Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Any questions?


Japan Prime Minister Abe’s secrecy bill to gag whistleblowers has passed the lower house and is almost certain to pass the upper house and become law. As far as I can tell, it establishes the right of Japanese ministers to classify anything they do as extra-special-super-secret if they deem it relevant to defence, diplomacy, counter-terrorism or counter-espionage. And it’s nothing to do with covering up government cock-ups. Any journalist (blogger? Tweeter?) who defies the gag by publishing anything the ministers don’t like will face five years confinement at his majesty’s pleasure.

So that would make illegal, oh for argument’s sake, tweeting revealing testimony of nuclear cock-ups at Fukushima, or anyone stating anything with any knowledge that is not the official line on, let’s say, those rocks in the ocean that China, Japan and Taiwan keep threatening war over. Stands to reason. Democracy can’t handle a free press going off message, can it?

Because terrorists.

Nothing to do with government cock-ups. Or NSA protocols. We’re safer if we trust the authorities to keep us safe and we won’t worry our pretty little heads about things we don’t know about. Because very soon now, it will actually be illegal to know anything about stuff that the higher-ups know about. If it isn’t already.

Best not to ask any questions. Questions only get you into trouble. Best to trust our leaders. Oh look, that nice Caroline Kennedy is here. Everything is fine. Everything is wonderful. We can trust the higher ups. When have they ever led us wrong? The less the authorities show us, the more we will trust them and the more in touch with the national interests they will be. Because that’s always how it works out when dissent becomes illegal, doesn’t it? Leaders govern more magnanimously, don’t they?

Friday, 22 November 2013

Monkey business



The problem with reading psychology books is the more you do, the more you realise what an unreconstructed ape you really are. And I’m really talking about me when I say you. We can’t remember worth a damn, judge statistics worth a damn, argue logically worth a damn, or pretty much do anything very well beyond picking virtual fleas off the alpha male, apparently. And by we I mean me.

Anyway, the point is this: Read You are not so Smart by David McRaney. It’s really good. No link, because Our Man doesn’t do affiliate links, or missing ones. But follow your instincts, you’ll know where to go.

Carry on.

Monday, 18 November 2013

It’s started

It’s started here. And will continue into the New Year.

Details here.

Carry on.

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

No more nukes



Our Man must admit, he’s been sitting on the fence about the whole nuclear power thing. On the one hand: global warming fossil fuels and imminent destruction of our planet. On the other, TEPCO. And as distasteful as TEPCO is, and the horrors of Fukushima not withstanding, Our Man was able to be vaguely pro-nuclear power but anti-TEPCO. At least he was convincing himself.

Our Man’s position was not really very tenable. You’re either for nuclear power as the only workable, if occasionally apocalyptic non-carbon power source, or you’re with the woolly-minded, right-on folk who think all you have to do is throw money at the science and we’ll be able to create energy, perhaps from all their hot air, to power our iPhones and cappucino makers with no consequences for eternity.

Well, Our Man doesn’t like those choices.

Renewable energy doesn’t add up. Yet. But nukes are not the way forward. I’m not sure what is. It may well be a hotch-potch of half-ass renewable efforts and a great deal of sacrifice to get us off our addiction to fossil fuels.

And while former PM Koizumi has no doubt sniffed the electoral air, as they say, his opposition to nukes is massively important. He’s saying it’s time to strike out in a new direction and damn well find a way to power the nation, far away from the corruption of the nuclear mafia. And he’s saying it’s politically possible. He’s saying something else too:

Nukes will not save us, leadership will. 

And I agree. No more nukes.

Saturday, 2 November 2013

The Short Goodbye


The first book under my real name has been published. Full details are here. And yes, I drew the cover.

Carry on.