Bad Sign During the Pandemic in Japan

Nikkei reports today that number of people outside yesterday in entertainment districts of Tokyo during the current state of emergency is about double what it was during the first state of emergency. It also reports that because some shops are closed down, the remaining ones are even busier than normal. This does not portend well for the pandemic in Japan. 

金曜夜の繁華街、営業継続の一部飲食店に客集まる :日本経済新聞

https://www.nikkei.com/article/DGXZQODG15B900V10C21A1000000/

Escape from Self-Deception

A recent problem I had with my Facebook account and the lack of response from Facebook in effecting a solution led me to the decision to trash my account. But this was only the immediate trigger. The underlying reason was my realization that I could no longer deceive myself into thinking that my contract with Facebook was anything but totally asymmetrical and not worth the high price needed to be paid to the Facebook empire of data collection and behavior manipulation.

What do I miss by not being on Facebook? To be sure, Facebook does provide a convenient way of contacting people. But the costs are considerable, and include having to put up with the following:

  • Narcissists who curate their perfect personas, documenting their every trendy event in detail for everyone to see;
  • Narcissists totally lacking in intellectual integrity (I left one Facebook group to avoid just such a person, after she acted in a totally dishonest manner with respect to a comment I made; she needs to seek help);
  • People documenting their reckless behavior during the corona pandemic;
  • Unwanted ads for things my friends have “liked” on Facebook*;
  • Other irrelevant ads*;
  • Requests from Zuckerberg to help him place ads, referencing a specific customer of his*;
  • Invitation to (ads for) events selling coaching, resulting from having Facebook friends who are interested in being coached*;
  • Introductions to cult scams by friends who otherwise seem to be level-headed;
  • Anonymous pages (that’s almost totally redundant, since almost all Facebook pages are anonymous, with no accountability);
  • Introductions to people with anonymous or non-verifiable pseudonymous accounts (Facebook is not interested in identifying users, and has many millions of anonymous, pseudonymous, and fake accounts);
  • Incessant attempts to manipulate behavior (by numerous of the above-noted items); and
  • The total insincerity of a billionaire big-data siren server owner, who has constantly lied, including lying to government bodies, about what his company does.

(* Yes, I know that extra software on my laptop could block these things, but I used mostly my smartphone for Facebook, leaving my laptop for more important tasks.)

I could have continued to self-deceive to the effect that the above negative aspects are worth suffering for the convenience that Facebook provides. Countless Facebook users work that self-deception, look the other way, or rationalize their continued use of Zuckerberg’s platform, the folly of which I have discussed elsewhere. I opted not to take that path, choosing rather to escape back to the real world.

[People who think I have fallen off the end of the earth (although I’m not a flattard) should know that I am alive and well and reachable by numerous non-social media methods.]

Sedition

On January 6th, as the count of the electoral college votes proceeded, the Capitol Building in Washington DC was attacked by an armed insurrection of right-wing thug Trump supporters, seeking to block the certification of Joe Biden’s election win over Trump and overturn the election result. The outnumbered DC police appear to have moved back and allowed the insurrectionists to enter the Capitol building, whereupon the insurrectionists ran amok. They also attacked people from the media, destroying their equipment.

There have been a number of arrests, but this is a demonstration of the sedition committed by Trump, who continuously and repeatedly has refused to admit defeat to Biden because of his baseless election fraud claims and, immediately before the insurrection, repeated those baseless claim and urged the insurrectionists to March on the Capitol Building.

This was an act of domestic terrorism. Trump must be punished along with the insurrectionists. Yes, he is leaving office, but impeachment or application of the 25th Amendment is called for before that. The saner and more patriotic elements in the government must step up and do what is necessary.

Japan’s Corona Dilemma

With PM Suga talking about the state of emergency he will declare (probably tomorrow, January 7 Japan time), today saw 1591 new Covid-19 cases in Tokyo, a new daily record and a large jump from yesterday.

The state of emergency being discussed will not give the government any power to enforce what they are simply requesting people and businesses to do to prevent Japan from getting into even worse trouble as the corona pandemic progresses.

It has been clearly demonstrated that simply asking people not to go out and not to gather for eating and drinking has had very little effect. People simply do not comply with the requests. And businesses are the same. A walk down a street near a station area in Japan will reveal numerous restaurants and bars with crowded counters and tables. Tokyo governor Koike mentioned the other day that the compliance of businesses with the early closing time requests was reported to her as being about 20%. That is simply not going to succeed in stopping the pandemic.

The PM is talking about a carrot and stick approach, with rewards for “cooperation” and fines for non-cooperation. Unless the fines are made very large, however, bars and restaurants will just consider them to be necessary business expenses and keep on, business as usual.

What is needed is special legislation with enforcement powers given to the government and meaningful punishments or other sanctions that can be applied to noncomplying people and businesses. That is not possible with the current legal structure and is going to be painful and embarrassing for the politicians who value money and have donors with financial interests in holding the Olympics, because it’s going to be difficult to continue to insist on holding the Olympics if the authorities are fining people for not behaving as the special legislation that is needed will have to call for them to behave. But it is a bitter pill that must be swallowed.

That said, I don’t for a moment think that the current tribe running things has nearly the courage to take the necessary steps.