Mariage pour tous: A quand la légalisation de la polygamie ? (Time to legalize polygamy: Why group marriage is the next horizon of social liberalism)

27 juin, 2015
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Tout ce qui n’est pas nouveau dans un temps d’innovation est pernicieux. Saint-Just
Voilà, Monseigneur, une fête toute napolitaine : nous dansons sur un volcan ! Narcisse-Achille de Salvandy (au roi des Deux-Siciles, 1830)
Il n’y a plus ni Juif ni Grec, il n’y a plus ni esclave ni libre, il n’y a plus ni homme ni femme; car tous vous êtes un en Jésus Christ. Paul (Galates 3: 28)
La loi naturelle n’est pas un système de valeurs possible parmi beaucoup d’autres. C’est la seule source de tous les jugements de valeur. Si on la rejette, on rejette toute valeur. Si on conserve une seule valeur, on la conserve tout entier. (. . .) La rébellion des nouvelles idéologies contre la loi naturelle est une rébellion des branches contre l’arbre : si les rebelles réussissaient, ils découvriraient qu’ils se sont détruits eux-mêmes. L’intelligence humaine n’a pas davantage le pouvoir d’inventer une nouvelle valeur qu’il n’en a d’imaginer une nouvelle couleur primaire ou de créer un nouveau soleil avec un nouveau firmament pour qu’il s’y déplace. (…) Tout nouveau pouvoir conquis par l’homme est aussi un pouvoir sur l’homme. Tout progrès le laisse à la fois plus faible et plus fort. Dans chaque victoire, il est à la fois le général qui triomphe et le prisonnier qui suit le char triomphal . (…) Le processus qui, si on ne l’arrête pas, abolira l’homme, va aussi vite dans les pays communistes que chez les démocrates et les fascistes. Les méthodes peuvent (au premier abord) différer dans leur brutalité. Mais il y a parmi nous plus d’un savant au regard inoffensif derrière son pince-nez, plus d’un dramaturge populaire, plus d’un philosophe amateur qui poursuivent en fin de compte les mêmes buts que les dirigeants de l’Allemagne nazie. Il s’agit toujours de discréditer totalement les valeurs traditionnelles et de donner à l’humanité une forme nouvelle conformément à la volonté (qui ne peut être qu’arbitraire) de quelques membres ″chanceux″ d’une génération ″chanceuse″ qui a appris comment s’y prendre. C.S. Lewis (L’abolition de l’homme, 1943)
Le monde moderne n’est pas mauvais : à certains égards, il est bien trop bon. Il est rempli de vertus féroces et gâchées. Lorsqu’un dispositif religieux est brisé (comme le fut le christianisme pendant la Réforme), ce ne sont pas seulement les vices qui sont libérés. Les vices sont en effet libérés, et ils errent de par le monde en faisant des ravages ; mais les vertus le sont aussi, et elles errent plus férocement encore en faisant des ravages plus terribles. Le monde moderne est saturé des vieilles vertus chrétiennes virant à la folie.  G.K. Chesterton
Muhammad révéla à Médine des qualités insoupçonnées de dirigeant politique et de chef militaire. Il devait subvenir aux ressources de la nouvelle communauté (umma) que formaient les émigrés (muhadjirun) mekkois et les « auxiliaires » (ansar) médinois qui se joignaient à eux. Il recourut à la guerre privée, institution courante en Arabie où la notion d’État était inconnue. Muhammad envoya bientôt des petits groupes de ses partisans attaquer les caravanes mekkoises, punissant ainsi ses incrédules compatriotes et du même coup acquérant un riche butin. En mars 624, il remporta devant les puits de Badr une grande victoire sur une colonne mekkoise venue à la rescousse d’une caravane en danger. Cela parut à Muhammad une marque évidente de la faveur d’Allah. Elle l’encouragea sans doute à la rupture avec les juifs, qui se fit peu à peu. Le Prophète avait pensé trouver auprès d’eux un accueil sympathique, car sa doctrine monothéiste lui semblait très proche de la leur. La charte précisant les droits et devoirs de chacun à Médine, conclue au moment de son arrivée, accordait une place aux tribus juives dans la communauté médinoise. Les musulmans jeûnaient le jour de la fête juive de l’Expiation. Mais la plupart des juifs médinois ne se rallièrent pas. Ils critiquèrent au contraire les anachronismes du Coran, la façon dont il déformait les récits bibliques. Aussi Muhammad se détourna-t-il d’eux. Le jeûne fut fixé au mois de ramadan, le mois de la victoire de Badr, et l’on cessa de se tourner vers Jérusalem pour prier. Maxime Rodinson
Cela fait un an maintenant qu’est apparu au grand jour l’Etat islamique (EI). Et l’on ne peut que constater qu’il a lancé les « festivités » de cet anniversaire, malgré les bombardements qu’il subit. Tout cela accompagne le début du ramadan la semaine dernière. L’EI a appelé la quasi-totalité de ses sympathisants à fêter cette première année par tous les moyens et partout dans le monde. Selon moi, les attentats perpétrés à Saint-Quentin-Fallavier (Isère), à Sousse et à Koweït City s’inscrivent dans cette macabre célébration. C’est un terrible pied de nez adressé à la communauté internationale. Et ce n’est que le début.(…) Souvenons-nous : l’EI a commencé son offensive au début du ramadan 2014. Il a déclaré le califat le 30 juin 2014. Je pense donc que cela risque de culminer dans les semaines à venir. En outre, le mois de ramadan est considéré comme propice au jihad. Je crains donc que nous soyons face au lancement d’une campagne d’attentats. (…) on n’est pas assez conscients de la portée symbolique des dates et des lieux. Désormais, l’EI se considère comme un Etat, gère les territoires comme tel, avec un gouvernement, une administration et un agenda. Nous sommes bel et bien face à un Etat terroriste. Mathieu Guidère
Je m’ennuie follement dans la monogamie, même si mon désir et mon temps peuvent être reliés à quelqu’un et que je ne nie pas le caractère merveilleux du dévelopement d’une intimité. Je suis monogame de temps en temps mais je préfère la polygamie et la polyandrie. Carla Bruni
A 80 ans, le cuisinier livre l’un de ses secrets : depuis près de quatre décennies, il partage sa vie entre trois femmes, déjeunant chez l’une, prenant le thé chez l’autre, dînant avec la dernière. (…) Ses trois femmes, en restant à ses côtés en toute connaissance de cause, font la démonstration qu’elles l’acceptent comme il est, depuis presque quarante ans, à partager sa vie en trois, ses journées en trois. Déjeunant chez l’une, prenant le thé chez l’autre, dînant avec la dernière. Partant à la montagne avec l’une, au Japon avec la deuxième, restant au coin du feu avec la troisième. Elevant une fille avec la première. Un fils avec la deuxième. Confiant à la fille de la troisième la rédaction de ce livre testament. Libération
Avec la crise économique dans mon pays, peu d’hommes peuvent entretenir plusieurs épouses. En France, c’est différent, tous ces enfants sont une source de revenus. Oumar Dicko (ministre chargé des Maliens de l’extérieur)
Is it just wishful thinking to imagine the end of liberalism? Few things in politics are permanent. Conservatism and liberalism didn’t become the central division in our politics until the middle of the 20th century. Before that, American politics revolved around such issues as states’ rights, the wars, slavery, the tariff, and suffrage. Parties have come and gone in our history. You won’t find many Federalists, Whigs, or Populists lining up at the polls these days. Britain’s Liberal Party faded from power in the 1920s. The Canadian Liberal Party collapsed in 2011. Recently, within a decade of its maximum empire at home and abroad, a combined intellectual movement, political party, and form of government crumbled away, to be swept up and consigned to the dustbin of history. Communism, which in a very different way from American liberalism traced its roots to Hegel, Social Darwinism, and leadership by a vanguard group of intellectuals, vanished before our eyes, though not without an abortive coup or two. If Communism, armed with millions of troops and thousands of megatons of nuclear weapons, could collapse of its own dead weight and implausibility, why not American liberalism? The parallel is imperfect, of course, because liberalism and its vehicle, the Democratic Party, remain profoundly popular, resilient, and changeable. Elections matter to them. What’s more, the egalitarian impulse, centralized government (though not centralized administration), and the Democratic Party have deep roots in the American political tradition—and reflect permanent aspects of modern democracy itself, as Tocqueville testifies. Some elements of liberalism are inherent in American democracy, then, but the compound, the peculiar combination that is contemporary liberalism, is not. Compounded of the Hegelian philosophy of history, Social Darwinism, the living constitution, leadership, the cult of the State, the rule of administrative experts, entitlements and group rights, and moral creativity, modern liberalism is something new and distinctive, despite the presence in it, too, of certain American constants like the love of equality and democratic individualism. Under the pressure of ideas and events, that compound could come apart. Liberals’ confidence in being on the right, the winning side of history could crumble, perhaps has already begun to crumble. Trust in government, which really means in the State, is at all-time lows. A majority of Americans oppose a new entitlement program—in part because they want to keep the old programs unimpaired, but also because the economic and moral sustainability of the whole welfare state grows more and more doubtful. The goodwill and even the presumptive expertise of many government experts command less and less respect. Obama’s speeches no longer send the old thrill up the leg, and his leadership, whether for one or two terms, may yet help to discredit the respectability of following the Leader. The Democratic Party is unlikely to go poof, but it’s possible that modern liberalism will. A series of nasty political defeats and painful repudiations of its impossible dreams might do the trick. At the least, it will have to downsize its ambitions and get back in touch with political, moral, and fiscal reality. It will have to—all together now—turn back the clock. Much will depend, too, on what conservatives say and do in the coming years. Will they have the prudence and guile to elevate the fight to the level of constitutional principle, to expose the Tory credentials of their opponents? President Obama’s decision to double down aggressively on the reach and cost of big government just as the European model of social democracy is hitting the skids provides the perfect opportunity for conservatives to exploit. His course makes the problems of liberalism worse and more urgent, as though he is eager for a crisis. Sooner or later, the crisis will come. If the people remain attached to their government and laws and American statesmen do their part, the country may yet take the path leading up from liberalism. (October 15, 2012)
La limitation du mariage aux couples de sexe opposé a pu longtemps sembler naturel et juste, mais son incompatibilité avec la signification centrale du droit fondamental de se marier est désormais manifeste. Cour suprême américaine
Aucune union n’est plus profonde que le mariage, car le mariage incarne les plus hauts idéaux de l’amour, la fidélité, la dévotion, le sacrifice et la famille. En formant une union maritale, deux personnes deviennent quelque chose de plus grand que ce qu’elles étaient auparavant. Le mariage incarne un amour qui peut perdurer malgré la mort. Ce serait ne pas comprendre ces hommes et ces femmes que de dire qu’ils manquent de respect à l’idée du mariage. Leur plaidoyer consiste à dire que justement ils le respectent, le respectent si profondément qu’ils cherchent eux-mêmes s’accomplir grâce à lui. Ils demandent une dignité égale aux yeux de la loi. La Constitution leur donne ce droit. Cour suprême américaine
 Le destin des homosexuels n’est pas d’être condamnés à la solitude, exclus de l’une des plus anciennes institutions de la civilisation. Ils demandent à bénéficier de la même dignité aux yeux de la loi. La Constitution leur garantit ce droit. Juge Anthony Kennedy
C’est une victoire pour les alliés, les amis et les soutiens du mariage gay qui ont passé des années, voire des décennies, à travailler et prier pour que le changement intervienne. Et cette décision est une victoire pour l’Amérique. Barack Hussein Obama
Les faucons affirment (…) que le président Ahmadinejad a déclaré vouloir « rayer Israël de la carte ». Mais cet argument repose sur une mauvaise traduction de ses propos. La traduction juste est qu’Israël « devrait disparaître de la page du temps ». Cette expression (empruntée à un discours de l’ayatollah Khomeiny) n’est pas un appel à la destruction physique d’Israël. Bien que très choquant, son propos n’était pas un appel à lancer une attaque, encore moins une attaque nucléaire, contre Israël. Aucun État sensé ne peut partir en guerre sur la foi d’une mauvaise traduction.  John J. Mearsheimer et Stephen M. Walt

Realists should celebrate gay marriage. Today’s Supreme Court ruling will help create a better, stronger America.
Stephen M. Walt
Do you want to fight the Islamic State and the forces of Islamic extremist terrorism? I’ll tell you the best way to send a message to those masked gunmen in Iraq and Syria and to everyone else who gains power by sowing violence and fear. Just keep posting that second set of images. Post them on Facebook and Twitter and Reddit and in comments all over the Internet. Send them to your friends and your family. Send them to your pen pal in France and your old roommate in Tunisia. Send them to strangers. Yes, it’s sappy. But this has always been the dream of America:(…) And I still have faith that this dream is the one that will prevail, in the end. That’s the lesson of history: Brutality and fear can keep people down for only so long. The Nazis learned this; the Soviets learned it; the Ku Klux Klan learned it; Pol Pot learned it; the Rwandan génocidaires learned it. One of these days, the Islamic State and al Qaeda will learn it too. I’m not a big fan of Twitter, but for once there’s a Twitter hashtag worth quoting, though it took my 13-year-old daughter to point it out to me: #LoveWins. Tweet it. Shout it. Sing it. Rosa Brooks
Major U.S. defense contractors stand to earn a windfall if President Barack Obama’s administration secures a nuclear deal with Iran that sends jittery, oil-rich Persian Gulf countries seeking advanced new weapons. But the contractors likely will also do just fine if the negotiations unexpectedly collapse. Fueling the coming spending is a controversial provision in the framework agreement, struck in April between Tehran and world powers, that largely left Iran’s ballistic missile capabilities untouched in the ongoing negotiations. The move angered White House critics on Capitol Hill and in parts of Europe. More urgently, it left Gulf states like Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) particularly uneasy because they are well within range of Iran’s increasingly advanced ballistic missiles. That means deal or no deal, the Gulf countries — already some of the world’s biggest weapons buyers — will be opening their wallets even wider in the years ahead. American defense contractors have long recognized the lucrative opportunity in the region, and they are counting on increased weapons sales to the Middle East to counteract a U.S. market that has slowed due to the relative flattening of the domestic defense budget. Paul McLeary
The whites didn’t want to come out against Obama since he endorsed it so strongly and they didn’t want to be called bigots — and the blacks didn’t want to say they were betraying a black man. (…) I absolutely would not do a gay marriage. (…) I think of our children. What it’s going to do to our children. What kind of world are they going to grow up in? I’ve said for two years that we’re going to have to have civil disobedience. They were very cunning in the way they did it. (…) The homosexual community has not shown all of what it’s going to do. They have a game plan that, now that the Supreme Court has ruled, will take this country down a very immoral path. (…) I knew that he was going to do it the second term. His deal was, ‘Get me elected the first time, and I’ll come out for same-sex marriage in my second term.’ He deceived the American people, because the black community would not have backed him had he come out the first time for same-sex marriage. Some people just didn’t want to speak against Obama.  (…) It’s going to be much harder, because we’re going to have to go from state to state. It’s going to be hard to do, but it can be done. Remember, blacks worked for 300 years for civil rights in the courts. Three-hundred long years. It’s not something that we’re going to win overnight. There is no quick fix, but I think now the church will rise up. All the Christian churches in the United States that believe that marriage is between a man and a woman, they need to rise up. (…) We’re asking people to rise up and be ready to go to jail. Why go to jail? To let it be known that we will not bow down, we will not give up, whatever the costs. It’s the new civil rights movement, because they are taking away our rights. They are taking away the Christian’s rights. This is just a start. We have nothing against homosexuals, but when you start talking about marriage, and then indoctrinating children, where are we going? Where is this society headed? Rev. Bill Owens (Coalition of African-American Pastors)
This morning’s ruling rejects not only thousands of years of time-honored marriage but also the rule of law in the United States. In states across the nation, voters acted through the democratic process to protect marriage and the family. Yet, courts around the country chose to disregard the will of the people in favor of political correctness and social experimentation. And we witnessed firsthand the consequences, as individuals were repeatedly targeted by the government for not actively supporting homosexual marriage. Sadly, our nation’s highest Court, which should be a symbol of justice, has chosen instead to be a tool of tyranny, elevating judicial will above the will of the people. There is no doubt that this morning’s ruling will imperil religious liberty in America, as individuals of faith who uphold time-honored marriage and choose not to advocate for same-sex unions will now be viewed as extremists. AFA President Tim Wildmon
Nationwide, according to the Family Research Council’s Peter Sprigg, just over 3.3 million individuals voted for same-sex marriage in three states—Maine, Maryland and Washington State—compared to more than 41 million who voted for marriage protection amendments or bans on same-sex marriage in 31 states—a ratio of more than 12 to 1. American Family Association
We should just start calling this law SCOTUScare. Anton Scalia
The decision will also have other important consequences. It will be used to vilify Americans who are unwilling to assent to the new orthodoxy. In the course of its opinion, the majority compares traditional marriage laws to laws that denied equal treatment for African-Americans and women. (…) Today’s decision shows that decades of attempts to restrain this Court’s abuse of its authority have failed. Samuel Alito
[T]his Court is not a legislature. Whether same-sex marriage is a good idea should be of no concern to us. Under the Constitution, judges have power to say what the law is, not what it should be. The people who ratified the Constitution authorized courts to exercise “neither force nor will but merely judgment.” (…) Although the policy arguments for extending marriage to same-sex couples may be compelling, the legal arguments for requiring such an extension are not. The fundamental right to marry does not include a right to make a State change its definition of marriage. And a State’s decision to maintain the meaning of marriage that has persisted in every culture throughout human history can hardly be called irrational. In short, our Constitution does not enact any one theory of marriage. The people of a State are free to expand marriage to include same-sex couples, or to retain the historic definition. Today, however, the Court takes the extraordinary step of ordering every State to license and recognize same-sex marriage. Many people will rejoice at this decision, and I begrudge none their celebration. But for those who believe in a government of laws, not of men, the majority’s approach is deeply disheartening. Supporters of same-sex marriage have achieved considerable success persuading their fellow citizens—through the democratic process—to adopt their view. That ends today. Five lawyers have closed the debate and enacted their own vision of marriage as a matter of constitutional law. Stealing this issue from the people will for many cast a cloud over same-sex marriage, making a dramatic social change that much more difficult to accept. The majority’s decision is an act of will, not legal judgment. The right it announces has no basis in the Constitution or this Court’s precedent. The majority expressly disclaims judicial “caution” and omits even a pretense of humility, openly relying on its desire to remake society according to its own “new insight” into the “nature of injustice.” As a result, the Court invalidates the marriage laws of more than half the States and orders the transformation of a social institution that has formed the basis of human society for millennia, for the Kalahari Bushmen and the Han Chinese, the Carthaginians and the Aztecs. Just who do we think we are? (…) Understand well what this dissent is about: It is not about whether, in my judgment, the institution of marriage should be changed to include same-sex couples. It is instead about whether, in our democratic republic, that decision should rest with the people acting through their elected representatives, or with five lawyers who happen to hold commissions authorizing them to resolve legal disputes according to law. The Constitution leaves no doubt about the answer. (…) The premises supporting th[e] concept of [natural] marriage are so fundamental that they rarely require articulation. The human race must procreate to survive. Procreation occurs through sexual relations between a man and a woman. When sexual relations result in the conception of a child, that child’s prospects are generally better if the mother and father stay together rather than going their separate ways. Therefore, for the good of children and society, sexual relations that can lead to procreation should occur only between a man and a woman committed to a lasting bond. (…) The Constitution itself says nothing about marriage, and the Framers thereby entrusted the States with “[t]he whole subject of the domestic relations of husband and wife. (…) This Court’s precedents have repeatedly described marriage in ways that are consistent only with its traditional meaning. (…) Stripped of its shiny rhetorical gloss, the majority’s argument is that the Due Process Clause gives same-sex couples a fundamental right to marry because it will be good for them and for society. If I were a legislator, I would certainly consider that view as a matter of social policy. But as a judge, I find the majority’s position indefensible as a matter of constitutional law. (…) The truth is that today’s decision rests on nothing more than the majority’s own conviction that same-sex couples should be allowed to marry because they want to, and that “it would disparage their choices and diminish their personhood to deny them this right.” Whatever force that belief may have as a matter of moral philosophy, it has no more basis in the Constitution than did the naked policy preferences adopted in Lochner. (…) Although the majority randomly inserts the adjective “two” in various places, it offers no reason at all why the two-person element of the core definition of marriage may be preserved while the man-woman element may not. Indeed, from the standpoint of history and tradition, a leap from opposite-sex marriage to same-sex marriage is much greater than one from a two-person union to plural unions, which have deep roots in some cultures around the world. If the majority is willing to take the big leap, it is hard to see how it can say no to the shorter one. It is striking how much of the majority’s reasoning would apply with equal force to the claim of a fundamental right to plural marriage. (…) When asked about a plural marital union at oral argument, petitioners asserted that a State “doesn’t have such an institution.” But that is exactly the point: the States at issue here do not have an institution of same-sex marriage, either. (…) Nowhere is the majority’s extravagant conception of judicial supremacy more evident than in its description—and dismissal—of the public debate regarding same-sex marriage. Yes, the majority concedes, on one side are thousands of years of human history in every society known to have populated the planet. But on the other side, there has been “extensive litigation,” “many thoughtful District Court decisions,” “countless studies, papers, books, and other popular and scholarly writings,” and “more than 100” amicus briefs in these cases alone. What would be the point of allowing the democratic process to go on? It is high time for the Court to decide the meaning of marriage, based on five lawyers’ “better informed understanding” of “a liberty that remains urgent in our own era.” The answer is surely there in one of those amicus briefs or studies. Those who founded our country would not recognize the majority’s conception of the judicial role. They after all risked their lives and fortunes for the precious right to govern themselves. They would never have imagined yielding that right on a question of social policy to unaccountable and unelected judges. And they certainly would not have been satisfied by a system empowering judges to override policy judgments so long as they do so after “a quite extensive discussion. (…) If you are among the many Americans — of whatever sexual orientation — who favor expanding same-sex marriage, by all means celebrate today’s decision. Celebrate the achievement of a desired goal. Celebrate the opportunity for a new expression of commitment to a partner. Celebrate the availability of new benefits. But do not celebrate the Constitution. It had nothing to do with it. Chief Justice Roberts
The most striking aspect of Justice Kennedy’s majority opinion in Obergefell v. Hodges, which created a constitutional right to same-sex marriage, was its deep emotion. This was no mere legal opinion. Indeed, the law and Constitution had little to do with it. (To Justice Kennedy, the most persuasive legal precedents were his own prior opinions protecting gay rights.) This was a statement of belief, written with the passion of a preacher, meant to inspire. Consider the already much-quoted closing: As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right. Or this: “Marriage responds to the universal fear that a lonely person might call out only to find no one there.” This isn’t constitutional law, it’s theology — a secular theology of self-actualization — crafted in such a way that its adherents will no doubt ask, “What decent person can disagree?” This is about love, and the law can’t fight love. Justice Kennedy’s opinion was nine parts romantic poetry and one part legal analysis (if that). And that’s what makes it so dangerous for religious liberty and free speech. Practitioners of constitutional law know that there is no such thing as an “absolute” right to free speech or religious freedom in any context — virtually all cases involve balancing the asserted right against the asserted state interest, with “compelling” state interests typically trumping even the strongest assertions of First Amendment rights. And what is more compelling than this ode to love? (…) This is the era of sexual liberty — the marriage of hedonism to meaning — and the establishment of a new civic religion. The black-robed priesthood has spoken. Will the church bow before their new masters? David French
Most dispiriting, and least convincing, are those arguments that simply reconstitute the slippery slope arguments that have been used for so long against same sex marriage. “If we allow group marriage,” the thinking seems to go, “why wouldn’t marriage with animals or children come next?” The difference is, of course, consent. In recent years, a progressive and enlightened movement has worked to insist that consent is the measure of all things in sexual and romantic practice: as long as all involved in any particular sexual or romantic relationship are consenting adults, everything is permissible; if any individual does not give free and informed consent, no sexual or romantic engagement can be condoned. This bedrock principle of mutually-informed consent explains exactly why we must permit polygamy and must oppose bestiality and child marriage. Animals are incapable of voicing consent; children are incapable of understanding what it means to consent. In contrast, consenting adults who all knowingly and willfully decide to enter into a joint marriage contract, free of coercion, should be permitted to do so, according to basic principles of personal liberty. The preeminence of the principle of consent is a just and pragmatic way to approach adult relationships in a world of multivariate and complex human desires. Progressives have always flattered themselves that time is on their side, that their preferences are in keeping with the arc of history. In the fight for marriage equality, this claim has been made again and again. Many have challenged our politicians and our people to ask themselves whether they can imagine a future in which opposition to marriage equality is seen as a principled stance. I think it’s time to turn the question back on them: given what you know about the advancement of human rights, are you sure your opposition to group marriage won’t sound as anachronistic as opposition to gay marriage sounds to you now? And since we have insisted that there is no legitimate way to oppose gay marriage and respect gay love, how can you oppose group marriage and respect group love?   I suspect that many progressives would recognize, when pushed in this way, that the case against polygamy is incredibly flimsy, almost entirely lacking in rational basis and animated by purely irrational fears and prejudice. What we’re left with is an unsatisfying patchwork of unconvincing arguments and bad ideas, ones embraced for short-term convenience at long-term cost. We must insist that rights cannot be dismissed out of short-term interests of logistics and political pragmatism. The course then, is clear: to look beyond political convenience and conservative intransigence, and begin to make the case for extending legal marriage rights to more loving and committed adults. It’s time. Fredrik deBoer

Attention: un drapeau peut en cacher un autre !

Au lendemain du triple attentat sous drapeau djihadiste qui entre la France, le Koweit et la Tunisie et en l’honneur de la première victoire musulmane du Ramadan et du premier anniversaire de l’Etat islamique, fera  une soixantaine de victimes …

Et à l’heure où après le véritable putsch juridique de la Cour suprême américaine, et de la Maison Blanche à l’Empire State Building, des chutes du Niagara aux frontons des mairies de San Francisco, Tel Aviv ou Paris ou des porte de Brandebourg, château de Disney World au pont de Minneapolis …

Entre les logos et les slogans les plus vides et les plus démagogiques (LoveWins/l’amour triomphe) de nos médias ou des entreprises de l’informatique et de l’Internet comme de nos prétendues lumières, d’Obama à Hillary Clinton et de Madonna, Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift ou Justin Timberlake, de la politique et du monde du spectacle …

Pendant qu’après l’abandon de l’Irak et bientôt de l’Afghanistan et l’autorisation de l’arme nucléaire accordée à un pays qui ne prône rien de moins que  la Solution finale  …

Et sans parler de l’irrédentisme russe ou de l’aventurisme chinois

Nos marchands de canons se frottent les mains et nos nouveaux croisés de « l’amour » prônent, pour contrer la barbarie islamiste et au nom s’il vous plait du « réalisme », le nouveau Grand mensonge   …

Le drapeau homo flotte désormais sur la quasi-totalité du Monde dit libre …

Comment ne pas repenser au mot fameux du comte de Salvandry au roi des Deux-Siciles à la veille de la Révolution de Juillet …

Et ne pas voir avec le juge de la Cour suprême John Roberts et  une tribune de l’hebdomadaire américain Foreign Policy

La logique et prochaine étape de l’ubérisation sociétale que nous vivons …

A savoir la légalisation de la polygamie ?

Politics
It’s Time to Legalize Polygamy
Why group marriage is the next horizon of social liberalism.
Fredrik Deboer
June 26, 2015

Welcome to the exciting new world of the slippery slope. With the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling this Friday legalizing same sex marriage in all 50 states, social liberalism has achieved one of its central goals. A right seemingly unthinkable two decades ago has now been broadly applied to a whole new class of citizens. Following on the rejection of interracial marriage bans in the 20th Century, the Supreme Court decision clearly shows that marriage should be a broadly applicable right—one that forces the government to recognize, as Friday’s decision said, a private couple’s “love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice and family.”

The question presents itself: Where does the next advance come? The answer is going to make nearly everyone uncomfortable: Now that we’ve defined that love and devotion and family isn’t driven by gender alone, why should it be limited to just two individuals? The most natural advance next for marriage lies in legalized polygamy—yet many of the same people who pressed for marriage equality for gay couples oppose it.

This is not an abstract issue. In Chief Justice John Roberts’ dissenting opinion, he remarks, “It is striking how much of the majority’s reasoning would apply with equal force to the claim of a fundamental right to plural marriage.” As is often the case with critics of polygamy, he neglects to mention why this is a fate to be feared. Polygamy today stands as a taboo just as strong as same-sex marriage was several decades ago—it’s effectively only discussed as outdated jokes about Utah and Mormons, who banned the practice over 120 years ago.

Yet the moral reasoning behind society’s rejection of polygamy remains just as uncomfortable and legally weak as same-sex marriage opposition was until recently.

That’s one reason why progressives who reject the case for legal polygamy often don’t really appear to have their hearts in it. They seem uncomfortable voicing their objections, clearly unused to being in the position of rejecting the appeals of those who would codify non-traditional relationships in law. They are, without exception, accepting of the right of consenting adults to engage in whatever sexual and romantic relationships they choose, but oppose the formal, legal recognition of those relationships. They’re trapped, I suspect, in prior opposition that they voiced from a standpoint of political pragmatism in order to advance the cause of gay marriage.

In doing so, they do real harm to real people. Marriage is not just a formal codification of informal relationships. It’s also a defensive system designed to protect the interests of people whose material, economic and emotional security depends on the marriage in question. If my liberal friends recognize the legitimacy of free people who choose to form romantic partnerships with multiple partners, how can they deny them the right to the legal protections marriage affords?

Polyamory is a fact. People are living in group relationships today. The question is not whether they will continue on in those relationships. The question is whether we will grant to them the same basic recognition we grant to other adults: that love makes marriage, and that the right to marry is exactly that, a right.

Why the opposition, from those who have no interest in preserving “traditional marriage” or forbidding polyamorous relationships? I think the answer has to do with political momentum, with a kind of ad hoc-rejection of polygamy as necessary political concession. And in time, I think it will change.

The marriage equality movement has been both the best and worst thing that could happen for legally sanctioned polygamy. The best, because that movement has required a sustained and effective assault on “traditional marriage” arguments that reflected no particular point of view other than that marriage should stay the same because it’s always been the same. In particular, the notion that procreation and child-rearing are the natural justification for marriage has been dealt a terminal injury. We don’t, after all, ban marriage for those who can’t conceive, or annul marriages that don’t result in children, or make couples pinkie swear that they’ll have kids not too long after they get married. We have insisted instead that the institution exists to enshrine in law a special kind of long-term commitment, and to extend certain essential logistical and legal benefits to those who make that commitment. And rightly so.

But the marriage equality movement has been curiously hostile to polygamy, and for a particularly unsatisfying reason: short-term political need. Many conservative opponents of marriage equality have made the slippery slope argument, insisting that same-sex marriages would lead inevitably to further redefinition of what marriage is and means. See, for example, Rick Santorum’s infamous “man on dog” comments, in which he equated the desire of two adult men or women to be married with bestiality. Polygamy has frequently been a part of these slippery slope arguments. Typical of such arguments, the reasons why marriage between more than two partners would be destructive were taken as a given. Many proponents of marriage equality, I’m sorry to say, went along with this evidence-free indictment of polygamous matrimony. They choose to side-step the issue by insisting that gay marriage wouldn’t lead to polygamy. That legally sanctioned polygamy was a fate worth fearing went without saying.

To be clear: our lack of legal recognition of group marriages is not the fault of the marriage equality movement. Rather, it’s that the tactics of that movement have made getting to serious discussions of legalized polygamy harder. I say that while recognizing the unprecedented and necessary success of those tactics. I understand the political pragmatism in wanting to hold the line—to not be perceived to be slipping down the slope. To advocate for polygamy during the marriage equality fight may have seemed to confirm the socially conservative narrative, that gay marriage augured a wholesale collapse in traditional values. But times have changed; while work remains to be done, the immediate danger to marriage equality has passed. In 2005, a denial of the right to group marriage stemming from political pragmatism made at least some sense. In 2015, after this ruling, it no longer does.

While important legal and practical questions remain unresolved, with the Supreme Court’s ruling and broad public support, marriage equality is here to stay. Soon, it will be time to turn the attention of social liberalism to the next horizon. Given that many of us have argued, to great effect, that deference to tradition is not a legitimate reason to restrict marriage rights to groups that want them, the next step seems clear. We should turn our efforts towards the legal recognition of marriages between more than two partners. It’s time to legalize polygamy.

***

Conventional arguments against polygamy fall apart with even a little examination. Appeals to traditional marriage, and the notion that child rearing is the only legitimate justification of legal marriage, have now, I hope, been exposed and discarded by all progressive people. What’s left is a series of jerry-rigged arguments that reflect no coherent moral vision of what marriage is for, and which frequently function as criticisms of traditional marriage as well.

Many argue that polygamous marriages are typically sites of abuse, inequality in power and coercion. Some refer to sociological research showing a host of ills that are associated with polygamous family structures. These claims are both true and beside the point. Yes, it’s true that many polygamous marriages come from patriarchal systems, typically employing a “hub and spokes” model where one husband has several wives who are not married to each other. These marriages are often of the husband-as-boss variety, and we have good reason to suspect that such models have higher rates of abuse, both physical and emotional, and coercion. But this is a classic case of blaming a social problem on its trappings rather than on its actual origins.

After all, traditional marriages often foster abuse. Traditional marriages are frequently patriarchal. Traditional marriages often feature ugly gender and power dynamics. Indeed, many would argue that marriage’s origins stem from a desire to formalize patriarchal structures within the family in the first place. We’ve pursued marriage equality at the same time as we’ve pursued more equitable, more feminist heterosexual marriages, out of a conviction that the franchise is worth improving, worth saving. If we’re going to ban marriages because some are sites of sexism and abuse, then we’d have to start with the old fashioned one-husband-and-one-wife model. If polygamy tends to be found within religious traditions that seem alien or regressive to the rest of us, that is a function of the very illegality that should be done away with. Legalize group marriage and you will find its connection with abuse disappears.

Another common argument, and another unsatisfying one, is logistical. In this telling, polygamous marriages would strain the infrastructure of our legal systems of marriage, as they are not designed to handle marriage between more than two people. In particular, the claim is frequently made that the division of property upon divorce or death would be too complicated for polygamous marriages. I find this argument eerily reminiscent of similar efforts to dismiss same-sex marriage on practical grounds. (The forms say husband and wife! What do you want us to do, print new forms?) Logistics, it should go without saying, are insufficient reason to deny human beings human rights.

If current legal structures and precedents aren’t conducive to group marriage, then they will be built in time. The comparison to traditional marriage is again instructive. We have, after all, many decades of case law and legal organization dedicated to marriage, and yet divorce and family courts feature some of the most bitterly contested cases imaginable. Complication and dispute are byproducts of human relationships and human commitment. We could, as a civil society, create a legal expectation that those engaging in a group marriage create binding documents and contracts that clearly delineate questions of inheritance, alimony, and the like. Prenups are already a thing.

Most dispiriting, and least convincing, are those arguments that simply reconstitute the slippery slope arguments that have been used for so long against same sex marriage. “If we allow group marriage,” the thinking seems to go, “why wouldn’t marriage with animals or children come next?” The difference is, of course, consent. In recent years, a progressive and enlightened movement has worked to insist that consent is the measure of all things in sexual and romantic practice: as long as all involved in any particular sexual or romantic relationship are consenting adults, everything is permissible; if any individual does not give free and informed consent, no sexual or romantic engagement can be condoned.

This bedrock principle of mutually-informed consent explains exactly why we must permit polygamy and must oppose bestiality and child marriage. Animals are incapable of voicing consent; children are incapable of understanding what it means to consent. In contrast, consenting adults who all knowingly and willfully decide to enter into a joint marriage contract, free of coercion, should be permitted to do so, according to basic principles of personal liberty. The preeminence of the principle of consent is a just and pragmatic way to approach adult relationships in a world of multivariate and complex human desires.

Progressives have always flattered themselves that time is on their side, that their preferences are in keeping with the arc of history. In the fight for marriage equality, this claim has been made again and again. Many have challenged our politicians and our people to ask themselves whether they can imagine a future in which opposition to marriage equality is seen as a principled stance. I think it’s time to turn the question back on them: given what you know about the advancement of human rights, are you sure your opposition to group marriage won’t sound as anachronistic as opposition to gay marriage sounds to you now? And since we have insisted that there is no legitimate way to oppose gay marriage and respect gay love, how can you oppose group marriage and respect group love?

I suspect that many progressives would recognize, when pushed in this way, that the case against polygamy is incredibly flimsy, almost entirely lacking in rational basis and animated by purely irrational fears and prejudice. What we’re left with is an unsatisfying patchwork of unconvincing arguments and bad ideas, ones embraced for short-term convenience at long-term cost. We must insist that rights cannot be dismissed out of short-term interests of logistics and political pragmatism. The course then, is clear: to look beyond political convenience and conservative intransigence, and begin to make the case for extending legal marriage rights to more loving and committed adults. It’s time.

Fredrik deBoer is a writer and academic. He lives in Indiana.

Voir aussi:

Voice
Why Realists Should Celebrate Gay Marriage
Today’s Supreme Court ruling will help create a better, stronger America.
Stephen M. Walt
Foreign policy
June 26, 2015

Regular readers know I am often critical of the U.S. government because I believe pointing to flaws that could be corrected is part of my job. But it is also important to highlight those moments when my country does the right thing, and today’s SCOTUS decision on gay marriage is one of them.

For starters, the decision is consistent with the defining feature of American democracy: its emphasis on individual freedom and personal choice. As the court made clear, if consenting adults are not free to fall in love with whomever they are drawn to and to express that love openly in the institution of marriage, then they are being denied the full rights that other citizens enjoy and they are not in fact truly free. Today’s decision eliminated this obvious contradiction between our ideals and our practices, and it should be celebrated for that reason alone.

Second, along with U.S. President Barack Obama’s decision to permit gay Americans to serve openly in the armed forces, the decision is a blow in favor of fairness and efficiency. Prejudice and bigotry are bad in and of themselves, but they also impede the optimal use of human resources. When gay people could not serve openly in the military, our country was denied the talents that these patriotic individuals could have brought to important national security tasks. Similarly, when gay Americans could not marry or live together openly without fearing persecution, and when companies discriminated against gay employees, it meant that our society could not reap the full benefits of their unfettered participation. Whenever we remove another plank of prejudice, we help the best people rise as far as their abilities can take them, and all of us benefit as a result.

Today’s decision is also a tribute to the power of America’s oft maligned democratic institutions and the ability of reasoned discourse to triumph over ancient stigmas. Gay marriage did not come about by accident or just because two gay people decided to file a lawsuit a few years ago. It came about because courageous writers like Andrew Sullivan wrote powerfully in its favor, because an array of people — both gay and straight — organized to carry these arguments forward, and because more and more gay people came out and the straight world learned to relish their friendship and see them as equals. Once these things happened, the contradiction between our values and our laws — and the obvious injustice of the latter — was increasingly apparent. The American political system does not change direction quickly or easily, but it is open to reasoned discourse and responsive to changing sentiments. Even a Supreme Court dominated by conservatives could not fail to see that the ground had shifted, and today’s decision reflects that welcome reality.

Finally, establishing gay marriage as a fundamental right removes one of the practices that has separated the United States from many of its democratic partners (the Netherlands, Belgium, Canada, Spain, South Africa, Norway, Sweden, Argentina, Iceland, Portugal, Denmark, Brazil, England, Wales, France, New Zealand, Uruguay, Luxembourg, Scotland, and Finland). It will increase pressure on some other countries to follow suit, especially within Western Europe. At the same time, it is likely to broaden the gulf between states where homosexuality is becoming a nonissue and those where it is still persecuted and even same-sex unions are illegal. For gay people around the world, the struggle is far from over.

The struggle for human rights of different kinds is long and slow. But today, the arc of history bent.

 Voir également:

Voice
Can Gay Marriage Defeat the Islamic State?
A few — admittedly sappy — thoughts on the power of #LoveWins.
Rosa Brooks
Foreign Policy
June 26, 2015

I was thinking about two sets of images this morning: one from an Islamic State-controlled city in Iraq, the other from the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C.

The first set of images, from early June, shows masked gunmen surrounding a crowd of people, mostly men. Some of the faces in the crowd show fear or hatred; others are studiously blank. But all eyes are fixed on the rooftop of a nearby building, where a blindfolded man is dangling upside down, his ankle held tightly by another masked man. Next image: The blindfolded man’s body plummets headfirst toward the pavement below. Final image: a crumpled, bloody heap on the ground, surrounded by a sea of faces. Headline and caption, from Fox News: “ISIS conducts more executions of men for being gay.… On June 3, 2015, Islamic State (ISIS) operatives in Iraq’s Ninveh province published photos of a public execution in Mosul of three men convicted of acts of homosexuality. The three men were blindfolded and dropped head first from the roof of a tall building in front of a large crowd of spectators, including children.”

The second set of images shows another crowd, thousands of miles away from the first. This crowd is full of men and women, all ages and all races, and they’re waving American flags and rainbow-colored flags. This crowd isn’t flanked by gunmen; no one looks frightened or enraged. This crowd is laughing and embracing; a few people are weeping, their faces lit with relief and joy. Caption from the Washington Post: “Gay rights supporters celebrate outside the Supreme Court in Washington after justices ruled that same-sex couples have the right to marry, no matter where they live.”

I know which crowd I’d rather be in.

Do you want to fight the Islamic State and the forces of Islamic extremist terrorism? I’ll tell you the best way to send a message to those masked gunmen in Iraq and Syria and to everyone else who gains power by sowing violence and fear. Just keep posting that second set of images. Post them on Facebook and Twitter and Reddit and in comments all over the Internet. Send them to your friends and your family. Send them to your pen pal in France and your old roommate in Tunisia. Send them to strangers.

Yes, it’s sappy. But this has always been the dream of America: a dream of freedom, of a land where no one would force their religious beliefs on anyone else. A land where all people would have the unalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. A land where we could seek change peacefully and trust our laws and institutions to respond to our deepest hopes.

The fulfillment of that dream has always been just a little bit beyond our reach, and we can approach it only through ceaseless struggle against the forces of darkness and reaction. This country has seen its share of hate-filled crowds. It has seen its share of whippings, lynchings, and beatings.

But it’s a dream that has brought untold millions of immigrants to our shores over the years, fleeing religious persecution and war and repression and a thousand different brands of hatred. It’s a dream that helped make the United States emulated and admired around the world. And it’s a dream that isn’t dead, as the Supreme Court’s decision on same-sex marriage reminds us.

Yes, America still has gunmen who shoot up churches and schools and bombers intent on turning crowds of smiling athletes and spectators into bloody bodies. We still have plenty of bigots and bullies. But we also still have that dream.

And I still have faith that this dream is the one that will prevail, in the end. That’s the lesson of history: Brutality and fear can keep people down for only so long. The Nazis learned this; the Soviets learned it; the Ku Klux Klan learned it; Pol Pot learned it; the Rwandan génocidaires learned it.

One of these days, the Islamic State and al Qaeda will learn it too.

I’m not a big fan of Twitter, but for once there’s a Twitter hashtag worth quoting, though it took my 13-year-old daughter to point it out to me: #LoveWins.

Tweet it. Shout it.

Sing it.

Voir encore:

The Supreme Court Ratifies a New Civic Religion That Is Incompatible with Christianity
David French
National Review
June 26, 2015

The most striking aspect of Justice Kennedy’s majority opinion in Obergefell v. Hodges, which created a constitutional right to same-sex marriage, was its deep emotion. This was no mere legal opinion. Indeed, the law and Constitution had little to do with it. (To Justice Kennedy, the most persuasive legal precedents were his own prior opinions protecting gay rights.) This was a statement of belief, written with the passion of a preacher, meant to inspire. Consider the already much-quoted closing: As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right. Or this: “Marriage responds to the universal fear that a lonely person might call out only to find no one there.” This isn’t constitutional law, it’s theology — a secular theology of self-actualization — crafted in such a way that its adherents will no doubt ask, “What decent person can disagree?” This is about love, and the law can’t fight love. Justice Kennedy’s opinion was nine parts romantic poetry and one part legal analysis (if that). And that’s what makes it so dangerous for religious liberty and free speech. Practitioners of constitutional law know that there is no such thing as an “absolute” right to free speech or religious freedom in any context — virtually all cases involve balancing the asserted right against the asserted state interest, with “compelling” state interests typically trumping even the strongest assertions of First Amendment rights. And what is more compelling than this ode to love? RELATED: Supreme Court Forces States to Perform Gay Marriage, 5-4

The challenge for orthodox religious believers is now abundantly clear: For years, they’ve been standing against “history,” “equality,” and — yes — love itself. Now, all of that rhetoric has been constitutionalized, embedded in the secular scripture of our land. To be sure, Justice Kennedy did at least nod in the direction of the orthodox, declaring: Finally, it must be emphasized that religions, and those who adhere to religious doctrines, may continue to advocate with utmost, sincere conviction that, by divine precepts, same-sex marriage should not be condoned. The First Amendment ensures that religious organizations and persons are given proper protection as they seek to teach the principles that are so fulfilling and so central to their lives and faiths, and to their own deep aspirations to continue the family structure they have long revered. But this rhetoric, as he knows, is legally meaningless in the face of the potent combination of emotion and legal doctrines that have long deemphasized religious freedom. Justice Kennedy’s rhetoric will slide neatly into existing balancing tests, leaving defenders of religious liberty grasping for persuasive rhetoric to counter the irresistible tide of the new, civic religion. More marriage The Supreme Court Has Legalized Same-Sex Marriage: Now What? Sweeping Aside Madison’s Handiwork Constitutional Remedies to a Lawless Supreme Court For many believers, this new era will present a unique challenge. Christians often strive to be seen as the “nicest” or “most loving” people in their communities. Especially among Evangelicals, there is a naïve belief that if only we were winsome enough, kind enough, and compassionate enough, the culture would welcome us with open arms. But now our love — expressed in the fullness of a Gospel that identifies homosexual conduct as sin but then provides eternal hope through justification and sanctification — is hate. Christians who’ve not suffered for their faith often romanticize persecution. They imagine themselves willing to lose their jobs, their liberty, or even their lives for standing up for the Gospel. Yet when the moment comes, at least here in the United States, they often find that they simply can’t abide being called “hateful.” It creates a desperate, panicked response. “No, you don’t understand. I’m not like those people — the religious right.” Thus, at the end of the day, a church that descends from apostles who withstood beatings finds itself unable to withstand tweetings. Social scorn is worse than the lash. This is the era of sexual liberty — the marriage of hedonism to meaning — and the establishment of a new civic religion. The black-robed priesthood has spoken. Will the church bow before their new masters?

— David French is an attorney and a staff writer at National Review.

Voir encore:

Report
Iran’s Missiles Are a Windfall for U.S. Defense Contractors
Nuclear deal or not, Tehran is keeping its ballistic missiles. And American firms are betting on a buyer’s market in the Persian Gulf.
Paul McLeary
Foreign Policy
June 26, 2015

Major U.S. defense contractors stand to earn a windfall if President Barack Obama’s administration secures a nuclear deal with Iran that sends jittery, oil-rich Persian Gulf countries seeking advanced new weapons. But the contractors likely will also do just fine if the negotiations unexpectedly collapse.

Fueling the coming spending is a controversial provision in the framework agreement, struck in April between Tehran and world powers, that largely left Iran’s ballistic missile capabilities untouched in the ongoing negotiations. The move angered White House critics on Capitol Hill and in parts of Europe. More urgently, it left Gulf states like Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) particularly uneasy because they are well within range of Iran’s increasingly advanced ballistic missiles.

That means deal or no deal, the Gulf countries — already some of the world’s biggest weapons buyers — will be opening their wallets even wider in the years ahead.

American defense contractors have long recognized the lucrative opportunity in the region, and they are counting on increased weapons sales to the Middle East to counteract a U.S. market that has slowed due to the relative flattening of the domestic defense budget.

At defense giant Lockheed Martin, Chief Executive Officer Marillyn Hewson wants the company to boost its foreign sales to about 20 percent of the firm’s revenues by the end of 2015, up from 17 percent currently. Most of that growth is expected to come from its sales of missile defense systems. The company already sells about $8 billion in missiles and fire controls annually, with close to half going to America’s allies in the Middle East, Asia, and Europe.

“With the regional instability that’s going on [in the Mideast], we’ve seen a fairly large appetite for a layered air-defense capability,” said Joe Garland, vice president of international business development at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control.
“With the regional instability that’s going on [in the Mideast], we’ve seen a fairly large appetite for a layered air-defense capability,” said Joe Garland, vice president of international business development at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control.

In an attempt to deepen ties in the region, Lockheed in December set up what it has dubbed the Center for Innovation and Security Solutions in Abu Dhabi, UAE. Garland described it as an effort to collaborate with the UAE on “what type of systems they want to develop for their security,” while exploring new ideas for working with allies in the region.

It is not the number of deals that drives up profits, but the huge cost of fielding just a few systems. Over the past several years, the UAE has signed $1.9 billion in deals to buy two of Lockheed’s Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-ballistic missile systems. Qatar and Saudi Arabia, meanwhile, also are reportedly working to acquire the mobile, truck-mounted firing system, as well as an associated radar made by Raytheon.

Last year, an estimated 10 percent of Raytheon’s $23 billion in global sales went to the Middle East. The company has sold billions of dollars’ worth of Patriot missile systems to Israel, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, and the UAE, along with multiple big-dollar follow-on contracts for maintenance work and a constant stream of upgrades. The company booked a $2 billion sale of Patriots to Saudi Arabia this year.

The Saudi military joined a select club of countries that have deployed the Patriot missile in combat, knocking down a Scud missile fired over the border by Houthi rebels in Yemen this spring.

Raytheon officials declined to comment for this story. But in April, CEO Thomas Kennedy said international business amounted to 28 percent of the company’s revenues for the first quarter of 2015.

Those numbers should go up in coming years, regardless of the outcome of the Iran negotiations.

“The Saudis and Emiratis don’t trust the deal, no matter what the deal is,” Grant Rogan, CEO of Blenheim Capital and a military sales expert, told Foreign Policy.
“The Saudis and Emiratis don’t trust the deal, no matter what the deal is,” Grant Rogan, CEO of Blenheim Capital and a military sales expert, told Foreign Policy. He predicted more sales of Patriot missiles and advanced radar systems “happening in Saudi substantially faster if there’s no deal — or if it’s a deal that doesn’t defang Iran.”

The expected surge won’t make a huge difference on the ground right away, since missile defense systems take years to contract and produce. But as they wait for the expected deals to go through, the six countries that make up the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) have started to talk about pooling their missile defense and surveillance assets into a shared network to gain a clearer picture of what is flying through the region’s airspace.

But it is very much a work in progress.

“The problem there has been a political one,” said Thomas Karako, senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Following a May summit of GCC leaders in Washington, the Gulf nations issued a hopeful joint statement for progress on the network they described as a regionwide early-warning system — ostensibly as a safeguard against Iran.

Yet real questions remain over the Gulf states’ ability to overcome deeply entrenched political issues that have previously kept them from sharing intelligence. There’s also the issue of long-term technological investment. Building a networked radar and missile system is not merely about putting interceptors in the desert and pointing them toward the sky. “It’s about stitching those assets together and stitching the networks together,” Karako said.

Currently, there is no regionwide shared system to ensure that incoming attacks or other errant airspace objects aren’t missed. And that raises the overall threat for the Gulf nations.

Lockheed has “talked to a number of these GCC countries about how we can help them tie together” missile defense assets, Garland said. “It’s not there yet.”

While talk of selling more missile defense systems to the Middle East may seem a relatively easy way to blunt the Iranian missile threat, Washington should be cautious about how it balances its priorities.

Kingston Reif, director for disarmament and threat reduction policy for the Arms Control Association, said focusing too much on Tehran’s missiles ignores the true range of threats posed by Iran.

“To the extent that the U.S. [is] considering increasing arms sales, it should be focused on things like cyber and greater coordination on countering cyberthreats, which we know Iran is capable of,” Reif said.

But anti-ballistic missile systems are, to some degree, easier to sell to Gulf allies than other military weapons. The Defense Department has so far ruled out selling F-35 fighter jets, for example, since that would rile Israel and upset the qualitative military edge that Washington, by law, affords its staunchest ally in the region.

The growing distrust among some Gulf allies of Washington’s tentative agreement with Iran also risks changing the nature of some U.S. relationships in the region. Saudi Arabia’s bombing campaign against Houthi rebels in Yemen and airstrikes by both Riyadh and the UAE against jihadis in Libya are two examples of attacks launched without either Washington’s support or prior knowledge.

But the relationship will likely fray only so much, no matter the outcome of the eleventh-hour talks in Vienna between world powers and Iran. Saudi Arabia and other Gulf allies have suggested turning to France and even Russia for future arms, but the American defense industry, as well as Washington’s economic clout, still matters.

Following the May summit, GCC Assistant Secretary-General Abdel Aziz Abu Hamad Aluwaisheg told reporters the meeting “exceeded the expectations of most of us” in that it reasserted Washington’s commitment to Gulf security and containing Iran.

Obama assured Gulf states that a nuclear deal with Iran doesn’t reflect a “pivot” toward Tehran, Aluwaisheg said.

Obama “succeeded very well in putting those questions to rest,” he said.

At the same time, the Gulf is not about to let its guard down. Because Iran already fields a ballistic missile capability that has largely been left outside the nuclear negotiation process, any deal — or lack of a deal — still leaves a serious threat in place.

“Missile defense will continue to grow in the region, regardless,” Rogan said.

Voir de plus:

Over the rainbow
Mariage gay : déferlante de drapeaux arc-en-ciel dans le monde
Delphine Cuny | Rédactrice en chef adjointe
Rue 89
27/06/2015

Politiques et entreprises se sont emparé des symboles du mouvement LGBT au lendemain de la légalisation du mariage gay aux USA et à la veille de plusieurs Gay Prides. Entre joie sincère et récupération.
Au lendemain de la légalisation du mariage homosexuel aux Etats-Unis, le drapeau arc-en-ciel, emblème du mouvement LGBT, a inondé les « timelines » sur Twitter et s’est invité sur de nombreux monuments de grandes capitales, où avait aussi lieu la Marche des fiertés (Gay Pride), à Paris notamment.

Le fronton de l’Hôtel de Ville avait hissé haut les fameuses couleurs, comme l’a tweeté la maire de Paris, Anne Hidalgo, reprenant le hashtag #LoveWins (l’amour triomphe) qui a fait florès sur la Toile. L’ambassadrice des Etats-Unis en France, Jane Hartley, était d’ailleurs ce samedi au côté d’Anne Hidalgo dans la Marche des fiertés à Paris.

La Maison Blanche, bien sûr, avait prévu un éclairage de nuit spécial, tout comme l’Empire State Building à New York, l’hôtel de ville de San Francisco, le pont de Minneapolis, mais aussi la porte de Brandebourg à Berlin ou la mairie de Tel Aviv, comme le rapporte le site d’architecture Arch Daily.

On a vu aussi quelques monuments ou lieux plus inattendus, comme par exemple, le château de Cendrillon à Disney World (Floride) ou même les chutes du Niagara. Mais pas la Tour Eiffel.

Les politiques, à l’image de Hillary Clinton, qui a repeint sa photo de profil sur Twitter aux couleurs arc-en-ciel, ont été les plus prompts à surfer sur la vague #LoveWins mais pas les seuls. Quelques célébrités comme Madonna, Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift ou Justin Timberlake, se sont aussi associées à cette journée historique.

Taylor Swift s’autocite dans sa chanson ‘Welcome to New York’ : ‘Et tu veux qui tu veux, garçons et garçons et filles et filles’
De nombreux médias ont aussi modifié leur logo pour l’occasion, comme les sites spécialisés en high tech comme The Verge, Mashable ou The Next Web, le site de la Bible de Hollywood, Variety. Mais pas les grands journaux comme le New York Times ou le Washington Post, restés plus sobres, même s’ils ont largement couvert l’événement et joué un rôle dans l’évolution des mentalités.

Ce sont surtout les marques qui se sont emparées du hashtag et du drapeau, en particulier les entreprises de la Silicon Valley, où le mouvement est en pointe : Twitter elle-même, Yahoo ou YouTube (Google) et bien sûr Apple, par la voix de Tim Cook, son directeur général, qui avait fait son coming-out et milité contre la discrimination.

‘Les Etats-Unis ont fait un pas dans la bonne direction aujourd’hui. #Fierd’Aimer’
On pourra citer aussi Uber, dont on parle tant en ce moment, qui publie un Gif montrant vraisemblablement des salariés ‘réjouis’ et ‘fiers’.
De grandes entreprises américaines comme Visa, la compagnie aérienne Delta, la chaîne de supermarchés Target, les bonbons Skittles ont également surfé sur la décision, relève USA Today. Les céréales Kellogg’s n’ont pas hésité se faire un coup de pub, en mettant en avant ses bonnes notes en matière de diversité, quitte à être accusé de faire de la récup. D’autres marques comme la chaîne de restos mexicains Chipotle, qui emballe un burrito d’alu arc-en-ciel, se sont risquées aux jeux de mots de plus ou moins bon goût.

Como Estas (comment ça va) devient Homo Estas chez Chipotle
Au total, Twitter a recensé plus de 10 millions de tweets en six heures sur la légalisation du mariage des couples de même sexe, dont plus de 2,6 millions avec la mention #LoveWins. Un record de 35 000 messages par minute a été atteint dans la nuit (peu avant minuit heure de New York).
A titre de comparaison, en novembre 2014, lors des émeutes à Ferguson, la décision de relaxer le policier ayant tué le jeune noir Michael Brown avait déclenché une tempête de 3,5 millions de tweets en 24 heures. En janvier dernier, il y avait eu 2,1 millions de tweets #JeSuisCharlie dans les six heures suivant l’attaque de l’hebdomadaire satirique.

Voir encore:

Barack Obama and the Crisis of Liberalism
Charles R. Kesler, Ph.D.
The Heritage Foundation
October 15, 2012

Abstract: Liberalism as we know it today in America is on the verge of exhaustion. Facing a fiscal crisis that it has precipitated and no longer sure of its purpose, liberalism will either go out of business or be forced to reinvent itself as something quite different from what it has been. In this careful analysis of Barack Obama’s political thought, Charles R. Kesler shows that the President, though intent on reinvigorating the liberal faith, nonetheless fails to understand its fatal contradictions—a shortsightedness that may prove to be liberalism’s undoing. This essay is adapted from Kesler’s new book, I Am the Change: Barack Obama and the Crisis of Liberalism.

Barack Obama had the distinction of being the most liberal member of the United States Senate when he ran for President in 2008. The title had been conferred by National Journal, an inside-the-Beltway watchdog that annually assigns Senators (and Congressmen) an ideological rank based on their votes on economic, social, and foreign policy issues.

Since then, we have learned a lot more about his political leanings as a young man, which were fashionably leftist, broadly in keeping with the climate of opinion on the campuses where he found himself—Occidental College, Columbia University, Harvard Law School.

As a senior at Columbia, he attended the 1983 Socialist Scholars Conference, sponsored by the Democratic Socialists of America. Though a meeting of democratic socialists and, yes, community organizers, the conference as well as his long-running friendships with radicals of various sorts would have drawn more sustained attention if the Cold War were still raging. But it was not, and Obama pleaded youthful indiscretion and drift; and of course his campaign did its best to keep the details from coming out.

He still had to answer, in some measure, for his ties to William Ayers and Jeremiah Wright, but the issue with, say, the good reverend concerned his sermons about race and Middle East politics, not his penchant for visiting and honoring Fidel Castro, not to mention the Marxist Sandinistas in Nicaragua.[1] Partly by avoiding the worst of the old anti-Communist gauntlet, Obama became the most left-wing liberal to be elected to national executive office since Henry Wallace.

Still, the President is not a self-proclaimed socialist—nor, like Wallace, a self-deceived fellow traveler or worse. Obama never went so far, so openly—whether out of inertia, political calculation, or good sense—and therefore never had to make a public apostasy. As a result, we know less about his evolving views than we might like, though probably more than he would like.

He calls himself a progressive or liberal, and we should take him at his word, at least until we encounter a fatal contradiction. That’s only reasonable and fair; and it avoids the desperate shortcut, gratifying as it may be, of unmasking him as—take your pick—a Third-World daddy’s boy, Alinskyist agitator, deep-cover Muslim, or undocumented alien. Conservatives, of all people, should know to beware instant gratification, especially when it comes wrapped in a conspiracy theory. In any case, hypocrisy, as Rochefoucauld wrote, is the tribute that vice pays to virtue, and Obama seems to think it would be a virtuous thing to have been a lifelong liberal, even if he wasn’t.

And so the question arises: What does it mean anymore to be a liberal? To answer it, we must first retrace the history of liberalism over the course of the past century.

The Four Waves of Liberalism
The 20th century was, as the late Tom Silver used to say, “the liberal century.” Conservatism was a late arrival, debuting as a self-conscious intellectual movement only in the 1950s and lacking significant political success until the 1980s. By contrast, the liberal storm was already gathering in the 1880s and broke upon the land in the new century’s second decade. It had made deep, decisive changes in American politics long before conservatism as we know it came on the scene.

It didn’t, however, win these victories all at once. Modern liberalism spread across the country in three powerful waves, interrupted by wars and by rather haphazard reactions to its excesses. Each wave of liberalism featured a different aspect of it—call them, for short, political liberalism, economic liberalism, and cultural liberalism—and each deposited on our shores a distinctive type of politics—the politics of progress, the politics of entitlements, and the politics of meaning.

These terms are conceptual rather than, strictly speaking, historical. They help to organize our thinking more so than our record-keeping, inasmuch as elements of all three were mixed up in each stage. Although it wasn’t inevitable that one wave should follow the next, a certain logic connected the New Freedom, the New Deal, and the Great Society. Each attempted to transform America, as their names suggest, and the second and third waves worked out themes implicit in the first. But the special flavor of each period owed much to the issues and forces involved, the legacy of previous reform, the character of the political leaders, and the disagreements within and between the generations of reformers. The third wave, centered on the Sixties, showed just how fratricidal liberalism could become.

The first and most disorienting wave was political liberalism, which began as a critique of the Constitution and the morality underlying it. That morality, Woodrow Wilson charged, the natural rights doctrine of Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln, was based on an outmoded account of human nature, an atomistic and egoistic view that needed to be corrected by a more well-rounded or social view, made plausible by the recent discovery that human nature was necessarily progressive or perfectible. So-called natural rights were actually historical or prescriptive, evolving with the times toward a final and rational truth. The 18th century Constitution, based on the 18th century notion of a fixed human nature with static rights, had in turn to be transcended by a modern or living constitution based on the evolutionary view. Drawing on a curious and unstable mixture of Social Darwinism, German idealism, and English historicism, Wilson outlined the new State that liberals would ever after be building, the goal of which would be nothing less than man’s complete spiritual fulfillment.

The second wave explicitly adopted the name of liberalism, laying aside the old banner of Progressivism. It championed liberality or generosity in the form of a new doctrine of socioeconomic rights and tried to connect the new rights to the old, the Second Bill of Rights (as FDR called it) to the First. Instead of rights springing from the individual, the New Deal reconceived individualism as springing from a new kind of rights created by the State. The new entitlement-style rights posed as personal rights, even though they effectually attached to groups; but due to the slight family resemblance, they allowed Roosevelt to present himself and the New Deal as the loyal servants and successors of the American Revolution, of the old social compact suitably updated.

Liberalism’s third wave, cultural or lifestyle liberalism, hit in the 1960s. It was only when this wave crashed around them that the radical character of liberalism became clear to the American people; only then that conservatism became, at least temporarily, a majority movement, insofar as it stood for America against its cultured despisers and reformers. The Great Society agreed with the New Deal that government had to provide for Americans’ necessities in order that they may live in freedom, but it denied that freedom from want and freedom from fear (along with freedom of speech and worship) were any longer sufficient for all-around human liberation. Freedom required not merely living comfortably but also creatively, a demand that the New Left took several steps further than poor Lyndon Johnson was willing or able to go.

In the Sixties, the “peculiar” character of the radicalism bound up with contemporary liberalism began to tear it apart as its constituent elements began to clash. When social morality collided with personal liberation, and the State’s authority clashed with the people’s rights, and the assumptions of rational progress were denied by protestors who preferred to make history by following their authentic selves rather than admire history as it came to an end—then liberalism began to unravel. For conflicting reasons, liberals lost faith that they were on the right side of history and that the State could ever provide the conditions for complete self-development or spiritual fulfillment.

Obama inherited that frayed liberalism. Against long odds, he’s tried to reunite its dissonant parts and restore its political élan. He brought America to the verge of a fourth wave of political and social transformation, something that neither Democrats nor Republicans thought possible. But as the latest embodiment of the visionary prophet-statesmen he hasn’t been able to sustain the deep connection to the American people that his election in 2008 seemed to promise and that his desire to restore liberalism as the country’s dominant public philosophy required. Perhaps after the debacle of the Great Society, three decades in the political shadow of Ronald Reagan, and the current protracted economic doldrums, Americans have grown suspicious of the liberal vision of the future as a kind of Brigadoon—a land of wonders that voters glimpse every four years but that quickly fades into the mists, and from which no one has ever returned.

Unlike any of his liberal predecessors, Obama’s tortuous doubts about American exceptionalism lead to a sense of his estrangement from his own country, a disability not relieved by his profession, in Berlin, that he is a citizen of the world as well. He seems to lack both the citizen’s pride and the immigrant’s gratitude.

Tempting as it might be to write off the President, it would be a big mistake. Whatever else he may accomplish, his staggering victory on health care reform has earned him a future place on the Mount Rushmore of liberalism, alongside those other supreme hero-statesmen of the creed, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Lyndon B. Johnson. Assuming that his signature achievement is not unceremoniously repealed and replaced, Obama will almost certainly become one of the Democratic immortals, the giants who built and expanded the modern liberal state.

The New Progressivism of Barack Obama
Obama is neither an old-fashioned Progressive nor a radical postmodernist. Part of what makes him interesting is how he handles the conflicting strains of his own thought. As a decent man, he believes in justice and identifies with the civil rights movement’s insistence that Jim Crow was manifestly wrong and the cause of black equality manifestly right. As a self-described progressive, he believes in change; that is, he believes that change is almost always synonymous with improvement, that history has a direction and destination, that it’s crucial to be on the right side of history, not the wrong, and that it’s the leader’s job to discern which is the right side and to lead his people to that promised land of social equality and social justice.

Yet he’s skeptical of the simple-minded progressive equation of history with the inevitable triumph of justice; he fears that the foreknowledge of success or the optimistic certitude of victory would detract from the honor of standing up against Jim Crow, for example. It would also create a free-rider problem: Why risk opposing segregation if its fall is inevitable? He shares the civil rights movement’s sense that you have to make history, not just wait for it to make you. Yet if men can make history and history makes morality, then don’t human beings create their own morality?

As the product of a very liberal education, alas, Obama never discovered that this quandary could be resolved by returning from history to nature as the unchanging ground of our changing experience, as the foundation of morality and politics. Returning, say, to Lincoln’s and the Founders’ own understanding of themselves, reconsidering their argument for the Declaration’s principles, never occurred to him as a serious possibility. The progressivist assumptions, though decadent, were still too strong. He thought the only way was forward.

In his capacity as a political leader, Obama’s favorite formulation is that he seeks to “shape” history. But shaping history leaves ambiguous just how much freedom or influence human beings actually have—whether we shape history decisively or only marginally. As he declared in Iowa in 2010 after his health care victory: “Our future is what we make it. Our future is what we make it.”

That’s the deeper meaning of his slogan, “Yes, we can,” which he elsewhere called “a simple creed that sums up the spirit of a people.” In itself, the phrase sounds like a reply to “No, you can’t.” But was the nay-sayer denying us permission to do something or doubting our ability to do it? If the former, “Yes, we can” is an assertion of moral right or autonomy; if the latter, it’s an assertion of power or competence. For Obama, in Progressive fashion, the two appear to go together. Obama says, “Yes, we can” to slaves, abolitionists, immigrants, western pioneers, suffragettes, the space program, healing this nation, and repairing the world—and that’s in one speech.[2]

In a strange way, “Yes, we can” takes the place in his thought that “all men are created equal” held in Lincoln’s thought. Insofar as it is America’s national creed, it affirms that America is what we make it at any given time: America stands for the ability to change, openness to change, the willingness to constantly remake ourselves—but apparently for no particular purpose. Jon Stewart, the comedian, caught the dilemma perfectly when, joshing the President over his equivocations on the Ground Zero mosque, he said Obama’s slogan, as amended, now read: “Yes, we can…. But…should we?”

The country’s saving principle, then, is openness to change. “The genius of our founders is that they designed a system of government that can be changed,” Obama said in 2007 when announcing his presidential candidacy. In short, ours is the kind of country that always says, “Yes, we can” to the principle of “Yes, we can.” We affirm our right to change by always changing; we shape history by reshaping ourselves.

For all his openness to change, there is one to which Obama consistently answers, “No, we can’t.” Any change that would move the country backward, in his view, is anathema. “What I’m not willing to do is go back to the days when…” is a phrase that begins many a sentence in his repertory. When dealing with conservatives, his confidence in history’s purpose and beneficence is miraculously raised to almost Wilsonian levels. He may not be exactly sure where history is going, but somehow he knows it’s not going there. A certain impatience and irritability creep into his voice. If people reject his vision, he can’t be a leader—and that makes it personal. His tone turns petulant, and he begins to issue orders to follow him.

The main target of his scoldings is, of course, the House Republicans, who tend to obstruct his measures. But in a larger sense, Obama displays the Progressive impatience with politics itself. It’s not merely the separation of powers, checks and balances, and other constitutional devices that often stalemate change to which liberals object. It’s human nature in its present state, still so inclined to praise God rather than man, to venerate the past, and to be guided by a healthy self-love.

Eventually, man will be worthy of liberalism, assuming it has its way with him and conditions him to love the State as the bee loves the hive. In the meantime, it’s a constant struggle to bear with this unreconstructed individualist who would rather govern his potty little self (in Chesterton’s great phrase) according to his own lights than be well governed by experts for his own (purported) good.

Obama, like most liberal thinkers, dreams of overcoming man’s stubbornly political nature in two ways, by assimilating politics either to the family or to the military. He began his 2011 State of the Union address by invoking the first theme: “We are part of the American family,” and together as one we’re going to “win the future”—a slogan with deeply Social Darwinist roots, by the way.

After the future business didn’t pan out so well in numerous scrapes with the House GOP, his frustration took a different direction a year later. In his 2012 State of the Union, after celebrating Osama bin Laden’s killing and the withdrawal of combat forces from Iraq, the President focused on the “courage, selflessness, and teamwork of America’s armed forces”:

At a time when too many of our institutions have let us down, they exceed all expectations. They’re not consumed with personal ambition. They don’t obsess over their differences. They focus on the mission at hand. They work together…. Imagine what we could accomplish if we followed their example.
Yes, if politics were rigidly hierarchical, if we had to follow orders from above without question, and if living together as a free people were as unequivocal and straightforward an affair as pumping bullets into bin Laden, then we could accomplish a lot more—or a lot less, depending on how highly you value democratic self-government as an accomplishment. And the truth is that the leadership paradigm values freedom and self-rule much less than it does getting things done, attacking social problems, and making sure that liberal programs survive the struggle for existence on Capitol Hill.

Leadership is a term from the military side of politics, and one of the reasons the Founders resisted it was their determination to preserve republican politics as a civilian forum, as the activity of a free people ruling itself. A standing army might be necessary for that people’s defense, but citizens had no business longing to exchange political debate and deliberation for military solidarity and discipline.

On his better days, President Obama knows that, but this wasn’t one of them. He went on: “When you put on that uniform, it doesn’t matter if you’re black or white; Asian or Latino; conservative or liberal; rich or poor; gay or straight.” Nor does it matter, by the way, whether you think the war is just or unjust, prudent or imprudent.

It might seem that liberals have come a long way from the protest days of the 1960s when many of them lustily denounced the American war machine; but in fact, they’re still compensating or overcompensating for their contempt of the U.S. military back then. At the same time, they are returning to an older Progressive tradition, highly visible in the New Deal, of trying vainly to make politics the moral equivalent of war. In any event, no one has to put on a uniform to be an equal citizen with equal rights under our Constitution.

Progressivism Without Progress?
To make possible a governing liberal majority, Obama has to rehabilitate liberalism’s reputation, to separate it as much as possible from the radical politics of the Sixties and the burden of defending big government.

President Clinton began this renewal in the 1990s. In some ways, Obama continues and sharpens Clinton’s efforts, wringing all the benefits he can out of the appearance of post-partisanship while making few sacrifices of substance. He far outshines Clinton, however, in telling the story of America in a way that reinforces a resurgent liberalism. More than any other Democratic President since FDR, Obama has an impressive interpretation of American history that culminates in him and that reworks and counters Reagan’s view of our history as the working out of American exceptionalism (including divine favor), individualism, limited government, free-market economics, and time-tested morals.

As a writer, Obama’s strength is telling stories, and his account of America is a kind of story, mixing social, intellectual, and political history. It begins with the Founding—with the Declaration of Independence and Constitution. He tries to construct a new consensus view of the country that acknowledges and then contextualizes traditional views in a way meant to be reassuring but that points to very untraditional conclusions. For instance, in The Audacity of Hope, in a chapter titled “Values,” he quotes the Declaration’s famous sentence on self-evident truths and then comments:

Those simple words are our starting point as Americans; they describe not only the foundations of our government but the substance of our common creed. Not every American may be able to recite them; few, if asked, could trace the genesis of the Declaration of Independence to its roots in eighteenth-century liberal and republican thought. But the essential idea behind the Declaration—that we are born into this world free, all of us; that each of us arrives with a bundle of rights that can’t be taken away by any person or any state without just cause; that through our own agency we can, and must, make of our lives what we will—is one that every American understands.[3]
It sounds almost Lincolnian until one notices that the rights in this bundle are not said to be natural, exactly, nor true and certainly not self-evident; they are an outgrowth of 18th century political thought, too recondite for most Americans to know or remember. Abraham Lincoln, when explaining the Declaration, traced its central idea to God and nature, not to 18th century ideologies. He called for “all honor to Jefferson” for introducing “into a merely revolutionary document, an abstract truth, applicable to all men and all times.” When Jefferson was asked about the document’s source and purpose, he looked to common sense as well as to a much older and richer philosophical tradition.[4]

A commonsense argument harmonious with the political principles of Aristotle, Cicero, Locke, and Sidney and proceeding from an abstract truth, applicable to all men and all times, could hardly be a simple distillation of 18th century ideologies—unless, of course, Jefferson and Lincoln didn’t know what they were talking about. If they spoke for their age without knowing so, if they were men of their times but didn’t realize it, then like their 21st century countrymen, they too would have been ignorant of their 18th century wellsprings, but precisely because they were living in or at least not long after the 18th century!

Returning to Obama’s American story, we see that it blends two themes: individualism (symbolized in the Declaration) and “unity” (symbolized in the Constitution’s commitment to “a more perfect Union”). The latter phrase, plucked from the Preamble, has long been a favorite of liberals from Wilson to Bill Clinton. For Obama, unity means being your brother’s and sister’s keeper; it means coming together “as one American family.” “If fate causes us to stumble or fall, our larger American family will be there to lift us up,” he explains.

In real life, he hasn’t exactly been there to lift up his aunt in Boston or his hut-dwelling half brother in Kenya, but then families in real life often disappoint. Even so, the family’s failings only leave more work for the State. Membership in it confers or protects our “dignity,” Obama argues, in the sense of guaranteeing “a basic standard of living” and effectively sharing “life’s risks and rewards for the benefit of each and the good of all.” And no one can enjoy “dignity and respect” without a society that guarantees both “social justice” and “economic justice.”

These ramify widely, demanding, in Obama’s words, that “if you work in America you should not be poor”; that a college education should be every child’s “birthright”; and that every American should have broadband access. Lately, he’s feeling even more generous. The “basic American promise,” he said in his 2012 State of the Union address, was and should be again that “if you worked hard, you could do well enough to raise a family, own a home, send your kids to college, and put a little away for retirement.”[5]

That sounds more like winning life’s lottery than a promise that anyone could justly demand be fulfilled. Notice how craftily, however, Obama shifts his examples of social duty from picking up the fallen to sending someone else’s kids to college. How easily liberal magicians transform needs into desires and desires into rights. They do it right before our eyes and never explain the secret of the trick. Still, it’s revealing that he doesn’t go whole hog, turning such socioeconomic goods explicitly into rights and cataloging them for our wonderment. Chastened by the right-wing and middle-class backlash against welfare rights, he follows Bill Clinton in silently recasting, say, the right to go to college on someone else’s money as an “investment” in “opportunity.” As Obama presents it:

…opportunity is yours if you’re willing to reach for it and work for it. It’s the idea that while there are few guarantees in life, you should be able to count on a job that pays the bills; health care for when you need it; a pension for when you retire; an education for your children that will allow them to fulfill their God-given potential.
Actually, there are quite a few “guarantees” in a life lived in Obama’s America. Even as he’s wary of rights talk after the Sixties’ implosion, he also denies any fondness for “big government.” Newfangled rights would imply a big government to provide them. He’s not in favor of that; he supports “active government.” These aren’t blank-check rights because the recipient has some reciprocal responsibilities—filling out the enrollment forms, showing up at class, making passing grades, and the like. But the obligations are usually minimal, and besides, don’t responsibilities and rights usually keep a house together? So these are rights of a sort, and Obama said so explicitly a month before the 2008 election in a CNN debate with John McCain. Asked whether health care was a privilege, a responsibility, or a right, he replied, “Well, I think it should be a right for every American.”[6] But he had avoided saying so up to that point.

Obama leaves the relationship between individualism and “a more perfect union” up in the air, to be settled pragmatically. Every society has a similar tension between “autonomy and solidarity,” he writes, and “it has been one of the blessings of America that the circumstances of our nation’s birth allowed us to negotiate these tensions better than most.” The circumstances, not the principles, of our nation were key, because the wide-open continent allowed individuals to head west and form new communities to their liking whenever they wanted to.

But the continent filled up; big corporations gradually took over from the family farm, just as Wilson and FDR had explained generations before; and soon our “values” were in a more serious conflict that required a bigger government to help reconcile. Unfortunately, that government proved enduringly unpopular with conservatives, who refused to adjust to the new times; and so finding the proper balance between the individual and the community continues to stoke our increasingly polarized and polarizing political debates.

Though he hails the Constitution as a mechanism of “deliberative democracy,” Obama doesn’t mean by that a back-and-forth on public policy conducted by the executive and legislative branches with input from the people. Deliberation of that kind, endorsed by The Federalist and consistent with natural rights, would seek means to the ends of constitutional government. That’s too narrow for Obama, who seeks deliberation about the ends, or at least about what our rights will be and what the Constitution should mean in the age that is dawning. He wants to turn all of the Constitution’s mechanisms—separation of powers, federalism, checks and balances—into ways of forcing a “conversation” about our identity. In such a conversation, “all citizens are required to engage in a process of testing their ideas against an external reality, persuading others of their point of view, and building shifting alliances of consent.”[7]

Required? An external reality? And who judges whether the resulting conversation meets the requirements of democracy or not? Obama deplores the bile in our contemporary politics, and it must puzzle him that he causes so much of it. But he’s asking for it. As Bill Buckley used to say, liberals always talk about their tolerance and eagerness to engage with other views, but they’re always surprised to find that there are other views.

Obama expects 21st century people to have, roughly speaking, 21st century views, as he does. What then of Jefferson and his 18th century compeers? Obama soon makes clear that despite their fine words, Jefferson and the other Founders were less than faithful to the liberal and republican inferences of the principles they proclaimed. Like a good law school professor, in The Audacity of Hope, Obama lines up evidence and argument on both sides before concluding that, in fact, the Founders probably did not understand their principles as natural and universal, despite their language, but rather as confined to the white race. The Declaration of Independence “may have been,” he says, a transformative moment in world history, a great breakthrough for freedom, but “that spirit of liberty didn’t extend, in the minds of the Founders, to the slaves who worked their fields, made their beds, and nursed their children.” As a result, the Constitution “provided no protection to those outside the constitutional circle,” to those who were not “deemed members of America’s political community”: “the Native American whose treaties proved worthless before the court of the conqueror, or the black man Dred Scott, who would walk into the Supreme Court a free man and leave a slave.”

Obama doesn’t argue, as Lincoln did, that the Supreme Court majority was in error, that Dred Scott was wrongly and unjustly returned to slavery, and that Chief Justice Roger Taney’s dictum—that, in the Founders’ view, the black man had no rights that the white man was bound to respect—was a profound solecism. On the contrary, Obama accepts Dred Scott as rightly decided according to the standards of the time. He agrees, in effect, with Taney’s reading of the Declaration and the Constitution, and with Stephen Douglas’s as well. Despite his admiration for Lincoln, Obama sides with Lincoln’s opponents in their interpretation of Jefferson and the Declaration as pro-slavery.[8] Obama regards the original intention of both the Declaration and the Constitution to be racist and even pro-slavery, but he refrains from making the point explicit.

His understanding of the past thus pays lip service to such things as self-evident truths, original intent, and first principles but quickly changes the subject to values, visions, dreams, ideals, myths, and narratives. This is a postmodern “move.” We can’t know or share truth, postmodernists assert, because there is no truth “out there,” but we can share stories and thus construct a community of shared meaning. It’s these ideas that mark his furthest departure from old-fashioned liberalism.

More and less radical, more and less nihilist—Obama comes in on the “less” side, but then a little bit of nihilism goes a long way. “Implicit…in the very idea of ordered liberty,” he writes in The Audacity of Hope, is “a rejection of absolute truth, the infallibility of any idea or ideology or theology or ‘ism,’ any tyrannical consistency that might lock future generations into a single, unalterable course, or drive both majorities and minorities into the cruelties of the Inquisition, the pogrom, the gulag, or the jihad.” There is no absolute truth—and that’s the absolute truth, he argues. Such feeble, self-contradictory reasoning is at the heart of Obama’s very private and yet very public struggle with himself to determine whether there is anything anywhere that can truly be known, or even that is rational to have faith in. Anyone who believes, really believes, in absolute truth, he asserts, is a fanatic or in imminent danger of becoming a fanatic; absolute truth is the mother of extremism everywhere.

Although it’s certainly a good thing that America avoided religious and political tyranny, no previous President has ever credited this achievement to the Founders’ rejection of absolute truth, previously known as “truth.” Is the idea that human freedom is right, slavery wrong, thus to be rejected lest we embrace an “absolute truth”? What becomes of the “universal truths” Obama himself celebrates on occasion? Surely the problem is not with the degree of belief, but with the falseness of the causes for which the Inquisition, the pogrom, the gulag, and the jihad stood. A fervent belief in religious liberty is not equivalent to a fervent belief in religious tyranny any more than a passionate belief in democracy is equivalent to a passionate longing for dictatorship.

In The Audacity of Hope, within two pages of his criticism of the Founders for allegedly excluding black Americans from constitutional protection as equal human beings and citizens, he warns against all such sweeping truth claims and indeed praises the Founders for being “suspicious of abstraction.” On every major question in America’s early history, he writes, “theory yielded to fact and necessity…. It may be the vision of the Founders that inspires us, but it was their realism, their practicality and flexibility and curiosity, that ensured the Union’s survival.”[9] Obama cannot decide whether to blame the Founders as racists or to celebrate them as relativists; to assail them for not applying their truths absolutely to blacks and Indians along with whites or to praise them for compromising their too absolute principles for the sake of something concrete.

His attempt to resolve this contradiction carries him into still deeper and murkier waters. Obama turns for inspiration to the abolitionists, drawing no distinction between a superb publicist and reasoner like Frederick Douglass and a butcher like John Brown, who was happy “to spill blood and not just words on behalf of his visions.” Both were “absolutists,” which, by Obama’s definition, means they were “unreasonable” but willing to fight for “a new order.” He goes on to confess he has a soft spot for “those possessed of similar certainty today”—for example, the “antiabortion activist” or the “animal rights activist” who’s willing to break the law. He seems to suffer from certainty envy. He respects passionate, even fanatic commitment as such. Though he may “disagree with their views,” he admits that “I am robbed even of the certainty of uncertainty—for sometimes absolute truths may well be absolute.” Not true, necessarily, but absolute. It’s hard to know what he means exactly. That the “truths” are fit for the times, are destined to win out and forge a “new order”? That they are willed absolutely, not pragmatically or contingently? Even his rejection of absolute truth is now uncertain.

So, finally, in his perplexity, he turns again to Lincoln. Like “no man before or since,” Lincoln “understood both the deliberative function of our democracy and the limits of such deliberation.” His presidency combined firm convictions with practicality or expediency. Obama seems never to have heard of prudence, the way a statesman (and a reasonable and decent person) moves from universal principles to particular conclusions in particular circumstances. The 16th President, he ventures, was humble and self-aware, “maintaining within himself the balance between two contradictory ideas,” that we are all imperfect and thus must reach for “common understandings” and that at times “we must act nonetheless, as if we are certain, protected from error only by providence.”

For a man like Lincoln, there is no such thing, he says in effect, as acting with moral certainty, only acting “as if we are certain,” God help us. Unlike John Brown, Lincoln was an absolutist who realized the limitations of absolutism yet still brought forth a new order. “Lincoln, and those buried at Gettysburg,” Obama concludes, “remind us that we should pursue our own absolute truths only if we acknowledge that there may be a terrible price to pay.”[10] Our own absolute truths? Those words ought to send a shudder down Americans’ constitutional spine, assuming we still have one.

The Liberal Crisis
Liberals like crises, and one shouldn’t spoil them by handing them another on a silver salver. The kind of crisis that is approaching, however, is probably not their favorite kind—an emergency that presents an opportunity to enlarge government—but one that will find liberalism at a crossroads, a turning point. Liberalism can’t go on as it is, not for very long. It faces difficulties both philosophical and fiscal that will compel it either to go out of business or to become something quite different from what it has been.

For most of the past century, liberalism was happy to use relativism as an argument against conservatism. Those self-evident truths that the old American constitutional order rested on were neither logically self-evident nor true, Woodrow Wilson and his followers argued, but merely rationalizations for an immature, subjective form of right that enshrined selfishness as national morality. What was truly evident was the relativity of all past views of morality, each a reflection of its society’s stage of development. But there was a final stage of development when true morality would be actualized and its inevitability made abundantly clear—that is, self-evident.

Disillusionment came when the purported end or near end of history coincided not with idealism justified and realized, but with what many liberals in the 1960s, especially the young, despaired of as the infinite immorality of poverty, racial injustice, Vietnam, the System, and the threat of nuclear annihilation. Relativism rounded on liberalism. Having promised so much, liberalism was peculiarly vulnerable to the charge that the complete spiritual fulfillment it once promised was neither complete nor fulfilling.

As Obama’s grappling shows, intelligent and morally sensitive liberals may try to suppress or internalize the problem of relativism, but it cannot be forgotten or ignored. Despite his investment in deliberative democracy, communitarianism, and pragmatic decision making, he’s willing to throw it all aside at the moment of decision because it doesn’t satisfy his love of justice, or rather his love of a certain kind of courage or resolute action. “The blood of slaves reminds us that our pragmatism can sometimes be moral cowardice,” he writes.[11] In a moment like that, a great man must follow his own absolute truth, and the rest of us are left hoping it is Lincoln and not John Brown, much less Jefferson Davis, whose will is triumphant. The great man doesn’t anticipate or follow or approximate history’s course; he creates it, wills it according to his own absolute will, not absolute knowledge.

When combined with liberalism’s lust for strong leaders, this openness to Nietzschean creativity looms dangerously over the liberal future. If we are lucky, if liberalism is lucky, no one will ever apply for the position of liberal “superhero,” in Michael Tomasky’s term, and the role will remain vacant. But as Lincoln asked in the Lyceum speech, “Is it unreasonable then to expect, that some man possessed of the loftiest genius, coupled with ambition sufficient to push it to its utmost stretch, will at some time, spring up among us?”

And when such a one does, it will require the people to be united with each other, attached to the government and laws, and generally intelligent, to successfully frustrate his designs. Distinction will be his paramount object; and although he would as willingly, perhaps more so, acquire it by doing good as harm; yet, that opportunity being past, and nothing left to be done in the way of building up, he would set boldly to the task of pulling down.
More worrisome even than the danger of a superman able to promise that everything desirable will soon be possible is a people unattached to its constitution and laws; and for that, liberalism has much to answer.

In one crucial respect, our situation would seem more perilous than the future danger Lincoln sketched insofar as the very definitions of political “good” and “harm” are now uncertain. Avant-garde liberalism used to be about progress; now it’s about nothingness. You call that progress? Perhaps, paradoxically, that’s why Obama prefers to be called a progressive rather than a liberal. It’s better to believe in something than in nothing, even if the something, Progress, is not as believable as it used to be. His residual progressivism helps insure him against his instinctual postmodernism. Still, liberalism is in a bad way when it has lost confidence in its own truth, and it’s an odd sort of “progress” to go back to a name it surrendered 80 years ago.

Adding to liberal self-doubt is that liberalism’s monopoly on the social sciences, long since broken, has been supplanted by a multiple-front argument with conservative scholars in economics, political science, and other fields. In the beginning, Progressivism commanded all the social sciences because it had invented or imported them all. Wilson, Franklin Roosevelt, and Lyndon Johnson could be confident in the inevitability of progress, despite temporary setbacks, because the social sciences backed them up. An expertise in administering progress existed, and experts in public administration, Keynesian economics, national planning, urban affairs, modernization theory, development studies, and a half-dozen other specialties beavered away at bringing the future to life.

What a difference a half-century makes. The vogue for national planning disappeared under the pressure of ideas and events. Friedrich Hayek demonstrated why socialist economic planning, lacking free-market pricing information, could not succeed. In a side-by-side experiment, West Germany far outpaced East Germany in economic development, and all the people escaping across the Wall traveled from east to west, leaving their workers’ paradise behind. Keynesianism flunked the test of the 1970s stagflation. The Reagan boom, with its repeated tax cuts, flew in the face of the orthodoxy at the Harvard Department of Economics but was cheered by the Chicago School. Milton Friedman’s advice to Chile proved far sounder than Jeffrey Sachs’s to Russia. Monetarism, rational choice economics, supply-side, “government failure,” “regulatory capture,” “incentive effects”—the intellectual discoveries were predominantly on the Right. Conservative and libertarian think tanks multiplied, carrying the new insights directly into the fray.

The scholarly counterattack proceeded in political science and the law, too. Rational choice and “law and economics” changed the agenda to some degree. Both politics and the law became increasingly “originalist” in bearing, enriched by a new appreciation for 18th century sources and the original intent of the Founders and the Framers of the Constitution. Above all, the Progressives’ attempt to replace political philosophy with social science foundered.

After World War II, an unanticipated and at first unheralded revival of political philosophy began, associated above all with Leo Strauss, questioning historicism and nihilism in the name of a broadly Socratic understanding of nature and natural right. New studies of the tradition yielded some very untraditional results. Though there were left-wing as well as right-wing aspects to this revival, the latter proved more influential and liberating. The unquestionability of both progress and relativism died quietly in classrooms around the country. Economics is an instrumental science, studying means not ends, and so much of the successes of free-market economics could be swallowed pragmatically by liberalism’s maw. The developments in political philosophy challenged the ends of Progressivism, proving far more damaging to it.

In sheer numbers, the academy remained safely, overwhelmingly in the hands of the Left, whose members in fact grew more radical, with some notable exceptions, in these years. But they gradually lost the unchallenged intellectual ascendancy, though not the prestige, they once had enjoyed.

Thanks to this intellectual rebirth, the case against Progressivism and in favor of the Constitution is stronger and deeper than it has ever been. Progressivism has never been in a fair fight, an equal fight, until now, because its political opponents had largely been educated in the same ideas, had lost touch, like Antaeus, with the ground of the Constitution in natural right, and so tended to offer only Progressivism Lite as an alternative.

The sheer superficiality of Progressive scholarship is now evident. Progressives could never take the ideas of the Declaration and Constitution seriously for many of the same reasons that Obama cannot ultimately take them seriously. Wilson never demonstrated that the Constitution was inadequate to the problems of his age—he asserted it, or rather assumed it. His references to The Federalist are shallow and general, never betraying a close familiarity with any paper or papers, and willfully ignorant of the separation of powers as an instrument to energize and hone, not merely limit, the national government. Though he thought of himself as picking up where Hamilton, Webster, and Lincoln had left off, Wilson never investigated where they left off and why. Neither he nor his main contemporaries asked how far The Federalist’s or Lincoln’s reading of national powers and duties might take them, because they assumed it would not take them very far, that it reflected the political forces of its age and had to be superseded by new doctrines for a new age. They weren’t interested in Lincoln’s reasons, only in his results. Not right but historical might was the Progressives’ true focus.

Today liberalism looks increasingly, well, elderly. Hard of hearing, irascible, enamored of past glories, forgetful of mistakes and promises, prone to repeat the same stories over and over—it isn’t the youthful voice of tomorrow it once imagined itself to be. Only a rhetorician of Obama’s youth and artfulness could breathe life into the old tropes again.

Even he can’t repeat the performance in 2012. With a track record to defend, he will have to speak more prose and less poetry. With a century-old track record, liberalism will find it harder than ever to paint itself as the disinterested champion of the public good. Long ago, it became an Establishment, one of the estates of the realm, with its court-party of notoriously self-interested constituencies: the public employee unions, the trial lawyers, the feminists, the environmentalists, and the corporations aching to be public utilities paying private-sector salaries. Not visions of the future, but visions of plunder come to mind. This is one side of what Walter Russell Mead means when he criticizes the “blue state social model” as outmoded and heavy-handed.[12]

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is about as sleek and innovative as the several phone books’ worth of paper it takes up in printed form. Can one imagine Steve Jobs’s reaction if he had been tasked with reading, much less implementing, the PPACA? It is exhibit A in the case for the intellectual obsolescence of liberalism.

Finally, we come to the fiscal embarrassments confronting contemporary liberals. Again, Obamacare is wonderfully emblematic. President Obama’s solution to the problem of two health care entitlement programs quickly going bankrupt—Medicare and Medicaid—is to add a third? Perhaps it is a stratagem. More likely it is simply the reflexive liberal solution to any social problem: Spend more.

From Karl Marx to John Rawls, if you’ll excuse the juxtaposition, left-wing critics of capitalism have often paid it the supreme compliment of presuming it so productive an economic system that it has overcome permanently the problem of scarcity in human life. Capitalism has generated a “plenty.” It has distributional problems, which produce intolerable social and economic instability; but eliminate or control those inconveniences and it could produce wealth enough not only to provide for every man’s necessities, but also to lift him into the realm of freedom. To some liberals, that premise implied that socioeconomic rights could be paid for without severe damage to the economy and without oppressive taxation, at least of the majority.

Obama is the first liberal to suggest that even capitalism cannot pay for all the benefits promised by the American welfare state, particularly regarding health care. Granted, his solution is counterintuitive in the extreme, which makes one wonder if he is sincere. To the extent that liberalism is the welfare state, and the welfare state is entitlement spending, and entitlements are mostly spent effecting the right to health care, the insolvency of the health care entitlement programs is rightly regarded as a major part of the economic and moral crisis of liberalism. “Simply put,” Yuval Levin writes, “we cannot afford to preserve our welfare state in anything like its present form.” According to the Congressional Budget Office, by 2025, Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and the interest on the federal debt will consume all—all—federal revenues, leaving defense and all other expenditures to be paid for by borrowing; and the debt will be approaching twice the country’s annual GDP.[13]

Conclusion
If something can’t go on forever, Herbert Stein noted sagely, it won’t. It would be possible to increase federal revenues by raising taxes, but the kind of money that’s needed could only be raised by taxing the middle class (defined, let us say, as all those families making less than $250,000 a year) very heavily. Like every other Democratic candidate since Walter Mondale, who made the mistake of confessing to the American people that he was going to raise their taxes, Obama swore not to do that.

If the bankruptcy of the entitlement programs were handled just the right way, with world-class cynicism and opportunism, in an emergency demanding quick, painful action lest Grandma descend into an irreversible diabetic coma, then liberalism might succeed in maneuvering America into a Scandinavia-style überwelfare state, fueled by massive and regressive taxes cheerfully accepted by the citizenry. But odds are we stand instead at the twilight of the liberal welfare state. As it sinks, a new, more conservative system will likely rise that will feature some combination of more means-testing of benefits, a switch from defined-benefit to defined-contribution programs, greater devolution of authority to the states and localities, a new budget process that will force welfare expenditures to compete with other national priorities, and the redefinition of the welfare function away from fulfilling socioeconomic “rights” and toward charitably taking care of the truly needy as best the community can afford when private efforts have failed or proved inadequate.

Currently, the welfare state operates almost independently alongside the general government. Taken together, these reforms will work to reintegrate the welfare state into the government, curtailing its state-within-a-state status and, even more important, integrating it back into the constitutional system that stands on natural rights and consent.

Is it just wishful thinking to imagine the end of liberalism? Few things in politics are permanent. Conservatism and liberalism didn’t become the central division in our politics until the middle of the 20th century. Before that, American politics revolved around such issues as states’ rights, the wars, slavery, the tariff, and suffrage. Parties have come and gone in our history. You won’t find many Federalists, Whigs, or Populists lining up at the polls these days. Britain’s Liberal Party faded from power in the 1920s. The Canadian Liberal Party collapsed in 2011.

Recently, within a decade of its maximum empire at home and abroad, a combined intellectual movement, political party, and form of government crumbled away, to be swept up and consigned to the dustbin of history. Communism, which in a very different way from American liberalism traced its roots to Hegel, Social Darwinism, and leadership by a vanguard group of intellectuals, vanished before our eyes, though not without an abortive coup or two. If Communism, armed with millions of troops and thousands of megatons of nuclear weapons, could collapse of its own dead weight and implausibility, why not American liberalism?

The parallel is imperfect, of course, because liberalism and its vehicle, the Democratic Party, remain profoundly popular, resilient, and changeable. Elections matter to them. What’s more, the egalitarian impulse, centralized government (though not centralized administration), and the Democratic Party have deep roots in the American political tradition—and reflect permanent aspects of modern democracy itself, as Tocqueville testifies.

Some elements of liberalism are inherent in American democracy, then, but the compound, the peculiar combination that is contemporary liberalism, is not. Compounded of the Hegelian philosophy of history, Social Darwinism, the living constitution, leadership, the cult of the State, the rule of administrative experts, entitlements and group rights, and moral creativity, modern liberalism is something new and distinctive, despite the presence in it, too, of certain American constants like the love of equality and democratic individualism.

Under the pressure of ideas and events, that compound could come apart. Liberals’ confidence in being on the right, the winning side of history could crumble, perhaps has already begun to crumble. Trust in government, which really means in the State, is at all-time lows. A majority of Americans oppose a new entitlement program—in part because they want to keep the old programs unimpaired, but also because the economic and moral sustainability of the whole welfare state grows more and more doubtful. The goodwill and even the presumptive expertise of many government experts command less and less respect. Obama’s speeches no longer send the old thrill up the leg, and his leadership, whether for one or two terms, may yet help to discredit the respectability of following the Leader.

The Democratic Party is unlikely to go poof, but it’s possible that modern liberalism will. A series of nasty political defeats and painful repudiations of its impossible dreams might do the trick. At the least, it will have to downsize its ambitions and get back in touch with political, moral, and fiscal reality. It will have to—all together now—turn back the clock. Much will depend, too, on what conservatives say and do in the coming years. Will they have the prudence and guile to elevate the fight to the level of constitutional principle, to expose the Tory credentials of their opponents?

President Obama’s decision to double down aggressively on the reach and cost of big government just as the European model of social democracy is hitting the skids provides the perfect opportunity for conservatives to exploit. His course makes the problems of liberalism worse and more urgent, as though he is eager for a crisis. Sooner or later, the crisis will come. If the people remain attached to their government and laws and American statesmen do their part, the country may yet take the path leading up from liberalism.

—Charles R. Kesler, Ph.D., is a senior fellow at the Claremont Institute, editor of the Claremont Review of Books, and professor of government at Claremont McKenna College. He is the author of I Am the Change: Barack Obama and the Crisis of Liberalism (Broadside Books, 2012), from which this essay was adapted.
Hide References

[1]Stanley Kurtz, Radical-in-Chief: Barack Obama and the Untold Story of American Socialism (New York: Threshold Editions, 2010), pp. 1–11, 21–60, 71–77, 86.
[2]See Barack Obama, Remarks Following the Iowa Caucuses, January 3, 2008, http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=76232&st=&st1=#axzz1lvulJr36.
[3]Barack Obama, The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream (New York: Crown Publishers, 2006), p. 53.
[4]Abraham Lincoln, Letter to H. L. Pierce and Others, April 6, 1859, in The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, ed. Roy P. Basler (New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 1953), vol. 3, p. 376; Thomas Jefferson, Letter to Henry Lee, May 8, 1825, and Letter to Roger Weightman, June 24, 1826, in Thomas Jefferson: Writings, ed. Merrill D. Peterson (New York: Library of America, 1984), pp. 1501, 1517. For a commentary, see Harry V. Jaffa, A New Birth of Freedom (Lanham, Md.: Rowman & Littlefield, 2000), ch. 2.
[5]Barack Obama, “A Hope to Fulfill,” Remarks of Senator Barack Obama at the National Press Club, April 26, 2005, http://obamaspeeches.com/014-National-Press-Club-Speech.htm; Remarks Following the Wisconsin Primary, February 19, 2008, http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=76558&st=&st1=#axzz1lvulJr36; Remarks in St. Paul, Minnesota, Claiming the Democratic Presidential Nomination Following the Montana and South Dakota Primaries, June 3, 2008, http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=77409&st=&st1=#axzz1lvulJr36; Address Before a Joint Session of Congress on the State of the Union, January 24, 2012, http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index/index.php?pid=99000#axzz1lvulJr36; and James T. Kloppenberg, Reading Obama: Dreams, Hope, and the American Political Tradition (Princeton, N.J.; Princeton University Press, 2011), pp. 89–110, 139–40.
[6]Barack Obama, Comments at Presidential Debate at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee, October 7, 2008, http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=84482&st=&st1=#axzz1lvulJr36.
[7]Obama, The Audacity of Hope, pp. 55, 92.
[8]Ibid., p. 95.
[9]Ibid., pp. 93–96. Obama echoes, and radicalizes, Woodrow Wilson’s distinction between the Founders as time-bound theorists and as competent statesmen.
[10]Ibid., pp. 97–98.
[11]Ibid., p. 98.
[12]See, for example, Walter Russell Mead, “Beyond the Blue Part One: The Crisis of the American Dream,” American Interest, January 29, 2012, http://blogs.the-american-interest.com/wrm/2012/01/29/beyond-blue-part-one-the-crisis-of-the-american-dream/.
[13]Yuval Levin, “Beyond the Welfare State,” National Affairs, Spring 2011, pp. 21–38, 30, 32.

Voir également:

He was the change

James Piereson

The Criterion

A review of I Am the Change: Barack Obama and the Crisis of Liberalism by Charles R. Kesler

Four years ago, in the excited aftermath of the 2008 election, Barack Obama was widely viewed as a liberal messiah who would engineer a new era of liberal reform and cement a Democratic majority for decades to come. He would prove to be, as many pundits predicted, a Franklin Delano Roosevelt, or perhaps even an Abraham Lincoln, for our time. They were not alone in saying this: Obama himself said much the same thing.

These forecasts seemed grandiose at the time; today, after four years of an Obama presidency, they look positively silly. In contrast to 2008, 2012 Obama looks less like a transformational president and more like a typically embattled politician trying to survive a tight contest for reelection. Even some of his strongest supporters are now “defining Obama down” as just another Democratic “pol” making compromises and paying off constituencies in order to keep his coalition together. Extravagant hopes have given way to a scramble for survival. Few continue to believe that Obama will establish the foundations for a new era of liberal governance. Some are beginning to point toward a more surprising turn of events: Far from bringing about a renewal of liberalism, Obama is actually presiding over its disintegration and collapse.

This is the thesis of Charles R. Kesler’s fascinating and insightful new book, I Am the Change: Barack Obama and the Crisis of Liberalism.1 Mr. Kesler, a professor of government at Claremont McKenna College and editor of The Claremont Review, is a well-known conservative scholar and authority on the history of liberal thought. Professor Kesler presents a critical yet nuanced portrayal of Obama and his rise to power. From his perspective as scholar and theorist, Kesler sees Obama as a conventional liberal or, better yet, as a progressive, and not as a socialist or anti-American subversive (as some of the President’s critics would have it). Viewed through a wide historical lens, Obama appears as the most recent—and perhaps the last—of a line of liberal presidents beginning with Woodrow Wilson a century ago and running through FDR to Lyndon Johnson and beyond to Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton. A signal virtue of this book is that it shows how the Obama presidency fits into the evolution of modern liberalism from its origins in the Progressive movement more than a century ago.1

The great political battles in the United States during the nineteenth century were never ideological contests in the modern sense but rather controversies fought over the meaning of the Constitution and the intentions of the founding fathers. Political contests over expansion, the Bank of the United States, slavery, secession, and the regulation of commerce were fought out along constitutional lines. The politicians and statesmen of that era were not divided into liberal and conservative camps; those terms had little meaning in nineteenth-century America. Abraham Lincoln was not thought of as a “liberal,” nor were slave owners derided as “conservatives.” Both sides of that controversy appealed to the Constitution or to the Declaration of Independence to defend their positions.

The Progressives introduced an ideological element into American politics by detaching their arguments from the Constitution and grounding them instead in claims about progress and historical development. Progressives (they were not yet called “liberals”) asserted that the Constitution, with its complex framework designed to limit government, was out of date in the modern age of science, industrialism, and large trusts and corporations. Constitutionalists looked backwards to the founding fathers; Progressives looked forward to a vast future of never-ending progress and change. The founding fathers and their nineteenth-century successors anchored popular government in a philosophy of natural rights; Progressives looked to different foundations in history and development. Progressives could not get rid of the Constitution, but they could reinterpret it to allow for more federal action to regulate the trusts, resolve industrial disputes, and engineer progress. Thus was born the idea of a “living Constitution,” an open-ended and flexible document readily adapted to changing conditions.

The Progressives were proponents of scientific government, not necessarily of popular or representative government. They disdained legislative bodies with their vote-trading and petty disputes over constituent interests; thus, they looked to the presidency rather than to the Congress for national leadership in the direction of reform and progress. The president spoke for the people or the nation, Congress spoke for special interests. Progressives wanted to delegate power to administrative bodies, commissions, and bureaus staffed by disinterested experts who could apply up-to-date knowledge to solve new problems. The Interstate Commerce Commission, the Food and Drug Administration, the Federal Trade Commission, and the Federal Reserve Board were Progressive initiatives. The Progressives dreamed of a time when political contests among rival interests would give way to impartial administration by experts and judges trained by and recruited from the best colleges and universities in the land. Academic institutions, as Mr. Kesler points out, would go on to play a major role in the evolution of liberalism.

Professor Kesler identifies Woodrow Wilson as the chief architect of this vision in American politics, helping to lay the intellectual foundations for progressivism and then beginning to put them in place during his term as president. As a research scholar and university president, Wilson brought some of the abstract qualities of a college professor to the study of politics. He wrote an influential study of the US Congress without visiting the US Capitol. While he admired the founding fathers, he criticized them for leaving behind a constitutional structure that was disorderly and inefficient, and encouraged conflict rather than cooperation. Thus he claimed that the separation of powers in the Constitution was a mischievous invention designed to limit the powers of government and to prevent cooperation among the branches (which was partly true). Wilson wanted to bring the branches closer together through presidential leadership and responsible party government. He favored a parliamentary system like that in place in Great Britain in which the executive and legislative branches are unified under the control of a single party and led by the Prime Minister.

Most fundamentally of all, Wilson claimed that the vision of the founding fathers did not lead to progress but to endless division and factional infighting. The Constitution was a Newtonian machine designed to balance conflicting forces when what was now required was a Darwinian instrument flexible enough to evolve in response to changes in its environment. It was not necessary to change the Constitution itself in order to bring about such a fundamental change; it was only necessary for Americans to think about it in a new way. After all, Washington, Jefferson, and Madison led a revolution and wrote the Constitution in response to the challenges of their time: Why should not Americans in the twentieth century do the same? Thus Wilson and his associates in the Progressive movement looked to an intellectual revolution as the means by which Americans would liberate themselves from the constricted and obsolete doctrines of the founding fathers, and in the process free themselves from the limits the founders placed upon government.

Given his vast ambitions, Wilson could not hope to implement much of this agenda in eight short years in office. Yet he established the foundations for an influential and long-running movement based upon progress and change as a way of life, presidential leadership and executive power, trust in experts, and disdain for traditional constitutional forms. Mr. Kesler does not spend much time on Wilson’s path-breaking approach to international diplomacy, his role in the Paris Peace Conference, and his aborted personal campaign “to make the world safe for democracy.” Yet these may be understood as logical extensions from his broader philosophy that traditional forms of governance had reached a dead end and that new ones had to be built through inspired leadership.

It was FDR who began to use the term “liberalism” in place of “progressivism” in order to distinguish the New Deal from the Progressive Party that flamed out in the 1920s and, in contrast to the progressives, to associate his program with the founding ideals of the nation. It was also Roosevelt who hijacked the term from the classical liberals in order to associate it with reform and the welfare state in opposition to free markets and limited government. FDR, as Professor Kesler suggests in an illuminating chapter in the book, kept the language and rhetoric of the founders while not so subtly changing their meaning and purposes. This has also been true of the liberal presidents who have succeeded him.

The Republican victories during the 1920s demonstrated to Roosevelt just how fleeting and transient Wilson’s victories turned out to be. “Think of the great liberal achievements of Woodrow Wilson’s New Freedom,” he said in one of his radio addresses during the 1930s, “and how quickly they were liquidated under President Harding.” Roosevelt formulated programs (like Social Security and the Wagner Act) that had popular followings but were also grounded in the language of rights and liberty such that no one could claim that they were “un-American.” FDR paid homage to Jefferson and the Declaration of Independence, but also said that the basic rights outlined in that document were subject to redefinition in light of changes in the social order. Jefferson wrote about natural rights and liberty while FDR spoke of positive rights as a foundation for security. In his Second Bill of Rights, FDR outlined a vast agenda of such positive rights, including a right to adequate medical care, to a good education, to a decent home, to a “remunerative” job, and to adequate protection from “the fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment.” The pursuit and perfection of these rights provided modern liberalism—and the Democratic Party—with an almost unlimited agenda of reform.

Among FDR’s successors, no one tried harder to emulate him and more miserably failed to do so than Lyndon Baines Johnson. Johnson began his political career in the 1930s as a New Deal functionary and then as a young member of the House of Representatives. “FDR was my hero; he was like a father to me,” Johnson told a reporter during his White House years. Johnson mastered the art of using public patronage to build political support. “He wanted to out-Roosevelt Roosevelt,” according to one of his aides. “We’re in favor of a lot of things and against mighty few,” he said during his 1964 campaign, thereby giving voters a taste of things to come.

Johnson, as Professor Kesler explains, sought to complete the agenda of quantitative liberalism by passing federal health insurance programs for the aged (Medicare) and the poor (Medicaid), and expanded welfare and food stamp programs to assist the underprivileged. Yet, given the insatiable spirit of modern liberalism, Johnson was not content to rest there. In his Great Society speech, he proclaimed a new agenda of qualitative liberalism through which government would elevate the spirit and quality of life of the American people. The Great Society, he said, “is a place where the city of man serves not only the needs of the body and the demands of commerce but the desire for beauty and the hunger for humanity.” Johnson launched a “war on poverty” and a campaign to end urban decay, passed civil rights bills, funded the arts and education, and gave the federal government license to enter into every area of American life.

Yet, by a cruel irony, Johnson’s high hopes and grand expectations soon turned into disappointment and tragedy as the country was torn apart by crime, riots in nearly every major urban center, and violent protests against the war in Vietnam. His vast expansion of domestic expenditures turned loose an ugly stampede for federal dollars that only incited demands for more. Far from being an era of spiritual fulfillment, the 1960s was one of anger, alienation, and escape through drugs and violence. Mr. Kesler writes that the enduring legacy of the 1960s is “the strange combination, still very much with us, of a more ambitious state and a less trusted government than ever before.” The more patronage the government handed out, the less satisfied its beneficiaries became.

If the New Deal stands out as the great triumph of modern liberalism, then the Great Society represents its signal tragedy and failure. This was the period, as Mr. Kesler writes, when “the radicalism that was latent all along in liberalism broke free of its faith in progress, science, and the democratic process itself.” Johnson’s failures arose from overreaching ambitions and the delusion that all human problems, even those of the spirit, must find solutions in politics and government programs. Yet, as the author argues, this kind of over-reaching is endemic to modern liberalism. It was already present, for example, in Wilson’s claims about progress and change and also in FDR’s unlimited agenda of positive rights. Liberalism both lives and dies off promises it cannot fulfill.

Barack Obama is the latest liberal president to attempt to harmonize grand hopes with the messy realities of programmatic reform. In this sense, he is a worthy heir to the legacy of Wilson, FDR, and LBJ, all of whom addressed the same challenge. Yet of the three, only one of them may be said to have ended his presidency on a positive note. Obama hopes to join FDR/span> as one of the successful presidents of the liberal era, but Mr. Kesler doubts his prospects for success.

Like FDR, who distinguished the New Deal from the New Freedom, Obama tried to make his break from the rancorous politics of the 1960s. He celebrates the flag, observes patriotic holidays, and praises the military. He is a solid family man. He even extolls the founding fathers, up to a point. In his view, the founders made a good start in laying down some noble principles, even if they did not live up to them and perhaps did not really believe them.

Obama was also aware that many of the bold initiatives of the 1960s were eventually discredited and, for the most part, rejected by the American people. No liberal today could possibly run for office citing the model of the Great Society. Without an ambitious programmatic agenda on which to run, Obama had little choice but to organize his campaign around “hope and change.” Few asked what exactly that might mean. One answer was that Obama himself, as a biracial and multicultural candidate, son of a Kenyan father and middle-class American mother, personified the change he and others were seeking. It was proof that America could overcome its racially scarred past. “I am the change,” as he has suggested on more than one occasion.

Here, then, according to Mr. Kesler, is one terminus of the liberal project. Where can it go beyond Barack Obama and the personal politics of hope and change? Another end point is fiscal and budgetary. With Obama’s signature health care legislation, an ambitious stimulus package, a series of trillion dollar plus deficits, and the impending retirement of the baby boomers, there is no more money left to fund further liberal projects. There is not even enough money left to fund those already in place. Will Obama’s presidency mark the end of the politics of public spending and thus the end of a movement that came into its own a full century ago with the election of Woodrow Wilson? That is a distinct possibility, and one brought into clear focus in this most illuminating and gracefully argued book.

1 I Am the Change: Barack Obama and the Crisis of Liberalism by Charles R. Kesler; Broadside Books, 276 pages. $25.00.

Voir encore:

« Les attentats sont la macabre célébration du premier anniversaire de l’Etat islamique »
Mathieu Guidère, spécialiste du terrorisme islamiste, craint que les attaques perpétrées vendredi en Isère, à Sousse (Tunisie) et à Koweït City ne soient le début d’une vague d’attentats lancée par l’organisation jihadiste.
Propos recueillis par Hervé Brusin
Francetvinfo
27/06/2015

Un homme a tiré à la kalachnikov sur une plage de Sousse, tuant 38 personnes, vendredi 26 juin. Trois mois après le massacre du musée du Bardo, la Tunisie plonge à nouveau dans le cauchemar terroriste. Mathieu Guidère, spécialiste de géopolitique et du terrorisme islamiste, est justement originaire de ce pays. Pour francetv info, il analyse l’attentat commis à Sousse et le rapproche des autres attaques perpétrées en France et au Koweït le même jour.

Francetv info : Que vous inspire cette série d’attaques en France, en Tunisie et au Koweït ?

Mathieu Guidère : Cela fait un an maintenant qu’est apparu au grand jour l’Etat islamique (EI). Et l’on ne peut que constater qu’il a lancé les « festivités » de cet anniversaire, malgré les bombardements qu’il subit. Tout cela accompagne le début du ramadan la semaine dernière. L’EI a appelé la quasi-totalité de ses sympathisants à fêter cette première année par tous les moyens et partout dans le monde. Selon moi, les attentats perpétrés à Saint-Quentin-Fallavier (Isère), à Sousse et à Koweït City s’inscrivent dans cette macabre célébration. C’est un terrible pied de nez adressé à la communauté internationale. Et ce n’est que le début.

Pourquoi cela ?

Souvenons-nous : l’EI a commencé son offensive au début du ramadan 2014. Il a déclaré le califat le 30 juin 2014. Je pense donc que cela risque de culminer dans les semaines à venir. En outre, le mois de ramadan est considéré comme propice au jihad. Je crains donc que nous soyons face au lancement d’une campagne d’attentats.

En Tunisie spécifiquement, y a-t-il une continuité entre l’attentat du musée du Bardo en mars et la tuerie de Sousse ?

Absolument. A Sousse, l’action a été conduite par un groupe qui a fait allégeance à l’EI. Et il a clairement décidé de détruire le tourisme tunisien. Il l’a lui-même affirmé en déclarant : vous accueillez trop d’étrangers, la Tunisie n’est pas une terre pour héberger des étrangers, qui de surcroît bombardent nos frères en Syrie et en Irak. D’où la décision qui a été prise de s’attaquer systématiquement aux infrastructures du tourisme tunisien et donc, dans un premier temps, au musée du Bardo. Ce groupe s’intitule « les soldats du califat en Tunisie ».

Comment prévenir la vague d’attentats dont vous parlez ?

Par une prévention active, concrète. En Tunisie, par exemple, il faut installer des caméras de vidéosurveillance, pratiquer des contrôles d’accès aux lieux publics. En France, il faut sécuriser les lieux par ce même genre de dispositifs. En revanche, je suis très réticent sur la présence de soldats en faction devant les lieux sensibles. Ils peuvent à leur tour devenir des cibles.

Les pouvoirs publics sont-ils conscients des risques qui, selon vous, nous guettent ?

Je ne le crois pas. Le fait de bombarder l’EI et de le dire publiquement peut pousser des individus à commettre des attentats en France. Mais surtout, on n’est pas assez conscients de la portée symbolique des dates et des lieux. Désormais, l’EI se considère comme un Etat, gère les territoires comme tel, avec un gouvernement, une administration et un agenda. Nous sommes bel et bien face à un Etat terroriste.

Voir enfin:

La Chine construit des îles artificielles pour revendiquer des zones maritimes
Julien Licourt
Le Figaro
10/02/2015

La République populaire entend asseoir son influence sur des ilôts inhabités mais stratégiques de la mer de Chine.
Une île artificielle en forme de porte-avion. La Chine est en train d’agglomérer des milliers de tonnes de terre sur un récif corallien afin de le transformer en piste d’atterrissage. L’objectif: asseoir sa domination sur une zone stratégique très disputée, la mer de Chine.

Jusqu’à présent, la majeure partie de l’île de Fiery Cross, ou Yongshu, en Chinois, se trouvait sous l’eau, à l’exception de quelques rochers et d’une surface de béton artificielle, servant à héberger une petite garnison de soldats. Des images satellites, analysées par des experts anglo-saxons de l’IHS, ont montré que depuis quelques mois, des navires chinois draguaient les fonds environnants. Les images ont également montré que ces derniers rassemblent les sédiments sur la barrière de corail, afin de faire émerger des eaux une piste de 3000 mètres de long sur 300 mètres, au plus, de large. Un port, à l’est de l’île, serait également en train d’être créé par les dragues chinoises. Il serait suffisamment grand pour «accueillir des pétroliers ou de grands navires de guerre», selon les experts de l’IHS.

Yongshu est située dans l’archipel des Spratleys, un territoire en plein milieu de la mer de Chine dont les récifs confettis, d’une superficie totale de 5 km2, sont répartis sur une zone de 410.000 km2. Quelques bouts de terre disputés entre le Brunei, la Malaisie, les Philippines, Taïwan et la Chine, dernière puissance à ne pas disposer de piste d’atterrissage dans les environs.

Une zone très stratégique
Dans un rapport, le ministère de la Défense français rappelle que les prétentions de Pékin sont fondées sur des arguments historiques: «La Chine prétend que des pêcheurs chinois fréquentent la mer de Chine du Sud depuis des époques aussi reculées que la période des Trois Royaumes (220-265).» Selon le rapport, il faut en réalité attendre les années 1980 pour qu’elle s’intéresse réellement à ces îles perdues. En 1987, la Chine en occupe 7. Cinq ans plus tard, elle revendique la totalité de l’archipel.

Si la Chine s’y intéresse autant, ce n’est pas en souvenir de quelques pêcheurs ancestraux. Cette zone, inconnue du grand public, est d’un intérêt géostratégique majeur. Elle est le point de passage entre l’Océan indien et l’Océan pacifique et permet la communication de l’Europe et de l’Asie orientale. Près d’un tiers du trafic maritime commercial du monde y passe, 90% de celui de la Chine. La Corée du Sud, le Japon et Taïwan y font transiter plus de la moitié de leurs ressources énergétiques. Si les éventuelles réserves de pétrole semblent pour le moment limitées, celles de gaz semblent au contraire très importantes: la zone pourrait comporter 13% des réserves mondiales, selon le rapport du ministère de la Défense.

Le précédent des Paracels
Outre l’évidente menace que représente la militarisation chinoise, la création de cette nouvelle terre vient asseoir la revendication de souveraineté chinoise: au regard du droit international, l’attribution d’une zone économique exclusive est déterminée par la possession d’un territoire côtier.

La Chine reproduit ici une tactique déjà éprouvée un peu plus au nord, dans l’archipel inhabité des Paracels, situé en face du Vietnam, qui revendique également ces territoires. Pékin y a créé une piste et un port. Dans les années 1970, un bref engagement entre la Chine et le Sud-Vietnam avait coûté la vie à 70 marins et envoyé par le fond trois navires vietnamiens. Seulement, après cet épisode, la présence chinoise avait été confortée dans l’archipel. En mai 2014, la Chine se servait de cette base territoriale pour justifier l’installation d’une plate-forme pétrolière dans les eaux des Paracels, entraînant une importante crise diplomatique avec le Vietnam.

Voir par ailleurs:

Memo to Supreme Court: State Marriage Laws Are Constitutional
Gene Schaerr and Ryan T. Anderson, Ph.D.
The Heritage Foundation
March 10, 2015

Abstract
There is nothing in the U.S. Constitution that requires all 50 states to redefine marriage. The only way one can establish the unconstitutionality of man–woman marriage laws is to adopt a view of marriage that sees it as an essentially genderless, adult-centric institution and then declare that the Constitution requires that the states (re)define marriage in such a way. In other words, one needs to establish that the vision of marriage our law has long applied is wrong and that the Constitution requires a different vision. There is, however, no basis in the Constitution for reaching that conclusion. Marriage is based on the anthropological truth that men and women are distinct and complementary, the biological fact that reproduction depends on a man and a woman, and the social reality that children deserve a mother and a father, and states have constitutional authority to make marriage policy based on these truths.
Over the past year, four federal circuit courts—the Fourth, Seventh, Ninth, and Tenth Circuits—have ruled that the states and their people lack the ability under the federal Constitution to define marriage as it has always been defined: as the legal union of a man and a woman.[1] In their breathtaking sweep, those four rulings are reminiscent of the U.S. Supreme Court’s now-discredited decision in Dred Scott v. Sandford,[2] which likewise limited the people’s right to decide an issue of fundamental importance: whether their representatives in Congress had the constitutional authority to abolish slavery in the federal territories.[3]

Last fall, the Supreme Court allowed those four circuit decisions to go into effect, thereby overriding the votes of tens of millions of citizens in many parts of the nation. Fortunately, however, the Court has now agreed to revisit the issue in the context of a decision issued by the Sixth Circuit, which reaffirmed the right of a state’s people to choose the traditional man–woman definition of marriage.

The overarching question before the Supreme Court in the four cases that were consolidated before the Sixth Circuit and for purposes of review by the Supreme Court—Obergefell v. Hodges, Tanco v. Haslam, DeBoer v. Snyder, and Bourke v. Beshear—is not whether an exclusively male–female marriage policy is the best, but only whether it is allowed by the U.S. Constitution.[4] In other words, the question is not whether government-recognized same-sex marriage is good or bad policy, but only whether it is required by the U.S. Constitution.

To resolve that overarching question, the Supreme Court has directed the parties in those cases to address two precise questions:

Does the Fourteenth Amendment require a state to license a marriage between two people of the same sex?
Does the Fourteenth Amendment require a state to recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex when their marriage was lawfully licensed and performed out of state?
Those suing to overturn the marriage laws in the four states covered by the Sixth Circuit (Ohio, Kentucky, Michigan, and Tennessee) thus have to prove that the man–woman marriage policy that has existed in the United States throughout our entire history is prohibited by the U.S. Constitution.

The only way someone could succeed in such an argument is to adopt a view of marriage that sees it as an essentially genderless institution based only on the emotional needs of adults and then declare that the U.S. Constitution requires that the states (re)define marriage in such a way. Equal protection alone is not enough. To strike down marriage laws, the Court would need to say that the vision of marriage that our law has long applied equally is just wrong: that the Constitution requires a different vision entirely.

The U.S. Constitution, however, is silent on what marriage is and what policy goals the states should design it to serve, and there are good policy arguments on both sides. Judges should not insert their own policy preferences about marriage and declare them to be required by the U.S. Constitution any more than the Justices in Dred Scott should have written into the Constitution their own policy preferences in support of slavery.

That, of course, is not to suggest that same-sex marriage is itself comparable to slavery. The point is simply that, as in Dred Scott, this is a debate about whether citizens or judges will decide an important and sensitive policy issue—in this case, the very nature of civil marriage.

The Fourteenth Amendment’s Original Meaning
A legal challenge to these state marriage laws cannot appeal successfully to the text or original meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment. The text, invoking American citizens’ “privileges or immunities,” the “equal protection of the laws,” and the “due process of law,” nowhere mentions marriage. Back in the 1860s, could anyone who drafted that amendment or any of the citizens who voted to ratify it have reasonably thought that it could be used to invalidate state marriage laws defining marriage as a man–woman union?

Imagine, for example, how President Lincoln—an accomplished lawyer and an ardent opponent of Dred Scott—would have reacted if the amendment had been introduced before his death and someone had suggested that it might one day be interpreted to require states to recognize same-sex marriages. He would have viewed that suggestion as preposterous. There has never been any general right, he would have said, to marry anyone you claim to love, so a state’s rejection of that claimed “right” could not possibly be a denial of due process.

Lincoln would also have noted the similarities between Dred Scott and a decision imposing same-sex marriage. As distinguished law professor Michael Stokes Paulsen has elegantly argued, “in the structure and logic of the legal arguments made for judicial imposition of an across-the-board national rule requiring every state to accept the institutions [of slavery and the redefinition of marriage], the two situations appear remarkably similar.”[5]

Moreover, unlike miscegenation laws, the man–woman definition of marriage does not offend the Amendment’s equal-protection guarantee because it allows any otherwise qualified man and woman to marry, regardless of their sexual orientation or other circumstances. The fact that the institution of marriage, rightly understood, may be more attractive to some of a state’s citizens than others does not mean that a state violates the Fourteenth Amendment simply by refusing to redefine the institution to make it more attractive to more romantic partnerships.

Indeed, as the Sixth Circuit pointed out, all sides agree that the original meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment does not require the redefinition of marriage: “Nobody…argues that the people who adopted the 14th Amendment understood it to require the States to change the definition of marriage.”[6] The Sixth Circuit continued: “From the founding of the republic to 2003, every state defined marriage as a relationship between a man and a woman, meaning that the 14th Amendment permits, though it does not require, states to define marriage in that way.”[7]

The opinion closes by noting that “not a single U.S. Supreme Court Justice in American history has written an opinion maintaining that the traditional definition of marriage violates the 14th Amendment.”[8]

United States v. Windsor
Nor can a challenge reasonably appeal to the Supreme Court’s Windsor decision, which was written by Justice Anthony Kennedy and applied the Fourteenth Amendment’s protections in striking down a portion of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Whether it was right or wrong as to DOMA, Windsor strongly supports the authority of states to define marriage: Every single time that Windsor talks about the harm of DOMA, it mentions that the state had chosen to recognize the bond that the federal government was excluding. Every single time, Justice Kennedy expressly said it was Congress’s deviation from the default of deference to state definitions that drove his opinion.

Kennedy’s opinion for the Court hinged on the reality that “[t]he significance of state responsibilities for the definition and regulation of marriage dates to the Nation’s beginning.”[9] “The definition of marriage,” Windsor explained, is “the foundation of the State’s broader authority to regulate the subject of domestic relations with respect to the ‘[p]rotection of offspring, property interests, and the enforcement of marital responsibilities.’”[10]

United States District Judge Juan Pérez-Giménez recently highlighted this feature of Windsor:

The Windsor opinion did not create a fundamental right to same gender marriage nor did it establish that state opposite-gender marriage regulations are amenable to federal constitutional challenges. If anything, Windsor stands for the opposite proposition: it reaffirms the States’ authority over marriage, buttressing Baker’s conclusion that marriage is simply not a federal question.[11]
Windsor also taught that federal power may not “put a thumb on the scales and influence a state’s decision as to how to shape its own marriage laws.”[12] Yet since that time, the federal government—through federal judges—has repeatedly put its thumb on the scales to influence a state’s decision about its own marriage laws—all the while claiming that Windsor required them to do so.

Judge Pérez-Giménez bemoaned this reality, noting that “[i]t takes inexplicable contortions of the mind or perhaps even willful ignorance—this Court does not venture an answer here—to interpret Windsor’s endorsement of the state control of marriage as eliminating the state control of marriage.”[13]

Fundamental Right Under the Fourteenth Amendment’s Due Process Clause
Just as neither the actual text nor the original meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment, nor the Windsor decision, requires the redefinition of state marriage laws, nothing in the Supreme Court’s Fourteenth Amendment jurisprudence requires states to abandon the male–female definition of marriage. Consider first the Court’s “fundamental rights” doctrine under the Due Process Clause, where, if the Court finds a law infringing upon a fundamental right, the law is subject to “strict scrutiny,” meaning that the government must provide a compelling interest in having the law and the law must be narrowly designed to promote that interest. Not surprisingly, laws almost always fail strict scrutiny.

Glucksberg. As the Supreme Court held in Glucksberg in rejecting a fundamental right to assisted suicide, fundamental rights must be “deeply rooted in this Nation’s history and tradition” and “implicit in the concept of ordered liberty” such that “neither liberty nor justice would exist if they were sacrificed.”[14]

Clearly, a right to marry someone of the same sex does not fit this description. As the Supreme Court explained in Windsor, including same-sex couples in marriage is “a new perspective, a new insight.”[15] Same-sex marriage is not deeply rooted in the nation’s history and tradition; thus—whatever its policy merits—it cannot be a fundamental right under the Due Process Clause. Windsor correctly observed that “until recent years…marriage between a man and a woman no doubt had been thought of by most people as essential to the very definition of that term and to its role and function throughout the history of civilization.”[16]

Whenever the Supreme Court has recognized marriage as a fundamental right, it has always been marriage understood as the union of a man and woman, and the rationale for the fundamental right has emphasized the procreative and social ordering aspects of male–female marriage. None of the cases that mention a fundamental right to marry deviate from this understanding, including decisions that struck down laws limiting marriage based on failure to pay child support,[17] incarceration,[18] and race.[19] Those decisions took for granted the historic, common law, and statutory understanding of marriage as a male–female union having something to do with family life. Thus, a challenge to state male–female marriage laws cannot appeal successfully to the fundamental-rights doctrine under Glucksberg.

Loving. Comparisons to interracial marriage fare no better.[20] As Fourth Circuit Judge Paul Niemeyer explained in his dissent in Bostic v. Schaefer, in Loving v. Virginia, where the Supreme Court found laws that prohibit interracial marriage to be unconstitutional, the couple was “asserting a right to enter into a traditional marriage of the type that has always been recognized since the beginning of the Nation—a union between one man and one woman.”[21] He concluded:

Loving simply held that race, which is completely unrelated to the institution of marriage, could not be the basis of marital restrictions. To stretch Loving’s holding to say that the right to marry is not limited by gender…is to ignore the inextricable, biological link between marriage and procreation that the Supreme Court has always recognized.[22]
In Loving, the Supreme Court defined marriage as one of the “‘basic civil rights of man,’ fundamental to our very existence and survival.”[23] Professor John Eastman of Chapman Law School has helpfully explained why the Supreme Court did so:

Marriage is “fundamental to our very existence” only because it is rooted in the biological complementarity of the sexes, the formal recognition of the unique union through which children are produced—a point emphasized by the fact that the Supreme Court cited a case dealing with the right to procreate for its holding that marriage was a fundamental right.[24]
Thus, a challenge to state male–female marriage laws cannot properly rely upon Loving.

Limiting Principle? To be sure, the Supreme Court has ruled that entering into and having the government recognize a marriage—understood as a union of husband and wife—is a fundamental right, but if this right is redefined to be understood simply as the committed, care-giving relationship of one’s choice, where does the logic lead? Justice Sonia Sotomayor asked this of Ted Olson, the lawyer for the same-sex couples, during oral argument in California’s Proposition 8 case, and he had no answer. If marriage is a fundamental right understood as consenting adult love, Justice Sotomayor asked, “what State restrictions could ever exist,” for example, “with respect to the number of people…that could get married?”[25]

The Sixth Circuit saw Justice Sotomayor’s logic. With respect to those who would redefine marriage, the court observed that:

Their definition does too little because it fails to account for plural marriages, where there is no reason to think that three or four adults, whether gay, bisexual, or straight, lack the capacity to share love, affection, and commitment, or for that matter lack the capacity to be capable (and more plentiful) parents to boot.[26]
The Sixth Circuit concluded that “if it is constitutionally irrational to stand by the man–woman definition of marriage, it must be constitutionally irrational to stand by the monogamous definition of marriage. Plaintiffs have no answer to the point.”[27] Just so. And for that reason too, a challenge to state male–female marriage laws cannot properly invoke the Fourteenth Amendment’s Due Process Clause.

The Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause
Equal protection jurisprudence likewise does not require the redefinition of marriage.

Animus. Although a couple of Supreme Court decisions have relied upon the concept of “animus” in invalidating on equal-protection grounds state laws that impinged upon the interests of gays and lesbians,[28] anyone with passing familiarity with the history of marriage knows that the institution did not arise because of animus toward gays and lesbians. Ancient thinkers as well as the political society in Greece and Rome, without being influenced by Judeo–Christian teaching, affirmed that marriage is a male–female union even as they embraced same-sex sexual relations.[29]

Even in Windsor, Justice Kennedy did not claim that the man–woman definition of marriage was fueled by animus. Rather, as noted, he held that the federal government’s refusal to recognize state-sanctioned same-sex marriages was based on animus. One need not agree with Justice Kennedy on DOMA to see that the holding in Windsor does not undermine state marriage laws.

The Sixth Circuit acknowledged that same-sex couples have experienced unjust discrimination but noted that marriage laws are not part of that phenomenon:

But we also cannot deny that the institution of marriage arose independently of this record of discrimination. The traditional definition of marriage goes back thousands of years and spans almost every society in history. By contrast, “American laws targeting same-sex couples did not develop until the last third of the 20th century.” (citing Lawrence).[30]
While Lawrence struck down laws that prohibited sex between persons of the same gender, it did not—and does not—require the redefinition of marriage. Laws that banned homosexual sodomy are radically different from laws that define marriage as the union of husband and wife. The Supreme Court found that the former infringed a privacy and liberty right, while the latter specify which unions will be eligible for public recognition and benefits. A right to liberty or privacy is a right to be left alone by the government, not a right to have the government recognize or subsidize the relationship of one’s choice.

Protected Class. Other advocates of same-sex marriage, including the Ninth Circuit,[31] have argued that the denial of marriage to same-sex couples infringes the rights of a protected class: namely, gays and lesbians. But the Supreme Court, including in Windsor, has never held sexual orientation to be a suspect class and thus has not applied “heightened scrutiny” to laws implicating their interests.[32] In contrast, the Court has held that race is a suspect class and gender a quasi-suspect class (which invokes heightened scrutiny but not quite strict scrutiny).[33]

Even if the Supreme Court did find sexual orientation to be a suspect class, as liberal scholars like Andrew Koppelman have recognized, marriage laws do not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation anyway. They have a disparate impact on gays, but that is not the Court’s test. The reason Koppelman believes—correctly—that they do not discriminate based on orientation is that they simply do not require checking someone’s orientation at all in determining whether that person will receive the benefits of civil marriage.[34] Thus, under man–woman marriage laws, a gay man may marry a lesbian woman, while two heterosexual men cannot receive a marriage certificate from the state.

Nevertheless, if one were to argue that sexual orientation should be a protected class under equal protection jurisprudence, one would have to establish that sexual orientation creates a “class…[which] exhibit[s] obvious, immutable, or distinguishing characteristics that define them as a discrete group.”[35] Gays and lesbians do not satisfy that requirement.

The American Psychological Association (APA) describes sexual orientation as a “range of behaviors and attractions” and reports that “[r]esearch over several decades has demonstrated that sexual orientation ranges along a continuum, from exclusive attraction to the other sex to exclusive attraction to the same sex.”[36] The APA also reports that “there is no consensus among scientists” on why particular orientations develop and that, despite extensive research, scientists cannot conclude whether sexual orientation is determined by “genetic, hormonal, developmental, social, [or] cultural influences.”[37]

The APA, in short, says that no one can agree on the causes or even the definition of homosexuality, so it is not a readily identifiable group. These APA findings fatally undermine the idea that sexual orientation describes a “discrete group” for suspect-class purposes.

This point is confirmed by Dr. Paul McHugh, former chief of psychiatry at Johns Hopkins Hospital and former chairman of the psychiatry department at Hopkins medical school, and legal scholar Gerard Bradley:

“Sexual orientation” should not be recognized as a newly protected characteristic of individuals under federal law.… In contrast with other characteristics, it is neither discrete nor immutable. There is no scientific consensus on how to define sexual orientation, and the various definitions proposed by experts produce substantially different groups of people.
Nor is there any convincing evidence that sexual orientation is biologically determined; rather, research tends to show that for some persons and perhaps for a great many, “sexual orientation” is plastic and fluid; that is, it changes over time. What we do know with certainty about sexual orientation is that it is affective and behavioral—a matter of desire and/or behavior.[38]
In a February 2015 interview, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg admitted as much. While asserting incorrectly that it would not be a major adjustment for the American public to accept same-sex marriage, she correctly observed that:

[Americans have] looked around, and we discovered it’s our next door neighbor, we’re very fond of them. Or it’s our child’s best friend. Or even our child. I think that as more and more people came out and said, “This is who I am,” and the rest of us recognized that they are one of us, that there—there was a familiarity with people that didn’t exist in the beginning when the race problem was on the burner, because we lived in segregated communities and it was truly a we/they kind of thing. But not so, I think, of the gay-rights movement.[39]
A better argument why gays and lesbians are not discrete and insular minorities—not easily identifiable or clustered together apart from the rest of society—could not be offered.

Furthermore, to be a protected class under equal protection jurisprudence, a group must be “politically powerless in the sense that they have no ability to attract the attention of the lawmakers.”[40] Yet, as Chief Justice John Roberts pointed out during oral arguments in Windsor, “political figures are falling over themselves” to support gay marriage.[41] Indeed, support for same-sex marriage and for LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) non-discrimination laws has been embraced by the President of the United States and the Democratic Party—the largest political party in the nation.[42]

In short, it is hard to say that gays and lesbians are politically powerless. It is therefore impossible for the Court to find that they are a suspect class.

Rational Basis: Social Function. One could also argue, as the Fourth, Seventh, and Tenth Circuits have held, that there is simply no rational basis for man–woman marriage laws, meaning either that there is no legitimate purpose in such laws or that the laws are not rationally related to a legitimate purpose.[43] This argument fails completely as it ignores the universal historical record witnessing to the rational basis of man–woman marriage laws based on the social function that marriage plays.

From a policy perspective, marriage is about attaching a man and a woman to each other as husband and wife to be father and mother to any children their sexual union may produce. When a baby is born, there is always a mother nearby: That is a fact of biology. The policy question is whether a father will be close by and, if so, for how long. Marriage, rightly understood, increases the odds that a man will be committed to both the children that he helps to create and to the woman with whom he does so.[44] The man–woman definition of marriage reinforces the idea—the social norm—that a man should be so committed.

The man–woman definition, moreover, is based on the anthropological truth that men and women are distinct and complementary, the biological fact that reproduction depends on a man and a woman, and the social reality that children deserve a mother and a father. Even President Barack Obama admits that children deserve a mother and a father:

We know the statistics—that children who grow up without a father are five times more likely to live in poverty and commit crime; nine times more likely to drop out of schools and twenty times more likely to end up in prison. They are more likely to have behavioral problems, or run away from home, or become teenage parents themselves. And the foundations of our community are weaker because of it.[45]
In short, fathers matter, and marriage helps to connect fathers to mothers and children. But you do not have to think this marriage policy is ideal to think it constitutionally permissible. Unless gays and lesbians are a suspect class, for an equal protection challenge to succeed, this simple analysis of the social function of marriage would have to be proved not just misguided, but positively irrational. Universal human experience, however, confirms the rationality of that policy.

Compelling Interest and Narrowly Tailored: Constitutional at Any Level of Scrutiny. Even if one (implausibly) granted that sexual orientation was a suspect class and that marriage laws thus had to be held to heightened scrutiny, man–woman marriage would still be constitutional. A strong marriage culture is a compelling interest because it affects virtually every other state interest, and defining marriage as the permanent and exclusive union of a husband and wife is a narrowly tailored means of allowing it to fulfill its social function.

As noted, there is no dispute that marriage plays a fundamental role in society by encouraging men and women to commit permanently and exclusively to each other and to take responsibility for their children. As the Sixth Circuit concluded, “[b]y creating a status (marriage) and by subsidizing it (e.g., with tax-filing privileges and deductions), the States create[] an incentive for two people who procreate together to stay together for purposes of rearing offspring.”[46]

In addition to financial incentives, as ample social science confirms, this combination of state-sanctioned status and benefits also reinforces certain child-centered norms or expectations that form part of the social institution of marriage. Those norms—such as the value of gender-diverse parenting and of biological connections between children and the adults who raise them—independently encourage man–woman couples “to stay together for purposes of rearing offspring.” Given the importance of those norms to the welfare of the children of such couples, the state has a compelling interest in reinforcing and maintaining them.

Most of those norms, moreover, arise from and/or depend upon the man–woman understanding that has long been viewed as central to the social institution of marriage.[47] For example, because only man–woman couples (as a class) have the ability to provide dual biological connections to the children they raise together, the state’s decision—implemented by the man–woman definition—to limit marital status and benefits to such couples reminds society of the value of those biological connections. It thereby gently encourages man–woman couples to rear their biological children together, and it does so without denigrating other arrangements—such as adoption or assisted reproductive technologies—that such couples might choose when, for whatever reason, they are unable to have biological children of their own.

Like other social norms traditionally associated with the man–woman definition of marriage, the biological connection norm will be diluted or destroyed if the man–woman definition (and associated social understanding) is abandoned in favor of a definition that allows marriage between “any two otherwise qualified persons”—which is what same-sex marriage requires. And just as those norms benefit the state and society, their dilution or destruction can be expected to harm the interests of the state and its citizens.

For example, over time, as fewer heterosexual parents embrace the biological connection norm, more of their children will be raised without a mother or a father. After all, it will be very difficult for the law to send a message that fathers and mothers are essential if it has redefined marriage to make fathers or mothers optional, and that in turn will mean more children of heterosexuals raised in poverty, doing poorly in school, experiencing psychological or emotional problems, having abortions, and committing crimes—all at significant cost to the state.

In short, law affects culture. Culture affects beliefs. Beliefs affect actions. The law teaches, and it will shape not just a handful of marriages, but the public understanding of what marriage is. Consider the impact of no-fault divorce laws, which are widely acknowledged to have disserved, on balance, the interests of the very children they were supposedly designed to help. By providing easy exits from marriage and its responsibilities, no-fault divorce helped to change the perception of marriage from a permanent institution designed for the needs of children to a temporary one designed for the desires of adults. Thus, not only was it technically much easier to leave one’s spouse, but it was psychologically much easier as well, and the percentage of children growing up with just one parent in the home skyrocketed, with all of the attendant negative consequences.

This analysis also explains why a state’s decision to retain the man–woman definition of marriage should not be seen as demeaning to gay and lesbian citizens or their children and why it satisfies any form of heightened scrutiny. In the early 2000s, in the face of state judicial decisions seeking to impose same-sex marriage under state law, the definitional choice a state faced was a binary one: Either preserve the man–woman definition and the benefits it provides to the children (and the state) or replace it with an “any two qualified persons” definition and risk losing those benefits.

There is no middle ground. A state’s choice to preserve the man–woman definition is thus narrowly tailored—indeed, it is perfectly tailored—to the state’s interests in preserving those benefits and in avoiding the enormous societal risks that accompany a genderless-marriage regime. Under a proper means–ends analysis, therefore, a state’s choice to preserve the man–woman definition passes muster under any constitutional standard.[48]

Recognizing Same-Sex Marriages from Out of State
If the points made above succeed—on the rational basis of state marriage laws defining marriage as the union of husband and wife and the reasonableness of thinking that redefining marriage will undermine the public policy purpose of such marriage laws—then a state should not be required to recognize other state marriage laws that would undermine its own public policy.

This conclusion follows from Article IV of the Constitution, which requires that “Full Faith and Credit shall be given in each State to the public Acts, Records, and judicial Proceedings of every other State.”[49] This clause enabled the sovereign states to come together to form one union without everything having to be relitigated when parties moved to a new state,[50] but the Full Faith and Credit Clause does not require a state to recognize the policies of another state when doing so would undermine that state’s own public policy. Full Faith and Credit “does not compel a state to substitute the statutes of other states for its own statutes dealing with a subject matter concerning which it is competent to legislate.”[51]

Windsor points out that “[m]arriage laws vary in some respects from State to State,” such as “the required minimum age” and “the permissible degree of consanguinity.”[52] If a state has good policy reasons for promoting marriage as the union of a man and a woman, then it does not have to accept out-of-state marriages that undermine its own policy preferences.[53] A state may apply its own marriage laws in preference to an out-of-state policy that it judges would undermine its own policy, because “as a sovereign [it] has a rightful and legitimate concern in the marital status of persons domiciled within its borders.”[54]

Moreover, given that the Full Faith and Credit Clause deals specifically with the recognition of official acts in other states, there is no sound basis for invoking the Fourteenth Amendment as a stand-alone basis for requiring a state to recognize a marriage performed in another state.

Conclusion
At the end of the day, there simply is nothing in the U.S. Constitution that requires all 50 states to redefine marriage. Part of the design of federalism is that experimentation can take place in the states: As the Sixth Circuit noted, “federalism…permits laboratories of experimentation—accent on the plural—allowing one State to innovate one way, another State another, and a third State to assess the trial and error over time.”[55]

To a make a plausible case to the contrary, as we have seen, one cannot reasonably appeal to the authority of Windsor, to the text or original meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment, to the fundamental rights protected by the Due Process Clause, or to Loving v. Virginia. So, too, one cannot properly appeal to the Equal Protection Clause or to animus or Lawrence. Nor can one say that gays and lesbians are politically powerless, so one cannot claim they are a suspect class. Nor can one say that male–female marriage laws lack a rational basis or that they do not serve a compelling state interest in a narrowly tailored way.

The only way one can establish the unconstitutionality of man–woman marriage laws is to adopt a view of marriage that sees it as an essentially genderless, adult-centric institution and then declare that the Constitution requires that the states (re)define marriage in that way. In other words, one needs to establish that the vision of marriage our law has long applied is just wrong and that the Constitution requires a different vision entirely.

There is, however, no basis in the Constitution for reaching that conclusion any more than there was a basis in the Constitution for concluding—as Dred Scott did—that the people of the United States lacked the power to abolish slavery in their territories. Accordingly, any decision requiring states to redefine marriage is as much a usurpation of the people’s authority as Dred Scott was.

—Gene Schaerr is a Washington, D.C.-based attorney who specializes in constitutional and appellate litigation. He has previously served as Associate Counsel to the President and as law clerk to Justice Antonin Scalia and has handled dozens of cases (including six he personally argued) before the U.S. Supreme Court. Ryan T. Anderson, PhD, co-author of the book What Is Marriage? Man and Woman: A Defense, is William E. Simon Fellow in the Richard and Helen DeVos Center, of the Institute for Family, Community, and Opportunity, at The Heritage Foundation.
Hide References

[1] Bostic v. Schaefer, 760 F.3d 352 (4th Cir. 2014); Baskin v. Bogan, 766 F.3d 648 (7th Cir. 2014); Latta v. Otter, 771 F.3d 456 (9th Cir. 2014); Kitchen v. Herbert, 755 F.3d 1193 (10th Cir. 2014); Bishop v. Smith, 760 F.3d 1070 (10th Cir. 2014).

[2] 60 U.S. 393 (1857).

[3] For more on the legal parallel, see Michael Stokes Paulsen, Abraham Lincoln and Same-Sex Marriage, Public Discourse (Feb. 20, 2015), http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2015/02/14443/.

[4] DeBoer v. Snyder, 772 F.3d 388 (6th Cir. 2014), cert. granted, 83 U.S.L.W. 3315 (U.S. Jan. 16, 2015) (No. 14-571); see also Obergefell v. Hodges (No. 14-556); Tanco v. Haslam (No. 14-562); Bourke v. Beshear (No. 14-574).

[5] Paulsen, supra note 3.

[6] DeBoer, 772 F.3d at 403.

[7] Id. at 404.

[8] Id. at 416.

[9] United States v. Windsor, 570 U.S. ___, 133 S.Ct. 2675, 2692 (2013).

[10] Id. at 2691 (quoting Williams v. North Carolina, 317 U.S. 287, 298 (1942)).

[11] Conde-Vidal v. Garcia-Padilla (D.P.R.) (D.P.R. Oct. 21, 2014) (No. 14-1253), 2014 WL 5361987. See also Baker v. Nelson, 409 U.S. 810 (1972) (summarily dismissing “for want of a substantial federal question” an appeal that argued that Minnesota’s man–woman only marriage laws violated the Fourteenth Amendment).

[12] Windsor, 133 S.Ct. at 2693 (citations omitted).

[13] Conde-Vidal, 2014 WL 5361987 at 8*.

[14] Washington v. Glucksberg, 521 U.S. 702, 721 (1997). Besides the right to marry (with marriage always understood as a union of husband and wife), examples of fundamental rights the Court has found are the right to procreate, the right to have sexual autonomy, the right to buy and use birth control and abortion, the right to travel freely among the states, the right to raise one’s children as one sees fit, the right to vote, and the right to the freedoms protected by the First Amendment (speech, religion, and association).

[15] Windsor, 133 S.Ct. at 2689.

[16] Id.

[17] Zablocki v. Redhall, 434 U.S. 374, 385–87 (1987).

[18] Turner v. Safley, 482 U.S. 78, 95–98 (1987).

[19] Loving v. Virginia, 388 U.S. 1, 11 (1967).

[20] For an extended analysis, see Ryan T. Anderson, Marriage, Reason, and Religious Liberty: Much Ado About Sex, Nothing to Do with Race, Heritage Foundation Backgrounder No. 2894 (Apr. 4, 2014), available at http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2014/04/marriage-reason-and-religious-liberty-much-ado-about-sex-nothing-to-do-with-race.

[21] Bostic, 760 F.3d at 390 (Niemeyer, J., dissenting).

[22] Id. at 392.

[23] Loving, 388 U.S. at 18.

[24] John Eastman, The Constitutionality of Traditional Marriage, Heritage Foundation Legal Memorandum No. 90 (Jan. 25, 2013), available at http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2013/01/the-constitutionality-of-traditional-marriage.

[25] Transcript of Oral Argument at 46:25, 47:1–3, Hollingsworth v. Perry, 133 S.Ct. 2652 (2013) (No. 12-144) (2010).

[26] DeBoer, 772 F.3d at 407.

[27] Id.

[28] See, e.g., Lawrence v. Texas, 539 U.S. 558 (2003); Romer v. Evans, 517 U.S. 620 (1996).

[29] John Finnis, The Collected Essays of John Finnis: Volume III: Human Rights and Common Good 340 (Oxford Univ. Press, 2011).

[30] DeBoer, 772 F.3d at 413.

[31] Latta, 771 F.3d at 468.

[32] But see SmithKline Beecham Corp. v. Abbott Laboratories, 740 F.3d 471 (9th Cir. 2014) (holding that sexual orientation was a suspect class triggering heightened scrutiny).

[33] The heightened scrutiny of gender classifications is often called “intermediate scrutiny” because it falls between the lower rational basis review and the higher strict scrutiny review.

[34] Andrew Koppelman, Response: Sexual Disorientation, 100 Geo. L.J. 1083, 1087 (2012).

[35] Bowen v. Gilliard, 483 U.S. 587, 603 (1987) (quoting Massachusetts B. of Retirement v. Murgia, 427 U.S. 307, 313–14 (1976)) (emphasis added).

[36] Answers to Your Questions: For a Better Understanding of Sexual Orientation & Homosexuality American Psychological Association (2008), http://www.apa.org/topics/lgbt/orientation.aspx?item=4.

[37] Id.

[38] Paul McHugh & Gerard Bradley, Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, and Employment Law, Public Discourse (July 25, 2013), http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2013/07/10636/.

[39] Interview by Greg Stohr and Matthew Winkler, Ginsburg: Doubt Gay Marriage Won’t Be Widely Accepted, Bloomberg (Feb. 12, 2015), http://www.bloomberg.com/news/videos/2015-02-12/ginsburg-doubt-gay-marriage-won-t-be-widely-accepted.

[40] City of Cleburne v. Cleburne Living Center, 473 U.S. 432, 445 (1985).

[41] Transcript of Oral Argument at 108:13–14, Windsor, 133 S.Ct. 2675 (2013) (No. 12-307).

[42] Election Trends by Group: Party Affiliation, Gallup, available at http://www.gallup.com/poll/15370/party-affiliation.aspx.

[43] When courts find animus against a group, then laws fail rational basis review, though it is a more searching standard of review and so is often referred to as “rational basis with bite.”

[44] Ryan T. Anderson, “Marriage: What It Is, Why It Matters, and the Consequences of Redefining It,” Heritage Foundation Backgrounder No. 2775 (Mar. 11, 2013), available at http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2013/03/marriage-what-it-is-why-it-matters-and-the-consequences-of-redefining-it.

[45] President Barack Obama, Father’s Day Remarks, N.Y. Times, July 15, 2008, http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/15/us/politics/15text-obama.html?pagewanted=print.

[46] DeBoer, 772 F.3d at 405.

[47] See Windsor, 133 S.Ct. at 2718.

[48] See Grutter v. Bollinger, 539 U.S. 982 (2003) (holding that affirmative action programs satisfied strict scrutiny and that the courts were required to defer to legislative facts found by decision-makers).

[49] U.S. Const. art. IV, § 1.

[50] See Erin O’Hara O’Connor, Full Faith and Credit Clause, in The Heritage Guide to the Constitution (2d ed.), available at http://www.heritage.org/constitution#!/articles/4/essays/121/full-faith-and-credit-clause.

[51] Baker v. Gen. Motors Corp., 522 U.S. 222, 232–33 (1998) (quotes omitted).

[52] Windsor, 133 S.Ct. at 2691–92.

[53] The Supreme Court has required “a significant contact or significant aggregation of contacts, creating state interests, such that choice of its law is neither arbitrary nor fundamentally unfair.” Franchise Tax Bd. of Cal. v. Hyatt, 538 U.S. 488, 494–95 (2003) (quotes omitted).

[54] Williams, 317 U.S. at 298.

[55] DeBoer, 772 F.3d at 406.

Voir de plus:

Marriage: What It Is, Why It Matters, and the Consequences of Redefining It
Ryan T. Anderson, Ph.D.
The Heritage Foundation
March 11, 2013

Abstract
Marriage is based on the truth that men and women are complementary, the biological fact that reproduction depends on a man and a woman, and the reality that children need a mother and a father. Redefining marriage does not simply expand the existing understanding of marriage; it rejects these truths. Marriage is society’s least restrictive means of ensuring the well-being of children. By encouraging the norms of marriage—monogamy, sexual exclusivity, and permanence—the state strengthens civil society and reduces its own role. The future of this country depends on the future of marriage. The future of marriage depends on citizens understanding what it is and why it matters and demanding that government policies support, not undermine, true marriage.
At the heart of the current debates about same-sex marriage are three crucial questions: What is marriage, why does marriage matter for public policy, and what would be the consequences of redefining marriage to exclude sexual complementarity?

Marriage exists to bring a man and a woman together as husband and wife to be father and mother to any children their union produces. It is based on the anthropological truth that men and women are different and complementary, the biological fact that reproduction depends on a man and a woman, and the social reality that children need both a mother and a father. Marriage predates government. It is the fundamental building block of all human civilization. Marriage has public purposes that transcend its private purposes. This is why 41 states, with good reason, affirm that marriage is between a man and a woman.

Government recognizes marriage because it is an institution that benefits society in a way that no other relationship does. Marriage is society’s least restrictive means of ensuring the well-being of children. State recognition of marriage protects children by encouraging men and women to commit to each other and take responsibility for their children. While respecting everyone’s liberty, government rightly recognizes, protects, and promotes marriage as the ideal institution for childbearing and childrearing.

Promoting marriage does not ban any type of relationship: Adults are free to make choices about their relationships, and they do not need government sanction or license to do so. All Americans have the freedom to live as they choose, but no one has a right to redefine marriage for everyone else.

In recent decades, marriage has been weakened by a revisionist view that is more about adults’ desires than children’s needs. This reduces marriage to a system to approve emotional bonds or distribute legal privileges.

Redefining marriage to include same-sex relationships is the culmination of this revisionism, and it would leave emotional intensity as the only thing that sets marriage apart from other bonds. Redefining marriage would further distance marriage from the needs of children and would deny, as a matter of policy, the ideal that a child needs both a mom and a dad. Decades of social science, including the latest studies using large samples and robust research methods, show that children tend to do best when raised by a mother and a father. The confusion resulting from further delinking childbearing from marriage would force the state to intervene more often in family life and expand welfare programs. Redefining marriage would legislate a new principle that marriage is whatever emotional bond the government says it is.

Redefining marriage does not simply expand the existing understanding of marriage. It rejects the anthropological truth that marriage is based on the complementarity of man and woman, the biological fact that reproduction depends on a man and a woman, and the social reality that children need a mother and a father. Redefining marriage to abandon the norm of male–female sexual complementarity would also make other essential characteristics—such as monogamy, exclusivity, and permanency—optional. Marriage cannot do the work that society needs it to do if these norms are further weakened.

Redefining marriage is also a direct and demonstrable threat to religious freedom because it marginalizes those who affirm marriage as the union of a man and a woman. This is already evident in Massachusetts and Washington, D.C., among other locations.

Concern for the common good requires protecting and strengthening the marriage culture by promoting the truth about marriage.

What Is Marriage?
Marriage exists to bring a man and a woman together as husband and wife to be father and mother to any children their union produces.

At its most basic level, marriage is about attaching a man and a woman to each other as husband and wife to be father and mother to any children their sexual union produces. When a baby is born, there is always a mother nearby: That is a fact of reproductive biology. The question is whether a father will be involved in the life of that child and, if so, for how long. Marriage increases the odds that a man will be committed to both the children that he helps create and to the woman with whom he does so.

Marriage connects people and goods that otherwise tend to fragment. It helps to connect sex with love, men with women, sex with babies, and babies with moms and dads.[1] Social, cultural, and legal signals and pressures can support or detract from the role of marriage in this regard.

Maggie Gallagher captures this insight with a pithy phrase: “[S]ex makes babies, society needs babies, and children need mothers and fathers.”[2] Connecting sex, babies, and moms and dads is the social function of marriage and helps explain why the government rightly recognizes and addresses this aspect of our social lives. Gallagher develops this idea:

The critical public or “civil” task of marriage is to regulate sexual relationships between men and women in order to reduce the likelihood that children (and their mothers, and society) will face the burdens of fatherlessness, and increase the likelihood that there will be a next generation that will be raised by their mothers and fathers in one family, where both parents are committed to each other and to their children.[3]
Marriage is based on the anthropological truth that men and women are complementary, the biological fact that reproduction depends on a man and a woman, and the social reality that children need a mother and a father.

Marriage is a uniquely comprehensive union. It involves a union of hearts and minds, but also—and distinctively—a bodily union made possible by sexual complementarity. As the act by which a husband and wife make marital love also makes new life, so marriage itself is inherently extended and enriched by family life and calls for all-encompassing commitment that is permanent and exclusive. In short, marriage unites a man and a woman holistically—emotionally and bodily, in acts of conjugal love and in the children such love brings forth—for the whole of life.[4]

Just as the complementarity of a man and a woman is important for the type of union they can form, so too is it important for how they raise children. There is no such thing as “parenting.” There is mothering, and there is fathering, and children do best with both. While men and women are each capable of providing their children with a good upbringing, there are, on average, differences in the ways that mothers and fathers interact with their children and the functional roles that they play.

Dads play particularly important roles in the formation of both their sons and their daughters. As Rutgers University sociologist David Popenoe explains, “The burden of social science evidence supports the idea that gender-differentiated parenting is important for human development and that the contribution of fathers to childrearing is unique and irreplaceable.”[5] Popenoe concludes:

We should disavow the notion that “mommies can make good daddies,” just as we should disavow the popular notion…that “daddies can make good mommies.”… The two sexes are different to the core, and each is necessary—culturally and biologically—for the optimal development of a human being.[6]
Marriage as the union of man and woman is true across cultures, religions, and time. The government recognizes but does not create marriage.

Marriage is the fundamental building block of all human civilization. The government does not create marriage. Marriage is a natural institution that predates government. Society as a whole, not merely any given set of spouses, benefits from marriage. This is because marriage helps to channel procreative love into a stable institution that provides for the orderly bearing and rearing of the next generation.

This understanding of marriage as the union of man and woman is shared by the Jewish, Christian, and Muslim traditions; by ancient Greek and Roman thinkers untouched by these religions; and by various Enlightenment philosophers. It is affirmed by both common and civil law and by ancient Greek and Roman law. Far from having been intended to exclude same-sex relationships, marriage as the union of husband and wife arose in many places, over several centuries, in which same-sex marriage was nowhere on the radar. Indeed, it arose in cultures that had no concept of sexual orientation and in some that fully accepted homoeroticism and even took it for granted.[7]

As with other public policy issues, religious voices on marriage should be welcomed in the public square. Yet one need not appeal to distinctively religious arguments to understand why marriage—as a natural institution—is the union of man and woman.

Marriage has been weakened by a revisionist view of marriage that is more about adults’ desires than children’s needs.

In recent decades, marriage has been weakened by a revisionist view of marriage that is more about adults’ desires than children’s needs. This view reduces marriage primarily to emotional bonds or legal privileges. Redefining marriage represents the culmination of this revisionism and would leave emotional intensity as the only thing that sets marriage apart from other bonds.

However, if marriage were just intense emotional regard, marital norms would make no sense as a principled matter. There is no reason of principle that requires an emotional union to be permanent. Or limited to two persons. Or sexual, much less sexually exclusive (as opposed to “open”). Or inherently oriented to family life and shaped by its demands. Couples might live out these norms where temperament or taste motivated them, but there would be no reason of principle for them to do so and no basis for the law to encourage them to do so.

In other words, if sexual complementarity is optional for marriage, present only where preferred, then almost every other norm that sets marriage apart is optional. Although some supporters of same-sex marriage would disagree, this point can be established by reason and, as documented below, is increasingly confirmed by the rhetoric and arguments used in the campaign to redefine marriage and by the policies that many of its leaders increasingly embrace.

Why Marriage Matters for Policy
Government recognizes marriage because it is an institution that benefits society in a way that no other relationship does.

Virtually every political community has regulated male–female sexual relationships. This is not because government cares about romance as such. Government recognizes male–female sexual relationships because these alone produce new human beings. For highly dependent infants, there is no path to physical, moral, and cultural maturity—no path to personal responsibility—without a long and delicate process of ongoing care and supervision to which mothers and fathers bring unique gifts. Unless children mature, they never will become healthy, upright, productive members of society. Marriage exists to make men and women responsible to each other and to any children that they might have.

Marriage is thus a personal relationship that serves a public purpose in a political community. As the late sociologist James Q. Wilson wrote, “Marriage is a socially arranged solution for the problem of getting people to stay together and care for children that the mere desire for children, and the sex that makes children possible, does not solve.”[8]

Marriage is society’s least restrictive means of ensuring the well-being of children. Marital breakdown weakens civil society and limited government.

Marriage is society’s least restrictive means of ensuring the well-being of children. Government recognition of marriage protects children by incentivizing men and women to commit to each other and take responsibility for their children.

Social science confirms the importance of marriage for children. According to the best available sociological evidence, children fare best on virtually every examined indicator when reared by their wedded biological parents. Studies that control for other factors, including poverty and even genetics, suggest that children reared in intact homes do best on educational achievement, emotional health, familial and sexual development, and delinquency and incarceration.[9]

A study published by the left-leaning research institution Child Trends concluded:

[I]t is not simply the presence of two parents…but the presence of two biological parents that seems to support children’s development.[10]
[R]esearch clearly demonstrates that family structure matters for children, and the family structure that helps children the most is a family headed by two biological parents in a low-conflict marriage. Children in single-parent families, children born to unmarried mothers, and children in stepfamilies or cohabiting relationships face higher risks of poor outcomes.… There is thus value for children in promoting strong, stable marriages between biological parents.[11]
According to another study, “[t]he advantage of marriage appears to exist primarily when the child is the biological offspring of both parents.”[12] Recent literature reviews conducted by the Brookings Institution, the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University, the Center for Law and Social Policy, and the Institute for American Values corroborate the importance of intact households for children.[13]

These statistics have penetrated American life to such a great extent that even President Barack Obama refers to them as well known:

We know the statistics—that children who grow up without a father are five times more likely to live in poverty and commit crime; nine times more likely to drop out of schools and twenty times more likely to end up in prison. They are more likely to have behavioral problems, or run away from home, or become teenage parents themselves. And the foundations of our community are weaker because of it.[14]
Fathers matter, and marriage helps to connect fathers to mothers and children.

Social science claiming to show that there are “no differences” in outcomes for children raised in same-sex households does not change this reality. In fact, the most recent, sophisticated studies suggest that prior research is inadequate to support the assertion that it makes “no difference” whether a child was raised by same-sex parents.[15] A survey of 59 of the most prominent studies often cited for this claim shows that they drew primarily from small convenience samples that are not appropriate for generalizations to the whole population.[16]

Meanwhile, recent studies using rigorous methods and robust samples confirm that children do better when raised by a married mother and father. These include the New Family Structures Study by Professor Mark Regnerus at the University of Texas–Austin [17] and a report based on Census data recently released in the highly respected journal Demography.[18]

Still, the social science on same-sex parenting is a matter of significant ongoing debate, and it should not dictate choices about marriage. Recent studies using robust methods suggest that there is a lot more to learn about how changing family forms affects children and that social science evidence offers an insufficient basis for redefining marriage.

Marital breakdown costs taxpayers.

Marriage benefits everyone because separating childbearing and childrearing from marriage burdens innocent bystanders: not just children, but the whole community. Often, the community must step in to provide (more or less directly) for their well-being and upbringing. Thus, by encouraging the marriage norms of monogamy, sexual exclusivity, and permanence, the state is strengthening civil society and reducing its own role.

By recognizing marriage, the government supports economic well-being. The benefits of marriage led Professor W. Bradford Wilcox to summarize a study he led as part of the University of Virginia’s National Marriage Project in this way: “The core message…is that the wealth of nations depends in no small part on the health of the family.”[19] The same study suggests that marriage and fertility trends “play an underappreciated and important role in fostering long-term economic growth, the viability of the welfare state, the size and quality of the workforce, and the health of large sectors of the modern economy.”[20]

Given its economic benefits, it is no surprise that the decline of marriage most hurts the least well-off. A leading indicator of whether someone will know poverty or prosperity is whether, growing up, he or she knew the love and security of having a married mother and father. For example, a recent Heritage Foundation report by Robert Rector points out: “Being raised in a married family reduced a child’s probability of living in poverty by about 82 percent.”[21]

The erosion of marriage harms not only the immediate victims, but also society as a whole. A Brookings Institution study found that $229 billion in welfare expenditures between 1970 and 1996 can be attributed to the breakdown of the marriage culture and the resulting exacerbation of social ills: teen pregnancy, poverty, crime, drug abuse, and health problems.[1] A 2008 study found that divorce and unwed childbearing cost taxpayers $112 billion each year,[23] and Utah State University scholar David Schramm has estimated that divorce alone costs local, state, and federal-level government $33 billion each year.[24]

Civil recognition of the marriage union of a man and a woman serves the ends of limited government more effectively, less intrusively, and at less cost than does picking up the pieces from a shattered marriage culture.

Government can treat people equally—and leave them free to live and love as they choose—without redefining marriage.

While respecting everyone’s liberty, government rightly recognizes, protects, and promotes marriage as the ideal institution for childbearing and childrearing. Adults are free to make choices about their relationships without redefining marriage and do not need government sanction or license to do so.

Government is not in the business of affirming our love. Rather, it leaves consenting adults free to live and love as they choose. Contrary to what some say, there is no ban on same-sex marriage. Nothing about it is illegal. In all 50 states, two people of the same sex may choose to live together, choose to join a religious community that blesses their relationship, and choose a workplace offering joint benefits. There is nothing illegal about this.

What is at issue is whether the government will recognize such relationships as marriages—and then force every citizen, house of worship, and business to do so as well. At issue is whether policy will coerce and compel others to recognize and affirm same-sex relationships as marriages. All Americans have the freedom to live as they choose, but they do not have the right to redefine marriage for everyone else.

Appeals to “marriage equality” are good sloganeering, but they exhibit sloppy reasoning. Every law makes distinctions. Equality before the law protects citizens from arbitrary distinctions, from laws that treat them differently for no good reason. To know whether a law makes the right distinctions—whether the lines it draws are justified—one has to know the public purpose of the law and the nature of the good being advanced or protected.

If the law recognized same-sex couples as spouses, would some argue that it fails to respect the equality of citizens in multiple-partner relationships? Are those inclined to such relationships being treated unjustly when their consensual romantic bonds go unrecognized, their children thereby “stigmatized” and their tax filings unprivileged?

This is not hypothetical. In 2009, Newsweek reported that there were over 500,000 polyamorous households in America.[25] Prominent scholars and LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) activists have called for “marriage equality” for multipartner relationships since at least 2006.[26]

If sexual complementarity is eliminated as an essential characteristic of marriage, then no principle limits civil marriage to monogamous couples.

Supporters of redefinition use the following analogy: Laws defining marriage as a union of a man and a woman are unjust—fail to treat people equally—exactly like laws that prevented interracial marriage. Yet such appeals beg the question of what is essential to marriage. They assume exactly what is in dispute: that gender is as irrelevant as race in state recognition of marriage. However, race has nothing to with marriage, and racist laws kept the races apart. Marriage has everything to do with men and women, husbands and wives, mothers and fathers and children, and that is why principle-based policy has defined marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

Marriage must be color-blind, but it cannot be gender-blind. The color of two people’s skin has nothing to do with what kind of marital bond they have. However, the sexual difference between a man and a woman is central to what marriage is. Men and women regardless of their race can unite in marriage, and children regardless of their race need moms and dads. To acknowledge such facts requires an understanding of what, at an essential level, makes a marriage.

We reap the civil society benefits of marriage only if policy gets marriage right.

The state has an interest in marriage and marital norms because they serve the public good by protecting child well-being, civil society, and limited government. Marriage laws work by embodying and promoting a true vision of marriage, which makes sense of those norms as a coherent whole. There is nothing magical about the word “marriage.” It is not just the legal title of marriage that encourages adherence to marital norms.

What does the work are the social reality of marriage and the intelligibility of its norms. These help to channel behavior. Law affects culture. Culture affects beliefs. Beliefs affect actions. The law teaches, and it will shape not just a handful of marriages, but the public understanding of what marriage is.

Government promotes marriage to make men and women responsible to each other and to any children they might have. Promoting marital norms serves these same ends. The norms of monogamy and sexual exclusivity encourage childbearing within a context that makes it most likely that children will be raised by their mother and father. These norms also help to ensure shared responsibility and commitment between spouses, provide sufficient attention from both a mother and a father to their children, and avoid the sexual and kinship jealousy that might otherwise be present.

The norm of permanency ensures that children will at least be cared for by their mother and father until they reach maturity. It also provides kinship structure for interaction across generations as elderly parents are cared for by their adult children and as grandparents help to care for their grandchildren without the complications of fragmented stepfamilies.

If the law taught a falsehood about marriage, it would make it harder for people to live out the norms of marriage because marital norms make no sense, as matters of principle, if marriage is just intense emotional feeling. No reason of principle requires an emotional union to be permanent or limited to two persons, much less sexually exclusive. Nor should it be inherently oriented to family life and shaped by its demands. This does not mean that a couple could not decide to live out these norms where temperament or taste so motivated them, just that there is no reason of principle to demand that they do so. Legally enshrining this alternate view of marriage would undermine the norms whose link to the common good is the basis for state recognition of marriage in the first place.

Insofar as society weakens the rational foundation for marriage norms, fewer people would live them out, and fewer people would reap the benefits of the marriage institution. This would affect not only spouses, but also the well-being of their children. The concern is not so much that a handful of gay or lesbian couples would be raising children, but that it would be very difficult for the law to send a message that fathers matter when it has redefined marriage to make fathers optional.

This highlights the link between the central questions in this debate: What is marriage, and why does the state promote it? It is not that the state should not achieve its basic purpose while obscuring what marriage is. Rather, it cannot. Only when policy gets the nature of marriage right can a political community reap the civil society benefits of recognizing it.

Finally, support for marriage between a man and a woman is no excuse for animus against those with same-sex attractions or for ignoring the needs of individuals who, for whatever reason, may never marry. They are no less worthy than others of concern and respect. Yet this same diligent concern for the common good requires protecting and strengthening the marriage culture by promoting the truth about marriage.

The Consequences of Redefining Marriage
Redefining marriage would further distance marriage from the needs of children and deny the importance of mothers and fathers.

Redefining marriage would further disconnect childbearing from marriage. That would hurt children, especially the most vulnerable. It would deny as a matter of policy the ideal that children need a mother and a father. Traditional marriage laws reinforce the idea that a married mother and father is the most appropriate environment for rearing children, as the best available social science suggests.

Recognizing same-sex relationships as marriages would legally abolish that ideal. It would deny the significance of both mothering and fathering to children: that boys and girls tend to benefit from fathers and mothers in different ways. Indeed, the law, public schools, and media would teach that mothers and fathers are fully interchangeable and that thinking otherwise is bigoted.

Redefining marriage would diminish the social pressures and incentives for husbands to remain with their wives and biological children and for men and women to marry before having children. Yet the resulting arrangements—parenting by single parents, divorced parents, remarried parents, cohabiting couples, and fragmented families of any kind—are demonstrably worse for children.[27] Redefining marriage would destabilize marriage in ways that are known to hurt children.

Leading LGBT advocates admit that redefining marriage changes its meaning. E. J. Graff celebrates the fact that redefining marriage would change the “institution’s message” so that it would “ever after stand for sexual choice, for cutting the link between sex and diapers.” Enacting same-sex marriage, she argues, “does more than just fit; it announces that marriage has changed shape.”[28] Andrew Sullivan says that marriage has become “primarily a way in which two adults affirm their emotional commitment to one another.”[29]

Government exists to create the conditions under which individuals and freely formed communities can thrive. The most important free community—the one on which all others depend—is the marriage-based family. The conditions for its thriving include the accommodations and pressures that marriage law provides for couples to stay together. Redefining marriage would further erode marital norms, thrusting government further into leading roles for which it is poorly suited: parent and discipliner to the orphaned; provider to the neglected; and arbiter of disputes over custody, paternity, and visitation. As the family weakened, welfare programs and correctional bureaucracies would grow.

Redefining marriage would put into the law the new principle that marriage is whatever emotional bond the government says it is.

Redefining marriage does not simply expand the existing understanding of marriage. It rejects the truth that marriage is based on the complementarity of man and woman, the biological fact that reproduction depends on a man and a woman, and the social reality that children need a mother and a father.

Redefining marriage to include same-sex relationships is not ultimately about expanding the pool of people who are eligible to marry. Redefining marriage is about cementing a new idea of marriage in the law—an idea whose baleful effects conservatives have fought for years. The idea that romantic-emotional union is all that makes a marriage cannot explain or support the stabilizing norms that make marriage fitting for family life. It can only undermine those norms.

Indeed, that undermining already has begun. Disastrous policies such as “no-fault” divorce were also motivated by the idea that a marriage is made by romantic attachment and satisfaction—and comes undone when these fade. Same-sex marriage would require a more formal and final redefinition of marriage as simple romantic companionship, obliterating the meaning that the marriage movement had sought to restore to the institution.

Redefining marriage would weaken monogamy, exclusivity, and permanency—the norms through which marriage benefits society.

Government needs to get marriage policy right because it shapes the norms associated with this most fundamental relationship. Redefining marriage would abandon the norm of male–female sexual complementarity as an essential characteristic of marriage. Making that optional would also make other essential characteristics of marriage—such as monogamy, exclusivity, and permanency—optional.[30] Weakening marital norms and severing the connection of marriage with responsible procreation are the admitted goals of many prominent advocates of redefining marriage.

The Norm of Monogamy. New York University Professor Judith Stacey has expressed hope that redefining marriage would give marriage “varied, creative, and adaptive contours,” leading some to “question the dyadic limitations of Western marriage and seek…small group marriages.”[31] In their statement “Beyond Same-Sex Marriage,” more than 300 “LGBT and allied” scholars and advocates call for legally recognizing sexual relationships involving more than two partners.[32]University of Calgary Professor Elizabeth Brake thinks that justice requires using legal recognition to “denormalize[] heterosexual monogamy as a way of life” and “rectif[y] past discrimination against homosexuals, bisexuals, polygamists, and care networks.” She supports “minimal marriage,” in which “individuals can have legal marital relationships with more than one person, reciprocally or asymmetrically, themselves determining the sex and number of parties, the type of relationship involved, and which rights and responsibilities to exchange with each.”[33]

In 2009, Newsweek reported that the United States already had over 500,000 polyamorous households.[34] The author concluded:

[P]erhaps the practice is more natural than we think: a response to the challenges of monogamous relationships, whose shortcomings…are clear. Everyone in a relationship wrestles at some point with an eternal question: can one person really satisfy every need? Polyamorists think the answer is obvious—and that it’s only a matter of time before the monogamous world sees there’s more than one way to live and love.[35]
A 2012 article in New York Magazine introduced Americans to “throuple,” a new term akin to a “couple,” but with three people whose “throuplehood is more or less a permanent domestic arrangement. The three men work together, raise dogs together, sleep together, miss one another, collect art together, travel together, bring each other glasses of water, and, in general, exemplify a modern, adult relationship. Except that there are three of them.”[36]

The Norm of Exclusivity. Andrew Sullivan, who has extolled the “spirituality” of “anonymous sex,” also thinks that the “openness” of same-sex unions could enhance the bonds of husbands and wives:Same-sex unions often incorporate the virtues of friendship more effectively than traditional marriages; and at times, among gay male relationships, the openness of the contract makes it more likely to survive than many heterosexual bonds.… [T]here is more likely to be greater understanding of the need for extramarital outlets between two men than between a man and a woman.… [S]omething of the gay relationship’s necessary honesty, its flexibility, and its equality could undoubtedly help strengthen and inform many heterosexual bonds.[37]
“Openness” and “flexibility” are Sullivan’s euphemisms for sexual infidelity. Similarly, in a New York Times Magazine profile, gay activist Dan Savage encourages spouses to adopt “a more flexible attitude” about allowing each other to seek sex outside their marriage. The New York Times recently reported on a study finding that exclusivity was not the norm among gay partners: “‘With straight people, it’s called affairs or cheating,’ said Colleen Hoff, the study’s principal investigator, ‘but with gay people it does not have such negative connotations.’”[38]

A piece in The Advocate candidly admits where the logic of redefining marriage to include same-sex relationships leads:

Anti-equality right-wingers have long insisted that allowing gays to marry will destroy the sanctity of “traditional marriage,” and, of course, the logical, liberal party-line response has long been “No, it won’t.” But what if—for once—the sanctimonious crazies are right? Could the gay male tradition of open relationships actually alter marriage as we know it? And would that be such a bad thing?[39]
We often protest when homophobes insist that same sex marriage will change marriage for straight people too. But in some ways, they’re right.[40]
Some advocates of redefining marriage embrace the goal of weakening the institution of marriage in these very terms. “[Former President George W.] Bush is correct,” says Victoria Brownworth, “when he states that allowing same-sex couples to marry will weaken the institution of marriage…. It most certainly will do so, and that will make marriage a far better concept than it previously has been.”[41] Professor Ellen Willis celebrates the fact that “conferring the legitimacy of marriage on homosexual relations will introduce an implicit revolt against the institution into its very heart.”[42]

Michelangelo Signorile urges same-sex couples to “demand the right to marry not as a way of adhering to society’s moral codes but rather to debunk a myth and radically alter an archaic institution.”[43] Same-sex couples should “fight for same-sex marriage and its benefits and then, once granted, redefine the institution of marriage completely, because the most subversive action lesbians and gay men can undertake…is to transform the notion of ‘family’ entirely.”[44]

It is no surprise that there is already evidence of this occurring. A federal judge in Utah allowed a legal challenge to anti-bigamy laws.[45] A bill that would allow a child to have three legal parents passed both houses of the California state legislature in 2012 before it was vetoed by the governor, who claimed he wanted “to take more time to consider all of the implications of this change.”[46] The impetus for the bill was a lesbian same-sex relationship in which one partner was impregnated by a man. The child possessed a biological mother and father, but the law recognized the biological mother and her same-sex spouse, a “presumed mother,” as the child’s parents.[47]

Those who believe in monogamy and exclusivity—and the benefits that these bring to orderly procreation and child well-being—should take note.

Redefining marriage threatens religious liberty.

Redefining marriage marginalizes those with traditional views and leads to the erosion of religious liberty. The law and culture will seek to eradicate such views through economic, social, and legal pressure. If marriage is redefined, believing what virtually every human society once believed about marriage—a union of a man and woman ordered to procreation and family life—would be seen increasingly as a malicious prejudice to be driven to the margins of culture. The consequences for religious believers are becoming apparent.

The administrative state may require those who contract with the government, receive governmental monies, or work directly for the state to embrace and promote same-sex marriage even if it violates their religious beliefs. Nondiscrimination law may make even private actors with no legal or financial ties to the government—including businesses and religious organizations—liable to civil suits for refusing to treat same-sex relationships as marriages. Finally, private actors in a culture that is now hostile to traditional views of marriage may discipline, fire, or deny professional certification to those who express support for traditional marriage.

In fact, much of this is already occurring. Heritage Foundation Visiting Fellow Thomas Messner has documented multiple instances in which redefining marriage has already become a nightmare for religious liberty.[48] If marriage is redefined to include same-sex relationships, then those who continue to believe the truth about marriage—that it is by nature a union of a man and a woman—would face three different types of threats to their liberty: the administrative state, nondiscrimination law, and private actors in a culture that is now hostile to traditional views.[49]

After Massachusetts redefined marriage to include same-sex relationships, Catholic Charities of Boston was forced to discontinue its adoption services rather than place children with same-sex couples against its principles.[50] Massachusetts public schools began teaching grade-school students about same-sex marriage, defending their decision because they are “committed to teaching about the world they live in, and in Massachusetts same-sex marriage is legal.” A Massachusetts appellate court ruled that parents have no right to exempt their children from these classes.[51]

The New Mexico Human Rights Commission prosecuted a photographer for declining to photograph a same-sex “commitment ceremony.” Doctors in California were successfully sued for declining to perform an artificial insemination on a woman in a same-sex relationship. Owners of a bed and breakfast in Illinois who declined to rent their facility for a same-sex civil union ceremony and reception were sued for violating the state nondiscrimination law. A Georgia counselor was fired after she referred someone in a same-sex relationship to another counselor.[52] In fact, the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty reports that “over 350 separate state anti-discrimination provisions would likely be triggered by recognition of same-sex marriage.”[53]

The Catholic bishop of Springfield, Illinois, explains how a bill, which was offered in that state’s 2013 legislative session, to redefine marriage while claiming to protect religious liberty was unable to offer meaningful protections:

[It] would not stop the state from obligating the Knights of Columbus to make their halls available for same-sex “weddings.” It would not stop the state from requiring Catholic grade schools to hire teachers who are legally “married” to someone of the same sex. This bill would not protect Catholic hospitals, charities, or colleges, which exclude those so “married” from senior leadership positions…. This “religious freedom” law does nothing at all to protect the consciences of people in business, or who work for the government. We saw the harmful consequences of deceptive titles all too painfully last year when the so-called “Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Union Act” forced Catholic Charities out of foster care and adoption services in Illinois.[54]
In fact, the lack of religious liberty protection seems to be a feature of such bills:

There is no possible way—none whatsoever—for those who believe that marriage is exclusively the union of husband and wife to avoid legal penalties and harsh discriminatory treatment if the bill becomes law. Why should we expect it be otherwise? After all, we would be people who, according to the thinking behind the bill, hold onto an “unfair” view of marriage. The state would have equated our view with bigotry—which it uses the law to marginalize in every way short of criminal punishment.[55]
Georgetown University law professor Chai Feldblum, an appointee to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, argues that the push to redefine marriage trumps religious liberty concerns:

[F]or all my sympathy for the evangelical Christian couple who may wish to run a bed and breakfast from which they can exclude unmarried, straight couples and all gay couples, this is a point where I believe the “zero-sum” nature of the game inevitably comes into play. And, in making that decision in this zero-sum game, I am convinced society should come down on the side of protecting the liberty of LGBT people.[56]
Indeed, for many supporters of redefining marriage, such infringements on religious liberty are not flaws but virtues of the movement.

The Future of Marriage
Long before the debate about same-sex marriage, there was a debate about marriage. It launched a “marriage movement” to explain why marriage was good both for the men and women who were faithful to its responsibilities and for the children they reared. Over the past decade, a new question emerged: What does society have to lose by redefining marriage to exclude sexual complementarity?

Many citizens are increasingly tempted to think that marriage is simply an intense emotional union, whatever sort of interpersonal relationship consenting adults, whether two or 10 in number, want it to be—sexual or platonic, sexually exclusive or open, temporary or permanent. This leaves marriage with no essential features, no fixed core as a social reality. It is simply whatever consenting adults want it to be.

Yet if marriage has no form and serves no social purpose, how will society protect the needs of children—the prime victim of our non-marital sexual culture—without government growing more intrusive and more expensive?

Marriage exists to bring a man and a woman together as husband and wife to be father and mother to any children their union produces. Marriage benefits everyone because separating the bearing and rearing of children from marriage burdens innocent bystanders: not just children, but the whole community. Without healthy marriages, the community often must step in to provide (more or less directly) for their well-being and upbringing. Thus, by encouraging the norms of marriage—monogamy, sexual exclusivity, and permanence—the state strengthens civil society and reduces its own role.

Government recognizes traditional marriage because it benefits society in a way that no other relationship or institution does. Marriage is society’s least restrictive means of ensuring the well-being of children. State recognition of marriage protects children by encouraging men and women to commit to each other and take responsibility for their children.

Promoting marriage does not ban any type of relationship: Adults are free to make choices about their relationships, and they do not need government sanction or license to do so. All Americans have the freedom to live as they choose, but no one has a right to redefine marriage for everyone else.

The future of this country depends on the future of marriage, and the future of marriage depends on citizens understanding what it is and why it matters and demanding that government policies support, not undermine, true marriage.

Some might appeal to historical inevitability as a reason to avoid answering the question of what marriage is—as if it were an already moot question. However, changes in public opinion are driven by human choice, not by blind historical forces. The question is not what will happen, but what we should do.

—Ryan T. Anderson is William E. Simon Fellow in Religion and a Free Society in the Richard and Helen DeVos Center for Religion and Civil Society at The Heritage Foundation.
Hide References

[1] John Corvino and Maggie Gallagher, Debating Same-Sex Marriage (Oxford, U.K.: Oxford University Press, 2012), p. 94.

[2] Ibid., p. 116.

[3] Ibid., p. 96.

[4] Sherif Girgis, Ryan T. Anderson, and Robert P. George, What Is Marriage? Man and Woman: A Defense (New York: Encounter Books, 2012).

[5] David Popenoe, Life Without Father: Compelling New Evidence That Fatherhood and Marriage Are Indispensable for the Good of Children and Society (New York: The Free Press, 1996), p. 146.

[6] Ibid., p. 197. See also W. Bradford Wilcox, “Reconcilable Differences: What Social Sciences Show About the Complementarity of the Sexes & Parenting,” Touchstone, November 2005, p. 36.

[7] Girgis et al., What Is Marriage? Man and Woman: A Defense.

[8] James Q. Wilson, The Marriage Problem (New York: HapperCollins Publishers, 2002), p. 41.

[9] For the relevant studies, see Witherspoon Institute, “Marriage and the Public Good: Ten Principles,” August 2008, pp. 9–19, http://www.winst.org/family_marriage_and_democracy/WI_Marriage.pdf (accessed March 4, 2013). “Marriage and the Public Good,” signed by some 70 scholars, corroborates the philosophical case for marriage with extensive evidence from the social sciences about the welfare of children and adults.

[10] Kristin Anderson Moore, Susan M. Jekielek, and Carol Emig, “Marriage from a Child’s Perspective: How Does Family Structure Affect Children, and What Can We Do About It?” Child Trends Research Brief, June 2002, p. 1, http://www.childtrends.org/files/MarriageRB602.pdf (accessed March 4, 2013) (original emphasis).

[11] Ibid., p. 6.

[12] Wendy D. Manning and Kathleen A. Lamb, “Adolescent Well-Being in Cohabiting, Married, and Single-Parent Families,” Journal of Marriage and Family, Vol. 65, No. 4 (November 2003), pp. 876 and 890.

[13] See Sara McLanahan, Elisabeth Donahue, and Ron Haskins, “Introducing the Issue,” Marriage and Child Wellbeing, Vol. 15, No. 2 (Fall 2005), http://futureofchildren.org/futureofchildren/publications/journals/article/index.xml?journalid=37&articleid=103 (accessed March 4, 2013); Mary Parke, “Are Married Parents Really Better for Children?” Center for Law and Social Policy Policy Brief, May 2003, http://www.clasp.org/admin/site/publications_states/files/0086.pdf (accessed March 4, 2013); and W. Bradford Wilcox et al., Why Marriage Matters: Twenty-Six Conclusions from the Social Sciences, 2nd ed. (New York: Institute for American Values, 2005), p. 6, http://americanvalues.org/pdfs/why_marriage_matters2.pdf (accessed March 4, 2013).

[14] Barack Obama, “Obama’s Speech on Fatherhood,” Apostolic Church of God, Chicago, June 15, 2008, http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2008/06/obamas_speech_on_fatherhood.html (accessed March 4, 2013).

[15] See Jason Richwine and Jennifer A. Marshall, “The Regnerus Study: Social Science and New Family Structures Met with Intolerance,” Heritage Foundation Backgrounder No. 2726, October 2, 2012, http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2012/10/the-regnerus-study-social-science-on-new-family-structures-met-with-intolerance.

[16] Loren Marks, “Same-Sex Parenting and Children’s Outcomes: A Closer Examination of the American Psychological Association’s Brief on Lesbian and Gay Parenting,” Social Science Research, Vol. 41, No. 4 (July 2012), http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0049089X12000580 (accessed March 4, 2013).

[17] See Children from Different Families, http://www.familystructurestudies.com/ (accessed March 4, 2013).

[18] Douglas W. Allen, Catherine Pakaluk, and Joseph Price, “Nontraditional Families and Childhood Progress Through School: A Comment on Rosenfeld,” Demography, November 2012.

[19] Social Trends Institute, “The Sustainable Demographic Dividend: What Do Marriage and Fertility Have to Do with the Economy?” 2011, http://sustaindemographicdividend.org/articles/the-sustainable-demographic (accessed March 4, 2013).

[20] H. Brevy Cannon, “New Report: Falling Birth, Marriage Rates Linked to Global Economic Slowdown,” UVA Today, October 3, 2011, http://www.virginia.edu/uvatoday/newsRelease.php?id=16244 (accessed March 4, 2013).

[21] Robert Rector, “Marriage: America’s Greatest Weapon Against Child Poverty,” Heritage Foundation Special Report No. 117, September 5, 2012, http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2012/09/marriage-americas-greatest-weapon-against-child-poverty.

[22] Isabel V. Sawhill, “Families at Risk,” in Henry J. Aaron and Robert D. Reischauer, eds., Setting National Priorities: The 2000 Election and Beyond (Washington: Brookings Institution Press, 1999), pp. 97 and 108. See also Witherspoon Institute, “Marriage and the Public Good,” p. 15.

[23] Institute for American Values et al., “The Taxpayer Costs of Divorce and Unwed Childbearing: First-Ever Estimates for the Nation and for All Fifty States,” 2008, http://www.americanvalues.org/pdfs/COFF.pdf (accessed March 6, 2013).

[24] David G. Schramm, “Preliminary Estimates of the Economic Consequences of Divorce,” Utah State University, 2003.

[25] Jessica Bennett, “Only You. And You. And You,” Newsweek, July 28, 2009, http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2009/07/28/only-you-and-you-and-you.html (accessed March 6, 2013).

[26] Ryan T. Anderson, “Beyond Gay Marriage,” The Weekly Standard, August 17, 2008, http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/012/591cxhia.asp (accessed March 6, 2013).

[27] For the relevant studies, see Witherspoon Institute, “Marriage and the Public Good.” See also Moore et al., “Marriage from a Child’s Perspective,” p. 1; Manning and Lamb, “Adolescent Well-Being in Cohabiting, Married, and Single-Parent Families”; McLanahan et al., “Introducing the Issue”; Parke, “Are Married Parents Really Better for Children?”; and Wilcox et al., Why Marriage Matters, p. 6.

[28] E. J. Graff, “Retying the Knot,” in Andrew Sullivan, ed., Same-Sex Marriage: Pro and Con: A Reader (New York: Vintage Books, 1997), pp. 134, 136, and 137.

[29] Andrew Sullivan, “Introduction,” in Sullivan, ed., Same-Sex Marriage, pp. xvii and xix.

[30] See Girgis et al., What Is Marriage?

[31] See Maggie Gallagher, “(How) Will Gay Marriage Weaken Marriage as a Social Institution: A Reply to Andrew Koppelman,” University of St. Thomas Law Journal, Vol. 2, No. 1 (2004), p. 62, http://ir.stthomas.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1047&context=ustlj (accessed March 6, 2013).

[32] BeyondMarriage.org, “Beyond Same-Sex Marriage: A New Strategic Vision for All Our Families and Relationships,” July 26, 2006, http://beyondmarriage.org/full_statement.html (accessed March 6, 2013).

[33] Elizabeth Brake, “Minimal Marriage: What Political Liberalism Implies for Marriage Law,” Ethics, Vol. 120, No. 2 (January 2010), pp. 302, 303, 323, and 336.

[34] Bennett, “Only You.”

[35] Ibid.

[36] Molly Young, “He & He & He,” New York Magazine, July 29, 2012, http://nymag.com/news/features/sex/2012/benny-morecock-throuple/ (accessed March 6, 2013).

[37] Andrew Sullivan, Virtually Normal: An Argument About Homosexuality (New York: Vintage Books, 1996), pp. 202–203.

[38] Scott James, “Many Successful Gay Marriages Share an Open Secret,” The New York Times, January 28, 2010, http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/29/us/29sfmetro.html (accessed March 6, 2013).

[39] Ari Karpel, “Monogamish,” The Advocate, July 7, 2011, http://www.advocate.com/Print_Issue/Features/Monogamish/ (accessed March 6, 2013).

[40] Ari Karpel, “Features: Monogamish,” The Advocate, July 7, 2011, http://www.advocate.com/arts-entertainment/features?page=7 (accessed March 7, 2013).

[41] Victoria A. Brownworth, “Something Borrowed, Something Blue: Is Marriage Right for Queers?” in Greg Wharton and Ian Philips, eds., I Do/I Don’t: Queers on Marriage (San Francisco: Suspect Thoughts Press, 2004), pp. 53 and 58–59.

[42] Ellen Willis, “Can Marriage Be Saved? A Forum,” The Nation, July 5, 2004, p. 16, http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-118670288.html (accessed March 6, 2013).

[43] Michelangelo Signorile, “Bridal Wave,” Out, December 1993/January 1994, pp. 68 and 161.

[44] Ibid.

[45] Julia Zebley, “Utah Polygamy Law Challenged in Federal Lawsuit,” Jurist, July 13, 2011, http://jurist.org/paperchase/2011/07/utah-polygamy-law-challenged-in-federal-lawsuit.php (accessed March 6, 2013).

[46] Jim Sanders, “Jerry Brown Vetoes Bill Allowing More Than Two Parents,” The Sacramento Bee, September 30, 2012, http://blogs.sacbee.com/capitolalertlatest/2012/09/jerry-brown-vetoes-bill-allowing-more-than-two-parents.html (accessed March 6, 2013).

[47] For more on this, see Jennifer Roback Morse, “Why California’s Three-Parent Law Was Inevitable,” Witherspoon Institute Public Discourse, September 10, 2012, http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2012/09/6197 (accessed March 6, 2013).

[48] Thomas M. Messner, “Same-Sex Marriage and the Threat to Religious Liberty,” Heritage Foundation Backgrounder No. 2201, October 30, 2008, http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2008/10/same-sex-marriage-and-the-threat-to-religious-liberty; “Same-Sex Marriage and Threats to Religious Freedom: How Nondiscrimination Laws Factor In,” Heritage Foundation Backgrounder No. 2589, July 29, 2011, http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2011/07/same-sex-marriage-and-threats-to-religious-freedom-how-nondiscrimination-laws-factor-in; and “From Culture Wars to Conscience Wars: Emerging Threats to Conscience,” Heritage Foundation Backgrounder No. 2532, April 13, 2011, http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2011/04/from-culture-wars-to-conscience-wars-emerging-threats-to-conscience.

[49] For more on this, see Messner, “Same-Sex Marriage and the Threat to Religious Liberty.”

[50] Maggie Gallagher, “Banned in Boston,” The Weekly Standard, May 5, 2006, p. 20, http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/012/191kgwgh.asp (accessed March 6, 2013).

[51] For example, see Parker v. Hurley, 514 F.3d 87 (1st Cir. 2008).

[52] Walden v. Centers for Disease Control, Case No. 1:08-cv-02278-JEC, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Georgia, March 18, 2010, http://www.telladf.org/UserDocs/WaldenSJorder.pdf (accessed March 6, 2013).

[53] Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, “Same-Sex Marriage and State Anti-Discrimination Laws,” Issue Brief, January 2009, p. 2, http://www.becketfund.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/Same-Sex-Marriage-and-State-Anti-Discrimination-Laws-with-Appendices.pdf (accessed March 7, 2013). See also Messner, “Same-Sex Marriage and Threats to Religious Freedom,” p. 4.

[54] Thomas John Paprocki, letter to priests, deacons, and pastoral facilitators in the Diocese of Springfield, January 3, 2013, http://www.dio.org/blog/item/326-bishop-paprockis-letter-on-same-sex-marriage.html#sthash.CPXLw6Gt.dpbs (accessed March 6, 2013).

[55] Ibid.

[56] Chai R. Feldblum, “Moral Conflict and Liberty: Gay Rights and Religion,” Brooklyn Law Review, Vol. 72, No. 1 (Fall 2006), p. 119, http://www.brooklaw.edu/~/media/PDF/LawJournals/BLR_PDF/blr_v72i.ashx (accessed March 6, 2013).


Gaza: Ne jamais rappeler son imbécilité à un imbécile (Lesson in cartooning: Israeli Foreign Ministry pulls cartoon that angered foreign press)

24 juin, 2015
La guerre des drones, privilégiée par le président des Etats-Unis, Barack Obama, pour éviter le déploiement au sol de troupes américaines dans la lutte contre des organisations terroristes, a-t-elle atteint ses limites ? Paradoxale en apparence au lendemain de l’élimination d’un haut responsable yéménite d’Al-Qaida pour la péninsule Arabique, Nasser Al-Wahishi, cette interrogation est étayée par la publication d’un article du New York Times, mercredi 17 juin, confirmant une information du site Defense One, le 18 mai, selon laquelle l’armée de l’air américaine aurait commencé à réduire le nombre quotidien de sorties de ces aéronefs sans personne à bord. Ce nombre serait passé progressivement de 65 à 60 en raison d’un « burn-out » des pilotes de drones, sous l’effet de l’augmentation constante des demandes et de la baisse continue des effectifs.(…) Une nouvelle enquête interne non publiée ferait apparaître l’importance du stress lié à la crainte des dommages collatéraux des frappes alors que, selon le responsable de la base, la juxtaposition des tâches de la vie quotidienne et des missions de combat produit déjà de nouvelles formes de tensions psychologiques. L’épuisement des équipes chargées de ces missions s’ajoute aux interrogations sur leur portée. S’exprimant, début juin, au cours d’une conférence à Washington, un ancien responsable de la CIA estimait que le recours massif aux drones permettait « au mieux de tondre la pelouse », c’est-à-dire décapiter régulièrement les organisations visées sans les désorganiser durablement. Si la légalité de ces assassinats extrajudiciaires ne fait plus l’objet de véritables débats depuis longtemps, c’est donc bien leur efficacité qui pose question même si la Maison Blanche met régulièrement en avant la menace permanente que constituent les drones pour les responsables de groupes terroristes, notamment au Yémen. Le Monde
What had seemed to be a benefit of the job, the novel way that the crews could fly Predator and Reaper drones via satellite links while living safely in the United States with their families, has created new types of stresses as they constantly shift back and forth between war and family activities and become, in effect, perpetually deployed. “Having our folks make that mental shift every day, driving into the gate and thinking, ‘All right, I’ve got my war face on, and I’m going to the fight,’ and then driving out of the gate and stopping at Walmart to pick up a carton of milk or going to the soccer game on the way home — and the fact that you can’t talk about most of what you do at home — all those stressors together are what is putting pressure on the family, putting pressure on the airman,” Colonel Cluff said. While most of the pilots and camera operators feel comfortable killing insurgents who are threatening American troops, interviews with about 100 pilots and sensor operators for an internal study that has not yet been released, he added, found that the fear of occasionally causing civilian casualties was another major cause of stress, even more than seeing the gory aftermath of the missile strikes in general. A Defense Department study in 2013, the first of its kind, found that drone pilots had experienced mental health problems like depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder at the same rate as pilots of manned aircraft who were deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan. Trevor Tasin, a pilot who retired as a major in 2014 after flying Predator drones and training new pilots, called the work “brutal, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.” The exodus from the drone program might be caused in part by the lure of the private sector, Mr. Tasin said, noting that military drone operators can earn four times their salary working for private defense contractors. In January, in an attempt to retain drone operators, the Air Force doubled incentive pay to $18,000 per year. (…) The colonel said the stress on the operators belied a complaint by some critics that flying drones was like playing a video game or that pressing the missile fire button 7,000 miles from the battlefield made it psychologically easier for them to kill. He also said that the retention difficulties underscore that while the planes themselves are unmanned, they need hundreds of pilots, sensor operators, intelligence analysts and launch and recovery specialists in foreign countries to operate. Some of the crews still fly their missions in air-conditioned trailers here, while other cockpit setups have been created in new mission center buildings. The NYT
Les groupes armés palestiniens doivent mettre fin à l’ensemble des attaques directes visant les civils et des attaques menées sans discrimination. Ils doivent aussi prendre toutes les précautions possibles afin de protéger les civils de la bande de Gaza des conséquences de ces attaques. Cela suppose d’adopter toutes les mesures qui s’imposent pour éviter de placer combattants et armes dans des zones densément peuplées ou à proximité. (…) Les éléments selon lesquels il est possible qu’une roquette tirée par un groupe armé palestinien ait causé 13 morts civiles dans la bande de Gaza soulignent à quel point ces armes sont non discriminantes et les terribles conséquences de leur utilisation. (…) L’impact dévastateur des attaques israéliennes sur les civils palestiniens durant ce conflit est indéniable, mais les violations commises par un camp dans un conflit ne peuvent jamais justifier les violations perpétrées par leurs adversaires. (…) La communauté internationale doit aider à prévenir de nouvelles violations en luttant contre la banalisation de l’impunité, et en cessant de livrer aux groupes armés palestiniens et à Israël les armes et équipements militaires susceptibles d’être utilisés pour commettre de graves violations du droit international humanitaire. Philip Luther
Amnesty International demande à tous les États de soutenir la Commission d’enquête des Nations unies et la compétence de la Cour pénale internationale concernant les crimes commis par toutes les parties au conflit. Amnesty international
Des groupes armés palestiniens ont fait preuve d’un mépris flagrant pour la vie de civils, en lançant de nombreuses attaques aveugles à l’aide de roquettes et de mortiers en direction de zones civiles en Israël durant le conflit de juillet-août 2014, écrit Amnesty International dans un nouveau rapport rendu public jeudi 26 mars. Ce document, intitulé Unlawful and deadly: Rocket and mortar attacks by Palestinian armed groups during the 2014 Gaza/Israel conflict (…), fournit des éléments tendant à prouver que plusieurs attaques lancées depuis la bande de Gaza constituaient des crimes de guerre. Six civils, dont un petit garçon de quatre ans, ont été tués en Israël dans le cadre d’attaques de ce type, au cours de ce conflit ayant duré 50 jours. Lors de l’attaque la plus mortelle attribuée à un groupe armé palestinien, 13 civils palestiniens, dont 11 mineurs, ont été tués lorsqu’un projectile tiré depuis la bande de Gaza s’est écrasé dans le camp de réfugiés d’al Shati. (…) Toutes les roquettes utilisées par les groupes armés palestiniens sont des projectiles non guidés, avec lesquels on ne peut pas viser avec précision de cible spécifique et qui sont non discriminantes par nature ; recourir à ces armes est interdit par le droit international et leur utilisation constitue un crime de guerre. Les mortiers sont eux aussi des munitions imprécises et ne doivent jamais être utilisés pour attaquer des cibles militaires situées dans des zones civiles ou à proximité. (…) Selon les données des Nations unies, plus de 4 800 roquettes et 1 700 mortiers ont été tirés depuis Gaza vers Israël au cours de ce conflit. Sur ces milliers de roquettes et mortiers, environ 224 auraient atteint des zones résidentielles israéliennes, tandis que le Dôme de fer, le système de défense anti-missile israélien, en a intercepté de nombreux autres. (…) Lors de l’attaque la plus mortelle attribuée à un groupe armé palestinien durant ce conflit, 13 civils palestiniens, dont 11 mineurs, ont été tués lorsqu’un projectile a explosé à côté d’un supermarché, dans le camp – surpeuplé – de réfugiés d’al Shati (bande de Gaza) le 28 juillet 2014, premier jour de l’Aïd al Fitr. Les enfants jouaient dans la rue et achetaient des chips et des boissons sucrées au supermarché au moment de l’attaque. Si les Palestiniens ont affirmé que l’armée israélienne était responsable de cette attaque, un expert indépendant, spécialiste des munitions, ayant examiné les éléments de preuve disponibles pour le compte d’Amnesty International, a conclu que le projectile utilisé dans le cadre de cette attaque était une roquette palestinienne. (…) Mahmoud Abu Shaqfa et son fils Khaled, âgé de cinq ans, ont été gravement blessés lors de cette attaque. Muhammad, son fils de huit ans, a été tué. (…) Il n’y pas d’abri contre les bombes ni de système d’alerte en place pour protéger les civils dans la bande de Gaza. Le rapport décrit en détail d’autres atteintes au droit international humanitaire commises par des groupes armés palestiniens durant le conflit, comme le fait de stocker des roquettes et d’autres munitions dans des immeubles civils, y compris des écoles administrées par les Nations unies, ainsi que des cas dans lesquels des groupes armés palestiniens ont lancé des attaques ou stocké des munitions très près de zones où se réfugiaient des centaines de civils déplacés. Amnesty international
Il est déconcertant de voir que le ministère passe son temps à produire une vidéo de 50 secondes dont le but est de ridiculiser des journalistes couvrant un conflit dans lequel 2.100 Palestiniens et 72 Israéliens ont été tués. (…) Et 17 journalistes sont morts en couvrant le conflit, dont un photographe italien travaillant pour Associated Press. (…) Le corps diplomatique israélien veut qu’on le prenne au sérieux dans le monde. Mettre en ligne des vidéos trompeuses et mal conçues sur YouTube est inapproprié, vain et fragilise le ministère, qui dit respecter la presse étrangère et sa liberté de travailler à Gaza. Association de la presse étrangère en Israël et dans les territoires palestiniens
Le porte-parole des Affaires étrangères, Emmanuel Nahshon, a défendu le film en expliquant qu’il tournait en dérision le fait que la presse étrangère n’avait selon lui rapporté que plusieurs semaines après la fin de la guerre les méfaits du Hamas, comme les tirs de roquettes depuis des zones résidentielles et l’utilisation, « de façon criante et répétée », de civils comme boucliers humains. Le Point

Attention: une bêtise peut en cacher une autre !

Au lendemain de la publication d’un énième rapport de l’ONU dénonçant comme d’habitude les prétendus crimes de guerre de l’Armée israélienne lors de la guerre de Gaza de l’été dernier …

Et le retrait, suite aux moqueries et protestations de la presse étrangère, d’un petit film d’animation du ministère israélien des Affaires étrangères moquant un peu trop gentiment l’incroyable myopie et partialité de leur couverture de ladite guerre …

Pendant qu’à la tête du Monde libre et jusqu’à épuiser ses pilotes, le plus rapide prix Nobel de l’histoire mutliplie tranquillement, entre deux parties de golf et deux bavures, les éliminations ciblées

Petite leçon avec le caricaturiste israélo-américain Yaakov Kirschen …

Montrant que bien choisir sa cible et son objectif ne suffit pas toujours …

Et surtout, comme le rappellent tant la Bible que le Talmoud, qu’il ne faut jamais rappeler à un imbécile sa propre imbécilité !

A Lesson in Cartooning

Basic principles of successful activist cartooning
1. Target: Pick your « Target » audience.
2. Goal: Your goal should be a way to change, if only for a moment, the beliefs of your « Target » by cleverly slipping under their « defensive radar »
3. The Secret Sentence: The sentence that your cartoon will cause your « Target » to involuntarily say in his/her head (thus reaching your goal).

How the Foreign Ministry Cartoon Fails
1. Target: The « Target » is the foreign press (as revealed by the punchline « open your eyes »)
2. Goal: To change the beliefs of foreign reporters by cleverly slipping under their « defensive radar »???
3. The Secret Sentence: The sentence created in the mind of the foreign journalist is « the Israeli Foreign Ministry says I’m Stupid and Blind! »

* * *
I assume that readers would want to see an example of how the topic is taught in the Academy:

The analysis:
1. Target: The foreign press
2. Goal: Use humor to change reporters’ beliefs that their reports are believed
3. The Secret Sentence: The sentence created in the mind of the foreign journalist is « The public doesn’t believe us anymore »

Voir aussi:

PROCHE-ORIENT Le dessin animé indigne l’association représentant la presse étrangère en Israël 

VIDEO. Gaza: Les journalistes étrangers cibles d’un film de la diplomatie israélienne

20 Minutes avec AFP

16.06.2015

L’association représentant la presse étrangère en Israël et dans les Territoires palestiniens occupés s’est alarmée d’une animation produite par les Affaires étrangères israéliennes et ridiculisant la couverture par les journalistes internationaux de la bande de Gaza et de la guerre de l’été 2014.

Le dessin animé, en anglais, de 50 secondes présenté sur la page d’accueil du site du ministère des Affaires étrangères met en scène un journaliste en direct, que ses commentaires naïfs tournent en ridicule. Il explique comment les Gazaouis «tentent de vivre des vies tranquilles» alors qu’un homme armé lance une roquette derrière lui.

Retrouvez la vidéo intégrale en cliquant ici.«Un conflit dans lequel 2.100 Palestiniens et 72 Israéliens ont été tués»

Il rapporte que Gaza est en train de mettre au point le premier métro palestinien pendant que des hommes armés entrent dans le réseau de tunnels construits par le Hamas et les groupes armés palestiniens pour s’infiltrer en territoire israélien. Il affirme qu’il n’y a «pas de doute que la société palestinienne ici est libérale et pluraliste», alors qu’en arrière-plan un homme armé et encagoulé kidnappe un vendeur de rue dont le stand est décoré du drapeau homosexuel.

Le film se conclut sur une jeune femme remettant une paire de lunettes au journaliste, avant que les mots «Ouvrez les yeux, le terrorisme est au pouvoir à Gaza», s’inscrivent à l’écran. L’animation coïncide avec la campagne engagée par le gouvernement pour défendre les agissements de l’armée israélienne lors de la guerre de l’été 2014, en prévision de la prochaine publication d’un rapport onusien dont Israël s’attend à ce qu’il lui soit très défavorable.

L’Association de la presse étrangère (FPA), qui compte environ 360 adhérents, s’est dite «surprise» et «alarmée». «Il est déconcertant de voir que le ministère passe son temps à produire une vidéo de 50 secondes dont le but est de ridiculiser des journalistes couvrant un conflit dans lequel 2.100 Palestiniens et 72 Israéliens ont été tués», dit la FPA dans un communiqué.

17 journalistes sont morts en couvrant le conflit

Et 17 journalistes sont morts en couvrant le conflit, dont un photographe italien travaillant pour Associated Press. «Le corps diplomatique israélien veut qu’on le prenne au sérieux dans le monde. Mettre en ligne des vidéos trompeuses et mal conçues sur YouTube est inapproprié, vain et fragilise le ministère, qui dit respecter la presse étrangère et sa liberté de travailler à Gaza», dit-elle.

Le porte-parole des Affaires étrangères, Emmanuel Nahshon, a défendu le film en expliquant qu’il tournait en dérision le fait que la presse étrangère n’avait selon lui rapporté que plusieurs semaines après la fin de la guerre les méfaits du Hamas, comme les tirs de roquettes depuis des zones résidentielles et l’utilisation, «de façon criante et répétée», de civils comme boucliers humains.

Israël présente sa version de la guerre à Gaza
Cyrille Louis
Le Figaro

17/06/2015

VIDÉO – L’État hébreu vient de publier un rapport qui rejette sur le Hamas la responsabilité des immenses destructions perpétrées l’été dernier lors de l’Opération bordure protectrice.
Correspondant à Jérusalem

Un rapport et un dessin animé. En l’espace de quarante-huit heures, les autorités israéliennes ont dévoilé leurs moyens de défense face aux accusations qui s’accumulent à l’horizon. La commission des droits de l’homme de l’ONU, chargée d’enquêter sur le déroulement de l’Opération bordure protectrice, en juillet-août 2014 dans la bande de Gaza, doit publier sous peu ses conclusions. Le gouvernement de Benyamin Nétanyahou, qui prête à cette instance un fort biais anti-israélien, a préféré tirer le premier. Sans surprise, il rejette sur le Hamas la responsabilité du déclenchement de la guerre ainsi que de son lourd bilan matériel et humain, non sans accuser au passage la presse internationale d’avoir dissimulé les exactions perpétrées par les factions palestiniennes.

Pièce maîtresse de ce système de défense, le rapport de 277 pages publié par le ministère israélien des Affaires étrangères revient tout d’abord sur le contexte dans lequel a éclaté ce nouvel épisode de violence. Un conflit armé, rappellent les auteurs, oppose depuis plus d’une décennie l’État hébreu aux groupes armés implantés dans la bande de Gaza. Plus de 1265 Israéliens ont été tués par des attaques du Hamas depuis l’an 2000 tandis que 15.200 roquettes ont été tirées depuis le territoire palestinien, y compris après le désengagement décidé en 2005 par Ariel Sharon.

« Je salue la publication de ce rapport, qui présente le vrai visage de l’opération Bordure protectrice »

Benyamin Nétanyahou, premier ministre israélien
Le 7 juillet 2014, l’armée israélienne a décidé de lancer une opération aérienne afin de faire cesser les tirs de projectiles qui, depuis l’arrestation récente de dizaines de cadres du Hamas en Cisjordanie, étaient en nette recrudescence. Plus de 4500 projectiles ont été tirés durant le conflit, rappellent les auteurs du rapport, si bien que 10.000 Israéliens ont été contraints de fuir la zone frontalière. Dix jours après le début des hostilités, Tsahal décidait de conduire une opération terrestre «limitée» dans l’enclave, afin de détruire les 32 tunnels offensifs percés par le mouvement islamiste pour conduire des infiltrations en territoire israélien. Cette confrontation, qui a duré 51 jours au total, s’est soldée par la mort d’environ 2200 palestiniens, ainsi que de 67 soldats israéliens et de six civils résidant près de la frontière.

Fidèles à l’argumentaire employé par Tsahal durant le conflit, les auteurs du rapport accusent le Hamas non seulement d’avoir visé de manière indiscriminée des civils israéliens, mais aussi d’avoir délibérément mis en danger la population palestinienne en dissimulant ses lance-roquettes et ses combattants au cœur de zones densément peuplées. 18.000 habitations ont été détruites par les bombardements israéliens, selon le décompte de l’ONU. «L’armée israélienne, plaident les rapporteurs, a été confrontée à des combattants déguisés en civils ou en soldats israéliens, à des habitations converties en postes de commandement militaire, à des immeubles de plusieurs étages employés comme points de surveillance, à des minarets utilisés par des snipers, à des écoles transformées en entrepôts d’armes, à des structures civiles piégées au moyen d’explosifs et à des ouvertures de tunnels situés au beau milieu de quartiers d’habitations.»

Les auteurs, qui accusent les factions palestiniennes d’avoir exploité avec cynisme l’émotion suscitée par les nombreuses victimes, citent des manuels du Hamas découverts par l’armée israélienne. Ces documents «démontrent que la stratégie était d’importer les hostilités en milieu urbain, et d’utiliser les zones bâties et la présence de population civile pour en tirer un avantage tactique et politique», précisent-ils, avant d’affirmer: «C’est dans ce contexte que les dommages infligés à la population et aux infrastructures civiles doivent être évalués».

S’appuyant sur les analyses conduites par l’armée israélienne, le rapport affirme que 44 % des tués palestiniens étaient des combattants affiliés au Hamas, au djihad islamique ou à d’autres factions. Cette estimation contredit de façon spectaculaire celle avancée par l’ONU, selon laquelle plus de 75 % des victimes étaient des civils non engagés dans les combats. «Je salue la publication de ce rapport, qui présente le vrai visage de l’opération Bordure protectrice, a déclaré Benyamin Nétanyahou, le premier ministre israélien. Ce document prouve de manière incontestable que les opérations conduites par l’armée israélienne étaient conformes au droit international.»

Les autorités israéliennes, qui attendent avec une certaine inquiétude le rapport de la commission des droits de l’homme de l’ONU, estiment avoir allumé un efficace contre-feu. Elles espèrent par ailleurs couper l’herbe sous le pied de la Cour pénale internationale, qui s’interroge sur l’opportunité d’ouvrir une enquête sur d’éventuels crimes de guerre commis l’été dernier à Gaza.

« Il est déconcertant de constater que le ministère des Affaires étrangères perd son temps à produire une vidéo qui vise à ridiculiser le travail des journalistes en temps de guerre »

L’Association de la presse étrangère à Jérusalem
Pour faire bonne mesure, le ministère des Affaires étrangères a mis en ligne un dessin animé qui vise manifestement à discréditer la couverture du conflit par la presse internationale. Ce document d’une quarantaine de secondes met en scène un reporter de télévision présenté comme un doux imbécile, qui refuse de voir les exactions perpétrées par le Hamas. En l’absence de journalistes israéliens, qui ont interdiction d’entrer dans la bande de Gaza, le travail des journalistes étrangers durant le conflit a été régulièrement critiqué par les autorités israéliennes.

Ceux-ci se sont notamment vus reprocher de ne pas avoir diffusé d’images montrant les sites de lancements de roquettes ou les combattants du Hamas en milieu urbain. Mais des témoignages de militaires israéliens publiés par l’ONG Breaking the silence ont depuis lors confirmé que ceux-ci opéraient très largement à l’abri des regards. «Il est déconcertant de constater que le ministère des Affaires étrangères perd son temps à produire une vidéo qui vise à ridiculiser le travail des journalistes en temps de guerre», a regretté l’Association de la presse étrangère à Jérusalem.

Voir aussi:

Gaza : Israël retire un dessin animé qui ridiculisait la presse étrangère
la Presse

21/06/2015

Le ministère israélien des Affaires étrangères a retiré de son site internet une animation qui avait ému la presse étrangère, tournée en dérision dans la vidéo, a-t-il indiqué dimanche. « L’objet de cette vidéo était d’illustrer les crimes du Hamas » au pouvoir dans la bande de Gaza, a dit le porte-parole des Affaires étrangères, « nous l’avons retirée quand cela a prêté à malentendus ». Le dessin animé en anglais de 50 secondes présenté sur la page d’accueil du site du ministère ridiculisait la couverture de la bande de Gaza et de la guerre de l’été 2014 par les journalistes étrangers. Un journaliste en direct expliquait comment les Gazaouis « tentent de vivre des vies tranquilles » alors qu’un homme lance une roquette derrière lui. Il rapportait que Gaza était en train de mettre au point le premier métro palestinien pendant que des hommes armés entraient dans le réseau de tunnels construits par le Hamas et les groupes armés palestiniens pour s’infiltrer en territoire israélien. Le film se concluait sur une jeune femme remettant une paire de lunettes au journaliste, avant que les mots « Ouvrez les yeux, le terrorisme est au pouvoir à Gaza » ne s’inscrivent à l’écran. L’Association de la presse étrangère (FPA), qui compte environ 360 adhérents en Israël et dans les Territoires palestiniens, avait exprimé son émotion devant cette vidéo.
Par : AFP

Voir également:

Israël retire une vidéo qui ridiculisait la presse étrangère
Le dessin animé tournait en dérision la couverture dans la bande de Gaza de l’opération Bordure protectrice

i24news avec AFP

Le ministère israélien des Affaires étrangères a retiré de son site internet une animation qui avait ému la presse étrangère, tournée en dérision dans la vidéo, a-t-il indiqué dimanche.

« L’objet de cette vidéo était d’illustrer les crimes du Hamas » au pouvoir dans la bande de Gaza, a dit le porte-parole des Affaires étrangères, « nous l’avons retirée quand cela a prêté à malentendus ».

Le dessin animé en anglais de 50 secondes présenté sur la page d’accueil du site du ministère ridiculisait la couverture de la bande de Gaza et de la guerre de l’été 2014 par les journalistes étrangers.

Un journaliste en direct expliquait comment les Gazaouis « tentent de vivre des vies tranquilles » alors qu’un homme lance une roquette derrière lui. Il rapportait que Gaza était en train de mettre au point le premier métro palestinien pendant que des hommes armés entraient dans le réseau de tunnels construits par le Hamas et les groupes armés palestiniens pour s’infiltrer en territoire israélien.

Le film se concluait sur une jeune femme remettant une paire de lunettes au journaliste, avant que les mots « Ouvrez les yeux, le terrorisme est au pouvoir à Gaza » ne s’inscrivent à l’écran.

L’Association de la presse étrangère (FPA), qui compte environ 360 adhérents en Israël et dans les Territoires palestiniens, avait exprimé son émotion devant cette vidéo.

« Il est déconcertant de voir que le ministère passe son temps à produire une vidéo de 50 secondes dont le but est de ridiculiser des journalistes couvrant un conflit dans lequel 2.100 Palestiniens et 72 Israéliens ont été tués », a annoncé la FPA dans un communiqué.

« Et 17 journalistes sont morts en couvrant le conflit, dont un photographe italien travaillant pour Associated Press ». a-t-elle souligné.

« Le corps diplomatique israélien veut qu’on le prenne au sérieux dans le monde. Mettre en ligne des vidéos trompeuses et mal conçues sur YouTube est inapproprié, vain et fragilise le ministère, qui dit respecter la presse étrangère et sa liberté de travailler à Gaza », pouvait-on encore lire dans le communiqué.

 Voir encore:

Gaza : les journalistes étrangers cibles d’un film de la diplomatie israélienne

Le Point

17/06/2015

VIDÉO. Un dessin animé dénonce l’extrême naïveté supposée de la couverture médiatique de la guerre, à l’été 2014, par les journalistes étrangers.

La diffusion du film intervient peu avant la publication d’un rapport de l’Onu attendu comme très défavorable à Israël.

L’association représentant la presse étrangère en Israël et dans les Territoires palestiniens occupés s’est alarmée d’une animation produite par les Affaires étrangères israéliennes et ridiculisant la couverture par les journalistes internationaux de la bande de Gaza et de la guerre de l’été 2014. Le dessin animé, en anglais, de 50 secondes présenté sur la page d’accueil du site du ministère des Affaires étrangères, met en scène un journaliste en direct, que ses commentaires naïfs tournent en ridicule.

Il explique comment les Gazaouis « tentent de vivre des vies tranquilles » alors qu’un homme armé lance une roquette derrière lui. Il rapporte que Gaza est en train de mettre au point le premier métro palestinien pendant que des hommes armés entrent dans le réseau de tunnels construits par le Hamas et les groupes armés palestiniens pour s’infiltrer en territoire israélien. Il affirme qu’il n’y a « pas de doute que la société palestinienne ici est libérale et pluraliste », alors qu’en arrière-plan un homme armé et encagoulé kidnappe un vendeur de rues dont le stand est décoré du drapeau homosexuel. Le film se conclut sur une jeune femme remettant une paire de lunettes au journaliste, avant que les mots « Ouvrez les yeux, le terrorisme est au pouvoir à Gaza », s’inscrivent à l’écran.

17 journalistes morts

L’animation coïncide avec la campagne engagée par le gouvernement pour défendre les agissements de l’armée israélienne lors de la guerre de l’été 2014, en prévision de la prochaine publication d’un rapport onusien dont Israël s’attend à ce qu’il lui soit très défavorable.

L’Association de la presse étrangère (FPA), qui compte environ 360 adhérents, s’est dite « surprise » et « alarmée ». « Il est déconcertant de voir que le ministère passe son temps à produire une vidéo de 50 secondes dont le but est de ridiculiser des journalistes couvrant un conflit dans lequel 2 100 Palestiniens et 72 Israéliens ont été tués », dit la FPA dans un communiqué. Et 17 journalistes sont morts en couvrant le conflit, dont un photographe italien travaillant pour Associated Press. « Le corps diplomatique israélien veut qu’on le prenne au sérieux dans le monde. Mettre en ligne des vidéos trompeuses et mal conçues sur YouTube est inapproprié, vain et fragilise le ministère, qui dit respecter la presse étrangère et sa liberté de travailler à Gaza », dit-elle. Le porte-parole des Affaires étrangères, Emmanuel Nahshon, a défendu le film en expliquant qu’il tournait en dérision le fait que la presse étrangère n’avait selon lui rapporté que plusieurs semaines après la fin de la guerre les méfaits du Hamas, comme les tirs de roquettes depuis des zones résidentielles et l’utilisation, « de façon criante et répétée », de civils comme boucliers humains.

Voir encore:

Guerre à Gaza : la commission d’enquête de l’ONU accuse Israël et le Hamas
Cyrille Louis
Le Figaro

22/06/2015

Un rapport dénonce les exactions commises par l’armée israélienne et l’organisation palestinienne lors de l’Operation bordure protectrice à Gaza en 2014.
Correspondant à Jérusalem

La commission indépendante chargée par l’ONU d’enquêter sur le déroulement de l’Opération bordure protectrice, du 7 juillet au 26 août 2014 dans la bande de Gaza, indique avoir recueilli «des informations substantielles mettant en évidence de possibles crimes de guerre commis à la fois par Israël et par les groupes armés palestiniens». «L’étendue des dévastations et de la souffrance humaine provoquées à Gaza est sans précédent», a dénoncé lundi Mary McGowan Davis, la présidente de cette commission, au moment de publier son rapport. Ce document de 183 pages sera débattu le 29 juin devant le Conseil des droits de l’homme de l’ONU.

«L’étendue de dévastations et de la souffrance humaine provoquées à Gaza est sans précédent»

Les auteurs de l’enquête, qui n’ont été autorisés à se rendre ni à Gaza, ni en Israël, ni dans les territoires palestiniens occupés, ont néanmoins pu interroger plus de 280 victimes et témoins de cette guerre. Ils ont également exploité quelque 500 dépositions livrées par écrit. Le ministère israélien des Affaires étrangères a d’emblée rejeté leur rapport, jugeant qu’«il a été commandé par une institution notoirement partiale». «Il est regrettable que ce document ne tienne pas compte de la différence profonde entre le comportement moral d’Israël durant l’opération Bordure protectrice, et celui des organisations terroristes auquel nous avons été confrontées», dénonce un communiqué officiel du gouvernement.

Les auteurs du rapport d’enquête rappellent que les factions armées palestiniennes ont tiré de manière indiscriminée 4881 roquettes et 1753 obus de mortier en direction d’Israël durant les 51 jours de guerre, terrorisant la population, tuant six civils et en blessant plus de 1600. Ils dénoncent aussi l’utilisation de 14 tunnels offensifs creusés pour permettre des incursions militaires sur le sol israélien. «La présence de ces infrastructures a traumatisé les civils israéliens, qui ont eu peur de pouvoir être attaqués à tout moment par des hommes armés venus du sous-sol», précisent-ils.

Mais c’est incontestablement à l’armée et aux dirigeants israéliens que la commission d’enquête réserve ses flèches les plus acérées. Elle condamne notamment l’«usage intensif d’armes conçues pour tuer et blesser sur un large périmètre». «Bien qu’elles ne soient pas illégales, leur utilisation dans des zones densément peuplées a rendu hautement probable la mort indiscriminée de civils et de combattants», écrivent les auteurs. Ils soulignent que 142 familles ont perdu au moins trois de leurs membres dans ce type de frappes. Au total, la commission affirme que 1462 civils Palestiniens, dont 551 enfants, ont trouvé la mort durant ce conflit.

«Israël ne commet pas de crimes de guerre»

S’il ne lui appartient pas de caractériser d’éventuelles infractions au droit international, la commission d’enquête dénonce le manque d’empressement de l’Etat hébreu à sanctionner ces «violations». «Israël doit rompre avec son incapacité lamentable à poursuivre les auteurs d’infractions», insiste Mary McGowan Davis, qui dénonce un climat d’«impunité». «Nous avons été très déçus d’apprendre que l’enquête criminelle ouverte après la mort de quatre enfants sur la plage de Gaza, le 16 juillet 2014, avait été classée sans suite», a-t-elle notamment dénoncé, regrettant que les nombreux journalistes présents ce jour-là n’aient pas été interrogés par l’armée israélienne.

Sans surprise, les dirigeants israéliens ont repoussé ces accusations. «Israël ne commet pas de crimes de guerre», a déclaré lundi Benyamin Nétanyahou, qui a récemment invité les Israéliens à ne pas «perdre de temps» à lire ce rapport de l’ONU. Le premier ministre a mis en doute l’honnêteté de la commission d’enquête dès sa constitution, en septembre 2014. Son gouvernement a notamment pris pour cible et obtenu la démission de son président. William Schabas, un professeur de droit canadien, a été vilipendé pour d’anciennes prises de position anti-israéliennes. Les diplomates israéliens ont depuis lors continué de faire référence à la «commission Schabas», espérant ainsi discréditer un rapport dont ils redoutaient depuis plusieurs mois les conclusions.

Voir de plus:

Washington demande à l’ONU d’ignorer le rapport « partial » de la guerre de Gaza
Le porte-parole du Département d’Etat affirme qu’il n’est pas nécessaire que le Conseil de Sécurité débatte de ce rapport
Times of Israel Staff

24 juin 2015

Le rapport de l’ONU émis à propos des possibles crimes de guerre pendant le conflit de Gaza l’été dernier ne doit pas être présenté au Conseil de sécurité ou utilisé dans d’autres travaux des Nations unies, ont exhorté les Etats-Unis mardi contestant l’équité du Conseil des droits de l’Homme (CDH) à l’origine de l’enquête.

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Le porte-parole du département d’Etat, John Kirby, a déclaré que Washington considérait le CDH comme ayant un « parti pris évident » contre Israël, ce qui ternis le rapport publié lundi, qui a accusé Israël et les membres des groupes armés palestiniens de possibles crimes de guerre lors du conflit de 50 jours l’été dernier.

« [N] ous contestons le fondement même sur lequel ce rapport a été rédigé, et nous ne croyons pas qu’il y ait un appel ou une nécessité pour tout autre travail du Conseil de sécurité sur cette », a déclaré Kirby lors d’une conférence de presse.

« [N] ous rejetons le fondement en vertu duquel cette commission particulière d’enquête a été établie en raison de sa partialité très nette contre Israël ».

Le Haut-Commissariat des Nations unies pour les réfugiés (UNHCR) devrait discuter du rapport le 29 juin et pourrait voter de l’envoyer au Conseil de sécurité qu’il poursuive l’action. Lundi, Kirby a déclaré que les Etats-Unis ne feraient pas partie de ce processus.

Lorsqu’on lui a demandé si le rapport devait être déférée à la Cour pénale internationale (CPI) à La Haye pour qu’elle d’enquête sur les deux parties pour crimes de guerre, Kirby a simplement répondu que les Etats-Unis ne « souten[aient] aucun autre travail de l’ONU sur ce rapport ».

La CPI a été créée par les Nations unies, mais pas directement sous son égide.

Kirby a également précisé que les États-Unis continuaient à évoquer avec Israël ses préoccupations sur la conduite de l’armée pendant la guerre de l’été dernier.

« Nous nous sommes montrés très clairs sur les problèmes que nous avions à l’époque avec l’usage de la force et nous nous sommes montrés très clairs auprès du gouvernement israélien sur nos préoccupations au sujet de ce qui se passait pendant ce conflit », a-t-il souligné.

« Nous avons un dialogue permanent avec le gouvernement d’Israël sur toutes ces sortes de choses ; le dialogue a continué et continue ».

Lundi, le porte-parole de la Maison Blanche Josh Earnest a déclaré que l’administration étudiait le rapport.

Même si Israël a un « droit à l’auto-défense », les Etats-Unis « ont exprimé sa profonde préoccupation au sujet des civils dans la bande de Gaza qui étaient en danger [pendant la guerre].

« Et nous avons exhorté toutes les parties à faire tout leur possible pour protéger les civils innocents qui ont été essentiellement pris dans les échanges de tirs de ce conflit », a déclaré Earnest. « Nous attendons d’autres conclusions du gouvernement israélien sur cette question en particulier ».

Le rapport de l’ONU, qui a constaté que les frappes aériennes israéliennes sur les bâtiments résidentiels ont causé de nombreux morts parmi les civils et les a suggéré que les dirigeants israéliens les ont sciemment mis en danger, a été fermement rejeté par les responsables israéliens.

L’une des premières réponses au rapport étaient celle du ministère des Affaires étrangères qui a déclaré que le gouvernement israélien était en train d’examiner les conclusions, mais a rejeté le mandat « moralement vicié » donné à l’UNHRC pour enquêter sur la guerre.

« Il est regrettable que le rapport ne parvienne pas à reconnaître la profonde différence entre le comportement moral d’Israël lors de l’opération Bordure protectrice et les organisations terroristes auxquelles il s’est confronté », a déclaré le ministère des Affaires étrangères dans un communiqué.

« Ce rapport a été commandé par une institution notoirement partiale, qui a donné un mandat évidemment partial, et a initialement été dirigé par un président grossièrement biaisé, William Schabas », a indiqué le communiqué, notant le traitement démesuré du CDH – par rapport aux principaux pays violant les droits de l’Homme comme l’Iran, la Corée du Nord et d’autres – des infractions alléguées d’Israël.

« Israël est une démocratie attachée à la primauté du droit, forcé de se défendre contre les terroristes palestiniens qui commettent un double crime de guerre : ils ciblent aveuglément des civils israéliens tout en mettant en danger de manière délibérée des civils palestiniens, dont des enfants, en les utilisant comme des boucliers humains », a conclu le communiqué israélien.

Le rapport a également constaté que des roquettes des « groupes armés palestiniens » avaient tiré aveuglément sur des civils israéliens, une constatation qui a été rejetée par le groupe terroriste du Hamas qui est de facto au pouvoir à Gaza.

Les responsables israéliens ont refusé de coopérer avec la commission d’enquête et l’ont rejetée depuis la formation du panel car ils l’ont considérée comme étant partiale et écrite à l’avance.

Schabas, le professeur juif canadien qui a d’abord dirigé la commission d’enquête du HRC, a démissionné en février en raison des accusations de partialité de la part d’Israël qui pesaient contre lui et a été remplacé par l’ancienne juge de New York Mary McGowan Davis.

AFP et Mitch Ginsburg ont contribué à cet article.

Voir par ailleurs:

Le « burn-out » des pilotes de drone de l’armée américaine
Gilles Paris (Washington, correspondant)

Le Monde

17.06.2015

La guerre des drones, privilégiée par le président des Etats-Unis, Barack Obama, pour éviter le déploiement au sol de troupes américaines dans la lutte contre des organisations terroristes, a-t-elle atteint ses limites ? Paradoxale en apparence au lendemain de l’élimination d’un haut responsable yéménite d’Al-Qaida pour la péninsule Arabique, Nasser Al-Wahishi, cette interrogation est étayée par la publication d’un article du New York Times, mercredi 17 juin, confirmant une information du site Defense One, le 18 mai, selon laquelle l’armée de l’air américaine aurait commencé à réduire le nombre quotidien de sorties de ces aéronefs sans personne à bord.

Ce nombre serait passé progressivement de 65 à 60 en raison d’un « burn-out » des pilotes de drones, sous l’effet de l’augmentation constante des demandes et de la baisse continue des effectifs. Le responsable de la base de Creech, dans le Nevada, où sont conduites les missions à distance, le colonel James Cluff, avait expliqué en mai que cette réduction visait à maintenir le groupe constitué par ces pilotes « en bon état ». Le nombre de missions (« Combat Air Patrol ») a quasiment doublé entre 2008 et 2014. Selon les chiffres donnés par le quotidien new-yorkais, les Predator et Reaper ont effectué 3 300 sorties et tiré 875 missiles depuis le mois d’août.

Alors que la base de Creech est visée régulièrement par des manifestations pacifistes, le New York Times rappelle qu’un rapport du Pentagone, en 2013, avait montré que les pilotes de drones subissaient les mêmes pressions psychologiques que les pilotes d’avions de guerre.

Stress lié à la crainte des dommages collatéraux

Une nouvelle enquête interne non publiée ferait apparaître l’importance du stress lié à la crainte des dommages collatéraux des frappes alors que, selon le responsable de la base, la juxtaposition des tâches de la vie quotidienne et des missions de combat produit déjà de nouvelles formes de tensions psychologiques.

L’épuisement des équipes chargées de ces missions s’ajoute aux interrogations sur leur portée. S’exprimant, début juin, au cours d’une conférence à Washington, un ancien responsable de la CIA estimait que le recours massif aux drones permettait « au mieux de tondre la pelouse », c’est-à-dire décapiter régulièrement les organisations visées sans les désorganiser durablement. Si la légalité de ces assassinats extrajudiciaires ne fait plus l’objet de véritables débats depuis longtemps, c’est donc bien leur efficacité qui pose question même si la Maison Blanche met régulièrement en avant la menace permanente que constituent les drones pour les responsables de groupes terroristes, notamment au Yémen.

Le recours massif aux frappes de drones avait été développé initialement par l’armée israélienne au cours de la seconde intifada. Il avait permis la mise hors combat de dizaines de miliciens et de responsables politiques, notamment à Gaza, sans pour autant parvenir à affaiblir durablement leurs organisations. La première frappe de drone répertoriée au Yémen avait été conduite le 3 novembre 2002. Elles se sont multipliées depuis sans contrecarrer l’implantation des djihadistes.

 Voir enfin:

CREECH AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. — After a decade of waging long-distance war through their video screens, America’s drone operators are burning out, and the Air Force is being forced to cut back on the flights even as military and intelligence officials are demanding more of them over intensifying combat zones in Iraq, Syria and Yemen.

The Air Force plans to trim the flights by the armed surveillance drones to 60 a day by October from a recent peak of 65 as it deals with the first serious exodus of the crew members who helped usher in the era of war by remote control.

Air Force officials said that this year they would lose more drone pilots, who are worn down by the unique stresses of their work, than they can train.

“We’re at an inflection point right now,” said Col. James Cluff, the commander of the Air Force’s 432nd Wing, which runs the drone operations from this desert outpost about 45 miles northwest of Las Vegas.

The reduction could also create problems for the C.I.A., which has used Air Force pilots to conduct drone missile attacks on terrorism suspects in Pakistan and Yemen, government officials said. And the slowdown comes just as military advances by the Islamic State have placed a new premium on aerial surveillance and counterattacks.

Some top Pentagon officials had hoped to continue increasing the number of daily drone flights to more than 70. But Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter recently signed off on the cuts after it became apparent that the system was at the breaking point, Air Force officials said.

The biggest problem is that a significant number of the 1,200 pilots are completing their obligation to the Air Force and are opting to leave. In a recent interview, Colonel Cluff said that many feel “undermanned and overworked,” sapped by alternating day and night shifts with little chance for academic breaks or promotion.

At the same time, a training program is producing only about half of the new pilots that the service needs because the Air Force had to reassign instructors to the flight line to expand the number of flights over the past few years.

Colonel Cluff said top Pentagon officials thought last year that the Air Force could safely reduce the number of daily flights as military operations in Afghanistan wound down. But, he said, “the world situation changed,” with the rapid emergence of the Islamic State, and the demand for the drones shot up again.

Officials say that since August, Predator and Reaper drones have conducted 3,300 sorties and 875 missile and bomb strikes in Iraq against the Islamic State.

What had seemed to be a benefit of the job, the novel way that the crews could fly Predator and Reaper drones via satellite links while living safely in the United States with their families, has created new types of stresses as they constantly shift back and forth between war and family activities and become, in effect, perpetually deployed.

“Having our folks make that mental shift every day, driving into the gate and thinking, ‘All right, I’ve got my war face on, and I’m going to the fight,’ and then driving out of the gate and stopping at Walmart to pick up a carton of milk or going to the soccer game on the way home — and the fact that you can’t talk about most of what you do at home — all those stressors together are what is putting pressure on the family, putting pressure on the airman,” Colonel Cluff said.

While most of the pilots and camera operators feel comfortable killing insurgents who are threatening American troops, interviews with about 100 pilots and sensor operators for an internal study that has not yet been released, he added, found that the fear of occasionally causing civilian casualties was another major cause of stress, even more than seeing the gory aftermath of the missile strikes in general.

A Defense Department study in 2013, the first of its kind, found that drone pilots had experienced mental health problems like depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder at the same rate as pilots of manned aircraft who were deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan.

Trevor Tasin, a pilot who retired as a major in 2014 after flying Predator drones and training new pilots, called the work “brutal, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.”

The exodus from the drone program might be caused in part by the lure of the private sector, Mr. Tasin said, noting that military drone operators can earn four times their salary working for private defense contractors. In January, in an attempt to retain drone operators, the Air Force doubled incentive pay to $18,000 per year.

Another former pilot, Bruce Black, was part of a team that watched Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the founder of Al Qaeda in Iraq, for 600 hours before he was killed by a bomb from a manned aircraft.

“After something like that, you come home and have to make all the little choices about the kids’ clothes or if I parked in the right place,” said Mr. Black, who retired as a lieutenant colonel in 2013. “And after making life and death decisions all day, it doesn’t matter. It’s hard to care.”

Colonel Cluff said the idea behind the reduction in flights was “to come back a little bit off of 65 to allow some breathing room” to replenish the pool of instructors and recruits.

The Air Force also has tried to ease the stress by creating a human performance team, led by a psychologist and including doctors and chaplains who have been granted top-secret clearances so they can meet with pilots and camera operators anywhere in the facility if they are troubled.

Colonel Cluff invited a number of reporters to the Creech base on Tuesday to discuss some of these issues. It was the first time in several years that the Air Force had allowed reporters onto the base, which has been considered the heart of the drone operations since 2005.

The colonel said the stress on the operators belied a complaint by some critics that flying drones was like playing a video game or that pressing the missile fire button 7,000 miles from the battlefield made it psychologically easier for them to kill. He also said that the retention difficulties underscore that while the planes themselves are unmanned, they need hundreds of pilots, sensor operators, intelligence analysts and launch and recovery specialists in foreign countries to operate.

Some of the crews still fly their missions in air-conditioned trailers here, while other cockpit setups have been created in new mission center buildings. Anti-drone protesters are periodically arrested as they try to block pilots from entering the base, where signs using the drone wing’s nickname say, “Home of the Hunters.”


Idées chrétiennes devenues folles: Nous avions un chef du Monde libre transmusulman et nous ne le savions pas ! (We had a transMuslim US president and we didn’t know it !)

21 juin, 2015

Rachel Dolezal, ex-NAACP leader: 'Nothing about being white describes who I am' - The Washington Post

Caitlyn Jenner Crowned “ Woman of the Year" - YouTubeStefonknee (formerly Paul) Wolscht, Canadian, leaves family of 7 children to be transgender six-year-old girlGary Matthews, Pittsburgh Man, thinks he's a dog, denied name change to 'Boomer'Nano, Norwegian girl, thinks she's a cat trapped in a human's body Ted Richards, parrot-obsessed Englishman, 56, has his ears cut off to look like his petsRichard Hernandez, akaTiamat Medusa, American ex-banker, transgender, had ears and nose cut off to look like dragon

Demi Lovato Comes Out as Non-Binary, Changes Pronouns to They/Them | PEOPLE.comI'm a transvaxxite don't you dare judge me you bigot : TrueAntiVaccination
Pourquoi nous devons tout faire pour éviter une tribalisation de l'Histoire | Atlantico.fr

Il n’y a plus ni Juif ni Grec, il n’y a plus ni esclave ni libre, il n’y a plus ni homme ni femme; car tous vous êtes un en Jésus Christ. Paul (Galates 3: 28)
La loi naturelle n’est pas un système de valeurs possible parmi beaucoup d’autres. C’est la seule source de tous les jugements de valeur. Si on la rejette, on rejette toute valeur. Si on conserve une seule valeur, on la conserve tout entier. (. . .) La rébellion des nouvelles idéologies contre la loi naturelle est une rébellion des branches contre l’arbre : si les rebelles réussissaient, ils découvriraient qu’ils se sont détruits eux-mêmes. L’intelligence humaine n’a pas davantage le pouvoir d’inventer une nouvelle valeur qu’il n’en a d’imaginer une nouvelle couleur primaire ou de créer un nouveau soleil avec un nouveau firmament pour qu’il s’y déplace. (…) Tout nouveau pouvoir conquis par l’homme est aussi un pouvoir sur l’homme. Tout progrès le laisse à la fois plus faible et plus fort. Dans chaque victoire, il est à la fois le général qui triomphe et le prisonnier qui suit le char triomphal . (…) Le processus qui, si on ne l’arrête pas, abolira l’homme, va aussi vite dans les pays communistes que chez les démocrates et les fascistes. Les méthodes peuvent (au premier abord) différer dans leur brutalité. Mais il y a parmi nous plus d’un savant au regard inoffensif derrière son pince-nez, plus d’un dramaturge populaire, plus d’un philosophe amateur qui poursuivent en fin de compte les mêmes buts que les dirigeants de l’Allemagne nazie. Il s’agit toujours de discréditer totalement les valeurs traditionnelles et de donner à l’humanité une forme nouvelle conformément à la volonté (qui ne peut être qu’arbitraire) de quelques membres ″chanceux″ d’une génération ″chanceuse″ qui a appris comment s’y prendre. C.S. Lewis (L’abolition de l’homme, 1943)
Le monde moderne n’est pas mauvais : à certains égards, il est bien trop bon. Il est rempli de vertus féroces et gâchées. Lorsqu’un dispositif religieux est brisé (comme le fut le christianisme pendant la Réforme), ce ne sont pas seulement les vices qui sont libérés. Les vices sont en effet libérés, et ils errent de par le monde en faisant des ravages ; mais les vertus le sont aussi, et elles errent plus férocement encore en faisant des ravages plus terribles. Le monde moderne est saturé des vieilles vertus chrétiennes virant à la folie. Elles ont viré à la folie parce qu’on les a isolées les unes des autres et qu’elles errent indépendamment dans la solitude. Ainsi des scientifiques se passionnent-ils pour la vérité, et leur vérité est impitoyable. Ainsi des « humanitaires » ne se soucient-ils que de la pitié, mais leur pitié (je regrette de le dire) est souvent mensongère. G.K. Chesterton
Jésus a tout fichu par terre. Le Désaxé (Les braves gens ne courent pas les rues, Flannery O’Connor)
L’organisateur doit se faire schizophrène, politiquement parlant, afin de ne pas se laisser prendre totalement au jeu. (…) Seule une personne organisée peut à la fois se diviser et rester unifiée. (…) La trame de toutes ces qualités souhaitées chez un organisateur est un ego très fort, très solide. L’ego est la certitude absolue qu’a l’organisateur de pouvoir faire ce qu’il pense devoir faire et de réussir dans la tâche qu’il a entreprise. Un organisateur doit accepter sans crainte, ni anxiété, que les chances ne soient jamais de son bord. Le moi de l’organizer est plus fort et plus monumental que le moi du leader. Le leader est poussé par un désir pour le pouvoir, tandis que l’organizer est poussé par un désir de créer. L’organizer essaie dans un sens profond d’atteindre le plus haut niveau qu’un homme puisse atteindre—créer, être ‘grand créateur,’ jouer à être Dieu. Saul Alinsky
L’Amérique est toujours le tueur numéro 1 dans le monde. . . Nous sommes profondément impliqués dans l’importation de la drogue, l’exportation d’armes et la formation de tueurs professionnels. . . Nous avons bombardé le Cambodge, l’Irak et le Nicaragua, tuant les femmes et les enfants tout en essayant de monter l’opinion publique contre Castro et Khaddafi. . . Nous avons mis Mandela en prison et soutenu la ségrégation pendant 27 ans. Nous croyons en la suprématie blanche et l’infériorité noire et y croyons davantage qu’en Dieu. … Nous avons soutenu le sionisme sans scrupule tout en ignorant les Palestiniens et stigmatisé quiconque le dénonçait comme anti-sémite. . . Nous ne nous inquiétons en rien de la vie humaine si la fin justifie les moyens. . . Nous avons lancé le virus du SIDA. . . Nous ne pouvons maintenir notre niveau de vie qu’en nous assurant que les personnes du tiers monde vivent dans la pauvreté la plus abjecte. Rev. Jeremiah Wright ( janvier 2006)
Je n’ai jamais été musulman. (…) à part mon nom et le fait d’avoir vécu dans une population musulmane pendant quatre ans étant enfant [Indonésie, 1967-1971], je n’ai que très peu de lien avec la religion islamique. Barack Hussein Obama (février 2008)
Mon père était originaire du Kenya, et beaucoup de gens dans son village étaient musulmans. Il ne pratiquait pas l’islam. La vérité est qu’il n’était pas très religieux. Il a rencontré ma mère. Ma mère était une chrétienne originaire du Kansas, et ils se marièrent puis divorcèrent. Je fus élevé par ma mère. Aussi j’ai toujours été chrétien. Le seul lien que j’ai eu avec l’islam est que mon grand-père du côté de mon père venait de ce pays. Mais je n’ai jamais pratiqué l’islam. Pendant un certain temps, j’ai vécu en Indonésie parce que ma mère enseignait là-bas. Et c’est un pays musulman. Et je suis allé à l’école. Mais je ne pratiquais pas. Mais je crois que cela m’a permis de comprendre comment pensaient ces gens, qui partagent en partie ma façon de voir, et cela revient à dire que nous pouvons instaurer de meilleurs rapports avec le Moyen-Orient ; cela contribuerait à nous rendre plus assurés si nous pouvons comprendre comment ils pensent sur certains sujets. Barack Hussein Obama (Oskaloosa, Iowa, décembre 2007)
Les Etats-Unis et le monde occidental doivent apprendre à mieux connaître l’islam. D’ailleurs, si l’on compte le nombre d’Américains musulmans, on voit que les Etats-Unis sont l’un des plus grands pays musulmans de la planète. Barack Hussein Obama (entretien pour Canal +, le 2 juin 2009)
Salamm aleïkoum (…) Comme le dit le Saint Coran, « Crains Dieu et dis toujours la vérité ». (…) Cette conviction s’enracine en partie dans mon vécu. Je suis chrétien, mais mon père était issu d’une famille kényane qui compte des générations de musulmans. Enfant, j’ai passé plusieurs années en Indonésie où j’ai entendu l’appel à la prière (azan) à l’aube et au crépuscule. Jeune homme, j’ai travaillé dans des quartiers de Chicago où j’ai côtoyé beaucoup de gens qui trouvaient la dignité et la paix dans leur foi musulmane. Féru d’histoire, je sais aussi la dette que la civilisation doit à l’islam. C’est l’islam – dans des lieux tels qu’Al-Azhar –, qui a brandi le flambeau du savoir pendant de nombreux siècles et ouvert la voie à la Renaissance et au Siècle des Lumières en Europe. C’est de l’innovation au sein des communautés musulmanes – c’est de l’innovation au sein des communautés musulmanes que nous viennent l’algèbre, le compas et les outils de navigation, notre maîtrise de l’écriture et de l’imprimerie, notre compréhension des mécanismes de propagation des maladies et des moyens de les guérir. La culture islamique nous a donné la majesté des arcs et l’élan des flèches de pierre vers le ciel, l’immortalité de la poésie et l’inspiration de la musique, l’élégance de la calligraphie et la sérénité des lieux de contemplation. Et tout au long de l’histoire, l’islam a donné la preuve, en mots et en actes, des possibilités de la tolérance religieuse et de l’égalité raciale. Je sais aussi que l’islam a de tout temps fait partie de l’histoire de l’Amérique. C’est le Maroc qui fut le premier pays à reconnaître mon pays. En signant le traité de Tripoli en 1796, notre deuxième président, John Adams, nota ceci : « Les États-Unis n’ont aucun caractère hostile aux lois, à la religion ou la tranquillité des musulmans. » Depuis notre fondation, les musulmans américains enrichissent les États-Unis. Ils ont combattu dans nos guerres, servi le gouvernement, pris la défense des droits civils, créé des entreprises, enseigné dans nos universités, brillé dans le domaine des sports, remporté des prix Nobel, construit notre plus haut immeuble et allumé le flambeau olympique. Et, récemment, le premier Américain musulman qui a été élu au Congrès a fait le serment de défendre notre Constitution sur le Coran que l’un de nos Pères fondateurs, Thomas Jefferson, conservait dans sa bibliothèque personnelle. J’ai donc connu l’islam sur trois continents avant de venir dans la région où il a été révélé pour la première fois. Cette expérience guide ma conviction que le partenariat entre l’Amérique et l’islam doit se fonder sur ce qu’est l’islam, et non sur ce qu’il n’est pas, et j’estime qu’il est de mon devoir de président des États-Unis de combattre les stéréotypes négatifs de l’islam où qu’ils se manifestent. (…) bien qu’un Américain d’origine africaine et ayant pour nom Barack Hussein Obama ait pu être élu président a fait couler beaucoup d’encre. (…) En outre, la liberté en Amérique est indissociable de celle de pratiquer sa religion. C’est pour cette raison que chaque État de notre union compte au moins une mosquée et qu’on en dénombre plus de mille deux cents sur notre territoire. C’est pour cette raison que le gouvernement des États-Unis a recours aux tribunaux pour protéger le droit des femmes et des filles à porter le hijab et pour punir ceux qui leur contesteraient ce droit.  (…) Le Saint Coran nous enseigne que quiconque tue un innocent tue l’humanité tout entière, et que quiconque sauve quelqu’un, sauve l’humanité tout entière. La foi enracinée de plus d’un milliard d’habitants de la planète est tellement plus vaste que la haine étroite de quelques-uns. Quand il s’agit de combattre l’extrémisme violent, l’islam ne fait pas partie du problème – il constitue une partie importante de la marche vers la paix. (…) La liberté de religion joue un rôle crucial pour permettre aux gens de vivre en harmonie. Nous devons toujours examiner les façons dont nous la protégeons. Aux États-Unis, par exemple, les musulmans ont plus de mal à s’acquitter de l’obligation religieuse de la zakat étant donné les règles relatives aux dons de bienfaisance. C’est pour cette raison que je suis résolu à oeuvrer avec les musulmans américains pour leur permettre de s’acquitter de la zakat. De même, il importe que les pays occidentaux évitent d’empêcher les musulmans de pratiquer leur religion comme ils le souhaitent, par exemple, en dictant ce qu’une musulmane devrait porter. En un mot, nous ne pouvons pas déguiser l’hostilité envers la religion sous couvert de libéralisme. (…) La sixième question – la sixième question dont je veux parler porte sur les droits des femmes. (Applaudissements) Je sais – je sais, et vous pouvez le voir d’après ce public – que cette question suscite un sain débat. Je rejette l’opinion de certains selon laquelle une femme qui choisit de se couvrir la tête est d’une façon ou d’une autre moins égale, mais j’ai la conviction qu’une femme que l’on prive d’éducation est privée d’égalité. Et ce n’est pas une coïncidence si les pays dans lesquels les femmes reçoivent une bonne éducation connaissent bien plus probablement la prospérité. Je tiens à préciser une chose : les questions relatives à l’égalité des femmes ne sont absolument pas un sujet qui concerne uniquement l’Islam. En Turquie, au Pakistan, au Bangladesh et en Indonésie, nous avons vu des pays à majorité musulmane élire une femme à leur tête, tandis que la lutte pour l’égalité des femmes continue dans beaucoup d’aspects de la vie américaine, et dans les pays du monde entier. Je suis convaincu que nos filles peuvent offrir une contribution à la société tout aussi importante que nos fils et que notre prospérité commune sera favorisée si nous utilisons les talents de toute l’humanité, hommes et femmes. Je ne crois pas que les femmes doivent faire les mêmes choix que les hommes pour assurer leur égalité, et je respecte celles qui choisissent de suivre un rôle traditionnel. Mais cela devrait être leur choix. Barack Hussein Obama (université du Caire, 2009)
L’avenir ne doit pas appartenir à ceux qui calomnient le prophète de l’Islam. Barack Obama (ONU, New York, 26.09.12)
Quand je pense à ce garçon, je pense à mes propres enfants. Si j’avais un fils, il ressemblerait à Trayvon. Barack Hussein Obama (2012)
Quand je regarde toutes ces jeunes filles, c’est moi que je vois. Michelle Obama
Je crois qu’il voulait faire quelque chose de spectaculaire comme Trayvon Martin, il voulait relancer la guerre raciale. Joey Meek (camarade de classe de Ryann Roof)
J’ai besoin de féminisme car j’ai l’intention d’épouser quelqu’un de riche, et ça ne pourra pas se faire si ma femme et moi ne gagnons que 75 centimes pour chaque dollar gagné par un homme. Caitlyn Cannon
Je suis transracialiste. Rachel Dolezal
Je l’ai vu faire… Se transformer en noir, François Durpaire. Je l’ai vu le blanc, s’inventer des ascendants noirs. Et il est touchant. Et il est risible. Et il est merveilleux de voir que s’il est vrai qu’il y a des noirs qui se disent des blancs, il existe aussi des blancs qui s’inventent des destinées nègres. D’ailleurs, je l’ai vu le François Durpaire, chez mon coiffeur, tondre ses cheveux lisses, ses cheveux d’européen pour en faire des vaguelettes qui de loin ressemblent à des tresses africaines. Je l’ai vu, il y a de cela une dizaine d’années, se déguiser pour se faire passer pour un noir. Et le voilà aujourd’hui infiltrant tous les mouvements noirs. Par moment et même souvent, il est le porte parole de la communauté noire auprès des médias. Il parle d’Obama, des USA, le faussaire identitaire, et c’est touchant. (…) Il n’y a que chez nous qu’un blanc grimé peut prétendre à nous représenter et que personne ne moufte. Il n’y a que chez nous qu’on rencontre une tonne de faux professeurs avec des chairs imaginaires mais qui ont la parole dans les institutions françaises. Je crois qu’il n’y a que chez les noirs que ces absurdités sont possibles… (…) Accueillons donc dans la Communauté Noire, François Durpaire, l’homme qui s’est décrété Noir ! C’est mieux que d’accueillir un noir de naissance, car dans le cas d’espèce, il s’agit d’une démarche volontaire, d’un choix de vie ! Calixthe Beyala
Peut-être que chaque cas est singulier, et qu’il faut regarder à l’intérieur de chaque cas ce qu’il signifie. Je donne un cas très concret d’accusation d’appropriation culturelle, celui de Kathryn Bigelow, qui a réalisé le film « Detroit » en 2017 (film sur les grandes émeutes de 1967 des communautés noires contre la ségrégation). La critique qui nous revient au final est celle d’une femme blanche qui ne serait pas en mesure de parler de la cause noire et de la question de la ségrégation raciale. Quand on regarde un peu mieux les critiques à son encontre on constate que Kathryn Bigelow en tant que réalisatrice blanche a eu plus d’accès à des producteurs, à la possibilité de faire son film sur Detroit alors qu’il y a des réalisateurs noirs qui n’ont pas eu la possibilité d’accéder à ces producteurs. On est loin du racisme anti-Blancs, mais la critique est en partie justifiée. (…) Cette question de l’appropriation culturelle est quelque chose qui est typiquement nord-américain à son origine, mais qui, aujourd’hui, avec nos sociétés globalisées, est un débat qui traverse l’ensemble des communautés noires sur toute la planète. Peut-être que la racine de cela, historiquement, c’est le trauma résultant du « black face » (des blancs se griment en noirs, ndlr), qui est une appropriation culturelle violente qui resurgit aujourd’hui à travers un certain nombre d’événements. On se souvient par exemple de la vidéo très malheureuse d’un footballeur français, Griezmann, qui jouait une sorte de basketteur noir-américain en reproduisant le « black face » sans sembler comprendre ce que cela signifiait pour la communauté en question. (…) Il faut savoir si toutes les situations relèvent de l’appropriation culturelle et si un certain nombre de situations ne relèvent pas de l’inverse, c’est-à-dire d’un hommage à la culture noire. Dans le cas de Zach Poitras il est question d’une coupe rasta, reliée au mouvement rastafari qui est un mouvement de fraternité universelle et qui depuis les années 70 et 80 est porté uniformément par des jeunes hommes et femmes noirs mais aussi des blancs qui épousent la culture rastafari. Il est donc difficile de faire une réponse généraliste sur des cas particuliers. Dire qu’il est plus facile pour un jeune homme blanc canadien de porter des dreadlocks que pour un jeune homme noir n’est pas évident non plus. (…) C’est un débat qui traverse les communautés noires et les recherches sont encore balbutiantes sur le sujet. On ne sait pas quelle est l’ampleur de ce débat et de cette critique. Ce qui se dit là est une question qui traverse l’ensemble de nos démocraties et c’est celle de la voix des dominés, bien plus que le dominant en tant que tel. Est-ce qu’il y a une volonté de dénoncer l’appropriation, ou est-ce qu’il y a une volonté de se réapproprier quelque chose ? La critique originelle à l’encontre du jeune humoriste aux dreadlocks vient d’associations noires, et l’on peut se demander si ce n’est pas plutôt une affirmation qu’un refus : « nous sommes la communauté noire et nous avons droit au chapitre ». Je pourrais dire avec un regard critique qu’il y a là certainement une erreur philosophique mais une justesse historique. En 2019, cette histoire d’exclusion de ce jeune homme paraît injuste mais au regard de l’histoire il y a peut être des raisons d’expliquer cette volonté de réappropriation. Dans cette communauté noire beaucoup ne portent pas des rastas, ont des cheveux lisses, se blanchissent la peau, donc le mouvement est beaucoup plus complexe, dans le sens de se réapproprier sa propre culture. Les grands leaders noirs sont absents du mouvement contemporain des droits civiques, comme les grands leaders sont absents de tous les grands mouvements contemporains féministes, politiques. C’est le signe de la révolution numérique, de l’horizontalité de nos sociétés où la verticalité a disparu. Des gens aussi doués que Martin Luther King existent sûrement, mais ils sont noyés dans des hashtags… François Durpaire
Le transracialisme participe de l’ordre racial. Il consiste à revendiquer une autre identité que celle à laquelle on est racialement affiliée. Sauf qu’il y a bien une hiérarchie entre ces races. Être dans une logique transracialiste, c’est chercher à échapper à l’ensemble des discriminations insupportables qui sont associées à l’identité qui nous est imposée. Cela peut se faire de manière physique (se décolorer la peau par exemple), sociale, ou comportementale.(…) Être noir, c’est une construction culturelle. On ne se pense noir et ne devient noir que lors de certaines interactions. Ce n’est pas une identité génétique ça, c’est quelque chose qui s’inscrit dans les rapports sociaux. C’est pourquoi il est souvent courant que des enfants adoptés, qui ont la peau noire, et élevés par des parents blancs, se considèrent comme blancs. Et ils ont raison, ce qui compte c’est le lien affectif qui va déterminer leur manière de s’identifier. Sauf qu’aux Etats-Unis, ces personnes sont vites rattrapées par la réalité des rapports sociaux racialisés. Et elles sont obligées de devenir noires à un moment ou à un autre. (…) C’est un cas que l’on n’avait jamais vu auparavant. Ici, la jeune femme blanche, veut être noire. Jusqu’ici, les schémas transracialistes se posaient dans le sens d’une personne de couleur noire qui désirait devenir blanche. Rachel Dolezal a été élevée dans une famille blanche avec des frères adoptés à la peau noire. On peut donc penser qu’elle a voulu ressembler à ce schéma familial. (…) Justement, elle a fini par occuper une position de pouvoir dans une organisation importante qui défend les droits des gens de couleur aux Etats-Unis (l’Association nationale pour la promotion des gens de couleur, NAACP, Ndlr.). Et malgré son histoire familiale, elle ne peut pas annuler l’asymétrie profonde dans laquelle se jouent les enjeux du transracialisme. En plus, elle donne des arguments assez flous. On ne comprend pas bien pourquoi elle a fait ça si ce n’est qu’elle est dans une identification très forte à une certaine cause politique. Mais il faut comprendre que l’on n’a pas besoin d’être noire pour défendre la cause de ces personnes qui peuvent être victimes de racisme.(…) En France, on est convaincu que la race n’existe pas. Nous sommes pourtant dans des rapports sociaux racialisés. Malgré ça, personne ne peut penser ces rapports en termes racialistes. Et aux Etats-Unis, les identités racialisées sont reconnues comme telles. On parle de “races”, de “relations raciales”, et de problèmes liés aux “identités raciales”. On en parle aussi parce que ces difficultés conduisent à des assassinats et à des bavures policières contre les noirs. Margot Rousseau
Rachel Dolezal peut-elle prétendre être Noire sans avoir fait l’expérience socio-historique en lien avec les inégalités systémiques et historiquement ancrées dans le vécu des membres de la communauté afro-américaine ? Une femme noire expérimente très jeune une double oppression de race et de genre laquelle s’inscrit dans un processus de développement psychologique, moral, intellectuel et socio-économique. (…) Force est de reconnaître que même si la volonté peut être présente, il est impossible de devenir une femme noire alors que l’on est dans la vingtaine. Aussi, Dolezal est blanche au sens de son identité biologique et par le fait qu’elle a grandi, dans une famille WASP sans être en mesure de faire, dès son plus jeune âge, les mêmes expériences que les autres femmes noires de sa génération. En ce sens, Dolezal n’a pu ressentir certains des enjeux qui concourent à vouloir aspirer à cette sororité si fondamentale dans la constitution de l’identité culturelle, politique et économique si chère aux militantes afro-américaines. Cependant, que la professeure Dolezal puisse se sentir plus noire que blanche ne saurait en soi être un problème, pas plus que son mensonge n’est un crime. La difficulté réside plutôt dans ce à que quoi il a contribué c’est-à-dire à la construction d’une carrière universitaire et militante au cœur même des bastions généralement réservés aux Noirs. En tant que Professeure d’Études africaines et membres du NAACP, Dolezal est au fait de ces débats. Elle sait que dans les mouvements de luttes pour le droit des minorités culturelles ou de genre, les postes les plus avancés sont généralement réservés aux personnes qui en sont issues. C’est pourquoi comme l’a écrit un éditorialiste du Washington Post :  » Qu’une personne blanche dirige une section de la NAACP ne pose pas de problème non plus. (…) Mais qu’une personne blanche prétende être noire et dirige une section de la NAACP, c’est très problématique ». (…) Au-delà de la question identitaire, la présidence par Rachel Dolezal d’une section locale du NAACP pose donc plus fondamentalement la question de l’usurpation d’une position d’autorité et celle d’une possible récupération de la lutte par le groupe dominant. Par son mensonge, Dolezal a-t-elle contribué, bien malgré elle, au maintien de la domination blanche dans un des bastions du militantisme noir ? Comme le soulignent ses propres parents, n’aurait-elle pas été plus utile à la cause, qu’elle prétendait défendre, si elle avait milité sous couvert de sa véritable identité biologique ? Ces interrogations seront encore longtemps débattues. Agnès Berthelot Raffard
De Conchita Wurst à Laverne Cox, 2014 semble en effet bien partie pour être l’année des transgenres. “Il y a un déplacement très net des figures trans de leur lieu traditionnel l’underground, à une culture plus mainstream, note le docteur en sociologie et spécialiste de la transidentité Arnaud Alessandrin. Que ce soit dans la fiction américaine, le rap ou la mode, avec des mannequins comme Andrej Pejic ou Lea T, on remarque que de nouvelles personnalités trans apparaissent chaque mois et replacent leurs enjeux dans l’espace public.” Pour expliquer cette émergence médiatique, la plupart des observateurs évoquent la convergence de plusieurs phénomènes, au premier rang desquels l’influence exercée par les mouvements sociaux protransgenres. “Depuis quelques années, il y a eu dans toutes les grandes villes américaines une augmentation du nombre d’actions menées en faveur des trans, avec l’apparition de nouvelles formes de militantisme, explique Reina Gossett, codirectrice de l’association new-yorkaise Sylvia Rivera Law Project, qui vient en aide aux trans victimes de violences. Les médias ne pouvaient pas rester hermétiques à cette pression sociale, ils ont fini par entendre nos revendications. » Un autre facteur pourrait justifier cette nouvelle vague de visibilité trans : internet. “Avant, les transidentités se vivaient de manière confidentielle ou alors en groupe restreint, rappelle Aren Z. Aizura. L’usage des réseaux sociaux a complètement modifié le rapport des trans à leur identité ; il a permis le partage d’expériences et ainsi la banalisation de la parole, notamment chez les plus jeunes.” Ts Madison peut en témoigner. Cette transgenre male to female, actrice porno à son propre compte, s’est fait connaître début 2014 sur le réseau social Vine en publiant des vidéos de six secondes dans lesquelles elle s’affichait nue, dansant ou courant dans son jardin la bite à l’air. Devenues virales en quelques jours, les vidéos ont été parodiées et partagées par des flots d’internautes de tous âges, contribuant selon Ts Madison à “promouvoir la tolérance envers les trans”. “Internet permet de lever tous les complexes, de se montrer sans crainte, nous confie-t-elle depuis sa villa d’Atlanta. Depuis que j’ai publié mes vidéos, des gamines m’envoient des messages pour me remercier, d’autres m’interrogent sur ma transition, sur la chirurgie. Elles parlent librement. Il y a eu bien sûr des tas d’insultes, des trucs haineux, mais la plupart des gens comprennent le message. Ils ont compris ce qu’il y a de révolutionnaire à être une femme et à agiter sa bite devant une caméra.” (…) Surtout, ils se sont échappés des débats médicaux et sexuels auxquels ils ont longtemps été réduits. “Les trans ne veulent plus entendre parler de sexualité, ils se sont complètement désolidarisés de ces sujets, assure Arnaud Alessandrin. Lorsque Conchita prend la parole à l’Eurovision, elle ne pose que la question du droit : ai-je le droit d’être intégrée à une société sans être assimilée à tous ses codes ? Ai-je le droit à une vie normale sans pour autant me conformer à toutes ses normes binaires ?” Quand on interroge Ts Madison, jamais la question du sexe ne revient vraiment dans la discussion : elle dit qu’elle est simplement une femme avec une bite (elle en a même commercialisé un T-shirt : “She’s got a dick”) et n’aspire qu’à avoir les mêmes droits fondamentaux que les autres. “Les débats se sont recentrés sur des thématiques d’ordre politique ou social, résume Maxime Foerster. C’est d’ailleurs tout le sens du sous-titre de la couverture de Time, qui dit que les transgenres sont ‘la nouvelle frontière des droits civiques américains’. Maintenant que l’homosexualité est quasiment soluble dans la société hétéronormée et bourgeoise, on commence à se poser la question du droit pour les trans.” Dans la réalité, pourtant, ces questions de droits semblent loin d’être résolues. Car si les transgenres ont accédé à la visibilité, notamment aux Etats-Unis, ils tardent encore à faire leur apparition dans les agendas politiques. (…) C’est là le paradoxe de cette récente exposition médiatique, qu’Arnaud Alessandrin résume ainsi : “Une certaine frange de la transidentité, liée à la scène et aux artistes, commence à être visible. Mais le trans reste invisible dans l’espace politique. Et rien ne dit que l’arrivée de figures transgenres populaires permettra d’aller vers plus d’acceptation.” Les Inrocks
Demi Lovato, the latest to identify as non-binary and want to be called “they.” To the nation, I say this: Wake up! We are losing touch with reality and engaging in dangerous semantic and ideological games. Worse still, we are not providing the real help that struggling people need. (…) if perception is substituted for reality, there is no end to the social madness that follows. You do not just have a man being named Woman of the Year. You do not just have a white woman who identifies as black. You have a father of 7 who identifies as a 6-year-old girl. You have a man who identifies as a dog named “Boomer.” You have a young lady who believes she is a cat trapped in a woman’s body. You have a man who has his ears removed because he identifies as a parrot. And you have a man who changed his identity to female but who has now had “her ears and nose REMOVED to transform into a ‘dragon lady’ with scales, a forked tongue and a horned skull.” But why not? More power to him/her/it! If that’s what he/she/it perceives himself/herself/itself to be, why not? To ask once more: why not? And how can there be any possible limit as to where this goes? There cannot. America, wake up. We are descending rapidly into cultural madness. That’s why the Urban Dictionary carries an entry on the term “transvaxxite,” defined as, “A person who identifies as having been vaccinated even though they haven’t actually been vaccinated.” And the Dictionary provides this example of actual usage: “Although I was not born fully vaccinated, I identify as vaccinated. Or in other words I am a transvaxxite. Michael Brown
A (…) tenet of socially constructed racism and sexism is “white privilege,” which usually translates into “white male privilege,” given that women such as Hillary Clinton and Elizabeth Warren are rarely accused of being multimillionaire white elite females who won a leg up by virtue of their skin color. But if whiteness ipso facto earns one advantages over the non-white, why in the world do some elite whites choose to reconstruct their identities as non-white? Would Elizabeth Warren really have become a Harvard law professor had she not, during her long years of academic ascent, identified herself (at least privately, on universities’ pedigree forms) as a Native American? Ward Churchill, with his beads and Indian get-up, won a university career that otherwise might have been scuttled by his mediocrity, his pathological untruths, and his aberrant behavior. Why would the current head of the NAACP in Spokane, Wash., a white middle-class woman named Rachel Dolezal, go to the trouble of faking a genealogy, using skin cosmetics and hair styling, and constructing false racist enemies to ensure that she was accepted as a victimized black woman? The obvious inference is that Ms. Dolezal assumed that being a liberal black woman brought with it career opportunities in activist groups and academia otherwise beyond her reach as a middle-class white female of so-so talent. Critics will object that we are really arguing in class terms as well as racial terms: Privileged whites play on society’s innate prejudices against darker-skinned minorities by positioning themselves as light-skinned, elite people of color. (…) Suffice it to say that in our increasingly intermarried, assimilated, and integrated culture, it is often hard to ascertain someone’s exact race or ethnicity. That confusion allows identity to be massaged and reinvented. That said, it is also generally felt among elites that feigning minority status earns career advantages that outweigh the downside of being identified as non-white in the popular culture. That was certainly my impression as a professor for over 20 years in the California State University system watching dozens of upper-class Latin Americans — largely white male Argentinians, Chileans, and Brazilians — and Spaniards flock to American academia, add accents to their names, trill their R’s, and feign ethnic solidarity with their students who were of Oaxacan and Native American backgrounds. Poor George Zimmerman. His last name stereotyped him as some sort of Germanic gun nut. But had he just ethnicized his maternal half-Afro Peruvian identity and reemerged as Jorgé Mesa, Zimmerman would have largely escaped charges of racism. He should have taken a cue from Barack Obama, who sometime in his late teens at Occidental College discovered that the exotic nomenclature of Barack Obama radiated a minority edge, in a way that the name of his alter ego, Barry Soetoro, apparently never quite had. If, in America’s racist past, majority culture once jealously protected its white privilege by one-drop-of-blood racial distinctions, postmodern America has now come full circle and done the same in reverse — because the construction of minority identity, in all its varying degrees, is easily possible and, in ironic fashion, now brings with it particular elite career advantages. (…) The CEOs in the industries of sexism and classism are for the most part wealthy and privileged — and their targets are usually of the middle class. When Michelle Obama labors to remind her young African-American audiences of all the stares and second looks she imagines she still receives as First Lady, she is reconstructing a racial identity to balance the enormous privilege she enjoys as a jumbo-jet-setting grandee who junkets to the world’s toniest resorts with regularity. The 2016 version of Hillary Clinton is, at least for a few months, a feminist populist, and has become so merely by mouthing a few banal talking points. Apparently the downside for Hillary of being a woman is not trumped by the facts of being a multimillionaire insider and former secretary of state, wife to a multimillionaire ex-president, mother of a multimillionaire, and mother-in-law to a multimillionaire hedge-fund director. Hillary can become a perpetual constructed victim, denied the good life that is enjoyed by a white male bus driver in Bakersfield making $40,000 a year. (…) sexism and racism are abstractions of the liberal elite that rarely translate into praxis. Barack Obama could have done symbolic wonders for the public schools by taking his kids out of Sidwell Friends and putting them into the D.C. school system. Elizabeth Warren could have cemented her feminist populist fides by vowing to stop flipping houses. Feminist Bill Clinton could have renounced all affairs with female subordinates. Eric Holder could have vowed never to use government jets to take his kids to horse races. In solidarity with co-eds struggling with student loans, Hillary Clinton could have promised to limit her university speaking fees to a thousand dollars per minute rather than the ten thousand dollars for each 60 seconds of chatting that she actually gets, and she might have prefaced her public attacks on hedge funds by dressing down her son-in-law. Surely the lords of Silicon Valley might have promised to keep their kids in the public schools, and funded scholarships to allow minorities to flood Sacred Heart and the Menlo School. Victor Davis Hanson
Reading Oren’s new memoir Ally, it’s clear that Israel has been on her own since the day Obama took office (…) For the last six and a half years the president of the United States has treated the home of the Jewish people more like a rogue nation standing in the way of peace than a longtime democratic ally. Now the alliance is “in tatters.” (…) “The Obama administration was problematic because of its worldview: Unprecedented support for the Palestinians,” he told Israeli journalist David Horovitz, another centrist, this week. Obama and his lieutenants, including Hillary Clinton, have often behaved as if the Palestinians don’t exist – Palestinian actions, corruption, incitement, campaigns of de-legitimization and terrorism are overlooked, excused, accommodated. Oren tells the story of what happened when Vice President Joe Biden asked Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas to “look him in the eye and promise that he could make peace with Israel.” Abbas looked away. The White House did nothing. It was Israel that had to agree to a settlement freeze before the latest doomed attempt at peace negotiations; Israel that had to apologize for possible “mistakes” against the Gaza flotilla; Israel that had to close Ben Gurion airport; Israel that faced a “reevaluation” of her diplomatic status after Bibi’s reelection. Obama addresses the bulk of his lectures on good governance and democracy and humanitarianism not to the gang that runs the West Bank, nor to the terrorists who rule Gaza, but to Israel. During last year’s Gaza war, the State Department was “appalled” by civilian casualties inflated and trumpeted by Hamas propagandists. Oren points out that in the past the president had used the word “appalling” to describe the atrocities of Moammar Qaddafi. Qaddafi and the IDF – two peas in a pod, according to this White House. (…) America, he says, provided a “Diplomatic Iron Dome” that shielded Israel from anti-Semites in Europe, at the U.N., and abroad whose goal is to delegitimize the Jewish State and undermine her economically. This rhetorical missile shield is slowly being retracted. The administration threatens not to veto anti-Israel U.N. initiatives, Europe is aligning with the Boycott Divestment Sanctions (BDS) movement, and anti-Israel activism festers on U.S. campuses. Obama’s unending criticism of Israel, and background quotes calling Israel’s prime minister a “chicken-shit” and a “coward,” provide an opening for radicals to go even further. (…)  Fixated on striking a deal, Obama is preparing to concede the longstanding demand that Iran disclose its past nuclear-weapons research, is ignoring the issue of Iranian missile development, and is standing idle as Iran props up Assad, arms Hezbollah with rockets, and promotes sectarianism in Iraq. Israel is hemmed in – by Iranian proxies and Sunni militants on its borders, by the threat of a third intifada on the West Bank, by global nongovernmental organizations, by a condescending, flippant, and bullying U.S. president whose default emotional state is pique. Matthew Continetti
In addition to its academic and international affairs origins, Obama’s attitudes toward Islam clearly stem from his personal interactions with Muslims. These were described in depth in his candid memoir, Dreams from My Father , published 13 years before his election as president. Obama wrote passionately of the Kenyan villages where, after many years of dislocation, he felt most at home and of his childhood experiences in Indonesia. I could imagine how a child raised by a Christian mother might see himself as a natural bridge between her two Muslim husbands. I could also speculate how that child’s abandonment by those men could lead him, many years later, to seek acceptance by their co-religionists. Yet, tragically perhaps, Obama — and his outreach to the Muslim world — would not be accepted. With the outbreak of the Arab Spring, the vision of a United States at peace with the Muslim Middle East was supplanted by a patchwork of policies — military intervention in Libya, aerial bombing in Iraq, indifference to Syria, and entanglement with Egypt. Drone strikes, many of them personally approved by the president, killed hundreds of terrorists, but also untold numbers of civilians. Indeed, the killing of a Muslim — Osama bin Laden — rather than reconciling with one, remains one of Obama’s most memorable achievements. Diplomatically, too, Obama’s outreach to Muslims was largely rebuffed. During his term in office, support for America among the peoples of the Middle East — and especially among Turks and Palestinians — reached an all-time nadir . Back in 2007, President Bush succeeded in convening Israeli and Arab leaders, together with the representatives of some 40 states, at the Annapolis peace conference. In May 2015, Obama had difficulty convincing several Arab leaders to attend a Camp David summit on the Iranian issue. The president who pledged to bring Arabs and Israelis together ultimately did so not through peace, but out of their common anxiety over his support for the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and his determination to reach a nuclear accord with Iran. Only Iran, in fact, still holds out the promise of sustaining Obama’s initial hopes for a fresh start with Muslims. “[I]f we were able to get Iran to operate in a responsible fashion,” he told the New Yorker, “you could see an equilibrium developing between [it and] Sunni … Gulf states.” The assumption that a nuclear deal with Iran will render it “a very successful regional power” capable of healing, rather than inflaming, historic schisms remained central to Obama’s thinking. That assumption was scarcely shared by Sunni Muslims, many of whom watched with deep concern at what they perceived as an emerging U.S.-Iranian alliance. Six years after offering to “extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist,” President Obama has seen that hand repeatedly shunned by Muslims. His speeches no longer recall his Muslim family members, and only his detractors now mention his middle name. And yet, to a remarkable extent, his policies remain unchanged. He still argues forcibly for the right of Muslim women to wear — rather than refuse to wear — the veil and insists on calling “violent extremists” those who kill in Islam’s name. “All of us have a responsibility to refute the notion that groups like ISIL somehow represent Islam,” he declared in February, using an acronym for the Islamic State. The term “Muslim world” is still part of his vocabulary. Historians will likely look back at Obama’s policy toward Islam with a combination of curiosity and incredulousness. While some may credit the president for his good intentions, others might fault him for being naïve and detached from a complex and increasingly lethal reality. For the Middle East continues to fracture and pose multiple threats to America and its allies. Even if he succeeds in concluding a nuclear deal with Iran, the expansion of the Islamic State and other jihadi movements will underscore the failure of Obama’s outreach to Muslims. The need to engage them — militarily, culturally, philanthropically, and even theologically — will meanwhile mount. The president’s successor, whether Democrat or Republican, will have to grapple with that reality from the moment she or he enters the White House. The first decision should be to recognize that those who kill in Islam’s name are not mere violent extremists but fanatics driven by a specific religion’s zeal. And their victims are anything but random. Michael Oren

Après le mariage, le genre, l’utérus et la race, l’orientation musulmane pour tous !

Rappel incessant de ses racines familiales et de son enfance passée dans des pays musulmans, amitiés de 20 ans entre le révérend Jeremiah Wright et l’universitaire palestino-américain Edward Saïd avec les pires dénonciateurs de l’Amérique, hommages appuyés aux apports de la culture musulmane, appels répétés à la coopération avec le Monde dit musulman, soutien fidèle aux frères musulmans égyptiens, refus farouche de prononcer même l’origine religieuse de ceux qui appellent au djihad contre son propre pays, volonté d’accord à tout prix avec les premiers commanditaires du terrorisme mondial pour leur quête de l’arme nucléaire, absences remarquées à la Marche parisienne du 11 janvier comme au 70e anniversaire de la libération d’Auschwitz, critique systématique de la politique comme des dirigeants israéliens, évocation permanente des péchés contre l’islam de son prédécesseur et de son propre pays, défense du voile islamique, dénonciation de tous ceux qui insultent l’islam, hyper-discrétion dans sa politique d’élimination ciblée des djihadistes …

En ces temps étranges …

Où, après en avoir bien attisé les flammes, le pompier-pyromane de la Maison Blanche qui, entre un 9 trous de golf et une élimination ciblée par drone et après 20 ans de sermons du révérend Jeremiah Wright, se prenait pour le père de Trayvon Martin dénonce un véritable acte de terrorisme  racial

Et où, après avoir soutenu avec le succès que l’on sait la cause des écolières nigérianes enlevées par Boko Haram, la femme du dudit premier président postracial vient elle aussi défendre, entre tasse de thé princière et shopping jet-set, la cause des jeunes filles voilées

Où,  pour lancer la nouvelle émission de télé-réalité d’un ancien champion olympique transgenre, nos médias nous présente la transidentité comme la « dernière frontière des droits civiques »  …

Où la citation « géniale » d’une lycéenne lesbienne affichant son rêve de faire un mariage riche mais bien sûr de même sexe lui vaut l’admiration des internautes …

Pendant que nos ambassades servent à la propagande de la cause homosexuelle et qu’après l’histoire (ou les noms d’oiseaux: neuf mois de prison ferme, excusez du peu, pour avoir comparé une ministre à un primate !), c’est désormais l’origine de la vie qui se décide dans les prétoires ou au vote majoritaire

Comment ne pas voir …

Outre le quinquagénaire-petite fille de six ans, l’homme-chien, la femme-chat, l’homme-perroquet, le trans-dragon, la femme-non binaire aux pronoms neutres, les faux vaccinés dits « transvaxxites » …

Avec l’aveu forcé la semaine dernière …

De cette transracialiste professeur d’études afro-américaines et présidente de la NAACP de l’état de Washington …

Qui, par hyper-identification à la cause, s’était littéralement inventée une origine noire, agressions racistes comprises, pendant 20 ans …

Une nouvelle illustration de ce « monde moderne rempli d’idées chrétiennes devenues folles » prophétisé par Chesterton dès le début du siècle dernier ?

Mais surtout comment ne pas comprendre enfin …

Avec la magistrale démonstration de l’ancien ambassadeur israélien aux Etats-Unis Michael Oren …

La jusqu’ici déroutante politique étrangère du premier président américain… transmusulman ?

How Obama Opened His Heart to the ‘Muslim World’ And got it stomped on. Israel’s former ambassador to the United States on the president’s naiveté as peacemaker, blinders to terrorism, and alienation of allies. Michael Oren Foreign policy June 19, 2015

Days after jihadi gunmen slaughtered 11 staffers of the Charlie Hebdo magazine and a policeman on January 7, hundreds of thousands of French people marched in solidarity against Islamic radicalism. Forty-four world leaders joined them, but not President Barack Obama. Neither did his attorney general at the time, Eric Holder, or Homeland Security Deputy Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, both of whom were in Paris that day. Other terrorists went on to murder four French Jews in a kosher market that they deliberately targeted. Yet Obama described the killers as “vicious zealots who … randomly shoot a bunch of folks in a deli.”

Pressed about the absence of a high-ranking American official at the Paris march, the White House responded by convening a long-delayed convention on “countering violent extremism.” And when reminded that one of the gunmen boasted that he intended to kill Jews, presidential Press Secretary Josh Earnest explained that the victims died “not because of who they were, but because of where they randomly happened to be.”

Obama’s boycotting of the memorial in Paris, like his refusal to acknowledge the identity of the perpetrators, the victims, or even the location of the market massacre, provides a broad window into his thinking on Islam and the Middle East. Simply put: The president could not participate in a protest against Muslim radicals whose motivations he sees as a distortion, rather than a radical interpretation, of Islam. And if there are no terrorists spurred by Islam, there can be no purposely selected Jewish shop or intended Jewish victims, only a deli and randomly present folks.

Understanding Obama’s worldview was crucial to my job as Israel’s ambassador to the United States. Right after entering office in June 2009, I devoted months to studying the new president, poring over his speeches, interviews, press releases, and memoirs, and meeting with many of his friends and supporters. The purpose of this self-taught course — Obama 101, I called it — was to get to the point where the president could no longer surprise me. And over the next four years I rarely was, especially on Muslim and Middle Eastern issues.

“To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward based on mutual interest and mutual respect,” Obama declared in his first inaugural address. The underlying assumption was that America’s previous relations with Muslims were characterized by dissention and contempt. More significant, though, was the president’s use of the term “Muslim world,” a rough translation of the Arabic ummah. A concept developed by classical Islam, ummah refers to a community of believers that transcends borders, cultures, and nationalities. Obama not only believed that such a community existed but that he could address and accommodate it.

The novelty of this approach was surpassed only by Obama’s claim that he, personally, represented the bridge between this Muslim world and the West. Throughout the presidential campaign, he repeatedly referred to his Muslim family members, his earlier ties to Indonesia and the Muslim villages of Kenya, and his Arabic first and middle names. Surveys taken shortly after his election indicated that nearly a quarter of Americans thought their president was a Muslim.

This did not deter him from actively pursuing his bridging role. Reconciling with the Muslim world was the theme of the president’s first television interview — with Dubai’s Al Arabiya — and his first speech abroad. “The United States is not, and will never be, at war with Islam,” he told the Turkish Parliament in April 2009. “America’s relationship with the Muslim community … cannot, and will not, just be based upon opposition to terrorism.… We seek broader engagement based on mutual interest and mutual respect. We will convey our deep appreciation for the Islamic faith.” But the fullest exposition of Obama’s attitude toward Islam, and his personal role in assuaging its adherents, came three months later in Cairo.

Billed by the White House as “President Obama Speaks to the Muslim World,” the speech was delivered to a hall of carefully selected Egyptian students. But the message was not aimed at them or even at the people of Egypt, but rather at all Muslims. “America and Islam are not exclusive,” the president determined. “[They] share … common principles — principles of justice and progress, tolerance, and the dignity of all human beings.”

With multiple quotes from the Quran — each enthusiastically applauded — the president praised Islam’s accomplishments and listed colonialism, the Cold War, and modernity among the reasons for friction between Muslims and the West.

With multiple quotes from the Quran — each enthusiastically applauded — the president praised Islam’s accomplishments and listed colonialism, the Cold War, and modernity among the reasons for friction between Muslims and the West. “Violent extremists have exploited these tensions in a small but potent minority of Muslims,” he explained, in the only reference to the religious motivation of most terrorists. And he again cited his personal ties with Islam which, he said, “I have known Islam on three continents before coming to the region where it was first revealed.”

These pronouncements presaged what was, in fact, a profound recasting of U.S. policy. While reiterating America’s support for Israel’s security, Obama stridently criticized its settlement policy in the West Bank and endorsed the Palestinian claim to statehood. He also recognized Iran’s right to enrich uranium for peaceful purposes, upheld the principle of nonproliferation, and rejected former President George W. Bush’s policy of promoting American-style democracy in the Middle East. “No single nation should pick and choose which nations hold nuclear weapons,” he said. “No system of government can or should be imposed upon one nation by any other.” In essence, Obama offered a new deal in which the United States would respect popularly chosen Muslim leaders who were authentically rooted in their traditions and willing to engage with the West.

The Cairo speech was revolutionary. In the past, Western leaders had addressed the followers of Islam — Napoleon in invading Egypt in 1798 and Kaiser Wilhelm II while visiting Damascus a century later — but never before had an American president. Indeed, no president had ever spoken to adherents of a world faith, whether Catholics or Buddhists, and in a city they traditionally venerated. More significantly, the Cairo speech, twice as long as his inaugural address, served as the foundational document of Obama’s policy toward Muslims.

Whenever Israeli leaders were perplexed by the administration’s decision to restore diplomatic ties with Syria — severed by Bush after the assassination of Lebanese president Rafik Hariri — or its early outreach to Libya and Iran, I would always refer them to that text. When policymakers back home failed to understand why Obama stood by Turkish strongman Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who imprisoned journalists and backed Islamic radicals, or Mohamed Morsi, a leading member of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and briefly its president, I would invariably say: “Go back to the speech.” Erdogan and Morsi were both devout Muslims, democratically elected, and accepting of Obama’s outstretched hand. So, too, was Hassan Rouhani, who became Obama’s partner in seeking a negotiated settlement of the Iranian nuclear dispute.

How did the president arrive at his unique approach to Islam? The question became central to my research for Obama 101. One answer lies in the universities in which he studied and taught — Columbia, Harvard, and the University of Chicago — and where such ideas were long popular. Many of them could be traced to Orientalism, Edward Said’s scathing critique of Middle East studies, and subsequent articles in which he insisted that all scholars of the region be “genuinely engaged and sympathetic … to the Islamic world.” Published in 1978, Orientalism became the single most influential book in American humanities. As a visiting lecturer in the United States starting in the 1980s, I saw how Said’s work influenced not only Middle East studies but became a mainstay of syllabi for courses ranging from French colonial literature to Italian-African history. The notion that Islam was a uniform, universal entity with which the West must peacefully engage became widespread on American campuses and eventually penetrated the policymaking community. One of the primary texts in my Obama 101 course was the 2008 monograph, “Strategic Leadership: Framework for a 21st Century National Security Strategy,” written by foreign-relations experts, many of whom would soon hold senior positions in the new administration. While striving to place its relations with the Middle East on a new basis, the authors advised, America must seek “improved relations with more moderate elements of political Islam” and adapt “a narrative of pride in the achievements of Islam.”

In addition to its academic and international affairs origins, Obama’s attitudes toward Islam clearly stem from his personal interactions with Muslims. These were described in depth in his candid memoir, Dreams from My Father, published 13 years before his election as president. Obama wrote passionately of the Kenyan villages where, after many years of dislocation, he felt most at home and of his childhood experiences in Indonesia. I could imagine how a child raised by a Christian mother might see himself as a natural bridge between her two Muslim husbands. I could also speculate how that child’s abandonment by those men could lead him, many years later, to seek acceptance by their co-religionists.

Yet, tragically perhaps, Obama — and his outreach to the Muslim world — would not be accepted. With the outbreak of the Arab Spring, the vision of a United States at peace with the Muslim Middle East was supplanted by a patchwork of policies — military intervention in Libya, aerial bombing in Iraq, indifference to Syria, and entanglement with Egypt. Drone strikes, many of them personally approved by the president, killed hundreds of terrorists, but also untold numbers of civilians. Indeed, the killing of a Muslim — Osama bin Laden — rather than reconciling with one, remains one of Obama’s most memorable achievements.

Diplomatically, too, Obama’s outreach to Muslims was largely rebuffed. During his term in office, support for America among the peoples of the Middle East — and especially among Turks and Palestinians — reached an all-time nadir. Back in 2007, President Bush succeeded in convening Israeli and Arab leaders, together with the representatives of some 40 states, at the Annapolis peace conference. In May 2015, Obama had difficulty convincing several Arab leaders to attend a Camp David summit on the Iranian issue. The president who pledged to bring Arabs and Israelis together ultimately did so not through peace, but out of their common anxiety over his support for the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and his determination to reach a nuclear accord with Iran.

Only Iran, in fact, still holds out the promise of sustaining Obama’s initial hopes for a fresh start with Muslims. “[I]f we were able to get Iran to operate in a responsible fashion,” he told the New Yorker, “you could see an equilibrium developing between [it and] Sunni … Gulf states.” The assumption that a nuclear deal with Iran will render it “a very successful regional power” capable of healing, rather than inflaming, historic schisms remained central to Obama’s thinking. That assumption was scarcely shared by Sunni Muslims, many of whom watched with deep concern at what they perceived as an emerging U.S.-Iranian alliance.

Six years after offering to “extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist,” President Obama has seen that hand repeatedly shunned by Muslims. His speeches no longer recall his Muslim family members, and only his detractors now mention his middle name. And yet, to a remarkable extent, his policies remain unchanged. He still argues forcibly for the right of Muslim women to wear — rather than refuse to wear — the veil and insists on calling “violent extremists” those who kill in Islam’s name. “All of us have a responsibility to refute the notion that groups like ISIL somehow represent Islam,” he declared in February, using an acronym for the Islamic State. The term “Muslim world” is still part of his vocabulary.

Historians will likely look back at Obama’s policy toward Islam with a combination of curiosity and incredulousness. While some may credit the president for his good intentions, others might fault him for being naïve and detached from a complex and increasingly lethal reality. For the Middle East continues to fracture and pose multiple threats to America and its allies. Even if he succeeds in concluding a nuclear deal with Iran, the expansion of the Islamic State and other jihadi movements will underscore the failure of Obama’s outreach to Muslims. The need to engage them — militarily, culturally, philanthropically, and even theologically — will meanwhile mount. The president’s successor, whether Democrat or Republican, will have to grapple with that reality from the moment she or he enters the White House. The first decision should be to recognize that those who kill in Islam’s name are not mere violent extremists but fanatics driven by a specific religion’s zeal. And their victims are anything but random.

Voir aussi:

If Race and Gender Are Social Constructs, Why Not Sexual Orientation?

Maggie Gallagher

National Review

June 19, 2015

By some mysterious providence, three things happened in the past few weeks: Rachel Dolezal was outed as a white woman. Bruce Jenner was lauded as a white woman. And in a New Jersey consumer-fraud case against JONAH (Jews Offering New Alternatives for Healing), the Southern Poverty Law Center has spent millions to deprive any future New Jerseyans of the basic right even to try to change their sexual orientation.

“I felt very isolated with my identity virtually my entire life, that nobody really got it and that I really didn’t have the personal agency to express it,” Dolezal told NBC. “I kind of imagined that maybe at some point [I’d have to] own it publicly and discuss this kind of complexity.”

Nick Adams, a spokesman for GLAAD, went so far as to say that Bruce Jenner never really existed: The world “can now see what Caitlyn Jenner has always known, that she is — and always has been — a woman.”

“This case is about exposing the lie that LGBT people are mentally ill and that they need to be cured,” said David Dinielli, SPLC deputy legal director. “Groups like JONAH should not be allowed to use bogus therapy, based on junk science, to scam LGBT people and their families out of thousands of dollars.”

Together they lay down the new moral rules: Apparently, you can change your racial identity, but if you do, you are lying. You can dress up as a woman on the cover of Vanity Fair, and everyone must believe that you are in fact female. But when it comes to sexual orientation, even the attempt to change your identity or behavior must be viewed as an imposition against the laws of nature, if not nature’s God.

It is ironic, of course, because of these three things, science tells us clearly: race in America is a social construct with a biological basis. Most African Americans are biracial, and it is the old Southern patriarch’s desire to enslave his own children that led to the idea that, say, President Obama is black not white (or, rather, both black and white, being his mother’s child as much as his father’s).

Gender is a real biological category found in every human culture, around which society constructs a great deal.

As for sexual orientation? Even the expert witnesses hired by the Southern Poverty Law Center concede that the origin of sexual desire is a mystery, and that being gay or lesbian (as an identity) is, in fact, a choice.

Here is Chuck LiMandri, founder of the Freedom of Conscience Defense Fund, cross-examining SPLC’s expert witness Lee Beckstead a few days ago:

LiMandri: Would you agree, Doctor, that sexual-orientation identity is a socially constructed label?

Beckstead: The identity is?

LiMandri. Yes.

Beckstead: Definitely.

LiMandri: So whether you call yourself gay or straight, that is a social construct?

Beckstead: It’s how you think about your attractions and how you feel about them and which membership, which groups you feel affinity towards.

Non-heterosexuals experience a variety of identity changes, sometimes toward homosexuality and sometimes away from it. Religious people, Dr. Beckstead agrees, have a right to seek therapeutic help to live their lives according to their religious values. He has even had clients of his go to an LDS-affiliated group similar to JONAH without warning them it was harmful snake oil. He estimates that 30 to 40 percent of his clients, despite same-sex attraction, choose to live as Mormons, whether that is in marriages to the opposite sex or living a celibate life. Surely this is not impossible.

I do not know if JONAH’s success rate in helping religious believers with same-sex attraction lead lives that accord with their religious identity is as high as Beckstead’s. From the transcripts, it appears that the judge in this case forbade anyone to present evidence of efficacy rates. He seems to have mistaken the idea that homosexuality is a “mental illness” with the idea that scientific evidence shows some people can change. Sexual-orientation-change therapy need not be premised on the idea that being gay is a mental disorder at all.

As Dr. Beckstead, the SPLC’s own expert, agreed this week in the courtroom:

LiMandri: When you stated in your article, Doctor: “Findings from the current model also confirm those from Yarhouse and Tan, who investigated the experiences of highly religious individuals who either identified with or disidentified from an LGB identity. As Yarhouse and Tan concluded, the most important aspect for same-sex-attracted, religious individual may not be whether that person pursues a particular path of identity synthesis but whether that person’s identity development process is congruent with her or his valuative framework.” In other words, if I understand it, what is important is whether they can bring their sexual identity into conformity with their religious values?

Beckstead: Congruence is very important for mental health.

Each of the plaintiffs in this case was recruited by the SPLC as part of a campaign to shut down choices for people across the country.

Does truth matter anymore? Each of these plaintiffs signed a consent form acknowledging that many consider sexual-orientation-change efforts controversial and that gay-affirmative therapy is available. They initialed the part where they were told no results could be guaranteed. Dr. Arthur Goldberg, after many years of working with Orthodox Jewish men and others who wish to marry women and live according to religious values, guestimates that only one-third achieve their stated goals completely. The weekend retreats incorporate some bizarre elements, but nothing stranger than the Esalen Institute and other hippie happenings in the 1970s did. If clients were paying money for a nude drum circle to release their chakra energy, nobody would be suing them. It is the attempt to live a Torah-observant or Biblical life that is intolerable to the SPLC and must be shut down.

As Dr. Nicholas Cummings, one of the expert witnesses who is not permitted by the judge to testify, wrote in USA Today:

Gays and lesbians have the right to be affirmed in their homosexuality. That’s why, as a member of the APA Council of Representatives in 1975, I sponsored the resolution by which the APA stated that homosexuality is not a mental disorder and, in 1976, the resolution, which passed the council unanimously, that gays and lesbians should not be discriminated against in the workplace.

But contending that all same-sex attraction is immutable is a distortion of reality. Attempting to characterize all sexual reorientation therapy as “unethical” violates patient choice and gives an outside party a veto over patients’ goals for their own treatment. A political agenda shouldn’t prevent gays and lesbians who desire to change from making their own decisions.

Whatever the situation at an individual clinic, accusing professionals from across the country who provide treatment for fully informed persons seeking to change their sexual orientation of perpetrating a fraud serves only to stigmatize the professional and shame the patient.

Our strange new public morality has to have a place for more than one kind of sexual minority group. Americans who believe it is wrong to have sex outside marriage between a man and a woman have rights, too. —

Maggie Gallagher is a senior fellow at the American Principles Project and chairman of the Freedom of Conscience Defense Fund. She blogs at MaggieGallagher.com.

Voir aussi:

Comment la révolution transgenre s’est mise en marche Les Inrocks

21/09/2014

A l’Eurovision, dans les médias mainstream, sur internet, et même au Vatican, les transgenres sont au cœur de l’actualité en 2014. Raisons et limites de cette récente visibilité.

Le 10 mai 2014, soir de finale. Dans le complexe industriel de la B&W Hallerne à Copenhague, où se tient la 59e édition du concours de l’Eurovision, le futur gagnant s’apprête à monter sur scène. A moins que ce ne soit une gagnante. Voix de diva, cheveux longs, boucles d’oreille, faux cils, robe pailletée et barbe de trois jours : la candidate qui s’époumone sur Rise Like a Phoenix brouille les frontières du genre et envoie un signal de modernité au cœur du télé-crochet le plus ringard du monde. Elle s’appelle Conchita Wurst et va être sacrée, cette nuit, de la plus haute distinction de l’Eurovision, après des années d’insuccès, de petites galères et de chant dans les cabarets de Vienne.

Né il y a vingt-cinq ans sous le nom de Thomas Neuwirth, ce travesti hyperglamour, homosexuel et militant du cross dressing, a été choisi pour représenter l’Autriche au prix de nombreuses polémiques alimentées par les mouvements d’extrême droite et par certains membres de la communauté LGBT où son côté show-off ne fait pas l’unanimité. Le soir de sa victoire, celle qui est devenue entretemps l’égérie de Jean Paul Gaultier, pour qui elle a défilé lors de la dernière fashion week, aura fait taire momentanément les débats en dédiant son prix “à tous ceux qui croient à un avenir qui se construira grâce à la paix et à la liberté”, ajoutant que “l’Eurovision est un projet qui célèbre la tolérance, l’acceptation et l’amour”.

Quelques jours plus tard, de l’autre côté de l’Atlantique, un événement similaire allait bouleverser une autre vieille institution médiatique. Dans son édition du 9 juin, Time offrait sa couverture pour la première fois de son histoire à une personnalité transgenre, Laverne Cox. L’actrice trentenaire, révélée par son rôle dans la série de Netflix, Orange Is the New Black, qui raconte le quotidien d’une prison pour femmes, s’affiche en robe de gala à la une de l’hebdomadaire, accompagnée d’un titre à vocation de manifeste: “The transgender tipping point” (“Le point de bascule pour les transgenres”). Sur sa page Facebook, la comédienne commente cette opération médiatique : “Je réalise que tout cela dépasse largement mon propre cas et que nous entrons dans une phase de changement dans l’histoire de notre nation, où il n’est plus acceptable pour les trans de vivre stigmatisés, ridiculisés, criminalisés et méconnus.” Là encore, la couverture de Time a provoqué son lot de polémiques, s’attirant les foudres des commentateurs de la droite dure américaine, mais qu’importe : “La révolution transgenre est en marche”, nous assure Aren Z. Aizura, l’une des figures montantes des recherches sur les théories du genre et corédacteur en chef de la revue The Transgender Studies Reader 2.

“Il y a une prise de conscience dans les médias à propos de la question trans, qui accède enfin à une nouvelle visibilité, annonce-t-il.

Un nouveau sujet mainstream

De Conchita Wurst à Laverne Cox, 2014 semble en effet bien partie pour être l’année des transgenres. “Il y a un déplacement très net des figures trans de leur lieu traditionnel l’underground, à une culture plus mainstream, note le docteur en sociologie et spécialiste de la transidentité Arnaud Alessandrin. Que ce soit dans la fiction américaine, le rap ou la mode, avec des mannequins comme Andrej Pejic ou Lea T, on remarque que de nouvelles personnalités trans apparaissent chaque mois et replacent leurs enjeux dans l’espace public.” Pour expliquer cette émergence médiatique, la plupart des observateurs évoquent la convergence de plusieurs phénomènes, au premier rang desquels l’influence exercée par les mouvements sociaux protransgenres. “Depuis quelques années, il y a eu dans toutes les grandes villes américaines une augmentation du nombre d’actions menées en faveur des trans, avec l’apparition de nouvelles formes de militantisme, explique Reina Gossett, codirectrice de l’association new-yorkaise Sylvia Rivera Law Project, qui vient en aide aux trans victimes de violences. Les médias ne pouvaient pas rester hermétiques à cette pression sociale, ils ont fini par entendre nos revendications.”

Un autre facteur pourrait justifier cette nouvelle vague de visibilité trans : internet. “Avant, les transidentités se vivaient de manière confidentielle ou alors en groupe restreint, rappelle Aren Z. Aizura. L’usage des réseaux sociaux a complètement modifié le rapport des trans à leur identité ; il a permis le partage d’expériences et ainsi la banalisation de la parole, notamment chez les plus jeunes.” Ts Madison peut en témoigner. Cette transgenre male to female, actrice porno à son propre compte, s’est fait connaître début 2014 sur le réseau social Vine en publiant des vidéos de six secondes dans lesquelles elle s’affichait nue, dansant ou courant dans son jardin la bite à l’air. Devenues virales en quelques jours, les vidéos ont été parodiées et partagées par des flots d’internautes de tous âges, contribuant selon Ts Madison à “promouvoir la tolérance envers les trans”.

“Internet permet de lever tous les complexes, de se montrer sans crainte, nous confie-t-elle depuis sa villa d’Atlanta. Depuis que j’ai publié mes vidéos, des gamines m’envoient des messages pour me remercier, d’autres m’interrogent sur ma transition, sur la chirurgie. Elles parlent librement. Il y a eu bien sûr des tas d’insultes, des trucs haineux, mais la plupart des gens comprennent le message. Ils ont compris ce qu’il y a de révolutionnaire à être une femme et à agiter sa bite devant une caméra.”

A l’Eurovision, dans les médias mainstream ou sur le net, les transgenres s’affichent partout depuis quelque temps, et parfois là où on les attend le moins. En avril 2013, un site américain spécialisé dans les news sur le téléchargement, TorrentFreak, avait analysé les fichiers informatiques du Vatican et les résultats furent assez surprenants : on y découvrait que l’Etat de la papauté téléchargeait en boucle des pornos transgenres, avec une préférence pour les films de l’actrice Tiffany Starr, un male to female habitué au X hardcore. “Au départ, j’ai été choquée d’apprendre ça. Il y a quand même une injustice dans le fait que des opposants déclarés aux trans délirent secrètement sur vous”, raconte-t-elle, qui préfère aujourd’hui voir dans cette révélation le premier signe possible d’un changement de mentalité. “Dévoiler les fantasmes est un bon point de départ pour lutter contre les discriminations”, ajoute-t-elle, avant de lancer un clin d’œil : “J’ai d’ailleurs reçu beaucoup de messages de soutien de la part de catholiques.”

L’empowerment des trans

Pour la plupart des observateurs, ce n’est pas tant cette nouvelle visibilité qui compte, mais plutôt les changements de discours sur les transgenres. Avec l’émergence de personnalités comme Laverne Cox apparaissent aussi de nouvelles manières de parler de transidentité, plus libérées et réalistes. “Le vrai point déterminant est qu’il y a un changement de storytelling dans les médias, où on a modifié nos perceptions de la question trans, confirme Vincent Paolo Villano, directeur de la communication de l’une des plus puissantes associations LGBT américaines, le National Center for Transgender Equality. Il y a encore quelques années, les seuls transgenres que vous pouviez voir dans les médias étaient des malades, des victimes de violences, des prostitués. On commence enfin à sortir de ce prisme négatif grâce à des personnes comme Laverne Cox, qui sont des femmes plus indépendantes, qui ont du pouvoir.”

Dédramatisée, la figure des transgenres serait aussi en voie de normalisation dans les médias selon Maxime Foerster, auteur d’une Histoire des transsexuels en France :

“Il y a surtout, dans les pays anglo-saxons, de nouveaux modèles de représentation qui émergent, et qui sont moins dans le domaine de l’exotisme, explique-t-il. Des transgenres femmes d’affaires apparaissent par exemple, des femmes fortunées, qui n’ont rien à voir avec les vieux clichés de chanteuses de cabaret ou de muses d’artistes. Il est encore trop tôt pour en juger, mais il semble que les trans maîtrisent de plus en plus leur image.”

Surtout, ils se sont échappés des débats médicaux et sexuels auxquels ils ont longtemps été réduits. “Les trans ne veulent plus entendre parler de sexualité, ils se sont complètement désolidarisés de ces sujets, assure Arnaud Alessandrin. Lorsque Conchita prend la parole à l’Eurovision, elle ne pose que la question du droit : ai-je le droit d’être intégrée à une société sans être assimilée à tous ses codes ? Ai-je le droit à une vie normale sans pour autant me conformer à toutes ses normes binaires ?” Quand on interroge Ts Madison, jamais la question du sexe ne revient vraiment dans la discussion : elle dit qu’elle est simplement une femme avec une bite (elle en a même commercialisé un T-shirt : “She’s got a dick”) et n’aspire qu’à avoir les mêmes droits fondamentaux que les autres. “Les débats se sont recentrés sur des thématiques d’ordre politique ou social, résume Maxime Foerster. C’est d’ailleurs tout le sens du sous-titre de la couverture de Time, qui dit que les transgenres sont ‘la nouvelle frontière des droits civiques américains’. Maintenant que l’homosexualité est quasiment soluble dans la société hétéronormée et bourgeoise, on commence à se poser la question du droit pour les trans.”

Visibles mais ignorés ?

Dans la réalité, pourtant, ces questions de droits semblent loin d’être résolues. Car si les transgenres ont accédé à la visibilité, notamment aux Etats-Unis, ils tardent encore à faire leur apparition dans les agendas politiques. Depuis son bureau de Brooklyn, Reina Gossett a du mal à s’enthousiasmer pleinement pour ce nouvel engouement des médias.

“Bien sûr que la couverture de Time est un événement important pour nous, mais elle rend encore plus insupportable l’inaction politique, dit-elle. Les transgenres continuent de souffrir de discriminations et je ne suis pas sûre qu’une couverture puisse y changer quelque chose. Par exemple, dans plusieurs Etats américains, on se bat pour faire annuler des décrets qui empêchent les transgenres d’accéder à certains soins médicaux, mais ça personne n’en parle. Personne ne parle du chômage qui affecte les trans, ni de la situation vécue par les trans de couleur, victimes de violences raciales. Les médias négligent leur réalité quotidienne.” C’est là le paradoxe de cette récente exposition médiatique, qu’Arnaud Alessandrin résume ainsi :

“Une certaine frange de la transidentité, liée à la scène et aux artistes, commence à être visible. Mais le trans reste invisible dans l’espace politique. Et rien ne dit que l’arrivée de figures transgenres populaires permettra d’aller vers plus d’acceptation.”

En transition depuis une vingtaine d’années, Ts Madison a tout connu de la réalité trans : le rejet de sa famille, les mauvaises hormones achetées au marché noir, la discrimination à l’embauche, la violence physique. Elle assure mieux vivre aujourd’hui aux Etats-Unis que dans les années 90 et sait à qui elle le doit : “Dans chaque génération de transgenres, il y a eu des pionnières, des femmes écoutées qui ont rendu la vie un peu plus acceptable aux suivantes. Tant mieux si les médias se cherchent une nouvelle femme pour occuper ce rôle.” Dans un grand rire, elle nous dira qu’elle s’y verrait bien, elle, en pionnière trans.

Voir encore:

Une lycéenne lesbienne a choisi une citation géniale qui lui vaut les honneurs du web Rédaction du HuffPost 28/05/2015

FÉMINISME – En choisissant sa citation pour le « yearbook » de son lycée, cette jeune Californienne ne s’attendait probablement pas à provoquer autant d’admiration de la part des internautes. Et pourtant, ces quelques petits mots ont déclenché une pluie de réactions positives.

Caitlyn Cannon, 17 ans, a en effet écrit dans le livre: « J’ai besoin de féminisme car j’ai l’intention d’épouser quelqu’un de riche, et ça ne pourra pas se faire si ma femme et moi ne gagnons que 75 centimes pour chaque dollar gagné par un homme ».

L’une de ses amies proches, l’utilisatrice @casualnosebleed sur Twitter, a photographié la publication dans le yearbook et a posté l’image le 26 mai. En trois jours, elle a été retweetée 5500 fois et ajoutée 8500 fois en favoris.

« C’est honnêtement la seule chose qui compte pour moi en ce moment » Récemment diplômée du lycée Oak Hills en Californie, Caitlyn affirme avoir trouvé sur Tumblr cette citation qu’elle a ensuite modifiée, car elle était écrite du point de vue d’un homme. « J’en avais assez de toujours voir les mêmes vieilles citations inspirées de livres, de films et d’auteurs populaires. Je voulais attirer l’attention sur un problème auquel les femmes doivent faire face », explique-t-elle à nos confrères du Huff Post américain.

Les internautes ont entendu son message et lui ont adressé leur soutien: « Approuvé! La meilleure citation jamais écrite dans le yearbook d’un lycée »

« Je n’ai jamais rien vu d’aussi génial de ma vie. Cette fille déchire vraiment tout » Sur son propre compte Twitter, l’étudiante montre à quel point elle est fière d’être ce qu’elle est, en se définissant comme « féministe » et « vraiment gay ».

« Peu importe le nombre de fois où on s’en plaint et où on tente de le minimiser, le féminisme continuera toujours d’exister tant que les femmes n’auront pas le droit aux mêmes opportunités que les hommes », a également déclaré Caitlyn à Cosmopolitan.

Aux Etats-Unis, le yearbook est une sorte de trombinoscope de fin d’année qui présente une photo de chacun des élèves, accompagnée d’une citation s’ils le souhaitent. Cette tradition américaine a pour but de commémorer les événements qui ont marqué l’année scolaire, et permet de se souvenir de ses camarades de classe bien des années plus tard. Ceux de Caitlyn risquent de se rappeler de l’audace de la jeune femme pour longtemps…

 Voir encore:

Rachel Dolezal, activiste, a menti pendant 20 ans sur ses origines

20 ans de supercherie. L’activiste blanche américaine Rachel Dolezal s’est faite passer pour une métisse pendant des années. Ses parents ont décidé de rendre son imposture publique et de rétablir la vérité.

Margot Rousseau

L’Internaute

16/06/15

Rachel Dolezal, qui ne s’était pas exprimée depuis l’annonce de ses parents, a été interviewée par la chaîne Today News. Lors de cette interview réalisée par Matt Lauer, elle explique qu’elle savait qu’un jour, elle aurait à s’expliquer sur la complexité de son identité. Lorsque le journaliste lui montre la photo d’elle plus jeune, lorsqu’elle avait les cheveux blonds, elle explique qu’à cette époque, elle ne se considérait pas comme une afro-américaine, mais qu’aujourd’hui et depuis longtemps, elle s’identifie comme tel. Elle explique que son identification en tant que femme afro-américaine a été solidifiée par l’arrivée de son frère adoptif Izaiah Dolezal. Pour ce qui est de sa couleur de peau plus métissée que lorsqu’elle était jeune et blonde, elle la justifie en disant qu’elle s’expose souvent en soleil. En conclusion, Rachel Dolezal s’identifie comme une afro-américaine et ne regrette pas son mensonge, qu’elle ne le considère pas comme tel. Elle admet cependant que ce n’était pas correct de se décrire comme elle l’a fait, mais que ce n’était ni faux, ni vrai, mais « complexe ».

Rachel Dolezal est professeur d’études africaines-américaines à l’Eastern Washington University et présidente de l’association nationale pour la promotion des personnes de couleur à Spokane (Etat de Washington, Etats-Unis). Depuis 20 ans, elle se faisait passer pour une métisse. La semaine dernière, ses parents ont décidé de révéler son identité. Selon eux, son implication au sein de la communauté afro-américaine n’est pas liée à ce désir de modifier et de falsifier ses origines. Rachel aurait coupé les ponts avec sa famille depuis plusieurs années. Ils attribuent cette décision au fait qu’eux soient blancs. A plusieurs reprises, leur fille leur avait demandé de ne plus se promener dans Spokane en raison de leur couleur de peau.

Rachel Dolezal s’est donc inventée une autre vie et s’est identifiée à la cause afro-américaine. Elle s’est créée un autre père d’origine africaine, tantôt présenté comme « absent », tantôt incarné par un inconnu lors de réunions professionnelles. Elle se définissait comme « noire, blanche et amérindienne » mais selon ses parents, Rachel serait « caucasienne avec des origines tchèques, suédoises et allemandes ».

Pour appuyer leur propos, ils ont montré des photos d’enfance : Rachel y apparaît blonde aux yeux bleus. Une vérité qui tranche avec l’histoire qu’elle s’était inventée : elle expliquait être née dans un tipi, sa famille chassant avec un arc et des flèches. Elle prétendait également avoir vécu en Afrique du Sud.

Rachel souhaitait intégrer la communtauté « afro-américaine » et elle mettait régulièrement en avant « sa » couleur de peau sur les réseaux sociaux. Sur Facebook, par exemple, elle expliquait son ressenti en tant que Noire sur le film « 12 Years a Slave ». Elle a également posté une photo d’elle avec une coupe afro, prétenduement naturelle.

Rachel dénonçait les violences faites aux Noirs d’une façon plutôt étrange. Elle se disait victime d’agressions racistes, neuf au total, la dernière datant de février. A l’occasion de cette « agression », elle s’est exprimée dans les médias. Finalement, lors d’une interview, elle s’était presque trahie, en refusant de répondre à la question « Etes-vous afro-américaine ? »

Rachel Dolezal : peut-on parler de “transracialisme” ? Les Inrocks

17/06/2015

« Je suis transracialiste » s’est justifiée Rachel Dolezal, cette militante américaine blanche qui a fait croire à tout le monde qu’elle était noire. Qu’entend-t-on par ce phénomène de recherche d’une autre identité raciale ? Analyse de Nacira Guérif-Souilamas, sociologue spécialiste des questions raciales et des pratiques identitaires et professeur à Paris 8.

Qu’est-ce que le transracialisme évoquée par Rachel Dolezal ?

Nacira Guérif-Souliamas – Le transracialisme participe de l’ordre racial. Il consiste à revendiquer une autre identité que celle à laquelle on est racialement affiliée. Sauf qu’il y a bien une hiérarchie entre ces races. Être dans une logique transracialiste, c’est chercher à échapper à l’ensemble des discriminations insupportables qui sont associées à l’identité qui nous est imposée. Cela peut se faire de manière physique (se décolorer la peau par exemple), sociale, ou comportementale.

Est-ce qu’il y a des profils de personnes susceptibles de se revendiquer de cette logique ?

Être Noir, c’est une construction culturelle. On ne se pense Noir et ne devient Noir que lors de certaines interactions. Ce n’est pas une identité génétique ça, c’est quelque chose qui s’inscrit dans les rapports sociaux.

C’est pourquoi il est souvent courant que des enfants adoptés, qui ont la peau noire, et élevés par des parents blancs, se considèrent comme Blancs. Et ils ont raison, ce qui compte c’est le lien affectif qui va déterminer leur manière de s’identifier. Sauf qu’aux Etats-Unis, ces personnes sont vites rattrapées par la réalité des rapports sociaux racialisés. Et elles sont obligées de devenir noires à un moment ou à un autre.

Comment expliquer alors le cas de Rachel Dolezal qui s’est déclarée transracialiste ?

C’est un cas que l’on n’avait jamais vu auparavant. Ici, la jeune femme blanche, veut être noire. Jusqu’ici, les schémas transracialistes se posaient dans le sens d’une personne de couleur noire qui désirait devenir blanche.

Rachel Dolezal a été élevée dans une famille blanche avec des frères adoptés à la peau noire. On peut donc penser qu’elle a voulu ressembler à ce schéma familial.

Pourquoi sa supercherie a-t-elle suscité autant de critiques ?

Justement, elle a fini par occuper une position de pouvoir dans une organisation importante qui défend les droits des gens de couleur aux Etats-Unis (l’Association nationale pour la promotion des gens de couleur, NAACP, Ndlr.). Et malgré son histoire familiale, elle ne peut pas annuler l’asymétrie profonde dans laquelle se joue les enjeux du transracialisme.

En plus, elle donne des arguments assez flous. On ne comprend pas bien pourquoi elle a fait ça si ce n’est qu’elle est dans une identification très forte à une certaine cause politique. Mais il faut comprendre que l’on n’a pas besoin d’être noire pour défendre la cause de ces personnes qui peuvent être victimes de racisme.

Pourquoi est-ce que la notion de transracialisme n’existe-t-elle pas en France ?

En France, on est convaincu que la race n’existe pas. Nous sommes pourtant dans des rapports sociaux racialisés. Malgré ça, personne ne peut penser ces rapports en terme racialiste. Et aux Etats-Unis, les identités racialisées sont reconnues comme telles. On parle de “races”, de “relations raciales”, et de problèmes liés aux “identités raciales”. On en parle aussi parce que ces difficultés conduisent à des assassinats et à des bavures policières contre les noirs.

Propos recueillis par Fanny Marlier

Voir également:

Rachel Dolezal, transracialisme ou imposture? Agnès Berthelot Raffard

Chercheuse en philosophie politique et citoyenne engagée

Huffington Post

17/06/2015

Présidente d’une section locale de l’Association nationale pour la promotion des gens de couleur (NAACP) et professeure d’Études africaines à l’Université de l’Eastern Washington, Rachel Dolezal a menti sur ses origines en prétendant être afro-descendante par son père. Suscitant perplexité et controverses, son histoire est, toutefois, fascinante. En effet, si nous en ignorons les motivations morales, ce mensonge confronte notre a priori sur l’identité raciale jusqu’à remettre à l’avant-plan certaines de ses implications pratiques notamment son lien avec le militantisme.

Même s’il est d’usage de considérer la race (1) et le genre, comme des constructions sociales, le mensonge de la professeure Dolezal nous rappelle que loin d’être figée ou sclérosée, l’identité raciale est, au contraire, d’une grande labilité. Jusqu’à une date récente, l’« être au monde » de Rachel Dolezal était celui d’une femme noire ayant eu recours à une forme de « transracialisme ». Si la société connaît – sans hélas toujours la reconnaître socialement – l’existence des transgenres, le «transracialisme» reste quant à lui inhabituel pour ne pas dire inexistant (2), notamment dans le cas d’un individu blanc et éduqué par des parents blancs c’est-à-dire par les membres d’un groupe disposant de privilèges socialement avérés. Il est, en effet, assez rare qu’un tel individu puisse se définir publiquement comme étant afro-descendant jusqu’à accéder à une position privilégiée dans des domaines réservés aux membres de cette communauté.

À supposer que le « transracialisme » existe, il est douteux que le cas Dolezal s’y réfère. D’abord, parce que Dolezal ne se trouvait pas dans une indifférenciation raciale ou culturelle comme le sont parfois, les enfants d’une culture différente de celle de leurs parents adoptifs. Ensuite, parce qu’en admettant que le « transracialisme » soit envisageable pour ceux qui considèrent ne pas appartenir à leur culture raciale d’origine, encore faudrait-il que le fait d’avoir eu recours à un processus de modifications physionomiques volontaires suffise pour correspondre à celle psychiquement projetée. Une telle assignation resterait, toutefois, réductrice. On le sait, comme pour le genre, l’appartenance ethnoculturelle ne se réduit pas aux enjeux du corps et de l’apparence physique. Enfin, le cas Dolezal rappelle une question plus fondamentale trop vaste et complexe pour être traitée dans ce texte : celle de la signification d’un « être Noir » et de ce que cela recoupe du point de vue social et historique.

L’appartenance raciale permet l’accès à un ensemble de privilèges ou en bloque les possibilités. Rachel Dolezal peut-elle prétendre être Noire sans avoir fait l’expérience socio-historique en lien avec les inégalités systémiques et historiquement ancrées dans le vécu des membres de la communauté afro-américaine ? Une femme noire expérimente très jeune une double oppression de race et de genre laquelle s’inscrit dans un processus de développement psychologique, moral, intellectuel et socio-économique. C’est-ce que souligne, le titre d’un des ouvrages fondateurs du Black Feminism : « Toutes les femmes sont blanches, tous les Noirs sont des hommes, mais nous sommes quelques-unes à être courageuses » (3). Dans les États-Unis d’aujourd’hui, la race et le genre affectent encore les opportunités sociales et le regard porté sur l’individu. Aussi, que l’on soit indulgent ou non à l’égard de son mensonge, Rachel Dolezal n’est pas et ne sera jamais une de ces « courageuses ». Force est de reconnaître que même si la volonté peut être présente, il est impossible de devenir une femme noire alors que l’on est dans la vingtaine. Aussi, Dolezal est blanche au sens de son identité biologique et par le fait qu’elle a grandi, dans une famille WASP sans être en mesure de faire, dès son plus jeune âge, les mêmes expériences que les autres femmes noires de sa génération. En ce sens, Dolezal n’a pu ressentir certains des enjeux qui concourent à vouloir aspirer à cette sororité si fondamentale dans la constitution de l’identité culturelle, politique et économique si chère aux militantes afro-américaines (4).

Cependant, que la professeure Dolezal puisse se sentir plus noire que blanche ne saurait en soi être un problème, pas plus que son mensonge n’est un crime. La difficulté réside plutôt dans ce à que quoi il a contribué c’est-à-dire à la construction d’une carrière universitaire et militante au cœur même des bastions généralement réservés aux Noirs. En tant que Professeure d’Études africaines et membres du NAACP, Dolezal est au fait de ces débats. Elle sait que dans les mouvements de luttes pour le droit des minorités culturelles ou de genre, les postes les plus avancés sont généralement réservés aux personnes qui en sont issues. C’est pourquoi comme l’a écrit un éditorialiste du Washington Post :  » Qu’une personne blanche dirige une section de la NAACP ne pose pas de problème non plus. (…) Mais qu’une personne blanche prétende être noire et dirige une section de la NAACP, c’est très problématique ».

Depuis la fondation du NAACP, en 1909, la représentation n’a pas toujours été descriptive. Des Afro-Américains n’ont pas toujours été à la tête des sections locales. Cependant, les mouvements de lutte pour les droits civiques se sont forgés sur le refus d’une représentation substantive. Et, s’il est évident que les Blancs ont le droit de défendre la cause noire comme les hommes peuvent défendre celle des femmes, il y a bien des raisons de réclamer le recours systématiquement à une représentation descriptive plutôt que substantive dans les organisations de luttes pour le droit de ces groupes historiquement dominés. Toutes ces réclamations ne sont pas que symboliques. Ce type de représentation reste un puissant levier contre les effets de marginalisation dans les processus décisionnels et garantit que les décisions puissent refléter l’expérience et les besoins réels des personnes principalement concernées.

Au-delà de la question identitaire, la présidence par Rachel Dolezal d’une section locale du NAACP pose donc plus fondamentalement la question de l’usurpation d’une position d’autorité et celle d’une possible récupération de la lutte par le groupe dominant. Par son mensonge, Dolezal a-t-elle contribué, bien malgré elle, au maintien de la domination blanche dans un des bastions du militantisme noir ? Comme le soulignent ses propres parents, n’aurait-elle pas été plus utile à la cause, qu’elle prétendait défendre, si elle avait milité sous couvert de sa véritable identité biologique ? Ces interrogations seront encore longtemps débattues.

(1) Bien que préférant les termes de culture ou d’origine, je choisis dans ce texte d’utiliser celui de race bien que je le juge négativement connoté. (2) Pour une analogie entre transracialisme et transgenderisme, voir les travaux de la philosophe Cressida Heyes. (3) Gloria HULL, Patricia BELL SCOTT, Barbara SMITH (1982), All the Women are White, All the Blacks are Mem but some of Us are Brave : Black Women Studies, Old Westbury, New York, Feminist Press. (4) Michèle WALLACE (1975), « Une féministe Noire en quête de sororité. » in Black Feminism, anthologie du féminisme africain américain, 1975-2000, (dir. E.Dorlin), Paris, L’harmattan, p.45-57, 2008.

Voir enfin:

Former Israeli Ambassador’s Memoir Condemns Obama’s Foreign Policy Matthew Continetti

National Review

June 20, 2015

By the summer of 2013, President Obama had convinced several key Israelis that he wasn’t bluffing about using force against the Iranian nuclear program. Then he failed to enforce his red line against Syrian dictator Bashar Assad—and the Israelis realized they’d been snookered. Michael Oren, the former Israeli ambassador to the United States, recalls the shock inside his government. “Everyone went quiet,” he said in a recent interview. “An eerie quiet. Everyone understood that that was not an option, that we’re on our own.” Reading Oren’s new memoir Ally, it’s clear that Israel has been on her own since the day Obama took office. Oren provides an inside account of relations between the administration of Barack Obama and the government of Bibi Netanyahu, and his thesis is overwhelming, authoritative, and damning: For the last six and a half years the president of the United States has treated the home of the Jewish people more like a rogue nation standing in the way of peace than a longtime democratic ally. Now the alliance is “in tatters.”

Oren is not a conservative looking to make a political issue of support for Israel. Indeed, by Washington Free Beacon standards, he’s something of a squish. The author of a classic history of U.S. involvement in the Middle East and a sometime professor at Yale, Harvard, and Georgetown, Oren served for five years as a contributor to The New Republic, has contributed toThe New York Review of Books, and supports what he calls a “two-state situation” focused on institution-building and economic aid to the West Bank. He’s a member of the Knesset, but not of Netanyahu’s Likud Party. He joined the comparatively dovish Kulanu Party last December.

Oren’s credentials and relationships make him hard to dismiss. “The Obama administration was problematic because of its worldview: Unprecedented support for the Palestinians,” he told Israeli journalist David Horovitz, another centrist, this week. Obama and his lieutenants, including Hillary Clinton, have often behaved as if the Palestinians don’t exist – Palestinian actions, corruption, incitement, campaigns of de-legitimization and terrorism are overlooked, excused, accommodated. Oren tells the story of what happened when Vice President Joe Biden asked Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas to “look him in the eye and promise that he could make peace with Israel.” Abbas looked away. The White House did nothing.

It was Israel that had to agree to a settlement freeze before the latest doomed attempt at peace negotiations; Israel that had to apologize for possible “mistakes” against the Gaza flotilla; Israel that had to close Ben Gurion airport; Israel that faced a “reevaluation” of her diplomatic status after Bibi’s reelection. Obama addresses the bulk of his lectures on good governance and democracy and humanitarianism not to the gang that runs the West Bank, nor to the terrorists who rule Gaza, but to Israel. During last year’s Gaza war, the State Department was “appalled” by civilian casualties inflated and trumpeted by Hamas propagandists. Oren points out that in the past the president had used the word “appalling” to describe the atrocities of Moammar Qaddafi. Qaddafi and the IDF – two peas in a pod, according to this White House.

What Obama wanted was to create diplomatic space between America and Israel while maintaining our military alliance. Oren says military-to-military relations are strong, but the diplomatic fissure has degraded Israel’s security. America, he says, provided a “Diplomatic Iron Dome” that shielded Israel from anti-Semites in Europe, at the U.N., and abroad whose goal is to delegitimize the Jewish State and undermine her economically.

This rhetorical missile shield is slowly being retracted. The administration threatens not to veto anti-Israel U.N. initiatives, Europe is aligning with the Boycott Divestment Sanctions (BDS) movement, and anti-Israel activism festers on U.S. campuses. Obama’s unending criticism of Israel, and background quotes calling Israel’s prime minister a “chicken-shit” and a “coward,” provide an opening for radicals to go even further.

The diplomatic rupture endangers Israel in another way. It preceded Obama’s quest for détente with Iran, Israel’s greatest enemy and most pressing threat. Oren was outraged in 2013 when he learned that the administration had been conducting secret negotiations with the mullahs. Now, with the United States about to clear the way for Iranian nukes and flood the Iranian economy with cash, Israel is all the more at risk.

“Obama says Iran is not North Korea,” Oren said, “and Bibi says Iran’s worse than 50 North Koreas. It all comes down to that.” Fixated on striking a deal, Obama is preparing to concede the longstanding demand that Iran disclose its past nuclear-weapons research, is ignoring the issue of Iranian missile development, and is standing idle as Iran props up Assad, arms Hezbollah with rockets, and promotes sectarianism in Iraq. Israel is hemmed in – by Iranian proxies and Sunni militants on its borders, by the threat of a third intifada on the West Bank, by global nongovernmental organizations, by a condescending, flippant, and bullying U.S. president whose default emotional state is pique.

As if to make Oren’s case for him, the Obama administration responded to the publication of Ally with neither silence nor a reiteration of American policy toward Israel but with vituperation, demanding that both Kulanu Party chairman Moshe Kahlon and Prime Minister Netanyahu apologize for criticisms Oren had made. Kahlon sheepishly distanced himself from Oren, and Netanyahu won’t comment publicly, but the episode illustrates precisely the model of U.S.-Israeli relations outlined in this book: A “family” argument where the criticism runs in only one direction. On the one hand, when the supreme leader of Iran calls John Kerry a liar and details plans to destroy Israel, the Obama administration brushes it off. On the other, when a former ambassador writes a memoir based on a diary he kept while in office, the administration loses its mind.

The alliance has faltered to such a degree that Oren is morose. He wonders whether Israel is in the same precarious position it was in 1967, before the Six Day War, or in 1948, when it came close to never being born. Neither option is comforting. David Horovitz asked him, “Are people going to look back in a few years’ time and say, ‘This is what they were talking about in Israel as Iran closed in on the bomb and they were wiped out?’” Oren’s response: “It’s happened before in history, hasn’t it?”

It has. And it may happen again. But whatever happens, thanks to Michael Oren, history will know that an inexperienced and ideologically motivated president drove a lethal wedge between the United States of America and the young, tiny, besieged Jewish State.

Voir enfin:

Sexism and Racism Are Leftism In our time, sexism and racism have become the province of the rich. Victor Davis Hanson

National Review Online

June 16, 2015

Discrimination by sex and by race are ancient innate pathologies and transcend particular cultures. But the American idea of sexismand racism in the 21st century — unfailing, endemic, and institutional discrimination by a majority-white-male-privileged culture against both women and so-called non-white minorities — has largely become a leftist construct.

We can see how these two relativist -isms work in a variety of ways.

One, the frequent charge of racism and sexism is predicated not so much on one’s gender and race as on one’s gender, race, and politics. Certainly, few on the left worried much about the slurs against Sarah Palin during and after her vice-presidential run. America’s overclass in the media and leftist politics constructed a sexist portrait of a clueless white-trash mom in Wasilla, Alaska, mindlessly having lots of kids after barely graduating from the University of Idaho. Even Bill Maher’s and David Letterman’s liberal armor would not have withstood leftist thrusts had, mutatis mutandis, the former called Hillary Clinton a c–t or the latter disparaged Ms. Clinton as “slutty flight attendant” and joked that, when a teen, Chelsea Clinton had had sexual relations with a Yankee baseball player in the dugout. Ironically it was the by-her-own-bootstraps lower-middle-class Palin who braved the frontier, no-prisoners, male world to become governor of Alaska; in real terms, she is the true feminist. In contrast, according to doctrinaire feminism, Hillary Clinton does not measure up. She has largely clung, in mousy fashion, to her two-timing husband, excused his serial and manipulative philandering with young women of less clout and power, traded on his political nomenclature, and piggy-backed on his career.

Leftism assumes that racist and sexist speech by liberals constitutes good people’s lapses of judgment and tact. The Black Caucus rarely if ever comes to the defense of Justice Clarence Thomas when, periodically, liberal commentators suggest that he was and is unqualified, and is largely a token black conservative. No one suggests that the New York Times is on an anti-Latino crusade against Marco Rubio in trying to fashion a story of recklessness from the paltry evidence of his receiving one traffic ticket every four years. Had candidate Mitt Romney suggested, as did Senators Joe Biden and Harry Reid, that Senator Barack Obama was a “clean” and “light-skinned” black man without “a Negro dialect,” he would have been considered little more than a Clive Bundy buffoon and would have had to drop out of the Republican primary.

It appears that leftism assumes that racist and sexist speech by liberals constitutes good people’s lapses of judgment and tact — not, as in the case of conservatives, valuable windows into the dark hearts of bigots. In other words, the idea of sexism and racism is not absolute, but relative and mostly socially massaged and constructed by politics. Had President Bill Clinton declared during the O. J. trial that if he had had a second daughter she would have resembled Nicole Simpson, the media and popular culture would have excused such a sick Obamism as a quirky slip — in a way that it would not have if a Bob Dole had uttered the same banality and thereby supposedly revealed his poorly suppressed racist proclivities.

A second tenet of socially constructed racism and sexism is “white privilege,” which usually translates into “white male privilege,” given that women such as Hillary Clinton and Elizabeth Warren are rarely accused of being multimillionaire white elite females who won a leg up by virtue of their skin color. But if whiteness ipso facto earns one advantages over the non-white, why in the world do some elite whites choose to reconstruct their identities as non-white? Would Elizabeth Warren really have become a Harvard law professor had she not, during her long years of academic ascent, identified herself (at least privately, on universities’ pedigree forms) as a Native American? Ward Churchill, with his beads and Indian get-up, won a university career that otherwise might have been scuttled by his mediocrity, his pathological untruths, and his aberrant behavior. Why would the current head of the NAACP in Spokane, Wash., a white middle-class woman named Rachel Dolezal, go to the trouble of faking a genealogy, using skin cosmetics and hair styling, and constructing false racist enemies to ensure that she was accepted as a victimized black woman?

Ms. Dolezal assumed that being a liberal black woman brought with it career opportunities in activist groups and academia otherwise beyond her reach. The obvious inference is that Ms. Dolezal assumed that being a liberal black woman brought with it career opportunities in activist groups and academia otherwise beyond her reach as a middle-class white female of so-so talent. Critics will object that we are really arguing in class terms as well as racial terms: Privileged whites play on society’s innate prejudices against darker-skinned minorities by positioning themselves as light-skinned, elite people of color. That is a Pandora’s box that is better left unopened — given that Harry Reid and Joe Biden have already unknowingly pried open the lid on these matters in ways that would transcend Barack Obama and equally apply, for example, to Eric Holder or Valerie Jarrett.

Suffice it to say that in our increasingly intermarried, assimilated, and integrated culture, it is often hard to ascertain someone’s exact race or ethnicity. That confusion allows identity to be massaged and reinvented. That said, it is also generally felt among elites that feigning minority status earns career advantages that outweigh the downside of being identified as non-white in the popular culture. That was certainly my impression as a professor for over 20 years in the California State University system watching dozens of upper-class Latin Americans — largely white male Argentinians, Chileans, and Brazilians — and Spaniards flock to American academia, add accents to their names, trill their R’s, and feign ethnic solidarity with their students who were of Oaxacan and Native American backgrounds.

Poor George Zimmerman. His last name stereotyped him as some sort of Germanic gun nut. But had he just ethnicized his maternal half-Afro Peruvian identity and reemerged as Jorgé Mesa, Zimmerman would have largely escaped charges of racism. He should have taken a cue from Barack Obama, who sometime in his late teens at Occidental College discovered that the exotic nomenclature of Barack Obama radiated a minority edge, in a way that the name of his alter ego, Barry Soetoro, apparently never quite had. If, in America’s racist past, majority culture once jealously protected its white privilege by one-drop-of-blood racial distinctions, postmodern America has now come full circle and done the same in reverse — because the construction of minority identity, in all its varying degrees, is easily possible and, in ironic fashion, now brings with it particular elite career advantages.

Third, when we look at questions of class, we see again that racism and sexism are largely leftist constructs and not empirical terms describing millions of Americans who are supposedly denied opportunity by the white establishment because of their gender or race. The CEOs in the industries of sexism and classism are for the most part wealthy and privileged — and their targets are usually of the middle class. When Michelle Obama labors to remind her young African-American audiences of all the stares and second looks she imagines she still receives as First Lady, she is reconstructing a racial identity to balance the enormous privilege she enjoys as a jumbo-jet-setting grandee who junkets to the world’s toniest resorts with regularity. The 2016 version of Hillary Clinton is, at least for a few months, a feminist populist, and has become so merely by mouthing a few banal talking points. Apparently the downside for Hillary of being a woman is not trumped by the facts of being a multimillionaire insider and former secretary of state, wife to a multimillionaire ex-president, mother of a multimillionaire, and mother-in-law to a multimillionaire hedge-fund director. Hillary can become a perpetual constructed victim, denied the good life that is enjoyed by a white male bus driver in Bakersfield making $40,000 a year.

Given the construction of race and gender, the children of Eric Holder and Barack Obama will be eligible for affirmative-action consideration out of reach for an 18-year-old white male in Provo, Utah. As a general rule, when advising classics majors who wished to apply to Ph.D. programs, I assumed that a white male needed a near-perfect GRE score and GPAs, to avoid being rejected out of hand as a middle-class so-so white man from Fresno State. (I reminded them that the “system” assumed their white privilege had given them advantages from preschool onward that the Ivy League and the University of California system now had to adjust for.) For my minority classics students, on the other hand, admission was rarely a problem, despite the fact that many were of a higher social class than their mostly rejected white counterparts.

Fourth, sexism and racism are abstractions of the liberal elite that rarely translate into praxis. Barack Obama could have done symbolic wonders for the public schools by taking his kids out of Sidwell Friends and putting them into the D.C. school system. Elizabeth Warren could have cemented her feminist populist fides by vowing to stop flipping houses. Feminist Bill Clinton could have renounced all affairs with female subordinates. Eric Holder could have vowed never to use government jets to take his kids to horse races. In solidarity with co-eds struggling with student loans, Hillary Clinton could have promised to limit her university speaking fees to a thousand dollars per minute rather than the ten thousand dollars for each 60 seconds of chatting that she actually gets, and she might have prefaced her public attacks on hedge funds by dressing down her son-in-law. Surely the lords of Silicon Valley might have promised to keep their kids in the public schools, and funded scholarships to allow minorities to flood Sacred Heart and the Menlo School.

Charges of racism and sexism have little to do with demonstrable racial and sexual prejudice on the part of a white-male establishment. They are relative, not absolute, phenomena, and more often constructed by political beliefs and careerist concerns than observed independently. Such concepts are often entirely divorced from class reality, and often have more to do with illiberal privilege than with actual exclusion.

Voir enfin:

Dounia Malki
Marie-Claire

Pour la première fois en Europe, un homme transgenre a accouché d’un bébé. Ce dernier est né le 18 mars dernier, mais sa naissance vient tout juste d’être officialisée.

Un homme transgenre a donné naissance à un petit garçon, à Berlin. Il est le premier à accoucher d’un bébé en Europe. L’homme transgenre dont l’identité n’est pas connue, est en réalité né femme. Ce dernier avait décidé de conserver ses organes reproducteurs féminins et d’accoucher à domicile afin de ne pas être répertorié comme étant la « mère » du bébé, un fait légalement obligatoire en Allemagne.

La naissance du petit garçon qui a eu lieu le 18 mars dernier, vient tout juste d’être officialisée. Sur son acte de naissance, aucune mère n’est mentionnée, seul le nom de son père qui lui a donné naissance est inscrit. « La personne en question ne voulait pas apparaître en tant que mère, mais comme père sur le certificat de naissance, et cette demande a été honorée », a déclaré un porte-parole des Affaires Intérieures de l’Administration du Sénat de Berlin à 7 sur 7.

Bien que l’homme transgenre ait demandé à ce que le sexe de son enfant ne soit pas dévoilé, les autorités allemandes ont révélé qu’il s’agissait d’un petit garçon. Par ailleurs, ces dernières envisagent de surveiller de très près cet enfant. En effet, en raison de sa conception particulière, elles craignent qu’il ne développe des problèmes psychologiques dans le futur.

S’il s’agit du premier cas d’homme transgenre donnant naissance à un enfant en Europe, ce n’est pas le cas dans le monde. Aux Etats-Unis, Thomas Beatie, également né femme, a déjà donné naissance à trois enfants. Légalement considéré comme un homme, il était marié depuis dix ans à une femme stérile. Suite à une insémination artificielle, Thomas Beatie, qui avait conservé ses organes sexuels féminins internes comme externes, a pu accoucher par voie naturelle d’un premier enfant en 2008. Il donnera ensuite naissance à deux autres bébés.

COMPLEMENT:

We Are Descending Rapidly into Cultural Madness

Michael Brown
Townhall
May 22, 2021
I do not write this to be cruel or judgmental. And I certainly don’t want to hurt anyone. To the contrary, I want to help. But I do write with a sense of urgency, both to the nation and to confused individuals like Demi Lovato, the latest to identify as non-binary and want to be called “they.”To the nation, I say this: Wake up! We are losing touch with reality and engaging in dangerous semantic and ideological games. Worse still, we are not providing the real help that struggling people need.To Demi Lovato, I say this: You are not non-binary, existing outside the realm of male or female. You are a confused woman needing help from the inside out. That’s why I will not refer to you as “they.” And I truly say this in love.Before we look at Lovato’s recent announcement, let me repeat what I have said many times before (here, quoting from a 2016 article), if perception is substituted for reality, there is no end to the social madness that follows.You do not just have a man being named Woman of the Year.You do not just have a white woman who identifies as black.

You have a father of 7 who identifies as a 6-year-old girl.

You have a man who identifies as a dog named “Boomer.

You have a young lady who believes she is a cat trapped in a woman’s body.

You have a man who has his ears removed because he identifies as a parrot.

And you have a man who changed his identity to female but who has now had “her ears and nose REMOVED to transform into a ‘dragon lady’ with scales, a forked tongue and a horned skull.”

But why not? More power to him/her/it! If that’s what he/she/it perceives himself/herself/itself to be, why not?

To ask once more: why not? And how can there be any possible limit as to where this goes? There cannot.

America, wake up. We are descending rapidly into cultural madness.

That’s why the Urban Dictionary carries an entry on the term “transvaxxite,” defined as, “A person who identifies as having been vaccinated even though they haven’t actually been vaccinated.”

And the Dictionary provides this example of actual usage: “Although I was not born fully vaccinated, I identify as vaccinated. Or in other words I am a transvaxxite.”

But, to repeat my question yet again: Why not? Why is this perceived (or made-up) reality any less real than a biological male identifying as a woman or a white woman identifying as black? Where does one draw the line? And based on what?

When it comes to someone like Demi Lovato, we are not talking about a person who is intersex, suffering a serious biological or chromosomal abnormality, because of which that person cannot truly identify as male or female. Such individuals deserve great compassion and sensitivity, and every case will be different in terms of what brings them emotional and physical wholeness.

As for Lovato, in her own words, “this best represents the fluidity I feel in my gender expression. . . . I’m doing this for those out there that haven’t been able to share who they truly are with their loved ones.”

In other words, “I don’t feel like I’m really female, and I’m not male, so I’ll just identify as non-binary, in solidarity with others who share these feelings.”

Put another way (and using my words, not hers), “I am deeply confused.”

That’s why compassion compels me to say, “Let’s pray that she will get the help she really needs,” rather than saying, “They are doing a good thing and I am so proud of them.”

Yet the secular media, fully embracing this cultural madness, immediately complies, producing sentences like this (in this case, from AP News and with my emphasis): “Lovato said they picked gender-neutral pronouns as ‘this best represents the fluidity I feel in my gender expression.’ They added, ‘I’m doing this for those out there that haven’t been able to share who they truly are with their loved ones.’”

And what if, tomorrow, Lovato says, “I’ve rediscovered my female identity and wish to be referred to as ‘she’”? Then the media will comply again, and “they” becomes “she” (unless, of course, Lovato ends up identifying as transgender, in which case “she” would become “he”).

To be clear, my heart goes out to this young woman, despite her fame and wealth, and despite her saying with pride, “Today is a day I’m so happy to share more of my life with you all — I am proud to let you know that I identify as non-binary.”

And I don’t doubt that some of her motivation is to show solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community, meaning that her motives might even be commendable.

But that doesn’t change the fact that there is nothing non-binary about her (according to everything we know) other than the fact that, on the inside, she is confused and hurting.

Such people do not deserve our scorn or mockery. God knows, that is the furthest thing from my mind. But such people do deserve our love, and love will always tell the truth.

In this case, that truth is simple: Demi, you are a woman, not a non-binary person, and the Lord wants to help you find wholeness and peace from the inside out, in your true biological identity.

The AP article referenced Allen Ramos of GLAAD, who “said nonbinary people live outside the categories of male or female and should be respected for who they are.”

But if I truly respect someone, I will not be a partner to their own delusion. Instead, I will commit to helping them to find their way back to reality, since our biological sex is not subject to our emotions or perceptions. It is what it is.

When it comes to Lovato herself, the article noted that, “The singer behind such hits as ‘Sorry Not Sorry,’ ‘Heart Attack’ and ‘Stone Cold’ recently shared their personal struggles with mental health and addiction in a YouTube documentary, which followed their journey prior to and following a near-fatal overdose in 2018.”

I suggest this is where we should put our focus, recognizing her non-binary announcement as just another symptom of an internal struggle rather than as something to celebrate.

Unfortunately, in keeping with today’s cultural insanity, in which right is called wrong and wrong is called right, for making this compassionate suggestion, I will be branded a hateful bigot.

So be it. I would rather have my love called hate than be a partner to the destruction of our culture.

COMPLEMENT:

FRANÇOIS DURPAIRE, LE BLANC QUI SE FAISAIT PASSER POUR UN NOIR

Calixthe Beyala

Je l’ai vu faire… Se transformer en noir, François Durpaire. Je l’ai vu le blanc, s’inventer des ascendants noirs. Et il est touchant. Et il est risible. Et il est merveilleux de voir que s’il est vrai qu’il y a des noirs qui se disent des blancs, il existe aussi des blancs qui s’inventent des destinées nègres.

D’ailleurs, je l’ai vu le François Durpaire, chez mon coiffeur, tondre ses cheveux lisses, ses cheveux d’européen pour en faire des vaguelettes qui de loin ressemblent à des tresses africaines. Je l’ai vu, il y a de cela une dizaine d’années, se déguiser pour se faire passer pour un noir.

Et le voilà aujourd’hui infiltrant tous les mouvements noirs. Par moment et même souvent, il est le porte parole de la communauté noire auprès des médias. Il parle d’Obama, des USA, le faussaire identitaire, et c’est touchant. D’ailleurs, un frère m’a dit hier, pas convaincu :  « il est métis ! »

J’avoue que nous sommes la seule communauté où il peut se passer ce genre de choses et nous sommes merveilleux. Il n’y a que chez nous qu’il est possible de voir la descendante et héritière directe des esclavagistes – Françoise Vergès – être la présidente de la mémoire de l’esclavage ! Il n’y a que chez nous qu’un blanc grimé peut prétendre à nous représenter et que personne ne moufte. Il n’y a que chez nous qu’on rencontre une tonne de faux professeurs avec des chairs imaginaires mais qui ont la parole dans les institutions françaises. Je crois qu’il n’y a que chez les noirs que ces absurdités sont possibles… Cherchons donc pourquoi ?

Ceci étant, accueillons donc dans la Communauté Noire, François Durpaire, l’homme qui s’est décrété Noir ! C’est mieux que d’accueillir un noir de naissance, car dans le cas d’espèce, ils ‘agit d’une démarche volontaire, d’un choix de vie !

Voir aussi:

Porter des attributs typiquement africains lorsque l’on est occidental et « blanc de peau » est-il un geste d’appropriation culturelle quasi raciste ? C’est ce qui a en tout cas été interprété à Montréal à l’encontre de Zach Poitras, un jeune humoriste ayant des dreadlocks, cette coiffure issue du mouvement rastafari des années 30 et mondialement connue ensuite grâce à Bob Marley. Cette interdiction de représentation scénique pour une coupe de cheveux supposée être réservée aux Noirs — mais portée par un Blanc — pose question. L’affaire fait grand bruit sur les réseaux sociaux et pour mieux comprendre le problème, nous avons interrogé François Durpaire, historien  et militant de la diversité culturelle.

Pouvez-vous nous définir ce qu’est l’appropriation culturelle, puisque en France cette notion n’existe pas vraiment dans la société ? 

François Durpaire

François Durpaire : Peut-être que chaque cas est singulier, et qu’il faut regarder à l’intérieur de chaque cas ce qu’il signifie. Je donne un cas très concret d’accusation d’appropriation culturelle, celui de Kathryn Bigelow, qui a réalisé le film « Detroit » en 2017 (film sur les grandes émeutes de 1967 des communautés noires contre la ségrégation). La critique qui nous revient au final est celle d’une femme blanche qui ne serait pas en mesure de parler de la cause noire et de la question de la ségrégation raciale. Quand on regarde un peu mieux les critiques à son encontre on constate que Kathryn Bigelow en tant que réalisatrice blanche a eu plus d’accès à des producteurs, à la possibilité de faire son film sur Detroit alors qu’il y a des réalisateurs noirs qui n’ont pas eu la possibilité d’accéder à ces producteurs. On est loin du racisme anti-Blancs, mais la critique est en partie justifiée.

L’appropriation culturelle est avant tout une question nord-américaine ?

F.D : Cette question de l’appropriation culturelle est quelque chose qui est typiquement nord-américain à son origine, mais qui, aujourd’hui, avec nos sociétés globalisées, est un débat qui traverse l’ensemble des communautés noires sur toute la planète. Peut-être que la racine de cela, historiquement, c’est le trauma résultant du « black face » (des blancs se griment en noirs, ndlr), qui est une appropriation culturelle violente qui resurgit aujourd’hui à travers un certain nombre d’événements. On se souvient par exemple de la vidéo très malheureuse d’un footballeur français, Griezmann, qui jouait une sorte de basketteur noir-américain en reproduisant le « black face » sans sembler comprendre ce que cela signifiait pour la communauté en question.

Zach Poitras porte des dreadlocks mais n’est pas Africain : en quoi cette coiffure peut-elle être mal considérée si elle n’est pas portée par un Africain ? 

F.D : Il faut savoir si toutes les situations relèvent de l’appropriation culturelle et si un certain nombre de situations ne relèvent pas de l’inverse, c’est-à-dire d’un hommage à la culture noire. Dans le cas de Zach Poitras il est question d’une coupe rasta, reliée au mouvement rastafari qui est un mouvement de fraternité universelle et qui depuis les années 70 et 80 est porté uniformément par des jeunes hommes et femmes noirs mais ausis des blancs qui épousent la culture rastafari. Il est donc difficile de faire une réponse généraliste sur des cas particuliers. Dire qu’il est plus facile pour un jeune homme blanc canadien de porter des dreadlocks que pour un jeune homme noir n’est pas évident non plus.

Les notions de culture des dominants contre celle des dominés semble au cœur du débat. Utiliser la culture des dominés quand on est issu de celle des dominants semble pouvoir être considéré comme un geste raciste, qu’en pensez-vous ? 

F.D : C’est un débat qui traverse les communautés noires et les recherches sont encore balbutiantes sur le sujet. On ne sait pas quelle est l’ampleur de ce débat et de cette critique. Ce qui se dit là est une question qui traverse l’ensemble de nos démocraties et c’est celle de la voix des dominés, bien plus que le dominant en tant que tel. Est-ce qu’il y a une volonté de dénoncer l’appropriation, ou est-ce qu’il y a une volonté de se réapproprier quelque chose ? La critique originelle à l’encontre du jeune humoriste aux dreadlocks vient d’associations noires, et l’on peut se demander si ce n’est pas plutôt une affirmation qu’un refus : « nous sommes la communauté noire et nous avons droit au chapitre ». Je pourrais dire avec un regard critique qu’il y a là certainement une erreur philosophique mais une justesse historique.

En 2019, cette histoire d’exclusion de ce jeune homme paraît injuste mais au regard de l’histoire il y a peut être des raisons d’expliquer cette volonté de réappropriation. Dans cette communauté noire beaucoup ne portent pas des rastas, ont des cheveux lisses, se blanchissent la peau, donc le mouvement est beaucoup plus complexe, dans le sens de se réapproprier sa propre culture. Les grands leaders noirs sont absents du mouvement contemporain des droits civiques, comme les grands leaders sont absents de tous les grands mouvements contemporains féministes, politiques. C’est le signe de la révolution numérique, de l’horizontalité de nos sociétés où la verticalité a disparu. Des gens aussi doués que Martin Luther King existent sûrement, mais ils sont noyés dans des hashtag…


Bac 2015: Attention, un mystère peut en cacher un autre ! (From pink elephants to blue tigers: No unveiling of the psychedelic Eleusinian mysteries for French students)

20 juin, 2015
https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CH3xeQgW8AAU8xF.jpghttps://tse1.mm.bing.net/th?&id=JN.oN8SJjyxPqEfhIuCzJ%2bFjw&w=300&h=300&c=0&pid=1.9&rs=0&p=0There are, broadly speaking, two types of drinkers. There is the man whom we all know, stupid, unimaginative, whose brain is bitten numbly by numb maggots; who walks generously with wide-spread, tentative legs, falls frequently in the gutter, and who sees, in the extremity of his ecstasy, blue mice and pink elephants. He is the type that gives rise to the jokes in the funny papers. The other type of drinker has imagination, vision. Even when most pleasantly jingled, he walks straight and naturally, never staggers nor falls, and knows just where he is and what he is doing. It is not his body but his brain that is drunken. He may bubble with wit, or expand with good fellowship. Or he may see intellectual spectres and phantoms that are cosmic and logical and that take the forms of syllogisms. It is when in this condition that he strips away the husks of life’s healthiest illusions and gravely considers the iron collar of necessity welded about the neck of his soul. This is the hour of John Barleycorn’s subtlest power. It is easy for any man to roll in the gutter. But it is a terrible ordeal for a man to stand upright on his two legs unswaying, and decide that in all the universe he finds for himself but one freedom–namely, the anticipating of the day of his death. With this man this is the hour of the white logic (of which more anon), when he knows that he may know only the laws of things–the meaning of things never. This is his danger hour. His feet are taking hold of the pathway that leads down into the grave. All is clear to him. All these baffling head-reaches after immortality are but the panics of souls frightened by the fear of death, and cursed with the thrice-cursed gift of imagination. They have not the instinct for death; they lack the will to die when the time to die is at hand. They trick themselves into believing they will outwit the game and win to a future, leaving the other animals to the darkness of the grave or the annihilating heats of the crematory. But he, this man in the hour of his white logic, knows that they trick and outwit themselves. The one event happeneth to all alike. There is no new thing under the sun, not even that yearned-for bauble of feeble souls–immortality. But he knows, HE knows, standing upright on his two legs unswaying. He is compounded of meat and wine and sparkle, of sun-mote and world- dust, a frail mechanism made to run for a span, to be tinkered at by doctors of divinity and doctors of physic, and to be flung into the scrap-heap at the end. Jack London (John Barleycorn)
Un éléphant rose est une métaphore relative aux hallucinations causées par l’abus d’alcool (on parle de delirium tremens) ou tout autre produit stupéfiant. L’expression a été utilisée pour la première fois par l’écrivain américain Jack London en 1913 dans John Barleycorn. (…) Dans le dessin animé Dumbo des studios Disney, on trouve une séquence culte: la danse des éléphants roses. Wikipedia
Le tigre maltais, ou tigre bleu serait présent dans les montagnes de la province de Fujian, dans le sud de la Chine. Son nom vient d’une couleur inhabituelle dans la robe de ce tigre chinois; c’est un bleu maltais poudreux avec des taches blanches sur le visage et des rayures noires. Une variété de couleur rare pour l’espèce similaire à la couleur du chat maltais. De nombreux témoignages très sérieux font état depuis le début du siècle dernier de cette espèce de tigre, mais si elle existe peut-être encore, elle est en voie d’extinction. Pour beaucoup de scientifiques, ces tigres n’existent absolument pas. Il s’agit d’une fantasmagorie qui n’existe que dans les romans. Toutes les photos que l’on peut trouver sont des photos montages (la photo en illustration en est un mais il a été clairement annoncé comme tel afin d’illustrer le propos). D’autres scientifiques estiment que cela est très probable à l’image de la panthère noire ou bien sur du chat maltais, deux autres félins, cependant ils estiment que la couleur de ces tigres serait plus vers le gris. Bon je ne juge pas, en Bretagne nous avons bien les éléphants roses. En tout cas le tigre bleu du Fujian méritait sa place dans notre rubrique cryptozoologie. Dark Asie
De fines feuilles séchées empilées les unes sur les autres. J’en porte une à mes lèvres et je mâche doucement. Ce sont des feuilles de mort, inconnues des mortels. (…) Je les mâche avec lenteur. Et ce goût-là  n’a pas de pareil. C’est grâce à elle que je vois et que tu m’entends. Ce sont les feuilles de l’entre-deux. Je les mâche et c’est comme de n’être plus tout à fait vivant. (…) Je contemplais ce grand fleuve barbare, la rive ennemie, là-bas, au-delà du cours infranchissable. Et c’est là que je le vis. A une centaine de pas devant moi, avançant avec précaution dans les hauts roseaux du fleuve, un tigre bleu. Je crus d’abord que j’étais victime d’une hallucination. Mais il se détacha sur le terre-plein et j’eus tout le loisir de l’observer. C’était le tigre de l’Euphrate …  Laurent Gaudé (Le Tigre bleu de l’Euphrate, 2002)
Pour l’étude du LSD, j’avais trouvé dans les régions méditerranéennes une herbe sauvage très répandue, l’ivraie, plus précisément, la « mauvaise ivraie », celle qui en botanique est classée sous le nom de Lolium temulentum (…). Cette plante est souvent atteinte d’ergot, c’est-à-dire du sclérote d’un champignon parasite connu sous le nom de Claviceps purpurea. Il est vénéneux, au point que la farine de blé, si elle est mélangée à celle de l’ivraie, produit une intoxication, qu’on appelle celle de l’ « ivraie enivrante ». J’ai découvert que ce champignon contenait des combinaisons chimiques très voisines de celles du LSD et produisait sur le psychisme des effets analogues (…). Le Kykéôn, breuvage sacré à base de plantes psychotropes telles que l’ivraie parasité, était utilisé dans les cultes archaïques des religions grecques (…). Pindare, Sophocle, Platon, Alexandre, Marc Aurèle ont au moins une fois dans leur vie, fait l’expérience de l’hallucination que procurait le Kykéôn, la potion psychotrope. Antonio Gnoli (L.S.D. entretiens avec Albert Hofmann, 2004)
J’ai tout de suite été frappé à la lecture de ce texte qui sonne déjà comme un grand classique, de la manière singulière avec laquelle le mode monologué disparaissait progressivement pour laisser place aux voix. C’est comme si de la bouche ou plutôt de l’intérieur même de ce corps exsangue, des multitudes de voix se relayaient pour raconter, avec une envoûtante beauté de la langue, la lente progression des armées d’Alexandre. Sans jamais sombrer dans une fastidieuse et complaisante description des combats – ficelle littéraire des biographes historiques, « comme si vous y étiez » – Gaudé prend le parti de générer la narration d’une manière mystique, voire hallucinatoire. Les feuilles que le roi mourant mâche tout au début, alors qu’il a le ventre vide et qu’il ne peut rien avaler, déclenchent le récit, provoquent les apparitions, le rapprochent petit à petit non pas de la mort, mais d’un état extatique propice au « voyage » dans les ténèbres, tout en gardant un pied dans le monde des vivants. (…) A partir de ce moment, l’expérience chamanique devient une mise en abîme. Alexandre est initié et guidé par un tigre bleu qu’il voit un jour sur le bord de l’Euphrate et qui lui réapparaîtra plusieurs fois ; Alexandre est initiateur et nous guide, provoquant les visions dont nous sommes les témoins. Mohamed Rouabhi

Psychopompe ou psychotrope ?

Alors qu’après la prestigieuse Oxford union et la vérité de 2013 …

Et  les crimes d’honneur de l’an dernier …

C’est les tigres bleus qui passent cette année à la trappe de nos concepteurs de sujets du bac de français de cette année

Et valent à nos pauvres chères têtes blondes les gausseries faciles de nos médias pressés …

Pour avoir dans une épreuve tirée d’un extrait d’une oeuvre contemporaine de Laurent Gaudé intitulée Le Tigre bleu de l’Euphrate

Prétendument confondu un fleuve avec un animal réel …

Comment ne pas voir dans cet énième et systématique effacement, politiquement correct oblige, de tout ce qui pourrait mettre les candidats sur la voie …

Face au mystère d’un animal qui, au-delà de son rôle psychopompe (guide des âmes) dans l’oeuvre en question, pourrait non seulement sous le nom de tigre de Malte, exister ou avoir existé dans la réalité physique de notre monde …

Mais pourrait témoigner, à l’image des éléphants roses de London, d’une expérience proprement hallucinatoire …

Suite à la prise, si l’on en croit le metteur en scène Mohamed Rouabhi, de produits psychotropes liés, depuis les fameux mystères d’Eleusis aux farines contaminées de nos danseurs de St Gui et autres sorcières ou plus récemment à nos adeptes du LSD, à l’ergot du seigle …

Le mystère encore plus profond tant de la désolante habitude de déréalisation du réel de nos autorités éducatives …

Que de l’hélas si fréquente cuistrerie – pour ne pas dire fumisterie – de nombre de ceux qui ont vocation de nous informer ?

 Le Tigre bleu de l’Euphrate
de Laurent Gaudé
mise en scène Mohamed Rouabhi

Présentation
Un destin commun

L’épopée d’Alexandre le Grand est immense. Sans doute plus grande et plus ineffable que toutes les terres qu’il a foulées. Elle est de celle dont seule peut-être la littérature peut venir à bout, s’érigeant à la mesure de l’homme qui rivalisa avec les Dieux.
Et sans doute aussi, la Mort.
C’est ainsi que dans Le Tigre Bleu de l’Euphrate, Laurent Gaudé, loin de vouloir faire plier le géant pour mieux pénétrer son coeur, a choisi de nous le rendre plus proche, marchant à nos côtés sur cette route tant de fois foulée depuis la nuit des temps, vers cette dernière aventure qui nous attend tous un jour, esclaves de l’éphémère, et devant laquelle le pouvoir et la force, la grandeur et le courage, la cruauté et la furie, deviennent des armes vaines et impuissantes.
En choisissant la partie la plus intime, la plus faible, la plus dégradée d’un homme, ce dernier n’en devient que plus digne et plus contemporain.

L’invitation au voyage

J’ai tout de suite été frappé à la lecture de ce texte qui sonne déjà comme un grand classique, de la manière singulière avec laquelle le mode monologué disparaissait progressivement pour laisser place aux voix. C’est comme si de la bouche ou plutôt de l’intérieur même de ce corps exsangue, des multitudes de voix se relayaient pour raconter, avec une envoûtante beauté de la langue, la lente progression des armées d’Alexandre. Sans jamais sombrer dans une fastidieuse et complaisante description des combats – ficelle littéraire des biographes historiques, « comme si vous y étiez » – Gaudé prend le parti de générer la narration d’une manière mystique, voire hallucinatoire.

Les feuilles que le roi mourant mâche tout au début, alors qu’il a le ventre vide et qu’il ne peut rien avaler, déclenchent le récit, provoquent les apparitions, le rapprochent petit à petit non pas de la mort, mais d’un état extatique propice au « voyage » dans les ténèbres, tout en gardant un pied dans le monde des vivants. Il dit :

Ce sont des feuilles de mort, inconnues des mortels. (…) Ce sont les feuilles de l’entre-deux. Je les mâche et c’est comme de n’être plus tout à fait vivant. (…) Alexandre est celui qui verra la mort de son vivant. (…) Alexandre va faire pâlir le dieu des morts, d’étonnement d’abord, puis de ravissement.[[« (…) Pour l’étude du LSD, j’avais trouvé dans les régions méditerranéennes une herbe sauvage très répandue, l’ivraie, plus précisément, la « mauvaise ivraie », celle qui en botanique est classée sous le nom de Lolium temulentum (…). Cette plante est souvent atteinte d’ergot, c’est-à-dire du sclérote d’un champignon parasite connu sous le nom de Claviceps purpurea. Il est vénéneux, au point que la farine de blé, si elle est mélangée à celle de l’ivraie, produit une intoxication, qu’on appelle celle de l’ « ivraie enivrante ». J’ai découvert que ce champignon contenait des combinaisons chimiques très voisines de celles du LSD et produisait sur le psychisme des effets analogues (…). Le Kykéôn, breuvage sacré à base de plantes psychotropes telles que l’ivraie parasité, était utilisé dans les cultes archaïques des religions grecques (…). Pindare, Sophocle, Platon, Alexandre, Marc Aurèle ont au moins une fois dans leur vie, fait l’expérience de l’hallucination que procurait le Kykéôn, la potion psychotrope (…). » In « L.S.D. entretiens avec Albert Hofmann » Antonio Gnoli. 2004 Editions Payot. p. 66]]

A partir de ce moment, l’expérience chamanique devient une mise en abîme. Alexandre est initié et guidé par un tigre bleu qu’il voit un jour sur le bord de l’Euphrate et qui lui réapparaîtra plusieurs fois ; Alexandre est initiateur et nous guide, provoquant les visions dont nous sommes les témoins.

Il ne reste plus rien

Perdant tour à tour des amis chers dans de sanglantes batailles (Darius, Koïnos), Alexandre est en proie au désordre et au doute. Et puis il y a ces paroles, terribles, impossibles, qui clôturent le chapitre IX …

J’aurais dû (…) franchir seul l’Hyphase et continuer ma route vers l’est.
(…) Car le Gange n’était plus loin et je suis sûr que le tigre bleu m’aurait guidé (…).
J’aurais dû (…) m’enfoncer seul, dans la touffeur chaude de l’Inde étrangère.
J’aurais dû, oui, car, depuis, je n’ai fait que mourir.

… suivies de celles qui annoncent le dixième et dernier chapitre :

Je vais mourir maintenant.

On a à peine le temps de comprendre ce qui vient de se passer. La voix du regret et de l’amertume a couvert un instant celle du sage et du guerrier. Elle nous a fait redescendre brutalement et jeté aux bords de l’Hadès. Les vapeurs du puissant narcotique tourbillonnent maintenant autour de nous, se mêlant aux relents d’un corps pourrissant tenant à peine debout.
Dans un dernier souffle de lucidité et d’humilité, Alexandre se présente à la mort, nu.

Pleure sur moi, je suis l’homme qui meurt et disparaît avec sa soif.

Un nouveau continent

Depuis maintenant plus de deux ans, nous poursuivons ensemble avec Carlo Brandt, un compagnonnage poétique et musical, à la lisière du théâtre. Un théâtre que nous aimons tous les deux malmener férocement avec des textes qui brûlent de colère, de sagesse ou de révolte : Charles Mingus, Joshi Yamamoto et Mahmoud Darwich ont déjà cimenté ce petit chemin qui nous conduit aujourd’hui vers un nouveau continent jusqu’ici inexploré.

L’édition des textes contemporains nous offre rarement l’occasion de découvrir des pièces jusqu’ici inédites. Encore plus lorsqu’il s’agît d’un auteur bien vivant. Il faut toutefois considérer pour être honnête, qu’il est difficile pour un éditeur lorsqu’il s’agît d’une oeuvre destinée au théâtre, de mettre sur le marché un ouvrage qui aura peu de chances d’être lu par un public habitué à n’acquérir le texte de la pièce que parce qu’il l’a vu.

C’est donc avec un grand bonheur que j’ai lu un jour ce texte que m’offrit Carlo, après l’avoir travaillé pendant un mois à Kinshasa avec des acteurs congolais.
Les évènements se succédèrent alors très vite et en moins de six mois, nous mettions sur pied ce projet ambitieux.

Au fil des discussions, il nous paraissait évident de fournir à cette ode un cadre esthétique et scénographique qui ne laisserait de place ni au pathos ni à la grandiloquence.
Le « tragique » propre aux textes de Laurent Gaudé, cette sorte de « tenue » de la langue, la rigidité guerrière du protagoniste, nous amenèrent à réfléchir à un traitement spectaculaire et codé du récit de ce roi agonisant.
Les premières propositions radicales concernèrent tout d’abord « l’apparence » et la « lisibilité » du personnage. Pas question de l’affubler d’un costume qu’il soit d’époque ou non.

Ce qui saute aux yeux du lecteur, c’est à la fois la grande force et la grande pauvreté de l’homme qui souffre et qui distille avec une grande précision le peu de vie qu’il lui reste encore.
Alexandre dit à la fin qu’il est aussi nu que l’enfant qui vient de naître et c’est ainsi que nous le voyons. Mais comment alors évacuer les milliers de petites scories qui nous traversent la tête à la vue d’un acteur nu sur un plateau de théâtre, et qui nous empêchent de suivre le cheminement de sa pensée ?
Il faut alors qu’il prenne une apparence plus qu’humaine, celle de l’homme qui perd peu à peu l’usage de son corps, qui s’effrite et se carde au fur et à mesure qu’il s’approche de la fin et qu’il voit la mort prendre forme devant ses yeux.

A l’instar de l’art du Buto, l’usage d’un maquillage blanc mat, d’une grossière poudre de riz abondamment répartie sur le corps de façon à rendre à l’épiderme sa rugosité naturelle et perdre le côté fragile et démuni d’un corps nu exposé aux regards, s’avère être une piste intéressante.

Et puis enfin, il y a Carlo Brandt et ce qui chez lui ne porte pas de nom, cette matière mystique et rare, lorsque l’esprit se libère du corps pour nous livrer la substance brute et âpre du texte, cette capacité de maîtriser l’émotion dans ses moindres manifestations organiques.

Pour mieux nous irradier avec son invisible force.

Voir aussi:

Le tigre bleu de la province du Fujian en Chine
Dark Asie

Le tigre maltais, ou tigre bleu serait présent dans les montagnes de la province de Fujian, dans le sud de la Chine. Son nom vient d’une couleur inhabituelle dans la robe de ce tigre chinois; c’est un bleu maltais poudreux avec des taches blanches sur le visage et des rayures noires. Une variété de couleur rare pour l’espèce similaire à la couleur du chat maltais.
De nombreux témoignages très sérieux font état depuis le début du siècle dernier de cette espèce de tigre, mais si elle existe peut-être encore, elle est en voie d’extinction.

Pour beaucoup de scientifiques, ces tigres n’existent absolument pas. Il s’agit d’une fantasmagorie qui n’existe que dans les romans. Toutes les photos que l’on peut trouver sont des photos montages (la photo en illustration en est un mais il a été clairement annoncé comme tel afin d’illustrer le propos). D’autres scientifiques estiment que cela est très probable à l’image de la panthère noire ou bien sur du chat maltais, deux autres félins, cependant ils estiment que la couleur de ces tigres serait plus vers le gris.

Bon je ne juge pas, en Bretagne nous avons bien les éléphants roses. En tout cas le tigre bleu du Fujian méritait sa place dans notre rubrique cryptozoologie.

Voir également:

Bac français: le mystère du tigre bleu de l’écrivain Laurent Gaudé
Le Parisien

19 Juin 2015

Un extrait de la pièce de théâtre « Le tigre bleu de l’Euphrate », donné à commenter aux épreuves du bac français vendredi, affole les réseaux sociaux: l’auteur Laurent Gaudé évoque-t-il dans ce texte un tigre, comme beaucoup de lycéens l’ont cru, ou un fleuve? Cette question agitait notamment Twitter, où les candidats postaient des messages désespérés, furieux, ou désabusés sur ce fameux tigre bleu.

De faux comptes ont été créés ainsi que fleurissaient des mots-clés #tigrebleu ou #LaurentGaude. Et nombreux étaient ceux qui tweetaient des photos d’un tigre teint en bleu.
« Jurez, le tigre bleu, c’est un fleuve? », demande, affolée, @yelenna1998. « Ce soir, on va tous en rêver de ce tigre bleu », prédisait @Mary_Liine. « Il y a deux types de personnes », indiquait @hugoblet en postant deux photos, l’une représentant un tigre à la fourrure bleutée et l’autre un fleuve.

L’extrait présenté, tiré de la pièce écrite en 2002 par Laurent Gaudé (prix Goncourt 2004 pour « Le soleil des Scorta »), est un monologue d’Alexandre le Grand, qui s’apprête à mourir. Il raconte à la Mort comment le Tigre bleu lui est un jour apparu et comment il a su que le but de sa vie était de le suivre, toujours plus loin, à travers le Moyen-Orient.

« Le #tigrebleu de Laurent Gaudé est en train de croquer l’oiseau bleu de Twitter », note le compte du site d’annales france-examen.fr.
L’extrait était un des trois textes de l’épreuve écrite du bac français (passée en première) pour les élèves des sections scientifique (S) et économique et sociale (ES). Le commentaire de texte s’appuyait sur cet extrait.

Plusieurs lycéens ont noté qu’un texte du même écrivain avait également été donné comme sujet de français au brevet, passé par ces mêmes élèves en 3e. « Il veut la mort de l’année 98 », gémissait @FélicieBignon. La grande majorité des adolescents en 1ère cette année et qui passent donc le bac français sont nés en 1998.

L’auteur, publié aux éditions Actes Sud, n’était pas joignable. Dans un message à l’AFP, sa maison d’édition indique que le Tigre, tout comme l?Euphrate, est un « fleuve d?Asie. L?auteur joue sur l?homonymie entre le fleuve et l?animal pour enrichir la résonance de son texte ».

Que les candidats se rassurent toutefois: « Comme tout texte poétique, il ne peut se réduire à une seule interprétation et au contraire laisser au lecteur la possibilité de choisir celle qu?il voudra fabriquer à partir de son imaginaire, de la rêverie que lui inspire le texte », ajoute Actes Sud.

Voir encore:

Le « tigre bleu » du Bac français « ne peut se réduire à une seule interprétation » selon Actes Sud
L’Express avec AFP

19/06/2015

Les élèves de ES et S se sont retrouvés face à un extrait d’une pièce de théâtre intitulée Le Tigre bleu de l’Euphrate. Beaucoup n’ont pas vu le double sens. Découvrez le texte.
On tient la polémiquette de l’année, et elle vient comme l’année dernière du bac de français. A la sortie de l’épreuve anticipée du bac, voici à quoi ressemblaient les emojis postés sur Twitter par les étudiants.

La tête des candidats au bac de français sur Twitter.

emoji
Et pour cause. Dans la série S et ES (voir les corrigés), l’une des épreuves, au choix des candidats, consistait en un commentaire d’un extrait d’un extrait de la pièce de Laurent Gaudé, Le Tigre bleu de l’Euphrate, paru en 2002. Problème: une partie des candidats n’a pas saisi que le Tigre bleu est aussi le fleuve de Mésopotamie qui coule sur près de 2 kilomètres entre le Taurus et le golfe Persique…

Voici le texte:

L’extrait se situe à la fin de la pièce, composée de dix actes. Une seule voix se fait entendre, celle d’Alexandre le Grand. Au premier acte, il se prépare à mourir et chasse tous ceux qui se pressent autour de lui. Il raconte à la Mort, qu’il imagine face à lui, comment le Tigre bleu lui est un jour apparu et comment il a su que le but de sa vie était de le suivre, toujours plus loin, à travers le Moyen-Orient. Mais, cédant à la prière de ses soldats, il cesse de suivre le Tigre bleu pour faire demi-tour.
[…]

Je vais mourir seul

Dans ce feu qui me ronge,

Sans épée, ni cheval,

Sans ami, ni bataille,

Et je te demande d’avoir pitié de moi,

Car je suis celui qui n’a jamais pu se rassasier,

Je suis l’homme qui ne possède rien

Qu’un souvenir de conquêtes.

Je suis l’homme qui a arpenté la terre entière

Sans jamais parvenir à s’arrêter.

Je suis celui qui n’a pas osé suivre jusqu’au bout le tigre bleu de l’Euphrate.

J’ai failli.

Je l’ai laissé disparaître au loin

Et depuis je n’ai fait qu’agoniser.

A l’instant de mourir,

Je pleure sur toutes ces terres que je n’ai pas eu le temps de voir.

Je pleure sur le Gange

lointain de mon désir.

Il ne reste plus rien.

Malgré les trésors de Babylone,

Malgré toutes ces victoires,

Je me présente à toi, nu comme au sortir de ma mère.

Pleure sur moi, sur l’homme assoiffé.

Je ne vais plus courir,

Je ne vais plus combattre,

Je serai bientôt l’une de ces millions d’ombres qui se mêlent et

s’entrecroisent dans tes souterrains sans lumière.

Mais mon âme, longtemps encore, sera secouée du souffle du cheval.

Pleure sur moi,

Je suis l’homme qui meurt

Et disparaît avec sa soif.

La découverte de leur infortune par certains lycéens ne leur a pas enlevé le sens de l’humour…

Dans les séries S et ES, l’épreuve anticipée de français est au coefficient 2. Mais comme le souligne notre corrigé, le fait que le mot ait ce double sens n’était pas central dans l’explication de texte.

Contacté par L’Express, l’auteur, publié aux éditions Actes Sud, n’était pas joignable ce vendredi. Dans un message, sa maison d’édition indique que le Tigre, tout comme l’Euphrate, est un « fleuve d’Asie. L’auteur joue sur l’homonymie entre le fleuve et l’animal pour enrichir la résonance de son texte ».

Que les candidats se rassurent toutefois: « Comme tout texte poétique, il ne peut se réduire à une seule interprétation et au contraire laisser au lecteur la possibilité de choisir celle qu’il voudra fabriquer à partir de son imaginaire, de la rêverie que lui inspire le texte », ajoute Actes Sud.


Bavures policières: Attention, un racisme peut en cacher un autre ! (Police brutality: When all else fails, blame racism !)

6 juin, 2015
https://i0.wp.com/i.kinja-img.com/gawker-media/image/upload/s--P_x46InH--/ac6qxuw3ogsc6chngc5o.jpg https://i0.wp.com/kritisches-netzwerk.de/sites/default/files/u17/Police_violence_Apartheid_racism_Freddie_Gray_black_power_Walter_Scott_Eric_Garner_Tamir_Rice_Michael_Brown_Trayvon_Martin_Diskriminierung_Polizeigewalt_Rassismus_Malcolm_X.jpghttps://i0.wp.com/i.ytimg.com/vi/4wP_fqg3H68/maxresdefault.jpghttps://i0.wp.com/kritisches-netzwerk.de/sites/default/files/u17/Police_brutality_Rassismus_racism_Polizeigewalt_Freddie_Gray_black_power_Tamir_Rice_Michael_Brown_Walter_Scott_Eric_Garner_Trayvon_Martin_Diskriminierung_Darren_Wilson_Ku-Klux-Klan.jpghttps://i0.wp.com/blog.emceebeulogue.fr/public/etat_policier/.Trayvon-Martin-protests_m.jpghttps://i0.wp.com/i1106.photobucket.com/albums/h361/nighttimer/Andy%20Marlette_zpskfkavzzm.jpghttps://i0.wp.com/www.saphirnews.com/photo/art/default/7219409-11082173.jpghttps://i0.wp.com/bondyblog.liberation.fr/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/IMG_20141206_145140-640x320.jpghttps://i0.wp.com/conservativetribune.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/collar-and-austin-1024x535.jpg
Six-year-old Jake D. Robel dragged to death by carjacker Kim L. Davis (Missouri, 2000)
https://i0.wp.com/thereelnetwork.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/NATIONWIDE-BLACK-DEATHS.jpgCaesar Goddson, William G. Porter, Brian W. Rice, Edward M. Nero, Garrett E. Miller et Alicia D. White (Baltimore, May 2015)Il faut toujours dire ce que l’on voit. Surtout, il faut toujours, ce qui est plus difficile, voir ce que l’on voit. Charles Péguy
Savez-vous que les Noirs sont 10 pour cent de la population de Saint-Louis et sont responsables de 58% de ses crimes? Nous avons à faire face à cela. Et nous devons faire quelque chose au sujet de nos normes morales. Nous savons qu’il y a beaucoup de mauvaises choses dans le monde blanc, mais il y a aussi beaucoup de mauvaises choses dans le monde noir. Nous ne pouvons pas continuer à blâmer l’homme blanc. Il y a des choses que nous devons faire pour nous-mêmes. Martin Luther King (St Louis, 1961)
Je ne sais pas -n’ayant pas été là et ne connaissant pas tous les faits- quel rôle la race a pu jouer là-dedans, mais je pense qu’il est juste de dire, en premier lieu, que chacun d’entre nous serait assez en colère» (si cela lui arrivait). En second lieu, que la police de Cambridge a agi de façon stupide en arrêtant quelqu’un dès lors qu’il y avait déjà des preuves qu’il était dans sa propre maison. Barack Obama (2009)
Je ne peux qu’imaginer ce qu’endurent ses parents. Et quand je pense à ce garçon, je pense à mes propres enfants. Si j’avais un fils, il ressemblerait à Trayvon. Obama
Vous savez, quand Trayvon Martin a été tué, j’avais dit qu’il aurait pu être mon fils. Une autre manière de formuler les choses, c’est de dire que Trayvon Martin, ç’aurait pu être moi, il y a 35 ans. (…) Dans ce pays, il y a très peu d’hommes Américains d’origine africaine qui n’ont pas fait l’expérience d’être suivis quand ils faisaient des courses dans un grand magasin. Je l’ai été moi aussi. Il y a très peu d’Américains d’origine africaine qui n’ont pas fait l’expérience de prendre l’ascenseur et de voir une femme serrer son porte-monnaie nerveusement et retenir sa respiration jusqu’à ce qu’elle puisse sortir. Cela arrive souvent. Obama (2013)
When they described their own personal experiences of having been stopped for no reason, or having generated suspicion because they were in a community that supposedly they didn’t belong, my mind went back to what it was like for me when I was 17, 18, 20. And as I told them, not only do I hear the pain and frustration of being subjected to that kind of constant suspicion, but part of the reason I got into politics was to figure out how can I bridge some of those gaps in understanding so that the larger country understands this is not just a black problem or a brown problem. This is an American problem. Obama (2013)
We’re going to provide more to folks who are doing the right thing and we’re going to be investigating folks who are not doing the right thing. I think that becomes an important part of the leverage that we can exert. (…) But a combination of bad training, in some cases; a combination in some cases of departments that really are not trying to root out biases, or tolerate sloppy police work; a combination in some cases of folks just not knowing any better, and in a lot of cases, subconscious fear of folks who look different — all of this contributes to a national problem that’s going to require a national solution. Obama
There’s no doubt that there’s some folks who just really dislike me because they don’t like the idea of a black President. Now, the flip side of it is there are some black folks and maybe some white folks who really like me and give me the benefit of the doubt precisely because I’m a black President. Obama (2014)
J’espère qu’une femme hispanique avisée et forte d’une expérience riche prendrait, plus souvent que l’inverse, une meilleure décision qu’un juge blanc. Sonia Sotomayor (2001)
How do we turn pain into power? How do we go from a moment to a movement that curries favor? (…) The blood of the innocent has power.  Jesse Jackson
When you compare what people endured in the South in the 60s to try to get the right to vote for African Americans, and to compare what people were subjected to there to what happened in Philadelphia—which was inappropriate, certainly that…to describe it in those terms I think does a great disservice to people who put their lives on the line, who risked all, for my people. (…) To compare that kind of courage, that kind of action, and to say that the Black Panther incident wrong though it might be somehow is greater in magnitude or is of greater concern to us, historically, I think just flies in the face of history and the facts. Eric Holder (Attorney-General, 2008)
Nous avons également donné de l’espace à ceux qui voulaient détruire.  Stephanie Rawlings-Blake (maire de Baltimore)
But what about all the other young black murder victims? Nationally, nearly half of all murder victims are black. And the overwhelming majority of those black people are killed by other black people. Where is the march for them? Where is the march against the drug dealers who prey on young black people? Where is the march against bad schools, with their 50% dropout rate for black teenaged boys? Those failed schools are certainly guilty of creating the shameful 40% unemployment rate for black teens? How about marching against the cable television shows constantly offering minstrel-show images of black youth as rappers and comedians who don’t value education, dismiss the importance of marriage, and celebrate killing people, drug money and jailhouse fashion—the pants falling down because the jail guard has taken away the belt, the shoes untied because the warden removed the shoe laces, and accessories such as the drug dealer’s pit bull. (…) There is no fashion, no thug attitude that should be an invitation to murder. But these are the real murderous forces surrounding the Martin death—and yet they never stir protests. The race-baiters argue this case deserves special attention because it fits the mold of white-on-black violence that fills the history books. Some have drawn a comparison to the murder of Emmett Till, a black boy who was killed in 1955 by white racists for whistling at a white woman. (…) While civil rights leaders have raised their voices to speak out against this one tragedy, few if any will do the same about the larger tragedy of daily carnage that is black-on-black crime in America. (…) Almost one half of the nation’s murder victims that year were black and a majority of them were between the ages of 17 and 29. Black people accounted for 13% of the total U.S. population in 2005. Yet they were the victims of 49% of all the nation’s murders. And 93% of black murder victims were killed by other black people, according to the same report. (…) The killing of any child is a tragedy. But where are the protests regarding the larger problems facing black America? Juan Williams
The absurdity of Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton is that they want to make a movement out of an anomaly. Black teenagers today are afraid of other black teenagers, not whites. … Trayvon’s sad fate clearly sent a quiver of perverse happiness all across America’s civil rights establishment, and throughout the mainstream media as well. His death was vindication of the ‘poetic truth’ that these establishments live by. Shelby Steele
Would Trayvon be alive today had he been walking home—Skittles and ice tea in hand—wearing a polo shirt with an alligator logo? Possibly. And does this make the ugly point that dark skin late at night needs to have its menace softened by some show of Waspy Americana? Possibly. (…) Before the 1960s the black American identity (though no one ever used the word) was based on our common humanity, on the idea that race was always an artificial and exploitive division between people. After the ’60s—in a society guilty for its long abuse of us—we took our historical victimization as the central theme of our group identity. We could not have made a worse mistake. It has given us a generation of ambulance-chasing leaders, and the illusion that our greatest power lies in the manipulation of white guilt. Shelby Steele
It’s often said that those who are unduly bothered by gays are latent homosexuals. Isn’t it possible that people obsessed with racism are themselves racist? Treating blacks like special-needs children, liberals bury them in ludicrously gushy praise.  (…) This isn’t a story about black people—it’s a story about the Left’s agenda to patronize blacks and lie to everyone else. Ann Coulter
For decades, the Left has been putting on a play with themselves as heroes in an ongoing civil rights move­ment—which they were mostly absent from at the time. Long after pervasive racial discrimination ended, they kept pretending America was being run by the Klan and that liberals were black America’s only protectors. It took the O. J. Simpson verdict—the race-based acquittal of a spectacularly guilty black celebrity as blacks across America erupted in cheers—to shut down the white guilt bank. But now, fewer than two decades later, our “pos­tracial” president has returned us to the pre-OJ era of nonstop racial posturing. A half-black, half-white Democrat, not descended from American slaves, has brought racial unrest back with a whoop. The Obama candidacy allowed liberals to engage in self-righteousness about race and get a hard-core Leftie in the White House at the same time. In 2008, we were told the only way for the nation to move past race was to elect him as president. And 53 percent of voters fell for it. Now, Ann Coulter fearlessly explains the real his­tory of race relations in this country, including how white liberals twist that history to spring the guilty, accuse the innocent, and engender racial hatreds, all in order to win politically. You’ll learn, for instance, how a U.S. congressman and a New York mayor con­spired to protect cop killers who ambushed four police officers in the Rev. Louis Farrakhan’s mosque, the entire Democratic elite, up to the Carter White House, coddled a black cult in San Francisco as hun­dreds of the cult members marched to their deaths in Guyana, New York City became a maelstrom of racial hatred, with black neighborhoods abandoned to crimi­nals who were ferociously defended by a press that assessed guilt on the basis of race, preposterous hoax hate crimes were always believed, never questioned. And when they turned out to be frauds the stories would simply disappear from the news, liberals quickly switched the focus of civil rights laws from the heirs of slavery and Jim Crow to white feminists, illegal immigrants, and gays, subway vigilante Bernhard Goetz was surprisingly popular in black neighborhoods, despite hysterical denunciations of him by the New York Times, liberals slander Republicans by endlessly repeating a bizarro-world history in which Democrats defended black America and Republicans appealed to segregationists. The truth has always been exactly the opposite. Going where few authors would dare, Coulter explores the racial demagoguery that has mugged America since the early seventies. She shines the light of truth on cases ranging from Tawana Brawley, Lemrick Nelson, and Howard Beach, NY, to the LA riots and the Duke lacrosse scandal. And she shows how the 2012 Obama campaign is going to inspire the greatest racial guilt mongering of all time. Présentation de « Mugged » (Ann Coulter)
« More whites are killed by the police than blacks primarily because whites outnumber blacks in the general population by more than five to one, » Forst said. The country is about 63 percent white and 12 percent black. (…) A 2002 study in the American Journal of Public Health found that the death rate due to legal intervention was more than three times higher for blacks than for whites in the period from 1988 to 1997. (…) Candace McCoy is a criminologist at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice at the City University of New York. McCoy said blacks might be more likely to have a violent encounter with police because they are convicted of felonies at a higher rate than whites. Felonies include everything from violent crimes like murder and rape, to property crimes like burglary and embezzlement, to drug trafficking and gun offenses. The Bureau of Justice Statistics reported that in 2004, state courts had over 1 million felony convictions. Of those, 59 percent were committed by whites and 38 percent by blacks. But when you factor in the population of whites and blacks, the felony rates stand at 330 per 100,000 for whites and 1,178 per 100,000 for blacks. That’s more than a three-fold difference. McCoy noted that this has more to do with income than race. The felony rates for poor whites are similar to those of poor blacks. « Felony crime is highly correlated with poverty, and race continues to be highly correlated with poverty in the USA, » McCoy said. « It is the most difficult and searing problem in this whole mess. » PunditFact
It seems to me that the biggest challenge will involve changing America’s police culture. In Britain, and across Europe, police officers also spend a lot of time dealing with mental illness, drug use and the rest of it. But the number of deaths in custody per year across Britain is rarely more than handful. The annual number of people shot and killed by police has, in recent years, typically been zero. Some of this cannot be replicated: Britain is a small country with extremely tight gun-control laws and, as a result, extremely little gun crime. But some of it I think is the result of a better police culture. Since the early 1990s, when the Metropolitan Police in London was accused of being institutionally racist in an official inquiry, police services in Britain have become much more community-oriented. Problems remain, but cops increasingly do think of themselves as performing a social service. Not all of America’s 18,000 police forces suffer from the same problems, and there are certainly good examples of reform. Still, America’s police forces are largely made up of people who think of themselves as “a thin blue line (wand) ” against the bad guys. Only when that mentality changes will policing really be able to move past these scandals. The Economist
The reality of the job (…) is far less glamorous. (…) As crime has fallen across America since the 1990s, policing has shifted more towards social work than the drama seen on TV. Police culture, however, has not caught up. The gap may help to explain why American police are so embattled. (…) No one knows how many people die in contact with America’s roughly 18,000 law-enforcement agencies. The FBI publishes reports, but police forces are not required to submit data. The incomplete FBI figures show that at least 461 people died in “justifiable homicides” in 2013, an increase of 33% since 2005. Other sources suggest the true number could be as high as twice that. In Britain, by contrast, police shot and killed precisely no one in 2013. American police resort to violence more partly because they meet it more. (…) Twenty-six police officers were killed with guns in the line of duty in 2013, far more than in any other rich country. Yet fewer police officers are killed now than in the past, and the number who are shot is less than the number who die in traffic accidents. Over time, suggests Mr Bueermann, a justified alertness to danger may have warped into a belief that the swift use of force is the only thing keeping cops safe. (…) force is often used to subdue low-level offenders (…), not just dangerous people. And it is unclear that armed policing is the best way to deal with all problems. At least half of all Americans shot and killed by police each year are mentally ill, says a report from the Treatment Advocacy Centre and the National Sheriffs’ Association. Police officers also spend time dealing with drug addicts, domestic disputes and, increasingly, the enforcement of civil penalties against people who have not paid motoring fines or child support. Such people are not muggers or rapists, yet cops often treat everyone as a threat. What is the solution? Many cops are pessimistic: they feel they are scapegoated for social problems (…) But improvements are being made. Sue Rahr, the director of Washington state’s police academy, says that cops need to be taught how to talk to people again. “When you approach a situation like RoboCop, you’re going to create hostility that wasn’t there before”. Since 2012, the state’s training has emphasised that people can be persuaded to obey commands, not just forced to. Military-style drills have been ditched. (…) Sadly, as the Gainesville video shows, not every police force is catching on. And as Ms Rahr admits, if you try to recruit cops by telling them they are social workers, fewer may apply. At least part of the glamour of the job is the promise that you get the chance to use violence against bad people in a way that ordinary civilians never can, except in video games. The Economist
Six policiers de Baltimore, poursuivis pour la mort d’un jeune Noir en avril, ce qui avait provoqué des émeutes dans cette ville de l’est des Etats-Unis, ont été formellement inculpés, a annoncé jeudi la procureure du Maryland Marilyn Mosby. Le 1er mai, celle-ci avait annoncé, à la surprise générale, des poursuites pénales contre six policiers pour la mort de Freddie Gray le 19 avril, cinq jours après son arrestation musclée. Un grand jury a retenu presque tous les chefs d’accusation contre les policiers, trois Blancs et trois Noirs : Caesar Goddson, William G. Porter, Brian W. Rice, Edward M. Nero, Garrett E. Miller et Alicia D. White. Tous sont poursuivis pour meurtre, homicide involontaire, faute professionnelle, et le chef de mise en danger de la vie d’autrui a été ajouté, a précisé la procureure lors d’une conférence de presse. En revanche, les chefs de voie de fait et séquestration ont été retirés, détaille le «Baltimore Sun». Seul Caesar Goodson, un homme de 45 ans, entré dans la police de Baltimore en 1999, est poursuivi, en plus, pour meurtre résultant d’une action dangereuse pour autrui et sans se soucier de la vie humaine, ainsi que pour homicide involontaire, et défaut d’assistance. Paris Match
Après une nuit de heurts entre la population noire de Baltimore et les forces de police, la mort de Freddie Gray, jeune Noir de 25 ans, des suites de son arrestation le 12 avril dernier, continue de faire débat. En cause, sa blessure mortelle à la moelle épinière, causée par une fracture des vertèbres cervicales. Là où la police reconnaissait d’abord des négligences, l’hypothèse de violences volontaires – voire d’une pratique courante, les « rough rides » – est désormais évoquée. Une pratique particulièrement dangereuse qui consiste à placer les suspects à l’arrière des fourgons sans les attacher et à volontairement conduire de façon brutale. (…) Mais le Baltimore Sun, dans son édition du jeudi 23 avril, a mis en lumière un élément jusque-là ignoré par le reste de la presse : les « rough rides », qu’on pourrait littéralement traduire par « balades brutales ». L’article, titré « Freddie Gray n’est pas le premier à sortir d’un fourgon de la police de Baltimore avec de sérieuses blessures », décrit ce qui pourrait être une pratique plus ou moins courante des forces de police de la ville de la côte Est. Elle consiste à conduire volontairement de façon brutale le fourgon de police alors que l’interpellé est menotté et non attaché à l’arrière pour le « blesser ou le faire souffrir », comme le décrivait un ancien policier de Baltimore interrogé lors d’un procès en 2010. Le quotidien local cite plusieurs exemples, dont celui d’une libraire de 27 ans, qui poursuit aujourd’hui la ville pour des faits de ce type qu’elle aurait subis en 2012. « Ils s’arrêtaient violemment pour que je sois projetée contre le mur et ils prenaient des virages très larges, très vite. J’étais terrifiée. Vous vous sentez comme de la marchandise, vous ne vous sentez plus humain », explique Christine Abbott, qui a depuis été interrogée par CNN. Elle raconte comment elle a été jetée au sol lors d’une intervention à son domicile avant d’être « poussée dans le fourgon » menottée et avec sa robe déchirée, le tout pour une simple intervention pour tapage nocturne lors d’une soirée organisée chez elle. Et la pratique n’est ni nouvelle ni cantonnée à Baltimore. En octobre dernier, Fox News racontait l’histoire d’un Irlandais, James McKenna, de visite à Philadelphie en 2001, et victime à l’époque de ce qui s’appelle là-bas une « nickel ride ». Le nom fait référence aux montagnes russes (« ride ») qui coûtait 5 cents (soit un nickel, nom donné à la pièce de 5 cents) il y a plus de trente ans. En se heurtant très violemment la tête dans le fourgon après un « freinage brutal » des policiers, McKenna s’est notamment brisé trois vertèbres. L’Irlandais s’en est sorti sans infirmité permanente mais avec des plaques métalliques sur le front et dans le dos. Il a choisi d’attaquer la ville de Philadelphie et a obtenu le versement 490 000 dollars. Sept ans plus tôt, Gino Thompson devenait lui paralysé des membres inférieurs à vie après la même mésaventure aux mains de la police de Philadelphie en avril 1994 : un freinage brutal après de violentes accélérations à l’arrière d’un fourgon. Sa blessure ? Une lésion de la moelle épinière, tout comme Freddie Gray à Baltimore il y a deux semaines. Dans son cas, la ville avait concédé un paiement de 600 000 dollars pour mettre fin aux poursuites. Idem pour Calvin Saunders, qui a touché 1,2 million de dollars après avoir été lourdement blessé dans les mêmes circonstances en 1997, toujours à Philadelphie. Des blessures courantes à la moelle épinière donc, causées par la configuration des fourgons (des bancs particulièrement durs et étroits, sans ceinture de sécurité), la position de l’interpellé (mains menottées dans le dos) ainsi que par la conduite volontairement brutale des agents, détaillait en 2001 le Philadelphia Inquirer. Arrêt sur images
Le Parisien révélait la semaine dernière une affaire qui n’est pas sans rappeler la mort de Freddie Gray : dans la nuit du 5 au 6 mars à Paris, un Noir de 33 ans, Amadou Koumé, est mort « après son interpellation musclée ». Un décès « dans une enceinte de police [qui] n’avait jusqu’ici jamais été ébruité » et dont les circonstances ne sont encore que partiellement connues. « Selon les premiers éléments de l’enquête, Amadou a été interpellé le 6mars à 0h05 à proximité du secteur de la gare du Nord alors qu’il tenait des propos incohérents. «Quand les policiers ont voulu le menotter, il s’est débattu. Ils ont dû procéder à une manœuvre d’étranglement pour lui passer les menottes. A l’arrivée au commissariat à 0h25, ils se sont rendu compte qu’il était amorphe. Le Samu a tenté de le ranimer, en vain.» Le décès d’Amadou a été officiellement constaté à 2h30. » détaile simplement le quotidien.Une enquête a été ouverte par l’IGPN pour « homicide involontaire » et une plainte contre X déposée par la famille pour « violences volontaires ayant entraîné la mort sans intention de la donner et abstention de porter assistance à une personne en péril ».  Surtout, certains sites militants soulignent qu’Amadou Koumé a été victime d’une « manœuvre d’étranglement », au moment de l’interpellation, qui aurait entrainé sa mort. Comme pour le cas de Freddie Gray, cette mort met donc en lumière une pratique souvent méconnue : l’immobilisation par étranglement des suspects jugés dangereux ou agités. Une pratique dénoncée par La Ligue des Droits de l’Homme ou Amnesty International, qui depuis quinze ans demandent son interdiction, comme c’est déjà le cas en Suisse et en Belgique. Arrêt sur images
Recently an 18-year-old University of South Alabama student, Gil Collar, was shot and killed by a campus police officer. At the time of the shooting, the student was under the influence of LSD and exhibiting erratic behavior around the campus police station. (…) Jere Beasley, attorney for the Collar family, said about the shooting, “I can tell you without reservation nothing we saw in the videotape justified the use of deadly force in this case.” Sound familiar? The point is that while we may never know if deadly force was justified – where is Al Sharpton on this one? This was a black cop shooting an unarmed white teenager. Why aren’t predominantly white neighborhoods being set on fire right now? Why aren’t whites looting, rioting and flipping over cars? This incident, which eerily parallels in many ways that of the Mike Brown shooting, clearly and unequivocally shows that race-baiters like Sharpton, Holder and even Obama himself know exactly what they’re doing when it comes to pushing racial tensions over the edge. Conservative tribune
They’re focusing on race, this was never that. Lori Myles (Mobile County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman)

Attention: un racisme peut en cacher un autre !

Henry Louis Gates, Tamir Rice, Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, Baltimore

A l’heure où avec les violentes émeutes raciales de Baltimore du mois dernier, les Etats-Unis voire la France semblent pouvoir rebasculer à n’importe quel moment dans les étés longs et chauds des années 60 …

Et où, à grands coups de photos de victimes (de couleur comme il se doit), de bilans macabres et de « longues histoires de brutalités policières », nos médias comme nos responsables politiques multiplient les stigmatisations contre le « racisme »

Alors qu’après le triomphal référendum du « mariage pour tous » irlandais, nos médias se bousculent pour lancer la nouvelle émission de télé-réalité d’un ancien champion olympique transgenre …

Et que du côté d’Hollywood une comédie sur une femme frustrée de ne pas avoir les traits physiques de son « improbable héritage » multiracial se voit contrainte de s’excuser pour l’insupportable blancheur de son actrice …

Comment ne pas voir …

Avec l’exemple étrangement oublié de cet étudiant blanc abattu tout nu et donc parfaitement désarmé il y a trois ans par un policier noir de l’université d’Alabama …

Outre le fait, souvent oublié, qu’une bonne partie des policiers en question, dont la moitié des six inculpés pour la mort de Freddie Gray à Baltimore, sont noirs …

Et au-delà du problème spécifique du surarmement de la population et d’une communauté noire qui avec seulement 12% de la population concentre 27% de la pauvreté, 67% d’enfants nés de mères célibataires et est impliquée dans plus de la moitié des meurtres dont à peine 10% sont inter-raciaux …

L’évident problème d’équipement et de formation (notamment les techniques d’intimidation telles que les « rough rides » ou « transferts intentionnellement mouvementés » qui causèrent la mort de Freddie Gray), toutes ethnies confondues, comme le rappelait récemment The Economist, pour des forces de police de plus en plus vouées, loin de la violence célébrée à longueur de films et de séries télévisées, à jouer les assistantes sociales face à une délinquance de plus en réduite à des infractions du code de la route ou des affaires familiales par une part toujours plus grande de déficients mentaux ?

Mais surtout avec l’Administration d’un premier président postracial qui, après 20 ans de Jeremiah Wright, devait ramener l’harmonie raciale dans son pays mais n’a pas cessé en fait d’en attiser les flammes …

Le racisme à peine masqué de nos habituels chasseurs d’ambulances ?

Ferguson shooting, Gil Collar case radically different according to Mobile officials, race not a factor
Cassie Fambro
AL.com news
December 02, 201

MOBILE, Alabama– When the Mobile County Sheriff’s Department read the recent Washington Times’ article likening the 2012 shooting death of USA student Gilbert « Gil » Collar to the death of Mike Brown in Ferguson, they took issue with the comparison.

Collar, 18, was shot and killed on USA’s campus by officer Trevis Austin while naked and on what was later determined to be a synthetic drug.

The incident quickly divided the USA community but not anywhere to the extent that the shooting death of Brown divided the nation.

According to local officials, the two cases were handled radically differently, and the fundamentals were dissimilar.

« Communication was the key to it, » Sheriff Sam Cochran told AL.com.

Less than 12 hours after Collar was killed, USA held a press conference and issued a statement on the incident that had transpired.

« In any crisis situation, the University’s overarching communication philosophy is to be as open and transparent as possible with our University community and the public, » interim public relations director Bob Lowry said.

In addition to the press conference, then-PR-director Keith Ayers sent a mass email to students and staff about the incident.

News of the incident traveled internationally, with The Daily Mail, CNN, The Huffington Post and other major media reporting on the story.

A week later, Mobile County Sheriff Sam Cochran invited members of the media and even student media from the university to watch the surveillance tape of the shooting.

« In the Gil Collar case, the community was very concerned… they were asking if they should send their kids there, » said Cochran.

In response, the sheriff said he decided to take another step.

« We put out more information, we called the news media and we showed the video from the eyes of the officer, » he said.

Members of the media watched the tape twice and were able to report on what they saw. « I think the communication calmed people down, » Cochran said.

He believes that didn’t happen in Ferguson.

« For two months, police and the DA never put out information, » he said. « They didn’t say the officer was in a struggle. »

Mobile County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Lori Myles said that a strong relationship with the media is central to eliminating speculation.

« The media is going to publish information directly from the source, » said Myles.

She said that Ferguson would have benefited from at holding press conferences letting the media know what information they could from the beginning.

Myles added that one key element in the Ferguson case was absent.

« They’re focusing on race, this was never that, » she said of the USA shooting.

Mobile County District Attorney Ashley Rich said that overall, the Collar case was handled « more effectively » than Ferguson.

« We have an excellent relationship with law enforcement and the media in Mobile, » said Rich. « We felt that it was very important to make the media aware of what was going on and that didn’t allow for rampant speculation. »

Cochran said that by showing the video to the media, both sides of the story were told.

« Shootings are not as they appear on TV, » said Cochran. « They’re trained to shoot to stop. »

Rich also said that the Collar case has stuck with her.

« It was an extremely difficult case, » said Rich. « When I spoke with Gil’s mom and told her the results of the grand jury, it was one of the hardest days of my career as a district attorney, » she said.

The case is now used as an example when Rich speaks in Mobile County Schools to deter kids from trying drugs.

Voir aussi:

Unarmed White Teen Gunned Down by Black Cop… Where’s the Outrage?

Conservative tribune

Recently an 18-year-old University of South Alabama student, Gil Collar, was shot and killed by a campus police officer.

At the time of the shooting, the student was under the influence of LSD and exhibiting erratic behavior around the campus police station.

A two-minute video of the incident was played for the media by the Mobile County sheriff’s department.

A security camera mounted on the campus police station at the university and recorded most of the entire incident including the shooting. (H/T ReadyChimp)

Collar was seen acting “aggressively” in the short video, first walking up to the campus police station, pounding on the window and then walking away from it. He then walked back up to the station and again retreated.

At that point, black police officer Trevis Austin stepped outside from the station with his gun drawn and pointed at Collar, who reportedly had his “arms outstretched and palms open,” according to Austin.

The two then moved around the building, with Collar kneeling at one point and then standing back up and walking toward the officer. The officer had his firearm trained on the white student as he approached the officer.

They both moved into the yard and though the camera shot from that angle was partially blocked, it showed Collar dropping to the ground after having been shot once in the chest.

The entire incident played out within thirty seconds after Austin came out of the building.

Jere Beasley, attorney for the Collar family, said about the shooting, “I can tell you without reservation nothing we saw in the videotape justified the use of deadly force in this case.”

Sound familiar? The point is that while we may never know if deadly force was justified – where is Al Sharpton on this one?

This was a black cop shooting an unarmed white teenager. Why aren’t predominantly white neighborhoods being set on fire right now? Why aren’t whites looting, rioting and flipping over cars?

This incident, which eerily parallels in many ways that of the Mike Brown shooting, clearly and unequivocally shows that race-baiters like Sharpton, Holder and even Obama himself know exactly what they’re doing when it comes to pushing racial tensions over the edge.

Voir également:

Surveillance video shows naked Alabama student ‘high on LSD’ moments before he was shot dead as he chased campus police officer 
Video shows Gil Collar, 18, with his arms outstretched and palms open towards officer who shot him

Collar shot once in the chest on Saturday by security guard at University of South Alabama
Family and friends gathered at Wetumpka High School to pay respects in late night vigil yesterday

Authorities claim Collar took LSD at music festival and stripped off his clothes before assaulting two people in their vehicles
Footage shows ‘he knocked on campus police HQ and chased after officer’
Officer, named as Trevis Austin, did not have his baton or pepper spray
Sheriff: ‘Even if he did have these, he might have had to shoot him anyway’

Daily Mail Reporter

12 October 2012

Video of the fatal shooting of a naked Alabama college student shows him with his arms outstretched and his palms open seconds before a campus police officer fired.

The Mobile County Sheriff’s Department played the approximately two-minute security video for media Thursday. It was taken by a surveillance camera outside the University of South Alabama police station, where 18-year-old Gil Collar was fatally shot early Saturday morning. The video has no sound.

Police said Collar, 18, had taken the drug LSD and was acting aggressively, but an attorney for Collar’s family said the video shows his actions didn’t justify the shooting. Authorities declined to release a copy of the video.

On the tape, Collar walks slowly toward a campus police station door once and then walks away. Seconds later, he walks back to the station and pounds violently on a glass window.

He then walks away from the police station again before an officer, Trevis Austin, comes out with his gun drawn and pointed at the naked student. Collar approaches Austin with his arms outstretched and palms open toward Austin.

They move around the porch, with Collar kneeling at one point, then getting to his feet and again walking toward Austin. The officer keeps backing away from Collar, his gun pointed at the student, as Collar approaches.

The two move into the yard, where the view of the camera is partially blocked by the porch columns and lighting. Less than 30 seconds after Austin came out of the building, the video shows Collar falling after having been shot.

The former high school wrestler was struck once in the chest.

The police dispatcher can be seen opening the station’s front door in response to the sound of gunfire. A second officer arrives just as Collar is being shot. Collar gets up twice and the officers pursue him.

Sheriff Sam Cochran said two officers handcuffed Collar to subdue him after he was shot, but that could not be clearly seen on the video. A second backup officer arrived just as the two-minute video ended.

‘In my opinion it was proper to come out with the gun,’ Cochran said.

He said numerous police officers have been killed with their own weapons and that it is important for an officer to make sure a suspect isn’t able to take control of a weapon. Collar did not touch Austin, but Austin got as close as five feet to the pointed gun before Austin fired.

The 18-year-old allegedly took LSD at an outdoor music festival before assaulting two people in vehicles and trying to bite a woman’s arm.

The University of South Alabama freshman then went to the campus police headquarters, where he was allegedly shot by Austin.
Around 500 people gathered Tuesday night at Wetumpka High School, where Collar graduated from earlier this year, to hold a vigil in his memory.

The crowd included students, wrestling teammates and people of all ages from the community.

His parents also attended the memorial where speaker after speaker remembered Collar as a young man with a great sense of humor and a great love of life.Meanwhile Austin, who has been an officer for four years, is on leave while investigators look into the death.

He had come outside the police headquarters when he heard Collar banging on its door, Cochran said.

Surveillance footage showed Collar naked and covered in sweat as he chased the officer for more than 50 feet, Fox News reported.

When the student got within five feet of the officer, Austin, who was not armed with pepper spray or a baton, as is required of campus officers, shot once and struck him in the chest.

Mobile County Sheriff Sam Cochran said at a news conference: ‘Had the officer had a Taser or some other less lethal instrument I don’t know if that officer would have had an opportunity to shoulder his pistol and to use something else because the events were evolving so rapidly and he was approaching so close.’

He added that he had been extremely concerned when first hearing about the shooting, but understood why the officer had chosen to open fire after watching the video.

The authorities will not be releasing the footage publicly, he added.

Investigators are now looking into who gave Collar the LSD and could charged them with murder. Cochran revealed that people at the concert with the teenager had told them about his drug use.

LSD, which is also known as acid, can cause anxiety, paranoia, psychotic behavior and an inability to recognise danger, effects which typically last for around 12 hours.

The revelations come after Collar’s mother, Bonnie Smith Collar, said the surveillance video shows that her son never came into physical contact with the officer.

Acquaintances had said that Collar appeared to be intoxicated as he took his clothes off, ran through the streets, screamed obscenities and claimed he was on a ‘spiritual quest’ before he was killed.

ANXIETY, PANIC AND PSYCHOTIC BEHAVIOUR: THE DANGERS OF LSD

LSD, is a semisynthetic psychedelic drug also known as acid. It is usually added to absorbent paper, such as blotter paper, divided into small squares and taken orally.

The effects of LSD are unpredictable and depend on the amount taken, the user’s personality and mood, and the surroundings in which the drug is used.

It can cause anxiety, panic, paranoia, psychotic behavior and an inability to recognize danger. If taken in a large enough dose, the drug produces delusions and visual hallucinations.

Physical effects include dilated pupils, higher body temperature, increased heart rate and blood pressure, sweating, loss of appetite, sleeplessness, dry mouth, and tremors.

The effects of LSD last for hours, typically clearly after 12 hours.
‘Whatever caused the incident was something that made him act not in his normal personality,’ she said.

Mrs Collar said she had no idea why her son would be acting erratically as described and that the slight yet strong boy had never posed a threat before.

‘The first thing on my mind is, freshman kids do stupid things,’ she said. ‘Campus police should be equipped to handle activity like that without having to use lethal force.’

The attorney for the student’s family, Jere Beasley, said earlier Thursday that the shooting was not justified.

‘I can tell you without reservation nothing we saw in the videotape justified the use of deadly force in this case,’ he said.

Beasley said his chief investigator and one of his lawyers, a former police officer, were shown the tape Wednesday by the Mobile County Sheriff’s Department.

The video shows the five-foot-seven, 140-pound student never got closer to the officer than four feet and didn’t try to grab his weapon, Beasley contended. The lawyer said the video also shows the officer didn’t wait for backup to arrive before coming out of the station.

‘I have seen nothing to indicate to me that you ought to go out there with a raised gun against a guy who’s buck naked, unarmed and in distress,’ he said.

Beasley said the officer was not carrying a baton or pepper spray, even though university officials have said officers typically carry both in addition to a gun.

Forensic scientists have not completed a toxicology report on drug use, he added.

‘The fact that he came to the police station indicates that he was not necessarily looking for trouble. In fact, I think he was looking for help,’ Beasley said.

Collar’s parents, Reed and Bonnie Collar, accompanied Beasley to the news conference, but did not comment. They sat in chairs, holding hands, bowing their heads and nodding occasionally.

Probe: Austin, an officer for four years, has been placed on leave while an investigation continues

Beasley said they have been praying for the officer, but hold the university accountable for training its officers properly.

Beasley said his law firm will complete its investigation before the family makes a decision about whether to sue the university, but the family’s ultimate goal is to make sure policies are in place to prevent the same thing from happening to another student.

Cochran said that investigators are working to determine who supplied Collar with the LSD and that that person could be arrested in connection with his death.

Collar grew up in the rural outskirts of Wetumpka, about 20 miles north of Montgomery. Brandon Ross, a sophomore at Jacksonville State University, said Collar moved to the neighborhood as an eight-year-old.

‘I was the first person he met on the bus, and we’ve been friends ever since,’ he said. ‘He was the kid everybody liked.’

‘It’s completely opposite of the way he was,’ said South Alabama student Chandler Wescovich of Long Beach, Miss., who became friends with Collar during his short time on campus.

Others agreed the actions were out of character for the normally quiet and reserved Collar, whom friends described as a popular and good-looking high school wrestler.

Collar wasn’t known as a troublemaker and had only two minor scrapes with the law, according to court records: a speeding ticket and a citation for being a minor in possession of three cigarettes in March. He paid a $25 fine for the tobacco possession.

He was also so good-looking that his teammates didn’t like standing next to him in team photos.

‘The girls thought he was the best thing they had ever seen, and they may have been right,’ Glass said.

On the Facebook page for the Vanguard, the school’s student newspaper, Collar’s friends and classmates expressed confusion that the officer felt the need to use deadly force on the young man.
‘Gil went to my high school’ wrote Melissa Mims, who said she was a good friend of Collar’s sister Elisabeth and the rest of his family.
‘Gil was the kind of guy who could put a smile on anyone’s face, he never had any enemies and a lot of students and younger kids looked up to him. He really was a great guy and had very many friends.’

Friend Lucas Self described Collar as an easy going person, small enough deadly force should not have been required.

‘Gil made a mistake but it is still an officers duty to resolve a situation as peacefully as he can’ Self wrote. ‘I think this situation was handled wrong by the officer but they aren’t going to let any one believe that.’

Collar’s funeral is scheduled for 4pm Saturday at Mulder Memorial United Methodist Church in his hometown of Wetumpka.

Voir encore:

Mort de Freddie Gray

Les six policiers inculpés

M.D

Le six policiers poursuivis pour la mort du jeune Freddie Gray, le mois dernier à Baltimore (Maryland), ont été formellement inculpés, a annoncé la procureure Marilyn Mosby. Ils comparaîtront de nouveau le 2 juillet, date à laquelle ils choisiront de plaider coupable ou non coupable.

Six policiers de Baltimore, poursuivis pour la mort d’un jeune Noir en avril, ce qui avait provoqué des émeutes dans cette ville de l’est des Etats-Unis, ont été formellement inculpés, a annoncé jeudi la procureure du Maryland Marilyn Mosby. Le 1er mai, celle-ci avait annoncé, à la surprise générale, des poursuites pénales contre six policiers pour la mort de Freddie Gray le 19 avril, cinq jours après son arrestation musclée.

Un grand jury a retenu presque tous les chefs d’accusation contre les policiers, trois Blancs et trois Noirs : Caesar Goddson, William G. Porter, Brian W. Rice, Edward M. Nero, Garrett E. Miller et Alicia D. White. Tous sont poursuivis pour meurtre, homicide involontaire, faute professionnelle, et le chef de mise en danger de la vie d’autrui a été ajouté, a précisé la procureure lors d’une conférence de presse. En revanche, les chefs de voie de fait et séquestration ont été retirés, détaille le «Baltimore Sun». Seul Caesar Goodson, un homme de 45 ans, entré dans la police de Baltimore en 1999, est poursuivi, en plus, pour meurtre résultant d’une action dangereuse pour autrui et sans se soucier de la vie humaine, ainsi que pour homicide involontaire, et défaut d’assistance.

Prochaine comparution le 2 juillet

«Maintenant que le grand jury a aussi trouvé une cause probable d’inculper les policiers susmentionnés sur la base des éléments présentés, ces policiers, qui sont présumés innocents jusqu’à ce que leur culpabilité soit prouvée, sont assignés à comparaître le 2 juillet», a ajouté Marilyn Mosby. Ils décideront alors de plaider coupable ou non coupable.

Le jeune homme de 25 ans est décédé des suites d’une blessure aux vertèbres cervicales lors de son transport sans ceinture, pieds et mains liés à plat ventre dans un fourgon de police. Les motifs de son interpellation sont encore obscurs : d’après le récit des policiers, il se serait simplement mis à courir à la vue de policiers, qui l’ont trouvé en possession d’un couteau. Mais d’après Marilyn Mosby, la possession de couteau n’est pas illégale dans l’Etat, aussi l’arrestation était en elle-même illégale. La police de Baltimore a reconnu fin avril avoir commis des erreurs. Le suspect aurait notamment dû recevoir une assistance médicale aussitôt après son arrestation, et non trois quart d’heures après, comme cela a été le cas –à son arrivée au poste de police, inconscient. Au moment de son décès, 80% de sa colonne vertébrale était sectionnée à la hauteur des cervicales, selon les avocats de la famille.

Depuis les révoltes de Ferguson en août dernier et de New York en décembre suite à des faits comparables (la mort des jeunes Afro-Américains Michael Brown et de Eric Garner tués par les forces de l’ordre), c’est la première fois que des policiers se retrouvent sur le banc des accusés.

Voir de plus:

Young Boy Dies In Carjacking

CBS

February 23, 2000

A six-year-old child was dragged for about four miles when his mother’s car was carjacked Tuesday, reports CBS affiliate KCTV.

Motorists watched in horror as the stolen vehicle sped down a highway, dragging to death the little boy who was entangled in a seat belt outside one of the doors.

Six-year-old Jake D. Robel of Blue Springs died Tuesday before the driver of the Chevrolet Blazer could be stopped by pursuing motorists. Witnesses said the chase reached speeds of 80 mph.

« Witnesses stated that they heard the juvenile victim screaming for his mother to help him, » Detective Michael Skaggs said in a statement Wednesday.

« He came flying around us and we saw the kid hanging out the side of the car bouncing, » said Fred Byam, who chased the Blazer. « I was honking my horn and flashing my lights. »

Kim L. Davis, 34, of Kansas City, Mo., was charged Wednesday morning with second-degree murder, robbery, child abuse and kidnapping.

Police said Davis took the vehicle when Jake’s mother left it running while she went inside a sandwich shop. The man tried to shove the boy out of the car, and « probably thought he’d gotten the kid out, because then he took off, » Sgt. Gregg Wilkinson said.

Mother Christy Robel opened the back door to try to get her son out, the police statement said. At that point, the driver looked over his shoulder and in the rear of the vehicle.

« As he was fleeing the area, the victim was trapped against the vehicle by the seat belt as the rear door had closed, making it impossible for him to get away from the vehicle, » Skaggs said in the statement.

Prosecutor Robert Beaird would not comment Wednesday about whether the man knew the child was being dragged. Asked if the murder charge might be upgraded to a first-degree charge, he said the case would be reviewed for the grand jury to determine if the evidence rises to that level.

Beaird fought back tears when he told about talking to the child’s family just before his news conference. « It’s pretty hard to talk to the family, » he said, stopping to regain control.

Sharon Irwin watched as the suspect drove off in the stolen car.

« I turned my head and seen something dragging along the righthand side of the car, » she said. « People was honking and hollering at him to stop and he just kept going. »

The chase finally was stopped when motorists in two trucks and a car surrounded the 1991 Blazer at a stoplight.

The man got out of the stolen vehicle, saw the boy’s body and mumbled « something like `I didn’t do that,' » said Brad Byam, one of two brothers who pursued the Blazer in their truck.

Witnesses said the motorists wrestled the man to the ground and waited for police to arrive; they also tied the man’s legs with a rope.

« He was going to leave; he was going to run off, » said John Rodgers. « They sat on him and held him until police got there. There was a woman trying to beat hi, and they held her off until police arrived. »

Beaird said the people who stopped the vehicle are seen as heroes. « They saw something that had to be stopped and they stopped it, » he said.

An 11-year-old boy from one of the pursuing vehicles later took a blanket and placed it over the victim, whose clothes had been mostly torn off.

Wednesday, a four-foot cross with flowers and a stuffed baby lamb stood at the corner where the chase ended.

Voir de plus:

Baltimore : la presse (re) découvre les « balades » mortelles de la police

Et en France ? Etranglement policier à Paris révélé tardivement

Vincent Coquaz

Arrêt sur images

28/04/2015

Négligences policières ou violences volontaires ? Après une nuit de heurts entre la population noire de Baltimore et les forces de police, la mort de Freddie Gray, jeune Noir de 25 ans, des suites de son arrestation le 12 avril dernier, continue de faire débat. En cause, sa blessure mortelle à la moelle épinière, causée par une fracture des vertèbres cervicales. Là où la police reconnaissait d’abord des négligences, l’hypothèse de violences volontaires – voire d’une pratique courante, les « rough rides » – est désormais évoquée. Une pratique particulièrement dangereuse qui consiste à placer les suspects à l’arrière des fourgons sans les attacher et à volontairement conduire de façon brutale.

« La police a pu ne pas respecter la règle sur les ceintures de sécurité« , titrait Fox News le 23 avril dernier, à propos de la mort de Freddie Gray. Ce jeune Noir de Baltimore a été victime d’une fracture des vertèbres cervicales à la suite de son arrestation le 12 avril dernier, pour possession d’un couteau à cran d’arrêt, après une poursuite à pied. Dans le coma pendant une semaine, il est mort de ses blessures le 19 avril. Il était âgé de 25 ans.

Dès lors, la plupart des questions sur sa mort se focalisent sur le trajet dans le fourgon de police qui a suivi son arrestation, puisqu’il a été hospitalisé immédiatement après, alors qu’il ne pouvait plus « parler ni respirer » selon la police. Les différents communiqués de la police de Baltimore semblaient en effet admettre plusieurs négligences à propos du transport de Freddie Gray. Dans un premier temps, la police a indiqué avoir « enfreint » les règles sur la ceinture de sécurité à l’arrière du fourgon, puis admis qu’elle « n’avait pas d’excuse » pour n’avoir pas prodigué des soins à Gray à temps.

Mais le Baltimore Sun, dans son édition du jeudi 23 avril, a mis en lumière un élément jusque-là ignoré par le reste de la presse : les « rough rides », qu’on pourrait littéralement traduire par « balades brutales« . L’article, titré « Freddie Gray n’est pas le premier à sortir d’un fourgon de la police de Baltimore avec de sérieuses blessures« , décrit ce qui pourrait être une pratique plus ou moins courante des forces de police de la ville de la côte Est. Elle consiste à conduire volontairement de façon brutale le fourgon de police alors que l’interpellé est menotté et non attaché à l’arrière pour le « blesser ou le faire souffrir« , comme le décrivait un ancien policier de Baltimore interrogé lors d’un procès en 2010.

Le quotidien local cite plusieurs exemples, dont celui d’une libraire de 27 ans, qui poursuit aujourd’hui la ville pour des faits de ce type qu’elle aurait subis en 2012. « Ils s’arrêtaient violemment pour que je sois projetée contre le mur et ils prenaient des virages très larges, très vite. J’étais terrifiée. Vous vous sentez comme de la marchandise, vous ne vous sentez plus humain« , explique Christine Abbott, qui a depuis été interrogée par CNN. Elle raconte comment elle a été jetée au sol lors d’une intervention à son domicile avant d’être « poussée dans le fourgon » menottée et avec sa robe déchirée, le tout pour une simple intervention pour tapage nocturne lors d’une soirée organisée chez elle.

Les « nickel rides » de la police de Philadelphie

Et la pratique n’est ni nouvelle ni cantonnée à Baltimore. En octobre dernier, Fox News racontait l’histoire d’un Irlandais, James McKenna, de visite à Philadelphie en 2001, et victime à l’époque de ce qui s’appelle là-bas une « nickel ride« . Le nom fait référence aux montagnes russes (« ride ») qui coûtait 5 cents (soit un nickel, nom donné à la pièce de 5 cents) il y a plus de trente ans. En se heurtant très violemment la tête dans le fourgon après un « freinage brutal » des policiers, McKenna s’est notamment brisé trois vertèbres. L’Irlandais s’en est sorti sans infirmité permanente mais avec des plaques métalliques sur le front et dans le dos. Il a choisi d’attaquer la ville de Philadelphie et a obtenu le versement 490 000 dollars.

 

Sept ans plus tôt, Gino Thompson devenait lui paralysé des membres inférieurs à vie après la même mésaventure aux mains de la police de Philadelphie en avril 1994 : un freinage brutal après de violentes accélérations à l’arrière d’un fourgon. Sa blessure ? Une lésion de la moelle épinière, tout comme Freddie Gray à Baltimore il y a deux semaines. Dans son cas, la ville avait concédé un paiement de 600 000 dollars pour mettre fin aux poursuites. Idem pour Calvin Saunders, qui a touché 1,2 million de dollars après avoir été lourdement blessé dans les mêmes circonstances en 1997, toujours à Philadelphie.

Des blessures courantes à la moelle épinière donc, causées par la configuration des fourgons (des bancs particulièrement durs et étroits, sans ceinture de sécurité), la position de l’interpellé (mains menottées dans le dos) ainsi que par la conduite volontairement brutale des agents, détaillait en 2001 le Philadelphia Inquirer.

Face à la multiplication des exemples repris depuis quelques jours par la presse, comme sur Buzzfeed par exemple qui note que le premier procès remonte à 1985, le mot-clé #RoughRide est désormais utilisé pour dénoncer cette pratique sur Twitter :

De nombreux tweets dénoncent la pratique du « Rough Ride » et décrivent par exemple l’intérieur des fourgons de police

Freddie Gray était-il blessé avant de rentrer dans le fourgon ?

Problème : certains utilisateurs de Twitter s’inquiètent de cette nouvelle attention portée aux « rough rides« , qui cacherait selon eux les véritables raisons de la mort du jeune homme. « Tout ça détourne l’attention de ce qui est arrivé à Fred avant qu’il soit mis dans le fourgon« , estime ainsi un Twittos du nom de Michael Seif. Dans les réponses à son tweet, plusieurs soulignent en effet que les vidéos de l’arrestation suggèrent que Gray n’était déjà plus capable de marcher avant même d’entrer dans le véhicule de police, et que le trajet aurait pu « seulement » aggraver son état.

Sur les différentes vidéos de l’arrestation, on peut en effet entendre Gray hurler, vraisemblablement de douleur. Surtout, plusieurs témoins de la scène indiquent que Gray était incapable de marcher. « Ses jambes ! Regardez sa jambe, elle a l’air cassée ! Vous le traînez comme ça alors que sa jambe est cassée » crie une passante qui filme la scène. Sur une autre vidéo, un témoin lance « pas étonnant qu’il ne puisse plus utiliser ses jambes, vu comme vous avez utilisé vos Taser« .

Un autre témoin de la scène décrit par ailleurs Freddie Gray comme « plié comme un origami » lorsqu’il était maintenu au sol par les policiers. Il précise d’ailleurs qu’un des policiers « avait son genou sur la nuque » de Gray, précisément à l’endroit de sa blessure mortelle.

Et en France ?

Le Parisien révélait la semaine dernière une affaire qui n’est pas sans rappeler la mort de Freddie Gray : dans la nuit du 5 au 6 mars à Paris, un Noir de 33 ans, Amadou Koumé, est mort « après son interpellation musclée« . Un décès « dans une enceinte de police [qui] n’avait jusqu’ici jamais été ébruité » et dont les circonstances ne sont encore que partiellement connues. « Selon les premiers éléments de l’enquête, Amadou a été interpellé le 6mars à 0h05 à proximité du secteur de la gare du Nord alors qu’il tenait des propos incohérents. «Quand les policiers ont voulu le menotter, il s’est débattu. Ils ont dû procéder à une manœuvre d’étranglement pour lui passer les menottes. A l’arrivée au commissariat à 0h25, ils se sont rendu compte qu’il était amorphe. Le Samu a tenté de le ranimer, en vain.» Le décès d’Amadou a été officiellement constaté à 2h30. » détaile simplement le quotidien.
Une enquête a été ouverte par l’IGPN pour « homicide involontaire » et une plainte contre X déposée par la famille pour « violences volontaires ayant entraîné la mort sans intention de la donner et abstention de porter assistance à une personne en péril« .

Surtout, certains sites militants soulignent qu’Amadou Koumé a été victime d’une « manœuvre d’étranglement« , au moment de l’interpellation, qui aurait entrainé sa mort. Comme pour le cas de Freddie Gray, cette mort met donc en lumière une pratique souvent méconnue : l’immobilisation par étranglement des suspects jugés dangereux ou agités. Une pratique dénoncée par La Ligue des Droits de l’Homme ou Amnesty International, qui depuis quinze ans demandent son interdiction, comme c’est déjà le cas en Suisse et en Belgique.

 Voir encore:

Cécile Bourgneuf

Libération

31 mai 2015

Selon une enquête du «Washington Post», au moins 385 personnes ont été abattues depuis le début de l’année par les forces de l’ordre. Les deux tiers des victimes non armées sont noires ou hispaniques.

Rapports de police, interviews, articles des journaux locaux… Le Washington Post a publié ce week-end une vaste enquête sur les fusillades qui ont éclaté aux Etats Unis en 2015 entre la police et les citoyens. Conclusion : la police américaine a tué au moins 385 personnes depuis le mois de janvier soit, en moyenne, plus de deux personnes par jour.

Ce chiffre est bien plus élevé que celui fourni par les données fédérales officielles puisque les 18 000 agences de police d’Etats ou locales ne sont pas tenues de publier les statistiques sur ce type d’homicides. «Ces homicides sont largement sous évalués», affirme au journal Jim Bueermann, ancien chef de police aujourd’hui à la tête d’une ONG qui cherche à améliorer l’application des lois. «Nous ne réduirons pas le nombre d’homicides par la police si nous ne commençons pas par collecter correctement ces informations.»

C’est donc ce qu’a fait le Washington Post en épluchant tous les détails concernant les victimes, âgées de 16 à 83 ans, abattues par la police : étaient-elles armées ou non ? Dans quelles circonstances sont-elles décédées et quelles sont leurs origines ?

Noirs, pauvres et malades mentaux, bien plus victimes des tirs de policiers

Conclusion : selon le journal, la moitié des victimes de tirs policiers en 2015 sont des Blancs et l’autre moitié est issue des diverses minorités du pays. Parmi les victimes non armées abattues par la police, les deux tiers sont des Noirs ou des Hispaniques. La plupart des victimes sont pauvres, souvent connues des services de police pour des faits mineurs et souffrent souvent de problèmes psychologiques. Dans la moitié des cas, la police est intervenue pour répondre à un appel d’urgence : un SDF instable, un jeune qui tente de se suicider ou un ami menacé de violences. Près d’un quart des personnes tuées souffraient d’une maladie mentale.

Le Post raconte par exemple qu’une mère a un jour appelé la police en Floride parce que son fils, schizophrène, voulait rester dehors en caleçon en plein hiver. Il agitait un manche à balai quand les forces de l’ordre sont arrivées. Après avoir tenté de l’étourdir au moyen d’un taser, la police lui a tiré dessus. Ces homicides sont donc souvent le fruit d’altercations au départ mineures entre la police et des citoyens, explique le Washington Post.

Dans 16% des cas, les victimes n’étaient pas armées

Dans 16% des cas, les victimes ne sont pas armées ou portent un faux pistolet. Souvent, elles sont en train de fuir les forces de l’ordre quand elles sont abattues. Pourtant, un policier n’est autorisé à faire usage de son arme que lorsque sa vie, ou celle d’autrui, est en danger, souligne le Post. Or, sur les 385 cas mortels relevés par le journal, trois seulement ont donné lieu à des poursuites contre le policier auteur des tirs. Le Washington Post avait déjà révélé, dans une enquête réalisée en avril dernier, qu’en dix ans, seuls 54 policiers américains avaient été poursuivis pour homicide dans l’exercice de leur fonction, pour des milliers de morts.

Lorsque l’affaire passe en justice, il y a, dans la plupart des cas, un témoignage à charge, un tir dans le dos, une suspicion de maquillage d’une bavure ou une vidéo de l’incident. Comme c’est le cas de Michael Slager qui a abattu en avril dernier un homme noir en lui tirant dans le dos. Ces vidéos choc jouent de plus en plus un rôle crucial dans les affaires de violences policières. Malgré tout, Michael Slager ne sera peut-être jamais condamné puisque sur les 54 policiers poursuivis en dix ans, seuls onze agents ont été condamnés, révèle le Washington Post. Bien souvent, l’enquête de police conclut à la légitime défense.

Le Washington Post publie cette enquête au moment où le pays est secoué par un débat très vif sur le niveau des violences policières, notamment à l’encontre des communautés noire et latino. Des émeutes urbaines avaient éclaté après la mort en août 2014 de Michael Brown, un Noir de 18 ans, sous les balles de la police, à Ferguson, dans le Missouri.

Une affaire de bavure policière qui a marqué le pays. Depuis, la Maison Blanche a récemment rendu son rapport pour réformer les pratiques de la police. Elle préconise notamment de rapprocher les forces de l’ordre des minorités ou d’équiper les policiers de caméra embarquées. Et cela dans un contexte encore très tendu puisque d’autres manifestations ont éclaté dans le pays après la mort d’un jeune Noir interpellé par la police à Baltimore.

Selon le Post, le gouvernement fédéral devrait déjà systématiquement «analyser les tirs de la police». Aujourd’hui, le FBI ne recueille les données des personnes tuées par la police que sur la base du volontariat. Les départements de police ne sont pas obligés de les mettre à jour. «Nous voulons faire notre possible pour ne pas ôter la vie de quelqu’un, même dans les pires circonstances», explique le chef de la police d’Oklahoma City au Washington Post, tout en ajoutant que «certaines fusillades sont inévitables». Mais la police de cette ville a déjà tué quatre personnes depuis le début de l’année, dont un homme de 83 ans.

 Voir de plus:

Fatal police shootings in 2015 approaching 400 nationwide
Kimberly Kindy, and reported by Julie Tate, Jennifer Jenkins, Steven Rich, Keith L. Alexander and Wesley Lowery

The Washington Post

May 30 2015

A rosary is draped over a portrait of 17-year-old Jessie Hernandez. The teen, who was killed by Denver police officers in January as she and friends allegedly tried to run them down in a stolen car, is among eight people younger than 18 who have been fatally shot by police this year. (David Zalubowski/Associated Press)

In an alley in Denver, police gunned down a 17-year-old girl joyriding in a stolen car. In the backwoods of North Carolina, police opened fire on a gun-wielding moonshiner. And in a high-rise apartment in Birmingham, Ala., police shot an elderly man after his son asked them to make sure he was okay. Douglas Harris, 77, answered the door with a gun.

The three are among at least 385 people shot and killed by police nationwide during the first five months of this year, more than two a day, according to a Washington Post analysis. That is more than twice the rate of fatal police shootings tallied by the federal government over the past decade, a count that officials concede is incomplete.

“These shootings are grossly under­reported,” said Jim Bueermann, a former police chief and president of the Washington-based Police Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving law enforcement. “We are never going to reduce the number of police shootings if we don’t begin to accurately track this information.”

A national debate is raging about police use of deadly force, especially against minorities. To understand why and how often these shootings occur, The Washington Post is compiling a database of every fatal shooting by police in 2015, as well as of every officer killed by gunfire in the line of duty. The Post looked exclusively at shootings, not killings by other means, such as stun guns and deaths in police custody.

Using interviews, police reports, local news accounts and other sources, The Post tracked more than a dozen details about each killing through Friday, including the victim’s race, whether the person was armed and the circumstances that led to the fatal encounter. The result is an unprecedented examination of these shootings, many of which began as minor incidents and suddenly escalated into violence.

Among The Post’s findings:

●About half the victims were white, half minority. But the demographics shifted sharply among the unarmed victims, two-thirds of whom were black or Hispanic. Overall, blacks were killed at three times the rate of whites or other minorities when adjusting by the population of the census tracts where the shootings occurred.

●The vast majority of victims — more than 80 percent — were armed with potentially lethal objects, primarily guns, but also knives, machetes, revving vehicles and, in one case, a nail gun.

●Forty-nine people had no weapon, while the guns wielded by 13 others turned out to be toys. In all, 16 percent were either carrying a toy or were unarmed.

●The dead ranged in age from 16 to 83. Eight were children younger than 18, including Jessie Hernandez, 17, who was shot three times by Denver police officers as she and a carload of friends allegedly tried to run them down.

The Post analysis also sheds light on the situations that most commonly gave rise to fatal shootings. About half of the time, police were responding to people seeking help with domestic disturbances and other complex social situations: A homeless person behaving erratically. A boyfriend threatening violence. A son trying to kill himself.

Ninety-two victims — nearly a quarter of those killed — were identified by police or family members as mentally ill.

In Miami Gardens, Fla., Catherine Daniels called 911 when she couldn’t persuade her son, Lavall Hall, a 25-year-old black man, to come in out of the cold early one morning in February. A diagnosed schizophrenic who stood 5-foot-4 and weighed barely 120 pounds, Hall was wearing boxer shorts and an undershirt and waving a broomstick when police arrived. They tried to stun him with a Taser gun and then shot him.
Fatal police shooting in Miami Gardens, Fla.(1:38)
Dashboard camera video of a Miami Gardens Police Department officer-involved shooting on Feb. 15, 2015. Editor’s note: This video contains explicit language. (Miami Gardens Police Department via Goldberg & Rosen)

The other half of shootings involved non-domestic crimes, such as robberies, or the routine duties that occupy patrol officers, such as serving warrants.

Nicholas T. Thomas, a 23-year-old black man, was killed in March when police in Smyrna, Ga., tried to serve him with a warrant for failing to pay $170 in felony probation fees. Thomas fled the Goodyear tire shop where he worked as a mechanic, and police shot into his car.

Although race was a dividing line, those who died by police gunfire often had much in common. Most were poor and had a history of run-ins with law enforcement over mostly small-time crimes, sometimes because they were emotionally troubled.

Both things were true of Daniel Elrod, a 39-year-old white man. Elrod had been arrested at least 16 times over the past 15 years; he was taken into protective custody twice last year because Omaha police feared he might hurt himself.

On the day he died in February, Elrod robbed a Family Dollar store. Police said he ran when officers arrived, jumping on top of a BMW in the parking lot and yelling, “Shoot me, shoot me.” Elrod, who was unarmed, was shot three times as he made a “mid-air leap” to clear a barbed-wire fence, according to police records.

Dozens of other people also died while fleeing from police, The Post analysis shows, including a significant proportion — 20 percent — of those who were unarmed. Running is such a provocative act that police experts say there is a name for the injury officers inflict on suspects afterward: a “foot tax.”

Police are authorized to use deadly force only when they fear for their lives or the lives of others. So far, just three of the 385 fatal shootings have resulted in an officer being charged with a crime — less than 1 percent.

The low rate mirrors the findings of a Post investigation in April that found that of thousands of fatal police shootings over the past decade, only 54 had produced criminal ­charges. Typically, those cases involved layers of damning evidence challenging the officer’s account. Of the cases resolved, most officers were cleared or acquitted.

In all three 2015 cases in which charges were filed, videos emerged showing the officers shooting a suspect during or after a foot chase:

●In South Carolina, police officer Michael Slager was charged with murder in the death of Walter Scott, a 50-year-old black man, who ran after a traffic stop. Slager’s attorney declined to comment.

●In Oklahoma, reserve deputy Robert Bates was charged with second-degree manslaughter 10 days after he killed Eric Harris, a 44-year-old black man. Bates’s attorney, Clark Brewster, characterized the shooting as a “legitimate accident,” noting that Bates mistakenly grabbed his gun instead of his Taser.
Fatal police shooting in Tulsa(1:13)
Body camera video of a Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office reserve deputy involved in a shooting on April 2, 2015. Editor’s note: This video contains explicit language. (Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office via Tulsa World)

●And in Pennsylvania, officer Lisa Mearkle was charged with criminal homicide six weeks after she shot and killed David Kassick, a 59-year-old white man, who refused to pull over for a traffic stop. Her attorney did not return calls for comment.

In many other cases, police agencies have determined that the shootings were justified. But many law enforcement leaders are calling for greater scrutiny.

After nearly a year of protests against police brutality and with a White House task force report calling for reforms, a dozen current and former police chiefs and other criminal justice officials said police must begin to accept responsibility for the carnage. They argue that a large number of the killings examined by The Post could be blamed on poor policing.

“We have to get beyond what is legal and start focusing on what is preventable. Most are preventable,” said Ronald L. Davis, a former police chief who heads the Justice Department’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services.

Police “need to stop chasing down suspects, hopping fences and landing on top of someone with a gun,” Davis said. “When they do that, they have no choice but to shoot.”

As a start, criminologists say the federal government should systematically analyze police shootings. Currently, the FBI struggles to gather the most basic data. Reporting is voluntary, and since 2011, less than 3 percent of the nation’s 18,000 state and local police agencies have reported fatal shootings by their officers to the FBI. As a result, FBI records over the past decade show only about 400 police shootings a year — an average of 1.1 deaths per day.

According to The Post’s analysis, the daily death toll so far for 2015 is close to 2.6. At that pace, police will have shot and killed nearly 1,000 people by the end of the year.

“We have to understand the phenomena behind these fatal encounters,” Bueermann said. “There is a compelling social need for this, but a lack of political will to make it happen.”

For the vast majority of departments, a fatal shooting is a rare event. Only 306 agencies have recorded one so far this year, and most had only one, the Post analysis shows.

However, 19 state and local departments were involved in at least three fatal shootings. Los Angeles police lead the nation with eight. The latest occurred May 5, when Brendon Glenn, a 29-year-old homeless black man, was shot after an altercation outside a Venice bar.

Oklahoma City police have killed four people, including an 83-year-old white man wielding a machete.

“We want to do the most we can to keep from taking someone’s life, even under the worst circumstances,” said Oklahoma City Police Chief William Citty. “There are just going to be some shootings that are unavoidable.”

In Bakersfield, Calif., all three of the department’s killings occurred in a span of 10 days in March. The most recent involved Adrian Hernandez, a 22-year-old Hispanic man accused of raping his roommate, dousing her with flammable liquid and setting fire to their home.

After a manhunt, police cornered Hernandez, who jumped out of his car holding a BB gun. Police opened fire, and some Bakersfield residents say they are glad the officers did.
Fatal police shooting in Bakersfield, Calif.(0:30)
Bystander video of a Bakersfield Police Department officer-involved shooting on March 27, 2015. (NEWSTALK 1180 KERN)

“I’m relieved he can’t come back here, to be honest with you,” said Brian Haver, who lives next door to the house Hernandez torched. “If he came out holding a gun, what were they supposed to do?”

Although law enforcement officials say many shootings are preventable, that is not always true. In dozens of cases, officers rushed into volatile situations and saved lives. Examples of police heroism abound.

In Tempe, Ariz., police rescued a 25-year-old woman who had been stabbed and tied up and was screaming for help. Her boyfriend, Matthew Metz, a 26-year-old white man, also stabbed an officer before he was shot and killed, according to police records.

In San Antonio, a patrol officer heard gunshots and rushed to the parking lot of Dad’s Karaoke bar to find a man shooting into the crowd. Richard Castilleja, a 29-year-old Latino, had hit two men and was still unloading his weapon when he was shot and killed, according to police records.

And in Los Angeles County, a Hawthorne police officer working overtime was credited with saving the life of a 12-year-old boy after a frantic woman in a gray Mercedes pulled alongside the officer and said three men in a white Cadillac were following her and her son.

Seconds later, the Cadillac roared up. Robert Washington, a 37-year-old black man, jumped out and began shooting into the woman’s car.

“He had two revolvers and started shooting both of them with no words spoken. He shot and killed the mom, and then he started shooting at the kid,” said Eddie Aguirre, a Los Angeles County homicide detective investigating the case.

“The deputy got out of his patrol car and started shooting,” Aguirre said. “He saved the boy’s life.”

Hummelstown, Pa., Police officer Lisa Mearkle was charged with criminal homicide. Investigators say Mearkle had incapacitated David Kassick with a stun gun. (Associated Press)
Kassick was on the ground when Mearkle shot him twice in the back. She told investigators she thought he was reaching into his jacket for a gun. (Associated Press)

In about half the shootings, police were responding to non-domestic criminal situations, with robberies and traffic infractions ranking among the most common ­offenses. Nearly half of blacks and other minorities were killed under such circumstances. So were about a third of whites.

In North Carolina, a police officer searching for clues in a hit-and-run case approached a green and white mobile home owned by Lester Brown, a 58-year-old white man. On the front porch, the officer spotted an illegal liquor still. He called for backup, and drug agents soon arrived with a search warrant.
View Graphic
People shot to death by police and how they were allegedly armed

Officers knocked on the door and asked Brown to secure his dog. Instead, Brown dashed upstairs and grabbed a Soviet SKS rifle, according to police reports.

Neighbor Joe Guffey Jr. told a local TV reporter that he was sitting at home with his dogs when the shooting started: “Pow, pow, pow, pow.” Brown was hit seven times and pronounced dead at the scene.

While Brown allegedly stood his ground, many others involved in criminal activity chose to flee when confronted by police. Kassick, for example, attracted Mearkle’s attention because he had expired vehicle inspection stickers. On the day he died, Kassick was on felony probation for drunken driving and had drugs in his system, police and autopsy reports show.

After failing to pull over, Kassick drove to his sister’s house in Hummelstown, Pa., jumped out of the car and ran. Mearkle repeatedly struck Kassick with a stun gun and then shot him twice in the back while he was face-down in the snow.

Jimmy Ray Robinson, a.k.a. the “Honey Bun Bandit,” allegedly robbed five convenience stores in Central Texas, grabbing some of the sticky pastries along the way. Robinson, a 51-year-old black man, fled when he spotted Waco police officers staking out his home.

Robinson sped off in reverse in a green Ford Explorer. It got stuck in the mud, and four Waco officers opened fire.

“They think they can outrun the officers. They don’t realize how dangerous it is,” said Samuel Lee Reid, executive director of the Atlanta Citizen Review Board, which investigates police shootings and recently launched a “Don’t Run” campaign. “The panic sets in,” and “all they can think is that they don’t want to get caught and go back to jail.”

Officers from the Alabama Bureau of Investigation take measurements and scour the scene for evidence after Shane Watkins, who had bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, was fatally shot by police in his mother’s driveway in Moulton, Ala. (Gary Cosby Jr./Decatur Daily)

The most troubling ­cases began with a cry for help.

About half the shootings occurred after family members, neighbors or strangers sought help from police because someone was suicidal, behaving erratically or threatening violence.

Take Shane Watkins, a 39-year-old white man, who died in his mother’s driveway in Moulton, Ala.

Watkins had never been violent, and family members were not afraid for their safety when they called Lawrence County sheriff’s deputies in March. But Watkins, who suffered from bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, was off his medication. Days earlier, he had declared himself the “god of the fifth element” and demanded whiskey and beer so he could “cleanse the earth with it,” said his sister, Yvonne Cote.

Then he started threatening to shoot himself and his dog, Slayer. His mother called Cote, who called 911. Cote got back on the phone with her mother, who watched Watkins walk onto the driveway holding a box cutter to his chest. A patrol car pulled up, and Cote heard her mother yell: “Don’t shoot! He doesn’t have a gun!”

“Then I heard the gunshots,” Cote said.

Lawrence County sheriff’s officials declined to comment and have refused to release documents related to the case.

“There are so many unanswered questions,” she said. “All he had was a box cutter. Wasn’t there some other way for them to handle this?”

Catherine Daniels called police for the same reason. “I wanted to get my son help,” she said. Instead, officers Peter Ehrlich and Eddo Trimino fired their stun guns after Hall hit them with the metal end of the broomstick, according to investigative documents.

“Please don’t hurt my child,” Daniels pleaded, in a scene captured by a camera mounted on the dash of one of the patrol cars.

“Get on the f—ing ground or you’re dead!” Trimino shouted. Then he fired five shots.

Police spokesman Mike Wright declined to comment on the case. Daniels said no one from the city has contacted her. “I haven’t received anything. No apology, nothing.”

But hours after her son was killed, Daniels said, officers investigating the shooting dropped off a six-pack of Coca-Cola.

“I regret calling them,” Daniels said. “They took my son’s life.”

Ted Mellnik, John Muyskens and Amy Brittain contributed to this report.

As part of an ongoing examination of police accountability, The Washington Post has attempted to track every fatal shooting by law enforcement nationwide since January, as well as the number of officers who were fatally shot in the line of duty.

The Post compiled the data using news reports, police records, open sources on the Internet and other original reporting. Several organizations, including Killed by Police and Fatal Encounters, have been collecting information about people who die during encounters with police.

The Post documented only those incidents in which a police officer, while on duty, shot and killed a civilian. Cases in which officers were shot to death were also tabulated.

To comprehensively examine the issue, a database was compiled with information about each incident, including the deceased’s age, race, gender, location and general circumstances. The Post also noted whether police reported that the person was armed and, if so, with what type of weapon.

The FBI and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention log fatal police shootings, but the data the two federal agencies gather is incomplete. The Post analyzed a decade of FBI and CDC records as part of the study.

To examine racial and economic patterns, The Post identified the location of every fatal shooting and compared it with the composition of the surrounding census tract.

The data, which will be collected through the end of the year, will be made public at a future date.

Information from The Associated Press was used to supplement this report.

Voir de même:

Emeutes à Baltimore: un an de bavures policières contre les Noirs
Maxime Bourdier

Le HuffPost avec AFP

28/04/2015

INTERNATIONAL – Un air de déjà-vu aux Etats-Unis. Les autorités du Maryland ont annoncé lundi soir, le 27 avril, le déploiement massif de la garde nationale et imposé un couvre-feu nocturne pour ramener le calme à Baltimore, théâtre de violences et de pillages qui ont éclaté après les obsèques de Freddie Gray, un jeune Noir décédé le 19 avril après son interpellation musclée par la police.

L’état d’urgence a été décrété. Les violences, circonscrites dans un quartier du nord-ouest de la ville, ont fait 15 blessés parmi les policiers, dont deux ont dû être hospitalisés, et mené à 27 arrestations. Ce contexte tendu rappelle celui qu’a connu Ferguson (Missouri) en 2014 après la mort de Michael Brown, jeune Noir sans arme abattu de plusieurs coups de feu par Darren Wilson. Ce policier blanc avait ensuite bénéficié d’un non-lieu, déclenchant de nouvelles violences.

Au-delà de Ferguson, la mort de Freddie Gray intervient après une série de bavures qui ont ravivé les tensions entre la communauté noire et les forces de l’ordre aux Etats-Unis. Le pays a été confronté à des manifestations rassemblant des milliers de personnes, après la mort de plusieurs Afro-américains non armés tués par des policiers blancs. Dans plusieurs cas, la justice a décidé de ne pas les poursuivre. Retour sur les affaires qui ont fait scandale depuis un an.

Pas d’inculpation contre Christopher Manney
Le policier de Milwaukee Christopher Manney, depuis licencié, a abattu le 30 avril 2014 Dontre Hamilton, 31 ans, après avoir été appelé par des employés d’un café gênés par cet homme qui dormait dans un parc voisin. Les deux hommes en étaient venus aux mains au moment de l’interpellation, jusqu’à ce que le policier use de son arme et tue cet homme noir de 14 balles, ce qui avait provoqué des manifestations.

Le 22 novembre, la justice a alors décidé de ne pas poursuivre Christopher Manney. Le policier a fait usage de son arme car il était en état de légitime défense par conséquent il n’y a pas lieu de l’inculper pour crime », a conclu le procureur, déclenchant de nouvelles manifestations.

Le cas Eric Garner
Eric Garner, 43 ans, est décédé lors d’une interpellation musclée le 17 juillet 2014. Ce père de six enfants soupçonné de vente illégale de cigarettes, avait été plaqué au sol par plusieurs policiers blancs, après avoir refusé d’être arrêté.

Dans la vidéo amateur montrant son interpellation, on voit un policier, Daniel Pantaleo, le prendre par le cou pour le jeter à terre, une pratique pourtant interdite au sein de la police new-yorkaise. « Je ne peux pas respirer », se plaint à plusieurs reprises Garner, obèse et asthmatique, avant de perdre connaissance. Il avait été déclaré mort peu après, et le médecin légiste avait conclu à un homicide.

Dix jours après Ferguson, un grand jury à New York a décidé le 3 décembre de ne pas inculper le policier, contribuant à relancer des manifestations qui semblaient marquer le pas. « I can’t breathe » (« Je ne peux pas respirer ») est devenu un des slogans de ces manifestants en hommage à Eric Garner.

L’affaire Michael Brown
Un grand jury a décidé le 24 novembre de ne pas inculper le policier blanc Darren Wilson, responsable de la mort début août de Michael Brown. Le policier avait tiré douze fois contre le jeune Noir de 18 ans qui n’était pas armé. Une vingtaine de minutes avant cette confrontation, Michael Brown avait été filmé dans une supérette en train de voler une boîte de cigarillos.

Le corps du jeune homme avait été laissé à la vue des passants pendant plusieurs heures, en plein soleil, ajoutant à la colère des manifestants qui y ont vu un signe de plus du mépris des forces de l’ordre pour la population noire.

Le drame de Ferguson, puis la décision du grand jury, ont provoqué plusieurs manifestations et des émeutes dans cette banlieue de St Louis (Missouri) , où la majorité des édiles, y compris la police, est blanche alors que la majorité de la population est noire. De violentes échauffourées et des pillages ont éclaté après la décision.

La mort « par accident » d’Akai Gurley
Un homme noir de 28 ans « totalement innocent » a été tué par accident par un policier blanc dans un immeuble HLM à New York, a annoncé le 21 novembre le chef de la police Bill Bratton.

C’est une « tragédie très regrettable », a-t-il ajouté lors d’une conférence de presse, précisant que l’arme du policier semblait s’être déchargée « par accident », alors qu’il patrouillait dans cet immeuble HLM du quartier de Brooklyn peu avant minuit jeudi soir, avec un collègue.

La victime, identifiée comme Akai Gurley, « est totalement innocente et n’était engagée dans aucune sorte d’activité criminelle », a reconnu le commissaire. Le jeune homme n’était pas armé. Il a été atteint d’une balle en pleine poitrine. Le policier a été inculpé début février 2015 d’homicide involontaire

Un enfant tué alors qu’il jouait avec une arme factice
A Cleveland, Tamir Rice, garçon noir de 12 ans, a été tué le 22 novembre dernier par un policier alors qu’il manipulait une arme factice dans une aire de jeux. Une vidéo accablante montre que le policier tire sur lui quelques secondes seulement après être sorti de sa voiture.

Après les coups de feu, les policiers ont réalisé que « l’arme en possession du suspect de 12 ans était une réplique de pistolet de type ‘airsoft’ (à billes) ressemblant à un pistolet semi-automatique, avec l’indicateur de sécurité orange enlevé », a dit la police.

L’Ohio avait été le théâtre d’un incident similaire en août 2014, quand des policiers répondant à un appel d’urgence avaient abattu un Noir, John Crawford, dans un supermarché alors qu’il transportait un pistolet jouet, vendu sur place.

La mort de Rumain Brisbon à Phoenix
Un policier blanc a tué un homme noir sans arme en Arizona début décembre. La police de Phoenix a indiqué jeudi 5 décembre dans un communiqué qu’un homme de 34 ans, Rumain Brisbon, avait été interpellé alors qu’il était soupçonné de vendre de la drogue.

D’après le rapport de police, il a tenté de s’échapper et a refusé d’obéir « à plusieurs ordres » du policier blanc âgé de 30 ans, dont le nom n’a pas été révélé, mais qui avait sept ans d’expérience, est-il précisé.

Le policier a « cru sentir la crosse d’un revolver » dans la poche du suspect et « a tiré deux fois dans le torse de Brisbon ». La poche de l’homme contenait en réalité une boîte de pilules.

Tony Terrell Robinson tué par balles à Madison
Le 6 mars 2015, Tony Terrell Robinson, jeune métis de 19 ans, a été tué à Madison (Wisconsin) par un policier blanc. L’affaire, à la veille de la commémoration du 50e anniversaire de la marche pour les droits civiques des Noirs à Selma (Alabama), a suscité des manifestations alors que le ministère de la Justice venait de publier un rapport accablant pour la police de Ferguson.

Trois jours plus tard, le chef de la police de Madison Michael Koval a présenté les condoléances de la police après ce décès et appelé les manifestants à attendre les résultats de l’enquête ouverte par la ville. Il a indiqué qu’apparemment le jeune homme n’avait pas utilisé d’arme et qu’il était mort après avoir reçu plusieurs balles.

Selon lui, un policier s’était rendu vendredi soir au domicile de Tony Robinson soupçonné d’avoir perturbé la circulation routière et « battu quelqu’un ». Entendant du bruit à l’intérieur de l’appartement, le policier a forcé l’entrée du domicile avant d’être agressé par Tony Robinson. « Le sujet a agressé (le) policier ….qui a dégainé son pistolet et tiré », a précisé le chef de la police.

Anthony Hill, abattu alors qu’il souffrait de troubles mentaux
Le 9 mars, Anthony Hill, un Noir de 27 ans souffrant de troubles mentaux, a été abattu de deux balles par un policier blanc près d’Atlanta. Il était nu dans la rue et se comportait de façon étrange, précise Reuters. Selon la police, il aurait couru vers un policier, n’obéissant pas à l’ordre de rester immobile qui lui avait été lancé. D’après certains témoins, il avait pourtant les mains en l’air au moment où le policier lui a tiré dessus.

Les autorités ont lancé une enquête pour comprendre pourquoi un policier avait pu abattre cet ancien soldat de l’US Air Force, qui ne portait pas d’arme. La famille d’Anthony Hill a décidé de lancé sa propre enquête. Elle affirme que cet homme « sensible » ne s’était jamais comporté de cette façon auparavant et qu’il avait sans doute été pris d’un coup de folie.

Des manifestations se sont là aussi déroulées près des lieux du drame, afin de rendre hommage à Anthony Hill et une nouvelle fois de dénoncer les violences policières aux Etats-Unis.

Walter Scott abattu de plusieurs balles dans le dos
Le 7 avril, Walter Scott, un homme noir non armé, a été abattu de huit balles dans le dos par un policier blanc à North Charleston, en Caroline du Sud, alors qu’il courait après s’être fait arrêter lors d’un banal contrôle routier. On peut le voir sur une vidéo diffusée par le New York Times et envoyée par un témoin.

Sur la vidéo, on voit ensuite le policier marcher calmement jusqu’à l’homme âgé de 50 ans, lui enjoignant de mettre les mains dans le dos avant de lui passer les menottes. L’homme est mort quelques instants après. Le policier a été arrêté et inculpé de meurtre. Il risque la peine de mort ou la prison à vie s’il était reconnu coupable.

La famille de la victime a salué à maintes reprises le « héros » et l’ange » qui a pris ces images sans lesquelles elle est persuadée qu’il n’y aurait « pas eu de justice ». Le policier avait dans un premier temps justifié son geste par le fait qu’il s’était senti menacé par la victime qui, selon lui, tentait de saisir son pistolet électrique, une version totalement démentie par les images filmées par un passant sur son téléphone portable.

Voir aussi:

Fact-checking claims about race after Ferguson shooting
Jon Greenberg, Linda Qiu, Katie Sanders, Derek Tsang

PunditFact

Aug. 27, 2014

The shooting of 18-year-old African-American Michael Brown by a Ferguson, Mo., police officer has led to a broader discussion of race in America. PunditFact has recently fact-checked several claims centering on race.

No. 1 cause of death for young black men

Fox pundit Juan Williams recently expounded upon a column he wrote for the Wall Street Journal in which he described « thuggish behavior » as creating a culture of violence in African-American communities.

« The violent behavior of young black men and the police response have become a window on racial fears, » Williams wrote. On Fox News Sunday Williams said, « On the black side of this equation, I think there’s fear of intimidation, harassment being legitimized by the fact that there is a high rate of crime, especially among young black men.

« No. 1 cause of death, young black men 15 to 34 — murder, » Williams said. « Who’s committing the murder? Not police. Other black men. »

We decided to check Williams’ claim that the leading cause of death for African-American males 15-34 is murder.

That’s True.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, homicide was indeed the No. 1 killer of black men between the ages of 15 and 34 in 2011, the most recent year with statistics available. Accidents were the second leading cause of death.

Compared to other ethnicities, the numbers really stand out. Forty percent of African-American males 15-34 who died were murdered, according to the CDC, compared to just 3.8 percent of white males who died. Overall, 14 percent of all men 15-34 who died in 2011 were murdered.

As the laws of aging go, younger men are less prone to fall victim to natural causes of death, so they are more likely to die of unnatural causes. And the racial disparity between those causes has partially to do with the likelihood of getting into car-related accidents, said James Fox, a professor of criminology at Northeastern University.

« Suburban whites drive more than urban blacks, and putting in more miles on highways —  that’s important because not a lot of people are going to get killed in fender benders in neighborhood streets, » Fox said. « There are relatively few auto-accidents in black urban areas. »

Beyond driving habits, the criminal homicide rate among young black males is significantly higher than other groups. This, experts agreed, has to do with poverty and geography.

The difference in social structures, access to jobs, educational opportunities, and many other factors between impoverished black neighborhoods and others is often a matter of life and death, according to Eli Silverman, professor emeritus at John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

« The (homicide) numbers highlight the condition in minority areas, where a lot of violence occurs and the whole way of life is further intensified because police surveillance is always trying to track down people, » he said. « People have heightened survival instincts, will do anything to survive, and they’ll seek retribution for anything … because  they don’t trust law enforcement. »

Unarmed black killed ‘every 28 hours’

On CNN, conservative African-American radio host Larry Elder and liberal African-American professor and author Marc Lamont Hill debated the state of race relations in the country.

« How often does it happen that an unarmed black is shot by a cop? » Elder asked in the Aug. 20, 2014, interview.

« Every 28 hours, » Hill said. « Every 28 hours, Larry. Larry, every 28 hours. According to the MXGM study, a black person is killed by law enforcement, vigilantes or security … »

Elder cut in, but Hill revisited his point later in the interview, saying, « But if this study bears out, and it does, that every 28 hours an unarmed black person is killed, then that also is a problem. »

Hill has his figures wrong. That claim rates False.

Hill is referencing a 2013 report by the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement called « Every 28 Hours, » which examined killings of African-Americans in 2012 by law enforcement, security guards and « vigilantes » who claimed self-defense.

The report is not an academic, unbiased representation of these deaths. It was put together by one volunteer researcher and details 313 deaths based on news clips and police reports. It arrives at one death « every 28 hours » by dividing the number of hours in a year, 8,760, by the number of deaths, 313.

But the report doesn’t say what Hill offered on CNN, that an « unarmed black person is killed » every 28 hours.

In fact, less than half of the people who were killed were unarmed, according to MXGM. PunditFact found 136 were labeled as unarmed after reviewing the compiled profiles.

The 28-hour calculation factored in all 313 deaths, which included people who were armed, « allegedly » armed and unarmed.

Also, not all of the « unarmed » people are analogous to Brown’s case or were killed by police.

Included in the unarmed tally, for instance, is Trayvon Martin, the Miami Gardens teen who was killed by a neighborhood watchman named George Zimmerman. In other cases, whether someone was really « unarmed » may depend on your definition. In nine cases, police said they shot at suspects because they were charging at them from behind the wheel of a vehicle.

Another case to make the list is Rudy Eugene, the Miami man who attacked a homeless man and gnawed his face before police shot him to death.

We also found several « unarmed » deaths that were due to accidents, many car crashes as officers sped to a scene. In another example, one woman was killed at her birthday party, hosted by an off-duty police officer, when she hugged the officer from behind and somehow set off his gun.

More whites are victims of police shootings

The turmoil in Ferguson has spurred many assertions that blacks are unfairly victimized by police. Conservative talk show host Michael Medved aimed to turn that argument on its head.

In a post-show summary on his website, Medved cast police as the protectors of African-Americans. Medved said that blacks are much more likely to be killed by another black person than they are by a cop.

« When it comes to keeping black youths from violent death, police aren’t the problem – in fact, they’re a crucial part of any solution, » Medved said.

As for the charge that police target blacks, Medved said the opposite is true.

« More whites than blacks are victims of deadly police shootings, » he said.

That’s technically correct, but only because there are many more whites in the United States than blacks. So Medved’s claim rates Half True.

In a country that is about 63 percent white and 12 percent black, the probability that an African-American will die in a confrontation with police is much higher than for whites.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention keeps data on fatal injuries from 1999 to 2011 and one category is homicides by legal intervention. The term « legal intervention » covers any situation when a person dies at the hands of anyone authorized to use deadly force in the line of duty.

Over the span of more than a decade, 2,151 whites died by being shot by police compared to 1,130 blacks. In that respect, Medved is correct.

However, Brian Forst, a professor in the Department of Justice, Law and Criminology at American University, said this difference is predictable.

« More whites are killed by the police than blacks primarily because whites outnumber blacks in the general population by more than five to one, » Forst said.

Rather than comparing the raw numbers, you can look at the likelihood that a person will die due to « legal intervention » in the same way you might look at the chance a person will die in a car accident or a disease like lung cancer. When you do that, the numbers flip.

A 2002 study in the American Journal of Public Health found that the death rate due to legal intervention was more than three times higher for blacks than for whites in the period from 1988 to 1997.

Ferguson’s black unemployment rate

Fox pundit Lou Dobbs  criticized President Barack Obama for not going firsthand to Ferguson to calm tensions after the killing of an unarmed 18-year-old African-American by a white police officer.

Obama, Dobbs claimed, bears responsibility for the economic issues that have contributed to the tensions in Ferguson. « Black unemployment is three times that of white unemployment, » Dobbs said on Aug. 19’s America’s Newsroom. « The community itself has a 13 percent unemployment rate, more than double that of the national average. The household net worth in that community is $10,000, a third less than the national average. »

« These are the results of policies on the part of the state government, the local community, and the president of the United States, » Dobbs said, arguing that President Obama should assure residents that « there will be honest and forthright dealing » with « no ambiguity about the conclusions. »

Obama needs to see, Dobbs said, « what happens when you don’t push job creation, you don’t push prosperity for all Americans. »

Dobbs’ claim that Obama is behind the disparity in unemployment rates is False.

First and foremost, Dobbs’ numbers are off. The most recent and best available statistics say the black unemployment rate is 1.9 times higher than the white unemployment rate in Ferguson (16 percent to 8.5 percent).

Second, that has little to do with Obama. Since the Bureau of Labor Statistics began keeping data in 1954, African-Americans have been nationwide are more likely to be unemployed than whites.

***

« More whites than blacks are victims of deadly police shootings. »
— Michael Medved on Tuesday, August 19th, 2014 in a Web post from the « Michael Medved Show »
Talk show host: Police kill more whites than blacks
Jon Greenberg

Pundit Fact

August 21st, 2014

The turmoil in Ferguson, Mo., has spurred many assertions that blacks are unfairly victimized by police. Conservative talk show host Michael Medved aimed to turn that argument on its head.

In a post-show summary on his website this week, Medved cast police as the protectors of African-Americans. Medved said that blacks are much more likely to be killed by another black person than they are by a cop.

« When it comes to keeping black youths from violent death, police aren’t the problem – in fact, they’re a crucial part of any solution, » Medved said.

As for the charge that police target blacks, Medved said the opposite is true.

« More whites than blacks are victims of deadly police shootings, » he said.

We asked Medved’s producers for the source of that claim and did not hear back before we published. Thanks to the good work by the team at fivethirtyeight.com, we know that there is no precise accounting of how many people the police kill. An unknown number of deaths go unreported because the coroner failed to note it or police departments categorize deaths in different ways, or some other data glitch got in the way.

However, even the incomplete figures gathered by the government tell us that Medved could be partially correct and still ignore a huge piece of the picture. Yes, more whites than blacks die as a result of an encounter with police, but whites also represent a much bigger chunk of the total population.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention keeps data on fatal injuries from 1999 to 2011 and one category is homicides by legal intervention. The term « legal intervention » covers any situation when a person dies at the hands of anyone authorized to use deadly force in the line of duty.

Over the span of more than a decade, 2,151 whites died by being shot by police compared to 1,130 blacks. In that respect, Medved is correct.

However, Brian Forst, a professor in the Department of Justice, Law and Criminology at American University, said this difference is predictable.

« More whites are killed by the police than blacks primarily because whites outnumber blacks in the general population by more than five to one, » Forst said. The country is about 63 percent white and 12 percent black.

Rather than comparing the raw numbers, you can look at the likelihood that a person will die due to « legal intervention » in the same way you might look at the chance a person will die in a car accident or a disease like lung cancer. When you do that, the numbers flip.

A 2002 study in the American Journal of Public Health found that the death rate due to legal intervention was more than three times higher for blacks than for whites in the period from 1988 to 1997.

That is not the final story though. There are different theories as to why the black rate is so much higher.

Candace McCoy is a criminologist at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice at the City University of New York. McCoy said blacks might be more likely to have a violent encounter with police because they are convicted of felonies at a higher rate than whites. Felonies include everything from violent crimes like murder and rape, to property crimes like burglary and embezzlement, to drug trafficking and gun offenses.

The Bureau of Justice Statistics reported that in 2004, state courts had over 1 million felony convictions. Of those, 59 percent were committed by whites and 38 percent by blacks. But when you factor in the population of whites and blacks, the felony rates stand at 330 per 100,000 for whites and 1,178 per 100,000 for blacks. That’s more than a three-fold difference.

McCoy noted that this has more to do with income than race. The felony rates for poor whites are similar to those of poor blacks.

« Felony crime is highly correlated with poverty, and race continues to be highly correlated with poverty in the USA, » McCoy said. « It is the most difficult and searing problem in this whole mess. »

On his website, Medved tried to link police killings with whether someone resisted arrest. « If you defer and don’t try to challenge a police officer, he may insult you but he won’t kill you, » Medved said.

But criminologist Lorie Fridell at the University of South Florida told PunditFact that the research on this point is mixed. Some studies that factor in the level of resistance show that race doesn’t matter, and some show that it does.

Our ruling

Medved said that police kill more whites than blacks. In absolute terms, that is accurate. However, the statement ignores that there are more than five times more whites than blacks in America. When comparing death rates, blacks are about three times more likely than whites to die in a confrontation with police.

Medved’s statement leaves out significant information that would change someone’s understanding of the topic. We rate his claim Half True.

Update: The number of deaths due to legal intervention were changed after we initially published this report to include only firearms deaths, which lowered the overall totals. The rating remains the same.

Voir encore:

Aux Etats-Unis, la longue histoire des brutalités policières
Charlotte Recoquillon et Marianne Boyer

Les Décodeurs

Le Monde

21.08.2014

Le 19 avril, dans la ville américaine de Baltimore (Maryland), le drame s’est répété : Freddie Gray, un homme noir de 25 ans, est mort des suites d’une fracture des vertèbres verticales une semaine après son arrestation musclée par trois policiers pour possession d’un couteau. Après plusieurs soirs de rassemblements populaires, la police de Baltimore a reconnu vendredi 24 avril que le jeune homme aurait dû recevoir une assistance médicale aussitôt après son arrestation. Une vidéo filmée par un passant le montre immobilisé au sol, hurlant de douleur après avoir été immobilisé par les trois agents. Sa moelle épinière a été sectionnée à 80 % au niveau du cou, selon l’avocat de sa famille.

Cette nouvelle affaire intervient dans un contexte particulièrement tendu, qui a vu en quelques mois se multiplier les cas d’hommes noirs tués par des policiers blancs dans des situations souvent troubles. La mort de Michael Brown, abattu par un policier à Ferguson (Missouri) avait suscité en août de violentes confrontations entre les manifestants et les forces de l’ordre, tout comme la décision du grand jury de ne pas poursuivre le policier auteur des tirs.

Trois éléments sont utiles pour comprendre l’indignation et l’émotion suscitées par ces évènements. D’une part, loin d’être isolé, ces drames s’ajoutent à une longue liste de violences policières. D’autre part, on assiste depuis une vingtaine d’années à une militarisation de plus en plus importante des policiers poussée par une puissante industrie de la défense. Enfin, tout cela a lieu dans une Amérique qui peine à éradiquer un racisme systémique et où les préjugés sont tenaces.

Une longue histoire de brutalités policières
La liste est longue. La mémoire collective se souvient évidemment de l’affaire Rodney King, cet homme noir passé à tabac en 1991 par des policiers dont l’acquittement avait déclenché de violentes émeutes. Lui n’en est pas mort. Mais, pour de nombreux autres Noirs aux Etats-Unis, innocents, non armés, l’usage excessif de la force tue.

2015
Walter Scott, Noir, 50 ans, North Charleston, Caroline du sud

Après un banal contrôle routier pour un feu cassé, il est abattu de cinq balles par un policier qui le poursuivait dans un jardin public. La légitime défense invoquée par l’agent, Michael Slager, a rapidement été remise en question par la révélation d’une vidéo filmée par un témoin : à aucun moment on ne le voit menacé par Walter Scott.
2014
Eric Garner, Noir, 43 ans, Staten Island, New York

Soupçonné de vente illégale de cigarettes, il est victime d’une arrestation musclée sur le terminal portuaire de Staten Island. Non armé, l’homme, en surpoids et asthmatique, se plaint de ne pouvoir respirer à plusieurs reprises. Etranglé par les policiers, il perd connaissance sur le bitume et meurt quelques instants après son arrivée à l’hôpital.
2014
Tamir Rice, Noir, 12 ans, Cleveland, Ohio

Le jeune garçon joue dans la rue avec un pistolet factice, qu’il s’amuse à pointer sur les passants, quand un témoin prévient la police. Peu après, deux agents descendent d’une voiture et l’un d’eux, Timothy Loehman, abat Tamir Rice alors qu’il semble vouloir prendre quelque chose à sa ceinture.
2013
Jonathan Ferrell, Noir, 24 ans, Charlotte, Caroline du Nord

Blessé dans un accident de voiture et ensanglanté, il sonne chez une dame pour demander de l’aide. Elle prend peur et appelle la police. L’agent Randall Kerrick lui tire dessus douze fois, dix balles l’atteignent. Il n’était pas armé.
2012
Ramarley Graham, Noir, 18 ans, New York

Suspecté de détenir de la marijuana, poursuivi jusqu’à l’appartement de sa grand-mère où les policiers pénètrent sans mandat et l’abattent d’une balle dans la poitrine devant son petit frère de 6 ans. Il n’était pas armé.
2008
Tarika Wilson, Noire, 26 ans, Lima, Ohio

A la recherche de son compagnon, une unité spéciale (SWAT) pénètre dans la maison de Tarika Wilson où elle est abattue. Son fils de 15 mois, qu’elle tenait dans les bras, est blessé. Elle n’était pas armée.
Aux quelques centaines d’homicides commis par des policiers chaque année, 497 rien qu’en 2009 selon les estimations de l’American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), il faut opposer le fait que, très souvent, quel que soit le degré d’excès d’usage de la force, les responsables sont acquittés. Quand ils ont été mis en examen.

2013
Andy Lopez, 13 ans, Hispanique, Santa Rosa, Californie

L’adolescent a été surpris dans une allée avec une arme en plastique. L’officier Gelhaus a tiré huit balles en l’espace de six secondes, dont sept ont atteint Andy Lopez. Aucune charge n’a été retenue.
2006
Sean Bell, Noir, 23 ans, New York

Au petit matin de son mariage, Sean Bell et deux amis sortent d’un club. Leur voiture, poursuivie par la police, est à l’arrêt lorsque les officiers déchargent cinquante balles. Quatre balles tuent Sean Bell. Ses amis survivent à dix-neuf et trois balles respectivement. Trois des cinq policiers ont été jugés pour homicide et mise en danger. Ils ont été reconnus non coupables.
1999
Amadou Diallo, Noir, 23 ans, New York

Confondu avec un violeur recherché, Amadou Diallo est abattu devant chez lui par quatre policiers en civil alors qu’il leur tendait ses papiers d’identité pour s’identifier. Il est touché par dix-neuf des quarante-et-une balles tirées. Les quatre policiers sont acquittés.
Parfois, sous la pression de l’opinion publique ou d’un contexte politique particulier, les policiers sont condamnés. La lourdeur des peines est variable.

2009
Oscar Grant, 22 ans, Noir, Oakland, Californie

Arrêté avec plusieurs autres personnes sur le quai de la station Fruitvale, Oscar Grant était menotté et à plat ventre quand l’officier Mehserle lui a tiré dessus, dans le dos, expliquant plus tard qu’il a confondu son arme et son Taser. La scène a été filmée par de nombreux témoins. Mehserle a été reconnu coupable d’homicide involontaire et condamné à deux ans de prison.
2006
Kathryn Johnston, 92 ans, Noire, Atlanta, Géorgie

Probablement sur de fausses informations, une unité spéciale de police envahit la maison de Kathryn Johnston à la recherche de drogue. Effrayée, elle tire un coup de feu avec un vieux pistolet, ne blessant personne. Les policiers répliquent en déchargeant trente-neuf balles, dont six atteignent la vieille dame. Mourante, elle est menottée à son lit. Les policiers tentent plus tard de maquiller la scène, cachent de la drogue chez elle et demandent à un informateur un faux témoignage. Trois officiers ont été condamnés à dix, six et cinq ans de prison pour différents chefs d’accusation : homicide volontaire, faux témoignage, parjure.
1997
Abner Louima, 30 ans, Noir, New York

Après une bagarre entre deux femmes, dans laquelle lui et plusieurs hommes interviennent, la police arrive. Elle arrête Abner Louima sur la fausse accusation d’un coup porté à l’officier Volpe. Dans la voiture, les policiers le frappent avec leurs poings et leurs radios. Au commissariat, les violences se poursuivent, jusqu’au viol lors duquel Abner Louima a les mains menottées dans le dos. Il est resté hospitalisé deux mois. Justin Volpe a été condamné à trente ans de prison pour avoir enfreint les droits civiques de Louima, pour obstruction à la justice et faux témoignage. Charles Schwarz a été condamné à quinze ans de prison pour avoir aidé Volpe lors du viol.

La militarisation de la police et l’usage excessif de la force
4,3 milliards de dollars transférés par le ministère de la défense à la police, en équipements militaires et paramilitaires, entre 1990 et 2012, selon le rapport de l’ACLU sur la militarisation de la police
Que plus de 500 agences de police aient reçu un véhicule blindé au cours de l’année 2011-2012 pose question sur la nécessité de tels équipements conçus pour des zones de combats militaires, mais aussi sur les intérêts commerciaux et financiers de cette politique. Ainsi Lockheed Martin, fabricant d’armes, recevrait chaque année 29 milliards de dollars du Pentagone, selon William Hartung, expert en sécurité, et emploie près de 130 000 personnes. On peut aussi citer l’entreprise ATK, principal fournisseur de munitions de petit calibre, dont le chiffre d’affaires atteint 2,9 milliards de dollars et qui est basée dans le Missouri.

Depuis les années 1980, les unités spéciales d’intervention (SWAT), équivalent du GIGN en France, se sont développées à un point tel que Peter Kraska, professeur à l’université Eastern Kentucky estime que plus de 80 % des villes de plus de 25 000 habitants en possèdent une. Il estime aussi que ces unités, créées pour gérer des situations à haut risque telles que les prises d’otages, sont désormais déployées plus de 50 000 fois par an (contre 3 000 en 1980). Lourdement armées et dotées d’un véritable arsenal militaire, ces unités sont en fait largement utilisées dans le cadre d’opérations de faible intensité, comme l’exécution de mandats de perquisition. L’effet de terreur produit lors de leurs interventions touche de façon disproportionnée les minorités, au premier rang desquelles, les Noirs.
Une équipe du SWAT inspecte des maisons à la recherche d’une bombe, après les attentats du marathon de Boston, en avril 2013. AFP Photo / Timothy A. Clary.

Pourtant, comme le montre l’exemple de Ferguson, le suréquipement accroît les violences et les risques, tant pour les policiers que pour les citoyens, en encourageant les policiers à adopter des comportements de militaires chargés de combattre un ennemi intérieur, au lieu de protéger et de servir la population. Par ailleurs, casqués et méconnaissables, les policiers sont déshumanisés et s’exposent à des réactions plus hostiles.
Un policier du département de police du comté de Saint-Louis pointe son arme en direction d’un groupe de manifestants, le 13 août 2013 à Ferguson. AP Photo/Jeff Roberson.
La question raciale en toile de fond
Les préjugés et stéréotypes raciaux permettent de comprendre comment un policier armé peut se sentir menacé par un adolescent innocent et non armé, en l’occurrence Michael Brown, au point de lui tirer dessus à six reprises, dont deux dans la tête. Un certain nombre de stigmates associés à la figure du délinquant structurent le travail des policiers. Ainsi, en 2008, les conducteurs noirs avaient trois fois plus de risques d’être fouillés lors d’un contrôle routier (12,3 %) que les Blancs (3,9 %) selon un rapport du département de la justice.

72 % des villes où la population noire représente au moins 5% de la population totale connaissent une sous-représentation des Noirs dans les effectifs de la police par rapport aux Blancs. Dans ce contexte, les contrôles au faciès effectués quotidiennement dans les quartiers où vivent les minorités – la ségrégation résidentielle reste largement dominante – entament les relations entre les policiers et les minorités, en particulier les jeunes hommes noirs et latinos.

Voir de même:

NICKEL & DIMED TO DEATH: Is a long-standing Philly cop ‘technique’ to blame for a Baltimore fatality?

Philly.com

April 29, 2015

THE PHILADELPHIA cops called it a « nickel ride. »

The name came from the prevailing price for a ride down a rickety roller coaster in an early 20th-century amusement park – which should give some idea of the ancient roots of this particularly cruel form of police torture.

For decades, cops abused criminal suspects by throwing them – handcuffed but unsecured – into the open back of a police van, then careening around sharp curves or slamming the brakes during a rough ride to central booking.

To keep with modern times, you’d think they’d change the name – call it a « $79.95 All Day Pass, » or an « E-Ticket Ride. » Or, here’s an even better, crazy idea to bring American policing practices into the 21st century: How about stopping « nickel rides » altogether?

Philadelphia has found that hard to do – just last year paying a recent victim of a rough police-van ride $490,000 in a civil suit, despite supposed action to halt « nickel rides » back in 2001.

And now, incredibly, we learn that authorities in Baltimore are probing whether Freddie Gray – the 25-year-old man whose death after a police encounter has sparked massive protests and now rioting in the streets – was given a rough ride after his arrest. It’s not clear whether that happened after Gray’s lethal injuries – or whether the ride was what caused Gray’s spine to snap.

Two weeks ago, when Gray was arrested on a Baltimore street, for reasons that remain murky, he was handcuffed and – as captured on a cellphone video – dragged and tossed into the back of the van. Inside, it was later reported, he was shackled after officers reported that Gray became « irate. » However, he was not buckled in for the ride – a serious breach of regulations.

« We know he was not buckled in the transportation wagon as he should have been, » Baltimore Police Commissioner Anthony Batts said. « No excuses for that, period. »

The commissioner also noted that the officers « failed to get him medical attention in a timely manner multiple times. »

Incredibly, this has happened multiple times in Baltimore – including a « rough ride » 10 years ago that injured the spine and killed an arrestee named Dondi Johnson – as well as several multi-million-dollar civil judgments and settlements.

Ditto in Philadelphia. In 2001, the Inquirer documented 20 cases of arrestees who were injured during apparent « nickel rides » that critics said provided cops a « hands-free » method to dole out street justice – including three who suffered spinal cord injuries, two of them permanently paralyzed.

The then-Police Commissioner John Timoney pulled many of the old vans off the road and installed seat belts to make sure injuries didn’t happen, either on purpose or by accident.

But the injuries kept coming. In 2001, a man named James McKenna was arrested outside a Philadelphia bar and put unrestrained in the back of a van, then slammed into the vehicle walls again and again until he finally broke his neck. Police initially claimed that McKenna banged his own head against the bars of his jail cell, but the city settled his claim for $490,000.

It doesn’t have to be this way. Since the killing of Michael Brown, in Ferguson, last August, much of the conversation about policing in America has focused on two things: 1) whether justice is possible when officers kill unarmed black men; and 2) whether America’s high rate of killings by police is largely reflective of racial prejudice, which would make it almost impossible to solve.

But there are many things we can do, right now, that could reduce the number of deaths in police company. Other cities – such as Chicago and Los Angeles – simply switched to using cruisers to transport suspects, instead of vans, eliminating the issue of « nickel rides » altogether. Likewise, the rise of cellphone videos of in-custody deaths has raised another uncomfortable question: Why aren’t cops giving more immediate medical attention to these suspects in distress?

Tonight, as I write this, the streets of Baltimore are erupting in anger and in violence. It is a heartbreaking, infuriating thing to watch. But one of the most frustrating things is this: The idea that all of this could have been avoided with the snap of a seat belt.

Battered cargo: The costs of the police ‘nickel ride’ In city patrol wagons, suspects slam into walls and slide across the floor. Paying the price are the injured and the taxpayers – not the police.
Nancy Phillips and Rose Ciotta

The INQUIRER
June 03, 2001

Gino Thompson stepped into the police van an able-bodied man.

He emerged paralyzed from the waist down.

Thompson had been arrested outside a North Philadelphia convenience store after a drunken argument with a girlfriend over a set of keys. Police put him in the back of a patrol wagon, his hands cuffed behind his back.

The low, narrow benches had no seat belts. The bare, hard walls had no padding. As the wagon headed south on Broad Street, toward the 22d District police station, the driver accelerated – « like they were going to a fire or something, » Thompson said.
Then the wagon came to a screeching stop, Thompson and one of the officers recalled.

Thompson was launched headfirst into a partition and suffered a devastating spinal-cord injury.

« They took me right out of the store and into the wagon, and that’s the last I walked, » said Thompson, father of 11 children. « That wagon changed my whole life. »

Thompson was a victim of a secretive ritual in Philadelphia policing: the wild wagon ride, with sudden starts, stops and turns that send handcuffed suspects hurtling into the walls.

Top commanders acknowledge that rough rides are an enduring tradition in the department. The practice even has a name – « nickel ride, » a term that harks back to the days when amusement-park rides cost 5 cents.

An Inquirer investigation documented injuries to 20 people tossed around in wagons in recent years. Thompson was one of three who suffered spinal injuries, and one of two permanently paralyzed.

Most of the victims had clean records. They were arrested on minor charges after talking back to or arguing with police. Typically, the charges were later dismissed.

Those wagon injuries have cost taxpayers more than $2.3 million in legal settlements, but the Police Department has responded to the problem with a conspicuous lack of urgency.

No Philadelphia police officer has ever been disciplined for subjecting a passenger to a wild ride. A four-year-old plan to make the wagons safer has moved at a crawl – until now.

Those injured in wagons are of widely varying backgrounds and were arrested in different parts of the city. Yet they described their experiences in strikingly similar terms.

They spoke of roaring starts, jarring stops and other maneuvers that sent them rolling across the floor or slamming into walls. With their hands cuffed behind the back, they could not right themselves or cushion the falls.

The injured include:

A disabled postal worker who had argued with a police officer over access to a parking lot. She aggravated a hip injury rolling across the floor of a wagon.

A pastor who saw police subduing a suspect and complained that they were hurting him. She was arrested and loaded into a wagon, where she fell to the floor during a swerving, bumpy ride.

A fish merchant arrested after arguing with a Parking Authority worker over a ticket. He was thrown from a wagon bench and broke his tailbone.

Thompson, 40, has relied on a wheelchair since that night in April 1994. The city paid $600,000 to settle his lawsuit.

But his was not the worst injury in a Philadelphia police wagon.

Calvin Saunders, arrested in South Philadelphia in 1997 driving a stolen car, was propelled from his seat in the back of a police van and rammed his head against a wall.

He ended up a quadriplegic, paralyzed from the neck down. To this day, Saunders cannot feed, bathe or dress himself and depends on others for his most basic needs. The city paid him a $1.2 million settlement to help cover his lifetime medical care.

There is no official tally of wagon injuries, no way to know exactly how many people have been hurt.

The 20 cases documented by The Inquirer were culled from court files and records of city legal settlements. They likely represent a fraction of all wagon injuries – those in which the victims hire lawyers and win financial compensation.

Some cities – responding to injuries far less serious than those documented here – have phased out wagons or added safety restraints and padding.

Philadelphia officials have studied the latter idea for years, but not until December did new wagons with seat belts and padding hit the street.

Only 10 of the department’s 86 wagons have those safety features. The rest, which transport tens of thousands of suspects every year, are identical to those in which Thompson and Saunders suffered their paralyzing injuries.

Police Commissioner John F. Timoney said he knew of the injury to Saunders but was not aware that officers intentionally subjected prisoners to jolting wagon rides.

« Such behavior – if it does exist – certainly isn’t condoned by myself or anybody else in this department, » Timoney said.

He added: « We are making efforts, as much as humanly possible, to reduce . . . the number of incidents where prisoners get hurt in the back of these vans. »

Timoney’s top deputies say that wild wagon rides are mainly a thing of the past.

« We’ve had some where the person goes flying and hits their head, » said Deputy Police Commissioner John J. Norris, head of the Internal Affairs Bureau. « They get taken for a ride. »

Norris, a 30-year veteran of the force, said such abuses had diminished greatly and were now « minuscule » in number.

Yet many wagon injuries go undetected by Internal Affairs – even some that resulted in legal settlements.

Of the 20 cases documented by The Inquirer, 11 were never investigated by the Police Department. Norris said he was not aware of the injuries until reporters asked about them.

Of the nine cases that were scrutinized by Internal Affairs, the department took disciplinary action against the wagon officers in only one – the Thompson case – and then for infractions committed after the wagon ride, not for the injury itself.

The punishment: a three-day suspension for the driver, Officer Demetrius Beasley.

A year later, Beasley was promoted to sergeant.

Injury resembles a diving accident

Police wagons – white Ford cargo vans with two-person crews – are ubiquitous on Philadelphia streets. They patrol neighborhoods and also serve as the department’s transport arm, ferrying suspects to district police stations or Police Headquarters for booking.

Police like the wagons because suspects ride in a rear compartment, with a wall separating them from the officers in front. That is considered safer than transporting prisoners in squad cars, which typically are staffed by just one officer.

Wagons are considered especially useful in dealing with combative prisoners or with disturbances that could require numerous arrests.

The passenger compartment is a hard, spare, windowless space – a shell of fiberglass and plastic about 4 feet high, 5 1/2 feet wide and 14 feet deep. The sides are lined with low benches barely wide enough to sit on.

Police commanders say the department purposely did not install seat belts in the older models so that prisoners could not harm themselves with the straps.

Riding in the darkened back, handcuffed passengers have trouble steadying themselves or balancing on the narrow benches.

The practice of cuffing suspects’ hands behind the back creates a heightened risk of spinal injury, as Internal Affairs acknowledged in its report on the Calvin Saunders case.

A physician told investigators that Saunders’ injury resembled those caused by diving accidents. In such cases, the doctor said, the victim hits a hard surface headfirst, with the head tilted slightly forward.

« This is the natural position of the body when the arms are handcuffed behind the back, » the Internal Affairs report said.

The department says its officers are trained to drive wagons with care and that most do.

Officer Paul Costello, who drives a wagon in Center City’s Ninth Police District, said he was aware of the risks to passengers and took pains to avoid injuries.

« If somebody gets hurt in the back of that wagon, you have to deal with the consequences, » Costello said.

But an officer with a different attitude can turn a wagon ride into a frightening and dangerous experience.

John DeVivo says it happened to him.

On March 31, 1995, he was behind the counter at Ocean City Seafood, his family’s fish market on Lancaster Avenue near 41st Street, when he noticed a Parking Authority worker ticketing his wife’s car.

An argument ensued. The parking-enforcement officer called police and accused DeVivo of throwing bottles at her. He denied it.

He was arrested, handcuffed, and taken by wagon to the Southwest Detective Division.

« We went two blocks, and they slammed on the brakes, » said DeVivo, now 36.

He was thrown from the seat and landed on the floor, fracturing his tailbone, medical records show.

DeVivo, who had no criminal record, sued and collected $11,000. As in all the legal settlements, the city did not admit police wrongdoing. The assault charges against DeVivo were later dismissed.

When the ride was over, DeVivo said, he asked the wagon officers why it had been so rough. He said they told him a dog ran in front of the wagon.

« They were laughing, » he said.

Robert Schwartz Sr. broke one of the vertebrae in his neck during a wagon ride. His spinal cord was not damaged, but he said he still suffers pain and discomfort.

Schwartz was arrested April 15, 1998, at Unruh and Bustleton Avenues on a charge of drunken driving – to which he later pleaded guilty.

Officers put him in a wagon and headed south on Interstate 95, toward Police Headquarters in Center City.

« All of a sudden, the brakes were applied very sharp, » Schwartz said in a statement to Internal Affairs investigators. « Since I wasn’t strapped in or anything, I fell to the floor onto my back. »

Schwartz, 44, said he was « propelled forward very quickly » and smashed his head into a wall.

« I heard a loud snap, » he said. « I knew something happened. »

Officer Thomas A. Walker Jr., the wagon driver, said in an interview that he made no abrupt stops and had no idea how Schwartz was injured.

The city nonetheless paid Schwartz $110,000 as settlement.

« There is no dispute that the plaintiff suffered a neck injury, » a deputy city solicitor wrote in an internal memo obtained by The Inquirer. « A Philadelphia jury could return a very large negligence verdict against police officers based on their alleged driving. »

The rough ride

shocks suspects

Bernadette Moore was stunned to find herself in the darkened back of a patrol wagon, lying handcuffed on the floor.

Moore, a postal worker from Southwest Philadelphia, had quarreled with a police officer on the night of Sept. 29, 1996.

He had blocked access to the parking lot of a strip mall at 61st Street and Passyunk Avenue as part of a crackdown on drag racing.

Moore, 34, wanted to drive into the lot to bring dinner to her boyfriend, who worked nearby.

She was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct. The charge was later dismissed and a city lawyer wrote that the rookie officer « overreacted. »

But that was of no help to Moore that night. She was handcuffed, and a patrol wagon was summoned.

Moore, who suffers from degenerative arthritis and had had a hip replacement, had trouble getting into the vehicle. So two officers picked her up and put her inside on the floor.

Moore described the ride to the 12th District police station as terrifying.

« They started swerving and slamming on the brakes, and I started flipping all over – and I’m handcuffed, » she said. « I was petrified. . . . I couldn’t believe it was happening. »

Moore, who injured her shoulder and back, collected a $15,000 settlement.

The Rev. Carlice Harris got acquainted with Philadelphia police wagons Feb. 21, 1999. It was a Sunday morning, and she was on her way to church.

Miss Harris, who lives in Edgewater Park, was driving through North Philadelphia, headed for Christ Temple Baptist Church at 16th Street and Girard Avenue, where her congregation was waiting for her to deliver the morning sermon.

She never made it to the pulpit.

In the 5200 block of Montour Street, Miss Harris saw four police officers struggling to subdue a suspect. She said a plainclothes officer kicked the man while the others held him down.

She jumped out of her car and demanded the officer’s badge number. Police arrested her. They said later that she was interfering with the arrest and drawing a crowd.

Wearing a mink coat and high heels, Miss Harris was handcuffed, put in a patrol wagon, and taken to the 15th District police station.

« I ended up sliding all over the place, » she said. « It was a very rough ride – bumpy, up, up and down hills. They seemed to be just rushing, and I wasn’t no murderer. »

Miss Harris, 44, injured her face, knee and wrists. She later received a $22,500 settlement from the city. The disorderly conduct charge against her was dismissed.

« I didn’t look like a derelict. I’m a pastor, » she said. « I thought, ‘I can’t believe this is happening in America.’ « 

Rookies learn the ritual

during ‘street training’

The « nickel ride » has been around for decades, winked at by generations of police commanders and commissioners.

Rookies learn about it as « part of your street training, » said Norman A. Carter Jr., a retired Philadelphia police corporal whose 25 years on the force included a six-month stint as a wagon officer.

When the arresting officers wanted to punish someone in custody, Carter said, they would tell the wagon crew to « take him for a ride. »

The practice persists, current and former officers say, because it is a nearly foolproof way to get back at someone who resists arrest or otherwise angers police.

Officers out to settle a score need not use their fists.

Because there usually are no witnesses, injuries can be attributed to busy traffic, bad roads, or a sudden stop made to avoid a cat or dog.

A nickel ride is a way for officers to assert their authority when someone challenges it, said James B. Jordan, a lawyer who reviewed numerous wagon injuries as the Police Department’s in-house corruption monitor from 1996 through 1999.

« What better way to show who’s in control than stopping at a light and slamming on the brakes, knowing that they’re going to go flying? » Jordan asked. « And maybe the prisoner was yelling, and maybe this will shut him up. »

Chief Inspector Frank M. Pryor, head of the department’s patrol operations, said rough rides were once a common method of punishing recalcitrant prisoners.

In the 1970s, he said, the police ranks included wagon officers who were eager to lash out at uncooperative suspects.

« If you pissed them off, » he said, « you were going to get the ride of your life . . . and nobody did anything about it. »

But Pryor said such behavior was no longer tolerated.

« If we see that happen, we’re on it now. »

Police hold no one

accountable for injury

Gino Thompson remembers that it was dark in the back of Emergency Patrol Wagon 2202.

Police had arrested him about 1:40 a.m. on April 10, 1994, at the A-Plus Mini Market at Broad Street and Lehigh Avenue.

Thompson has a record of petty offenses, but he was not charged with a crime that night. Police records state he was taken into custody because of « intoxication. »

The wagon headed for the 22d District police station, about a mile away.

« They rolled down Broad Street . . . and they slammed on the brakes, and I slid from the back all the way up to the front, » Thompson said in an interview. « When I hit my head, I saw a flash of bright light, and I couldn’t feel my hands anymore.

« As soon as my head hit the wall, boom, I heard them laughing. »

An Internal Affairs report and a summary of the case by city lawyers describe what happened next:

When the wagon arrived at the police station, the driver, Demetrius Beasley, told Thompson to stand up.

« I can’t walk, » Thompson replied.

Beasley and his partner, Kevin Powell, dragged Thompson out of the wagon and put him in a holding cell, facedown on the floor.

He lay there, sleeping, for more than an hour, without medical attention. Then, an attendant heard him shouting: « Officer, officer, I’m hurt! » and complaining that he had no feeling in his legs.

An ambulance was summoned.

At Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, doctors determined that Thompson had dislocated two vertebrae at the base of his neck, injuring his spinal cord.

Questioned months later by Internal Affairs, Beasley said he drove the wagon safely, never exceeding 20 mph, and made no abrupt stops.

Powell had been dismissed from the force by then. A woman had accused him of rape – a charge of which he was later acquitted. Powell declined to talk to Internal Affairs about the Thompson case.

Beasley was sanctioned for « neglect of duty » – for failing to get medical attention for Thompson as soon he complained of paralysis. Beasley was suspended for three days.

But no one was held accountable for causing Thompson’s injury. Internal Affairs investigators wrote that they « could not prove or disprove that the wagon came to a sudden stop. »

Months later, after Thompson sued, the City Solicitor’s Office did its own investigation and reached a different conclusion.

The city lawyers interviewed Powell, now a defendant in a lawsuit and depending on the city to represent him.

Powell told the lawyers that Beasley speeded down Broad Street that night and then slammed on the brakes, just as Thompson had described.

Beasley and Powell declined to be interviewed for this article.

An internal memo from a lawyer in the City Solicitor’s Office explained why the city paid $600,000 to settle Thompson’s lawsuit:

« The plaintiff is likely to be able to prove that the officers gave him a ‘nickel ride’ of exactly the kind that he described. »

The damage inflicted

can last a lifetime

Today, Thompson relies on a wheelchair to get around his tiny Northeast Philadelphia home. He spends much of the day on the living-room sofa, where the television offers a welcome distraction from lingering pain.

After nine operations, he said, he still suffers pain in his right arm and neck.

Thompson once did odd jobs. Now, the family depends on the income of his wife, Shelby, a nursing-home aide.

On good days, Thompson is able to maneuver himself into a specially equipped van and drive her to work.

« That [police] wagon changed a lot, » said Thompson, whose 11 children range in age from 5 to 19. « I can’t play football with my kids. I can’t play basketball. I was a gymnast, a singer, a dancer. I did it all. »

Thompson said he was still angry at Beasley. He was furious to learn of the officer’s punishment.

« You think a three-day suspension is justifiable for what he did? » he asked. « That isn’t even a slap on the wrists. »

Thompson said he was saddened to learn that wagon injuries had continued.

« I wish it wouldn’t happen to the next person, » he said. « I wouldn’t wish it on a rat. »

Nancy Phillips’ e-mail address is nphillips@phillynews.com. Rose Ciotta’s is rciotta@phillynews.com.

About This Series

Reporters Nancy Phillips and Rose Ciotta spent six months documenting a pattern of injuries in Philadelphia police wagons – the result of a secretive ritual known as the « nickel ride. » The reporters examined hundreds of court files, city financial records and internal memos from the City Solicitor’s Office. They interviewed dozens of victims, lawyers, city officials and police officers.

Zyed et Bouna : «Dix ans d’impunité policière !»
Libération

18 mai 2015
Au tribunal de Rennes, mardi, les objectifs braqués vers Amor Benna (au centre) et Adel Benna (à sa droite), le père et le frère de Zyed. (Photo Damien Meyer. AFP)
À CHAUDLe tribunal correctionnel de Rennes a relaxé ce lundi les deux policiers poursuivis pour non-assistance à personne en danger, après le drame qui a coûté la vie à deux jeunes dans un site EDF à Clichy-sous-Bois en 2005. Les avocats des familles veulent faire appel.

2005-2015. Il aura donc fallu près de dix ans pour rendre, enfin, un jugement dans le procès des deux policiers poursuivis pour la mort de Zyed Benna et Bouna Traoré dans un transformateur électrique à Clichy-sous-Bois. Le tribunal correctionnel de Rennes a décidé ce lundi de suivre les réquisitions du Parquet et de relaxer Sébastien Gaillemin et Stéphanie Klein. Pour le juge, les deux fonctionnaires n’ont jamais «eu conscience de l’existence d’un péril grave et imminent».

Mais à l’annonce de ce jugement définitif, quelques proches des familles ont laissé échapper leur colère : «Dix ans d’impunité policière ! Dix ans que les policiers se sentent au-dessus des lois !» «C’est choquant !» a aussitôt réagi l’avocat des familles des deux jeunes décédés, Jean-Pierre Mignard, pour qui «la reconnaissance de la non-assistance à personne en danger» ne faisait «aucun doute». Les parties civiles ne peuvent pas faire appel de la relaxe des deux policiers sur un plan pénal. Mais maître Mignard compte faire appel «sur un plan civil». «Nous irons jusqu’à la Cour de cassation s’il le faut», a-t-il lancé.

De son côté, l’avocat des deux policiers, Daniel Merchat, a estimé que cette relaxe était un «soulagement». «Depuis neuf ans, mes clients sont intimement persuadés qu’ils n’ont commis ni faute, ni erreur, ni délit». En avril 2011, la cour d’appel de Paris avait accordé un non-lieu aux policiers, annulé en octobre 2012 par la Cour de cassation.

Le 27 octobre 2005, lors d’une course poursuite entre jeunes et policiers, Sébastien Gaillemin, gardien de la paix affecté à l’époque à la police de proximité, avait vu deux «silhouettes» enjamber un grillage délimitant un cimetière, et pénétrer ainsi dans un petit bois dans lequel, cinq mètres plus loin, un mur interdisait l’accès au site EDF. «S’ils rentrent sur le site EDF, je ne donne pas cher de leur peau», avait-il lâché sur la radio de la police, à l’écoute de laquelle était sa collègue Stéphanie Klein, alors policière stagiaire, accusée elle aussi de ne pas avoir réagi.

Dans son argumentaire, le tribunal a estimé que la phrase prononcée par Sébastien Gaillemin sur les ondes de la police ne suffisait à établir avec certitude que le policier avait conscience du danger mortel couru par les adolescents, sachant qu’il ne connaissait pas «la nature exacte du site EDF» Au contraire, indique le jugement, «si Sébastien Gaillemin avait eu conscience d’un péril grave et imminent, il n’aurait pas manqué de réagir d’une manière ou d’une autre». Même conclusion pour sa collègue dont le tribunal estime qu’elle ne «ne connaissait avant les faits ni la nature, ni même l’existence du site EDF de Clichy-sous-Bois».

Mais ce 27 octobre 2005, trente minutes après le départ des policiers, Bouna Traoré, 15 ans, et Zyed Benna, 17 ans, meurent électrocutés. Seul leur camarade Muhittin Altun, 17 ans, en réchappe, brûlé sur 10% du corps.

Dans un rapport rendu en décembre 2006, l’Inspection générale des services (IGS) avait pointé la négligence des policiers, expliquant que si l’alerte avait été donnée à temps, EDF aurait pu intervenir un quart d’heure avant l’accident. La police des polices évoquait également «une légèreté et une distraction surprenante» pour qualifier le comportement des forces de l’ordre.

La mort des deux adolescents, Zyed Benna et Bouna Traoré, avait marqué le début de trois semaines d’émeutes dans les banlieues françaises. Le gouvernement avait dû décréter l’état d’urgence. L’audience au tribunal correctionnel de Rennes s’était déroulée du 16 au 20 mars, dans un climat serein et pour éviter tout débordement à Clichy-sous-Bois en cas de relaxe, certains responsables d’associations avaient préparé les jeunes à cette décision comme le raconte notre journaliste sur place.

«La relaxe des policiers, tout le monde l’attendait au Chêne pointu [quartier de Zyed ndlr] confirme Tidjiane, un trentenaire écoeuré par ce jugement. Normalement, tu casses, tu payes. Eux ils ont fait quelque chose mais ils n’ont pas payé. C’est depuis longtemps qu’on est résignés. La police n’a pas changé, c’est des pourris.»

Depuis les émeutes, certains habitants ont le sentiment que rien n’a changé.

«Dans les halls c’est toujours la même haine, la même galère», lâche, blasé, un habitant du Chêne pointu. Ce n’est pas l’avis de Mohamed, 21 ans : «La ville a changé, elle s’est adoucie. Ça s’est calmé parce qu’il y a des nouveaux immeubles, un commissariat, un gymnase, un nouveau collège.» Pour autant, ce jeune chômeur estime que ces améliorations ne profiteront qu’à la génération d’après. «J’ai une vingtaine ou une trentaine d’amis incarcérés. Ça aurait pu changer bien avant pour éviter tout ça.»

SOS Racisme regrette dans un communiqué qu’en dix ans d’enquête et de procédure, «il est des questions qui n’auront jamais pu être posées dans notre pays». «Pourquoi des jeunes de quartier populaire, à la vue de la police et alors qu’ils n’avaient manifestement rien à se reprocher, ont préféré prendre la fuite et se réfugier dans un endroit où ils risquaient leurs vies ?», s’interroge l’association antiraciste.

Pour contester ce jugement, un rassemblement a eu lieu ce lundi soir à 19 heures devant le tribunal de Bobigny, en Seine-Saint-Denis.

Voir par ailleurs:

La mobilisation « Ferguson in Paris » continue
Hana Ferroudj

Bondy blog

7 décembre 2014

Le collectif Ferguson in Paris a organisé un rassemblement hier après-midi au Trocadéro (Paris). L’objectif étant de dénoncer les récentes violences policières Outre-Atlantique. Reportage.

Les militants sont venus nombreux hier après-midi, malgré le froid. Ces derniers se sont alignés et portaient tous des pancartes. Le rassemblement est prévu à 14h30. Mais, avant le début du rassemblement, la police est venue voir le responsable du collectif pour vérifier s’ils avaient le document d’autorisation, tout est en règle. L’action peut commencer.

Parmi les militants, des américains sont présents pour soutenir leurs camarades qui continuent de manifester encore aujourd’hui aux États- Unis. Leur détermination est sans faille, leur volonté est de montrer au président Barack Obama que la mobilisation s’étend dans le monde entier. Le collectif Ferguson in Paris a collé sur une façade en bois, des photos de Mike Brown et d’autres personnes décédées dans des circonstances similaires  les quinze dernières années comme Amadou Diallo (1999), Patrick Dorismond (2000), Timothy Stansbury  (2004) et Sean Bell (2006).

Rapidement, les passants s’arrêtent pour écouter les discours des militants et prennent des photos. Certains de ces discours sont prononcés en anglais, même si la plupart n’ont pas tout compris, une grande émotion se fait sentir parmi les personnes présentes. Une des militantes qui les écoutaient en est émue, des larmes coulent sur son visage. Ignace, un des militants, prend la parole « quand on regarde les infos, on nous donne uniquement les faits froids, factuels avec des chiffres, des arguments contre et pour. On se rend compte juste des divisions, des tensions, des séparations entre les peuples. Il faut qu’on se déconnecte de la TV et de nos tablettes qui nous plongent complètement en autarcie intellectuelle. On voit qu’aujourd’hui, ce n’est pas un problème de noir, ce n’est pas un problème d’hommes, ni un problème d’adolescents, toutes ethnies, toutes couleurs et tous sexes mais c’est un problème d’injustice».

Autre intervention, celle de Daphné : « Je suis blanche et pourtant je suis là avec tous ces gens pour pouvoir les soutenir. Partout dans le monde, les gens commencent à se réveiller mais ce n’est pas assez. Mike Brown et toutes les autres victimes à Fergsuson ont souffert et là-bas rien n’a été encore résolu. Tout le monde est en danger, les noirs se font tuer, c’est notre devoir, qu’on soit blanc ou noir ou de n’importe quelles nationalités, il faut se soutenir les uns et des autres. Nous sommes ici comme à Londres ou à Berlin et partout aux États-Unis pour dénoncer cette injustice ». Après plusieurs discours, les militants ont répété en chœur différents slogans, en levant les mains par moment : « Don’t shoot, no justice, no peace !» Mais aussi, « Black lives matter» ou encore «No justice, No Peace ».

Parmi les militants, une jeune étudiante américaine vivant en France depuis 2010 explique les raisons qui l’ont poussée à manifester aujourd’hui auprès du collectif Ferguson in Paris : « Nous sommes un groupe de quatre américains et on est tous passionnés par ce que qui se passe à Ferguson. Si nous étions aux Etats-Unis, nous serions auprès des manifestants dans les rues pour montrer notre colère afin de dénoncer ces injustices. Nous habitons à Paris mais cela ne nous empêche pas de participer pour montrer notre solidarité. Par ce rassemblement d’aujourd’hui, on veut montrer au gouvernement américain que même les citoyens américains vivant à l’étranger sont tous concernés par tous les mouvements de protestations concernant l’affaire de Ferguson. L’affaire Ferguson et les autres victimes tuées par la police sont une grosse injustice et on ne peut plus nier qu’il y a un problème de racisme, qui ne vient pas uniquement de la police, mais qu’il existe dans le système de justice américain. Nous nous sentons toujours trahis par cette justice et on veut montrer notre solidarité pour que les Etats-Unis sentent qu’il y a une pression ».

Très impliquée, la jeune étudiante poursuit sa réflexion  et exprime sa détermination « Les États-Unis vont dans les autres pays pour lancer des bombes et tuer des gens innocents disant qu’ils sont une démocratie alors qu’ils sont hypocrites. Nous ne sommes pas une démocratie car une démocratie doit protéger et non tuer son peuple. La police dot être là pour nous protéger, mais aujourd’hui ce n’est plus le cas. Nous n’avons plus confiance en notre police qui est devenue comme des militaires. D’ailleurs, les policiers ont des armes appartenant aux militaires. Aux Etats-Unis, l’argent de l’Etat est beaucoup plus dépensé pour l’armée américaine qu’au niveau de l’éducation par exemple ».

Autre événement, et non des moindres, commémoré ce 6 décembre à Paris, la mort de Malik Oussekine, décédé dans une affaire de violences policières en 1986, à la marge d’une manifestation étudiante. Près d’une cinquantaine de personnes se sont rassemblées ce matin pour faire une marche silencieuse de la place Odéon jusqu’à la plaque qui porte son nom située 20 rue Monsieur le Prince (dans le 6ème arrondissement de Paris).

Amal Bentounsi fait partie du collectif Notre police assassine, elle a participé à un rassemblement hier matin pour honorer la mémoire de ce jeune homme âgé à l’époque de 22 ans. Amal Bentounsi témoigne : «  Ça fait 28 ans que Malik Oussekine a été assassiné par des policés voltigeurs. Et donc, 28 ans après rien n’a changé car les policiers tuent toujours impunément et la justice, pour la plupart du temps, les acquittent. Pour nous, il était important de commémorer la mort de Malik Oussékine puisque ça fait bientôt 30 ans que cette injustice perdure ».

Rassemblement à Bobigny : « Pas de justice, pas de paix »
Hana Ferroudj

Bondy Blog

18 mai 2015
A 19h, un rassemblement en hommage à Zyed et Bouna s’est tenu devant le tribunal de Bobigny (Seine-Saint-Denis). Plus de 300 personnes étaient présentes.

Après la relaxe des deux policiers par le tribunal de Rennes dans le procès de Zyed et Bouna, une vive émotion a touché les personnes qui se sont rassemblées ce soir devant le tribunal de Bobigny. Les visages sont minés. Les personnes présentes ce soir ont voulu témoigner leur soutien aux familles des deux adolescents défunts et montrer leur mécontentement.

Ils étaient 350 personnes à avoir fait le déplacement devant l’entrée du tribunal. Des policiers sont présents également. Beaucoup de jeunes de quartiers ont tenu être présents. Plusieurs personnes portaient un autocollant à l’effigie de Bouna et Zyed, probablement une manière de montrer que ces deux adolescents mort le 27 octobre 2005 dans un transformateur d’EDF resteront à jamais dans leurs mémoires. Une grande banderole a été accrochée près de l’entrée de Tribunal de Bobigny : « La police Assassine, la justice acquitte ». Des stéréos ont été apportées pour l’occasion, on entend l’interview de Gaye Traoré, le grand frère de Bouna, revenir sur cette tragédie du 27 octobre 2005. A l’entrée quelques tables sont disposées en lignes afin de servir de la nourriture pour les manifestants. De nombreuses associations ont fait le déplacement telle que la brigade anti-negrophobie, Fergusons in Paris, stop le contrôle au faciès, Urgence notre police assassine…

Omar, membre du Parti des indigènes de la République porte à la main une pancarte à l’effigie d’Ali Ziri et enchaîne les interviews avec différents médias. Il s’exprime : « quand nous avons appris la nouvelle de la relaxe, nous avons été pétris de douleur, d’incompréhension et de colère. Dix ans après, c’est un moment difficile, car rendre ce verdict a été très long, on s’attendait simplement à ce que les deux policiers soient inculpés pour “non-assistance à personnes en danger” et quand bien même ce n’est pas grand-chose, et bien même ça, nous n’avions pas eu le droit. Même ça, les familles ont dû repartir comme-ci d’un certain point de vue, il ne s’était rien passé sauf la mort de leur enfant, de leur frère et ça dix ans après c’est inacceptable. Aujourd’hui, il y a plein d’amertume. En France, il y a une justice très clairement qui prend le pas et qui est en phase complètement avec ce qu’on fait les policiers. Et de ce point de vue là, ça en dit long sur notre société. Amnesty international avait rendu qui l’a intitulé : « Les policiers sont-ils au-dessus des lois ». Il faut croire que les policiers sont au-dessus des lois, il faut croire qu’en effet condamner dans ce pays là des policiers, c’est de l’ordre de l’impossibilité affective. Il faut croire qu’il y a une catégorie de sous citoyens. Pour moi, il y a une justice à deux vitesses et ce qui a été démontré une fois de plus aujourd’hui et qui nous met très en colère».

Un manifestant exprime lui aussi sa tristesse par rapport à la décision rendue par la cour d’appel de Rennes :  “j’ai beaucoup de déception car dix ans d’attentes c’est beaucoup.  Et le fait que cela soit médiatisé, ça a donné beaucoup d’espoirs à l’ensemble des personnes qui se sentent concernées. Finalement les deux policiers s’en sortent avec la moindre poursuite, cela laisse un goût amer . Moi, je ne suis pas là pour attaquer frontalement les policiers. Mais, je pense qu’avec tous les éléments qui ont été apportés , ils auraient dû être sanctionnés pour montrer l’exemple“.

Différents slogans ont été criés lors de ce rassemblement, notamment celui-ci: « Pas de justice pas de paix ». La pluie est tombée soudainement. Les gens ont couru pour trouver un endroit où s’abriter notamment devant l’entrée du tribunal. Des altercations avec la police auraient eu lieu à cet endroit juste après :

Les familles de Zyed Benna et Bouna Traoré ont décidé de faire appel de la décision rendue aujourd’hui par la Cour d’appel de Rennes. Affaire à suivre.

Voir enfin:

Emma Stone: Cameron Crowe s’excuse de l’avoir engagée
Jérôme Lachasse
Le Figaro

03/06/2015

Le réalisateur de Aloha est accusé de peindre dans ce nouveau film une vision caricaturale de Hawaii. Il regrette d’avoir confié à l’actrice le rôle d’un personnage d’origine chinoise et hawaïenne.

Depuis plusieurs semaines, Aloha, la nouvelle comédie romantique de Cameron Crowe avec Bradley Cooper, Emma Stone et Rachel McAdams, suscite de violentes critiques aux États-Unis. De nombreuses associations militant pour la diversité ethnique dans les médias sont montées au créneau. Elles dénoncent notamment la décision du réalisateur de recourir essentiellement à des acteurs d’origine caucasienne pour un film se déroulant à Hawaii.

Un personnage en particulier s’est attiré les foudres de la critique: celui du capitaine Allison Ng, incarnée par Emma Stone. Ce n’est pas la qualité de son interprétation qui est en jeu, mais plutôt la décision de Crowe de confier à une actrice blanche le rôle d’un personnage présenté comme un quart chinois et un quart hawaïen. Un rôle que Crowe a pourtant conçu pour représenter «l’étonnant mélange culturel qui prévaut à Hawaii», comme il l’explique dans un billet publié sur son blog, où il s’excuse «du fond du cœur auprès de tous ceux qui ont estimé ce choix de casting bizarre ou malavisé».

Il rappelle également ses intentions, lorsqu’il a commencé à concevoir en 2007 ce personnage: «la capitaine Allison Ng a été écrite comme une femme extrêmement fière d’être un quart hawaïnne, mais frustrée de ne pas en avoir les traits physiques (…) Très fière de son improbable héritage, elle se sent obligée de le mentionner à chaque instant», Le personnage serait d’ailleurs inspirée d’une jeune femme rencontrée par Crowe lors de ses repérages à Hawaii.
Un problème récurrent à Hollywood
Malgré ces explications, la presse américaine ne semble pas convaincue: «Accepter Emma Stone comme une Américaine d’origine asiatique dans Aloha nécessite une forme de pause dans son incrédulité et une bonne dose de magie», écrit notamment Entertainment Weekly. Dans un article intitulé «L’insuportable blancheur d’Aloha», publié sur le site du Daily Beast, on peut lire: «Aloha met en scène Allison Ng, un des personnages féminins métisses, d’origine asiatique, les plus importants dans l’histoire récente des studios américains. Sauf qu’elle est jouée par Emma Stone».

La polémique que suscite aujourd’hui Aloha n’est pas récente et révèle la difficulté, à Hollywood, pour des acteurs afro-américains ou asiatiques à endosser des rôles de premier plan. En décembre 2014, Exodus de Ridley Scott, où Ramsès est interprété par l’australien Joel Edgerton et Moïse par le britannique Christian Bale, a provoqué, de la même manière, de nombreuses réactions virulentes. Pour le site Vulture, cette polémique autour d’Aloha révèle surtout une nouvelle tendance: celle «de réadapter des histoires liées aux Asiatiques, et de les remplacer par des Blancs».


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