20130320

Invasion of Iraq: The Bush Legacy in 3 Impostures

It's been 10 years since the invasion of Iraq, and I won't repeat my usual rant. In case you missed the previous episodes, here are 3 messages you should remember:
 

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1) The invasion of Iraq was meant to spread fundamentalism worldwide, not democracy in Iraq:

Always keep this in mind: "George W. Bush didn't act as a President of The United States of America in the interest of his country. And George W. Bush didn't even act as a Republican in the interest of his party. George W. Bush acted as a fundamentalist in the interest of fundamentalism."

I wrote the "Universal Declaration of Independence from Fundamentalism" to expose the imposture of fundamentalism (a totalitarian, political program advertised as a universal, religious program), the way it undermines both democracy and religion, and the ways to defuse the sick ping pong between supposedly opposed extremists.

As I posted for the 5th anniversay of this masquerade ("Iraq - 5 years of success for fundamentalists"), the invasion of Iraq was a triumph: as expected, it boosted fundamentalism and terror worldwide. "Mission accomplished".

And we should consider ourselves lucky these lunatics didn't go all the way (see "Iran : who wants war and why").


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2) Oil was the means of corruption, not the aim of the game, and the undermining of US democracy was not just collateral damage:

To make it short: theocons set the agenda with the help of neocons (what better duet than Bush-Cheney to achieve this?), and sold the war to paleocons*.

In other words: the aim of the game was to undermine democracy (the theocon - fascist purpose), and the official cause an intervention to free a country from its dictator (typical neocon stuff), but in order to launch the war, the blessing from the oil and defense lobbies was needed (enter the paleocons).

The only thing missing was an alibi for immediate action. A clear and immediate danger. The outrageous lies and forged cases about WMDs or Saddam-al Qaeda ties did the trick.

Of course, there was always the risk of nosy reporters doing their jobs, of citizens exercising their rights to transparency.

The Patriot Act became effective more than one year before the invasion. The trickier part was the media, and the Bush Administration offered a deal to US majors: don't get at us until after the 2004 elections** and we'll help you consolidate your power. At the head of the FCC, the son of Colin Powell did his best to alter competition laws, and was instrumental in the concentration that followed at a critical moment in the history of traditional press, broadcasting, and internet. Michael Powell went as far as organizing a phony forum to settle the case just weeks ahead of the invasion. He later joined the RAND Corporation.

In general, the Bush administration more or less successfully tried to undermine the separation of powers at the root of democracy:
. executive? too far (right) reaching, and totally unaccountable.
. legislative? corrupt, and producing anti-democratic laws
. judicial? promoting torture and the negation of all rights
. media? at best embedded, at worst accomplice
. netizens? brainwashed by pervasive propaganda, monitored by a dystopian state
. ....
. and, of course, the theocons' priority: destroying secularism, the pilar of democracy. Again, mixing religion with politics, education, science... is the best way to attack democracy and religion at the same time (see "France, secularism and burqa : a political issue, not a religious one")

Yes, a lot of money was at stake. For the religious lobbies that pushed against the separation of church and state as well as for the military and oil lobbies. And the mass plundering of Iraqi resources is only one side of a scheme that turned record surplusses into record deficits (among other vital rescue missions: saving private Halliburton... a charity movement that continued in another Gulf, following Kathrina - see "Red blogule to Halliburton and the 40 thieves").

But the corruption reached much deeper, to the very fundamentals of democracy.
 

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3) The Arab Spring owes nothing to the Iraq War, to the contrary:

 
George W. Bush and his fan club try to sell us the Arab Spring as the consequence of his invasion of Iraq, a "liberation war" that "spread democracy across the region", but this imposture is totally unacceptable.
 
First, Bush's crusade contributed to silencing moderates, and strengthening radical islamists as the only political force capable of taking power.
 
Second, his illegal invasion for anti-democratic purposes cannot be compared to self determination movements aiming at genuine freedom and democracy. The only nation Bush ever tried to build was a theocracy: he may be an inspiration for islamists, certainly not for actual freedom fighters.
 
Third, the Bush administration did serve as an example in the region, but not in the arab world (see "Israel accepted as true the choice between its security and its ideals").


 
***

Justice has yet to be done, and I guess the last words of Tomas Young (in "The Last Letter") are worth remembering:
"A Message to George W. Bush and Dick Cheney From a Dying Veteran": "I hope you will be put on trial. But mostly I hope, for your sakes, that you find the moral courage to face what you have done to me and to many, many others who deserved to live. I hope that before your time on earth ends, as mine is now ending, you will find the strength of character to stand before the American public and the world, and in particular the Iraqi people, and beg for forgiveness.".

And as always, we should expose and denounce the impostures, and blow the whistle each time a government tries to alter the separation of powers or to play with the fundamentals of democracy.


blogules 2013
Since 2003, nonsensical posts about noncritical issues in nonenglish (get your blogules transfusion in French)
NEW: join blogules on Facebook!!! and Twitter (@stephanemot, @blogules)
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* ... and if the "anticons" were not yet in the picture, they're not a model for democracy either: "the Tea Party is not just an alternative to the Republican or the Democratic parties, but the very negation of the republic, the very negation of democracy" (see "Grand Old Parting - enter the anticons")
** Heck, even until the 2008 elections for most of them (see "The Silence of the Lambs (War in Iraq and US networks)"). How dare collaborators give lessons after such a disgrace (see "What Fareed Zakaria got wrong")?

20130308

Still The Worst President Ever

Ten years ago, George W. Bush would launch the invasion of Iraq, his most successful decision as the Fundamentalist in Chief (see "Universal Declaration of Independence from Fundamentalism").

How is he doing nowadays? W. just visited Seoul for a couple of hours, the time to bring good luck to some important real estate project (and a nice check to his fat wallet). Exactly the kind of peacekeepers and bubblemakers the peninsula needs right now: following more Beijing-condoned sanctions from the UNSC, Pyongyang all but declared a nuclear war to the US.

But who knows, Bush The Second may be palling around with Kim The Third: his unofficial envoy* Dong Moon JOO attended KIM Jong-il's funerals. Note that "Douglas" JOO reunited with the Washington Times ahead of the trip, but never left the Unification Church, the cult founded by the late MOON Sun-myung, a very good friend of daddy George H. W. Bush.

Ever the masochist, I decided to check Dubya's official website, or rather that of the George W. Bush Presidential Center. It had been a long time since my last visit.

No mention of the lucrative trip, of course, but I found this gem on the homepage: Dubya riding a bike with friends (including a US flag bearer - you always need one of those when you climb high mountains), with this caption: "The Bush Center's Most Memorable Moments of 2012".



I couldn't resist and added a speech ballon: "Uh... say again: Lance said WHAT?"



blogules 2013
Since 2003, nonsensical posts about noncritical issues in nonenglish (get your blogules transfusion in French)
NEW: join blogules on Facebook!!! and Twitter (@stephanemot, @blogules)

* according to The Daily Beast ("The Bush Administration’s Secret Link to North Korea" - 20120207)

20130303

HGTP (Hypergraphia Transfer Protocol) Turns 10: 03/03/03 - 13/03/03

March 3rd, 2003 - March 3rd, 2013.

I eventually opened my personal portal on the web exactly 10 years ago and today, I'd like to apologize to the millions of victims of this tragedy: the visitors from all over the world who lost at best their precious time, at worst their sanity in what is now a multi-site, multi-platform monster. Since I cannot predict the future (even if, I'm afraid, you shouldn't expect containment until I stop living - which includes writing, my most embarrassing bodily function), here's a quick summary of what happened over this doomed decade.


0) In the beginning was the word:

naughty homepage v1.0
(stephanemot.com during
the "geocities" years)
From the beginning, I embraced the web as the perfect extension of my poor brain, as something as absurd, unreliable, vain, and fragile as life itself. But it was not until 2003 that I decided to get my own address.

The concept was simple:
- No avatar, no pseudo: I commit to all the ill-written and nonsensical stuff I spill over the web. After all, they're just words, and my name happens to mean "word" in French.
- It's at the same time public and personal, but not intimate. I'm not pushing my own opinions, they simply have to come out of my system. Pure junk writing, no literature.
- It's egotic, not narcissic. Yes that's a game of mirrors, but as in some kind of a Borghesian experiment. And in this mess / maze, I can find pricelessly inane stuff that I would otherwise lose for good. Plus I need to fuel my own ecosystem, to plug it to both reality and virtuality. If I often build inept synaptic connections that slow the whole system down, I always learn something about my own impostures and dysfunctions.


I) Homepaging (Home, Sweet and Sour Home):

In 2003, I'd been journeying for 10 years into strategy and innovation. I had a lot of fun conceiving and managing online and interactive services and apps, or forecasting disruptions in highly evolutive ecosystems, but at home, the last thing I wanted was to create my own start-up (I'd already survived four of those), or to think about technology or solutions... particularly since I knew that major disruptions would come sooner than later, that the next Googles would change everything, that new concepts, platforms, devices, usages would emerge.

All I needed was a place to drop the 'junk writing' I excreted. Neither a flush toilet nor a vault: I wanted to easily access and browse it. Ultimately, I wanted my content to be in my own "cloud", as I drew it back then on my silly slides: a cartoon-like cloud accessible seamlessly from any connected device - no matter where I logged in, I wouldn't have to care about input or output formats, on which server I was.

I knew we were far from that. I'd already toyed with mini mobile sites (eg WAP and i-mode), and I wanted to stick to the web, and to its most rudimentary forms at that. I've loved Wikis from the start, and content management systems were already legion (I also missed Wordpress by a few months), but I didn't want to be smart anyway.

Opting for Geocities was not very smart. It wasn't the least user-friendly web hosting solution, but back in 2003, Yahoo! were already officially has-beens. Yet I've been "faithfool" to Y! for my personal email service since 1996 (still now!), and I knew that the transfer would be easy.

Because for starters, I really wanted the basics for my personal-content / self-editing purposes. No frills, no forum, no interactivity: simple web pages that I could easily transfer to a smarter platform when the time came.

My initial menu was very simple, even if I expected innovations for each dimension:
- Home (basic: landing page for stephanemot.com, with a few simple dynamic animations like newsfeeds - potential: media),
Beings (basic: ego, friends and neighbors, authors I like - potential: networking/communities),
Things (basic: books, soccer/footlog, photos, innovations/mot-bile... - potential: endless verticals, videos),
Places (basic: Paris, NYC, Seoul, Uqbar, world, travels, maps, random... - potential: mobility, location based services),
blogules (basic: all posts on one page - potential: dedicated blogging platform)
- About, Links, Stats, Guestbook pages
- NB: I also created a "boutique" page (Little Shop of Errors). Not to generate revenues, but to cover all bases, and to follow/anticipate innovations for key 'enablers', particularly through Amazon, a player with an unsatiable appetite.

Of course I was not satisfied with the result, but at long last I had my own room with a roof.

I forgot to mention the fact that the site was in English and in French, which made it twice as big and boring. If the main menu never changed, the monster grew to about a hundred pages, each one an ergonomic mess filled with useless junk.


II) Blogging (Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Disinformation):

From the start, I knew that I should have used 'special purpose vehicles', most notably a blogging platform for my blogules, but I didn't want to manage several sites in parallel. I didn't expect to produce that much junk that quickly.

You've got to thank George W. Bush for that.

Saying that I got obsessed with the 2004 US Elections is an understatement. Only a portion of my 2003-2004 junk posted on various fora and media landed on the two interminable pages devoted to blogules (one in French, the other in English), but I postponed until after November 2, 2004 the switch to Blogger. Not the best platform back then, and I didn't feel comfortable growing a Google-dependence, but I expected Big G to lead on the way to convergence.

I haven't invested much time on my homepage ever since. When Geocities folded, I'd already had dispatched the bulk of the content to specific sites*, so I only transferred a tiny portion of the monster. To Google Pages. Again, not the best platform. Again, more Google-dependence.

Anyway. Today, stephanemot.com is basically a non-existent hub, an empty shell with little content and traffic. Nothing like its heyday madness, when Geocities had to regularly shut my site down because flocks of visitors coming for different 'verticals' were all converging to the same spot.

So we're in December 2004: John F. Kerry is not measuring the drapes at the White House, and I've just moved 3 of my blogs to Blogger: blogules (in English), blogules V.F. (in French), and mot-bile (innovation - in English). I still don't know today how I managed not only to feed and maintain the three of them, but also to need even more sites to sort more junk.

I spun off my soccer blog on France Football in October 2005 (in French - platform: Blogspirit). footlog quickly became a hit, and CNET France noticed this weird guy who blogged on soccer in French and on innovation in English: would you do a blog for us ahead of the 2006 FIFA World Cup? I did, for free, and it was fun. But I'm glad it's over:  I've got enough trouble maintaining the whole shebang as it is, and I regularly turn down similar offers. I did accept a stunt for a French radio, to give it a try, but writing remains more fun. Among the different citizen journalism platforms I tried, I feel most comfortable with Rue89. I don't do columns, even if various papers have published my stuff or mentioned my work (eg Newsweek, IHT, Le Figaro, LA Times, Asian Times, Korea JoongAng Daily, Korea Herald...). I've been editor in chief in a previous life, but I'm not a journalist: I'm into Weapons of Mass Disinformation, see?

Nowadays, I seldom post on footlog, which in its own heyday ranked among France's top 7 sports blogs. I still force myself to post now and then on mot-bile, because that's a way of keeping an eye on sectors and players I enjoy decrypting. And if my blogules remain hot during election cycles in France and in the US, I've been much more busy with yet another blog.

I started SeoulVillage in February 2007, 6 years ago. More than a spin off of my blogules about Korea, I initially had in mind a proto-literary project about this shape-shifter of a city. I cowarded out, opted for English, and started yet another blog by yet another Foreigner in Asia. I'm happy to count many Korean culture lovers, researchers, journalists, or urbanists among frequent flyers, but I owe this city I love something more intimate. Hopefully, I shall complete this year my first collection of fictions about Seoul, in English.

Because I have the gall to define myself as an author, remember? Not much has been published to support the claim, but I've got another set of useless websites to maintain because of that**. More empty shells, I reckon: my excuse for a literature got lost in an void that, literally, can't even be described as interstellar.


III) Social Networking (Hypergraphia meet Multiple Personality Disorder):

Even if my Facebook or Twitter pages are not part of my personal portal, I have to mention here the difficulty of coping with various selves in social networking times.
 
I mostly write as myself and as SeoulVillage, but that's only the tip of the iceberg. To name the main sites:
I'm not suffering from Multiple Personality Disorder, but from Hypergraphia. Of course, these 4 websites, 5 blogs, 7 Facebook pages, and 6 Twitter accounts are only part of my online presence. Of course, I also write an awful lot of junk offline. Of course, I don't like 99.999% of what I write (starting with the parts I can't even understand when I try to read them afterwards). Of course, there are rewarding as well as embarrassing moments.

Sorry, but I can't fix my writing. Writing is my fix.

blogules 2013
Since 2003, nonsensical posts about noncritical issues in nonenglish (get your blogules transfusion in French)
NEW: join blogules on Facebook!!! and Twitter (@stephanemot, @blogules)

* in 2007, I spun off a few pages that were not meant for a blogging platform, but nonetheless ended up on Blogger, like Little Shop of Errors (boutique - in French), Citizen Came (visitors stats - in English). I also backed-up the 2003-2004 blogules archives (in English and in French), as well as my soccer pages (footlog archives).
** see dragedies and La Ligue des Oublies (nevermind Kim Mudangnim).
Welcome to my personal portal : blogules - blogules (VF) - mot-bile - footlog - Seoul Village - footlog archives - blogules archives - blogules archives (VF) - dragedies - Little Shop of Errors - Citizen Came -La Ligue des Oublies - Stephanemot.com (old) - Stephanemot.com - Warning : Weapons of Mass Disinformation - Copyright Stephane MOT