Cenotaphs, shrines, and an obituary of Japan democracy

History will remember the first time a POTUS and a Japanese PM stood together in Hiroshima more than their empty words.

Hiroshima mon amour
As expected, Shinzo Abe delivered one of his trademark, crocodile-tearful, "History is harsh" speeches*, sparing us his usual fake excuses, because this time, he was not required to provide any. Today, Barack Obama chimed in by using similar smoke screens. And of course, without apologizing.

Yes, 'we have a shared responsibility to look directly in the eye of history', but don't count on us for saying that nuking Hiroshima and Nagasaki was wrong, or that Imperial Japan committed war crimes that also need to be remembered.

The choice of a G7 host city is a fantastic opportunity to push a political agenda, and Hiroshima was a finalist for Shinzo Abe, who wants everybody to remember Japan as a pure victim, and to forget that it committed atrocities under the fascist regime he has, along with fellow members of Nippon Kaigi, pledged to restore ("Imperial Japan v. Japan"). Sorry, Mr Abe, but "No, you can't honor A-Bomb victims in Hiroshima AND War Criminals in Yasukuni".

In his wildest dreams, this incurable provocateur would have selected Yasukuni, but the international community would have condemned him vehemently. He settled for another controversial Shinto shrine he loves to visit as frequently as possible: Ise Grand Shrine doesn't honor war criminals, but it is also led by a eminent member of Nippon Kaigi. And a Japanese government is supposed to respect the separation of State and religion...

Don't forget that as far as extremist lobbies go, Abe follows Shinto Seiji Renmei as well as Nippon Kaigi, and that as a fundamentalist, he wants the restoration of State Shinto, and of the Emperor as the supreme religious and political leader. 

A few Japanese voices raised objections regarding the choice of Ise, but who's listening to the dwindling resistance of the local democracy?

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* for last year's two masterpieces, see ""History is harsh" and other sick jokes" and "Decoding the Abe Statement: "why apologize for crimes Japan never committed?""


New York in the bag

The "New York" songs played ahead of tonight's victory speeches? A cunning old mobster for Donald Trump (Frank Sinatra), a smart young African American for Hillary Clinton (Alicia Keys). 

Both winners seemed sincerely relieved, Hillary Why-So-Tense Clinton looking even, all of a sudden, twenty years younger:

HRC and family keep fighting for U$

Her victory was so clear that it turned the 125,000 voters rejected at the Democratic primary into an epiphenomenon (still, she probably wouldn't have won by such a landslide had all unregistered Democrats been allowed).

The Donald didn't look younger than last week. He even seems to be shedding hair and gaining weight during this campaign. But he won in spite of his closest allies: his own kids couldn't vote because they didn't register, and Ben Carson's name remained on the ballot - Doc claimed more votes than Ted Cruz in parts of Westchester County (they wouldn't appear in the official, final count):

Yet the most defining moments of the campaign were John Kasich eating his way to a victory in Manhattan, and Bernie Sanders having his 'Ich bin ein New Yorker' moment on Washington Square.

Bernie's not out yet, he's gone as far as his candidacy allowed him to go*.

And Ted Cruzed far further than I thought: I believed that he kicked himself out of the race as soon as he entered it (see "2016 - Recyclable Expendables"), but this 2016 GOP is nuttier than ever.

Yet the Dems have their own blend of unexpected uniter in Elizabeth Warren, who could receive a call from Hillary long before 3 A.M.

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* see "ABH Corpus" (May 2015): By submitting his candidacy first after Hillary on the Democratic side, Bernie Sanders claimed at least 3 obvious categories : "ABH" (Anyone But Hillary), "EWE" (Elizabeth Warren Erzatz - Sanders reaches even further to the left, pitching himself as a 'socialist'), and "OFGWAB" (that perennial candidacy type I dubbed "Old Farts Going With A Bang").


GOP Implosion (continued)

After 2004, 2008, and 2012*, I have to post a blogule about the implosion of The Republican Party on an election year. This time, I come after all mainstream media, who've been paying more attention since Donald Trump pushed the tragicomedy to new levels.

Each election cycle adds a nuttier flavor of the month to the old Paleocon-Theocon fault line highlighted by the election** of George W. Bush in 2004: first came the Neocons, then Tea Party ayatollahs, and now Donald Trump is single-(short)handedly shifting the rift below the (Bible) Belt.

As I wrote before, the GOP is a bit like France's Socialist Party: it refuses to reform itself, and to dump for good its most radical elements, but keeps winning every now and then, which only further delays reforms demanded by this millenium.

Decent leaders fail to emerge. We even saw John McCain sell his soul to creationists and theocons to win the primaries, and Chris Christie, after proving he could be a bully (see "a bridge to you know where"), turning into a shameless political whore by endorsing Mr. T moments after quitting the race. Even Mitt women-in-binders Romney sounds decent compared to what we have now.

Marco Rubio failed to seize a once in a lifetime opportunity against a dangerous fascist (Trump), a dangerous theocrat (Ted Cruz), and a harmless paleocon (John Kasich). Jeb Bush*** wouldn't help him save Florida, where Hurricane Donald seems about to touch down.

I truly believed Mike Bloomberg would go for it, but he joebidened out of the race before even starting it.

Will the GOP chose its soul over victory, and moderates lead a revolution at the RNC? Should Trump be confirmed, whom will he face? Hillary Clinton seems as good at screwing up campaigns as Republicans are bad at cleaning up their own mess, and Michigan landed on Bernie Sanders' lap. I'm not sure America would prefer a self proclaimed socialist to a fascist.

This party and this World deserves better leaders.

USA must chose between her own soul and Donald Trump (a Mussolini wannabe endorsed by the KKK and  Jean-Marie Le Pen**** (20160304 twitter.com/stephanemot/status/705509307673083904)

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* ICYMI "Grand Old Parting: fix your party before causing more damage to your country" (2012), "GOP : Time to Split" (2008), "Red Blogule to the Bush system - Prevent a New War of Secession" (2004)

** as usual I don't say "reelected", since W was handed the job by Jeb in 2000 (btw Florida's likely to play a key role this year as well).

*** as pathetic as expected  ("Jeb? A World Leader? Not kidding anyone anymore")

**** Jean-Marie Le Pen was bound to support Trump, they look and think like twins (see "Trump Parliament")


2015 blogules

Below, a list of blogules spilled over the year 2015.
NB : for the comprehensive lists of blogules (2003 - to date), go to the bottom of this post or to the blogules transfusion center.

. "Happy New Year 2017
. ""A word about what we should not do"
. "Fluctuat nec mergitur
. "Jeb? A World Leader? Not kidding anyone anymore
. "After helping him boost their ratings, CNN dump Trump
. "Hillary not likable enough?
. "GOP's Got Talent
. "Trump Parliament
. "ABH Corpus
. "2016 - Recyclable Expendables
. "Welcome to Guisin-dong
. "#JeSuisCharlie

Previous seasons: 

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Happy New Year 2017

It's that time of the year, and for the 16th time*, I have no choice but to wish you a happy next year, considering what's going to happen in 2016:

January 2016: 

China devaluates its smog index; the new level for red alerts is now 10,000 PM2.5.

February 2016 : 

After losing the Iowa caucus to Ted Cruz, Donald Trump runs as an independent for the Presidency of FIFA.

March 2016: 

Three tie for first place at the World Drone Championships
, all of them ISIS pilots.

April 2016: 

The Great Internet Blackout: Fidel Castro, the Dalai Lama, Robert Mugabe, David Attenborough, Ian McKellen, and Justin Bieber pass away on April 1st, leading to a social network overload.

May 2016: 

Hillary finds her voice. To shout at Bill, found in bed with a Fox News intern.

June 2016: 

France wins the UEFA Euro 2016, Michel Platini allowed to watch the final from his Guantanamo cell.

July 2016: 

China reveals that the easiest way to fulfill its goal of +7% growth in GDP per capita in 2016 is to shrink its population to 650 million people by the end of the year.

August 2016: 

Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro: Brazil's sailing teams dissolve in the polluted waters of Guanabara Bay.

September 2016: 

The flow of migrants from Syria has officially stopped since Syria officially ceased to exist.

October 2016: 

Wall Street collapses: Xiaomi buys Apple, Alibaba the New York Times, and Trump Tiananmen Square.

November 2016: 

Michael Bloomberg is elected the 45th President of the United States in a landlordslide.

December 2016: 

The Nobel Peace Prize goes to Martin Shkreli for preventing the advent of singularity by making Turing tests unaffordable.

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* see "Happy New Year 2010" (Jan 2009), "Happy New Year 2011" (Dec 2009), "Happy New Year 2012" (Dec 2010), "Happy New Year 2013" (Dec 2011), "Happy New Year 2014" (Dec 2012), "Happy New Year 2015" (Dec 2013), "Happy New Year 2016" (Dec 2014)... and in French: "Bonne Année 2009" (Jan 2008), "Bonne Année 2010" (Dec 2008), "Bonne Année 2011" (Dec 2009), "Bonne Année 2012" (Dec 2010), "Bonne Année 2013" (Dec 2011), "Bonne Année 2014" (Dec 2012), "Bonne Année 2015" (Dec 2013), "Bonne Année 2016" (Dec 2014), "Bonne année 2017" (Dec 2015).



I knew it! SHCOMP or NASDAQ are not stock exchange index symbols, but onomatopoeia invented by the late Don Martin:

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"A word about what we should not do"

This from the Trump Campaign: "Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country's representatives can figure out what is going on."

This. Not just yet another abomination slipping from the Provocateur in Chief's mouthpiece, but a formal, written statement published on his official channel. 

This. After the Paris and San Bernardino shootings, after Marine Le Pen's victory in French regional elections, after Obama's speech, after the rise of Ted Cruz in Iowa polls, after a call from Holocaust survivors to welcome refugees in the US...

This. Even in the US, people usually hide behind masks to make such hatemongering calls.

"What is going on" is that radicals once again set the agenda, and Donald Trump is playing their game.

"What is going on" is that France and the United States send the worst message to the world.

"What is going on" is that yes, the leaders of our democracies are weak. 

Francois Hollande is weak. Unlike after the Charlie Hebdo shootings, he chose the nationalist / military only path to pose as a strong leader days ahead of elections poised to boost the extreme right, and of course it backfired.

Barack Obama is weak because there's not much he can do: his predecessor already weakened America and democracy worldwide, and he failed to keep a majority to support him at home. No wonder the first half of his address to the nation* fell flat.

But Barack Obama is not weak when he remains clear (NSA discrepancies notwithstanding) about what America should not do, and that was the second half of his speech. America will stop being America if it follows the wishes of her most radical extremists, which happen to be exactly what ISIS wants.

I'm not sure a majority of Americans got that part of the message.

What I'm sure of, is that ISIS needs friends like Ted Cruz, Ben Carson, or Donald Trump.
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* "Address to the nation by the President" (White House - 20151206)


Fluctuat nec mergitur

Following Friday's attacks, I posted this image of Paris from my mobile phone:

That's a simple map of my hometown, with its motto in Latin.

'Fluctuat nec mergitur' means that even when tossed around in stormy waters, the city never sinks.

I considered using the official coat of arms, but it's too loaded in symbols, particularly with these protective walls, and the King's colors:

The last things I wanted were to celebrate warfare, to mention 'divine blood' in the middle of a carnage, or to bring monarchy into this new Republican challenge*.

I opted for a satellite image showing Paris as it is. Unfortunately, that crappy app cropped the map, severing even neighborhoods that had been struck by the terrorists, adding insult to death.

When I noticed that, I considered trying again, but somehow that failure made sense: you can't sum up the horror in one picture, and humanity as a whole had been assaulted anyway. 

Humanity is not sinking.

But among humans who are sinking, a few are tempted to join extremism, which feeds upon our weaknesses, particularly when our democracies fail.

And from France, more is expected than just 'staying afloat' and surviving terror attacks. This democracy can't afford failing to honor its own motto, 'liberty, equality, fraternity'. 

---ADDENDUM 20151118---
Thank you dear Annabel Park for your kind words to the French people:

(see also the French version on blogules V.F.: "Un message d'Annabel Park")


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* the year that started with "#JeSuisCharlie" keeps being dotted with atrocities across the globe


Jeb? A World Leader? Not kidding anyone anymore

After CNBC's controversial show, the GOP now leads Dems 3-1 in presidential debates.

This time, Jeb Bush seems to have lost big time, and against his most direct rival Marco Rubio, who confirmed in an almost 2008-No-Drama-Obama fashion that he was a top contender for next year.

Even Chris Christie had a slice of Jeb for breakfast, leaving the Bush Campaign in a fantasy league of its own. I couldn't help but imagine Dubya's brother in a decisive meeting at the White House. He'd be wolfed down by any of his advisers, and he told us himself that they would be the same guys who advised W... America doesn't need this kind of "Commandee in Chief".

The usual clowns (Stan Carson and Laurel Trump) left the stage to Carly Fiorina, who didn't make much of all that airtime. Ted Cruz and Mike Huckabee cracked good ones and the audience, and at this pace, Trump won't even have to complain about the presence of Rand Paul or John Kasich at each corner of the stage, come November 10 and the 4th debate in Milwaukee Theatre.

Four days before, Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, and Martin O'Malley will have met for a quiet chat in Rock Hill, SC. Without Lincoln Chaffee and Jim Webb, who excused themselves, and without Joe Biden, who understood after the First Democratic Debate that Hillary wouldn't crash that early. She even won the first GOP-Dem debate at Capitol Hill for the Benghazi hearings.

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After helping him boost their ratings, CNN dump Trump

These days, I usually have Trump for breakfast, courtesy CNN. Seoul time is perfect to enjoy primary debates (that, at times, look and sound like debates between primates), and the daily dose of Trump delivered by this network to build up more audience than Fox News for its own GOP debate.

Fun to see Anderson Cooper and Co. pull out two negative stories against Teflon Don the very day following said debate.To be fair, both issues had to be raised: one on a event supposed to be for Veterans, the other on an anti-Muslim question raised at a Town Hall meeting.

Anyway, here's my scorecard for yesterday's debate - +s and -s are not an appreciation of each candidate, but my perception of their net gain/loss compared to before the debate:
  • +++ Carly Fiorina confirms her lock on the Veep position, and she can aim higher. But for that, she needs to show her 'human' side... if any. 
  • ++ Jeb Bush did more than show up. He scored high on family values (wife, dad, bro), and stole some weed from W's wisecracking stash. If his body language remains that of a reluctant and insecure leader, he gained precious points where in the previous debate, he was more into not losing any.
  • + Marco Rubio moved to the next level, back into challenger territory. His stupid joke on California drought might cost him an important State for the primaries.
  • + Chris Christie remains the dude you want to listen to. He perfectly seized each opportunity to shift the debate to audience-connecting grounds, like in his inaugural address, or with his remarks on the 'entertaining' bragging bout between Carly and Don. He cleverly displayed his Conservative credentials, and positioned himself as the good cop who knows when to get tough. He'd make a very strong nominee against any Dem candidate, but stands little chance for the moment in a GOP primary.
  • = Ben Carson was a bit more at ease than in the first debate, where he didn't impress me much, but scored big. He didn't show anything new, but risks less of losing ground than Trump in that regard. Still, he left Bush take seat number two.
  • = Scott Walker had his moments, but can't help looking like a lightweight. This GOP wants a different presence on stage.
  • = Ted Cruz carved himself into a cold, stubborn monolith that only like-minded people can stick to.
  • - John Kasich stuck to his unmovable script, a rambling old timer stuck in the past.
  • - Rand Paul did receive an initial boost from DT, who honored him by noticing his presence. But he continued on his negative trend, even if he fared much better than last time, using the Constitution as a cane to prevent further collapse.
  • - Donald Trump donaldtrumped for three hours, but in front of Reagan's Air Force One, Air Farce One played too often defense, exposing moments of inertia that may cost him more than his outrageous remarks. This man badly needs something new to last. He's still the biggest presence, but boy, did he look like an old, tired lion about to lose his alpha male status... He even failed to compare himself to Ron born-again Republican Reagan.
  • -- Mike Huckabee is already out of the race, a commentator speaking of the nominee as a distant third person.

My Twitter timeline around the debate:

20150826 - Watched today's episode of The Apprentice President on CNN. As usual, Donald Trump outdonaldtrumped himself. (twitter.com/stephanemot/status/636331305089679360):

20150915 - Daily dose of Donald Trump on CNN. As usual, as funny as scary. (twitter.com/stephanemot/status/643585423235637248)
20150917 (Debate Day part I):
. GOP debate of smaller losers drawing to an end on CNN (twitter.com/stephanemot/status/644295898319556608)
. Armaggdon - GOP debate (twitter.com/stephanemot/status/644300121971167232)
. Scott Walker Back in the Race. Jeb Bush caught between him & Donald Trump. Body language of a weak bystander - GOP debate (twitter.com/stephanemot/status/644306529454129152)

20150917 (Debate Day part II):
. Ted Cruz thinks he'd be the perfect theocratic commander in chief to face a 'theocratic ayatollah' - GOP Debate (twitter.com/stephanemot/status/644312765625008128)
. Jeb Bush confirms his advisors advised dad George H. W. Bush and bro George W. Bush... (twitter.com/stephanemot/status/644330158984265728)
. Jeb Bush: G.W. Bush kept us safe. By fueling worldwide terror? By paving the way for ISIS? - GOP Debate (twitter.com/stephanemot/status/644331145597816832
. Jeb Bush - Donald Trump low fiving now - GOP Debate (twitter.com/stephanemot/status/644344804105711620)

. Curious to see how Donald Trump bubble scores now. Issues were raised at GOP debate, and he played defense (twitter.com/stephanemot/status/644347252366946304)

20150917 (Debate Day part III):
. Donald Trump on CNN: nobody did bullying. Rand Paul might disagree (twitter.com/stephanemot/status/644349243705065472)
. As expected, Carly Fiorina secured the Veep spot. Aiming higher now, but too tough. Losing a kid to drugs a handicap then. GOP debate (twitter.com/stephanemot/status/644373833021919232)
.CNN waited after GOP Debate to demolish the Donald Trump they've helped build up to boost their ratings. Raise anti-Muslim, Vet issues (twitter.com/stephanemot/status/644670334562471936)

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