Joint Training Exercizes
By Brian Small at Mar 02, 2009
I had an oppurtunity to appear on a local news program to comment on the F15 fighter jet exercizes starting up here in Shintomi, Miyazaki's Nyutabaru base. Those things are noisy. The citizens of Okinawa's Kadena just won tons of money for the Noise pollution in their area. The Japanese courts came through on an issue for the underdog. The local mayor said the noise wouldn't be a problem here. He's getting a lot of money from the central government I guess. Of course that tends to go to big box projects like culture halls that require so much maintenance money the town ends up going bankrupt anyway. That's the impression I have but don't have time to back it up right now.
Anyway, As this was my third appearance thanks to a chance connection I decided to save myself the aggravation of regretting missed opportunites and just went all out. You can't really get any worthwhile information across while trying to play TV pundit. It also takes a while to get used to the studio, the little numbers on your scenaris sheets. I can see how some training might help. But it was nice to have a chance to throw out some Chalmers Johnson figures about 735 US bases in 100 countries on regular TV. And to complain about the noise, poor fuel efficiency and global warming on a news show. Of course, when your trying to cover a power point presentation in 10 seconds in a foreign language you go too fast and lose half the audience. One older guy had to work out what I was saying with his wife after the show. Very Suave. Maybe that's why they let me get away with saying things like Toyota jobs just promote global warming, lets get employment up into the mountains fixing the forests..
Of course the only reason I can keep the TV people enertained with current events knowledge is thanks to Znet and TomDispatch. It's like Susan George said on a Zvideo offering - you have to be left, so your way ahead of the curve. Dean Baker is a prime example of that with his house sales and countless article about Economics 101 comparing house rents to sale prices, corporate earnings to share price. Chalmers Johnson quotes him showing how military expenditures don't provide long-term employment - actually kill off employment..
I was pleasantly surprised that the regular commentator liked the way I linked the joint training and base news to the closing of an elementary school in mountain town with declining population. I got to talk about the Iraq/Afghanistan casualties among American soldiers being from small towns, tiny populations. They were interested in my Japanese rendition of 'Poverty Draft' (Hinkon-ni Yoru ChouHei). I couldn't get him into the Chomkyan Pentagon as Technological development and driving economic force but maybe you shouldn't try to get too much done in a half hour.
The Colbert segment on how to be a pundit by getting emotional and waving your hands around is pretty uch right on. I was invited to comment on Joint Training flights, Endangered Coral Reefs, and closing country schools - with two days notice. Even if you carve out the time, conscientiously come up with an informed opinion, you're just being a pain in the butt. There's no time to air an informed opinion. Unless you just take over and don't worry about getting back in there for that 100 dollar pay off. But maybe my unintelligibiity and the natural hand waving due to Sign Language background will get me back on air again anyway. Funny stuff.
Some of these little Japanese towns have a lot of energy. The forest therapy events are great. Department heads of some town governments come to talks on Local currency. Amazing. There was a mayor there. Maybe the politicians have to go to every local event for recognition in the elections but still, I was surprised - the mayor at a DIY Local Currency event. It does seem like a neat way to approach local autonomy - and get people to learn about money and the economy through participation.
Oh, and get out into the forest. It's great for stress. That Rachel Carson Sense of Wonder reminds you why you bother doing a lot of activist stuff. You start to feel like Michael Pollan - the real world is more interesting than any fiction. Even beaches, sand particles are full of life. Even Dirt is full of life.