Friday, July 31, 2009

Whatever you do don't kidnap me!!!

Take a moment and try to imagine where you would go and what you would do if you wanted to have some fun. I know what you’re thinking. You want to go hiking near the border between Iraq and Iran, right? No? I’m shocked. Okay, I’m not shocked. For an American to go hiking near the border of one country who we are at war with and another country who refers to us as the Great Satan, why, that would be absurd, right? Well…

Today, Iran arrested three Americans – Sarah Shourd, Shane Bauer, and Joshua Fattal. Guess what they were doing. They were hiking near the border between Iran and Iraq. They said they were doing that for fun. But then they got arrested. By Iran. That can’t be fun. Who would have thought that Iran would have arrested three Americans? They only call us the Great Satan. That doesn’t mean they don’t like us, does it?

I bet there is one question going through your mind at this moment. What in the hell were those three morons thinking? I was thinking the same thing, for a while. But then my government “told” me that they sent those three idiots to Iran so Iran could detain them for a few years. That way, we would have an excuse for not imposing more sanctions on Iran. While Iran held these three Americans, our government could say to other governments, “We can’t do anything against Iran because they’ll kill our citizens who we sent to Iran to get captured…wait, did I just say that out loud?”


DPJ Shows Pre-Election Ambiguity Towards the United States

On July 31, 2009, the Japanese media interviewed Yukio Hatoyama. During that interview, Hatoyama gave conflicting views on the importance of the relationship between Japan and America. On the one hand, he said things like…

“While we attach utmost importance to the Japan-U.S. alliance, it is necessary not to rely on the U.S. and develop a more independent foreign policy. A diplomatic posture of giving importance both to Asia and the U.S. is required. It is possible that we may seek an appropriate ‘distance’ in security.”

On the other hand, Hatoyama also said things like…

“The most important thing is how to build a relationship of trust with President Obama.”

Perhaps Hatoyama read what I had just recently posted on GlobalTalk 21. Perhaps this was his way of accepting my proposal.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Move to San Moritz

While living at Wellington Meadows, I often heard what sounded like footsteps above me. The thing is, I was living on the second floor of a two story apartment. I asked the apartment management to come to my apartment and investigate. And they did. Maintenance brought a ladder and together we went up into the attic to see what was going on. We did not actually step into the attic, as doing so could damage the fire sprinkler system. On the floor of the attic were water lines that fed the sprinkler system. But you can’t see them because they are covered with fiberglass insulation. Were one to walk on the floor of the attic, they could easily step on those sprinkler lines and damage them. To avoid that danger, we merely went to the top of the ladder, one at a time, and used a flashlight to peer into the attic.

Maintenance pointed out that there was a wall between the attic areas of my apartment and my neighbor’s. Therefore, no one could access my attic unless they gained access through my apartment. My apartment had two walls which separated the attic for my apartment from the attic for two other apartments. One of the walls was completely solid. The other wall had a large hole in it, but that hole was covered with plywood. Later on, I would use my own ladder to peer into the attic to verify that the plywood did in fact cover the entire hole. I found that, in fact, the plywood did not completely cover the hole and that there was an open space large enough for a person to move through.

I also noticed that there were two water stains on the ceiling of my apartment – one in my closet and one in my living room. I assume these stains occurred because someone had been walking in my attic and had damaged the sprinkler lines.

For some reason, I did not go back to the apartment management with this new information. I cannot remember why I did not do that. Perhaps my government “convinced” me not to.

I once saw a person at Wellington Meadows who I also saw at the Budget Suites while I was living there. That person looked like he might be related my former boss at Lode Data, a person who I helped get fired. This led me to believe that my former boss had some sort of vendetta against me and was really the one who was tracking me.

My hallucinations became noticeably worse at Wellington Meadows. At night, I would often wake up and see kanji characters “written” on the walls of my apartment (I was reading a book on kanji at the time). After a few seconds and some blinking of the eyes, the kanji characters would disappear.

During my stay at Wellington Meadows, I was still working for Lode Data, but the number of hours I worked for the company had continually declined. I had been spending much of my time doing other things. By the summer of 2009, it had become obvious that I would soon have to leave Lode Data. To save money, I decided to move to a cheaper apartment and so on July 29, I moved from Wellington Meadows to San Moritz.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Aso draws flak for saying working is seniors' only talent

On July 25, Taro Aso said that the “elderly have no talents other than working.”

That didn’t go over well with the public.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Ailing LDP needs concrete policies to appeal to voters, not just a new 'face'

“It is quite a fiasco the LDP has staged ahead of the upcoming election,” said the Mainichi Shimbun.

Does this guy know what he is talking about?

In an interview with the Nihon Keizai Shimbun, Kurt Campbell said the upcoming Lower House election in Japan could be the most important election in the country’s postwar period.

I doubt Campbell realized the true significance of his own words at the time he said them.


Thursday, July 9, 2009

Nakasone, LDP Elders, etc., etc...

On July 9, 2009, as part of my ongoing conversation with Jun Okumura, I posted the following on his blog.
Of course, minorities have had a big impact on many aspects of American culture. The amount of worldwide media coverage dedicated to the death of Michael Jackson shows just how popular African-American performers can be. As you mention, this is nothing new. African Americans like Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Aretha Franklin, James Brown, Run-DMC, and Dr. Dre have to a great extent defined popular music since the end of the second World War. And black athletes have been equally successful - think of Jackie Robinson, Muhammad Ali, Michael Jordan, and Tiger Woods. In politics, we have people like Martin Luther King Jr. and Barack Obama, to name a few. But what is the effect of this? Has any of this resulted in a significant change in policy?

It's funny that you should mention the acceptance of mixed race couples. Of course, Barack Obama is the product of a mixed race couple. Though he is also white, he has embraced black culture. He talks like a preacher, he has Jay-Z on his iPod. But does that make a difference?

In a recent study, participants were asked whether or not they would hire a person with borderline qualifications. When told that the applicant was white, seventy six percent of white people said they would hire that applicant. When told that the applicant was black, only 45% of white people said they would hire that applicant.

In the U.S., black babies have an infant mortality rate 2.4 times that of white babies. Blacks receive inferior health care compared to whites. They have a life expectancy 5.1 years less than whites. Towards the end of last year, 11.4% of blacks were unemployed, versus 6.1% for the economy as a whole. In 2007, white families earned $64,427 while black families earned $40,143. More than 10% of black males between 30 and 34 are incarcerated, versus 1.9% for white males in that age range. And despite all this talk of browning, U.S. public schools are becoming more racially segregated.

Of course, Obama just became president. There's not much you can do to change a nation in a half year's time. Nevertheless, look at his appointments. He has Geithner at Treasury, Bernanke at the Fed, Summers at the NEC, Clinton at State, Gates at Defense, Panetta at the CIA, George Mitchell is trying to bring peace to the Middle East, Richard Holbrooke is trying to bring peace to South Asia, Rahmbo is his chief of staff, and David Axelrod is his Senior Advisor. Now that's what I call change we can believe in. My father, who is a sansei, had a pejorative for certain fellow Japanese Americans. He called them yellow bananas - yellow on the outside, white on the inside. Time will tell if Obama is a black banana.

Of course, Obama has minorities in some positions, but mostly in positions that don't matter too much (e.g. Eric Shinseki at Veterans Affairs).

Personally, I don't think music changes people much. Remember, George Bush loves James Brown.

I do not think the west is reorienting itself away from the west. Despite all appearances, the west is still run by the same people who are looking out for their own interests. The appearances have changes, and the rhetoric has changed, but the substance has not.

I still see the west droning on about human right and the rule of law, while violating those principles on every possible occasion. I still see Europe pushing for generic medication in its own market, while pushing data exclusivity in its FTAs. I still see the EU trying to get Japan (and everyone else) to open up for investment while Sarkozy creates an investment fund to fight off foreign takeovers. I still see idiots like Gregory Clark trying to get Japan to do the stupidest things imaginable (and he ain't the only one trying to do that, either). I still see Australians beating Indian students. I see western nations running huge fiscal deficits, after hounding developing nations to balance their budgets during the Asian financial crisis. And still today, many in the west are trying to convince emerging nations to balance their budget in the midst of a crisis. I see the west gutting mark to market after protesting vociferously about transparency at Japanese banks ten years ago. I see Europe begging developing countries to provide money to the IMF, but unwilling to increase the voting rights of those countries. You would think they would have learned something after that whole taxation-without-representation thing. Need I even mention crony capitalism and Haliburton?

The defining characteristic of the west is hypocrisy. It's getting others to play by the rules when you don't, and using that to your advantage. That has not changed and I don't believe it will change.

The west is not reorienting itself away from the west. It is up to its same old tricks. The only thing that will bring change to the world is if the rest join together, and force the west to change. I believe Japan is trying to do that. I hope it succeeds.
Chances are, my government “made” me write this response because it wanted Japan to pressure America so that America could have an excuse to retaliate against Japan.

Chances are, Japan agreed to this because it really does want to change the world.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Rebiya Kadeer loves the West

“Our only friend is in the West - Western democracies are supporting us and we are very grateful,” said Rebiya Kadeer, a Uighur activist at a speech in Washington.

Once again, the West has used an ethnic minority to lead a revolt in a country it does not like.

This will not stand.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Obama-Medvedev Relations 'Reset' May Stop at Arms Cut

“The U.S. thinks it can just turn the page,” said Fyodor Lukyanov, a member of the Russian Council on Foreign and Defense Policy. “In Europe and Russia, historicism is very deep. You can’t just hit the reset button.”

I am 99% sure that this quote has been altered. I believe the second sentence used to be something like, “In Europe, historicism runs deep.” The way the quote reads now, Lukyanov seems to place the blame equally on Russia and Europe but, I believe, in its original form, the quote placed all the blame on Europe.