Not Influenced or Influencing

I checked my LinkedIn account today and was greeted with a longish discussion of the value of influencers, the underlying premise of the discussion and comments being that influencers are a given and essential part of marketing. I guess they are these days, if you are marketing things that are desirable to people who can be influenced by influencers. I am not in that business.

That article and the frequency of such fluff on LinkedIn confirms the disconnect between me and what I do and what many people with LinkedIn accounts (and Microsoft, which runs LinkedIn) are focused on. I am arguably a craftsman. There are very few ways that I can fake what I do.

For me and people in the word-crafting profession (and that is not a contradiction), deception seldom works. It might work for brokers of our services, but since the people using my services don’t purchase them through brokers, the quality I produce or don’t produce is subject to their scrutiny. I take all the credit or blame. Not so in a business relying on influencers. The disconnect between what people like me do and what the users of influencers do is a deep and wide valley, separating justified and verifiable trust on one side and a mountain of deception and delusion on the other. Two different worlds. And I don’t feel the need to climb Mt. Delusion.

COVID-19 resurgence in Japan

Even the official committees watching the pandemic are acknowledging the increase and that the rate of increase is increasing. The week-on-week growth announced in Tokyo today was 40.4 percent. That equates to quadrupling in one month.

If Japan cannot essentially rid itself of the threat of COVID-19 before the cooler weather starts again, there is good reason to believe that we will move backwards in our struggle to regain normalcy and repeat the problems we had at the two-year mark, just a half-year ago.

The business organizations are pressuring politicians to restart, while the population, and significantly the younger parts of the population, are increasingly uninterested in getting vaccinated and boosted. This will likely not end well. We’ve been here before. Japan should not repeat the errors it made before, but I think that is precisely what it is doing.

It’s not just Russia. Most countries have their tit caught firmly in China’s wringer too.

The risks that come with appeasing Putin (which is arguably what is happening, in spite of all the rhetoric) are real and reach us here in Asia.

China, seeing this ineffectively lukewarm response by the West to their ally Russia’s war of aggression, will feel more confident to attack and annex Taiwan. Businesses in Western democracies owe their fortunes and future existence to cheap labor in China. This is a world-class crisis in the making.

Most democracies were intimidated decades ago into buying into China’s narrative that Taiwan is not a country, but Taiwan is a country.

Getting to this strategically risky position took a breathtaking amount of optimism. Ignoring the threat of China required world-class stupidity and greed on the part of both politicians and their owners in the business world.

Nations already threatened by China will very likely be prevented by their businesses from taken any effective action against China.

Action to disengage from China has already become a highly urgent imperative. I hope people in power heed the call over the call to build fortunes.

Time to Act

Sadly, several major players in Europe are modulating their response to Russia and their support (beyond lip service) to Ukraine to the extent that the chance of a military victory over Russia seems to be slipping away. That is, if they even were aiming at a military victory over Russia.

It looks more and more like several European states, including one that was overrun by Hitler, are now considering what territorial concessions by Ukraine would be appropriate to end the war. That strikes me as total insanity.

NATO, EU members and other states in the region are facing the same threat from Russia’s dictator as Ukraine. Putin is aiming at making Russia great again, restoring the empire his former employer once had.

Putin and the Soviet Union were humiliated three decades ago. Putin and Russia need to be humiliated again. The talk of offering Putin an endgame that avoids humiliation is ridiculous. Humiliate him, on the international stage and in front of the subjects over which he rules.

I suspect that the Western democracies will awaken to the real danger at some point. But will it take an attack on yet another sovereign state for that awakening to happen?

Is cheap fossil fuel more important than freedom and democracy? 

1937 Again?

“We will continue to keep up and drive up the economic and political costs of this war,” Germany’s Chancellor Olaf Scholz says after the G7 meeting.

Well, that sends the comforting message to Putin and his supporters that the leaders of the democratic states are too frightened to even mention a military defeat of Russia.

Russia needs to pay a much higher military cost. The last time Putin was forced to join the ranks of the unemployed it was done without military conflict. This time he’s got lots of support at home and support from comrade Xi, and he is determined not to be humiliated again.

But humiliation of Putin is exactly what is called for. Humiliation on the battle field, in front of the Russians he rules over, and on the international stage.

I don’t think the West is going to get away as easy this time as when it forced the Soviet Union to change its name. No, it is going to be more costly for everyone, but democracy must be victorious.

「アフターコロナの今、これまでの営業手法では太刀打ちできない場面が増えています。」

I am flabbergasted by this irresponsible assertion that we are over the pandemic.

Corona/COVID-19 has not ended. This was used in a spam email sent to my company’s inquiry email address, which the louts probably harvested from the US Embassy website, the only place it exists in harvestable form. Or they might have purchased the address from some other organization of cyberthugs.

May they contract COVID-19 and die a long and painful death. This is not over with yet. Don’t pretend it is!

It’s Time to Go after Russia

That title is not hyperbole; it’s reality.

The G7 members say they will stay with Ukraine until the end. What does that mean? They will continue talking a good story but hold off taking any meaningful action against Russia until the end of Ukraine?

Europe is threatened by a dictator who has started and is continuing the most serious armed conflict in Europe since WW2. Putin clearly intends to conquer Ukraine and there is good reason to believe that he will not stop at Ukraine in his quest to restore the old order of his former employer.

The Western democracies of Europe are making attempts to look like they are acting in unison and with great resolve, but the day might shortly come (and I think it has already arrived) when it is clear that more needs to be done. The threat the West faces is much more urgent and real than when several of the military adventures were embarked upon by the West in recent years under the influence of the US. Some of those adventures were totally misguided. At least one was based on a falsification.

But there is now a real existential threat to the freedom and sovereignty of numerous European states. They need to start acting accordingly. Pretending this will be over shortly has already proved wrong, and this approach is redolent of the stupidity of appeasing Hitler in the late 1930s.

The US Takes Another Step on the Road to Theocracy

Now SCOTUS has decided to prevent people from disallowing prayer in high school sports.

I think the time has come for Americans to just say no to delusional Bible-thumpers who want to turn the US into a theocracy. The Supreme Court must be stopped in its tracks on its trip to reinvent the US in its delusional “Christian” image.

The decision deemed praying by the coach free speech. Well here is some free speech for you: The Supreme Six and the six Bible-thumping horses they road in on need to be taught a lesson. Prayer has no place in high school sports and the Supreme Court needs expansion. That will only be possible by control of the legislature. In the current mood, however, Americans are more interested in low-cost immediate fossil-fuel gratification than in righting the wrongs of the Bible-thumping SCOTUS cretins. November looks like it could be yet another step back to the 19th century.

LinkedIn Update

in addition to the normal flood of self-congratulatory notes (announcements of desperation is probably more accurate) posted by some of my connections on Microsoft’s LinkedIn platform, I am now seeing an annoying number of posts liking cryptocurrency and NFTs. Brilliant, just brilliant.

Is LinkedIn going the way of all social media? Perhaps. Or perhaps some of my non-client connections just have more time on their hands than they have smarts.