The actual elections are months away, but politicians of all stripes on both sides of the Pacific are busy spending money like water, using devious and sometimes devilish techniques to dish opponents and grab or maintain power. U.S. President Abraham Lincoln famously defined democracy as "government of the people, by the people and for the people," but such a system is barely recognizable anymore in Japan or in the self-proclaimed democracies of the West.

In Japan, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is talking with other parties, including the opposition, to find allies to grab the two-thirds majority in the Upper House of the Diet that he needs to amend Japan's Constitution. But this is six months before the Upper House election and before Abe has laid out his plans for the people. Don't the people count anymore except as a rubber stamp?

Abe admitted on television: "It will be very difficult for the ruling bloc alone to win a two-thirds majority. Besides the Liberal Democratic Party and Komeito, I aim to form a two-thirds majority with those positive and responsible people who are thinking of a constitutional revision," and he mentioned Osaka Ishin no Kai as one possible partner.