When Chalmers Johnson, a retired Asian scholar and former Naval officer during the Korean War, visited Japan in the mid-1990s, he was surprised to discover 38 U.S. bases on Okinawa alone, half a century after U.S. forces captured the island in the last great battle of World War II. If Johnson, past president and founder of the Japan Policy Research Institute at the University of San Francisco and author of numerous scholarly books on Asian affairs, had been unaware of the enormity of America’s military involvement in far-off lands, it is hardly surprising that the public at large has been even less aware. The American people, he would later observe in The Sorrows of Empire, “do not realize that a vast network of American military bases on every continent except Antarctica actually constitutes a new form of empire.”

In an effort to save taxpayer dollars, South Carolina lawmakers are considering the possibility of eliminating the position of Lieutenant Governor. The proposal comes as the state's Lieutenant Governor Ken Ard (pictured at left) is in the midst of an ethics investigation for misuse of campaign funds.

As if the list of GOP presidential candidates were not long enough, two new names were tossed around this weekend as possible contenders: Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush and Texas Governor Rick Perry. Likewise, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, though not running for President, has indicated that he will be leaving an imprint on the 2012 Republican campaign and will be traveling to Iowa.

Another political sex scandal has surfaced, as U.S. Rep. David Wu (D-Ore., left), has been exposed for indulging in elicit relations with an unidentified 18-year-old woman, only a few weeks after Rep. Anthony Weiner was caught sending lewd photos to young women on Twitter � and only a week before the U.S. default deadline.

According to Borderland Beat (BB) of July 21, a “puzzling web of events” has resulted in the death of yet another American in the Mexican city of Ciudad Juarez, across the international border from El Paso, Texas. BB reported that three suspects were arrested Wednesday in connection with a man’s kidnapping on July 5, and a fourth suspect is sought. The American was found murdered the day after the kidnapping.