20110404

Obama 2012

Out of the blue, an e-mail from Barack, simply titled "2012"*, with a link to a YouTube video (is it "it starts with us" or "it starts with US" ?).

Obama does remain the favorite for the next elections. In spite of the Mid-Term Elections disaster. In spite of the disappointment of his liberal democrat base (not very happy with the reforms' compromises and the Bush heritage (Gitmo and Iraq mess). In spite of the Republican revival (the party has split anyway, remember "
GOP, time to split" ?). In spite of an army of potential opponents : Jon Huntsman, Tim Pawlenty, Donald Trump, Bobby Jindal, Mitt Romney...

Among key achievements : a Nobel Peace Prize, ambitious reforms, two moderates at the Supreme Court, diplomatic success in Tunisia, and a spectacularly improved image for the country overseas (even WikiLeaks failed to destroy it). All this while facing a major depression, the country's worst environmental disaster ever, and series of uprisings across the Muslim world...

Among key disappointments : a very poor communication for internal affairs (disconnected, maybe overprotected by Rahm Emanuel ?), and Israel for foreign affairs. The POTUS obviously spared AIPAC and finance lobbies to secure his reforms, and then to limit the damage at the mid-term elections.

Overall, Barack Hussein Obama governed from the center and rather well, even if he exposed some limits. In a perfect world, he would be easily reelected, then get rid of the Geithners and Summerses, and finally would focus on history and in particular the Israel-Palstine case. Once again thrashed, the GOP would at last start its own reforms, get rid of the Palins and Pauls, and push a moderate and pragmatic candidate for 2016.

In the worst case scenario, Americans would elect a pseudo-Republican populist impostor and irreversibly cut the country in two.


blogules 2011


* Stephane --

Today, we are filing papers to launch our 2012 campaign.

We're doing this now because the politics we believe in does not start with expensive TV ads or extravaganzas, but with you -- with people organizing block-by-block, talking to neighbors, co-workers, and friends. And that kind of campaign takes time to build.

So even though I'm focused on the job you elected me to do, and the race may not reach full speed for a year or more, the work of laying the foundation for our campaign must start today.

We've always known that lasting change wouldn't come quickly or easily. It never does. But as my administration and folks across the country fight to protect the progress we've made -- and make more -- we also need to begin mobilizing for 2012, long before the time comes for me to begin campaigning in earnest.

As we take this step, I'd like to share a video that features some folks like you who are helping to lead the way on this journey. Please take a moment to watch:





In the coming days, supporters like you will begin forging a new organization that we'll build together in cities and towns across the country. And I'll need you to help shape our plan as we create a campaign that's farther reaching, more focused, and more innovative than anything we've built before.

We'll start by doing something unprecedented: coordinating millions of one-on-one conversations between supporters across every single state, reconnecting old friends, inspiring new ones to join the cause, and readying ourselves for next year's fight.

This will be my final campaign, at least as a candidate. But the cause of making a lasting difference for our families, our communities, and our country has never been about one person. And it will succeed only if we work together.

There will be much more to come as the race unfolds. Today, simply let us know you're in to help us begin, and then spread the word:

http://my.barackobama.com/2012

Thank you,

Barack

20110315

Qaddafi: thank you Amanpour

The madman was cornered, still a dangerous Nero ready to set his country alight, but an isolated tyrant losing the PR battle (remember those sightings of a weirdo under an umbrella or waving from the top of a wall under an armored suit ?).

The dictator recovered. At the military level by crushing rebels, but furthermore in the media, with the blessing of international franchises looking for a scoop.

Ever the attention junkie, Christiane Amanpour waltzed the waltz for ABC. The Beeb, LCI, they all got their photo op with the ailing Adolf.

Guess what ? The message passed very well. Not that Muammar is telling crazy things, but that the same old Qaddafi is more than ever at ease in front of cameras in his own country. What, me worry ?

Meanwhile, the international community is as expected doing nothing to stop the carnage. At one stage, the League of Arab States seemed eager to pose a threat, but the only intervention so far has been a Saudi Arabian invasion of Bahrain to save the local Sunni king.

Is Qaddafi's fall the best case scenario ? Can Benghazi resist ? Will Libya split ? Will Daiichi melt in Fukushima ? Which one got your attention ?

blogules 2011

20110221

Did the Egyptian Revolution start in Iceland ?

Could we find some fingerprints from Eyjafjallajökull over nowadays unrests across the Arab and Muslim world ?

The unpronounceable Icelandic volcano may have longer lasting consequences than last year's air traffic disruptions. It probably contributed to extreme meteorological events and unexpected agricultural outputs. For instance, Russia's disastrous crops and the following embargo on exports had a massive impact on food prices worldwide.

After all, the 1783 eruption of a volcano in Iceland (Laki) disrupted European climate so dramatically that it is now recognized as one of the triggers to the French Revolution.

And even before 1789, as early as in 1783, a certain country would lose about one sixth of its population because of starvation caused by the same event.

The name of that country ? Egypt.

Of course, it takes more than a volcano eruption to start a revolution, but volcanoes have a knack for contributing to the extinction of cumbersome dinosaurs.


blogules 2011

20110211

Impressions papier hanji

(NB read the French version of this post on blogules VF)

Atelier des Cahiers publishes an anthology of 10 French-Korean short stories about Korea : four female Korean authors and six male French authors... including yours truly ('de Vermis Seoulis' was previously published in my personal anthology - dragedies
").

Impressions papier hanji - Dix nouvelles franco-coréennes
Editions Atelier des Cahiers 2010 - Collection Littératures
ISBN 978-2-9529286-4-9
303 pages - 15.000 wons / 12 euros
. Alain ROBBE-GRILLET ("Mon double coréen")
. KIM Da-eun ("Madame")
. Antoine COPPOLA ("La véritable histoire de Li Jin et de son horrible sacrifice")
. CHOI Myeong-jeong ("Pojangmacha")
. Eric SZCZUREK ("La joueuse de Baduk")
. Stéphane MOT ("de Vermis Seoulis")
. KIM Ae-ran ("Le couteau de ma mère")
. François LAUT ("Jours d'après")
. EUN Hee-kyung ("La voleuse de fraises")
. Michel LOUYOT ("Le poète sans nom")


More on this later in these pages.

Stephane - blogules

ADDENDUM 20110304

To purchase / order this book, see the editor's website (www.atelierdescahiers.com) : list of points of sale in Seoul and Paris, order online via Paypal...

20110208

Reaganomania, Reaganomics, Reaganomy, Reaganaming, Reagan Legacies, and Mount Palin

Ronald Wilson Reagan turned 100 and the GOP barnum celebrated as ridiculously as expected.

Ever the media darling, Sarah Palin took the stage, embarrassed herself, and even received a few comments from Ronald Reagan afterwards. That would be Ron Reagan, Ronald Prescott Reagan, son of RWR and Nancy Reagan... a young lad closer to the liberals, just like his own dad in his own younger years. So what did RPR say ? "Sarah Palin is a soap opera, basically. She's doing mostly what she does to make money and keep her name in the news". Touche.

Otherwise, the
disunited GOP exposed two Reagan Legacy entities : a "Reagan Legacy Foundation" focused on Ronald Reagan the man, and a "Reagan Legacy Project" focused on Ronald Reagan the post-Ronald-Reagan myth. The RLF is headed by Michael Reagan (another son of RWR, but before Nancy), the RRLP by ever the caricatural Grover Norquist, the man behind "Americans for Tax Reform" and the heckuva storyteller who wants to sum up The Great Man by his hatred of government.

Mr Norquist wants every county from every state to name something substantial after RWR. In other words, dear taxpayers, this ultimate libertarian wants to make as many big bangs as possible with your bucks. The mother of all his projects is to rename a Nevada mountain "Mount Reagan". Note that New Hampshire did that first, but NH is not GOP-macho-cowboy enough for the picture.

Next thing you know, Grover will demand a posthumous Nobel Peace Prize for Reagan. Probably for his great peace efforts in Central America.

OK. He'd rather point out his greatest achievement : ending the Soviet era. Nevermind the fact that Gorby did that : Ron's biggest legacy was to help reformers gain some openings in the Soviet Union. The TV cowboy outlived so many old farts, that they eventually decided to nominate Michail Sergeyevich Gorbachev, the actual reformer in non-revisionist history books.

In 2064, some Tea Party survivor may lobby in favor of a Mount Palin, named after the early XXIst Century celeb who once ran for Veep.

I suggest Wasilla Little League's baseball mound.

blogules 2011

20110204

Sand curtain

If protorevolutionary movements across the Arabo-Muslim world tend to remind me of the late eighties in Eastern Europe, this is completely different.

This time it's not about the regionwide collapse of a corrupt system and ideology with a top-down benediction from a pro-reform leader (Gorbachev), but about several grassroot movements challenging local dictators, corrupt regimes sans ideology.

Note that both Ben Ali and Mubarak were already ailing caids. Beyond their political deaths, what matters now is the removal of entourages controlling most of the power in each country.

Of course, nature abhors a vacuum, and fundamentalists would love to step in to fill the ideology void. At this defining moment, most people on the street seem to reject as false the choice between dictatorship and fundamentalism, but most people on the street prefer order to chaos, and uncertainty shouldn't last too long.

Israel nervously watches as Jordanian and Egyptian regimes falter under popular pressure. Muslim friends who could turn enemies, with the benediction of Iran, whose own corrupt regime postponed its ineluctable fall by a few years by crushing popular uprisings at home. Unfortunately, these days, Israeli leaders seem to position themselves as a corrupt regime with some ideology. Not a dictatorship, mind you, but not a bunch of nice guys either.

Barack Obama is a nice guy. Unfortunately, these days, the US leader doesn't seem to be in charge of foreign policy, so huge is the gap between what he says and what the US do. And the poor lad doesn't have one Gorbachev to call if he wants that sand curtain torn down...

So what's ahead ? Probably trouble and uncertainties, but somehow this transitional period has started after WWII and independence wars, and we're closer to the end than from the beginning. Something new will emerge and eventually, something positive. Societies freed from political and religious deviances. Hopefully, the time has come for a true Muslim renaissance.

Right now, most dictators across the globe must have gotten some kind of message. But even supposedly strong democracies should be thinking twice when they applaud successful local uprisings or self-determination processes like in South Sudan : what is a nation in this globalized world, what will be holding its members together in this networked millenium ?

More than ever, each individual will reach for the universal (as a human being), and the personal (identity).

blogules 2011

20110117

And now for something completely different

"It’s important for us to pause for a moment and make sure that we’re talking with each other in a way that heals, not in a way that wounds".

With this, President Obama could let
Sarah Palin drown in her own blood libelling pool if he weren't a truly compassionate leader : "we cannot do is use this tragedy as one more occasion to turn on each other".

From Tucson, AZ to Tunis now: the great people of Tunisia managed to push dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and his Trabelsi clique out. But some of their thugs remain loose on the street, and at the other end of the hate line, fundamentalists are more than ever eager to wedge their ways into the country. They obviously were not invited at the table for the national unity government : the unity they seek doesn't quite fit the democratic agenda.

From Tunis to Juba: here, the democratic agenda is set and a new country is about to emerge from the referendum. Complete with controversial borders, and strategic pipelines, Southern Sudan is also the perfect target for hatemongers.

From Tunis and Juba to Abidjan: these days, Laurent Gbagbo is probably paying some attention to what's happening in other African countries. To the Ben Ali scenario, I'm sure he'd prefer to see Ivory Coast split in two. Of course, without any democratic process.

From Tunis to Washington, DC : no need to wait for the next WikiLeaks batch to know that Ben Ali's quick retreat to Saudi Arabia owes something to US diplomacy. A small compromise, but an overall B+ for Secretary of State Clinton in this (at long last) booming region. Maybe Chinese diplomats contributed : all of a sudden, supporting local dictators in exchange for raw materials is not as politically correct as it used to be.

Cynics would say that after this African Yalta, the Chinese will keep nurturing their dictator in North Sudan, while Americans will start pumping oil in South Sudan.

Another victory for Africa yesterday ? The new Front National leader has African origins : like her dad Jean-Marie, Marine Le Pen shares her origins with all of us French, Americans, Chinese... you name it. But I don't think she's going to celebrate this politically and scientifically correct fact. In a way that heals.


blogules 2011

20110113

Blood Libel

Precooked Palisms tend to go in pairs. A couple of years ago, McCain campaign came up with "gotcha politics" when journalists couldn't get any decent answer from the Veep candidate.

Now Palin staff produced a splendid "blood libel" to retali/refudiate/whateverate against those who accused her and fellow hatemongering FOXnews barkers of fueling violence. Vintage Karl Rove 101 : when accused of being an enemy of democracy, I call my accusers by the same names, with a marketing gimmick for the general public to memorize the expression.

Sarah Palin didn't pull the trigger : Jared Lee Loughner did. But politicians are responsible for what they say and the laws they vote for.

Just days before the shooting, GOP paraded at the Congress reading the Constitution, but they would have read a Lehman Brothers brochure or a NRA leaflet with more conviction.

Meanwhile, Gabrielle Giffords is fighting for her own life. Without any gun. Without any two-penny, double-barrelled palinism.

blogules 2011

20101228

Happy New Year 2012

Sorry but just like the previous years*, I cannot wish you a happy new year considering what's going to happen in 2011:

January 2011: volcano Eyjafjallajokull inrupts in Iceland. During this extremely rare phenomenon, billion of tons of CO2 are reabsorbed, causing unusually dry days and cold nights worldwide. In the process, the volcano also sucks about 5,167 planes from the sky.

February 2011 : the Cricket World Cup is sponsored by the Tea Party. Sarah Palin collapses during the seventh day stretch.

March 2011 : Kim Jong-il chokes on a gimchi pretzel. Two days later, his son Kim Jong-un is killed by the chief of intelligence services. The Red Army controls Pyeongyang, millions of North Koreans flock towards the South, thousands die on DMZ land mines. Three weeks later, the South announces that according to various trustable sources, Kim Jong-il might have caught a cold.

April 2011 : Prince William and Kate Middleton tie the knot around Prince Charles' neck. Camilla Parker Howls.

May 2011 : WikiLeaks exposes Julian Assange's STD lists. The 800 page book instantly becomes a New York Times bestseller.

June 2011 : inflation outpaces growth rates in China and property bubbles burst across Asia. US Dollar rallies by 2% against the Yuan : one RMB is now worth only 34,548,997 USD.

July 2011 : accompanied on the piano by Condi Rice, Vladimir Putin wins Russians Got Talent 2011 by singing a touching "I Dreamed a Stalin Dream".

August 2011 : harrassed by a Harry Potter fan working for the IRS, J.K. Rowling resuscitates the sorcerer for a second round of seven books. Daniel Radcliffe declines, but will replace Johnny Depp for the next two Jack Sparrows after the miserable failure of "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides" at the box office : "I'm sick and tired of heptalogies - Sparrow movies fly by three, and I even have idle time to work for a Lucas franchise on even years. They said I had enough acting talent to play R2-D2"

September 2011 : the Rugby World Cup is sponsored by the Beer Party. Sarah Palin collapses after her sixty sixth six pack Joe.

October 2011 : in spite of an intense marketing campaign, Jonathan Franzen doesn't get the Nobel Prize for literature, which goes to George W. Bush for his works of fiction.

November 2011 : Greece is bailed out by a pool of betting companies based in Macau. France is refused the same favor. Hedge-a-bet Funds all the rage at the NYSE.

December 2011 : Obama can declare that as scheduled, there is not one US troop left in Iraq because Iraq ceased to exist on December the 5th, Iran claiming the bulk of the land.


blogules 2010

* see "
Happy New Year 2011" (Dec 2009), "Happy New Year 2010" (Jan 2009)

20101219

WikiLeakified

blogule's Agence Fausse Presse managed to snatch from PeepeeLeaks a few top secret cables where several US envoys deliver their impressions about key world leaders:

- Nicolas Sarkozy : "A paranoid in love with the States, or rather obsessed with the need to be loved by Tom Cruise. Instills terror into his staff : no one dares criticize him, and he's been replacing them one by one by Oompas Loompas who call him "Your Highness", "Your Greatness", or "Dear Ladder". Now Sarkozy only refers to himself in third person."

- Silvio Berlusconi : "Like many statesmen, an eternal teenager obsessed with new conquests... which in spite of compulsive plastic surgery he needs to pay for. Told us to kiss Don Vito hello, and to thank him for his last delivery of Ukrainian blondes."

- Mahmoud Ahmadinejad : "A narcissic psychopath lunatic. Likely to be good friends with our President George W. Bush."

- Tony Blair : "Very friendly but on the threshold of annoyingness. Insisted to show us his self-flagellation stigmata. Asked again for that seance with Churchill promised by the POTUS."

- Vladimir Putin : "When he enters the room, temperature drops 20 degrees. Each of his muscles is so tensed he constantly needs to tune them like piano strings... quite an experience: his face doesn't move one bit, but every five to six seconds you can hear a 'pling' or a 'plong'."

- Muammar al Gaddafi : "Couldn't meet him: the elevator got stuck between the 4th and 5th floors of his tent."

- Hu Jintao / Wen Jiabao : "The former has the sense of humor of a prison door. No wonder he wants to get rid of the latter, a brillant man with a constant smile on his face. But last time I had tea at Wen's (as usual a very pleasant afternoon), I found out back home that he'd planted about eight hundred acupuncture needles all over my back."

- Saddam Hussein : "Didn't understand why we got rid of him after all he did for us and we for him. Didn't like our farewell gift, a beautiful Lanvin hemp necktie."

blogules 2010 - initially published on blogules VF as "WikiLeakefie".

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