Thursday, 25 July 2013

It’s up to you



I’ll keep this brief. I don’t do many posts begging for money, and this ain’t for me or for charity. It is a plea to consider helping fund a pal of mine’s Kickstarter project right here. He is planning to come over from California to take more pics of some of the homeless of Tokyo and record his impressions of what he finds.

As Our Man sees it, there are three reasons why you should consider funding him beyond the fact that he’s a pal of mine:
  1. The faults with establishment, mainstream media are legion. But you can hardly bitch about them if you are not willing to consider supporting independent media. 
  2. All you have to do is shout Dan a couple of bucks so he can come over here and improve his journalistic skills, tell a compelling story and shine a light on an oft overlooked matter of social injustice.
  3. I don’t know what the future of journalism looks like but I’m pretty sure it looks more like a lone reporter armed with a point and shoot, a blog and a passion to tell a story -- someone like Dan -- than the myriad corporate cut-n-pasters and government stenographers who get to call themselves journalists and sneer at those lower down the information food chain.
It’s up to you, as it always has been.

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

The Our Man in Abiko Blog Disclaimer


It’s a bit long, but it will do for now:

This is a Google blog. As such, it is being secretly copied and stored in some godforsaken desert bunker in the USA for future use that nobody, not even in the NSA, knows exactly what for. How can they? It’s in the future. But don’t worry, you’ve got nothing to hide. Google is completely trustworthy. You can also trust the state to have your best interests at heart, to keep your data safe and never, ever abuse its position. Still, you might wish to consider not reading this blog on a mobile phone in one of the ever expanding list of countries where drones target folks’ iPhone GPS locations, if you value your life; not leaving a comment here unless you seriously want to forget about that run for the presidency or that well-paid job in national security. It’s not paranoia, it’s just common sense. Offline is the new underground. Everything else is public. Have a nice day.

Monday, 22 July 2013

Strawmen


Another day, another national election in Japan. This time round, I paid even less attention than I did the last time, so I’m even less qualified than usual to impart my unethusiasm. The first take I read about it all was here, which is fine as far as it goes, though I’d quibble with the writer’s relief at Japan finally having thrown off the shackles of compromise and being free to stamp through one party’s glorious solution to Japan’s myriad ills.

But to be honest, I’m not too dissatisfied with the mess that Japan has been in for the last 20 or so years when I look at the economic straightjacket that the UK has strapped itself in to while the post-Snowden establishment America looks ever more of an ideological wasteland in need of, if not a revolution, then at least a jolly good talking to.

So, I look at the continued good fortune of the pro-nuke, pro-free trade, pro-print money and jobs for the boys party of Japanese PM Abe, and I think, ho bloody hum. It will all end in tears, of course, but we’ll be able to fool ourselves that everything is going to some kind of plan for another year or so.

LATER… This just in… Abe’s lot are way short of a 2/3 majority to rip up the pacifistic post-war constitution so talk of a hawkish, rightist movement of Japan somewhere between Genghis Khan and Hitler is a tad overblown.

Friday, 19 July 2013

“Aren’t you embarrassed that you just report the government’s story?”



Today, the chaps behind The Women of Fukushima started following Our Man on Twitter, and Abe’s pro-nuke party is on the verge of securing a landslide in the upper house on Sunday, I guess it won’t make any difference playing this video, but seeing as it’s Hunter S. Thompson’s birthday today, you never know, it’s worth a shot.

Saturday, 13 July 2013

Lost my cool


I’ve aged 20 years since Sunday.
I’m short of breath, I can’t focus. I’m grumpy.
Some greater power turned the thermostat up 10 degrees overnight and left the humidifier on.
The air has a physical presence now.
I walk out of an air conditioned room and and hit an invisible wall.
If it were my daughter I’d rush her to hospital and demand antibiotics.
But it’s not.
It’s just the way it is.
And the way it will be, for your future.
You just gotta sweat it out.

Saturday, 6 July 2013

ANCIENT HISTORY


Looks like I’ve been blown off by Ambassador Roos. He hasn’t seen fit to respond to my letter I tweeted to him the other day, but he hasn’t blocked me and is still following me on Twitter, so that’s something.

Anyway, I have a few points that I thought I’d share with my current dozen readers and secret service followers of the future.
  • Obliged to PERSON X for the recommendation to read David Brin’s Transparent Society. I’ve read the Kindle sample and shall buy the book. His argument appears to be that technology will eat up our privacy, but there is the possibility that it will work out not so bad if we the people routinely snoop on each other and not let the state have all the fun. He sites the wonderful drops in crime that cctv cameras on the streets of Britain allegedly caused. Well, I could argue that one, but in theory he has a point. I shall read more before commenting further.
  • And lo, Rupert Murdoch is caught on tape spouting all sorts of shit that prove he was lying to the thingy commission on press ethics or whatever. This appears to prove Brin’s point that with technology (a concealed iphone) everyone is a potential whistleblower.
  • And then Egypt imploded again and it once more made me wonder how worked up about theoretical rights and stuff I had a right to get on twitter when folks are spilling blood over such questions.
  • I shall be sifting through the info here to figure out how to set up encrypted email, because despite Brin’s optimism, I still think having the ability to communicate with some expectation of privacy is vital in developing sources and breaking stories. Not that I do such things these days, but I’d like the ability, you know?
  • And in cover life news, I’m in the throes of moving the business out of the bunker and onto the mean Main Street of Abiko. What this means in the short-term is less internetting, but in the long-term more time spent writing. Expect a new Kindle essay in a month and a new novel in about three.
  • And this video is about the best thing I’ve seen about the whole NSA-Snowden thing. It’s pretty funny too: