderly to hand their financial assets to their children and grandchildren. Then the money will be used for consumption and help spur domestic demand.
  • Yuri Okina, Research Director, Chief Senior Economist at Japan Research Institute: Push domestic demand by creating jobs in child care, medicine, and elderly care. Specifically, improve day care services and digitize medical records.
  • Ryutaro Kono, Chief Economist of BNP Pariba – 1.2 million yen in handouts to each unemployed person. Build health care, elderly care, and education into growth industries through deregulation.
  • Akihiko Tanaka, Tokyo University Professor:  Revamp scholarship systems to attract the best foreign students. Expand slots open to students with recommendations and speed up the application and selection process for foreign students.
  • Iwao Nakatani, Director of Research at Mitsubishi UFJ Research & Consulting (“one of the leading opinion leaders of Japan”) – Raise the consumption tax to 20% and issue a refund of 200,000 yen per person. Eliminate the system of 47 prefectures and reorganize the country into 300 “han” domains, while shrinking central government functions.
  • Mitsuhiro Fukao (PDF), President of Japan Center for Economic Research: Institute a negative interest rate policy, by which a 2% tax would be levied on government-guaranteed financial assets. Focus any fiscal efforts on employment policy. Encourage a shift in employment toward medical and elderly care sectors.
  • Richard Khoo, Chief Economist of Nomura Research Institute: Continue fiscal support until “balance sheets are improved.” Encourage supply of sturdy, long-lasting housing to expand consumption and maintain household assets.
  • Robert Feldman, managing director of economic research at Morgan Stanley Japan – Increase productivity and build up demand in agriculture, medical, and financial sectors. Aggressively promote preventive medicine. The national health insurance program should charge extra to smokers.
In terms of short-term means to ensure a smooth transition during the dip in the business cycle, the Nikkei has called for increased funding of employment training, not to mention using the fiscal stimulus money to fund priority infrastructure projects, and avoid a repeat of the white elephants of the 1990s. Here is what the Nikkei thinks should happen in terms of constructions projects:
  • PROJECT: Enhance earthquake protection of schools and other public institutions. BENEFIT: They’ll be the last buildings standing when the big one hits Tokyo. 
  • PROJECT: Examine and fix the nation’s 140,000 road bridges. BENEFIT:  Many bridges are aging and need it, and we don’t want a Minneapolis on our hands.
  • PROJECT: Bury power lines, giving priority to tourist areas. BENEFIT: Prettier streets, plus this would prevent accidents somehow.
  • PROJECT: Complete the beltway around Tokyo, starting with the Nerima-Setagaya area that feeds into the Tomei. BENEFIT: This would “almost totally resolve” inner city congestion and increase the average speed of Tokyo roads by 30%.
  • PROJECT: Expand both Haneda and Narita airports, and improve rail services to them. BENEFIT: 30% more landing/takeoff capacity, better access.

Whether this would actually raise the level of construction employment as opposed to merely keeping it steady, it is unclear.


But I do like the Nikkei approach to avoid building castles in the sky. They have also called for massive government support of solar and other “green” technologies.

Here’s what one analyst had to say:

Japan Economy May Have Bottomed Out in Feb.: Economist
Thursday, March 12, 2009 5:59 PM

(Source: Jiji Press English News Service)Tokyo, March 12 (Jiji Press)–The Japanese economy appears to have hit bottom in February as a result of inventory adjustments by automakers, Yuji Shimanaka of Mitsubishi UFJ Securities Co. said in an interview with Jiji Press.

Noting that a key point for production is when vehicle output cuts end, Shimanaka said production cuts will be smaller from now on. Production and the economy, therefore, are both likely to have hit bottom in February, he said.
The Japanese economy is expected to recover because the ruling Liberal Democratic Party and the major opposition Democratic Party of Japan are both expected to call for economic stimulus measures totaling some 10 trillion yen, he said.
He said he believes that the Bank of Japan will take further monetary easing measures and that the Chinese economy will show clear signs of recovery.
But Japan needs measures to boost its economy as the recovery is likely to be weak, he said, adding that the country needs a stimulus package worth 10 trillion yen on a fiscal spending basis.
Japan should use 4 trillion yen for public projects and 6 trillion yen for tax cuts and other measures, he said.
Japan should focus more on creating jobs in the construction industry, to which 10 pct of its workforce belongs, he said.

In the Nikkei’s New Year editorial series they noted that crises are times when the ideas that fuel future prosperity are often born. This might not happen by the decree of senior economists but from spontaneous invention by someone somewhere in the world.

It’s official – Roppongi is a pit of vipers

A warning came today from the US Embassy:

Date: March 17, 2009

This is to inform the American community that the U.S. Embassy has recommended that the embassy community avoid frequenting Roppongi bars and clubs in Tokyo due to a significant increase in reported drink-spiking incidents.  American citizens may choose to avoid frequenting drinking establishments in this area as well.

The number of reports of U.S. citizens being drugged in bars has increased significantly in recent weeks.  Typically, the victim unknowingly drinks a beverage that has been secretly mixed with a drug that renders the victim unconscious for several hours, during which time large sums of money are charged to the victim’s credit card or the card is stolen outright.  Victims sometimes regain consciousness in the bar or club, while at other times the victim awakens on the street.

Because this type of crime is already widespread in Roppongi bars and is on the rise, the U.S. Embassy has recommended that members of the embassy community avoid frequenting drinking establishments in this area.  American citizens may consider this recommendation as it applies to their own behavior.  If you, nevertheless, choose to participate in Roppongi night life, we urge you to remain extra vigilant of your surroundings and maintain a high level of situational awareness.  Establishments in the area of Roppongi Intersection (Roppongi Dori and Gaienhigashi-dori) have had the highest level of reported incidents.

Need I say more?

Brief travel update: Riding the Philippine rails (or not)

Having spent a couple of days in Manila catching up with old friends, it is now time to head to the south. My plan had been to take the Southrail train all the way from Manila to its terminus in Legaspi in the Bicol region at the SW tip of Luzon-a roughly 15 hour ride on the aging pre-WW2 train system with a top speed of around 50km/hr. This travel plan had been slightly augmented when I met a Dutch girl who had just arrived the same day as I to do a four month tour working at an education related NGO and doing research for her MA who was very keen on the idea of joining me on the trip.

We met up yesterday to work out the details, and being somewhat confused by how the time tables on the official website had no relationship with the information presented in the Lonely Planet, printed in 2006, I called the number on the website only to be told in that in fact both time tables were entirely wrong, due to the fact that the line has in fact been closed for around two years. Astonishingly, this rather critical detail is printed nowhere on the Philippine National Railway website that I could discover, nor on the Wikipedia page (at least in English).

After looking around a bit, I discovered that the line has been closed since a typhoon caused major damage in 2006. Since, as I mentioned, the line was ancient and only ran at pathetic 50km/hr (like 30 mph), they had been planning to rehabilitate it and upgrade to a modern system that could at the very least be called “high speed” when compared to the old line. Since the planning for the rehabilitation and upgrade was already underway, it seems that they decided not to even bother with the easier and faster work needed to simply reopen the train as it was before the typhoon, and instead take the opportunity presented by a complete closure to complete the long-term project more rapidly and efficiently. They claim that the new, higher-speed Southrail train will in fact be opening by the end of the year, although considering that New Jersey Transit has been unable to finish the repairs to the Newark Broad Street Station that has kept the Montclair Line that goes from my house to Manhattan from providing weekend service for at least a year past the originally promised date, combined with the notorious Philippines corruption, I have little confidence in this date being kept.

It is worth noting that, as in the good old USA, the Philippines (or at least the main island of Luzon) had a substantially more extensive and better rail system before WW2. In addition to the Southrail, there is also an old Northrail that hasn’t run for many years, as well as some smaller branch lines, and also a number of trams around the Manila area which were completely annihilated by the bombing of WW2 during the re-conquest of the city. Metro Manila mass transit rail has only in recent years begun to be replaced by elevated rail lines, which currently includes one MRT line and LRT lines 1 and 2, to which a 3 is curently under construction and more are planned, including a direct rail link to the new airport at some point.

Having taken this detour to learn a bit about the history and state of the Republic of the Philippines railway system, in the end Joosye (which is pronounced nothing like how you think) and I will be taking the bus.

Could Obama be born in Japan?

4569707874That’s the question Kumi Yokoe asks in her most recent book, which you can buy at amazon here. And it’s an interesting topic that I’m sure many readers of Mutantfrog have thought about. The Upper House of the Diet has naturalized Japanese citizens Ren, Tsurunen and Park serving Japanese constituencies, and there are naturalized citizens serving on municipal assemblies in towns in Ibaraki and Aichi prefectures, but the real “Obama” model would be for a zainihi Korean or similar non-native Japanese native, growing up in tough circumstances, to run in the lower house election, win a seat, and rise through the LDP ranks to lead Japan.

To my disappointment, not only is that not the topic of Yokoe’s book, she doesn’t even mention this aspect of what a “Japanese Obama” could be like. Rather, Yokoe — who’s a professor at the same “politics juku” that launched Seiji Maehara — has spent most of her academic career over the past decade promoting the campaign styles and speeches of American politicians in Japan. She’s been a key advocate to encourage Japanese politicians to speak from the heart and inspire the electorate. Yokoe uses Obama’s success story to launch into that topic, and that topic only.

The publisher-provided book excerpt is just as jaw-dropping as the book in its interpretation of the Obama win:

According to the American media, the foreign country with the most interest in the US presidential election is Japan. The truth is, the Japanese aversion to politics is what brings Japanese eyes to the administration change theater in the US. A leader as charismatic as Obama, to change the current status quote, is what Japan desperatly wants. When will Obama come to Japan, and what type of politician would such a person be?

Youtube and blogs were the key to Obama’s internet strategy. In Japan, there is currently a debate on the reform of the public election law to permit the use of the internet. Once the internet is free, policy can be posted on the internet, young people can get involved in politics through their own volition, and Japan could then have its own Obama be born.

Yokoe does recognize the importance of the race factor in Obama’s election, and the hurdle that he had to clear. Consider this quote in a recent interview she gave to Nikkei Business magazine:

I lived in the US for about seven years from 1994 to 2001. I didn’t feel this way in DC, but going just a little into the countryside I had experiences where I felt the deep roots of American racism. At a home party of a friend, I was warned “that guy’s a racists so don’t talk to him.” Also, I had experiences such as in a restaurant in a small town, where an old lady said to me, “it’s so unusual for us to have Asian people in this store.” … [snip]

That this America chose Obama as president is evidence of the growth of America and the American people… Obama’s presidency is a development that will remain in the history books.

Those are pretty shallow instance of racism, if the best key example that comes up is a granny in west bumblefuck vocalizing the unusualness of Yokoe’s race in an apparently non-hostile if ignorant manner. But putting that aside, does Yokoe not recognize that race is a factor in Japan as well, and that this is a major question that, if not the topic of her book, should at least be addressed? Does she not see how powerful development it would be for Japan to elect a Zainichi politician to Japan’s highest office? Sadly, Yokoe makes not one peep to recognize Japan’s racial issues, despite the fact that this is the inevitable question that would come up when the Obama model of winning electoral victory is applied to any other country.

At the end of the day, Yokoe’s book is a one-trick pony that merely restates what she’s been writing about for 15 years — Japan should mimic US electoral politics. And that she can’t even manage a token recognition of race issues in Japan in a book titled “Could Obama be born in Japan?” tells me that, circa 2009, the resounding answer to the title of her book is “no.”

P.S. The book also has a chapter titled, “Could Hillary Clinton or Sarah Palin be born in Japan?” That’s just too terrifying to think about.