Diplomatie: Vous avez dit pays de merde ? (It’s not shit holes, it’s shit shows, stupid !)

15 janvier, 2018
Lorsqu’un Sanhédrin s’est déclaré unanime pour condamner, l’accusé sera acquitté. Le Talmud
Un jeune homme à cheveux longs grimpait le Golgotha. La foule sans tête  était à la fête  Pilate a raison de ne pas tirer dans le tas  C’est plus juste en somme  d’abattre un seul homme.  Ce jeune homme a dit la vérité  Il doit être exécuté… Guy Béart
Tous les problèmes du monde viennent actuellement de ce petit pays de merde Israël. Pourquoi accepterions-nous une troisième guerre mondiale à cause de ces gens là? Daniel Bernard (ambassadeur de France, Londres, décembre 2001)
Over the past few days, I have been the subject of grave accusations because of a comment I am reported to have made during a conversation with Lord Black. The facts are: while we were discussing the Israeli-Palestinian issue, I pointed out to Lord Black that this tragedy was taking place in a geographically limited area (I even specified that it was the equivalent of three French departments) that for 40 years had been suffering from a conflict whose equitable solution seems more out of reach than ever. Of course, I never meant to insult Israel or any other part of that region. The deliberately biased presentation of this conversation in some circles, accompanied by malicious accusations, is deeply shocking and insulting. Daniel Bernard
In the course of the discussion the ambassador referred to ‘little Israel’ in the sense that it is geographically small, but that nevertheless the scale of the consequences is huge and the repercussions around the world are tremendous. Yves Charpentier (French embassy spokesman)
Bernard assure ne pas s’en souvenir et le Quai d’Orsay a qualifié l’attribution de cette phrase à l’ambassadeur de France d’insinuations malveillantes. Libération
Beaucoup de déçus dans la lutte entre le monde islamique et les infidèles ont essayé de rejeter la responsabilité en annonçant qu’il n’est pas possible d’avoir un monde sans les États-Unis et le sionisme. Mais vous savez que ce sont un but et un slogan réalisables. Pour étayer ses propos, le président se réfère à la chute, dans l’histoire récente, de plusieurs régimes que personne ne voyait sombrer. Lorsque notre cher imam (Khomeiny) a annoncé que le régime (du Shah) devait être supprimé, beaucoup de ceux qui prétendaient être politiquement bien informés ont déclaré que ce n’était pas possible. Qui pouvait penser qu’un jour, nous pourrions être témoins de l’effondrement de l’empire de l’Est (Union soviétique) ? L’Imam a annoncé que Saddam devait s’en aller puis a ajouté qu’il s’affaiblirait plus vite que personne ne l’imagine.  L’Imam (Khomeiny) a annoncé que le régime occupant Jérusalem devait disparaître de la page du temps. Ahmadinejad (Conférence du monde sans sionisme, 25 octobre 2005)
L’Imam disait que ce régime qui occupe Jérusalem doit être rayé de la carte. Ahmadinejad (traduction fautive de l’Islamic Republic New Agency)
Mess is the president’s diplomatic term; privately, he calls Libya a “shit show,” in part because it’s subsequently become an isis haven—one that he has already targeted with air strikes. It became a shit show, Obama believes, for reasons that had less to do with American incompetence than with the passivity of America’s allies and with the obdurate power of tribalism. Jeffrey Goldberg (The Atlantic, April 2016)
You said at the outset that we need to phase this. I think the first phase is what Chuck and Steny and I have mentioned, and others as well: We have a deadline looming and a lot of lives hanging. We can agree on some very fundamental and important things together on border security, on chain, on the future of diversity visas. Comprehensive, though, I worked on it for six months with Michael Bennet, and a number of — Bob Menendez, and Schumer, and McCain, and Jeff Flake — and it took us six months to put it together. We don’t have six months for the DACA bill. Dick Durbin
The people coming across the southern border live in hellholes. They don’t like that. They want to come here. Our problem is we can’t have everybody in the world who lives in a hellhole come to America. There are 11 million people coming through the southern border ‘cause they come from countries where they can’t find work, and life is miserable. So it seems to me that if you can control who gets a job you’ve gone a long way in controlling illegal immigration. Because as long as the jobs are available in America you can’t build a fence high enough to stop people. (…) I wasn’t slandering Mexico, I was just talking about all the places people want to leave, for whatever reason. Lindsay Graham (2013)
President Donald Trump is absolutely right. When you have heads of state who mess with the constitutions to perpetuate their power. When you have rebel factions that kill children, disembowel women as saints, who mutilate innocent civilians. Mamady Traore (sociologist, Guinea)
La gauche angélique et irresponsable fait faussement passer Emmanuel Macron pour un opposant déterminé à l’immigration de peuplement. (…) Cet étalement de bons sentiments en dit long sur l’aveuglement face au raidissement de l’opinion. Partout en Europe, et singulièrement en France, les gens rejettent majoritairement une immigration qui ne s’assimile plus et qui porte en elle un nouvel antisémitisme. Reste que Macron n’est pas l’homme à poigne que croient voir les inconditionnels de l’accueil pour tous. Son soutien à la politique d’Angela Merkel, qui a fait entrer en Allemagne plus d’un million de « migrants » musulmans en 2015, ajouté à son mépris des « populistes » qui réclament le retour aux frontières, ne font pas du président un obstacle sérieux à l’idéologie immigrationniste. Tandis que les pays d’Europe de l’Est, qui ont déjà sauvé l’Europe de l’envahisseur ottoman en 1683, sonnent une nouvelle fois l’alarme sur une histoire qui se répète, Macron joint sa voix à celle de l’Union européenne pour accabler la Pologne ou la Hongrie. Le député Guy Verhofstadt a récemment sermonné ces deux nations : « Il n’y a pas de place pour des pays qui rejettent nos valeurs. Toute référence à l’identité nationale est potentiellement fanatique ». Pour sa part, le commissaire européen aux migrations, Dimitris Avramopoulos, a admis (Le Figaro, vendredi), parlant d’ »impératif moral » mais aussi d’impératif « économique et social » : « Il est temps de regarder en face la vérité. Nous ne pourrons pas arrêter la migration ». Macron l’européen demeure, jusqu’à présent, dans cette logique de l’ouverture et du remplacement. Ivan Rioufol
Autant je n’apprecie pas l’homme mais cette fois-ci,Il a dit tout haut ce que les autres pensent tout bas.cette sortie mediatique doit interpeller nos decideurs africains qui appauvrissent leurs peuples.qui sont obligEs d’immigrer a la recherche d’une vie meilleure et certains au peril de leurs vie. Lûcïus L’inusable Ngoy
Il lui fallait un minimum de diplomatie. Il a parlé tout haut ce que les autres pensent tout bas. C est aux presidents africains de faire respecter leurs gouvernés. Madeleine Ngendakumana
J’espère juste que les dirigeants africains qui se plient devant les USA en tireront des leçons et seront agir dorénavant avec dignité sous la dépendance des grandes nations. André Bernard
Les autres utilisent les paroles diplomatiques pour cajoler les maux,mais Trump n’a pas besoin de ca. Il est direct dans ses propos et les diplomates les traitent d’un malade mental.Non,non,non il dit ce que les autres disent tt bas car depuis que les paroles diplomatiques sont prononces les maux ont atteint un niveau inexprimable. Adjuabe Tanzi
Mr Trump peut être qualifié de tous les maux sauf d’être hypocrite. Il reste cohérent ici et ailleurs lorsqu’il parle du système des nations unies , de l’ otan ou autres G5 SAHEL. Amara Tidiani Kante
N a t il pas raison? Pourtant en se retournant la tete on peut voir des presidents a vie, une pauvrete extreme, des pilleurs de l economie, des manipulations constitutionnelle et beaucoup d autres choses, alors si tu veux etre respecter, respecte toi le premier. Balde Moutarou
Ce président est tres important pour l’afrique! il aide les africains à faire l’introspection! il a dit la verité! mais ces africains qui viennent chez-vous cher puissant président ont peur de l’insécurité créée par des dirigeants africains mediocres et qui veulent s’eterniser au pouvoir! comme tu es puissant, aide les africains à faire partir ces dirigeants mediocres et ils ne viendront plus là chez-toi au paradis! je t’admire puisque tu n’est pas hypocrite, donc diplomate comme les autres le disent! Pascal Murhula
c’est que j’aime chez ce monsieur quoi qu’on dise de lui il ne pas hypocrite, il parle tout haut ce que les autres disent tout bas. il est temps de faire comprendre aux médiocres qu’ils sont mesquins. Ntinti Luzolo Junior (RFI)
Trump Is a Racist. Period. I find nothing more useless than debating the existence of racism, particularly when you are surrounded by evidence of its existence. It feels to me like a way to keep you fighting against the water until you drown. The debates themselves, I believe, render a simple concept impossibly complex, making the very meaning of “racism” frustratingly murky. (…) The history of America is one in which white people used racism and white supremacy to develop a racial caste system that advantaged them and disadvantaged others. (…) Trump is a racist. We can put that baby to bed. Charles M. Blow (NYT)
The recent protests by black players in the National Football League were rather sad for their fruitlessness. They may point to the end of an era for black America, and for the country generally—an era in which protest has been the primary means of black advancement in American life. There was a forced and unconvincing solemnity on the faces of these players as they refused to stand for the national anthem. They seemed more dutiful than passionate, as if they were mimicking the courage of earlier black athletes who had protested: Tommie Smith and John Carlos, fists in the air at the 1968 Olympics; Muhammad Ali, fearlessly raging against the Vietnam War; Jackie Robinson, defiantly running the bases in the face of racist taunts. The NFL protesters seemed to hope for a little ennoblement by association.(…) For the NFL players there was no real sacrifice, no risk and no achievement. Still, in black America there remains a great reverence for protest. Through protest—especially in the 1950s and ’60s—we, as a people, touched greatness. Protest, not immigration, was our way into the American Dream. Freedom in this country had always been relative to race, and it was black protest that made freedom an absolute. It is not surprising, then, that these black football players would don the mantle of protest. The surprise was that it didn’t work. They had misread the historic moment. They were not speaking truth to power. Rather, they were figures of pathos, mindlessly loyal to a black identity that had run its course. What they missed is a simple truth that is both obvious and unutterable: The oppression of black people is over with. This is politically incorrect news, but it is true nonetheless. We blacks are, today, a free people. It is as if freedom sneaked up and caught us by surprise. (…) Freedom came to blacks with an overlay of cruelty because it meant we had to look at ourselves without the excuse of oppression. Four centuries of dehumanization had left us underdeveloped in many ways, and within the world’s most highly developed society. When freedom expanded, we became more accountable for that underdevelopment. So freedom put blacks at risk of being judged inferior, the very libel that had always been used against us. To hear, for example, that more than 4,000 people were shot in Chicago in 2016 embarrasses us because this level of largely black-on-black crime cannot be blamed simply on white racism. (…) That’s why, in the face of freedom’s unsparing judgmentalism, we reflexively claim that freedom is a lie. We conjure elaborate narratives that give white racism new life in the present: “systemic” and “structural” racism, racist “microaggressions,” “white privilege,” and so on. All these narratives insist that blacks are still victims of racism, and that freedom’s accountability is an injustice. We end up giving victimization the charisma of black authenticity. Suffering, poverty and underdevelopment are the things that make you “truly black.” Success and achievement throw your authenticity into question. (…) For any formerly oppressed group, there will be an expectation that the past will somehow be an excuse for difficulties in the present. This is the expectation behind the NFL protests and the many protests of groups like Black Lives Matter. The near-hysteria around the deaths of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Freddie Gray and others is also a hunger for the excuse of racial victimization, a determination to keep it alive. To a degree, black America’s self-esteem is invested in the illusion that we live under a cloud of continuing injustice. (…) Watching the antics of Black Lives Matter is like watching people literally aspiring to black victimization, longing for it as for a consummation. But the NFL protests may be a harbinger of change. They elicited considerable resentment. There have been counterprotests. TV viewership has gone down. Ticket sales have dropped. What is remarkable about this response is that it may foretell a new fearlessness in white America—a new willingness in whites (and blacks outside the victim-focused identity) to say to blacks what they really think and feel, to judge blacks fairly by standards that are universal. We blacks have lived in a bubble since the 1960s because whites have been deferential for fear of being seen as racist. The NFL protests reveal the fundamental obsolescence—for both blacks and whites—of a victim-focused approach to racial inequality. It causes whites to retreat into deference and blacks to become nothing more than victims. It makes engaging as human beings and as citizens impermissible, a betrayal of the sacred group identity. Black victimization is not much with us any more as a reality, but it remains all too powerful as a hegemony. Shelby Steele
I have interviewed six presidents of the United States. I have traveled with them. I have been in their homes. They’ve been in my home on multiple occasions. I have flown on Air Force One with them and commercial jets and private jets and car caravans and Winnebagos. Went to Disney World with one. They all have used the ‘S-word.’ Even that old gentleman, Ronald Reagan, would sometimes occasionally, rarely use the ‘F-word.’ So, the White house is going to endure. Doug Wead
Sometimes choice words were reserved for the political opponents. President Reagan famously referred to enemies a few times as “SOBs.” While former President Obama once called Mitt Romney a « bullshitter » in a “Rolling Stone” interview. One of the more profane presidents in recent history was Richard Nixon. Nixon was caught on White House tapes using numerous vulgarities, including some offensive terms about gay people. Likewise, President Johnson was accused of often using the “N-word” when talking about African-Americans. Some of these remarks were caught on video. In 2000, George W. Bush was caught on a hot mic during a campaign rally calling Adam Clymer, a reporter with The New York Times, a « major league asshole. » In fact, both the younger Bush and his father, former President George H.W. Bush, are quoted in Mark Updegrove’s book, “The Last Republicans,” as dropping the “F-bomb.” George W. Bush even had this to say about two former colleagues. « [Former Vice President Dick Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld] never made one f—-ing decision. » Even the silver-tongued President Clinton had his moments. In 2008, Clinton forgot to hang up a phone call with reporter Susan Phillips before saying he wouldn’t take any « shit » from Obama, then a candidate. The Hill
« Shithole countries » : l’expression grossière utilisée par Donald Trump suscite un tollé mondial depuis vendredi. Mais comment est elle traduite ? Incontestablement vulgaire, le terme « shithole » a nécessité quelques trésors d’imagination aux médias du monde entier pour exprimer de manière fidèle la réalité de la grossièreté de Trump sans trop choquer le public. Car Shithole se réfère aux latrines extérieures pour désigner un endroit particulièrement repoussant. En français, de nombreux médias, dont l’AFP ou LCI, ont retenu la formule très crue de « pays de merde », proche du sens littéral et conforme au style souvent sans fioritures de Donald Trump. Des dictionnaires bilingues comme le Harrap’s suggèrent toutefois des alternatives moins grossières, comme « porcherie », « taudis » ou « trou paumé ». LCI
Dismissing places where human rights abuses, hunger, and disease are rampant as “shitholes” without offering a viable alternative for running their governments is unproductive. But silencing anyone who dares speak the truth about these places – and what that says about their ruling ideologies – is even worse. Frances Martel

Attention: un pays de merde peut en cacher un autre !

Alors qu’après la reconnaissance de Jérusalem

C’est avec la même belle unanimité …

Que nos belles âmes condamnent à nouveau …

Une expression volée du président Trump lors d’une réunion à huis clos avec des sénateurs américains …

Sur les « pays merdiques » – l’anglais étant plus proche de « pays taudis » ou « trous paumés – dont les ressortissants continuent à se bousculer, on se demande bien pourquoi, pour entrer aux Etats-Unis …

Comment ne pas rappeler …

Sans parler au sein même de l’ONU de certains pays appelant explicitement à l’annihilation d’un de ses membres …

A cette tristement fameuse petite phrase, volée elle aussi il y a 17 ans, d’un ambassadeur de France sur le « petit pays de merde Israël » …

Ou à cette allusion en privée de l’ancien président Obama sur le « show de merde » libyen …

Ou à l’évocation il y a quelques semaines par le même sénateur ayant probablement dénoncé M. Trump …

Des termes mêmes d’immigration « en chaine » qu’il lui reprochait quelques jours plus tard …

Ou la référence il y a à peine cinq ans du sénateur Graham aux « trous d’enfer » mexicains ?

Et comment ne pas  repenser …

Alors que contre les derniers défenseurs de la terre plate, l’essouflement du mouvement des droits civiques afro-américain est de plus en plus patent …

Comme le confirme la réaction – « inattendue » dixit RFI –  de nombre de commentateurs africains

A l’instar des millions de migrants des pays évoqués votant ou s’apprêtant à voter avec leurs pieds …

Tandis qu’au niveau de nos élites et face à l’immigration clandestine, c’est l’aveuglement à tous les étages …

A la fameuse chanson de Guy Béart …

Sur les appels, vieux comme le monde, à l’exécution de celui qui dit  la vérité ?

Martel: The Value of Calling a Shithole a ‘Shithole’

In a news cycle full of poverty, war, political intrigue, and all the usual torment, America’s media have wasted valuable time this week debating the value of President Donald Trump’s use of a bad word.

Leftist journalists, politicians, and celebrities have scuttled out of the woodwork to decry that Trump allegedly branded some unspecified nations “shitholes.” The use of the term, they argue, proves the president is racist – and, as we all learned during the Obama era, all “racist” talk must be silenced.

The circumstances surrounding how we got to this point in the news cycle – where a nation is hanging on to every word of the president’s, and this word happens to be “shithole” – matter little in comparison to what this outbreak of decency among the elite liberal left exposes. It is a fact that those of us with family roots in oppressed nations know all too well: the left divides the world into “paradises” and “shitholes” all the time, depending on how much money there is to be had in duping apolitical Americans into buying their classifications.

It takes barely any time to find a handful of examples of profiteers selling naive thrill seekers the notion that any variety of impoverished, exploited underdeveloped country is a secret oasis full of exotic beauty and free of the “stain” of Western luxury.

“North Korea is probably one of the safest places on Earth to visit provided you follow the laws as provided by our documentation and pre-tour briefings,” Young Pioneer Tours, the company that swindled 22-year-old Otto Warmbier into an excruciating state murder, still boasts on its website today. “North Korean’s [sic] are friendly and accommodating, if you let them into your world and avoid insulting their beliefs or ideology.”

“Deeply embedded in the past, Belarus offers a rare insight into a bygone world,” the British travel website Wanderlust boasts of Europe’s last remaining communist nation, which remains heavily contaminated after Soviet negligence resulted in 2.2 million citizens being bombarded with radioactive waste in the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster. “Located in the heart of Europe, Belarus is a living museum to Soviet Communism.”

“For 2,500 years, this powerful country has entranced, mystified and beguiled the world,” the New York Times boasts of the Islamic Republic of Iran (the Times offers its wealthiest subscribers tours to some of the world’s most repressive destinations through its “journeys” travel program). The tour includes a tour of the “family home of the religious leader who engineered Iran’s transition to an Islamic republic,” presumably former Supreme Leader Ruhollah Khomenei.

“Though Iran often rejects Western ways and is frequently under fire for its positions on human rights, its nuclear program and Israel, its role as a birthplace of civilization cannot be denied,” the Times gushes.

“The Republic of Congo is on the cusp of becoming one of the finest ecotourism destinations in Africa,” the travel guide publisher Lonely Planet‘s website claims, listing “a pleasantly laid-back capital city in Brazzaville, some decent beaches on its Atlantic coastline and the warm and welcoming Congolese culture” as its evidence.

Amnesty International’s page on Congo lists repression of dissidents, lack of press freedom, “harsh and inhumane” prison conditions, and widespread discrimination against the Pigmy ethnic minority as human rights concerns in the country. The World Bank found in its 2017 assessment that two-thirds of students who graduate primary school lack basic literacy and mathematical skills and nearly half the nation’s residents live below the poverty line.

Cuba, a nation drowning in garbage where unarmed mothers are beaten and arrested for going to church, you can find a “sexual Disneyland” where, “thankfully,” the Cuban government turns a blind eye to rampant sex trafficking.

Venezuela, where Marxism has forced people to actually eat the garbage laying around everywhere, was a “paradise for $20” in 2015, according to a Reuters headline quoting tourists at the time. “People should come. It’s so cheap, it’s ridiculous,” one tourist is featured as urging in the piece.

Do not be deceived by the earlier date on that piece – In 2015, Venezuela’s maternity wards were already killing infants with vermin infestations and McDonald’s was charging $133 for an order of fries.

Zimbabwe, a tyranny under leftist nonagenarian Robert Mugabe – and now spring chicken Emmerson Mnangagwa, 75 – for decades, isn’t a tragedy, but a profitable investment opportunity. “For companies willing to take on some risks, now is the time to buy local assets, which, though priced in USD [U.S. dollars], are still fairly cheap because of the associated risk,” the Harvard Business Review suggested last week, despite Mnangagwa exhibiting the same signs of authoritarianism as his predecessor and the nation’s impoverished growing impatient.

Silence is complicit in the propaganda of the oppression of these “shitholes.” Silence is necessary to keep the pockets of everyone from Carnival Cruises to the New York Times to the tourism arms of the regimes that welcome them.

President Trump’s alleged “crudening” of the language to describe these places from which so many flee serves as an opportunity to deny those who profit from masking reality the ability to do so.

President Trump is, of course, not the prime vehicle for the message that truth sets nations free in this particular case. His sons have publicly showcased vacations in Zimbabwe, very likely profiting longtime tyrant Robert Mugabe with their presence. Though, conversely, it is worth noting that Trump himself has, on multiple occasions, written about his refusal to build real estate commodities in Cuba citing human rights concerns. And then there’s the fact that the reporting surrounding Trump’s comments during the meeting in question is so convoluted and weaponized that it is difficult to even understand what argument he was trying to make by using the word.

Dismissing places where human rights abuses, hunger, and disease are rampant as “shitholes” without offering a viable alternative for running their governments is unproductive. But silencing anyone who dares speak the truth about these places – and what that says about their ruling ideologies – is even worse.

Voir aussi:

« Pays de merde » : les mille et une manières de traduire les « Shithole countries » de Trump

LCI
TRADUCTION – L’expression « pays de merde » que Donald Trump aurait prononcée alors qu’il abordait le thème de l’immigration venant de pays d’Afrique, du Salvador ou d’Haïti n’est pas traduite de manière équivalente par nos voisins. Certains sont plus poétiques que d’autres.

« Shithole countries » : l’expression grossière utilisée par Donald Trump  suscite un tollé mondial depuis vendredi. Mais comment est elle traduite ?  Incontestablement vulgaire, le terme « shithole » a nécessité quelques trésors d’imagination aux médias du monde entier pour exprimer de manière fidèle la réalité d e la grossièreté de Trump sans trop choquer le public. Car Shithole se réfère aux  latrines extérieures pour  désigner un endroit particulièrement repoussant.

En français, de nombreux médias, dont l’AFP ou LCI, ont retenu la formule très crue de « pays de merde », proche du sens littéral et conforme au style souvent  sans fioritures de Donald Trump. Des dictionnaires bilingues comme le Harrap’s suggèrent toutefois des  alternatives moins grossières, comme « porcherie », « taudis » ou « trou paumé ».

« Pays de chiottes » pour les Grecs, « endroit où les loups copulent » pour les Serbes

 La presse espagnole est à l’unisson de la française avec « paises de  mierda », des médias grecs introduisant quant à eux une nuance : « pays de  chiottes ».   Aux Pays-Bas, le grand quotidien Volkskrant et une bonne partie de la  presse néerlandophone esquivent la vulgarité en utilisant le terme  « achterlijke », ou « arriéré ». En Russie Ria Novosti parle de « trou sale », mais Troud (journal syndical)  va plus loin avec « trou à merde ». En Italie, le Corriere della Sera avance « merdier » (merdaio), et l’agence  tchèque CTK choisit de son côté de parler de « cul du monde ».

Les médias allemands optent souvent pour l’expression « Dreckslöcher », qui  peut se traduire par « trous à rats ». L’allégorie animalière est aussi de mise  dans la presse serbe, avec l’expression « vukojebina », à savoir « l’endroit où  les loups copulent ».

« Pays où les oiseaux ne pondent pas d’oeufs »

En Asie les médias semblent davantage à la peine pour trouver le mot juste  en langue locale, tout en évitant parfois de choquer.  Au Japon, la chaîne NHK a choisi de parler de « pays crasseux », l’agence  Jiji utilisant un terme familier mais pas forcément injurieux pouvant de  traduire par « pays ressemblant à des toilettes ».

Les médias chinois se contentent en général de parler de « mauvais pays »,  évitant de reproduire l’expression originale dans sa grossièreté. La version la plus allusive et la plus imagée revient sans conteste à  l’agence taïwanaise CNA, qui évoque des « pays où les oiseaux ne pondent pas  d’oeufs ».

Voir encore:

WATCH: A history of presidential potty mouths

« I have interviewed six presidents of the United States. I have traveled with them. I have been in their homes. They’ve been in my home on multiple occasions. I have flown on Air Force One with them and commercial jets and private jets and car caravans and Winnebagos. Went to Disney World with one. They all have used the ‘S-word.’ Even that old gentleman, Ronald Reagan, would sometimes occasionally, rarely use the ‘F-word.’ So, the White house is going to endure, » conservative author Doug Wead said.

Let’s take a look at some presidential profanity throughout history.

Sometimes choice words were reserved for the political opponents. President Reagan famously referred to enemies a few times as “SOBs.” While former President Obama once called Mitt Romney a « bullshitter » in a “Rolling Stone” interview.

One of the more profane presidents in recent history was Richard Nixon. Nixon was caught on White House tapes using numerous vulgarities, including some offensive terms about gay people.

Likewise, President Johnson was accused of often using the “N-word” when talking about African-Americans.

Some of these remarks were caught on video.

In 2000, George W. Bush was caught on a hot mic during a campaign rally calling Adam Clymer, a reporter with The New York Times, a « major league asshole. »

In fact, both the younger Bush and his father, former President George H.W. Bush, are quoted in Mark Updegrove’s book, “The Last Republicans,” as dropping the “F-bomb.”

George W. Bush even had this to say about two former colleagues.

« [Former Vice President Dick Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld] never made one f—-ing decision. »

Even the silver-tongued President Clinton had his moments. In 2008, Clinton forgot to hang up a phone call with reporter Susan Phillips before saying he wouldn’t take any « shit » from Obama, then a candidate.

Voir par ailleurs:

Immigration : Macron, ce faux dur

La gauche angélique et irresponsable fait faussement passer Emmanuel Macron pour un opposant déterminé à l’immigration de peuplement. Ce lundi, le secrétaire général de la CGT, Philippe Martinez, a de nouveau jugé « scandaleux » le « tri » voulu selon lui par le gouvernement entre les « bons » et les « mauvais » migrants. ‘L’histoire de notre pays et le devoir de notre pays c’est d’accueillir des gens qui sont dans la souffrance, les accueillir tous, tous », a déclaré Martinez sur France Inter. Jeudi, sur RTL, l’ancien candidat à la présidentielle, Benoit Hamon, avait déjà asséné : ‘Le tri des migrants, c’est le tri des pauvres ». Dimanche, sur BFMTV, le socialiste Julien Dray a comparé le recensement des migrants dans les centres d’hébergement d’urgence – opérations diligentées par des fonctionnaires et annoncées 48 h à l’avance – à des « rafles », assimilables à celle du Vel d’Hiv organisée en France occupée (1942) contre les juifs étrangers ou apatrides : une outrance inaugurée par L’Obs qui, sur sa une de jeudi, représente le visage de Macron entouré de barbelés. Déjà en 2015, le prix Nobel de littérature Jean-Marie Le Clézio, un des témoins cités dans le dossier de L’Obs, déclarait à l’hebdomadaire argentin Revista N : « Nous devrions éliminer les frontières pour laisser les gens circuler (…) Les restrictions de l’espace Schengen sont une honte. On ferme l’Europe à l’Afrique, l’Orient, l’Amérique latine, on se referme sur nous ».

Cet étalement de bons sentiments en dit long sur l’aveuglement face au raidissement de l’opinion. Partout en Europe, et singulièrement en France, les gens rejettent majoritairement une immigration qui ne s’assimile plus et qui porte en elle un nouvel antisémitisme. Reste que Macron n’est pas l’homme à poigne que croient voir les inconditionnels de l’accueil pour tous. Son soutien à la politique d’Angela Merkel, qui a fait entrer en Allemagne plus d’un million de « migrants » musulmans en 2015, ajouté à son mépris des « populistes » qui réclament le retour aux frontières, ne font pas du président un obstacle sérieux à l’idéologie immigrationniste. Tandis que les pays d’Europe de l’Est, qui ont déjà sauvé l’Europe de l’envahisseur ottoman en 1683, sonnent une nouvelle fois l’alarme sur une histoire qui se répète, Macron joint sa voix à celle de l’Union européenne pour accabler la Pologne ou la Hongrie. Le député Guy Verhofstadt a récemment sermonné ces deux nations : « Il n’y a pas de place pour des pays qui rejettent nos valeurs. Toute référence à l’identité nationale est potentiellement fanatique ». Pour sa part, le commissaire européen aux migrations, Dimitris Avramopoulos, a admis (Le Figaro, vendredi), parlant d’ »impératif moral » mais aussi d’impératif « économique et social » : « Il est temps de regarder en face la vérité. Nous ne pourrons pas arrêter la migration ». Macron l’européen demeure, jusqu’à présent, dans cette logique de l’ouverture et du remplacement.

Voir encore:

Black Protest Has Lost Its Power
Have whites finally found the courage to judge African-Americans fairly by universal standards?
Shelby Steele
WSJ
Jan. 12, 2018

The recent protests by black players in the National Football League were rather sad for their fruitlessness. They may point to the end of an era for black America, and for the country generally—an era in which protest has been the primary means of black advancement in American life.

There was a forced and unconvincing solemnity on the faces of these players as they refused to stand for the national anthem. They seemed more dutiful than passionate, as if they were mimicking the courage of earlier black athletes who had protested: Tommie Smith and John Carlos, fists in the air at the 1968 Olympics; Muhammad Ali, fearlessly raging against the Vietnam War; Jackie Robinson, defiantly running the bases in the face of racist taunts. The NFL protesters seemed to hope for a little ennoblement by association.

And protest has long been an ennobling tradition in black American life. From the Montgomery bus boycott to the march on Selma, from lunch-counter sit-ins and Freedom Rides to the 1963 March on Washington, only protest could open the way to freedom and the acknowledgment of full humanity. So it was a high calling in black life. It required great sacrifice and entailed great risk. Martin Luther King Jr. , the archetypal black protester, made his sacrifices, ennobled all of America, and was then shot dead.

For the NFL players there was no real sacrifice, no risk and no achievement. Still, in black America there remains a great reverence for protest. Through protest—especially in the 1950s and ’60s—we, as a people, touched greatness. Protest, not immigration, was our way into the American Dream. Freedom in this country had always been relative to race, and it was black protest that made freedom an absolute.

It is not surprising, then, that these black football players would don the mantle of protest. The surprise was that it didn’t work. They had misread the historic moment. They were not speaking truth to power. Rather, they were figures of pathos, mindlessly loyal to a black identity that had run its course.

What they missed is a simple truth that is both obvious and unutterable: The oppression of black people is over with. This is politically incorrect news, but it is true nonetheless. We blacks are, today, a free people. It is as if freedom sneaked up and caught us by surprise.

Of course this does not mean there is no racism left in American life. Racism is endemic to the human condition, just as stupidity is. We will always have to be on guard against it. But now it is recognized as a scourge, as the crowning immorality of our age and our history.

Protest always tries to make a point. But what happens when that point already has been made — when, in this case, racism has become anathema and freedom has expanded?

What happened was that black America was confronted with a new problem: the shock of freedom. This is what replaced racism as our primary difficulty. Blacks had survived every form of human debasement with ingenuity, self-reliance, a deep and ironic humor, a capacity for self-reinvention and a heroic fortitude. But we had no experience of wide-open freedom.

Watch out that you get what you ask for, the saying goes. Freedom came to blacks with an overlay of cruelty because it meant we had to look at ourselves without the excuse of oppression. Four centuries of dehumanization had left us underdeveloped in many ways, and within the world’s most highly developed society. When freedom expanded, we became more accountable for that underdevelopment. So freedom put blacks at risk of being judged inferior, the very libel that had always been used against us.

To hear, for example, that more than 4,000 people were shot in Chicago in 2016 embarrasses us because this level of largely black-on-black crime cannot be blamed simply on white racism.

We can say that past oppression left us unprepared for freedom. This is certainly true. But it is no consolation. Freedom is just freedom. It is a condition, not an agent of change. It does not develop or uplift those who win it. Freedom holds us accountable no matter the disadvantages we inherit from the past. The tragedy in Chicago—rightly or wrongly—reflects on black America.

That’s why, in the face of freedom’s unsparing judgmentalism, we reflexively claim that freedom is a lie. We conjure elaborate narratives that give white racism new life in the present: “systemic” and “structural” racism, racist “microaggressions,” “white privilege,” and so on. All these narratives insist that blacks are still victims of racism, and that freedom’s accountability is an injustice.

We end up giving victimization the charisma of black authenticity. Suffering, poverty and underdevelopment are the things that make you “truly black.” Success and achievement throw your authenticity into question.

The NFL protests were not really about injustice. Instead such protests are usually genuflections to today’s victim-focused black identity. Protest is the action arm of this identity. It is not seeking a new and better world; it merely wants documentation that the old racist world still exists. It wants an excuse.

For any formerly oppressed group, there will be an expectation that the past will somehow be an excuse for difficulties in the present. This is the expectation behind the NFL protests and the many protests of groups like Black Lives Matter. The near-hysteria around the deaths of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Freddie Gray and others is also a hunger for the excuse of racial victimization, a determination to keep it alive. To a degree, black America’s self-esteem is invested in the illusion that we live under a cloud of continuing injustice.

When you don’t know how to go forward, you never just sit there; you go backward into what you know, into what is familiar and comfortable and, most of all, exonerating. You rebuild in your own mind the oppression that is fading from the world. And you feel this abstract, fabricated oppression as if it were your personal truth, the truth around which your character is formed. Watching the antics of Black Lives Matter is like watching people literally aspiring to black victimization, longing for it as for a consummation.

But the NFL protests may be a harbinger of change. They elicited considerable resentment. There have been counterprotests. TV viewership has gone down. Ticket sales have dropped. What is remarkable about this response is that it may foretell a new fearlessness in white America—a new willingness in whites (and blacks outside the victim-focused identity) to say to blacks what they really think and feel, to judge blacks fairly by standards that are universal.

We blacks have lived in a bubble since the 1960s because whites have been deferential for fear of being seen as racist. The NFL protests reveal the fundamental obsolescence—for both blacks and whites—of a victim-focused approach to racial inequality. It causes whites to retreat into deference and blacks to become nothing more than victims. It makes engaging as human beings and as citizens impermissible, a betrayal of the sacred group identity. Black victimization is not much with us any more as a reality, but it remains all too powerful as a hegemony.

Mr. Steele, a senior fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, is author of “Shame: How America’s Past Sins Have Polarized Our Country” (Basic Books, 2015).

Voir enfin:

Trump Is a Racist. Period.
Charles M. Blow
The NYT
Jan. 14, 2018

I find nothing more useless than debating the existence of racism, particularly when you are surrounded by evidence of its existence. It feels to me like a way to keep you fighting against the water until you drown.

The debates themselves, I believe, render a simple concept impossibly complex, making the very meaning of “racism” frustratingly murky.

So, let’s strip that away here. Let’s be honest and forthright.

Racism is simply the belief that race is an inherent and determining factor in a person’s or a people’s character and capabilities, rendering some inferior and others superior. These beliefs are racial prejudices.

The history of America is one in which white people used racism and white supremacy to develop a racial caste system that advantaged them and disadvantaged others.

Understanding this, it is not a stretch to understand that Donald Trump’s words and deeds over the course of his life have demonstrated a pattern of expressing racial prejudices that demean people who are black and brown and that play to the racial hostilities of other white people.

It is not a stretch to say that Trump is racist. It’s not a stretch to say that he is a white supremacist. It’s not a stretch to say that Trump is a bigot.

Those are just facts, supported by the proof of the words that keep coming directly from him. And, when he is called out for his racism, his response is never to ameliorate his rhetoric, but to double down on it.

I know of no point during his entire life where he has apologized for, repented of, or sought absolution for any of his racist actions or comments.

Instead, he either denies, deflects or amps up the attack.

Trump is a racist. We can put that baby to bed.

“Racism” and “racist” are simply words that have definitions, and Trump comfortably and unambiguously meets those definitions.

We have unfortunately moved away from the simple definition of racism, to the point where the only people to whom the appellation can be safely applied are the vocal, violent racial archetypes.

Racism doesn’t require hatred, constant expression, or even conscious awareness. We want racism to be fringe rather than foundational. But, wishing isn’t an effective method of eradication.

We have to face this thing, stare it down and fight it back.

The simple acknowledgment that Trump is a racist is the easy part. The harder, more substantive part is this: What are we going to do about it?

Every weekday, get thought-provoking commentary from Op-Ed columnists, the Times editorial board and contributing writers from around the world.

First and foremost, although Trump is not the first president to be a racist, we must make him the last. If by some miracle he should serve out his first term, he mustn’t be allowed a second. Voters of good conscience must swarm the polls in 2020.

But before that, those voters must do so later this year, to rid the House and the Senate of as many of Trump’s defenders, apologists and accomplices as possible. Should the time come where impeachment is inevitable, there must be enough votes in the House and Senate to ensure it.

We have to stop thinking that we can somehow separate what racists believe from how they will behave. We must stop believing that any of Trump’s actions are clear of the venom coursing through his convictions. Everything he does is an articulation of who he is and what he believes. Therefore, all policies he supports, positions he takes and appointments he makes are suspect.

And finally, we have to stop giving a pass to the people — whether elected official or average voter — who support and defend his racism. If you defend racism you are part of the racism. It doesn’t matter how much you say that you’re an egalitarian, how much you say that you are race blind, how much you say that you are only interested in people’s policies and not their racist polemics.

As the brilliant James Baldwin once put it: “I can’t believe what you say, because I see what you do.” When I see that in poll after poll a portion of Trump’s base continues to support his behavior, including on race, I can only conclude that there is no real daylight between Trump and his base. They are part of his racism.

When I see the extraordinary hypocrisy of elected officials who either remain silent in the wake of Trump’s continued racist outbursts or who obliquely condemn him, only to in short order return to defending and praising him and supporting his agenda, I see that there is no real daylight between Trump and them either. They too are part of his racism.

When you see it this way, you understand the enormity and the profundity of what we are facing. There were enough Americans who were willing to accept Trump’s racism to elect him. There are enough people in Washington willing to accept Trump’s racism to defend him. Not only is Trump racist, the entire architecture of his support is suffused with that racism. Racism is a fundamental component of the Trump presidency.

Publicités

Reconnaissance de Jérusalem/Trump: Quand la condamnation est unanime (From Lincoln to Ike, Reagan or Bush, almost all GOP presidents have been stereotyped as not very bright and guess who got to have the last laugh in the end ?)

29 décembre, 2017
Lorsqu’un Sanhédrin s’est déclaré unanime pour condamner, l’accusé sera acquitté. Le Talmud
George Orwell disait,  je crois dans 1984, que dans les temps de tromperie généralisée, dire la vérité est un acte révolutionnaire. David Hoffmann
Le langage politique est destiné à rendre vraisemblables les mensonges, respectables les meurtres, et à donner l’apparence de la solidité à ce qui n’est que vent. George Orwell
Tout racisme est un essentialisme et le racisme de l’intelligence est la forme de sociodicée caractéristique d’une classe dominante dont le pouvoir repose en partie sur la possession de titres qui, comme les titres scolaires, sont censés être des garanties d’intelligence et qui ont pris la place, dans beaucoup de sociétés, et pour l’accès même aux positions de pouvoir économique, des titres anciens comme les titres de propriété et les titres de noblesse. Pierre Bourdieu
Reagan, je l’ai trouvé comme il est : habité de certitudes. Américain typique, il n’est pas très exportable. Mitterrand (sommet d’Ottawa, 1981)
Son étroitesse d’esprit est évidente. Cet homme n’a que quelques disques qui tournent et retournent dans sa tête. Mitterrand (sommet de Williamsburg, 1983)
Il est temps de tuer le président. Monisha Rajesh
Trump c’est le candidat qui redonne aux Américains l’espoir, l’espoir qu’il soit assassiné avant son investiture. Pablo Mira (France Inter)
This is a message to Trump the idiot. You idiot, your promise to Israel will not be successful. You idiot, Jerusalem is the capital of Palestine for all eternity. Idriss
The Palestinians could have issued a low-key response, saying simply that no one, not even Trump, could decide the future of Jerusalem without their agreement. They could have kept their channels to the United States open and waited to see if anything would come of the much-vaunted Trump peace proposal. Instead, they declared “days of rage” that quickly fizzled, and then effectively severed ties with the Americans by announcing they would be boycotting any scheduled meetings with administration officials. This is idle talk based on wishful thinking. No other country has the resources, the skilled and experienced diplomatic corps, the investment in the region and the credibility to become the brokers of the process. The European Union is mired in a near-existential crisis, with Brexit cutting off one of its major members; its unofficial leader, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, is struggling to build a coalition at home; and its unofficial leader-in-waiting, French President Emmanuel Macron, lacks the experience and attention span to devote himself properly. Russia has ulterior motives and does not really wish to help bring peace, just enhance its influence. China, which launched a Mideast conference this past week, is too far away – physically and mentally – to be much more than a bystander. And, most important, Israel can and will veto any other partner besides the Americans. Haaretz
Securing national borders seems pretty orthodox. In an age of anti-Western terrorism, placing temporary holds on would-be immigrants from war-torn zones until they can be vetted is hardly radical. Expecting “sanctuary cities” to follow federal laws rather than embrace the nullification strategies of the secessionist Old Confederacy is a return to the laws of the Constitution. Using the term “radical Islamic terror” in place of “workplace violence” or “man-caused disasters” is sensible, not subversive. Insisting that NATO members meet their long-ignored defense-spending obligations is not provocative but overdue. Assuming that both the European Union and the United Nations are imploding is empirical, not unhinged. Questioning the secret side agreements of the Iran deal or failed Russian reset is facing reality. Making the Environmental Protection Agency follow laws rather than make laws is the way it always was supposed to be. Unapologetically siding with Israel, the only free and democratic country in the Middle East, used to be standard U.S. policy until Obama was elected. (…) Expecting the media to report the news rather than massage it to fit progressive agendas makes sense. In the past, proclaiming Obama a “sort of god” or the smartest man ever to enter the presidency was not normal journalistic practice. (…) Half the country is having a hard time adjusting to Trumpism, confusing Trump’s often unorthodox and grating style with his otherwise practical and mostly centrist agenda. In sum, Trump seems a revolutionary, but that is only because he is loudly undoing a revolution. Victor Davis Hanson
Donald Trump is on course to win re-election in 2020, senior British diplomats believe, as he approaches his first full year in office. They think that despite a string of negative headlines the US president has largely kept his support base onside since entering White House. Possible Democratic contenders are seen as either too old – such as Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden – or lacking in the name recognition needed to defeat Mr Trump. There is also a belief the US president has curbed some of his most radical policy instincts since taking office, such as ignoring Nato or pulling out of Afghanistan. The Telegraph
Nearly a year into his presidency, Mr. Trump remains an erratic, idiosyncratic leader on the global stage, an insurgent who attacks allies the United States has nurtured since World War II and who can seem more at home with America’s adversaries… He has assiduously cultivated President Xi Jinping of China and avoided criticizing President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia — leaders of the two countries that his own national security strategy calls the greatest geopolitical threats to America. NYT
A website archiving all of Donald Trump’s tweets calculated that he “stupid-tweeted” 183 times since Oct. 7, 2011. That’s a whole lot of stupid. It’s over 30 stupids per year for the past 6 years, not to mention his oral stupids. In fact, calling people stupid is probably Donald Trump’s crowning example of staying on message. And I suspect he’ll continue to use this art form for as long as his mouth works and his fingers – or even just his middle ones – can gesticulate. But stupid-speak does not stupid make. In fact, his stupid strategy can be called insightful, crafty, and productive. His bullying paid off. He has earned the title America’s stupid-caller-in-chief. Stupid people can’t do that. But what’s impeccably good for the goose is not necessarily good for those of us who would love a gander at his impeachment. And the principal difference between him calling us stupid and us returning the favor is that he is in power. (…) Speaking from experience, no single political party or their voters has a lock on stupid. (…) While it may be good for a chuckle, calling or even thinking someone else stupid is virtually guaranteed to give them the last laugh. Jason Lorber (Vermont Democrat)
This time one year ago, the assumption dominating political coverage was that the only people more stupid than Donald Trump were the deplorables who elected him. Since then, of course, President-elect Trump has become President Trump. Over his 11 months in office, he has put Neil Gorsuch on the Supreme Court and four times as many judges on the appellate courts as Barack Obama did his first year; recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel; withdrawn from the Paris climate accord; adopted a more resolute policy on Afghanistan than the one he’d campaigned on; rolled back the mandate forcing Catholic nuns, among others, to provide employees with contraception and abortifacients; signed legislation to open up drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge; initiated a bold, deregulatory assault on the administrative state—and topped it all off with the first major overhaul of the tax code in more than 30 years. And yet that Mr. Trump is a very stupid man remains the assumption dominating his press coverage. Add to this the sorry experience America had recently had with men, also outside conventional politics, who ran successfully for governorships: former pro wrestler and Navy SEAL Jesse Ventura in Minnesota and actor Arnold Schwarzenegger in California. Their respective administrations each began with high enthusiasm but ended in defeat and disillusionment. What would make anyone think Mr. Trump would do better? In one sense he is not unique: Almost all GOP presidents are stereotyped as not very bright. Ask Ike, or George W. Bush, or even Lincoln. Nor is it uncommon, in the headiness of a White House, for even the lowliest staffer to come to regard himself as the intellectual superior of the president he works for. In Mr. Trump’s case, critics equate lowbrow tastes (e.g., well-done steaks covered in ketchup) as confirmation of a lack of brainpower. It can make for great sport. But starting out with the assumption that the president you are covering is a boob can prove debilitating to clear judgment. Quick show of hands: How many of those in the press who continue to dismiss Mr. Trump as stupid publicly asserted he could never win the 2016 election—or would never get anyone decent to work for him in the unlikely miracle he did get elected? The WSJ
Jérusalem est, évidemment, et depuis toujours, la capitale d’Israël. Et il y a quelque chose, non seulement d’absurde, mais de choquant dans le tollé planétaire qui a suivi la reconnaissance, par les Etats-Unis, de cette évidence. (…) D’où vient, alors, mon malaise ? (…) Et, deux semaines après cette annonce que j’attendais, moi aussi, depuis des années, pourquoi cette inquiétude qui m’étreint ? (…) D’abord Trump. Je sens trop le côté gros malin, acculé par des défaites diverses et consécutives, qui a trouvé là son coup fumant de fin de première année de mandat. Ami des juifs, dit-il ? Protecteur et saint patron d’Israël ? Pardon, mais je n’y crois guère. Je ne pense absolument pas que Donald Trump soit mû par le sentiment d’une union sacrée de l’Amérique et d’Israël ou, comme on disait déjà du temps des Pères pèlerins des Etats-Unis, de la nouvelle et de l’ancienne Jérusalem. Je n’imagine pas l’âme de Trump disponible, de quelque façon que ce soit, à la reconnaissance de la singularité juive, à la célébration des paradoxes de la pensée talmudique ou au goût de l’aventure qui animait la geste ardente, lyrique et héroïque des pionniers laïques du sionisme. Et je ne pense pas davantage que les fameux néo-évangélistes qui forment, paraît-il, ses bataillons d’électeurs les plus solides aient la moindre idée de ce qu’est, en vérité, cet Etat nommé par des poètes, bâti par des rêveurs et poursuivi jusqu’à aujourd’hui, dans le même souffle ou presque, par un peuple dont le roman national est semé de miracles rationnels, d’espérances sous les étoiles et de ferveurs logiques. Eh bien ? Eh bien l’Histoire nous apprend qu’un geste d’amitié abstrait, insincère, délié de l’Idée et de la Vérité, amputé de cette connaissance et de cet amour profonds qu’on appelle, en hébreu, l’Ahavat Israël, ne vaut, finalement, pas grand-chose – ou, pire, elle nous enseigne comment, en vertu d’une mauvaise chimie des fièvres politiques dont le peuple juif n’a eu que trop souvent à endurer l’épreuve et les foudres, il y a tous les risques que ce geste, un jour, se retourne en son contraire. (…) M. Trump a-t-il pensé à tout cela quand il a mis ses petites mains dans le dossier «Jérusalem» ? Bernard-Henri Lévy
Je partage l’attachement à Israël, de tous les juifs, mais d’un autre côté, la décision de Trump me paraît catastrophique parce qu’elle risque d’embraser la région, parce qu’elle risque d’empêcher la reprise des négociations entre les Palestiens et les Israéliens. Les Américains auraient dû procéder tout autrement. Benyamin Netanyahu ne propose rien aux Palestiniens. Il les pousse au désespoir et à l’extrémisme. Alain Finkielkraut
BHL n’a pas besoin des éditoriaux du Monde, ni même de ceux de Ha’aretz, car il sait déjà. Il sait ce qui est bon pour Israël et ce qui ne l’est pas. Il sait que Jérusalem est la capitale d’Israël, mais il sait aussi que Trump ne peut pas faire quelque chose de bon pour les Juifs. Ainsi BHL peut écrire dans son dernier éditorial que “Jérusalem est, évidemment, et depuis toujours, la capitale d’Israël” et qu’il “y a quelque chose, non seulement d’absurde, mais de choquant dans le tollé planétaire qui a suivi la reconnaissance, par les Etats-Unis, de cette évidence”. Mais dans la même foulée, il va convoquer A. B. Yehoshua, Amos Oz et même le rav Steinman z.l. pour nous expliquer doctement pourquoi la reconnaissance de la capitale d’Israël par les Etats-Unis n’est pas bonne pour les Juifs. (…) Dans son envolée lyrique sur tout ce que “l’âme de Trump” est incapable de saisir des subtilités du judaïsme, BHL commet une double erreur. La première est d’opposer de manière caricaturale la grandeur d’Israël et des Juifs et les basses motivations qu’il attribue (sans aucune preuve) à Donald Trump. En cela, il rejoint les pires adeptes du “Trump bashing”, qu’il prétend ne pas imiter. La seconde, plus grave encore, est de croire qu’en politique – et en politique internationale surtout – les intentions priment sur les actes. Or rien n’est plus faux. Car en réalité, peu nous importe ce que pense Trump, en son for intérieur, des Juifs. Après tout, l’histoire récente est pleine d’exemples de dirigeants politiques qui appréciaient les Juifs et le fameux “génie juif” célébré par BHL, et qui ont été les pires adversaires de l’Etat d’Israël. Ce qui compte ce sont les actes envers Israël, Etat et peuple. A cet égard, la reconnaissance de notre capitale Jérusalem est un acte fort et riche de signification, qui n’engage pas seulement le président Trump et les Etats-Unis, mais le reste du monde, qui s’engagera lui aussi sur cette voie, comme c’est déjà le cas. Cette reconnaissance est une décision politique capitale, qui n’obéit pas à un calcul passager et mesquin, comme le prétend BHL, car elle engage les Etats-Unis de manière ferme, et quasiment irréversible. Peu nous importe, dans ces circonstances, de savoir si Trump apprécie la “pensée talmudique” ou l’esprit juif viennois… L’attitude de BHL et d’autres intellectuels juifs vis-à-vis de Trump (et de Nétanyahou) ressemble à celle des rabbins non sionistes (et des Juifs assimilés) à l’égard de Theodor Herzl, qui n’était pas assez “casher” (ou trop Juif) à leurs yeux. Dans son mépris pour Donald Trump et pour l’Amérique qu’il incarne (ces “fameux néo-évangélistes” dont il parle avec dédain), BHL montre qu’il ne comprend rien à ce pays et à l’identification spirituelle et charnelle des chrétiens américains, sionistes ou évangélistes, au peuple et à la terre d’Israël. En réalité, BHL sait très bien que la reconnaissance de notre capitale par le président Trump est une bonne chose pour Israël. Seulement voilà, il éprouve comme il l’avoue un sentiment de “malaise”. Pour la simple et bonne raison que depuis des mois, depuis l’élection de Trump et même avant, BHL explique à qui veut l’entendre que Trump n’est pas un ami des Juifs. Il l’a dit à maintes reprises, sur CNN où il expliquait en février dernier que “Trump a un problème avec les Juifs” et dans le New York Times où il appelait les Juifs à se méfier du président américain. La seconde erreur de BHL est de croire qu’en politique internationale, les intentions priment sur les actes. “Trump, Dioclétien et le gardien de cochons” : sous ce titre quelque peu mystérieux, BHL s’était livré il y a presqu’un an à une attaque au vitriol contre le nouveau président des Etats-Unis, Donald Trump, accusé par avance de trahison envers Israël et de mépris envers les Juifs. Et pour mieux asséner ses coups, BHL conviait en renfort Freud, le Talmud, Kafka, Rachi et Proust… Après avoir pronostiqué pendant des semaines que Trump allait perdre car “l’Amérique de Tocqueville” n’élirait pas un tel homme, BHL annonçait alors l’inéluctable trahison de Trump envers Israël. C’est pourtant le même BHL qui avait, avec une certaine dose de courage intellectuel, et contrairement à d’autres, reconnu le danger de la politique d’Obama envers Israël à l’occasion du vote de la Résolution 2334 au Conseil de Sécurité. (“Mais voir cette administration qui a tant concédé à l’Iran, tant cédé à la Russie… se rattraper en donnant de la voix, in extremis, contre ce mouton noir planétaire, ce pelé, ce galeux, qu’est le Premier ministre d’Israël, quelle misère !” écrivait-il alors.) Entretemps, Trump a été élu, il est devenu le président américain le plus pro-israélien depuis 1948, comme l’ont prouvé non seulement sa dernière décision sur Jérusalem, mais aussi son attitude à l’ONU et face au président de l’Autorité palestinienne (ce sinistre has-been que même les pays arabes ont fini par lâcher et que seule la France continue de soutenir). Trump est en train de promouvoir une véritable “révolution copernicienne” au Moyen-Orient, pour reprendre l’expression de Michel Gurfinkiel, en reléguant au second plan le conflit israélo-arabe et en abandonnant la politique désastreuse du soutien à “l’Etat palestinien” et aux concessions israéliennes. Mais tout cela est trop simple et limpide pour notre amateur de “paradoxes talmudiques”. Aussi BHL s’évertue à démontrer, faisait feu de tout bois, que cela n’est pas bon pour Israël. Peu importe si les faits lui donnent tort, puisque lui-même est persuadé d’avoir raison. Pierre Lurçat
Toute unanimité est suspecte. Le Talmud stipule que si une condamnation est unanime, le tribunal doit gracier l’accusé. (…) Depuis 70 ans Jérusalem est la capitale en activité d’Israël et les Etats qui ont reconnu Israël ont reconnu cette réalité. N’est-ce pas à la résidence du Président à Jérusalem que leurs Ambassadeurs déposent leurs lettres de créance ? N’est-ce pas dans la Knesset à Jérusalem que Nicolas Sarkozy et François Hollande ont prononcé leurs importants discours ? Jérusalem est pour les diplomates le sein que l’hypocrite Tartuffe ne saurait voir. Déterminer sa capitale est un acte de souveraineté nationale : l’Allemagne réunifiée a choisi Berlin et malgré les souvenirs sinistres, personne n’a protesté. Ne pas admettre Jérusalem capitale d’Israël, c’est sous-entendre que bien que l’Etat d’Israël existe, il n’est pas totalement légitime. C’est ouvrir un boulevard à ceux qui espèrent la destruction du pays. La décision de Trump avait été actée il y a vingt-cinq ans par le Congrès américain et réitérée par l’ensemble des candidats à la Présidence, dont Barack Obama à l’Aipac en juin 2008. Sommes-nous si habitués à ce que les promesses n’engagent que ceux qui y croient, que nous trouvions choquant qu’elles soient respectées ? D’autant que les mots prononcés avec la reconnaissance n’écartent aucune évolution géopolitique ultérieure. Le problème de cette déclaration n’est pas son contenu mais le haro général qu’elle a suscité. Si l’accusé n’a trouvé personne pour le soutenir, disent les commentateurs du traité Sanhedrin, un soupçon pèse sur le travail des juges. Le soupçon est ici celui du panurgisme : montrer qu’on est un partisan de la paix, comme « l’ensemble de la communauté internationale», cette paix que recherchent, c’est un axiome, les dirigeants palestiniens. Ce discours lénifiant a conforté l’ambiguïté et n’a rien apporté à la résolution du conflit. Depuis que l’Unesco a déclaré, dans une résolution qui a bénéficié de beaucoup de lâchetés et de silences, que Jérusalem n’avait historiquement à voir qu’avec l’Islam, les dernières illusions sont tombées sur la validité de ces institutions internationales, perverties par le jeu des majorités automatiques et des pressions qui les accompagnent. Négliger les réalités présentes, discourir sur Jérusalem « capitale de la paix », ce qu’elle n’a malheureusement presque jamais été, voire rêver à un « corpus separatum », probablement défendu par des soldats népalais et bangladais, c’est rêver. La situation aurait été différente si les États arabes n’avaient pas déclenché la guerre en 1947, si les Jordaniens avaient écouté les objurgations israéliennes en juin 1967, et a fortiori si les Israéliens avaient perdu l’un ou l’autre de ces conflits. On ne refait pas le passé. Esquiver la vérité sous prétexte de ne pas heurter les sensibilités des ennemis d’Israël a fait suppurer la plaie qu’est devenu le conflit israélo-palestinien. Craindre de dire la vérité sous prétexte que cela pourrait « entraîner l’enfer sur la terre » (dixit le Hamas), c’est fortifier la menace terroriste. Les marionnettistes qui attisent les braises sont iraniens ou islamistes sunnites et pas américains. Ceux qui l’ignorent regardent le doigt quand le sage désigne la lune. C’est ce que dit non pas la Guemara, mais un proverbe chinois… Richard Prasquier

Rira bien qui rira le dernier !

Insultes, moqueries, appels à l’assassinat, condamnations, imprécations …

A l’heure où se confirme chaque un peu plus…

L’étendue des mensonges  que le précédent leader du Monde libre était prêt à couvrir …

Pour finaliser, avant la déjudaïsation de Jérusalem des derniers jours de son mandat, son tristement fameux accord nucléaire …

Avec, entre trafic de drogue et assassinats politiques, l’Etat terroriste iranien et ses affidés libanais ou argentins …

Et au lendemain d’une reconnaissance de Jérusalem

Qui a fait à nouveau le plein d’unanimité contre le président Trump …

Y compris – ô combien significativement ! – par ceux-là mêmes …

Qui comme notre BHL national ou même, plus étonnament, notre Finkielkraut l’appelaient depuis longtemps de leurs voeux …

Comment ne pas repenser …

Avec l’un de nos rares dirigeants à avoir sauvé l’honneur, le président du CRIF Richard Pasquier …

Et au-delà du racisme de l’intelligence si caractéristique justement de nos intelligentsias …

Au fameux avertissement du Talmud contre les verdicts trop unanimes …

Mais aussi ne pas déjà entrevoir …

Avec les plus lucides de ses critiques …

Comme les conseillers mêmes de la Première ministre britannique …

Que la plaisanterie pourrait bien un jour se retourner contre eux ?

Johnny, Trump et Jérusalem. Que dit la Guemara ?
Richard Prasquier
CRIF
15/12/2017

Cette semaine, l’actualité impose son contenu. Pour Johnny, respect. Il a rendu service en amortissant par l’impact médiatique de son décès le déchaînement de critiques qui a accueilli la déclaration du Président américain sur Jérusalem. Belle conclusion pour cet homme qui fut un authentique ami d’Israël.

L’unanimité des dithyrambes adressés au rocker français, qui n’avait pourtant pas que des admirateurs, fait pendant à l’unanimité des blâmes adressés au président américain. Toute unanimité est suspecte. Le Talmud stipule que si une condamnation est unanime, le tribunal doit gracier l’accusé. Cette décision saugrenue, je la comprends mieux aujourd’hui.

Laissons les arguments juridiques et historiques qui soulignent que l’illégalité de la décision du président américain n’est pas si flagrante que cela. Ils confortent les convaincus, mais glissent malheureusement sur les autres. Les considérations religieuses et mystiques ne sont pas recevables, laïcité oblige.

Limitons-nous aux faits. Depuis 70 ans Jérusalem est la capitale en activité d’Israël et les Etats qui ont reconnu Israël ont reconnu cette réalité. N’est-ce pas à la résidence du Président à Jérusalem que leurs Ambassadeurs déposent leurs lettres de créance ? N’est-ce pas dans la Knesset à Jérusalem que Nicolas Sarkozy et François Hollande ont prononcé leurs importants discours ?

Jérusalem est pour les diplomates le sein que l’hypocrite Tartuffe ne saurait voir. Déterminer sa capitale est un acte de souveraineté nationale : l’Allemagne réunifiée a choisi Berlin et malgré les souvenirs sinistres, personne n’a protesté. Ne pas admettre Jérusalem capitale d’Israël, c’est sous-entendre que bien que l’Etat d’Israël existe, il n’est pas totalement légitime. C’est ouvrir un boulevard à ceux qui espèrent la destruction du pays.

« Ne pas admettre Jérusalem capitale d’Israël, c’est sous-entendre que bien que l’Etat d’Israël existe, il n’est pas totalement légitime.»

La décision de Trump avait été actée il y a vingt-cinq ans par le Congrès américain et réitérée par l’ensemble des candidats à la Présidence, dont Barack Obama à l’Aipac en juin 2008. Sommes-nous si habitués à ce que les promesses n’engagent que ceux qui y croient, que nous trouvions choquant qu’elles soient respectées ? D’autant que les mots prononcés avec la reconnaissance n’écartent aucune évolution géopolitique ultérieure.

Le problème de cette déclaration n’est pas son contenu mais le haro général qu’elle a suscité. Si l’accusé n’a trouvé personne pour le soutenir, disent les commentateurs du traité Sanhedrin, un soupçon pèse sur le travail des juges. Le soupçon est ici celui du panurgisme : montrer qu’on est un partisan de la paix, comme « l’ensemble de la communauté internationale», cette paix que recherchent, c’est un axiome, les dirigeants palestiniens. Ce discours lénifiant a conforté l’ambiguïté et n’a rien apporté à la résolution du conflit.

Depuis que l’Unesco a déclaré, dans une résolution qui a bénéficié de beaucoup de lâchetés et de silences, que Jérusalem n’avait historiquement à voir qu’avec l’Islam, les dernières illusions sont tombées sur la validité de ces institutions internationales, perverties par le jeu des majorités automatiques et des pressions qui les accompagnent.

Négliger les réalités présentes, discourir sur Jérusalem « capitale de la paix », ce qu’elle n’a malheureusement presque jamais été, voire rêver à un « corpus separatum », probablement défendu par des soldats népalais et bangladais, c’est rêver. La situation aurait été différente si les États arabes n’avaient pas déclenché la guerre en 1947, si les Jordaniens avaient écouté les objurgations israéliennes en juin 1967, et a fortiori si les Israéliens avaient perdu l’un ou l’autre de ces conflits. On ne refait pas le passé.

Esquiver la vérité sous prétexte de ne pas heurter les sensibilités des ennemis d’Israël a fait suppurer la plaie qu’est devenu le conflit israélo-palestinien. Craindre de dire la vérité sous prétexte que cela pourrait « entraîner l’enfer sur la terre » (dixit le Hamas), c’est fortifier la menace terroriste. Les marionnettistes qui attisent les braises sont iraniens ou islamistes sunnites et pas américains. Ceux qui l’ignorent regardent le doigt quand le sage désigne la lune. C’est ce que dit non pas la Guemara, mais un proverbe chinois…

Voir aussi:

The ‘Stupidity’ of Donald Trump

He’s had far more success than Arnold Schwarzenegger or Jesse Ventura

This time one year ago, the assumption dominating political coverage was that the only people more stupid than Donald Trump were the deplorables who elected him.

Since then, of course, President-elect Trump has become President Trump. Over his 11 months in office, he has put Neil Gorsuch on the Supreme Court and four times as many judges on the appellate courts as Barack Obama did his first year; recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel; withdrawn from the Paris climate accord; adopted a more resolute policy on Afghanistan than the one he’d campaigned on; rolled back the mandate forcing Catholic nuns, among others, to provide employees with contraception and abortifacients; signed legislation to open up drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge; initiated a bold, deregulatory assault on the administrative state—and topped it all off with the first major overhaul of the tax code in more than 30 years.

And yet that Mr. Trump is a very stupid man remains the assumption dominating his press coverage.

Let this columnist confess: He did not see Mr. Trump’s achievements coming, at least at first. In the worst sense, populism means pandering to public appetites at the expense of sound policy. Too often populists who get themselves elected find either that they cannot implement what they promised, or that when they do, there are disastrous and unexpected consequences.

Add to this the sorry experience America had recently had with men, also outside conventional politics, who ran successfully for governorships: former pro wrestler and Navy SEAL Jesse Ventura in Minnesota and actor Arnold Schwarzenegger in California. Their respective administrations each began with high enthusiasm but ended in defeat and disillusionment. What would make anyone think Mr. Trump would do better?

Start with Mr. Ventura. His populism, like Mr. Trump’s, featured open ridicule of the press. At one point he issued press cards listing them as “official jackals.” Also like Mr. Trump, he was treated as simple-minded because he was not a professional pol. When David Letterman listed his top 10 campaign slogans for Mr. Ventura, No. 1 was “it’s the stupidity, stupid.”

In his first year Mr. Ventura’s approval rating soared to 73%, and while in office he did manage to push through tax rebates and a property-tax reform. By his last year, however, his vetoes were regularly overridden, spending had shot up, and the magic was gone. In the end, he decided against seeking a second term.

Next came Mr. Schwarzenegger, who in 2003 announced his run for governor on “The Tonight Show.” Mr. Schwarzenegger’s pitch was essentially Mr. Trump’s: The state’s politics had been so corrupted by the political class that Californians needed a strongman from the outside to shake it up.

The Governator did succeed in getting himself re-elected three years later, which is more than Mr. Ventura did. In the end, however, he was defeated by those he’d denounced as the “girlie men” of Sacramento, and his package of reforms went nowhere. The man who entered office promising to cut spending and revive the state’s economy ended up signing a huge tax increase, while debt nearly tripled under his watch.

Now we have President Trump. In one sense he is not unique: Almost all GOP presidents are stereotyped as not very bright. Ask Ike, or George W. Bush, or even Lincoln. Nor is it uncommon, in the headiness of a White House, for even the lowliest staffer to come to regard himself as the intellectual superior of the president he works for.

In Mr. Trump’s case, critics equate lowbrow tastes (e.g., well-done steaks covered in ketchup) as confirmation of a lack of brainpower. It can make for great sport. But starting out with the assumption that the president you are covering is a boob can prove debilitating to clear judgment.

Quick show of hands: How many of those in the press who continue to dismiss Mr. Trump as stupid publicly asserted he could never win the 2016 election—or would never get anyone decent to work for him in the unlikely miracle he did get elected?

The Trump presidency may still go poof for any number of reasons—if the promised economic growth doesn’t materialize, if the public concludes that his inability to ignore slights on Twitter is getting the best of his presidency, or if Democrats manage to leverage his low approval ratings and polarizing personality into a recapture of the House and Senate this coming November. And yes, it’s possible to regard Mr. Trump’s presidency as not worth the price.

But stupid? Perhaps the best advice for anti-Trumpers comes from one of their own, a Vermont Democrat named Jason Lorber. Way back in April, in an article for the Burlington Free Press, the retired state politician wrote that “while it may be good for a chuckle, calling or even thinking someone else stupid is virtually guaranteed to give them the last laugh.”

Is that not what Mr. Trump is now enjoying at the close of his first year?

 Voir également:

Trump, the Insurgent, Breaks With 70 Years of American Foreign Policy
President Trump has transformed the world’s view of the United States from an anchor of the international order into something more inward-looking and unpredictable.
Mark Landler
New York Times
Dec. 28, 2017

WASHINGTON — President Trump was already revved up when he emerged from his limousine to visit NATO’s new headquarters in Brussels last May. He had just met France’s recently elected president, Emmanuel Macron, whom he greeted with a white-knuckle handshake and a complaint that Europeans do not pay their fair share of the alliance’s costs.

On the long walk through the NATO building’s cathedral-like atrium, the president’s anger grew. He looked at the polished floors and shimmering glass walls with a property developer’s eye. (“It’s all glass,” he said later. “One bomb could take it out.”) By the time he reached an outdoor plaza where he was to speak to the other NATO leaders, Mr. Trump was fuming, according to two aides who were with him that day.

He was there to dedicate the building, but instead he took a shot at it.

“I never asked once what the new NATO headquarters cost,” Mr. Trump told the leaders, his voice thick with sarcasm. “I refuse to do that. But it is beautiful.” His visceral reaction to the $1.2 billion building, more than anything else, colored his first encounter with the alliance, aides said.

Nearly a year into his presidency, Mr. Trump remains an erratic, idiosyncratic leader on the global stage, an insurgent who attacks allies the United States has nurtured since World War II and who can seem more at home with America’s adversaries. His Twitter posts, delivered without warning or consultation, often make a mockery of his administration’s policies and subvert the messages his emissaries are trying to deliver abroad.

Mr. Trump has pulled out of trade and climate change agreements and denounced the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran. He has broken with decades of American policy in the Middle East by recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. And he has taunted Kim Jong-un of North Korea as “short and fat,” fanning fears of war on the peninsula.

He has assiduously cultivated President Xi Jinping of China and avoided criticizing President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia — leaders of the two countries that his own national security strategy calls the greatest geopolitical threats to America.

Above all, Mr. Trump has transformed the world’s view of the United States from a reliable anchor of the liberal, rules-based international order into something more inward-looking and unpredictable. That is a seminal change from the role the country has played for 70 years, under presidents from both parties, and it has lasting implications for how other countries chart their futures.

Mr. Trump’s unorthodox approach “has moved a lot of us out of our comfort zone, me included,” the national security adviser, Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster, said in an interview. A three-star Army general who served in Iraq and Afghanistan and wrote a well-regarded book about the White House’s strategic failure in Vietnam, General McMaster defined Trump foreign policy as “pragmatic realism” rather than isolationism.

“The consensus view has been that engagement overseas is an unmitigated good, regardless of the circumstances,” General McMaster said. “But there are problems that are maybe both intractable and of marginal interest to the American people, that do not justify investments of blood and treasure.”

Mr. Trump’s advisers argue that he has blown the cobwebs off decades of foreign policy doctrine and, as he approaches his first anniversary, that he has learned the realities of the world in which the United States must operate.

They point to gains in the Middle East, where Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is transforming Saudi Arabia; in Asia, where China is doing more to pressure a nuclear-armed North Korea; and even in Europe, where Mr. Trump’s criticism has prodded NATO members to ante up more for their defense.

The president takes credit for eradicating the caliphate built by the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, though he mainly accelerated a battle plan developed by President Barack Obama. His aides say he has reversed Mr. Obama’s passive approach to Iran, in part by disavowing the nuclear deal.

While Mr. Trump has held more than 130 meetings and phone calls with foreign leaders since taking office, he has left the rest of the world still puzzling over how to handle an American president unlike any other. Foreign leaders have tested a variety of techniques to deal with him, from shameless pandering to keeping a studied distance.

“Most foreign leaders are still trying to get a handle on him,” said Richard N. Haass, a top State Department official in the George W. Bush administration who is now the president of the Council on Foreign Relations. “Everywhere I go, I’m still getting asked, ‘Help us understand this president, help us navigate this situation.’

“We’re beginning to see countries take matters into their own hands. They’re hedging against America’s unreliability.”

Few countries have struggled more to adapt to Mr. Trump than Germany, and few leaders seem less personally in sync with him than its leader, Chancellor Angela Merkel, the physicist turned politician. After she won a fourth term, their relationship took on weighty symbolism: the great disrupter versus the last defender of the liberal world order.

In one of their first phone calls, the chancellor explained to the president why Ukraine was a vital part of the trans-Atlantic relationship. Mr. Trump, officials recalled, had little idea of Ukraine’s importance, its history of being bullied by Russia or what the United States and its allies had done to try to push back Mr. Putin.

German officials were alarmed by Mr. Trump’s lack of knowledge, but they got even more rattled when White House aides called to complain afterward that Ms. Merkel had been condescending toward the new president. The Germans were determined not to repeat that diplomatic gaffe when Ms. Merkel met Mr. Trump at the White House in March.
Trump’s Way

At first, things again went badly. Mr. Trump did not shake Ms. Merkel’s hand in the Oval Office, despite the requests of the assembled photographers. (The president said he did not hear them.)

Later, he told Ms. Merkel that he wanted to negotiate a new bilateral trade agreement with Germany. The problem with this idea was that Germany, as a member of the European Union, could not negotiate its own agreement with the United States.

Rather than exposing Mr. Trump’s ignorance, Ms. Merkel said the United States could, of course, negotiate a bilateral agreement, but that it would have to be with Germany and the other 27 members of the union because Brussels conducted such negotiations on behalf of its members.

“So it could be bilateral?” Mr. Trump asked Ms. Merkel, according to several people in the room. The chancellor nodded.

“That’s great,” Mr. Trump replied before turning to his commerce secretary, Wilbur Ross, and telling him, “Wilbur, we’ll negotiate a bilateral trade deal with Europe.”

Afterward, German officials expressed relief among themselves that Ms. Merkel had managed to get through the exchange without embarrassing the president or appearing to lecture him. Some White House officials, however, said they found the episode humiliating.

For Ms. Merkel and many other Germans, something elemental has changed across the Atlantic. “We Europeans must really take our destiny into our own hands,” she said in May. “The times in which we can fully count on others — they are somewhat over.”

Mr. Trump gets along better with Mr. Macron, a 40-year-old former investment banker and fellow political insurgent who ran for the French presidency as the anti-Trump. Despite disagreeing with him on trade, immigration and climate change, Mr. Macron figured out early how to appeal to the president: He invited him to a military parade.

But Mr. Macron has discovered that being buddies with Mr. Trump can also be complicated. During the Bastille Day visit, officials recalled, Mr. Trump told Mr. Macron he was rethinking his decision to pull out of the Paris climate accord.

That prompted French diplomats to make a flurry of excited calls to the White House for clarification the following week, only to find out that American policy had not changed. White House officials say that Mr. Trump was merely reiterating that the United States would be open to rejoining the pact on more advantageous terms.

But the exchange captures Mr. Trump’s lack of nuance or detail, which leaves him open to being misunderstood in complex international talks.

There have been fewer misunderstandings with autocrats. Mr. Xi of China and King Salman of Saudi Arabia both won over Mr. Trump by giving him a lavish welcome when he visited. The Saudi monarch projected his image on the side of a hotel; Mr. Xi reopened a long-dormant theater inside the Forbidden City to present Mr. Trump and his wife, Melania, an evening of Chinese opera.

“Did you see the show?” Mr. Trump asked reporters on Air Force One after he left Beijing in November. “They say in the history of people coming to China, there’s been nothing like that. And I believe it.”

Later, chatting with his aides, Mr. Trump continued to marvel at the respect Mr. Xi had shown him. It was a show of respect for the American people, not just for the president, one adviser replied gently.

Then, of course, there is the strange case of Mr. Putin. The president spoke of his warm telephone calls with the Russian president, even as he introduced a national security strategy that acknowledged Russia’s efforts to weaken democracies by meddling in their elections.

Mr. Trump has had a bumpier time with friends. He told off Prime Minister Theresa May on Twitter, after she objected to his exploitation of anti-Muslim propaganda from a far-right group in Britain.

“Statecraft has been singularly absent from the treatment of some of his allies, particularly the U.K.,” said Peter Westmacott, a former British ambassador to the United States.

Mr. Trump’s feuds with Ms. May and other British officials have left him in a strange position: feted in Beijing and Riyadh but barely welcome in London, which Mr. Trump is expected to visit early next year, despite warnings that he will face angry protesters.

Aides to Mr. Trump argue that his outreach to autocrats has been vindicated. When Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman visited the White House in March, the president lavished attention on him. Since then, they say, Saudi Arabia has reopened cinemas and allowed women to drive.

But critics say Mr. Trump gives more than he gets. By backing the 32-year-old crown prince so wholeheartedly, the president cemented his status as heir to the House of Saud. The crown prince has since jailed his rivals as Saudi Arabia pursued a deadly intervention in Yemen’s civil war.

Mr. Trump granted an enormous concession to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu when he announced this month that the United States would formally recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. But he did not ask anything of Mr. Netanyahu in return.

That showed another hallmark of Mr. Trump’s foreign policy: how much it is driven by domestic politics. In this case, he was fulfilling a campaign promise to move the American Embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv. While evangelicals and some hard-line, pro-Israel American Jews exulted, the Palestinians seethed — leaving Mr. Trump’s dreams of brokering a peace accord between them and the Israelis in tatters.

With China, Mr. Trump’s cultivation of Mr. Xi probably persuaded him to put more economic pressure on its neighbor North Korea over its provocative behavior. But even the president has acknowledged, as recently as Thursday, that it is not enough. And in return for Mr. Xi’s efforts, Mr. Trump has largely shelved his trade agenda vis-à-vis Beijing.

“It was a big mistake to draw that linkage,” said Robert B. Zoellick, who served as United States trade representative under Mr. Bush. “The Chinese are playing him, and it’s not just the Chinese. The world sees his narcissism and strokes his ego, diverting him from applying disciplined pressure.”

Mr. Trump’s protectionist instincts could prove the most damaging in the long term, Mr. Zoellick said. Trade, unlike security, springs from deeply rooted convictions. Mr. Trump believes that multilateral accords — like the Trans-Pacific Partnership, from which he pulled out in his first week in office — are stacked against America.

“He views trade as zero-sum, win-lose,” Mr. Zoellick said.

For some of Mr. Trump’s advisers, the key to understanding his statecraft is not how he deals with Mr. Xi or Ms. Merkel, but the ideological contest over America’s role that plays out daily between the West Wing and agencies like the State Department and the Pentagon.

“There’s a chasm that can’t be bridged between the globalists and the nationalists,” said Stephen K. Bannon, the president’s former chief strategist and the leader of the nationalist wing, who has kept Mr. Trump’s ear since leaving the White House last summer.

On the globalist side of the debate stand General McMaster; Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis; Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson; and Mr. Trump’s chief economic adviser, Gary D. Cohn. On the nationalist side, in addition to Mr. Bannon, stand Stephen Miller, the president’s top domestic adviser, and Robert Lighthizer, the chief trade negotiator. On many days, the nationalist group includes the commander in chief himself.

The globalists have curbed some of Mr. Trump’s most radical impulses. He has yet to rip up the Iran nuclear deal, though he has refused to recertify it. He has reaffirmed the United States’ support for NATO, despite his objections about those members he believes are freeloading. And he has ordered thousands of additional American troops into Afghanistan, even after promising during the campaign to stay away from nation-building.

This has prompted a few Europeans to hope that “his bark is worse than his bite,” in the words of Mr. Westmacott.

Mr. Trump acknowledges that being in office has changed him. “My original instinct was to pull out,” he said of Afghanistan, “and, historically, I like following my instincts. But all my life I’ve heard that decisions are much different when you sit behind the desk in the Oval Office.”

Yet some things have not changed. Mr. Trump’s advisers have utterly failed to curb his Twitter posts, for example. Some gamely suggest that they create diplomatic openings. Others say they roll with the punches when he labels Mr. Kim of North Korea “Little Rocket Man.” For Mr. Tillerson, however, the tweets have severely tarnished his credibility in foreign capitals.

“All of them know they still can’t control the thunderbolt from on high,” said John D. Negroponte, who served as the director of national intelligence for Mr. Bush.

The tweets highlight that Mr. Trump still holds a radically different view of the United States’ role in the world than most of his predecessors. His advisers point to a revealing meeting at the Pentagon on July 20, when Mr. Mattis, Mr. Tillerson and Mr. Cohn walked the president through the country’s trade and security obligations around the world.

The group convened in the secure conference room of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, a storied inner sanctum known as the tank. Mr. Mattis led off the session by declaring that “the greatest thing the ‘greatest generation’ left us was the rules-based postwar international order,” according to a person who was in the room.

After listening for about 50 minutes, this person said, Mr. Trump had heard enough. He began peppering Mr. Mattis and Mr. Tillerson with questions about who pays for NATO and the terms of the free trade agreements with South Korea and other countries.

The postwar international order, the president of the United States declared, is “not working at all.”

Voir enfin:

Analysis The Palestinians Just Gave Netanyahu What He Always Wanted for Christmas

If there is one goal the Israeli premier has devoted his entire career to, it is trying to sever ties between the Americans and the Palestinians – and Abbas has handed it to him wrapped with a bow
Anshel Pfeffer

Haaretz

Dec 27, 2017

Ever since President Donald Trump announced the United States’ decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, the focus has been almost entirely on the global chorus of condemnation, the overwhelming votes against Trump’s proclamation in the UN Security Council and General Assembly, and the – so far – tiny handful of countries supporting the move.

But while attention has largely been on these symbolic moves, something that escaped notice is that, in the aftermath of the recognition gesture, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has accomplished one of his most cherished policy goals: Finally driving a massive wedge between the United States and the Palestinians.

When last Friday Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas published his Christmas message, announcing that the Palestinians “will not accept the U.S. as the mediator in the peace process, nor are we going to accept any plan from the U.S. side,” he could not have come up with a better Christmas present for Netanyahu.
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If there is one goal Netanyahu has devoted his career to – from the days when he was a Zionist student activist at MIT in the early 1970s – it is trying to sever ties between the Americans and the Palestinians. And Abbas gave it to him, just like that.

The battle against the U.S. administration recognizing the PLO and entering official talks with it dominated Israeli foreign policy throughout the 1980s, when Netanyahu was a diplomat in Washington and at the UN.

Thirty years ago, when leaving the diplomatic service to enter politics full-time with the Likud party, Netanyahu timed his resignation to follow a meeting between then-Secretary of State George P. Shultz and PLO-affiliated Palestinian academics, to portray it as an act of protest against the talks. Between 1988 and 1991, as deputy foreign minister his brief was mainly devoted to appearing in the American media, advocating against U.S.-PLO ties.

As prime minister (initially from 1996-1999 and then from 2009), Netanyahu had to contend with the new realities of the post-Oslo era – and, of course, with the administrations of Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, which openly supported a Palestinian state. But every engagement of his with the Palestinians was slow, grudging and through gritted teeth.

He has never given up on his stated intent to convince the world – and when Netanyahu thinks of the world, it will always be the world as it looks from the Oval Office – that the Palestinian issue is a sideshow and its leadership does not deserve an equal place at the table.
U.S. President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem, May 23, 2017.
U.S. President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem, May 23, 2017.Stephen Crowley/NYT

Netanyahu has never really cared about Jerusalem, beyond its symbolic significance. His government has not made any real efforts to solve the everyday problems of Israel’s poorest city. And even the much-beloved canard of moving the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem was never that high on his priority list. But the support for recognizing Jerusalem among Trump’s evangelical base, and the fact the U.S. president was willing to go ahead with the recognition as a low-cost (from his perspective) way of signaling he was keeping his election promises and showing how different he was from Obama, was a wonderful opportunity for Netanyahu.

He didn’t expect the world to suddenly fall in line with the U.S. president’s proclamation. Quite the opposite. He saw how much anger and opposition it would provoke, and therefore stoked Trump’s ego with encouragement and praise.

Netanyahu played the cards dealt to him brilliantly. The bigger the hoopla around Trump’s empty gesture, the bigger the insult to the Palestinians – an insult not delivered by Israel, but directly by the White House.

Trump himself made it clear the recognition of Jerusalem was not meant to prejudice the outcome of future negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. He even emphasized that the United States was not recognizing any specific borders of Israel’s capital. The United States hasn’t even changed its policy on not writing “Israel” in the passports of U.S. citizens born in Jerusalem, much less made any concrete steps for actually moving the embassy. But Netanyahu still declared that Trump’s announcement was an event of great historical importance, on a par with the Balfour Declaration and King Cyrus’ decree to rebuild the Jewish temple in Jerusalem.

The Palestinians could have issued a low-key response, saying simply that no one, not even Trump, could decide the future of Jerusalem without their agreement. They could have kept their channels to the United States open and waited to see if anything would come of the much-vaunted Trump peace proposal.

Instead, they declared “days of rage” that quickly fizzled, and then effectively severed ties with the Americans by announcing they would be boycotting any scheduled meetings with administration officials.

No one has any illusions that this a favorable presidency as far as they are concerned. But, let’s face it, every single U.S. presidency has always been much more pro-Israel than pro-Palestinian. The “honest broker” label has always been a myth. The only reason the United States has been mediating between the two sides for so long is that it’s the world’s sole superpower and has been invested in the region for so many years.

There is always talk of another government stepping in as a potential mediator between Israel and the Palestinians. This is idle talk based on wishful thinking. No other country has the resources, the skilled and experienced diplomatic corps, the investment in the region and the credibility to become the brokers of the process.

The European Union is mired in a near-existential crisis, with Brexit cutting off one of its major members; its unofficial leader, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, is struggling to build a coalition at home; and its unofficial leader-in-waiting, French President Emmanuel Macron, lacks the experience and attention span to devote himself properly. Russia has ulterior motives and does not really wish to help bring peace, just enhance its influence. China, which launched a Mideast conference this past week, is too far away – physically and mentally – to be much more than a bystander. And, most important, Israel can and will veto any other partner besides the Americans.

All of this may change in the future if successive administrations follow Obama and Trump’s example by retreating from America’s traditional role in the region. But it will take decades for a new player to grow into the role of ultimate patron of the diplomatic process. By the time that happens, Abbas and Netanyahu will no longer be on the stage themselves.

It is much more likely that a new U.S. administration will reassert itself within a few years. When that happens, the Palestinians will have to rebuild their relationship with Washington and, depending on the views of that administration, it may be a better one than they had in the past. But for now at least, they have given Netanyahu what he’s always wanted for Christmas.
read more: https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.831169


Tuerie de Las Vegas: Attention, un déni peut en cacher un autre (Sow the wind: After nearly a year of calls and wishes for Trump’s death, guess whose supporters end up victims of the worst mass shooting in US history ?)

6 octobre, 2017

Amok headhunterhttps://pbs.twimg.com/media/CBFT8WZUUAAGlLX.jpg

Ne croyez pas que je sois venu apporter la paix sur la terre; je ne suis pas venu apporter la paix, mais l’épée. Car je suis venu mettre la division entre l’homme et son père, entre la fille et sa mère, entre la belle-fille et sa belle-mère; et l’homme aura pour ennemis les gens de sa maison. Jésus (Matthieu 10 : 34-36)
Lorsque l’esprit impur est sorti d’un homme, il va par des lieux arides, cherchant du repos, et il n’en trouve point. Alors il dit: Je retournerai dans ma maison d’où je suis sorti; et, quand il arrive, il la trouve vide, balayée et ornée. Il s’en va, et il prend avec lui sept autres esprits plus méchants que lui; ils entrent dans la maison, s’y établissent, et la dernière condition de cet homme est pire que la première. Il en sera de même pour cette génération méchante. Matthieu 12 : 43-45
Il y a plus de larmes versées sur les prières exaucées que sur celles qui ne le sont pas. Thérèse d’Avila
Quand les dieux veulent nous punir, ils exaucent nos prières. Oscar Wilde
La même force culturelle et spirituelle qui a joué un rôle si décisif dans la disparition du sacrifice humain est aujourd’hui en train de provoquer la disparition des rituels de sacrifice humain qui l’ont jadis remplacé. Tout cela semble être une bonne nouvelle, mais à condition que ceux qui comptaient sur ces ressources rituelles soient en mesure de les remplacer par des ressources religieuses durables d’un autre genre. Priver une société des ressources sacrificielles rudimentaires dont elle dépend sans lui proposer d’alternatives, c’est la plonger dans une crise qui la conduira presque certainement à la violence. Gil Bailie
L’acte surréaliste le plus simple consiste, revolvers au poing, à descendre dans la rue et à tirer, au hasard, tant qu’on peut dans la foule. André Breton
Il faut avoir le courage de vouloir le mal et pour cela il faut commencer par rompre avec le comportement grossièrement humanitaire qui fait partie de l’héritage chrétien. (..) Nous sommes avec ceux qui tuent. Breton
Nous avons offert des sacrifices humains à vos dieux du sport et de la télévision et ils ont répondu à nos prières. Terroriste palestinien (Jeux olympiques de Munich, 1972)
Kidnapper des personnages célèbres pour leurs activités artistiques, sportives ou autres et qui n’ont pas exprimé d’opinions politiques peut vraisemblablement constituer une forme de propagande favorable aux révolutionnaires. ( …) Les médias modernes, par le simple fait qu’ils publient ce que font les révolutionnaires, sont d’importants instruments de propagande. La guerre des nerfs, ou guerre psychologique, est une technique de combat reposant sur l’emploi direct ou indirect des médias de masse.( …) Les attaques de banques, les embuscades, les désertions et les détournements d’armes, l’aide à l’évasion de prisonniers, les exécutions, les enlèvements, les sabotages, les actes terroristes et la guerre des nerfs sont des exemples. Les détournements d’avions en vol, les attaques et les prises de navires et de trains par les guérilleros peuvent également ne viser qu’à des effets de propagande. Carlos Marighela (« Mini manuel de guérilla urbaine », 1969)
More ink equals more blood,  newspaper coverage of terrorist incidents leads directly to more attacks. It’s a macabre example of win-win in what economists call a « common-interest game. Both the media and terrorists benefit from terrorist incidents, » their study contends. Terrorists get free publicity for themselves and their cause. The media, meanwhile, make money « as reports of terror attacks increase newspaper sales and the number of television viewers ». Bruno S. Frey (University of Zurich) et Dominic Rohner (Cambridge)
Un des jeunes tueurs de Littleton, Eric Harris, avait passé une centaine d’heures à reprogrammer le jeu vidéo Doom pour que tout corresponde plus ou moins à son école (…) [jusqu’à] « incorporer le plan du rez-de-chaussée du lycée Columbine dans son jeu. En outre, il l’avait reprogrammé pour fonctionner « en mode Dieu », où le joueur est invincible. (…) Le 1er décembre 1997, à Paducah (Kentucky), Michael Carneal, alors âgé de 14 ans et armé de six pistolets, avait attendu la fin de la session quotidienne de prière à l’école pour tuer trois fillettes (…) et d’en blesser cinq autres. Lorsque la police a saisi son ordinateur, on a découvert qu’il en était un usager assidu, recherchant souvent sur Internet les films obscènes et violents. Parmi ses favoris, Basketball Diaries et Tueurs nés, film qui a influencé aussi les tueurs de Littleton. (…) En examinant l’ordinateur de Michael Carneal, la police a également découvert qu’il était un passionné de Doom, le fameux jeu qui consiste pour l’essentiel à passer rapidement d’une cible à l’autre et à tirer sur ses « ennemis » en visant surtout la tête. Le jeune Carneal, qui n’avait jamais utilisé d’arme auparavant, a réussi à toucher huit personnes, cinq à la tête, trois à la poitrine, avec seulement huit balles – un exploit considérable même pour un tireur bien entraîné. (…) Le colonel David Grossman, psychologue militaire, qui donne des cours sur la psychologie du meurtre à des Bérets verts et des agents fédéraux, est un témoin-expert dans ce procès. Il fait remarquer que les jeux vidéos consistant à viser et à tirer ont le même effet que les techniques d’entraînement militaire utilisées pour amener le soldat à surmonter son aversion à tuer. Selon lui, ces jeux sont encore plus efficaces que les exercices d’entraînement militaire, si bien que les Marines se sont procurés une version de « Doom » pour entraîner leurs soldats.  Helga Zepp-LaRouche
La tuerie de la Columbine High School a mis en lumière une double forme de criminalité qui ne retient pas habituellement l’attention du public. Il s’agit pourtant d’un acte sur lequel la police intervient à intervalles réguliers.  Le Violence Policy Center estime que près de 1 500 « meurtres-suicides » (murder suicides) ont lieu chaque année. L’acte en question consiste à tuer un parent, un proche ou un étranger avant de se faire justice. Dans les vingt dernières années, quelques cas ont frappé par leur aspect aussi horrible que gratuit. Ils ont tous été ponctués par le suicide du meurtrier. En 1986, le postier Patrick Sherrill qui est menacé de licenciement abat dans l’Oklahoma 14 collègues et en blesse six autres.  En 1991, George Hennard, un routier texan, lance son camion dans un restaurant. 23 clients sont tués et 20 autres blessés. En 1999, à Atlanta, Géorgie, Mark Barton tue sa femme et ses enfants avec un marteau et se rend ensuite chez un courtier où il abat neuf personnes et en blesse 13 autres. Au Texas en 1999, Larry Ashbrook pénètre dans une église baptiste avant un concert, tue sept spectateurs et lance des explosifs sans faire de victimes. En 2001, un employé de la firme Navistar en Illinois est armé jusqu’aux dents quand il tue quatre collègues et en blesse quatre autres. (…) La majorité des meurtres-suicides révèle que l’acte prétendument vengeur précède immédiatement l’autodestruction. Daniel Royot
Les images violentes accroissent (…) la vulnérabilité des enfants à la violence des groupes (…) rendent la violence ‘ordinaire’ en désensibilisant les spectateurs à ses effets, et elles augmentent la peur d’être soi-même victime de violences, même s’il n’y a pas de risque objectif à cela. Serge Tisseron
L’effet cliquet, ou effet de cliquet, est un phénomène ou procédé énoncé par Thomas M. Brown, qui empêche le retour en arrière d’un processus une fois un certain stade dépassé.Il est parfois lié à un « effet mémoire » : « une consommation atteinte est difficilement réduite du fait des habitudes et des engagements qui ont été pris ». L’« effet cliquet » fait analogiquement et métaphoriquement référence au cliquet d’horlogerie (mécanisme d’échappement à ancre interdisant tout retour en arrière d’une roue dentée). Cette métaphore est utilisée dans de nombreux domaines, de la politique au management et à la théorie de l’évolution. (…) Il est parfois lié à la théorie de l’effet de démonstration ou d’imitation développée par James Stemble Duesenberry en 1949. La consommation peut dépendre de la consommation de la classe sociale ou du groupe social de référence. Selon lui, c’est un effet de « démonstration » : il y a une démonstration des classes aisées sur les classes inférieures qui les imitent. De par ce fait, la classe immédiatement inférieure consomme alors de la même manière. Pour Duesenberry, la consommation, à une période donnée dépend non seulement du revenu de cette période, mais aussi des habitudes de consommation acquises antérieurement. Si la consommation dépend du revenu courant mais aussi de la consommation passée (…) Duesenberry évoque également l’effet d’imitation — « tout citoyen d’une classe sociale donnée tend à acquérir le comportement de la classe immédiatement au-dessus. ». De ce point de vue, le club des « privilégiés » servirait de modèle de référence aux autres catégories sociales qui tentent de suivre ses dépenses lorsque leurs revenus augmentent ou lorsque la production de masse banalise les objets. Pour Duesenberry, il s’agit donc d’une course poursuite au modèle supérieur. (…) L’hypothèse faite par Duesenberry est que la consommation dépend du plus haut niveau de consommation durant la période précédente. (…) Dans ce domaine, ce terme permet de décrire l’incapacité d’un gouvernement à réduire les énormes bureaucraties, une fois que celles-ci ont été mises en place, comme par exemple en temps de guerre pour couvrir l’ensemble des besoins des troupes. On peut retrouver ce phénomène dans la réforme des organisations internationales due aux nombreuses couches de bureaucratie créées précédemment. L’économiste Robert Higgs de l’école autrichienne a lui aussi utilisé le terme pour décrire l’apparente expansion irréversible du gouvernement en temps de crise dans son livre Crise et Leviathan. Le phénomène de cliquet a également été théorisé par Yves-Marie Adeline dans son ouvrage La Droite impossible paru en 2012 (édition modifiée de La Droite piégée datant de 1996) : il y démontre comment, dans un système démocratique dont les fondements sont de gauche, les lois sociétales de la gauche sont irréversibles, car la droite, quand elle revient au pouvoir, ne se sent pas libre de les abroger. Cela ne vaut pas pour l’économie (comme le montre le Thatcherisme qui a pu défaire l’Etat-providence issu de la guerre ), mais cela vaut pour les évolutions sociétales. (…) L’effet cliquet désigne « l’irréversibilité du progrès technique ». Wikipedia
D’après les premiers éléments de l’enquête disponible, Andreas Lubitz, le co-pilote qui a réalisé la catastrophe, a toutes les caractéristiques du profil d’un tueur de masse. Par tueur de masse, faut-il entendre en criminologie tout individu qui tue au moins trois personnes, sans en viser spécifiquement une en particulier, en un même lieu et lors d’un événement unique, comme par exemple les auteurs de la tuerie sur le campus de Columbine Eric Harris et Dylan Klebold en 1999. Dernièrement, un article scientifique est paru dans le Justice Quaterly sur le sujet. L’auteur de l’article, le professeur Adam Lankford, fait une différence claire entre les tueurs de masse qui se donnent la mort au moment de l’acte et ceux qui cherchent à survivre afin de bénéficier « des profits » de leur acte, à savoir notamment bénéficier d’une « reconnaissance » médiatique. Dans la première catégorie, catégorie à laquelle appartient selon nous, Andreas Lubitz, et qui est une catégorie moins importante que la seconde, le criminologue tente de cerner le profil de ces tueurs sur la base d’un échantillon de 88 cas. En moyenne, ils sont relativement jeunes puisqu’ils ont au alentour de 37 ans. Le copilote était un peu plus jeune. Il avait 28 ans. Ce sont dans 96% des cas, des hommes ayant des symptômes de dépression (ce qui semble être le cas de celui-ci) et qui se serait senti victime d’injustice, souvent au travail (à l’heure actuelle nous n’avons aucun élément qui démontrerait que le copilote était en conflit avec des personnes de l’entreprise). Ce phénomène, contrairement à ce que l’on pourrait penser, n’est pas nouveau. Par le passé, plusieurs pilotes se sont écrasés (ou ont tenté de s’écraser) de la sorte. 6 exemples au moins peuvent être recensés depuis 1982 et qui n’ont rien avoir avec des actes terroristes. Ainsi, pouvons nous citer par exemple trois événements marquants. Le premier qui s’est produit en 1994 sur un vol de Royal Air Maroc et qui entraina la mort de 44 personnes à bord. Le pilote aurait agi de manière intentionnelle suite à des problèmes sentimentaux. Le deuxième a eu lieu également en 1994. Un employé de la FedEx, qui allait se faire licencier, avait tenté de détourner un avion cargo de la compagnie pour le faire s’écraser. Il fut maîtrisé à temps par l’équipage. Enfin, le cas peut être le plus marquant fut certainement celui du crash provoqué par le pilote du vol Silk Air 185, le 19 décembre 1997. L’avion s’était écrasé dans une rivière, faisant 104 morts. Le pilote était un ancien aviateur militaire, traumatisé par un accident qui avait tué plusieurs de ses collègues lors d’un entrainement. Il connaissait des soucis financiers. Le crash n’a pas été reconnu comme intentionnel, mais des forts doutes subsistent. Ces actes n’ont donc rien avoir avec des actes terroristes, même si dans certains cas on peut se demander si les terroristes ne s’en inspirent pas (on pense naturellement au 11 septembre 2001). Mais ils se produisent, certes rarement, mais leur probabilité est non nulle. Tout porte à croire que le crash de l’A320 s’inscrive dans cette lignée de tuerie de masse que l’on appelle également « amok ». Olivier Hassid
Oui, je suis scandalisée. Oui, j’ai songé à de nombreuses reprises à faire exploser la Maison Blanche. Mais je sais que cela ne changera rien. Madonna
Trump est un traître. Trump a détruit notre démocratie. Il est temps de détruire Trump et compagnie. James Hodgkinson
Le tireur accusé d’avoir ouvert le feu sur les élus républicains s’entraînant au baseball à Alexandria, se nommait James Hodgkinson, selon les informations des médias américains, confirmées par les services de police. Il avait 66 ans et venait de Belleville, dans l’État de l’Illinois.Une page Facebook portant son nom montre des photos du candidat démocrate à la présidentielle Bernie Sanders et une grande hostilité à Donald Trump et sa politique. Le 22 mars dernier, il publiait notamment un article avec le statut: « Trump est un traître. Trump a détruit notre démocratie. Il est temps de détruire Trump et compagnie. » James Hodgkinson affichait ses idées sur les réseaux sociaux et signait activement des pétitions sur change.org, grande plateforme progressiste américaine en ligne. Fervent supporter du sénateur du Vermont, le tireur s’était même engagé dans sa campagne, comme le confirme Charles Orear, un autre volontaire au Washington Post. Il a d’ailleurs décrit son ami comme un « homme tranquille, très doux et très réservé. » Une information confirmée par Bernie Sanders, lui-même. The Huffington Post (14.06.2017)
Encore une chose à garder à l’esprit, je pense: beaucoup de ces supporters de country music étaient probablement des supporters de Donald Trump. Jeff Zeleny (CNN)
J’ai en fait aucune compassion vu que c’est souvent des Républicains porteurs d’armes. Hayley Geftman-Gold (vice-présidente de CBS)
Les enfants de Trump doivent reprendre l’entreprise avec le conflit d’intérêt, ils pourront vendre des gratte-ciels au gouvernement israélien. Des immeubles luxueux à construire dans les territoires occupés, que le Président des États-Unis les aidera à occuper et il leur enverra des Mexicains pour nettoyer les chiottes. Charline Vanhoenacker 
Je ne resterai jamais allongé quand le président de ce grand pays vient me serrer la main ! Il a beau y avoir beaucoup de problèmes dans ce pays, je respecterai toujours mon pays, mon président et mon drapeau. Thomas Gunderson (survivant de la tuerie de Las Vegas)
Hodgkinson is the logical culmination of the campaign of demonization and dehumanization of Republicans and Trump-supporters that the left has been waging for decades, a campaign that leftists have been ratcheting up as of late, even since Trump and the Deplorables defied the world and defeated Hillary Clinton. Partisan differences aside, it is high time for all decent Americans, irrespectively of political affiliation, to have a sober dialogue as to why it is that the lion’s share of the violence, vitriol, and contempt in this country stems from the ideological left.  Hodgkinson is the second Sanders supporter in just a few weeks to go on a killing spree.  The first was Jeremy Christian, who the media tried to depict as a “white supremacist” Trump supporter (Christian stabbed three men on a Portland train, killing two of them).  What is it about the vision and message of Bernie Sanders that attracts homicidal followers? These are the sorts of questions that honest and good people who want to stop the hatred and violence must address at this time, for if not, and if the left continues with its reckless and venomous rhetoric, there will be more James Hodgkinsons in the future. Jack Kerwick (June 16, 2017)
Thirty thousand feet above, could be Oklahoma Just a bunch of square cornfields and wheat farms Man, it all looks the same Miles and miles of back roads and highways Connecting little towns with funny names Who’d want to live down there in the middle of nowhere? They’ve never drove through Indiana Met the man who plowed that earth Planted that seed, busted his ass for you and me Or caught a harvest moon in Kansas They’d understand why God made Those fly over states. Jason Aldean
Well, I won’t worry if the world don’t like me, I won’t let ’em waste my time There ain’t nothin’ goin’ to change my mind, I feel fine gettin’ by on Central time. Pokey Lafarge
Because we live in flyover country, we try to figure out what is going on elsewhere by subscribing to magazines. Thomas McGuane (Esquire)
This must have come from the time I worked in movies, an industry that seemed to acknowledge only two places, New York and Los Angeles. I recall being annoyed that the places I loved in America were places that air travel allowed you to avoid. Thomas McGuane
Ces Etats au-dessus desquels les avions ne font que passer en reliant la Côte Est et la Côte Ouest, mais où on n’imagine jamais s’arrêter. The Middle
The term « flyover country » is often used to derisively refer to the vast swath of America that’s not near the Atlantic or Pacific coasts. It sounds like the ultimate putdown to describe places best seen at cruising altitude, the precincts where political and cultural sophisticates visit only when they need to. But in fact, (…) “It’s a stereotype of other people’s stereotypes,” lexicographer Ben Zimmer says. But it’s not as if the stereotypes are entirely imagined. Zimmer says the concept behind flyover country is present in older phrases, like middle America, “which has been used to talk about, geographically, the middle part of the U.S. since 1924, but then also has this idea of not only the geographic middle but the economic and social middle of the country as well, that kind of middle-ness that’s associated with the Midwest.” Another term for the same place, Zimmer notes, is heartland, which is “for people who want to valorize a particular social or political value.” And the heartland gets a lot of attention when it has votes that can be won. Politicians across the spectrum paint this place as more real than the coasts. (…) All this is a way of championing a set of values that is imagined to exist outside of big urban centers. It treats middle America like a time capsule from a simpler era, which, when you consider the Dust Bowl, the circumstances that led to the existence of Rust Belt, and the Civil Rights struggles before and after the Great Migration, never really existed for many people. Romanticizing can also read as patronizing for people in the middle of the country. (…) Hence the self-coining of flyover country—it’s a way for Midwesterners (and Southerners and people from the plains and mountains) to define themselves relative to the rest of the country. It’s defensive but self-deprecating, a way of shouting out for attention but also a means for identifying yourself by your home region’s lack of attention. It’s the linguistic nexus of Minnesota nice and Iowa stubborn. This self-identification has become a celebration. (…) Aldean, LaFarge, Kendzior, and McGuane all come from different parts of the middle of the country, but they all belong to the same, self-identified place, a place rooted more in attitude than in soil. As a concept, flyover country can exist almost anywhere in the United States. As a phrase, it’s become almost a dare, a way for Midwesterners to cajole the coastal elites into paying attention to a place they might otherwise overlook. But it’s also a bond for Midwesterners—a way of forging an identity in a place they imagine being mocked for its lack of identity. It’s a response to an affront, real or imagined, and a way to say “Well, maybe we don’t think that much of you, either. National Geographic
What I was hearing was this general sense of being on the short end of the stick. Rural people felt like they’re not getting their fair share. (…)  First, people felt that they were not getting their fair share of decision-making power. For example, people would say: All the decisions are made in Madison and Milwaukee and nobody’s listening to us. Nobody’s paying attention, nobody’s coming out here and asking us what we think. Decisions are made in the cities, and we have to abide by them. Second, people would complain that they weren’t getting their fair share of stuff, that they weren’t getting their fair share of public resources. That often came up in perceptions of taxation. People had this sense that all the money is sucked in by Madison, but never spent on places like theirs. And third, people felt that they weren’t getting respect. They would say: The real kicker is that people in the city don’t understand us. They don’t understand what rural life is like, what’s important to us and what challenges that we’re facing. They think we’re a bunch of redneck racists. So it’s all three of these things — the power, the money, the respect. People are feeling like they’re not getting their fair share of any of that. (…)  It’s been this slow burn. Resentment is like that. It builds and builds and builds until something happens. Some confluence of things makes people notice: I am so pissed off. I am really the victim of injustice here. (…) Then, I also think that having our first African American president is part of the mix, too. (…) when the health-care debate ramped up, once he was in office and became very, very partisan, I think people took partisan sides. (…) It’s not just resentment toward people of color. It’s resentment toward elites, city people. (…) Of course [some of this resentment] is about race, but it’s also very much about the actual lived conditions that people are experiencing. We do need to pay attention to both. As the work that you did on mortality rates shows, it’s not just about dollars. People are experiencing a decline in prosperity, and that’s real. The other really important element here is people’s perceptions. Surveys show that it may not actually be the case that Trump supporters themselves are doing less well — but they live in places where it’s reasonable for them to conclude that people like them are struggling. Support for Trump is rooted in reality in some respects — in people’s actual economic struggles, and the actual increases in mortality. But it’s the perceptions that people have about their reality are the key driving force here. (…) One of the key stories in our political culture has been the American Dream — the sense that if you work hard, you will get ahead. (…) But here’s where having Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump running alongside one another for a while was so interesting. I think the support for Sanders represented a different interpretation of the problem. For Sanders supporters, the problem is not that other population groups are getting more than their fair share, but that the government isn’t doing enough to intervene here and right a ship that’s headed in the wrong direction. (…) There is definitely some misinformation, some misunderstandings. But we all do that thing of encountering information and interpreting it in a way that supports our own predispositions. Recent studies in political science have shown that it’s actually those of us who think of ourselves as the most politically sophisticated, the most educated, who do it more than others. So I really resist this characterization of Trump supporters as ignorant. There’s just more and more of a recognition that politics for people is not — and this is going to sound awful, but — it’s not about facts and policies. It’s so much about identities, people forming ideas about the kind of person they are and the kind of people others are. Who am I for, and who am I against? Policy is part of that, but policy is not the driver of these judgments. There are assessments of, is this someone like me? Is this someone who gets someone like me? (…) All of us, even well-educated, politically sophisticated people interpret facts through our own perspectives, our sense of what who we are, our own identities. I don’t think that what you do is give people more information. Because they are going to interpret it through the perspectives they already have. People are only going to absorb facts when they’re communicated from a source that they respect, from a source who they perceive has respect for people like them. And so whenever a liberal calls out Trump supporters as ignorant or fooled or misinformed, that does absolutely nothing to convey the facts that the liberal is trying to convey. Katherine Cramer

Attention: un déni peut en cacher un autre !

Alors que suite à la folle tuerie de Las Vegas du weekend dernier …

Nos médias et nos experts nous rebattent les oreilles avec le déni des Américains sur les armes à feu ou sur le terrorisme …

Et que l’on apprend qu’à l’instar du tueur d’élus républicains de Virginie de juin dernier …

Le tueur de las Vegas en question aurait lui aussi été filmé  dans une récente manifestation anti-Trump …

Et qu’à l’instar de ce tweet peut-être parodique d’une enseignante priant, à la Charlie hebdo, pour la mort des supporters de Trump parmi les victimes …

C’est un journaliste de CNN et une vice-présidente de CBS news qui se font rabrouer …

Pour avoir rappelé l’évidence de l’appartenance politique majoritairement pro-Trump des victimes du massacre en question …

Ces fans qui écoutaient justement, au moment où les balles ont commencé à pleuvoir, l’auteur-compositeur de la célèbre chanson « Flyover states » …

Comment ne pas voir …

Derrière cet acte digne des fameux accès de folie meurtrière dont nous parlaient déjà les sagas nordiques (le bersek) ou indonésiennes (l’amok) …

La récolte de la tempête que militants comme membres du show biz ou journalistes …

Ont semée ou laissé semer depuis l’élection-surprise du président Trump il y a bientôt un an ?

Et comment ne pas vouloir repenser …

A ces oubliés dont Jason Aldean comme le candidat Donald Trump s’étaient justement fait les champions …

Comme la revanche depuis si longtemps attendue …

Du « pays que l’on survole sans s’arrêter » ?

James Hodgkinson: Leftist Hate’s Poster Man

A quite standard “hard core” Democrat and “passionate progressive”.

In the early morning of Wednesday, June 14, while House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, Republican Congressman from Louisiana, was practicing with his GOP colleagues for the Congress’s annual baseball game, James Hodgkinson opened fire — hitting Scalise, a staffer, and two Capitol Hill police officers.

Thankfully, the brave police officers saved lives that would otherwise have been taken while sending the would-be assassin off to meet his maker.

Scalise and his cohorts were prey to the worst act of domestic political violence that this country has witnessed in a very long time.  Hodgkinson, you see, was “a passionate progressive,” as a neighbor, Aaron Mueller, described him, a “hard core Democrat” who avidly supported Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign.

In fact, Hodgkinson worked on Sanders’ campaign.

A glimpse at Hodgkinson’s Facebook account reveals the depths of his hatred for all things Republican—particularly and especially President Donald J. Trump. Yet he clearly detested the GOP long before the rise of Trump.

Trump, Hodgkinson posted, is an “a**h***,” “Truly the Biggest A**h*** We Have Ever Had in the Oval Office.” He is “a Mean, Disgusting Person” who is “Guilty & Should Go to Prison for Treason.”

Georgia Republican Karen Handel, who is in a tight race in a special election, Hodgkinson referred to as a “Republican B**ch” who “Wants People to Work for Slave Wages [.]”

Republicans have turned America into a “Fascist State.”  The only way to save it is to “Vote Blue,” for “It’s Right for You!”  After all, this self-avowed proponent of “Democratic Socialism” assures us that the Republicans, who Hodgkinson characterizes as “the American Taliban,” “Hate Women, Minorities, Working Class People, & Most All (99%) of the People of the Country.”

In other words, Hodgkinson shares Hillary Clinton’s assessment that Republicans (at least of the Trump-supporting variety, i.e. most of them) are “irredeemables” and “deplorables.”

“Republican Law Makers,” he tells us elsewhere, “Don’t Give a Damn About the Working Class in this Country.”

Hodgkinson believed in anthropogenic “climate change” or “global warming” and exorbitant taxes “for the rich.”  He urged Senate Democrats to “filibuster” the confirmation of Neil Gorsuch and mocked what he called “trickle-down” economics.

He also belonged to an on-line group, “Terminate the Republican Party” (whose members are now celebrating their fallen comrade’s shooting spree).

The morning of June 14 wasn’t the first time that Hodgkinson took aim, so to speak, at Scalise.  On his Facebook wall, not long ago, Hodgkinson shared a cartoon designed to link Scalise with “white supremacy.”

Hodgkinson was an admirer of MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, Bill Maher, and, generally, exactly those leftist talking heads and celebrities who have been routinely, incessantly, expressing precisely the same thoughts about Republicans and Trump that filled Hodgkinson with a murderous hatred toward his political opponents.

Politically or ideologically speaking, Hodgkinson is no different than the leftists in Washington D.C., the media, Hollywood, and academia.  His ideology is one and the same as that of the Obamas, Schumers, Pelosis, Clintons, Sanders, Maddows, Mahers, Robert DeNiros, Meryl Streeps, Kathy Griffins, Madonnas, Snoop Doggs, and so on ad infinitum.

In fact, it was first Barack Obama who tried to tie Scalise to “white supremacists.”

Obama’s Press Secretary, Josh Earnest, said in September of 2015 that Scalise, in effect, once admitted to being a KKK member of sorts. “You’ll recall,” Earnest proceeded, “that one Republican congressman told a reporter that he was ‘David Duke without the baggage.” Earnest brought this up in order to blast the whole GOP, but especially Trump, as “racist” and “white supremacist.”

“Mr. Trump isn’t the first Republican politician to countenance these kinds of views in order to win votes.”

Back in 2002, Scalise had addressed the European-American Unity and Rights Organization (EURO), where he made the remark in question. He subsequently referred to his comment as “a mistake” that he “regret[s].”

Nevertheless, as Charlie Spiering of Breitbart reminds us, it was with frequency that Obama’s administration “used Scalise as a punching bag” to advance its agenda.  If Republicans were blocking the “immigration reform” that the Democrats wanted, Obama’s team would hold up Scalise as the poster boy for the GOP’s “white supremacy” and “racism.”  This is the trick that Team Obama continued to pull from its collective sleeve, whether it was in order to remove the Confederate flag from military cemeteries or reauthorize the Voting Rights Act.

Less than a year ago, Earnest brought up Scalise’s David Duke comment to smear Trump.

James Hodgkinson was a leftist Democrat.  There was nothing unusual about him. He was not “mentally ill.”  Hodgkinson had imbibed hook, line, and sinker all of the DNC, left-wing talking points that “the Resistance” has been cranking out from long before its members began describing themselves in these terms.

Hodgkinson is the logical culmination of the campaign of demonization and dehumanization of Republicans and Trump-supporters that the left has been waging for decades, a campaign that leftists have been ratcheting up as of late, even since Trump and the Deplorables defied the world and defeated Hillary Clinton.

Partisan differences aside, it is high time for all decent Americans, irrespectively of political affiliation, to have a sober dialogue as to why it is that the lion’s share of the violence, vitriol, and contempt in this country stems from the ideological left.  Hodgkinson is the second Sanders supporter in just a few weeks to go on a killing spree.  The first was Jeremy Christian, who the media tried to depict as a “white supremacist” Trump supporter (Christian stabbed three men on a Portland train, killing two of them).  What is it about the vision and message of Bernie Sanders that attracts homicidal followers?

These are the sorts of questions that honest and good people who want to stop the hatred and violence must address at this time, for if not, and if the left continues with its reckless and venomous rhetoric, there will be more James Hodgkinsons in the future.

Voir aussi:

Wonkblog
A new theory for why Trump voters are so angry — that actually makes sense
Jeff Guo
The Washington Post
November 8, 2016

Regardless of who wins on Election Day, we will spend the next few years trying to unpack what the heck just happened. We know that Donald Trump voters are angry, and we know that they are fed up. By now, there have been so many attempts to explain Trumpism that the genre has become a target of parody.

But if you’re wondering about the widening fissure between red and blue America, why politics these days have become so fraught and so emotional, Kathy Cramer is one of the best people to ask. For the better part of the past decade, the political science professor has been crisscrossing Wisconsin trying to get inside the minds of rural voters.

Well before President Obama or the tea party, well before the rise of Trump sent reporters scrambling into the heartland looking for answers, Cramer was hanging out in dairy barns and diners and gas stations, sitting with her tape recorder taking notes. Her research seeks to understand how the people of small towns make sense of politics — why they feel the way they feel, why they vote the way they vote.

There’s been great thirst this election cycle for insight into the psychology of Trump voters. J.D. Vance’s memoir “Hillbilly Elegy” offers a narrative about broken families and social decay. “There is a lack of agency here — a feeling that you have little control over your life and a willingness to blame everyone but yourself,” he writes. Sociologist Arlie Hochschild tells a tale of perceived betrayal. According to her research, white voters feel the American Dream is drifting out of reach for them, and they are angry because they believe minorities and immigrants have butted in line.

Cramer’s recent book, “The Politics of Resentment,” offers a third perspective. Through her repeated interviews with the people of rural Wisconsin, she shows how politics have increasingly become a matter of personal identity. Just about all of her subjects felt a deep sense of bitterness toward elites and city dwellers; just about all of them felt tread on, disrespected and cheated out of what they felt they deserved.

Cramer argues that this “rural consciousness” is key to understanding which political arguments ring true to her subjects. For instance, she says, most rural Wisconsinites supported the tea party’s quest to shrink government not out of any belief in the virtues of small government but because they did not trust the government to help “people like them.”

“Support for less government among lower-income people is often derided as the opinions of people who have been duped,” she writes. However, she continues: “Listening in on these conversations, it is hard to conclude that the people I studied believe what they do because they have been hoodwinked. Their views are rooted in identities and values, as well as in economic perceptions; and these things are all intertwined.”

Rural voters, of course, are not precisely the same as Trump voters, but Cramer’s book offers an important way to think about politics in the era of Trump. Many have pointed out that American politics have become increasingly tribal; Cramer takes that idea a step further, showing how these tribal identities shape our perspectives on reality.

It will not be enough, in the coming months, to say that Trump voters were simply angry. Cramer shows that there are nuances to political rage. To understand Trump’s success, she argues, we have to understand how he tapped into people’s sense of self.

Recently, Cramer chatted with us about Trump and the future of white identity politics.

(As you’ll notice, Cramer has spent so much time with rural Wisconsinites that she often slips, subconsciously, into their voice. We’ve tagged those segments in italics. The interview has also been edited for clarity and length.)

For people who haven’t read your book yet, can you explain a little bit what you discovered after spending so many years interviewing people in rural Wisconsin?

Cramer: To be honest, it took me many months — I went to these 27 communities several times — before I realized that there was a pattern in all these places. What I was hearing was this general sense of being on the short end of the stick. Rural people felt like they’re not getting their fair share.

That feeling is primarily composed of three things. First, people felt that they were not getting their fair share of decision-making power. For example, people would say: All the decisions are made in Madison and Milwaukee and nobody’s listening to us. Nobody’s paying attention, nobody’s coming out here and asking us what we think. Decisions are made in the cities, and we have to abide by them.

Second, people would complain that they weren’t getting their fair share of stuff, that they weren’t getting their fair share of public resourcesThat often came up in perceptions of taxation. People had this sense that all the money is sucked in by Madison, but never spent on places like theirs.

And third, people felt that they weren’t getting respect. They would say: The real kicker is that people in the city don’t understand us. They don’t understand what rural life is like, what’s important to us and what challenges that we’re facing. They think we’re a bunch of redneck racists.

So it’s all three of these things — the power, the money, the respect. People are feeling like they’re not getting their fair share of any of that.

Was there a sense that anything had changed recently? That anything occurred to harden this sentiment? Why does the resentment seem so much worse now?

Cramer: These sentiments are not new. When I first heard them in 2007, they had been building for a long time — decades.

Look at all the graphs showing how economic inequality has been increasing for decades. Many of the stories that people would tell about the trajectories of their own lives map onto those graphs, which show that since the mid-’70s, something has increasingly been going wrong.

It’s just been harder and harder for the vast majority of people to make ends meet. So I think that’s part of this story. It’s been this slow burn.

Resentment is like that. It builds and builds and builds until something happens. Some confluence of things makes people notice: I am so pissed off. I am really the victim of injustice here.

So what do you think set it all off?

Cramer: The Great Recession didn’t help. Though, as I describe in the book, people weren’t talking about it in the ways I expected them to. People were like,Whatever, we’ve been in a recession for decades. What’s the big deal?

Part of it is that the Republican Party over the years has honed its arguments to tap into this resentment. They’re saying: “You’re right, you’re not getting your fair share, and the problem is that it’s all going to the government. So let’s roll government back.”

So there’s a little bit of an elite-driven effect here, where people are told: “You are right to be upset. You are right to notice this injustice.”

Then, I also think that having our first African American president is part of the mix, too. Now, many of the people that I spent time with were very intrigued by Barack Obama. I think that his race, in a way, signaled to people that this was different kind of candidate. They were keeping an open mind about him. Maybe this person is going to be different.

But then when the health-care debate ramped up, once he was in office and became very, very partisan, I think people took partisan sides. And truth be told, I think many people saw the election of an African American to the presidency as a threat. They were thinking: Wow something is going on in our nation and it’s really unfamiliar, and what does that mean for people like me?

I think in the end his presence has added to the anxieties people have about where this country is headed.

One of the endless debates among the chattering class on Twitter is whether Trump is mostly a phenomenon related to racial resentment, or whether Trump support is rooted in deeper economic anxieties. And a lot of times, the debate is framed like it has to be one or the other — but I think your book offers an interesting way to connect these ideas.

Cramer: What I heard from my conversations is that, in these three elements of resentment — I’m not getting my fair share of power, stuff or respect — there’s race and economics intertwined in each of those ideas.

When people are talking about those people in the city getting an “unfair share,” there’s certainly a racial component to that. But they’re also talking about people like me [a white, female professor]. They’re asking questions like, how often do I teach, what am I doing driving around the state Wisconsin when I’m supposed to be working full time in Madison, like, what kind of a job is that, right?

It’s not just resentment toward people of color. It’s resentment toward elites, city people.

And maybe the best way to explain how these things are intertwined is through noticing how much conceptions of hard work and deservingness matter for the way these resentments matter to politics.

We know that when people think about their support for policies, a lot of the time what they’re doing is thinking about whether the recipients of these policies are deserving. Those calculations are often intertwined with notions of hard work, because in the American political culture, we tend to equate hard work with deservingness.

And a lot of racial stereotypes carry this notion of laziness, so when people are making these judgments about who’s working hard, oftentimes people of color don’t fare well in those judgments. But it’s not just people of color. People are like: Are you sitting behind a desk all day? Well that’s not hard work. Hard work is someone like me — I’m a logger, I get up at 4:30 and break my back. For my entire life that’s what I’m doing. I’m wearing my body out in the process of earning a living.

In my mind, through resentment and these notions of deservingness, that’s where you can see how economic anxiety and racial anxiety are intertwined.

The reason the “Trumpism = racism” argument doesn’t ring true for me is that, well, you can’t eat racism. You can’t make a living off of racism. I don’t dispute that the surveys show there’s a lot of racial resentment among Trump voters, but often the argument just ends there. “They’re racist.” It seems like a very blinkered way to look at this issue.

Cramer: It’s absolutely racist to think that black people don’t work as hard as white people. So what? We write off a huge chunk of the population as racist and therefore their concerns aren’t worth attending to?

How do we ever address racial injustice with that limited understanding?

Of course [some of this resentment] is about race, but it’s also very much about the actual lived conditions that people are experiencing. We do need to pay attention to both. As the work that you did on mortality rates shows, it’s not just about dollars. People are experiencing a decline in prosperity, and that’s real.

The other really important element here is people’s perceptions. Surveys show that it may not actually be the case that Trump supporters themselves are doing less well — but they live in places where it’s reasonable for them to conclude that people like them are struggling.

Support for Trump is rooted in reality in some respects — in people’s actual economic struggles, and the actual increases in mortality. But it’s the perceptionsthat people have about their reality are the key driving force here. That’s been a really important lesson from this election.

I want to get into this idea of deservingness. As I was reading your book it really struck me that the people you talked to, they really have a strong sense of what they deserve, and what they think they ought to have. Where does that come from?

Cramer: Part of where that comes from is just the overarching story that we tell ourselves in the U.S. One of the key stories in our political culture has been the American Dream — the sense that if you work hard, you will get ahead.

Well, holy cow, the people I encountered seem to me to be working extremely hard. I’m with them when they’re getting their coffee before they start their workday at 5:30 a.m. I can see the fatigue in their eyes. And I think the notion that they are not getting what they deserve, it comes from them feeling like they’re struggling. They feel like they’re doing what they were told they needed to do to get ahead. And somehow it’s not enough.

Oftentimes in some of these smaller communities, people are in the occupations their parents were in, they’re farmers and loggers. They say, it used to be the case that my dad could do this job and retire at a relatively decent age, and make a decent wage. We had a pretty good quality of life, the community was thriving. Now I’m doing what he did, but my life is really much more difficult.

I’m doing what I was told I should do in order to be a good American and get ahead, but I’m not getting what I was told I would get.

The hollowing out of the middle class has been happening for everyone, not just for white people. But it seems that this phenomenon is only driving some voters into supporting Trump. One theme of your book is how we can take the same reality, the same facts, but interpret them through different frames of mind and come to such different conclusions.

Cramer: It’s not inevitable that people should assume that the decline in their quality of life is the fault of other population groups. In my book I talk about rural folks resenting people in the city. In the presidential campaign, Trump is very clear about saying: You’re right, you’re not getting your fair share, and look at these other groups of people who are getting more than their fair share. Immigrants. Muslims. Uppity women.

But here’s where having Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump running alongside one another for a while was so interesting. I think the support for Sanders represented a different interpretation of the problem. For Sanders supporters, the problem is not that other population groups are getting more than their fair share, but that the government isn’t doing enough to intervene here and right a ship that’s headed in the wrong direction.

One of the really interesting parts of your book is where you discuss how rural people seem to hate government and want to shrink it, even though government provides them with a lot of benefits. It raises the Thomas Frank question — on some level, are people just being fooled or deluded?

Cramer: There is definitely some misinformation, some misunderstandings. But we all do that thing of encountering information and interpreting it in a way that supports our own predispositions. Recent studies in political science have shown that it’s actually those of us who think of ourselves as the most politically sophisticated, the most educated, who do it more than others.

So I really resist this characterization of Trump supporters as ignorant.

There’s just more and more of a recognition that politics for people is not — and this is going to sound awful, but — it’s not about facts and policies. It’s so much about identities, people forming ideas about the kind of person they are and the kind of people others are. Who am I for, and who am I against?

Policy is part of that, but policy is not the driver of these judgments. There are assessments of, is this someone like me? Is this someone who gets someone like me?

I think all too often, we put our energies into figuring out where people stand on particular policies. I think putting energy into trying to understand the way they view the world and their place in it — that gets us so much further toward understanding how they’re going to vote, or which candidates are going to be appealing to them.

All of us, even well-educated, politically sophisticated people interpret facts through our own perspectives, our sense of what who we are, our own identities.

I don’t think that what you do is give people more information. Because they are going to interpret it through the perspectives they already have. People are only going to absorb facts when they’re communicated from a source that they respect, from a source who they perceive has respect for people like them.

And so whenever a liberal calls out Trump supporters as ignorant or fooled or misinformed, that does absolutely nothing to convey the facts that the liberal is trying to convey.

If, hypothetically, we see a Clinton victory on Tuesday, a lot of people have suggested that she should go out and have a listening tour. What would be her best strategy to reach out to people?

Cramer: The very best strategy would be for Donald Trump, if he were to lose the presidential election, to say, “We need to come together as a country, and we need to be nice to each other.”

That’s not going to happen.

As for the next best approach … well I’m trying to be mindful of what is realistic. It’s not a great strategy for someone from the outside to say, “Look, we really do care about you.” The level of resentment is so high.

People for months now have been told they’re absolutely right to be angry at the federal government, and they should absolutely not trust this woman, she’s a liar and a cheat, and heaven forbid if she becomes president of the United States. Our political leaders have to model for us what it’s like to disagree, but also to not lose basic faith in the system. Unless our national leaders do that, I don’t think we should expect people to.

Maybe it would be good to end on this idea of listening. There was this recent interview with Arlie Hochschild where someone asked her how we could empathize with Trump supporters. This was ridiculed by some liberals on Twitter. They were like, “Why should we try to have this deep, nuanced understanding of people who are chanting JEW-S-A at Trump rallies?” It was this really violent reaction, and it got me thinking about your book.

Cramer: One of the very sad aspects of resentment is that it breeds more of itself. Now you have liberals saying, “There is no justification for these points of view, and why would I ever show respect for these points of view by spending time and listening to them?”

Thank God I was as naive as I was when I started. If I knew then what I know now about the level of resentment people have toward urban, professional elite women, would I walk into a gas station at 5:30 in the morning and say, “Hi! I’m Kathy from the University of Madison”?

I’d be scared to death after this presidential campaign! But thankfully I wasn’t aware of these views. So what happened to me is that, within three minutes, people knew I was a professor at UW-Madison, and they gave me an earful about the many ways in which that riled them up — and then we kept talking.

And then I would go back for a second visit, a third visit, a fourth, fifth and sixth. And we liked each other. Even at the end of my first visit, they would say, “You know, you’re the first professor from Madison I’ve ever met, and you’re actually kind of normal.” And we’d laugh. We got to know each other as human beings.

ple from a different walk of life, from a different perspective. There’s nothing like it. You can’t achieve it through online communication. You can’t achieve it through having good intentions. It’s the act of being witThat’s partly about listening, and that’s partly about spending time with peoh other people that establishes the sense we actually are all in this together.

As Pollyannaish as that sounds, I really do believe it.

Voir aussi:

Anhony Berthelier
HuffPost
14/06/2017

ÉTATS-UNIS – Le président des Etats-Unis Donald Trump a annoncé que l’auteur de la fusillade ayant visé un élu républicain à Alexandria, près de Washington, était décédé. Le député Steve Scalise, touché à la hanche est actuellement à l’hôpital, dans un « état critique. »

Le tireur accusé d’avoir ouvert le feu sur les élus républicains s’entraînant au baseball à Alexandria, se nommait James Hodgkinson, selon les informations des médias américains, confirmées par les services de police. Il avait 66 ans et venait de Belleville, dans l’État de l’Illinois.

Une page Facebook portant son nom montre des photos du candidat démocrate à la présidentielle Bernie Sanders et une grande hostilité à Donald Trump et sa politique. Le 22 mars dernier, il publiait notamment un article avec le statut: « Trump est un traître. Trump a détruit notre démocratie. Il est temps de détruire Trump et compagnie. »

James Hodgkinson affichait ses idées sur les réseaux sociaux et signait activement des pétitions sur change.org, grande plateforme progressiste américaine en ligne.

Fervent supporter du sénateur du Vermont, le tireur s’était même engagé dans sa campagne, comme le confirme Charles Orear, un autre volontaire au Washington Post. Il a d’ailleurs décrit son ami comme un « homme tranquille, très doux et très réservé. » Une information confirmée par Bernie Sanders, lui-même.

« Je viens d’être informé que le tireur présumé est quelqu’un qui s’est apparemment porté volontaire pour ma campagne présidentielle. Cet acte méprisable me rend malade. Permettez-moi d’être aussi clair que possible. La violence de quelque nature que ce soit est inacceptable dans notre société et je condamne cette action de la manière la plus ferme », a déclaré Bernie Sanders avant d’envoyer « ses prières » aux personnes blessées dans l’attaque.

Les photos présentes sur sa page Facebook montrent un homme au physique plutôt replet, au nez épaté, portant un bouc et des lunettes fumées. Toujours selon cette même page, James Hodgkinson est originaire de Belleville, une banlieue de la métropole de St. Louis. Il gérait là-bas une société d’inspection de travaux à domicile. Sa licence a expiré en novembre dernier.

Selon sa femme, citée par ABC, il s’était installé depuis deux mois à Alexandria, ville de l’Etat de Virginie située non loin de Washington.

Voir également:

‘He Was Surprised as Anyone’
Michael Kruse
Politico
November 11, 2016

It was supposed to be the year of the Latino voter. Unfortunately for Hillary Clinton, white rural voters had an even bigger moment.

Now Democrats are second-guessing the campaign’s decision to largely surrender the rural vote to the GOP. With their eyes turned anxiously toward 2018, they’re urging a new strategy to reach out to rural voters to stave off another bloodbath when a slew of farm-state Democrats face tough reelection battles.

« Hillary lost rural America 3 to 1, » said one Democratic insider, granted anonymity to speak candidly about the campaign. « If she had lost rural America 2 to 1, it would have broken differently. »

After years of declining electoral power, driven by hollowed-out towns, economic hardship and a sustained exodus, rural voters turned out in a big way this presidential cycle — and they voted overwhelmingly for Donald Trump, fueling the real estate mogul’s upset victory. The billionaire New Yorker never issued any rural policy plans, but he galvanized long-simmering anger by railing against trade deals, the Environmental Protection Agency and the « war on American farmers.”

When Trump’s digital team was analyzing early absentee returns in swing states, they weren’t fixated on what turned out to be an overhyped Latino voter surge. They were zeroing in on signs of an “extremely high” rural turnout, said Matthew Oczkowski, head of product at Cambridge Analytica, who led Trump’s digital team.

The Trump campaign had banked on a strong showing from what it called the “hidden Trump voters,” a demographic that’s largely white, disengaged and non-urban. Based on that premise, they weighted their polling predictions to reflect a higher rural turnout. The surge, as it turned out, exceeded even their expectations.

The rural voting bloc, long a Republican stronghold, has shrunk dramatically over the years, as farms have become more efficient and jobs have migrated to cities and suburbs. About 20 percent of the country, just less than 60 million people, live in rural America. This year, rural voters made up 17 percent of the electorate, according to exit polling.

But in a year with lackluster urban turnout for Clinton, the rural vote ended up playing a key role in Trump’s sweep of crucial Rust Belt swing states, which also tend to have much larger rural populations.

Voir encore:

In Michigan, Trump appears to have won rural and small towns 57 percent to 38 percent, exit polls analyzed by NBC show, faring much better than Mitt Romney in 2012, who won the same group 53-46. In Pennsylvania, Trump blew Clinton out of the water among rural and small-town voters, 71-26 percent, according to exit polls. In 2012, Romney pulled 59 percent. In Wisconsin, Trump won the demographic 63-34 percent.

It will be weeks before more granular data show the full extent of the rural-urban divide, but initial calculations from The Daily Yonder, a website dedicated to rural issues, shows Clinton’s support among rural voters declined more than 8 percentage points from President Barack Obama’s in 2012.

Obama’s support in rural America also eroded between 2008 and 2012, from a high of 41 percent to 38 percent. But Clinton took it to a new low: 29 percent.

« Trump supporters are more rural than even average Republicans,” Oczkowski said. “What we saw on Election Day is that they’re even more rural than we thought. »

But numerous Democrats in agriculture circles buzzed with frustration over what they regarded as halfhearted efforts to engage rural voters. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack had urged the Clinton campaign to shore up rural outreach, multiple sources said, beating the same drum he has for several cycles as Democrats have seen their rural support steadily erode.

By all accounts, the Clinton campaign didn’t think it really needed rural voters, a shrinking population that’s reliably Republican. The campaign never named a rural council, as Obama did in 2012 and 2008. It also didn’t build a robust rural-dedicated campaign infrastructure. In 2008, Obama had a small staff at campaign headquarters dedicated to rural messaging and organizing efforts and had state-level rural coordinators in several battleground states throughout the Midwest and Rust Belt.

“There was an understanding that these were places where we needed to play and we needed to be close,” said a source familiar with the effort.

The Clinton campaign did not respond to questions about whether it had a rural strategy. One source said a staffer in Brooklyn was dedicated to rural outreach, but the assignment came just weeks before the election.

The campaign did some targeted mail and used surrogates like Vilsack to campaign in rural battlegrounds, a Clinton aide said. The aide noted that Trump got the same number of overall votes as Romney — although he did not dispute that Trump did far better in rural areas.

Voir de plus:

“The issue was, we did not see the turnout we needed in the cities and suburbs where our supporters were concentrated,” the aide said. “We underperformed in places like Bucks County in Pennsylvania and Wayne County in Michigan. We believe we were on pace for high turnout based on the opening weeks of early voting in states like Florida, Nevada, even Ohio. But it fell off on Election Day, based on — we think — the Comey letter dimming enthusiasm in the final week, » a reference to FBI Director James Comey’s announcement 11 days before the election that investigators were examining new evidence in the probe of Clinton’s email server. (Nine days later, Comey wrote a second letter saying the review had turned up nothing to change his earlier conclusion that there had been no criminal conduct.)

It’s not altogether surprising that Democratic campaign strategists might overlook the rural vote. In 2012, turnout in rural communities dropped off precipitously, and demographic shifts occurring largely in cities and suburbs have given Democrats a sense of a growing advantage. Also, rural communities are, almost by definition, not densely populated, so it requires much more time and effort to do outreach.

“It’s a tough slog,” lamented one young Democrat who asked for anonymity to talk candidly. “It’s hard to speak to rural America. It’s very regionally specific. It feels daunting. You have these wings of the party, progressives, and it’s hard to talk to those people and people in rural America, and not seem like you’re talking out of both sides of your mouth.”

But Trump’s blowout in rural America is seen as a warning sign for Democrats in 2018. Several farm-state lawmakers will be up for reelection, including Sens. Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Jon Tester of Montana.

Beyond 2018, there are deep concerns the party is losing the already weak support it had in rural America, and there don’t appear to be any serious efforts to stop the bleeding.

Advocates for more rural engagement say it’s not that Democrats have a real shot at winning in these communities, but they can’t let Republicans run up the score unchecked.

There’s been a sense that Democrats could largely write off the rural vote, as rural voters have left the party because the exodus was offset by demographic growth among urban and nonwhite voters, among others, said Tom Bonier, CEO of Target Smart, a Democratic data and polling firm.

« That calculus didn’t work this time,” he said. “The dropoff was steep. There does need to be a strategy to reach out to these rural and blue-collar white voters. »

The irony is that Clinton actually has a long track record of engaging rural voters. She was popular in rural New York when she served as senator. She dedicated tremendous staff resources and time visiting upstate communities, talking to farmers and working with rural development leaders. Over time, she won over even staunch Republicans who had been extremely skeptical of a « carpetbagging » former first lady coming to their neck of the woods.

Voir de même:

“She was so engaged on the details of the issues,” said Mark Nicholson, owner of Red Jacket Orchards in New York. Nicholson was a registered Republican but was so impressed with Clinton’s work that he campaigned for her this cycle. “She won me over.”

In the lead-up to the Iowa primary, Clinton unveiled her rural platform in a speech in front of a large green John Deere tractor parked inside a community college hall. She advocated for more investment in rural businesses, infrastructure and renewable energy and for increased spending on agriculture, health and education programs. She also slammed Republicans for not believing in climate change and for opposing a “real path to citizenship” for the undocumented workers upon which agriculture relies.

But while Clinton released policy plans, Trump did campaign stops in small towns.

Dee Davis, founder of the Center for Rural Strategies, a non-partisan organization, said he believes the Trump appeal across the heartland has almost nothing to do with policy.

“What Trump did in rural areas was try to appeal to folks culturally, » Davis said, contrasting that with Clinton’s comments about « deplorables » and putting coal mines out of business.

Those two slip-ups were particularly problematic in economically depressed communities that already felt dismissed by Washington and urban elites, he said.

« A lot of us in rural areas, our ears are tuned to intonation,” said Davis, who lives in Whitesburg, Kentucky, a Trump stronghold. “We think people are talking down to us. What ends up happening is that we don’t focus on the policy — we focus on the tones, the references, the culture. »

Voir par ailleurs:

Revenge of the rural voter

Rural voters turned out in a big way this presidential cycle — and they voted overwhelmingly for Donald Trump.

11/13/16

It was supposed to be the year of the Latino voter. Unfortunately for Hillary Clinton, white rural voters had an even bigger moment.

Now Democrats are second-guessing the campaign’s decision to largely surrender the rural vote to the GOP. With their eyes turned anxiously toward 2018, they’re urging a new strategy to reach out to rural voters to stave off another bloodbath when a slew of farm-state Democrats face tough reelection battles.

« Hillary lost rural America 3 to 1, » said one Democratic insider, granted anonymity to speak candidly about the campaign. « If she had lost rural America 2 to 1, it would have broken differently. »

After years of declining electoral power, driven by hollowed-out towns, economic hardship and a sustained exodus, rural voters turned out in a big way this presidential cycle — and they voted overwhelmingly for Donald Trump, fueling the real estate mogul’s upset victory. The billionaire New Yorker never issued any rural policy plans, but he galvanized long-simmering anger by railing against trade deals, the Environmental Protection Agency and the « war on American farmers.”

When Trump’s digital team was analyzing early absentee returns in swing states, they weren’t fixated on what turned out to be an overhyped Latino voter surge. They were zeroing in on signs of an “extremely high” rural turnout, said Matthew Oczkowski, head of product at Cambridge Analytica, who led Trump’s digital team.

The Trump campaign had banked on a strong showing from what it called the “hidden Trump voters,” a demographic that’s largely white, disengaged and non-urban. Based on that premise, they weighted their polling predictions to reflect a higher rural turnout. The surge, as it turned out, exceeded even their expectations.

The rural voting bloc, long a Republican stronghold, has shrunk dramatically over the years, as farms have become more efficient and jobs have migrated to cities and suburbs. About 20 percent of the country, just less than 60 million people, live in rural America. This year, rural voters made up 17 percent of the electorate, according to exit polling.

But in a year with lackluster urban turnout for Clinton, the rural vote ended up playing a key role in Trump’s sweep of crucial Rust Belt swing states, which also tend to have much larger rural populations.

In Michigan, Trump appears to have won rural and small towns 57 percent to 38 percent, exit polls analyzed by NBC show, faring much better than Mitt Romney in 2012, who won the same group 53-46. In Pennsylvania, Trump blew Clinton out of the water among rural and small-town voters, 71-26 percent, according to exit polls. In 2012, Romney pulled 59 percent. In Wisconsin, Trump won the demographic 63-34 percent.

It will be weeks before more granular data show the full extent of the rural-urban divide, but initial calculations from The Daily Yonder, a website dedicated to rural issues, shows Clinton’s support among rural voters declined more than 8 percentage points from President Barack Obama’s in 2012.

Obama’s support in rural America also eroded between 2008 and 2012, from a high of 41 percent to 38 percent. But Clinton took it to a new low: 29 percent.

« Trump supporters are more rural than even average Republicans,” Oczkowski said. “What we saw on Election Day is that they’re even more rural than we thought. »

But numerous Democrats in agriculture circles buzzed with frustration over what they regarded as halfhearted efforts to engage rural voters. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack had urged the Clinton campaign to shore up rural outreach, multiple sources said, beating the same drum he has for several cycles as Democrats have seen their rural support steadily erode.

By all accounts, the Clinton campaign didn’t think it really needed rural voters, a shrinking population that’s reliably Republican. The campaign never named a rural council, as Obama did in 2012 and 2008. It also didn’t build a robust rural-dedicated campaign infrastructure. In 2008, Obama had a small staff at campaign headquarters dedicated to rural messaging and organizing efforts and had state-level rural coordinators in several battleground states throughout the Midwest and Rust Belt.

“There was an understanding that these were places where we needed to play and we needed to be close,” said a source familiar with the effort.

The Clinton campaign did not respond to questions about whether it had a rural strategy. One source said a staffer in Brooklyn was dedicated to rural outreach, but the assignment came just weeks before the election.

The campaign did some targeted mail and used surrogates like Vilsack to campaign in rural battlegrounds, a Clinton aide said. The aide noted that Trump got the same number of overall votes as Romney — although he did not dispute that Trump did far better in rural areas.

“The issue was, we did not see the turnout we needed in the cities and suburbs where our supporters were concentrated,” the aide said. “We underperformed in places like Bucks County in Pennsylvania and Wayne County in Michigan. We believe we were on pace for high turnout based on the opening weeks of early voting in states like Florida, Nevada, even Ohio. But it fell off on Election Day, based on — we think — the Comey letter dimming enthusiasm in the final week, » a reference to FBI Director James Comey’s announcement 11 days before the election that investigators were examining new evidence in the probe of Clinton’s email server. (Nine days later, Comey wrote a second letter saying the review had turned up nothing to change his earlier conclusion that there had been no criminal conduct.)

It’s not altogether surprising that Democratic campaign strategists might overlook the rural vote. In 2012, turnout in rural communities dropped off precipitously, and demographic shifts occurring largely in cities and suburbs have given Democrats a sense of a growing advantage. Also, rural communities are, almost by definition, not densely populated, so it requires much more time and effort to do outreach.

“It’s a tough slog,” lamented one young Democrat who asked for anonymity to talk candidly. “It’s hard to speak to rural America. It’s very regionally specific. It feels daunting. You have these wings of the party, progressives, and it’s hard to talk to those people and people in rural America, and not seem like you’re talking out of both sides of your mouth.”

But Trump’s blowout in rural America is seen as a warning sign for Democrats in 2018. Several farm-state lawmakers will be up for reelection, including Sens. Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Jon Tester of Montana.

Beyond 2018, there are deep concerns the party is losing the already weak support it had in rural America, and there don’t appear to be any serious efforts to stop the bleeding.

Advocates for more rural engagement say it’s not that Democrats have a real shot at winning in these communities, but they can’t let Republicans run up the score unchecked.

There’s been a sense that Democrats could largely write off the rural vote, as rural voters have left the party because the exodus was offset by demographic growth among urban and nonwhite voters, among others, said Tom Bonier, CEO of Target Smart, a Democratic data and polling firm.

« That calculus didn’t work this time,” he said. “The dropoff was steep. There does need to be a strategy to reach out to these rural and blue-collar white voters. »

The irony is that Clinton actually has a long track record of engaging rural voters. She was popular in rural New York when she served as senator. She dedicated tremendous staff resources and time visiting upstate communities, talking to farmers and working with rural development leaders. Over time, she won over even staunch Republicans who had been extremely skeptical of a « carpetbagging » former first lady coming to their neck of the woods.

“She was so engaged on the details of the issues,” said Mark Nicholson, owner of Red Jacket Orchards in New York. Nicholson was a registered Republican but was so impressed with Clinton’s work that he campaigned for her this cycle. “She won me over.”

In the lead-up to the Iowa primary, Clinton unveiled her rural platform in a speech in front of a large green John Deere tractor parked inside a community college hall. She advocated for more investment in rural businesses, infrastructure and renewable energy and for increased spending on agriculture, health and education programs. She also slammed Republicans for not believing in climate change and for opposing a “real path to citizenship” for the undocumented workers upon which agriculture relies.

But while Clinton released policy plans, Trump did campaign stops in small towns.

Dee Davis, founder of the Center for Rural Strategies, a non-partisan organization, said he believes the Trump appeal across the heartland has almost nothing to do with policy.

“What Trump did in rural areas was try to appeal to folks culturally, » Davis said, contrasting that with Clinton’s comments about « deplorables » and putting coal mines out of business.

Those two slip-ups were particularly problematic in economically depressed communities that already felt dismissed by Washington and urban elites, he said.

« A lot of us in rural areas, our ears are tuned to intonation,” said Davis, who lives in Whitesburg, Kentucky, a Trump stronghold. “We think people are talking down to us. What ends up happening is that we don’t focus on the policy — we focus on the tones, the references, the culture. »

Voir aussi:


Antiterrorisme: Attention, un débaptême peut en cacher un autre ! (Before denaming US tallest peak, Obama had already denamed America’s enemies)

1 septembre, 2015
Mt._McKinley obama-bows-saudi future-must-not-belong-to-those-who-slander-prophet-islam-mohammad-barack-hussein-obama-muslimhttp://www.theyeshivaworld.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/dn.jpgIn my language we called it anowara ko’wah which literally means the great turtle or more commonly translated turtle island. viewed from above, north america is roughly shaped like a turtle and it also refers back to our creation story. Kanien:kaha’ka-[]-[]-^-[]-[]
These extremists distort the idea of jihad into a call for terrorist murder against Christians and Hindus and Jews — and against Muslims, themselves, who do not share their radical vision. George Bush (November 11, 2005)
Personne ne souffre davantage de tout ça  que le peuple palestinien. Barack Hussein Obama (Iowa, 27 avril 2007)
Nous cherchons à ouvrir un nouveau chemin en direction du monde musulman, fondé sur l’intérêt mutuel et le respect mutuel. (…) Nous sommes une nation de chrétiens, de musulmans, de juifs, d’hindous et de non croyants. Barack Hussein Obama (discours d’investiture, le 20 janvier 2009)
… une nation de musulmans, de chrétiens et de juifs … Barack Hussein Obama (Entretien à la télévision saoudienne Al-Arabiya, 27 janvier, 2009)
Nous exprimerons notre appréciation profonde de la foi musulmane qui a tant fait au long des siècles pour améliorer le monde, y compris mon propre pays. Barack Hussein Obama (Ankara, avril 2009)
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 ». (…) 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. Barack Hussein Obama (Prêche du Caire)
L’avenir ne doit pas appartenir à ceux qui calomnient le prophète de l’Islam. Barack Obama (siège de l’ONU, New York, 26.09.12)
Nous montons sur nos grands chevaux mais souvenons-nous que pendant les croisades et l’inquisition, des actes terribles ont été commis au nom du Christ. Dans notre pays, nous avons eu l’esclavage, trop souvent justifié par le Christ. Barack Hussein Obama
Il est tout à fait légitime pour le peuple américain d’être profondément préoccupé quand vous avez un tas de fanatiques vicieux et violents qui décapitent les gens ou qui tirent au hasard dans un tas de gens dans une épicerie à Paris. Barack Hussein Obama
Obama demande pardon pour les faits et gestes de l’Amérique, son passé, son présent et le reste, il s’excuse de tout. Les relations dégradées avec la Russie, le manque de respect pour l’Islam, les mauvais rapports avec l’Iran, les bisbilles avec l’Europe, le manque d’adulation pour Fidel Castro, tout lui est bon pour battre la coulpe de l’Amérique. Plus encore, il célèbre la contribution (totalement inexistante) de l’Islam à l’essor de l’Amérique, et il se fend d’une révérence au sanglant et sectaire roi d’Arabie, l’Abdullah de la haine. Il annule la ceinture anti-missiles sise en Alaska et propose un désarmement nucléaire inutile. (…) Plus encore, cette déplorable Amérique a semé le désordre et le mal partout dans le monde. Au lieu de collaborer multilatéralement avec tous, d’œuvrer au bien commun avec Poutine, Chavez, Ahmadinejad, Saddam Hussein, Bachir al-Assad, et Cie, l’insupportable Bush en a fait des ennemis. (…) Il n’y a pas d’ennemis, il n’y a que des malentendus. Il ne peut y avoir d’affrontements, seulement des clarifications. Laurent Murawiec
Obama se croit apte, en raison de son profil, à engager un dialogue avec l’islam, que c’est la véritable raison pour laquelle il a placé les musulmans avant les juifs dans son discours inaugural, puis avant les chrétiens dans son interview du 27 janvier, et que c’est le sens de ses propos quand il dit que “l’Amérique n’est pas l’ennemie de l’islam” : il sous-entend que l’Amérique, sous l’administration d’un musulman de cœur, ou du moins d’un “vrai croyant”, ce qui selon la théologie islamique revient au même, appartenait désormais au Dar al-Sulh, à la “Maison de la Conciliation”, cette zone grise, ouverte à la prédication musulmane, qui sépare le Dar al-Islam, “Maison de la Soumission”, autrement dit le monde musulman, du Dar al-Harb, “Maison de la Guerre”, autrement dit le monde non-musulman. Michel Gurfinkiel
On a beaucoup écrit sur l’absence de Poutine à la cérémonie d’Auschwitz. Mais les médias ont peu parlé de la décision du président américain Barack Obama d’envoyer un relatif inconnu, le secrétaire au Trésor Jack Lew, pour représenter Washington, alors que Obama et de hauts dirigeants militaires américains se rendaient en Arabie Saoudite pour discuter des plans de guerre au Moyen-Orient avec le régime monarchique après la mort du roi saoudien Abdullah. World Socialist Website
As Obama stated in Dreams From My Father, he spent his college years discussing “neocolonialism, Franz Fanon, Eurocentrism.” And President Obama has obviously attempted to undo many of McKinley’s accomplishments. In kowtowing to the Castros in Cuba, Obama has ensured that America’s Spanish-American War victory ends with perpetual communism in a country America once granted its freedom; in 2014, the Obama Department of the Interior sought to give Hawaiians the same status as Native Americans, forcing separate governance for them based on ethnicity. The only question now: when will President Obama change the name of the American Southwest to Aztlan? Breitbart
Clare Lopez (…) said the global war on terror had been an effort to “stay free of Shariah,” or repressive Islamic law, until the Obama administration began siding with such jihadist groups as the Muslim Brotherhood and its affiliates. (…) when the so-called Arab Spring appeared in late 2010, “It was time to bring down the secular Muslim rulers who did not enforce Islamic law. And America helped.” (…) She also came to the conclusion Obama had essentially the same goals in the Mideast as the late Osama bin Laden: “to remove American power and influence, including military forces, from Islamic lands.” Why would Obama order the killing of bin Laden? Because the president “couldn’t delay any longer,” once the opportunity was presented, Lopez told WND. There were “no more excuses” available to avoid it and he “thought it might look good,” she mused. (…) “Some in the administration genuinely appear to believe the Muslim Brotherhood can act as a foil or counterweight to al-Qaida, although with what’s going on in Syria, it’s hard to understand how they would still think that,” she observed. Lopez felt it was impossible to understand why the president and some of his top appointees, such as CIA Director John Brennan, “consistently seem to apologize for Islam, even in the face of such atrocities as the Foley beheading,” adding, they “take pains to assure the world they don’t think IS, (or the Islamic State, also called ISIS) or whichever perpetrator it was, has anything to do with Islam. How can they possibly believe that genuinely when everything these jihadis do tracks directly to the literal text of Quran, hadiths and Shariah?” “In any case, and for whatever motivations, there is no doubt this administration switched sides in what used to be called the Global War on Terror,” she said. “Even though President George W. Bush was obviously confused and mistaken when he called Islam a ‘religion of peace’ the day after 9/11, he wasn’t deliberately exonerating the perpetrators. Surrounded by Muslim Brotherhood agents of influence, he simply didn’t understand.” She said Obama and his administration “have no excuse” for not knowing better, given the extensive investigation, research and studies done since Sept. 11. Instead, Lopez maintained, it was the Obama administration “that actively purged truthful curriculum about the inspirational relationship between Islamic doctrine, law, and scripture and Islamic terrorism.” In fact, she said, they were told what to purge by groups affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood, and even allowed some of those same groups to supervise the purge. All of that, she observed, “would seem to indicate certain knowledge about the Islamic threat, and a determined effort to ignore that threat.” Lopez chastised the Obama administration for what she called beating a hasty retreat, under fire, out of Afghanistan and Iraq, knowing full well they would both fall to Islam, the Taliban and Iran, respectively. “But we’d already written their Shariah constitutions, so the actual ultimate physical domination was already prepared with the legal precedent and foundation,” she observed. By 2014, she maintained, U.S. leadership had purged all its training curriculum and official discourse of any terminology that would accurately identify the Islamic enemy, “and the time was right. Al-Qaida receded and [ISIS] arose. The U.S. couldn’t tell the difference between jihadist militias to save its life anyway, quite literally.” The former CIA operative said, “as Israel fought enemies on all sides to remain free, secure and Jewish, America began to move away from Israel and toward its Muslim enemies. And, as Iran moved inexorably toward a deliverable nuclear weapons capability, America helped.” (…) She said the Obama administration “consistently has engaged with this Iranian regime, pleaded with it to engage, and continue to engage, in obviously fruitless negotiations over their nuclear weapons program. The administration extended deadlines repeatedly, refused to hold Iran to account meaningfully for its terror support, including involvement in Sept. 11, lethal support to Iraqi militias in the 2000s and continuing harboring al-Qaida operations cell on its soil.” Furthermore, Lopez insisted the administration refused to even broach certain key topics in negotiations (such as Iran’s intercontinental ballistic missile program) and failed to insist that earlier U.N. Security Council resolutions demanding Iran halt all nuclear enrichment be implemented before any further talks. Instead, she said the administration explicitly signaled, in the November 2013 Joint Plan of Action agreement, it would allow Iran to continue enrichment permanently. (…) Like Lopez, Obama said a broader strategy for the region was needed, but notably, he did not state what the goal should be. The goal of the global war on terror, or GWOT, launched after Sept. 11, was understood to be the defeat of jihadism both in the Mideast and globally. Obama articulated no such goal, and has, in fact, declared there no longer is a global war on terror. (…) She names the enemy as jihadis and states the goal should be their destruction. “Above all, we must acknowledge that the enemy is supremacist forces of Islamic jihad,” Lopez told WND. “We must name, acknowledge, confront the enemy as he is – not as we wish him to be.” (…) Lopez explained what she thought was Obama’s real goal: Far from seeking the defeat of jihadism in the Mideast or globally, Obama preferred to let Sunni and Shiite jihadists each have their own spheres of influence in the Muslim world and America should withdraw its troops and influence from the region. (…) But unless ISIS further threatens the interests of the U.S. or its allies, Lopez believes the U.S. should proceed only with extreme caution. “I don’t think the USA should act as cats’ paw for either side of an intra-Islamic sectarian squabble, which has at least a 50-50 chance of winding up a pan-Islamic alliance against us, even as Iran and al-Qaida remain joined in an operational terrorist alliance that began in 1990, brought us Sept. 11, and continues to this day. No one is talking about Iran and its role, whatever it is, regarding [ISIS]. That concerns me.” (…) “I remain concerned that we not tip the balance in favor of either side in this essentially intra-Islamic sectarian fight between Shiites and Sunnis. Both sides are jihadist enemies of the U.S., our friends, allies and security interests,” said the former CIA operative. (…) while countries such as Saudi Arabia and Turkey may have initially instigated and bankrolled ISIS, those regimes and others, such as Iran and Qatar, “play all sides of the jihadi game” and have “enabled a monster in ISIS” they can no longer control, and “they should be allowed to reap what they’ve sown.” (…) “Right now, I think the most serious threat to the homeland comes from individual or small groups of individual jihadis carrying U.S. or other Western passports, who return home or can easily cross borders, including our own collapsed southern border, and mount attacks in the West, including America.”(…) “In many ways, al-Qaida prepared the ground for the Islamic State. Al-Qaida, which means, ‘the base,’ did its job, which was to awaken the Muslim masses, to prod the ummah to action against the infidel after a long hiatus. It spawned off-shoot franchises across the globe, not to mention in the virtual spaces of the Internet. It did its job and may now be superseded by [ISIS]. We shall see about that.” She described how Sept. 11 accomplished its mission of drawing the leader of the free world, “the greatest obstacle to establishment of a universal Caliphate,” into devastating and costly wars in Muslim lands. (…) “Everybody waits for the U.S. to stumble into the scene once again like some deus ex machine, so the whole charade can begin all over again. American blood and treasure spent, amidst clamor for infidels to exit Muslim lands, boiling Muslim rage about the imperative to strike ‘the far enemy’ again, hit the kuffar (non-Muslim) in his homeland, even while the Caliphate consolidates its rule, begins to govern as the Islamic State it claims to be, and, all the while, the wealthy-beyond-imagination sheikhdoms supposedly most threatened by this ‘un-Islamic’ horde – and the emerging Shi’ite hegemon of the Persian Gulf – respond lackadaisically, if at all. What is wrong with this picture?” (…) “From my perspective, I’m seeing American national security interests steadily eroded, almost everywhere we look, and the forces of adversaries and enemies advancing. But, of course, to see this, it’s necessary first to know who we are as a people, what are our ‘first things’?” She wondered whether Americans were still willing to fight and die for such principles as independence, individual liberty, Bill of Rights freedoms, consent of the governed under rule of man-made law, noting, “At the very least, we are badly off the track envisioned by our Founding Fathers.” (…) “Our current national policy doesn’t even seem to consider ‘first things,’ or know what they are, when formulating and implementing recent foreign policy.” She cited such examples as providing guns to al-Qaida in Libya, backing jihadist rebels in Syria, and what she described as enabling the mullahs’ nuclear ambitions while ignoring the Iranian people’s desperate struggle for liberty. Lopez argued, before U.S. leaders could deduce the right course of action on the other side of the world, first they must figure out the right things to do at home. She asked, “When do we go back to fighting for ‘first things’ again?” WND

Attention: un débaptême peut en cacher un autre !

Alors que le Flagellant-en-chef qui après l’abandon de l’Irak et bientôt de l’Afghanistan et peut-être demain de la Corée  …

A séché l’an dernier à la fois la marche de Paris contre le terrorisme et le 70e anniversaire de la libération d’Auschwitz que le centenaire du génocide des chrétiens turcs …

S’apprête, entre le don de la bombe atomique aux mollahs, la bénédiction à la prison à ciel ouvert cubaine et la porte ouverte à la polygamie, à débaptiser le Mont Blanc américain pour lui redonner son nom indigène …

Avant peut-être de redonner à la Grande Tortue son patronyme d’origine ?

Retour, avec une ancienne agente de la CIA, sur un autre, moins connu, débaptême …

Celui de la fameuse guerre contre le terrorisme du président précédent

Où l’on découvre qu’avec le premier président américain d’origine musulmane et entre deux assassinats ciblés, les Etats-Unis ont largement repris les objectifs de feu Ben Laden  …

Et tout simplement changé de bord !

Mideast expert: Obama switched sides in war on terror
‘America has moved toward its Muslim enemies’
08/28/2014

WASHINGTON – It’s an explosive charge, one that puts the president’s motives into question.

A former CIA officer bluntly told WND, America has switched sides in the war on terror under President Obama.

Clare Lopez was willing to say what a few members of Congress have confided to WND in private, but declined to say on-the-record.

She said the global war on terror had been an effort to “stay free of Shariah,” or repressive Islamic law, until the Obama administration began siding with such jihadist groups as the Muslim Brotherhood and its affiliates.

Why the switch?

Lopez explained, when the so-called Arab Spring appeared in late 2010, “It was time to bring down the secular Muslim rulers who did not enforce Islamic law. And America helped.”

And why would Obama want to do that?

As she told WND earlier this month, Lopez believed the Muslim Brotherhood has thoroughly infiltrated the Obama administration and other branches of the federal government.

She also came to the conclusion Obama had essentially the same goals in the Mideast as the late Osama bin Laden: “to remove American power and influence, including military forces, from Islamic lands.”

Why would Obama order the killing of bin Laden?

Because the president “couldn’t delay any longer,” once the opportunity was presented, Lopez told WND.

There were “no more excuses” available to avoid it and he “thought it might look good,” she mused.

The former CIA operative’s perspective affects her prescription for what the U.S. should do about the terror army ISIS, as she called for caution and restraint.

While there has been a sudden chorus of politicians and military experts calling for the immediate elimination of the terrorist army after it beheaded American journalist James Foley last week, Lopez believes the U.S. should have an overall strategy in place before fully re-engaging in the Mideast militarily.

Any military action would be further complicated, she told WND, if it were not clear which side the U.S. is on, either in the short term or in the overall war on terror.

Lopez’s insights are backed by an impressive array of credentials.

She spent two decades in the field as a CIA operations officer; was an instructor for military intelligence and special forces students; has been a consultant, intelligence analyst and researcher within the defense sector; and has published two books on Iran. Lopez currently manages the counter-jihad and Shariah programs at the Center for Security Policy, run by Frank Gaffney, former assistant secretary of defense for international security policy during the Reagan administration.

What do YOU think? What should be done about ISIS? Sound off in today’s WND poll.

In a previous interview with WND, Lopez described the stunning extent of infiltration of the administration and other branches of the federal government by the jihadist group the Muslim Brotherhood.

She said the infiltration began under former President Bill Clinton but really took hold under the Obama administration, which, she said, “includes various levels of understanding and misunderstanding of Islam and the Muslim Brotherhood.”

“Some in the administration genuinely appear to believe the Muslim Brotherhood can act as a foil or counterweight to al-Qaida, although with what’s going on in Syria, it’s hard to understand how they would still think that,” she observed.

Lopez felt it was impossible to understand why the president and some of his top appointees, such as CIA Director John Brennan, “consistently seem to apologize for Islam, even in the face of such atrocities as the Foley beheading,” adding, they “take pains to assure the world they don’t think IS, (or the Islamic State, also called ISIS) or whichever perpetrator it was, has anything to do with Islam. How can they possibly believe that genuinely when everything these jihadis do tracks directly to the literal text of Quran, hadiths and Shariah?”

“In any case, and for whatever motivations, there is no doubt this administration switched sides in what used to be called the Global War on Terror,” she said. “Even though President George W. Bush was obviously confused and mistaken when he called Islam a ‘religion of peace’ the day after 9/11, he wasn’t deliberately exonerating the perpetrators. Surrounded by Muslim Brotherhood agents of influence, he simply didn’t understand.”
She said Obama and his administration “have no excuse” for not knowing better, given the extensive investigation, research and studies done since Sept. 11.

Instead, Lopez maintained, it was the Obama administration “that actively purged truthful curriculum about the inspirational relationship between Islamic doctrine, law, and scripture and Islamic terrorism.”

In fact, she said, they were told what to purge by groups affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood, and even allowed some of those same groups to supervise the purge. All of that, she observed, “would seem to indicate certain knowledge about the Islamic threat, and a determined effort to ignore that threat.”

Lopez chastised the Obama administration for what she called beating a hasty retreat, under fire, out of Afghanistan and Iraq, knowing full well they would both fall to Islam, the Taliban and Iran, respectively.

“But we’d already written their Shariah constitutions, so the actual ultimate physical domination was already prepared with the legal precedent and foundation,” she observed.

By 2014, she maintained, U.S. leadership had purged all its training curriculum and official discourse of any terminology that would accurately identify the Islamic enemy, “and the time was right. Al-Qaida receded and [ISIS] arose. The U.S. couldn’t tell the difference between jihadist militias to save its life anyway, quite literally.”

The former CIA operative said, “as Israel fought enemies on all sides to remain free, secure and Jewish, America began to move away from Israel and toward its Muslim enemies. And, as Iran moved inexorably toward a deliverable nuclear weapons capability, America helped.”

WND asked Lopez: How did America help Iran, the leading state sponsor of terrorism worldwide?

She said the Obama administration “consistently has engaged with this Iranian regime, pleaded with it to engage, and continue to engage, in obviously fruitless negotiations over their nuclear weapons program. The administration extended deadlines repeatedly, refused to hold Iran to account meaningfully for its terror support, including involvement in Sept. 11, lethal support to Iraqi militias in the 2000s and continuing harboring al-Qaida operations cell on its soil.”

Furthermore, Lopez insisted the administration refused to even broach certain key topics in negotiations (such as Iran’s intercontinental ballistic missile program) and failed to insist that earlier U.N. Security Council resolutions demanding Iran halt all nuclear enrichment be implemented before any further talks. Instead, she said the administration explicitly signaled, in the November 2013 Joint Plan of Action agreement, it would allow Iran to continue enrichment permanently.

After the ISIS threat first burst into public view, as the terrorist army sprang from Syria and shockingly began capturing great swaths of Iraqi territory with a savagery evidenced by its many massacres and beheadings, Lopez urged caution before the U.S. re-engaged in the area militarily.

She told WND the U.S. should protect its interests and those minorities facing genocide, but otherwise, let the warring parties sort it out, for the time being.

Obama briefly spoke to reporters Thursday about his options in dealing with ISIS, and sounded, at least on the surface, very much like he is doing as just Lopez has recommended, but with one big difference.

The president resisted calls to escalate airstrikes and destroy ISIS, emphasizing the U.S. is currently engaged in only limited efforts to protect American personnel and consulates, as well as providing humanitarian relief and protection of minorities where possible.

In fact, the president even admitted, “We don’t have a strategy yet. … We need to make sure that we’ve got clear plans. As our strategy develops, we will consult with Congress.”

Like Lopez, Obama said a broader strategy for the region was needed, but notably, he did not state what the goal should be.

The goal of the global war on terror, or GWOT, launched after Sept. 11, was understood to be the defeat of jihadism both in the Mideast and globally.

Obama articulated no such goal, and has, in fact, declared there no longer is a global war on terror.

That is where Lopez and Obama veer in entirely different directions.

She names the enemy as jihadis and states the goal should be their destruction.

“Above all, we must acknowledge that the enemy is supremacist forces of Islamic jihad,” Lopez told WND. “We must name, acknowledge, confront the enemy as he is – not as we wish him to be.”

She scoffed at the notion that what others call radical Islam was a “defeated ideology.”

“Oh? What ideology is that? The 1,400-year-old one that’s already made mincemeat out of six or seven major world empires? That one?”

In her previous interview with WND, Lopez explained what she thought was Obama’s real goal: Far from seeking the defeat of jihadism in the Mideast or globally, Obama preferred to let Sunni and Shiite jihadists each have their own spheres of influence in the Muslim world and America should withdraw its troops and influence from the region.

However, the ISIS crisis has caused Obama to re-engage militarily in Iraq, ordering airstrikes even while many commentators clamor for much more.

Ever since the video of the ISIS beheading of American journalist James Foley appeared last week, numerous military experts and political commentators have called upon the administration to wipe out ISIS before it makes good on its threat to attack the U.S. homeland.

Even Obama seemed to take the ISIS threat much more seriously than he did in January when he referred to jihadi factions in Syria as “jayvee teams.”

And, suddenly, an apparent ISIS emergency had set in, with these headlines appearing just over the weekend:

After that barrage, WND asked Lopez if she still believed the U.S. should protect just its interests and endangered minorities, or whether it should try to destroy ISIS (which she referred to as IS).

Lopez held firm, declaring, “It’s remarkable to me how unanimous our intelligence, media, military and political leadership all are about the need to ‘destroy [ISIS].’ It’s like they all were touched at the same moment by some magic wand, woke up to this threat, and fell into lock-step about the solution, without another thought. The epitome of groupthink, in my opinion.”

She did maintain Foley should be avenged, and other captives freed, if at all possible. In fact, she said the captors should be obliterated.

Furthermore, she recommended arming the Kurds and declaring them U.S. partners in the region, who should be supported in their national aspirations.

As for the terrorist army, “If [ISIS] makes one move against our regional partners – Israel, Jordan, the Kurds – we clobber them, then leave. If we determine that [ISIS] is plotting by itself or in conjunction with a nation-state, or other sub-national terror organization like Hezbollah, again – like Iran did with al-Qaida and Hezbollah – we clobber both of them, all of them, then leave. No nation building. They pick up the pieces, not us.”

But unless ISIS further threatens the interests of the U.S. or its allies, Lopez believes the U.S. should proceed only with extreme caution.

“I don’t think the USA should act as cats’ paw for either side of an intra-Islamic sectarian squabble, which has at least a 50-50 chance of winding up a pan-Islamic alliance against us, even as Iran and al-Qaida remain joined in an operational terrorist alliance that began in 1990, brought us Sept. 11, and continues to this day. No one is talking about Iran and its role, whatever it is, regarding [ISIS]. That concerns me.”

Other than protecting American interests and minorities, she recommended something Obama said on Thursday he would look into, inviting regional powers that feel threatened by ISIS to form a plan and deal with it. Lopez dryly noted, “We’ve already sold them enough advanced weaponry to take over the entire galaxy.”

One former Pentagon analyst, who wished to remain anonymous, appeared to speak for an emerging consensus in the defense community, when he told WND the ISIS threat needed to be addressed more vigorously, decisively and immediately, “considering that ISIS is now a full-blown army encompassing territory the size of Great Britain.”

“We, along with the regional powers, need to come up with a strategy to defeat them,” the analyst advised, echoing Lopez.

However, the analyst added, “In effect, we will have to go into full-blown warfare mode to do so, because they’re coming and nothing seems to be stopping them.”

The former Pentagon analyst then went a step further than many other commentators in suggesting, “the U.S. and allies may have to begin working with Syria and Iran to defeat a common threat. It isn’t the Shiites of Iran launching these jihadist groups. It’s the Sunnis under the control and financing of Saudi Arabia and a number of the other Gulf Arab states.”

Lopez disagreed on two fronts. She cited the danger in partnering with Iran, and she urged caution in implementing a short-term plan of confronting ISIS before developing a coherent long-term strategy for the Mideast and to defeat jihadism.

“I remain concerned that we not tip the balance in favor of either side in this essentially intra-Islamic sectarian fight between Shiites and Sunnis. Both sides are jihadist enemies of the U.S., our friends, allies and security interests,” said the former CIA operative.

She noted, at the moment, IS is occupied with taking and holding territory in what used to be Iraq and Syria, while establishing administration and governance (including enforcement of Shariah) in that territory.

Lopez pointed out how ISIS is also fighting at least six adversaries on multiple fronts at the same time: against the Iraqi and Syrian governments; al-Qaida militias in Syria, non-al-Qaida militias in Syria; the U.S. and U.K. airstrikes; the Kurds; and maybe the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps or Qods Force, too.

And, she previously told WND, while countries such as Saudi Arabia and Turkey may have initially instigated and bankrolled ISIS, those regimes and others, such as Iran and Qatar, “play all sides of the jihadi game” and have “enabled a monster in ISIS” they can no longer control, and “they should be allowed to reap what they’ve sown.”

Furthermore, she maintained, U.S. leadership has proven incapable of sorting out who’s who or who’s backing whom.

“Right now, I think the most serious threat to the homeland comes from individual or small groups of individual jihadis carrying U.S. or other Western passports, who return home or can easily cross borders, including our own collapsed southern border, and mount attacks in the West, including America.”

Lopez said she would like to see more consideration given to exactly who and what ISIS is, where it came from and what it represents. She wants to know if it is the leading edge, “the current violent vanguard,” of what she called the 1,400-year-old supremacist forces of Islamic jihad.

“In many ways, al-Qaida prepared the ground for the Islamic State. Al-Qaida, which means, ‘the base,’ did its job, which was to awaken the Muslim masses, to prod the ummah to action against the infidel after a long hiatus. It spawned off-shoot franchises across the globe, not to mention in the virtual spaces of the Internet. It did its job and may now be superseded by [ISIS]. We shall see about that.”

She described how Sept. 11 accomplished its mission of drawing the leader of the free world, “the greatest obstacle to establishment of a universal Caliphate,” into devastating and costly wars in Muslim lands.

Lopez said the steady infiltration of the Muslim Brotherhood into positions of advice and appointment at top levels of U.S. national security ensured maximum confusion about whom Americans were fighting, why, “and even whether we Americans have anything worth defending in the first place.”

Now, she sees the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, or OIC, a 57-member head of state organization of all Muslim states in the world plus Palestinians, as “sitting by idly as [ISIS] gobbles up its member states’ territory and threatens the borders of others.”

Lopez said Shiite Iran responded to some verbal threats and barbs by sends some Qods Force advisers to “prop up” what she called its Baghdad proxy, and to protect the Shiite shrines from ISIS attack, but not much else.

“Everybody waits for the U.S. to stumble into the scene once again like some deus ex machine, so the whole charade can begin all over again. American blood and treasure spent, amidst clamor for infidels to exit Muslim lands, boiling Muslim rage about the imperative to strike ‘the far enemy’ again, hit the kuffar (non-Muslim) in his homeland, even while the Caliphate consolidates its rule, begins to govern as the Islamic State it claims to be, and, all the while, the wealthy-beyond-imagination sheikhdoms supposedly most threatened by this ‘un-Islamic’ horde – and the emerging Shi’ite hegemon of the Persian Gulf – respond lackadaisically, if at all. What is wrong with this picture?”

Lopez told WND she was concerned that nobody in American leadership really sees or understands the big picture, and the U.S. seems to be manipulated to fulfill objectives not in its best interests.

“From my perspective, I’m seeing American national security interests steadily eroded, almost everywhere we look, and the forces of adversaries and enemies advancing. But, of course, to see this, it’s necessary first to know who we are as a people, what are our ‘first things’?”

She wondered whether Americans were still willing to fight and die for such principles as independence, individual liberty, Bill of Rights freedoms, consent of the governed under rule of man-made law, noting, “At the very least, we are badly off the track envisioned by our Founding Fathers.”

“Our current national policy doesn’t even seem to consider ‘first things,’ or know what they are, when formulating and implementing recent foreign policy.”

She cited such examples as providing guns to al-Qaida in Libya, backing jihadist rebels in Syria, and what she described as enabling the mullahs’ nuclear ambitions while ignoring the Iranian people’s desperate struggle for liberty.

Lopez argued, before U.S. leaders could deduce the right course of action on the other side of the world, first they must figure out the right things to do at home.

She asked, “When do we go back to fighting for ‘first things’ again?”

Voir aussi:

Obama Renames Mount McKinley ‘Denali’
Breitbart
Ben Shapiro

31 Aug 2015

On Sunday, President Obama’s administration announced that he would, by executive order, change the name of Mount McKinley to Mount Denali.
He did not explain the decision, which frustrated Ohio legislators upset at the slap at President William McKinley’s legacy; he is expected to speak on the topic today in Anchorage.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) thanked Obama, however, stating, “For centuries, Alaskans have known this majestic mountain as the ‘Great One.’ Today we are honored to be able to officially recognize the mountain as Denali.”

Why did Obama choose to change the name now? Presumably because Obama has now solved all the world’s problems, and decided against his second choice, Mt. Trayvon. But more seriously, Obama likely opposes the legacy of President McKinley, given that McKinley led America to victory in the Spanish-American War and rejected inflation by sticking with the gold standard. By the end of McKinley’s tenure, the United States had taken military control of Cuba, Puerto Rico, Guam, the Philippines, and annexed Hawaii.

Assassinated in 1901, McKinley, who presided over an economic boom and massive growth in American power, once stated, “We need Hawaii just as much and a good deal more than we did California. It is manifest destiny.” Regarding the Spanish-American War, McKinley explained that Cuba “ought to be free and independent.” Obama would have opposed both moves.

As Obama stated in Dreams From My Father, he spent his college years discussing “neocolonialism, Franz Fanon, Eurocentrism.” And President Obama has obviously attempted to undo many of McKinley’s accomplishments. In kowtowing to the Castros in Cuba, Obama has ensured that America’s Spanish-American War victory ends with perpetual communism in a country America once granted its freedom; in 2014, the Obama Department of the Interior sought to give Hawaiians the same status as Native Americans, forcing separate governance for them based on ethnicity.

The only question now: when will President Obama change the name of the American Southwest to Aztlan?

Ben Shapiro is Senior Editor-At-Large of Breitbart News and The New York Times bestselling author, most recently, of the book, The People vs. Barack Obama: The Criminal Case Against The Obama Administration (Threshold Editions, June 10, 2014).

Voir enfin:

Obama renomme le mont McKinley, les Républicains enragent

BFM TV

31/08/2015

Alors que doit débuter une conférence sur le climat  en Alaska, le président américain Barack Obama a décidé de renommer le plus haut sommet américain. Une décision qui fait débat.
Renommer une montagne ne se fait pas sans heurts. Barack Obama, qui doit se rendre à Anchorage (Alaska) aujourd’hui devrait en profiter pour annoncer le changement de nom du plus haut sommet des Etats-Unis.

Exit le président républicain
Culminant à 6.194 mètres d’altitude, le Mont McKinley, du nom du 25è Président des Etats-Unis, devrait donc désormais s’appeler le Mont Denali. Un mot athapascan utilisés par de nombreux dialectes indigènes qui signifie « le plus grand ». Une manière pour Barack Obama de rendre hommage aux peuples natifs américains avec lesquels les relations ont toujours été tendues.

Citée par le Washington Post, Julie Kitka, présidente de la Fédérations des Natifs d’Alaska, a salué l’initiative, estimant que « c’était un symbole » et que « toutes les cartes et les livres parleraient du Denali, ce qui est une chose magnifique ».

Une décision qui ne fait pas que des heureux
Problème: cette montagne portait le nom d’un président… républicain. William McKinley (29 janvier 1848 – 14 septembre 1901) est en effet le 25è président des Etats-Unis, mort assassiné lors de son second mandat.

Courtney Art Studio – Wikicommons –
Les Républicains estiment que le président Obama mène une vendetta politique sans aucun rapport avec la culture native. Sur Twitter, le Sénateur Rob Portman s’est ainsi déclaré « déçu » de la décision d’Obama.

De son côté, le sénateur Bob Gibbs a déclaré que cette décision était « une insulte » et une « attaque contre la Constitution » appelant tous ses collègues à « faire tout ce qui en leur pouvoir pour contrer cette action ».

La nouvelle a en tout cas rapidement fait le tour du monde puisque le moteur de recherche Google a déjà intégré ce nouveau nom à ses cartes, même si pour les recherches, il faudra encore attendre un peu, ce qui cause quelques incohérences dans les résultats.


Langues: Excusez mon anglais (No English, please, we’re French: study finds economic development and international engagement go hand-in-hand with English proficiency)

8 février, 2015
https://i2.wp.com/www.bilan.ch/sites/default/files/styles/full__desktop/public/my_tailor.jpg

Une bonne partie de ce que nous observons dans les relations entre la France et les Etats-Unis est le produit d’une structure de relations que l’on doit penser comme la confrontation entre deux impérialismes de l’universel. (…) La France est une sorte d’idéologie réalisée: être français, c’est se sentir en droit d’universaliser son intérêt particulier, cet intérêt particulier qui a pour particularité d’être universel. Et doublement en quelque sorte: universel en matière de politique, avec le modèle pur de la révolution universelle, universel en matière de culture, avec le modèle de chic (de Paris). On comprend que, bien que son monopole de l’universel soit fortement contesté, en particulier par les Etats-Unis, la France reste l’arbitre des élégances en matière de radical chic, comme on dit outre-Atlantique ; elle continue à donner le spectacle des jeux de l’universel, et, en particulier, de cet art de la transgression qui fait les avant-gardes politiques et/ou artistiques, de cette manière (qui se sent inimitable) de se sentir toujours au-delà, et au-delà du delà, de jouer avec virtuosité de tous les registres, difficile à accorder, de l’avant-gardisme politique et de l’avant-gardisme culturel (…) C’est dire que nombre des choses qui s’écrivent ou se disent, à propos de la France ou des USA ou de leurs rapports, sont le produit de l’affrontement entre deux impérialismes, entre un impérialisme en ascension et un impérialisme en déclin, et doivent sans doute beaucoup à des sentiments de revanche ou de ressentiment, sans qu’il soit exclu qu’une partie des réactions que l’on serait porté à classer dans l’antiaméricanisme du ressentiment puissent et doivent être comprises comme des stratégies de résistance légitime à des formes nouvelles d’impérialisme… (…) En fait, on ne peut attendre un progrès vers une culture réellement universelle – c’est-à-dire une culture faite de multiples traditions culturelles unifiées par la reconnaissance qu’elles s’accordent mutuellement – que des luttes entre les impérialismes de l’universel. Ces impérialismes, à travers les hommages plus ou moins hypocrites qu’ils doivent rendre à l’universel pour s’imposer, tendent à le faire avancer et, à tout le moins, à le constituer en recours susceptible d’être invoqué contre les impérialismes mêmes qui s’en réclament. Pierre Bourdieu (1992)
L‘anglais ? Ce n’est jamais que du français mal prononcé. Clémenceau
À la Cour, ainsi que dans les châteaux des grands seigneurs, où la pompe et le cérémonial de la Cour étaient imités, la langue franco-normande était la seule en usage ; dans les tribunaux, les plaidoyers et les arrêts étaient prononcés dans la même langue ; bref, le français était la langue de l’honneur, de la chevalerie et même de la justice ; tandis que l’anglo-saxon, si mâle et si expressif, était abandonné à l’usage des paysans et des serfs, qui n’en savaient pas d’autre. Peu à peu, cependant, la communication obligée qui existait entre les maîtres du sol et les êtres inférieurs et opprimés qui cultivaient ce sol, avait donné lieu à la formation d’un dialecte composé du franco-normand et de l’anglo-saxon, dialecte à l’aide duquel ils pouvaient se faire comprendre les uns des autres, et de cette nécessité se forma graduellement l’édifice de notre langue anglaise moderne, dans laquelle l’idiome des vainqueurs et celui des vaincus se trouvent confondus si heureusement, et qui a été si heureusement enrichie par des emprunts faits aux langues classiques et à celles que parlent les peuples méridionaux de l’Europe. Walter Scott (Ivanhoe, 1820)
We are in France. You speak French. Sébastien Chabal
According to Karlin, English is the key to Proust’s « doubleness », and the grit in the oyster of his French. Snobbery besides, his great subjects included the related one of etymology. He loved the way words are rubbed like old coins, names changing shape, competing and merging with other currencies, and he knew that the Academie’s propaganda about the classical purity de la langue française was simply fishing for compliments (two entries), then as now. That was why Proust was so fond of English, the vigorous bastard of Anglo-Saxon and Norman French, swallower of all known tongues. And this was his view as an outsider, as a Jewish homosexual Dreyfusard bourgeois invalid artist: that English was the global future, more orgiastic than golf itself. Lewis Jones
Un poème écrit par Gérard Nolst Trenite, hollandais connu sous le pseudonyme de Charivarius ( 1870-1946) est une démonstration de toutes les exceptions et irrégularités de la langue anglaise entre l’orthographe et la prononciation . Ce poême est tiré du livre : Drop Your Foreign Accent: engelsche uitspraakoefeningen (…) Le Chaos représente un exploit de virtuose en composition, un catalogue de mammouth d’Environ 800 des irrégularités les plus les plus célèbres d’orthographe anglaise traditionnelle, habilement versifiée (si avec quelques lignes maladroites) dans des distiques avec l’alternance de rimes féminines et masculines. La sélection d’exemples apparaît maintenant quelque peu désuète, tout comme quelques-unes de leurs prononciations, en effet quelques mots peuvent même être inconnus aux lecteurs d’aujourd’hui (combien à savoir ce qu’ « une studding-voile » est, ou que sa prononciation nautique est « stunsail » ?) . Le poids de la poésie représente un acte d’accusation aussi valable du chaos orthographique en anglais. La créature la plus chère dans création » s’adressant à la première ligne, est comme « Susy  » à la ligne 5. Ce pourrait être une anonyme quoiqu’une version ronéotypée de la poésie appartenant à Harry Cohen soit consacrée « à Mlle Susanne Delacroix, Paris ». Vraisemblablement elle fut l’une des étudiantes de Nolst Trenité. Chris Upward
Les adultes français ont une maîtrise moyenne de l’anglais, mais globalement ils n’ont pas fait de progrès au cours des 7 dernières années. Dans le 1er rapport EF EPI, la France était en ligne avec le niveau moyen d’anglais en Europe mais, alors que la plupart des pays ont fait des progrès sensibles, la France a stagné. Le niveau d’anglais à Paris est le plus élevé du pays mais reste inférieur à celui de la plupart des capitales européennes. Comme dans la plupart des pays, en France, les femmes parlent mieux anglais que les hommes. En France, le groupe des jeunes adultes est celui qui possède le meilleur niveau. Education First
“There are some countries that are still not giving the basic message that English is a necessary skill,” said Kate Bell, a researcher with EF, in Paris. According to Ms. Bell, the level of English proficiency among French adults suffers both from inadequate teaching at high school level and the reality that — despite fears of French culture’s being overwhelmed by American pop culture, very little English is actually used in everyday life. Unlike its smaller northern European neighbors, France dubs most American films and television shows into French. The top English speakers in continental Europe — Norway, Sweden and the Netherlands — all tend to use subtitling. “It’s a vicious-virtuous cycle,” said Ms. Bell: Audiences not used to subtitling tend to shy away from it, which in turn diminishes their capacity to understand English. France’s secondary school system, which has only recently started testing English oral skills as part of the Baccalaureate, is a major reason for poor language skills, she said. Spain, ranked at 23 in the index, has risen in the listing since introducing public English-Spanish bilingual schools. According to EF data, the country has significantly improved its proficiency level since 2007. Eastern European countries are faring much better. Estonia is fourth in the survey, which puts it in the “very high proficiency” bracket, just after the traditional Scandinavian heavyweights. Poland, Hungary and Slovenia — all in the “high proficiency” bracket — are ranked in the top 10, with Hungary showing significant improvement. “English is the de facto language of communication today between people who don’t share a native language,” Ms. Bell. said “Measuring English proficiency is in many ways a proxy measurement of international integration.” (…) Conversely (…) the EF study suggests that weak proficiency in English may correlate with weak integration into the global economy. “The Middle East and North Africa are the weakest regions in English,” the study said, with Iraq ranked 60th, at the bottom of the list. “Poor English remains one of the key competitive weaknesses of Latin America,” it added, with more than half the countries in the region in the lowest proficiency band. NYT
La relation entre les Français et les langues étrangères est ambiguë. Alors qu’ils se trouvent dans la moyenne en ce qui concerne la mobilité géographique vers un autre pays de l’Union européenne, les Français sont remarquablement peu motivés par la mobilité vers un pays étranger dont la langue n’est pas la leur. Autrement dit, ils disent oui à la mobilité européenne, mais non à l’apprentissage des langues étrangères. Ce constat est d’autant plus inquiétant que leur langue recule face à l’anglais et à l’allemand avec l’élargissement de l’Union européenne: parmi les populations des dix nouveaux États-membres, seuls 3% le maîtrisent, contre 12% dans l’ancienne Union européenne à quinze. Si l’apprentissage des langues ne fait pas l’objet d’un débat sérieux, les Français verront leur marché du travail rétrécir dans les années à venir.  Anna Stellinger
En France les gens ne croient pas à la reconversion (…) Un chef de projet ne peut pas plus devenir avocat qu’un mille-pattes se transformer en aigle. L’un exclut l’autre. Bernard (cité par Lauren Zuckerman, Sorbonne confidential, 2007)
C’est la dissertation avec ses exigences incroyablement archaïques qui fait le plus pour écarter de l’enseignement de l’anglais dans les lycées français ceux qui ne disposent pas du capital culturel nécessaire – et en particulier les locuteurs natifs intelligents et expérimentés de l’anglais (…) En théorie, cette épreuve simple et objective permet d’éliminer les critères subjectifs et l’élément humain si souvent accusés d’exclure les étrangers. En réalité, les critères eux-mêmes sont totalement imprégnés de discrimination et sont bien plus efficaces pour éliminer les candidats non-Français de souche que le plus zélé des partisans de la « France aux Français ». Terence Beck (University of Puget Sound, Tacoma)
The present study shows essentially that it is not only the teaching of foreign languages but also the social status given to foreign languages in France which must be challenged. In order to develop a strong foreign language policy within the education system and to integrate it within society at large it will be necessary to conduct a wide ranging reflection. This reflection should not stay within the education system but should also take into account all the political and social implications of the objective that every citizen should have an operational command of at least one foreign language. (…) It would seem that for French teachers of English what comes first for learning a language remains grammatical correctness. This is why the representation given of learning a language is not conducive to communication. Teachers develop a hankering after perfection which hinders pupils. Thus it is necessary, in France, for teachers and for pupils alike, to have a perfect command of grammar in order to pick up the courage to speak, to express oneself. (…) Teachers aim at “perfection” in the message. Gérard Bonnet
De tous les étudiants que nous recevons, les Français sont ceux qui ont le plus d’inhibition, le plus peur du ridicule et le moins d’aisance à se lancer. Or plus on parle, plus on s’améliore. Oxford Intensive School of English (O.I.S.E.)
La France est pénalisée par sa faible exposition à l’anglais. Hormis à Paris et dans les grandes villes, il est par exemple encore compliqué de trouver des films en VO au cinéma. De la pub aux séries télé, tout est traduit. (…) Les pays scandinaves apprennent l’anglais pour peser à l’international et parce que ça leur coûterait trop cher de tout traduire, étant donné leur population limitée en nombre. La France n’a pas ce besoin… Adeline Prévost
Aujourd’hui, même si c’est de plus en plus difficile, on peut encore vivre en France sans jamais entendre de l’anglais. [Pourtant] la situation monolingue de la France est en train de lentement changer. Il y a quinze ans, je ne pouvais pas donner un texte en anglais à lire à des élèves de master. Aujourd’hui, c’est possible. Les jeunes ont l’habitude de regarder des séries américaines en streaming sur Internet. Il faudra du temps mais la prochaine génération sera bien meilleure. Maria Kihlstedt (Université Paris 10)
L’anglais est difficile parce que la graphie et la phonie ne correspondent pas, et parce que la fréquence des sons est différente de celle du français. (…) (…) On n’apprend pas aux enseignants la phonologie et la meilleure manière d’aborder la prononciation de l’anglais. Sans compter la surcharge des classes, qui comptent 35 élèves… (…) [En Espagne]Le gouvernement a décidé que 50% des cours de la moitié des écoles primaires devraient être bilingues, a fait venir des professeurs d’un peu partout, et a même accordé des bourses pour encourager les jeunes à partir à l’étranger pendant deux-trois semaines durant l’été. Adeline Prévost [la France a certes imposé l’enseignement d’une langue étrangère dès le CP] mais elle ne forme pas les professeurs pour ça. Laure Peskine (secrétaire générale de l’Association des professeurs de langue vivante)

Pas d’anglais, s’il vous plait, nous sommes français !

Arrogance culturelle, culture du sans faute, enseignement trop livresque …

En cette 33e édition du salon Expolangues

Alors qu’entre pickpockets, commerçants antipathiques et piètre maîtrise de l’anglais, la première destination touristique du monde continue ses campagnes pour lutter contre une réputation séculaire …

Et qu’hormis la France, la plupart des pays européens voit baisser leur chômage et remonter leur croissance …

Retour sur la publication, en octobre dernier, d’une nouvelle étude d’Education First sur la maîtrise de l’anglais …

Où les Français se voient à nouveau classer au dernier rang de 21 pays européens et, entre l’Indonésie et Taiwan, 29es sur un total de 63 pays testés …

Société
LANGUES «20 Minutes» fait le point sur le niveau d’anglais des Français, alors que le salon Expolangues a lieu à Paris jusqu’à samedi…
Pourquoi les Français are toujours so bad in English
Nicolas Beunaiche
20 Minutes
06.02.2015

«Semble se complaire dans la médiocrité. Peut mieux faire.» Chaque année, le relevé de notes et les appréciations de la France en anglais sont désespérément les mêmes. Dans la dernière étude publiée en octobre, celle d’Education First, les Français se classent ainsi à la 29e place sur 63, et surtout au dernier rang des 21 pays européens testés sur leur maîtrise de l’anglais. Pire encore, ils ne montrent quasiment aucun signe de progrès par rapport aux années précédentes.

Il n’y a pas là qu’une question de génération. Quel que soit l’échantillon étudié, actifs ou étudiants, le résultat est inchangé. «Aujourd’hui, même si c’est de plus en plus difficile, on peut encore vivre en France sans jamais entendre de l’anglais», regrette Maria Kihlstedt, maître de conférences en sciences du langage à Paris 10. «La France est pénalisée par sa faible exposition à l’anglais, confirme Adeline Prévost, qui présentera samedi les résultats de l’étude d’Education First lors du salon Expolangues. Hormis à Paris et dans les grandes villes, il est par exemple encore compliqué de trouver des films en VO au cinéma. De la pub aux séries télé, tout est traduit.»

Les Français et la peur du ridicule

La France tiendrait-elle donc à ce point à sa langue qu’elle serait prête à se tirer une balle dans le pied? Pour certains spécialistes, il faut y voir une question géopolitique. «Les pays scandinaves apprennent l’anglais pour peser à l’international et parce que ça leur coûterait trop cher de tout traduire, étant donné leur population limitée en nombre, analyse Adeline Prévost. La France n’a pas ce besoin…» Pour d’autres, le Français a tout de même l’excuse de la complexité de la langue. «L’anglais est difficile parce que la graphie et la phonie ne correspondent pas, et parce que la fréquence des sons est différente de celle du français», justifie Laure Peskine, secrétaire générale de l’Association des professeurs de langue vivante.

Tous sont en tout cas d’accord sur un point: si les Français ne s’améliorent pas en anglais, c’est d’abord un problème d’enseignement. La France a beau avoir les professeurs d’anglais les plus qualifiés d’Europe, selon Adeline Prévost, la qualité de l’apprentissage laisserait en effet à désirer. «On n’apprend pas aux enseignants la phonologie et la meilleure manière d’aborder la prononciation de l’anglais, estime Laure Peskine. Sans compter la surcharge des classes, qui comptent 35 élèves…» Nombre d’observateurs pointent aussi la culture française du sans-faute. «De tous les étudiants que nous recevons, les Français sont ceux qui ont le plus d’inhibition, le plus peur du ridicule et le moins d’aisance à se lancer. Or plus on parle, plus on s’améliore», explique-t-on à l’organisme de formation Oxford Intensive School of English (O.I.S.E.).
Le pouvoir du streaming

Ces dernières années, la France a vu passer devant elle l’Espagne dans les classements européens. Un pays dont la langue n’est pourtant pas plus proche de l’anglais que le français. «Le gouvernement a décidé que 50% des cours de la moitié des écoles primaires devraient être bilingues, a fait venir des professeurs d’un peu partout, et a même accordé des bourses pour encourager les jeunes à partir à l’étranger pendant deux-trois semaines durant l’été», détaille Adeline Prévost. Et la France? Elle a certes imposé l’enseignement d’une langue étrangère dès le CP, «mais elle ne forme pas les professeurs pour ça», déplore Laure Peskine, qui craint que les enfants acquièrent de mauvais réflexes. Signe de la place que l’Education nationale accorde à l’anglais, le brevet a par ailleurs intégré en 2011 une nouvelle épreuve orale. La langue de Shakespeare? Non, plutôt William Turner, à travers l’histoire des arts.

Il y a donc de quoi être pessimiste. Pourtant, Maria Kihlstedt considère que «la situation monolingue de la France est en train de lentement changer»: «Il y a quinze ans, je ne pouvais pas donner un texte en anglais à lire à des élèves de master. Aujourd’hui, c’est possible.» «Les jeunes ont l’habitude de regarder des séries américaines en streaming sur Internet, poursuit-elle. Il faudra du temps mais la prochaine génération sera bien meilleure.» Croisons les fingers.

Voir aussi:

English Proficiency Falters Among the French
Christopher F. Schuetze
The New York Times

November 10, 2013

MARSEILLE, France — Marseille’s new Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilisations opened in June, part of the city’s celebration of its status as this year’s European Capital of Culture.

Though the museum is European in ambition, many of its exhibits are labeled only in French: English, though firmly established as the global language of business, education and culture, is glaringly absent from most of the signage, though an English-language audio tour is available.

A study released last week suggests that this absence is symbolic of a significant trend. The study, by Education First, an international education company, found that while English proficiency among European adults is generally increasing, proficiency in France is both low and declining.

According to the third EF English Proficiency Index, released last week, France ranked 35th among 60 nations where English is not the main language. The study put the country’s average English language skills in the “low proficiency” bracket, between China and the United Arab Emirates — and last among European nations. It also found that France was one of only two European countries where proficiency had decreased over the past six years. Norway was the other; but there, proficiency remained at such a high level that the change was insignificant.

The rankings are based on the results of 750,000 online assessment tests completed last year — some online, others by English language school applicants.

EF’s English Proficiency Index, based on the test results, compared country scores with the results of a similar study carried out between 2007 and 2009, to identify trends in proficiency levels over the past six years.

“There are some countries that are still not giving the basic message that English is a necessary skill,” said Kate Bell, a researcher with EF, in Paris.

According to Ms. Bell, the level of English proficiency among French adults suffers both from inadequate teaching at high school level and the reality that — despite fears of French culture’s being overwhelmed by American pop culture, very little English is actually used in everyday life.

Unlike its smaller northern European neighbors, France dubs most American films and television shows into French. The top English speakers in continental Europe — Norway, Sweden and the Netherlands — all tend to use subtitling.

“It’s a vicious-virtuous cycle,” said Ms. Bell: Audiences not used to subtitling tend to shy away from it, which in turn diminishes their capacity to understand English.

France’s secondary school system, which has only recently started testing English oral skills as part of the Baccalaureate, is a major reason for poor language skills, she said.

Spain, ranked at 23 in the index, has risen in the listing since introducing public English-Spanish bilingual schools. According to EF data, the country has significantly improved its proficiency level since 2007.

Eastern European countries are faring much better. Estonia is fourth in the survey, which puts it in the “very high proficiency” bracket, just after the traditional Scandinavian heavyweights. Poland, Hungary and Slovenia — all in the “high proficiency” bracket — are ranked in the top 10, with Hungary showing significant improvement.

“English is the de facto language of communication today between people who don’t share a native language,” Ms. Bell. said “Measuring English proficiency is in many ways a proxy measurement of international integration.”

Turkey, though still a “low proficiency” nation, ranked 41st in the index, was the country showing the biggest improvement in the past six years. EF researchers point to Turkey as a perfect example of economic development and international engagement that go hand-in-hand with English proficiency.

Because of its prominence in international business, higher education and politics, the importance of basic proficiency in English can scarcely be overstated. More than just a linguistic skill, adult English proficiency is key to success in the globalized world.

Conversely, the EF study suggests that weak proficiency in English may correlate with weak integration into the global economy.

“The Middle East and North Africa are the weakest regions in English,” the study said, with Iraq ranked 60th, at the bottom of the list.

“Poor English remains one of the key competitive weaknesses of Latin America,” it added, with more than half the countries in the region in the lowest proficiency band.

 Voir également:

International business
Countries with Better English Have Better Economies
Christopher McCormick
November 15, 2013

Billions of people around the globe are desperately trying to learn English—not simply for self-improvement, but as an economic necessity. It’s easy to take for granted being born in a country where people speak the lingua franca of global business, but for people in emerging economies such as China, Russia, and Brazil, where English is not the official language, good English is a critical tool, which people rightly believe will help them tap into new opportunities at home and abroad.

Why should global business leaders care about people learning English in other parts of the world?

Research shows a direct correlation between the English skills of a population and the economic performance of the country. Indicators like gross national income (GNI) and GDP go up. In our latest edition of the EF English Proficiency Index (EF EPI), the largest ranking of English skills by country, we found that in almost every one of the 60 countries and territories surveyed, a rise in English proficiency was connected with a rise in per capita income. And on an individual level, recruiters and HR managers around the world report that job seekers with exceptional English compared to their country’s level earned 30-50% percent higher salaries.

The interaction between English proficiency and gross national income per capita is a virtuous cycle, with improving English skills driving up salaries, which in turn give governments and individuals more money to invest in language training. On a micro level, improved English skills allow individuals to apply for better jobs and raise their standards of living.

This is one explanation for why Northern European countries are always out front in the EF EPI, with Sweden taking the top spot for the last two years. Given their small size and export-driven economies, the leaders of these nations understand that good English is a critical component of their continued economic success.

It’s not just income that improves either. So does the quality of life. We also found a correlation between English proficiency and the Human Development Index, a measure of education, life expectancy, literacy, and standards of living. As you can see in the chart below, there is a cutoff mark for that correlation. Low and very low proficiency countries display variable levels of development. However, no country of moderate or higher proficiency falls below “Very High Human Development” on the HDI.

For business leaders, knowing which countries are investing in and improving in English can give valuable insight into how a country fits into the global marketplace and how that might affect your company’s strategy. Here are just a few of the questions you might consider:

Which countries are aggressively improving their English proficiency in an effort to attract businesses like mine?
Where could poor English hinder the growth of emerging economies?
In which countries should I target my international recruitment efforts?
As we think about expanding globally, where will my existing, native English-speaking employees find it easiest to relocate?
Business leaders who understand which nations are positioning themselves for a smoother entry into the global marketplace will have a competitive advantage over those who don’t.  Your company needs to know how the center of English language aptitude is shifting. Because knowing English is not just a luxury—it’s the sina qua non of global business today.

Christopher McCormick is Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs at EF Education First and head of the EF Research Network.

Voir encore:

Low English Levels Can Hurt Countries’ Progress
Poor English skills hinder nations’ progress, study says

Charles Anderson

NYT

October 28, 2012

Countries with poor English-language skills also have lower levels of trade, innovation and income, according to a report released last week.

The report ranks 54 countries where English is not a native language, with the top five being Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands, Finland and Norway. The bottom five were Colombia, Panama, Saudi Arabia, Thailand and Libya.

The results were based on a survey of 1.7 million adults on five continents and released by Education First, an international education company based in Switzerland.

“English is key to innovation and competitiveness,” Michael Lu, senior vice president of Education First, said in the report.

Italy, Spain and Portugal were being held back by the fact that they had some of the poorer English skills in Europe, the report said. In the BRIC grouping, India was ranked the highest, at 14th. It was followed by Russia at 29th, China at 36th and Brazil at 46th.

Women generally scored better than men, and the gender gap was widest in the Middle East and North Africa, according to the report.

SYNTHÈSE
La quatrième édition de l’EF EPI classe 63 pays et territoires en fonction du niveau de compétence en anglais des adultes.
En 2014, la langue anglaise est de plus en plus considérée comme une compétence de base dans une économie mondialisée. Cependant, les différents pays adoptent des approches de l’enseignement de l’anglais bien différentes, avec leurs propres préoccupations, contraintes et solutions. Dans certains cas, un événement international, tel que les Jeux olympiques ou la Coupe du monde, constitue une plate-forme d’initiatives d’apprentissage pour les adultes. Dans d’autres cas, les pressions économiques encouragent les pays à utiliser l’anglais comme catalyseur d’internationalisation et de croissance. Aujourd’hui, tous les pays tentent de déterminer si l’anglais représente une menace pour leur langue nationale, évaluent les moyens de former assez d’enseignants pour créer de nouvelles initiatives dans les salles de classe et s’efforcent autant que possible de mettre en place des outils d’évaluation adéquats.

Alors que la discussion sur l’enseignement de l’anglais fait rage au sein des ministères de l’éducation, des parents investissent dans des programmes périscolaires destinés à élever le niveau d’anglais de leurs enfants, des étudiants diplômés migrent à l’étranger, des professionnels ambitieux passent leurs soirées à étudier en ligne et des entreprises octroient des primes aux candidats maîtrisant correctement l’anglais. Un écart considérable subsiste toujours entre l’apprentissage de la langue anglaise dispensé par la plupart des systèmes scolaires et les attentes des parents, des étudiants et des employeurs.

Dans cette quatrième édition de l’indice de compétence en anglais EF, de nombreuses tendances régionales et démographiques examinées dans les éditions précédentes se confirment. L’élaboration de l’indice international annuel comporte une mise à jour de l’analyse des niveaux d’anglais régionaux et de l’écart des compétences en langue anglaise entre les sexes et les générations. Les dernières données indiquent que :
On assiste globalement à un accroissement des compétences en anglais des adultes, bien que cette augmentation soit loin d’être uniforme dans tous les pays et au sein de toutes les populations.
Les femmes parlent mieux anglais que les hommes dans presque tous les pays sondés. Cet écart de compétences constaté est suffisamment important pour avoir des répercussions sur l’emploi. Pour y remédier, il convient tout d’abord de bien comprendre les causes de la faible maîtrise de l’anglais au sein de la population masculine.

Dans le monde, les adultes en milieu de carrière maîtrisent mieux l’anglais que n’importe quelle autre tranche d’âge. Cette constatation soulève des questions quant à la préparation des jeunes diplômés au marché du travail. Elle démontre également que les adultes peuvent améliorer leurs compétences en-dehors d’un cadre scolaire traditionnel.

Le niveau d’anglais en Europe reste bien plus élevé que dans les autres régions et continue de progresser.

Les pays asiatiques présentent un large éventail de niveaux de compétences, d’élevé à très faible, avec à la fois des progrès spectaculaires et une stagnation persistante.

Dans presque tous les pays d’Amérique latine, du Moyen-Orient et d’Afrique du Nord, la maîtrise de l’anglais est faible, voire très faible. Bien que l’on assiste à une amélioration dans quelques pays de ces régions, ce n’est pas le cas pour la plupart.

Il existe des corrélations solides entre la maîtrise de l’anglais et les revenus, la qualité de vie, l’activité commerciale, l’utilisation d’internet et la durée des études. Ces corrélations sont remarquablement stables au fil du temps.

L’ANGLAIS FACILITE LES AFFAIRES
Un meilleur niveau d’anglais facilite les affaires. Partout dans le monde les entreprises traitent de plus en plus d’affaires en anglais. Celles qui ne le font pas risquent de rester en marge derrière leurs concurrents.

ACTIVITÉ COMMERCIALE EN ANGLAIS
La banque mondiale et l’indice Ease of Doing Business de l’International Finance Corporation classent les environnements réglementaires des économies dans le monde en fonction de leur propension à mettre en place et à exploiter une relation professionnelle. L’indice comporte dix sous-indices, parmi lesquels : la facilité à créer une entreprise, l’exercice d’une activité commerciale transfrontalière, l’exécution des contrats et la résolution de l’insolvabilité. Une très bonne maîtrise de l’anglais facilite également les relations commerciales.

Dans les pays où l’anglais n’est pas une langue officielle, sa bonne maîtrise facilite la mise en place d’une activité commerciale. Aujourd’hui dans le monde, l’anglais est de plus en plus utilisé pour les activités professionnelles des entreprises. Un nombre croissant d’entreprises (p. ex., Rakuten, Nokia, Samsung et Renault) adoptent l’anglais en tant que langue d’entreprise. Celles qui refusent de le faire risquent de se trouver à la traîne par rapport à leurs concurrents.

INVESTIR DANS UNE MAIN D’ŒUVRE MAÎTRISANT L’ANGLAIS
Dans un environnement toujours plus international, les entreprises se tournent vers les marchés mondiaux à la recherche de revenus, d’efficacités opérationnelles et de partenariats stratégiques. La capacité à communiquer et à comprendre les cultures étrangères contribue à la réussite de l’expansion des entreprises à l’étranger. Aujourd’hui, l’anglais est devenu le moyen de communication international le plus courant. Plusieurs raisons expliquent pourquoi la maîtrise de la langue anglaise mène à une compétitivité internationale accrue pour une entreprise.

UNE EXPANSION RÉUSSIE À L’ÉTRANGER
La mondialisation pousse un nombre croissant d’entreprises à s’étendre au-delà de leurs frontières et à internationaliser leur manière de faire des affaires. Une enquête de JPMorgan Chase a révélé que 61 % des entreprises du marché intermédiaire ont été très actives sur les marchés internationaux en 2013, jusqu’à 58 % en 2012 et 43 % en 2011. La communication entre les entreprises et leurs clients, collègues, fournisseurs et partenaires en-dehors du marché national est de plus en plus courante. Les entreprises qui prospèrent dans de telles conditions sont celles dont les employés possèdent les compétences et la formation leur permettant de communiquer efficacement au-delà des frontières.

LA MINIMISATION DES PERTES LIÉES AUX PROBLÈMES DE COMMUNICATION
Selon un sondage de l’Economic Intelligence Unit (EIU), près de la moitié des 572 cadres de sociétés multinationales dans le monde a reconnu que des problèmes de communication ont entravé de grands accords internationaux et ont entraîné par là même des pertes importantes pour leurs entreprises. Ce pourcentage est bien plus élevé pour les cadres des entreprises brésiliennes et chinoises : respectivement 74% et 61% d’entre eux ont reconnu avoir subi de telles pertes.

La conclusion est claire : la langue et les différences culturelles sont des obstacles au succès professionnel. D’après cette étude de l’EIU, 64 % des chefs d’entreprise ont déclaré que les différences linguistiques et culturelles rendent difficile l’implantation de leur entreprise sur les marchés étrangers et que les différences culturelles ont nui à leurs objectifs d’expansion internationale. En outre, 70 % ont déclaré rencontrer parfois des difficultés lors des communications avec les actionnaires.

DE MEILLEURS RÉSULTATS
Presque 90 % des cadres interrogés par l’EIU ont déclaré qu’une amélioration de la communication transfrontalière dans leur entreprise permettrait d’augmenter de manière significative à la fois leurs revenus, leurs bénéfices et leur part de marché, avec de meilleures opportunités d’expansion et moins de pertes relatives aux débouchés commerciaux. Selon une autre étude, menée par Illuminas en 2014, une augmentation des ventes a été constatée pour 79 % des décideurs d’entreprises mondiales ayant investi dans la formation en anglais de leur personnel. Parmi les autres avantages commerciaux, on dénombre une meilleure communication entre les salariés, une productivité plus intense de l’effectif et une plus grande satisfaction de la clientèle.

ANGLAIS ET COMPÉTITIVITÉ ÉCONOMIQUE
Dès la première édition de l’EF EPI sont apparues de solides corrélations entre les niveaux de compétence en anglais d’un pays et un certain nombre
d’indicateurs économiques et sociaux.Historiquement, le fait de parler une seconde langue, ou, plus précisément, de parler une seconde langue d’importance notable, a toujours été le marqueur d’une élite sociale et économique. L’Empire britannique et l’expansion économique des États-Unis ont permis d’étendre l’influence de l’anglais. Aujourd’hui, dans de nombreux pays, l’anglais a remplacé le rôle joué autrefois par le français en tant que marqueur de la classe aristocratique instruite. Cependant, la mondialisation, l’urbanisation et Internet ont radicalement changé le rôle de l’anglais ces 20 dernières années. Aujourd’hui, la maîtrise de l’anglais est de moins en moins associée à une élite et n’est plus, comme autrefois, liée aux États-Unis ou au Royaume-Uni. L’anglais devient progressivement une compétence de base nécessaire pour l’ensemble d’une main d’œuvre, tout comme l’alphabétisation est passée, au cours des deux derniers siècles, de privilège d’élite à pré requis de base d’une population éclairée.

UNE BONNE MAÎTRISE DE L’ANGLAIS EST SYNONYME DE REVENUS PLUS ÉLEVÉS
L’anglais est un élément essentiel dans la détermination de l’accès à l’emploi. En Inde par exemple, les employés parlant couramment l’anglais gagnent en moyenne un salaire horaire plus élevé de 34 % par rapport à ceux ne le parlant pas ; même les salariés ayant des connaissances rudimentaires en anglais ont un salaire plus élevé de 13 % par rapport à ceux n’ayant aucune connaissance de cette langue.

L’interaction entre la maîtrise de l’anglais et le revenu national brut par habitant sous-entend l’existence d’un cercle vertueux, par lequel l’amélioration de la langue anglaise fait augmenter les salaires, ce qui permet aux gouvernements et aux individus d’investir plus d’argent dans la formation en anglais. Pour l’anecdote, cette relation s’applique également à l’échelle micro-économique : une bonne maîtrise de la langue anglaise permet aux individus d’obtenir de meilleurs emplois et d’améliorer leur niveau de vie.

Voir par ailleurs:

Le chômage baisse dans la plupart des pays européens… mais pas en France
Marie Bartnik
Le Figaro
05/01/2015

Le nombre de chômeurs a baissé en Espagne en 2014, pour la deuxième année consécutive. Une baisse du chômage est également observée au Royaume-Uni, en Irlande ou en Grèce… Mais pas en France, en Italie et en Finlande.

En Europe, la France fait désormais figure de triste exception. Alors que l’Hexagone a recensé 27.400 chômeurs supplémentaires en novembre et 181.000 depuis le début de l’année, la plupart de ses voisins peuvent se targuer d’avoir inversé la fameuse «courbe du chômage». Avec 253.000 chômeurs de moins en 2014, l’Espagne fait figure, elle, de bonne élève. Mais ces derniers mois, l’Allemagne, l’Irlande, la Grèce, les pays baltes, les Pays-Bas, la Pologne ou encore le Royaume-Uni ont tous enregistré une baisse de leur taux de chômage, selon Eurostat. Et si le taux de chômage portugais est légèrement remonté en octobre et en novembre, il s’établit à 13,9%, contre plus de 15% l’anée dernière. Une spirale positive dont ne bénéficie pas la France, l’Italie ou encore la Finlande.

En cause, dans ces pays, une croissance atone qui peine à créer de l’emploi. Alors que le PIB français, au deuxième trimestre, a stagné sur un an, celui de l’Irlande a progressé, sur la même période, de 6,5%, celui du Royaume-Uni de 3,2%, celui de l’Espagne de 1,2% et celui du Portugal de 0,9%. «Dans les pays anglo-saxons, les principaux freins pesant sur la demande semblent à présent levés», note l’Insee dans sa dernière note de conjoncture. Le reste de la zone euro reste pénalisé par une demande intérieure en berne. Mais la France, l’Italie et la Finlande réalisent des performances particulièrement négatives (respectivement 0%, -0,4% et -0,1%). Difficile, dans ces conditions, de faire baisser le chômage de part et d’autres des Alpes.

Contrats zéro heures
Les pays du Sud de l’Europe – la Grèce, l’Espagne et le Portugal- engrangent aussi le fruit des réformes engagées pendant la crise. Pris dans la tourmente financière ces dernières années, ils ont renforcé la compétitivité de leurs économies. L’Espagne a par exemple réformé son marché du travail, facilitant les licenciements comme les baisses de salaires. Pour créer des emplois, une croissance moins forte qu’avant la crise y est aujourd’hui nécessaire. La piste de la modération salariale a également été empruntée par Lisbonne. Quant à la Grèce, elle retrouve le chemin de la croissance après plusieurs années de réformes drastiques et douloureuses. Le taux de chômage n’en reste pas moins extrêmement élevé.

Dans plusieurs pays européens, la baisse du chômage ne va d’ailleurs pas sans contreparties. Au Royaume-Uni, où il ne dépasse pas 6%, les contrats de travail ultra-flexibles, comme les contrats «zéro heure» (le salarié peut être convoqué à la dernière minute) se sont développés, et avec eux le nombre de travailleurs pauvres en situation précaire. «En Espagne, outre la baisse des salaires, les contrats de travail à temps temporaires et à temps partiel ont progressé. Mais avec un taux de chômage qui culmine encore à près d’un quart de la population active, difficile pour les Espagnols de refuser une opportunité de travailler…

Les 10 commandements de l’apprentissage des langues
Le Café du FLE

Kató Lomb (née à Pécs le 8 février 1909 et morte à Budapest le 9 juin 2003) était une traductrice, linguiste et interprète hongroise.
Elle a appris 17 langues (!) tout au long de sa vie.
Comme elle était plutôt expérimentée dans ce domaine, elle nous a laissé les 10 commandements de l’apprentissage d’une langue étrangère. Vous êtes prêts ? C’est parti !

I – Pratique tous les jours
Pas le temps ? Mais si, voyons.
Il suffit par exemple de se lever un tout petit peu plus tôt tous les jours et de se lancer dans un monologue de 10 minutes.
II – Si ton enthousiasme fléchit, ne force pas, n’abandonne pas tout mais bascule.
Ex : Tu apprends le français et n’en peux plus de cet article et de chercher dans le dictionnaire. Fais une pause en écoutant une chanson francophone que tu apprécies.
III – N’apprends pas de mots isolés. Ne les laisse jamais seuls.
Il vaut mieux apprendre directement des groupes de mots ou des phrases.
IV – Note des éléments de phrases dans la marge des textes que tu lis.
Ils formeront autant d’éléments complets à réutiliser lors des prises de paroles ou lors d’une rédaction.
V – Lorsque tu es fatigué(e), utilise le divertissement pour continuer d’avancer
On peut toujours être en train de pratiquer linguistiquement : par exemple, traduire une publicité dans le bus.
VI – Mémorise seulement le contenu qui a été corrigé par un enseignant.
VII – Mémorise les expressions idiomatiques à la première personne du singulier.
Cette habitude a deux avantages : ne pas tergiverser dans la prise de notes et rendre facilement utilisable l’expression pour plus tard.
VIII – Sois convaincu(e) que tu es fort(e) en langue ! Quand ça ne marche pas, c’est que les connaissances sont en train de se construire, de faire leur chemin, de se mettre en place !
IX – Ne crains pas les erreurs, parle. Parle en demandant à ton interlocuteur de te corriger. Dis-lui que tu apprécies le fait d’être corrigé(e), que tu ne seras pas vexé(e).
X – Une langue étrangère est un château. Il faut l’attaquer de toutes parts, et avec toutes les armes : la radio, les conversations, les manuels, le ciné, le journal, la télé, la radio !

Voir encore:

Gestuelle de l’enseignant : « Le geste permet d’accéder au sens et renforce la mémorisation lexicale ». Entretien avec Marion Tellier
Café du FLE

Bonjour Marion, pourriez-vous nous présenter votre parcours ?

Bonjour. J’ai commencé par faire des études d’anglais. Après une maîtrise de littérature britannique, j’ai fait une maîtrise FLE car je voulais enseigner les langues. Après cela, j’ai poursuivi en DEA (l’ancien équivalent du Master 2 recherche) où j’ai commencé à travailler sur la gestuelle des enseignants de langue. Ce sujet m’a passionnée et comme il y avait peu de travaux sur le sujet, j’ai poursuivi avec un doctorat de linguistique, obtenu en 2006. J’ai ensuite été recrutée comme maître de conférences en didactique des langues à Aix Marseille Université où j’enseigne la didactique et les études de la gestuelle. Je suis également membre du Laboratoire Parole et Langage du CNRS.

Pourquoi vous êtes-vous intéressée à la gestuelle ?

J’étais enseignante de FLE et d’anglais et je voyais bien que le geste était une technique pédagogique très pertinente notamment pour l’accès au sens et pour la mémorisation lexicale. Cependant, quand j’ai cherché des informations sur le sujet, j’ai constaté qu’il y avait très peu d’études. Dans les ouvrages pédagogiques ou dans les instructions officielles, on conseille souvent aux enseignants de « faire des gestes » mais personne n’explique comment ni pourquoi. Et surtout aucune étude n’avait cherché à montrer si c’était efficace. Alors, j’ai essayé de le faire.

Pour illustrer cet entretien, auriez-vous 3 techniques à essayer en classe pour les enseignants qui nous lisent ?

Il faut déjà expliquer de quoi il est question lorsque l’on parle de gestes pédagogiques. Il s’agit de la façon dont un enseignant utilise son corps pour faire passer du sens en langue étrangère. Au lieu de traduire ce qu’il dit dans la langue première des apprenants, il utilise son corps pour véhiculer du sens. Par exemple pour expliquer « conduire », je vais mimer le fait de tenir un volant, pour dire « travaillez par groupes de 3 », je vais faire un geste de rassemblement et indiquer le chiffre 3. Ou encore, pour féliciter un apprenant qui a bien répondu, je vais sourire et acquiescer, peut-être même applaudir. On peut donc utiliser les mains, les postures, la tête, le visage, etc.

La première chose à savoir, c’est que pour que la gestuelle soit efficace, elle doit être visible. L’enseignant est comme un acteur sur une scène de théâtre, il doit être vu et entendu de tous. Donc, de la même façon que l’on projette sa voix pour être entendu, on doit produire une gestuelle ample et dans le champ de vision des apprenants pour être vu. Il faut aussi éviter de parler en se tournant vers le tableau, de restreindre ses gestes, par exemple en tenant des feuilles de papier ou un livre des deux mains.

La deuxième chose est importante notamment lorsque l’on enseigne à des apprenants qui n’appartiennent pas à notre culture (par exemple lorsque l’on est un enseignant de FLE natif). Il faut savoir que certains gestes (pas tous, attention) sont marqués culturellement et s’ils ont une signification pour nous, ils n’en ont pas forcément pour les membres d’une autre culture. On appelle ces gestes des « emblèmes », ils ont une forme fixe et chaque culture en possède un répertoire d’environ 200, ils sont un peu comme des expressions idiomatiques gestuelles. Des gestes typiquement français que l’on peut citer en exemple sont ceux qui vont avec les expressions : « être bourré », « passer sous le nez », « c’est rasoir », « mon œil », etc. Il peut aussi arriver que le même geste existe dans deux cultures avec deux sens différents et là, bonjour les situations d’incompréhension !!! Voici quelques exemples que des enseignants de FLE m’ont rapportés : « En fait, ce sont mes élèves qui ont été choqués quand j’ai utilisé le geste « Dépêchez-vous ! « . Au Mexique, cela fait plutôt penser à une invitation à des relations intimes. » / « Dans un cours de langue, une étudiante indienne me faisait un signe de tête qui à mon sens signifiait « non » à chaque fois que je demandais si elle avait compris. J’ai réexpliqué trois fois avant de lui demander ce qu’elle ne comprenait pas (car ce n’était pas difficile) et elle s’est exclamée : ‘Mais ça fait trois fois que je vous dis que j’ai compris !’ »

Comme on peut le voir dans ces deux exemples, le même geste a des significations différentes entre les cultures, ce genre de quiproquo peut être une très bonne occasion d’aborder le sujet des emblèmes comme contenu de cours (notamment dans une perspective interculturelle).

Troisième chose, et là je reviens sur le geste pédagogique du type « mime », il faut savoir que le geste peut avoir un impact sur la mémorisation du lexique ou de la prononciation. Lorsque vous faîtes des gestes pour expliquer un mot ou pour montrer un contour prosodique, vos apprenants visuels et kinesthésiques (c’est-à-dire la majorité de vos apprenants) en bénéficient grandement. Plusieurs études et notamment une que j’ai faite avec des enfants, montrent que le fait de reproduire un geste en répétant un mot renforce la mémorisation lexicale. Ainsi, si on fait répéter le mot « livre » en mimant l’ouverture et la fermeture d’un livre avec les mains jointes, la mémorisation en sera renforcée. Bien sûr, ça marche surtout pour les mots concrets.
Comment peut-on en savoir plus sur ce thème et sur vos travaux ?

J’ai un blog « Sur le bout des doigts » où j’annonce les conférences et formations que je donne ainsi que mes publications.

Et surtout ma page professionnelle où tous mes articles sont en ligne gratuitement.

Et voici un ouvrage sur le corps et la voix de l’enseignant écrit avec Lucile Cadet  !

Merci Marion et à bientôt !

Merci à vous !


Cinéma: On ne peut calculer le nombre de vies sauvées (As the American left lashes out at the most lethal sniper in US history with 160 confirmed kills)

26 janvier, 2015
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18:31 – Bon boulot – Dominique, quinquagénaire, a applaudi « un tireur d’élite » quand elle l’a vu « perché sur un toit »: « on est contents qu’ils soient là pour protéger le bas peuple pendant la manif ». « Les gens ont une mauvaise opinion de la police en général, mais ils bossent dans des conditions difficiles, et quand il s’agit de sauver des êtres humains, ils font bien leur boulot », renchérit Joël, 64 ans, qui tenait « absolument » à les applaudir. Annick, elle, souligne « leur dévouement et ce qu’ils ont perdu comme vies aussi, et leurs blessés ». « Pour une fois qu’on les remercie… » Le Nouvel obs
Malgré la violence la plus crue, les explosions sanglantes et, littéralement, la boucherie humaine qui y est montrée, The Hurt locker est l’un des plus efficaces films de recrutement pour l’Armée américaine que j’ai jamais vu. Tara McKelvey (American prospect)
Mon oncle a été tué par un sniper pendant la Seconde Guerre mondiale. On nous apprenait que les snipers étaient des lâches. Qu’ils vous tiraient dans le dos. Les snipers ne sont pas des héros. Et les envahisseurs sont pires. Michael Moore
Je viens de voir American sniper. C’est un film puissant, le pendant de Coming Home (film sur la vie d’un prisonnier politique chinois après sa libération, ndlr). Bradley Cooper est sensationnel. Bravo Clint Eastwood. Jane Fonda
Quelle fin tragiquement ironique pour ce tireur d’élite qui a survécu à quatre déploiements en Irak. J’étais contre l’intervention américaine là-bas mais c’est une toile de fond intéressante pour y situer une histoire. J’ai déjà réalisé des films ayant la guerre comme sujet, mais pas comme celui-là, sur un conflit aussi controversé et montré ici sous un autre jour. À travers le regard de ce tireur d’élite, engagé volontaire, patriote invétéré rongé par le regret de n’avoir pu sauver plusieurs de ses frères d’armes, et dont le retour à la vie civile n’a pas été facile. Quand on tue autant de gens, même si on est entraîné pour et qu’on finit par être insensibilisé, ça doit forcément laisser des séquelles. Ça n’a pas été un film facile à faire, sans doute l’un des plus ardus de ma carrière. Le scénario était très complexe, avec plein de ramifications… Clint Eastwood
Les Irakiens, Chris Kyle ne les aime pas. Doux euphémisme. À ses yeux, ce sont tous «des sauvages» qui n’hésitent pas à envoyer des femmes et des enfants faire le sale boulot. Ses deux premières victimes furent une mère et son fils, justement. La première s’avançait vers un check point de marines, bardée d’une ceinture d’explosifs. Elle venait de confier une grenade à son rejeton. Chris Kyle dut abattre les deux, contraint et forcé, après avoir reçu le feu vert de ses supérieurs. Ce furent ses deux tirs les plus difficiles. «Après, confie-t-il, tuer des gens n’est pas très compliqué», surtout quand, selon lui, «ils incarnent le Mal», puisqu’ils veulent abattre des soldats américains. Le politiquement correct n’est pas le style de Kyle. Il avoue «aimer la guerre» et regrette seulement de «ne pas avoir abattu plus de salopards». En quatre séjours en Irak, il a bâti sa légende sur des tirs mémorables. À Sadr City (Bagdad) en 2008, juché sur un toit, Chris aperçoit un homme armé d’un RPG (lance-roquettes). À près de deux kilomètres de distance, le sniper fait mouche et atteint une notoriété quasi instantanée parmi ses pairs. «Dieu a soufflé sur cette balle et l’a touché», sourit le Texan, qui revendique fièrement sa culture chrétienne. Sur le haut du bras gauche, en dessous de l’épaule, à côté du trident des Seals, il a fait tatouer une énorme croix de templier rouge vif, qu’il dévoile volontiers. Élevé dans l’amour de Dieu, de la patrie et de la famille, Kyle assume: «Là-bas, je voulais que tout le monde sache que je suis chrétien, et que je suis un féroce guerrier de Dieu.» La foi chevillée au corps, il pense qu’il devra «peut-être patienter un peu plus longtemps que les autres en salle d’attente au purgatoire», mais garde la conscience tranquille. Ses «exploits», il a fini par les relater dans un livre*, qui caracole depuis trois mois en tête des ventes: 419 000 exemplaires déjà vendus. Devenu une légende vivante au sein de l’armée, Chris Kyle passe pour avoir sauvé des centaines de vies, armé de son seul fusil à lunette. L’usure nerveuse finit cependant par le rattraper lors de son quatrième déploiement en Irak. Il cède alors aux pressions de sa femme Taya, qui ne supporte plus ses absences prolongées. Un ultime coup de chance lors d’une fusillade dans Sadr City, dont il réchappe miraculeusement, lui font réaliser qu’il n’est «tout compte fait pas invincible», malgré ce fidèle «ange gardien» qui a longtemps veillé sur lui. Dans la foulée, il quitte l’armée pour «se consacrer enfin à sa famille». Mais il n’en a pas fini avec une notoriété grandissante. De retour au pays, des inconnus viennent le remercier pour leur avoir «sauvé la peau» tel jour à Faloudja. D’autres anonymes paient discrètement la facture lorsqu’il dîne au restaurant avec Taya. De partout, les sollicitations affluent. La Navy et la Garde nationale du Texas n’ont pas renoncé à le convaincre de rempiler. Les édiles locaux font des pieds et des mains pour qu’il s’engage en politique. Mais Chris Kyle n’a guère plus d’estime pour les hommes politiques que pour les insurgés irakiens. «Républicains comme démocrates, ce sont tous des escrocs», affirme-t-il sur un ton péremptoire. À défaut de carrière publique, c’est le monde du cinéma qui le courtise. Un scénario circule depuis quelque temps à Hollywood. Mais Kyle a posé ses conditions: il mettra son veto à tout acteur qui lui déplairait pour incarner son rôle. «Je ne veux pas d’un acteur comme Matt Damon et tous ces types qui ont exprimé leur opposition à la guerre en Irak», confesse ce grand nostalgique, qui préfère nettement Chuck Norris ou… Ronald Reagan. Le Figaro (09.04.12)
The very term “sniper” seems to stir passionate reactions on the left. The criticism misses the fundamental value that snipers add to the battlefield. Snipers engage individual threats. Rarely, if ever, do their actions cause collateral damage. Snipers may be the most humane of weapons in the military arsenal. The job also takes a huge emotional toll on the man behind the scope. The intimate connection between the shooter and the target can be hard to overcome for even the most emotionally mature warrior. The value of a sniper in warfare is beyond calculation. I witnessed the exceptional performance of SEAL, Army and Marine snipers on the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan. They struck psychological fear in our enemies and protected countless lives. Chris Kyle and the sniper teams I led made a habit of infiltrating dangerous areas of enemy-controlled ground, established shooting positions and coordinated security for large conventional-unit movement. More than half the time, the snipers didn’t need to shoot; over-watch and guidance to the ground troops was enough. But when called upon, snipers like Chris Kyle engaged enemy combatants and “cleared the path” for exposed troops to move effectively and safely in their arduous ground missions. These small sniper teams pulled the trigger at their own risk. If their position was discovered, they had little backup or support. Rorke Denver
The ideal thing would be if I knew the number of lives I saved, because that’s something I’d love to be known for. But you can’t calculate that. Chris Kyle
At this point I’d never killed anyone, so it definitely made me pause. But also the fact that it’s not a man — it was difficult. So we tried to radio the Marines to let them handle it. I didn’t want to have to be the one who had to take the woman’s life. We couldn’t raise them on the radio, so I ended up having to take the shot. Chris Kyle (about his very first kill in Iraq — a woman trying to blow up advancing Marines with a hidden grenade)
I don’t remember Michael Moore or any other Hollywood grandees objecting much to the 2001 war film Enemy at the Gates, which was supposedly loosely based on the controversial (and perhaps less than verifiable) career of the deadly sniper Vasily Zaitsev. That movie portrayed the expert Zaitsev as a hero in trying to cut down Wehrmacht officers and soldiers on behalf of the Soviet cause. It reminded audiences not just that Zaitsev’s sniping could save his fellow Russians, but that it was also a very dangerous business for the shooter: As the hunter, Zaitsev often very quickly became the hunted. Nor did Moore et al. object to the positive portrayal of the sniper Private Daniel Jackson (Barry Pepper) in Saving Private Ryan. Jackson, from his hidden perches, kills lots of unsuspecting Germans with his telescopic sniper rifle, saving members of hero John Miller’s company—until he himself is blown up by German tank fire. In Captain Phillips Navy SEAL snipers are portrayed as “marksmen” who nonetheless stealthily blow apart Somali pirates, and thereby save Phillips’s life. Hollywood and film critics were also quite enthusiastic about that movie, apparently including the final rescue of Phillips by skilled “snipers” (i.e., the targeted pirates never knew that they were being targeted and never knew what hit them). What has more likely caused some controversy over American Sniper is not the sniper profession per se of Chris Kyle (since snipers were not de facto deemed suspect in prior films), but three other considerations: a) American Sniper often portrays the Islamist insurgents as savage, and Kyle as complex, but nevertheless both patriotic and heroic in protecting other Americans from them; b) the movie does not serve as a blanket damnation of the Iraq war, at least as is otherwise typical for the Hollywood Iraq film genre; in this regard, unlike many recent Hollywood film titles with the proper noun American in them (e.g., American Hustle, American Gangster, American Psycho, American History X, American Beauty, etc.), the film quite unusually does not dwell on American pathologies; and c) perhaps most important, the film is very successful, and has resonated with the public at the precise time when other recent movies more welcomed by the establishment, such as Selma, have so far not. Victor Davis Hanson

Attention: une propagande peut en cacher une autre!

A l’heure où des policiers et des tireurs d’élite sur les toits parisiens se voient pour une fois …

Non hués mais salués par la population …

Comment ne pas voir pour ce qu’elle est …

La nouvelle polémique, après celles The Hurt locker et de Zero dark thirty, de nos gauchistes de service …

Contre le nouveau film de Clint Eastwood et hommage posthume (victime il y a deux ans d’un sous-officier de marine de 20 ans souffrant de stress post-traumatique dont il s’occupait) …

Au tireur d’élite le plus décoré de toute l’histoire militaire des États-Unis …

A savoir de la pure propagande ?

The Ideal Thing Would Be If I Knew the Number of Lives I Saved’: Chris Kyle Defends His Record

Brendan Bordelon
NRO

January 19, 2015

Michael Moore called him a “coward.” Peter Mass of Glenn Greenwald’s the Intercept slammed him for calling Iraqis “savages.” Former Daily Beast reporter Max Blumenthal described him as a “mass murderer” — a sentiment later echoed on a defaced billboard that’s advertising the most popular movie in America.

The American Left is frothing at the mouth over Clint Eastwood’s portrayal of decorated Navy SEAL Chris Kyle in American Sniper.

Murdered by a mentally ill veteran he was counseling in February 2013, Kyle is no longer here to defend himself. But a C-SPAN video from April 2012 does a pretty good job of putting the lie to the Left’s portrait of a remorseless sociopathic killer.

The most lethal sniper in American history, Kyle is credited with 160 confirmed kills during his four tours of duty in Iraq. But while his detractors would claim Kyle obsessed over that number as a badge of honor, the real American sniper’s focus for his work lay elsewhere. “The ideal thing would be if I knew the number of lives I saved, because that’s something I’d love to be known for,” he said. “But you can’t calculate that.”

Kyle also described his very first kill in Iraq — a woman trying to blow up advancing Marines with a hidden grenade. And while liberals have made much of Kyle’s written admission that he “enjoyed” taking lives, that was not at all the sentiment he expressed during the interview.

“At this point I’d never killed anyone, so it definitely made me pause,” he said. “But also the fact that it’s not a man — it was difficult. So we tried to radio the Marines to let them handle it. I didn’t want to have to be the one who had to take the woman’s life. We couldn’t raise them on the radio, so I ended up having to take the shot.”

Voir aussi:

What American Sniper Reveals About the Soldier at War and at Peace
Peter Simek

B+, Movies.

Jan 15, 2015

The best films about the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts have been movies that are as concerned about the home front as they are about the field of battle. The latest is Clint Eastwood’s American Sniper, a film based on the life of Chris Kyle, the “deadliest sniper in U.S. history.” Kyle’s real life played out like a movie in its own right. For more on the real Kyle, check out Michael Mooney’s 2013 D Magazine feature here. For the purposes of this piece, though, I’m just going to reflect on the semi-fictional Kyle, played by Bradley Cooper in Eastwood’s new movie.

With American Sniper, Eastwood has used Kyle’s life to take a broader look at what it means to be a soldier. Kyle offers a readymade hero. A down-and-out guy from Texas who, after 9/11, decides to leave the bar and get serious about his life. He joins the Navy and eventual becomes a Navy SEAL. Even though he ends up in the most elite fighting force, importantly, the arc of Kyle’s military career is typical: he is not coming from much and has nothing to lose by signing up. He is driven by a sincere pride of country matched with a strong drive and sense of purpose provided by the military. It also turns out he is a good shot. And he discovers other hidden talents — a razor-sharp focus, fidelity to his fellow soldiers, and fearlessness — that make him uniquely lethal in the field of battle.

Before he’s sent off to war, Kyle meets his future wife, Taya (Sienna Miller), and their relationship helps frame Eastwood’s interest in exploring what it is like to be both a highly trained killer and a husband and (eventually) father. In the field of battle, Kyle is unstoppable. In a number of high-energy action sequences, American Sniper can feel like a well-made, if somewhat rudimentary action flick, replete with some cheesy G.I. Joe-style dialogue. Kyle kills bad guys just at the right time; he leads platoons of grunts into buildings and roots out the bad guys; we watch him get in and out of jams and melodramatic showdowns. Kyle kills to save lives — that much Eastwood wants to make extremely clear with these high-tension shoot-out scenes. Eastwood has to make sure we understand that Kyle’s killing is an act of saving because what makes American Sniper really click is the way it begins to register the weight of just what it means to kill, even when the killing seems to be entirely justified.

As we follow Kyle through successive tours, we begin to see the cost of war on his life, family, and psyche. He is distant to friends and family; he and his wife begin to fight. Cooper does a great job of slowly receding into himself. His speaking turns to grunts, and his posture and demeanor reflect an unspoken, unbearable weight of life at home. Kyle keeps returning for more tours, and he justifies it by saying he can’t stand being at home when he knows his fellow soldiers are in the field of battle. He is good at what he does, and he wants to do it and help his buds. But it also becomes obvious that he suffers from something many soldiers have described about their experience returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. The mundane everyday no longer seems like living when compared to the intense life-and-death reality of the field of battle.

This disconnect is brought together in most dramatic fashion in a scene when Kyle is on a satellite phone with his wife while perched in his sniper’s nest in Iraq. As they chat, a young Iraqi boy is dragged into a square by fighters and executed in front of his family. In the mayhem that ensues, Kyle drops his phone, and his wife stands on a suburban street in Texas listening to the hell of the firefight unfold through her cellphone. The scene is so emotionally wrought, so melodramatic, it almost feels garish and overdone. But at the same time, isn’t this how most of us have experienced these wars, with this paradoxical mix of intimacy and disconnect supplied by modern-day media?

This disconnect seems to be at the heart of what Eastwood is trying to work out in American Sniper. How can someone trained to excel in the field of combat adjust to life after combat? It is an ancient concern of war literature, going all the way back to Homer. Here, Eastwood approaches it through the lens of a society that continually honors and praises its troops, dragging them out to sporting events and sticking bumper stickers on cars, and yet, a society that, at the same time, has never been more insulated to the intimacies and costs of war.

In the end, as we know from everything that has been written about Kyle’s life, there is a gross irony in that he is eventually killed by a fellow veteran. In the movie, Eastwood doesn’t gloss over this tragic twist. Just when it looks like Kyle may be able to come to grips with life after war by mentoring fellow vets, he is killed by someone who can’t overcome his own psychological turmoil. It’s what makes the film’s closing moments, the actual footage of Kyle’s monumental funeral at Cowboys Stadium, both moving and difficult. Yes, we support our troops. We honor our fallen. Our soldiers have done heroic, important work. But as we watch Kyle honored on the Cowboys blue star on the 50-yard line, Eastwood reminds us that we still don’t seem to grasp the real solemnity and human cost of all of it.
Not sure which movie the author saw, but his writing contains enough factual errors (relative to the movie) to make me lose interest in whatever it is he’s trying to express. In the movie, Chris Kyle enlisted after seeing the 1998 attacks on US embassies in Dar es Salaam and Nairobi on TV. He had been in the service for three years by the time 9/11 happened.

Likewise, in the movie when Kyle drops his satellite phone during a firefight, his wife was listening in from a sidewalk in front of a medical facility she had just exited. There was no « suburban street » in that scene and it’s unclear if she was in Texas, California or elsewhere.

These might seem like minor points, but when the author cannot be counted on to get the minor points right it diminishes the strength of his entire message.

Voir également:

Snipers, Correct and Incorrect
Victor Davis Hanson

NRO

January 21, 2015

Were a confused Michael Moore and others faulting American Sniper on the argument that Chris Kyle was a sniper per se, or that he was an American sniper?

I don’t remember Michael Moore or any other Hollywood grandees objecting much to the 2001 war film Enemy at the Gates, which was supposedly loosely based on the controversial (and perhaps less than verifiable) career of the deadly sniper Vasily Zaitsev. That movie portrayed the expert Zaitsev as a hero in trying to cut down Wehrmacht officers and soldiers on behalf of the Soviet cause. It reminded audiences not just that Zaitsev’s sniping could save his fellow Russians, but that it was also a very dangerous business for the shooter: As the hunter, Zaitsev often very quickly became the hunted.

Nor did Moore et al. object to the positive portrayal of the sniper Private Daniel Jackson (Barry Pepper) in Saving Private Ryan. Jackson, from his hidden perches, kills lots of unsuspecting Germans with his telescopic sniper rifle, saving members of hero John Miller’s company—until he himself is blown up by German tank fire.

In Captain Phillips Navy SEAL snipers are portrayed as “marksmen” who nonetheless stealthily blow apart Somali pirates, and thereby save Phillips’s life. Hollywood and film critics were also quite enthusiastic about that movie, apparently including the final rescue of Phillips by skilled “snipers” (i.e., the targeted pirates never knew that they were being targeted and never knew what hit them).

What has more likely caused some controversy over American Sniper is not the sniper profession per se of Chris Kyle (since snipers were not de facto deemed suspect in prior films), but three other considerations:

a) American Sniper often portrays the Islamist insurgents as savage, and Kyle as complex, but nevertheless both patriotic and heroic in protecting other Americans from them;

b) the movie does not serve as a blanket damnation of the Iraq war, at least as is otherwise typical for the Hollywood Iraq film genre; in this regard, unlike many recent Hollywood film titles with the proper noun American in them (e.g., American Hustle, American Gangster, American Psycho, American History X, American Beauty, etc.), the film quite unusually does not dwell on American pathologies; and

c) perhaps most important, the film is very successful, and has resonated with the public at the precise time when other recent movies more welcomed by the establishment, such as Selma, have so far not.

Voir encore:

American sniper : le film de Clint Eastwood divise l’Amérique
Europe 1

21 janvier 2015

Le film American sniper de Clint Eastwood remporte un grand succès aux Etats-Unis. Mais il suscite aussi les critiques de certains qui l’assimilent à une œuvre de propagande pour l’armée.
Succès économique et source de polémique. Pas besoin de faire l’unanimité pour amasser des millions de dollars au box-office. Pour American sniper, le nouveau film de Clint Eastwood, c’est même l’inverse. Son énorme succès en salles depuis sa sortie outre-Atlantique -105 millions de dollars soit 90 millions d’euros en un week-end, ce qui en fait l’œuvre la plus rentable du célèbre acteur-réalisateur- s’accompagne de débats houleux qui divisent l’Amérique.

160 victimes au cours de sa carrière. La pomme de discorde ? Le traitement cinématographique privilégié par Clint Eastwood de l’histoire de Chris Kyle, tireur d’élite au sein des forces spéciales, les Navy Seals. Ce sniper, aujourd’hui décédé, est connu sous deux surnoms qui résument bien le personnage : Chris Kyle est « la légende » pour ses frères d’armes et « le diable » pour ses ennemis. Bien que ce titre soit difficilement vérifiable, ce soldat américain est en effet connu pour être le sniper le plus meurtrier de l’histoire militaire du pays. Le Pentagone lui « crédite » 160 morts, tandis que lui en revendique 255 dans son autobiographie dont le scénario s’inspire.

Un « féroce soldat de Dieu ». Chris Kyle est incarné par Bradley Cooper dans American sniper. Au long du film, le spectateur est confronté à la violence des scènes de guerre, mais aussi au difficile retour à la vie civile et familiale de ces soldats, souvent sujets au stress post-traumatique. Héroïsé par certains, largement médiatisé, Chris Kyle s’est fait connaître par ses sorties violentes. Au Figaro, il expliquait en avril 2012 que les Irakiens étaient des « sauvages, qui n’hésitent pas à envoyer des femmes et des enfants faire le sale boulot ». Il se considérait également comme « un féroce soldat de Dieu », content de savoir que chaque personne qu’il tuait « ne risquait pas de planter une bombe artisanale sous une route au passage d’un convoi américain ».

Hollywood divisé. Ajoutez à ces déclarations fracassantes un tatouage en forme de croix de templier rouge vif et un accent texan prononcé. Il n’en faut pas plus pour diviser les Etats-Unis autour du film qui campe le personnage. D’un côté, de nombreux médias et personnalités ont critiqué une œuvre qui esthétise la mort et joue le rôle de propagande de l’armée américaine. Parmi eux, le réalisateur de Bowling for Columbine Michael Moore, grand opposant à la guerre en Irak et au libre port d’armes aux Etats-Unis. « Mon oncle a été tué par un sniper pendant la Seconde Guerre mondiale. On nous apprenait que les snipers étaient des lâches. Qu’ils vous tiraient dans le dos. Les snipers ne sont pas des héros. Et les envahisseurs sont pires », martèle-t-il.

Avant Michael Moore, Jane Fonda avait été la première personnalité du cinéma américain à réagir, positivement elle, au film. « Je viens de voir American sniper. C’est un film puissant, le pendant de Coming Home (film sur la vie d’un prisonnier politique chinois après sa libération, ndlr). Bradley Cooper est sensationnel. Bravo Clint Eastwood. »

Campagne marketing ciblée. Comme le montre le Wall Street Journal (en anglais, édition abonnés), le film a été proportionnellement drainé moins de spectateurs dans les grandes aires urbaines des côtes est et ouest, majoritairement démocrates et libérales, comparé au franc succès qu’il a remporté dans le sud du pays et dans le Midwest, résolument républicains et conservateurs. Un phénomène logique, et même voulu par le studio de production, comme en atteste le témoignage d’un employé dans The Hollywood Reporter cité par le blog du Monde Bigbrowser : une campagne marketing, tournée vers un public conservateur via des publicités sur Fox News et dans des magazines militaires a permis de faire de ce succès un « phénomène culturel »

Un phénomène culturel, mais aussi politique, puisque l’ex-sénatrice de l’Alaska et figure de la droite radicale américaine Sarah Palin a elle aussi réagi contre les « gauchos d’Hollywood » qui « crachent sur les tombes des combattants de la liberté qui vous permettent de faire ce que vous faites ».

Clint Eastwood dépassé ? Pourtant, dans un débat lors d’une avant-première le 8 décembre dernier, Clint Eastwood affirmait ne pas vouloir faire l’allégorie de la guerre avec American Sniper, commel’explique Première. Il avait même réaffirmé son opposition à la guerre en Irak, en parlant de « l’arrogance de vouloir entrer en guerre sans même se poser la question de sa justification, ni des conséquences tragiques qu’elle aurait pour tant de monde ». Le ralisateur rappelait qu’il avait grandi pendant la Seconde Guerre Mondiale, dans l’espoir qu’elle « finirait toutes les guerres ». Bradley Cooper, l’acteur principal du film, a lui aussi affirmé qu' »American sniper n’était pas un film politique » dans le Guardian.

Une Amérique coupée en deux ? Médias et opinion publique voient en American Sniper la ligne de fracture entre une Amérique de l’intérieur, conservatrice et républicaine, et une Amérique des côtes, élitiste et démocrate. Une opposition manichéenne que refusent de légitimer de nombreux éditorialistes américains. « Une partie des spectateurs du film l’ont-ils regardé à travers un prisme xénophobe et belliqueux? Sûrement. Et ces gens sont haineux et simplets. Mais ceux qui font de ces gens une population cohérente et identifiée qu’ils regardent avec mépris sont tout aussi bêtes que ceux qu’ils critiquent », peut-on lire notamment sur Flavorwire.

American Sniper ne laisse décidément personne indifférent, puisque le cours de la justice lui-même pourrait être perturbé par la sortie de ce film. En effet, Chris Kyle avait été tué près de chez lui au Texas en février 2013, lors d’un gala en faveur des vétérans de l’armée touchés par le syndrome de stress post-traumatique (PTSD). L’accusé, lui-même victime de PTSD, doit être jugé le 11 février prochain dans un procès où il risque la peine de mort. Son avocat estime que le film pose problème puisqu’il « pourrait influencer le jury », explique BFMTV.

Voir également:

Pourquoi le film American Sniper fait polémique
Victor Garcia

L’Express

20/01/2015

En salle le 18 février en France, American Sniper défraie déjà la chronique aux Etats-Unis. Entre succès au box-office et critiques, le film ne laisse pas indifférent. Certains lui reprochent d’être un film de propagande de l’armée américaine.

Succès et polémique. American Sniper nourrit les passions. Nommé six fois aux Oscars, dominant le box-office, le film réalisé par Clint Eastwood a engrangé 105 millions de dollars dès son premier week-end d’exploitation.

Au-delà de ce succès incontestable, plusieurs voix s’élèvent aux États-Unis, notamment celles de réalisateurs, qui estiment qu’American Sniper est un film de propagande pour l’armée américaine. D’autant plus malvenu compte-tenu du bilan de l’intervention américaine en Irak.

Quel est le scénario ?
American Sniper s’inspire de la vie de Chris Kyle, le sniper le plus meurtrier de l’histoire militaire américaine -mort depuis-, incarné par Bradley Cooper. Un tireur d’élite qui a été envoyé à quatre reprises en Irak, et qui a revendiqué 255 ennemis tués. Le Pentagone, quant à lui, en décompte 160.

American Sniper retrace le quotidien de cet homme sur le champ de bataille, les atrocités dont il est témoin, mais aussi sa vie de famille, avec laquelle il n’arrive plus à vivre normalement une fois de retour au pays. Le film reprend directement le scénario du livre autobiographique de celui qui est surnommé al-Shaitan (« le diable ») par ses ennemis et « La Légende » par ses frères d’armes des forces spéciales américaines, les Navy SEAL.

Que lui reprochent notamment Michael Moore et Seth Rogen?
La glorification de l’armée américaine et des forces spéciales ainsi que de son rôle en Irak n’est pas du goût de tout le monde. Michael Moore, le réalisateur de Bowling for Columbine et militant contre le port d’armes, n’y est pas allé de main morte. « Mon oncle a été tué par un sniper pendant la Seconde Guerre mondiale. On nous apprenait que les snipers étaient des lâches. Qu’ils vous tiraient dans le dos. Les snipers ne sont pas des héros. Et les envahisseurs sont pires », a-t-il lancé sur Twitter, remettant en cause directement l’intervention américaine en Irak.

Le réalisateur de The Interview, Seth Rogen, a de son côté estimé que American Sniper lui faisait penser « au film qui est montré dans la troisième partie d’Inglorious Basterds », réalisé par Quentin Tarentino.

Seth Rogen fait en fait référence à Nations Pride, un film -parodique- de propagande nazie imaginé par Quentin Tarentino dans Inglorious Basterds. Dans Nations Pride, un sniper nazi, perché en haut d’une tour, abat des centaines d’ennemis. Il devient alors le héros de toute la nation… Voir ci-dessous:

La réponse des « patriotes »
La réponse des défenseurs du film s’est faite notamment par le Daily Caller, rapporte le site Inquisitr.. Dans son éditorial, le journal estime qu' »Hollywood est majoritairement de gauche et a produit une série de films anti-guerre et anti-militaire qui ont été des flop au box-office. Dans ce monde, American Sniper est une anomalie. Il montre la vie de Kyle sans fard et sans jugement. Son succès est la preuve que les gens sont venus voir la vie de celui que la plupart considère comme un héros ».

Le site Metacritic.com, site référence de compilation de critiques de la presse américaine, attribue la note de 72 sur 100 à American Sniper, qui récolté 33 critiques « positives » et 12 « partagées ». 191 spectateurs ont également notés le film de Clint Eastwood, qui obtient une note de 7,1 sur 10, avec 142 critiques positives, 22 partagées et 27 négatives.

Voir encore:

Polémique
« American Sniper » accusé de propagande

Kahina Sekkai

Paris Match

22 janvier 2015

«American Sniper», le film de Clint Eastwood, relance le débat sur Chris Kyle, le sniper le plus meurtrier de l’armée américaine, et les tireurs d’élite. Certains spectateurs ont écrit de violentes insultes racistes sur les réseaux sociaux, mais les Républicains ont volé au secours du long-métrage.

Près de deux ans après la mort de Chris Kyle, la sortie du film «American Sniper» a déclenché une polémique aux Etats-Unis. Le sniper le plus meurtrier de l’histoire de l’armée américaine était-il un héros de guerre ou un «lâche»? Le film, selon de nombreux critiques, glorifie le rôle des snipers. Le réalisateur engagé Michael Moore a été un des premiers à dénoncer ces tireurs d’élite: «Les snipers ne sont pas des héros. Et les envahisseurs sont les pires», a-t-il écrit sur son compte Twitter, racontant que son oncle avait été tué par un sniper lors de la Seconde guerre mondiale.

Sur le site de microblogging, certains spectateurs ont vanté les mérites du film, mais du côté de la haine: « »American Sniper » me donne envie d’aller tirer sur des putains d’Arabes», écrit ainsi un certain @dezmondharmon. « »American Sniper m’a fait apprécier les soldats 100 fois plus et détester les musulmans 1 million de fois plus», complète #ItsReeceyYh. «Il est bon de voir un film où les Arabes sont représentés pour ce qu’ils sont vraiment –de la vermine pourrie qui veut nous détruire», assure de son côté @harshnewyorker. Ces commentaires ont été compilés par @LeslieK_nope:

Les Républicains défendent Chris Kyle et le film
L’acteur Seth Rogen a écrit sur Twitter qu’«American Sniper» lui «faisait un peu penser» au film de propagande tourné par les nazis et montré dans «Inglorious Basterds», de Quentin Tarantino.

Sarah Palin a rapidement pris la défense du film et de Chris Kyle, qu’elle connaissait personnellement: «Alors que vous caressez des trophées en plastique qui brille, que vous vous échangez en crachant sur la tombe des combattants de la liberté qui vous ont permis de le faire, sachez que le reste de l’Amérique considère que vous n’êtes pas dignes de cirer les bottes de combat de Chris Kyle», a écrit la candidate malheureuse républicaine à la vice-présidence sur Facebook. Newt Gingrich, l’ancien chef des Républicains à la Chambre des représentants, a pour sa part estimé que «Michael Moore devrait passer quelques semaines avec EI et Boko Haram, il apprécierait « American Sniper »».

La personnalité de Chris Kyle est depuis longtemps controversée. Il aurait tué plus de 255 personnes pendant ses dix années de service, et avait été surnommé «le diable de Ramadi» par les insurgés irakiens qu’il prenait pour cibles. Le directeur adjoint de la rédaction de Match l’avait rencontré en mai 2012, au Texas, où il avait fondé une société qui avait pour devise: «La violence résout les problèmes». «Quand je vois les massacres, les tortures et toutes les horreurs que nos ennemis ont commis, je n’ai aucun regret. J’ai fait ça pour mon peuple, pour défendre mes camarades et empêcher ces ordures de commettre davantage d’atrocités. Si j’avais pu en tuer davantage, je l’aurais fait.» «La guerre n’a rien d’amusant, pourtant il se trouve que je m’amusais», poursuivait-il.

Il était en 2012 en négociations afin que son livre «American Sniper» soit porté sur grand écran. Sur le choix de l’acteur qui l’interprétera, Chris Kyle avait rejeté en bloc Matt Damon: «Certainement pas. C’est moi qui décide, et ce n’est pas un opposant à la guerre qui jouera mon rôle.» Bradley Cooper a finalement été choisi –et figure parmi les nommés à l’Oscar du meilleur acteur. Le premier weekend de sa sortie en Amérique du Nord, «American Sniper» a rapporté plus de 90 millions de dollars.

Entre 1999 et 2009, Chris Kyle a été l’un des militaires les plus récompensés pour son service, recevant notamment deux Silver Stars et cinq Bronze Stars. Après avoir quitté le combat, il était devenu instructeur pour des équipes spéciales avant de quitter la Navy en 2009 et avait même écrit le manuel des snipers des Seals, le «Naval Special Warfare Sniper Doctrine». L’aide aux vétérans était l’un des piliers de la vie de Kyle, qui a notamment aidé à fonder l’association FITCO Cares Foundation. Il a été tué en février 2013 par Eddie Ray Rough, un frère d’armes victime du syndrome de stress post-traumatique qu’il tentait d’aider dans un stand de tir.

Voir aussi:

American Sniper dans le viseur de Michael Moore
Pierre-Emmanuel Mesqui
Le Figaro

19/01/2015

VIDÉO – Le réalisateur de Bowling for Columbine, connu pour ses prises de position controversées, a critiqué le nouveau film de Clint Eastwood.

Après avoir milité contre le port des armes dans son documentaire Bowling for Columbine et contre la guerre en Irak, Michael Moore revient à la charge en fustigeant le film American Sniper de Clint Eastwood, avec Bradley Cooper.

Sur Twitter, le réalisateur âgé de 60 ans est revenu sur un épisode marquant qui a touché un membre de sa famille: son oncle a été tué par un sniper lors de la Seconde Guerre mondiale. Il explique pourquoi ces soldats «ne doivent pas être considérés comme des héros».

Quelques heures après l’envoi de ce message, Michael Moore a néanmoins tenu à clarifier ses propos.

D’autres personnalités américaines d’Hollywood ont exprimé leur admiration devant l’œuvre de Clint Eastwood, comme Jane Fonda:

Pour le réalisateur de The Interview, Seth Rogen, le film American Sniper lui rappelle un passage d’Inglourious Basterds de Quentin Tarantino, lorsqu’un sniper allemand (Daniel Brühl) tue héroïquement de nombreux ennemis, dans un film de propagande.

American Sniper est l’adaptation du livre de Chris Kyle, un tireur d’élite des Navy SEAL, intitulé American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History (William Morrow, 2012). Ayant servi pendant la guerre d’Irak, Chris Kyle (Bradley Cooper) est connu pour être le sniper le plus prolifique de l’histoire des États-Unis. Surnommé «La Légende», il aurait tué 160 personnes. Le film suit également son retour au pays et les conséquences de la guerre sur son moral et sa vie de famille.

Le long métrage de Clint Eastwood est un grand succès au box-office US. Il a déjà remporté plus de 90 millions de dollars de recettes ce week-end. Il a également été nommé aux Oscars 2015 dans six catégories dont celles du «meilleur film» et du «meilleur acteur» pour Bradley Cooper.

Voir encore:

Chris Kyle, le roi des snipers américains abattu au Texas
Maurin Picard
03/02/2013

Ex-membre des Navy Seal, ce tireur d’élite qui s’est illustré en Irak a été tué par un vétéran.

De notre correspondant à New York

Il s’attendait à connaître une fin violente, lors d’une embuscade en Irak, mais avait fini par croire en sa bonne étoile. Après onze ans de bons et loyaux services au sein des Navy Seals, les troupes d’élite de la marine américaine, Chris Kyle, le sniper le plus redoutable de l’armée américaine (255 «kills (ennemis tués)», dont 160 confirmés), avait raccroché son fusil de tireur d’élite, pour mieux se consacrer à sa famille.

Il a été abattu samedi près de chez lui au Texas par un de ses compatriotes, lors d’un gala de charité organisé à Glen Rose, près de Fort Worth, et consacré aux vétérans atteints de syndrome post-traumatique (ou PTSD, dans le jargon militaire). L’assassin, Eddie Ray Routh, était un de ces vétérans que Kyle se faisait un devoir d’assister lors de leur difficile retour à la vie civile, en organisant des week-ends de «réintégration» dans des ranchs du Texas ou de l’Oklahoma appartenant à d’anciens Seals. Agé de 25 ans, Routh serait retourné chez lui après avoir abattu Kyle et un de ses voisins, avant d’être arrêté par la police après une brève course-poursuite en voiture.

Prime sur sa tête, 80 000 dollars mort ou vif
Chris Kyle, 38 ans, avait reçu Le Figaro l’an passé (voir nos éditions du 10 avril 2012) à Dallas, pour la sortie de sa biographie en France. Il qualifiait les Irakiens de «sauvages, qui n’hésitent pas à envoyer des femmes et des enfants faire le sale boulot», une ceinture d’explosifs autour de la taille, et retroussait volontiers la manche de son bras gauche, recouvert de tatouages impressionnants. Un trident des Navy Seals y côtoyait une énorme croix de templier rouge vif, symbole de sa foi chevillée au corps. Élevé dans l’amour de Dieu, de la patrie et de la famille, Kyle, père de deux jeunes enfants, ne faisait pas mystère de ses motivations: «Là-bas, en Irak, je voulais que tout le monde sache que je suis chrétien, et un féroce guerrier de Dieu.» Il avait sa conscience pour lui car chaque insurgé qu’il éliminait «ne risquerait pas de planter une bombe improvisée sous une route au passage d’un convoi» américain.

Après ces exploits, Kyle avait hérité d’un surnom flatteur venant de l’insurrection sunnite, «al-shaitan Ramadi (le diable de Ramadi)», ainsi qu’une prime sur sa tête, 80.000 dollars mort ou vif. Pour ses camarades du «Navy Seals team 3», il était «The Legend (la légende)», depuis un tir à 1 800 m, en 2008 dans les bas-fonds de Saddam City (Bagdad), contre un Irakien sur le point de tirer une roquette contre un convoi de marines.

«Salle d’attente au Purgatoire»
Après avoir quitté le service actif en 2009, Kyle avait fondé Craft International, une firme spécialisée dans la formation des snipers. Son aura et son entregent lui avaient permis de transformer rapidement son entreprise en business lucratif.

Flairant le filon, les édiles républicains texans avaient bien tenté de le convaincre d’embrasser la carrière politique, mais lui n’affichait que mépris pour ceux qu’il qualifiait d’«escrocs», qu’ils soient républicains ou démocrates.

Chris Kyle avait confié au Figaro qu’une adaptation au cinéma était en cours de négociation avec des «majors» de Hollywood mais qu’il s’opposerait à ce qu’un «traître gauchiste» comme Matt Damon, coupable à ses yeux de s’opposer à la guerre en Irak en contestant lui aussi l’existence des armes de destruction massive (thème repris dans le film de Paul Greengrass, Green Zone en 2010), ne l’incarne à l’écran. Il avait finalement donné sa bénédiction au comédien Bradley Cooper et la société de production de ce dernier, 22nd & Indiana.

Relatant avec difficulté cette usure nerveuse qu’il avait ressentie lors de son quatrième et dernier tour d’opération en Mésopotamie en 2008, Chris Kyle reconnaissait avec un brin de mauvaise conscience qu’il devrait «peut-être patienter un peu plus longtemps que les autres en salle d’attente au Purgatoire».

Voir encore:

Le « diable » de Ramadi, héros américain

Maurin Picard
Le Figaro

09/04/2012

Chris Kyle, sniper d’élite de l’armée américaine, s’enorgueillit d’avoir éliminé 255 « terrotistes » en Irak. Sans l’ombre d’un état d’âme.

De notre envoyé spécial à Dallas

La barbe rousse et drue, les yeux rieurs qui dépassent d’une casquette de baseball bien vissée sur la tête, Chris Kyle ressemble à tous ces jeunes Américains sportifs et débonnaires, auxquels on donnerait le bon Dieu sans confession. Les apparences sont trompeuses. À 37 ans, Kyle est en réalité un vrai «badass» : un dur à cuire, en argot américain. Un tueur, au sens propre, comme en attestent les fusils d’assaut alignés derrière lui, un véritable arsenal dans ce bureau du quatorzième étage d’un immeuble d’affaires, en plein centre-ville de Dallas. Et un héros «bigger than life», hors norme, dans une Amérique éreintée par dix ans de guerres lointaines et impopulaires.

En onze ans de service actif au sein des prestigieux Navy Seals, les commandos de marine à l’origine de la mort d’Oussama Ben Laden en mai 2011, et quatre déploiements en Irak de 2003 à 2009, ce tireur d’élite a abattu 255 «terroristes». La Navy, très sourcilleuse sur les critères de validation, ne lui en reconnaît «que» 160. Cet étourdissant «palmarès» lui confère une place de choix parmi les plus célèbres snipers de l’histoire, derrière le Finlandais Simo Häyhä, qui tua 542 soldats soviétiques durant la Seconde Guerre mondiale. Si bien que, lorsqu’il a quitté le service actif en 2009, le sergent Kyle n’a eu aucun mal à fonder une firme spécialisée dans la formation des snipers, Craft International, avec le soutien enthousiaste de ses anciens frères d’armes. Dans l’armée américaine, il jouit d’une immense réputation, ce qui lui a permis de transformer rapidement Craft International en un business très lucratif. Chez les Seals, une fraternité pourtant avare en tressage de lauriers, le surnom qui lui colle à la peau en dit long sur son aura: «The Legend». Mais celui dont il est le plus fier, c’est le sobriquet décerné par les insurgés irakiens eux-mêmes, au plus fort des combats dans le triangle sunnite en 2006: «al-shaitan Ramadi», le diable de Ramadi. «Celui-là, j’en suis fier, sourit Kyle en lissant sa barbe. Ça veut dire que je les ai vraiment décimés.» Au plus fort de la bataille, les services de renseignements lui apprennent que sa tête a été mise à prix: 20 000 dollars, mort ou vif. Vers la fin des combats, elle en vaut 80 000.

«Des sauvages»
Les Irakiens, Chris Kyle ne les aime pas. Doux euphémisme. À ses yeux, ce sont tous «des sauvages» qui n’hésitent pas à envoyer des femmes et des enfants faire le sale boulot. Ses deux premières victimes furent une mère et son fils, justement.

La première s’avançait vers un check point de marines, bardée d’une ceinture d’explosifs. Elle venait de confier une grenade à son rejeton. Chris Kyle dut abattre les deux, contraint et forcé, après avoir reçu le feu vert de ses supérieurs. Ce furent ses deux tirs les plus difficiles. «Après, confie-t-il, tuer des gens n’est pas très compliqué», surtout quand, selon lui, «ils incarnent le Mal», puisqu’ils veulent abattre des soldats américains. Le politiquement correct n’est pas le style de Kyle. Il avoue «aimer la guerre» et regrette seulement de «ne pas avoir abattu plus de salopards». En quatre séjours en Irak, il a bâti sa légende sur des tirs mémorables. À Sadr City (Bagdad) en 2008, juché sur un toit, Chris aperçoit un homme armé d’un RPG (lance-roquettes). À près de deux kilomètres de distance, le sniper fait mouche et atteint une notoriété quasi instantanée parmi ses pairs. «Dieu a soufflé sur cette balle et l’a touché», sourit le Texan, qui revendique fièrement sa culture chrétienne.

Sur le haut du bras gauche, en dessous de l’épaule, à côté du trident des Seal, il a fait tatouer une énorme croix de templier rouge vif, qu’il dévoile volontiers. Élevé dans l’amour de Dieu, de la patrie et de la famille, Kyle assume: «Là-bas, je voulais que tout le monde sache que je suis chrétien, et que je suis un féroce guerrier de Dieu.» La foi chevillée au corps, il pense qu’il devra «peut-être patienter un peu plus longtemps que les autres en salle d’attente au purgatoire», mais garde la conscience tranquille.

Courtisé par le cinéma
Ses «exploits», il a fini par les relater dans un livre*, qui caracole depuis trois mois en tête des ventes: 419 000 exemplaires déjà vendus. Devenu une légende vivante au sein de l’armée, Chris Kyle passe pour avoir sauvé des centaines de vies, armé de son seul fusil à lunette. L’usure nerveuse finit cependant par le rattraper lors de son quatrième déploiement en Irak. Il cède alors aux pressions de sa femme Taya, qui ne supporte plus ses absences prolongées. Un ultime coup de chance lors d’une fusillade dans Sadr City, dont il réchappe miraculeusement, lui font réaliser qu’il n’est «tout compte fait pas invincible», malgré ce fidèle «ange gardien» qui a longtemps veillé sur lui. Dans la foulée, il quitte l’armée pour «se consacrer enfin à sa famille».

Mais il n’en a pas fini avec une notoriété grandissante. De retour au pays, des inconnus viennent le remercier pour leur avoir «sauvé la peau» tel jour à Faloudja. D’autres anonymes paient discrètement la facture lorsqu’il dîne au restaurant avec Taya. De partout, les sollicitations affluent. La Navy et la Garde nationale du Texas n’ont pas renoncé à le convaincre de rempiler. Les édiles locaux font des pieds et des mains pour qu’il s’engage en politique. Mais Chris Kyle n’a guère plus d’estime pour les hommes politiques que pour les insurgés irakiens. «Républicains comme démocrates, ce sont tous des escrocs», affirme-t-il sur un ton péremptoire.

À défaut de carrière publique, c’est le monde du cinéma qui le courtise. Un scénario circule depuis quelque temps à Hollywood. Mais Kyle a posé ses conditions: il mettra son veto à tout acteur qui lui déplairait pour incarner son rôle. «Je ne veux pas d’un acteur comme Matt Damon et tous ces types qui ont exprimé leur opposition à la guerre en Irak», confesse ce grand nostalgique, qui préfère nettement Chuck Norris ou… Ronald Reagan.

* «American Sniper», Éditions William Morrow (2011), traduction française sortie en mars aux éditions Nimrod.

Voir de plus:

The United States of ‘American Sniper’
Liberals’ criticism of my SEAL teammate Chris Kyle has had the ironic effect of honoring him.
Rorke Denver
WSJ

Jan. 26, 2015

‘American Sniper,” the new movie about Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, has opened to staggering box-office success and garnered multiple Academy Award nominations. But not all the attention has been positive. The most vocal criticism came in the form of disparaging quotes and tweets from actor-director Seth Rogen and documentary-maker Michael Moore . Both have since attempted to qualify their ugly comments, but similarly nasty observations continue to emanate from the left.

The bulk of Chris Kyle’s remarkable exploits took place in the Al Anbar province of Iraq in the summer of 2006. He and I were teammates at SEAL Team Three. Chris had always been a large figure in the SEAL teams. He became a legend before our eyes in Ramadi.

My fellow special-operations brothers might be shocked, but I think the comments by Messrs. Rogen and Moore have had the ironic effect of honoring Chris Kyle’s memory. They inadvertently paid Chris a tribute that joins the Texas funeral procession and “American Sniper” book sales and box office in testifying to the power of his story. I’ll get to the punch line shortly, but first please let me lay the groundwork.

The very term “sniper” seems to stir passionate reactions on the left. The criticism misses the fundamental value that snipers add to the battlefield. Snipers engage individual threats. Rarely, if ever, do their actions cause collateral damage. Snipers may be the most humane of weapons in the military arsenal. The job also takes a huge emotional toll on the man behind the scope. The intimate connection between the shooter and the target can be hard to overcome for even the most emotionally mature warrior. The value of a sniper in warfare is beyond calculation.

I witnessed the exceptional performance of SEAL, Army and Marine snipers on the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan. They struck psychological fear in our enemies and protected countless lives. Chris Kyle and the sniper teams I led made a habit of infiltrating dangerous areas of enemy-controlled ground, established shooting positions and coordinated security for large conventional-unit movement.

More than half the time, the snipers didn’t need to shoot; over-watch and guidance to the ground troops was enough. But when called upon, snipers like Chris Kyle engaged enemy combatants and “cleared the path” for exposed troops to move effectively and safely in their arduous ground missions. These small sniper teams pulled the trigger at their own risk. If their position was discovered, they had little backup or support.

As Navy SEALs, we have the privilege of using the best hardware the military has to offer. We have access to, and train with, the latest elite weapons. We operate with the world’s finest aviators, from multiple services, who transport us to and from targets and protect us from above with devastating firepower. Advanced drone platforms are at our disposal and wreak havoc on our enemies. The full complement of American battlefield ingenuity and capacity is at our disposal. Our enemies the world over know this well. They have experienced this awesome power and respect it.

But every U.S. fighting force possesses a weapon that frightens our enemies today more than any of those above. The Taliban, al Qaeda, Islamic State, jihadists everywhere—all those who oppose us fear and hate this weapon, and are haunted by its power to stop their own twisted plans for the world.

What is this weapon? The First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.

It was written long ago by leaders of astonishing foresight and courage. It is what men like Chris Kyle fight and die for. It is what I immediately think of when someone burns a flag, shouts some hateful remark during a protest or criticizes the men and women who have volunteered for military service and willingly go into harm’s way.

When Seth Rogen and Michael Moore exercise this right, it is a tribute to those who serve. While I am revolted by their whiny, ill-informed opinions about Chris Kyle and “American Sniper,” I delight in the knowledge that the man they decry was a defender of their liberty to do so.

Mr. Denver, a commander in the U.S. Navy SEALs Reserves, is the author of “Damn Few: Making the Modern SEAL Warrior” (Hyperion, 2013).

Voir encore:

Michael Moore is wrong about ‘American Sniper’

Don Mann

CNN

January 23, 2015
As Americans, we are fortunate to have the right to speak our minds. Filmmaker Michael Moore did just that with his attack on the use of military snipers in warfare just before the release of the Oscar-nominated and devastating war/anti-war movie « American Sniper, » directed by Clint Eastwood.

Moore obviously has the same freedom of speech right that all Americans do. Some of what he has publicly stated in the past is opinion, some is fact and some is absolutely ludicrous. In an apparent reference to Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, credited with 160 enemy kills — the most in U.S. history — and the movie « American Sniper, » Moore commented on Twitter that his « uncle was killed by a sniper » and that he was « taught that all snipers were cowards. »

Moore explains snipers are ‘cowards’ tweet

To begin with, the reason Americans have the freedom of speech Moore was exercising is because brave men such as Kyle and other active-duty personnel and military veterans have fought to protect this precious right.

As far as the comment that « snipers are cowards, » that is beyond ludicrous and it is difficult to understand just how anybody could make such a comment.

Let’s look at some of the basic facts surrounding Kyle’s life as a Navy SEAL sniper. Kyle either trained for war or was deployed in war zones for more than 300 days a year during his service in the SEAL teams. SEAL wives basically raise their children alone. The divorce rate for SEALs is incredibly high. Many of the guys have been married multiple times. The children grow up not really knowing their dads because the dads go on frequent and often back-to-back deployments to war zones.

These guys seldom know when they are leaving or for how long. Their work involves going in harm’s way and fighting an enemy that is determined to do whatever it can to take away our way of life. After returning home from a deployment, these guys immediately go back to work preparing for the next deployment. Some are not so fortunate and are wounded or killed in the line of duty.

A sniper, who operates behind enemy lines, has one of the most demanding and dangerous duties in the Special Operations community. Snipers operating in Iraq, Afghanistan and a host of other countries often must crawl and make their way through treacherous urban or desert war-zone terrain for hours just to reach their position undetected, a position of over-watch, cover and concealment. Once they are on site, they sometimes stay in their position for days on end waiting for follow-on orders.

Why ‘American Sniper’ is a smash hit

Military snipers are not sociopaths, coldblooded killers. Snipers believe in their hearts that when they neutralize, or « take out, » a threat that they are saving the lives of their teammates, other military personnel or other innocent people. Their target hit lists typically include terrorists or people preparing to cause grave harm or death to the innocent.

As I cite in my book « The Modern Day Gunslinger, » Lt. Col. David Grossman uses the analogy of wolves, sheep and sheepdogs. Grossman, in his book « On Combat, » compares the average citizen as basically peaceful and nonthreatening — like sheep.

These are the majority of people and do not want to cause harm to others; they wish to live peacefully. The terrorist — the enemy, the « bad guy » — strikes terror and threatens to harm and kill the innocent, like the wolf who threatens the sheep. Fortunately, there are brave men and women who sacrifice much to protect those who wish to live day to day in peace. These protectors are the community sheepdogs.

Chris Kyle was a champion sheepdog. Every time Kyle pulled back on his trigger and fired a shot that neutralized a « wolf, » he was saving countless lives and protecting the sheep. Every wolf he put down was no longer capable of causing harm or death to the sheep, the innocents.

I ask, how can anybody consider a sniper, a Navy SEAL sniper, to be a coward? As much as I try to keep my mind open to all viewpoints — from the far left to the far right — I can only reach the conclusion that Michael Moore has no idea what he is talking about. His unfounded comments could not be further from the truth.

I am confident that if Moore had the courage to spend just one day in a war-zone « sniper hide, » waiting for the go signal to take out an enemy target his opinions on snipers and the military would change 180 degrees. I would go so far as to say if Moore would simply attend a one-day sniper-training course in the United States, his opinion would drastically change.

Yes, of course, he has the right to say whatever he wishes, but when a guy like Moore has the pulpit and the attention of the media, he should have a moral obligation to speak only on topics in which he has some basic knowledge of the facts.

Chris Kyle is an American war hero who has been credited and awarded for saving countless American and innocent lives. After what he did for our country, after all of his sacrifices, Kyle decided to get out of the Navy and assist those brothers in arms who returned from overseas with post-traumatic stress disorder. How incredibly sad and ironic that in February 2013, Kyle was killed and shot in the back, police say, by a former Marine suffering with PTSD whom he was trying to help and mentor.

Michael Moore, tell me: How was Chris Kyle a coward? How are snipers cowards?

When Kyle was killed, he left his loving and devoted wife, Taya, behind. She feels that « American Sniper » did a good job at portraying the struggles that Kyle endured as a Navy SEAL sniper as well as his roles as a husband and father. The movie illustrates the real-life story of heroism, patriotism and self-sacrifice of a remarkable American war hero.

Bradley Cooper, who portrayed Kyle, told NPR that the role was « nothing short of life-changing. It’s just not about me or Clint (Eastwood), or anybody else. … It’s a real human being. … So there’s a huge responsibility. But I saw it as an honor. … I felt like I lived with him for those six months in a very intimate way. … (H)e was the first voice I heard every morning and the last voice I heard going to bed. »

Kyle joins the elite ranks of other American sniper icons such as Carlos Hathcock, who was credited with 93 confirmed kills during the Vietnam War. Hathcock felt the same as Kyle did when it came to taking out threats. He simply understood that he was protecting his fellow Marines and other innocent people.

If there were not people like Kyle and Hathcock protecting our freedoms, Michael Moore, along with the rest of us, would live in a much more dangerous world. I remain deeply honored and humbled to be an American and to have been part of a community where heroes like Kyle have served.

Voir enfin:

The Legend of Chris Kyle
The deadliest sniper in U.S. history performed near miracles on the battlefield. Then he had to come home.
Michael J. Mooney

D Magazine April 2013

There’s a story about Chris Kyle: on a cold January morning in 2010, he pulled into a gas station somewhere along Highway 67, south of Dallas. He was driving his supercharged black Ford F350 outfitted with black rims and oversize knobby mudding tires. Kyle had replaced the Ford logo on the grill with a small chrome skull, similar to the Punisher emblem from the Marvel Comics series, and added a riot-ready aftermarket grill guard bearing the words ROAD ARMOR. He had just left the Navy and moved back to Texas.

Two guys approached him with pistols and demanded his money and the keys to his truck. With his hands in the air, he sized up which man seemed most confident with his gun.

Kyle knew what confidence with a gun looked like. He was the deadliest sniper in American history. He had at least 160 confirmed kills by the Pentagon’s count, but by his own count—and the accounts of his Navy SEAL teammates—the number was closer to twice that. In his four tours of duty in Iraq, Kyle earned two Silver Stars and five Bronze Stars with Valor. He survived six IED attacks, three gunshot wounds, two helicopter crashes, and more surgeries than he could remember. He was known among his SEAL brethren as The Legend and to his enemies as al-Shaitan, “the devil.”

He told the robbers that he just needed to reach back into the truck to get the keys. He turned around and reached under his winter coat instead, into his waistband. With his right hand, he grabbed his Colt 1911. He fired two shots under his left armpit, hitting the first man twice in the chest. Then he turned slightly and fired two more times, hitting the second man twice in the chest. Both men fell dead.

Kyle leaned on his truck and waited for the police.

When they arrived, they detained him while they ran his driver’s license. But instead of his name, address, and date of birth, what came up was a phone number at the Department of Defense. At the other end of the line was someone who explained that the police were in the presence of one of the most skilled fighters in U.S. military history. When they reviewed the surveillance footage, the officers found the incident had happened just as Kyle had described it. They were very understanding, and they didn’t want to drag a just-home, highly decorated veteran into a messy legal situation.

Kyle wasn’t unnerved or bothered. Quite the opposite. He’d been feeling depressed since he left the service, struggling to adjust to civilian life. This was an exciting reminder of the action he missed.

That night, talking on the phone to his wife, Taya, who was in the process of moving with their kids from California, he was a good husband. He asked how her day was. The way some people tell it, he got caught up in their conversation, and only right before they hung up did he remember his big news of the day: “Oh, yeah, I shot two guys trying to steal my truck today.”

A brief description of the incident appeared in fellow SEAL Marcus Luttrell’s 2012 book Service: a Navy SEAL at War— but not Kyle’s own best-seller, American Sniper—and there are mentions of it in various forums deep in the corners of the internet. Before Kyle’s murder at the hands of a fellow veteran in February, I asked him about that story during an interview in his office last year, as part of what was supposed to be an extended, in-depth magazine story about his service and how hard he worked to adjust back to this world—to become the great husband and father and Christian he’d always wanted to be.

He didn’t want to get into specifics about the gas station shooting, but I left that day believing it had happened.

• • •

By the official count, Chris Kyle racked up 160 confirmed kills as a Navy sniper. He pegged the actual number as twice that.

The offices of Craft International, the defense contractor where Chris Kyle was president until his death, were immaculate. You needed one of the broad-chested security guards from downstairs as an escort just to get to that floor of the building. Sitting under thick glass in the lobby, there was an exceptionally rare, original English translation of Galileo’s Dialogue (circa 1661). A conference room held a safe full of gigantic guns—guns illegal to own without a Department of Defense contract.

At 38, Kyle was a large man, 6-foot-2, 230 pounds, and the muscles in his neck and shoulders and forearms made him seem even bigger, like a scruffy-bearded giant. When he greeted me with a direct look in the eye and a firm handshake, his huge bear paw enveloped my hand. That day he had on boots, jeans, a black t-shirt, and a baseball cap. It’s the same thing he wore most days he came to the office, or when he watched his daughter’s ballet recitals, or during television interviews with Conan O’Brien or Bill O’Reilly.

This was one of the rare chances when he’d have a few hours to talk. Over the next three days, he would be teaching a sniper course to the Dallas SWAT teams and he had three book signings, one at a hospital in Tyler (for a terminal cancer patient whose doctor reached out to him), one at Ray’s Sporting Goods in Dallas, and one at the VA in Fort Worth. He’d also have to fly down to Austin for a shooting event Craft was putting on for Speaker of the House John Boehner and several other congressmen.

“We are not doing this for free,” he said, anticipating a question. “We accept Republicans and Democrats alike, as long as the money is good.”

A few weeks later, he would have to cancel a weekend meeting because he was invited to hang out with George W. Bush. “Sorry,” he said, when asked if anyone else might be able to join. “Not even my wife’s allowed to come.”

He loved the Dallas Cowboys and the University of Texas Longhorns. He loved going to the Alamo, looking at historic artifacts. The license plate on his truck had a picture of the flag used during the Texas Revolution, with a cannon, a star, and the words COME AND TAKE IT. Being in the military forced him to move a lot, and neither of his children was born in Texas. But for each birth, he had family send a box of dirt from home—so the first ground his kids’ feet touched would be Texas soil.

He was outspoken on a lot of issues. He believed strongly in the Second Amendment, politely decrying the “incredible stupidity” of gun control laws anytime he was asked. He said he was hesitant to see the movie Zero Dark Thirty because he’d heard that it was a lot of propaganda for the Obama administration. Once, he posted to his tens of thousands of Facebook fans: “If you don’t like what I have to say or post, you forget one thing, I don’t give a shit what you think. LOL.”
chris-kyle-wife-tanya-wedding.jpg Chris Kyle and his wife Taya on their wedding day. Courtesy of Taya Kyle

He didn’t worry about sounding politically incorrect. The Craft International company slogan, emblazoned around the Punisher skull on the logo: “Despite what your momma told you, violence does solve problems.”

His views were nuanced, though. “If you hate the war, that’s fine,” he told me. “But you should still support the troops. They don’t get to pick where they’re deployed. They just gave the American people a blank check for anything up to and including the value of their lives, and the least everyone else can do is be thankful. Buy them dinner. Mow their yard. Bake them cookies.”

“The best way to describe Chris,” his wife, Taya, says, “is extremely multifaceted.”

He was a brutal warrior but a gentle father and husband. He was a patient instructor, and he was a persistent, sophomoric jokester. If he had access to your Facebook account, he might announce to all your friends and family that you’re gay and finally coming out of the closet. If he wanted to make you squirm, he might get hold of your phone and scroll through your photos threatening to see if you kept naked pictures of your girlfriend.

Kyle liked when people thought of him as a dumb hillbilly, but he had a remarkable ability to retain information, whether it was a mission briefing, the details of a business meeting, or his encyclopedic knowledge of his own hero, Vietnam-era Marine sniper Carlos Hathcock. While on the sniper rifle, Kyle had to do complicated math, accounting for wind speed, the spin of a bullet, and the curvature and rotation of the Earth—and he had to do it quickly, under the most intense pressure imaginable. Those were the moments when he thrived.

The most common question he was asked was easy to answer. He said he never regretted any of his kills, which weren’t all men.

“I regret the people I couldn’t kill before they got to my boys,” he said. That’s how he referred to the men and women he served with, across the branches: “my boys.”

He said he didn’t enjoy killing, but he did like protecting Americans and allies and civilians. He was the angel of death, sprawled flat atop a roof, his University of Texas Longhorns ball cap turned backward as he picked off enemy targets one by one before they could hurt his boys. He was the guardian, assigned to watch over open-air street markets and elections, the places that might make good marks for insurgent terrorists.

“You don’t think of the people you kill as people,” he said. “They’re just targets. You can’t think of them as people with families and jobs. They rule by putting terror in the hearts of innocent people. The things they would do—beheadings, dragging Americans through the streets alive, the things they would do to little boys and women just to keep them terrified and quiet—” He paused for a moment and slowed down. “That part is easy. I definitely don’t have any regrets about that.”

He said he didn’t feel like a hero. “I’m just a regular guy,” he said. “I just did a job. I was in some badass situations, but it wasn’t just me. My teammates made it possible.” He wasn’t the best sniper in the SEALs teams, he said. “I’m probably middle of the pack. I was just in the right spots at the right times.”

The way he saw it, the most difficult thing he ever did was getting out of the Navy.

“I left knowing the guy who replaced me,” he said. “If he dies, or if he messes up and other people die, that’s on me. You really feel like you’re letting down these guys you’ve gone through hell with.”

Kyle said he didn’t feel like a hero. “I’m just a regular guy,” he said.

The hardest part? “Missing my boys. Missing being around them in the action. That’s your whole life, every day for years. I hate to say it, but when you’re back and you’re just walking around a mall or something, you feel like a pussy.” It nagged at him. “You hear someone whining about something at a stoplight, and it’s like, ‘Man, three weeks ago I was getting shot at, and you’re complaining about—I don’t even care what.’ ”

There was also the struggle to readjust to his family life. “When I got out, I realized I barely knew my kids,” he said. “I barely knew my wife. In the three years before I got out, I spent a total of six months at home. It’s hard to go from God, Country, Family to God, Family, Country.”

But three years after he left the SEALs, he had a job he liked. He could do (mildly) badass things: shoot big guns, detonate an occasional string of explosives, be around a lot of other former special-operations types. His marriage was finally back in a good place. He had a book on the best-seller list. And he had the chance to help veterans through a number of charities.

“A lot of these guys just miss being around their boys, too,” he said. “They need guys who speak their speak. They don’t need to be treated like they’re special.”

He’d often take vets out to the gun range. Being around people who understood what they’d been through, being able to relax and shoot off some rounds, it was a little like group therapy.

With his family, and with training people, helping people, he had found a new purpose. Chris Kyle could do anything if he had a purpose. He’d been like that since he was a little boy.

• • •

He was the son of a church deacon and a Sunday school teacher. His father’s job at Southwestern Bell had the family moving a lot, so he was born in Odessa, but he told people he grew up “all over Texas.” About the same time he was learning to read, he learned to love guns. He liked to hunt with his father and brother. For his birthday parties, he wanted to have BB gun wars. He perched on the roof of his parents’ house waiting for his friends to dart across the yard. He wasn’t a great shot back then, but at least one friend is still walking around with one of Kyle’s BBs in his hand.

In high school in Midlothian, he played football and baseball. He showed cows through the FFA. He and his buddies cruised for girls in nearby Waxahachie. He also liked to fight. His father warned him never to start a fight. Kyle said he lived by that code “most of the time.” He found that if he was sticking up for his friends, or for kids who couldn’t defend themselves, he got to fight and he got to be the good guy at the same time. Once he felt like he was standing up for something right, he would never back down.

Bryan Rury was a close friend of Kyle’s in high school. Rury was much smaller than his friend, but it seemed they were always standing next to each other. “I think Chris liked looking like a giant,” Rury says.

One time, there was a new kid in school who was trying to make a name for himself by picking on Rury. Kyle came into class one day to find Rury quiet, upset. “He asked me what was wrong, and I wouldn’t tell him,” Rury says. “But he figured it out on his own pretty fast.”

Kyle went over to the new kid’s desk and, in his not-so-subtle, Chris Kyle way, told him he better leave his friend alone. Or else. The kid stood up from his desk, and they went at it. Kyle almost never started the fight, his friends say, but he always ended it. “As they were taking him off to the principal’s office, I just remember him flashing me that giant smile of his,” Rury says.

After high school, he went to Tarleton State for two years, mostly to postpone the responsibilities of adulthood. He spent more time drinking than studying, and soon he decided he’d rather be working on a ranch full-time. But he knew his future was in the military—in the Marines, he thought, until a Navy recruiter told him about all the cool things he could potentially do as a SEAL—and he figured he shouldn’t waste any more time.

Kyle breezed through the Navy’s basic training. He only made it through BUD/S (Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL) training by way of sheer resolve. He told stories about lying there on the beach, his arms linked with his friends’, their heads hovering above the frigid rising tide. He knew if he got up and rang the bell—if he quit—he could get hot coffee and a doughnut. The uncontrollable shivering—they called it “jackhammering”—lasted for hours, but he never wanted to stop. He joked that he was just lazy, that if the bell had only been a little closer, maybe his entire life would have been different. But the truth is, nothing could have kept him from his dream.

“He had more willpower than anyone I’ve ever met,” Taya says. “If he cared about something, he just wouldn’t ever quit. You can’t fail at something if you just never quit.”

Taya met Kyle in a bar in San Diego, just after he finished BUD/S. When she asked what he did—she suspected from the muscles and the swagger that he was in the military—he told her he drove an ice cream truck. She figured he’d be arrogant but was surprised to find him idealistic instead. But she was still skeptical. Taya’s sister had divorced a guy who was trying to become a SEAL, and she’d specifically said she could never marry someone like that.

But Kyle turned out to be quite sensitive. He was able to read her better than anyone she’d known. Even when she thought she was keeping something hidden behind a good facade, he could always see through it. That kept them from needing to talk about their emotions or constantly reassess their relationship. They got married shortly before he shipped out to Iraq for the first time.

• • •

It takes years to earn enough trust to be a SEAL sniper. Even after sniper school, Kyle had to prove himself again and again in the field, in the pressure of battle. He served other missions before Afghanistan and Iraq, in places he couldn’t discuss because the operations were classified.

As he would eventually describe in American Sniper, his first kill on the sniper rifle came in late March 2003, in Nasiriya, Iraq. It wasn’t long after the initial invasion, and his platoon—“Charlie” of SEAL Team 3—had taken a building earlier that day so they could provide overwatch for a unit of Marines thundering down the road. He was holding a bolt-action .300 Winchester Magnum that belonged to his platoon chief. He saw a woman about 50 yards away. As the Marines got closer, the woman pulled a grenade. Hollywood might have you believe that snipers aim for the head—“one shot, one kill”—but effective snipers aim for the middle of the chest, for center mass.

Kyle pulled the trigger twice.

“The public is soft,” he used to say. “They have no idea.” Because of that softness, he had to have that story, and others, cleared by the Department of Defense before he could include them in his book.

He wanted outsiders to know exactly what kind of evil the troops have had to deal with. But he understood why the Pentagon wouldn’t want to give America’s enemies any new propaganda. He knew the public didn’t want to hear about the brutal realities of war.

Kyle served four tours of duty in Iraq, participating in every major campaign of the war. He was on the ground for the initial invasion in 2003. He was in Fallujah in 2004. He went back, to Ramadi in 2006, and then again, to Baghdad in 2008, where he was called in to secure the Green Zone by going into Sadr City.

Most of his platoon was in the Pacific theater before the 2004 deployment. Kyle was sent early to assist Marines clearing insurgents in Fallujah. Tales of his success in combat trickled back to his team. He was originally supposed to watch over the American forces perched at a safe distance, but he thought he could provide more protection if he was on the street, going house to house with his boys. During one firefight, it was reported that Kyle ran through a hail of bullets to pull a wounded Marine to safety. His teammates, hearing these stories, started sarcastically referring to him as The Legend.

Those stories of bravery in battle proliferated on his third deployment. A younger SEAL was with Kyle at the top of a building in Ramadi when they came under heavy fire. The younger SEAL, who is still active in the teams and can’t be named, dropped to the ground and hid behind an interior wall. When he finally looked up, he saw Kyle standing there, glued to his weapon, covering his field of fire, calling out enemy positions as he engaged.

Kyle said the combat was the worst on his last deployment, to Sadr City in 2008. The enemy was better armed than before. Now it seemed like every time there was an attack, there were rocket-propelled grenades and fights that went on for days. This was also the deployment that produced Kyle’s longest confirmed kill.

He was on the second floor of a house on the edge of a village. With the scope of his .338 Lapua, he started scanning out farther into the distance, to the edge of the next village, a mile away. He saw a figure on the roof of a one-story building. The figure didn’t seem to be doing much, and at the moment he didn’t appear to have a weapon. But later that day, as an Army convoy approached, Kyle checked again and saw the man holding what looked like an RPG. At that distance, Kyle could only estimate his calculations.

He pulled the trigger and watched through his scope as the Iraqi, 2,100 yards away, fell off the roof. It was the world’s eighth-longest confirmed kill shot by a sniper. Later, Kyle called it a “really, really lucky shot.”

Chris Kyle didn’t fit the stereotype of the sullen, lone wolf sniper. In many ways, he was far from the model serviceman. While he always kept his weapons clean, the same was not true of his living space. The way some SEALs tell it, after one deployment, his room was in such a disgusting condition that it took two days to clean. There were six months worth of spent sunflower seed shells he had spit around the bed.

He was seldom seen in anything remotely resembling a military uniform. His teammates remember him painting the Punisher skull on his body armor, helmets, and even his guns. He also cut the sleeves off his shirts. He wore civilian hunting shoes instead of combat boots. Eschewing the protection of Kevlar headgear, he wore his old Longhorns baseball cap. He told people he wore that hat so that the enemy knew Texas was represented, that “Texans shoot straight.”

Kyle heard people call snipers cowards. He would point out that snipers, especially in urban warfare, decrease the number of civilian casualties. Plus, he said, “I will reach out and get you however I can if you’re threatening American lives.”

He terrorized his enemies in true folkhero fashion. In 2006, intelligence officers reported there was a $20,000 bounty on his head. Later it went up to $80,000. He joked that he was afraid to go home at one point. “I was worried my wife might turn me in,” he said.

Taya has been asked often over the years how she reconciles the two Chris Kyles: the trained killer and the loving husband and father—the man who rolled around on the floor with his kids and planned vacations to historical sites and called from wherever he could. (Once he thought his phone was off and she ended up overhearing a firefight.) She always worried about him, but understanding how he could do what he did was never hard.

“Chris was out there fighting for his brothers because he loved them,” she says. “He wanted to protect them and make sure they all got to go home to their families.”

He never cared to talk much about the number of confirmed kills he had. It’s likely considerably higher than what the Pentagon has released, but certain records could remain classified for decades. Besides, while the number garners a lot of attention, it doesn’t tell Kyle’s story. He told people he wished he could somehow calculate the number of people he had saved. “That’s the number I’d care about,” he said. “I’d put that everywhere.”

While seeing his enemies die never gave him much pause, losing his friends devastated him. When fellow Team 3 Charlie platoon member Marc Lee died in August of 2006—the first SEAL to die in the Iraq war—Kyle was inconsolable. All of Lee’s teammates prepared remarks for a memorial service in Ramadi. Kyle wrote out a speech, but when it came time to give it, he couldn’t talk. Every time he tried, he broke down, sobbing.

“He came up and hugged me afterwards,” an active SEAL says. “He apologized. He said, ‘I’m sorry. I wanted to, but I just couldn’t do it.’ ”

It was at a similar event later that year— a wake for fallen SEAL Michael Monsoor, who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for throwing himself on a grenade to save the lives of fellow SEALs—when Kyle had his now-infamous confrontation with former Minnesota governor Jesse Ventura.

They were in a bar popular among SEALs in Coronado, California. Kyle said that Ventura, a former SEAL himself, was in town for an unrelated event and stopped by the wake. According to Kyle, Ventura disrespected the troops, saying something to the effect of, “You guys deserve to lose a few.” That was enough. Kyle punched him and left the bar. Ventura denied the entire incident and later filed a lawsuit against Kyle. But two other former SEALs, friends of Kyle’s, told me they were there that night, and it happened just the way Kyle said it did.

• • •

chris-kyle-deployment-children.jpg Kyle left the SEALs in 2009 so he could be a better husband to Taya and a better father to his two kids. ‘He loved being a dad,’ Taya said. Courtesy of Taya Kyle

By 2009, the life was taking its toll on Taya. She told him that, because he was gone so much, she would see him just as often if she lived somewhere else. He took that as an ultimatum. As Kyle pointed out in his book and in interviews, the divorce rate among Navy SEALs is over 90 percent. He knew he wouldn’t be able to do both. So he left his promising career, the dream job for which he felt exceptionally well-suited, the purpose that had kept him so motivated for 10 years.

“When I first got out, I had a lot of resentment,” he said. “I felt like she knew who I was when she met me. She knew I was a warrior. That was all I’d ever wanted to do.” He started drinking a lot. He stopped working out. He didn’t want to leave the house or make his usual jokes. He missed the rush of combat, the way being at war sets your priorities straight. He missed knowing that what he was doing mattered. More than anything, though, he missed his brothers in the SEALs. He wrote to them and called them. He told people it felt like a daze.

But when he wrote to his closest friends, he talked about the one benefit of being out of the Navy. In all those years at war, he’d had almost no time with his two children. And in his time out, he discovered there was something he liked even more than being a cowboy or valiant sniper.

“He loved being a dad,” Taya says. She noticed he could be rough and playful with their son and sweet and gentle with their daughter. “A lot of fathers play with their kids, but he was always on the floor with them, rolling around, making everyone giggle.”

Kyle began to feel better. He got sick of feeling sorry for himself. He didn’t want a divorce. He started working out again— “getting my mind right,” he called it.

When he met other vets who were feeling down, he told them they should try working out more, too. But many of them, especially the wounded men with missing limbs or prominent burns, explained that people stared too much. Gyms made them uncomfortable. That’s how he got the idea to put gym equipment in the homes of veterans. When he approached FITCO, the company that provides exercise machines for facilities all over the country, and asked for any used equipment, they said no. They donated new equipment instead and helped fund a nonprofit dedicated to Kyle’s mission.

“With helping people,” Taya says, “Chris found his new purpose.”

She watched him use the same willpower that had carried him through SEAL training and all those impossible missions, but now he was trying to become a better man. He started coaching his son’s tee-ball team and taking his daughter to dance practice. He’d always liked hunting, but he hated fishing. Still, when he learned that his son liked to fish, he dedicated himself to becoming a great fisherman, so they could bond the way he did with his own dad.

Kyle took the family to football games at Cowboys Stadium. He took them to church. Unless he was hanging out of a helicopter with a gun doing overwatch, he hated heights. But when his kids wanted to go, he took them to Six Flags to ride the roller coasters and to the State Fair for the Ferris wheel. His black truck became a familiar sight driving around Midlothian.

He started collecting replicas of Old West guns, like the ones the cowboys used in movies when he was a boy. Taya would find him practicing his quick draw and gun twirling skills. Sometimes they would sit on the couch, watching TV, and he would twirl an unloaded six-shooter around his finger. If she saw someone on the screen that she didn’t like, she would jokingly ask, “Can you shoot that guy?”

He’d point the pistol at the TV and pretend to fire.

“Got him, babe.”

J. Kyle Bass is a hedge fund manager in Dallas, the founder of Hayman Capital Management. He was featured prominently in the Michael Lewis book, Boomerang: Travels in the New Third World, which documented both his keen financial mind and his fantastically opulent lifestyle. A few years ago, Bass was feeling overweight and out of shape. A former college athlete, he wanted something intense, so he found a Navy SEAL reserve commander in California, a man who gets prospective SEALs prepared for BUD/S, and asked if they could tailor a short program for him. Bass found that he really liked hanging out with the future and active SEALs. He said if they knew any SEALs coming back to Texas, he’d love to meet them.

That’s how Bass met Chris Kyle. Bass was building a new house at the time, and he offered to fly in Kyle and pay him for some security consulting.

“I was just trying to come up with anything to help the guy out,” Bass says. “I was looking for ways to try and help him make this transition back into the real world.”
chris-kyle-portrait2.jpg Photography by Brandon Thibodeaux

Bass invited Kyle to live at his house with him while Taya finished selling their place in San Diego. He introduced Kyle to as many “big money” people as he could. And the wealthy men were enthralled by Chris Kyle. They loved being around the legend. They loved hearing his stories and invited him to go hunting on their ranches. Bass would hold an economic summit every year at his ranch in East Texas. He would kick off the festivities by introducing his sniper friends.

“I’d have Chris and other SEALs come out and do exhibition shoots,” Bass says. “They would take 600-yard shots at binary explosives, so when they hit them it’s this giant explosion that shakes the ground.” He smiles as he tells the story. “For all the people that manage money all over the world and on Wall Street to come to Texas and see a Navy SEAL sniper shoot a bomb, it’s about as cool as it gets.”

Bass and some business associates also helped start Craft International. They put the Craft offices on the same floor as Hayman, so the finance folks and the defense contractors often crossed paths. Despite working in a plush office building in downtown Dallas, Kyle didn’t change much. Even if he saw an important meeting, it wouldn’t stop him from grinning and flipping off an entire room of people.

The idea was to market Kyle’s skills. He could help train troops (a lot of military training is done by third-party contractors), and police officers, and wealthy businessmen who would pay top dollar for hands-on instruction from an elite warrior like Chris Kyle. He could take people out to Rough Creek Lodge in Glen Rose, a luxury resort with an extended shooting range. It’s the same place he would take buddies and wounded vets when they were feeling down and needed to unwind.

• • •

Kyle insisted that he never had any intention of writing of a book. He was told there were already other writers working on it, and he figured if it was going to happen anyway, he might as well participate. He wanted to give credit where he felt it was due.

He and Taya were flown to New York in the middle of winter, to meet writer Jim DeFelice and begin pouring out their story. The interviews were exhausting.

In 2006, intelligence officers reported there was a $20,000 bounty on his head. Later it went up to $80,000.

“He was not naturally loquacious,” DeFelice says. “Nor did he particularly like to talk about himself. When we first started working together, telling me what happened in the war put an enormous strain on him. He was reliving battles in great detail for the first time since he’d gotten out of the service. He could have been killed in any number of the situations he’d been in. That’s a reality that can be difficult to comprehend at the time, and even harder to understand later on.”

Kyle did find time at one point for a snowball fight with DeFelice’s 13-year-old son. The war hero claimed he’d had plenty of experience in snow, but on this day, the boy got the better of him. Kyle came running in and grabbed a beer.

“Okay, kid,” Kyle told him. “Now you can say you beat a Navy SEAL in a snowball fight.”

Kyle decided not to take a dime from American Sniper. As it became a best-seller, his share amounted to more than $1.5 million. He gave two-thirds to the families of fallen teammates and the rest to a charity that helped wounded veterans. It was something he and Taya discussed a lot.

“I would ask him, ‘How much is enough? Where does your family fit in?’ ” she says.

“But I understood.”

When the book came out, everyone wanted to interview him. He was on late-night talk shows, cable news, and radio. He did a number of reality TV shows related to shooting. (He rarely took much money from the appearances.) He always went on with a ball cap on his head and a wad of tobacco in his mouth.

He had 1,200 people at his first public book signing. It was similar in every town. He preferred to stand for the length of the book signings. “If y’all are standing, I can stand,” he said. He would wait until he signed every book he was asked to, even if it took hours. It often did, because he wanted to take a moment to talk with each person. He tried to personalize each book. He’d pose for photos, one after another.

As he became more famous, more people wanted to spend time with him. More politicians wanted to go shooting with him. At one point, he was at a range with Governor Rick Perry. Perry was about to shoot the sniper rifle and asked Kyle if he had an extra pad to put on the cement before he lay down. Kyle replied with a mock-serious tone.

“You know, Governor,” he said, “Ann Richards was out here not too far back, and she didn’t need a pad at all.”

A good friend once introduced him to the movie star Natalie Portman. He asked her what she did for a living. And, as the story goes, she liked him even more after that.

Then there is this story: Kyle had been invited to a luxury suite at a UT football game and decided to take a heartbroken buddy of his, a Dallas police officer who had recently caught his girlfriend making out with another guy. They were in the suite for a few hours, talking, drinking, when a former UT football star happened to walk in. At some point, Kyle realized that this former star was also the guy who had kissed his friend’s girlfriend.

Kyle’s friend knew what was coming. He begged him not to, but it was in vain.

“It’s man law,” Kyle said.

He had a party trick he liked to perform, a sleeper hold that would render a man unconscious in seconds. Kyle called it a “hug.” People would dare him to do it to them, saying they wouldn’t go down.

Sure enough, Kyle approached the former star and gave him a “hug” right there in the suite. As women were shrieking and wondering if the former UT great was dead, Kyle kept the hold for just a little longer than normal, causing the man to lose control of his bowels as he passed out.

It wasn’t just his friends he took care of. People wrote to him from all over the world, asking for favors or for his time, especially after he started appearing on TV. He did his best to accommodate every request he could, even when Taya was worried he was spreading himself too thin.

“He was so trusting,” she says. “He didn’t let himself worry about much.”

• • •

Jodi Rough, a teacher’s aide at anelementary school close to Kyle’s home, had a son, a former Marine, who needed help. She reached out to Kyle because she knew his history of caring for veterans. Kyle told people he and his friend, Chad Littlefield, were going to take the kid out to blow off some steam.

Littlefield was a quiet buddy Kyle had come to count on over the last few years. They worked out and went hunting together. He had come over a few nights earlier to have Kyle adjust the scope of his rifle. Kyle invited Littlefield to come with him to Rough Creek. They were going to take Jodi Routh’s son shooting. Littlefield had accompanied Kyle on similar trips dozens of times.

They were in Kyle’s big black truck when they showed up in the Dallas suburb of Lancaster, at the home Eddie Ray Routh shared with his parents. He was a stringy, scraggly 25-year-old. He’d spent four years in the Marines but in the last few months had twice been hospitalized for mental illness. His family worried that he was suicidal. They hoped time with a war hero, a legend like Chris Kyle, might help.

It was a little after lunch on Saturday, February 2, when they picked up Routh and headed west on Highway 67. They got to Rough Creek Lodge around 3:15 pm. They turned up a snaking, 3-mile road toward the lodge and let a Rough Creek employee know they were heading to the range, another mile and a half down a rocky, unpaved road.

This was a place Kyle loved. He had given many lessons here over the last three years. He’d spend hours working with anyone who showed an interest in shooting. This is where he would take his boys when they needed to get away. In the right light, the dry, blanched hills and cliffs looked a little like the places they’d been in Iraq. When a group went out there, away from the rest of the world, they could relax and enjoy the camaraderie so many of them missed.

We may never know exactly what happened next. They weren’t there long, police suspect, before Routh turned his semiautomatic pistol on Kyle and Littlefield. He took Kyle’s truck, left Rough Creek, and headed east on 67. Later he would tell his sister that he “traded his soul for a new truck.” A hunting guide from the lodge spotted two bodies covered in blood, both shot multiple times.

Routh drove to a friend’s house in Alvarado and called his sister. He drove to her house where, his sister told police, he was “out of his mind.” He told her he’d murdered two people, that he’d shot them “before they could kill him.” He said “people were sucking his soul” and that he could “smell the pigs.” She told him he needed to turn himself in.

From there, Routh drove home to Lancaster, where the police were waiting for him. When they tried to talk him out of the truck, he sped off. With the massive grill guard, he ripped through the front of a squad car. They chased Routh through Lancaster and into Dallas. He was headed north on I-35 when the motor of Kyle’s truck finally burned out, near Wheatland Road. Routh was arrested and charged with two counts of murder.

• • •

chris-kyle-memorial-cowboys-stadium.jpg Thousands of people attended Kyle’s memorial service at Cowboys Stadium. Courtesy of Taya Kyle

Chris Kyle’s memorial was held at Cowboys Stadium to accommodate the 7,000 people who wanted to pay their respects. Before the doors even opened that morning, there was a line wrapped halfway around the stadium, people standing patiently in the cold, damp air.

Plenty of people attending knew Kyle. But most didn’t. Some had read his book or seen him on television. Some had only heard of him after his death. Men missed work and took their boys out of school because they thought it was important. Families traveled from three states away.

Most people wore black. Many wore dress uniforms. His SEAL team was there, as were other SEALs and special-operations fighters from multiple generations. There were police officers and sheriff’s deputies and Texas Rangers. Veterans of World War II, some in wheelchairs, nodded to each other quietly as they made their way into the stadium. Some men had served in Korea, some in Vietnam, some in the first Gulf War. There were many servicemen who never served during a war and many people who had never served at all, but they all felt compelled to come.

Celebrities came, including Jerry Jones and Troy Aikman and Sarah Palin. Hundreds of motorcycle riders lined the outside of the field. Bagpipe players and drummers came from all over the state. A military choir stood at the ready the entire time.

A stage was set up in the middle of the football field. On the stage was a podium, some speakers, and a few microphone stands. At the front of the stage, amid a mound of flowers, were Kyle’s gun, his boots, his body armor, and his helmet.

Photos from Kyle’s life scrolled by on the gigantic screen overhead: a boy, getting a shotgun for Christmas. A young cowboy, riding a horse. A SEAL, clean-shaven and bright-eyed. In combat, scanning for targets. In the desert, flying a Texas flag. With his platoon, a fearsome image of American might. At home, hugging Taya, kissing the foot of his baby girl, holding the hand of his little boy.

His casket was draped with the American flag and placed on the giant star at the 50-yard line.

Randy Travis played “Whisper My Name,” and “Amazing Grace.” Joe Nichols played “The Impossible.” Kyle’s friend Scott Brown played a song called “Valor.” The public heard stories about what Kyle was like as a little boy. What he was like in training. What he was like at war. What he was like as a friend and business partner. Some people talked about the times they saw him cry. Fellow SEALs told stories about his resolve, his humor, his bravery. There were tales of his compassion, his intelligence, his dedication to God.

“Though we feel sadness and loss,” one of his former commanders said, “know this: legends never die. Chris Kyle is not gone. Chris Kyle is everywhere. He is the fabric of the freedom that blessed the people of this great nation. He is forever embodied in the strength and tenacity of the SEAL teams, where his courageous path will be followed and his memory is enshrined as SEALs continue to ruthlessly hunt down and destroy America’s enemies.”

Taya stood strong, surrounded by her husband’s SEAL brothers, and told the world about their love.

“God knew it would take the toughest and softest-hearted man on earth to get a hardheaded, cynical, hard-loving woman like me to see what God needed me to see, and he chose you for the job,” she said, her cracking voice filling the stadium. “He chose well.”

When the ceremony ended, uniformed pallbearers carried out the casket to the sounds of mournful bagpipes. Taya walked behind them with her children, hand in handThe next day, the casket was driven to Austin. There was a procession nearly 200 miles long—almost certainly the longest in American history. People lined the road in every town, waving flags and saluting. American flags were draped over every single bridge on I-35 between the Kyle home in Midlothian and the state capital.

• • •

People will tell stories about Chris Kyle for generations to come. Tales of his feats in battle, and of his antics and noble deeds, will probably swell. In a hundred years, people won’t know which stories are completely true and which were embellished over time. And, in the end, it may not matter too much, because people believe in legends for all their own reasons.

Since her husband’s death, Taya has been overwhelmed by the number of veterans who want to tell her that Chris Kyle saved their lives. A man with a 2-year-old girl wept recently as he explained that his daughter would not have been born had it not been for Chris Kyle rescuing him in Iraq. Years from now, men will still be telling stories about the moments when they were seconds or inches from death, when they thought it was all over—only to have a Chris Kyle bullet fly from the heavens and take out their enemies. They’ll tell their grandchildren to thank Chris Kyle in their prayers.

Because his legend is so large, because he personally protected so many people, there will surely be men who think they were saved by Kyle but owe their lives to a different sniper or to another serviceman. Of course, there will be no way to know for sure. Kyle credited his SEAL brothers any chance he could, but he also knew that he was an American hero, and he knew the complications that came with it.

During the interview in which he discussed the gas station incident, he didn’t say where it happened. Most versions of the story have him in Cleburne, not far from Fort Worth. The Cleburne police chief says that if such an incident did happen, it wasn’t in his town. Every other chief of police along Highway 67 says the same thing. Public information requests produced no police reports, no coroner reports, nothing from the Texas Rangers or the Department of Public Safety. I stopped at every gas station along 67, Business 67 in Cleburne, and 10 miles in either direction. Nobody had heard of anything like that happening.

A lot of people will believe that, because there are no public documents or witnesses to corroborate his story, Kyle must have been lying. But why would he lie? He was already one of the most decorated veterans of the Iraq war. Tales of his heroism on the battlefield were already lore in every branch of the armed forces.

People who never met Kyle will think there must have been too much pressure on him, a war hero who thought he might seem purposeless if he wasn’t killing bad guys. Conspiracy theorists will wonder if maybe every part of his life story—his incredible kills, his heroic tales of bravery in the face of death—was concocted by the propaganda wing of the Pentagon.

And, of course, other people—probably most people—will believe the story, because it was about Chris Kyle. He was one of the few men in the entire world capable of such a feat. He was one of the only people who might have had the connections to make something like that disappear—he did work regularly with the CIA. People will believe it because Chris Kyle was incredible, the most celebrated war hero of our time, a true American hero in every sense of the word. They’ll believe this story because there are already so many verified stories of his lethal abilities and astonishing valor, stories of him hanging out with presidents, and ribbing governors, and knocking out former football stars and billionaires and cocky frat boys.

They’ll believe it because Chris Kyle is already a legend, and sometimes we need to believe in legends.


France/US: Cachez ce rêve américain que je ne saurai voir (Protestant work ethic 101: Cadillac shamelessly celebrates American dream and enrages both espresso-sipping French and US liberals)

13 avril, 2014

https://i0.wp.com/www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/style-blog/files/2014/04/oecd.pnghttps://i1.wp.com/cdn.static-economist.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/full-width/images/2013/09/blogs/free-exchange/working_hours_picture_1_2.pnghttp://evanstonpubliclibrary.files.wordpress.com/2014/04/big-shoulders.jpg?w=398&h=530J’entends chanter l’Amérique, j’entends ses diverses chansons, Celles des ouvriers, chacun chantant la sienne joyeuse et forte comme elle doit l’être … Walt Whitman
Fier d’être le Charcutier de l’Univers, l’Outilleur, le Glaneur de Blé, l’Ouvrier du Rail et le Manutentionnaire de la Nation ... Carl Sandberg
Une bonne partie de ce que nous observons dans les relations entre la France et les Etats-Unis est le produit d’une structure de relations que l’on doit penser comme la confrontation entre deux impérialismes de l’universel. (…) La France est une sorte d’idéologie réalisée: être français, c’est se sentir en droit d’universaliser son intérêt particulier, cet intérêt particulier qui a pour particularité d’être universel. Et doublement en quelque sorte: universel en matière de politique, avec le modèle pur de la révolution universelle, universel en matière de culture, avec le modèle de chic (de Paris). On comprend que, bien que son monopole de l’universel soit fortement contesté, en particulier par les Etats-Unis, la France reste l’arbitre des élégances en matière de radical chic, comme on dit outre-Atlantique ; elle continue à donner le spectacle des jeux de l’universel, et, en particulier, de cet art de la transgression qui fait les avant-gardes politiques et/ou artistiques, de cette manière (qui se sent inimitable) de se sentir toujours au-delà, et au-delà du delà, de jouer avec virtuosité de tous les registres, difficile à accorder, de l’avant-gardisme politique et de l’avant-gardisme culturel (…) C’est dire que nombre des choses qui s’écrivent ou se disent, à propos de la France ou des USA ou de leurs rapports, sont le produit de l’affrontement entre deux impérialismes, entre un impérialisme en ascension et un impérialisme en déclin, et doivent sans doute beaucoup à des sentiments de revanche ou de ressentiment, sans qu’il soit exclu qu’une partie des réactions que l’on serait porté à classer dans l’antiaméricanisme du ressentiment puissent et doivent être comprises comme des stratégies de résistance légitime à des formes nouvelles d’impérialisme… (…) En fait, on ne peut attendre un progrès vers une culture réellement universelle – c’est-à-dire une culture faite de multiples traditions culturelles unifiées par la reconnaissance qu’elles s’accordent mutuellement – que des luttes entre les impérialismes de l’universel. Ces impérialismes, à travers les hommages plus ou moins hypocrites qu’ils doivent rendre à l’universel pour s’imposer, tendent à le faire avancer et, à tout le moins, à le constituer en recours susceptible d’être invoqué contre les impérialismes mêmes qui s’en réclament. Pierre Bourdieu
Pourquoi on travaille autant ? Pourquoi ? Pour ça ?  Pour tous ces trucs ? Dans d’autres pays, ils travaillent, ils rentrent tranquillement chez eux, ils s’arrêtent au café, ils se prennent tout le mois d’août pour les vacances. Tout le mois d’août ! Pourquoi vous êtes pas comme ça ? Pourquoi, nous, on est pas comme ça ? Parce qu’on est des croyants accros au travail. Voilà pourquoi ! Ces autres pays, ils nous prennent pour des fous et alors ? Est-ce que  les frères Wright étaient fous ? Bill Gates ? Les Paul ? Ali ?  On était fous quand on est allé sur la lune ?  Oui, parce que nous, on y est allé Et vous savez quoi ? On a trouvé ça ennuyeux. Alors on est reparti.  On a laissé une voiture là-bas avec les clés dessus. Vous savez pourquoi ? Parce qu’on est les seuls à pouvoir y retourner. Voilà pourquoi. Mais je m’éloigne du sujet. Vous voyez: c’est assez simple. On travaille dur, on crée ses propres chances et on sait que tout est possible. Quant à tous ces trucs ? C’est le bon côté de prendre que deux semaines de vacances en août. N’est-ce pas ? Publicité Cadillac
Average American employee only takes half of earned vacxation:paid time off; 61% report working while on vacation.Glassdoor survey
N’en déplaise à Louis Gallois, la croissance de la productivité horaire française est bien plus élevée que 0,8%: +1,3% en 2011 selon l’OCDE, + 1,4% selon l’Insee. Certes, en comparaison, la productivité horaire des Allemands a augmenté de 1,6% sur la même période, et de 1,5% en moyenne dans les pays de l’OCDE. Mais la productivité horaire d’un Français est parmi les plus élevée des pays industrialisés: 57,7 dollars en 2011 contre 55,3 dollars pour un Allemand et 44 dollars en moyenne dans les pays de l’OCDE. Seuls les Américains (60,3 dollars), les Norvégiens (81,5 dollars), les Néerlandais (59,8 dollars), les Luxembourgeois (78,9), les Irlandais (66,4) et les Belges (59,2) sont plus productifs. Quant à la productivité globale – la valeur ajoutée brute -, elle a augmenté de 2,7% l’an dernier, à 1789 milliards d’euros. (…) Il est toutefois faux de croire que les Français ne travaillent que 35 heures par semaine: heures supplémentaires comprises, la durée hebdomadaire de travail des salariés à temps complet était, en 2011, de 39,5 heures (52,7 heures pour les non salariés). Certes, c’est moins que les Allemands (40,4 heures en moyenne par semaine) et que l’ensemble des Européens (40,4 heures). Mais, au total en 2011, les Français ont travaillé 1475 heures selon l’OCDE, contre 1411 heures pour les Allemands! Car si l’Allemagne n’a pas réduit le temps de travail des salariés à temps plein, elle a en revanche massivement développé le temps partiel. Reste que les Français ont des marges de progression: la moyenne en zone euro est de 1573 heures de travail par an, et de 1775 heures dans l’ensemble des pays de l’OCDE. Ceux qui travaillent le plus sont les Mexicains (2250 heures par an) et les Sud-Coréens (2193 heures par an). L’Expansion
The Greeks are some of the most hardworking in the OECD, putting in over 2,000 hours a year on average. Germans, on the other hand, are comparative slackers, working about 1,400 hours each year. But German productivity is about 70% higher. Alternatively, the graph above might suggest that people who work fewer hours are more productive. (…) There are aberrations, of course. Americans are relatively productive and work relatively long hours. And within the American labour force hours worked among the rich have risen while those of the poor have fallen The Economist
A new and growing body of multidisciplinary research shows that strategic renewal — including daytime workouts, short afternoon naps, longer sleep hours, more time away from the office and longer, more frequent vacations — boosts productivity, job performance and, of course, health. In a study of nearly 400 employees, published last year, researchers found that sleeping too little — defined as less than six hours each night — was one of the best predictors of on-the-job burn-out. A recent Harvard study estimated that sleep deprivation costs American companies $63.2 billion a year in lost productivity. The Stanford researcher Cheri D. Mah found that when she got male basketball players to sleep 10 hours a night, their performances in practice dramatically improved: free-throw and three-point shooting each increased by an average of 9 percent. Daytime naps have a similar effect on performance. When night shift air traffic controllers were given 40 minutes to nap — and slept an average of 19 minutes — they performed much better on tests that measured vigilance and reaction time. Longer naps have an even more profound impact than shorter ones. Sara C. Mednick, a sleep researcher at the University of California, Riverside, found that a 60- to 90-minute nap improved memory test results as fully as did eight hours of sleep. MORE vacations are similarly beneficial. In 2006, the accounting firm Ernst & Young did an internal study of its employees and found that for each additional 10 hours of vacation employees took, their year-end performance ratings from supervisors (on a scale of one to five) improved by 8 percent. Frequent vacationers were also significantly less likely to leave the firm. (…) In the 1950s, the researchers William Dement and Nathaniel Kleitman discovered that we sleep in cycles of roughly 90 minutes, moving from light to deep sleep and back out again. They named this pattern the Basic-Rest Activity Cycle or BRAC. A decade later, Professor Kleitman discovered that this cycle recapitulates itself during our waking lives. The difference is that during the day we move from a state of alertness progressively into physiological fatigue approximately every 90 minutes. Our bodies regularly tell us to take a break, but we often override these signals and instead stoke ourselves up with caffeine, sugar and our own emergency reserves — the stress hormones adrenaline, noradrenaline and cortisol. Working in 90-minute intervals turns out to be a prescription for maximizing productivity. Professor K. Anders Ericsson and his colleagues at Florida State University have studied elite performers, including musicians, athletes, actors and chess players. In each of these fields, Dr. Ericsson found that the best performers typically practice in uninterrupted sessions that last no more than 90 minutes. The NYT
Alors que les Américains s’appauvrissent constamment depuis 2004, la tendance est inverse au Capitole où les élus sont de plus en plus riches. C’est ce que révèle une enquête publiée par le New York Times, basée sur des données du Centre pour une politique réactive (Center for Responsive Politics), et qui montre que 250 des 535 membres du Congrès américains sont millionnaires. Si l’endroit a toujours été peuplé par des personnes plutôt aisées, l’écart avec le reste du peuple n’a en revanche jamais été aussi marqué. Le revenu net médian des représentants et sénateurs culmine à 913.000 de $ (705.000 €) et ne cesse d’augmenter, quand celui des Américains dans son ensemble, continuellement en baisse, avoisine aujourd’hui les 100.000 $ (77.000 €). Plus surprenant, le revenu du Congrès a augmenté de 15% en sept ans, période durant laquelle celui des Américains les plus fortunés a pour sa part stagné. Pour tous les autres, le revenu médian a baissé de 8% pour cette même période. Si cet écart de richesse aurait pu passer inaperçu en temps normal, en pleine crise économique, il choque. Des fortunes qui dépassent les 100 millions de $. (…) Pour tenter d’expliquer comment les parlementaires font pour continuer de s’enrichir en ces temps de morosité économique, plusieurs pistes sont évoquées. Certains analystes, cités par le New York Times, estiment que c’est tout simplement parce que la politique s’adresse avant tout aux personnes aisées. Lors des élections de 2010, le coût d’une campagne victorieuse pour le Sénat s’élevait en moyenne à 10 millions de $ et à 1,4 million pour une place au sein de la Chambre des représentants. De facto, seules des personnes avec déjà des moyens conséquents sont à même de se lancer en politique. Une fois entré au Congrès, le parlementaire touche un salaire annuel de base de 174.000 $ (qui a augmenté de 10% depuis 2004, soit un peu moins que l’inflation). À ce salaire s’ajoutent plusieurs avantages auquel le citoyen lambda n’a pas accès: des primes d’ancienneté, des pensions de retraite et une sécurité sociale en or. Le Washington Post explique aussi qu’une fois en place, les sénateurs et les représentants jouissent d’un réseau et de nouveaux moyens qui leurs permettent d’augmenter leurs pécules. Les données récoltées par le Center for Responsive Politics montrent que les parlementaires feraient d’excellents résultats sur les marchés boursiers. D’après des chercheurs de l’université de Géorgie, qui ont étudié la question, ces performances seraient le fruit d’un «important avantage d’informations» dû à leurs positions. Le Figaro
Even if the clip was a bit corny and overdone, the late Paul Harvey was a masterful throaty narrator in the romantic age before the onset of America’s now ubiquitous metrosexual nasal intonation. Harvey just didn’t sound different from the present generation, but from what we suspect, he sounded different from most generations to come as well. One reason that our age cannot make a Shane, High Noon, or The Searchers is that most of our suburban Hollywood actors cannot even fake the accent of either the frontier or the tragic hero anymore. When Tommy Lee Jones and Robert Duvall go, so goes too the last link to the cinema’s Westerner. There are no more voices like Slim Pickens or Ben Johnson. (…) It was not just Harvey’s mid-20th century voice that intrigued millions, but his unapologetic praise of the farmer’s work ethic, religiosity, and family values that he implied were at the core of American greatness, and were shared by all sorts of other American originals: the truck driver, the steel worker, or waitress whom we now all praise and yet prep our children not to be. We suspect that our kids would be better off at forty for spending a summer on a tractor at fifteen, but we just can’t seem to risk the loss of a season’s computer camp or eco-camp in the bargain. (…) I suppose the images resonated in 2013 in a way that they would have seemed passé in 1950, but not just because farmers then were about 15% of the population and now make up less than 1%, and so currently earn the added intrigue accorded to vanishing in the manner of the rhino or blue whale. The commercial instead was mostly a hit because of the sharp contrast, not just with the Petronian spectacle of today’s Super Bowl extravaganza, but also with the general tenor of the times of 2013 in particular.Victor Davis Hanson
Rather than millionaires, the spot’s targeted at customers who make around $200,000 a year. They’re consumers with a « little bit of grit under their fingernails » who « pop in and out of luxury » when and how they see fit. These are people who haven’t been given anything. Every part of success they’ve achieved has been earned through hard work and hustle. . . . One of the ways they reward themselves for their hard work is through the purchase of a luxury car … Right up front, Mr. McDonough dismisses the idea the reason American work so hard is to buy « stuff. » What he’s really saying is that Americans work hard because that’s what they love to do. Luxury cars and other expensive goodies are a byproduct of success; not the objective. It’s basically saying hard work creates its own luck. In order to achieve it, you just have to believe anything’s possible. You have to believe in yourself, you have to believe in possibilities. It’s really about optimism. It’s really a fundamental human truth: optimism about creating your own future. It’s not about materialism. … Cadillac does not want to « guilt » people into buying an American rather than a European luxury car. The last thing in the world we want to do is comes across as: ‘It’s your duty to buy an American car.’ I don’t think anybody wakes up wanting to hear that. . . . The strategy was really to play off the consumer insights around this notion of achievement earned through hard work and hustle — and celebrating that. Since it’s a U.S.-based spot, we used metaphors to talk about other people who received their success through hard work … Reaction is running about 3-1 in favor of the spot with the young consumer audience on YouTube. But some people are offended at the perceived workaholic message when millions of people are out work and others are just getting by. Again, that’s not what Cadillac intended … We’re not making a statement saying, ‘We want people to work hard.’ What we’re saying is that hard work has its payoffs. Find something you love to do, do it incredibly well and there’s a reward for that. Whether its personal satisfaction, whether its fulfillment, whether that’s money … Rogue found and cast Mr. McDonough in an early version of the spot that they used to pitch and ultimately win Cadillac’s $250 million creative account last year. Cadillac and Rogue later went back and remade the spot with Mr. McDonough to create the version on-air now. We just liked his attitude … [It’s a dissertation on American values] Sure. But what people forget is that still just a car ad. What made Cadillac happiest is consumers recognize ELR as an electric car — although Mr. McDonough never states that explicitly. It’s sparked an interesting and thought-provoking debate. Craig Bierley
The only thing to upset the early-morning serenity was the single most obnoxious television ad ever made: the one for Cadillac, in which the life of the tiniest one per cent of the one per cent is represented as an American birthright. It’s the one with the appalling guy who high-fives his kids (without looking at them) and then ends with an anti-French flourish: “You work hard; you create your own luck. And all that stuff? That’s the upside of only taking two weeks off in August, n’est-ce pas?” The French is proudly mispronounced, but if any Francophone ad were as aggressively anti-American as this one is against the French, you’d be reading about it for weeks in the Wall Street Journal. That the French summer vacation is not a rule forced on the rich entrepreneur—who can scheme on his yacht all August if he likes—but a protection for the poor worker he employs, is not something that occurs to the Cadillac mind. (If you want to understand why the rest of the world likes to watch Americans lose, this ad explains it all.) Adam Gopnik
« There are plenty of things to celebrate about being American, but being possessed by a blind mania for working yourself into the ground, buying more stuff and mocking people in other countries just isn’t one of them. The Huffington Post
Why are we looking to Europe for guidance? They take the month of August off, there’s 14% unemployment, they’re welfare states. They sit around and they move at a leisurely pace. They can’t defend themselves. They rely on us for that. What in the world is there to model ourselves after? … Oh, man, I’ll tell you, they look at this as an assault on Europe. They look at it as an assault on sidewalk cafes, Starbucks and this kind of thing. They look at it as an assault on their lifestyle. Remember, these are the people telling us that you are liberated when you get fired. You’re liberated when you lose your job because now you don’t have to do some stupid job to have health care because the government will give it to you. You don’t have to work anymore. That’s where they come from. Yeah, you can finally go discover the inner artist in you, and you now can join the legion of great human beings who have painted. You can be one of them, not tied to some silly job … But that’s the lifestyle, that’s sophistication, you see. Sophistication is, work? I’ll do what I have to. I’m gonna really devote myself to what’s important. I’m going to go paint. Then I’m gonna go visit a museum. After I visit the museum, then I’m gonna go to the art gallery, and after I finish the art gallery, I’m gonna head over back to the espresso cafe. When I finish there I’m gonna head to the real bar and I’m gonna have a couple shots, maybe some white wine, maybe some Camembert. When I finish there, I’m then gonna go to the craft show at the local community center where I’m gonna learn how to knit and sew and knit and peel and whatever, and then I’m gonna go home and I’m gonna water my garden. And right before I go to bed, I’m gonna add to the poem I’ve been writing for the past month. Yes, I’ll work on my poetry. When I finish my poetry, I will then retire and go to bed. And when I awaken, I will get up, and I will hate the fact that the first part of my day is a job where I’m going to be exploited by some evil capitalist. But I’ll go do it anyway so that when it’s over I can stroll back to the espresso bar and maybe while I’m at the espresso bar, I’ll dream of inventing the flying car, and I’ll write it and scribble it out there on my Microsoft Surface, because I don’t want to the best, the iPad. No. And then I just repeat the cycle. I’ll go to a different museum and I’ll go see different displays, exhibits and so forth. That’s sophistication. That is what we should aspire to. All this hard-work stuff, what a crock. If you do work, by the way, if you do get sucked in, make sure you work for a nonprofit. In fact, the best thing you, make sure you run a nonprofit. That way you can really get paid for not doing anything. That way you’re not working for some enterprise devoted to the evil of profit. No, you’re working for a nonprofit. You will live off what other people give you and you will claim that you are better people, because you have not been soiled by the poisons of capitalism. There isn’t any profit or loss in what you do. You’re interested in public service. Then, when you finish that, it’s to the soup kitchen and the homeless shelter, just to look in, just to see that people are there, and you’ll feel great about yourself because you care. And then you’ll demand the rich pay higher taxes so that the soup kitchen doesn’t close … Here’s the thing about hard work. Hard work is hard — and, by the way, folks, not everybody loves their work. This commercial is an indication of what can happen if you work hard, even though you may not like it. But you know what this commercial really is? By the way, this commercial was originally not for an electric car. They made this ad about an electric car to try to soften the blow so it would offend these leftist wackos less. Rush Limbaugh

Cachez ce rêve américain que je ne saurai voir !

Alors qu’au pays aux éternels trois millions de chomeurs, un jeune entrepreneur  et l’organe de presse qui publiait sa tribune libre se voient assigner en justice pour avoir osé remettre en question les méthodes anticoncurrentielles d’une compagnie de taxis …

Et qu’à la suite d’un président du Très Grand Capital recordman toutes catégories des levées de fonds et des dépenses de campagne et avec le nouvel assouplissement des règles que vient de voter la Cour suprême, des parlementaires américains toujours plus riches vont pouvoir, démocrates en tête, s’enrichir un peu plus …

Comment s’étonner de la belle unanimité du tollé qu’a suscité, chez les têtes pensantes des deux côtés de l’Atlantique, la véritable ode au rêve américain et à l’éthique du travail qu’avait lancée Cadillac sur les petits écrans en février dernier pour vendre sa nouvelle berline ?

Où, au prix d’un double contresens confondant matérialisme et accomplissement personnel et critiquant la conversion d’une entreprise à l’écologie qui aurait dû les séduire (la berline est en fait hybride-électrique), nos professionnels de la nouvelle police de la pensée politiquement correcte se ruent comme un seul homme  sur le chiffon rouge de l’image d’une Amérique à nouveau fière d’elle-même

Dans une pub il est vrai où, contrairement à l’habile parodie qu’en a fait aussitôt après son concurrent Ford pour vendre sa propre voiture électrique (avec femme noire, comme il se doit, modèle de modestie et de bonne conscience écologique), la vénérable compagnie au nom si mythiquement français choisissait pour l’incarner un acteur blond et bien dans sa peau, étalant sans vergogne sa réussite et celle de son pays tout en taclant au passage les quatre semaines de congés payés d’un pays pourtant, du moins pour ceux qui ont la chance d’avoir un travail, des plus productifs  …

La pub anti-Français de Cadillac
Le Nouvel Observateur
11-04-2014

Le dernier spot de la marque de luxe laisse entendre que les Français sont des paresseux passant leur temps à se délecter des congés payés. Charming.

Les publicités pour voiture ne font pas toujours preuve d’une grande finesse. C’est le cas du dernier spot de Cadillac.

Tout commence sur fond de grosse maison américaine. Un homme, dénommé Nel McDonough, se tient devant la piscine, et pose une question existentielle : « Pourquoi travaillons-nous autant ? » « Pour tout ça », dit-il en traversant sa villa, « pour toutes ces choses matérielles ».

« Dans d’autres pays, ils rentrent chez eux tôt, s’arrêtent au café et prennent des vacances tout le mois d’août », poursuit-il.

Ce « nous », ce sont bien sûr les Américains, et les « autres pays », la France avec ses 35 heures, ses congés payés et ses bistrots à tous les coins de rue.

Nel McDonough ne lésine sur aucun argument pour démontrer le caractère « ambitieux » et « acharné » des Américains dont les Français seraient dépourvus : Neil Armstrong et les premiers pas sur la lune, Bill Gates… Dans son costume gris des plus chics, Nel McDonough pour finir débranche son bolide électrique en déclarant que la vie, finalement, « c’est assez simple. Vous travaillez dur, vous créez vos propres chances, vous devez croire que tout est possible. Et tous ces biens ? C’est l’avantage de ne prendre que deux semaines de vacances en août ».

Et de conclure par un clin d’œil « N’est-ce pas ? ». En français bien sûr.

Voir aussi:

L’affligeante pub anti-française de Cadillac
La marque de General Motors propose dans un spot une vision caricaturale de Français forcément paresseux.
Marc Naimark
Slate
11/04/2014

Il est vaguement ironique qu’une marque automobile qui tire son nom du fondateur français du Fort Ponchartrain, devenu la ville de Detroit, décide de faire du French-bashing. Ah oui, ces Frogs, ces cheese-eating surrender monkeys, connus pour leur paresse, les 35 heures, la déconnexion de leurs mails professionnel à 18h et les quatre semaines passées à bronzer parmi les coquillages et crustacés en août! Quelle différence avec ces Yankees travailleurs, se délectant des heures passées à tout faire sauf ne rien faire.

C’est justement le trait de caractère qu’utilise Cadillac, la gamme de luxe de General Motors, qui tire son nom d’un certain Antoine Laumet de La Mothe, sieur de Cadillac, dans une pub télé pour son modèle ELR mettant en scène l’acteur Neil McDonough (Frères d’armes, Desperate Housewives, etc.).

Dans ce spot, McDonough se promène de sa belle piscine vers sa non moins belle villa, de la superbe cuisine de celle-ci vers son vaste salon, en nous posant une question existentielle: pourquoi travaille-t-on autant? Pour tous ces biens matériels? Pour une marque de luxe, il va de soi que la réponse, après un discours un peu erratique sur la folie américaine, sera «oui».

«N’est-ce pas?» en français dans le texte

Durant ce plaidoyer en faveur du matérialisme, McDonough oppose aux Américains «d’autres pays» (en fait, la France) où, après le boulot, on se prélasse à la terrasse d’un café, où l’on passe tout le mois d’août en vacances, où l’on sait apprécier la vie.

Ceux-là méprisent les Américains ambitieux et acharnés au travail en les traitant de fous. Mais les frères Wright, pionniers de l’aviation, n’étaient-ils pas fous? N’était-ce pas fou d’aller sur la Lune et d’y retourner plusieurs fois avant de s’en ennuyer, laissant des bagnoles là-haut, sûrs que les seuls capables d’y retourner seront des Américains (surtout, ne le dites pas aux Chinois…)?

McDonough rentre dans son dressing et ressort en costume, prêt à sortir débrancher le bolide électrique à générateur intégré garé devant sa villa, en concluant:

«Les biens matériels, c’est le bon côté de ne prendre que quinze jours de vacances.»

Avec comme conclusion, un «N’est-ce pas?» évidemment en français dans le texte.

Effort pour un monde meilleur

A la caricature du Français qui sait vivre mais qui ne connaîtra jamais le plaisir d’avoir autant de choses que l’Américain, Ford, dans une nouvelle pub qui répond à celle de Cadillac, vient d’opposer une autre vision. Le spot met en scène, non pas un acteur, mais une personne réelle, Pashon Murray, la fondatrice de Detroit Dirt, entreprise du secteur social et solidaire qui récupère les déchets pour les transformer en compost destiné aux fermes urbaines d’une Detroit dépeuplée.

Dans cette pub, calque exacte de celle de Cadillac mais pour une voiture électrique bien plus modeste, Murray propose une troisième voie: ni paresse ni obsession accumulatrice, mais l’effort pour un monde meilleur.

La pub Cadillac se voulait provocatrice et clivante. General Motors prétend que les réactions étaient largement en sa faveur, mais a néanmoins choisi de ranger ce spot au placard après l’avoir diffusé massivement lors des JO de Sotchi, au profit de spots Internet destinés à mettre en évidence les avantages d’une voiture électrique et les autres innovations luxo-technologiques de l’ELR.

Si cette pub a «marché», c’est sans doute parce qu’elle conforte des Américains qui travaillent sans relâche pour acheter des maisons plus grandes où ils ne passent que très peu de temps, pour se procurer de nouveaux objets électroniques qu’ils n’ont presque pas le temps d’utiliser, pour acheter plein de jouets à leurs enfants qu’ils ne voient jamais. Neil McDonough les rassure: ça va, c’est bien de travailler autant, vous aurez une Cadillac à la fin!

Pour les 80% d’Américains qui n’auront jamais les moyens de payer plus de 75.000 dollars une voiture, les heures sans fin, c’est pour payer les assurances santé, la garde d’enfant, un logement dans un quartier avec des écoles un peu moins pourries qu’ailleurs. Et peut-être la voiture électrique de Ford, vendue moitié moins cher que l’ELR.

Une vision d’un monde où le travail n’est ni égoïstement honni, ni égoïstement adulé, mais tout simplement une voie vers un monde meilleur. Et c’est sans doute cette vision à laquelle adhéreraient les Français, les vrais, pas les faire-valoir caricaturaux de ce spot plutôt affligeant.

Voir également:

Cadillac lance une campagne de pub « anti-France »
Romain Pomian-Bonnemaison
Terrafemina
12 avril 2014

La marque de voiture Cadillac a choisi de centrer sa dernière campagne de pub sur ce qui fait des Etats-Unis un si grand pays… surtout par rapport au « farniente » à la française. N’hésitant pas à faire passer les français pour des flemmards parce qu’il se prendraient « un mois de vacances en août », la publicité qui n’en est pas à une contradiction près – en fait presque oublier le produit qu’elle essaie de vendre. Sans vraiment faire dans la finesse.

« Dans d’autres pays, ils travaillent, reviennent à la maison en s’arrêtant au café, ils prennent leur mois d’août – en entier », répète, insondable, l’acteur Neal McDonough (Desperate Housewives, Frères d’Armes, Minority Report…). Après tout un laïus sur le matérialisme, véritable sens de l’existence (avoir une piscine, par exemple, est dépeint comme un objectif de vie suprême), la publicité se conclut par un « N’est-ce pas ? » en français dans le texte – histoire de bien souligner que les « autres pays », ça veut bien dire la France. Pour la petite histoire, le nom de l’entreprise, Cadillac, fait référence au gascon Antoine de Lamothe-Cadillac, fondateur de la ville de Détroit en 1701 – une contradiction certes vague, mais non moins intéressante.

Quel est le message de Cadillac ?

Dans le détail, les poncifs véhiculés par cette publicité sont affligeants. Comme le relève Slate, les Etats-Unis, dépeints en creux, sont des maîtres incontestés dans tous les domaines – quitte à dire de belles âneries comme sur la conquête de la Lune, où il oublie que les Russes et les Chinois ont eux aussi déposé des véhicules… Et de conclure par cette phrase pas très illuminée: « Les biens matériels, c’est le bon côté de ne prendre que quinze jours de vacances », suivi de « N’est-ce pas ? ».

Voir encore:

Ford surfe sur le bad buzz de Cadillac pour sa dernière pub

maitesavin
Meltybuzz
31/03/2014
Alors que la dernière campagne de Cadillac faisait l’objet d’un bad buzz, la marque de voiture Ford a décidé de surfer sur ce bad buzz pour le tourner à son avantage en reprenant la pub au plan près !

La parodie de Cadillac par Ford

Après le bad buzz de la pub de Cadillac, Ford a retourné la situation à son avantage. En effet, en février dernier, l’acteur Neal McDonough (Dave Williams, mari d’Edie Britt dans la saison 5 de Desperate Housewives) incarnait le rêve américain matérialiste et libéral afin de promouvoir l’ELR, la berline électrique de Cadillac. Cette campagne n’avait pas fait l’unanimité et a même été qualifiée de « cauchemar ». C’est alors que Team Detroit, l’agence de pub travaillant pour la marque de voitures Ford, a décidé de prendre cette pub à contre pied. Surfant sur le bad buzz qu’elle a déclenché, elle reprend plan par plan la campagne de Cadillac remplaçant l’acteur blond par l’Afro-américaine Pashon Murray. Rien ne change sauf le discours. Cette dernière porte des bottes et un pantalon de jardin et explique son mode de vie écologique, tourné vers la Terre et les autres avec sa fondation Detroit Dirt. Contrairement à Cadillac, la jeune femme ne parle en aucun cas de sa réussite, de sa richesse en vantant la suprématie américaine et taclant les 5 semaines de congés payés français. Non, Ford a su garder un discours modeste et a bien su se servir de Cadillac pour promouvoir sa propre voiture électrique !

Voir de même:

Les Français ne sont pas assez productifs: info ou intox?

Louis Gallois estime que la productivité ne croît plus suffisamment en France. Pourtant, la France a une productivité horaire des plus élevées. Mais travaille moins d’heures que ses voisins. Décryptage.

Emilie Lévêque

L’Expansion

09/11/2012

Et si le manque de compétitivité de la France n’était pas seulement dû au coût du travail trop élevé, mais à un déficit de productivité des salariés? C’est en tout cas ce pense Louis Gallois. « Il y a un vrai problème de la productivité du travail en France », a déclaré ce vendredi sur BFM Business l’ancien patron du groupe aéronautique EADS, auteur du rapport sur la compétitivité des entreprises françaises. « La productivité horaire française reste forte, le problème, c’est qu’elle ne croît plus au rythme souhaitable », a-t-il poursuivi soulignant qu’elle augmentait à un rythme de « 0,8% par an ». « C’est insuffisant », pour l’industriel.

N’en déplaise à Louis Gallois, la croissance de la productivité horaire française est bien plus élevée que 0,8%: +1,3% en 2011 selon l’OCDE, + 1,4% selon l’Insee. Certes, en comparaison, la productivité horaire des Allemands a augmenté de 1,6% sur la même période, et de 1,5% en moyenne dans les pays de l’OCDE.

Mais la productivité horaire d’un Français est parmi les plus élevée des pays industrialisés: 57,7 dollars en 2011 contre 55,3 dollars pour un Allemand et 44 dollars en moyenne dans les pays de l’OCDE. Seuls les Américains (60,3 dollars), les Norvégiens (81,5 dollars), les Néerlandais (59,8 dollars), les Luxembourgeois (78,9), les Irlandais (66,4) et les Belges (59,2) sont plus productifs. Quant à la productivité globale – la valeur ajoutée brute -, elle a augmenté de 2,7% l’an dernier, à 1789 milliards d’euros.
Louis Gallois contraint de retirer ces préconisation sur le temps de travail?

Ce n’est donc peut-être pas tant un problème de productivité horaire, que dénonce Louis Gallois, mais de nombre d’heures travaillées. Parmi les nombreuses informations qui ont fuité sur ce que proposerait le rapport Gallois, il y a eu, en octobre, celle du Parisien sur la suppression des 35 heures. Le Commissariat général à l’investissement avait aussitôt démenti. Et de fait, il n’y a aucune mention à la durée du travail dans le rapport remis le 6 novembre au Premier ministre Jean-Marc Ayrault.

Etrange, car toutes les autres fuites de presse se sont révélées exactes – sur l’allègement de charges sociales de 30 milliards d’euros, sur l’exploration du gaz de schiste, etc. Louis Gallois aurait-il été contraint de retirer cette proposition de supprimer les 35 heures? C’est ce qu’il dit à demi-mots: il a été obligé « de se cantonner à un certain nombre de sujets », explique-t-il sur BFM.

Il est toutefois faux de croire que les Français ne travaillent que 35 heures par semaine: heures supplémentaires comprises, la durée hebdomadaire de travail des salariés à temps complet était, en 2011, de 39,5 heures (52,7 heures pour les non salariés). Certes, c’est moins que les Allemands (40,4 heures en moyenne par semaine) et que l’ensemble des Européens (40,4 heures). Mais, au total en 2011, les Français ont travaillé 1475 heures selon l’OCDE, contre 1411 heures pour les Allemands! Car si l’Allemagne n’a pas réduit le temps de travail des salariés à temps plein, elle a en revanche massivement développé le temps partiel.

Reste que les Français ont des marges de progression: la moyenne en zone euro est de 1573 heures de travail par an, et de 1775 heures dans l’ensemble des pays de l’OCDE. Ceux qui travaillent le plus sont les Mexicains (2250 heures par an) et les Sud-Coréens (2193 heures par an).

Voir par aussi:

Relax! You’ll Be More Productive
Tony Schwartz
February 9, 2013

THINK for a moment about your typical workday. Do you wake up tired? Check your e-mail before you get out of bed? Skip breakfast or grab something on the run that’s not particularly nutritious? Rarely get away from your desk for lunch? Run from meeting to meeting with no time in between? Find it nearly impossible to keep up with the volume of e-mail you receive? Leave work later than you’d like, and still feel compelled to check e-mail in the evenings?

More and more of us find ourselves unable to juggle overwhelming demands and maintain a seemingly unsustainable pace. Paradoxically, the best way to get more done may be to spend more time doing less. A new and growing body of multidisciplinary research shows that strategic renewal — including daytime workouts, short afternoon naps, longer sleep hours, more time away from the office and longer, more frequent vacations — boosts productivity, job performance and, of course, health.

“More, bigger, faster.” This, the ethos of the market economies since the Industrial Revolution, is grounded in a mythical and misguided assumption — that our resources are infinite.

Time is the resource on which we’ve relied to get more accomplished. When there’s more to do, we invest more hours. But time is finite, and many of us feel we’re running out, that we’re investing as many hours as we can while trying to retain some semblance of a life outside work.

Although many of us can’t increase the working hours in the day, we can measurably increase our energy. Science supplies a useful way to understand the forces at play here. Physicists understand energy as the capacity to do work. Like time, energy is finite; but unlike time, it is renewable. Taking more time off is counterintuitive for most of us. The idea is also at odds with the prevailing work ethic in most companies, where downtime is typically viewed as time wasted. More than one-third of employees, for example, eat lunch at their desks on a regular basis. More than 50 percent assume they’ll work during their vacations.

In most workplaces, rewards still accrue to those who push the hardest and most continuously over time. But that doesn’t mean they’re the most productive.

Spending more hours at work often leads to less time for sleep and insufficient sleep takes a substantial toll on performance. In a study of nearly 400 employees, published last year, researchers found that sleeping too little — defined as less than six hours each night — was one of the best predictors of on-the-job burn-out. A recent Harvard study estimated that sleep deprivation costs American companies $63.2 billion a year in lost productivity.

The Stanford researcher Cheri D. Mah found that when she got male basketball players to sleep 10 hours a night, their performances in practice dramatically improved: free-throw and three-point shooting each increased by an average of 9 percent.

Daytime naps have a similar effect on performance. When night shift air traffic controllers were given 40 minutes to nap — and slept an average of 19 minutes — they performed much better on tests that measured vigilance and reaction time.

Longer naps have an even more profound impact than shorter ones. Sara C. Mednick, a sleep researcher at the University of California, Riverside, found that a 60- to 90-minute nap improved memory test results as fully as did eight hours of sleep.

MORE vacations are similarly beneficial. In 2006, the accounting firm Ernst & Young did an internal study of its employees and found that for each additional 10 hours of vacation employees took, their year-end performance ratings from supervisors (on a scale of one to five) improved by 8 percent. Frequent vacationers were also significantly less likely to leave the firm.

As athletes understand especially well, the greater the performance demand, the greater the need for renewal. When we’re under pressure, however, most of us experience the opposite impulse: to push harder rather than rest. This may explain why a recent survey by Harris Interactive found that Americans left an average of 9.2 vacation days unused in 2012 — up from 6.2 days in 2011.

The importance of restoration is rooted in our physiology. Human beings aren’t designed to expend energy continuously. Rather, we’re meant to pulse between spending and recovering energy.

In the 1950s, the researchers William Dement and Nathaniel Kleitman discovered that we sleep in cycles of roughly 90 minutes, moving from light to deep sleep and back out again. They named this pattern the Basic-Rest Activity Cycle or BRAC. A decade later, Professor Kleitman discovered that this cycle recapitulates itself during our waking lives.

The difference is that during the day we move from a state of alertness progressively into physiological fatigue approximately every 90 minutes. Our bodies regularly tell us to take a break, but we often override these signals and instead stoke ourselves up with caffeine, sugar and our own emergency reserves — the stress hormones adrenaline, noradrenaline and cortisol.

Working in 90-minute intervals turns out to be a prescription for maximizing productivity. Professor K. Anders Ericsson and his colleagues at Florida State University have studied elite performers, including musicians, athletes, actors and chess players. In each of these fields, Dr. Ericsson found that the best performers typically practice in uninterrupted sessions that last no more than 90 minutes. They begin in the morning, take a break between sessions, and rarely work for more than four and a half hours in any given day.

“To maximize gains from long-term practice,” Dr. Ericsson concluded, “individuals must avoid exhaustion and must limit practice to an amount from which they can completely recover on a daily or weekly basis.”

I’ve systematically built these principles into the way I write. For my first three books, I sat at my desk for up 10 hours a day. Each of the books took me at least a year to write. For my two most recent books, I wrote in three uninterrupted 90-minute sessions — beginning first thing in the morning, when my energy was highest — and took a break after each one.

Along the way, I learned that it’s not how long, but how well, you renew that matters most in terms of performance. Even renewal requires practice. The more rapidly and deeply I learned to quiet my mind and relax my body, the more restored I felt afterward. For one of the breaks, I ran. This generated mental and emotional renewal, but also turned out to be a time in which some of my best ideas came to me, unbidden. Writing just four and half hours a day, I completed both books in less than six months and spent my afternoons on less demanding work.

The power of renewal was so compelling to me that I’ve created a business around it that helps a range of companies including Google, Coca-Cola, Green Mountain Coffee, the Los Angeles Police Department, Cleveland Clinic and Genentech.

Our own offices are a laboratory for the principles we teach. Renewal is central to how we work. We dedicated space to a “renewal” room in which employees can nap, meditate or relax. We have a spacious lounge where employees hang out together and snack on healthy foods we provide. We encourage workers to take renewal breaks throughout the day, and to leave the office for lunch, which we often do together. We allow people to work from home several days a week, in part so they can avoid debilitating rush-hour commutes. Our workdays end at 6 p.m. and we don’t expect anyone to answer e-mail in the evenings or on the weekends. Employees receive four weeks of vacation from their first year.

Our basic idea is that the energy employees bring to their jobs is far more important in terms of the value of their work than is the number of hours they work. By managing energy more skillfully, it’s possible to get more done, in less time, more sustainably. In a decade, no one has ever chosen to leave the company. Our secret is simple — and generally applicable. When we’re renewing, we’re truly renewing, so when we’re working, we can really work.

Tony Schwartz is the chief executive officer of The Energy Project and the author, most recently, of “Be Excellent at Anything.”

Voir également:

Cadillac Clears Up ‘Misconceptions’ About Contentious ‘Poolside’ Ad
But Expect Debate to Keep Raging After Oscar Airing
Michael McCarthy
Ad age
March 01, 2014. 31

« Why do we work so hard? For what? For this? For stuff? » asks actor Neal McDonough as he gazes out over his pool in new Cadillac’s TV commercial before delivering a dissertation on the American Dream.

With that, the actor begins the controversial 60-second spot Cadillac that will air both before and during ABC’s broadcast of the Academy Awards this Sunday night.

The « Poolside » spot created, by ad agency Rogue, is intended to serve as a « brand provocation, » according to Craig Bierley, Cadillac’s advertising director. Consider it mission accomplished.

The spot for the new Cadillac ELR has provoked extreme reactions since its debut during NBC’s broadcast of the Opening Ceremony of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics

Fans on the political right see « Poolside » as an unapologetic ode to American values. Critics on the political left see it as Ugly American chest thumping at its worst. During a time when Americans are working harder and longer for less money, others question the spot’s perceived workaholic message.

Fox Business News contributor Jonathan Hoenig, a founding member of the Capitalistpig hedge fund, praised « Poolside » as a « tremendous » celebration of profit-seeking, productivity and, yes, enjoyment of material goods.

« Those are considered very declasse these days, very down. So here’s a wonderful ad that actually celebrates America, » Mr. Hoenig said.

But Fox Business host Neil Cavuto worried « Poolside » feeds the negative perception of the richest 1% as smug, rich bastards who are contemptuous of everyone else. It also takes chutzpah for GM, a company bailed out by American taxpayers, to preach self-reliance, Mr. Cavuto wryly noted.

Other critics have attacked the spot more bluntly. The Huffington Post declared: « Cadillac made a commercial about the American Dream — and it’s a Nightmare. » Wrote Carolyn Gregoire: « The luxury car company is selling a vision of the American Dream at its worst: Work yourself into the ground, take as little time off as possible, and buy expensive sh*t (specifically, a 2014 Cadillac ELR). »

Washington Post contributor Brigid Schulte « groaned » at the sight of a « middle-aged white guy » extolling the « virtues of hard work, American style, » while strolling around his fancy house, pool and $75,000 electric car.
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Advertising Age interviewed Cadillac’s Mr. Bierley on the strong reaction to the spot. He said the spot’s been « misconstrued » by some viewers. He wanted to set the record straight. Among the misperceptions:
Craig Bierley Craig Bierley

It’s aimed at the richest 1%
Not so, says Mr. Bierley. Rather than millionaires, the spot’s targeted at customers who make around $200,000 a year. They’re consumers with a « little bit of grit under their fingernails » who « pop in and out of luxury » when and how they see fit, he said. « These are people who haven’t been given anything. Every part of success they’ve achieved has been earned through hard work and hustle. . . . One of the ways they reward themselves for their hard work is through the purchase of a luxury car, » he said.

It’s about materialism
Go back and watch the beginning, said Mr. Bierley. Right up front, Mr. McDonough dismisses the idea the reason American work so hard is to buy « stuff. » What he’s really saying is that Americans work hard because that’s what they love to do. Luxury cars and other expensive goodies are a byproduct of success; not the objective.

« It’s basically saying hard work creates its own luck. In order to achieve it, you just have to believe anything’s possible. You have to believe in yourself, you have to believe in possibilities. It’s really about optimism. It’s really a fundamental human truth: optimism about creating your own future. It’s not about materialism. »

It’s a « Buy American » spot
That’s wrong too. Mr. McDonough references the U.S. moon landing, Bill Gates and the Wright Brothers because the ad is only designed to run in the U.S., not overseas. If « Poolside » was designed as a global ad, the references would be more global.

Cadillac does not want to « guilt » people into buying an American rather than a European luxury car, said Mr. Bierley. « The last thing in the world we want to do is comes across as: ‘It’s your duty to buy an American car.’ I don’t think anybody wakes up wanting to hear that. . . . The strategy was really to play off the consumer insights around this notion of achievement earned through hard work and hustle — and celebrating that. Since it’s a U.S.-based spot, we used metaphors to talk about other people who received their success through hard work. »
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It celebrates the USA’s workaholic culture
Reaction is running about 3-1 in favor of the spot with the young consumer audience on YouTube, said Mr. Bierley. But some people are offended at the perceived workaholic message when millions of people are out work and others are just getting by. Again, that’s not what Cadillac intended, Mr. Bierley said.

« We’re not making a statement saying, ‘We want people to work hard.’ What we’re saying is that hard work has its payoffs. Find something you love to do, do it incredibly well and there’s a reward for that. Whether its personal satisfaction, whether its fulfillment, whether that’s money. »

It was created for the Olympics, when nationalism runs high
Wrong, said Mr. Bierley. Instead, Rogue found and cast Mr. McDonough in an early version of the spot that they used to pitch and ultimately win Cadillac’s $250 million creative account last year. Cadillac and Rogue later went back and remade the spot with Mr. McDonough to create the version on-air now. « We just liked his attitude, » said Mr. Bierley about the character actor who’s starred on HBO’s « Band of Brothers » and other shows.

It’s a dissertation on American values
Sure, said Mr. Bierley. But what people forget is that still just a car ad. What made Cadillac happiest is consumers recognize ELR as an electric car — although Mr. McDonough never states that explicitly. « It’s sparked an interesting and thought-provoking debate, » said Mr. Bierley.

Voir encore:

The Super Bowl Farmers
Victor Davis Hanson
February 13th, 2013

Chrysler’s Super Bowl Ram Truck commercial praising the American farmer was an unexpected big hit and is still being replayed around the country on talk radio. Rich Lowry and Peggy Noonan both contrasted the authenticity of that commercial fantasy with the falsity of the real event.

And why not? Even if the clip was a bit corny and overdone, the late Paul Harvey was a masterful throaty narrator in the romantic age before the onset of America’s now ubiquitous metrosexual nasal intonation. Harvey just didn’t sound different from the present generation, but from what we suspect, he sounded different from most generations to come as well. One reason that our age cannot make a Shane, High Noon, or The Searchers is that most of our suburban Hollywood actors cannot even fake the accent of either the frontier or the tragic hero anymore. When Tommy Lee Jones and Robert Duvall go, so goes too the last link to the cinema’s Westerner. There are no more voices like Slim Pickens or Ben Johnson. One of the successes of the commercial is that the photographed farmers did not speak, and left the impression of mute superiority.

It was not just Harvey’s mid-20th century voice that intrigued millions, but his unapologetic praise of the farmer’s work ethic, religiosity, and family values that he implied were at the core of American greatness, and were shared by all sorts of other American originals: the truck driver, the steel worker, or waitress whom we now all praise and yet prep our children not to be. We suspect that our kids would be better off at forty for spending a summer on a tractor at fifteen, but we just can’t seem to risk the loss of a season’s computer camp or eco-camp in the bargain.

The commercial’s platitudes were cleverly juxtaposed with grainy pictures of un-Botoxed people doing real physical work and in concert with each other, using big machines, and looking the worse for wear from it. True or not, we at least were to believe that no one in those still shots had hair plugs, bleached teeth, or faux tans in the manner of our vice president, who tries so hard to be an oh-so-authentic “Joey.” In that regard, Clint Eastwood’s resonance hinges in part on the fact that his lined and craggy face does not resemble what has happened to Sylvester Stallone’s, and he did not engage in the sort of embarrassing, obsequious fawning about George Bush that a Chris Rock or Jamie Foxx has monotonously done about Barack Obama. Americans still admire authenticity, and that too explains the later YouTube popularity of the commercial. When the Obama team released pictures of Obama “skeet shooting” or with a furrowed brow following in real time the ongoing shooting and killing in Benghazi, we knew it was all show, all Dukakis in a tank. The only thing worse than being cut off from the premodern world is faking participation in it.

I suppose the images resonated in 2013 in a way that they would have seemed passé in 1950, but not just because farmers then were about 15% of the population and now make up less than 1%, and so currently earn the added intrigue accorded to vanishing in the manner of the rhino or blue whale. The commercial instead was mostly a hit because of the sharp contrast, not just with the Petronian spectacle of today’s Super Bowl extravaganza, but also with the general tenor of the times of 2013 in particular.

Voir aussi:

Advertisers Pitching to Americans Yearning to Feel Confident Again
Jim Geraghty
National Review

March 5, 2014

Beyond the Russia and Alan Grayson news in today’s Morning Jolt . . .

Advertisers Pitching to Americans Yearning to Feel Confident Again

Take a look at three of the biggest, most-discussed television ads of the past year or so.

First, Ram Trucks’ “God Made a Farmer” ad from the Super Bowl last year:

Then the Coke ad from the Super Bowl this year:

I know there were some folks who watched the Coke ad and perceived the message, “America isn’t just for English-speakers! Embrace the polyglot, you ethnocentric hicks!” But it’s just as easy, or easier, to look at the ad and see the message that all across the globe, in every tongue, people find America, and its freedoms, cultures, and traditions beautiful.

Then the latest ad to make a splash, no pun intended, is Cadillac’s “Poolside”:

Ad Age summarizes the reaction:

“Why do we work so hard? For what? For this? For stuff?” asks actor Neal McDonough as he gazes out over his pool in new Cadillac’s TV commercial before delivering a dissertation on the American Dream.

With that, the actor begins the controversial 60-second spot Cadillac that will air both before and during ABC’s broadcast of the Academy Awards this Sunday night.

The “Poolside” spot created, by ad agency Rogue, is intended to serve as a “brand provocation,” according to Craig Bierley, Cadillac’s advertising director. Consider it mission accomplished.

Fox Business News contributor Jonathan Hoenig, a founding member of the Capitalistpig hedge fund, praised “Poolside” as a “tremendous” celebration of profit-seeking, productivity and, yes, enjoyment of material goods.

“Those are considered very declasse these days, very down. So here’s a wonderful ad that actually celebrates America,” Mr. Hoenig said.

But Fox Business host Neil Cavuto worried “Poolside” feeds the negative perception of the richest 1% as smug, rich bastards who are contemptuous of everyone else. It also takes chutzpah for GM, a company bailed out by American taxpayers, to preach self-reliance, Mr. Cavuto wryly noted.

What’s the theme tying together all three of these?

Americans desperately want to feel good about their country again.

The farmer in the Ram Trucks ad is what we think we once were, and want to still be: hard-working, reliable, honest, filled with determination and integrity. The Coke ad actually begins with a cowboy who would fit in the Ram Truck ad, but moves on to break-dancing kids, a family visiting the Grand Canyon, a big (Hispanic?) family settling in for dinner, folks wobbling at a roller rink and laughing at themselves. That ad shows that we’re warm and welcoming, close to our families, spending quality time with our kids who aren’t sitting in front of a video-game console or staring at the screen of their phone.

And then Neal McDunough — “Hey, it’s that guy from Band of Brothers and Captain America!” — comes along and stabs a needle of adrenaline and confidence into our heart. He chuckles about other countries sitting at cafes and taking August off. He walks past his kids, who are doing their homework, with one appearing to be working on a model of DNA. He explains that “we’re crazy, driven, hard-working believers,” and high-fives his younger child, who obviously has already absorbed this cheerful, confident philosophy. He’s got a gorgeous house with a pool, happy, bright kids, a good-looking wife who reads the Wall Street Journal after he does, and he looks good in a suit. He’s got spring in his step. The world is his oyster, and he says it’s America’s oyster, too, because “you work hard, you create your own luck, and you’ve got to believe anything is possible.”

We want to be that guy. Or we want to believe we could be that guy if we tried. Or perhaps put even clearer, we want to believe we have the opportunity to be that guy, whether or not we actually want to pursue that life, that house, that lifestyle, and drive that car.

UPDATE: A reader reminds me that Mike Rowe’s ad for Walmart fits in this theme as well:

Most companies test their ads extensively with focus groups. The folks in those focus groups must be bursting at the seams for a message that America can be great again. Are the potential 2016 contenders hearing this?

Liberals Outraged by Cadillac Ad
Rush Limbaugh
March 06, 2014

RUSH: Have you seen, ladies and gentlemen, the new Cadillac commercial for their new electric car? (interruption) You haven’t?  It features the actor Neal McDonough.  Do you watch Justified? (interruption) Well, Neal McDonough was in Justified two years ago.  He’s got this baby-shaped head, blue eyes, short, blond hair.  He can play the nicest next-door neighbor or the evilest villain you’ve ever found.

He is the actor in this commercial.  The left hates this commercial.  There are caustic posts on leftist websites, and even mainstream news sites, Huffing and Puffington Post. They’re outraged over the Cadillac ad!  If you’ve seen it, you might know why.

RUSH:  Let’s get to the Cadillac commercial.  There’s a headline here at the Huffing and Puffington Post.  It’s by a woman named Carolyn Gregoire, and I don’t know she pronounces it that way.  G-r-e-g-o-i-r-e, Gregoire, Gregoire. It’s probably Gregory, if I had to guess.  But anyway, headline: « Cadillac Made a Commercial About the American Dream, and it is a Nightmare. »  This commercial has hit a nerve in the left that is such a teachable moment!

This commercial itself and the reaction to it by the left is all anyone needs know about what really has become of the Democrat Party and the American left.  The actor is Neal McDonough.  You’ve seen him in Justified.  He was in some other TV series that ran for four years.  I can’t think of the name of it right off the top of my head.  You’d recognize him if you saw him.  He’s playing the part here of a successful American male, who happens to own one of these new Cadillac electric cars.

RUSH: Here is the ad.  This is 43 seconds here. It’ll go by here pretty quickly and I’ll do the transcript myself when this is finished.

MCDONOUGH:  Why do we work so hard?  For what?  For this?  For stuff?  Other countries, they work, they stroll home, they stop by the cafe, they take August off.  Off.  Why aren’t you like that?  Why aren’t we like that?  Because we’re crazy, driven, hardworking believers.  Those other countries think we’re nuts.  Whatever.  Were the Wright Brothers insane?  Bill Gates? Les Paul? Ali?  Were we nuts when we pointed to the moon?  That’s right.  We went up there, and you know what we got?  Bored.  So we left.  It’s pretty simple.  You work hard, you create your own luck, and you gotta believe anything is possible.  As for all the stuff, that’s the upside of only taking two weeks off in August.  N’est-ce pas?

You don’t need stuff. You need to be the inner artiste, and while you piddle around and produce absolutely nothing, we will take care of you, and we will give you your health care while you explore your inner uselessness, and only dream about what you could be while looking at other people who are successful and instantly hating them.

RUSH: Have you seen, ladies and gentlemen, the new Cadillac commercial for their new electric car? (interruption) You haven’t? It features the actor Neal McDonough. Do you watch Justified? (interruption) Well, Neal McDonough was in Justified two years ago. He’s got this baby-shaped head, blue eyes, short, blond hair. He can play the nicest next-door neighbor or the evilest villain you’ve ever found.

He is the actor in this commercial. The left hates this commercial. There are caustic posts on leftist websites, and even mainstream news sites, Huffing and Puffington Post. They’re outraged over the Cadillac ad! If you’ve seen it, you might know why.

RUSH: Let’s get to the Cadillac commercial. There’s a headline here at the Huffing and Puffington Post. It’s by a woman named Carolyn Gregoire, and I don’t know she pronounces it that way. G-r-e-g-o-i-r-e, Gregoire, Gregoire. It’s probably Gregory, if I had to guess. But anyway, headline: « Cadillac Made a Commercial About the American Dream, and it is a Nightmare. » This commercial has hit a nerve in the left that is such a teachable moment!

This commercial itself and the reaction to it by the left is all anyone needs know about what really has become of the Democrat Party and the American left. The actor is Neal McDonough. You’ve seen him in Justified. He was in some other TV series that ran for four years. I can’t think of the name of it right off the top of my head. You’d recognize him if you saw him. He’s playing the part here of a successful American male, who happens to own one of these new Cadillac electric cars.

RUSH: As for all the stuff, that’s the two weeks off in August. He also says in the ad about the moon, and we’re gonna be the first to go back. Now, the left is simply outraged because they perceived this to be an attack on Western European socialism. This is Cadillac. Remember what I’ve always told you about advertising? Advertising that works is advertising that properly, correctly takes the pulse of the people it is targeted to.

It takes the pulse of the American culture at that moment, that snapshot. So here you have Cadillac and their ad agency, and what are they using to sell this thing? The American dream, the old adages: Hard work, success, climbing the ladder. You just work hard and work hard, and you don’t think about vacations first. You think about your work. You find something you love, you go out and you do it.

And, yeah, you acquire stuff. There’s nothing wrong with acquiring stuff, and there’s nothing wrong with improving your lifestyle. The left is just livid. A pull quote from this Huffing and Puffington Post story: « a completely shameless celebration of our work-hard-buy-more culture, with a blanket dismissal of ‘other countries’ and their laziness tossed in for good measure. »

One of the things that liberals love to hate about America is wrapped up in that one sentence. Let me read it to you again. The pull quote from Carolyn Gregoire, the Huffington Post says, this Cadillac ad is « a completely shameless celebration of our work-hard-buy-more culture, with a blanket dismissal of ‘other countries’ and their laziness tossed in for good measure. »

If there’s one thing that this commercial misses and — well, not really. There’s a lot of Americans who can’t work anymore. There aren’t any jobs, no matter how hard you work. There are just some people that can’t find work, but Cadillac is targeting those who have jobs and are trying. You know, whatever you do, don’t feel guilty about climbing the ladder. Don’t feel guilty about improving your life.

Don’t feel guilty about wanting a Cadillac, an electric Cadillac.

Don’t feel guilty about this.

Why are we looking to Europe for guidance? They take the month of August off, there’s 14% unemployment, they’re welfare states. They sit around and they move at a leisurely pace. They can’t defend themselves. They rely on us for that. What in the world is there to model ourselves after? And the left is just loaded for bear. I’ll share with you further details from this piece. Here. Grab sound bite 18. Quickly we can squeeze it in. Here’s Robin Roberts on morning America today.

ROBERTS: Oh, my goodness. And what’s wrong with taking more than two weeks off? You’re made to be felt guilty because you’re not working hard?

RUSH: Yeah, yeah, yeah. That commercial, oh, wow! That makes you feel guilty if take more than two weeks off. That Cadillac commercial is making me feel guilty. I’m telling you, the left is afraid of that commercial. It’s such a teachable moment here.

RUSH: No. No, no, no, no. The point is, the left really is anti-American tradition. The left really does not believe in the all American dream. It’s not that they don’t even believe it; they advocate against it. That’s what this Cadillac hullabaloo illustrates and is all about. You know, we think we’re all in this together. We might have our disagreements, Democrats and Republicans, but we all want the same things. We don’t anymore.

There is not a singular American culture that’s oriented around growth and prosperity and individual achievement and success. That’s not what the Democrat Party’s about anymore. Their power base is not rooted in people like that. Their power base is rooted in the failures and victims of our society. And they are trying to create even more of them.

The enemy, as far as the Democrat Party and the American left are is concerned, the enemy are the successful, the enemy is those who are achieved. The enemy is the philosophy that undergirds the American dream. It’s called consumerism and capitalism and it’s supposedly void of any real meaning and no values. It’s just about who has more stuff and who has more money and who’s richer and all that, and they are full-fledged resentful of that.

Now, this has been building for 50 years. It didn’t just happen overnight, but to some people who are casual observers, it has happened overnight. We went from George Bush, who was a Republican for all intents and purposes as far as low-information voters are concerned, a conservative, and he won two elections. He loses, and within two years everything the country stood for is gone and finished. How did this happen? That’s what a lot of people are asking. How in the world did this happen overnight? And the answer is it hasn’t been happening overnight, or it didn’t.

It has been building for years, starting in first grade, kindergarten, all the way up through the university level, the anti-America dream speech, philosophy, the pro-Western, socialist view of things, the all-powerful state, the idea that people aren’t smart enough to take care of themselves, people aren’t capable of taking care of themselves, that people aren’t, on their own, able to make the right decisions. They not gonna spend their money right. They need people do that for them. Liberals, preferably in government, determining how people live and what decisions are made, and if they make the wrong ones, then we’ll penalize them.

It’s an amazing thing that a commercial has come along and shown this for what it is. So let me replay — and this is not the whole thing — the whole thing is 60. We cut it down to 45 seconds just for the essence, you know, brevity is the soul of wit. And this commercial literally has the left in a tizzy. I read it, folks. It’s my gig here. Show prep, I know no bounds. And I’m telling you that all over leftist blogs there is genuine rage over this. Here it is again.

MCDONOUGH: Why do we work so hard? For what? For this? For stuff? Other countries, they work, they stroll home, they stop by the cafe, they take August off. Off. Why aren’t you like that? Why aren’t we like that? Because we’re crazy, driven, hardworking believers. Those other countries think we’re nuts. Whatever. Were the Wright Brothers insane? Bill Gates? Les Paul? Ali? Were we nuts when we pointed to the moon? That’s right. We went up there, and you know what we got? Bored. So we left. It’s pretty simple. You work hard, you create your own luck, and you gotta believe anything is possible. As for all the stuff, that’s the upside of only taking two weeks off in August. N’est-ce pas?

RUSH: Oh, man, I’ll tell you, they look at this as an assault on Europe. They look at it as an assault on sidewalk cafes, Starbucks and this kind of thing. They look at it as an assault on their lifestyle. Remember, these are the people telling us that you are liberated when you get fired. You’re liberated when you lose your job because now you don’t have to do some stupid job to have health care because the government will give it to you. You don’t have to work anymore. That’s where they come from. Yeah, you can finally go discover the inner artist in you, and you now can join the legion of great human beings who have painted. You can be one of them, not tied to some silly job.

You don’t need stuff. You need to be the inner artiste, and while you piddle around and produce absolutely nothing, we will take care of you, and we will give you your health care while you explore your inner uselessness, and only dream about what you could be while looking at other people who are successful and instantly hating them. Let me read to you even more from this piece at the Huffing and Puffington Post.

« There are plenty of things to celebrate about being American, but being possessed by a blind mania for working yourself into the ground, buying more stuff and mocking people in other countries just isn’t one of them. » And that’s how they view this commercial. This commercial is advocating for working yourself to death, buying a bunch of useless stuff, and making fun of other people. That’s the great sin. It’s a toss-up between working hard and making fun of other people that offends them the most. They don’t know which bothers them the most.

« So we wish we could say that Cadillac’s commercial [for it’s new electric car], which debuted during the Olympics, was a joke. But no, it seems to be dead serious — a completely shameless celebration of our work-hard-buy-more culture, with a blanket dismissal of ‘other countries’ and their laziness tossed in for good measure. »

Oh, I just love this. It’s so predictable, too. It’s so right on the money. People are just doing us the biggest favor by telling us exactly who they are and what they resent and what they don’t like. And what is it about hard work that bothers them? Bill Gates, I guarantee you when he was building Microsoft, it wasn’t work. It was love.

Let me use myself. I don’t look at what I do as work. I absolutely love it. I’ve always worked hard, and I absolutely love it, and I am thankful as I can be that I found what I love. I’m ecstatic I found my passion. I describe it as doing what I was born to do. I’m one of the lucky few, apparently, who found what that is, and, by the way, not an insignificant part, a way to get paid for doing it.

It’s not hard work. Well, it is, but I don’t look at it that way. It’s not arduous. I don’t get up regretting it. I don’t spend my days wringing my hands ticked off at people for what I have to do. I think every day’s an opportunity. To these people, every day’s drudgery, every day is more punishment, every day is more of an excrement sandwich. And work hard, who needs that? There’s a reason why the United States has been the lone superpower.

And, by the way, we now have a president who agrees with this take on this commercial. The American dream’s always been phony. You know why? The American dream’s been a trick. The American dream’s a trick fostered on people to get ’em to work hard for evil corporate bosses who won’t pay them anything with this impossible result that they’re gonna make it big someday. That’s a lie. This is what the left thinks. It’s a lie put forth by corporate America, rich America, to get you to bust your butt for them while they pay you nothing. And you will die dreaming of what you never had, and, my God, you will have wasted your life in the process. And that is their outlook. You are nothing but a victim being exploited by the evil rich who are mostly white, by the way, and that’s important in this, too.

The article continues. « The opening shot shows a middle-aged man, played by the actor Neal McDonough, looking out over his backyard pool. » That bugs ’em, too. The guy has a big house. He’s got a big house, it’s in a nice neighborhood, and he’s got a pool, and it’s a built-in pool. It’s not one of these cheap balloons that you put water in. It’s a real cement pond, really ticks the left off. And he’s looking over his domain, says, « ‘Why do we work so hard? For this? For stuff?’ As the ad continues, it becomes clear that the answer to this rhetorical question is actually a big fat YES. » All we do is work hard for stuff.

« And it gets worse. ‘Other countries, they work,’ he says. ‘They stroll home. They stop by the cafe. They take August off. Off.' » Which they do! They take August off. They do stroll home. And when they’re not strolling, they’re driving little lawn mowers they call cars. « Then he reveals just what it is that makes Americans better than all those lazy, espresso-sipping foreigners. » You just feel hate dripping from every word here? « Then he reveals just what it is that makes Americans better than all those lazy espresso-sipping foreigners, » which, by the way, Carolyn I’m sure would love to be one of those lazy espresso sipping foreigners. And she may be, who knows.

But that’s the lifestyle, that’s sophistication, you see. Sophistication is, work? I’ll do what I have to. I’m gonna really devote myself to what’s important. I’m going to go paint. Then I’m gonna go visit a museum. After I visit the museum, then I’m gonna go to the art gallery, and after I finish the art gallery, I’m gonna head over back to the espresso cafe. When I finish there I’m gonna head to the real bar and I’m gonna have a couple shots, maybe some white wine, maybe some Camembert. When I finish there, I’m then gonna go to the craft show at the local community center where I’m gonna learn how to knit and sew and knit and peel and whatever, and then I’m gonna go home and I’m gonna water my garden. And right before I go to bed, I’m gonna add to the poem I’ve been writing for the past month.

Yes, I’ll work on my poetry. When I finish my poetry, I will then retire and go to bed. And when I awaken, I will get up, and I will hate the fact that the first part of my day is a job where I’m going to be exploited by some evil capitalist. But I’ll go do it anyway so that when it’s over I can stroll back to the espresso bar and maybe while I’m at the espresso bar, I’ll dream of inventing the flying car, and I’ll write it and scribble it out there on my Microsoft Surface, because I don’t want to the best, the iPad. No. And then I just repeat the cycle. I’ll go to a different museum and I’ll go see different displays, exhibits and so forth. That’s sophistication. That is what we should aspire to. All this hard-work stuff, what a crock.

If you do work, by the way, if you do get sucked in, make sure you work for a nonprofit. In fact, the best thing you, make sure you run a nonprofit. That way you can really get paid for not doing anything. That way you’re not working for some enterprise devoted to the evil of profit. No, you’re working for a nonprofit. You will live off what other people give you and you will claim that you are better people, because you have not been soiled by the poisons of capitalism. There isn’t any profit or loss in what you do. You’re interested in public service.

Then, when you finish that, it’s to the soup kitchen and the homeless shelter, just to look in, just to see that people are there, and you’ll feel great about yourself because you care. And then you’ll demand the rich pay higher taxes so that the soup kitchen doesn’t close. Oh, yes. Back to the story.

« ‘Why aren’t you like that?’ he says. ‘Why aren’t we like that? Because we’re crazy, driven, hard-working believers, that’s why.’ By this point, the ad has already become little more than a parody of itself, but we had to ask: believers in what? The pursuit of ‘stuff.’ The other reason for America’s superiority, according to Cadillac? Our unrivaled space exploration program (‘We’re the only ones going back up there,’ the ad boasts). Never mind the fact that the US government is now paying Russia $70 million a pop to shuttle NASA astronauts to the International Space Station. »

Hey, Ms. Gregoire, never mind that Barack Obama made NASA into a Muslim outreach department and it’s Barack Obama, your idol and hero, that makes it necessary to pay the Russians $70 million for every astronaut to the space station. By the way, with this thing in the Ukraine with the KGB vs. Obama, i.e., ACORN, what happens if Putin says, « You know what, you really ticked me off and I’m not taking you back to your space station, » how we gonna get there, Ms. Gregoire? ‘Cause Obama’s shut it down. NASA’s a museum for Muslim outreach now.

« Cadillacs have long been a quintessentially American symbol of wealth and status. But as this commercial proves, no amount of wealth or status is a guarantee of good taste. Now, the luxury car company is selling a vision of the American Dream at its worst: Work yourself into the ground, take as little time off as possible, and buy expensive s- (specifically, a 2014 Cadillac ELR). »

That’s what she said. It doesn’t talk about working yourself into the ground. It’s not talking about working yourself to death, to punishment. The ad is about working yourself to prosperity and achievement and success. And they just can’t stand it, folks.

RUSH: Here’s the thing about hard work. Hard work is hard — and, by the way, folks, not everybody loves their work. This commercial is an indication of what can happen if you work hard, even though you may not like it. But you know what this commercial really is? By the way, this commercial was originally not for an electric car. They made this ad about an electric car to try to soften the blow so it would offend these leftist wackos less.

The fact that this Cadillac commercial is about an electric car doesn’t make a difference. But let me tell you what Cadillac sees. The ad tells us that people with money do not want little bitty hybrids and lawn mowers with seats on them. This ad tells us that people with money want comfortable, sexy luxury cars — and I’ll tell you what else this ad tells us. Cadillac sees the enthusiasm for the Tesla.

In California, the number one selling car of all cars is the Model S. I think it’s the Model S, but it’s some model of Tesla. They’re expensive as hell. This Cadillac is 75 grand in this ad, and Teslas are going into six figures. One of my buddies… I came back from LA. One of my buddies told me he bought one and was afraid I was gonna get mad at him. He said, « I’m not buying it ’cause I’m a wacko, Rush. I love the car. I can call up your website up in the dashboard in your car.

« I love the car — and you know, Rush, I get 175 miles a charge on it. » I said, « Wow. » But Cadillac sees that people with money — and that’s who they sell their cars to, people with money — have an enthusiasm for the Tesla. The Tesla is the competition for this ELV car of theirs, and it’s clear who the market is. The market that this car is made for is high achievers — and Cadillac is trying to talk to them in their native language, these high achievers, and the left just hates it.

RUSH: We’re gonna starts in Dayton, Ohio. Julie, I’m glad you called. It’s great to have you on the program. Hello.

CALLER: Thanks. I’m so happy to talk to you again.

CALLER: Thank you. We’re Home of the Wright Brothers, which was mentioned in the commercial.

RUSH: That’s right.

CALLER: Yes. Dayton, Ohio. I love this commercial. I don’t typically watch commercials because I DVR a lot of stuff, but I happened to be watching something live, so I was kind of ignoring the commercial while it was on until I heard the gentleman talk about taking a month off in August versus we take two weeks.

RUSH: Right.

CALLER: That just totally struck a chord with me. I jumped up, I backed the commercial up, and I had to replay it. I listened to that commercial over and over again, and I was just like, « Oh, my gosh. I want to go out and buy a Cadillac now. »

RUSH: What do you like about? You’ve gotta get specific for me here. Obviously you had an overall favorable impression. You felt great watching it, but what hit you? What did you like about it?

CALLER: Well, I work for a pharmaceutical company, a foreign pharmaceutical company. I know that for any drug to be successful, it has to be successful in the United States, otherwise that company is not gonna do well. Americans are the hardest, hardest working, and we push and we push, and we work 40, 50, 60, 70 hours a week. We work one job, two jobs, three jobs. I mean, we work hard and we work hard for —

RUSH: I know, and it doesn’t leave me time to paint or write poetry or go to the museum.

CALLER: None at all. One of my best friends is Marcus, who I love dearly, but then my best friend Georgia, she is Greek, and when she would go over to Greece, she says, « It is so laid back. » She says that they take-two-hour naps at lunchtime, and they close down work at, like, three, four o’clock, and they just don’t work as hard as Americans do.

RUSH: That’s not the right way to look at it. No, no. « They are sophisticated. They are more balanced. They have their lives in much more perspective. The Greeks, never mind that they’re broke and in debt and totally dependent on others to keep them living. The Greeks and the Spaniards and the British and the French and the Swiss? We love the Swiss, and the Danes.

We really love the Danes. They’re sophisticated. They’ve got it all figured out. They don’t work hard at all. They know that that’s not necessary. There’s no intense pressure attached to their lives. They’re able to slow down. They don’t even have to defend themselves! The United States will do that if they are ever attacked, like by the KGB. So we just don’t see the world in the right way.

John Kerry is one of these guys that thinks Western Europeans are doing it right. They’ve got the answer with their 14% unemployment. Speaking of which, you know, there’s sort of a funny story. What is this, Carla Brunei, the wife of Sarkozy, former president of France? It is Brunei, or Brunei? (interruption) Brunei. All right. Well, she was a model and an actress, and then she married the guy.

And then she couldn’t work anymore because of conflicts of interest with the government, president, and so forth. She’s actually quoted in a newspaper story today as thinking she got shafted. She thought she was marrying a guy with money, and he only makes 300 grand a year or the equivalent, and she feels like she got screwed. (interruption) Well, I know 300 grand is a lot, but not for the elites, see. That 300 grand, that’s embarrassing. For the wife of a president of a country?

Julie, I appreciate the call. Thank you.

Donald in Carpinteria, California, you’re next on the EIB Network. Hello.

CALLER: Hello, Rush. Nice to talk to you. It’s an honor, sir.

RUSH: Thank you very much, sir. Great to have you here.

CALLER: Thank you. Rush, in reference to that great ad, that great Cadillac ad, I was thinking that there’s a couple of points with that, and one being that Obama took public funds and bailed out GM. We all recall that, and then they come up and they make an ad like this that targets hardworking Americans. And it’s kind of like a slap in the face to the left, and my take is they can’t stand that. They think that GM should toe the line now because they were bailed out with public funds.

RUSH: There probably is some of that in the left’s reaction to this, that this is a government-owned company. What the hell are they doing selling something like this anyway?

CALLER: Right, and kudos to the advertising agency that would actually make an ad like this and make a pro-American, pro-work ad. And even though they took those funds, it’s kind of like, well —

RUSH: Here’s the thing about this. At the risk of sounding naive — and I am naive about a lot of things and I don’t mind people knowing that. Did you ever think — any of you — that an ad like that would be something divisive in the country? That ad is what used to be the philosophy everybody was raised by. That ad was, in fact, how everybody who wanted to be a success or wanted their kids to be a success was raised. That ad typifies distinctly, as we know, distinctly American values. And I’ll tell you, they are held in other parts of the country.

That ad is gonna ring home and true with Asians and a couple of other cultures who are also from the hard-work school of going through life and conquering it. But the idea that an ad that is as innocuous as this, this is hard work. How do we get stuff, and, yeah, there’s some people around the world that don’t. This is what American exceptionalism is. This is how we’re different. This is why people come here. That is exactly right. That ad is why people break the law to come here. And yet that ad has become something divisive in our culture now. That ad is something that is really controversial now to the left. But divisive as well.

This why I say this is a teachable moment. Look, some of you may be wondering why I’m spending so much time on it. I’ll tell you why. And it’s the same old thing. By the way, I’ve got friends who tell me I ought to change my approach. I’ll explain here in a minute. I really believe that the more people who could be taught, who would learn, be educated, what liberalism is, is the way to eventually see to it that they don’t win anymore. They’re not a majority now. They have to lie about what they believe and what they’re gonna do in order to win elections. They are not anywhere near a majority of the people of this country.

We’re being governed by a minority, and it’s simply because they have mastered the emotional, compassionate, feel-good approach to things. And they’ve made great hay out of the misconception, as they put it forth, of equality. To them it’s sameness, and anything that’s not the same is something inherently wrong with the country. And I just think this is educational. I think this is one of these great teachable moments for low-information people. Now, I have a friend who says it’s an ideological thing, it’s all good, but it’s not gonna reach everybody, Rush. People don’t want to look at things that way. Liberalism, conservative, not nearly as oriented like you are in that direction, and they’re not nearly as passionate about that.

So you gotta talk about it in terms of stupid versus smart. Instead of talking about what a big liberal Obama is, it’s just stupid what these people are doing, just plain damn dumb. And I understand the people who think that ideology is not the best way to go about educating, but it’s worked for me. I am never wrong when I predict what a liberal is gonna do, never wrong. I would never vote for one, I don’t care who. I would never vote for one. Why would anybody, is my attitude, after this, but then when you realize what they do, they’re Santa Claus. The people voting for them are not voting for them on ideology. They’re voting for ’em on the basis of stuff.

The dirty little secret is, everybody wants stuff. It’s just that some people are happier if it’s given to them, than having to work for it. Hard work is always gonna be a tougher sell than getting gifts. But it makes for a better culture, country, and society over all. That’s what’s always been the truth, truism and the case. You what the average life span of any republic or democracy is? It’s about 200 years. So we’ve gone past ours. We’ve gone past our life expectancy. And when does every democracy end is when the public learns that they can vote themselves money from the Treasury, that is the beginning of the end. And we’re in that phase.

So the question we have is, can we arrest that and stop it before we are swallowed and destroyed by this ever-expanding mountain of debt, because that is what will do it. Don’t listen to people that tell you the debt doesn’t matter, including the people in the Republican establishment. « Ah, the debt’s the debt. It’s no different now than it was then. It may be a little bit bigger, but, hell, it’s the United States government, always good for what it owes (muttering). » At some point it all collapses and can’t sustain itself. And we have reached that point.

 Voir par ailleurs:

Taxis, VTC : les fossoyeurs de l’innovation
Opinions: Nicolas Colin s’en prend au lobby des taxis, mais surtout fustige des pouvoirs publics qui ne comprennent qu’en cédant aux lobbys de tout poil, ils creusent la tombe du redressement économique
Nicolas Colin
La Tribune
15/10/2013

Le lobby des taxis a gagné la guerre contre les VTC. Pour Nicolas Colin entrepreneur alarmé, cette affaire a révélé l’incapacité des politiques français à promouvoir l’innovation, et pourrait bien conduire à notre perte…
sur le même sujet

Tout commence comme une sorte de message à caractère informatif. Un collaborateur vient voir le patron d’Orange et lui présente une idée dont il n’est pas peu fier :

« Patron, comme nous sommes à la fois une entreprise de média et une entreprise innovante, nous pourrions consacrer une émission de télévision sur notre chaîne Orange Innovation TV aux grands patrons qui innovent dans les grandes entreprises. Ca consisterait à interviewer des dirigeants hyper-innovants et à mettre en valeur leurs innovations par rapport à celles des startups, qui nous donnent beaucoup de leçons mais dont on ne voit pas beaucoup les résultats. D’ailleurs on a déjà trouvé le titre, ça s’appellerait Les décideurs de l’innovation. On a mis au point un super générique à la Top Gun. « 

Ravi, le patron d’Orange soutient cette idée :

« Mon vieux, votre idée est géniale. Je fais banco, vous avez ma carte blanche. J’ai d’ailleurs quelques idées pour les premiers invités, regardons ensemble mon carnet d’adresses pour voir à qui je dois rendre service. »
Parmi ces premiers invités figure justement Nicolas Rousselet, patron des taxis G7 (qui n’opèrent pas que des taxis d’ailleurs, mais aussi une activité de location de voitures, des activités de logistique, de stockage, etc.). Qu’il soit un invité d’une émission aussi audacieuse et disruptive que Les décideurs de l’innovation est un paradoxe : après tout, il est aujourd’hui engagé dans un vaste effort de lobbying pour contrer l’innovation dans le transport individuel de personnes en ville, dans des conditions abondamment détaillées ici ou la. Quoiqu’il en soit, dans une récente et exceptionnelle édition des Décideurs de l’innovation, Nicolas Rousselet nous expose sa vision de l’innovation.

Et à ce point du billet, mieux vaut en finir avec l’ironie : l’innovation vue par Nicolas Rousselet mérite qu’on s’y attarde tant est elle est dérisoire et erronée à peu près du début à la fin. Voici quelques extraits et mes commentaires :

« l’innovation prend deux formes : l’innovation technologique, technique et l’innovation en termes de services, de nouveaux services » (1’50?)

Eh bien non, à l’âge entrepreneurial, l’innovation ne prend qu’une seule forme, celle d’une offre nouvelle amorcée et valorisée sur un marché de masse grâce à la mise au point d’un nouveau modèle d’affaires. Les progrès technologiques sans changement de modèle d’affaires ni traction auprès de la multitude s’appellent simplement des gains de productivité… et se commoditisent en un clin d’oeil, sans permettre à l’entreprise de se différencier ;

« Pour les GPS, tout ça, là on est vraiment à la pointe, ça fait très longtemps qu’on géolocalise tous nos taxis » (3’05?)

Non non, si ça fait longtemps qu’on fait quelque chose, alors on n’est pas vraiment à la pointe. Ces derniers temps, les choses changent vite en matière de géolocalisation et de services associés ;

« Rapprocher le client du taxi, du chauffeur, nécessite de la haute technologie » (3’18?)

Pas du tout, ça nécessite tout au plus de l’amabilité de la part du chauffeur et, éventuellement, une application mobile, qui est quasiment à la portée du premier venu d’un point de vue technologique. Bien sûr, cela peut aussi nécessiter de l’innovation, c’est-à-dire un changement du modèle d’affaires : on rapproche d’autant mieux les taxis des clients qu’on fait alliance avec ces derniers, qu’ils sont ainsi incités à être actifs et donc producteurs de données. Cela, ça suppose de la confiance et ça se valorise d’autant mieux que les clients sont nombreux, bien au-delà de la clientèle premium (j’y reviendrai) ;

« Chaque filiale dans le groupe est gérée de manière autonome, indépendante, par un manager intéressé sur ses résultats » (4’12?)

Ce qui est précisément la caractéristique des entreprises non innovantes. L’innovation consiste à combiner de façon différente les composantes de l’activité de l’entreprise, quitte à ce que certaines déclinent si c’est le prix à payer pour le développement de l’entreprise tout entière. Un manager de filiale intéressé sur ses résultats fera tout pour tuer l’innovation dans sa filiale comme dans l’entreprise en général, de façon à protéger sa rente. C’est pourquoi – si du moins l’objectif est d’innover – un manager de filiale ne peut être intéressé au mieux qu’aux résultats de l’ensemble du groupe. Steve Jobs, traumatisé par sa lecture de The Innovator’s Dilemma, l’avait bien compris et mis en pratique depuis longtemps chez Apple, notamment avec la notion de unified P&L ;

« Nous avons gagné le prix de l’innovation 2010 de la chambre professionnelle du self-stockage » (5’00?)

C’est bien pratique de se créer ses petits prix de l’innovation maison pour faire croire au monde extérieur qu’on est innovant. Mais non, ça ne prend pas. L’innovation, à l’âge de la multitude, ça se mesure aux rendements d’échelle exponentiels et aux positions dominantes sur des marchés globaux. Aucune autre innovation ne contribue de manière significative au développement de l’économie française. Au contraire, le renforcement des situations de rente contribue de manière décisive à la stagnation du revenu par tête et à l’aggravation des inégalités ;

« On gère les taxis depuis pas loin de vingt ans de manière totalement numérique, avec le GPS » (6’50?)

Si les taxis étaient gérés de manière totalement numérique, ils ne s’en tiendraient pas au GPS et auraient inventé Uber avant Uber. Souvenez-vous de cette citation fameuse de The Social Network sur les frères Winklevoss :

« Nos chauffeurs de taxi sont tous des indépendants. C’est un vrai partenariat, où la qualité de service est un leitmotiv » (8’00?)

Des forums entiers sur la mauvaise expérience des taxis parisiens vécue par les touristes étrangers et les Parisiens eux-mêmes témoignent du contraire – ce qui prouve, par ailleurs, que le fait que les chauffeurs de taxi soient tous indépendants n’est pas forcément la meilleure formule pour assurer une qualité de service maximale. Comme le triomphe d’Apple nous l’a amplement démontré depuis 10 ans, l’unification de l’expérience utilisateur (ou une plateforme bien conçue, comme Amazon) sont les meilleures options pour garantir une qualité de service élevée ;

« On a lancé en décembre 2011 le club affaires premium, et là on a même un iPad mis à disposition, on a de l’eau, on a des lingettes » (8’10?)

Nous sommes tous très impressionnés, mais il n’y a pas beaucoup d’innovation dans le fait d’enrichir l’offre de service pour les seuls clients qui paient très cher leur abonnement affaires premium. La fuite vers le premium – et le délaissement corrélatif des marchés de masse – est l’un des phénomènes qui détourne les entreprises françaises de l’innovation à l’âge de la multitude – et il y a bien d’autres exemples que les taxis G7. C’est heureux que Nicolas Rousselet assume sans fard qu’il ne s’agit que de fournir aux clients que quelques lingettes et bouteilles d’eau en plus : nous sommes décidément très loin de l’innovation ;

« On voit que ça ne roule pas très bien, il y a des gros progrès à faire pour améliorer les conditions de circulation dans Paris » (8’40?)

Précisément, on ne roule pas bien dans Paris parce que trop de gens, insatisfaits du fonctionnement des transports en commun et ne pouvant s’offrir les services Affaires Premium Excellence Platine des taxis G7, choisissent de prendre leur véhicule personnel pour leurs déplacements en ville. Le développement des nouveaux modèles d’affaires autour de l’automobile en ville (auto-partage, VTC, etc.) vise en partie à dissuader les individus de prendre leur voiture et peut donc se traduire, à terme, par une décongestion de la circulation à Paris. Que les taxis G7 trouvent que les conditions actuelles sont mauvaises pour les affaires est un comble : d’abord les mauvaises conditions de circulation leur permettent de plus faire tourner le compteur (les taxis ont tout leur temps, ce sont les clients qui sont pressés) ; ensuite, les barrières réglementaires qu’ils défendent à toute force sont précisément la raison pour laquelle il est impossible d’améliorer les conditions de circulation dans cette ville de plus en plus difficile à vivre.
L’innovation doit faire bouger les lignes

Bref, comme le résume si brillamment ce journaliste particulièrement dur en interview, avec les taxis G7, « ça roule pour l’innovation ». J’ajouterai deux choses sur Nicolas Rousselet et les conditions règlementaires de l’innovation dans les transports urbains :
« Il faut que les VTC restent sur le métier pour lesquels ils ont été créés » déclarait-il au mois de juillet, cité par un article du Figaro. Wrong again : encore une fois, quand il s’agit d’innovation, l’objectif est précisément de faire bouger les lignes qui séparent les différentes activités et d’en faire la synthèse dans un nouveau modèle d’affaires, centrée autour de l’utilisateur – condition de l’alliance avec la multitude. Le déploiement d’une offre de qualité à très grande échelle est l’objectif stratégique à l’âge entrepreneurial et le seul cœur de métier des startups innovantes, comme nous le rappellent Steve Blank et Paul Graham. Ça n’a aucun sens, dans un monde où la technologie évolue en permanence et où la multitude révèle sans cesse de nouveaux besoins, de demander à une entreprise de rester sur le métier pour lequel elle a été initialement créée. On peut le faire bien sûr, mais il faut assumer alors qu’on renonce à l’innovation – moteur du développement économique, facteur de création d’emplois et de réduction des inégalités et, accessoirement, contribution décisive à l’amélioration du quotidien des consommateurs ;

Restreindre l’innovation aux clients premium, c’est empêcher son développement
On apprend aujourd’hui, dans un article du Monde, que « le délai de 15 minutes [entre la commande d’un VTC et la prise en charge] s’appliquera à tous les clients des VTC, hormis les hôtels haut de gamme et les salons professionnels ». Belle victoire de lobbying, en tous points contraire à l’intérêt général, et stupéfiante si l’on songe qu’elle a été consentie par un gouvernement de gauche. Si l’on résume la situation, les riches clients du Royal Monceau et les VIP du salon de l’automobile seront servis sans attendre ; par contre, les moins riches attendront ou prendront le bus et les entrepreneurs innovants seront noyés dans la baignoire. (Rappelons encore une fois que l’innovation de rupture arrive toujours ou presque par les activités à faibles marges sur les marchés à faible marge. Si l’on restreint les offres innovantes aux seuls clients premium, il n’y a pas la masse critique pour imposer une innovation de rupture.)

L’innovation meurt d’être mal comprise. Il n’y a pas meilleur contrepoint à la vision de Nicolas Rousselet que les rappels ci-après sur ce qu’est l’innovation, pourquoi elle est importante et comment la favoriser.

Pas d’investissements possibles

L’innovation ne peut pas prospérer en présence de verrous qui rigidifient l’économie et protègent les positions existantes. La seule existence de ces verrous, notamment législatifs et règlementaires, dissuade toute allocation du capital à des activités qui font bouger les lignes dans les secteurs concernés.

Quel intérêt d’investir dans une entreprise innovante se développant en France dans le secteur des VTC, puisque le rendement sur capital investi sera dégradé voire annulé par le verrou règlementaire qui protège la rente des taxis ? Il est beaucoup plus rentable d’allouer du capital à une entreprise américaine qui, elle, va triompher des obstacles règlementaires et conquérir un immense marché.
On tue les entreprises françaises dans l’oeuf

Dans ces conditions, les entreprises américaines prospèrent, tandis que les françaises sont littéralement empêchées de naître. Et lorsque les utilisateurs français (ou les touristes) n’en pourront plus de la mauvaise qualité du service de transport individuel de personnes à Paris et qu’ils obtiendront enfin l’abaissement de la barrière règlementaire, seules les entreprises américaines auront la qualité de service et l’infrastructure nécessaires pour prendre le marché français.

De même que quand la chronologie des médias sera enfin adaptée aux nouveaux modes de consommation des contenus cinématographiques et audiovisuels en ligne, seule Netflix, pas Canal+, sera en mesure de se déployer auprès des utilisateurs français.
L’inutile politique de soutien financier à l’innovation

Dans un cadre juridique hostile à l’innovation, on voit bien qu’une politique publique de soutien financier à l’innovation est vaine. On peut allouer tout l’argent qu’on veut à OSEO, à BPI France, à la sanctuarisation du CIR et du statut de jeune entreprise innovante, les entreprises ainsi financées ne parviennent pas à lever du capital puisque les gestionnaires de fonds identifient parfaitement les barrières juridiques à l’entrée sur les différents marchés et en déduisent qu’un investissement dans les entreprises concernées ne pourra jamais être rentable.

En présence de verrous juridiques protégeant la rente des entreprises en place, l’argent public dépensé pour soutenir l’innovation est comme de l’eau froide qu’on verserait sur une plaque chauffée à blanc : elle s’évapore instantanément.

Un problème qui se généralise

Le problème serait circonscrit si de tels verrous législatifs n’existaient que pour les VTC. Mais, loin de se cantonner à un seul secteur, ils se multiplient. Les industries créatives sont déjà affectées depuis longtemps par les entraves à l’innovation. Les hôteliers déploient un lobbying à grande échelle pour que la loi soit durcie et les protège sur trois fronts : celui des intermédiaires déjà en place sur le marché de la réservation de chambres d’hôtels ; celui de Google, qui rentre sur ce marché avec Hotel Finder ; celui d’AirBnB, qui intensifie la concurrence sur le marché de l’hébergement en faisant arriver sur le marché les chambres et habitations mises sur le marché par les particuliers.

Les libraires semblent en passe d’obtenir une interdiction de livrer gratuitement à domicile les livres commandés via les applications de vente à distance. Bref, à mesure que le numérique dévore le monde, les incendies se déclarent un peu partout et la réponse est toujours la même : on érige une barrière règlementaire qui dissuade l’allocation de capital à des activités innovantes et empêche donc à terme l’émergence de champions français dans ces secteurs.
Pour un lobby français de l’innovation

Sur tous ces dossiers, nous payons très cher l’inexistence d’un lobby français de l’innovation. Il n’est pas du tout évident qu’un tel lobby puisse exister. Aux États-Unis, il s’est constitué et il déploie sa puissance en raison d’une double anomalie : les entreprises ont le droit de financer les campagnes électorales ; et les entreprises les plus riches, dont la capitalisation boursière est la plus élevée, sont aussi les plus innovantes.

Au lobbying de ces entreprises s’ajoute celui d’une organisation, la National Venture Capital Association, qui défend les intérêts des fonds de capital-risque, y compris contre les intérêts du private equity, des banques d’affaires et des banques de dépôt.
La politique doit être favorable à l’innovation

Il n’existe rien de tel chez nous : aucune de nos plus grande entreprises n’est une entreprise innovante, une valeur de croissance comme le sont les géants californiens du numérique ; nos fonds de capital-risque sont rares, dispersés, dilués sur le front institutionnel dans l’Association française du capital investissement ; enfin, les entrepreneurs innovants comme les gestionnaires de fonds de capital-risque sont largement méconnus ou ignorés par les hauts fonctionnaires de la direction générale du Trésor, les membres des cabinets ministériels et, évidemment, les parlementaires.

Il ne peut exister qu’une seule politique publique de l’innovation. Son motif est que l’innovation est le principal facteur de la croissance et moteur du développement économique. Sa règle cardinale est que toutes les décisions de politique publique, sans exception, doivent être prises dans un sens favorable à l’innovation : en matière de financement de l’économie ; en matière de réglementation sectorielle ; en matière de fiscalité et de protection sociale. Aucune autre politique publique que celle-là ne peut être favorable à l’innovation.
Vers une économie française atrophiée et inégalitaire

Si les exceptions se multiplient, si l’innovation n’est plus qu’une priorité parmi d’autres, si l’on n’abaisse pas les barrières règlementaires à l’innovation de modèle d’affaires, alors notre destin est scellé : notre économie sera bientôt tenue exclusivement par des gens qui, bien qu’ils se prétendent décideurs de l’innovation, en sont en réalité les fossoyeurs.

Nicolas Rousselet, les taxis G7 et tous ceux qui les soutiennent au Parlement ou dans l’administration ne sont qu’un avant-gout de ce sombre avenir : bientôt, notre économie ressemblera à celle de ces pays du Tiers-Monde où l’homme le plus riche du pays, par ailleurs frère ou beau-frère du chef de l’État, a fait une immense fortune grâce à un monopole mal acquis sur l’importation des Mercedes d’occasion. Dans une telle configuration, on a tout gagné : des distorsions de marché, l’atrophie de la production locale, une valeur ajoutée réduite à néant, une croissance au ralenti et des inégalités de plus en plus insupportables.

Est-ce cela que nous voulons ? Et sinon, qu’attendons-nous pour agir ?

* Nicolas Colin est entrepreneur, co-auteur de « L’âge de la multitude » et membre de Futurbulences, de Renaissance numérique, du Club du 6 mai et de la commission « Services » du pôle de compétitivité Cap Digital

Voir aussi:

Steve Jobs Solved the Innovator’s Dilemma

James Allworth

HBR

October 24, 2011

In the lead up to today’s release of the Steve Jobs biography, there’s been an increasing stream of news surrounding its subject. As a business researcher, I was particularly interested in this recent article that referenced from his biography a list of Jobs’s favorite books. There’s one business book on this list, and it “deeply influenced” Jobs. That book is The Innovator’s Dilemma by HBS Professor Clay Christensen.

But what’s most interesting to me isn’t that The Innovator’s Dilemma was on that list. It’s that Jobs solved the conundrum.

When describing his period of exile from Apple — when John Sculley took over — Steve Jobs described one fundamental root cause of Apple’s problems. That was to let profitability outweigh passion: “My passion has been to build an enduring company where people were motivated to make great products. The products, not the profits, were the motivation. Sculley flipped these priorities to where the goal was to make money. It’s a subtle difference, but it ends up meaning everything.”

Anyone familiar with Professor Christensen’s work will quickly recognize the same causal mechanism at the heart of the Innovator’s Dilemma: the pursuit of profit. The best professional managers — doing all the right things and following all the best advice — lead their companies all the way to the top of their markets in that pursuit… only to fall straight off the edge of a cliff after getting there.

Which is exactly what had happened to Apple. A string of professional managers had led the company straight off the edge of that cliff. The fall had almost killed the company. It had 90 days working capital on hand when he took over — in other words, Apple was only three months away from bankruptcy.

When he returned, Jobs completely upended the company. There were thousands of layoffs. Scores of products were killed stone dead. He knew the company had to make money to stay alive, but he transitioned the focus of Apple away from profits. Profit was viewed as necessary, but not sufficient, to justify everything Apple did. That attitude resulted in a company that looks entirely different to almost any other modern Fortune 500 company. One striking example: there’s only one person Apple with responsibility for a profit and loss. The CFO. It’s almost the opposite of what is taught in business school. An executive who worked at both Apple and Microsoft described the differences this way: “Microsoft tries to find pockets of unrealized revenue and then figures out what to make. Apple is just the opposite: It thinks of great products, then sells them. Prototypes and demos always come before spreadsheets.”

Similarly, Apple talks a lot about its great people. But make no mistake — they are there only in service of the mission. A headhunter describes it thus: “It is a happy place in that it has true believers. People join and stay because they believe in the mission of the company.” It didn’t matter how great you were, if you couldn’t deliver to that mission — you were out. Jobs’s famous meltdowns upon his return were symptomatic of this. They might have become less frequent in recent years, but if a team couldn’t deliver a great product, they got the treatment. The exec in charge of MobileMe was replaced on the spot, in front of his entire team, after a botched launch. A former Apple product manager described Apple’s attitude like this: “You have the privilege of working for the company that’s making the coolest products in the world. Shut up and do your job, and you might get to stay.”

Everything — the business, the people — are subservient to the mission: building great products. And rather than listening to, or asking their customers what they wanted; Apple would solve problems customers didn’t know they had with products they didn’t even realize they wanted.

By taking this approach, Apple bent all the rules of disruption. To disrupt yourself, for example, Professor Christensen’s research would typically prescribe setting up a separate company that eventually goes on to defeat the parent. It’s incredibly hard to do this successfully; Dayton Dry Goods pulled it off with Target. IBM managed to do it with the transition from mainframes to PCs, by firewalling the businesses in entirely different geographies. Either way, the number of companies that have successfully managed to do it is a very, very short list. And yet Apple’s doing it to itself right now with the utmost of ease. Here’s new CEO Tim Cook, on the iPad disrupting the Mac business: “Yes, I think there is some cannibalization… the iPad team works on making their product the best. Same with the Mac team.” It’s almost unheard of to be able to manage disruption like this.

They can do it because Apple hasn’t optimized its organization to maximize profit. Instead, it has made the creation of value for customers its priority. When you do this, the fear of cannibalization or disruption of one’s self just melts away. In fact, when your mission is based around creating customer value, around creating great products, cannibalization and disruption aren’t “bad things” to be avoided. They’re things you actually strive for — because they let you improve the outcome for your customer.

When I first learned about the theory of disruption, what amazed me was its predictive power; you could look into the future with impressive clarity. And yet, there was a consistent anomaly. That one dark spot on Professor Christensen’s prescience was always his predictions on Apple. I had the opportunity to talk about it with him subsequently, and I remember him telling me: “There’s just something different about those guys. They’re freaks.” Well, he was right. With the release of Jobs’s biography, we now know for sure why. Jobs was profoundly influenced by the Innovator’s Dilemma — he saw the company he created almost die from it. When he returned to Apple, Jobs was determined to solve it. And he did. That “subtle difference” — of flipping the priorities away from profit and back to great products — took Apple from three months away from bankruptcy, to one of the most valuable and influential companies in the world.

James Allworth is the Director of Strategy for Medallia, Inc and co-author of How Will You Measure Your Life?. He has worked as a Fellow at the Forum for Growth and Innovation at Harvard Business School, at Apple, and Booz & Company. Connect with him on Twitter at @jamesallworth.

Voir enfin:

Apple’s Secret? It Tells Us What We Should Love

Roberto Verganti

January 28, 2010

At the beginning of Steve Jobs’s presentation of the iPad, a slide showed an image of God delivering its commandments, paired by a quote from The Wall Street Journal: “Last time there was this much excitement about a tablet, it had some commandments written on it.” Although a touch arrogant, this quote powerfully captures the essence of the event.

While tech experts were busy commenting on the qualities of the iPad, what struck me was the level of excitement that the event created. On Tuesday, the day before the product was unveiled, a Web search for “Apple tablet” produced more than 17 million links! On Wednesday, hordes of people attended the news conference remotely. Everyone was anxiously waiting for Apple’s interpretation of what a tablet is.

This was validation of Apple’s peculiar innovation process: Insights do not move from users to Apple but the other way around. More than Apple listening to us, it’s us who listen to Apple.

This contradicts the conventional management wisdom about innovation. In fact, one of the mantras of the past decade has been user-centered innovation: Companies should start their innovation process by getting close to users and observe them using existing products to understand their needs.

I disagree with this approach for these kinds of efforts. User-centered innovation is perfect to drive incremental innovation, but hardly generates breakthroughs. In fact, it does not question existing needs, but rather reinforces them, thanks to its powerful methods.

With the iPad Apple has not provided an answer to market needs. It has made a proposal about what could fit us and what we could love. It’s now up to us to answer whether we agree.

The iPad, of course, is not the first time Apple has taken this approach. If it had scrutinized users of early MP3 players downloading music from Napster, it would have not came out with a breakthrough system (the iPod + iTunes application + iTunes Store) based on a business model that asks people to pay for music.

Consumers don’t always swallow Apple’s notion of what they should love. In 2008, when Jobs unveiled the MacBook Air, he said “No matter how hard you look, one thing you are not gonna find in a MacBook Air is an optical drive. If you really want one, we have built one. [He showed an external CD-DVD drive] . . . But you know what? We do not think most users will miss the optical drive. We do not think they will need an optical drive.”

Apple is not alone in thumbing its nose at the notion of user-centered innovation. If Nintendo had closely observed teenagers in their basements using existing game consoles, it would have provided them with what they apparently needed: a powerful console with sophisticated 3D processing that could enable them to better immerse in a virtual world. Instead, Nintendo did not get close to users when developing the Wii. According to Shigeru Miyamoto, Nintendo’s senior marketing director, “We don’t use consumer focus groups. We got a lot of feedback from developers in the industry.” This allowed Nintendo to completely redefine the experience of game consoles.

The iPod and the Wii were outside the spectrum of possibilities of what people knew and did. But they were not outside what they could dream of and love, if only someone could propose it to them.

Firms that create radical innovations make proposals. They put forward a vision. In doing that, of course, they take greater risks. And it may even be that the iPad will not succeed. (My feeling is that its success strongly depends on developers. If they create applications specifically tailored for this device, instead of simply adapting existing applications running on notebooks, then the iPad could mark a new era in mobile computing. The potential is there, given that Apple is using the same collaborative innovation strategy devised for the iPhone.)

My 10 years of research on breakthrough innovations by companies such as Apple, Nintendo, and Alessi, which are summarized in my book Design-Driven Innovation, shows, however, that these radical proposals are not created by chance. And they do not simply come from intuition of a visionary guru. They come from a very precise process and capabilities.

Thanks to this process these companies are serial radical innovators. Their non-user-centered proposals are not dreams without a foundation. Sometimes they fail. But when they work, people love them even more than products that have been developed by scrutinizing their needs.
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Roberto Verganti is professor of the management of innovation at Politecnico di Milano and a member of the board of the European Institute for Advanced Studies in Management. He has served as an executive advisor, coach, and educator at a variety of firms, including Ferrari, Ducati, Whirlpool, Xerox, Samsung, Hewlett-Packard, Barilla, Nestlè, STMicroelectronics, and Intuit.



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