Intrusion au Capitole: Attention, une insurrection peut en cacher une autre ! (What selective outrage when behind the unanimous blaming of president Trump for the Capitol rally’s excesses, our short-memoried media and commentators conveniently forget four long years of nothing less than a generalized insurrection against the president himself ?)

8 janvier, 2021

Image result for burning cities meme pelosi HarrisDog owners are like - 9GAGThe site of a car dealership in Kenosha, Wisconsin set on fire by rioters last week. Photo: Amy Katz/Zuma Press
The Wages of Our Recklessness

FreedomIndividualRightsCapitalism (@RadsDocDancer) | TwitterPro-life women criticize actress Busy Philipps' praise for abortion: 'Women deserve better' | Fox NewsAcross U.S., activists protest new wave of abortion bans | The Seattle TimesPeople take part in an "Not My President's Day" rally in Manhattan, New York, Feb. 20, 2017.Anti-Trump protesters chant during swearing-in ceremony - The Washington PostOpinion | Black Voters Are Coming for Trump - The New York TimesThe Embarrassment of Democrats Wearing Kente-Cloth Stoles | The New YorkerNancy Pelosi viral memes defiantly respond to Trump's rhetoric - The Washington Post

Amazon.fr - In Defense of Looting: A Riotous History of Uncivil Action - Osterweil, Vicky - Livres
Ce que nous voulons, c’est la liberté par tous les moyens, la justice par tous les moyens et  l’égalité par tous les moyens. Malcolm X (1964)
Les émeutes sont destructrices, dangereuses et effrayantes, mais peuvent conduire à d’importantes réformes sociales. Vox.com
That people would take action into their own hands and try to take over the [US] Capitol and potentially commit violent acts is a natural outcome of this sort of behavior. It’s an example of the best of American traditions, and one cannot say that of this riot that has been spurred by the president of the United States. Robert Kraig (Citizen Action of Wisconsin Executive Director)
Le Capitole envahi chaque jour par des milliers de personnes, 100.000 protestataires pendant les week-ends… C’est incroyable pour notre État, on n’avait jamais rien vu de pareil, en tout cas pas depuis l’époque des droits civiques ou du Vietnam. Scott
Le gouverneur a été élu, pourquoi ne pas le laisser travailler, les élections, cela a un sens. Policier du Capitole du Wisconsin (2011)
On n’est pas en Europe ici, et les syndicats n’ont cessé de perdre de leur influence, ce qui rend le phénomène d’autant plus impressionnant. (…) Le spectacle a été surréaliste, on a tout vu ici, même un chameau sous la rotonde. Jason Stein (The Sentinel)
Pour moi, il s’agit de casser la machine électorale du Parti démocrate. John Vander Meer (ex-conseiller d’un élu de gauche)
Quand on a tracé des lignes aussi intransigeantes, on se demande quelle peut être la sortie de crise, c’est comme la guerre de Corée ! Scott Becher (stratège républicain)
Ce mouvement a indéniablement redynamisé la base démocrate. Ce qui se profile, c’est un discours de guerre de classe pour 2012, avec d’un côté les démocrates dénonçant Wall Street et les intérêts spéciaux, de l’autre les républicains fustigeant les syndicats. (…) Cela en dit long sur le fonctionnement politique général de notre pays. Nous ne cessons de recommencer les batailles du passé. Chaque nouvel élu se sent investi d’un mandat idéologique, alors que les gens veulent seulement que les partis s’allient pour résoudre les problèmes profonds qui se posent. Adam Schrager (journaliste de télévision local)
De l’intérieur de l’imposante bâtisse du Parlement de cet État politiquement crucial dans l’Amérique du Midwest, que se disputent régulièrement démocrates et républicains, parvient le bruit assourdissant de tam-tam africains sur lesquels des manifestants tapent en cadence. (…) Depuis trois semaines, le Wisconsin vit en état de guerre politique et de paralysie législative. L’homme qui a déclenché la tempête est le nouveau gouverneur républicain, Scott Walker, un brun et fringant conservateur, fils de prêcheur baptiste soutenu par les Tea Party, qui se voit comme un «nouveau Reagan», investi d’une mission historique de rééquilibrage des finances publiques. Dopé par sa victoire en novembre, avec quelque 52% des suffrages (les républicains ont également pris les deux Chambres du Congrès local), il a tenté de faire passer en force une loi d’ajustement budgétaire qui coupe dans le vif des avantages accordés aux employés du secteur public. Invoquant la nécessité de partager l’effort budgétaire, le projet Walker prévoit de forcer les fonctionnaires à payer de leur poche 12,6% de leurs primes d’assurance-maladie, alors qu’ils cotisent à hauteur de 6% – et les salariés du privé de 29%. Ils devraient aussi contribuer pour leurs retraites à hauteur de 5,6% (zéro aujourd’hui). » La mesure n’aurait sans doute pas ému grand monde, dans une Amérique qui affectionne peu l’État-providence, les fonctionnaires comme les syndicats et comprend l’urgence de combler ses trous budgétaires, évalués par le gouverneur pour le seul Wisconsin à 137 millions de dollars cette année – 3,6 milliards pour les deux prochaines. Mais, en décidant de priver carrément les fonctionnaires locaux de leurs droits de négociation collectifs, le gouverneur a franchi une ligne rouge. (…) Les coupes sombres prévues dans le budget de l’éducation (834 millions de dollars), point sensible dans un État qui se vante d’avoir des universités publiques créatrices d’activité économique à haute valeur ajoutée, ont décuplé les inquiétudes, de même que l’annonce par le gouverneur de la vente des 37 centrales productrices d’électricité à des intérêts privés, décision qui fait craindre des licenciements massifs. La gauche a lu aussi avec effroi dans cette volonté de casser les syndicats, l’amorce d’une offensive républicaine destinée à priver le parti d’Obama de l’un de ses plus puissants contributeurs à un an de la présidentielle. (…) Résultat, le projet Walker est devenu l’étincelle qui a embrasé le Wisconsin, suscitant une protestation qui a débouché sur une occupation pacifique du Parlement. Des pancartes notant que «l’éducation qui est l’avenir de nos enfants» tapissent les murs. Des milliers de post-it multicolores signés par les manifestants ont été collés sur les lourdes portes de bois du bâtiment. À l’intérieur, sous la Coupole, des happenings tenant autant du cirque que du combat politique, ont ameuté enseignants, pompiers et étudiants, ainsi que des centaines d’ex-activistes chevelus et barbus, qui semblent tout droit sortis de manifestations contre la guerre au Vietnam. (…) Bonnet de laine sur la tête, enveloppée dans son manteau car il ne fait pas chaud sur la couverture qui lui tient lieu de QG, Sarah rêve d’une douche. Cette étudiante en médecine, qui est là «par solidarité avec ses professeurs», et parce qu’elle craint «un effondrement économique de l’État si on touche aux universités», a passé six jours et six nuits au pied d’un pilier de marbre vert. Elle montre les matelas, les réserves de pommes, d’oranges et de céréales offertes par des bénévoles. Il y a même un «coin calme» réservé aux enfants des protestataires. «Chacun a ses raisons d’être là», dit Sarah. Elle salue les policiers, qui gardent patiemment les lieux, des boules Quies dans les oreilles à cause du tam-tam. (…) Le projet de Walker a été voté à la Chambre des représentants du Wisconsin, mais les sénateurs démocrates, invoquant le caractère «exceptionnel» de la situation, ont fui vers l’Illinois pour empêcher un vote au Sénat. Furieux, le gouverneur a menacé de lancer la police à leurs trousses, initié un blocage du versement de leurs salaires et annoncé le compte à rebours pour 12.000 licenciements dans le secteur public si la loi ne passe pas. Son pari est que les mouvements ne sont qu’un baroud d’honneur des syndicats minoritaires et que la majorité silencieuse le soutient. De leur côté, les élus démocrates invoquent de récents sondages pour «souligner la légitimité de la politique de la chaise vide». Selon une enquête de l’Institut Rasmussen, près de 57% de la population de l’État seraient hostiles à la politique de Walker concernant les droits de négociation collectifs, alors qu’il est soutenu sur les augmentations des contributions à la santé et aux retraites. Résultat, l’impasse est totale. Les élus démocrates ont indiqué leur volonté de revenir à Madison, mais il est difficile de passer à l’acte sans avoir l’impression de capituler. «Quand on a tracé des lignes aussi intransigeantes, on se demande quelle peut être la sortie de crise, c’est comme la guerre de Corée!», note le stratège républicain Scott Becher. Il dit ne jamais avoir vu une telle division, malgré la tradition de combat social du Wisconsin, un État manufacturier pionnier dans la promotion des droits syndicaux. De Madison à Washington, les observateurs se demandent si la bataille du Wisconsin va faire «tache d’huile», au-delà de la victoire probable du gouverneur à court terme. Certains prédisent que son courage politique lui vaudra au minimum une place de vice-président sur un ticket républicain. D’autres pensent au contraire qu’il surestime sa «main» et qu’il sera «révoqué» d’ici à un an, selon une procédure lancée par les démocrates visant à rassembler les signatures de 25% des votants, pour convoquer une nouvelle élection… Des révoltes sociales très comparables ont en tout cas éclaté dans l’Ohio et l’Indiana, mettant leurs gouverneurs républicains sur la défensive. Le conflit intéresse aussi les gouverneurs du Texas, Rick Perry, et du New Jersey, Chris Christie, qui se sont bien gardés, malgré leurs promesses de rigueur budgétaire, de toucher aux conventions collectives du secteur public. «Ce mouvement a indéniablement redynamisé la base démocrate», note Adam Schrager, journaliste de télévision local, qui se demande si la bataille du Wisconsin pourrait avoir le même «effet boule de neige» que la bataille de la santé a eu pour la mobilisation des Tea Party. «Ce qui se profile, c’est un discours de guerre de classe pour 2012, avec d’un côté les démocrates dénonçant Wall Street et les intérêts spéciaux, de l’autre les républicains fustigeant les syndicats.» Conscient de l’importance de l’affrontement, mais soucieux de ne pas se mêler d’un combat dont l’issue reste incertaine, le président Obama est resté relativement discret. «Le président a d’autres chats à fouetter, il doit gérer les révoltes du Middle-East (Moyen-Orient). Nous nous occuperons du Midwest», dit Céleste en agitant le poing. Le journaliste Adam Schrager s’inquiète, quant à lui, de cette ambiance guerrière. Il a été stupéfait qu’un seul élu, le républicain Dale Schultz – «le seul adulte de toute cette histoire» – ait proposé un compromis. «Cela en dit long sur le fonctionnement politique général de notre pays, dit le reporter frustré. Nous ne cessons de recommencer les batailles du passé. Chaque nouvel élu se sent investi d’un mandat idéologique, alors que les gens veulent seulement que les partis s’allient pour résoudre les problèmes profonds qui se posent. » Laure Mandeville (08.03.2011)
No place is hotter than Wisconsin. The leaders there have done everything possible to maximize conflict. Gov. Scott Walker, a Republican, demanded cuts only from people in the other party. The public sector unions and their allies immediately flew into a rage, comparing Walker to Hitler, Mussolini and Mubarak. Walker’s critics are amusingly Orwellian. They liken the crowd in Madison to the ones in Tunisia and claim to be fighting for democracy. Whatever you might say about Walker, he and the Republican majorities in Wisconsin were elected, and they are doing exactly what they told voters they would do. It’s the Democratic minority that is thwarting the majority will by fleeing to Illinois. It’s the left that has suddenly embraced extralegal obstructionism. (…) Everybody now seems to agree that Governor Walker was right to ask state workers to pay more for their benefits. Even if he gets everything he asks for, Wisconsin state workers would still be contributing less to their benefits than the average state worker nationwide and would be contributing far, far less than private sector workers. The more difficult question is whether Walker was right to try to water down Wisconsin’s collective bargaining agreements. Even if you acknowledge the importance of unions in representing middle-class interests, there are strong arguments on Walker’s side. In Wisconsin and elsewhere, state-union relations are structurally out of whack. That’s because public sector unions and private sector unions are very different creatures. Private sector unions push against the interests of shareholders and management; public sector unions push against the interests of taxpayers. Private sector union members know that their employers could go out of business, so they have an incentive to mitigate their demands; public sector union members work for state monopolies and have no such interest. (…) Most important, public sector unions help choose those they negotiate with. Through gigantic campaign contributions and overall clout, they have enormous influence over who gets elected to bargain with them, especially in state and local races. As a result of these imbalanced incentive structures, states with public sector unions tend to run into fiscal crises. David Brooks
Is it the same as people in the Middle East overthrowing years of dictatorship?  Or is that just the last story you saw on the news? (…) Do you see what’s happening here?!  The Wisconsin union protest is the bizarro Tea Party!  Jon Stewart
C’est une inspiration pour nous que cette énergie et ce militantisme des nombreux jeunes militants et défenseurs de l’environnement qui ouvrent la voie pour la crise climatique, qui menace la santé, la sécurité économique et l’avenir de toutes nos communautés. Nous nous félicitons de la présence de ces militants. Nancy Pelosi (novembre 2018)
Hundreds of young protesters stormed Capitol Hill on Monday, taking over the offices of three House Democratic leaders to call for an immediate climate change plan. The activists with the Sunrise Movement, a group that’s pushing House Democrats to create a special committee next year focused entirely on climate change initiatives, engaged in three sit-ins inside the offices of the likely next Speaker, Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif), as well as incoming Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) and Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.), who is in line to chair the House Rules Committee. Most of the protesters, who ranged in age from their teens to their late 20s, were eventually pushed out by Capitol Police after threat of arrest. Officers did arrest 138 protesters on charges of blocking hallways, Capitol Police said. The protests are the second wave organized by the Sunrise Movement to disrupt the Capitol since the midterm elections. The Hill
Tout a commencé par “un sit-in dans les bureaux de la (future) présidente démocrate de la Chambre des représentants, Nancy Pelosi, en novembre 2018, six jours seulement après la victoire des démocrates aux élections de mi-mandat”, à l’issue desquelles ils ont regagné la majorité à la Chambre des représentants, rapporte le magazine californien Mother Jones. Quelque “150 militants”, peu convaincus par les belles paroles des nouveaux élus démocrates sur la nécessité de faire avancer la législation en matière de lutte contre le changement climatique, se sont alors mobilisés pour les contraindre “à respecter leurs promesses”. Ce sit-in “serait passé relativement inaperçu sans la présence de la jeune députée de New York Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez venu prêter main-forte aux activistes”, note le magazine californien. Mais la couverture médiatique s’est alors emballée. Si le mouvement Sunrise ne s’est fait connaître du grand public qu’à la fin de l’année 2018, “ses racines sont plus profondes”, poursuit Mother Jones. Dès 2014, ses fondateurs ont en effet commencé à participer, à New York, aux séances d’un organisme baptisé “Momentum” créé par deux frères, Mark et Paul Engler, coauteurs du livre This Is an Uprising. How Nonviolent Revolt Is Shaping the Twenty-First Century [“Ceci est un soulèvement. Comment la révolte non violente définit le XXIe siècle”, non traduit]. Leur credo ? S’inspirer de l’histoire moderne des mouvements de résistance et de désobéissance civile, “depuis la lutte pour les droits civiques de Martin Luther King au mouvement Occupy Wall Street, en passant par les soulèvements des printemps arabes”, pour créer de nouvelles formes de mobilisation plus durables et efficaces selon deux piliers stratégiques : le principe de “l’escalade” et celui de “l’absorption” avec pour objectif de recruter de nouveaux membres à chaque nouvelle action. La journaliste du magazine Mother Jones confie avoir été sceptique, dans un premier temps, face à l’enthousiasme juvénile et jargonnant des militants du mouvement Sunrise, capables de “citer dans une même phrase le pasteur Martin Luther King, la célèbre militante africaine-américaine Ella Baker ou l’universitaire engagé Charles Payne”. Elle relève également que la directrice exécutive du mouvement, Varshini Prakash, “n’est âgée que de 26 ans”. Mais force est de reconnaître, ajoute la journaliste, que “depuis ses débuts le mouvement a remporté un succès certain : lors d’actions ciblées, de débrayages lycéens à travers tout le pays et de grandes manifestations” (notamment au moment des marches pour le climat qui se sont déroulées dans de nombreux pays à la fin du mois de janvier 2019) et peut se targuer aujourd’hui de “rassembler plus de 15 000 membres dans quelque 200 sections disséminées dans le pays”… Courrier international (2018)
Vendredi soir, des agents des Services secrets ont précipité le président américain Donald Trump dans un bunker de la Maison Blanche alors que des centaines de manifestants se rassemblaient devant le manoir exécutif, certains d’entre eux jetant des pierres et tirant sur les barricades de la police. Trump a passé près d’une heure dans le bunker, qui a été conçu pour être utilisé dans des situations d’urgence telles que des attaques terroristes, selon un républicain proche de la Maison Blanche qui n’était pas autorisé à discuter publiquement de questions privées et a parlé sous couvert d’anonymat. (…) La décision abrupte des agents a souligné l’humeur agitée à l’intérieur de la Maison Blanche, où les chants des manifestants à Lafayette Park ont ​​pu être entendus tout le week-end et les agents des services secrets et les forces de l’ordre ont eu du mal à contenir la foule. Les manifestations de vendredi ont été déclenchées par la mort de George Floyd, un homme noir décédé après avoir été coincé au cou par un policier blanc de Minneapolis. Les manifestations à Washington sont devenues violentes et ont semblé surprendre les officiers. Ils ont déclenché l’une des alertes les plus élevées sur le complexe de la Maison Blanche depuis les attentats du 11 septembre 2001. (…)  Le déménagement du président dans le bunker a été signalé pour la première fois par le New York Times. Le président et sa famille ont été ébranlés par la taille et le venin de la foule, selon le républicain. Il n’était pas immédiatement clair si la première dame Melania Trump et le fils de 14 ans du couple, Barron, avaient rejoint le président dans le bunker. Le protocole des services secrets aurait exigé que toutes les personnes sous la protection de l’agence soient dans l’abri souterrain. France 24 (
Beyond being unnecessary, using our military to quell protests across the country would also be unwise. This is not the mission our armed forces signed up for: They signed up to fight our nation’s enemies and to secure — not infringe upon — the rights and freedoms of their fellow Americans. In addition, putting our servicemen and women in the middle of politically charged domestic unrest risks undermining the apolitical nature of the military that is so essential to our democracy. It also risks diminishing Americans’ trust in our military — and thus America’s security — for years to come. As defense leaders who share a deep commitment to the Constitution, to freedom and justice for all Americans, and to the extraordinary men and women who volunteer to serve and protect our nation, we call on the president to immediately end his plans to send active-duty military personnel into cities as agents of law enforcement, or to employ them or any another military or police forces in ways that undermine the constitutional rights of Americans. The members of our military are always ready to serve in our nation’s defense. But they must never be used to violate the rights of those they are sworn to protect. Leon E. Panetta, Chuck Hagel, Ashton B. Carter (and 86 former defense officials)
As former American ambassadors, generals and admirals, and senior federal officials, we are alarmed by calls from the President and some political leaders for the use of U.S. military personnel to end legitimate protests in cities and towns across America. (…) Cities and neighborhoods in which Americans are assembling peacefully, speaking freely, and seeking redress of their grievances are not “battlespaces.” Federal, state, and local officials must never seek to “dominate” those exercising their First Amendment rights. Rather they have a responsibility to ensure that peaceful protest can take place safely as well as to protect those taking part. We condemn all criminal acts against persons and property, but cannot agree that responding to these acts is beyond the capabilities of local and state authorities. Our military is composed of and represents all of America. Misuse of the military for political purposes would weaken the fabric of our democracy, denigrate those who serve in uniform to protect and defend the Constitution, and undermine our nation’s strength abroad. There is no role for the U.S. military in dealing with American citizens exercising their constitutional right to free speech, however uncomfortable that speech may be for some. We are concerned about the use of U.S. military assets to intimidate and break up peaceful protestors in Washington, D.C. (…) The stationing of D.C. Air National Guard troops in full battle armor on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial is inflammatory and risks sullying the reputation of our men and women in uniform in the eyes of their fellow Americans and of the world.Declaring peaceful protestors “thugs” and “terrorists” and falsely seeking to divide Americans into those who support “law and order” and those who do not will not end the demonstrations. The deployment of military forces against American citizens exercising their constitutional rights will not heal the divides in our society. We urge the President and state and local governments to focus their efforts on uniting the country and supporting reforms to ensure equal police treatment of all citizens, regardless of race or ethnicity. Ultimately, the issues that have driven the protests cannot be addressed by our military. They must be resolved through political processes. Former US generals, admirals and national security officials
Si au combat, ils apportent un couteau, on apporte un pistolet ! Barack Obama
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 (23.01.2017)
Il est temps de tuer le président. Monisha Rajesh (journaliste britannique, 08.11.2016)
Trump c’est le candidat qui redonne aux Américains l’espoir, l’espoir qu’il soit assassiné avant son investiture. Pablo Mira (chroniqueur français, France Inter, 15.11.2016)
Je sais que tout le monde ici marchera bientôt vers le Capitole, pour pacifiquement et patriotiquement faire entendre vos voix. Président Trump (06.01.2021)
Je pense qu’il est également essentiel de comprendre que, comme je l’ai dit aux candidats qui sont venus me voir, vous pouvez mener la meilleure campagne, vous pouvez même devenir le candidat et vous pouvez vous faire voler l’élection. Hillary Clinton (06.05. 2019)
Souvenez-vous, Joe et Kamala peuvent remporter 3 millions de voix et perdre quand même. Alors, croyez-moi. Nous avons besoin d’un nombre de voix tellement écrasant que Trump ne pourra pas nous subtiliser ou nous voler la victoire. Hillary Clinton (20.08.2020)
Trump sait qu’il est un président illégitime. Hillary Clinton (29.09.2019)
Notre élection a été détournée. Ca ne fait aucun doute. Le Congrès a un devoir de protéger notre démocratie et de s’en tenir aux faits. Nancy Pelosi (16.05. 2017)
Si vous le pouvez, envoyez votre contribution au @MNFreedomFund pour aider à payer la caution de ceux qui manifestent sur le terrain dans le Minnesota. Kamala Harris (01.06.2020)
Je ne considère pas le président-élu comme un président légitime. Je pense que les Russes ont aidé cet homme à se faire élire. Et ils ont contribué à détruire la candidature d’Hillary Clinton. John Lewis (héros des droits civiques, représentant démocrate, Géorgie, 13.01. 2017)
Nous allons destituer ce fils de pute ! Rashida Tlaib (députée palestino-américaine, 04.01.2019)
Je veux vous dire, Gorsuch; je veux vous dire, Kavanaugh. Vous avez déchainé la tempête. Et vous en paierez le prix. Vous ne saurez pas ce qui vous a frappé si vous prenez ces terribles décisions. Charles Schumer (Senate Minority Leader, D-N.Y., 04.03.2020)
Je n’aurais pas dû utiliser les mots que j’ai utilisés hier. Ils ne sont pas sortis comme je l’avais prévu. Je viens de Brooklyn. On utilise des mots forts. Charles Schumer
Ce matin, le sénateur Schumer s’est exprimé lors d’un rassemblement devant la Cour suprême alors qu’une affaire était débattue à l’intérieur. Le sénateur Schumer a cité deux membres de la Cour par leur nom et a dit qu’il voulait leur dire: «Vous avez déchainé la tempête, et vous en paierez le prix. Vous ne saurez pas ce qui vous a frappé si vous prenez ces terribles décisions. Les juges savent que la critique fait partie de leur fonction, mais les déclarations menaçantes de ce genre de la part des plus hauts niveaux de gouvernement ne sont pas seulement inappropriées, elles sont dangereuses. Tous les membres de la Cour continueront à faire leur travail, sans crainte ni faveur, d’où qu’elles viennent. Chief Justice John G. Roberts (March 4, 2020)
This is as much about public outcry and organizing and mobilizing and applying pressure so that this GOP-led Senate and these governors that continue to carry water for this administration, putting the American people in harm’s way, turning a deaf ear to the needs of our families and our communities — hold them accountable. Make the phone calls, send the emails, show up. You know, there needs to be unrest in the streets for as long as there’s unrest in our lives. U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley (Aug; 18, 2020)
They’re not going to stop. This is a movement, I’m telling you, they’re not going to stop, and everyone beware because they’re not going to stop before Election Day in November, and they’re not going to stop after Election Day. And everyone should take note of that, on both levels, that they’re not going to let up, and they should not, and we should not. Kamala Harris (June 18, 2020)
You think we’re rallying now? You ain’t seen nothing yet. Already you have members of your Cabinet that are being booed out of restaurants … protesters taking up at their house saying ‘no peace, no sleep.’ If you see anybody from that Cabinet in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out and you create a crowd and you push back on them and you tell them they’re not welcome anymore, anywhere. Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif., June 23, 2018)
I have no sympathy for these people that are in this administration who know it is wrong what they’re doing … but they tend to not want to confront this president. Cabinet members who defend him are “not going to be able to go to a restaurant, stop at a gas station, shop at a department store. The people are going to turn on them, they’re going to protest, they’re going to absolutely harass them until they decide that they’re going to tell the president: ’No … this is wrong, this is unconscionable; we can’t keep doing this to children.’ Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif., June 24, 2018)
This was act of the administration. They had been planning this for a while. As a mother of five children, grandmother of nine, I’m sure any parents here, mother or father, knows that this is barbaric. This is not what America is. But this is the policy of the Trump administration. (…) When we had a hearing on a subject related to this, asylum-seeker refugees (…) the American (…) Association of Evangelicals (…) testified that asylum refugees (…) they called it the crown jewel of America’s humanitarianism. (…) And in order to do away with that crown jewel, they’re doing away with children being with their moms. (…) I just don’t even know why there aren’t uprisings all over the country. And maybe there will be, when people realize that this is a policy that they defend. Nancy Pelosi (House Speaker, D-Calif., June 14, 2018)
Si ça avait été des militants Black Lives Matter hier, ils auraient été traités très différemment. Joe Biden
[It was] a well-funded cabal of powerful people, ranging across industries and ideologies, working together behind the scenes to influence perceptions, change rules and laws, steer media coverage and control the flow of information. They were not rigging the election; they were fortifying it. (…)  » In the end, nearly half the electorate cast ballots by mail in 2020, practically a revolution in how people vote. About a quarter voted early in person. Only a quarter of voters cast their ballots the traditional way: in person on Election Day. (…) Private philanthropy stepped into the breach. An assortment of foundations contributed tens of millions in election-administration funding. The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative chipped in $300 million (…) The racial-justice uprising sparked by George Floyd’s killing in May was not primarily a political movement. The organizers who helped lead it wanted to harness its momentum for the election without allowing it to be co-opted by politicians. Many of those organizers were part of Podhorzer’s network, from the activists in battleground states who partnered with the Democracy Defense Coalition to organizations with leading roles in the Movement for Black Lives. (…) The summer uprising had shown that people power could have a massive impact. Activists began preparing to reprise the demonstrations if Trump tried to steal the election. “Americans plan widespread protests if Trump interferes with election,” Reuters reported in October, one of many such stories. More than 150 liberal groups, from the Women’s March to the Sierra Club to Color of Change, from Democrats.com to the Democratic Socialists of America, joined the “Protect the Results” coalition. The group’s now defunct website had a map listing 400 planned postelection demonstrations, to be activated via text message as soon as Nov. 4. To stop the coup they feared, the left was ready to flood the streets. (…) Fox News surprised everyone by calling Arizona for Biden. The public-awareness campaign had worked: TV anchors were bending over backward to counsel caution and frame the vote count accurately. Time
November 3rd. After You Vote, Hit the Streets For months, Donald Trump and his enablers have waged an attack on the democratic process. They’re mobilizing an army of thugs to intimidate voters at the polls, they’re trying to limit access to early voting, and they even tried to dismantle the US Postal Service. During this triple crisis—the COVID-19 pandemic, the recession, and the crisis of police violence and institutional racism—the stakes are simply too high to sit at home and watch the results play out. On November 3rd, after you vote, volunteer at the polls or do get out the vote, come to Black Lives Matter Plaza. Thousands of us are planning to come together to defend democracy and ensure that Trump isn’t able to steal the 2020 Presidential Election. We’re going to start this next phase of the election cycle in the streets. We’ll have GoGo bands, salsa dancers, artists, cultural workers, and much more. We’ll also be watching the election results coming in on big screens. Votes will still be coming in, so this will (probably) not be the time we need to create disruption to stop a coup – yet. But we’ll be in a good place to respond to whatever might happen. This has been a really long and dark era so we’re going to be together to process our feelings of hope, anger, fear and exhaustion as a community.   Regardless of the results, election-night programming will probably wrap up around midnight so we can be energized and ready to hit the streets again on the 4th. Shutdown DC
Concerned about the possibility of unrest on Election Day, or in the days that follow, businesses in some areas of D.C. are boarding their windows. Officials are advising shop owners to sign up for crime alerts and to keep their insurance information handy. D.C. police have limited leave for officers starting this weekend to ensure adequate staffing, and the District spent $100,000 on less-lethal munitions and chemical irritants for riot control to replenish a stockpile depleted by clashes over the summer. As a turbulent election season draws to a close, authorities across the country worry frustration may spill onto the streets, and officials are watching for disturbances at the polls or protests in their communities. That tension is heightened in the nation’s capital, where the White House and other symbols of government regularly draw demonstrators. “It is widely believed that there will be civil unrest after the November election regardless of who wins,” D.C. Police Chief Peter Newsham told lawmakers this month. “It is also believed that there is a strong chance of unrest when Washington, D.C., hosts the inauguration in January.” (…) Officials have not recommended that shop owners board up their buildings, according to a resource guide for businesses distributed by city leaders this week. Some small-business owners are heeding their guidance, focused on bolstering sales as winter approaches. Others are boarding anyway, and concrete barriers were being installed outside the U.S. Chamber of Commerce building across from Lafayette Square. “We do not have any intelligence on planned activity to suggest the need to board up; however, we remain vigilant,” John Falcicchio, the deputy mayor for planning and economic development, said in a statement. “We understand the difficult position building owners and operating businesses are in, and we call upon all who participate in First Amendment activities to denounce violence and report it immediately should it occur.” Officials say they are concerned that a politically polarized electorate coupled with divisive rhetoric and President Trump questioning the integrity of the election could create flash points in the District and elsewhere. Newsham said several groups have applied for demonstration permits starting Sunday and for days after the election. The National Park Service is considering permit applications from several organizations with various views on the election. Shutdown DC is planning weeks’ worth of demonstrations around the White House and Black Lives Plaza starting Tuesday. “After you vote, hit the streets,” the group posted on its website. (…) The District endured months of sustained demonstrations after the death of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis, which targeted areas outside the White House but also impacted the downtown business district and neighborhoods such as Georgetown, Adams Morgan and Shaw. The demonstrations were mostly peaceful, but outbreaks of violence — much of it attributed to agitators more intent on destruction than protest — resulted in hundreds of arrests after nights of fires, looted stores and clashes with police. D.C. police said that on May 30 and May 31, the two most volatile days, 204 businesses were burglarized and 216 properties were damaged. The Washington Post
The Manhattan real estate world is a world unto its own. The competition is very fierce, you’re dealing with many, many clever people. I think it was Tom Klingenstein who said he always thought Trump was Jewish because he fit in so well with the real-estatenicks in Manhattan, most of whom were, and are, Jewish. (…) He had the qualities that all those guys had in common, and you might have thought, other things being equal, that he was one of them. And in a certain sense he was, but not entirely. I know a few of those guys and they’re actually very impressive. You have to get permits, and you have to deal with the mob, and you have to know how to handle workers who are very recalcitrant, many of whom are thuggish. You’re in a battlefield there, so you have to know how to operate politically as well as in a managerial capacity, and how to sweet talk and also how to curse. It’s not an easy field to master.(…) I think Trump has, in that sense, the common touch. That’s one of the things—it may be the main thing—that explains his political success. It doesn’t explain his success in general, but his political success, yes. (…) Trump fights back. The people who say: “Oh, he shouldn’t lower himself,” “He should ignore this,” and “Why is he demeaning himself by arguing with some dopey reporter?” I think on the contrary—if you hit him, he hits back; and he is an equal opportunity counter puncher. It doesn’t matter who you are. (…) when he first appeared on the scene (…) I said to my wife: “This guy is Buchanan without the anti-Semitism,” because he was a protectionist, a nativist, and an isolationist. And those were the three pillars of Pat Buchanan’s political philosophy. How did I know he wasn’t an anti-Semite? I don’t know—I just knew. And he certainly wasn’t and isn’t, and I don’t think he’s a racist or any of those things. (…) however, I began to be bothered by the hatred that was building up against Trump from my soon to be new set of ex-friends. It really disgusted me. I just thought it had no objective correlative. You could think that he was unfit for office—I could understand that—but my ex-friends’ revulsion was always accompanied by attacks on the people who supported him. They called them dishonorable, or opportunists, or cowards—and this was done by people like Bret Stephens, Bill Kristol, and various others. And I took offense at that. So that inclined me to what I then became: anti-anti-Trump. By the time he finally won the nomination, I was sliding into a pro-Trump position, which has grown stronger and more passionate as time has gone on. On the question of his isolationism, he doesn’t seem to give a damn. He hires John Bolton and Mike Pompeo who, from my point of view, as a neoconservative (I call myself a “paleo-neoconservative” because I’ve been one for so long), couldn’t be better. And that’s true of many of his other cabinet appointments. He has a much better cabinet than Ronald Reagan had, and Reagan is the sacred figure in Republican hagiography. Trump is able to do that because, not only is he not dogmatic, he doesn’t operate on the basis of fixed principles. Now some people can think that’s a defect—I don’t think it’s a defect in a politician at a high level. I remember thinking to myself once on the issue of his embrace of tariffs, and some of my friends were very angry. I said to myself for the first time, “Was thou shalt not have tariffs inscribed on the tablets that Moses brought down from Sinai? Maybe Trump has something on this issue, in this particular”—and then I discovered to my total amazement that there are a hundred tariffs (I think that’s right) against America from all over the world. So the idea that we’re living in a free trade paradise was itself wrong, and in any case, there was no reason to latch onto it as a sacred dogma. And that was true of immigration. I was always pro-immigration because I’m the child of immigrants. (…) So I was very reluctant to join in Trump’s skepticism about the virtues of immigration. (…) We weren’t arguing about illegal immigration. We were arguing about immigration. (…) What has changed my mind about immigration now—even legal immigration—is that our culture has weakened to the point where it’s no longer attractive enough for people to want to assimilate to, and we don’t insist that they do assimilate. (…) as I watched the appointments he was making even at the beginning, I was astonished. And he couldn’t have been doing this by accident. So that everything he was doing by way of policy as president, belied the impression he had given to me of a Buchananite. He was the opposite of a Buchananite in practice. The fact is he was a new phenomenon. And I still to this day haven’t quite figured out how he reconciled all of this in his own head. Maybe because, as I said earlier, he was not dogmatic about things. He did what he had to do to get things done. (…) he had something—he had instincts. And he knew, from my point of view, who the good guys were. Now, he made some mistakes, for example, with Secretary of State Tillerson, but so did Reagan. I used to point out to people that it took Lincoln three years to find the right generals to fight the civil war, so what did you expect from George W. Bush? In Trump’s case, most of his appointments were very good and they’ve gotten better as time’s gone on. And even the thing that I held almost sacred, and still do really, which is the need for American action abroad—interventionism—which he still says he’s against. I mean, he wants to pull out all our troops from Syria and I think it was probably Bolton who talked him out of doing it all in one stroke. Even concerning interventionism, I began to rethink. I found my mind opening to possibilities that hadn’t been there before. And in this case it was a matter of acknowledging changing circumstances rather than philosophical or theoretical changes. (…)[Trump] was against what he called stupid wars or unnecessary wars. But I think that, again, he’s willing to be flexible under certain circumstances. I think that if we were hit by any of those people, he would respond with a hydrogen bomb. (…) some of [my ex-friends] have gone so far as to make me wonder whether they’ve lost their minds altogether. I didn’t object to their opposition to Trump. There was a case to be made, and they made it—okay. Of course, they had no reasonable alternative. A couple of them voted for Hillary, which I think would have been far worse for the country than anything Trump could have done. But, basically, I think we’re all in a state of confusion as to what’s going on. Tom Klingenstein has made a brilliant effort to explain it, in terms that haven’t really been used before. He says that our domestic politics has erupted into a kind of war between patriotism and multiculturalism, and he draws out the implications of that war very well. I might put it in different terms—love of America versus hatred of America. But it’s the same idea. We find ourselves in a domestic, or civil, war almost. (…) The long march through the institutions, as the Maoists called it, was more successful than I would have anticipated. The anti-Americanism became so powerful that there was virtually nothing to stop it. Even back then I once said, and it’s truer now: this country is like a warrior tribe which sends all its children to a pacifist monk to be educated. And after a while—it took 20 or 40 years—but little by little it turned out that Antonio Gramsci—the Communist theoretician who said that the culture is where the power is, not the economy—turned out to be right; and little by little the anti-Americanism made its way all the way down to kindergarten, practically. And there was no effective counterattack. (…) The crack I make these days is that the Left thinks that the Constitution is unconstitutional. When Barack Obama said, “We are five days away from fundamentally transforming this country,” well it wasn’t five days, but he was for once telling the truth. He knew what he was doing. I’ve always said that Obama, from his own point of view, was a very successful president. (…) Far from being a failure, within the constraints of what is still the democratic political system, he had done about as much as you possibly could to transform the country into something like a social democracy. The term “social democrat,” however, used to be an honorable one. It designated people on the Left who were anti-Communist, who believed in democracy, but who thought that certain socialist measures could make the world more equitable. Now it’s become a euphemism for something that is hard to distinguish from Communism. And I would say the same thing about anti-Zionism. (…) two years or so after the Six Day War (…) anti-Semitism has migrated from the Right, which was its traditional home, to the Left, where it is getting a more and more hospitable reception. (…) Today, anti-Semitism, under the cover of anti-Zionism, has established itself much more firmly in the Democratic Party than I could ever have predicted, which is beyond appalling. The Democrats were unable to pass a House resolution condemning anti-Semitism, for example, which is confirmation of the Gramscian victory. I think they are anti-American—that’s what I would call them. They’ve become anti-American. (…) some of them say they’re pro-socialism, but most of them don’t know what they’re talking about. They ought to visit a British hospital or a Canadian hospital once in a while to see what Medicare for All comes down to. They don’t know what they’re for. I mean, the interesting thing about this whole leftist movement that started in the ’60s is how different it is from the Left of the ’30s. The Left of the ’30s had a positive alternative in mind—what they thought was positive—namely, the Soviet Union. So America was bad; Soviet Union, good. Turn America into the Soviet Union and everything is fine. The Left of the ’60s knew that the Soviet Union was flawed because its crimes that had been exposed, so they never had a well-defined alternative. One day it was Castro, the next day Mao, the next day Zimbabwe, I mean, they kept shifting—as long as it wasn’t America. Their real passion was to destroy America and the assumption was that anything that came out of those ruins would be better than the existing evil. That was the mentality—there was never an alternative and there still isn’t. (…) Things have gone so haywire, [Bernie Sanders] was able to revive the totally discredited idea of socialism, and others were so ignorant that they picked it up. As for attitudes toward America, I believe that Howard Zinn’s relentlessly anti-American People’s History of the United States sells something like 130,000 copies a year, and it’s a main text for the study of American History in the high schools and in grade schools. So, we have miseducated a whole generation, two generations by now, about almost everything. (…) The only way I know out of this is to fight it intellectually, which sounds weak. But the fact that Trump was elected is a kind of miracle. I now believe he’s an unworthy vessel chosen by God to save us from the evil on the Left. And he’s not the first unworthy vessel chosen by God. There was King David who was very bad—I mean he had a guy murdered so he could sleep with his wife, among other things. And then there was King Solomon who was considered virtuous enough—more than his father—to build the temple, and then desecrated it with pagan altars; but he was nevertheless considered a great ancestor. So there are precedents for these unworthy vessels, and Trump, with all his vices, has the necessary virtues and strength to fight the fight that needs to be fought. And if he doesn’t win in 2020, I would despair of the future. I have 13 grandchildren and 12 great grandchildren, and they are hostages to fortune. So I don’t have the luxury of not caring what’s going to happen after I’m gone. (…) His virtues are the virtues of the street kids of Brooklyn. You don’t back away from a fight and you fight to win. That’s one of the things that the Americans who love him, love him for—that he’s willing to fight, not willing but eager to fight. And that’s the main virtue and all the rest stem from, as Klingenstein says, his love of America. I mean, Trump loves America. He thinks it’s great or could be made great again. Eric Holder, former attorney general, said, “When was it ever great?” And Michelle Obama says that the first time she was ever proud of her country was when Obama won. (…) Mainly they think [Trump]’s unfit to be president for all the obvious reasons—that he disgraces the office. I mean, I would say Bill Clinton disgraced the office. I was in England at Cambridge University when Harry Truman was president, and there were Americans there who were ashamed of the fact that somebody like Harry Truman was president. (…) [A haberdasher] and no college degree. And, of course, Andrew Jackson encountered some of that animosity. There’s snobbery in it and there’s genuine, you might say, aesthetic revulsion. It’s more than disagreements about policy, because the fact of the matter is they have few grounds for disagreement about policy. I mean, I’ve known Bill Kristol all his life, and I like him. But I must say I’m shocked by his saying that if it comes to the deep state versus Trump, he’ll take the deep state. You know, I was raised to believe that the last thing in the world you defend is your own, and I am proud to have overcome that education. I think the first thing in the world you defend is your own, especially when it’s under siege both from without and within. So the conservative elite has allowed its worst features—its sense of superiority—to overcome its intellectual powers, let’s put it that way. I don’t know how else to explain this. (…) I often quote and I have always believed in Bill Buckley’s notorious declaration that he would rather be governed by the first 2,000 names in the Boston telephone book than by the faculty of Harvard University. That’s what I call intelligent populism. And Trump is Exhibit A of the truth of that proposition. Norman Podhoretz (2019)
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
What makes such men and women both tragic and heroic is their knowledge that the natural expression of their personas can lead only to their own destruction or ostracism from an advancing civilization that they seek to protect. And yet they willingly accept the challenge to be of service . . . Yet for a variety of reasons, both personal and civic, their characters not only should not be altered, but could not be, even if the tragic hero wished to change . . . In the classical tragic sense, Trump likely will end in one of two fashions, both not particularly good: either spectacular but unacknowledged accomplishments followed by ostracism . . . or, less likely, a single term due to the eventual embarrassment of his beneficiaries. Victor Davis Hanson
Trump’s own uncouthness was in its own manner contextualized by his supporters as a long overdue pushback to the elite disdain and indeed hatred shown them. (…) Trumpism was the idea that there were no longer taboo subjects. Everything was open for negotiation; nothing was sacred. Victor Davis Hanson
The very idea that Donald Trump could, even in a perverse way, be heroic may appall half the country. Nonetheless, one way of understanding both Trump’s personal excesses and his accomplishments is that his not being traditionally presidential may have been valuable in bringing long-overdue changes in foreign and domestic policy. Tragic heroes, as they have been portrayed from Sophocles’ plays (e.g., Ajax, Antigone, Oedipus Rex, Philoctetes) to the modern western film, are not intrinsically noble. Much less are they likeable. Certainly, they can often be obnoxious and petty, if not dangerous, especially to those around them. These mercurial sorts never end well — and on occasion neither do those in their vicinity. Oedipus was rudely narcissistic, Hombre’s John Russell (Paul Newman) arrogant and off-putting. Tragic heroes are loners, both by preference and because of society’s understandable unease with them. Ajax’s soliloquies about a rigged system and the lack of recognition accorded his undeniable accomplishments are Trumpian to the core — something akin to the sensational rumors that at night Trump is holed up alone, petulant, brooding, eating fast food, and watching Fox News shows. Outlaw leader Pike Bishop (William Holden), in director Sam Peckinpah’s The Wild Bunch, is a killer whose final gory sacrifice results in the slaughter of the toxic General Mapache and his corrupt local Federales. A foreboding Ethan Edwards (John Wayne), of John Ford’s classic 1956 film The Searchers, alone can track down his kidnapped niece. But his methods and his recent past as a Confederate renegade make him suspect and largely unfit for a civilizing frontier after the expiration of his transitory usefulness. These characters are not the sorts that we would associate with Bob Dole, Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, or Mitt Romney. The tragic hero’s change of fortune — often from good to bad, as Aristotle reminds us — is due to an innate flaw (hamartia), or at least in some cases an intrinsic and usually uncivilized trait that can be of service to the community, albeit usually expressed fully only at the expense of the hero’s own fortune. The problem for civilization is that the creation of those skill sets often brings with it past baggage of lawlessness and comfortability with violence. Trump’s cunning and mercurialness, honed in Manhattan real estate, global salesmanship, reality TV, and wheeler-dealer investments, may have earned him ostracism from polite Washington society. But these talents also may for a time be suited for dealing with many of the outlaws of the global frontier. (…) So what makes such men and women both tragic and heroic is their full knowledge that the natural expression of their personas can lead only to their own destruction or ostracism. Yet for a variety of reasons, both personal and civic, their characters not only should not be altered but could not be, even if the tragic hero wished to change, given his megalomania and Manichean views of the human experience. Clint Eastwood’s Inspector “Dirty” Harry Callahan cannot serve as the official face of the San Francisco police department. But Dirty Harry alone has the skills and ruthlessness to ensure that the mass murderer Scorpio will never harm the innocent again. So, in the finale, he taunts and then shoots the psychopathic Scorpio, ending both their careers, and walks off — after throwing his inspector’s badge into the water. Marshal Will Kane (Gary Cooper) of High Noon did about the same thing, but only after gunning down (with the help of his wife) four killers whom the law-abiding but temporizing elders of Hadleyville proved utterly incapable of stopping. (…) In other words, tragic heroes are often simply too volatile to continue in polite society. In George Stevens’s classic 1953 western Shane, even the reforming and soft-spoken gunslinger Shane (Alan Ladd) understands his own dilemma all too well: He alone possesses the violent skills necessary to free the homesteaders from the insidious threats of hired guns and murderous cattle barons. (And how he got those skills worries those he plans to help.) Yet by the time of his final resort to lethal violence, Shane has sacrificed all prior chances of reform and claims on reentering the civilized world of the stable “sodbuster” community. (…) Trump could not cease tweeting, not cease his rallies, not cease his feuding, and not cease his nonstop motion and unbridled speech if he wished to. It is his brand, and such overbearing made Trump, for good or evil, what he is — and will likely eventually banish him from establishment Washington, whether after or during his elected term. His raucousness can be managed, perhaps mitigated for a time — thus the effective tenure of his sober cabinet choices and his chief of staff, the ex–Marine general, no-nonsense John Kelly — but not eliminated. His blunt views cannot really thrive, and indeed can scarcely survive, in the nuance, complexity, and ambiguity of Washington. Trump is not a mannered Mitt Romney, who would never have left the Paris climate agreement. He is not a veteran who knew the whiz of real bullets and remains a Washington icon, such as John McCain, who would never have moved the American embassy to Jerusalem. Marco Rubio or Jeb Bush certainly would never have waded into no-win controversies such as the take-a-knee NFL debacle and unvetted immigration from suspect countries in the Middle East and Africa, or called to account sanctuary cities that thwarted federal law. Our modern Agamemnon, Speaker Paul Ryan, is too circumspect to get caught up with Trump’s wall or a mini-trade war with China. Trump does not seem to care whether he is acting “presidential.” The word — as he admits — is foreign to him. He does not worry whether his furious tweets, his revolving-door firing and hiring, and his rally counterpunches reveal a lack of stature or are becoming an embarrassing window into his own insecurities and apprehensions as a Beltway media world closes in upon him in the manner that, as the trapped western hero felt, the shrinking landscape was increasingly without options in the new 20th century. The real moral question is not whether the gunslinger Trump could or should become civilized (again, defined in our context as becoming normalized as “presidential”) but whether he could be of service at the opportune time and right place for his country, crude as he is. After all, despite their decency, in extremis did the frontier farmers have a solution without Shane, or the Mexican peasants a realistic alternative to the Magnificent Seven, or the town elders a viable plan without Will Kane? Perhaps we could not withstand the fire and smoke of a series of Trump presidencies, but given the direction of the country over the last 16 years, half the population, the proverbial townspeople of the western, wanted some outsider, even with a dubious past, to ride in and do things that most normal politicians not only would not but could not do — before exiting stage left or riding off into the sunset, to the relief of most and the regrets of a few. The best and the brightest résumés of the Bush and Obama administrations had doubled the national debt — twice. Three prior presidents had helped to empower North Korea, now with nuclear-tipped missiles pointing at the West Coast. Supposedly refined and sophisticated diplomats of the last quarter century, who would never utter the name “Rocket Man” or stoop to call Kim Jong-un “short and fat,” nonetheless had gone through the “agreed framework,” “six-party talks,” and “strategic patience,” in which three administrations gave Pyongyang quite massive aid to behave and either not to proliferate or at least to denuclearize. And it was all a failure, and a deadly one at that. For all of Obama’s sophisticated discourse about “spread the wealth around” and “You didn’t build that,” quantitative easing, zero interest rates, massive new regulations, the stimulus, and shovel-ready, government-inspired jobs, he could not achieve 3 percent annualized economic growth. Half the country, the more desperate half, believed that the remedy for a government in which the IRS, the FBI, the DOJ, and the NSA were weaponized, often in partisan fashion and without worry about the civil liberties of American citizens, was not more temporizing technicians but a pariah who cleaned house and moved on. Certainly Obama was not willing to have a showdown with the Chinese over their widely acknowledged cheating and coerced expropriation of U.S. technology, with the NATO allies over their chronic welching on prior defense commitments, with the North Koreans after they achieved the capability of hitting U.S. West Coast cities, or with the European Union over its mostly empty climate-change accords. Moving on, sometimes fatally so, is the tragic hero’s operative exit. Antigone certainly makes her point about the absurdity of small men’s sexism and moral emptiness in such an uncompromising way that her own doom is assured. Tom Doniphon (John Wayne), in John Ford’s The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, unheroically kills the thuggish Liberty Valance, births the career of Ranse Stoddard and his marriage to Doniphon’s girlfriend, and thereby ensures civilization is Shinbone’s frontier future. His service done, he burns down his house and degenerates from feared rancher to alcoholic outcast. (…) He knows that few appreciate that the tragic heroes in their midst are either tragic or heroic — until they are safely gone and what they have done in time can be attributed to someone else. Worse, he knows that the tragic hero’s existence is solitary and without the nourishing networks and affirmation of the peasant’s agrarian life. (…) By his very excesses Trump has already lost, but in his losing he might alone be able to end some things that long ago should have been ended. Victor Davis Hanson
That is how human nature is. (…) if you talk to people in the military, the diplomatic corps, the academic world, and, just to take one example, China, they will tell you in the last two years they have had an awakening. They feel that Chinese military superiority is now to deny help to America’s allies. They believe that the trade deficit is unsustainable. They will tell you all of that, and you are almost listening to Donald Trump in 2015, but they won’t mention the word “Trump,” because to do so would contaminate that argument. What I am getting at is he looked at the world empirically. (…) he said, “This is what’s wrong, and this is what we would have to do to address this problem.” And he said it in such a way—whether he wanted to say it in that way or whether he was forced to say it in that way, I don’t know—but he said it in such a way that was designed to grab attention, to be polarizing, to get through bureaucratic doublespeak. So now he succeeded, but if I were to ask anybody at Stanford University, or anybody that I know is a four-star general or a diplomat, “What caused your sudden change about China?,” they would not say Donald Trump, and yet we know who it was. [Like a hero out of Greek myth] as long as we understand the word “hero.” Americans don’t know what that word means. They think it means you live happily ever after or you are selfless. Whether it is Achilles or Sophocles’s Ajax or Antigone, they can act out of insecurity, they can act out of impatience—they can act out of all sorts of motives that are less than what we say in America are heroic. But the point that they are making is, I see a skill that I have. I see a problem. I want to solve that problem, and I want to solve that problem so much that the ensuing reaction to that solution may not necessarily be good for me. And they accept that. (…) I tried to use as many examples as I could of the classic Western, whether it was “Shane” or “High Noon” or “The Magnificent Seven.” They all are the same—the community doesn’t have the skills or doesn’t have the willpower or doesn’t want to stoop to the corrective method to solve the existential problem, whether it is cattle barons or banditos. So they bring in an outsider, and immediately they start to be uneasy because he is uncouth—his skills, his attitude—and then he solves the problem, and they declare to him, whether it is Gary Cooper in “High Noon” or Alan Ladd in “Shane,” “I think it’s better you leave. We don’t need you anymore. We feel dirty that we ever had to call you in.” I think that is what is awaiting Trump. (…) I think Trump really did think that there were certain problems and he had particular skills that he could solve. Maybe in a naïve fashion. But I think he understood, for all the emoluments-clause hysteria, that he wasn’t going to make a lot of money from it or be liked for it. (…) I look at everything empirically. I know what the left said, and the media said, but I ask myself, “What actually happened?” There are a billion Muslims in the world, and he has, I think, six countries who were not able to substantiate that their passports were vetted. [Trump’s final travel plan limits or prevents travel from seven countries.] We didn’t even, in the final calibration, base it on religion. I think we have two countries that are not predominantly Muslim. (…) As far as separation, I remember very carefully that the whole child separation was started during Barack Obama. (…) It was unapologetically said this came from Obama and we are going to continue to practice deterrence. As someone who lives in a community that is ninety per cent Hispanic, probably forty per cent undocumented, I can tell you that it’s a very different world from what people are talking about in Washington. I have had people knock on my door and ask me where the ob-gyn lives, because they got her name in Oaxaca. And the woman in the car is six months pregnant and living across the border and given the name of a nice doctor in Selma, California, that will deliver the baby. (…) It has happened once, but I know people who come from Mexico with the names of doctors and clinics in Fresno County where they know they will get, for free, twenty to thirty thousand dollars of medical care and an anchor baby. I know that’s supposed to be an uncouth thing to say. (…) As I am talking right now, I have a guy, a U.S. citizen, tiling my kitchen, and he does not like the idea that people hire people illegally for twelve dollars an hour in cash, when he should be getting eighteen, nineteen, twenty dollars. But, when you make these arguments, they are just brushed aside by the left or the media, by saying, oh, these are anecdotal or racist or stereotype. (…) [Trump saying there were good people on both sides] was very clumsy (…) But there wasn’t a monolithic white racist protest movement. There were collections of people. Some of them were just out there because maybe they are deluded and maybe they are not. I don’t know what their hearts are like, but they did not want statues torn down or defaced. (…) You can argue that what was O.K. in 2010 suddenly was racist in 2017. But, in today’s polarized climate, Trump should have said, “While both groups are demonstrating, we can’t have a group on any side that identifies by race.” He should have said that. He just said there were good people on both sides. It was clumsy. (…) I was trying to look at Trump in classical terms, so words like eirôneia, or irony—how could it be that the Republican Party supposedly was empathetic, but a millionaire, a billionaire Manhattanite started using terms I had never heard Romney or McCain or Paul Ryan say? He started saying “our.” Our miners. And then, on the left, every time Hillary Clinton went before a Southern audience, she started speaking in a Southern accent. And Barack Obama, I think you would agree, when he gets before an inner-city audience, he suddenly sounded as if he spoke in a black patois. When Trump went to any of these groups, he had the same tie, the same suit, the same accent. What people thought was that, whatever he is, he is authentic. (…) I read a great deal about the Mar-a-Lago project, and I was shocked that the people who opposed that on cultural and social grounds were largely anti-Semitic. Trump had already announced that he was not going to discriminate against Jews and Mexicans and other people. He said, “I want wealthy people.” I went to Palm Beach and talked to wealthy Jewish donors and Cubans, and they said the same thing to me—“He likes rich people. He doesn’t care what you look like.” (…) I don’t know what the driving force was, but I found that he was indifferent. And I think the same thing is true of blacks and Hispanics. (…)  [using birtherism as a way of discrediting Obama]  was absurd. I think it was demonstrable that Obama was born in the United States. The only ambiguity was that two things gave rise to the conspiracy theorists. One was—and I think this is a hundred-per-cent accurate—an advertising group that worked in concert with his publisher put on a booklet that Obama was born in Kenya. That gave third-world cachet to “Dreams from My Father.” And he didn’t look at it or didn’t change it. [In 1991, four years before Obama’s first book was published, his literary agency incorrectly stated on a client list that Obama was born in Kenya.] And he left as a young kid and went to Indonesia and applied when he came back as a Fulbright Fellow, and I don’t know if this is substantiated or just rumor, but he probably was given dual citizenship. [The claim that Obama was a Fulbright Fellow from Indonesia, and therefore had Indonesian citizenship, originated in a hoax e-mail, from April 1, 2009, and has been discredited.] (…) What I am getting at is, here you have a guy named Barack Obama, who grew up in Hawaii, and there were indications in his past that there was ambiguity. (…) I think Trump was doing what Trump does, which is trying to sensationalize it. I don’t think it was racial. I think it was political. (…) I mean carefully calibrated in a political sense. That’s my point. Not that it was careful in the sense of being humane or sympathetic. By that I mean, there were elements in Ted Cruz’s personality that offended people. And he got Ted Cruz really angry, and Ted Cruz doesn’t come across well. (…) if you go back and look at the worst tweets, they are retaliatory. What he does is he waits like a coiled cobra until people attack him, and then he attacks them in a much cruder, blunter fashion. And he has an uncanny ability to pick people that have attacked him, whether it’s Rosie O’Donnell, Megyn Kelly—there were elements in all those people’s careers that were starting to bother people, and Trump sensed that out. I don’t think he would have gotten away with taking on other people that were completely beloved. Colin Kaepernick. People were getting tired of him, so he took him on. All that stuff was calibrated. Trump was replying and understood public sympathy would be at least fifty-fifty, if not in his favor. Victor Davis Hanson
C’est là que se noue la double insécurité économique et culturelle. Face au démantèlement de l’Etat-providence, à la volonté de privatiser, les classes populaires mettent en avant leur demande de préserver le bien commun comme les services publics. Face à la dérégulation, la dénationalisation, elles réclament un cadre national, plus sûr moyen de défendre le bien commun. Face à l’injonction de l’hypermobilité, à laquelle elles n’ont de toute façon pas accès, elles ont inventé un monde populaire sédentaire, ce qui se traduit également par une économie plus durable. Face à la constitution d’un monde où s’impose l’indistinction culturelle, elles aspirent à la préservation d’un capital culturel protecteur. Souverainisme, protectionnisme, préservation des services publics, sensibilité aux inégalités, régulation des flux migratoires, sont autant de thématiques qui, de Tel-Aviv à Alger, de Detroit à Milan, dessinent un commun des classes populaires dans le monde. Ce soft power des classes populaires fait parfois sortir de leurs gonds les parangons de la mondialisation heureuse. Hillary Clinton en sait quelque chose. Elle n’a non seulement pas compris la demande de protection des classes populaires de la Rust Belt, mais, en plus, elle les a traités de « déplorables ». Qui veut être traité de déplorable ou, de ce côté-ci de l’Atlantique, de Dupont Lajoie ? L’appartenance à la classe moyenne n’est pas seulement définie par un seuil de revenus ou un travail d’entomologiste des populations de l’Insee. C’est aussi et avant tout un sentiment de porter les valeurs majoritaires et d’être dans la roue des classes dominantes du point de vue culturel et économique. Placées au centre de l’échiquier, ces catégories étaient des références culturelles pour les classes dominantes, comme pour les nouveaux arrivants, les classes populaires immigrées. En trente ans, les classes moyennes sont passées du modèle à suivre, l’American ou l’European way of life, au statut de losers. Il y a mieux comme référents pour servir de modèle d’assimilation. Qui veut ressembler à un plouc, un déplorable… ? Personne. Pas même les nouveaux arrivants. L’ostracisation des classes populaires par la classe dominante occidentale, pensée pour discréditer toute contestation du modèle économique mondialisé – être contre, c’est ne pas être sérieux – a, en outre, largement participé à l’effondrement des modèles d’intégration et in fine à la paranoïa identitaire. L’asociété s’est ainsi imposée partout : crise de la représentation politique, citadéllisation de la bourgeoisie, communautarisation. Qui peut dès lors s’étonner que nos systèmes d’organisation politique, la démocratie, soient en danger ? Christophe Guilluy
En 2016, Hillary Clinton traitait les électeurs de son opposant républicain, c’est-à-dire l’ancienne classe moyenne américaine déclassée, de « déplorables ». Au-delà du mépris de classe que sous-tend une expression qui rappelle celle de l’ancien président français François Hollande qui traitait de « sans-dents » les ouvriers ou employés précarisés, ces insultes (d’autant plus symboliques qu’elles étaient de la gauche) illustrent un long processus d’ostracisation d’une classe moyenne devenue inutile. (…) Depuis des décennies, la représentation d’une classe moyenne triomphante laisse peu à peu la place à des représentations toujours plus négatives des catégories populaires et l’ensemble du monde d’en haut participe à cette entreprise. Le monde du cinéma, de la télévision, de la presse et de l’université se charge efficacement de ce travail de déconstruction pour produire en seulement quelques décennies la figure répulsive de catégories populaires inadaptées, racistes et souvent proches de la débilité. (…) Des rednecks dégénérés du film « Deliverance » au beauf raciste de Dupont Lajoie, la figure du « déplorable » s’est imposée dès les années 1970 dans le cinéma. La télévision n’est pas en reste. En France, les années 1980 seront marquées par l’émergence de Canal +, quintessence de ll’idéologie libérale-libertaire dominante. (…) De la série « Les Deschiens », à la marionnette débilitante de Johnny Hallyday des Guignols de l’info, c’est en réalité toute la production audiovisuelle qui donne libre cours à son mépris de classe. Christophe Guilluy
Étant donné l’état de fragilisation sociale de la classe moyenne majoritaire française, tout est possible. Sur les plans géographique, culturel et social, il existe bien des points communs entre les situations françaises et américaines, à commencer par le déclassement de la classe moyenne. C’est « l’Amérique périphérique » qui a voté Trump, celle des territoires désindustrialisés et ruraux qui est aussi celle des ouvriers, employés, travailleurs indépendants ou paysans. Ceux qui étaient hier au cœur de la machine économique en sont aujourd’hui bannis. Le parallèle avec la situation américaine existe aussi sur le plan culturel, nous avons adopté un modèle économique mondialisé. Fort logiquement, nous devons affronter les conséquences de ce modèle économique mondialisé : l’ouvrier – hier à gauche –, le paysan – hier à droite –, l’employé – à gauche et à droite – ont aujourd’hui une perception commune des effets de la mondialisation et rompent avec ceux qui n’ont pas su les protéger. La France est en train de devenir une société américaine, il n’y a aucune raison pour que l’on échappe aux effets indésirables du modèle. (…) Dans l’ensemble des pays développés, le modèle mondialisé produit la même contestation. Elle émane des mêmes territoires (Amérique périphérique, France périphérique, Angleterre périphérique… ) et de catégories qui constituaient hier la classe moyenne, largement perdue de vue par le monde d’en haut. (…) la perception que des catégories dominantes – journalistes en tête – ont des classes populaires se réduit à leur champ de vision immédiat. Je m’explique : ce qui reste aujourd’hui de classes populaires dans les grandes métropoles sont les classes populaires immigrées qui vivent dans les banlieues c’est-à-dire les minorités : en France elles sont issues de l’immigration maghrébine et africaine, aux États-Unis plutôt blacks et latinos. Les classes supérieures, qui sont les seules à pouvoir vivre au cœur des grandes métropoles, là où se concentrent aussi les minorités, n’ont comme perception du pauvre que ces quartiers ethnicisés, les ghettos et banlieues… Tout le reste a disparu des représentations. Aujourd’hui, 59 % des ménages pauvres, 60 % des chômeurs et 66 % des classes populaires vivent dans la « France périphérique », celle des petites villes, des villes moyennes et des espaces ruraux. (…) Faire passer les classes moyennes et populaires pour « réactionnaires », « fascisées », « pétinisées » est très pratique. Cela permet d’éviter de se poser des questions cruciales. Lorsque l’on diagnostique quelqu’un comme fasciste, la priorité devient de le rééduquer, pas de s’interroger sur l’organisation économique du territoire où il vit. L’antifascisme est une arme de classe. Pasolini expliquait déjà dans ses Écrits corsaires que depuis que la gauche a adopté l’économie de marché, il ne lui reste qu’une chose à faire pour garder sa posture de gauche : lutter contre un fascisme qui n’existe pas. C’est exactement ce qui est en train de se passer. (…) Il y a un mépris de classe presque inconscient véhiculé par les médias, le cinéma, les politiques, c’est énorme. On l’a vu pour l’élection de Trump comme pour le Brexit, seule une opinion est présentée comme bonne ou souhaitable. On disait que gagner une élection sans relais politique ou médiatique était impossible, Trump nous a prouvé qu’au contraire, c’était faux. Ce qui compte, c’est la réalité des gens depuis leur point de vue à eux. Nous sommes à un moment très particulier de désaffiliation politique et culturel des classes populaires, c’est vrai dans la France périphérique, mais aussi dans les banlieues où les milieux populaires cherchent à préserver ce qui leur reste : un capital social et culturel protecteur qui permet l’entraide et le lien social. Cette volonté explique les logiques séparatistes au sein même des milieux modestes. Une dynamique, qui n’interdit pas la cohabitation, et qui répond à la volonté de ne pas devenir minoritaire. (…) La bourgeoisie d’aujourd’hui a bien compris qu’il était inutile de s’opposer frontalement au peuple. C’est là qu’intervient le « brouillage de classe », un phénomène, qui permet de ne pas avoir à assumer sa position. Entretenue du bobo à Steve Jobs, l’idéologie du cool encourage l’ouverture et la diversité, en apparence. Le discours de l’ouverture à l’autre permet de maintenir la bourgeoisie dans une posture de supériorité morale sans remettre en cause sa position de classe (ce qui permet au bobo qui contourne la carte scolaire, et qui a donc la même demande de mise à distance de l’autre que le prolétaire qui vote FN, de condamner le rejet de l’autre). Le discours de bienveillance avec les minorités offre ainsi une caution sociale à la nouvelle bourgeoisie qui n’est en réalité ni diverse ni ouverte : les milieux sociaux qui prônent le plus d’ouverture à l’autre font parallèlement preuve d’un grégarisme social et d’un entre-soi inégalé. (…) Nous, terre des lumières et patrie des droits de l’homme, avons choisi le modèle libéral mondialisé sans ses effets sociétaux : multiculturalisme et renforcement des communautarismes. Or, en la matière, nous n’avons pas fait mieux que les autres pays. (…) Le FN n’est pas le bon indicateur, les gens n’attendent pas les discours politiques ou les analyses d’en haut pour se déterminer. Les classes populaires font un diagnostic des effets de plusieurs décennies d’adaptation aux normes de l’économie mondiale et utilisent des candidats ou des référendums, ce fut le cas en 2005, pour l’exprimer. Christophe Guilluy
A chaque fois, la grogne vient de territoires qui sont moins productifs économiquement, où le chômage est très implanté. Ce sont des territoires ruraux, des petites et moyennes villes souvent éloignées des grandes métropoles : ce que j’appelle la « France périphérique ». Ce sont des lieux où vivent les classes moyennes, les ouvriers, les petits salariés, les indépendants, les retraités. Cette majorité de la population subit depuis 20 à 30 ans une recomposition économique qui les a desservis. (…) La colère de ces populations vient de beaucoup plus loin. Cela fait des années que ces catégories de Français ne sont plus intégrées politiquement et économiquement. Il y a eu la fermeture progressive des usines puis la crise du monde rural. Pour eux, le retour à l’emploi est très compliqué. En plus, ils ont subi la désertification médicale et le départ des services publics. Idem pour les commerces qui quittent les petites villes. Tout cela s’est cristallisé autour de la question centrale du pouvoir d’achat. Mais le mouvement des Gilets jaunes est une conséquence de tout cela mis bout à bout. (…) le ressentiment est gigantesque. Ce qui est certain c’est que les problèmes sont désormais sur la table. Et si la contestation des Gilets jaunes ne perdure pas dans le temps, un autre mouvement émergera de ces territoires un peu plus tard, car rien n’aura été réglé. (…) Le monde d’en haut ne parle plus au monde d’en bas. Et le monde d’en bas n’écoute plus le monde d’en haut. Les élites sont rassemblées géographiquement dans des métropoles où il y a du travail et de l’argent. Elles continuent de s’adresser à une classe moyenne et à une réalité sociale qui n’existent plus. C’est un boulevard pour les extrêmes… (…) Ils s’adaptent à la demande, comme toujours ! (…) Les réponses apportées par le gouvernement sont à côté de la plaque. Les gens ne demandent pas des solutions techniques pour financer un nouveau véhicule. Ils attendent des réponses de fond où on leur explique quelle place ils ont dans ce pays. De nombreux élus locaux ont des projets pour relancer leur territoire, mais ils n’ont pas d’argent pour les mettre en place. Il faut se retrousser les manches pour développer ces régions, partir du peuple plutôt que de booster en permanence les premiers de cordée. Christophe Guilluy
Je dis depuis quinze ans qu’il y a un éléphant malade (la classe moyenne) dans le magasin de porcelaine (l’Occident) et qu’on m’explique qu’il n’y a pas d’éléphant. Les « gilets jaunes » correspondent effectivement à la sociologie et à la géographie de la France périphérique que j’observe depuis des années. Ouvriers, employés ou petits indépendants, ils ont du mal à boucler leurs fins de mois. Socialement précarisées, ces catégories modestes vivent dans les territoires (villes, moyennes ou petites, campagnes) qui créent le moins d’emplois. Ces déclassés illustrent un mouvement enraciné sur le temps long : la fin de la classe moyenne dont ils formaient hier encore le socle. (…) Du paysan historiquement de droite à l’ouvrier historiquement de gauche, les « gilets jaunes » constatent que le modèle mondialisé ne les intègre plus. Ils roulent en diesel parce qu’on leur a dit de le faire, mais se font traiter de pollueurs par les élites des grandes métropoles. Alors que le monde d’en haut réaffirme sans cesse son identité culturelle (la ville mondialisée, le bio, le vivre-ensemble…), les « gilets jaunes » n’entendent pas se plier au modèle économique et culturel qui les exclut. (…) Plus que l’exclusion des plus modestes, c’est d’abord la sécession du monde d’en haut qui a joué. La rupture entre le haut et le bas de la société se creuse à mesure que les élites ostracisent le peuple. Macron a beau avoir fait le bon diagnostic quand il a déclaré : « Je n’ai pas réussi à réconcilier le peuple français avec ses dirigeants », son camp s’est empressé de traiter les « gilets jaunes » de racistes, d’antisémites et d’homophobes. Ça ne favorise pas la réconciliation ! Pourtant majoritaire, puisqu’elle constitue 60 % de la population, la France périphérique est rejetée par le monde d’en haut qui ne se reconnaît plus dans son propre peuple. L’importance du mouvement et surtout du soutien de l’opinion (huit Français sur dix) révèle l’isolement du monde d’en haut et des représentations sociales et territoriales totalement erronées. Ce divorce soulève un véritable problème démocratique, car les classes moyennes ont toujours été le référent culturel de la classe dirigeante. (…) Certes, il y a des manifestants de droite, de gauche, d’extrême droite et d’extrême gauche qui structurent assez mal leurs discours. Mais tous souhaitent la même chose : du travail et la préservation de ce qu’ils sont. La question du respect est fondamentale, mais le pouvoir y répond par l’insulte ! (…) Tout est possible. Il y a un tel déficit d’offre politique qu’un leader populiste pourrait surgir aussi vite que Macron a émergé. La demande existe. Dans le reste du monde, les populistes réussissent en adaptant leur idéologie à la demande. Il y a quelques années, Salvini défendait des positions sécessionnistes, libérales et racistes en s’attaquant aux Italiens du Sud. Aujourd’hui ministre, il se fait acclamer à Naples, devient étatiste, prône l’unité italienne et vote un budget quasiment de gauche. Quant à Trump, c’est un membre de l’hyperélite new-yorkaise qui a écouté les demandes de l’Amérique périphérique. Ces leaders ne se disent pas qu’il faut rééduquer le peuple. Au contraire, ce sont les demandes de la base qui leur indiquent la voie à suivre. Ainsi, un Mouvement 5 étoiles pourra émerger en France s’il répond aux demandes populaires de régulation (économique, migratoire). (…) Dans tous les pays occidentaux, la classe moyenne est en train d’exploser par le bas. Cette évolution a démarré dans les années 1970-1980 par la crise du monde ouvrier, avec les restructurations industrielles, puis a touché les paysans, les employés du secteur tertiaire, et enfin des territoires ruraux et des villes moyennes. Si on met bout à bout toutes ces catégories, cela touche le cœur de la société. Sur les décombres des classes moyennes telles qu’elles existaient pendant les Trente Glorieuses, les nouvelles classes populaires – ouvriers, employés, paysans, petits commerçants – forment partout l’immense majorité de la population. (…) Maintenant que la classe moyenne a explosé, deux grandes catégories sociales s’affrontent avec comme arrière-plan un nouveau modèle économique de polarisation de l’emploi. D’un côté, les catégories supérieures – 20 à 25 % de la population –, qui occupent des emplois extrêmement qualifiés et hyper intégrés, se concentrent dans les métropoles. De l’autre, une grosse masse de précaires dont les salaires ne suivent pas, vit dans des zones périphériques. Même dans une région riche comme la Bavière, l’électorat AfD recoupe une sociologie et une géographie plutôt populaires réparties dans des petites villes, des villes moyennes et des zones rurales. (…) La classe moyenne n’est absolument pas une catégorie ethnique. Dans mon dernier livre, je critique l’ethnicisation du concept qui, contrairement à ce qu’on croit, est venue de l’intelligentsia de gauche. Depuis quelques années, il y a un glissement sémantique : quand certains parlent des banlieues ou de la politique de la ville, ils désignent les populations issues de l’immigration récente, et quand ils évoquent la « classe moyenne », ils veulent dire « Blancs ». C’est une bêtise. La classe moyenne est le produit d’une intégration économique et culturelle qui a fonctionné pour les Antillais ainsi que pour les premières vagues d’immigration maghrébine qui en épousaient les valeurs, quelle que fût leur origine ou leur religion. Faut-il le rappeler, les DOM-TOM font partie de la France périphérique. Dans ces territoires, les demandes de régulation (économique et migratoire) émanent des mêmes catégories. Cette dynamique est aujourd’hui cassée car le modèle occidental n’intègre plus ces catégories, ni économiquement, ni socialement, ni culturellement. Même dans des régions du monde prospères comme la Scandinavie, les petites gens sont fragilisées culturellement. Cette explosion des classes moyennes entraîne la crise des valeurs culturelles qu’elles portaient, donc des systèmes d’assimilation. (…) Si les classes moyennes, socle populaire du monde d’en haut, ne sont plus les référents culturels de celui-ci, qui ne cesse de les décrire comme des déplorables, elles ne peuvent plus mécaniquement être celles à qui ont envie de ressembler les immigrés. Hier, un immigré qui débarquait s’assimilait mécaniquement en voulant ressembler au Français moyen. De même, l’American way of life était porté par l’ouvrier américain à qui l’immigré avait envie de ressembler. Dès lors que les milieux modestes sont fragilisés et perçus comme des perdants, ils perdent leur capacité d’attractivité. C’est un choc psychologique gigantesque. Cerise sur le gâteau, l’intelligentsia vomit ces gens, à l’image d’Hillary Clinton qui traitait les électeurs de Trump de « déplorables ». Personne n’a envie de ressembler à un déplorable ! (…) La dynamique populiste joue sur deux ressorts à la fois : l’insécurité sociale et l’insécurité culturelle. L’insécurité culturelle sans l’insécurité économique et sociale, cela donne l’électorat Fillon, qui a logiquement voté Macron au second tour : il n’a aucun intérêt à renverser le modèle dont il bénéficie. On l’a vu avec l’élection de Trump, aucun vote populiste n’émerge sans la conjonction de fragilités identitaire et sociale. Il est donc vain de se demander si c’est l’une ou l’autre de ces composantes qui joue. Raison pour laquelle les débats sur la prétendue influence d’Éric Zemmour sont idiots. Zemmour exprime un mouvement réel de la société, qui explique qu’avec 11 millions d’électeurs pour Marine Le Pen, le Front national ait battu son record absolu de voix au second tour en 2017. Malgré tout, la redistribution reste très forte et les protégés sont nombreux. Emmanuel Macron n’a pas seulement été élu par le monde d’en haut. Il a aussi été largement soutenu par les protégés, c’est-à-dire les retraités – notamment de la classe moyenne – et les fonctionnaires. Là est le paradoxe français : ce qui reste de l’État providence protège le monde d’en haut… (…) Cela explique son effondrement dans les sondages. Ceci dit, le niveau de pension reste relativement correct et ne pousse pas les retraités français à renverser la table, même ceux qui estiment qu’il y a des problèmes avec l’immigration. Mais cela pourrait changer aux États-Unis et en Grande-Bretagne, l’État providence étant fragilisé depuis les années 1980, les retraités ne craignent pas de bousculer le système. Ils ont voté pour le Brexit parce qu’ils n’ont rien à perdre. Si demain le gouvernement fragilise les retraités français, ils ne cautionneront pas éternellement le système. En détricotant tous les filets sociaux, comme la redistribution en faveur des retraités, on prend de très gros risques pour la suite des opérations. (…) Et ce n’est d’ailleurs pas un hasard si le gouvernement a fait marche arrière sur la CSG. La pension de retraite médiane en France tourne autour de 1 000, 1 100 euros par mois ! En dessous de 1 000 euros par mois, cela commence à être très compliqué. La majorité des retraités sont issus des catégories populaires. Et ils sont les seuls, au sein de celles-ci, à n’avoir pas majoritairement basculé dans l’abstention ou dans le vote populiste. Le jour où eux aussi basculeront, le choc sera comparable au Brexit. Regardez aussi la rapidité avec laquelle les populistes ont gagné en Italie. (…) Qu’on le veuille ou non, le mouvement est là et il suffit d’attendre. Partout en Occident, il y a une très forte demande de régulation : économique, sociale, migratoire. Pour toute réponse à cette demande populaire, on la traite de fasciste – je suis bien placé pour le savoir. Le résultat de cette stratégie de diversion, c’est que la fracture entre l’élite et les classes supérieures, d’une part, et le peuple d’autre part, ne cesse de se creuser. Jamais dans l’histoire ces deux mondes n’avaient été aussi étrangers l’un à l’autre. (…) Ce monde d’en haut ne tient pas seulement avec le 1 % ou les hyper riches, mais avec des catégories supérieures et une technostructure – les énarques, mais aussi les technocrates territoriaux issus de l’INET. Ses membres viennent tous des mêmes milieux et partagent exactement la même vision de la société. À l’inverse, quand je me balade en France, je rencontre des élus de gauche ou de droite qui partagent mon diagnostic. Et qui se désolent de voir qu’au sommet de leur parti, domine le modèle mondialisé structuré autour des métropoles. (…) Quand la pensée est vraiment en décalage avec le réel, les tentatives de déni et de diabolisation ne marchent plus. Cependant, avec toute la volonté politique du monde, sans l’appui de la technostructure, aucun changement n’est possible. La même question se pose dans les territoires : comment initier des politiques différentes avec la même technostructure ? Peu importe qui est maire de Paris ou Bordeaux, ces villes créent de la richesse grâce au libre jeu du marché. En revanche, il faut être sacrément doué pour sortir Guéret ou Vierzon de l’impasse. (…) Actuellement, on traite la France périphérique à coups de subventions. On redistribue un peu, beaucoup, passionnément, de façon à ce que les gens puissent remplir leur caddie au supermarché. On est arrivé au bout de ce modèle, notamment parce que l’État et les ménages sont surendettés. Mais lorsque des élus locaux et des entreprises privées se réunissent autour d’une table pour impulser un projet économique, cela réussit. Je pense par exemple à la relance des couteaux de Laguiole, dans l’Aveyron. (…) Comme le démontre l’exemple de Laguiole, on ne peut plus penser l’organisation territoriale uniquement à travers une volonté imposée d’en haut par les pouvoirs publics. C’est du bas vers le haut qu’il faut penser ces territoires. Dans des départements ruraux comme la Nièvre, les élus réclament la compétence économique pour initier des projets. Les présidents de conseils départementaux connaissent parfaitement leur territoire, les entreprises qui marchent et la raison de leur succès, la ville où il y a des pauvres et des chômeurs. Ils sont souples, inventifs, pragmatiques et ont à leur disposition des fonctionnaires départementaux issus du cru. Mais les hauts fonctionnaires qui forment l’administration régionale ou étatique cherchent à leur retirer de plus en plus de compétences économiques. Quoique majoritaire, la France des territoires n’existe pas politiquement. Les élus locaux sont marginalisés au sein de leurs partis, contrairement aux élus des grandes villes. Tout doit donc commencer par un rééquilibrage démocratique. Christophe Guilluy
Most astonishing is to see those involved in this violence not waving Antifa flags but, instead, Trump and MAGA banners. It’s only Jan. 6, but the 2021 Nobel Prizes for Unforced Errors and a Suicidal Leap from the Moral High Ground go to the pro-Trump protesters marauding through the halls of The People’s House. It would be bad enough if the acts of terrorism now being perpetrated by this mob were underway while House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., banged her gavel and shut down any objections to Electoral College votes that many of my fellow Trump fans believe are tainted by ballot irregularities. On the contrary, 180 degrees, the House and Senate were debating Republican objections to Arizona’s Electoral College votes. Sen. Ted Cruz R-Texas, was making his case to his colleagues, with his usual eloquence. Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., head of the Freedom Caucus, rose to state his concerns about his own state’s Electoral College votes. He even presented something that should not have existed: A stack of voter registrations that were recorded after the Grand Canyon State’s statutory deadline. This is precisely the sort of evidence that the president’s supporters have wanted for weeks to be aired in public. Thus, the sheer mind-blowing stupidity of the buffoons who stormed the Capitol. They attacked Congress exactly as it was doing precisely what these people wanted done. This would be akin to Antifa breaking through the windows of the Capitol just as a Democratic U.S. Senate voted on final passage of Vermont socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders’ « Medicare-for-all » legislation. (…) In an astonishing act of self-sabotage, these idiots now have made it enormously difficult for those of us who admire President Trump for his enormous domestic and international policy victories. Instead, any discussion of the highest median household income in American history, the lowest poverty rate ever, the complete liquidation of ISIS, and two COVID-19 vaccines in nine months will be answered with, « Oh, you mean the boob whose people assaulted the U.S. Capitol? » These un-American anarchists have performed an enormous disservice to President Trump, the America First movement, the more than 74 million voters who cast our ballots for him in November, and our beloved United States of America. (…) President Trump did the right thing Wednesday afternoon. He issued a video statement from the White House via Twitter and told his overzealous backers to beat it. They should heed his words at once: « I know how you feel. But go home and go home in peace. » Deroy Murdock
SUITE A UNE MANIFESTATION MAJORITAIREMENT PACIFIQUE, UN GROUPUSCULE VANDALISE UN POSTE DE POLICE ET INCENDIE UN PALAIS DE JUSTICE. NBC news
Troisième nuit de pillage suite à une troisième nuit de manifestation majoritairement pacifique. The Wisconsin State Journal
Trump’s effort to label what is happening in major cities as ‘riots’ speaks at least somewhat to his desperation, politically speaking. Chris Cillizza (CNN)
It’s mostly a protest that is not, generally speaking, unruly. There is a deep sense of grievance and complaint here, and that is the thing. That when you discount people who are doing things to public property that they shouldn’t be doing, it does have to be understood that this city has got, for the last several years, an issue with police, and it’s got a real sense of the deep sense of grievance of inequality. Ali Velshi  (MSNBC, Minneapolis, May 29, 2020)
The entire journalistic frame of ‘objectivity’ and political neutrality is structured around white supremacy. E. Alex Jung (New York magazine)
From large metro areas like Chicago and Minneapolis/St. Paul, to small and mid-sized cities like Fort Wayne, Indiana, and Green Bay, Wisconsin, the number of boarded up, damaged or destroyed buildings I have personally observed—commercial, civic, and residential—is staggering. Michael Tracey
Joe Biden claims he wants to take Trump behind the gym and beat him up. Senator Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) jokes that she would like to go into an elevator with him and see Trump never come out alive. Robert De Niro has exhausted the ways in which he dreams of punching Trump out and the intonations in which he yells to audiences, “F—k Trump!” The humanists and social justice warriors of Hollywood, from Madonna to Johnny Depp, cannot agree whether their elected president should be beheaded, blown up, stabbed, shot, or incinerated. All the Democratic would-be presidential nominees agree that Trump is the worst something-or-other in history—from human being to mere president. Former subordinates like Anthony Scaramucci, Omarosa, and Michael Cohen insist that he is a racist, a sexist, a crook, a bully, or mentally deranged—and they all support their firsthand appraisals on the basis they eagerly worked for him and were unceremoniously fired by him. The so-called deep state detests him. An anonymous op-ed writer in the September 5, 2018 New York Times bragged about the bureaucracy’s successful efforts to ignore Trump’s legal mandates—a sort of more methodical version of the comical Rosenstein-McCabe attempt to stage a palace coup and remove Trump, or the Democrats efforts to invoke the 25th Amendment and declare Trump crazy, bolstered by an array of Ivy League psychiatrists who had neither met nor examined him. Decorated retired U.S. Navy Admiral William McRaven wrote another New York Times op-ed blasting Trump and fretting that it is time for a new person in the Oval Office—Republican, Democrat or independent—“the sooner, the better.” One wonders what McRaven meant with the adverb “sooner,” given that an election is scheduled in about a year and even retired officers are subject to the code of military justice not to attack, despite perceived taunts, their current commander-in-chief, much less wink and nod about his apparent removal (in what way?) from office. Do we really want a county in which retired admirals and intelligence officials publicly damn the current commander in chief over policy differences and advocate his removal, “the sooner the better”? The House Democrats simply want him impeached first, and later will fill in the blanks with the necessary high crimes and misdemeanors. Victor Davis Hanson
When I use the word looting, I mean the mass expropriation of property, mass shoplifting during a moment of upheaval or riot. That’s the thing I’m defending. I’m not defending any situation in which property is stolen by force. It’s not a home invasion either. It’s about a certain kind of action that’s taken during protests and riots. (…) « Rioting » generally refers to any moment of mass unrest or upheaval. Riots are a space in which a mass of people has produced a situation in which the general laws that govern society no longer function, and people can act in different ways in the street and in public. I’d say that rioting is a broader category in which looting appears as a tactic. Often, looting is more common among movements that are coming from below. It tends to be an attack on a business, a commercial space, maybe a government building — taking those things that would otherwise be commodified and controlled and sharing them for free. (…) It does a number of important things. It gets people what they need for free immediately, which means that they are capable of living and reproducing their lives without having to rely on jobs or a wage — which, during COVID times, is widely unreliable or, particularly in these communities is often not available, or it comes at great risk. That’s looting’s most basic tactical power as a political mode of action. It also attacks the very way in which food and things are distributed. It attacks the idea of property, and it attacks the idea that in order for someone to have a roof over their head or have a meal ticket, they have to work for a boss, in order to buy things that people just like them somewhere else in the world had to make under the same conditions. It points to the way in which that’s unjust. And the reason that the world is organized that way, obviously, is for the profit of the people who own the stores and the factories. So you get to the heart of that property relation, and demonstrate that without police and without state oppression, we can have things for free. Importantly, I think especially when it’s in the context of a Black uprising like the one we’re living through now, it also attacks the history of whiteness and white supremacy. The very basis of property in the U.S. is derived through whiteness and through Black oppression, through the history of slavery and settler domination of the country. Looting strikes at the heart of property, of whiteness and of the police. It gets to the very root of the way those three things are interconnected. And also it provides people with an imaginative sense of freedom and pleasure and helps them imagine a world that could be. And I think that’s a part of it that doesn’t really get talked about — that riots and looting are experienced as sort of joyous and liberatory. (…) One of the ([myths] that’s been very powerful, that’s both been used by Donald Trump and Democrats, has been the outside agitator myth, that the people doing the riots are coming from the outside. This is a classic. This one goes back to slavery, when plantation owners would claim that it was Freedmen and Yankees coming South and giving the enslaved these crazy ideas — that they were real human beings — and that’s why they revolted. Another trope that’s very common is that looters and rioters are not part of the protest, and they’re not part of the movement. That has to do with the history of protesters trying to appear respectable and politically legible as a movement, and not wanting to be too frightening or threatening. Another one is that looters are just acting as consumers: Why are they taking flat-screen TVs instead of rice and beans? Like, if they were just surviving, it’d be one thing, but they’re taking liquor. All these tropes come down to claiming that the rioters and the looters don’t know what they’re doing. They’re acting, you know, in a disorganized way, maybe an « animalistic » way. But the history of the movement for liberation in America is full of looters and rioters. They’ve always been a part of our movement. (…) The popular understanding of the civil rights movement is that it was successful when it was nonviolent and less successful when it was focused on Black power. It’s a myth that we get taught over and over again from the first moment we learn about the civil rights movement: that it was a nonviolent movement, and that that’s what matters about it. And it’s just not true. Nonviolence emerged in the ’50s and ’60s during the civil rights movement, [in part] as a way to appeal to Northern liberals. When it did work, like with the lunch counter sit-ins, it worked because Northern liberals could flatter themselves that racism was a Southern condition. This was also in the context of the Cold War and a mass anticolonial revolt going on all over Africa, Southeast Asia and Latin America. Suddenly all these new independent nations had just won liberation from Europe, and the U.S. had to compete with the Soviet Union for influence over them. So it was really in the U.S.’ interests to not be the country of Jim Crow, segregation and fascism, because they had to appeal to all these new Black and brown nations all over the world. Those two things combined to make nonviolence a relatively effective tactic. Even under those conditions, Freedom Riders and student protesters were often protected by armed guards. We remember the Birmingham struggle of ’63, with the famous photos of Bull Connor releasing the police dogs and fire hoses on teenagers, as nonviolent. But that actually turned into the first urban riot in the movement. Kids got up, threw rocks and smashed police cars and storefront windows in that combat. There was fear that that kind of rioting would spread. That created the pressure for Robert F. Kennedy to write the civil rights bill and force JFK to sign it. But there’s also another factor, which is anti-Blackness and contempt for poor people who want to live a better life, which looting immediately provides. One thing about looting is it freaks people out. But in terms of potential crimes that people can commit against the state, it’s basically nonviolent. You’re mass shoplifting. Most stores are insured; it’s just hurting insurance companies on some level. It’s just money. It’s just property. It’s not actually hurting any people. (…) People who made that argument for Minneapolis weren’t suddenly celebrating the looters in Chicago, who drove down to the richest part of Chicago, the Magnificent Mile, and attacked places like Tesla and Gucci — because it’s not really about that. It’s a convenient way of positioning yourself as though you are sympathetic. But looters and rioters don’t attack private homes. They don’t attack community centers. In Minneapolis, there was a small independent bookstore that was untouched. All the blocks around it were basically looted or even leveled, burned down. And that store just remained untouched through weeks of rioting. To say you’re attacking your own community is to say to rioters, you don’t know what you’re doing. But I disagree. I think people know. They might have worked in those shops. They might have shopped and been followed around by security guards or by the owner. You know, one of the causes of the L.A. riots was a Korean small-business owner [killing] 15-year-old Latasha Harlins, who had come in to buy orange juice. And that was a family-owned, immigrant-owned business where anti-Blackness and white supremacist violence was being perpetrated. (…) When it comes to small business, family-owned business or locally owned business, they are no more likely to provide worker protections. They are no more likely to have to provide good stuff for the community than big businesses. It’s actually a Republican myth that has, over the last 20 years, really crawled into even leftist discourse: that the small-business owner must be respected, that the small-business owner creates jobs and is part of the community. But that’s actually a right-wing myth. A business being attacked in the community is ultimately about attacking like modes of oppression that exist in the community. It is true and possible that there are instances historically when businesses have refused to reopen or to come back. But that is a part of the inequity of the society, that people live in places where there is only one place where they can get access to something [like food or medicine]. That question assumes well, what if you’re in a food desert? But the food desert is already an incredibly unjust situation. There’s this real tendency to try and blame people for fighting back, for revealing the inequity of the injustice that’s already been formed by the time that they’re fighting. (…) There’s a reason that Trump has embraced the « white anarchist » line so intensely. It does a double service: It both creates a boogeyman around which you can stir up fear and potential repression, and it also totally erases the Black folks who are at the core of the protests. It makes invisible the Black people who are rising up and who are initiating this movement, who are at its core and its center, and who are doing its most important and valuable organizing and its most dangerous fighting. (…) Obviously, we object to violence on some level. But it’s an incredibly broad category. As you pointed out, it can mean both breaking a window, lighting a dumpster on fire, or it can mean the police murdering Tamir Rice. That word is not strategically helpful. The word that can mean both those things cannot be guiding me morally. There’s actually a police tactic for this, called controlled management. Police say, « We support peaceful, nonviolent protesters. We are out here to protect them and to protect them from the people who are being violent. » That’s a police strategy to divide the movement. So a nonviolent protest organizer will tell the police their march route. Police will stop traffic for them. So you’ve got a dozen heavily armed men standing here watching you march. That doesn’t make me feel safe. What about that is nonviolent? Activists themselves are doing no violence, but there is so much potential violence all around them. Ultimately, what nonviolence ends up meaning is that the activist doesn’t do anything that makes them feel violent. And I think getting free is messier than that. We have to be willing to do things that scare us and that we wouldn’t do in normal, « peaceful » times, because we need to get free. Vicky Osterweil
What happened was certainly not an attempted coup d’état (…) Given all these exclusions, only one description remains: a venting of accumulated resentments. Those who voted for President Trump saw his electoral victory denied in 2016 by numerous loud voices calling for “resistance” as if the president-elect were an invading foreign army. These voices were eagerly relayed and magnified by mass media, emphatically including pro-Trump media. Then they saw his victory sullied by constantly repeated accusations of collusion with Russia from chairmen of intelligence committees and ex-intelligence chiefs who habitually accused Mr. Trump of being Vladimir Putin’s agent, claiming they had secret information, which, alas, they could not disclose. They deplored Mr. Trump’s “subservience” to Mr. Putin weekly for four years while refusing to entertain the possibility that in a confrontation with China, it might be a good idea to overlook Mr. Putin’s sins, as Nixon embraced Mao to counter the Soviet Union. (…) Overwrought talk of a coup attempt or an insurrectional threat seems to induce a pleasurable shiver in some people. But on Wall Street the market was supremely unimpressed: Stocks went up, because investors know it will all be over in two weeks. Edward Luttwark
In late August, when riots erupted in Kenosha, Wisconsin, CNN featured a reporter standing in front of a burning car lot above a chyron that read: “Fiery but mostly peaceful protests after police shooting.” The use of the chyron was striking in its peculiar earnestness, considering that the words “mostly peaceful protest” had long since become a bitter in-joke for right-leaning social media. Indeed, from the moment the first protests began in late May, mainstream media outlets have downplayed or ignored instances of violence or destructive looting. On May 29, MSNBC’s Ali Velshi was reporting from Minneapolis in the aftermath of the killing of George Floyd when he insisted he was seeing “mostly a protest” that “is not, generally speaking, unruly” despite the fact that he was literally standing in front of a burning building at the time. Yet Velshi was hesitant to ascribe blame to the arsonists and looters. “There is a deep sense of grievance and complaint here, and that is the thing,” he explained. “That when you discount people who are doing things to public property that they shouldn’t be doing, it does have to be understood that this city has got, for the last several years, an issue with police, and it’s got a real sense of the deep sense of grievance of inequality.” Reporters such as the New York Times’ Julie Bosman openly struggled to describe what happened in places like Kenosha by using words like “riots” or “violence.” “And there was also unrest. There were trucks that were burned. There were fires that were set,” Bosman said, relying on the passive voice in an appearance on The Daily, the Times’ podcast. “People were throwing things at the police. It was a really tense scene.” So tense, in fact, that the next night, when protestors clashed with volunteer militia members and a 17-year-old named Kyle Rittenhouse shot three of them, killing two, Bosman wasn’t there to cover it. “It felt like the situation was a little out of control. So I decided to get in my car and leave,” she explained. Why would a Times journalist need to flee from a “mostly peaceful” protest? A few days after his network’s “mostly peaceful” chryron, CNN’s Chris Cillizza tweeted, “Trump’s effort to label what is happening in major cities as ‘riots’ speaks at least somewhat to his desperation, politically speaking.” Cillizza then linked to a CNN story whose featured image was a police officer in riot gear standing in front of a burning building in Kenosha. In July, NBC’s local television station in Oakland featured a headline that read: “Group Breaks Off of Mostly Peaceful Protest, Vandalizes Police Station, Sets Courthouse on Fire.” On June 3, the Wisconsin State Journal in Madison actually ran this headline: “Third night of looting follows third night of mostly peaceful protest.” Despite the media’s strenuous effort to downplay their existence, the destructive riots and looting this summer were easily found by anyone willing to look. Six weeks into the summer’s protests, independent journalist Michael Tracey drove across the country documenting them. As he wrote in the UK digital magazine, Unherd: “From large metro areas like Chicago and Minneapolis/St. Paul, to small and mid-sized cities like Fort Wayne, Indiana, and Green Bay, Wisconsin, the number of boarded up, damaged or destroyed buildings I have personally observed—commercial, civic, and residential—is staggering.” Andy Ngo and other nonmainstream types have spent months documenting the destruction in cities like Portland and Seattle. And yet, the “peaceful protest” mantra has remained ubiquitous. Moreover, when media outlets did acknowledge protest-related violence, they often implied that it was instigated by the members of law enforcement sent to respond to it. In a roundup about protests on a single day in early June, for example, the New York Times featured headlines such as “Police crack down after curfew in the Bronx” and “Police use tear gas to break up protest in Atlanta.” Later that month, the New York Times featured a tweet thread with video of protests in Seattle that included images of police in tactical gear and the statement: “Officers dressed for violence sometimes invite it.” Some journalists sought not to deny that violence was happening, but to engage in whataboutism regarding its effects. GQ correspondent Julia Ioffe tweeted, “So in case you’re keeping track, being very frustrated by the continual and unpunished killing of Black people by police that you decide to burn and loot—bad. If you’re so frustrated by some protesters burn and loot that you decide to kill some of them—totally understandable.” Reporters invested in the “mostly peaceful” narrative mocked people who were concerned about increases in violent crime and civil unrest. In September, CNN correspondent Josh Campbell tweeted a bucolic scene from a park in Portland and wrote, “Good morning from wonderful Portland, where the city is not under siege and buildings are not burning to the ground. I also ate my breakfast burrito outside today and so far haven’t been attacked by shadowy gangs of Antifa commandos.” At that point, nearby parts of the city had been effectively under siege by antifa and Black Lives Matter rioters for months, and a protestor had recently shot and killed a Trump supporter in cold blood. Paul Krugman of the New York Times joined in, tweeting, “I went for a belated NYC run this morning, and am sorry to report that I saw very few black-clad anarchists. Also, the city is not yet in flames…claims of urban anarchy are almost entirely fantasy.” Worse, journalists committed to the “mostly peaceful” narrative have targeted fellow journalists who don’t fall into line with the messaging. The most outrageous example came when the Intercept’s Lee Fang was denounced on social media as a racist by fellow staffer Akela Lacy after he reported on communities of color negatively affected by the rioting and looting. Lacey described Fang’s reporting as “continuing to push racist narratives” when Fang allowed a black resident of a looted neighborhood to raise concerns about the damage. Fang was forced to apologize. The journalists who attempt to explain away or justify the violence that erupted during some protests do so because they believe the cause is righteous. As E. Alex Jung of New York magazine argued, “the entire journalistic frame of ‘objectivity’ and political neutrality is structured around white supremacy.” How can a good journalist do anything but promote a narrative sympathetic to protestors supposedly fighting it? Needless to say, such justifications and excuse-making would never happen if pro-life or pro–Second Amendment protestors turned to looting and violence. The problem with such ideologically motivated narratives is that, once crafted, they require strenuous effort and often outrageous contortions to maintain. Ultimately, they have the effect of legitimizing extremism and lawlessness, which undermine whatever cause the majority of protestors who don’t partake in violence are promoting. It’s also offensive to those who must suffer the costs of the destruction. One assessment by the Andersen Economic Group of just one week of rioting and looting in major cities (from May 29 to June 3) placed the costs of the destruction at $400 million, an estimate that did not include the costs to state and local governments or the damage done in smaller cities and towns. Social scientists swooped in to try and save the day for the “mostly peaceful” argument. A report by the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project, issued in September in partnership with Princeton University’s Bridging Divides Initiative, concluded that 93 percent of the summer’s protests were peaceful. The ACLED had made its agenda clear in June, when it issued a statement of solidarity with the same protests its report purports to analyze and called for “systemic and peaceful change.” Nonetheless, the report cannot suppress the facts it gathered; by the researchers’ own estimates, there were more than 500 violent riots related to Black Lives Matter gatherings across the country this summer. But at least the others were “mostly peaceful.” Christine Rosen
This was not an organic and spontaneous expression of rage. It was a planned, organized, and orchestrated attack on the U.S. government. The rioters were in constant communication with one another. They targeted specific members of government with violence. And as police later learned, the plotters were armed with improvised explosive devices and Molotov cocktails, which were strategically stationed around Washington D.C.—including at both the Republican and Democratic National Committee offices. The collection of violent nihilists who descended on the Capitol building had no coherent political program beyond violence and mayhem. They are no one’s constituency, and they deserve to be treated like the contemptible political orphans they are. But we have not done that. Cretins and fools who fear nothing as much as they do a comprehensive theory of events that indicts anyone other than their political adversaries will reject this notion, but prominent actors from both parties—yes, both sides—have for years found the mob a useful tool. And because of that recklessness, what happened yesterday could be just a sign of what is to come. (…) Democrats, too, countenanced their share of violence. Just as Trump declined to condemn those who committed violence in his name in 2016, Democrats looked the other way as vicious counter-demonstrators descended on Trump-campaign events, assaulting peaceable rally-goers and vandalizing the surrounding property. Democratic lawmakers and their allies in media heaped praise on the conglomeration of malcontents calling itself Antifa merely because it nominally claimed to be “fighting fascism.” And as city after city was engulfed by riots last summer, Democrats declined to condemn the excesses to which demonstrators appealed in the name of racial justice. Indeed, when the chaos in American streets was addressed at all, it was framed as a wholly righteous and unblemished demand for historical rectitude. And while Democrats looked the other way, left-leaning media embraced the utility of street violence. “Riots are destructive, dangerous, and scary,” Vox.com observed, “but can lead to serious social reforms.” In an unusually soft interview with NPR, author Vicky Osterweil insisted that “looting is a powerful tool to bring about real, lasting change in society.” As COMMENTARY‘s Christine Rosen observed at the time, excusing the violence as though it was an anomaly and not a consistent feature of these demonstrations became a media fixation. “Group Breaks Off of Mostly Peaceful Protest, Vandalizes Police Station, Sets Courthouse on Fire,” read one NBC News headline. “Third night of looting follows third night of mostly peaceful protest,” asserted another from the Wisconsin State Journal. To even call what municipal police routinely deemed riots “riots” was, in the estimation of CNN’s Chris Cillizza, an act of “desperation” by embattled Republicans. If anyone wants to know how we arrived at this lamentable time in American history, the place to look for answers is in the mirror. Violence does not happen in a vacuum. One side’s menace feeds off the other’s and justifies its own actions based on those of its opponents. You cannot excise one but not the other⁠—both must be anathematized. This shameful past does not have to be a portent of a violent and unstable future, but that will be our fate if responsible politicians continue to see disturbed and impressionable people as a weapon to be harnessed and directed at their domestic political opponents. If cynical politicians continue to lie to their constituents, feeding them comforting fictions about how the country’s institutions are tainted and arrayed against their interests, we will endure more insurrections, more violence, and more instability. And that will have profound consequences. As I wrote in my book, published two years ago this month, condemning political violence in whatever form it takes isn’t evasive. It’s consistent. Anything less is a corruption of the sort that “eats away at the foundations of a healthy society. And one day, when the rot has been ignored for so long that no one believes it can be expunged, another mob will come along. And that time, the republic’s weakened edifice may not withstand the pressure.” Let January 6 be a wake-up call. Orphan your violent. Noah Rothman
Ces objections sont essentielles car elles vont inscrire dans l’histoire le fait que l’élection présidentielle de 2020 a été entachée d’irrégularités, de fraudes, et de manipulations, et que Biden n’est pas forcément le président « légitime » ! Le  6 janvier,  le résultat du vote du Collège électoral sera présenté devant une session extraordinaire du Congrès (les deux chambres réunies) présidée par le vice-président Mike Pence. Quiconque conteste le résultat peut profiter de la circonstance pour présenter une objection. Celle-ci peut porter sur le vote d’un seul « grand électeur », ou sur celui de tout un Etat, ou sur l’ensemble des votes. Une objection doit être soumise par écrit et être soutenue par au moins un élu de chaque chambre. A ce jour  plusieurs Représentants et au moins un Sénateur (Josh Hawley, Républicain du Missouri) ont annoncé qu’ils soulèveraient une ou plusieurs objections, notamment concernant le résultat de la Pennsylvanie. Cela obligera les élus à se retirer pour débattre et à voter sur l’objection. Il faudrait alors un vote majoritaire dans chaque chambre pour invalider le vote du Collège électoral et renvoyer l’élection présidentielle devant la Chambre des Représentants. Ce cas de figure est hautement improbable parce que les Démocrates ont la majorité des voix à la Chambre et parce que plusieurs Sénateurs Républicains désapprouvent des objections envisagées. Celles-ci risquent donc plutôt d’être rejetées par les deux chambres… Il n’empêche! Pour l’histoire, et pour leur devenir immédiat,  les Républicains doivent clairement affirmer, et ce devant le monde entier, que les Démocrates ont triché lors du scrutin présidentiel. De telles tricheries doivent être condamnées et éliminées. L’avenir de la Démocratie américaine en dépend.  (…) Autant que ces irrégularités, qui ne sont souvent que de simples manipulations politiques, l’autre scandale post-électoral aux Etats-Unis, est l’omerta décidée par les principaux médias américains sur le sujet. L’ensemble de la classe médiatique bien-pensante a nié leur existence et a refusé catégoriquement d’accorder la moindre attention aux multiples témoignages et preuves de leur réalité. Un silence, à  l’unanimité quasi-soviétique, qui en dit long sur le délabrement des médias et le délitement de la liberté d’expression aux Etats-Unis. (…) Dans au moins six Etats – l’Arizona, la Géorgie,  le Michigan, le Nevada,  la Pennsylvanie,  le Wisconsin – qui sont tous des Etats « décisifs », c’est-à-dire des Etats où le résultat s’annonçait serré et incertain, des irrégularités multiples ont eu lieu. Donald Trump et ses avocats en ont révélé certaines. Peter Navarro, conseiller du président sur le commerce, a publié un rapport récapitulant l’ensemble de ces fraudes. Justement parce que les médias s’évertuaient à les nier. Concrètement  Peter Navarro distingue cinq types de fraudes : Bulletins frauduleux, décomptes et dépouillements frauduleux, violation des règles de procédure, violations du principe d’égalité devant le vote, erreurs provenant des machines de vote. Et il ajoute une  mention spéciale pour ce qu’il appelle des «anomalies statistiques ».  (…)  Biden l’a emporté alors que les Démocrates ont été battus dans toutes les autres élections. Les Démocrates ont perdu quinze sièges à la Chambre des Représentants.  Ils ont échoué à reprendre la majorité au Sénat ne gagnant qu’un seul siège au lieu de six ou sept escomptés. Ils ont perdu chez les gouverneurs. Ils ont perdu dans la bataille pour remporter les législatures de certains Etats qu’ils avaient pourtant spécifiquement ciblés, comme le Texas,  et où ils avaient dépensé des sommes sans précédent… Une telle réalité implique que des électeurs ont voté pour Biden comme président et pour les candidats républicains à tous les autres postes. C’est à la fois peu vraisemblable et totalement contre nature. Surtout vue la popularité de Donald Trump au sein du camp Républicain. Ce qui est plus probable est que des millions de bulletins n’ont comporté qu’un seul vote, celui pour président, laissant tous les autres postes à élire en blanc. Cela est possible et même parfaitement légal, mais cela éveille inévitablement des soupçons car un bulletin coché pour la seule case du président est la configuration classique d’un faux bulletin… Biden a également gagné en défiant l’histoire et les traditions. Ainsi, il existe aux Etats-Unis des comtés où celui des deux candidats qui l’emporte s’avère être toujours le vainqueur final. On les appelle des « comtés baromètres » (bellwhether counties) parce qu’ils illustrent la tendance. Ils votent systématiquement pour le vainqueur. Au cours des quarante dernières années, dix-neuf comtés ont ainsi toujours correctement prédit le vainqueur, Donald Trump a remporté dix-huit d’entre eux ! Etrange ! L’histoire montre également qu’un président arrive difficilement à être élu s’il ne remporte pas certains Etats, du fait de leur importance démographique. La Floride et l’Ohio sont de ces Etats. Tous deux ont été remportés par Trump. Tous les candidats Républicains qui ont remporté l’Ohio ont été élus. Sauf Trump en 2020. Depuis 1960 -au passage la dernière élection pour laquelle la quasi-certitude de fraudes existe également- aucun président n’a été élu en perdant à la fois en Floride, dans l’Ohio et dans l’Iowa, sauf Joe Biden en 2020. De toute l’histoire des Etats-Unis Biden est le second président après John Kennedy, à connaître ce cas de figure. (…) Biden a donc bénéficié d’une mobilisation extraordinaire. De fait la participation a battu des records en 2020. Dans le Minnesota, où Biden l’a emporté 52% contre 45%, le taux de participation a dépassé 80%. Du jamais vu. Dans le Wisconsin il a été de 76% en moyenne et de 95% dans certains comtés. Cela signifie que dans ces endroits quasiment toutes les personnes en droit de voter l’ont fait. Les dix Etats avec la participation électorale la plus forte ont tous été remportés par Joe Biden. Comme si cette participation s’accompagnait inévitablement d’un surcroit de votes en sa faveur… Il ne s’agit là que d’anomalies statistiques. Ce sont des chiffres surprenants qui incitent à s’interroger mais ne constituent pas des preuves de fraudes. Il en va autrement d’un certain nombre d’incidents, détaillés par Peter Navarro dans son rapport. En voici un florilège. -Dans le Nevada des tribus indiennes se sont vu offrir des cartes de crédit et divers cadeaux en échange de leur vote. La pratique est évidemment illégale, même au Nevada. -Un employé des postes a témoigné sous serment (donc sous peine de dix ans de prison en cas de parjure) avoir transporté des bulletins de votes déjà remplis de l’Etat de New York à l’Etat de Pennsylvanie. Façon classique de bourrer les urnes.  Son chargement contenait 288 000 bulletins. Soit quatre fois l’écart de voix séparant Joe Biden de Donald Trump en Pennsylvanie. -En Pennsylvanie et en Géorgie des personnes âgées ou handicapées ont découvert en allant voter en personne le 3 novembre que quelqu’un avait usurpé leur identité pour voter à leur place par courrier. Elles n’ont pas été autorisées à voter et c’est le vote de l’usurpateur qui a été compté. -Dans le Wisconsin 130 000 bulletins de votes ont été acceptés sans vérification d’identité. C’est cinq fois plus que l’écart de voix en faveur de Biden dans cet Etat. -En Géorgie, vingt mille électeurs ayant indiqué avoir déménagé dans un autre Etat, ont néanmoins voté en Géorgie. -En Pennsylvanie huit mille votes proviennent de personnes décédées. -En Pennsylvanie les bulletins de vote reçus par correspondance ont été acceptés et comptabilisés en l’absence de l’enveloppe permettant de vérifier la signature et d’identifier l’électeur. Cela a été fait à la demande du secrétaire d’Etat, alors que c’est la législature des Etats qui est supposée établir la loi électorale. Cette seule infraction pourrait justifier d’invalider le résultat de cet Etat. -Dans le Wisconsin la commission électorale fit installer cinq cents boites à lettres afin de réceptionner des bulletins de vote par correspondance. Alors même que la pratique (appelée « ballot harvesting ») est interdite par la loi du Wisconsin. Dès lors l’ensemble des bulletins recueillis dans ces boites à lettres auraient dû être invalidé, ce qui n’a pas été lé cas. -Dans le Wisconsin des bulletins par correspondance ont été livrés au central de dépouillement avec l’enveloppe extérieure déjà ouverte, indiquant que ces bulletins avaient pu faire l’objet d’une manipulation. -Dans le Wisconsin cent mille bulletins de vote reçus au-delà de la date limite ont été antidatés pour être comptabilisés, en violation des règles électorales. -En Géorgie trois cent mille personnes ont été autorisées à voter en personne alors qu’elles avaient demandé un bulletin de vote par correspondance. -En Pennsylvanie les bulletins de vote ont été acceptés jusqu’à trois jours après la date limite de vote. En violation de la loi de l’Etat et d’une décision de la Cour Suprême des Etats-Unis. -Toujours en Pennsylvanie des personnes non inscrites sur les listes électorales ont été autorisées à voter en utilisant une autre identité, sur les conseils de juristes mobilisés par les autorités électorales. -Toujours en Pennsylvanie, 4 500 bulletins reçus par correspondance et improprement remplis ont été corrigés par les employés électoraux. Cette pratique est illégale et ces bulletins auraient dû être invalidés. -La présence de militants, portant des T-Shirts « Black Lives Matter » ou d’autres affiliations démocrates a été observée aux abords de centres de vote et jusque  dans les centres de dépouillement. Cela constitue une forme d’intimidation interdite par la loi américaine. (…) Quoi qu’en disent les Démocrates et leurs alliés dans les médias, les problèmes de l’élection présidentielle 2020 sont liés dans 99% des cas au vote par correspondance. Celui-ci a été massivement étendu et a effectivement ouvert la porte à des manipulations massives et des fraudes destinées à favoriser Joe Biden et les Démocrates. C’est le cas concernant le processus de vérification des signatures. Dans certains Etats, dont le Nevada et la Géorgie, les réglages des machines destinées à vérifier les signatures ont été abaissés de manière à ne rejeter quasiment aucun bulletin. Rien de techniquement illégal, mais une volonté évidente d’enregistrer le maximum de votes, légaux et valides ou pas. Dans le seul comté de Clark au Nevada, bastion favorable à Biden, 130 000 bulletins supplémentaires ont pu être validés soit près de trois fois l’écart des voix en faveur de Biden.  Même chose en Géorgie. Le taux d’invalidation des votes a été de 0,3% en 2020 contre 6% en 2016 et les années précédentes. Alors même que la quantité de votes par correspondance était annoncée comme particulièrement élevée du fait de la pandémie, les autorités ont décidé de baisser la garde, ouvrant la porte à de massives fraudes potentielles. Il ne sert malheureusement à rien de se lamenter sur le lait renversé. L’élection a eu lieu, Biden a été déclaré vainqueur, les Démocrates ont réussi leur coup. A défaut d’inverser le résultat, les objections qui seront soulevées devant le Congrès serviront à affirmer haut et fort qu’ils ont été pris en flagrant délit et que si l’expérience démocratique américaine veut se poursuivre ils doivent être empêchés de récidiver. Gérald Olivier
Les manifestations et les émeutes qui ont suivi la mort de George Floyd ont largement débordé la question raciale et les brutalités policières. Elles constituent une insurrection organisée contre Donald Trump. Alors que le calme revient dans les rues des métropoles américaines, désormais patrouillées par des soldats de la Garde Nationale, il devient clair que les violences des derniers jours ne peuvent être réduites à des simples émeutes raciales comme le pays a pu en connaître. Les Etats-Unis ne viennent pas de vivre une flambée de violence communautaire. Le pays vient d’être confronté à une insurrection populaire. Le mouvement est parti de la mort de George Floyd. Mais celle-ci ne fut qu’un prétexte.  Très vite les protestations sont sorties de ce cadre et la violence s’est propagée à travers le territoire américain en prenant une ampleur sans précédent. La mort de George Floyd n’avait pas grand-chose à voir avec les pillages observés à New York, Atlanta, Nashville, Los Angeles et ailleurs, six jours plus tard, pas plus qu’avec les actes de vandalisme perpétrées la même nuit à Washington D.C., la capitale américaine.  Dans ces actes de haine et d’anarchie se mêlaient la colère sauvage de certains Américains contre le système en général et le président Trump en particulier, et les actions ciblées de groupes radicaux motivés par une idéologie anti-capitaliste et libertaire, et cherchant à abattre la civilisation américaine par le chaos. Ensemble ces deux forces ont tenté de renverser le pouvoir. Ces journées et surtout ces nuits ont constitué l’insurrection la plus étendue et la plus menaçante aux Etats-Unis depuis 1968, quand la démocratie américaine avait été ébranlée par la conjonction de trois mouvements : une révolte estudiantine, l’opposition à la guerre du Vietnam,  et la radicalisation de la communauté noire. (…) Par leur ampleur les émeutes des derniers jours rappellent les émeutes raciales des années 1965-1968. Jamais en plus de cinquante les Etats-Unis n’avaient connu pareille destruction. Toutefois elles en diffèrent par leur nature et par leurs objectifs. Cela se voit dans le déroulé des événements. Les choses se sont passées en deux temps. Premier temps : la diffusion de la vidéo de l’arrestation de George Floyd. Les images d’un policier blanc un genou sur le cou d’un homme noir, menotté, à plat ventre et qui se plaint de ne pouvoir respirer, allant même jusqu’à gémir « vous êtes en train de me tuer »,  provoquent une colère généralisée, au sein de la communauté noire et bien au-delà. Toute l’Amérique est choquée par ce qu’elle voit. Le président Trump en tête, qui se dit révolté par les images. Il appelle la famille Floyd au téléphone pour leur dire son dégoût devant de tels actes et leur présenter ses condoléances personnelles et celles de la nation. Le monde politique dans son ensemble est également sous le choc. De même que les forces de police des différentes métropoles qui ne se reconnaissent pas dans le geste de leur collègue. Aussi quand les Noirs de Minneapolis descendent dans la rue pour crier leur colère, tout le monde trouve cela justifier. Sur instruction du maire de Minneapolis les forces de l’ordre restent en retrait. Il faut laisser la colère s’exprimer, ne pas l’attiser par une présence policière hostile, puisque l’incident qui vient de tout déclencher est une brutalité policière. Mais la colère ne retombe pas. Au contraire. Elle s’amplifie et se nourrit d’elle-même. Quelques voitures sont brûlées des magasins incendiés. Le lendemain soir quand des manifestants se dirigent vers le commissariat du quartier, le maire donne l’ordre de l’évacuer. Mauvaise décision sans doute. Les manifestants envahissent les lieus et saccagent tout, puis mettent le feu au bâtiment.  La manifestation vient de basculer. C’est le début des émeutes. Cela va durer toute la nuit et les nuits suivantes. Le lendemain le gouverneur de l’Etat du Minnesota essaye ramener la sérénité. Il appelle au calme, au sens civique, souligne que les commerces dévastés appartiennent à des membres des minorités, des noirs, des hispaniques, des coréens, etc. Mais il est trop tard. Les émeutiers ont compris quelque chose de fondamental. Vues les circonstances- le meurtre d’un noir par un policier blanc – la police est en position de faiblesse et c’est le moment d’en profiter. C’est alors que commence le deuxième temps des émeutes. Nous sommes vendredi, quatre jours après la mort de George Floyd.  Les professionnels de la contestation urbaine se sont mobilisés. Deux organisations vont être particulièrement actives, Black Lives Matter et les Antifas. Black Lives Matter (BLM, dont le nom signifie “les vies de Noirs comptent ») est une organisation internationale pour la promotion des droits humains et la protection des minorités, ethniques ou sexuelles. BLM fut fondé en 2013 par trois femmes noires:  Alicia Garza, Opal Tometi et Patrisse Cullors. Le mouvement revendique une lutte internationale contre « la suprématie blanche » et prône une société alternative, anti-capitaliste.  et non patriarcale. Le mouvement « Antifa » (pour « anti-fasciste ») est une mouvance internationale d’extrême gauche qui affirme lutter contre les suprémacistes blancs et toutes les tendances « fascisantes » au sein de la société. Ses membres s’habillent tout de noir, avec casques et foulards pour ne pas être reconnus, d’où leur surnom de « black bloc ». Ils abordent les manifestations publiques comme des opportunités de guerilla urbaine. L’organisation n’a ni chef, ni structure, mais peut mobiliser ses membres par les réseaux sociaux, y compris par des communications cryptées. Ses membres maitrisent à la fois les tactiques de guerilla, les techniques de combat individuel, les technologies de l’information, et les principes de la désinformation. La destruction de la civilisation capitaliste et de ses symboles est sa raison d’être, la violence et la terreur, son mode opératoire. Vendredi, c’est aussi le début du week-end. En ces temps de confinement (pour cause de pandémie de coronavirus), beaucoup de jeunes urbains sont encore plus désœuvrés et plus sur les nerfs que d’habitude. Ils vont aller se défouler, passer leur colère, et se refaire une garde-robe à l’œil, au passage. Confiants qu’ils ne craignent pas grand-chose d’une police qui a reçu l’ordre de laisser faire. Le gouverneur du Minnesota, qui la veille déclarait comprendre les manifestants, affirme à présent que «de mauvais acteurs » se sont glissés parmi les protestataires. De fait les images des différentes émeutes dans le pays présentent tantôt des adolescents en T-Shirts ou capuches affairés à briser des vitrines à coup de skateboard et tantôt des individus casqués, vêtus de noirs, et armés de marteaux qui ciblent les véhicules de police pour en tabasser les occupants et les incendier. (…) A Los Angeles, ville tentaculaire s’il en est, les émeutiers se déplacent sur des dizaines de kilomètres, loin des quartiers populaires jusqu’à West Hollywood ou Beverly Hills, pour aller dévaliser les boutiques de luxe de la fameuse Rodeo Drive. Quand les émeutiers ne s’en prennent pas aux commerces, ils attaquent les bâtiments publics et ceux qui les protègent. A Saint Louis un policier noir de 38 ans est tué, sous l’œil des caméras ! Quatre autres sont blessés par balles. A Las Vegas un autre policier reçoit une balle, en pleine tête. A Oakland, en Californie, deux policiers noirs postés devant le palais de justice, sont visés par balle, l’un meurt, l’autre est hospitalisé. A New York les pillages se prolongent jusqu’à lundi. Le grand magasin Macy’s de la 34e rue est pris d’assaut. Une enseigne Rolex est dévalisée par des dizaines d’individus cagoulés. Une boutique Nike est mise à sac. Des femmes sont agressées. Officiellement il n’y pas eu de plaintes pour viols, mais la situation tourne à l’anarchie. La police est absente ou passive. Par endroit quelques manifestants, souvent Noirs, tentent de raisonner les casseurs et d’arrêter les pillages. En vain… Le gouverneur de l’Etat, Andrew Cuomo, un Démocrate, souligne que les voyous qui ont envahi les rues de la ville « ne peuvent masquer la  nature de leurs actes en se drapant dans une indignation vertueuse justifiée par le meurtre de George Floyd. » Il s’en prend au maire Bill De Blasio, Démocrate aussi, pour ne pas avoir mobilisé suffisamment de forces de police, alors que la ville dispose de 38 000 agents. Comment aurait-il pu le faire ? Sa propre fille, âgée de 25 ans, avait été arrêtée la veille parmi les émeutiers. A l’annonce de son arrestation De Blasio avait affirmé : « je suis fier d’elle ». Quand les élites et représentants de l’autorité prennent le parti des émeutiers, on n’a plus à faire à une simple manifestation mais bien à une insurrection généralisée. A travers le pays, célébrités et intellectuels se relaient sur les antennes pour trouver des excuses aux manifestants. Certains mettent en place un fond de soutiens pour payer la caution des casseurs arrêtés. George Floyd est oublié. Pour tous, le responsable du désordre s’appelle Donald Trump, c’est lui qu’il faut virer. On retrouve le même discours dans la bouche de journalistes qui s’emploient à jeter de l’huile sur le feu. CNN prend le parti des casseurs. Ses reporters dénoncent « la dictature » Trump, et soutiennent « ceux qui se battent pour leurs droits ». Mais de quels droits s’agit-il ? La foule déchainée ne présente aucune revendication. Son seul but est de détruire et de renverser le pouvoir. A Washington les manifestants mettent le feu à l’église épiscopale Saint John, un des monuments historiques de la ville, située juste à côté de la Maison Blanche. On l’appelle « l’église des présidents », car depuis sa construction en 1812, tous, ou presque, y ont prié. Au contraire de la Maison Blanche elle ne bénéficiait d’aucune protection particulière. A travers sa destruction c’est bien le pouvoir exécutif qui est visé. (…) La personne de Donald Trump dérange toujours autant. Président depuis janvier 2017 et pour encore huit mois au moins, il est toujours détesté par la bourgeoisie socio-libérale, par une partie de la jeunesse, et par les élites médiatiques et l’establishment Démocrate. Loin de laisser les institutions démocratiques américaines jouer leur rôle, les plus radicaux de ces opposants ont pris prétexte de la mort de George Floyd, pour tenter de le renverser. Après la tentative de coup d’Etat institutionnel qu’a constitué l’enquête sur une « collusion avec la Russie », après la mascarade politique que fut la procédure de destitution menée contre lui, après le désastre économique infligé par le confinement en réponse à la pandémie de coronavirus, les « anti-Trumps » ont tenté de le faire tomber par la plus vieille des méthodes, une insurrection populaire. Gérald Olivier

Attention, une insurrection peut en cacher une autre !

Fuites organisées du faux dossier Steele sur la prétendue « collusion russe » (douches dorées avec prostituées dans un hôtel de Moscou, via CIA, FBI et élus comme John McCain), appels à la destitution (nov 2016); appels à l’assassinat (Madonna, jan. 2017); appels à la « Résistance »; mouvement « Pas mon président »; fuites incessantes du Deep state; multiplication des livres y compris anonymes dénonçant le président; tentative de coup d’Etat institutionnel (enquête sur la fausse accusation de « collusion avec la Russie », déchirement du discours présidentiel par la présidente démocrate de la Chambre des représentants, mascarade politique de la  procédure de destitution; instrumentalisation, via le confinement et le désastre économique concommitent, de la lutte contre la pandémie de coronavirus; véritable insurrection populaire suite à la mort de George Floyd (plus grave campagne d’émeutes depuis 50 ans à travers tout le pays, départ de feu de l’église des présidents, tentative d’intrusion dans le périmétre de la Maison blanche), matraquage médiatique anti-Trump; censure des informations défavorables à Joe Biden (accusations de harcèlement sexuel et de corruption de sa famille); multiplication des sondages surévaluant systématiquement l’opposition au président sortant; dévoiement de l’élection présidentielle (véritable crime parfait via un tsunami de 100 millions de bulletins par correspondance et la relaxation de toutes les vérifications d’identité, signatures, dates, etc.); menaces de nouvelles émeutes post-élection  …

Au lendemain des dérives et de l’intrusion du Capitole qui ont suivi le dernier « Rassemblement pour Sauver l’Amérique » des partisans du président Trump …

Suite au dévoiement que l’on sait de l’élection présidentielle du 3 novembre …

Comment ne pas voir non seulement l’incroyable indignation sélective …

De médias et commentateurs, Joe Biden et Kamala Harris compris …

Qui sans compter leur célébration d’une action similaire, il y a dix ans mais des syndicats cette fois, au capitole du Wisconsin pour bloquer un projet de loi du « Moubarak du midwest », le gouverneur républicain Scott Walker, dûment voté à la Chambre des représentants de l’Etat …

Ou il y a deux ans au Capitole de Washington même avec l’invasion du bureau et avec la bénédiction de Nancy Pelosi par une centaine de militants du climat …

Dénoncent à qui mieux mieux et à l’unanimité le président Trump pour les excès – retour de bâton, comme avec les Brexiters anglais ou les gilets jaunes français, de décennies de mépris généralisé – il y a deux jours, du rassemblement du Capitole …

Après avoir fermé les yeux mais activement encouragé ces quatre dernières années …

Comme « outil puissant pour provoquer un changement réel et durable dans la société »

Via, y compris celles annoncées en cas de victoire de Trump, les agressions les plus graves des contre-manifestants BLM et antifas contre les partisans pacifiques des rassemblements pro-Trump …

Vandalisant et brûlant au passage des quartiers entiers de centre-villes américains …

Privant du coup de supermarchés comme de protection policière…

Les populations principalement minoritaires et les plus démunies …

Qu’ils prétendaient défendre …

Mais derrière tout ça avec le journaliste franco-américain Gérald Olivier

Comme l’a confirmé après les appels, dès son élection, à la destitution et à l’assassinat

Et du début à la fin, la délégitimation permanente de sa présidence …

La tentative d’intrusion, après un départ de feu dans la fameuse « église des présidents » toute proche, dedits opposants dans le périmètre de la Maison blanche …

Ayant forcé en juin dernier et pour la première fois depuis le 11 septembre 2001 …

Les services de protection rapprochée du président à faire descendre celui-ci dans son bunker souterrain …

Rien de moins, quand anciens généraux et admiraux compris …

« Les élites et représentants de l’autorité prennent le parti des émeutiers » …

Qu’une insurrection généralisée contre l’exécutif lui-même ?

Alors que le calme revient dans les rues des métropoles américaines, désormais patrouillées par des soldats de la Garde Nationale, il devient clair que les violences des derniers jours ne peuvent être réduites à des simples émeutes raciales comme le pays a pu en connaître. Les Etats-Unis ne viennent pas de vivre une flambée de violence communautaire. Le pays vient d’être confronté à une insurrection populaire.

Le mouvement est parti de la mort de George Floyd. Mais celle-ci ne fut qu’un prétexte.  Très vite les protestations sont sorties de ce cadre et la violence s’est propagée à travers le territoire américain en prenant une ampleur sans précédent. La mort de George Floyd n’avait pas grand-chose à voir avec les pillages observés à New York, Atlanta, Nashville, Los Angeles et ailleurs, six jours plus tard, pas plus qu’avec les actes de vandalisme perpétrées la même nuit à Washington D.C., la capitale américaine.  Dans ces actes de haine et d’anarchie se mêlaient la colère sauvage de certains Américains contre le système en général et le président Trump en particulier, et les actions ciblées de groupes radicaux motivés par une idéologie anti-capitaliste et libertaire, et cherchant à abattre la civilisation américaine par le chaos. Ensemble ces deux forces ont tenté de renverser le pouvoir. Ces journées et surtout ces nuits ont constitué l’insurrection la plus étendue et la plus menaçante aux Etats-Unis depuis 1968, quand la démocratie américaine avait été ébranlée par la conjonction de trois mouvements : une révolte estudiantine, l’opposition à la guerre du Vietnam,  et la radicalisation de la communauté noire.

Les émeutes raciales, ou ethniques, sont un phénomène ancien et récurrent de l’histoire américaine. Au XIXe siècle les batailles rangées contre des communautés irlandaises, italiennes, catholiques, juives, chinoises ou autres étaient fréquentes. Toutes les décennies depuis l’abolition de l’esclavage et l’émancipation des esclaves (1865) ont connu des incidents de violence collective impliquant la minorité noire. La plupart du temps, les Noirs n’étaient pas les instigateurs de ces émeutes, mais les victimes.  Parce qu’ils concurrençaient les derniers immigrants, les plus pauvres, sur le marché du travail, et parce que le racisme, qui s’appelait alors « préjugé de race », était profondément ancré dans les mentalités.

Après la Seconde Guerre Mondiale, la déségrégation forcée dans le Sud, couplée aux revendications de la communauté noire pour la reconnaissance de leurs droits civiques – à savoir que les droits des citoyens noirs américains ne soient plus seulement des mots écrits dans la Constitution mais deviennent des réalités concrètes dans la vie quotidienne – engendra deux décennies de fortes tensions avec des éruptions de violence régulières. Les années 1960 virent les ghettos s’embraser chaque été en 1965, 1966, 1967, et 1968 après l’assassinat de Martin Luther King, faisant à chaque fois des dizaines, voire des centaines de tués.

Ces émeutes étaient véritablement des émeutes raciales. Elles mettaient face à face une communauté homogène, les Noirs (flanqués de quelques étudiants et intellectuels blancs, mais très minoritaires) face à la police ou face à la majorité blanche. Elles se déroulaient dans un contexte politique, économique et social, particulier avec des aspirations réelles – le « I have a Dream » de Martin Luther King – et des revendications concrètes – la fin de la ségrégation dans les transports, de la discrimination à l’embauche, ou au logement, etc. Elles exprimaient la colère d’une communauté face à la lenteur, ou au refus, des changements politiques.

Par leur ampleur les émeutes des derniers jours rappellent les émeutes raciales des années 1965-1968. Jamais en plus de cinquante les Etats-Unis n’avaient connu pareille destruction.  Toutefois elles en diffèrent par leur nature et par leurs objectifs. Cela se voit dans le déroulé des événements. Les choses se sont passées en deux temps.

Premier temps : la diffusion de la vidéo de l’arrestation de George Floyd. Les images d’un policier blanc un genou sur le cou d’un homme noir, menotté, à plat ventre et qui se plaint de ne pouvoir respirer, allant même jusqu’à gémir « vous êtes en train de me tuer »,  provoquent une colère généralisée, au sein de la communauté noire et bien au-delà. Toute l’Amérique est choquée par ce qu’elle voit. Le président Trump en tête, qui se dit révolté par les images. Il appelle la famille Floyd au téléphone pour leur dire son dégoût devant de tels actes et leur présenter ses condoléances personnelles et celles de la nation. Le monde politique dans son ensemble est également sous le choc. De même que les forces de police des différentes métropoles qui ne se reconnaissent pas dans le geste de leur collègue.

Aussi quand les Noirs de Minneapolis descendent dans la rue pour crier leur colère, tout le monde trouve cela justifier. Sur instruction du maire de Minneapolis les forces de l’ordre restent en retrait. Il faut laisser la colère s’exprimer, ne pas l’attiser par une présence policière hostile, puisque l’incident qui vient de tout déclencher est une brutalité policière. Mais la colère ne retombe pas. Au contraire. Elle s’amplifie et se nourrit d’elle-même. Quelques voitures sont brûlées des magasins incendiés. Le lendemain soir quand des manifestants se dirigent vers le commissariat du quartier, le maire donne l’ordre de l’évacuer. Mauvaise décision sans doute. Les manifestants envahissent les lieus et saccagent tout, puis mettent le feu au bâtiment.  La manifestation vient de basculer. C’est le début des émeutes. Cela va durer toute la nuit et les nuits suivantes.

Le lendemain le gouverneur de l’Etat du Minnesota essaye ramener la sérénité. Il appelle au calme, au sens civique, souligne que les commerces dévastés appartiennent à des membres des minorités, des noirs, des hispaniques, des coréens, etc. Mais il est trop tard. Les émeutiers ont compris quelque chose de fondamental. Vues les circonstances- le meurtre d’un noir par un policier blanc – la police est en position de faiblesse et c’est le moment d’en profiter.

C’est alors que commence le deuxième temps des émeutes. Nous sommes vendredi, quatre jours après la mort de George Floyd.  Les professionnels de la contestation urbaine se sont mobilisés. Deux organisations vont être particulièrement actives, Black Lives Matter et les Antifas.

Black Lives Matter (BLM, dont le nom signifie “les vies de Noirs comptent ») est une organisation internationale pour la promotion des droits humains et la protection des minorités, ethniques ou sexuelles. BLM fut fondé en 2013 par trois femmes noires:  Alicia Garza, Opal Tometi et Patrisse Cullors. Le mouvement revendique une lutte internationale contre « la suprématie blanche » et prône une société alternative, anti-capitaliste.  et non patriarcale.

Le mouvement « Antifa » (pour « anti-fasciste ») est une mouvance internationale d’extrême gauche qui affirme lutter contre les suprémacistes blancs et toutes les tendances « fascisantes » au sein de la société. Ses membres s’habillent tout de noir, avec casques et foulards pour ne pas être reconnus, d’où leur surnom de « black bloc ». Ils abordent les manifestations publiques comme des opportunités de guerilla urbaine. L’organisation n’a ni chef, ni structure, mais peut mobiliser ses membres par les réseaux sociaux, y compris par des communications cryptées. Ses membres maitrisent à la fois les tactiques de guerilla, les techniques de combat individuel, les technologies de l’information, et les principes de la désinformation. La destruction de la civilisation capitaliste et de ses symboles est sa raison d’être, la violence et la terreur, son mode opératoire.

Vendredi, c’est aussi le début du week-end. En ces temps de confinement (pour cause de pandémie de coronavirus), beaucoup de jeunes urbains sont encore plus désœuvrés et plus sur les nerfs que d’habitude. Ils vont aller se défouler, passer leur colère, et se refaire une garde-robe à l’œil, au passage. Confiants qu’ils ne craignent pas grand-chose d’une police qui a reçu l’ordre de laisser faire.

Le chaos peut commencer.

Le gouverneur du Minnesota, qui la veille déclarait comprendre les manifestants, affirme à présent que «de mauvais acteurs » se sont glissés parmi les protestataires. De fait les images des différentes émeutes dans le pays présentent tantôt des adolescents en T-Shirts ou capuches affairés à briser des vitrines à coup de skateboard et tantôt des individus casqués, vêtus de noirs, et armés de marteaux qui ciblent les véhicules de police pour en tabasser les occupants et les incendier.

Le garde des sceaux (Attorney General) William Barr intervient pour dénoncer la présence des « antifas » parmi les manifestants. Il souligne que passer les limites d’un Etat, pour aller semer la destruction dans un autre est un crime fédéral. Signifiant que les personnes dans cette situation s’exposent à des sanctions plus sévères.

A Los Angeles, ville tentaculaire s’il en est, les émeutiers se déplacent sur des dizaines de kilomètres, loin des quartiers populaires jusqu’à West Hollywood ou Beverly Hills, pour aller dévaliser les boutiques de luxe de la fameuse Rodeo Drive.

Quand les émeutiers ne s’en prennent pas aux commerces, ils attaquent les bâtiments publics et ceux qui les protègent. A Saint Louis un policier noir de 38 ans est tué, sous l’œil des caméras ! Quatre autres sont blessés par balles. A Las Vegas un autre policier reçoit une balle, en pleine tête. A Oakland, en Californie, deux policiers noirs postés devant le palais de justice, sont visés par balle, l’un meurt, l’autre est hospitalisé.

A New York les pillages se prolongent jusqu’à lundi. Le grand magasin Macy’s de la 34e rue est pris d’assaut. Une enseigne Rolex est dévalisée par des dizaines d’individus cagoulés. Une boutique Nike est mise à sac. Des femmes sont agressées. Officiellement il n’y pas eu de plaintes pour viols, mais la situation tourne à l’anarchie. La police est absente ou passive. Par endroit quelques manifestants, souvent Noirs, tentent de raisonner les casseurs et d’arrêter les pillages. En vain… Le gouverneur de l’Etat, Andrew Cuomo, un Démocrate, souligne que les voyous qui ont envahi les rues de la ville « ne peuvent masquer la  nature de leurs actes en se drapant dans une indignation vertueuse justifiée par le meurtre de George Floyd. » Il s’en prend au maire Bill De Blasio, Démocrate aussi, pour ne pas avoir mobilisé suffisamment de forces de police, alors que la ville dispose de 38 000 agents. Comment aurait-il pu le faire ? Sa propre fille, âgée de 25 ans, avait été arrêtée la veille parmi les émeutiers. A l’annonce de son arrestation De Blasio avait affirmé : « je suis fier d’elle ».

Quand les élites et représentants de l’autorité prennent le parti des émeutiers, on n’a plus à faire à une simple manifestation mais bien à une insurrection généralisée.

A travers le pays, célébrités et intellectuels se relaient sur les antennes pour trouver des excuses aux manifestants. Certains mettent en place un fond de soutiens pour payer la caution des casseurs arrêtés. George Floyd est oublié. Pour tous, le responsable du désordre s’appelle Donald Trump, c’est lui qu’il faut virer.

On retrouve le même discours dans la bouche de journalistes qui s’emploient à jeter de l’huile sur le feu. CNN prend le parti des casseurs. Ses reporters dénoncent « la dictature » Trump, et soutiennent « ceux qui se battent pour leurs droits ».

Mais de quels droits s’agit-il ? La foule déchainée ne présente aucune revendication. Son seul but est de détruire et de renverser le pouvoir. A Washington les manifestants mettent le feu à l’église épiscopale Saint John, un des monuments historiques de la ville, située juste à côté de la Maison Blanche. On l’appelle « l’église des présidents », car depuis sa construction en 1812, tous, ou presque, y ont prié. Au contraire de la Maison Blanche elle ne bénéficiait d’aucune protection particulière. A travers sa destruction c’est bien le pouvoir exécutif qui est visé.

Le président Donald Trump s’est exprimé plusieurs fois pour condamner les violences. Il demande aux gouverneurs d’utiliser tous les moyens à leur disposition pour rétablir l’ordre, et si nécessaire de déployer la Garde Nationale, ainsi qu’ils ont l’autorité pour le faire afin de ramener le calme. Et s’ils ne le font pas, c’est lui-même qui s’en chargera ainsi que la loi l’y autorise. Mettant cette menace à exécution il déploie les patrouilles des Douanes et Frontières (Customs and Border Patrol) dans les rues de la capitale, Washington D.C. Ses agents sont sous l’autorité du Département de la Sécurité Intérieure, et sont près de quarante mille à travers le pays.

Cette affirmation d’autorité a permis de ramener un calme relatif. Pour combien de temps ?

La personne de Donald Trump dérange toujours autant. Président depuis janvier 2017 et pour encore huit mois au moins, il est toujours détesté par la bourgeoisie socio-libérale, par une partie de la jeunesse, et par les élites médiatiques et l’establishment Démocrate. Loin de laisser les institutions démocratiques américaines jouer leur rôle, les plus radicaux de ces opposants ont pris prétexte de la mort de George Floyd, pour tenter de le renverser. Après la tentative de coup d’Etat institutionnel qu’a constitué l’enquête sur une « collusion avec la Russie », après la mascarade politique que fut la procédure de destitution menée contre lui, après le désastre économique infligé par le confinement en réponse à la pandémie de coronavirus, les « anti-Trumps » ont tenté de le faire tomber par la plus vieille des méthodes, une insurrection populaire.

Il ne faut pas s’y tromper. Il existe bien un problème racial aux Etats-Unis. Il existe bien aussi des cas de brutalité policière. Mais les émeutes des derniers jours ne relevaient pas de ces problèmes et n’ont contribué  en rien à les résoudre.

Voir aussi:

(Alvin Chang/Vox)

Higher crime in black communities doesn’t fully explain the disparities. A 2015 study by researcher Cody Ross found, « There is no relationship between county-level racial bias in police shootings and crime rates (even race-specific crime rates), meaning that the racial bias observed in police shootings in this data set is not explainable as a response to local-level crime rates. » That suggests something else — such as, potentially, racial bias — is going on.

But Thompson said it also takes years of neglect, despite peaceful calls for change, for discontent to turn into violence. « Riots never come first, » she said. « They only come after a sustained attempt to change whatever is the problem through other means. »

In the 1960s, people engaged in nonviolent protests as part of the Civil Rights Movement, filed complaints through the NAACP, complained to media, and threatened litigation, Thompson said.

In Baltimore, locals complained to media, filed lawsuits over police abuse, and, finally, protested peacefully for weeks before the protests turned violent. In Charlotte, black communities have long complained about mistreatment by police — including, previously, the 2013 police shooting of Jonathan Ferrell, an unarmed 24-year-old black man who was shot 10 times and killed by a white police officer after he crashed his car.

It was only when these attempts at drawing attention to systemic problems failed that demonstrators rose up in violence, including in modern-day Baltimore and Charlotte.

« I was one of the ones who started the peaceful protests … the first seven days [after Gray’s death], when it was fine and dandy, » William Stewart, a West Baltimore resident who didn’t participate in the riots, told Jenée Desmond-Harris for Vox. « I walked about 101 miles in peace. But if you protest peacefully, they don’t give a shit. »

Violent demonstrations can and have spurred change

Social justice riots are often depicted as people senselessly destroying their own communities to no productive means. President Barack ObamaBaltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, and members of the media all used this type of characterization to describe the riots in Baltimore. It was a widespread sentiment online after the Charlotte protests, too.

But riots can and have led to substantial reforms in the past, indicating that they can be part of a coherent political movement. By drawing attention to some of the real despair in destitute communities, riots can push the public and leaders to initiate real reforms to fix whatever led to the violent rage.

« When you have a major event like this, the power structure has to respond, » Hunt of UCLA said. « Some very concrete, material things often come out of these events. »

The 1960s unrest, for example, led to the Kerner Commission, which reviewed the cause of the uprisings and pushed reforms in local police departments. The changes to police ended up taking various forms: more active hiring of minority police officers, civilian review boards of cases in which police use force, and residency requirements that force officers to live in the communities they police.

« This is one of the greatest ironies. People would say that this kind of level of upheaval in the streets and this kind of chaos in the streets is counterproductive, » Thompson said. « The fact of the matter is that it was after every major city in the urban north exploded in the 1960s that we get the first massive probe into what was going on — known as the Kerner Commission. »

Sugrue agreed. « It’s safe to say some changes would have happened a lot more slowly had there not been disruptive protests, » he said.

Similarly, in Los Angeles, the 1992 riots led the Los Angeles Police Department to implement reforms that put more emphasis on community policing and diversity. The reforms appear to have worked, to some extent: Surveys from the Los Angeles Times found approval of the LAPD rose from 40 percent in 1991 to 77 percent in 2009 — although approval among Hispanic and black residents was lower, at 76 percent and 68 percent respectively. It’s hard to say, but these types of changes might have prevented more riots over policing issues in Los Angeles.

« It’s not perfect — far from that, » Hunt said. « But it’s better. »

But there’s always the threat of backlash to riots

Rioting can spur change, but it can also lead to destructive backlash.

In the immediate aftermath, riots can scare away investment and business from riot-torn communities. This is something that remains an issue in West Baltimore, where some buildings are still scarred by the 1968 riots.

In the long term, they can also motivate draconian policy changes that emphasize law and order above all else. The « tough on crime » policies enacted in the 1970s through 1990s are mostly attributed to urban decay brought on by suburbanization, a general rise in crime, and increasing drug use, but Thompson and Sugrue argued that the backlash to the 1960s riots was also partly to blame.

« Riots cut both ways, » Sugrue said. « They do give a voice to the voiceless, but they can also lead to consequences that those who are challenging the system don’t intend. »

The « tough on crime » policies pushed a considerably harsher approach in the criminal justice system, with a goal of deterring crime with the threat of punishment. Police were evaluated far more on how many arrests they carried out, even for petty crimes like loitering. Sentences for many crimes dramatically increased. As a result, levels of incarceration skyrocketed in the US, with black men at far greater risk of being jailed or imprisoned than other segments of the population.

The irony is that many of these « tough on crime » policies led to the current distrust of police in cities like Baltimore, as David Simon, creator of The Wire and former Baltimore crime reporter, explained to the Bill Keller at the Marshall Project:

[I]t’s time to make new sergeants or lieutenants, and so you look at the computer and say: Who’s doing the most work? And they say, man, this guy had 80 arrests last month, and this other guy’s only got one. Who do you think gets made sergeant? And then who trains the next generation of cops in how not to do police work? I’ve just described for you the culture of the Baltimore police department amid the deluge of the drug war, where actual investigation goes unrewarded and where rounding up bodies for street dealing, drug possession, loitering such — the easiest and most self-evident arrests a cop can make — is nonetheless the path to enlightenment and promotion and some additional pay.

So by viewing riots as criminal acts instead of legitimate political displays of anger at systemic failures, the politicians of the 1970s, ’80s, and ’90s pushed some policies that actually fostered further anger toward police — even as other, positive reforms were simultaneously spurred by urban uprisings. By misunderstanding the purpose of the riots, public officials made events like them more likely.

« By having done that, these communities are far worse off, » Thompson said. « The crisis of police brutality, poverty, exploitation, and black citizens not feeling like full citizens have all gotten much, much worse in 40 years. »

Voir de même:

Natalie Escobar
NPR

In the past months of demonstrations for Black lives, there has been a lot of condemnation of looting. Whether it was New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo saying that stealing purses and sneakers from high-end stores in Manhattan was « inexcusable, » or St. Paul, Minn., Mayor Melvin Carter saying looters were « destroy[ing] our community, » police officers, government officials and pundits alike have denounced the property damage and demanded an end to the riots. And just last week, rioters have burned buildings and looted stores in Kenosha, Wis., following the police shooting of Jacob Blake, to which Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., has said: « Peaceful protesting is a constitutionally protected form of free speech. Rioting is not. »

Writer Vicky Osterweil’s book, In Defense of Looting, came out on Tuesday. Osterweil is a self-described writer, editor and agitator who has been writing about and participating in protests for years. And her book arrives as the continued protests have emerged as a bitter dividing point in the presidential race.

When she finished it, back in April, she wrote that « a new energy of resistance is building across the country. » Now, as protests and riots continue to grip cities, she stakes out a provocative position: that looting is a powerful tool to bring about real, lasting change in society. The rioters who smash windows and take items from stores, she claims, are engaging in a powerful tactic that questions the justice of « law and order, » and the distribution of property and wealth in an unequal society.

I spoke with Osterweil, and our conversation has been edited and condensed for clarity.


For people who haven’t read your book, how do you define looting?

When I use the word looting, I mean the mass expropriation of property, mass shoplifting during a moment of upheaval or riot. That’s the thing I’m defending. I’m not defending any situation in which property is stolen by force. It’s not a home invasion either. It’s about a certain kind of action that’s taken during protests and riots.

Looting is a highly racialized word from its very inception in the English language. It’s taken from Hindi, lút, which means « goods » or « spoils, » and it appears in an English colonial officer’s handbook [on « Indian vocabulary »] in the 19th century.

During the uprisings of this past summer, rioting and looting have often gone hand in hand. Can you talk about the distinction you see between the two?

« Rioting » generally refers to any moment of mass unrest or upheaval. Riots are a space in which a mass of people has produced a situation in which the general laws that govern society no longer function, and people can act in different ways in the street and in public. I’d say that rioting is a broader category in which looting appears as a tactic.

Often, looting is more common among movements that are coming from below. It tends to be an attack on a business, a commercial space, maybe a government building — taking those things that would otherwise be commodified and controlled and sharing them for free.

Can you talk about rioting as a tactic? What are the reasons people deploy it as a strategy?

It does a number of important things. It gets people what they need for free immediately, which means that they are capable of living and reproducing their lives without having to rely on jobs or a wage — which, during COVID times, is widely unreliable or, particularly in these communities is often not available, or it comes at great risk. That’s looting’s most basic tactical power as a political mode of action.

It also attacks the very way in which food and things are distributed. It attacks the idea of property, and it attacks the idea that in order for someone to have a roof over their head or have a meal ticket, they have to work for a boss, in order to buy things that people just like them somewhere else in the world had to make under the same conditions. It points to the way in which that’s unjust. And the reason that the world is organized that way, obviously, is for the profit of the people who own the stores and the factories. So you get to the heart of that property relation, and demonstrate that without police and without state oppression, we can have things for free.

Importantly, I think especially when it’s in the context of a Black uprising like the one we’re living through now, it also attacks the history of whiteness and white supremacy. The very basis of property in the U.S. is derived through whiteness and through Black oppression, through the history of slavery and settler domination of the country. Looting strikes at the heart of property, of whiteness and of the police. It gets to the very root of the way those three things are interconnected. And also it provides people with an imaginative sense of freedom and pleasure and helps them imagine a world that could be. And I think that’s a part of it that doesn’t really get talked about — that riots and looting are experienced as sort of joyous and liberatory.

What are some of the most common myths and tropes that you hear about looting?

One of the ones that’s been very powerful, that’s both been used by Donald Trump and Democrats, has been the outside agitator myth, that the people doing the riots are coming from the outside. This is a classic. This one goes back to slavery, when plantation owners would claim that it was Freedmen and Yankees coming South and giving the enslaved these crazy ideas — that they were real human beings — and that’s why they revolted.

Another trope that’s very common is that looters and rioters are not part of the protest, and they’re not part of the movement. That has to do with the history of protesters trying to appear respectable and politically legible as a movement, and not wanting to be too frightening or threatening.

Another one is that looters are just acting as consumers: Why are they taking flat-screen TVs instead of rice and beans? Like, if they were just surviving, it’d be one thing, but they’re taking liquor. All these tropes come down to claiming that the rioters and the looters don’t know what they’re doing. They’re acting, you know, in a disorganized way, maybe an « animalistic » way. But the history of the movement for liberation in America is full of looters and rioters. They’ve always been a part of our movement.

In your book, you note that a lot of people who consider themselves radical or progressive criticize looting. Why is this common?

I think a lot of that comes out of the civil rights movement. The popular understanding of the civil rights movement is that it was successful when it was nonviolent and less successful when it was focused on Black power. It’s a myth that we get taught over and over again from the first moment we learn about the civil rights movement: that it was a nonviolent movement, and that that’s what matters about it. And it’s just not true.

Nonviolence emerged in the ’50s and ’60s during the civil rights movement, [in part] as a way to appeal to Northern liberals. When it did work, like with the lunch counter sit-ins, it worked because Northern liberals could flatter themselves that racism was a Southern condition. This was also in the context of the Cold War and a mass anticolonial revolt going on all over Africa, Southeast Asia and Latin America. Suddenly all these new independent nations had just won liberation from Europe, and the U.S. had to compete with the Soviet Union for influence over them. So it was really in the U.S.’ interests to not be the country of Jim Crow, segregation and fascism, because they had to appeal to all these new Black and brown nations all over the world.

Those two things combined to make nonviolence a relatively effective tactic. Even under those conditions, Freedom Riders and student protesters were often protected by armed guards. We remember the Birmingham struggle of ’63, with the famous photos of Bull Connor releasing the police dogs and fire hoses on teenagers, as nonviolent. But that actually turned into the first urban riot in the movement. Kids got up, threw rocks and smashed police cars and storefront windows in that combat. There was fear that that kind of rioting would spread. That created the pressure for Robert F. Kennedy to write the civil rights bill and force JFK to sign it.

But there’s also another factor, which is anti-Blackness and contempt for poor people who want to live a better life, which looting immediately provides. One thing about looting is it freaks people out. But in terms of potential crimes that people can commit against the state, it’s basically nonviolent. You’re mass shoplifting. Most stores are insured; it’s just hurting insurance companies on some level. It’s just money. It’s just property. It’s not actually hurting any people.

During recent riots, a sentiment I heard a lot was that looters in cities like Minneapolis were hurting their own cause by destroying small businesses in their own neighborhoods, stores owned by immigrants and people of color. What would you say to people who make that argument?

People who made that argument for Minneapolis weren’t suddenly celebrating the looters in Chicago, who drove down to the richest part of Chicago, the Magnificent Mile, and attacked places like Tesla and Gucci — because it’s not really about that. It’s a convenient way of positioning yourself as though you are sympathetic.

But looters and rioters don’t attack private homes. They don’t attack community centers. In Minneapolis, there was a small independent bookstore that was untouched. All the blocks around it were basically looted or even leveled, burned down. And that store just remained untouched through weeks of rioting.

To say you’re attacking your own community is to say to rioters, you don’t know what you’re doing. But I disagree. I think people know. They might have worked in those shops. They might have shopped and been followed around by security guards or by the owner. You know, one of the causes of the L.A. riots was a Korean small-business owner [killing] 15-year-old Latasha Harlins, who had come in to buy orange juice. And that was a family-owned, immigrant-owned business where anti-Blackness and white supremacist violence was being perpetrated.

What would you say to people who are concerned about essential places like grocery stores or pharmacies being attacked in those communities?

When it comes to small business, family-owned business or locally owned business, they are no more likely to provide worker protections. They are no more likely to have to provide good stuff for the community than big businesses. It’s actually a Republican myth that has, over the last 20 years, really crawled into even leftist discourse: that the small-business owner must be respected, that the small-business owner creates jobs and is part of the community. But that’s actually a right-wing myth.

A business being attacked in the community is ultimately about attacking like modes of oppression that exist in the community. It is true and possible that there are instances historically when businesses have refused to reopen or to come back. But that is a part of the inequity of the society, that people live in places where there is only one place where they can get access to something [like food or medicine]. That question assumes well, what if you’re in a food desert? But the food desert is already an incredibly unjust situation. There’s this real tendency to try and blame people for fighting back, for revealing the inequity of the injustice that’s already been formed by the time that they’re fighting.

I have heard a lot of talk about white anarchists who weren’t part of the movement, but they just came in to smash windows and make a ruckus.

It’s a classic trope, because it jams up people who might otherwise be sort of sympathetic to looters. There’s a reason that Trump has embraced the « white anarchist » line so intensely. It does a double service: It both creates a boogeyman around which you can stir up fear and potential repression, and it also totally erases the Black folks who are at the core of the protests. It makes invisible the Black people who are rising up and who are initiating this movement, who are at its core and its center, and who are doing its most important and valuable organizing and its most dangerous fighting.

One thing that you’re really careful about in your book is how you talk about violence at riots. You make the distinction between violence against property, like smashing a window or stealing something, versus violence against a human body. And I’m wondering if you can talk a little bit about why making that distinction is important to you.

Obviously, we object to violence on some level. But it’s an incredibly broad category. As you pointed out, it can mean both breaking a window, lighting a dumpster on fire, or it can mean the police murdering Tamir Rice. That word is not strategically helpful. The word that can mean both those things cannot be guiding me morally.

There’s actually a police tactic for this, called controlled management. Police say, « We support peaceful, nonviolent protesters. We are out here to protect them and to protect them from the people who are being violent. » That’s a police strategy to divide the movement. So a nonviolent protest organizer will tell the police their march route. Police will stop traffic for them. So you’ve got a dozen heavily armed men standing here watching you march. That doesn’t make me feel safe. What about that is nonviolent? Activists themselves are doing no violence, but there is so much potential violence all around them.

Ultimately, what nonviolence ends up meaning is that the activist doesn’t do anything that makes them feel violent. And I think getting free is messier than that. We have to be willing to do things that scare us and that we wouldn’t do in normal, « peaceful » times, because we need to get free.

Voir de plus:

In late August, when riots erupted in Kenosha, Wisconsin, CNN featured a reporter standing in front of a burning car lot above a chyron that read: “Fiery but mostly peaceful protests after police shooting.” The use of the chyron was striking in its peculiar earnestness, considering that the words “mostly peaceful protest” had long since become a bitter in-joke for right-leaning social media. Indeed, from the moment the first protests began in late May, mainstream media outlets have downplayed or ignored instances of violence or destructive looting. On May 29, MSNBC’s Ali Velshi was reporting from Minneapolis in the aftermath of the killing of George Floyd when he insisted he was seeing “mostly a protest” that “is not, generally speaking, unruly” despite the fact that he was literally standing in front of a burning building at the time.

Yet Velshi was hesitant to ascribe blame to the arsonists and looters. “There is a deep sense of grievance and complaint here, and that is the thing,” he explained. “That when you discount people who are doing things to public property that they shouldn’t be doing, it does have to be understood that this city has got, for the last several years, an issue with police, and it’s got a real sense of the deep sense of grievance of inequality.”

Reporters such as the New York Times’ Julie Bosman openly struggled to describe what happened in places like Kenosha by using words like “riots” or “violence.” “And there was also unrest. There were trucks that were burned. There were fires that were set,” Bosman said, relying on the passive voice in an appearance on The Daily, the Times’ podcast. “People were throwing things at the police. It was a really tense scene.” So tense, in fact, that the next night, when protestors clashed with volunteer militia members and a 17-year-old named Kyle Rittenhouse shot three of them, killing two, Bosman wasn’t there to cover it. “It felt like the situation was a little out of control. So I decided to get in my car and leave,” she explained.

Why would a Times journalist need to flee from a “mostly peaceful” protest?

A few days after his network’s “mostly peaceful” chryron, CNN’s Chris Cillizza tweeted, “Trump’s effort to label what is happening in major cities as ‘riots’ speaks at least somewhat to his desperation, politically speaking.” Cillizza then linked to a CNN story whose featured image was a police officer in riot gear standing in front of a burning building in Kenosha. In July, NBC’s local television station in Oakland featured a headline that read: “Group Breaks Off of Mostly Peaceful Protest, Vandalizes Police Station, Sets Courthouse on Fire.” On June 3, the Wisconsin State Journal in Madison actually ran this headline: “Third night of looting follows third night of mostly peaceful protest.”

Despite the media’s strenuous effort to downplay their existence, the destructive riots and looting this summer were easily found by anyone willing to look. Six weeks into the summer’s protests, independent journalist Michael Tracey drove across the country documenting them. As he wrote in the UK digital magazine, Unherd: “From large metro areas like Chicago and Minneapolis/St. Paul, to small and mid-sized cities like Fort Wayne, Indiana, and Green Bay, Wisconsin, the number of boarded up, damaged or destroyed buildings I have personally observed—commercial, civic, and residential—is staggering.” Andy Ngo and other nonmainstream types have spent months documenting the destruction in cities like Portland and Seattle. And yet, the “peaceful protest” mantra has remained ubiquitous.

Moreover, when media outlets did acknowledge protest-related violence, they often implied that it was instigated by the members of law enforcement sent to respond to it. In a roundup about protests on a single day in early June, for example, the New York Times featured headlines such as “Police crack down after curfew in the Bronx” and “Police use tear gas to break up protest in Atlanta.” Later that month, the New York Times featured a tweet thread with video of protests in Seattle that included images of police in tactical gear and the statement: “Officers dressed for violence sometimes invite it.”

Some journalists sought not to deny that violence was happening, but to engage in whataboutism regarding its effects. GQ correspondent Julia Ioffe tweeted, “So in case you’re keeping track, being very frustrated by the continual and unpunished killing of Black people by police that you decide to burn and loot—bad. If you’re so frustrated by some protesters burn and loot that you decide to kill some of them—totally understandable.”

Reporters invested in the “mostly peaceful” narrative mocked people who were concerned about increases in violent crime and civil unrest. In September, CNN correspondent Josh Campbell tweeted a bucolic scene from a park in Portland and wrote, “Good morning from wonderful Portland, where the city is not under siege and buildings are not burning to the ground. I also ate my breakfast burrito outside today and so far haven’t been attacked by shadowy gangs of Antifa commandos.” At that point, nearby parts of the city had been effectively under siege by antifa and Black Lives Matter rioters for months, and a protestor had recently shot and killed a Trump supporter in cold blood.

Paul Krugman of the New York Times joined in, tweeting, “I went for a belated NYC run this morning, and am sorry to report that I saw very few black-clad anarchists. Also, the city is not yet in flames…claims of urban anarchy are almost entirely fantasy.”

Worse, journalists committed to the “mostly peaceful” narrative have targeted fellow journalists who don’t fall into line with the messaging. The most outrageous example came when the Intercept’s Lee Fang was denounced on social media as a racist by fellow staffer Akela Lacy after he reported on communities of color negatively affected by the rioting and looting. Lacey described Fang’s reporting as “continuing to push racist narratives” when Fang allowed a black resident of a looted neighborhood to raise concerns about the damage. Fang was forced to apologize.

The journalists who attempt to explain away or justify the violence that erupted during some protests do so because they believe the cause is righteous. As E. Alex Jung of New York magazine argued, “the entire journalistic frame of ‘objectivity’ and political neutrality is structured around white supremacy.” How can a good journalist do anything but promote a narrative sympathetic to protestors supposedly fighting it? Needless to say, such justifications and excuse-making would never happen if pro-life or pro–Second Amendment protestors turned to looting and violence.

The problem with such ideologically motivated narratives is that, once crafted, they require strenuous effort and often outrageous contortions to maintain. Ultimately, they have the effect of legitimizing extremism and lawlessness, which undermine whatever cause the majority of protestors who don’t partake in violence are promoting. It’s also offensive to those who must suffer the costs of the destruction. One assessment by the Andersen Economic Group of just one week of rioting and looting in major cities (from May 29 to June 3) placed the costs of the destruction at $400 million, an estimate that did not include the costs to state and local governments or the damage done in smaller cities and towns.

Social scientists swooped in to try and save the day for the “mostly peaceful” argument. A report by the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project, issued in September in partnership with Princeton University’s Bridging Divides Initiative, concluded that 93 percent of the summer’s protests were peaceful. The ACLED had made its agenda clear in June, when it issued a statement of solidarity with the same protests its report purports to analyze and called for “systemic and peaceful change.” Nonetheless, the report cannot suppress the facts it gathered; by the researchers’ own estimates, there were more than 500 violent riots related to Black Lives Matter gatherings across the country this summer.

But at least the others were “mostly peaceful.”

Voir encore:

Trump s’est réfugié dans un bunker de la Maison Blanche alors que les manifestations faisaient rage

Vendredi soir, des agents des Services secrets ont précipité le président américain Donald Trump dans un bunker de la Maison Blanche alors que des centaines de manifestants se rassemblaient devant le manoir exécutif, certains d’entre eux jetant des pierres et tirant sur les barricades de la police.Trump a passé près d’une heure dans le bunker, qui a été conçu pour être utilisé dans des situations d’urgence telles que des attaques terroristes, selon un républicain proche de la Maison Blanche qui n’était pas autorisé à discuter publiquement de questions privées et a parlé sous couvert d’anonymat. Le récit a été confirmé par un responsable de l’administration qui s’est également exprimé sous couvert d’anonymat.

La décision abrupte des agents a souligné l’humeur agitée à l’intérieur de la Maison Blanche, où les chants des manifestants à Lafayette Park ont ​​pu être entendus tout le week-end et les agents des services secrets et les forces de l’ordre ont eu du mal à contenir la foule.

Les manifestations de vendredi ont été déclenchées par la mort de George Floyd, un homme noir décédé après avoir été coincé au cou par un policier blanc de Minneapolis. Les manifestations à Washington sont devenues violentes et ont semblé surprendre les officiers. Ils ont déclenché l’une des alertes les plus élevées sur le complexe de la Maison Blanche depuis les attentats du 11 septembre 2001.

« La Maison Blanche ne commente pas les protocoles et décisions de sécurité », a déclaré le porte-parole de la Maison Blanche Judd Deere. Les services secrets ont déclaré ne pas discuter des moyens et méthodes de ses opérations de protection. Le déménagement du président dans le bunker a été signalé pour la première fois par le New York Times.

Le président et sa famille ont été ébranlés par la taille et le venin de la foule, selon le républicain. Il n’était pas immédiatement clair si la première dame Melania Trump et le fils de 14 ans du couple, Barron, avaient rejoint le président dans le bunker. Le protocole des services secrets aurait exigé que toutes les personnes sous la protection de l’agence soient dans l’abri souterrain.

Trump a déclaré à ses conseillers qu’il s’inquiétait pour sa sécurité, tout en louant en privé et en public le travail des services secrets.

Trump s’est rendu en Floride samedi pour voir le premier lancement spatial habité des États-Unis en près d’une décennie. Il est retourné dans une Maison Blanche sous siège virtuel, avec des manifestants – certains violents – rassemblés à quelques centaines de mètres de là pendant une grande partie de la nuit.

Les manifestants sont revenus dimanche après-midi, affrontant la police à Lafayette Park dans la soirée.

Trump a poursuivi ses efforts pour projeter sa force, en utilisant une série de tweets incendiaires et en livrant des attaques partisanes pendant une période de crise nationale.

Alors que les villes brûlaient nuit après nuit et que les images de violence dominaient la couverture télévisée, les conseillers de Trump ont discuté de la perspective d’une adresse au bureau ovale afin d’atténuer les tensions. L’idée a été rapidement abandonnée faute de propositions politiques et du désintérêt apparent du président pour délivrer un message d’unité.

Trump n’est pas apparu en public dimanche. Au lieu de cela, un responsable de la Maison Blanche qui n’était pas autorisé à discuter des plans à l’avance a déclaré que Trump devrait établir dans les prochains jours une distinction entre la colère légitime des manifestants pacifiques et les actions inacceptables des agitateurs violents.

Dimanche, Trump a retweeté un message d’un commentateur conservateur encourageant les autorités à répondre avec plus de force.

« Cela ne va pas s’arrêter tant que les gentils ne seront pas prêts à utiliser une force écrasante contre les méchants », a écrit Buck Sexton dans un message amplifié par le président.

Ces derniers jours, la sécurité à la Maison Blanche a été renforcée par la Garde nationale et du personnel supplémentaire des services secrets et de la police des parcs américains.

Dimanche, le ministère de la Justice a déployé des membres du US Marshals Service et des agents de la Drug Enforcement Administration pour compléter les troupes de la Garde nationale à l’extérieur de la Maison Blanche, selon un haut responsable du ministère de la Justice. Le fonctionnaire n’a pas pu discuter de la question en public et a parlé sous couvert d’anonymat.

——

Lemire a rapporté de New York. L’écrivain d’Associated Press Michael Balsamo a contribué à ce rapport

Insurrections are common but Wednesday’s aborted insurrection on Capitol Hill was unique. The usual purpose of mobilizing a mass of people and deploying their sheer momentum against the edifices of power, a royal or presidential palace, or a parliament is to seize power—through the act of seizing that iconic building. But that is logically impossible when the ruler is not the enemy to be replaced but rather the intended beneficiary of the insurrection.

What happened was certainly not an attempted coup d’état, either. Coups must be subterranean, silent conspiracies that emerge only when the executors move into the seats of power to start issuing orders as the new government. A very large, very noisy and colorful gathering cannot attempt a coup.

There have been quite a few cases around the world of what is best described as mass intimidation directed against parliaments. But in all such cases it was some specific law that was wanted or not wanted, which legislators under the gun might then vote for or against. For that to happen, the legislators have to be all gathered in the legislature and kept there to be coerced. Most recently in Beirut last August, Lebanon’s Parliament was besieged by a crowd demanding and forcing the government’s resignation. This conspicuously did not happen in Washington on Wednesday because it was a crowd that invaded the building, not snatch teams sent to seize individual legislators to be cajoled or forced into their seats.

Given all these exclusions, only one description remains: a venting of accumulated resentments. Those who voted for President Trump saw his electoral victory denied in 2016 by numerous loud voices calling for “resistance” as if the president-elect were an invading foreign army. These voices were eagerly relayed and magnified by mass media, emphatically including pro-Trump media.

When Joe Biden is inaugurated on Jan. 20, Wednesday’s venting of resentments may prove to have been beneficial. Mr. Biden’s own conspicuous refusal to adopt the language of resistance in 2016—and his abstention from false accusations of collusion with Russia, even under extreme provocation about his son—makes it that much easier for the new president to be the healer he convincingly promised to be.

Overwrought talk of a coup attempt or an insurrectional threat seems to induce a pleasurable shiver in some people. But on Wall Street the market was supremely unimpressed: Stocks went up, because investors know it will all be over in two weeks.

Mr. Luttwak’s books include “Coup d’État: A Practical Handbook” (1968) and “The Endangered American Dream” (1993).

Voir aussi:

Le dernier front des syndicats américains

Le Midwest est le théâtre d’un bras de fer épique entre gouverneurs républicains et syndicats. Reportage dans le Wisconsin, épicentre de cette bataille qui préfigure la présidentielle de 2012.

À Madison (Wisconsin)

Arpentant jeudi dernier la place centrale de Madison, où trône le Capitole, un bâtiment d’un blanc éclatant coiffé d’une coupole qui rappelle le Congrès de Washington, le conseiller en stratégie politique républicain Scott Becher désigne du doigt les manifestants armés de pancartes et les camions des grandes chaînes de télé américaines garés sur le parvis. «Regardez-moi ça! CNN, ABC, NPR… Ils sont tous là et depuis trois semaines. Madison est devenu l’épicentre de la politique américaine. Peut-être l’élection présidentielle de 2012 vient-elle de commencer dans le Wisconsin.»

De l’intérieur de l’imposante bâtisse du Parlement de cet État politiquement crucial dans l’Amérique du Midwest, que se disputent régulièrement démocrates et républicains, parvient le bruit assourdissant de tam-tam africains sur lesquels des manifestants tapent en cadence. «Le Capitole envahi chaque jour par des milliers de personnes, 100.000 protestataires pendant les week-ends… C’est incroyable pour notre État, on n’avait jamais rien vu de pareil, en tout cas pas depuis l’époque des droits civiques ou du Vietnam», insiste Scott, abasourdi. «On n’est pas en Europe ici, et les syndicats n’ont cessé de perdre de leur influence, ce qui rend le phénomène d’autant plus impressionnant», confirme le journaliste Jason Stein, accrédité au Parlement pour le Journal Sentinel.

Depuis trois semaines, le Wisconsin vit en état de guerre politique et de paralysie législative. L’homme qui a déclenché la tempête est le nouveau gouverneur républicain, Scott Walker, un brun et fringant conservateur, fils de prêcheur baptiste soutenu par les Tea Party, qui se voit comme un «nouveau Reagan», investi d’une mission historique de rééquilibrage des finances publiques. Dopé par sa victoire en novembre, avec quelque 52% des suffrages (les républicains ont également pris les deux Chambres du Congrès local), il a tenté de faire passer en force une loi d’ajustement budgétaire qui coupe dans le vif des avantages accordés aux employés du secteur public. Invoquant la nécessité de partager l’effort budgétaire, le projet Walker prévoit de forcer les fonctionnaires à payer de leur poche 12,6% de leurs primes d’assurance-maladie, alors qu’ils cotisent à hauteur de 6% – et les salariés du privé de 29%. Ils devraient aussi contribuer pour leurs retraites à hauteur de 5,6% (zéro aujourd’hui).

Droits de négociation collectifs

La mesure n’aurait sans doute pas ému grand monde, dans une Amérique qui affectionne peu l’État-providence, les fonctionnaires comme les syndicats et comprend l’urgence de combler ses trous budgétaires, évalués par le gouverneur pour le seul Wisconsin à 137 millions de dollars cette année – 3,6 milliards pour les deux prochaines. Mais, en décidant de priver carrément les fonctionnaires locaux de leurs droits de négociation collectifs, le gouverneur a franchi une ligne rouge. «Même si beaucoup de gens sont méfiants à l’égard des syndicats, les milliers d’enseignants et d’employés concernés ont tiqué à l’idée de se retrouver sans recours, alors qu’ils ont été paupérisés par la crise financière de 2008», note la jeune représentante démocrate Kelda Helen Roys, installée dans son bureau où des activistes ont placardé des posters la remerciant de son soutien. «Les professeurs avaient conservé leur statut de membres des classes moyennes exclusivement grâce à leur endettement. Mais, avec la tempête financière qui a dévasté le secteur immobilier, la façade est tombée, dévoilant leur condition véritable», poursuit-elle, jugeant cet élément «capital» pour expliquer la mobilisation.

Les coupes sombres prévues dans le budget de l’éducation (834 millions de dollars), point sensible dans un État qui se vante d’avoir des universités publiques créatrices d’activité économique à haute valeur ajoutée, ont décuplé les inquiétudes, de même que l’annonce par le gouverneur de la vente des 37 centrales productrices d’électricité à des intérêts privés, décision qui fait craindre des licenciements massifs. La gauche a lu aussi avec effroi dans cette volonté de casser les syndicats, l’amorce d’une offensive républicaine destinée à priver le parti d’Obama de l’un de ses plus puissants contributeurs à un an de la présidentielle. «Pour moi, il s’agit de casser la machine électorale du Parti démocrate», affirme John Vander Meer, ex-conseiller d’un élu libéral.

Résultat, le projet Walker est devenu l’étincelle qui a embrasé le Wisconsin, suscitant une protestation qui a débouché sur une occupation pacifique du Parlement. Des pancartes notant que «l’éducation qui est l’avenir de nos enfants» tapissent les murs. Des milliers de post-it multicolores signés par les manifestants ont été collés sur les lourdes portes de bois du bâtiment. À l’intérieur, sous la Coupole, des happenings tenant autant du cirque que du combat politique, ont ameuté enseignants, pompiers et étudiants, ainsi que des centaines d’ex-activistes chevelus et barbus, qui semblent tout droit sortis de manifestations contre la guerre au Vietnam. «Le spectacle a été surréaliste, on a tout vu ici, même un chameau sous la rotonde», confie Jason, correspondant du Sentinel.

«Chacun a ses raisons d’être là»

Bonnet de laine sur la tête, enveloppée dans son manteau car il ne fait pas chaud sur la couverture qui lui tient lieu de QG, Sarah rêve d’une douche. Cette étudiante en médecine, qui est là «par solidarité avec ses professeurs», et parce qu’elle craint «un effondrement économique de l’État si on touche aux universités», a passé six jours et six nuits au pied d’un pilier de marbre vert. Elle montre les matelas, les réserves de pommes, d’oranges et de céréales offertes par des bénévoles. Il y a même un «coin calme» réservé aux enfants des protestataires. «Chacun a ses raisons d’être là», dit Sarah. Elle salue les policiers, qui gardent patiemment les lieux, des boules Quies dans les oreilles à cause du tam-tam. L’un d’eux glisse qu’il soutient les protestations. Un autre est au contraire favorable à un retour de l’ordre. «Le gouverneur a été élu, pourquoi ne pas le laisser travailler, les élections, cela a un sens», dit-il. «Le gouverneur n’avait jamais dit qu’il toucherait à ces droits syndicaux pendant sa campagne; nous ne pouvons le laisser casser 50 ans de d’acquis sociaux», réplique Céleste, une employée du privé, qui arbore un tee-shirt «Kill the bill», («Tuons la loi»).

Le projet de Walker a été voté à la Chambre des représentants du Wisconsin, mais les sénateurs démocrates, invoquant le caractère «exceptionnel» de la situation, ont fui vers l’Illinois pour empêcher un vote au Sénat. Furieux, le gouverneur a menacé de lancer la police à leurs trousses, initié un blocage du versement de leurs salaires et annoncé le compte à rebours pour 12.000 licenciements dans le secteur public si la loi ne passe pas. Son pari est que les mouvements ne sont qu’un baroud d’honneur des syndicats minoritaires et que la majorité silencieuse le soutient. De leur côté, les élus démocrates invoquent de récents sondages pour «souligner la légitimité de la politique de la chaise vide». Selon une enquête de l’Institut Rasmussen, près de 57% de la population de l’État seraient hostiles à la politique de Walker concernant les droits de négociation collectifs, alors qu’il est soutenu sur les augmentations des contributions à la santé et aux retraites.

«C’est comme la guerre de Corée!»

Résultat, l’impasse est totale. Les élus démocrates ont indiqué leur volonté de revenir à Madison, mais il est difficile de passer à l’acte sans avoir l’impression de capituler. «Quand on a tracé des lignes aussi intransigeantes, on se demande quelle peut être la sortie de crise, c’est comme la guerre de Corée!», note le stratège républicain Scott Becher. Il dit ne jamais avoir vu une telle division, malgré la tradition de combat social du Wisconsin, un État manufacturier pionnier dans la promotion des droits syndicaux.

De Madison à Washington, les observateurs se demandent si la bataille du Wisconsin va faire «tache d’huile», au-delà de la victoire probable du gouverneur à court terme. Certains prédisent que son courage politique lui vaudra au minimum une place de vice-président sur un ticket républicain. D’autres pensent au contraire qu’il surestime sa «main» et qu’il sera «révoqué» d’ici à un an, selon une procédure lancée par les démocrates visant à rassembler les signatures de 25% des votants, pour convoquer une nouvelle élection… Des révoltes sociales très comparables ont en tout cas éclaté dans l’Ohio et l’Indiana, mettant leurs gouverneurs républicains sur la défensive. Le conflit intéresse aussi les gouverneurs du Texas, Rick Perry, et du New Jersey, Chris Christie, qui se sont bien gardés, malgré leurs promesses de rigueur budgétaire, de toucher aux conventions collectives du secteur public. «Ce mouvement a indéniablement redynamisé la base démocrate», note Adam Schrager, journaliste de télévision local, qui se demande si la bataille du Wisconsin pourrait avoir le même «effet boule de neige» que la bataille de la santé a eu pour la mobilisation des Tea Party. «Ce qui se profile, c’est un discours de guerre de classe pour 2012, avec d’un côté les démocrates dénonçant Wall Street et les intérêts spéciaux, de l’autre les républicains fustigeant les syndicats.»

Conscient de l’importance de l’affrontement, mais soucieux de ne pas se mêler d’un combat dont l’issue reste incertaine, le président Obama est resté relativement discret. «Le président a d’autres chats à fouetter, il doit gérer les révoltes du Middle-East (Moyen-Orient). Nous nous occuperons du Midwest», dit Céleste en agitant le poing. Le journaliste Adam Schrager s’inquiète, quant à lui, de cette ambiance guerrière. Il a été stupéfait qu’un seul élu, le républicain Dale Schultz – «le seul adulte de toute cette histoire» – ait proposé un compromis. «Cela en dit long sur le fonctionnement politique général de notre pays, dit le reporter frustré. Nous ne cessons de recommencer les batailles du passé. Chaque nouvel élu se sent investi d’un mandat idéologique, alors que les gens veulent seulement que les partis s’allient pour résoudre les problèmes profonds qui se posent.»

Voir encore:

Cairo in Wisconsin
Andy Kroll
CBS news
February 27, 2011

The call reportedly arrived from Cairo. Pizza for the protesters, the voice said. It was Saturday, February 20th, and by then Ian’s Pizza on State Street in Madison, Wisconsin, was overwhelmed.

One employee had been assigned the sole task of answering the phone and taking down orders. And in they came, from all 50 states and the District of Columbia, from Morocco, Haiti, Turkey, Belgium, Uganda, China, New Zealand, and even a research station in Antarctica. More than 50 countries around the globe.  Ian’s couldn’t make pizza fast enough, and the generosity of distant strangers with credit cards was paying for it all.

Those pizzas, of course, were heading for the Wisconsin state capitol, an elegant domed structure at the heart of this Midwestern college town. For nearly two weeks, tens of thousands of raucous, sleepless, grizzled, energized protesters have called the stately capitol building their home. As the police moved in to clear it out on Sunday afternoon, it was still the pulsing heart of the largest labor protest in my lifetime, the focal point of rallies and concerts against a politically-charged piece of legislation proposed by Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, a hard-right Republican.

That bill, officially known as the Special Session Senate Bill 11, would, among other things, eliminate collective bargaining rights for most of the state’s public-sector unions, in effect eviscerating the unions themselves. »Kill the bill! » the protesters chant en masse, day after day, while the drums pound and cowbells clang. « What’s disgusting? Union busting! »

One world, one pain

The spark for Wisconsin’s protests came on February 11th.  That was the day the Associated Press published a brief story quoting Walker as saying he would call in the National Guard to crack down on unruly workers upset that their bargaining rights were being stripped away. Labor and other left-leaning groups seized on Walker’s incendiary threat, and within a week there were close to 70,000 protesters filling the streets of Madison.

Six thousand miles away, February 11th was an even more momentous day. Weary but jubilant protesters on the streets of Cairo, Alexandria, and other Egyptian cities celebrated the toppling of Hosni Mubarak, the autocrat who had ruled over them for more than 30 years and amassed billions in wealth at their expense. « We have brought down the regime, » cheered the protesters in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, the center of the Egyptian uprising. In calendar terms, the demonstrations in Wisconsin, you could say, picked up right where the Egyptians left off.

I arrived in Madison several days into the protests. I’ve watched the crowds swell, nearly all of those arriving — and some just not leaving — united against Governor Walker’s « budget repair bill. » I’ve interviewed protesters young and old, union members and grassroots organizers, students and teachers, children and retirees. I’ve huddled with labor leaders in their Madison « war rooms, » and sat through the governor’s press conferences. I’ve slept on the cold, stone floor of the Wisconsin state capitol (twice). Believe me, the spirit of Cairo is here. The air is charged with it.

It was strongest inside the Capitol. A previously seldom-visited building had been miraculously transformed into a genuine living, breathing community.  There was a medic station, child day care, a food court, sleeping quarters, hundreds of signs and banners, live music, and a sense of camaraderie and purpose you’d struggle to find in most American cities, possibly anywhere else in this country. Like Cairo’s Tahrir Square in the weeks of the Egyptian uprising, most of what happens inside the Capitol’s walls is protest.

Egypt is a presence here in all sorts of obvious ways, as well as ways harder to put your finger on.  The walls of the capital, to take one example, offer regular reminders of Egypt’s feat. I saw, for instance, multiple copies of that famous photo on Facebook of an Egyptian man, his face half-obscured, holding a sign that reads: « EGYPT Supports Wisconsin Workers: One World, One Pain. » The picture is all the more striking for what’s going on around the man with the sign: a sea of cheering demonstrators are waving Egyptian flags, hands held aloft. The man, however, faces in the opposite direction, as if showing support for brethren halfway around the world was important enough to break away from the historic celebrations erupting around him.

Similarly, I’ve seen multiple copies of a statement by Kamal Abbas, the general coordinator for Egypt’s Center for Trade Unions and Workers Services, taped to the walls of the state capitol. Not long after Egypt’s January Revolution triumphed and Wisconsin’s protests began, Abbas announced his group’s support for the Wisconsin labor protesters in a page-long declaration that said in part: « We want you to know that we stand on your side. Stand firm and don’t waiver. Don’t give up on your rights. Victory always belongs to the people who stand firm and demand their just rights. »

Then there’s the role of organized labor more generally. After all, widespread strikes coordinated by labor unions shut down Egyptian government agencies and increased the pressure on Mubarak to relinquish power. While we haven’t seen similar strikes yet here in Madison — though there’s talk of a general strike if Walker’s bill somehow passes — there’s no underestimating the role of labor unions like the AFL-CIO, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, and the American Federation of Teachers in organizing the events of the past two weeks.

Faced with a bill that could all but wipe out unions in historically labor-friendly states across the Midwest, labor leaders knew they had to act — and quickly. « Our very labor movement is at stake, » Stephanie Bloomingdale, secretary-treasurer of Wisconsin’s AFL-CIO branch, told me. « And when that’s at stake, the economic security of Americans is at stake. »

« The Mubarak of the midwest »

On the Sunday after I arrived, I was wandering the halls of the Capitol when I met Scott Graham, a third-grade teacher who lives in Lacrosse, Wisconsin. Over the cheers of the crowd, I asked Graham whether he saw a connection between the events in Egypt and those here in Wisconsin. His response caught the mood of the moment. « Watching Egypt’s story for a week or two very intently, I was inspired by the Egyptian people, you know, striving for their own self-determination and democracy in their country, » Graham told me. « I was very inspired by that. And when I got here I sensed that everyone’s in it together. The sense of solidarity is just amazing. »

A few days later, I stood outside the capitol building in the frigid cold and talked about Egypt with two local teachers. The most obvious connection between Egypt and Wisconsin was the role and power of young people, said Ann Wachter, a federal employee who joined our conversation when she overheard me mention Egypt. There, it was tech-savvy young people who helped keep the protests alive and the same, she said, applied in Madison. « You go in there everyday and it’s the youth that carries it throughout hours that we’re working, or we’re running our errands, whatever we do.  They do whatever they do as young people to keep it alive. After all, I’m at the end of my working career; it’s their future. »

And of course, let’s not forget those almost omnipresent signs that link the young governor of Wisconsin to the aging Hosni Mubarak. They typically label Walker the « Mubarak of the Midwest » or « Mini-Mubarak, » or demand the recall of « Scott ‘Mubarak.' » In a public talk on Thursday night, journalist Amy Goodman quipped, « Walker would be wise to negotiate. It’s not a good season for tyrants. »

One protester I saw on Thursday hoisted aloft a « No Union Busting! » sign with a black shoe perched atop it, the heel facing forward — a severe sign of disrespect that Egyptian protesters directed at Mubarak and a symbol that, before the recent American TV blitz of « rage and revolution » in the Middle East, would have had little meaning here.

Which isn’t to say that the Egypt-Wisconsin comparison is a perfect one. Hardly. After all, the Egyptian demonstrators massed in hopes of a new and quite different world; the American ones, no matter the celebratory and energized air in Madison, are essentially negotiating loss (of pensions and health-care benefits, if not collective bargaining rights). The historic demonstrations in Madison have been nothing if not peaceful. On Saturday, when as many as 100,000 people descended on Madison to protest Walker’s bill, the largest turnout so far, not a single arrest was made.  In Egypt, by contrast, the protests were plenty bloody, with more than 300 deaths during the 29-day uprising.

Not that some observers didn’t see the need for violence in Madison. Last Saturday, Jeff Cox, a deputy attorney general in Indiana, suggested on his Twitter account that police « use live ammunition » on the protesters occupying the state Capitol. That sentiment, discovered by a colleague of mine, led to an outcry. The story broke on Wednesday morning; by Wednesday afternoon Cox had been fired.

New York Times columnist David Brooks was typical of mainstream coverage and punditry in quickly dismissing any connection between Egypt (or Tunisia) and Wisconsin.  On the Daily Show, Jon Stewart spoofed and rejected the notion that the Wisconsin protests had any meaningful connection to Egypt. He called the people gathered here « the bizarro Tea Party. » Stewart’s crew even brought in a camel as a prop. Those of us in Madison watched as Stewart’s skit went horribly wrong when the camel got entangled in a barricade and fell to the ground.

As far as I know, neither Brooks nor Stewart spent time here.  Still, you can count on one thing: if the demonstrators in Tahrir Square had been enthusiastically citing Americans as models for their protest, nobody here would have been in such a dismissive or mocking mood.  In other parts of this country, perhaps it still feels less than comfortable to credit Egyptians or Arabs with inspiring an American movement for justice. If you had been here in Madison, this last week, you might have felt differently.

Pizza town protest

Obviously, the outcomes in Egypt and Wisconsin won/t be comparable. Egypt toppled a dictator; Wisconsin has a democratically elected governor who, at the very earliest, can’t be recalled until 2012. And so the protests in Wisconsin are unlikely to transform the world around us. Still, there can be no question, as they spread elsewhere in the Midwest, that they have reenergized the country’s stagnant labor movement, a once-powerful player in American politics and business that’s now a shell of its former self. « There’s such energy right now, » one SEIU staffer told me a few nights ago. « This is a magic moment. »

Not long after talking with her, I trudged back to Ian’s Pizza, the icy snow crunching under my feet. At the door stood an employee with tired eyes, a distinct five o’clock shadow, and a beanie on his head.

I wanted to ask him, I said, about that reported call from Cairo. « You know, » he responded, « I really don’t remember it. » I waited while he politely rebuffed several approaching customers, telling them how Ian’s had run out of dough and how, in any case, all the store’s existing orders were bound for the capitol. When he finally had a free moment, he returned to the Cairo order.  There had, he said, been questions about whether it was authentic or not, and then he added, « I’m pretty sure it was from Cairo, but it’s not like I can guarantee it. » By then, another wave of soon-to-be disappointed customers was upon us, and so I headed back to the capitol and another semi-sleepless night.

The building, as I approached in the darkness, was brightly lit, reaching high over the city. Protesters were still filing inside with all the usual signs. In the rotunda, drums pounded and people chanted and the sound swirled into a massive roar. For this brief moment at least, people here in Madison are bound together by a single cause, as other protesters were not so long ago, and may be again, in the ancient cities of Egypt.

Right then, the distance separating Cairo and Wisconsin couldn’t have felt smaller. But maybe you had to be there.

Bio:Andy Kroll is a reporter in the D.C. bureau of Mother Jones magazine and an associate editor at TomDispatch.com. This piece originally appeared on TomDispatch.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

Voir enfin:

The Washington Post
Oct. 30, 2020

Concerned about the possibility of unrest on Election Day, or in the days that follow, businesses in some areas of D.C. are boarding their windows. Officials are advising shop owners to sign up for crime alerts and to keep their insurance information handy.

D.C. police have limited leave for officers starting this weekend to ensure adequate staffing, and the District spent $100,000 on less-lethal munitions and chemical irritants for riot control to replenish a stockpile depleted by clashes over the summer.

As a turbulent election season draws to a close, authorities across the country worry frustration may spill onto the streets, and officials are watching for disturbances at the polls or protests in their communities. That tension is heightened in the nation’s capital, where the White House and other symbols of government regularly draw demonstrators.

“It is widely believed that there will be civil unrest after the November election regardless of who wins,” D.C. Police Chief Peter Newsham told lawmakers this month. “It is also believed that there is a strong chance of unrest when Washington, D.C., hosts the inauguration in January.”

Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) said the District’s public safety officials have been discussing plans for post-election unrest “for many weeks if not months.” The D.C. National Guard is already called up because of the coronavirus crisis and could be deployed, though Bowser expects to use them only for traffic control, if at all.

On Thursday, D.C. police announced possible street closures and parking restrictions that are expected to cover much of downtown Washington on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Officials have not recommended that shop owners board up their buildings, according to a resource guide for businesses distributed by city leaders this week. Some small-business owners are heeding their guidance, focused on bolstering sales as winter approaches. Others are boarding anyway, and concrete barriers were being installed outside the U.S. Chamber of Commerce building across from Lafayette Square.

“We do not have any intelligence on planned activity to suggest the need to board up; however, we remain vigilant,” John Falcicchio, the deputy mayor for planning and economic development, said in a statement. “We understand the difficult position building owners and operating businesses are in, and we call upon all who participate in First Amendment activities to denounce violence and report it immediately should it occur.”

Officials say they are concerned that a politically polarized electorate coupled with divisive rhetoric and President Trump questioning the integrity of the election could create flash points in the District and elsewhere.

Newsham said several groups have applied for demonstration permits starting Sunday and for days after the election. The National Park Service is considering permit applications from several organizations with various views on the election.

Shutdown DC is planning weeks’ worth of demonstrations around the White House and Black Lives Plaza starting Tuesday. “After you vote, hit the streets,” the group posted on its website.

George Washington University sent students a message recommending they prepare for Election Day as they would for a snowstorm or hurricane and stockpile a week’s worth of food, supplies and medicine.

Federal and local authorities in and around the District are also taking pains to reassure the public they are working for a secure and safe election. Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) joined state and federal officials to say a “confident public is more likely to vote” and trust the outcome. D.C. Attorney General Karl A. Racine (D) reminded residents that destroying election signs is illegal. And Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby is telling prosecutors to pay close attention to crimes that “occur in the context of the election.”

The acting U.S. attorney for the District, Michael R. Sherwin, announced that a federal prosecutor will oversee election-related complaints and allegations of election fraud in D.C.

The District endured months of sustained demonstrations after the death of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis, which targeted areas outside the White House but also impacted the downtown business district and neighborhoods such as Georgetown, Adams Morgan and Shaw.

The demonstrations were mostly peaceful, but outbreaks of violence — much of it attributed to agitators more intent on destruction than protest — resulted in hundreds of arrests after nights of fires, looted stores and clashes with police. D.C. police said that on May 30 and May 31, the two most volatile days, 204 businesses were burglarized and 216 properties were damaged.

In recent days, crowds gathered outside a police station in Northwest Washington to protest the death of a young man in a moped crash after police attempted to stop him because he was not wearing a helmet. Those protests resulted in clashes with police, broken windows and damaged police cars.

There also were store windows smashed in Georgetown on Wednesday night, casting some doubt on the city’s recommendations for business owners to maintain calm in advance of the election. It was unclear whether those causing the damage, which business leaders described as attempted looting, had any link to those demonstrating at the police station.

A handful of Georgetown businesses requested plywood after Wednesday night’s events. One boarded up overnight.

“It seems like we are sitting on a tinderbox, and there are so many different things that could potentially cause problems,” said Rachel Shank, executive director of Georgetown Main Street. “We saw some serious devastation back in May and June, and we are trying to avoid that, but we are also trying to avoid Georgetown looking like a ghost town.”

Business improvement district leaders across the city are working with contractors to implement what they describe as standard protocol in advance of any anticipated large gathering in the area, which includes tying up loose ends at construction sites to remove material that could easily be used for destruction.

Josh Turnbull, a general manager at Oxford Properties Group, oversees three buildings in downtown D.C., including one on the edge of Black Lives Matter Plaza. He never removed plywood from the property closest to the White House and said he planned to board up the other two this week in anticipation of unrest around the election.

“It’s really like an insurance policy,” he said. “The cost-benefit analysis here just makes sense.”

On Monday, security contractors were hard at work down 17th Street, fastening plywood to open glass. By Friday, businesses could be seen boarded up along K and L streets downtown.

Other business owners are planning to avoid fortification, putting faith in D.C. leadership to guide them through the next few weeks and hoping that keeping their windows open may contribute to a more peaceful November.

“It has been such a difficult year, so financially challenging, that the attitude right now is we will wait until the last possible moment or until we hear something definitive from the government,” said Alexander Padro, executive director of Shaw Main Streets, where more than three dozen businesses were damaged in late May and June.

In May, rioters smashed windows at Dan Simons’s downtown restaurant, Founding Farmers. When a member of his team emailed him asking whether he planned to reinstall plywood on his windows in advance of Election Day, he balked.

“Sometimes, by preparing for war, you create war,” he said recently, providing insight into his decision, at least for now, to avoid fortification. “And I am not that guy. Might that make me a fool? Yes. But that is probably a risk worth taking.”

A few blocks away, Michelle Brown stood in her downtown restaurant, Teaism, which was still charred and damaged from when rioters set it on fire one night in May. Four months later, on the last Monday in October, there was still no HVAC unit, no 20-year-old tea chest that greeted customers on the back wall and no stream of revenue to help her through the daily slog of pandemic-time entrepreneurship.

Brown supports the Black Lives Matter movement (a sentiment she shared in a series of viral tweets after the restaurant was damaged). Now, anticipating a month that could bring about even more unrest, she harbors the same steady focus on the importance of free expression.

“This is just part and parcel of being a neighbor to the White House,” she said.

Brown said the owner of her building added fencing to brace for Election Day. But like many of her neighbors near the White House, she is listening carefully for guidance from city officials and “rumorville on the street” to determine whether she should take additional precautions.

“It’s all just wait and see now,” Brown said, watching a truck full of red cones and plywood drive past her shuttered store.

Julie Zauzmer and Susan Svrluga contributed to this report.

Voir par ailleurs:

Majority of Young Americans View Trump as Illegitimate President: Poll

Jermaine Anderson keeps going back to the same memory of Donald Trump, then a candidate for president of the United States, referring to some Mexican immigrants as rapists and murderers.

« You can’t be saying that (if) you’re the president, » said Anderson, a 21-year-old student from Coconut Creek, Florida.

That Trump is undeniably the nation’s 45th president doesn’t sit easily with young Americans like Anderson who are the nation’s increasingly diverse electorate of the future, according to a new poll.

A majority of young adults — 57 percent — see Trump’s presidency as illegitimate, including about three-quarters of blacks and large majorities of Latinos and Asians, the GenForward poll found.

GenForward is a poll of adults age 18 to 30 conducted by the Black Youth Project at the University of Chicago with The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

A slim majority of young whites in the poll, 53 percent, consider Trump a legitimate president, but even among that group 55 percent disapprove of the job he’s doing, according to the survey.

« That’s who we voted for. And obviously America wanted him more than Hillary Clinton, » said Rebecca Gallardo, a 30-year-old nursing student from Kansas City, Missouri, who voted for Trump.

Trump’s legitimacy as president was questioned earlier this year by Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga.: « I think the Russians participated in helping this man get elected. And they helped destroy the candidacy of Hillary Clinton. »

Trump routinely denies that and says he captured the presidency in large part by winning states such as Michigan and Wisconsin that Clinton may have taken for granted.

Overall, just 22 percent of young adults approve of the job Trump is doing as president, while 62 percent disapprove.

Trump’s rhetoric as a candidate and his presidential decisions have done much to keep the question of who belongs in America atop the news, though he’s struggling to accomplish some key goals. Powered by supporters chanting, « build the wall, » Trump has vowed to erect a barrier along the southern U.S. border and make Mexico pay for it — which Mexico refuses to do. Federal judges in three states have blocked Trump’s executive orders to ban travel to the U.S. from seven — then six — majority-Muslim nations.

In Honolulu, U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson this week cited « significant and unrebutted evidence of religious animus » behind the travel ban, citing Trump’s own words calling for « a complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States. »

And yes, Trump did say in his campaign announcement speech on June 6, 2015: « When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best…They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people. » He went farther in subsequent statements, later telling CNN: « Some are good and some are rapists and some are killers. »

Related: Rep. Schiff: ‘Circumstantial Evidence of Collusion’ Between Trump Campaign, Russia

It’s extraordinary rhetoric for the leader of a country where by around 2020, half of the nation’s children will be part of a minority race or ethnic group, the Census Bureau projects. Non-Hispanic whites are expected to be a minority by 2044.

Of all of Trump’s tweets and rhetoric, the statements about Mexicans are the ones to which Anderson returns. He says Trump’s business background on paper is impressive enough to qualify him for the presidency. But he suggests that’s different than Trump earning legitimacy as president.

« I’m thinking, he’s saying that most of the people in the world who are raping and killing people are the immigrants. That’s not true, » said Anderson, whose parents are from Jamaica.

Megan Desrochers, a 21-year-old student from Lansing, Michigan, says her sense of Trump’s illegitimacy is more about why he was elected.

« I just think it was kind of a situation where he was voted in based on his celebrity status verses his ethics, » she said, adding that she is not necessarily against Trump’s immigration policies.

The poll participants said in interviews that they don’t necessarily vote for one party’s candidates over another’s, a prominent tendency among young Americans, experts say. And in the survey, neither party fares especially strongly.

Just a quarter of young Americans have a favorable view of the Republican Party, and 6 in 10 have an unfavorable view. Majorities of young people across racial and ethnic lines hold negative views of the GOP.

The Democratic Party performs better, but views aren’t overwhelmingly positive. Young people are more likely to have a favorable than an unfavorable view of the Democratic Party by a 47 percent to 36 percent margin. But just 14 percent say they have a strongly favorable view of the Democrats.

Views of the Democratic Party are most favorable among young people of color. Roughly 6 in 10 blacks, Asians and Latinos hold positive views of the party. Young whites are somewhat more likely to have unfavorable than favorable views, 47 percent to 39 percent.

As for Trump, 8 in 10 young people think he is doing poorly in terms of the policies he’s put forward and 7 in 10 have negative views of his presidential demeanor.

« I do not like him as a person, » says Gallardo of Trump. She nonetheless voted for Trump because she didn’t trust Clinton. « I felt like there wasn’t much choice. »

The poll of 1,833 adults age 18-30 was conducted Feb. 16 through March 6 using a sample drawn from the probability-based GenForward panel, which is designed to be representative of the U.S. young adult population. The margin of sampling error for all respondents is plus or minus 4 percentage points.

The survey was paid for by the Black Youth Project at the University of Chicago, using grants from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the Ford Foundation.

Respondents were first selected randomly using address-based sampling methods, and later interviewed online or by phone.

Voir enfin:

March 5, 2020

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) is correctly under fire for threatening Supreme Court Justices Neil M. Gorsuch and Brett M. Kavanaugh. But what did Schumer really mean when, on Wednesday, he warned the justices “you won’t know what hit you” if they vote the wrong way on an abortion case?

Here is what Schumer said: “I want to tell you, Gorsuch; I want to tell you, Kavanaugh: You have released the whirlwind, and you will pay the price. You won’t know what hit you if you go forward with these awful decisions.” That drew a rare rebuke from Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., who issued a statement declaring that “threatening statements of this sort from the highest levels of government are not only inappropriate, they are dangerous.”

At first, Schumer refused to apologize but rather said through a spokesman that he was making “a reference to the political price Republicans will pay for putting them on the court.” No, he wasn’t. He didn’t say Republicans will “pay the price” or that Republicans “won’t know what hit you.” He directed those threats squarely at the two justices. On Thursday, Schumer said, “I shouldn’t have used the words I did, but in no way was I making a threat.” Of course he was.

So, what was he threatening — what “political price” did Schumer have in mind for the Supreme Court justices? He was almost certainly warning Gorsuch and Kavanaugh that if they did not vote as he saw fit, Senate Democrats, when they are in the majority, would follow through on their threats to “restructure” the court by packing it with liberal justices and eliminating its conservative majority.

It wouldn’t be the first time Senate Democrats have made such threats. Last August, Schumer’s second in command, Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.), threatened to restructure the court if the justices took up a gun case. In a legal brief, Durbin, along with Democratic Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse (R.I.), Mazie Hirono (Hawaii), Richard Blumenthal (Conn.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.), warned in an amicus brief: “The Supreme Court is not well. And the people know it. Perhaps the Court can heal itself before the public demands it be ‘restructured in order to reduce the influence of politics.’” As all 53 Senate Republicans wrote in a letter to the court, “the implication is as plain as day: Dismiss this case, or we’ll pack the Court.”

In other words, this is the second time in seven months that Senate Democratic leaders have tried to intimidate the court to rule their way on a case, issuing threats of political reprisal. These repeated threats should be taken seriously — because if Democrats win the White House and the Senate in November, they will have the power to follow through.

The election could be one of the most consequential in modern history when it comes to shaping the Supreme Court’s future. Those on the left are apoplectic because they know that if President Trump is reelected and Republicans keep control of the Senate, there is a strong possibility that they will have the chance to expand the court’s conservative majority. The left also knows that if Democrats win, their best hope is to replace liberal Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen G. Breyer — keeping those seats in the court’s liberal bloc.

From the left’s perspective, that isn’t good enough, because it wouldn’t change the court’s ideological makeup. Democrats know that they won’t be able to advance the battle for an activist liberal court unless they expand the court’s size.

Former vice president Joe Biden has said he opposes expanding the court. He also opposed taxpayer funding of abortion until last June, when he realized he could not win the Democratic nomination without changing his position. The judicial left will almost certainly demand that he similarly reverse his position on court-packing. As for Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), he has declared his intention, if elected, to push for rotating justices off the Supreme Court and replacing them with lower-court judges. “A federal judge has a lifetime appointment,” Sanders told MSNBC last month, but the Constitution “doesn’t say that lifetime appointment has got to be on the Supreme Court — it’s got to be on a federal court.”

This much is certain. If Democrats win in November, their base will not be satisfied with simply replacing aging liberal justices with younger ones. They have watched with horror as Trump has transformed the federal judiciary. They will not accept the status quo and what they consider an illegitimate conservative majority on the Supreme Court. In other words, regardless of who the Democrats nominate, the future of the Supreme Court is on the ballot in November.

COMPLEMENT:
Molly Ball
Time
February 4, 2021

A weird thing happened right after the Nov. 3 election: nothing.

The nation was braced for chaos. Liberal groups had vowed to take to the streets, planning hundreds of protests across the country. Right-wing militias were girding for battle. In a poll before Election Day, 75% of Americans voiced concern about violence.

Instead, an eerie quiet descended. As President Trump refused to concede, the response was not mass action but crickets. When media organizations called the race for Joe Biden on Nov. 7, jubilation broke out instead, as people thronged cities across the U.S. to celebrate the democratic process that resulted in Trump’s ouster.

A second odd thing happened amid Trump’s attempts to reverse the result: corporate America turned on him. Hundreds of major business leaders, many of whom had backed Trump’s candidacy and supported his policies, called on him to concede. To the President, something felt amiss. “It was all very, very strange,” Trump said on Dec. 2. “Within days after the election, we witnessed an orchestrated effort to anoint the winner, even while many key states were still being counted.”

In a way, Trump was right.

There was a conspiracy unfolding behind the scenes, one that both curtailed the protests and coordinated the resistance from CEOs. Both surprises were the result of an informal alliance between left-wing activists and business titans. The pact was formalized in a terse, little-noticed joint statement of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and AFL-CIO published on Election Day. Both sides would come to see it as a sort of implicit bargain–inspired by the summer’s massive, sometimes destructive racial-justice protests–in which the forces of labor came together with the forces of capital to keep the peace and oppose Trump’s assault on democracy.

The handshake between business and labor was just one component of a vast, cross-partisan campaign to protect the election–an extraordinary shadow effort dedicated not to winning the vote but to ensuring it would be free and fair, credible and uncorrupted. For more than a year, a loosely organized coalition of operatives scrambled to shore up America’s institutions as they came under simultaneous attack from a remorseless pandemic and an autocratically inclined President. Though much of this activity took place on the left, it was separate from the Biden campaign and crossed ideological lines, with crucial contributions by nonpartisan and conservative actors. The scenario the shadow campaigners were desperate to stop was not a Trump victory. It was an election so calamitous that no result could be discerned at all, a failure of the central act of democratic self-governance that has been a hallmark of America since its founding.

Their work touched every aspect of the election. They got states to change voting systems and laws and helped secure hundreds of millions in public and private funding. They fended off voter-suppression lawsuits, recruited armies of poll workers and got millions of people to vote by mail for the first time. They successfully pressured social media companies to take a harder line against disinformation and used data-driven strategies to fight viral smears. They executed national public-awareness campaigns that helped Americans understand how the vote count would unfold over days or weeks, preventing Trump’s conspiracy theories and false claims of victory from getting more traction. After Election Day, they monitored every pressure point to ensure that Trump could not overturn the result. “The untold story of the election is the thousands of people of both parties who accomplished the triumph of American democracy at its very foundation,” says Norm Eisen, a prominent lawyer and former Obama Administration official who recruited Republicans and Democrats to the board of the Voter Protection Program.

For Trump and his allies were running their own campaign to spoil the election. The President spent months insisting that mail ballots were a Democratic plot and the election would be “rigged.” His henchmen at the state level sought to block their use, while his lawyers brought dozens of spurious suits to make it more difficult to vote–an intensification of the GOP’s legacy of suppressive tactics. Before the election, Trump plotted to block a legitimate vote count. And he spent the months following Nov. 3 trying to steal the election he’d lost–with lawsuits and conspiracy theories, pressure on state and local officials, and finally summoning his army of supporters to the Jan. 6 rally that ended in deadly violence at the Capitol.

The democracy campaigners watched with alarm. “Every week, we felt like we were in a struggle to try to pull off this election without the country going through a real dangerous moment of unraveling,” says former GOP Representative Zach Wamp, a Trump supporter who helped coordinate a bipartisan election-protection council. “We can look back and say this thing went pretty well, but it was not at all clear in September and October that that was going to be the case.”

Biden fans in Philadelphia after the race was called on Nov. 7

Biden fans in Philadelphia after the race was called on Nov. 7
Michelle Gustafson for TIME

This is the inside story of the conspiracy to save the 2020 election, based on access to the group’s inner workings, never-before-seen documents and interviews with dozens of those involved from across the political spectrum. It is the story of an unprecedented, creative and determined campaign whose success also reveals how close the nation came to disaster. “Every attempt to interfere with the proper outcome of the election was defeated,” says Ian Bassin, co-founder of Protect Democracy, a nonpartisan rule-of-law advocacy group. “But it’s massively important for the country to understand that it didn’t happen accidentally. The system didn’t work magically. Democracy is not self-executing.”

That’s why the participants want the secret history of the 2020 election told, even though it sounds like a paranoid fever dream–a well-funded cabal of powerful people, ranging across industries and ideologies, working together behind the scenes to influence perceptions, change rules and laws, steer media coverage and control the flow of information. They were not rigging the election; they were fortifying it. And they believe the public needs to understand the system’s fragility in order to ensure that democracy in America endures.

THE ARCHITECT

Sometime in the fall of 2019, Mike Podhorzer became convinced the election was headed for disaster–and determined to protect it.

This was not his usual purview. For nearly a quarter-century, Podhorzer, senior adviser to the president of the AFL-CIO, the nation’s largest union federation, has marshaled the latest tactics and data to help its favored candidates win elections. Unassuming and professorial, he isn’t the sort of hair-gelled “political strategist” who shows up on cable news. Among Democratic insiders, he’s known as the wizard behind some of the biggest advances in political technology in recent decades. A group of liberal strategists he brought together in the early 2000s led to the creation of the Analyst Institute, a secretive firm that applies scientific methods to political campaigns. He was also involved in the founding of Catalist, the flagship progressive data company.

The endless chatter in Washington about “political strategy,” Podhorzer believes, has little to do with how change really gets made. “My basic take on politics is that it’s all pretty obvious if you don’t overthink it or swallow the prevailing frameworks whole,” he once wrote. “After that, just relentlessly identify your assumptions and challenge them.” Podhorzer applies that approach to everything: when he coached his now adult son’s Little League team in the D.C. suburbs, he trained the boys not to swing at most pitches–a tactic that infuriated both their and their opponents’ parents, but won the team a series of championships.

Trump’s election in 2016–credited in part to his unusual strength among the sort of blue collar white voters who once dominated the AFL-CIO–prompted Podhorzer to question his assumptions about voter behavior. He began circulating weekly number-crunching memos to a small circle of allies and hosting strategy sessions in D.C. But when he began to worry about the election itself, he didn’t want to seem paranoid. It was only after months of research that he introduced his concerns in his newsletter in October 2019. The usual tools of data, analytics and polling would not be sufficient in a situation where the President himself was trying to disrupt the election, he wrote. “Most of our planning takes us through Election Day,” he noted. “But, we are not prepared for the two most likely outcomes”–Trump losing and refusing to concede, and Trump winning the Electoral College (despite losing the popular vote) by corrupting the voting process in key states. “We desperately need to systematically ‘red-team’ this election so that we can anticipate and plan for the worst we know will be coming our way.”

It turned out Podhorzer wasn’t the only one thinking in these terms. He began to hear from others eager to join forces. The Fight Back Table, a coalition of “resistance” organizations, had begun scenario-planning around the potential for a contested election, gathering liberal activists at the local and national level into what they called the Democracy Defense Coalition. Voting-rights and civil rights organizations were raising alarms. A group of former elected officials was researching emergency powers they feared Trump might exploit. Protect Democracy was assembling a bipartisan election-crisis task force. “It turned out that once you said it out loud, people agreed,” Podhorzer says, “and it started building momentum.”

He spent months pondering scenarios and talking to experts. It wasn’t hard to find liberals who saw Trump as a dangerous dictator, but Podhorzer was careful to steer clear of hysteria. What he wanted to know was not how American democracy was dying but how it might be kept alive. The chief difference between the U.S. and countries that lost their grip on democracy, he concluded, was that America’s decentralized election system couldn’t be rigged in one fell swoop. That presented an opportunity to shore it up.

THE ALLIANCE

On March 3, Podhorzer drafted a three-page confidential memo titled “Threats to the 2020 Election.” “Trump has made it clear that this will not be a fair election, and that he will reject anything but his own re-election as ‘fake’ and rigged,” he wrote. “On Nov. 3, should the media report otherwise, he will use the right-wing information system to establish his narrative and incite his supporters to protest.” The memo laid out four categories of challenges: attacks on voters, attacks on election administration, attacks on Trump’s political opponents and “efforts to reverse the results of the election.”

Then COVID-19 erupted at the height of the primary-election season. Normal methods of voting were no longer safe for voters or the mostly elderly volunteers who normally staff polling places. But political disagreements, intensified by Trump’s crusade against mail voting, prevented some states from making it easier to vote absentee and for jurisdictions to count those votes in a timely manner. Chaos ensued. Ohio shut down in-person voting for its primary, leading to minuscule turnout. A poll-worker shortage in Milwaukee–where Wisconsin’s heavily Democratic Black population is concentrated–left just five open polling places, down from 182. In New York, vote counting took more than a month.

Suddenly, the potential for a November meltdown was obvious. In his apartment in the D.C. suburbs, Podhorzer began working from his laptop at his kitchen table, holding back-to-back Zoom meetings for hours a day with his network of contacts across the progressive universe: the labor movement; the institutional left, like Planned Parenthood and Greenpeace; resistance groups like Indivisible and MoveOn; progressive data geeks and strategists, representatives of donors and foundations, state-level grassroots organizers, racial-justice activists and others.

In April, Podhorzer began hosting a weekly 2½-hour Zoom. It was structured around a series of rapid-fire five-minute presentations on everything from which ads were working to messaging to legal strategy. The invitation-only gatherings soon attracted hundreds, creating a rare shared base of knowledge for the fractious progressive movement. “At the risk of talking trash about the left, there’s not a lot of good information sharing,” says Anat Shenker-Osorio, a close Podhorzer friend whose poll-tested messaging guidance shaped the group’s approach. “There’s a lot of not-invented-here syndrome, where people won’t consider a good idea if they didn’t come up with it.”

The meetings became the galactic center for a constellation of operatives across the left who shared overlapping goals but didn’t usually work in concert. The group had no name, no leaders and no hierarchy, but it kept the disparate actors in sync. “Pod played a critical behind-the-scenes role in keeping different pieces of the movement infrastructure in communication and aligned,” says Maurice Mitchell, national director of the Working Families Party. “You have the litigation space, the organizing space, the political people just focused on the W, and their strategies aren’t always aligned. He allowed this ecosystem to work together.”

Protecting the election would require an effort of unprecedented scale. As 2020 progressed, it stretched to Congress, Silicon Valley and the nation’s statehouses. It drew energy from the summer’s racial-justice protests, many of whose leaders were a key part of the liberal alliance. And eventually it reached across the aisle, into the world of Trump-skeptical Republicans appalled by his attacks on democracy.

SECURING THE VOTE

The first task was overhauling America’s balky election infrastructure–in the middle of a pandemic. For the thousands of local, mostly nonpartisan officials who administer elections, the most urgent need was money. They needed protective equipment like masks, gloves and hand sanitizer. They needed to pay for postcards letting people know they could vote absentee–or, in some states, to mail ballots to every voter. They needed additional staff and scanners to process ballots.

In March, activists appealed to Congress to steer COVID relief money to election administration. Led by the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, more than 150 organizations signed a letter to every member of Congress seeking $2 billion in election funding. It was somewhat successful: the CARES Act, passed later that month, contained $400 million in grants to state election administrators. But the next tranche of relief funding didn’t add to that number. It wasn’t going to be enough.

Private philanthropy stepped into the breach. An assortment of foundations contributed tens of millions in election-administration funding. The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative chipped in $300 million. “It was a failure at the federal level that 2,500 local election officials were forced to apply for philanthropic grants to fill their needs,” says Amber McReynolds, a former Denver election official who heads the nonpartisan National Vote at Home Institute.

McReynolds’ two-year-old organization became a clearinghouse for a nation struggling to adapt. The institute gave secretaries of state from both parties technical advice on everything from which vendors to use to how to locate drop boxes. Local officials are the most trusted sources of election information, but few can afford a press secretary, so the institute distributed communications tool kits. In a presentation to Podhorzer’s group, McReynolds detailed the importance of absentee ballots for shortening lines at polling places and preventing an election crisis.

The institute’s work helped 37 states and D.C. bolster mail voting. But it wouldn’t be worth much if people didn’t take advantage. Part of the challenge was logistical: each state has different rules for when and how ballots should be requested and returned. The Voter Participation Center, which in a normal year would have supported local groups deploying canvassers door-to-door to get out the vote, instead conducted focus groups in April and May to find out what would get people to vote by mail. In August and September, it sent ballot applications to 15 million people in key states, 4.6 million of whom returned them. In mailings and digital ads, the group urged people not to wait for Election Day. “All the work we have done for 17 years was built for this moment of bringing democracy to people’s doorsteps,” says Tom Lopach, the center’s CEO.

The effort had to overcome heightened skepticism in some communities. Many Black voters preferred to exercise their franchise in person or didn’t trust the mail. National civil rights groups worked with local organizations to get the word out that this was the best way to ensure one’s vote was counted. In Philadelphia, for example, advocates distributed “voting safety kits” containing masks, hand sanitizer and informational brochures. “We had to get the message out that this is safe, reliable, and you can trust it,” says Hannah Fried of All Voting Is Local.

At the same time, Democratic lawyers battled a historic tide of pre-election litigation. The pandemic intensified the parties’ usual tangling in the courts. But the lawyers noticed something else as well. “The litigation brought by the Trump campaign, of a piece with the broader campaign to sow doubt about mail voting, was making novel claims and using theories no court has ever accepted,” says Wendy Weiser, a voting-rights expert at the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU. “They read more like lawsuits designed to send a message rather than achieve a legal outcome.”

In the end, nearly half the electorate cast ballots by mail in 2020, practically a revolution in how people vote. About a quarter voted early in person. Only a quarter of voters cast their ballots the traditional way: in person on Election Day.

THE DISINFORMATION DEFENSE

Bad actors spreading false information is nothing new. For decades, campaigns have grappled with everything from anonymous calls claiming the election has been rescheduled to fliers spreading nasty smears about candidates’ families. But Trump’s lies and conspiracy theories, the viral force of social media and the involvement of foreign meddlers made disinformation a broader, deeper threat to the 2020 vote.

Laura Quinn, a veteran progressive operative who co-founded Catalist, began studying this problem a few years ago. She piloted a nameless, secret project, which she has never before publicly discussed, that tracked disinformation online and tried to figure out how to combat it. One component was tracking dangerous lies that might otherwise spread unnoticed. Researchers then provided information to campaigners or the media to track down the sources and expose them.

The most important takeaway from Quinn’s research, however, was that engaging with toxic content only made it worse. “When you get attacked, the instinct is to push back, call it out, say, ‘This isn’t true,’” Quinn says. “But the more engagement something gets, the more the platforms boost it. The algorithm reads that as, ‘Oh, this is popular; people want more of it.’”

The solution, she concluded, was to pressure platforms to enforce their rules, both by removing content or accounts that spread disinformation and by more aggressively policing it in the first place. “The platforms have policies against certain types of malign behavior, but they haven’t been enforcing them,” she says.

Quinn’s research gave ammunition to advocates pushing social media platforms to take a harder line. In November 2019, Mark Zuckerberg invited nine civil rights leaders to dinner at his home, where they warned him about the danger of the election-related falsehoods that were already spreading unchecked. “It took pushing, urging, conversations, brainstorming, all of that to get to a place where we ended up with more rigorous rules and enforcement,” says Vanita Gupta, president and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, who attended the dinner and also met with Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and others. (Gupta has been nominated for Associate Attorney General by President Biden.) “It was a struggle, but we got to the point where they understood the problem. Was it enough? Probably not. Was it later than we wanted? Yes. But it was really important, given the level of official disinformation, that they had those rules in place and were tagging things and taking them down.”

SPREADING THE WORD

Beyond battling bad information, there was a need to explain a rapidly changing election process. It was crucial for voters to understand that despite what Trump was saying, mail-in votes weren’t susceptible to fraud and that it would be normal if some states weren’t finished counting votes on election night.

Dick Gephardt, the Democratic former House leader turned high-powered lobbyist, spearheaded one coalition. “We wanted to get a really bipartisan group of former elected officials, Cabinet secretaries, military leaders and so on, aimed mainly at messaging to the public but also speaking to local officials–the secretaries of state, attorneys general, governors who would be in the eye of the storm–to let them know we wanted to help,” says Gephardt, who worked his contacts in the private sector to put $20 million behind the effort.

Wamp, the former GOP Congressman, worked through the nonpartisan reform group Issue One to rally Republicans to the effort. “We thought we should bring some bipartisan element of unity around what constitutes a free and fair election,” Wamp says. The 22 Democrats and 22 Republicans on the National Council on Election Integrity met on Zoom at least once a week. They ran ads in six states, made statements, wrote articles and alerted local officials to potential problems. “We had rabid Trump supporters who agreed to serve on the council based on the idea that this is honest,” Wamp says. This is going to be just as important, he told them, to convince the liberals when Trump wins. “Whichever way it cuts, we’re going to stick together.”

The Voting Rights Lab and IntoAction created state-specific memes and graphics, spread by email, text, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and TikTok, urging that every vote be counted. Together, they were viewed more than 1 billion times. Protect Democracy’s election task force issued reports and held media briefings with high-profile experts across the political spectrum, resulting in widespread coverage of potential election issues and fact-checking of Trump’s false claims. The organization’s tracking polls found the message was being heard: the percentage of the public that didn’t expect to know the winner on election night gradually rose until by late October, it was over 70%. A majority also believed that a prolonged count wasn’t a sign of problems. “We knew exactly what Trump was going to do: he was going to try to use the fact that Democrats voted by mail and Republicans voted in person to make it look like he was ahead, claim victory, say the mail-in votes were fraudulent and try to get them thrown out,” says Protect Democracy’s Bassin. Setting public expectations ahead of time helped undercut those lies.

Amber McReynolds, Zach Wamp and Maurice Mitchell

Amber McReynolds, Zach Wamp and Maurice Mitchell
Rachel Woolf for TIME; Erik Schelzig—AP/Shutterstock; Holly Pickett—The New York Times/Redux

The alliance took a common set of themes from the research Shenker-Osorio presented at Podhorzer’s Zooms. Studies have shown that when people don’t think their vote will count or fear casting it will be a hassle, they’re far less likely to participate. Throughout election season, members of Podhorzer’s group minimized incidents of voter intimidation and tamped down rising liberal hysteria about Trump’s expected refusal to concede. They didn’t want to amplify false claims by engaging them, or put people off voting by suggesting a rigged game. “When you say, ‘These claims of fraud are spurious,’ what people hear is ‘fraud,’” Shenker-Osorio says. “What we saw in our pre-election research was that anything that reaffirmed Trump’s power or cast him as an authoritarian diminished people’s desire to vote.”

Podhorzer, meanwhile, was warning everyone he knew that polls were underestimating Trump’s support. The data he shared with media organizations who would be calling the election was “tremendously useful” to understand what was happening as the votes rolled in, according to a member of a major network’s political unit who spoke with Podhorzer before Election Day. Most analysts had recognized there would be a “blue shift” in key battlegrounds– the surge of votes breaking toward Democrats, driven by tallies of mail-in ballots– but they hadn’t comprehended how much better Trump was likely to do on Election Day. “Being able to document how big the absentee wave would be and the variance by state was essential,” the analyst says.

PEOPLE POWER

The racial-justice uprising sparked by George Floyd’s killing in May was not primarily a political movement. The organizers who helped lead it wanted to harness its momentum for the election without allowing it to be co-opted by politicians. Many of those organizers were part of Podhorzer’s network, from the activists in battleground states who partnered with the Democracy Defense Coalition to organizations with leading roles in the Movement for Black Lives.

The best way to ensure people’s voices were heard, they decided, was to protect their ability to vote. “We started thinking about a program that would complement the traditional election-protection area but also didn’t rely on calling the police,” says Nelini Stamp, the Working Families Party’s national organizing director. They created a force of “election defenders” who, unlike traditional poll watchers, were trained in de-escalation techniques. During early voting and on Election Day, they surrounded lines of voters in urban areas with a “joy to the polls” effort that turned the act of casting a ballot into a street party. Black organizers also recruited thousands of poll workers to ensure polling places would stay open in their communities.

The summer uprising had shown that people power could have a massive impact. Activists began preparing to reprise the demonstrations if Trump tried to steal the election. “Americans plan widespread protests if Trump interferes with election,” Reuters reported in October, one of many such stories. More than 150 liberal groups, from the Women’s March to the Sierra Club to Color of Change, from Democrats.com to the Democratic Socialists of America, joined the “Protect the Results” coalition. The group’s now defunct website had a map listing 400 planned postelection demonstrations, to be activated via text message as soon as Nov. 4. To stop the coup they feared, the left was ready to flood the streets.

STRANGE BEDFELLOWS

About a week before Election Day, Podhorzer received an unexpected message: the U.S. Chamber of Commerce wanted to talk.

The AFL-CIO and the Chamber have a long history of antagonism. Though neither organization is explicitly partisan, the influential business lobby has poured hundreds of millions of dollars into Republican campaigns, just as the nation’s unions funnel hundreds of millions to Democrats. On one side is labor, on the other management, locked in an eternal struggle for power and resources.

But behind the scenes, the business community was engaged in its own anxious discussions about how the election and its aftermath might unfold. The summer’s racial-justice protests had sent a signal to business owners too: the potential for economy-disrupting civil disorder. “With tensions running high, there was a lot of concern about unrest around the election, or a breakdown in our normal way we handle contentious elections,” says Neil Bradley, the Chamber’s executive vice president and chief policy officer. These worries had led the Chamber to release a pre-election statement with the Business Roundtable, a Washington-based CEOs’ group, as well as associations of manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers, calling for patience and confidence as votes were counted.

But Bradley wanted to send a broader, more bipartisan message. He reached out to Podhorzer, through an intermediary both men declined to name. Agreeing that their unlikely alliance would be powerful, they began to discuss a joint statement pledging their organizations’ shared commitment to a fair and peaceful election. They chose their words carefully and scheduled the statement’s release for maximum impact. As it was being finalized, Christian leaders signaled their interest in joining, further broadening its reach.

The statement was released on Election Day, under the names of Chamber CEO Thomas Donohue, AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka, and the heads of the National Association of Evangelicals and the National African American Clergy Network. “It is imperative that election officials be given the space and time to count every vote in accordance with applicable laws,” it stated. “We call on the media, the candidates and the American people to exercise patience with the process and trust in our system, even if it requires more time than usual.” The groups added, “Although we may not always agree on desired outcomes up and down the ballot, we are united in our call for the American democratic process to proceed without violence, intimidation or any other tactic that makes us weaker as a nation.”

SHOWING UP, STANDING DOWN

Election night began with many Democrats despairing. Trump was running ahead of pre-election polling, winning Florida, Ohio and Texas easily and keeping Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania too close to call. But Podhorzer was unperturbed when I spoke to him that night: the returns were exactly in line with his modeling. He had been warning for weeks that Trump voters’ turnout was surging. As the numbers dribbled out, he could tell that as long as all the votes were counted, Trump would lose.

The liberal alliance gathered for an 11 p.m. Zoom call. Hundreds joined; many were freaking out. “It was really important for me and the team in that moment to help ground people in what we had already known was true,” says Angela Peoples, director for the Democracy Defense Coalition. Podhorzer presented data to show the group that victory was in hand.

While he was talking, Fox News surprised everyone by calling Arizona for Biden. The public-awareness campaign had worked: TV anchors were bending over backward to counsel caution and frame the vote count accurately. The question then became what to do next.

The conversation that followed was a difficult one, led by the activists charged with the protest strategy. “We wanted to be mindful of when was the right time to call for moving masses of people into the street,” Peoples says. As much as they were eager to mount a show of strength, mobilizing immediately could backfire and put people at risk. Protests that devolved into violent clashes would give Trump a pretext to send in federal agents or troops as he had over the summer. And rather than elevate Trump’s complaints by continuing to fight him, the alliance wanted to send the message that the people had spoken.

So the word went out: stand down. Protect the Results announced that it would “not be activating the entire national mobilization network today, but remains ready to activate if necessary.” On Twitter, outraged progressives wondered what was going on. Why wasn’t anyone trying to stop Trump’s coup? Where were all the protests?

Podhorzer credits the activists for their restraint. “They had spent so much time getting ready to hit the streets on Wednesday. But they did it,” he says. “Wednesday through Friday, there was not a single Antifa vs. Proud Boys incident like everyone was expecting. And when that didn’t materialize, I don’t think the Trump campaign had a backup plan.”

Activists reoriented the Protect the Results protests toward a weekend of celebration. “Counter their disinfo with our confidence & get ready to celebrate,” read the messaging guidance Shenker-Osorio presented to the liberal alliance on Friday, Nov. 6. “Declare and fortify our win. Vibe: confident, forward-looking, unified–NOT passive, anxious.” The voters, not the candidates, would be the protagonists of the story.

The planned day of celebration happened to coincide with the election being called on Nov. 7. Activists dancing in the streets of Philadelphia blasted Beyoncé over an attempted Trump campaign press conference; the Trumpers’ next confab was scheduled for Four Seasons Total Landscaping outside the city center, which activists believe was not a coincidence. “The people of Philadelphia owned the streets of Philadelphia,” crows the Working Families Party’s Mitchell. “We made them look ridiculous by contrasting our joyous celebration of democracy with their clown show.”

The votes had been counted. Trump had lost. But the battle wasn’t over.

THE FIVE STEPS TO VICTORY

In Podhorzer’s presentations, winning the vote was only the first step to winning the election. After that came winning the count, winning the certification, winning the Electoral College and winning the transition–steps that are normally formalities but that he knew Trump would see as opportunities for disruption. Nowhere would that be more evident than in Michigan, where Trump’s pressure on local Republicans came perilously close to working–and where liberal and conservative pro-democracy forces joined to counter it.

It was around 10 p.m. on election night in Detroit when a flurry of texts lit up the phone of Art Reyes III. A busload of Republican election observers had arrived at the TCF Center, where votes were being tallied. They were crowding the vote-counting tables, refusing to wear masks, heckling the mostly Black workers. Reyes, a Flint native who leads We the People Michigan, was expecting this. For months, conservative groups had been sowing suspicion about urban vote fraud. “The language was, ‘They’re going to steal the election; there will be fraud in Detroit,’ long before any vote was cast,” Reyes says.

Trump supporters seek to disrupt the vote count at Detroit’s TCF Center on Nov. 4

Trump supporters seek to disrupt the vote count at Detroit’s TCF Center on Nov. 4
Elaine Cromie—Getty Images

He made his way to the arena and sent word to his network. Within 45 minutes, dozens of reinforcements had arrived. As they entered the arena to provide a counterweight to the GOP observers inside, Reyes took down their cell-phone numbers and added them to a massive text chain. Racial-justice activists from Detroit Will Breathe worked alongside suburban women from Fems for Dems and local elected officials. Reyes left at 3 a.m., handing the text chain over to a disability activist.

As they mapped out the steps in the election-certification process, activists settled on a strategy of foregrounding the people’s right to decide, demanding their voices be heard and calling attention to the racial implications of disenfranchising Black Detroiters. They flooded the Wayne County canvassing board’s Nov. 17 certification meeting with on-message testimony; despite a Trump tweet, the Republican board members certified Detroit’s votes.

Election boards were one pressure point; another was GOP-controlled legislatures, who Trump believed could declare the election void and appoint their own electors. And so the President invited the GOP leaders of the Michigan legislature, House Speaker Lee Chatfield and Senate majority leader Mike Shirkey, to Washington on Nov. 20.

It was a perilous moment. If Chatfield and Shirkey agreed to do Trump’s bidding, Republicans in other states might be similarly bullied. “I was concerned things were going to get weird,” says Jeff Timmer, a former Michigan GOP executive director turned anti-Trump activist. Norm Eisen describes it as “the scariest moment” of the entire election.

The democracy defenders launched a full-court press. Protect Democracy’s local contacts researched the lawmakers’ personal and political motives. Issue One ran television ads in Lansing. The Chamber’s Bradley kept close tabs on the process. Wamp, the former Republican Congressman, called his former colleague Mike Rogers, who wrote an op-ed for the Detroit newspapers urging officials to honor the will of the voters. Three former Michigan governors–Republicans John Engler and Rick Snyder and Democrat Jennifer Granholm–jointly called for Michigan’s electoral votes to be cast free of pressure from the White House. Engler, a former head of the Business Roundtable, made phone calls to influential donors and fellow GOP elder statesmen who could press the lawmakers privately.

The pro-democracy forces were up against a Trumpified Michigan GOP controlled by allies of Ronna McDaniel, the Republican National Committee chair, and Betsy DeVos, the former Education Secretary and a member of a billionaire family of GOP donors. On a call with his team on Nov. 18, Bassin vented that his side’s pressure was no match for what Trump could offer. “Of course he’s going to try to offer them something,” Bassin recalls thinking. “Head of the Space Force! Ambassador to wherever! We can’t compete with that by offering carrots. We need a stick.”

If Trump were to offer something in exchange for a personal favor, that would likely constitute bribery, Bassin reasoned. He phoned Richard Primus, a law professor at the University of Michigan, to see if Primus agreed and would make the argument publicly. Primus said he thought the meeting itself was inappropriate, and got to work on an op-ed for Politico warning that the state attorney general–a Democrat–would have no choice but to investigate. When the piece posted on Nov. 19, the attorney general’s communications director tweeted it. Protect Democracy soon got word that the lawmakers planned to bring lawyers to the meeting with Trump the next day.

Reyes’ activists scanned flight schedules and flocked to the airports on both ends of Shirkey’s journey to D.C., to underscore that the lawmakers were being scrutinized. After the meeting, the pair announced they’d pressed the President to deliver COVID relief for their constituents and informed him they saw no role in the election process. Then they went for a drink at the Trump hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue. A street artist projected their images onto the outside of the building along with the words THE WORLD IS WATCHING.

That left one last step: the state canvassing board, made up of two Democrats and two Republicans. One Republican, a Trumper employed by the DeVos family’s political nonprofit, was not expected to vote for certification. The other Republican on the board was a little-known lawyer named Aaron Van Langevelde. He sent no signals about what he planned to do, leaving everyone on edge.

When the meeting began, Reyes’s activists flooded the livestream and filled Twitter with their hashtag, #alleyesonmi. A board accustomed to attendance in the single digits suddenly faced an audience of thousands. In hours of testimony, the activists emphasized their message of respecting voters’ wishes and affirming democracy rather than scolding the officials. Van Langevelde quickly signaled he would follow precedent. The vote was 3-0 to certify; the other Republican abstained.

After that, the dominoes fell. Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and the rest of the states certified their electors. Republican officials in Arizona and Georgia stood up to Trump’s bullying. And the Electoral College voted on schedule on Dec. 14.

HOW CLOSE WE CAME

There was one last milestone on Podhorzer’s mind: Jan. 6. On the day Congress would meet to tally the electoral count, Trump summoned his supporters to D.C. for a rally.

Much to their surprise, the thousands who answered his call were met by virtually no counterdemonstrators. To preserve safety and ensure they couldn’t be blamed for any mayhem, the activist left was “strenuously discouraging counter activity,” Podhorzer texted me the morning of Jan. 6, with a crossed-fingers emoji.

Trump addressed the crowd that afternoon, peddling the lie that lawmakers or Vice President Mike Pence could reject states’ electoral votes. He told them to go to the Capitol and “fight like hell.” Then he returned to the White House as they sacked the building. As lawmakers fled for their lives and his own supporters were shot and trampled, Trump praised the rioters as “very special.”

It was his final attack on democracy, and once again, it failed. By standing down, the democracy campaigners outfoxed their foes. “We won by the skin of our teeth, honestly, and that’s an important point for folks to sit with,” says the Democracy Defense Coalition’s Peoples. “There’s an impulse for some to say voters decided and democracy won. But it’s a mistake to think that this election cycle was a show of strength for democracy. It shows how vulnerable democracy is.”

The members of the alliance to protect the election have gone their separate ways. The Democracy Defense Coalition has been disbanded, though the Fight Back Table lives on. Protect Democracy and the good-government advocates have turned their attention to pressing reforms in Congress. Left-wing activists are pressuring the newly empowered Democrats to remember the voters who put them there, while civil rights groups are on guard against further attacks on voting. Business leaders denounced the Jan. 6 attack, and some say they will no longer donate to lawmakers who refused to certify Biden’s victory. Podhorzer and his allies are still holding their Zoom strategy sessions, gauging voters’ views and developing new messages. And Trump is in Florida, facing his second impeachment, deprived of the Twitter and Facebook accounts he used to push the nation to its breaking point.

As I was reporting this article in November and December, I heard different claims about who should get the credit for thwarting Trump’s plot. Liberals argued the role of bottom-up people power shouldn’t be overlooked, particularly the contributions of people of color and local grassroots activists. Others stressed the heroism of GOP officials like Van Langevelde and Georgia secretary of state Brad Raffensperger, who stood up to Trump at considerable cost. The truth is that neither likely could have succeeded without the other. “It’s astounding how close we came, how fragile all this really is,” says Timmer, the former Michigan GOP executive director. “It’s like when Wile E. Coyote runs off the cliff–if you don’t look down, you don’t fall. Our democracy only survives if we all believe and don’t look down.”

Democracy won in the end. The will of the people prevailed. But it’s crazy, in retrospect, that this is what it took to put on an election in the United States of America.

–With reporting by LESLIE DICKSTEIN, MARIAH ESPADA and SIMMONE SHAH

Voir par ailleurs:

The Washington Post
June 5, 2020

President Trump continues to use inflammatory language as many Americans protest the unlawful death of George Floyd and the unjust treatment of black Americans by our justice system. As the protests have grown, so has the intensity of the president’s rhetoric. He has gone so far as to make a shocking promise: to send active-duty members of the U.S. military to “dominate” protesters in cities throughout the country — with or without the consent of local mayors or state governors.

On Monday, the president previewed his approach on the streets of Washington. He had 1,600 troops from around the country transported to the D.C. area, and placed them on alert, as an unnamed Pentagon official put it, “to ensure faster employment if necessary.” As part of the show of force that Trump demanded, military helicopters made low-level passes over peaceful protesters — a military tactic sometimes used to disperse enemy combatants — scattering debris and broken glass among the crowd. He also had a force, including members of the National Guard and federal officers, that used flash-bang grenades, pepper spray and, according to eyewitness accounts, rubber bullets to drive lawful protesters, as well as members of the media and clergy, away from the historic St. John’s Episcopal Church. All so he could hold a politically motivated photo op there with members of his team, including, inappropriately, Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper and Gen. Mark A. Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Looting and violence are unacceptable acts, and perpetrators should be arrested and duly tried under the law. But as Monday’s actions near the White House demonstrated, those committing such acts are largely on the margins of the vast majority of predominantly peaceful protests. While several past presidents have called on our armed services to provide additional aid to law enforcement in times of national crisis — among them Ulysses S. Grant, Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson — these presidents used the military to protect the rights of Americans, not to violate them.

As former leaders in the Defense Department — civilian and military, Republican, Democrat and independent — we all took an oath upon assuming office “to support and defend the Constitution of the United States,” as did the president and all members of the military, a fact that Gen. Milley pointed out in a recent memorandum to members of the armed forces. We are alarmed at how the president is betraying this oath by threatening to order members of the U.S. military to violate the rights of their fellow Americans.

President Trump has given governors a stark choice: either end the protests that continue to demand equal justice under our laws, or expect that he will send active-duty military units into their states. While the Insurrection Act gives the president the legal authority to do so, this authority has been invoked only in the most extreme conditions when state or local authorities were overwhelmed and were unable to safeguard the rule of law. Historically, as Secretary Esper has pointed out, it has rightly been seen as a tool of last resort.

Beyond being unnecessary, using our military to quell protests across the country would also be unwise. This is not the mission our armed forces signed up for: They signed up to fight our nation’s enemies and to secure — not infringe upon — the rights and freedoms of their fellow Americans. In addition, putting our servicemen and women in the middle of politically charged domestic unrest risks undermining the apolitical nature of the military that is so essential to our democracy. It also risks diminishing Americans’ trust in our military — and thus America’s security — for years to come.

As defense leaders who share a deep commitment to the Constitution, to freedom and justice for all Americans, and to the extraordinary men and women who volunteer to serve and protect our nation, we call on the president to immediately end his plans to send active-duty military personnel into cities as agents of law enforcement, or to employ them or any another military or police forces in ways that undermine the constitutional rights of Americans. The members of our military are always ready to serve in our nation’s defense. But they must never be used to violate the rights of those they are sworn to protect.

Leon E. Panetta, former defense secretary

Chuck Hagel, former defense secretary

Ashton B. Carter, former defense secretary

William S. Cohen, former defense secretary

Sasha Baker, former deputy chief of staff to the defense secretary

Donna Barbisch, retired major general in the U.S. Army

Jeremy Bash, chief of staff to the defense secretary

Jeffrey P. Bialos, former deputy under secretary of defense for industrial affairs

Susanna V. Blume, former deputy chief of staff to the deputy defense secretary

Ian Brzezinski, former deputy assistant defense secretary for Europe and NATO

Gabe Camarillo, former assistant secretary of the Air Force

Kurt M. Campbell, former deputy assistant defense secretary for Asia and the Pacific

Michael Carpenter, former deputy assistant defense secretary for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia

Rebecca Bill Chavez, former deputy assistant defense secretary for Western hemisphere affairs

Derek Chollet, former assistant defense secretary for international security affairs

Dan Christman, retired lieutenant general in the U.S. Army and former assistant to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff

James Clapper, former under secretary of defense for intelligence and director of national intelligence

Eliot A. Cohen, former member of planning staff for the defense department and former member of the Defense Policy Board

Erin Conaton, former under secretary of defense for personnel and readiness

John Conger, former principal deputy under secretary of defense

Peter S. Cooke, retired major general of the U.S. Army Reserve

Richard Danzig, former secretary of the U.S. Navy

Janine Davidson, former under secretary of the U.S. Navy

Robert L. Deitz, former general counsel at the National Security Agency

Abraham M. Denmark, former deputy assistant defense secretary for East Asia

Michael B. Donley, former secretary of the U.S. Air Force

John W. Douglass, retired brigadier general in the U.S. Air Force and former assistant secretary of the U.S. Navy

Raymond F. DuBois, former acting under secretary of the U.S. Army

Eric Edelman, former under secretary of defense for policy

Eric Fanning, former secretary of the U.S. Army

Evelyn N. Farkas, former deputy assistant defense secretary for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia

Michèle A. Flournoy, former under secretary of defense for policy

Nelson M. Ford, former under secretary of the U.S. Army

Alice Friend, former principal director for African affairs in the office of the under defense secretary for policy

John A. Gans Jr., former speechwriter for the defense secretary

Sherri Goodman, former deputy under secretary of defense for environmental security

André Gudger, former deputy assistant defense secretary for manufacturing and industrial base policy

Robert Hale, former under secretary of defense and Defense Department comptroller

Michael V. Hayden, retired general in the U.S. Air Force and former director of the National Security Agency and CIA

Mark Hertling, retired lieutenant general in the U.S. Army and former commanding general of U.S. Army Europe

Kathleen H. Hicks, former principal deputy under secretary of defense for policy

Deborah Lee James, former secretary of the U.S. Air Force

John P. Jumper, retired general of the U.S. Air Force and former chief of staff of the Air Force

Colin H. Kahl, former deputy assistant defense secretary for Middle East policy

Mara E. Karlin, former deputy assistant defense secretary for strategy and force development

Frank Kendall, former under secretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics

Susan Koch, former deputy assistant defense secretary for threat-reduction policy

Ken Krieg, former under secretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics

J. William Leonard, former deputy assistant defense secretary for security and information operations

Steven J. Lepper, retired major general of the U.S. Air Force

George Little, former Pentagon press secretary

William J. Lynn III, former deputy defense secretary

Ray Mabus, former secretary of the U.S. Navy and former governor of Mississippi

Kelly Magsamen, former principal deputy assistant defense secretary for Asian and Pacific security affairs

Carlos E. Martinez, retired brigadier general of the U.S. Air Force Reserve

Michael McCord, former under secretary of defense and Defense Department comptroller

Chris Mellon, former deputy assistant defense secretary for intelligence

James N. Miller, former under secretary of defense for policy

Edward T. Morehouse Jr., former principal deputy assistant defense secretary and former acting assistant defense secretary for operational energy plans and programs

Jamie Morin, former director of cost assessment and program evaluation at the Defense Department and former acting under secretary of the U.S. Air Force

Jennifer M. O’Connor, former general counsel of the Defense Department

Sean O’Keefe, former secretary of the U.S. Navy

Dave Oliver, former principal deputy under secretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics

Robert B. Pirie, former under secretary of the U.S. Navy

John Plumb, former acting deputy assistant defense secretary for space policy

Eric Rosenbach, former assistant defense secretary for homeland defense and global security

Deborah Rosenblum, former acting deputy assistant defense secretary for counternarcotics

Todd Rosenblum, acting assistant defense secretary for homeland defense and Americas’ security affairs

Tommy Ross, former deputy assistant defense secretary for security cooperation

Henry J. Schweiter, former deputy assistant defense secretary

David B. Shear, former assistant defense secretary for Asian and Pacific security affairs

Amy E. Searight, former deputy assistant defense secretary for South and Southeast Asia

Vikram J. Singh, former deputy assistant defense secretary for South and Southeast Asia

Julianne Smith, former deputy national security adviser to the vice president and former principal director for Europe and NATO policy

Paula Thornhill, retired brigadier general of the Air Force and former principal director for Near Eastern and South Asian affairs

Jim Townsend, former deputy assistant defense secretary for Europe and NATO policy

Sandy Vershbow, former assistant defense secretary for international security affairs

Michael Vickers, former under secretary of defense for intelligence

Celeste Wallander, former deputy assistant defense secretary for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia

Andrew Weber, former assistant defense secretary for nuclear, chemical and biological defense programs

William F. Wechsler, former deputy assistant defense secretary for special operations and combating terrorism

Doug Wilson, former assistant defense secretary for public affairs

Anne A. Witkowsky, former deputy assistant defense secretary for stability and humanitarian affairs

Douglas Wise, former deputy director of the Defense Intelligence Agency

Daniel P. Woodward, retired brigadier general of the U.S. Air Force

Margaret H. Woodward, retired major general of the U.S. Air Force

Carl Woog, former deputy assistant to the defense secretary for communications

Robert O. Work, former deputy defense secretary

Dov S. Zakheim, former under secretary of defense and Defense Department comptroller

Voir enfin:

The Strength of America’s Apolitical Military

Statement by Former U.S. Ambassadors, Military Officers, Senior Officials

First published on June 5, 2020. Updated: June 15, 2020.

Retired members of the U.S. diplomatic corps, many of whom had seen first-hand in non-democratic countries the use of the military as a tool to suppress public protest, were alarmed this week at what seemed steps in that direction on the streets of Washington. The following letter expresses their concern at such measures and their support for the U.S. military’s proud tradition of staying outside of politics. It is addressed to national, state, and local leaders, and has been endorsed by 612 former officials from the diplomatic, military, and other services, as listed below.

The Strength of America’s Apolitical Military

The United States is passing through a period unlike any our country has experienced before. Our population, our society, and our economy have been devastated by the pandemic and the resulting depression-level unemployment. We deplore the brutal killing of George Floyd by police officers in Minneapolis which has provoked more widespread protests than the United States has seen in decades.

As former American ambassadors, generals and admirals, and senior federal officials, we are alarmed by calls from the President and some political leaders for the use of U.S. military personnel to end legitimate protests in cities and towns across America.

Many of us served across the globe, including in war zones, diplomats and military officers working side by side to advance American interests and values. We called out violations of human rights and the authoritarian regimes that deployed their military against their own citizens. Our values define us as a nation and as a global leader.

The professionalism and political neutrality of the U.S. military have been examples for people around the world who aspire to greater freedom and democracy in their own societies. They are among our nation’s greatest assets in protecting Americans and asserting American interests across the globe.

Cities and neighborhoods in which Americans are assembling peacefully, speaking freely, and seeking redress of their grievances are not “battlespaces.” Federal, state, and local officials must never seek to “dominate” those exercising their First Amendment rights. Rather they have a responsibility to ensure that peaceful protest can take place safely as well as to protect those taking part. We condemn all criminal acts against persons and property, but cannot agree that responding to these acts is beyond the capabilities of local and state authorities.

Our military is composed of and represents all of America. Misuse of the military for political purposes would weaken the fabric of our democracy, denigrate those who serve in uniform to protect and defend the Constitution, and undermine our nation’s strength abroad. There is no role for the U.S. military in dealing with American citizens exercising their constitutional right to free speech, however uncomfortable that speech may be for some.

We are concerned about the use of U.S. military assets to intimidate and break up peaceful protestors in Washington, D.C. Using the rotor wash of helicopters flying at low altitude to disperse protestors is reckless and unnecessary. The stationing of D.C. Air National Guard troops in full battle armor on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial is inflammatory and risks sullying the reputation of our men and women in uniform in the eyes of their fellow Americans and of the world.

Declaring peaceful protestors “thugs” and “terrorists” and falsely seeking to divide Americans into those who support “law and order” and those who do not will not end the demonstrations. The deployment of military forces against American citizens exercising their constitutional rights will not heal the divides in our society.

We urge the President and state and local governments to focus their efforts on uniting the country and supporting reforms to ensure equal police treatment of all citizens, regardless of race or ethnicity.

Ultimately, the issues that have driven the protests cannot be addressed by our military. They must be resolved through political processes.

Anne H. Aarnes
Senior Foreign Service Officer, USAID (ret)

Gina Abercrombie-Winstanley
Ambassador (ret)

Edward Abington
Senior Foreign Service Officer (ret)

Jonathan S. Addleton
Ambassador, USAID (ret)

Terry Adirim
Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense

James A. Adkins
MG, US Army (ret)

Cynthia H. Akuetteh
Ambassador (ret)

Karl P. Albrecht
Senior Foreign Service Officer (ret)

Leslie Alexander
Ambassador (ret)

Javed Ali
Former Senior Director, National Security Council

Craig Allen
Ambassador (ret)

Jay Anania
Ambassador (ret)

Claudia E. Anyaso
Senior Foreign Service (ret)

Ricardo Aponte
Brigadier General, USAF (ret)

Richard H. Appleton
Senior Foreign Service Officer (ret)

Hilda Arellano
Senior Foreign Service Officer (ret)

Raymond Arnaudo
Senior State Department Official (ret)

Kirk Augustine
Senior Foreign Service Officer (ret)

Liliana Ayalde
Ambassador (ret)

Alyssa Ayres
Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State

Daniel Baer
Ambassador (ret)

Gary G. Bagley
Senior Foreign Service Officer (ret)

Jess L. Baily
Ambassador (ret)

Tom Baltazar
Senior Executive Service, USAID (ret)

Robert C. Barber
Ambassador (ret)

Donna Barbisch
Major General, USA (ret)

Denise Campbell Bauer
Ambassador (ret)

James A. Beaver
Senior Foreign Service Officer, USAID (ret)

Frederick Becker
Senior Foreign Service Officer (ret)

Robert Mason Beecroft
Ambassador (ret)

Rand Beers
Former Deputy Assistant to the President

Colleen Bell
Ambassador (ret)

William Bellamy
Ambassador (ret)

Daniel Benjamin
Ambassador (ret)

Eric D Benjaminson
Ambassador (ret)

John E. Bennett
United States Ambassador (ret)

Virginia L. Bennett
Senior Foreign Service Officer (ret)

Jenna Ben-Yehuda
Former Senior Military Advisor, Department of State

Rob Berschinski
Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State

James Bever
Senior Foreign Service Officer (ret)

John Beyrle
Ambassador (ret)

J.D. Bindenagel
Ambassador (ret)

Jack R. Binns
Ambassador (ret)

James Keogh Bishop
Ambassador (ret)

Rebecca Black
Senior Foreign Service Officer (ret)

Stephen J. Blake
Senior Foreign Service Officer (ret)

James J. Blanchard
Ambassador (ret)
Former Governor of Michigan

Ronald R. Blanck
Lieutenant General (ret)

Beryl Blecher
Senior Foreign Service Officer (ret)

Peter W. Bodde
Ambassador (ret)

Barbara Bodine
Ambassador (ret)

Michael A. Boorstein
Senior Foreign Service Officer (ret)

Michele Thoren Bond
Ambassador (ret)

Eric J. Boswell
Ambassador (ret)

Paul L. Boyd
Senior Foreign Service Officer (ret)

Spencer P. Boyer
Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State

Aurelia E. Brazeal
Ambassador (ret)

Pamela Bridgewater
Ambassador (ret)

Ken Brill
Ambassador (ret)

Carol Moseley Braun
Ambassador (ret)

Philip J. Breeden, Jr.
Senior Foreign Service Officer (ret)

Peter S. Bridges
Ambassador (ret)

Dolores Marie Brown
Senior Foreign Service Officer (ret)

Gordon S. Brown
Ambassador (ret)

Sue K. Brown
Ambassador (ret)

Steven A. Browning
Ambassador (ret)

Lee Anthony Brudvig
Senior Foreign Service (ret)

Jennifer Brush
Ambassador (ret)

Judith L. Bryan
Senior Foreign Service Officer (ret)

Todd Buchwald
Ambassador (ret)

Craig Buck
Senior Foreign Service Officer, USAID (ret)

David P. Burford
Major General, USA (ret)

Sandy M. Burkholder
Senior Foreign Service (ret)

Peter Burleigh
Ambassador (ret)

Nicholas Burns
Ambassador (ret)

William J. Burns
Ambassador (ret)
Former Deputy Secretary of State

Prudence Bushnell
Ambassador (ret)

Patricia A. Butenis
Ambassador (ret)

Michael A. Butler
Senior Foreign Service Officer (ret)

Anne Callaghan
Senior Foreign Service Officer (ret)

Robert J. Callahan
Ambassador (ret)

Beatrice Camp
Senior Foreign Service Officer (ret)

Donald M. Campbell, Jr.
Lieutenant General, US Army (ret)

Piper A. W. Campbell
Ambassador (ret)

Glenn L. Carle
Former Deputy National Intelligence Officer, CIA

Lisa M. Carle
Senior Foreign Service (ret)

George Carner
Senior Foreign Service Officer, USAID (ret)

James Carouso
Senior Foreign Service Officer (ret)

Steven A. Cash
Former Intelligence Officer, CIA

Ronnie S. Catipon
Senior Foreign Service Special Agent (ret)

John Caulfied
Senior Foreign Service Officer, (ret)

Carey Cavanaugh
Ambassador (ret)

Judith B. Cefkin
Ambassador (ret)

Robert F. Cekuta
Ambassador (ret)

Jeffrey R Cellars
Senior Foreign Service (ret)

Wendy J. Chamberlin
Ambassador (ret)

Peter R Chaveas
Ambassador (ret)

Phil Chicola
Senior Foreign Service Officer (ret)

Karen L. Christensen
Senior Foreign Service Officer (ret)

Gene Christy
Ambassador (ret)

David A. Cohen
Senior Foreign Service, USAID (ret)

Herman J. Cohen
Ambassador (ret)

Maryruth Coleman
Senior Foreign Service Officer (ret)

Maura Connelly
Ambassador (ret)

Elinor Constable
Ambassador (ret)

Ellen M. Conway
Senior Foreign Service (ret)

Frances D. Cook
Ambassador (ret)

Frederick B. Cook
Ambassador ret)

Suzan Johnson Cook
Ambassador (ret)

Thomas Countryman
Senior Foreign Service Officer (ret)

Cindy Courville
Ambassador (ret)

Ertharin Cousin
Ambassador (ret)

Philip E. Coyle III
Former Associate Director, Office of Science and Technology Policy, White House

Gene A. Cretz
Ambassador (ret)

Daniel Thomas Crocker
Senior Foreign Service Officer (ret)

Christopher D. Crowley
Senior Foreign Service Officer, USAID (ret)

James Dandridge II
Senior Foreign Service (ret)

John J. Danilovich
Ambassador (ret)

Glyn T. Davies
Ambassador (ret)

John W Davison
Senior Foreign Service Officer (ret)

Luis C. deBaca
Ambassador (ret)

Kimberley J. DeBlauw
Senior Foreign Service Officer (ret)

Carleene Dei
Senior Foreign Service (ret)

Jeffrey DeLaurentis
Ambassador (ret)

Greg Delawie
Ambassador (ret)

Christopher W. Dell
Ambassador (ret)

Anne E. Derse
Ambassador (ret)

Joseph M. DeThomas
Ambassador (ret)

Richard T. Devereaux
Major General, USAF (ret)

James Dickmeyer
Senior Foreign Service Officer (ret)

John Dickson
Senior Foreign Service Officer (ret)

Elizabeth L. Dibble
Senior Foreign Service Officer (ret)

Dirk Willem Dijkerman
Senior Foreign Service Officer, USAID (ret)

Anne Chermak Dillen
Senior Foreign Service (ret)

Robert S. Dillon
Ambassador (ret)

John Dinger
Ambassador (ret)

Kathleen A. Doherty
Ambassador (ret)

Shaun Donnelly
Ambassador (ret)

John Douglass
Brigadier General, USAF (ret)
Former Assistant Secretary of the Navy

Mary Draper
Senior Foreign Service Officer (ret)

Audrey B. Dumentat
Senior Foreign Service Officer (ret.)

David Dunford
Ambassador (ret)

Polly Dunford
Senior Foreign Service Officer, USAID (ret)

Morton R Dworken
Senior Foreign Service (ret)

Renee M. Earle
Senior Foreign Service Officer (ret)

Paul D. Eaton
Major General, USA (ret)

William A. Eaton
Ambassador (ret)

Alan W Eastham
Ambassador (ret)

Luigi Einaudi
Ambassador (ret)

Harriet L. Elam-Thomas
Ambassador (ret)

Susan M. Elliott
Ambassador (ret)

Nancy H. Ely-Raphel
Ambassador (ret)

Larry Emery
Senior Executive Service (ret)

Ellen Connor Engels
Senior Foreign Service Officer (ret)

Tom Engle
Senior Foreign Service Officer (ret)

Andrew Erickson
Senior Foreign Service Officer (ret)

John M. Evans
Ambassador (ret)

John Ewers
Major General, US Marine Corps (ret)

Kenneth Fairfax
Ambassador (ret)

John Feeley
Ambassador (ret)

Gerald M. Feierstein
Ambassador (ret)

Lee Feinstein
Ambassador (ret)

Robert J. Felderman
Brigadier General, USA (ret)

Dan Feldman
Former Special Representative for Afghanistan/Pakistan

Jeffrey Feltman
Senior Foreign Service Officer (ret)

Judith R. Fergin
Ambassador (ret)

Jose W. Fernandez
Former Assistant Secretary of State for Economic, Energy and Business Affairs

Susan F. Fine
Senior Foreign Service Officer (ret)

Jon Finer
Former Chief of Staff, Department of State

Thomas Fingar
Former Assistant Secretary of State

Mark Fitzpatrick
former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State

Lauri Fitz-Pegado
Former Director General, Foreign Commercial Service

Stephen J. Flanagan
Former Senior Director, National Security Council

Paul Folmsbee
Ambassador (ret)

Jim Foster
Senior Foreign Service Officer (ret)

Stephenie Foster
Former Counselor, Office of Global Women’s Issues)

Anita Friedt
Senior Executive Service (ret)

Laurie S. Fulton
Ambassador (ret)

Julie Furuta-Toy
Ambassador (ret)

James I. Gadsden
Ambassador (ret)

Larry Garber
Senior Foreign Service Officer, USAID (ret)

Janet E. Garvey
Ambassador (ret)

O.P. Garza
Ambassador (ret)

Walter E. Gaskin
Lieutenant General, USMC (ret)

Mary Ellen T. Gilroy
Senior Foreign Service Officer (ret)

Mark Gitenstein
Ambassador (ret)

Robert A. Glacel
Brigadier General, US Army (ret)

Fred S. Glass
Rear Admiral, JAGC, USN (ret)

Edward W. Gnehm
Ambassador (ret)

Robert Goldberg
Senior Foreign Service Officer (ret)

Christopher E. Goldthwait
Ambassador (ret)

Rose Gottemoeller
former Undersecretary of State

Colleen Graffy
Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State

Gary A. Grappo
Ambassador (ret)

Thomas P. Gratto
Senior Foreign Service Officer (ret)

Gordon Gray
Ambassador (ret)

Mary A. Gray
Senior Foreign Service Officer (ret)

Thomas F. Gray, Jr
Senior Foreign Service Officer (ret)

Ronald Greenberg
Senior Foreign Service Officer, USAID (ret)

Douglas C. Greene
Senior Foreign Service Officer (ret)

Kevin P. Green
Vice Admiral, USN (ret)

Theresa Grencik
Senior Foreign Service Officer (ret)

Ken Gross
Ambassador (ret)

Charles H. Grover
Senior Foreign Service Officer (ret)

Michael Guest
Ambassador (ret)

Sheila Gwaltney
Ambassador (ret)

Nina Hachigian
Ambassador (ret)

Anne Hall
Ambassador (ret)

Danny Hall
Senior Foreign Service Officer (ret)

Suneta L. Halliburton
Senior Foreign Service Officer (ret)

Pamela Hamamoto
Ambassador (ret)

John R. Hamilton
Ambassador (ret)

William P. Hammink
Senior Foreign Service Officer, USAID (ret)

David Harden
Senior Foreign Service Officer, USAID (ret)

Robert A. Harding
Major General, USA (ret)

Keith M. Harper
Ambassador (ret)

Grant T. Harris
former senior director, National Security Council

Douglas A. Hartwick
Ambassador, (ret)

Jennifer C. Haskell
Senior Foreign Service Officer (ret)

Patricia M. Haslach
Ambassador (ret)

William J. Haugh
Senior Foreign Service Officer (ret)

Patricia M. Hawkins
Ambassador (ret)

John Heffern
Ambassador (ret)

Samuel D. Heins
Ambassador (ret)

Douglas Hengel
Senior Foreign Service Officer (ret)

Christopher R. Hill
Ambassador (ret)

William H. Hill
Ambassador (ret)

Catherine Hill-Herndon
Senior Foreign Service (ret)

Joseph Hilliard
Senior Foreign Service Officer (ret)

Jim E. Hinds
Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense

John L Hirsch
Ambassador (ret)

Eric L. Hirschhorn
Former Undersecretary of Commerce

Richard E. Hoagland
Ambassador (ret)

Heather Hodges
Ambassador (ret)

Karl Hoffmann
Ambassador (ret)

Christopher J. Hoh
Senior Foreign Service Officer (ret)

Laura S. H. Holgate
Ambassador (ret)

J. Anthony Holmes
Ambassador (ret)

James H. Holmes
Ambassador (ret)

Jim Hooper
Senior Foreign Service Officer (ret)

Samuel M. Hoskinson
Former Vice Chairman, National Intelligence Council

Thomas C. Hubbard
Ambassador (ret)

Franklin Huddle
Ambassador (ret)

Vicki J. Huddleston
Ambassador (ret)

William J. Hudson
Ambassador (ret)

Arthur H. Hughes
Ambassador (ret)

Marie T. Huhtala
Ambassador (ret)

Thomas N. Hull
Ambassador (ret)

Cameron R. Hume
Ambassador (ret)

Ravi R. Huso
Ambassador (ret)

Dorothy Senger Imwold
Senior Foreign Service Officer (ret)

Karl F. Inderfurth
Former Assistant Secretary of State for South Asian Affairs
Ambassador (ret)

David R. Irvine
Brigadier General, USA (ret)

Susan S. Jacobs
Ambassador (ret)

Tracey Jacobson
Ambassador (ret)

Jeanine Jackson
Ambassador (ret)

Jeffrey A. Jacobs
MG, US Army (ret)

Morris E. “Bud” Jacobs
Senior Foreign Service Officer (ret)

Les Janka
Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense

Bonnie Jenkins
Ambassador (ret)

Charles J. Jess
Senior Foreign Service Officer (ret)

Dennis Jett
Ambassador (ret)

David T. Johnson
Ambassador (ret)

Karen E. Johnson
Senior Foreign Service (ret)

Kathy A. Johnson
Senior Foreign Service Officer (ret)

Susan R. Johnson
Senior Foreign Service Officer (ret)

L. Craig Johnstone
Ambassador (ret)

Elizabeth (Beth) Jones
Ambassador (ret)

Deborah K. Jones
Ambassador (ret)

James R. Jones
Ambassador (ret)

Mosina H. Jordan
Ambassador (ret)

Robert W. Jordan
Ambassador (ret)

Carol Kalin
Senior Foreign Service Officer (ret)

Sid Kaplan
Deputy Assistant Secretary of State (ret)

Ale Karagiannis
Senior Foreign Service Officer (ret)

Steven Kashkett
Senior Foreign Service (ret)

Theodore Kattouf
Ambassador (ret)

Allan J. Katz
Ambassador (ret)

Richard D. Kauzlarich
Ambassador (ret)

David J. Keegan
Senior Foreign Service (ret)

Craig Kelly
Ambassador (ret)

Ian Kelly
Ambassador (ret)

Stephen R. Kelly
Senior Foreign Service Officer (ret)

Barbara Kennedy
Senior Foreign Service (ret)

Laura Kennedy
Ambassador (ret)

Susan Keogh
Senior Foreign Service Officer (ret)

David Killion
Ambassador (ret)

Scott Kilner
Senior Foreign Service Officer (ret)

Lawrence J. Klassen
Senior Foreign Service (ret)

Elise Kleinwaks
Senior Foreign Service Officer (ret)

Hans Klemm
Ambassador (ret)

Michael Klosson
Ambassador (ret)

John Koenig
Ambassador (ret)

Mary Ellen Noonan Koenig
Senior Foreign Service (ret)

Donald W. Koran
Ambassador (ret)

Ann K. Korky
Senior Foreign Service Officer (ret)

Eleni Kounalakis
Ambassador (ret)
Lt. Governor of California

Roland Kuchel
Ambassador (ret)

Eric A. Kunsman
Senior Foreign Service Officer (ret)

June H. Kunsman
Senior Foreign Service Officer (ret)

Daniel C. Kurtzer
Ambassador (ret)

Harold Hongju Koh
Former Legal Advisor, Department of State

Christopher Kojm
Former Chairman, National Intelligence Council

Jimmy Kolker
Ambassador (ret)

Karen Kornbluh
Ambassador (ret)

John C. Kornblum
Ambassador (ret)

Thomas C. Krajeski
Ambassador (ret)

David J. Kramer
Former Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor

Mary A. Kruger
Senior Foreign Service Officer (ret)

Lisa Kubiske
Ambassador (ret)

Elisabeth Kvitashvili
Senior Foreign Service Officer, USAID (ret)

Mark P. Lagon
Ambassador (ret)

Joseph E. Lake
Ambassador (ret)

David Lambertson
Ambassador (ret.)

David J. Lane
Ambassador (ret)

Joyce Leader
Ambassador (ret)

Barbara A. Leaf
Ambassador (ret)

Richard LeBaron
Ambassador (ret)

Michael R Lehnert
MG, USMC (ret)

Michael C. Lemmon
Ambassador (ret)

Christopher J. Le Mon
Former Senior Advisor, National Security Council

Steven J. Lepper
Major General, USAF (ret)

Barry Levin
Senior Foreign Service Officer (ret)

Suzi G. LeVine
Ambassador (ret)

Jeffrey D.  Levine
Ambassador (ret)

Melvin Levitsky
Ambassador (ret)

Dawn Liberi
Ambassador (ret)

David C. Litt
Ambassador (ret)

Hugo Llorens
Ambassador (ret)

Carmen Lomellin
Ambassador (ret)

Edward Loo
Senior Foreign Service Officer (ret)

Lewis Lukens
Ambassador (ret)

Douglas Lute
Lieutenant General, USA (ret)
Ambassador (ret)

Buff Mackenzie
Senior Foreign Service Officer, USAID (ret)

John F. Maisto
Ambassador (ret)

Deborah R. Malac
Ambassador (ret)

Eileen A. Malloy
Ambassador (ret)

Steven R. Mann
Ambassador (ret)

Randy Manner
Major General, USA (ret)

Nicholas J. Manring
Senior Foreign Service Officer (ret)

Edward Marks
Ambassador (ret)

Niels Marquardt
Ambassador (ret)

Dana Marshall
Senior Foreign Service (ret)

Frederick H. Martin
Major General, USAF (ret)

Carlos E. Martinez
Brigadier General, USAF (ret)

Vilma S. Martinez
Ambassador (ret)

Dennise Mathieu
Ambassador (ret)

Jack F. Matlock, Jr.
Ambassador (ret)

R. McBrian
Senior Executive Service (ret)

Deborah McCarthy
Ambassador (ret)

Jackson McDonald
Ambassador (ret)

Nancy McEldowney
Ambassador (ret)

Stephen G. McFarland
Ambassador (ret)

Kevin J. McGuire
Ambassador (ret)

James F. McIlmail
Senior Executive Service, Defense Intelligence Agency (ret)

John F. McNamara
Senior Foreign Service Officer (ret)

Thomas E. McNamara
Ambassador (ret)

John Medeiros
Senior Foreign Service Officer (ret)

Joseph V. Medina
Brigadier General, USMC (ret)

Thomas O. Melia
former Assistant Administrator, USAID

James D. Melville
Ambassador (ret)

James Michel
Ambassador (ret)

Leo Michel
Senior Executive Service, Department of Defense (ret)

Kevin Milas
Senior Foreign Service Officer (ret)

Richard Miles
Ambassador (ret)

Katherine J.M. Millard
Senior Foreign Service Officer (ret)

Henry Miller-Jones
Senior Foreign Service Officer (ret)

Gillian Milovanovic
Ambassador (ret)

David B. Monk
Senior Foreign Service (ret)

William Monroe
Ambassador (ret)

Alberto Mora
Former Navy General Counsel

David A. Morris
Major General, USA (ret)

William J. Mozdzierz
Senior Foreign Service Officer (ret)

Kevin J. Mullaly
Senior Foreign Service Officer, USAID (ret)

Peter F. Mulrean
Ambassador (ret)

Cameron Munter
Ambassador (ret)

Allan Mustard
Ambassador (ret)

Desaix Myers
Senior Foreign Service Officer (ret)

Larry C. Napper
Ambassador (ret)

James D. Nealon
Ambassador (ret)

Richard W. Nelson
Senior Foreign Service Officer (ret)

Susan B. Niblock
Senior Foreign Service Officer (ret)

Thomas M. T. Niles
Ambassador (ret)

Brian H. Nilsson
Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State

Crystal Nix-Hines
Ambassador (ret)

Edwin R. Nolan
Ambassador (ret)

Walter North
Ambassador (ret)

Suzanne Nossel
Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State

Gary Oba
Senior Foreign Service (ret)

Karen Ogle
Senior Foreign Service Officer (ret)

Eric T. Olson
MG, US Army (ret)

Richard G. Olson
Ambassador (ret)

Adrienne S. O’Neal
Ambassador (ret)

Robert M. Orr
Ambassador (ret)

Ted Osius
Ambassador (ret)

Susan D. Page
Ambassador (ret)

Beth S. Paige
Senior Foreign Service Officer, USAID (ret)

Larry L. Palmer
Ambassador (ret)

Alexi Panehal
Senior Foreign Service Officer, USAID (ret)

Maurice Parker
Ambassador (ret)

Norma Parker
Senior Foreign Service (ret)

Michael Parmly
Senior Foreign Service Officer (ret)

Lynn Pascoe
Ambassador (ret)

David Passage
Ambassador (ret)

Margaret C. Pearson
Senior Foreign Service Officer (ret)

Robert Pearson
Ambassador (ret)

Willard J. Pearson
Senior Foreign Service Officer (ret)

Edward L. Peck
Ambassador (ret)

Eric Pelofsky
former Senior Director, National Security Council

June Carter Perry
Ambassador (ret)

William Perry
Former Secretary of Defense

Pete Peterson
Ambassador (ret)

James D. Pettit
Ambassador (ret)

Nancy Bikoff Pettit
Ambassador (ret)

Laurence M Pfeiffer
Former Chief of Staff, CIA

Walter N.S. Pflaumer
Senior Foreign Service Officer (ret)

Annie Pforzheimer
Senior Foreign Service Officer (ret)

John R. Phillips
Ambassador (ret)

William M. Phillips III
Senior Intelligence Officer (ret)

Daniel W Piccuta
Senior Foreign Service (ret)

Thomas R. Pickering
Ambassador (ret)

Stephen Pifer
Ambassador (ret)

H. Dean Pittman
Ambassador (ret)

Joan Plaisted
Ambassador (ret)

Lynne Platt
Senior Foreign Service (ret)

Gale S. Pollock
Major General, USA, CRNA, FACHE, FAAN (ret)

Michael C. Polt
Ambassador (ret)

Marc Polymeropoulos
Senior Intelligence Service, CIA (ret)

Karyn Posner-Mullen
Senior Foreign Service Officer (ret)

Eric G Postel
Former Associate Administrator, USAID

Phyllis M. Powers
Ambassador (ret)

E. Candace Putnam
Senior Foreign Service Officer (ret)

Monique Quesada
Senior Foreign Service Officer (ret)

Azita Raji
Ambassador (ret)

William C. Ramsay
Ambassador (ret)

David Rank
Senior Foreign Service Officer (ret)

Stephen J. Rapp
Ambassador (ret)

Scott Rauland
Retired SFS officer

Charles Ray
Ambassador (ret)

Evan Reade
Consul General (ret)

Frankie A. Reed
Ambassador (ret)

Helen Reed-Rowe
Ambassador (ret)

Susan Reichle
Senior Foreign Service Officer (ret)

Arlene Render
Ambassador (ret)

Markham K. Rich
Rear Admiral, US Navy (ret)

Kathleen A. Riley
Senior Foreign Service Officer (ret)

Gary D. Robbins
Senior Foreign Service Officer (ret)

Thomas B. Robertson
Ambassador (ret)

Brooks A. Robinson
Senior Foreign Service (ret)

Harold L. Robinson
Rear Admiral, CHC USN (ret)

Terri Robl
Senior Foreign Service Officer (ret)

Donna G. Roginski
Senior Foreign Service (ret)

Peter F. Romero
Ambassador (ret)

Fernando E. Rondon
Ambassador (ret)

John V. Roos
Ambassador (ret)

Frank Rose
Former Assistant Secretary of State

Gerald S. Rose
Senior Foreign Service Officer (ret)

Doria Rosen
Ambassador (ret)

Sara Rosenberry
Senior Foreign Service (ret)

Christopher W.S. Ross
Ambassador (ret)

Richard Allan Roth
Ambassador (ret)

Leslie V. Rowe
Ambassador (ret)

Stapleton Roy
Ambassador (ret)

Nancy Rubin
Ambassador (ret)

Daniel Rubinstein
Ambassador (ret)

William A. Rugh
Ambassador (ret)

Theodore E. Russell
Ambassador (ret)

Melinda D. Sallyards
Senior Foreign Service Officer (ret)

John F. Sammis
Senior Foreign Service Officer (ret)

Robin Renee Sanders
Ambassador (ret)

Janet A. Sanderson
Ambassador (ret)

Andrew H. Schapiro
Ambassador (ret)

David J. Scheffer
Ambassador (ret)

Richard J. Schmierer
Ambassador (ret)

James Schumacher
Senior Foreign Service Officer (ret)

John M. Schuster
Brigadier General, USA (ret)

Teresita C. Schaffer
Ambassador (ret)

Thomas Schieffer
Ambassador (ret)

Brenda Brown Schoonover
Ambassador (ret)

Jill Schuker
Former Special Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs

Deborah Schwartz
Senior Foreign Service Officer (ret)

Eric P. Schwartz
Former Assistant Secretary of State

Stephen Schwartz
Ambassador (ret)

John F Scott
Senior Foreign Service (ret)

Kyle Scott
Ambassador (ret)

Rick Scott
Senior Foreign Service Officer, USAID (ret)

Stephen A. Seche
Ambassador (ret)

Theodore Sedgwick
Ambassador (ret)

Mark Seibel
Senior Foreign Service Officer (ret)

Raymond G.H. Seitz
Ambassador (ret)

Mike Senko
Ambassador (ret)

Daniel Serwer
Senior Foreign Service Officer (ret)

Thomas A. Shannon, Jr.
Ambassador (ret)

Daniel Shapiro
Ambassador (ret)

Mattie R. Sharpless
Ambassador (ret)

John Shattuck
Ambassador (ret)

David B. Shear
Ambassador (ret)

William F. Sheehan
Former General Counsel, Department of Defense

Sally Shelton-Colby
Ambassador (ret)

Wendy R. Sherman
Former Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs

A. Ellen Shippy
Ambassador (ret)

Sandra Shipshock
Senior Foreign Service Officer (ret)

Douglas A. Silliman
Ambassador (ret)

Lawrence R. Silverman
Ambassador (ret)

Mark Silverman
Senior Foreign Service Officer, USAID (ret)

Paul Simons
Ambassador (ret)

John Sipher
CIA Senior Intelligence Service (ret)

Kristen B. Skipper
Senior Foreign Service Officer (ret)

Thomas F. Skipper
Senior Foreign Service Officer (ret)

Emil Skodon
Ambassador (ret)

Kenneth N Skoug Jr.
Senior Foreign Service (ret)

Walter Slocombe
Former Undersecretary of Defense

Dana Shell Smith
Ambassador (ret)

Paul R. Smith
Senior Foreign Service Officer (ret)

Alan Solomont
Ambassador (ret)

Tara D. Sonenshine
Former U.S. Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs

Daniel Speckhard
Ambassador (ret)

John Spilsbury
Senior Foreign Service Officer (ret)

Madelyn E. Spirnak
Senior Foreign Service Officer (ret)

Thomas H. Staal
Senior Foreign Service Officer (ret)

Derwood K. Staeben
Senior Foreign Service (ret)

Sylvia G. Stanfield
Ambassador (ret)

Karin Clark Stanton
Ambassador (ret)

Donald K. Steinberg
Ambassador, USAID (ret)

Monica Stein-Olson
Senior Foreign Service Officer, USAID (ret)

Andrew Steinfeld
Senior Foreign Service Officer (ret)

Barbara Stephenson
Ambassador (ret)

Kathleen Stephens
Ambassador (ret)

Richard W. Stites
Senior Foreign Service (ret)

Cynthia Stroum
Ambassador (ret)

Arsalan Suleman
Former Special Envoy to the Islamic Conference

Joseph G. Sullivan
Ambassador (ret)

Howard J.K. Sumka
Senior Foreign Service Officer (ret)

Paul R. Sutphin
Senior Foreign Service Officer (ret)

William L. Swing
Ambassador (ret)

Christopher J. Szymanski
Senior Foreign Service Officer (ret)

Strobe Talbott
Former Deputy Secretary of State

Mary Tarnowka
Senior Foreign Service Officer (ret)

Francis Taylor
Brigadier General, USAF (ret)
Former DHS Under Secretary

Paul D. Taylor
Ambassador (ret)

Richard W. Teare
Ambassador (ret)

Mary Jane Teirlynck
Senior Foreign Service Officer (ret)

Mark Tesone
Senior Foreign Service Officer (ret)

Patrick H. Theros
Ambassador (ret)

Harry Thomas
Ambassador (ret)

Daphne Michelle Titus
Senior Foreign Service Officer (ret)

Mark Tokola
Senior Foreign Service Officer (ret)

Kurt W. Tong
Ambassador (ret)

Gregory F. Treverton
Former Chair, National Intelligence Council

Michael S. Tulley
Senior Foreign Service Officer (ret)

Andrew Turley
Major General, USAF (ret)

Robert H. Tuttle
Ambassador (ret)

Michael H. Van Dusen
Senior Congressional Committee Staff Member (ret)

Alan Van Egmond
Senior Foreign Service Officer, USAID (ret)

Elizabeth Verville
Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State

Alexander Vershbow
Ambassador (ret)

Melanne Verveer
Ambassador (ret)

Philip L. Verveer
Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State

Shari Villarosa
Ambassador (ret)

David G. Wagner
Senior Foreign Service Officer (ret)

Marcelle M. Wahba
Ambassador (ret)

Edward S. Walker
Ambassador (ret)

Howard K. Walker
Ambassador (ret)

Jenonne Walker
Ambassador (ret)

Jake Walles
Ambassador (ret)

Mark S. Ward
Senior Foreign Service Officer (ret)

Mary Burce Warlick
Ambassador (ret)

John Warner
Senior Foreign Service (ret)

Thomas S. Warrick
Former Deputy Assistant Secretary, Department of Homeland Security

Alexander F. Watson
Ambassador (ret)

Linda E. Watt
Ambassador (ret)

Earl Anthony Wayne
Ambassador (ret)

Janice M. Weber
Senior Foreign Service Officer, USAID (ret)

William Weinstein
Senior Foreign Service Officer (ret)

Alice G. Wells
Ambassador (ret)

Melissa Wells
Ambassador (ret)

Mark Wentworth
Senior Foreign Service (ret)

Joseph W. Westphal
Ambassador (ret)
Former Under Secretary of the Army

Bruce Wharton
United States Ambassador (ret)

Pamela White
Ambassador (ret)

Thomas J White
Senior Foreign Service (ret)

Jon A. Wiant
Senior Executive Service (ret)

Bisa Williams
Ambassador (ret)

Molly Williamson
Senior Foreign Service (ret)

Ashley Wills
Ambassador (ret)

Jonathan M. Winer
former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State

Timothy E. Wirth
Former Undersecretary of State

Frank G. Wisner
Ambassador (ret)

John L. Withers II
Ambassador (ret)

Tamara Cofman Wittes
Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State

John S. Wolf
Ambassador (ret)

Kevin Wolf
Former Assistant Secretary of Commerce

David T. Wolfson
Senior Foreign Service Officer (ret)

Burke M. Wong
Attorney-Advisor, Department of Justice (ret)

Mark F. Wong
Senior Foreign Service Officer (ret)

Brooks Wrampelmeier
Senior Foreign Service (ret)

Kenneth Yalowitz
Ambassador (ret)

Susumu Ken Yamashita
Senior Foreign Service Officer, USAID (ret)

John Yates
Ambassador (ret)

Mary Carlin Yates
Ambassador (ret)

Frank Young
Senior Foreign Service Officer, USAID (ret)

Johnny Young
Ambassador (ret)

Thomas M. Young
Senior Foreign Service Officer (ret)

Marie L. Yovanovitch
Ambassador (ret)

Alan Yu
Senior Foreign Service Officer (ret)

Joseph Y. Yun
Ambassador (ret)

Uzra Zeya
Senior Foreign Service Officer (ret)

Jane Zimmerman
Senior Foreign Service Officer (ret)

Peter D. Zimmerman
Senior Executive Service (ret)

James Zumwalt
Ambassador (ret)

Peter B. Zwack
Brigadier General, US Army (ret)

David Zweifel
Ambassador (ret)


Affaire Hunter Biden: Attention, une censure peut en cacher une autre ! (Guess who after releasing for the last three years the most unfounded rumors about the US president and refusing for weeks to seriously cover the NYPost’s investigation into Joe Biden’s repeated lies about his alleged ignorance of his son’s obvious influence peddling in Ukraine, Russia and China, is now calling out Trump supporters for disrupting Biden’s speeches ?)

1 novembre, 2020
Biden campaign 'glad' Post's Hunter Biden exposés censoredhttps://tra.img.pmdstatic.net/fit/https.3A.2F.2Fi.2Einsider.2Ecom.2F5f9d480969331a0011bc68d1.3Fformat.3Djpeg/812x609/background-color/ffffff/quality/70/trump-supporters-disrupt-biden-speech-he-calls-them-ugly-folks-2020-10.jpgTrump's "Look At This Photograph" Biden Meme - YouTube

The allegations about Hunter Biden's business dealings in China, explained - ABC News

 

S’ils se taisent, les pierres crieront! Jésus (Luc 19 : 40)
Oui, les médias sont partisans. Particulièrement contre la haine, le sexisme, le racisme, l’incompétence, la belligérance, l’inégalité, et j’en passe. Jim Roberts (New York Times, 2016
If you’re a working journalist and you believe that Donald J. Trump is a demagogue playing to the nation’s worst racist and nationalistic tendencies, that he cozies up to anti-American dictators and that he would be dangerous with control of the United States nuclear codes, how the heck are you supposed to cover him? Because if you believe all of those things, you have to throw out the textbook American journalism has been using for the better part of the past half-century, if not longer, and approach it in a way you’ve never approached anything in your career. If you view a Trump presidency as something that’s potentially dangerous, then your reporting is going to reflect that. You would move closer than you’ve ever been to being oppositional. That’s uncomfortable and uncharted territory for every mainstream, nonopinion journalist I’ve ever known, and by normal standards, untenable. But the question that everyone is grappling with is: Do normal standards apply? And if they don’t, what should take their place? Covering Mr. Trump as an abnormal and potentially dangerous candidate is more than just a shock to the journalistic system. It threatens to throw the advantage to his news conference-averse opponent, Hillary Clinton, who should draw plenty more tough-minded coverage herself. She proved that again last week with her assertion on “Fox News Sunday” that James Comey, director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, had declared her to be truthful in her answers about her decision to use a private email server for official State Department business — a grossly misleading interpretation of an F.B.I. report that pointed up various falsehoods in her public explanations. And, most broadly, it upsets balance, that idealistic form of journalism with a capital “J” we’ve been trained to always strive for. But let’s face it: Balance has been on vacation since Mr. Trump stepped onto his golden Trump Tower escalator last year to announce his candidacy. For the primaries and caucuses, the imbalance played to his advantage, captured by the killer statistic of the season: His nearly $2 billion in free media was more than six times as much as that of his closest Republican rival. Now that he is the Republican nominee for president, the imbalance is cutting against him. Journalists and commentators are analyzing his policy pronouncements and temperament with an eye toward what it would all look like in the Oval Office — something so many of them viewed as an impossibility for so long. (…) there was Mr. Scarborough on Wednesday asking the former Central Intelligence Agency director Michael V. Hayden whether there were safeguards in place to ensure that if Mr. Trump “gets angry, he can’t launch a nuclear weapon,” given the perception that he might not be “the most stable guy.” Then Mr. Scarborough shared an alarming conversation he said he had with a “foreign policy expert” who had given Mr. Trump a national security briefing. “Three times he asked about the use of nuclear weapons,” Mr. Scarborough said, describing one of the questions as “If we have them, why can’t we use them?” Speaking with me later, Mr. Scarborough, a Republican, said he had not contemplated sharing the anecdote with the audience until just before he did “When that discussion came up, I really didn’t have a choice,” Mr. Scarborough said. “That was something I thought Americans needed to know.” Mr. Trump has denied Mr. Scarborough’s account. (He told The New York Times in March he would use nuclear weapons as “an absolutely last step.” But when the MSNBC host Chris Matthews challenged him for raising the possibility he would use them, Mr. Trump asked, “Then why are we making them?”) Mr. Scarborough, a frequent critic of liberal media bias, said he was concerned that Mr. Trump was becoming increasingly erratic, and asked rhetorically, “How balanced do you have to be when one side is just irrational?” Mr. Scarborough is on the opinion side of the news business. It’s much dodgier for conventional news reporters to treat this year’s political debate as one between “normal” and “abnormal,” as the Vox editor in chief Ezra Klein put it recently. In a sense, that’s just what reporters are doing. And it’s unavoidable. Because Mr. Trump is conducting his campaign in ways we’ve not normally seen. No living journalist has ever seen a major party nominee put financial conditions on the United States defense of NATO allies, openly fight with the family of a fallen American soldier, or entice Russia to meddle in a United States presidential election by hacking his opponent (a joke, Mr. Trump later said, that the news media failed to get). And while coded appeals to racism or nationalism aren’t new — two words: Southern strategy — overt calls to temporarily bar Muslims from entry to the United States or questioning a federal judge’s impartiality based on his Mexican heritage are new. (…) “When controversy is being stoked, it’s our obligation to report that,” said the Washington Post managing editor Cameron Barr. “If one candidate is doing that more aggressively and consistently than the other, that is an imbalance for sure.” But, he added, “it’s not one that we create, it’s one that the candidate is creating. » (…) The media reaction to it all has been striking, what The Columbia Journalism Review called “a Murrow moment.” It’s not unusual to see news stories describe him as “erratic” without attribution to an opponent. The “fact checks” of his falsehoods continue to pile up in staggering numbers, far outpacing those of Mrs. Clinton. And, on Sunday, the CNN “Reliable Sources” host Brian Stelter called upon journalists and opinion makers to challenge Mr. Trump’s “dangerous” claims that the electoral system is rigged against him. Failure to do so would be unpatriotic, Mr. Stelter said. While there are several examples of conservative media criticism of Mr. Trump this year, the candidate and his supporters are reprising longstanding accusations of liberal bias. “The media is trying to take Donald Trump out,” Rush Limbaugh declared last week. A lot of core Trump supporters certainly view it that way. That will only serve to worsen their already dim view of the news media, which initially failed to recognize the power of their grievances, and therefore failed to recognize the seriousness of Mr. Trump’s candidacy. (…) It would also be an abdication of political journalism’s most solemn duty: to ferret out what the candidates will be like in the most powerful office in the world. It may not always seem fair to Mr. Trump or his supporters. But journalism shouldn’t measure itself against any one campaign’s definition of fairness. It is journalism’s job to be true to the readers and viewers, and true to the facts, in a way that will stand up to history’s judgment. To do anything less would be untenable. Jim Rutenberg (NYT, Aug. 7, 2016)
Le scénario le plus probable pour que des troubles civils se produisent est une victoire de Trump. Il y a des millions de personnes dans ce pays qui ont été poussées par le Parti démocrate à croire que Trump ne méritait pas d’être élu en 2016. Qu’il a été introduit clandestinement à la Maison Blanche par des agents russes. Ils vont encore le penser en 2020. Il y a de grandes villes dans ce pays qui n’attendent que ça pour s’enflammer. Il y a beaucoup de gens ches les  BLM,  les Antifa, sur la gauche radicale qui ont hâte de brûler leurs villes. C’est la plus grande menace à laquelle ce pays est confronté. Elle est lancée tous les soirs ces derniers temps et je pense qu’une victoire de Trump pourrait se faire dans la douleur dans un premier temps pour ce pays. Douglas Murray
Le Dr Fauci a demandé l’obligation du port du masque la semaine dernière, ce n’est pas une déclaration politique comme ces malfaisants là-bas avec leurs klaxons, c’est un devoir patriotique, pour l’amour de Dieu. Ces gars ne sont pas très polis mais ils sont comme Trump. Joe Biden
Je n’ai jamais parlé à mon fils de ses relations d’affaires à l’étranger. Joe Biden
A aucun moment je n’ai discuté avec mon père des affaires de la société ou de mes services au conseil, y compris de ma décision initiale de rejoindre le conseil. Hunter Biden
Papa m’a dit: ‘J’espère que tu sais ce que tu fais’, et j’ai dit: ‘Oui.’ Hunter Biden (concernant Burisma)
Ce que je voulais dire par là, c’est que j’espère que tu y as bien réfléchi. J’espère que tu sais exactement ce que tu fais ici. C’est tout ce que je voulais dire. Rien de plus que cela parce que je n’ai jamais parlé de mon entreprise ou de leur entreprise, celle de mes fils ou de ma fille. Et je n’en ai jamais discuté car ils savent où je dois faire mon travail et c’est tout et ils doivent se faire leur propre jugement. Joe Biden
Je ne pense pas qu’il y ait beaucoup de choses qui se seraient passées dans ma vie si mon nom de famille n’était pas Biden. Parce que mon père était vice-président des États-Unis. Hunter Biden
Une photo obtenue par « Tucker Carlson Tonight » de Fox News montre l’ancien vice-président Joe Biden et son fils Hunter jouant au golf dans les Hamptons avec Devon Archer, qui a siégé au conseil d’administration de la société ukrainienne de gaz naturel Burisma Holdings avec Hunter. Plus tôt ce mois-ci, Joe Biden a déclaré à Fox News dans l’Iowa qu’il n’avait jamais discuté des relations commerciales de son fils avec lui. «Je n’ai jamais parlé à mon fils de ses relations commerciales à l’étranger», a déclaré Biden, pointant du doigt le président Trump. «Je sais que Trump mérite une enquête. Il viole toutes les normes fondamentales d’un président. Vous devriez lui demander pourquoi il est au téléphone avec un dirigeant étranger, essayant d’intimider un dirigeant étranger. Vous devriez regarder Trump. Hunter Biden a déclaré au New Yorker précédemment que lui et son père avaient parlé ‘une seule fois’ du travail de Hunter Biden en Ukraine. Une source proche d’Archer a déclaré à Fox News que la photo avait été prise en août 2014. Des informations contemporaines indiquent que le vice-président était aux Hamptons à l’époque. Hunter Biden et Archer ont rejoint le conseil d’administration de Burisma Holdings le 20 avril 2014. Fox News
La présence de Hunter Biden au conseil d’administration de Burisma était très gênante pour tous les responsables américains qui poussaient à la création d’un programme de lutte contre la corruption en Ukraine. George Kent (ancien chef de mission adjoint par intérim à l’ambassade des États-Unis à Kiev, Ukraine)
Trump is the perfect man for these times, not all times, perhaps not most times, but these times. (…) Republicans are not doing a good job explaining the stakes in this election. They must explain (…) that the Democratic Party, which has been taken by its radical wing, is leading a revolution. This makes the coming election the most important one since the election of 1860. (…) Unlike most elections, this one is much more than a contest over particular policies—like health care or taxes. Rather, like the election of 1860, this election is a contest between two competing regimes, or ways of life. Two ways of life that cannot exist peacefully together. One way of life, I’ll call it “the traditional American way of life,” is based on individual rights, the rule of law, and a shared understanding of the common good. This way of life values hard work, self-reliance, volunteerism, patriotism, and so on. In this way of life there are no hyphenated Americans. We are all just Americans. Colorblindness is our aspiration. The other way of life I call multiculturalism. Others call it “identity politics” or “cultural Marxism” or “Intersectionality”. The multicultural movement, which has taken over the Democratic party, is a revolutionary movement. I do not mean a metaphorical revolution. It is not like a revolution; it is a revolution, an attempt to overthrow the American Founding as President Trump said in his excellent Mt. Rushmore speech. Republicans should say the same thing. Republicans everywhere, at every level, and at every opportunity. Multiculturalism conceives of society, not as a community of individuals with equal rights but as a collection of cultural identity groups—defined by race, ethnicity, gender, and so forth. According to the multiculturalists, all these identity groups are oppressed by white males. Their goal is to have each identity group proportionally represented in all institutions of American society. As should be immediately clear, achieving this proportional representation requires a never-ending redistribution of wealth and power from some groups—and not just from whites—to other groups. Such a massive redistribution can only be achieved by a tyrannical government and like in all tyrannies, one where dissenters are silenced. In order to achieve this proportional representation, the Democrats require not just endless affirmative action but genuine socialism, open borders, unrestricted trade, seizing guns, sanctuary cities, and much more. The Black Lives Matter/Democrats understand (which Republicans seem not to), that if they are to achieve this policy agenda they must get Americans to change their values, their principles, and the way they understand themselves. They must get us to believe that national borders and colorblindness are racist; that we are not one culture but many; that the most important thing in our history—the thing around which all else pivots—is slavery. More broadly, the multiculturalists must get us to believe that we are unworthy—not just that we have sinned (which of course we have)—but that we are irredeemably sinful, or, in the language of today, “systemically racist.” And sexist, homophobic, Islamophobic and all the other “ists” and phobias. Simply put, multiculturalism must get us to believe we are bad. This suggests one way to frame the coming election: as a contest between a man, Trump, who believes America is good and a man, Biden, who is controlled by a movement that believes America is bad. I do not think it is any more complicated than that. For the multiculturalist to change traditional values and principles they must destroy, or radically restructure, the institutions that teach those values and principles. The most important of these institutions is family, but also very important is religion, education (which they have mostly destroyed already) and community life, replacing the latter with government bureaucrats. It is here—in these value-teaching institutions—that we see the underpinnings of the Revolution. This is where the real action is. Republicans seem to be missing in action. Republicans need to explain that BLM and their Democratic enablers wish to destroy the traditional mother-father family. To substantiate this claim, Republicans have only to point to the BLM mission statement. The mission statement, written by avowed Marxists, also lets us know that BLM holds transgenderism to be the burning issue of our time. Republicans must also explain that religion, because it teaches American values, is also on the chopping block. Republicans also must make American see that the taking down of statues is not about removing a few confederate generals; it’s about destroying America’s past, as is the New York Times 1619 Project. The rioters, and their BLM-Democrats enablers, are tearing down the statues even of people like Frederick Douglass who fought against slavery. This is not an accident. It is not collateral damage. Frederick Douglass was a great American. He believed that America in her soul was not racist. He believed in hard work and self-reliance. And because of his embrace of American values the BLM-Democrats have to get rid of him. They must also get rid of Abraham Lincoln, for it is he who best explains what we should aspire to. And it is he who is the best defender of the American Founding. In one sense, this election is a referendum on the Founding. Whether America was founded in 1619, as the BLM-Democrats contend, or, in 1776 as Lincoln, and, until recently, all Americans believed. Republicans must make more of political correctness and cancel culture, which, as we have seen so vividly of late, brutally punishes apostates. Who does Twitter think it is, censoring an American president? Republicans simply cannot stand for that. (…) In order to make the case that the Democrats are leading a revolution, Republicans must delegitimize Black Lives Matter—the organization, of course, not the sentiment. To BLM and their Democratic enablers, Republicans must say: “Absolutely, black lives matter. They just don’t matter to you. You don’t care about Mr. Floyd, the black businesses you have destroyed, the blacks who are getting killed because you have forced the police to back off. You’re here for destruction. Not black lives, not any lives.” After delegitimizing Black Lives Matter, the next step for Republicans is to tie BLM’s revolutionary agenda around the necks of Democrats. The BLM wing of the Democratic party has captured the entire party. Run-of-the-mill Democrats may not agree with all of the BLM agenda but they go-along, so they might as well agree. Joe Biden is one of the go-along Democrats. So do not expect all Democrats to sing the BLM tune; even so, most will kneel before them. Listen to Biden. On one occasion Biden said, “Let’s be clear, transgender equality is the civil rights issue of our time.” A year ago, Biden may not have even known what transgenderism is. He does not seem to know it, but he has been radicalized. Biden now regularly talks about “systemic” racism. On one occasion Biden said, though without evidence, there is “absolutely systemic racism in law enforcement.” “[But] it’s not just in law enforcement,” he continued, “it’s across the board. It’s in housing, it’s in education . . . It’s in everything we do.” He is wrong on every count, but if indeed he believes that racism is in “everything we do,” that it is systemic, then he believes, whether he admits or not, that the system must be overturned. Biden does not realize it, but he is calling for the overthrow of the American way of life. I presume that is not his intent, but when the words he is reading off his BLM teleprompter get translated into policy, that will be the consequence — the destruction of the American way of life. (…) Republicans must make it clear that these are the “Biden riots.” (…) I know President Trump has many faults. I myself sometimes cringe listening to him. Sometimes he is his own worst enemy. He is a braggart, often misinformed, petty, sometimes even vengeful. And more. And yet, we are very lucky to have him. I am almost prepared to say that having him is Providential. How else to explain that we find ourselves with this most unusual, most unpresidential man who has just the attributes most needed for this moment. At any other time, he might well have been a bad president. But in these times—these revolutionary times—he is the best president we could have had. He has the indispensable attribute of a leader: courage. As a leader must, he goes where others are afraid to go. And he has common sense, which means he generally wants to go to the right place. Above all else, and above anyone else, Trump is committed to America. He is unreservedly, unquestionably pro-America. He feels no guilt for America’s past. He makes no apologies. He concedes nothing. These may not always be the attributes one wants in a President, but in this day of woke guilt they are the most essential things. And Trump has unlimited confidence in America. In this time of national doubt, this too is just what the doctor ordered. He thinks our culture is “incredible” and that’s the way he wants to keep it. Trump not only thinks America is incredible, he knows we are in a fight for our lives. And despite what one hears ad nauseum from the Democrats, Trump is perhaps among the least racist presidents we have ever had. Trump is not defending the white way of life; he is defending the American way of life, a colorblind way of life which is open to anyone who is willing to embrace it. If we want to save our country, then we should support him—unequivocally. (…) I think this election is that important, and I think Trump is that good. (…) Remember, Trump versus Biden is the choice between a man who believes America is good and a man who is controlled by a movement which believes America is bad. Tom Klingenstein
Alors que le 3 novembre approche, les démocrates ne cessent de répéter qu’une réélection du turbulent milliardaire serait une catastrophe pour le pays, sa seule présence à la Maison-Blanche constituant selon eux un danger terrible, qui ouvrirait la voie au chaos et à une dictature rampante. Mais le sentiment d’une apocalypse est aussi très présent sur la droite, où l’on craint que le retour des démocrates aux affaires ne scelle la victoire définitive de la révolution identitariste et multiculturaliste «woke», qui, partie des universités, est en train déborder dans la presse libérale et la gauche du «parti de l’âne». «Nous sommes au bord d’un abîme», affirme le prêtre conservateur catholique Ed Meeks. Depuis la révolution sociétale des années 1960, qui a vu les idées de la gauche libérale triompher et l’emprise de la religion refluer, les conservateurs se sont toujours sentis sur la défensive, jugeant avoir largement perdu la bataille culturelle, notamment après la décision Roe vs Wade de la Cour suprême autorisant l’avortement dans tous les États. Plusieurs auteurs célèbres, Alan Bloom, Christopher Lasch, ont brillamment décrit ce processus. L’arrivée de Ronald Reagan et sa révolution conservatrice avaient certes réarmé la droite, mais ce «retour de flamme» fut très provisoire. En réalité, si les conservateurs ont continué à revendiquer les valeurs chrétiennes, le libéralisme sociétal a poursuivi ses avancées, du mariage gay, plutôt bien accepté, à une approche de plus en plus révolutionnaire du genre, qui remet en cause la famille traditionnelle et les différences biologiques entre les sexes, en passant par la bataille pour la «Justice sociale», qui, au nom de la lutte antiraciste et antisexiste, entend rejeter aujourd’hui tout l’héritage intellectuel et culturel occidental. Certes, avec l’arrivée de Donald Trump à la présidence, les conservateurs se sont sentis requinqués, presque surpris d’avoir trouvé en ce milliardaire divorcé – et incapable de réciter un verset de la Bible -, un allié aussi résolu des «valeurs chrétiennes». L’arrivée de trois nouveaux juges conservateurs à la Cour suprême a galvanisé leurs troupes. Mais le sentiment dominant reste celui d’une planète républicaine sur la défensive. Après la mort tragique, en pleine campagne électorale, de George Floyd, un Afro-Américain tué par un policier, le débat légitime sur les violences policières a tourné à une discussion sur le racisme supposément «systémique» de la police et des institutions américaines, menant au démantèlement de dizaines de statues de personnalités, sur fond d’émeutes et de violences. Même Lincoln et Frederick Douglas, exemples de l’antiracisme, note Kligenstein, n’ont pas été épargnés, suscitant une inquiétude grandissante chez les conservateurs et nombre de libéraux jusqu’ici accommodants. Trump a pris position sur ce sujet brûlant dès le mois de juin, dans son discours de Rushmore. Trois mois plus tard, Joe Biden se rendait à Gettysburg, un haut lieu de la guerre civile américaine, pour appeler à l’apaisement. Mais les républicains disent ne pas se sentir rassurés par son approche très conciliante et soulignent que la gauche «woke», qui tient tous les lieux de pouvoir «gramsciens» – l’université, la presse, Hollywood -, pourrait se sentir pousser des ailes. Même si le phénomène reste peu couvert par la presse américaine, une ambiance révolutionnaire continue d’agiter les campus. Ces derniers jours, l’université de Chicago comme celle de NorthWestern dans l’Illinois, ont notamment été le siège de manifestations violentes et de destructions organisées des groupes d’étudiants de Black Lives Matter, qui revendiquent la dissolution de la police du campus. Dans une lettre ouverte, le président de Northwestern, Morton Schapiro, s’est indigné du vandalisme et des appels à «tuer les cochons» de policiers des manifestants. Il a expliqué avoir été harcelé par des dizaines d’activistes venus chanter «Va te faire enc… Morty» devant sa maison en pleine nuit. «C’est une abomination», a-t-il écrit, tout en disant soutenir les revendications de justice de Black Lives Matter. L’un de ses amis a envoyé sa lettre à des dizaines de collègues à travers le pays, les appelant à exprimer leur soutien. Beaucoup de professeurs conservateurs, qui se sentaient déjà isolés, parfois forcés de participer à des réunions pour s’excuser de leur «blanchité», se demandent où s’arrêtera cette radicalisation. Elle les pousse évidemment vers Trump, qui a annulé de semblables programmes en parlant de propagande antiaméricaine. Laure Mandeville
Today I sent my intention to resign from The Intercept, the news outlet I co-founded in 2013 with Jeremy Scahill and Laura Poitras, as well as from its parent company First Look Media. The final, precipitating cause is that The Intercept’s editors, in violation of my contractual right of editorial freedom, censored an article I wrote this week, refusing to publish it unless I remove all sections critical of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, the candidate vehemently supported by all New-York-based Intercept editors involved in this effort at suppression. The censored article, based on recently revealed emails and witness testimony, raised critical questions about Biden’s conduct. Not content to simply prevent publication of this article at the media outlet I co-founded, these Intercept editors also demanded that I refrain from exercising a separate contractual right to publish this article with any other publication. (…) the pathologies, illiberalism, and repressive mentality that led to the bizarre spectacle of my being censored by my own media outlet are ones that are by no means unique to The Intercept. These are the viruses that have contaminated virtually every mainstream center-left political organization, academic institution, and newsroom. I began writing about politics fifteen years ago with the goal of combatting media propaganda and repression, and — regardless of the risks involved — simply cannot accept any situation, no matter how secure or lucrative, that forces me to submit my journalism and right of free expression to its suffocating constraints and dogmatic dictates. (…) the brute censorship this week of my article — about the Hunter Biden materials and Joe Biden’s conduct regarding Ukraine and China, as well my critique of the media’s rank-closing attempt, in a deeply unholy union with Silicon Valley and the “intelligence community,” to suppress its revelations — eroded the last justification I could cling to for staying. It meant that not only does this media outlet not provide the editorial freedom to other journalists, as I had so hopefully envisioned seven years ago, but now no longer even provides it to me. In the days heading into a presidential election, I am somehow silenced from expressing any views that random editors in New York find disagreeable, and now somehow have to conform my writing and reporting to cater to their partisan desires and eagerness to elect specific candidates. (…) American media is gripped in a polarized culture war that is forcing journalism to conform to tribal, groupthink narratives that are often divorced from the truth and cater to perspectives that are not reflective of the broader public but instead a minority of hyper-partisan elites. The need to conform to highly restrictive, artificial cultural narratives and partisan identities has created a repressive and illiberal environment in which vast swaths of news and reporting either do not happen or are presented through the most skewed and reality-detached lens. With nearly all major media institutions captured to some degree by this dynamic, a deep need exists for media that is untethered and free to transgress the boundaries of this polarized culture war and address a demand from a public that is starved for media that doesn’t play for a side but instead pursues lines of reporting, thought, and inquiry wherever they lead, without fear of violating cultural pieties or elite orthodoxies. Glenn Greenwald
Il est difficile d’éviter de conclure que les employeurs et partenaires étrangers de Hunter cherchaient à tirer parti de la relation de Hunter avec Joe, soit en recherchant une influence inappropriée, soit en en monnayant l’accès. Robert Weissman (Public Citizen)
Au strict minimum, il y a une énorme apparence de conflit, et il y a toutes les raisons de penser que les investisseurs avec lesquels il travaille veulent qu’il s’associe à eux parce qu’il est le fils de l’ancien vice-président et maintenant candidat à la présidentielle. [Joe Biden] aurait dû encourager son fils à ne pas prendre ces positions. Robert Weissman (Public Citizen)
After a year at Georgetown, Hunter transferred to Yale Law, where he completed his degree, in 1996. Then he returned to Wilmington with Kathleen and Naomi. Joe Biden was running for reëlection in the Senate, and he appointed Hunter as his deputy campaign manager. Hunter rented an apartment close to his father’s campaign headquarters, and also got a job as a lawyer with MBNA America, a banking holding company based in Delaware, which was one of the largest donors to his father’s campaigns. At the age of twenty-six, Hunter, who was earning more than a hundred thousand dollars and had received a signing bonus, was making nearly as much money as his father. In January, 1998, the conservative reporter and columnist Byron York wrote, in The American Spectator, “Certainly lots of children of influential parents end up in very good jobs. But the Biden case is troubling. After all, this is a senator who for years has sermonized against what he says is the corrupting influence of money in politics.” (…) Hunter’s name appeared regularly in newspaper stories decrying the cozy relationship between lobbyists and lawmakers. An informal arrangement was established: Biden wouldn’t ask Hunter about his lobbying clients, and Hunter wouldn’t tell his father about them. “It wasn’t like we all sat down and agreed on it,” Hunter told me. “It came naturally.” (…) Hunter had heard that, during the primaries, some of Obama’s advisers had criticized him to reporters for his earmarking work. Hunter said that he wasn’t told by members of the Obama campaign to end his lobbying activities, but that he knew “the writing was on the wall.” Hunter told his lobbying clients that he would no longer represent them, and resigned from an unpaid seat on the board of Amtrak, a role for which, Hunter said, the Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid had tapped him. “I wanted my father to have a clean slate,” Hunter told me. “I didn’t want to limit him in any way.” In September, 2008, Hunter launched a boutique consulting firm, Seneca Global Advisors, named for the largest of the Finger Lakes, in New York State, where his mother had grown up. In pitch meetings with prospective clients, Hunter said that he could help small and mid-sized companies expand into markets in the U.S. and other countries. In June, 2009, five months after Joe Biden became Vice-President, Hunter co-founded a second company, Rosemont Seneca Partners, with Christopher Heinz, Senator John Kerry’s stepson and an heir to the food-company fortune, and Devon Archer, a former Abercrombie & Fitch model who started his finance career at Citibank in Asia and who had been friends with Heinz at Yale. (Heinz and Archer already had a private-equity fund called Rosemont Capital.) Heinz believed that Hunter would share his aversion to entering into business deals that could attract public scrutiny, but over time Hunter and Archer seized opportunities that did not include Heinz, who was less inclined to take risks. In 2012, Archer and Hunter talked to Jonathan Li, who ran a Chinese private-equity fund, Bohai Capital, about becoming partners in a new company that would invest Chinese capital—and, potentially, capital from other countries—in companies outside China. In June, 2013, Li, Archer, and other business partners signed a memorandum of understanding to create the fund, which they named BHR Partners, and, in November, they signed contracts related to the deal. Hunter became an unpaid member of BHR’s board but did not take an equity stake in BHR Partners until after his father left the White House. In December, 2013, Vice-President Biden flew to Beijing to meet with President Xi Jinping. Biden often asked one of his grandchildren to accompany him on his international trips, and he invited Finnegan to come on this one. Hunter told his father that he wanted to join them. According to a Beijing-based BHR representative, Hunter, shortly after arriving in Beijing, on December 4th, helped arrange for Li to shake hands with his father in the lobby of the American delegation’s hotel. Afterward, Hunter and Li had what both parties described as a social meeting. Hunter told me that he didn’t understand why anyone would have been concerned about this. “How do I go to Beijing, halfway around the world, and not see them for a cup of coffee?” he said. Hunter’s meeting with Li and his relationship with BHR attracted little attention at the time, but some of Biden’s advisers were worried that Hunter, by meeting with a business associate during his father’s visit, would expose the Vice-President to criticism. The former senior White House aide told me that Hunter’s behavior invited questions about whether he “was leveraging access for his benefit, which just wasn’t done in that White House. Optics really mattered, and that seemed to be cutting it pretty close, even if nothing nefarious was going on.” When I asked members of Biden’s staff whether they discussed their concerns with the Vice-President, several of them said that they had been too intimidated to do so. “Everyone who works for him has been screamed at,” a former adviser told me. For another venture, Archer travelled to Kiev to pitch investors on a real-estate fund he managed, Rosemont Realty. There, he met Mykola Zlochevsky, the co-founder of Burisma, one of Ukraine’s largest natural-gas producers. Zlochevsky had served as ecology minister under the pro-Russian government of Viktor Yanukovych. After public protests in 2013 and early 2014, the Ukrainian parliament had voted to remove Yanukovych and called for his arrest. Under the new Ukrainian government, authorities in Kiev, with the encouragement of the Obama Administration, launched an investigation into whether Zlochevsky had used his cabinet position to grant exploration licenses that benefitted Burisma. (The status of the inquiry is unclear, but no proof of criminal activity has been publicly disclosed. Zlochevsky could not be reached for comment, and Burisma did not respond to queries.) In a related investigation, which was ultimately closed owing to a lack of evidence, British authorities temporarily froze U.K. bank accounts tied to Zlochevsky. In early 2014, Zlochevsky sought to assemble a high-profile international board to oversee Burisma, telling prospective members that he wanted the company to adopt Western standards of transparency. Among the board members he recruited was a former President of Poland, Aleksander Kwaśniewski, who had a reputation as a dedicated reformer. In early 2014, at Zlochevsky’s suggestion, Kwaśniewski met with Archer in Warsaw and encouraged him to join Burisma’s board, arguing that the company was critical to Ukraine’s independence from Russia. Archer agreed. When Archer told Hunter that the board needed advice on how to improve the company’s corporate governance, Hunter recommended the law firm Boies Schiller Flexner, where he was “of counsel.” The firm brought in the investigative agency Nardello & Co. to assess Burisma’s history of corruption. Hunter joined Archer on the Burisma board in April, 2014. Three months later, in a draft report to Boies Schiller, Nardello said that it was “unable to identify any information to date regarding any current government investigation into Zlochevsky or Burisma,” but cited unnamed sources saying that Zlochevsky could be “vulnerable to investigation for financial crimes” and for “perceived abuse of power.” Vice-President Biden was playing a central role in overseeing U.S. policy in Ukraine, and took the lead in calling on Kiev to fight rampant corruption. On May 13, 2014, after Hunter’s role on the Burisma board was reported in the news, Jen Psaki, a State Department spokesperson, said that the State Department was not concerned about perceived conflicts of interest, because Hunter was a “private citizen.” Hunter told Burisma’s management and other board members that he would not be involved in any matters that were connected to the U.S. government or to his father. Kwaśniewski told me, “We never discussed how the Vice-President can help us. Frankly speaking, we didn’t need such help. » Several former officials in the Obama Administration and at the State Department insisted that Hunter’s role at Burisma had no effect on his father’s policies in Ukraine, but said that, nevertheless, Hunter should not have taken the board seat. As the former senior White House aide put it, there was a perception that “Hunter was on the loose, potentially undermining his father’s message.” The same aide said that Hunter should have recognized that at least some of his foreign business partners were motivated to work with him because they wanted “to be able to say that they are affiliated with Biden.” A former business associate said, “The appearance of a conflict of interest is good enough, at this level of politics, to keep you from doing things like that.” In December, 2015, as Joe Biden prepared to return to Ukraine, his aides braced for renewed scrutiny of Hunter’s relationship with Burisma. Amos Hochstein, the Obama Administration’s special envoy for energy policy, raised the matter with Biden, but did not go so far as to recommend that Hunter leave the board. As Hunter recalled, his father discussed Burisma with him just once: “Dad said, ‘I hope you know what you are doing,’ and I said, ‘I do.’ ”  (…) When I asked him about it, he told me that he had been given the diamond by the Chinese energy tycoon Ye Jianming, who was trying to make connections in Washington among prominent Democrats and Republicans, and whom he had met in the middle of the divorce. Hunter told me that two associates accompanied him to his first meeting with Ye, in Miami, and that they surprised him by giving Ye a magnum of rare vintage Scotch worth thousands of dollars. Hunter was on the board of the World Food Program USA, a nonprofit that generates support for the U.N. World Food Programme, and he had hoped that Ye would make a large aid donation. At dinner that night, they discussed the donation, and then the conversation turned to business opportunities. Hunter offered to use his contacts to help identify investment opportunities for Ye’s company, CEFC China Energy, in liquefied-natural-gas projects in the United States. After the dinner, Ye sent a 2.8-carat diamond to Hunter’s hotel room with a card thanking him for their meeting. “I was, like, Oh, my God,” Hunter said. (In Kathleen’s court motion, the diamond is estimated to be worth eighty thousand dollars. Hunter said he believes the value is closer to ten thousand.) When I asked him if he thought the diamond was intended as a bribe, he said no: “What would they be bribing me for? My dad wasn’t in office.” Hunter said that he gave the diamond to his associates, and doesn’t know what they did with it. “I knew it wasn’t a good idea to take it. I just felt like it was weird,” he said. Hunter began negotiating a deal for CEFC to invest forty million dollars in a liquefied-natural-gas project on Monkey Island, in Louisiana, which, he said, was projected to create thousands of jobs. “I was more proud of it than you can imagine,” he told me. In the summer of 2017, Ye talked with Hunter about his concern that U.S. law-enforcement agencies were investigating one of his associates, Patrick Ho. Hunter, who sometimes works as a private lawyer, agreed to represent Ho, and tried to figure out whether Ho was in legal jeopardy in the U.S. That November, just after Ye and Hunter agreed on the Monkey Island deal, U.S. authorities detained Ho at the airport. He was later sentenced to three years in prison for his role in a multiyear, multimillion-dollar scheme to bribe top government officials in Chad and Uganda in exchange for business advantages for CEFC. In February, 2018, Ye was detained by Chinese authorities, reportedly as part of an anti-corruption investigation, and the deal with Hunter fell through. Hunter said that he did not consider Ye to be a “shady character at all,” and characterized the outcome as “bad luck.” Joe Biden is hardly the first politician to have faced scrutiny for the business dealings of a family member. In 1973, during the Watergate investigation, the Washington Post reported that Richard Nixon had the phone of his brother Donald tapped for at least a year, because he feared that Donald’s “various financial activities might bring embarrassment to the Nixon administration.” In the late seventies, the F.B.I. investigated President Jimmy Carter’s younger brother, Billy, after it emerged that he was on the payroll of the Libyan government. In an extensive report on the affair issued by the Senate Judiciary Committee, of which Biden was a member, Billy was quoted as saying that “he did not need anyone in Washington telling him how to conduct his private business.” Carter said that he had tried, unsuccessfully, to “discourage Billy from making any other trip to Libya” and “to keep him out of the newspapers for a few weeks.” Biden’s approach was to deal with Hunter’s activities by largely ignoring them. This may have temporarily allowed Biden to truthfully inform reporters that his decisions were not affected by Hunter. But, as Robert Weissman, the president of the advocacy group Public Citizen, said, “It’s hard to avoid the conclusion that Hunter’s foreign employers and partners were seeking to leverage Hunter’s relationship with Joe, either by seeking improper influence or to project access to him. It is clear that Hunter and Biden’s decades-old decision not to discuss business matters has exposed both father and son to attacks. (Biden declined to comment for this article.) In March of last year, Peter Schweizer, a conservative researcher and a senior editor-at-large at Breitbart, published “Secret Empires: How the American Political Class Hides Corruption and Enriches Family and Friends.” Schweizer is best known for “Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Clinton Rich,” which was released in May, 2015.  (…) “Secret Empires,” which details Hunter’s activities in China and Ukraine, focusses on what Schweizer calls “corruption by proxy,” which he defines as a “new corruption” that is “difficult to detect” and that, though often legal, makes “good money for a politician and his family and friends” and leaves “American politicians vulnerable to overseas financial pressure.” Schweizer often relies on innuendo to supplement his reporting. At one point, he describes “one of the few public sightings” of Hunter in Beijing, when Hunter, “dressed in a dark overcoat,” followed Biden into a shop to buy a Magnum ice cream. “Intentionally or not,” Schweizer writes, “Hunter Biden was showing the Chinese that he had guanxi”—connections. Schweizer asserts that “Rosemont Seneca Partners had been negotiating an exclusive deal with Chinese officials, which they signed approximately ten days after Hunter visited China with his father.” In fact, the deal had been signed before the trip—according to the BHR representative, it was a business license that came through shortly afterward—and Hunter was not a signatory. Hunter and Archer said that they never met with any Chinese officials about the fund. And the deal wasn’t with Rosemont Seneca Partners but with a new holding company, established solely by Archer; Christopher Heinz was not part of the BHR transaction. Schweizer also asserts that the Chinese fund was “lucrative” for Hunter, but Hunter and his business partners told me that he has yet to receive a payment from the company. In October, 2017, the special counsel Robert Mueller, investigating Russian interference in the 2016 Presidential election, indicted Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign chairman, on twelve counts, including committing conspiracy against the United States by failing to register as a foreign agent of Ukraine. (Manafort pleaded guilty to that charge in September, 2018.) Making a case that Hunter had his own Ukrainian scandal, Schweizer implies that Joe Biden had been consulted in advance about Hunter and Archer’s work with Burisma. On April 16, 2014, he notes, shortly before the announcement that Hunter and Archer had taken seats on the company’s board, Archer made a “private visit to the White House for a meeting with Vice-President Biden.” Hunter, Archer, and Archer’s son Lukas, who is now twelve, told me that the visit was arranged by Hunter for Lukas, who was working on a model of the White House for a grade-school assignment. Afterward, Lukas posted a picture on Instagram of himself shaking the Vice-President’s hand. Hunter and Archer said that Burisma was never discussed. Rudolph Giuliani, Trump’s personal lawyer, has also aggressively promoted what he has called the “alleged Ukraine conspiracy” in interviews and on social media. Giuliani told me that, in the fall of 2018, he spoke to Viktor Shokin, Ukraine’s former prosecutor general. Shokin told him that Vice-President Biden had him fired in 2016 because he was investigating Burisma and the company’s payments to Hunter and Archer. Giuliani said that, in January, 2019, he met with Yurii Lutsenko, Ukraine’s current prosecutor general, in New York, and Lutsenko confirmed Shokin’s version of events. On April 1, 2019, John Solomon, an opinion contributor to The Hill, wrote about Shokin’s claim that he had been conducting a corruption probe into Burisma and Hunter when he was dismissed. A month later, the Times reported that Hunter “was on the board of an energy company owned by a Ukrainian oligarch who had been in the sights of the fired prosecutor general.” The story, by Kenneth P. Vogel and Iuliia Mendel, provoked some Democrats to express concern that the Times was again lending credence to allegations made by Schweizer and other Trump allies. Giuliani retweeted the article, and Trump called for the Justice Department to investigate. (…) There is no credible evidence that Biden sought Shokin’s removal in order to protect Hunter. According to Amos Hochstein, the Obama Administration’s special envoy for energy policy, Shokin was removed because of concerns by the International Monetary Fund, the European Union, and the U.S. government that he wasn’t pursuing corruption investigations. Contrary to the assertions that Shokin was fired because he was investigating Burisma and Zlochevsky, Hochstein said, “many of us in the U.S. government believed that Shokin was the one protecting Zlochevsky.” In May, Giuliani scheduled a visit to Ukraine, and told the Times that he would look into Hunter’s involvement with Burisma, “because that information will be very, very helpful to my client,” but then abruptly cancelled the trip, amid reports that Ukraine’s President-elect was unwilling to meet with him. A week later, on May 16th, Lutsenko appeared to shift his position on Burisma, telling Bloomberg News that he saw no evidence of wrongdoing by Biden or his son, and that “a company can pay however much it wants to its board.” The reasons for his reversal were unclear, but Daria Kaleniuk, the head of the Anti-Corruption Action Center, in Kiev, speculated that Lutsenko, in talking with Giuliani, had been trying to “pump his political muscle,” a strategy that had proved ineffective in the new political climate. That month, Hunter declined Burisma’s offer to serve another term on the board, believing that the controversy had become a distraction. But he said that he was proud of his work there, and that he thought the criticism was misplaced. “I feel the decisions that I made were the right decisions for my family and for me,” he told me. “Was it worth it? Was it worth the pain? No. It certainly wasn’t worth the grief.” He went on, “I would never have been able to predict that Donald Trump would have picked me out as the tip of the spear against the one person they believe can beat them.” And yet, to many voters, the controversy over Hunter’s business dealings will appear to have been avoidable, a product of Biden’s resistance to having difficult conversations, particularly those involving his family. Hunter said that, in his talks with his father, “I’m saying sorry to him, and he says, ‘I’m the one who’s sorry,’ and we have an ongoing debate about who should be more sorry. And we both realize that the only true antidote to any of this is winning. He says, ‘Look, it’s going to go away.’ There is truly a higher purpose here, and this will go away. So can you survive the assault?” Adam Entous
Count Sen. Ron Johnson among those not surprised that the press is ignoring a New York Post report about emails said to be from Hunter Biden’s laptop that suggest he introduced his father the Vice President to a representative of the Ukrainian gas company Burisma Holdings. Or that Twitter and Facebook would run interference for the Bidens by banishing the Post dispatch from their platforms. Something similar happened last month when Mr. Johnson’s Homeland Security Committee and Chuck Grassley’s Finance Committee dropped a joint report on Hunter Biden’s financial dealings overseas. The committees tracked the heartburn the younger Mr. Biden’s involvement with Burisma caused the Obama Administration and dug up intriguing tidbits—such as a $3.5 million wire transfer from a Russian billionaire who had been married to the former mayor of Moscow. Most news accounts dismissed the Senate findings as offering no proof that either Biden did anything criminal. What a low bar. The report mentions, for example, a $100,000 spending spree for Hunter Biden, James Biden (the Vice President’s brother) and Sara Biden (the Vice President’s sister-in-law) financed by Gongwen Dong, a Chinese businessman with ties to China’s largest private oil and gas company. Hunter Biden’s position on the Burisma board was concerning enough within the Obama Administration that two U.S. officials, George Kent and Amos Hochstein, complained about it. Mr. Kent had been Acting Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv. In 2016 he emailed colleagues that “the presence of Hunter Biden on the Burisma board was very awkward for all U.S. officials pushing an anticorruption agenda in Ukraine.” At the least, the Senate report notes, Mr. Biden’s financial dealings raised “criminal financial, counterintelligence and extortion concerns. There’s also whether it affected U.S. policy. In a September 2015 speech in Odessa, U.S. Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt specifically named Mykola Zlochevsky, a former Ukraine official who is also owner of Burisma Holdings, as involved in Ukraine’s corruption. But three months later, Joe Biden advisers told him to avoid mentioning Zlochevsky in a speech. The question is whether his son’s presence on Mr. Zlochevsky’s board affected that decision. The Biden campaign says there was no meeting with the Ukrainian in question on Joe Biden’s official schedule. That doesn’t mean much: The January 2017 Oval Office meeting with Barack Obama and James Comey wasn’t on his official schedule either. Even so, the information unearthed by the committee suggests that Mr. Biden knew much more about his son’s involvement with Burisma than what he let on. Though he says he never discussed Hunter’s overseas business deals with his son, he certainly discussed them with Mr. Hochstein, who came to the Vice President in October 2015 with his concerns. At best Joe Biden had a see-nothing-wrong approach to his son; less generously, it was a wink and a nod of tacit approval. The Senate report further suggests that John Kerry, who served as Secretary of State at the time and whose stepson Chris Heinz was a business partner of Hunter Biden’s, was also not truthful when he said he knew nothing about it. Assuming the emails turned up by the New York Post are real, they provide significant detail about Hunter Biden’s way of doing business. Even if it wasn’t illegal, it was a classic example of Beltway influence-peddling for profit off his father’s name and position. This is a legitimate story with important information for voters who are being asked to trust Joe Biden for a return to normalcy. We doubt this is the kind of Washington self-interest and dishonesty as usual that most Americans have in mind. The Wall Street Journal
Si la question de savoir si Joe Biden a permis à son fils de profiter de l’influence du vice-président est pertinente pour la campagne présidentielle, des questions d’équilibre et de proportionnalité entrent également en jeu. NBC
Le FBI a été averti que des sections du dossier controversé Steele auraient pu faire partie d’une « campagne de désinformation russe visant à dénigrer les relations extérieures des États-Unis », selon des notes de bas de page récemment déclassifiées d’un rapport du gouvernement. CBS (Apr. 2020)
In April of 2014, the then-vice president led a U.S. delegation to Kiev tasked with rooting out corruption and advocating for Ukraine to diminish its reliance on Russian oil. The Obama administration had pledged aid money to support a fledgling Ukrainian administration recovering from a revolution that ousted the country’s previous leader. « You have to fight the cancer of corruption that is endemic in your system right now, » Biden told the Ukrainian parliament during the first of several post-revolution visits to the country. « And with the right investments and the right choices, Ukraine can reduce its energy dependence and increase its energy security. » Within weeks of his visit, Ukraine’s largest energy producer, Burisma Energy, appointed Hunter Biden to a paid directorship on the firm’s board. Just months before, in December of 2013, there was a similar episode when the then-vice president led an Obama administration effort to tamp down tensions in the Far East. Hunter Biden disembarked from Air Force Two in Beijing alongside his father, ahead of a series of meetings between the vice president and several high-ranking members of China’s ruling party. Upon his departure, Joe Biden called Chinese President Xi Jinping a « good friend. » Within weeks of that visit, Hunter Biden was doing business there, as a participant in a firm called Bohai Harvest RST. The corporation formed a novel Chinese-American investment partnership that involved such Chinese state-owned firms as the Bank of China. Reports at the time said they sought to raise $1.5 billion. In response to questions from ABC News, Hunter Biden maintained that he and his father never talked about his overseas ventures. « At no time have I discussed with my father the company’s business, or my board service, » Hunter Biden said in statement forwarded to ABC News by his attorney. « Any suggestion to the contrary is just plain wrong. » An attorney for Hunter Biden told ABC News the vice president’s son merely accompanied his daughter, Finnegan Biden, on the Air Force Two trip to Beijing and conducted no business during the visit. obert Weissman, the president of progressive watchdog group Public Citizen and a frequent critic of business dealings by President Donald Trump’s children — including the Trump Organization’s ongoing development projects overseas — told ABC News that it can be challenging for the adult children of well-known political figures to carve out careers that don’t pose ethics concerns, but he considers Hunter Biden’s decisions concerning. (…) The Ukrainian energy firm Burisma tapped Hunter Biden — a Yale-trained attorney who worked at the Manhattan-based law firm Boies Schiller Flexner LLP — to lead its legal unit and « provide support for the company among international organizations, » according to the company’s announcement at the time. Hunter Biden and his associate at a business entity called Rosemont Seneca Partners — where Hunter Biden was a managing partner — both obtained board seats, and according to banking records reviewed by ABC News, the firm began collecting $166,666 payments each month. In a statement to ABC News, Biden said « at no time » was he « in charge of the company’s legal affairs » and said he « earned [his] qualifications for such a role based on [his] extensive prior board service. » Hunter Biden had served on other corporate boards, including as vice chairman of the board overseeing Amtrak. He had no known experience in Ukraine or the highly competitive energy field, but said in his statement that he joined the board « to help reform Burisma’s practices of transparency, corporate governance and responsibility. » But questions were raised at the time. Asked about the appointment in May of 2014 by ABC News Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl, then-press secretary Jay Carney responded that « Hunter Biden and other members of the Biden family are obviously private citizens, and where they work does not reflect an endorsement by the administration or by the vice president or president. » Ukraine is not the only foreign territory in which there are lingering questions about business conducted by Hunter Biden. His exact role in the Chinese investment fund Bohai Harvest RST remains unclear. The firm’s website described the venture as being « sponsored » by the government-controlled Bank of China, and securities filings in the U.S. say the fund was « to focus on mergers and acquisitions, and investment in and reforms of state-owned enterprise. » A source familiar with Hunter Biden’s involvement said he served as an unpaid director and has not yet received any returns on his investments from the fund, adding that he only became a minority stake-holder in the company in October 2017, with his current investment estimated at approximately $430,000. He continues to play an active role, according to his attorney. And that presents a problem for ethics experts. ABC news
Pour l’heure, rien ne laisse présumer, dans le cas de Hunter Biden, de quelconques irrégularités. Sa présence au conseil d’administration d’une société gazière ukrainienne, entre 2014 et 2019, alors même que son père avait la haute main sur le dossier ukrainien au sein de l’administration Obama (2008-2016), relève toutefois d’un mélange des genres douteux. C’est d’abord la personnalité de l’employeur de Hunter Biden qui interroge. Quoique apparu sur le tard sur la scène oligarchique ukrainienne, Mykola Zlotchevski en est un parfait représentant. L’homme, connu pour ses costumes de couleur et sa carrure de lutteur, a su jouer de son entregent politique pour faire prospérer ses affaires. Relativement modeste pendant des années, sa société d’exploitation d’hydrocarbures, Burisma, est devenue le numéro un privé du secteur… lorsque son patron était à la tête du comité parlementaire aux ressources naturelles, et plus encore ministre de l’écologie, sous la présidence de Viktor Ianoukovitch (2010-2015). Entre 2010 et 2012, la société Burisma a obtenu du ministère de l’écologie six nouvelles licences d’exploration gazière et quatre d’exploitation, principalement dans les Carpathes et dans la région de Dnipro, le hissant à la onzième place du classement des Ukrainiens les plus riches. « Son problème aujourd’hui n’est plus de s’enrichir, puisque tous ses actifs ont été obtenus avant 2014, mais de laver son image », souligne Kristina Berdynskikh, journaliste d’investigation au magazine Novoe Vremya. La période suivant la révolution de Maïdan, en 2014, est en effet riche de menaces, avec ses promesses d’assainissement de l’économie et de mise au pas des oligarques. M. Zlotchevski voit ainsi une partie de ses avoirs gelés au Royaume-Uni, et diverses enquêtes sont ouvertes contre lui en Ukraine. C’est à cette époque-là que l’oligarque se préoccupe de « relations publiques ». Début 2014, Burisma s’attache les services de l’ancien président polonais Aleksander Kwasniewski (1995-2005), intégré au conseil d’administration. Six mois plus tard, Hunter Biden le suit, pour un salaire atteignant, selon une source citée par le Wall Street Journal, 50 000 dollars (45 500 euros) mensuels. Les affaires du second fils de Joe Biden, ancien lobbyiste et ex-financier, ont déjà un parfum de soufre : Hunter est suspecté d’avoir mis en avant sa position familiale lors d’un voyage présidentiel fin 2013 à Pékin pour doper son business en Chine. Le Monde
En regardant le rapport de plus près, on lit qu’Elena Batourina a versé 3,5 millions de dollars non pas sur le compte en banque de Hunter Biden, mais sur celui de Rosemont Seneca Thornton, une entreprise de conseil en investissements, dont les sénateurs disent qu’elle a été cofondée par le fils cadet de Joe Biden. Le paiement, survenu en février 2014, aurait rémunéré un contrat de consultant. Les sénateurs glissent au passage qu’Elena Batourina semblait avoir bénéficié des pratiques corrompues de son mari. Mais rien n’y dit que Hunter Biden ait touché ne serait-ce qu’une partie de cet argent. Comme la précédente, cette accusation repose sur des documents que les sénateurs ne dévoilent pas. Impossible à vérifier donc. Mais les membres démocrates des commissions ayant examiné ces documents assurent à Politifact que rien ne relie Hunter Biden à cette transaction ni à l’entreprise bénéficiaire. L’avocat de Hunter Biden affirme également que son client n’a jamais touché cet argent et qu’il n’a jamais cofondé l’entreprise en question. Le cadet de Joe Biden a bien cocréé une société baptisée Rosemont Seneca en 2009, mais rien ne permet de dire, d’après Politifact, que les deux entreprises sont les mêmes. France info
Durant le second mandat de l’administration Obama, Hunter Biden conclut des accords commerciaux lucratifs avec un fonds d’investissement lié au gouvernement chinois, après que Hunter Biden a accompagné en 2013 son père lors d’un voyage à Pékin. Lors de ce voyage officiel, dans le hall d’un hôtel, Hunter Biden met son père en relation avec Jonathan Li, un partenaire d’affaires chinois. Des conseillers de Joe Biden s’inquiètent des apparences d’une telle présentation au pays des « guanxi » (réseaux de relations). Hunter Biden était un membre bénévole du conseil de BHR Partners, nouveau fonds d’investissement que Jonathan Li était sur le point de diriger. Plusieurs jours après le voyage des Biden en Chine, BHR Partners a obtenu du gouvernement chinois une licence d’exploitation. Trois ans plus tard, Hunter Biden prend une participation de 10 % dans BHR Partners grâce à un investissement de 420 000 $. En décembre 2013, Rosemont Seneca Partners, la petite société de conseil financier de Hunter Biden, participe à une opération de capital-investissement de 1,5 milliard $, impliquant une filiale de la Bank of China, la société de gestion de fonds Bohai Industrial Investment, et l’un des plus importants gestionnaires d’actifs de Chine, Harvest Fundation Management Co. Les sociétés ont utilisé du capital-risque appartenant à l’État chinois pour lever les fonds. Le Wall Street Journal qualifie de « l’une des plus grandes collaborations sino-étrangères en capital-investissement » pour tirer parti de la nouvelle zone de libre-échange de Shanghai et de la libéralisation de la politique chinoise visant à convertir le yuan en devises. Les conversions ont aidé le gouvernement chinois à investir dans des sociétés étrangères. En 2019, le New Yorker écrit un article dans lequel il indique comment Hunter Biden s’est vu offrir un diamant de 2,8 carats par le magnat de l’énergie chinois Ye Jianming. En octobre 2019, pour faire baisser la tension sur la campagne électorale de son père, Hunter Biden annonce qu’il quittera à la fin du mois le conseil d’administration de BHR (Shanghai) Equity Investment Fund Management Company. Toutefois, le 15 avril 2020, le New York Post révèle que Hunter Biden semble toujours faire partie du conseil d’administration de la société de capital-investissement chinoise qu’il a cofondée. Après une visite officielle du vice président Joe Biden en Ukraine, Hunter Biden rejoint, en juin 2014, le directoire d’une des plus importantes compagnies pétrolières et gazières ukrainienne, Burisma, dont le dirigeant, l’oligarque Mykola Zlochevsky, est ex-ministre de l’Écologie de l’ex-président Viktor Ianoukovytch. A partir de 2014, Zlochevsky est poursuivi par la justice ukrainienne et britannique pour blanchiment d’argent à travers Burisma. Hunter Biden, qui n’a alors aucune expérience en Ukraine ou dans le secteur de l’énergie, affirme dans un communiqué de presse : « Je crois que mon aide en tant que consultant d’une compagnie sur les questions de la transparence, de la gestion d’entreprise et de l’expansion internationale aidera l’économie de l’Ukraine et la prospérité de son peuple. En décembre 2015, peu avant la visite de Joe Biden à Kiev, l’ambassadeur américain, Geoffrey R. Pyatt, accuse les procureurs de protéger Mykola Zlochevsky, poursuivi par les autorités britanniques. Des chercheurs estiment à ce moment que la position de Hunter Biden peut nuire au message anticorruption porté par Joe Biden. Selon le Washington Post, Hunter Biden quitte en 2019 son poste au sein de Burisma, après cinq années de service, alors que Joe Biden a annoncé en avril sa candidature à la présidence. Selon le New York Times, « Hunter Biden et ses partenaires américains ont pris part au vaste effort de Burisma visant à rassembler des démocrates bien connectés à une époque où la société faisait face à des enquêtes soutenues non seulement par les forces ukrainiennes mais également par des responsables de l’administration Obama ». D’autres commentateurs soulèvent des problèmes de népotisme ou de conflit d’intérêts. Sur FoxBusiness, proche des partisans de Donald Trump, l’humoriste Bill Maher déclare que « ce gamin » a été payé 600 000 $ juste parce qu’il s’appelait Biden dans ce pays extrêmement corrompu qui venait d’avoir une révolution pour se débarrasser de la corruption. Le site Vox, proche de la gauche libérale, assimile Hunter Biden à ces personnes gravitant autour de la politique américaine, telles que Billy Carter, Tony Rodham et Neil Bush, tentant de capitaliser financièrement sur leurs proches à la Maison-Blanche et parviennent ainsi à s’enrichir sans réaliser d’actions d’envergure, mais affirme aussi que Joe Biden n’est pas intervenu pour aider son fils en Ukraine. Début 2016, l’administration Obama et les autorités européennes sont convaincus que le procureur général ukrainien Viktor Shokin ne fait pas assez pour lutter contre la corruption. Joe Biden décide en mars 2016 de menacer le président ukrainien Petro Porochenko de ne pas accorder un milliard de dollars si Viktor Shokin n’est pas renvoyé dans les six heures. Shokin est remplacé par « quelqu’un de solide ». Joe Biden rend public cette intervention en janvier 2018. De son côté, Viktor Shokin affirme qu’il a été licencié pour l’empêcher d’enquêter sur Hunter Biden. Iouri Loutsenko, procureur à partir de mai 2016, affirme avoir rencontré l’avocat de Donald Trump, Rudolph Giuliani, selon lui « obsédé par les possibles fautes commises par Joe Biden et son fils », mais avoir finalement décidé qu’il n’y avait pas de raison d’ouvrir une enquête contre Hunter Biden. Il considère en septembre 2018 que, si une enquête est ouverte sur Joe Biden et son fils, elle doit l’être aux États-Unis et non en Ukraine. En juillet 2019, le président Donald Trump demande par téléphone à son homologue, le président nouvellement élu Volodymyr Zelensky, de se renseigner pour savoir si l’ancien vice-président Biden a mis fin à une enquête sur une entreprise ukrainienne pour laquelle travaillait son fils. Iouri Loutsenko est à son tour limogé au mois d’août 2019 par le président Volodymyr Zelensky. Le 1er octobre 2019, une enquête est ouverte contre Iouri Loutsenko pour abus de pouvoir. Il est suspecté d’avoir « autorisé un business de paris illégaux ». Aux Etats-Unis, la Chambre des représentants, dominée par les démocrates, lance le 24 septembre 2019 une enquête en vue d’une procédure d’impeachment pour déterminer si le gel par Donald Trump d’une importante aide militaire à l’Ukraine est le résultat d’une volonté de faire pression sur l’exécutif ukrainien, afin que celui-ci lance une enquête sur Joe Biden, dans le but de mettre en difficulté sa campagne pour l’élection présidentielle de 2020. En mars 2020, le comité sénatorial de la Sécurité Intérieure (Homeland Security), dirigé par le républicain Ron Johnson, affirme vouloir poursuivre son enquête sur Hunter Biden, malgré les critiques des sénateurs démocrates, et malgré la priorité donnée à la lutte contre la pandémie de coronavirus. Wikipedia
Trump and his allies alleged that means Joe Biden has lied when he said he never discussed his son’s business roles. (…) The allegation that Hunter Biden has traded on his family name has been thoroughly explored in previous news stories, including a lengthy New Yorker investigation last year in which Robert Weissman, the president of the advocacy group Public Citizen, said, “It’s hard to avoid the conclusion that Hunter’s foreign employers and partners were seeking to leverage Hunter’s relationship with Joe, either by seeking improper influence or to project access to him.” Reports published while the elder Biden was still vice president raised ethical questions about the Burisma deal. While the question of whether Joe Biden enabled his son to profit from the vice president’s influence is relevant to the presidential campaign, issues of balance and proportionality also come into play. (…) An NBC News correspondent asked Bobulinski for an interview and for copies of documents in his possession, but he declined. “All of your questions will be answered on Tucker Carlson tonight,” Bobulinski wrote on Oct. 27. (…) At a meeting in May 2017 in Los Angeles, Bobulinski says Hunter Biden introduced him to the former vice president, saying: “This is Tony, dad, the individual I told you about that’s helping us with the business we are working and the Chinese.” Even if that statement was made, it says very little about how much Joe Biden knew, and nothing about whether he was involved. The Biden campaign has denied that Biden knew about the venture or stood to profit from it. NBC News has sought to obtain the documents on the alleged Hunter Biden laptop, but has been rebuffed. An NBC News correspondent sent a letter two weeks ago to Giuliani, seeking copies of the materials. His lawyer, Robert Costello, granted the correspondent the opportunity to review some Hunter Biden emails and other materials in person. The materials included copies of Hunter Biden identification documents that appeared to be genuine. But without taking possession of the copies, it was not possible to conduct the sort of forensic analysis that might help authenticate the emails and documents. It was Giuliani who ultimately told NBC News he would not be providing a copy of the hard drive. NBC News responded by asking if, instead of a full copy of the hard drive, he could just provide copies of the full set of emails. Giuliani did not agree to that proposal. NBC News then declined an offer of copies of a small group of emails. NBC News has also requested the documents from Republicans on the Senate Homeland Security Committee, but has not received a response. (…) The owner of a computer repair shop in Wilmington, Delaware, John Paul Mac Isaac, has said a man he believes was Hunter Biden left a water-damaged Apple computer at his shop in April 2019 for repairs and data recovery. But Biden never retrieved the machine, Mac Isaac has said, and at some point he began to examine the data. He said he found material that disturbed him, though he has never publicly explained what that was. His lawyer said he contacted the FBI, which ultimately served a grand jury subpoena for the laptop and a hard drive. After hearing nothing from the FBI for months, Mac Isaac said he grew frustrated and turned a copy of the laptop’s contents over to Giuliani’s lawy. (…) According to the representative, Mac Isaac said he wrote to Giuliani’s team after trying to reach out to Republican members of Congress without success. (…) U.S. officials have refused to explain why they seized the laptops and what, if anything, they are investigating. NBC News attempted to speak to Mac Isaac, but he did not respond to requests for comment. NBC News published an article quoting responses he had given to The Daily Beast. His lawyer then sent NBC News a letter that said, “Your network and affiliates should cease any further discussion of Mr. Mac Isaac as much of the information you are presenting is false.” James Rosen, a reporter for the conservative-leaning Sinclair Broadcast Group, the nation’s largest operator of local television stations, reported this week that a Justice Department official told him the FBI had opened a criminal investigation into Hunter Biden and his associates last year focused on allegations of money-laundering — and that the probe remains active. NBC News has not confirmed any such investigation. Rosen also reported that the FBI interviewed former Biden associate Bobulinski last week. A senior law enforcement official told NBC News that Bobulinski initiated the interview. Bobulinski said the FBI told him he’s “listed as a material witness,” but law enforcement officials say the FBI does not use that term in this context. Hunter Biden’s lawyer, George Mesires, did not respond to a request for comment by NBC News. He has not asserted — nor has the Biden campaign — that the laptop did not belong to Hunter Biden. If he did leave the machine in Delaware, it would have marked at least the second time he has left behind a laptop. According to two people familiar with the matter, a different Hunter Biden laptop landed in the custody of the DEA in February when they executed a search warrant on the Massachusetts office of a psychiatrist accused of professional misconduct. The psychiatrist has not been charged with a crime. NBC
Il y a cinq jours, le reporter d’investigation Glen Greenwald claquait la porte du site américain d’information The Intercept, l’accusant d’avoir censuré un article sur Joe Biden et son fils en retirant «tous les passages critiques». Un développement non sans ironie, soulignait ce journaliste libertarien de gauche, détenteur du prix Pulitzer, notant qu’il avait cofondé ce média en 2014 précisément «pour défendre un journalisme indépendant». L’article de Greenwald, qui a depuis été publié sur son site personnel, se penche sur l’affaire des courriers électroniques de Hunter Biden, fils du candidat démocrate, accusé par la campagne de Trump d’avoir monnayé l’accès à son père auprès de compagnies privées en Ukraine et en Chine pour s’enrichir, lorsque ce dernier était vice-président des États-Unis. Sans préjuger de la véracité des accusations portées et de l’implication personnelle du candidat démocrate, le journaliste y explique qu’il est absolument nécessaire d’enquêter, vu que l’authenticité des e-mails en question, confirmés par plusieurs destinataires, dont l’un des ex-collaborateurs de Hunter Biden, n’a jamais été démentie, ni par la campagne démocrate ni par la famille. Son article décrit surtout le silence assourdissant de la plupart des médias sur cette affaire lancée dans la mêlée électorale par le tabloïd conservateur New York Post, le premier à publier ces e-mails, qui auraient été récupérés sur un ordinateur portable de Hunter déposé chez un réparateur. «L’union des entités les plus puissantes de la nation, y compris ses médias, a pris des mesures extraordinaires pour enterrer les questions», parce qu’elle est farouchement pro-Biden, dénonce Greenwald, soulignant notamment «la campagne de censure inhabituelle» lancée aussi par Facebook et Twitter contre le New York Post, dont le compte a été provisoirement gelé par Twitter en invoquant la nécessité de «vérifier les faits». Le journaliste critique aussi avec sévérité la manière dont les médias libéraux «mainstream» auraient accepté l’argument de la campagne de Biden selon lequel cette affaire serait une «opération russe». Il cite notamment l’étonnante publication par le Washington Post d’un avis d’expert qui expédie l’affaire en affirmant que «nous devons traiter les fuites (sur) Hunter Biden comme si elles étaient une opération d’agents extérieurs – même si elles ne le sont pas». Greenwald, dans son article, note aussi que les quelques membres de la presse généraliste qui ont essayé de discuter ces matériels ont été «vilipendés», comme par exemple la reporter du New York Times Maggie Haberman, affublée sur les réseaux sociaux du nom de «Maga Haberman» («Maga» étant l’acronyme du slogan de campagne de Donald Trump, « Make American Great Again »). «Le journalisme est en crise», alerte-t-il, et «les mêmes tendances à la répression, à la censure et à l’homogénéité idéologique qui empoisonnent la presse nationale en général ont atteint le média que j’ai cofondé». La rédaction de The Intercept a rétorqué qu’il n’y avait eu aucune censure, juste l’édition d’un papier afin de faire en sorte qu’il soit «juste et exact». La crise qu’évoque Glen Greenwald et la dérive partisane qui s’est emparée de la presse américaine ne datent pas d’hier. Si en 1974, juste après l’affaire du Watergate, les médias jouissaient d’une opinion favorable chez 70 % des citoyens, selon l’institut Gallup, ce chiffre tourne à peine autour de 30 % aujourd’hui, traduisant une dégringolade. «Nous n’écoutons plus», nous confiait la semaine dernière un pasteur lors d’un rassemblement du président, jugeant que ce dernier avait «raison d’utiliser son compte Twitter pour contourner le mur des médias». L’écrasante majorité des journaux et télévisions américains – près de 95 % – avaient déjà pris fait et cause pour Hillary Clinton en 2016. Depuis, rapporte le Centre d’études des médias de Harvard, la couverture de la présidence a été à plus de 90 % négative, l’idée de faire partir Trump avant terme tournant parfois à l’obsession. En 2020, après l’échec de la procédure de destitution du président et les résultats peu concluants de l’enquête sur sa supposée collusion avec la Russie, ces mêmes médias ont tous pris position pour Joe Biden, afin de «renvoyer le pire président des temps modernes», selon le Washington Post. On estime que sur les 13.000 journalistes en activité aux États-Unis, 80 % se situent dans l’opposition à Trump. Une disproportion qui explique le décalage entre la virulence de la couverture anti-Trump et la «complaisance» du corps journalistique à l’égard de Joe Biden. À la mi-septembre, le site Politico reconnaissait qu’une émission d’ABC avec Donald Trump comme invité avait tourné à l’«interrogatoire hostile», alors que Joe Biden avait droit, sur CNN à «des retrouvailles entre vieux amis». Pour justifier ce parti pris, la plupart des journalistes invoquent une situation «anormale», qui cessera avec le départ de Trump, principale source de «fausses nouvelles», estiment-ils. «Face à un candidat qui qualifie la presse d’ennemie du peuple, la disparité de traitement est hors sujet», veut croire Gabriel Kahn, professeur de journalisme. Trump est d’ailleurs loin d’être complètement isolé médiatiquement, puisqu’il bénéficie de la virulence de l’aile conservatrice du paysage médiatique, qui roule pour lui sans complexe. Le fer de lance de cette nébuleuse est évidemment la chaîne Fox News, aussi partiale pour Trump que les autres médias le sont contre lui [et] Derrière Fox se dresse aussi un univers de radios privées conservatrices chrétiennes, qui défendent activement le président. Ce face-à-face médiatique, qui reflète la division béante de l’Amérique, mais contribue aussi à l’aggraver, existait déjà sous Obama, avec l’opposition systématique de Fox et souvent de la chaîne progressiste MSNBC. Mais la nouveauté des années Trump vient de ce que les médias de la grande presse, jusqu’ici plus distanciés, même s’ils avaient déjà une coloration politique, ont dérivé eux aussi vers le combat, d’une manière plus subtile mais qui n’en reste pas moins problématique. La crise qui traverse le New York Times, «grande dame» du journalisme qui faisait naguère figure de référence incontournable, est à cet égard un résumé du glissement idéologique vers la gauche, au-delà du débat sur Trump. Comme l’ont montré plusieurs épisodes successifs, dont le départ de la journaliste Bari Weiss, accusée de ne pas avoir défendu les canons de «justice sociale», une guerre idéologique gronde en interne entre l’ancienne génération libérale, essentiellement préoccupée de journalisme et de faits, et une jeune génération «woke», qui considère que les préoccupations antiracistes ou antisexistes doivent colorer la couverture. La raison pour laquelle l’ancienne génération, toujours aux commandes mais désireuse d’apparaître inclusive, peine à maintenir l’étalon journalistique est la question clé de l’histoire. Laure Mandeville

Attention: une censure peut en cacher une autre !

A l’heure où à quelques jours de l’une des élections américaines les plus importantes et les plus disputées de l’histoire récente …

Et où avec la massive campagne de votes anticipés et par correspondance orchestrée par les Démocrates …

Plus de 80 millions d’électeurs ont déjà voté …

Et entre délais de comptage et recours pour fraudes …

La décision finale pourrait, entre deux menaces de violence d’extrême-gauche, prendre des jours, voire des semaines ou des mois …

Cherchez l’erreur ..

Quand les médias qui dénoncent la perturbation de meetings de Joe Biden par des partisans de Trump

Et ont sorti depuis trois ans les rumeurs les plus infondées sur le président américain …

Dont le tristement célèbre faux dossier Steele, base de l’enquête de la CIA et du FBI sur la campagne 2016 de Trump …

Concocté à partir de ouï-dire et de potins de tiers provenant de sources de bas niveau par un chercheur britannique payé par l’équipe d’Hillary Clinton pour déterrer des boules puantes contre Trump …

Sont les mêmes qui pour protéger « leur candidat » avec l’aide des réseaux sociaux comme Tweeter ou Facebook …

Voire la démission forcée ou les pressions sur leurs propres journalistes …

Refusent depuis des semaines de couvrir sérieusement l’enquête du NY Post …

Sur les mensonges répétés d’un candidat qui face au soi-disant corrompu Trump se présente comme l’ultime Mr Propre …

Concernant sa prétendue ignorance de l’évident trafic d’influence de son fils en Ukraine, Russie ou Chine …

La presse, reflet partisan et accélérateur des divisions américaines

Les médias américains jouissaient d’une opinion favorable chez la majorité des citoyens après l’affaire du Watergate. Mais depuis, leur popularité a fortement dégringolé.

Laure Mandeville
1er novembre 2020

Il y a cinq jours, le reporter d’investigation Glen Greenwald claquait la porte du site américain d’information The Intercept, l’accusant d’avoir censuré un article sur Joe Biden et son fils en retirant «tous les passages critiques». Un développement non sans ironie, soulignait ce journaliste libertarien de gauche, détenteur du prix Pulitzer, notant qu’il avait cofondé ce média en 2014 précisément «pour défendre un journalisme indépendant».

L’article de Greenwald, qui a depuis été publié sur son site personnel, se penche sur l’affaire des courriers électroniques de Hunter Biden, fils du candidat démocrate, accusé par la campagne de Trump d’avoir monnayé l’accès à son père auprès de compagnies privées en Ukraine et en Chine pour s’enrichir, lorsque ce dernier était vice-président des États-Unis. Sans préjuger de la véracité des accusations portées et de l’implication personnelle du candidat démocrate, le journaliste y explique qu’il est absolument nécessaire d’enquêter, vu que l’authenticité des e-mails en question, confirmés par plusieurs destinataires, dont l’un des ex-collaborateurs de Hunter Biden, n’a jamais été démentie, ni par la campagne démocrate ni par la famille.

Accusation de censure

Son article décrit surtout le silence assourdissant de la plupart des médias sur cette affaire lancée dans la mêlée électorale par le tabloïd conservateur New York Post, le premier à publier ces e-mails, qui auraient été récupérés sur un ordinateur portable de Hunter déposé chez un réparateur. «L’union des entités les plus puissantes de la nation, y compris ses médias, a pris des mesures extraordinaires pour enterrer les questions», parce qu’elle est farouchement pro-Biden, dénonce Greenwald, soulignant notamment «la campagne de censure inhabituelle» lancée aussi par Facebook et Twitter contre le New York Post, dont le compte a été provisoirement gelé par Twitter en invoquant la nécessité de «vérifier les faits».

Le journaliste critique aussi avec sévérité la manière dont les médias libéraux «mainstream» auraient accepté l’argument de la campagne de Biden selon lequel cette affaire serait une «opération russe». Il cite notamment l’étonnante publication par le Washington Post d’un avis d’expert qui expédie l’affaire en affirmant que «nous devons traiter les fuites (sur) Hunter Biden comme si elles étaient une opération d’agents extérieurs – même si elles ne le sont pas».

Greenwald, dans son article, note aussi que les quelques membres de la presse généraliste qui ont essayé de discuter ces matériels ont été «vilipendés», comme par exemple la reporter du New York Times Maggie Haberman, affublée sur les réseaux sociaux du nom de «Maga Haberman» («Maga» étant l’acronyme du slogan de campagne de Donald Trump, « Make American Great Again »). «Le journalisme est en crise», alerte-t-il, et «les mêmes tendances à la répression, à la censure et à l’homogénéité idéologique qui empoisonnent la presse nationale en général ont atteint le média que j’ai cofondé». La rédaction de The Intercept a rétorqué qu’il n’y avait eu aucune censure, juste l’édition d’un papier afin de faire en sorte qu’il soit «juste et exact».

La crise qu’évoque Glen Greenwald et la dérive partisane qui s’est emparée de la presse américaine ne datent pas d’hier. Si en 1974, juste après l’affaire du Watergate, les médias jouissaient d’une opinion favorable chez 70 % des citoyens, selon l’institut Gallup, ce chiffre tourne à peine autour de 30 % aujourd’hui, traduisant une dégringolade. «Nous n’écoutons plus», nous confiait la semaine dernière un pasteur lors d’un rassemblement du président, jugeant que ce dernier avait «raison d’utiliser son compte Twitter pour contourner le mur des médias».

Le fer de lance de cette nébuleuse est évidemment la chaîne Fox News, aussi partiale pour Trump que les autres médias le sont contre lui

L’écrasante majorité des journaux et télévisions américains – près de 95 % – avaient déjà pris fait et cause pour Hillary Clinton en 2016. Depuis, rapporte le Centre d’études des médias de Harvard, la couverture de la présidence a été à plus de 90 % négative, l’idée de faire partir Trump avant terme tournant parfois à l’obsession. En 2020, après l’échec de la procédure de destitution du président et les résultats peu concluants de l’enquête sur sa supposée collusion avec la Russie, ces mêmes médias ont tous pris position pour Joe Biden, afin de «renvoyer le pire président des temps modernes», selon le Washington Post.

On estime que sur les 13.000 journalistes en activité aux États-Unis, 80 % se situent dans l’opposition à Trump. Une disproportion qui explique le décalage entre la virulence de la couverture anti-Trump et la «complaisance» du corps journalistique à l’égard de Joe Biden. À la mi-septembre, le site Politico reconnaissait qu’une émission d’ABC avec Donald Trump comme invité avait tourné à l’«interrogatoire hostile», alors que Joe Biden avait droit, sur CNN à «des retrouvailles entre vieux amis».

Pour justifier ce parti pris, la plupart des journalistes invoquent une situation «anormale», qui cessera avec le départ de Trump, principale source de «fausses nouvelles», estiment-ils. «Face à un candidat qui qualifie la presse d’ennemie du peuple, la disparité de traitement est hors sujet», veut croire Gabriel Kahn, professeur de journalisme.

Trump est d’ailleurs loin d’être complètement isolé médiatiquement, puisqu’il bénéficie de la virulence de l’aile conservatrice du paysage médiatique, qui roule pour lui sans complexe. Le fer de lance de cette nébuleuse est évidemment la chaîne Fox News, aussi partiale pour Trump que les autres médias le sont contre lui, avec une mention spéciale pour le show du journaliste vedette Tucker Carlson, qui bat des records d’audience. Derrière Fox se dresse aussi un univers de radios privées conservatrices chrétiennes, qui défendent activement le président.

Ce face-à-face médiatique, qui reflète la division béante de l’Amérique, mais contribue aussi à l’aggraver, existait déjà sous Obama, avec l’opposition systématique de Fox et souvent de la chaîne progressiste MSNBC. Mais la nouveauté des années Trump vient de ce que les médias de la grande presse, jusqu’ici plus distanciés, même s’ils avaient déjà une coloration politique, ont dérivé eux aussi vers le combat, d’une manière plus subtile mais qui n’en reste pas moins problématique. La crise qui traverse le New York Times, «grande dame» du journalisme qui faisait naguère figure de référence incontournable, est à cet égard un résumé du glissement idéologique vers la gauche, au-delà du débat sur Trump.

La question clé de l’histoire

Comme l’ont montré plusieurs épisodes successifs, dont le départ de la journaliste Bari Weiss, accusée de ne pas avoir défendu les canons de «justice sociale», une guerre idéologique gronde en interne entre l’ancienne génération libérale, essentiellement préoccupée de journalisme et de faits, et une jeune génération «woke», qui considère que les préoccupations antiracistes ou antisexistes doivent colorer la couverture. La raison pour laquelle l’ancienne génération, toujours aux commandes mais désireuse d’apparaître inclusive, peine à maintenir l’étalon journalistique est la question clé de l’histoire.

La manière choquante dont le New York Times a par exemple rendu compte de la décapitation du professeur d’histoire Samuel Paty, annonçant que la police avait «tiré et abattu un homme, à la suite d’une attaque au couteau», au lieu de titrer sur le fait majeur de la décapitation de l’enseignant par un islamiste, illustre avec éclat à quel point le prisme antiraciste obsessionnel qui domine le débat aux États-Unis déteint sur sa couverture.

Peu de journaux semblent épargnés. Un journaliste nous confie qu’au Christian Science Monitor, journal plutôt situé à droite, les jeunes reporters exigent désormais des anciens qu’ils fassent des statistiques sur les sources qu’ils citent: femmes, hommes, Noirs, Blancs, Latinos… afin de maintenir une «juste» proportion dans la couverture… La question n’est désormais plus seulement la fiabilité des sources, mais leur origine raciale ou leur genre.

Voir aussi:

Guerre culturelle en Amérique: la dernière chance des conservateurs

DÉCRYPTAGE – Avec l’arrivée de Trump à la présidence, les conservateurs se sont sentis requinqués, presque surpris d’avoir trouvé en ce milliardaire divorcé et incapable de réciter un verset de la Bible, un allié aussi résolu des valeurs chrétiennes.

Laure Mandeville

Il y a quelques jours, Thomas Kligenstein, président de l’Institut Claremont, influent think-tank conservateur californien, prenait solennellement la parole dans une vidéo pour appeler ses compatriotes républicains à comprendre l’enjeu de «l’élection la plus importante que l’Amérique ait connue depuis 1860». «Le parti démocrate chevauche une révolution» qui vise à changer «le projet américain des Pères fondateurs», mettait-il en garde. La bataille présidentielle de 2020 n’est pas «une compétition entre des programmes sur la santé ou la fiscalité, mais une bataille pour deux modes de vie qui ne peuvent coexister pacifiquement», ajoutait-il.

Dans sa vidéo au ton assez dramatique, l’intellectuel conservateur oppose l’approche républicaine, universaliste, mettant en avant les droits individuels des citoyens sans prise en compte de leur couleur de peau, au projet multiculturaliste de la gauche américaine, qui considère la société «non pas comme une communauté d’individus mais comme une collection de groupes culturels communautaires définis par leur race, leur ethnicité ou leur genre». Pour les progressistes, «toutes ces identités sont opprimées par les mâles blancs et leur but est de représenter de manière proportionnelle tous les groupes dans toutes les institutions américaines», affirme Kligenstein, qui avertit que cette obsession d’une représentation proportionnelle «amènerait à une redistribution sans fin de la richesse, qui ne pourrait être réalisée que par un gouvernement tyrannique et omniprésent».

«Les multiculturalistes veulent nous convaincre que l’Amérique se définit par l’esclavage, qu’elle est mauvaise et systémiquement raciste et qu’il faut donc tout changer», ajoute Kligenstein dans sa vidéo. Un constat qui l’amène à plaider pour un vote clair en faveur du président sortant.

L’intellectuel est persuadé qu’un président Biden serait impuissant à arrêter la vague révolutionnaire qui a pris racine dans son parti. Trump, à l’inverse, «ne se sent pas coupable et considère que l’Amérique est bonne» intrinsèquement. Pour cette seule raison, «c’est l’homme providentiel» de la droite, note Kligenstein, reprenant une idée que beaucoup de conservateurs expriment désormais ouvertement, après l’avoir beaucoup critiqué. «Trump n’est pas un président pour tous les temps… Mais pour les temps révolutionnaires que nous vivons, c’est exactement l’homme qu’il nous faut», car il a du «courage, et est capable d’aller là où personne n’ose aller», dit encore le président de l’Institut Claremont, tout en reconnaissant que «ses paroles», «sa mesquinerie», «son esprit de rancune» le font parfois «grincer des dents».

Les multiculturalistes veulent nous convaincre que l’Amérique se définit par l’esclavage, qu’elle est mauvaise et systémiquement raciste et qu’il faut donc tout changer.

Thomas Kligenstein, président de l’Institut Claremont.

Dans la bataille qui se joue en Amérique, on a parfois l’impression que la pandémie du Covid-19 est le thème qui a écrasé tout le reste. Mais cette impression est trompeuse. Les guerres culturelles et la question plus générale de la direction existentielle que prendra le pays sont dans tous les esprits, comme l’exprime la sortie de Kligenstein.

Alors que le 3 novembre approche, les démocrates ne cessent de répéter qu’une réélection du turbulent milliardaire serait une catastrophe pour le pays, sa seule présence à la Maison-Blanche constituant selon eux un danger terrible, qui ouvrirait la voie au chaos et à une dictature rampante. Mais le sentiment d’une apocalypse est aussi très présent sur la droite, où l’on craint que le retour des démocrates aux affaires ne scelle la victoire définitive de la révolution identitariste et multiculturaliste «woke», qui, partie des universités, est en train déborder dans la presse libérale et la gauche du «parti de l’âne». «Nous sommes au bord d’un abîme», affirme le prêtre conservateur catholique Ed Meeks.

La victoire du libéralisme sociétal

Depuis la révolution sociétale des années 1960, qui a vu les idées de la gauche libérale triompher et l’emprise de la religion refluer, les conservateurs se sont toujours sentis sur la défensive, jugeant avoir largement perdu la bataille culturelle, notamment après la décision Roe vs Wade de la Cour suprême autorisant l’avortement dans tous les États. Plusieurs auteurs célèbres, Alan Bloom, Christopher Lasch, ont brillamment décrit ce processus. L’arrivée de Ronald Reagan et sa révolution conservatrice avaient certes réarmé la droite, mais ce «retour de flamme» fut très provisoire.

En réalité, si les conservateurs ont continué à revendiquer les valeurs chrétiennes, le libéralisme sociétal a poursuivi ses avancées, du mariage gay, plutôt bien accepté, à une approche de plus en plus révolutionnaire du genre, qui remet en cause la famille traditionnelle et les différences biologiques entre les sexes, en passant par la bataille pour la «Justice sociale», qui, au nom de la lutte antiraciste et antisexiste, entend rejeter aujourd’hui tout l’héritage intellectuel et culturel occidental.

Certes, avec l’arrivée de Donald Trump à la présidence, les conservateurs se sont sentis requinqués, presque surpris d’avoir trouvé en ce milliardaire divorcé – et incapable de réciter un verset de la Bible -, un allié aussi résolu des «valeurs chrétiennes». L’arrivée de trois nouveaux juges conservateurs à la Cour suprême a galvanisé leurs troupes. Mais le sentiment dominant reste celui d’une planète républicaine sur la défensive.

Trump n’est pas un président pour tous les temps… mais, pour les temps révolutionnaires que nous vivons, c’est exactement l’homme qu’il nous faut.

Thomas Kligenstein, président de l’Institut Claremont.

Après la mort tragique, en pleine campagne électorale, de George Floyd, un Afro-Américain tué par un policier, le débat légitime sur les violences policières a tourné à une discussion sur le racisme supposément «systémique» de la police et des institutions américaines, menant au démantèlement de dizaines de statues de personnalités, sur fond d’émeutes et de violences. Même Lincoln et Frederick Douglas, exemples de l’antiracisme, note Kligenstein, n’ont pas été épargnés, suscitant une inquiétude grandissante chez les conservateurs et nombre de libéraux jusqu’ici accommodants.

Trump a pris position sur ce sujet brûlant dès le mois de juin, dans son discours de Rushmore. Trois mois plus tard, Joe Biden se rendait à Gettysburg, un haut lieu de la guerre civile américaine, pour appeler à l’apaisement. Mais les républicains disent ne pas se sentir rassurés par son approche très conciliante et soulignent que la gauche «woke», qui tient tous les lieux de pouvoir «gramsciens» – l’université, la presse, Hollywood -, pourrait se sentir pousser des ailes.

Même si le phénomène reste peu couvert par la presse américaine, une ambiance révolutionnaire continue d’agiter les campus. Ces derniers jours, l’université de Chicago comme celle de NorthWestern dans l’Illinois, ont notamment été le siège de manifestations violentes et de destructions organisées des groupes d’étudiants de Black Lives Matter, qui revendiquent la dissolution de la police du campus.

Dans une lettre ouverte, le président de Northwestern, Morton Schapiro, s’est indigné du vandalisme et des appels à «tuer les cochons» de policiers des manifestants. Il a expliqué avoir été harcelé par des dizaines d’activistes venus chanter «Va te faire enc… Morty» devant sa maison en pleine nuit. «C’est une abomination», a-t-il écrit, tout en disant soutenir les revendications de justice de Black Lives Matter.

L’un de ses amis a envoyé sa lettre à des dizaines de collègues à travers le pays, les appelant à exprimer leur soutien. Beaucoup de professeurs conservateurs, qui se sentaient déjà isolés, parfois forcés de participer à des réunions pour s’excuser de leur «blanchité», se demandent où s’arrêtera cette radicalisation. Elle les pousse évidemment vers Trump, qui a annulé de semblables programmes en parlant de propagande antiaméricaine.

Voir également:

 

Tom Klingenstein explains why 2020 may be the most consequential election since 1860—and why President Trump is the man most uniquely suited to the moment. Read his entire remarks from the October speech below, via American Greatness.

Klingenstein is a principal in the investment firm of Cohen, Klingenstein, LLC and the chairman of the Board of Directors of the Claremont Institute.

THOMAS KLINGENSTEIN: My name is Tom Klingenstein. I am the chair of the board of the Claremont Institute which is a conservative think tank, managing partner of a New York investment firm and playwright.

I wish to make three points. First, Trump is the perfect man for these times, not all times, perhaps not most times, but these times. Second, Republicans are not doing a good job explaining the stakes in this election. They must explain, and this is my third point, that the Democratic Party, which has been taken by its radical wing, is leading a revolution. This makes the coming election the most important one since the election of 1860. Let’s begin there.

Unlike most elections, this one is much more than a contest over particular policies—like health care or taxes. Rather, like the election of 1860, this election is a contest between two competing regimes, or ways of life. Two ways of life that cannot exist peacefully together.

One way of life, I’ll call it “the traditional American way of life,” is based on individual rights, the rule of law, and a shared understanding of the common good. This way of life values hard work, self-reliance, volunteerism, patriotism, and so on.

In this way of life there are no hyphenated Americans. We are all just Americans. Colorblindness is our aspiration.

The other way of life I call multiculturalism. Others call it “identity politics” or “cultural Marxism” or “Intersectionality”.

The multicultural movement, which has taken over the Democratic party, is a revolutionary movement. I do not mean a metaphorical revolution. It is not like a revolution; it is a revolution, an attempt to overthrow the American Founding as President Trump said in his excellent Mt. Rushmore speech. Republicans should say the same thing. Republicans everywhere, at every level, and at every opportunity.

Multiculturalism conceives of society, not as a community of individuals with equal rights but as a collection of cultural identity groups—defined by race, ethnicity, gender, and so forth. According to the multiculturalists, all these identity groups are oppressed by white males.

Their goal is to have each identity group proportionally represented in all institutions of American society. As should be immediately clear, achieving this proportional representation requires a never-ending redistribution of wealth and power from some groups—and not just from whites—to other groups. Such a massive redistribution can only be achieved by a tyrannical government and like in all tyrannies, one where dissenters are silenced.

In order to achieve this proportional representation, the Democrats require not just endless affirmative action but genuine socialism, open borders, unrestricted trade, seizing guns, sanctuary cities, and much more.

The Black Lives Matter/Democrats understand (which Republicans seem not to), that if they are to achieve this policy agenda they must get Americans to change their values, their principles, and the way they understand themselves.

They must get us to believe that national borders and colorblindness are racist; that we are not one culture but many; that the most important thing in our history—the thing around which all else pivots—is slavery. More broadly, the multiculturalists must get us to believe that we are unworthy—not just that we have sinned (which of course we have)—but that we are irredeemably sinful, or, in the language of today, “systemically racist.” And sexist, homophobic, Islamophobic and all the other “ists” and phobias. Simply put, multiculturalism must get us to believe we are bad

This suggests one way to frame the coming election: as a contest between a man, Trump, who believes America is good and a man, Biden, who is controlled by a movement that believes America is bad. I do not think it is any more complicated than that.

For the multiculturalist to change traditional values and principles they must destroy, or radically restructure, the institutions that teach those values and principles. The most important of these institutions is family, but also very important is religion, education (which they have mostly destroyed already) and community life, replacing the latter with government bureaucrats. It is here—in these value-teaching institutions—that we see the underpinnings of the Revolution. This is where the real action is. Republicans seem to be missing in action.

Republicans need to explain that BLM and their Democratic enablers wish to destroy the traditional mother-father family. To substantiate this claim, Republicans have only to point to the BLM mission statement. The mission statement, written by avowed Marxists, also lets us know that BLM holds transgenderism to be the burning issue of our time.

Republicans must also explain that religion, because it teaches American values, is also on the chopping block.

Republicans also must make American see that the taking down of statues is not about removing a few confederate generals; it’s about destroying America’s past, as is the New York Times 1619 Project. The rioters, and their BLM-Democrats enablers, are tearing down the statues even of people like Frederick Douglass who fought against slavery. This is not an accident. It is not collateral damage. Frederick Douglass was a great American. He believed that America in her soul was not racist. He believed in hard work and self-reliance. And because of his embrace of American values the BLM-Democrats have to get rid of him.

They must also get rid of Abraham Lincoln, for it is he who best explains what we should aspire to. And it is he who is the best defender of the American Founding. In one sense, this election is a referendum on the Founding. Whether America was founded in 1619, as the BLM-Democrats contend, or, in 1776 as Lincoln, and, until recently, all Americans believed.

Republicans must make more of political correctness and cancel culture, which, as we have seen so vividly of late, brutally punishes apostates.

Who does Twitter think it is, censoring an American president? Republicans simply cannot stand for that.

And Republicans must explain, as I earlier explained, that the multiculturalists are trying to get us to believe that we are systemically racist so that we will surrender to their policy agenda. This too must not be allowed to stand. The American people need to hear what they know in their hearts: they are not racists. Republicans should stand up and say, “no, America is not racist.” Period.

If Americans are systemically anything, it is a systemic commitment to freedom and equal rights for all.

Perhaps most importantly, Republicans must say over and over that America is “incredible,” to use President Trump’s adjective of choice. They must remind the American people that, as a friend of mine is fond of saying, America has brought more freedom and more prosperity to more people than any country in the history of mankind. Most Americans know this, but this too they need to hear from their leaders.

In order to make the case that the Democrats are leading a revolution, Republicans must delegitimize Black Lives Matter—the organization, of course, not the sentiment. To BLM and their Democratic enablers, Republicans must say: “Absolutely, black lives matter. They just don’t matter to you. You don’t care about Mr. Floyd, the black businesses you have destroyed, the blacks who are getting killed because you have forced the police to back off. You’re here for destruction. Not black lives, not any lives.”

After delegitimizing Black Lives Matter, the next step for Republicans is to tie BLM’s revolutionary agenda around the necks of Democrats.

The BLM wing of the Democratic party has captured the entire party. Run-of-the-mill Democrats may not agree with all of the BLM agenda but they go-along, so they might as well agree. Joe Biden is one of the go-along Democrats.

So do not expect all Democrats to sing the BLM tune; even so, most will kneel before them.

Listen to Biden. On one occasion Biden said, “Let’s be clear, transgender equality is the civil rights issue of our time.” A year ago, Biden may not have even known what transgenderism is. He does not seem to know it, but he has been radicalized.

Biden now regularly talks about “systemic” racism. On one occasion Biden said, though without evidence, there is “absolutely systemic racism in law enforcement.” “[But] it’s not just in law enforcement,” he continued, “it’s across the board. It’s in housing, it’s in education . . . It’s in everything we do.”

He is wrong on every count, but if indeed he believes that racism is in “everything we do,” that it is systemic, then he believes, whether he admits or not, that the system must be overturned. Biden does not realize it, but he is calling for the overthrow of the American way of life. I presume that is not his intent, but when the words he is reading off his BLM teleprompter get translated into policy, that will be the consequence — the destruction of the American way of life.

Biden demurs. There is nothing to fear from Biden says Biden: “Do I look like a radical socialist with a soft spot for rioters?” No, he does not, but what he does look like is a sap.

Republicans must make it clear that these are the “Biden riots.”

This brings me to my last point: Trump. I know President Trump has many faults. I myself sometimes cringe listening to him. Sometimes he is his own worst enemy. He is a braggart, often misinformed, petty, sometimes even vengeful. And more.

And yet, we are very lucky to have him. I am almost prepared to say that having him is Providential. How else to explain that we find ourselves with this most unusual, most unpresidential man who has just the attributes most needed for this moment. At any other time, he might well have been a bad president. But in these times—these revolutionary times—he is the best president we could have had.

He has the indispensable attribute of a leader: courage. As a leader must, he goes where others are afraid to go. And he has common sense, which means he generally wants to go to the right place.

Above all else, and above anyone else, Trump is committed to America. He is unreservedly, unquestionably pro-America. He feels no guilt for America’s past. He makes no apologies. He concedes nothing. These may not always be the attributes one wants in a President, but in this day of woke guilt they are the most essential things. And Trump has unlimited confidence in America. In this time of national doubt, this too is just what the doctor ordered. He thinks our culture is “incredible” and that’s the way he wants to keep it.

Trump not only thinks America is incredible, he knows we are in a fight for our lives.

And despite what one hears ad nauseum from the Democrats, Trump is perhaps among the least racist presidents we have ever had. Trump is not defending the white way of life; he is defending the American way of life, a colorblind way of life which is open to anyone who is willing to embrace it.

If we want to save our country, then we should support him—unequivocally. I am. I think this election is that important, and I think Trump is that good. I hope you agree.

Remember, Trump versus Biden is the choice between a man who believes America is good and a man who is controlled by a movement which believes America is bad.

Joe Biden s’en prend aux «  affreux » partisans de Trump qui ont perturbé son rassemblement au Minnesota à coup de klaxons de voiture
Business insider
31 octobre  2020

Joe Biden, a qualifié une foule de partisans de Trump de « gens laids » après avoir tenté d’interrompre son rassemblement de campagne en faisant sonner leurs klaxons de voiture, en sonnant des cloches et en scandant. « Le Dr Fauci a appelé à un mandat de masque la semaine dernière, ce n’est pas une déclaration politique comme ces gens laids là-bas qui bipent leurs cornes, c’est un devoir patriotique pour l’amour de Dieu », a déclaré Biden au-dessus du bruit. Le rassemblement électoral de Biden au Minnesota survient alors que les deux campagnes prennent d’assaut les principaux États du champ de bataille dans une tentative de dernière minute de rallier le soutien avant le jour des élections. Visitez la page d’accueil de Business Insider pour plus d’histoires . Le candidat démocrate du, Joe Biden, a critiqué vendredi une foule de partisans de Trump qui perturbaient son rassemblement de campagne à Saint-Paul, dans le Minnesota, les qualifiant de «laids» qui n’étaient «pas très polis

Vidéos du rallye montrent Biden essayant de parler au-dessus d’un groupe de partisans de Trump qui se tenaient devant les portes de l’événement, bipant les klaxons de leur voiture, sonnant des cloches et scandant «Joe est un escroc».

Le rallye drive-in, organisé dans un parking, était sur invitation seulement.

Conformément aux précautions contre la pandémie et, comme la plupart des événements de la campagne de Biden , le petit groupe de participants devait se distancer socialement et se garer à environ 10 à 20 pieds l’un de l’autre.

Cependant, un groupe de partisans sans masque de Trump s’était rassemblé près des portes à l’extérieur du parking, chahutant l’ancien vice-président alors qu’il tentait de parler de la pandémie COVID-19.

« Le Dr Fauci a demandé l’obligation du port du masque la semaine dernière, ce n’est pas une déclaration politique comme ces malfaisants là-bas avec leurs klaxons, c’est un devoir patriotique pour l’amour de Dieu », a déclaré Biden, selon une vidéo de l’événement.

« Ces gars ne sont pas très polis mais ils sont comme Trump. Mais écoutez, ils iront bien. Nous allons nous occuper d’eux aussi. Nous devons nous unir, nous battre pour tout ça.,les gars », a ajouté Biden.

« Il y a une raison pour laquelle ils ne veulent pas m’entendre parce qu’ils savent que le président ne dit rien. Ils ont donc l’habitude de ne rien entendre. »

Regardez le moment ci-dessous:

—Charlie Kirk (@ charliekirk11) 31 octobre 2020 Voici un aperçu de la scène en face des portes, qui semblaient paisibles.

– Rebecca Brannon (@RebsBrannon) 30 octobre 2020 Le rassemblement électoral de Biden dans le Minnesota survient alors que sa campagne et celle de Trump prennent d’assaut les États du champ de bataille du Midwest dans une tentative de dernière minute pour rallier le soutien avant le jour des élections mardi.

Biden a commencé la journée avec un événement dans l’Iowa, puis a prononcé deux discours dans le Minnesota.

Il doit comparaître samedi avec l’ancien président Barack Obama dans le Michigan pour « discuter du rapprochement des Américains pour faire face aux crises auxquelles le pays est confronté », a annoncé la campagne Biden, selon CNN.

Pendant ce temps, Trump se concentre sur les États industriels historiquement démocratiques tels que le Michigan, le Wisconsin et la Pennsylvanie dans les prochains jours.

Il s’est également exprimé vendredi dans le Minnesota, qui n’a pas voté pour un candidat républicain à la présidentielle depuis 1972.

Voir également:

Présidentielle américaine : que cache l' »affaire Hunter Biden », que le camp Trump remet sur le tapis ?

En pleine campagne pour l’élection présidentielle, le fils cadet de Joe Biden est la cible de rumeurs colportées par Donald Trump et une partie du camp républicain. Mais les preuves formelles manquent.

Benoît Zagdoun
France Télévisions

« La famille Biden est une entreprise criminelle », martèle-t-il dans ses meetings. « Enfermez-le », scandent ses supporters à propos de Joe Biden, comme ils le clamaient déjà en 2016 au sujet d’Hillary Clinton. A la traîne dans les intentions de vote, Donald Trump accuse son rival à la présidentielle américaine de corruption. Et pour atteindre le père, il vise le fils cadet : Hunter Biden.

Ses manœuvres sont apparues au grand jour en septembre 2019, lorsque le contenu d’un coup de fil avec son homologue ukrainien a été révélé. Le locataire de la Maison Blanche semblait lui demander de lancer une enquête sur Hunter et Joe Biden dans son pays, avec, dans la balance, le versement d’une aide américaine.

Ces révélations ont valu à Donald Trump un procès en destitution. Il a évité l' »impeachment » et le dossier Hunter Biden a été enterré quelques mois. Mais il a ressurgi dans les dernières semaines de la campagne, alimenté par de nouvelles révélations douteuses. Franceinfo démêle le vrai du « fake » dans cette prétendue « affaire Hunter Biden ».

Hunter Biden serait lié à un réseau de trafic sexuel 

Les accusations du camp Trump. « Hunter Biden a payé des femmes non résidentes ressortissantes de Russie ou d’autres pays d’Europe de l’Est et qui semblent être liées à un ‘réseau de prostitution ou de traite des êtres humains en Europe de l’Est’. » Cette accusation figure dans un rapport(*tous les liens qui suivent dans cet article sont en anglais) sur les activités d’Hunter Biden, publié le 23 septembre par les comités sénatoriaux de la Sécurité intérieure et des Finances, tous deux dirigés par des républicains. Elle a été relayée sur Facebook par de nombreux internautes, comme celle-ci.

Les arguments du camp Biden. Les élus conservateurs promettaient depuis un an des révélations explosives sur les affaires du fils cadet de Joe Biden. Mais ils se sont contentés de publier, à six semaines de la présidentielle, 87 pages compilant des informations déjà rendues publiques et des insinuations reposant sur des preuves plutôt légères, note Politico. Des allégations sans preuves, qui résonnent comme un écho de la campagne de désinformation en provenance de Russie, relève le New York Times.

Il faut se référer à une note de bas de page du rapport pour en savoir un peu plus. Sa lecture atténue considérablement la portée de l’accusation. Les sénateurs écrivent que celle-ci repose sur des documents en leur possession, mais qu’ils ne produisent pas. Le résumé qu’ils en font est truffé de formules comme « possible », « supposée », « potentielle », « qui semble être »… Interrogé sur cette accusation précise par une animatrice de radio conservatrice à la publication du rapport, l’un des deux sénateurs, Ron Johnson, a reconnu qu’ils n’avaient « pas beaucoup d’informations à ce sujet ».

Il a été question de prostitution dans la vie de Hunter Biden, en 2017, lorsque, en plein divorce, son ex-épouse Kathleen Buhle Biden a porté plainte en justice contre lui pour avoir dépensé leur argent « de manière extravagante » en « drogue, alcool, prostituées, clubs de strip-tease et cadeaux à des femmes avec lesquelles il avait des relations sexuelles », rapportait Associated Press. Hunter Biden a nié avoir engagé des prostituées, indiquait le New Yorker en 2019.

Hunter Biden aurait reçu 3,5 millions de dollars de la femme de l’ex-maire de Moscou

Les accusations du camp Trump. « Hunter Biden a reçu un transfert d’argent de 3,5 millions de dollars de la part d’Elena Batourina, l’épouse de l’ancien maire de Moscou. » Là encore, l’accusation est tirée du rapport des sénateurs. Elle a été reprise par Donald Trump, quatre jours plus tard dans une conférence de presse, le président faisant mine de s’interroger sur les raisons de ce paiement.

Les arguments du camp Biden. En regardant le rapport de plus près, on lit qu’Elena Batourina a versé 3,5 millions de dollars non pas sur le compte en banque de Hunter Biden, mais sur celui de Rosemont Seneca Thornton, une entreprise de conseil en investissements, dont les sénateurs disent qu’elle a été cofondée par le fils cadet de Joe Biden. Le paiement, survenu en février 2014, aurait rémunéré un contrat de consultant. Les sénateurs glissent au passage qu’Elena Batourina semblait avoir bénéficié des pratiques corrompues de son mari. Mais rien n’y dit que Hunter Biden ait touché ne serait-ce qu’une partie de cet argent.

Comme la précédente, cette accusation repose sur des documents que les sénateurs ne dévoilent pas. Impossible à vérifier donc. Mais les membres démocrates des commissions ayant examiné ces documents assurent à Politifact que rien ne relie Hunter Biden à cette transaction ni à l’entreprise bénéficiaire.

L’avocat de Hunter Biden affirme également que son client n’a jamais touché cet argent et qu’il n’a jamais cofondé l’entreprise en question. Le cadet de Joe Biden a bien cocréé une société baptisée Rosemont Seneca en 2009, mais rien ne permet de dire, d’après Politifact, que les deux entreprises sont les mêmes.

Hunter Biden aurait présenté un homme d’affaires ukrainien à son père

Les accusations du camp Trump. « Un e-mail explosif révèle comment Hunter Biden a présenté un homme d’affaires ukrainien à son papa vice-président. » Tel est le titre de l’article du New York Post paru le 14 octobre, propageant la dernière rumeur en date sur Hunter et Joe Biden.

D’après les informations du tabloïd, un conseiller du directoire de Burisma, une entreprise ukrainienne productrice de gaz naturel, a envoyé l’e-mail suivant au fils cadet de Joe Biden en avril 2015 : « Cher Hunter, merci de m’avoir invité à [Washington] DC et de m’avoir donné l’opportunité de rencontrer votre père et d’avoir passé du temps ensemble. C’est vraiment un honneur et un plaisir. »

A l’époque, Joe Biden est le vice-président de Barack Obama et, contrairement à ses prédécesseurs, il joue un rôle important au sein de l’administration, notamment en matière de politique étrangère. Il est notamment chargé du dossier ukrainien, au moment où les tensions entre Kiev et Moscou se tendent après la chute du président pro-russe ukrainien en 2014. A la même période, son fils cadet, Hunter, est recruté au sein du conseil d’administration de Burisma, entreprise détenue par un ancien ministre de l’ex-pouvoir pro-russe, Mykola Vladislavovytch Zlotchevski, inquiété par la justice. Le nouveau job du fils du vice-président fait craindre des conflits d’intérêts à la Maison Banche, rapportent Reuters et le New York Times.

Les arguments du camp Biden. La genèse de ce scoop est tellement rocambolesque qu’elle soulève des questions sur l’authenticité de cet e-mail, dont le New York Post ne produit qu’une image. Tout commence en avril 2019 dans un magasin d’informatique de Wilmington, la ville du Delaware où Joe Biden a débuté sa carrière politique et où il vit toujours.

Le commerçant raconte qu’un ordinateur portable a été déposé dans sa boutique de réparation, relate le Washington Post. L’homme, bien qu’il admette être aveugle, assure avoir reconnu son client : Hunter Biden. Trois mois s’écoulent et l’ordinateur est toujours là. Intrigué, le commerçant déclare avoir fait une copie du disque dur et l’avoir envoyée à Rudolph Giuliani, l’avocat personnel de Donald Trump. Et l’ancien maire de New York de faire suivre ce matériau au New York Post.

Rudy Giuliani essaie de longue date d’obtenir des informations croustillantes sur Hunter Biden. A tel point qu’il a été régulièrement en contact avec un avocat ukrainien, qui s’est avéré être un agent du renseignement russe depuis des décennies, répandant de fausses informations en lien avec la présidentielle, selon les autorités fédérales américaines, rappelle Business Insider.

Du côté des Biden, on dément toute rencontre. L’avocat de Hunter Biden déclare au Washington Post qu’il « sai[t] avec certitude que cette prétendue rencontre n’a jamais eu lieu ». Le porte-parole de la campagne de Joe Biden affirme lui aussi qu’il n’y a aucune trace d’un tel rendez-vous dans l’agenda du vice-président en 2015. Les membres de son équipe d’alors n’en ont aucun souvenir non plus.

L’ex-conseiller en politique étrangère de Joe Biden, qui dit avoir assisté à « toutes ses réunions sur l’Ukraine », garantit que l’ex-vice-président « n’a jamais rencontré ce type ». « En fait, je n’avais jamais entendu parler de ce type jusqu’à ce que l’histoire du New York Post éclate », tranche-t-il. L’ambassadeur américain en Ukraine, qui travaillait en lien étroit avec Joe Biden, ne trouve lui non plus aucune trace de cet individu. Même le rapport – pourtant à charge – des sénateurs républicains n’en parle pas. Reste la possibilité d’une poignée de mains et de quelques mots échangés entre deux portes au détour d’un événement quelconque.

Au vu de ces éléments, Twitter comme Facebook ont choisi de réduire la visibilité de cette information suspecte, limitant ses partages comme ceux de posts l’évoquant.

Joe Biden aurait exigé la démission d’un procureur ukrainien pour protéger son fils

Les accusations du camp Trump. « On parle beaucoup du fils de Biden, du fait que Biden a arrêté la procédure, et beaucoup de gens veulent savoir, ce serait donc formidable si vous pouviez faire quelque chose avec le procureur général. (…) Biden s’est vanté d’avoir arrêté l’accusation, alors si vous pouviez vous renseigner (…) Tout ça me semble horrible. » Voici ce que Donald Trump glisse à l’oreille de son homologue ukrainien Volodymyr Zelensky en juillet 2019, au cours d’un coup de fil dont la retranscription a fuité. Le président américain sous-entend que Joe Biden, lorsqu’il était vice-président de Barack Obama, aurait fait pression pour qu’une enquête judiciaire visant son cadet Hunter Biden en Ukraine cesse. A l’époque, l’avocat personnel de Donald Trump, Rudy Giuliani, ne manque pas une occasion de porter cette accusation lui aussi.

Les arguments du camp Biden. En 2015, l’Ukraine, dont le pouvoir pro-russe a été renversé par un soulèvement populaire un an plus tôt, se dote d’un nouveau procureur général : Viktor Chokine. Celui-ci hérite notamment des dossiers visant le groupe gazier Burisma, où travaille Hunter Biden, et son patron, Mykola Zlochevsky. Mais un an plus tard seulement, Viktor Chokine est débarqué.

L’administration Obama a bien fait pression pour son renvoi, mais elle n’était pas la seule. L’Union européenne et le FMI y étaient favorables. Steven Pifer, qui a suivi le dossier ukrainien sous les administrations Clinton et Bush fils, estime dans Politifact que « tout le monde avait le sentiment que Chokine ne faisait pas son travail et devait être renvoyé ». Un point de vue partagé par Daria Kaleniuk, qui dirige l’Anti-Corruption Action Center en Ukraine. Chokine était accusé de couvrir la corruption et de saboter les réformes. Les dossiers Burisma et Zlochevsky étaient eux aussi au point mort, confirme à Bloomberg un ancien adjoint de Chokine, Vitaly Kasko.

Iouri Loutsenko, le successeur de Shokin, déclare à Bloomberg que ni Burisma ni Hunter Biden ne sont visés par des enquêtes en Ukraine. « Hunter Biden n’a violé aucune loi ukrainienne – du moins pour le moment, nous ne voyons aucun acte répréhensible », assure-t-il. Iouri Loutsenko confie aussi avoir rencontré l’avocat personnel de Donald Trump pour évoquer le sujet du fils Biden, mais avoir finalement décidé qu’il n’y avait pas de raisons d’ouvrir une enquête contre lui. Il a été limogé, quelques semaines après le coup de fil de Donald Trump au président ukrainien.

« A aucun moment je n’ai discuté avec mon père des affaires de la société ou de mes services au conseil, y compris de ma décision initiale de rejoindre le conseil », a juré dans le New York Times son fils Hunter en mai 2019. « Je n’ai jamais parlé à mon fils de ses relations d’affaires à l’étranger », a confirmé Joe Biden en septembre 2019.

Hunter Biden aurait profité du statut de son père pour faire des affaires en Chine

Les accusations du camp Trump. Depuis des mois, Donald Trump et son camp attaquent Joe Biden en le taxant d’être « une marionnette de la Chine ». Ils pointent les bonnes affaires réalisées par le fils cadet du candidat démocrate. Ils avancent la somme astronomique d’1,5 milliard de dollars, accusent Hunter Biden d’avoir « utilisé son nom » pour obtenir ces contrats et blâment son père pour l’avoir « laissé faire ».

Ces accusations trouvent leur source dans un documentaire diffusé par TheBlaze, un site conservateur. Le film s’appuie sur un livre à charge paru en 2019, signé Peter Schweizer : Empires secrets : comment la classe politique américaine cache la corruption et enrichit la famille et les amis.

Les arguments du camp Biden. En juin 2013, Hunter Biden s’associe à un homme d’affaires chinois, Jonathan Li. Avec d’autres partenaires, ils créent un fonds d’investissements : BHR. Hunter Biden siège au conseil d’administration, mais sans y être rémunéré, raconte le New Yorker. En décembre, son père est en visite à Pékin. Il vient y rencontrer le président Xi Jinping. D’après un représentant de BHR interrogé par le New Yorker, Hunter arrange une entrevue entre son associé et son père. Li peut ainsi serrer la main du vice-président dans le hall de l’hôtel de la délégation américaine. Rien de plus, assure l’avocat de Hunter Biden.

Au sein de l’équipe du vice-président, certains ont fait part de leur embarras face à ce mélange des genres. Mais ils confient ne pas oser en parler au vice-président. Plusieurs experts en politique étrangère, sollicités par Politifact, jugent eux aussi que Hunter Biden a placé à cette occasion son père dans une position délicate.

La somme de 1,5 milliard de dollars évoquée par le camp Trump apparaît dans un article du Wall Street Journal en juillet 2014. Celui-ci évoque un objectif de levée de fonds. A ce moment-là, Hunter Biden avait déjà quitté la Chine depuis six mois. L’avocat du fils Biden assure que cette somme colossale n’a jamais été atteinte et que l’opération s’est arrêtée à 4,2 millions de dollars. L’avocat de Hunter Biden assure à Politifact que son client n’a pris des parts dans BHR qu’en octobre 2017, après la fin des fonctions de son père au sein de l’administration américaine. Il a acquis 10% du fonds, pour un montant de 420 000 dollars.

Voir de même:

Facebook admet qu’il a bloqué «  incorrectement  » certaines publicités politiques en raison de «  problèmes techniques  », la campagne de Joe Biden le critiquant pour être «  totalement non préparé ‘
30 octobre  2020
Source: businessinsider.com

Facebook a « incorrectement » bloqué certaines publicités politiques en raison de « problèmes techniques » lors de la mise en œuvre de son interdiction des nouvelles publicités dans la semaine précédant le jour du scrutin, a déclaré la société dans un article de blog jeudi. Facebook a déclaré qu’il s’agissait d’un processus automatisé et qu ‘ »aucune publicité n’a été suspendue ou rejetée par une personne, ou en raison de considérations partisanes ». Plus tôt jeudi, la campagne de Biden avait critiqué Facebook après que des milliers de ses publicités aient été bloquées, affirmant qu’elle n’avait « aucune idée de l’ampleur du problème, des personnes qu’il affecte et de leur plan pour le résoudre ». « Il est tout à fait clair que Facebook n’était pas du tout préparé à gérer cette élection malgré quatre ans pour se préparer », a déclaré la campagne à Business Insider dans un communiqué.

Facebook a admis jeudi qu’il avait « indûment » restreint ou interrompu certaines publicités sur des problèmes politiques et sociaux en raison de problèmes techniques avec ses systèmes de vérification des publicités.

Voir de plus:

The Hunter Biden Business
Joe’s son was trading on his father’s name and position to cash in
The Wall Street Journal
Oct. 15, 2020

Count Sen. Ron Johnson among those not surprised that the press is ignoring a New York Post report about emails said to be from Hunter Biden’s laptop that suggest he introduced his father the Vice President to a representative of the Ukrainian gas company Burisma Holdings. Or that Twitter and Facebook would run interference for the Bidens by banishing the Post dispatch from their platforms.

Something similar happened last month when Mr. Johnson’s Homeland Security Committee and Chuck Grassley’s Finance Committee dropped a joint report on Hunter Biden’s financial dealings overseas. The committees tracked the heartburn the younger Mr. Biden’s involvement with Burisma caused the Obama Administration and dug up intriguing tidbits—such as a $3.5 million wire transfer from a Russian billionaire who had been married to the former mayor of Moscow.

Most news accounts dismissed the Senate findings as offering no proof that either Biden did anything criminal. What a low bar. The report mentions, for example, a $100,000 spending spree for Hunter Biden, James Biden (the Vice President’s brother) and Sara Biden (the Vice President’s sister-in-law) financed by Gongwen Dong, a Chinese businessman with ties to China’s largest private oil and gas company.

Hunter Biden’s position on the Burisma board was concerning enough within the Obama Administration that two U.S. officials, George Kent and Amos Hochstein, complained about it. Mr. Kent had been Acting Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv. In 2016 he emailed colleagues that “the presence of Hunter Biden on the Burisma board was very awkward for all U.S. officials pushing an anticorruption agenda in Ukraine.” At the least, the Senate report notes, Mr. Biden’s financial dealings raised “criminal financial, counterintelligence and extortion concerns.

There’s also whether it affected U.S. policy. In a September 2015 speech in Odessa, U.S. Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt specifically named Mykola Zlochevsky, a former Ukraine official who is also owner of Burisma Holdings, as involved in Ukraine’s corruption. But three months later, Joe Biden advisers told him to avoid mentioning Zlochevsky in a speech. The question is whether his son’s presence on Mr. Zlochevsky’s board affected that decision.

The Biden campaign says there was no meeting with the Ukrainian in question on Joe Biden’s official schedule. That doesn’t mean much: The January 2017 Oval Office meeting with Barack Obama and James Comey wasn’t on his official schedule either.

Even so, the information unearthed by the committee suggests that Mr. Biden knew much more about his son’s involvement with Burisma than what he let on. Though he says he never discussed Hunter’s overseas business deals with his son, he certainly discussed them with Mr. Hochstein, who came to the Vice President in October 2015 with his concerns. At best Joe Biden had a see-nothing-wrong approach to his son; less generously, it was a wink and a nod of tacit approval.

The Senate report further suggests that John Kerry, who served as Secretary of State at the time and whose stepson Chris Heinz was a business partner of Hunter Biden’s, was also not truthful when he said he knew nothing about it.

Assuming the emails turned up by the New York Post are real, they provide significant detail about Hunter Biden’s way of doing business. Even if it wasn’t illegal, it was a classic example of Beltway influence-peddling for profit off his father’s name and position.

This is a legitimate story with important information for voters who are being asked to trust Joe Biden for a return to normalcy. We doubt this is the kind of Washington self-interest and dishonesty as usual that most Americans have in mind.

Voir encore:

Here’s what happened when NBC News tried to report on the alleged Hunter Biden emails

Analysis: Trump complains the media isn’t reporting on Hunter Biden’s emails. But NBC News met obstacles, including Rudy Giuliani, when it tried.
NBC

The complaints from President Donald Trump and his allies have been growing louder as the election approaches: Why isn’t the mainstream media covering the Hunter Biden laptop story?

Trump and his allies say there is evidence of corruption in emails and documents allegedly found on a laptop belonging to Democrat Joe Biden’s son. They say those and other documents show that Hunter Biden used his father’s influence to enrich himself through business deals in Ukraine and China, and that his father not only facilitated that, but may have benefited financially.

But the Wall Street Journal and Fox News — among the only news organizations that have been given access to key documents — found that the emails and other records don’t make that case. Leaving aside the many questions about their provenance, the materials offered no evidence that Joe Biden played any role in his son’s dealings in China, let alone profited from them, both news organizations concluded.

As to Ukraine, a single email published by the New York Post suggests Joe Biden may have had a meeting with a representative of a Ukrainian company that employed his son. Trump and his allies alleged that means Joe Biden has lied when he said he never discussed his son’s business roles. The Biden campaign denies the meeting happened.

The lack of major new revelations is perhaps the biggest reason the story has not gotten traction, but not the only one. Among others: Most mainstream news organizations, including NBC News, have not been granted access to the documents. NBC News asked by email, text, phone call and certified mail, and was ultimately denied.

And, although no evidence has emerged that the documents are the product of Russian disinformation, as some experts initially suggested, many questions remain about how the materials got into the hands of Trump’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, who has met with Russian agents in his effort to dig dirt on the Bidens.

U.S. intelligence agencies have informed the White House that Giuliani has been in contact with alleged Russian intelligence agents. The FBI has been looking into whether the Russians played any role, and no official has ruled that out.

At the same time, dozens of former intelligence officials have said the story has the hallmarks of a Russian intelligence operation. After the election interference of 2016, the news media is especially wary of doing anything to further an effort by a foreign government to intervene in a presidential campaign.

Another factor tamping down coverage of the story is that there isn’t much new in what the laptop documents appear to reveal. The allegation that Hunter Biden has traded on his family name has been thoroughly explored in previous news stories, including a lengthy New Yorker investigation last year in which Robert Weissman, the president of the advocacy group Public Citizen, said, “It’s hard to avoid the conclusion that Hunter’s foreign employers and partners were seeking to leverage Hunter’s relationship with Joe, either by seeking improper influence or to project access to him.” Reports published while the elder Biden was still vice president raised ethical questions about the Burisma deal.

While the question of whether Joe Biden enabled his son to profit from the vice president’s influence is relevant to the presidential campaign, issues of balance and proportionality also come into play.

Trump, according to the same good government advocates who have criticized Hunter Biden, is ethically challenged when it comes to appearing to use the power of his office to enrich himself and his family. David Farenthold of The Washington Post has used federal and other records to calculate that the federal government has spent at least $2.5 million on food and lodging at Trump properties since Trump took office. Earlier this month, Ben Sasse, a Republican senator from Nebraska who is up for re-election, told supporters that Trump’s family “has treated the presidency like a business opportunity.”

Yet stories about Trump’s children and their business dealings are not dominating the news cycle in the days before the election, because they have already been covered, just as the Hunter Biden story has been covered. (Trump’s tax information, on the other hand, has been covered extensively by The New York Times, because the secret tax data obtained by the newspaper revealed important new information about his tax payments and his business dealings.)

‘No role for Joe Biden’

The first story about the Hunter Biden laptop appeared in the New York Post, a conservative tabloid. One of the bylines was that of a former producer for Fox News pundit Sean Hannity.

The New York Times reported that a Post reporter who did much of the work declined to allow his byline to appear on the story.

The Times also reported that the Trump campaign initially shopped the story to the Wall Street Journal, hoping that a mainstream news organization would validate their assertions that the documents hinted at corruption.

The Journal didn’t do that.

The Journal published a story focusing on claims about an alleged deal proposal in China — claims made by a former Hunter Biden associate named Tony Bobulinski, who came forward after the laptop story broke to say that the senior Biden was well aware of his son’s arrangements.

After examining text messages provided by Bobulinski, the Journal reported that “the venture — set up in 2017 after Mr. Biden left the vice presidency and before his presidential campaign — never received proposed funds from the Chinese company or completed any deals, according to people familiar with the matter. Corporate records…show no role for Joe Biden.”

Fox News, meanwhile said it “reviewed emails from Bobulinski related to the venture — and they don’t show that the elder Biden had business dealings with SinoHawk Holdings, or took any payments from them or the Chinese.”

An NBC News correspondent asked Bobulinski for an interview and for copies of documents in his possession, but he declined.

“All of your questions will be answered on Tucker Carlson tonight,” Bobulinski wrote on Oct. 27.

On air, to make his case that Joe Biden was involved in his son’s business dealings, Bobulinski described an encounter he says he had with the senior Biden.

At a meeting in May 2017 in Los Angeles, Bobulinski says Hunter Biden introduced him to the former vice president, saying: “This is Tony, dad, the individual I told you about that’s helping us with the business we are working and the Chinese.”

Even if that statement was made, it says very little about how much Joe Biden knew, and nothing about whether he was involved.

The Biden campaign has denied that Biden knew about the venture or stood to profit from it.

The laptop

NBC News has sought to obtain the documents on the alleged Hunter Biden laptop, but has been rebuffed.

An NBC News correspondent sent a letter two weeks ago to Giuliani, seeking copies of the materials.

His lawyer, Robert Costello, granted the correspondent the opportunity to review some Hunter Biden emails and other materials in person. The materials included copies of Hunter Biden identification documents that appeared to be genuine. But without taking possession of the copies, it was not possible to conduct the sort of forensic analysis that might help authenticate the emails and documents.

It was Giuliani who ultimately told NBC News he would not be providing a copy of the hard drive. NBC News responded by asking if, instead of a full copy of the hard drive, he could just provide copies of the full set of emails. Giuliani did not agree to that proposal. NBC News then declined an offer of copies of a small group of emails.

NBC News has also requested the documents from Republicans on the Senate Homeland Security Committee, but has not received a response.

Key questions remain about the origins of the laptop and how it got into Giuliani’s hands.

The owner of a computer repair shop in Wilmington, Delaware, John Paul Mac Isaac, has said a man he believes was Hunter Biden left a water-damaged Apple computer at his shop in April 2019 for repairs and data recovery.

But Biden never retrieved the machine, Mac Isaac has said, and at some point he began to examine the data. He said he found material that disturbed him, though he has never publicly explained what that was. His lawyer said he contacted the FBI, which ultimately served a grand jury subpoena for the laptop and a hard drive.

After hearing nothing from the FBI for months, Mac Isaac said he grew frustrated and turned a copy of the laptop’s contents over to Giuliani’s lawyer.

A representative for Giuliani said one of Giuliani’s companies received an e-mail from Mac Isaac saying he had the laptop and thought Giuliani should be aware of its contents. The representative said Mac Isaac provided a copy of the hard drive to Giuliani’s team.

According to the representative, Mac Isaac said he wrote to Giuliani’s team after trying to reach out to Republican members of Congress without success.

Giuliani’s attorney said Mac Isaac did not ask for or receive payment for the copy of the drive.

The subpoena, which was published by the New York Post, was signed by a federal prosecutor in the U.S. attorney’s office in Wilmington.

A photo of a receipt provided to Mac Isaac by FBI agents was published on the Fox News website. It contained an FBI code, 272D, which the bureau uses to signify an investigation into money laundering where the unlawful activity is unknown.

U.S. officials have refused to explain why they seized the laptops and what, if anything, they are investigating.

NBC News attempted to speak to Mac Isaac, but he did not respond to requests for comment. NBC News published an article quoting responses he had given to The Daily Beast. His lawyer then sent NBC News a letter that said, “Your network and affiliates should cease any further discussion of Mr. Mac Isaac as much of the information you are presenting is false.”

James Rosen, a reporter for the conservative-leaning Sinclair Broadcast Group, the nation’s largest operator of local television stations, reported this week that a Justice Department official told him the FBI had opened a criminal investigation into Hunter Biden and his associates last year focused on allegations of money-laundering — and that the probe remains active.

NBC News has not confirmed any such investigation.

Rosen also reported that the FBI interviewed former Biden associate Bobulinski last week.

A senior law enforcement official told NBC News that Bobulinski initiated the interview.

Bobulinski said the FBI told him he’s “listed as a material witness,” but law enforcement officials say the FBI does not use that term in this context.

Hunter Biden’s lawyer, George Mesires, did not respond to a request for comment by NBC News. He has not asserted — nor has the Biden campaign — that the laptop did not belong to Hunter Biden.

If he did leave the machine in Delaware, it would have marked at least the second time he has left behind a laptop.

According to two people familiar with the matter, a different Hunter Biden laptop landed in the custody of the DEA in February when they executed a search warrant on the Massachusetts office of a psychiatrist accused of professional misconduct. The psychiatrist has not been charged with a crime.

Hunter Biden was not a target of the search or the investigation, and his lawyer ultimately got his laptop back. It’s not clear why his computer was left in the doctor’s office.

Melissa Russo and Jonathan Dienst contributed

Voir aussi :

Will Hunter Biden Jeopardize His Father’s Campaign?
Joe Biden’s son is under scrutiny for his business dealings and tumultuous personal life.
Adam Entous
The New Yorker
July 1, 2019

In today’s political culture, people running for President may announce their candidacy on the steps of their home-town city hall or on “The View,” but the full introduction comes with their book. Some candidates’ memoirs tell stories of humble beginnings and of obstacles overcome; some describe searches for identity; some earnestly set out detailed policy agendas. Nearly all are relentlessly bland. In 2017, Joe Biden, a longtime senator from Delaware, Barack Obama’s Vice-President for eight years, and now a candidate for the Democratic Presidential nomination, published an unusually raw memoir about the death, two years earlier, of his forty-six-year-old son, Beau, describing how it had threatened to undo him but ultimately brought his family closer. Beau, his father writes, was “Joe Biden 2.0,” a war veteran, a prosecutor, and a promising politician who “had all the best of me, but with the bugs and flaws engineered out.”

In the early months of the 2020 race, Joe Biden holds a lead over his many Democratic Party rivals, but he is hardly invulnerable. He is seventy-six and sometimes shows it. He often stumbles when defending his five-decade public history. Some voters will not easily overlook his support for the Iraq War, his treatment of Anita Hill and loose management of the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings, his handsy, close-talking behavior with women, or his descriptions of his “civil” working relationships with segregationist lawmakers. Even his admirers concede that he is prone to senatorial bloviation. What often seems to redeem him with voters, as a former senior White House aide put it recently, is “how he’s responded to tragedy and what he’s learned from it.”

Yet the family story that Biden tells in “Promise Me, Dad: A Year of Hope, Hardship, and Purpose” largely glosses over a central character in Biden’s life. Biden writes, “I was pretty sure Beau could run for President some day, and, with his brother’s help, he could win.” Hunter Biden, who is forty-nine, is described as a supportive son and sibling. In speeches, Biden rarely talks about Hunter. But news outlets on the right and mainstream media organizations, including the Times, have homed in on him, reprising old controversies over Hunter’s work for a bank, for a lobbying firm, and for a hedge fund, and scrutinizing his business dealings in China and Ukraine.

There is little question that Hunter’s proximity to power shaped the arc of his career, and that, as the former aide told me, “Hunter is super rich terrain.” But Donald J. Trump and some of his allies, in their eagerness to undermine Biden’s candidacy, and possibly to deflect attention from their own ethical lapses, have gone to extreme lengths, promoting, without evidence, the dubious narrative that Biden used the office of the Vice-President to advance and protect his son’s interests.

At the same time, the gossip pages have seized on Hunter’s tumultuous private life. He has struggled for decades with alcohol addiction and drug abuse; he went through an acrimonious divorce from his first wife, Kathleen Buhle Biden; and he had a subsequent relationship with Beau’s widow, Hallie. He was recently sued for child support by an Arkansas woman, Lunden Alexis Roberts, who claims that he is the father of her child. (Hunter has denied having sexual relations with Roberts.)

On May 17th, the day before Hunter planned to appear at one of his father’s rallies, at Eakins Oval, in Philadelphia, Breitbart News published a story based on a Prescott, Arizona, police report from 2016 that named Hunter as the suspect in a possible narcotics offense.

Onstage at the rally, Jill Biden introduced her husband. “The Biden family is ready,” she said. “We will do this as we always have—as a family.” Seated in white chairs to the side of the stage were Ashley Biden, Hunter’s half sister; Ashley’s husband, Howard Krein; Beau’s children, Natalie and Robert Hunter; Hunter’s three daughters, Maisy, Finnegan, and Naomi; and Naomi’s boyfriend, Peter. The last seat in the row, with a piece of paper on it that said “Reserved,” remained empty.

In one of my early conversations with Hunter, he told me about his sadness at having missed his father’s event. “Beau and I have been there since we were carried in baskets during his first campaign,” he said. “We went everywhere with him. At every single major event and every small event that had to do with his political career, I was there. I’ve never missed a rally for my dad. The notion that I’m not standing next to him in Philadelphia, next to the Rocky statue, it’s heartbreaking for me. It’s killing me and it’s killing him. Dad says, ‘Be here.’ Mom says, ‘Be here.’ But at what cost?”

Hunter speaks in the warm, circuitous style of his father. Through weeks of conversations, he became increasingly open about his setbacks, aware that many of the stories that he told me would otherwise emerge, likely in a distorted form, in Breitbart or on “Hannity.” He wanted to protect his father from a trickle of disclosures, and to share a personal narrative that he sees no reason to hide. “Look, everybody faces pain,” he said. “Everybody has trauma. There’s addiction in every family. I was in that darkness. I was in that tunnel—it’s a never-ending tunnel. You don’t get rid of it. You figure out how to deal with it.”

Hunter Biden was born in 1970, a year and a day after Beau and a year and nine months before their sister, Naomi. His father was twenty-seven, and won his first election, to the New Castle County Council, in November of that year. Two years later, in an immense leap of ambition, he decided to run for the U.S. Senate.

Biden pledged that, in order to avoid potential conflicts of interest, he would never own a stock or a bond. Whatever money he had, he spent on property. His father, Joseph Biden, Sr., managed a Chevrolet dealership in Wilmington, and Joe grew up in a house with his parents, his three siblings, his aunt Gertie, and two uncles. He tried to re-create this arrangement for his own family. He liked historic houses, and bought a center-hall Colonial, built in 1723, on a four-acre lot in the village of North Star, about thirty minutes west of Wilmington. “The large houses were a way for all of us, including aunts and uncles, to have something special,” Hunter said.

Joe Biden depended on his family to help staff his campaigns. His sister, Valerie, who taught at the Quaker day school Wilmington Friends, served as his campaign manager. His brother Jimmy oversaw fund-raising; Frankie, the youngest, helped organize volunteers. When the children were babies, Biden’s wife, Neilia, carried them to community meetings. In November, 1972, Joe Biden was elected to the Senate.

That December, while Biden was in Washington interviewing staff for his new office, Neilia took the children to Wilmington, to go Christmas-tree shopping. At an intersection, the family car collided with a truck. Neilia and Naomi were killed almost instantly. Beau sustained numerous broken bones, and Hunter suffered a severe head injury. Hunter has frequently said that his first memory is of waking up in a hospital bed next to Beau, who turned to him and said, “I love you, I love you, I love you.” On January 5, 1973, Biden was sworn in as a senator in his sons’ hospital room.

Valerie and Jimmy devoted themselves to the boys’ recovery while Biden took up his role in the Senate. In 1975, he sold the North Star property, and the family moved into a house in Wilmington that had once been owned by members of the du Pont family. Biden, on returning from Washington, often put on a hazmat suit and went into the basement to scrape asbestos off the pipes. He, Hunter, and Beau planted trees and painted the house. Hunter told me that his father would dangle him upside down from the third-floor windows so that he could reach the eaves with a brush. So many people came and went that Tommy Lewis, an old friend of Biden’s who became one of his Senate aides, nicknamed the house the Station. Hunter recalled, “No door was ever locked. The pool was everyone’s pool.” He and Beau were “communal property,” he said. “Everyone had a hand in raising us.” In 1977, Joe Biden married Jill Jacobs, a high-school teacher. (Hunter calls Jill “Mom” and refers to Neilia as “Mommy.”)

Biden frequently took the boys to Washington with him when Congress was in session. Roger Harrison, who worked in Biden’s office for seven years, recalled that one of them often sat on Biden’s lap during staff meetings. If he was busy on the Senate floor, another senator would take Hunter and Beau to his office to hang out. Sometimes, to entertain themselves, the boys would wander over to the Senate gym and sit in a corner of the steam room, eavesdropping on lawmakers.

Beau and Hunter were fiercely close. They attended Archmere Academy, the Catholic high school that was their father’s alma mater. Friends called Beau, a stickler for rules, the Sheriff. Hunter told me, “If we wanted to jump off a cliff into a watering hole, I would say, ‘I’m ready, let’s go,’ and Beau would say, ‘Wait, wait, wait, before we do it, make sure there aren’t any rocks down there.’ ” Brian McGlinchey, a friend of Hunter’s who attended Archmere with the brothers, said, “Beau tended to lead with his head. Hunter often led with his heart.” At Archmere, Beau, with the help of Hunter, who distributed flyers, was elected student-body president. It was clear to family and friends that Beau would follow his father into politics. “Dad knew that is what Beau wanted,” Hunter said.

Biden sold off some of the land at the Station to help pay for Beau to go to the University of Pennsylvania, in 1987. That year, Hunter and Beau encouraged their father to run for President, and they were crushed when he withdrew from the race over allegations of plagiarism. (He was accused of copying large portions of a law-review article as a student, and of mimicking a speech given by the British Labour Party leader Neil Kinnock.) Soon afterward, when Biden took his sons to a football game at the University of Pennsylvania, a group of hecklers started a chant about the plagiarism scandal. Hunter jumped to his feet, throwing punches, and his father and Beau had to pull him back.

Hunter enrolled at Georgetown University in 1988. He and Beau took out student loans to cover their university costs. Hunter worked odd jobs—parking cars at events and unloading sixty-pound boxes of frozen beef—to help pay for his room and board. Ted Dziak, a chaplain-in-residence in Hunter’s freshman dorm, told me, “Hunter was always out there, doing something to gain a little bit of money.”

In July, 1992, after graduating with a B.A. in history, Hunter began a year as a Jesuit volunteer at a church in Portland, Oregon. During that time, he met Kathleen Buhle, the daughter of a Chicago schoolteacher and a ticket salesman for the White Sox. Three months after they started dating, Kathleen got pregnant, and the two were married in July, 1993.

Beau attended Syracuse Law School, and began thinking about government service. Hunter imagined a more artistic career for himself. He admired Raymond Carver and Tobias Wolff; his favorite novel at the time was Charles Bukowski’s début, “Post Office.” On a whim, he applied to, and was accepted into, the creative-writing program at Syracuse University, where Carver and Wolff had taught. He considered getting a joint M.F.A.-law degree at Syracuse, but, with a baby on the way, he decided to go straight to law school. He was rejected from Yale, his first choice, and enrolled at Georgetown Law. In December, 1993, his daughter Naomi was born.

After a year at Georgetown, Hunter transferred to Yale Law, where he completed his degree, in 1996. Then he returned to Wilmington with Kathleen and Naomi. Joe Biden was running for reëlection in the Senate, and he appointed Hunter as his deputy campaign manager. Hunter rented an apartment close to his father’s campaign headquarters, and also got a job as a lawyer with MBNA America, a banking holding company based in Delaware, which was one of the largest donors to his father’s campaigns. At the age of twenty-six, Hunter, who was earning more than a hundred thousand dollars and had received a signing bonus, was making nearly as much money as his father. In January, 1998, the conservative reporter and columnist Byron York wrote, in The American Spectator, “Certainly lots of children of influential parents end up in very good jobs. But the Biden case is troubling. After all, this is a senator who for years has sermonized against what he says is the corrupting influence of money in politics.”

Hunter shared his father’s love of old houses. In 1997, he bought a dilapidated estate in Wilmington, the original structure of which dated to before the Revolutionary War. The previous owner, Anna Sasso, recalled, “They seemed like the perfect family. They were teen-agers, practically. They were so enthusiastic.” That year, Beau started working as a federal prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney’s office in Philadelphia, and moved in with his brother’s family, taking over the third floor. Hunter was responsible for the mortgage and most of the expenses. In September, 1998, Hunter and Kathleen had their second daughter, Finnegan. On weekends, the house was a gathering place for friends, including a local woman named Hallie Olivere, whose parents owned a dry-cleaning business. Beau and Hallie married in 2002.

Hunter, by then an executive vice-president at MBNA, found the corporate culture stifling. “If you forgot to wear your MBNA lapel pin, someone would stop you in the halls,” he recalled. In 1998, he contacted William Oldaker, a Washington lawyer who had worked on his father’s Presidential campaign in 1987, for advice about how to get a job in the Clinton Administration. Oldaker called William Daley, the Commerce Secretary, who had also worked on Biden’s campaign. Daley, the son of the five-term mayor of Chicago, told me that, because of their shared experience growing up in political families, he empathized with Hunter, and asked his staff to evaluate him for a position as a policy director specializing in the burgeoning Internet economy. Hunter got the job, then sold the Delaware house for roughly twice what he’d paid for it and moved his family to a rental home in the Tenleytown neighborhood of Washington. Hunter and Kathleen sent Naomi and Finnegan—and later Maisy, who was born in 2000—to Sidwell Friends, one of Washington’s most exclusive and expensive schools. Hunter’s salary barely covered the rent, the school fees, and his family’s living expenses. “I’ve pretty much always lived paycheck to paycheck,” Hunter told me. “I never considered it struggling, but it has always been a high-wire act.”

In late 2000, near the end of President Clinton’s second term, Hunter again consulted Oldaker, who was starting a lobbying business, the National Group. Oldaker asked the co-founder of the firm, Vincent Versage, to teach Hunter the basics of earmarking—the practice of persuading lawmakers to insert language into legislation which directs taxpayer funds to projects that benefit the lobbyist’s clients. In 2001, Robert Skomorucha, an old Biden family friend who worked in the government-and-community-relations department at St. Joseph’s University, proposed that Hunter solicit earmarks for one of the university’s student-volunteer programs, at an underprivileged high school in Philadelphia. Timothy Lannon, the university’s president, who offered Hunter the contract, described Hunter to me as “like his dad: great personally, very engaging, very curious about things and hardworking,” adding that he had “a very strong last name that really paid off in terms of our lobbying efforts.”

Versage told me that the National Group had a strict rule: “Hunter didn’t do anything that involved his dad, didn’t do anything that involved any help from his dad.” Oldaker advised Hunter to restrict his clients to mostly Jesuit universities. “He wasn’t doing McDonnell Douglas or something,” Oldaker told me. Still, Hunter’s name appeared regularly in newspaper stories decrying the cozy relationship between lobbyists and lawmakers. An informal arrangement was established: Biden wouldn’t ask Hunter about his lobbying clients, and Hunter wouldn’t tell his father about them. “It wasn’t like we all sat down and agreed on it,” Hunter told me. “It came naturally.”

Oldaker’s office was across the street from the Bombay Club, an Indian restaurant that was popular with policymakers, lobbyists, diplomats, and journalists. The lounge there became an after-hours gathering place for Hunter, Versage, and a dozen of their colleagues. Irfan Ozarslan, the former general manager, said that he greeted Hunter at the door “at least three or four times a week.” The bartender at the time, Norman, told me that he would have a cigarette waiting for Hunter at his seat.

Joe Biden grew up around relatives with alcohol problems, and at a young age he decided to abstain. Hunter—who spoke frankly to me about his struggles with addiction—started drinking socially as a teen-ager. When he was a student at Georgetown, in the early nineties, he took up smoking Marlboro Red cigarettes, and occasionally used cocaine. Once, hoping to buy cocaine, he was sold a piece of crack, but he wasn’t sure how to take the drug. “I didn’t have a stem,” Hunter said. “I didn’t have a pipe.” Improvising, he stuffed the crack into a cigarette and smoked it. “It didn’t have much of an effect,” he said.

In 2001, Hunter, Kathleen, and their children moved back to Wilmington to be closer to the rest of the Biden family, and Hunter commuted to Washington on Amtrak, as his father did. Sometimes he missed the last train and stayed in a rental room at the Army and Navy Club. “When I found myself making the decision to have another drink or get on a train, I knew I had a problem,” he said. In 2003, Kathleen and the girls returned to Washington. Hunter recalled that Kathleen told him to get sober, starting by not drinking for thirty days. “And I wouldn’t drink for thirty days, but, on day thirty-one, I’d be right back to it,” he said. That September, on a business trip, he looked up rehabilitation centers, and soon admitted himself to Crossroads Centre Antigua for a month. The day after his return, Beau accompanied him to his first Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, in Dupont Circle.

By the mid-two-thousands, a growing number of lawmakers were criticizing earmarking as a waste of taxpayer money and a boon to special interests. Hunter was concerned about his future as a lobbyist, and his financial worries increased in 2006, when he bought a $1.6-million house in an affluent neighborhood. Without the savings for a down payment, he took out a mortgage for a hundred and ten per cent of the purchase price.

In 2006, Hunter and his uncle Jimmy Biden, along with another partner, entered into a twenty-one-million-dollar deal to buy Paradigm, a hedge-fund group that claimed to manage $1.5 billion in assets. Hunter said that the deal sounded “super attractive,” but that it fell apart after he and Jimmy learned that the company was worth less than they thought, and that the lawyer they were working with was a convicted felon awaiting sentencing. Hunter and Jimmy, who together went on to buy a stake in the company, estimated that they lost at least $1.3 million on the initial venture, which Hunter described as “a tragicomedy.” To help repay a law firm that had put up the money to initiate the transaction, Hunter obtained a million-dollar note against his house from Washington First Bank, which was co-founded by Oldaker. On January 5, 2007, two days before Biden announced his decision to run for President, Hunter and Jimmy were sued by their former partner in New York. The suit was settled but resulted in a flurry of headlines.

In the lead-up to the January, 2008, Iowa Democratic Presidential caucuses, Hunter drove from Washington to Des Moines to campaign with his father. “I’m like his security blanket,” Hunter said. “I don’t tell the staff what to do. I’m not there giving directions or orders. I shake everybody’s hands. And then I tell him to close his eyes on the bus. I can say things to him that nobody else can.” Biden did poorly in Iowa, and soon dropped out of the race. On August 23, 2008, Obama, the Democratic nominee, publicly introduced Biden as his running mate. He praised Beau, who had recently become Delaware’s attorney general and was getting ready to deploy to Iraq with his National Guard unit.

Hunter had heard that, during the primaries, some of Obama’s advisers had criticized him to reporters for his earmarking work. Hunter said that he wasn’t told by members of the Obama campaign to end his lobbying activities, but that he knew “the writing was on the wall.” Hunter told his lobbying clients that he would no longer represent them, and resigned from an unpaid seat on the board of Amtrak, a role for which, Hunter said, the Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid had tapped him. “I wanted my father to have a clean slate,” Hunter told me. “I didn’t want to limit him in any way.”

In September, 2008, Hunter launched a boutique consulting firm, Seneca Global Advisors, named for the largest of the Finger Lakes, in New York State, where his mother had grown up. In pitch meetings with prospective clients, Hunter said that he could help small and mid-sized companies expand into markets in the U.S. and other countries. In June, 2009, five months after Joe Biden became Vice-President, Hunter co-founded a second company, Rosemont Seneca Partners, with Christopher Heinz, Senator John Kerry’s stepson and an heir to the food-company fortune, and Devon Archer, a former Abercrombie & Fitch model who started his finance career at Citibank in Asia and who had been friends with Heinz at Yale. (Heinz and Archer already had a private-equity fund called Rosemont Capital.) Heinz believed that Hunter would share his aversion to entering into business deals that could attract public scrutiny, but over time Hunter and Archer seized opportunities that did not include Heinz, who was less inclined to take risks.

In 2012, Archer and Hunter talked to Jonathan Li, who ran a Chinese private-equity fund, Bohai Capital, about becoming partners in a new company that would invest Chinese capital—and, potentially, capital from other countries—in companies outside China. In June, 2013, Li, Archer, and other business partners signed a memorandum of understanding to create the fund, which they named BHR Partners, and, in November, they signed contracts related to the deal. Hunter became an unpaid member of BHR’s board but did not take an equity stake in BHR Partners until after his father left the White House.

In December, 2013, Vice-President Biden flew to Beijing to meet with President Xi Jinping. Biden often asked one of his grandchildren to accompany him on his international trips, and he invited Finnegan to come on this one. Hunter told his father that he wanted to join them. According to a Beijing-based BHR representative, Hunter, shortly after arriving in Beijing, on December 4th, helped arrange for Li to shake hands with his father in the lobby of the American delegation’s hotel. Afterward, Hunter and Li had what both parties described as a social meeting. Hunter told me that he didn’t understand why anyone would have been concerned about this. “How do I go to Beijing, halfway around the world, and not see them for a cup of coffee?” he said.

Hunter’s meeting with Li and his relationship with BHR attracted little attention at the time, but some of Biden’s advisers were worried that Hunter, by meeting with a business associate during his father’s visit, would expose the Vice-President to criticism. The former senior White House aide told me that Hunter’s behavior invited questions about whether he “was leveraging access for his benefit, which just wasn’t done in that White House. Optics really mattered, and that seemed to be cutting it pretty close, even if nothing nefarious was going on.” When I asked members of Biden’s staff whether they discussed their concerns with the Vice-President, several of them said that they had been too intimidated to do so. “Everyone who works for him has been screamed at,” a former adviser told me. Others said that they were wary of hurting his feelings. One business associate told me that Biden, during difficult conversations about his family, “got deeply melancholy, which, to me, is more painful than if someone yelled and screamed at me. It’s like you’ve hurt him terribly. That was always my fear, that I would be really touching a very fragile part of him.”

For another venture, Archer travelled to Kiev to pitch investors on a real-estate fund he managed, Rosemont Realty. There, he met Mykola Zlochevsky, the co-founder of Burisma, one of Ukraine’s largest natural-gas producers. Zlochevsky had served as ecology minister under the pro-Russian government of Viktor Yanukovych. After public protests in 2013 and early 2014, the Ukrainian parliament had voted to remove Yanukovych and called for his arrest. Under the new Ukrainian government, authorities in Kiev, with the encouragement of the Obama Administration, launched an investigation into whether Zlochevsky had used his cabinet position to grant exploration licenses that benefitted Burisma. (The status of the inquiry is unclear, but no proof of criminal activity has been publicly disclosed. Zlochevsky could not be reached for comment, and Burisma did not respond to queries.) In a related investigation, which was ultimately closed owing to a lack of evidence, British authorities temporarily froze U.K. bank accounts tied to Zlochevsky.

In early 2014, Zlochevsky sought to assemble a high-profile international board to oversee Burisma, telling prospective members that he wanted the company to adopt Western standards of transparency. Among the board members he recruited was a former President of Poland, Aleksander Kwaśniewski, who had a reputation as a dedicated reformer. In early 2014, at Zlochevsky’s suggestion, Kwaśniewski met with Archer in Warsaw and encouraged him to join Burisma’s board, arguing that the company was critical to Ukraine’s independence from Russia. Archer agreed.

When Archer told Hunter that the board needed advice on how to improve the company’s corporate governance, Hunter recommended the law firm Boies Schiller Flexner, where he was “of counsel.” The firm brought in the investigative agency Nardello & Co. to assess Burisma’s history of corruption. Hunter joined Archer on the Burisma board in April, 2014. Three months later, in a draft report to Boies Schiller, Nardello said that it was “unable to identify any information to date regarding any current government investigation into Zlochevsky or Burisma,” but cited unnamed sources saying that Zlochevsky could be “vulnerable to investigation for financial crimes” and for “perceived abuse of power.”

Vice-President Biden was playing a central role in overseeing U.S. policy in Ukraine, and took the lead in calling on Kiev to fight rampant corruption. On May 13, 2014, after Hunter’s role on the Burisma board was reported in the news, Jen Psaki, a State Department spokesperson, said that the State Department was not concerned about perceived conflicts of interest, because Hunter was a “private citizen.” Hunter told Burisma’s management and other board members that he would not be involved in any matters that were connected to the U.S. government or to his father. Kwaśniewski told me, “We never discussed how the Vice-President can help us. Frankly speaking, we didn’t need such help.”

Several former officials in the Obama Administration and at the State Department insisted that Hunter’s role at Burisma had no effect on his father’s policies in Ukraine, but said that, nevertheless, Hunter should not have taken the board seat. As the former senior White House aide put it, there was a perception that “Hunter was on the loose, potentially undermining his father’s message.” The same aide said that Hunter should have recognized that at least some of his foreign business partners were motivated to work with him because they wanted “to be able to say that they are affiliated with Biden.” A former business associate said, “The appearance of a conflict of interest is good enough, at this level of politics, to keep you from doing things like that.”

In December, 2015, as Joe Biden prepared to return to Ukraine, his aides braced for renewed scrutiny of Hunter’s relationship with Burisma. Amos Hochstein, the Obama Administration’s special envoy for energy policy, raised the matter with Biden, but did not go so far as to recommend that Hunter leave the board. As Hunter recalled, his father discussed Burisma with him just once: “Dad said, ‘I hope you know what you are doing,’ and I said, ‘I do.’ ”

Hunter was not always at ease as the son of the Vice-President. He asked that the Secret Service stop deploying agents to accompany him, a request that was eventually granted. He also became offended when he felt that his father wasn’t treated respectfully enough by Obama and his advisers. In 2012, Biden, responding to a question about same-sex marriage on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” said that he was “absolutely comfortable” with all couples having the “exact same rights.” Obama had yet to publicly take a similar stance, and Biden’s statement upset some White House officials. Hunter thought that Obama and his advisers should have acknowledged his father’s good political instincts.

Hunter said that he limited his social interactions with Biden’s White House colleagues, because he didn’t want to be in a situation “where I’m playing golf with the President or one of his aides and look at my phone and see another headline that reads ‘President Makes Joke About Biden.’ ” Kathleen felt differently about the White House. Their daughter Maisy was in the same class at Sidwell Friends as Sasha, the Obamas’ younger daughter. The two girls became close, and Kathleen and Michelle Obama became friends, attending SoulCycle and Solidcore exercise classes together almost every day. Some evenings, they went out to dinner or had drinks at the White House. Kathleen went on vacations with Michelle, mutual friends, and their daughters.

Hunter saw himself as a provider for the Biden family; he even helped to pay off Beau’s law-school debts. But he often wished that, like his father and his brother, he could contribute more to society. Through his business, he got to know an Australian-American former military-intelligence officer named Greg Keeley, who regaled him with stories about his career in the Royal Australian Navy. After moving to the United States, at forty, Keeley had obtained an age waiver to join the U.S. Navy as a reservist. While on reserve duty at a U.S. military base in southern Afghanistan on September 11, 2011, he and members of his unit watched Vice-President Biden deliver a speech at the Pentagon about the attacks of 9/11. After the speech, Keeley sent an e-mail to Hunter to tell him that members of his unit thought the Vice-President’s message was “spot on.” Hunter passed the note on to his father, who wrote Keeley an e-mail. “Keep your heads down,” it said. “You are the finest group of warriors in all of history.”

Keeley helped convince Hunter that it wasn’t too late for him to join the Navy Reserves. He told me, “My message to him was: If you feel the call to serve, which I encouraged, it doesn’t really matter what your rank is and what’s on your shoulder board—it is that you’re serving your country. Hunter took that message to heart and acted upon it.” With a letter of recommendation from Keeley, Hunter applied for an age waiver, which the Navy granted. The service has a zero-tolerance drug-and-alcohol-abuse policy, and states that all recruits will be asked “questions about prior drug and alcohol use.” Hunter disclosed that he had “used drugs in the past,” but said that he was now sober, and the Navy granted him a second waiver.

Hunter had suffered his first relapse, after seven years of sobriety, in November, 2010, when he drank three Bloody Marys on a flight home from a business trip to Madrid. He continued to drink in secret for several months, then confided in Beau and returned to Crossroads Centre. He had another relapse in early 2013, after he suffered from a bout of shingles, for which he was prescribed painkillers. When the prescription ran out, he resumed drinking.

On May 7, 2013, he was assigned to a Reserve unit at Naval Station Norfolk. He had hoped to work in naval intelligence, but was given a job in a public-affairs unit. In a small, private ceremony at the White House, Hunter was sworn in by his father. Later that month, the night before Hunter’s first weekend of Reserve duty, he stopped at a bar a few blocks from the White House. Outside, Hunter said, he bummed a cigarette from two men who told him that they were from South Africa. He felt “amped up” as he was driving down to Norfolk, and then “incredibly exhausted.” He told me that he called Beau and said, “I don’t know what’s going on.” Beau drove from Delaware to meet Hunter at a hotel near the naval station. “He got me shipshape and drove me into the base,” he said. On his first day, Hunter had a urine sample taken for testing

A few months later, Hunter received a letter saying that his urinalysis had detected cocaine in his system. Under Navy rules, a positive drug test typically triggers a discharge. Hunter wrote a letter to the Navy Reserve, saying that he didn’t know how the drug had got into his system and suggesting that the cigarettes he’d smoked outside the bar might have been laced with cocaine. Hunter called Beau, who contacted Tom Gallagher, a former Navy lawyer who had worked with Beau at the U.S. Attorney’s office in Philadelphia. Gallagher agreed to represent Hunter pro bono, but it became clear that, given Hunter’s history with drugs, an appeals panel was unlikely to believe the story that he had ingested cocaine involuntarily, and that appealing the decision would require closed-door hearings and the testimony of witnesses, increasing the likelihood of leaks to the press. Hunter decided not to appeal. Navy records show that Hunter’s discharge took effect on February 18, 2014.

Hunter did not tell anyone except his father and his brother about the reason for his discharge, and he tried to get his drinking under control. In July, 2014, he went to a clinic in Tijuana that provided a treatment using ibogaine, a psychoactive alkaloid derived from the roots of a West African shrub, which is illegal in America. Hunter then drove to Flagstaff, Arizona, where he met with Thom Knoles, a practitioner of Vedic meditation, who said that he advised Hunter to meditate twice a day, to help keep “his cravings for alcohol at bay.” Knoles said that Hunter struck him as “just a good man.” He was “nearly clean,” Knoles said. “But, to be honest, there is such a thing as a dry drunk. I could see that he was in a very delicate position.” Knoles said that Hunter told him about how much he relied on Beau for support and confessed that “his relationship with his other great, deep partner in life, his wife, had been brutalized by him through his loss of control.”

That fall, Hunter went to Big Sur, California, to attend a twelve-step yoga retreat at the Esalen Institute. Toward the end of his week there, a reporter from the Wall Street Journal contacted the Vice-President’s office, seeking comment on Hunter’s discharge from the Navy. At San Francisco International Airport, Hunter was waiting for his flight home when he saw the story on the front page of the Journal. “I was heartbroken,” he said.

In the summer of 2013, Hunter, Beau, and their families took a vacation together on Lake Michigan. During the trip, Beau became disoriented and was rushed to the hospital. He’d had a health scare in May, 2010, when—six months after he returned from Iraq—he suffered a stroke. He had appeared to recover quickly, and continued to work as Delaware’s attorney general, but he struggled to remember certain words, and sometimes talked about hearing music playing when there was none.

Soon after Beau’s admittance to the hospital, doctors identified a mass in his brain. It was glioblastoma multiforme, a type of brain tumor. Patients who receive similar diagnoses tend to live no longer than two years. As Beau received radiation treatment, his motor and speech skills started to decline. In the spring of 2015, he underwent an experimental procedure in which an engineered virus was injected directly into the tumor, but it was unsuccessful. In late May, doctors removed Beau’s tracheostomy tube, telling the family that he would likely die within a few hours. Beau kept breathing on his own for almost a day and a half before he died, surrounded by his family.

On June 6, 2015, thousands of people paid their respects at a service at St. Anthony of Padua Church, in Wilmington. The next day, President Obama, Ashley Biden, and Hunter, who was fearful of public speaking, delivered eulogies. On the drive back to Washington, Hunter—moved by the outpouring of support for him and his family at the funeral—told Kathleen that he was thinking about running for public office. She pointed out that he had only recently been discharged from the Navy after testing positive for cocaine. They rode the rest of the way home in silence. (Kathleen declined to comment for this article.)

In couples therapy, Hunter and Kathleen had reached an agreement: if Hunter started drinking again, he would have to move out of the house. A day after their twenty-second anniversary, Hunter left a therapy session, drank a bottle of vodka, and moved out. Later that month, Zlochevsky, the Burisma co-founder, invited him to Norway on a fishing trip. Hunter brought along Maisy and Beau’s nine-year-old son, Robert. Hunter said that, every night, he and his colleagues on the trip drank a single shot of liquor before going to bed. Kathleen found out and was angry. Hunter began to confide in Hallie, whom he was growing closer to.

Hunter said that, in July, 2015, “I tried to show Kathleen: I want back in.” He enrolled as an outpatient in the Charles O’Brien Center for Addiction Treatment, at the University of Pennsylvania, where he was prescribed two drugs, one to lessen his cravings and another to make him feel nauseated if he drank. He then enrolled in an inpatient program for executives at Caron Treatment Centers, where he used the pseudonym Hunter Smith. On returning to Washington, he began a program that required him to carry a Breathalyzer with a built-in camera.

That summer, Ashley Madison, a dating service for married people—which used the slogan “Life is short. Have an affair”—disclosed that hackers had breached its user data. In late August, Breitbart reported that it had found a “Robert Biden” profile among the leaked files. Hunter denied that the account belonged to him, but Kathleen was deeply embarrassed by the story. Two months later, Hunter and Kathleen agreed to formally separate. On October 21, 2015, Joe Biden appeared in the White House Rose Garden, flanked by Jill and Obama, and announced that he would not run for President in 2016, talking about the time that it had taken the family to recover from Beau’s death.

Until mid-December, Hunter practiced yoga daily. A teacher from his yoga studio told me, “I don’t think I’ve ever seen a person try as hard to heal as he did.” When Hunter stopped coming to class, the teacher went to his apartment, near Logan Circle, and knocked on the door. Hunter told me that he pretended not to be at home. For weeks, he said, he left the apartment only to buy bottles of Smirnoff vodka at Logan Circle Liquor. Several times a day, his father called him, and Hunter assured him that he was O.K. Eventually, Biden showed up unannounced at the apartment. Hunter said that his father told him, “I need you. What do we have to do?”

In February, 2016, Hunter went back to the Esalen Institute, and then spent a week skiing by himself at Lake Tahoe. When he returned to Washington, he enrolled in yet another addiction-treatment program, run by the Kolmac Outpatient Recovery Center. On his way to Kolmac, he passed several homeless people, including a middle-aged woman who went by the name Bicycles, because of the bike she took with her everywhere. Later, whenever Hunter saw Bicycles near his apartment, he would give her a twenty-dollar bill to buy him a pack of Marlboro Reds and tell her to keep the change. One rainy night, Hunter said, he offered Bicycles his spare bedroom, and she stayed for several months.

In 2016, Hunter was consulting for five or six major clients. Once or twice a year, he attended Burisma board meetings and energy forums that took place in Europe. He said that, in June, 2016, while in Monte Carlo for a meeting, he went to a hotel night club and used cocaine that a stranger offered him in the bathroom. He told his counsellors at Kolmac about his relapse but refused to take a drug test, out of concern that the results could be used against him and published in the press. When Kolmac’s staff insisted that he take the test, he decided to leave the program.

In August, Hunter and Hallie went to the Hamptons with Hallie’s children. They texted constantly after getting back, and Hunter started to spend most nights in Delaware, at Hallie’s house, watching television until very late. “We were sharing a very specific grief,” Hunter recalled. “I started to think of Hallie as the only person in my life who understood my loss.”

That fall, Hunter made plans to go to the Grace Grove Lifestyle Center, in Sedona, Arizona. During a layover at Los Angeles International Airport, before his connecting flight to Phoenix, he went to a nearby hotel bar and realized that he had left his wallet on the plane. It had belonged to Beau and still contained his attorney-general identification badge, and also Hunter’s driver’s license, without which he couldn’t board his flight. Using a credit card he had in his pocket, Hunter checked into a hotel in Marina del Rey, where he waited for the airline to return the wallet.

Instead of going to Grace Grove, Hunter stayed in Los Angeles for about a week. He said that he “needed a way to forget,” and that, soon after his arrival in L.A., he asked a homeless man in Pershing Square where he could buy crack. Hunter said that the man took him to a nearby homeless encampment, where, in a narrow passageway between tents, someone put a gun to his head before realizing that he was a buyer. He returned to buy more crack a few times that week.

One night, outside a club on Hollywood Boulevard, Hunter and another man got into an argument, and a group of bouncers intervened. A friend of one of the bouncers, a Samoan man who went by the nickname Baby Down, felt sorry for Hunter and took him to Mel’s Drive-In to get some food, and to his hotel to pick up his belongings. Early on the morning of October 26th, Baby Down dropped Hunter off at the Hertz rental office at Los Angeles International Airport.

Hunter said that, at that point, he had not slept for several days. Driving east on Interstate 10, just beyond Palm Springs, he lost control of his car, which jumped the median and skidded to a stop on the shoulder of the westbound side. He called Hertz, which came to collect the damaged car and gave him a second rental. Later, on a sharp bend on a mountainous road, Hunter recalled, a large barn owl flew over the hood of the car and then seemed to follow him, dropping in front of the headlights. He said that he has no idea whether the owl was real or a hallucination. On the night of October 28th, Hunter dropped the car off at a Hertz office in Prescott, Arizona, and Grace Grove sent a van to pick him up.

Zachary Romfo, who worked at the Hertz office in Prescott, told me that he found a crack pipe in the car and, on one of the consoles, a line of white-powder residue. Beau Biden’s attorney-general badge was on the dashboard. Hertz called the Prescott police department, and officers there filed a “narcotics offense” report, listing the items seized from the car, including a plastic baggie containing a “white powdery substance,” a Secret Service business card, credit cards, and Hunter’s driver’s license. Later, according to a police report, Secret Service agents informed Prescott police that Hunter was “secure/well.” Subsequent test results indicated that the glass pipe contained cocaine residue, but investigators didn’t find any fingerprints on it. Public prosecutors in the county and the city declined to bring a case against Hunter, citing a lack of evidence that the pipe had been used by him. Jon Paladini, Prescott’s city attorney, told me that he was not aware of any requests by officials in Washington to drop the investigation into Hunter. “It’s a very Republican area,” he said. “I don’t think political favors, necessarily, would even work, had they been requested.”

After a week at Grace Grove, Hunter checked into a resort spa called Mii Amo, and called Hallie, who flew to meet him. During her stay, Hunter said, they decided to become a couple. When they returned to Delaware, they tried, unsuccessfully, to keep their relationship secret.

On December 9, 2016, Kathleen filed for divorce, and on February 23, 2017, she filed a motion in D.C. Superior Court seeking to freeze Hunter’s assets, alleging that he “created financial concerns for the family by spending extravagantly on his own interests (including drugs, alcohol, prostitutes, strip clubs, and gifts for women with whom he has sexual relations), while leaving the family with no funds to pay legitimate bills.” The motion was leaked to the New York Post, along with the revelation that Hunter and Hallie were dating.

Kathleen told friends that she felt ostracized by the Biden family. Hunter denied hiring prostitutes, and said that he hadn’t been to a strip club in years. But, he said, the evening the story was published, “I went directly to a strip club. I said, ‘Fuck them.’ ”

The first that Biden heard of the relationship was when the Post asked his office for comment. Hunter issued a statement saying that he and Hallie were “incredibly lucky to have found the love and support we have for each other in such a difficult time.” Hunter told me he appealed to his father to make a statement, too: “I said, ‘Dad, Dad, you have to.’ He said, ‘Hunter, I don’t know if I should. But I’ll do whatever you want me to do.’ I said, ‘Dad, if people find out, but they think you’re not approving of this, it makes it seem wrong. The kids have to know, Dad, that there’s nothing wrong with this, and the one person who can tell them that is you.’ ” A former Biden aide confirmed that Biden agreed to issue a statement because of concerns about Hunter’s well-being. Biden told the Post, “We are all lucky that Hunter and Hallie found each other as they were putting their lives together again after such sadness. . . . They have mine and Jill’s full and complete support and we are happy for them.” The Post ran the statement under the headline “Beau Biden’s Widow Having Affair with His Married Brother.”

In August, Hunter rented a house in Annapolis, Maryland, where he, Hallie, and her two children hoped to have some privacy, but, several months later, they split up. “All we got was shit from everybody, all the time,” Hunter said. “It was really hard. And I realized that I’m not helping anybody by sticking around.” (Hallie declined to comment.) In early 2018, he moved to Los Angeles. The idea, he said, was to “completely disappear.”

Hunter said that, in divorce proceedings, he offered to give Kathleen “everything,” including a monthly payment of thirty-seven thousand dollars for alimony, tuition, and child-care costs for a decade. Hunter told me that he was living on approximately four thousand dollars a month; he was hardly poor, but it was an adjustment. On occasion, transactions on his credit cards were declined.

One of Kathleen’s motions contains a reference to “a large diamond” that had come into Hunter’s possession. The motion seems to imply that it was one of Hunter’s “personal indulgences.” When I asked him about it, he told me that he had been given the diamond by the Chinese energy tycoon Ye Jianming, who was trying to make connections in Washington among prominent Democrats and Republicans, and whom he had met in the middle of the divorce. Hunter told me that two associates accompanied him to his first meeting with Ye, in Miami, and that they surprised him by giving Ye a magnum of rare vintage Scotch worth thousands of dollars.

Hunter was on the board of the World Food Program USA, a nonprofit that generates support for the U.N. World Food Programme, and he had hoped that Ye would make a large aid donation. At dinner that night, they discussed the donation, and then the conversation turned to business opportunities. Hunter offered to use his contacts to help identify investment opportunities for Ye’s company, CEFC China Energy, in liquefied-natural-gas projects in the United States. After the dinner, Ye sent a 2.8-carat diamond to Hunter’s hotel room with a card thanking him for their meeting. “I was, like, Oh, my God,” Hunter said. (In Kathleen’s court motion, the diamond is estimated to be worth eighty thousand dollars. Hunter said he believes the value is closer to ten thousand.) When I asked him if he thought the diamond was intended as a bribe, he said no: “What would they be bribing me for? My dad wasn’t in office.” Hunter said that he gave the diamond to his associates, and doesn’t know what they did with it. “I knew it wasn’t a good idea to take it. I just felt like it was weird,” he said.

Hunter began negotiating a deal for CEFC to invest forty million dollars in a liquefied-natural-gas project on Monkey Island, in Louisiana, which, he said, was projected to create thousands of jobs. “I was more proud of it than you can imagine,” he told me. In the summer of 2017, Ye talked with Hunter about his concern that U.S. law-enforcement agencies were investigating one of his associates, Patrick Ho. Hunter, who sometimes works as a private lawyer, agreed to represent Ho, and tried to figure out whether Ho was in legal jeopardy in the U.S. That November, just after Ye and Hunter agreed on the Monkey Island deal, U.S. authorities detained Ho at the airport. He was later sentenced to three years in prison for his role in a multiyear, multimillion-dollar scheme to bribe top government officials in Chad and Uganda in exchange for business advantages for CEFC. In February, 2018, Ye was detained by Chinese authorities, reportedly as part of an anti-corruption investigation, and the deal with Hunter fell through. Hunter said that he did not consider Ye to be a “shady character at all,” and characterized the outcome as “bad luck.”

Joe Biden is hardly the first politician to have faced scrutiny for the business dealings of a family member. In 1973, during the Watergate investigation, the Washington Post reported that Richard Nixon had the phone of his brother Donald tapped for at least a year, because he feared that Donald’s “various financial activities might bring embarrassment to the Nixon administration.” In the late seventies, the F.B.I. investigated President Jimmy Carter’s younger brother, Billy, after it emerged that he was on the payroll of the Libyan government. In an extensive report on the affair issued by the Senate Judiciary Committee, of which Biden was a member, Billy was quoted as saying that “he did not need anyone in Washington telling him how to conduct his private business.” Carter said that he had tried, unsuccessfully, to “discourage Billy from making any other trip to Libya” and “to keep him out of the newspapers for a few weeks.”

Biden’s approach was to deal with Hunter’s activities by largely ignoring them. This may have temporarily allowed Biden to truthfully inform reporters that his decisions were not affected by Hunter. But, as Robert Weissman, the president of the advocacy group Public Citizen, said, “It’s hard to avoid the conclusion that Hunter’s foreign employers and partners were seeking to leverage Hunter’s relationship with Joe, either by seeking improper influence or to project access to him.”

It is clear that Hunter and Biden’s decades-old decision not to discuss business matters has exposed both father and son to attacks. (Biden declined to comment for this article.) In March of last year, Peter Schweizer, a conservative researcher and a senior editor-at-large at Breitbart, published “Secret Empires: How the American Political Class Hides Corruption and Enriches Family and Friends.” Schweizer is best known for “Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Clinton Rich,” which was released in May, 2015. Research for that book was funded by the Government Accountability Institute, which Schweizer co-founded, in 2012, with Stephen Bannon. Under the law, the G.A.I. is a nonpartisan organization. But, as Joshua Green wrote, in “Devil’s Bargain,” his book about Bannon’s role in Trump’s rise, Bannon saw “Clinton Cash” as “the key to orchestrating Hillary Clinton’s downfall.” It was, Green writes, “the culmination of everything Bannon learned during his time in Goldman Sachs, Internet Gaming Entertainment, Hollywood, and Breitbart News.”

As Bannon and Schweizer had hoped, investigative journalists from the mainstream press followed up on Schweizer’s many examples of the Clintons’ purported conflicts of interest. In April, 2015, two weeks before Schweizer’s book came out, the Times published a front-page article, by Jo Becker and Mike McIntire, that cited Schweizer’s research alongside Becker’s own reporting from 2008. The article singled out a Canadian mining magnate, Frank Giustra, who donated tens of millions of dollars to the Clinton Foundation. The story suggested that the donations of Giustra and others might have created conflicts of interest, at a time when the Obama Administration was negotiating to allow the Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom to gain control of a swath of America’s untapped uranium deposits by purchasing the Canadian company Uranium One. The Times was criticized for building on Schweizer’s work, and, two years later, Eileen Sullivan, in another Times article, wrote, “There has been no evidence that donations to the Clinton Foundation influenced the Uranium One deal.” Still, “Clinton Cash” did exactly what Bannon hoped it would do, Green writes, “sullying Clinton’s image in a way that she never fully recovered from.”

“Secret Empires,” which details Hunter’s activities in China and Ukraine, focusses on what Schweizer calls “corruption by proxy,” which he defines as a “new corruption” that is “difficult to detect” and that, though often legal, makes “good money for a politician and his family and friends” and leaves “American politicians vulnerable to overseas financial pressure.” Schweizer often relies on innuendo to supplement his reporting. At one point, he describes “one of the few public sightings” of Hunter in Beijing, when Hunter, “dressed in a dark overcoat,” followed Biden into a shop to buy a Magnum ice cream. “Intentionally or not,” Schweizer writes, “Hunter Biden was showing the Chinese that he had guanxi”—connections.

Schweizer asserts that “Rosemont Seneca Partners had been negotiating an exclusive deal with Chinese officials, which they signed approximately ten days after Hunter visited China with his father.” In fact, the deal had been signed before the trip—according to the BHR representative, it was a business license that came through shortly afterward—and Hunter was not a signatory. Hunter and Archer said that they never met with any Chinese officials about the fund. And the deal wasn’t with Rosemont Seneca Partners but with a new holding company, established solely by Archer; Christopher Heinz was not part of the BHR transaction. Schweizer also asserts that the Chinese fund was “lucrative” for Hunter, but Hunter and his business partners told me that he has yet to receive a payment from the company.

In October, 2017, the special counsel Robert Mueller, investigating Russian interference in the 2016 Presidential election, indicted Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign chairman, on twelve counts, including committing conspiracy against the United States by failing to register as a foreign agent of Ukraine. (Manafort pleaded guilty to that charge in September, 2018.) Making a case that Hunter had his own Ukrainian scandal, Schweizer implies that Joe Biden had been consulted in advance about Hunter and Archer’s work with Burisma. On April 16, 2014, he notes, shortly before the announcement that Hunter and Archer had taken seats on the company’s board, Archer made a “private visit to the White House for a meeting with Vice-President Biden.” Hunter, Archer, and Archer’s son Lukas, who is now twelve, told me that the visit was arranged by Hunter for Lukas, who was working on a model of the White House for a grade-school assignment. Afterward, Lukas posted a picture on Instagram of himself shaking the Vice-President’s hand. Hunter and Archer said that Burisma was never discussed.

Rudolph Giuliani, Trump’s personal lawyer, has also aggressively promoted what he has called the “alleged Ukraine conspiracy” in interviews and on social media. Giuliani told me that, in the fall of 2018, he spoke to Viktor Shokin, Ukraine’s former prosecutor general. Shokin told him that Vice-President Biden had him fired in 2016 because he was investigating Burisma and the company’s payments to Hunter and Archer. Giuliani said that, in January, 2019, he met with Yurii Lutsenko, Ukraine’s current prosecutor general, in New York, and Lutsenko confirmed Shokin’s version of events.

On April 1, 2019, John Solomon, an opinion contributor to The Hill, wrote about Shokin’s claim that he had been conducting a corruption probe into Burisma and Hunter when he was dismissed. A month later, the Times reported that Hunter “was on the board of an energy company owned by a Ukrainian oligarch who had been in the sights of the fired prosecutor general.” The story, by Kenneth P. Vogel and Iuliia Mendel, provoked some Democrats to express concern that the Times was again lending credence to allegations made by Schweizer and other Trump allies. Giuliani retweeted the article, and Trump called for the Justice Department to investigate. Jon Favreau, a former speechwriter for President Obama, tweeted, “Zero lessons have been learned from 2016: 1. Mainstream outlet credulously accepts Trump conspiracy about opponent 2. Trump propaganda machine uses story to spread the conspiracy on social media and through digital ads 3. Voters believe it, ignoring subsequent fact checks.”

There is no credible evidence that Biden sought Shokin’s removal in order to protect Hunter. According to Amos Hochstein, the Obama Administration’s special envoy for energy policy, Shokin was removed because of concerns by the International Monetary Fund, the European Union, and the U.S. government that he wasn’t pursuing corruption investigations. Contrary to the assertions that Shokin was fired because he was investigating Burisma and Zlochevsky, Hochstein said, “many of us in the U.S. government believed that Shokin was the one protecting Zlochevsky.” In May, Giuliani scheduled a visit to Ukraine, and told the Times that he would look into Hunter’s involvement with Burisma, “because that information will be very, very helpful to my client,” but then abruptly cancelled the trip, amid reports that Ukraine’s President-elect was unwilling to meet with him. A week later, on May 16th, Lutsenko appeared to shift his position on Burisma, telling Bloomberg News that he saw no evidence of wrongdoing by Biden or his son, and that “a company can pay however much it wants to its board.” The reasons for his reversal were unclear, but Daria Kaleniuk, the head of the Anti-Corruption Action Center, in Kiev, speculated that Lutsenko, in talking with Giuliani, had been trying to “pump his political muscle,” a strategy that had proved ineffective in the new political climate.

That month, Hunter declined Burisma’s offer to serve another term on the board, believing that the controversy had become a distraction. But he said that he was proud of his work there, and that he thought the criticism was misplaced. “I feel the decisions that I made were the right decisions for my family and for me,” he told me. “Was it worth it? Was it worth the pain? No. It certainly wasn’t worth the grief.” He went on, “I would never have been able to predict that Donald Trump would have picked me out as the tip of the spear against the one person they believe can beat them.”

And yet, to many voters, the controversy over Hunter’s business dealings will appear to have been avoidable, a product of Biden’s resistance to having difficult conversations, particularly those involving his family. Hunter said that, in his talks with his father, “I’m saying sorry to him, and he says, ‘I’m the one who’s sorry,’ and we have an ongoing debate about who should be more sorry. And we both realize that the only true antidote to any of this is winning. He says, ‘Look, it’s going to go away.’ There is truly a higher purpose here, and this will go away. So can you survive the assault?”

In early May, Hunter met a thirty-two-year-old South African woman named Melissa Cohen, a filmmaker who was working on a series of documentaries about indigenous tribes in southern Africa. A few days after their first date, Hunter had the word “shalom” tattooed in Hebrew letters on the inside of his left bicep, to match a tattoo that Cohen has in the same spot. On May 15th, less than a week after they met, he proposed. The next morning, she accepted, and he bought the simplest gold wedding bands he could find, then called a marriage service, which sent over an officiant.

A month later, on the roof deck of Cohen’s apartment, off the Sunset Strip, Cohen sat on a bench next to Hunter, who was wearing jeans and a T-shirt emblazoned with the slogan “BE FUCKING NICE.” Hunter recalled that, after the ceremony, “I called my dad and said that we just got married. He was on speaker, and he said to her, ‘Thank you for giving my son the courage to love again.’ ” Hunter paused, his eyes filling with tears. “And he said to me, ‘Honey, I knew that when you found love again that I’d get you back.’ ” Cohen rubbed his shoulders. He went on, “And my reply was, I said, ‘Dad, I always had love. And the only thing that allowed me to see it was the fact that you never gave up on me, you always believed in me.’ ”

Hunter told me that, on a recent evening, he had seen reports on Twitter that Trump was calling for him to be investigated by the Justice Department. Then Hunter noticed a helicopter overhead. “I said, ‘I hope they’re taking pictures of us right now. I hope it’s a live feed to the President so he can see just how much I care about the tweets.’ ” He went on, “I told Melissa, ‘I don’t care. Fuck you, Mr. President. Here I am, living my life.’ ” ♦

Adam Entous became a staff writer at The New Yorker in 2018. He was a member of a team at the Washington Post that won the Pulitzer Prize for national reporting.
Voir également:

Footnotes in watchdog report indicate FBI knew of risk of Russian disinformation in Steele dossier

Catherine Herridge

The FBI was warned sections of the controversial Steele dossier could have been part of a « Russian disinformation campaign to denigrate U.S. foreign relations, » according to newly declassified footnotes from a government watchdog report.The December report by Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz examined the FBI’s investigation into alleged coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia as well as the FBI’s four surveillance warrants for former Trump campaign aide Carter Page.Horowitz concluded the FBI was justified in launching the investigation, dubbed Crossfire Hurricane, although he found 17 « significant inaccuracies and omissions » in the FBI’s handling of FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) applications to surveil Page.But some of Horowitz’s findings were disputed by U.S. Attorney John Durham, who is conducting a broader investigation. At the time, Durham said « we do not agree with some of the report’s conclusions as to predication and how the FBI case was opened. »Several footnotes in Horowitz’s report were redacted, and Republican Senators Chuck Grassley and Ron Johnson pushed for the declassification of four footnotes related to the Steele dossier, a collection of opposition research notes on the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia compiled by Christopher Steele, a former British intelligence officer.The dossier was used, in part, by FBI investigators to secure four surveillance warrants for Page.Footnote 350 in the IG report addresses the FBI’s knowledge of Russian contacts with Steele and the potential for disinformation.  Steele had « frequent contacts with representatives for multiple Russian oligarchs, we identified reporting the Crossfire Hurricane team received from (redacted) indicating the potential for Russian disinformation influencing Steele’s election reporting. »The footnote also indicates that warnings to the FBI’s Russia probe became more pronounced over time. »The (redacted) stated that it did not have high confidence in this subset of Steele’s reporting and assessed that the referenced subset was part of a Russian disinformation campaign to denigrate US foreign relations. »Footnote 302 relates to the FBI’s efforts to verify information contained in the Steele dossier, commissioned by the DNC through opposition research firm Fusion GPS. »According to a document circulated among Crossfire Hurricane team members and supervisors in early October 2016, Person 1 had historical contact with persons and entities suspected of being linked to RIS (Russian Intel)……In addition, in late December 2016, Department Attorney Bruce Ohr told SSA 1 that he had met with Glenn Simpson (Fusion GPS)  and that Simpson had assessed that Person 1 was a RIS (Russian intel) officer who was central in connecting Trump to Russia. »The third footnote also relates to the Steele source.Assistant Attorney General Stephen E. Boyd, in a letter to Grassley and Johnson, wrote that the « fourth and final footnote presents unique and significant concerns. Specifically, the redacted information refers to information received by a member of the Crossfire Hurricane team regarding possible previous attempts by a foreign government to penetrate and research a company or individuals associated with Christopher Steele. »In the December FISA report, Horowitz found « the FBI did not have information corroborating the specific allegations against Carter Page in Steele’s reporting when it relied upon his reports in the first FISA application or subsequent renewal applications. »The FBI declined to comment on the declassified footnotes, but said in an earlier statement of the ongoing audit into the bureau’s surveillance applications to the national security court or FISC, »The FBI and NSD’s filing with the FISC provides the Court with an update regarding some of the corrective actions that the FBI has made and continues to make to its FISA processes.  These steps are part of the 40-plus corrective actions that Director Wray ordered in December 2019. The FBI remains confident that these corrective actions will address the errors identified in earlier FISA applications that the IG reviewed in connection with its recent Woods Procedures audit as well as its review of the Crossfire Hurricane investigation. » »Consistent with our duty of candor to the Court and our responsibilities to the American people, we will continue updating the FISC and the Department of Justice to ensure that our corrective steps are implemented in a timely manner and that our FISA authorities are exercised responsibly, » the statement added.In a statement, Grassley said the declassified footnotes indicate the roots of the Russia investigation were flawed. »…beginning early on and continuing throughout the FBI’s Russia investigation, FBI officials learned critical information streams that flowed to the dossier were likely tainted with Russian Intelligence disinformation. Despite later intelligence reports that key elements of the FBI’s evidence were the result of Russian infiltration to undermine U.S. foreign relations, the FBI still pushed forward with its probe. It would eventually spill over into the years-long special counsel operation, costing taxpayers more than $30 million and increasing partisan divisions. »Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Johnson said, « From the opening of the investigation, the FBI team kept accumulating exculpatory information. Yet rather than wind the investigation down, they ramped it up…Then it got worse. The FBI team excluded exculpatory information from its FISA application… »U.S. Attorney John Durham has a broad mandate to investigate the origins of the FBI Russia probe, which officially opened in July 2016, as well as actions taken to secure four surveillance warrants for Trump campaign aide Carter Page.  Those warrants are under review, and the Justice Department has already determined two lacked probable cause.Speaking to Fox News earlier this week before the declassified footnotes were public, Attorney General William Barr said of the Durham investigation, « …It takes some time to build a, to build the case. So he is diligently pursuing it. My own view is that the evidence shows that we’re not dealing with just mistakes or sloppiness, there’s something far more troubling here, and we’re going to get to the bottom of it. And if people broke the law, and we can establish that with the evidence, they will be prosecuted. »Read the letter sent to Senators Grassley and Johnson below.
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Article on Joe and Hunter Biden Censored By The Intercept

An attempt to assess the importance of the known evidence, and a critique of media lies to protect their favored candidate, could not be published at The Intercept
Glenn Greenwald
Oct 29

I am posting here the most recent draft of my article about Joe and Hunter Biden — the last one seen by Intercept editors before telling me that they refuse to publish it absent major structural changes involving the removal of all sections critical of Joe Biden, leaving only a narrow article critiquing media outlets. I will also, in a separate post, publish all communications I had with Intercept editors surrounding this article so you can see the censorship in action and, given the Intercept’s denials, decide for yourselves (this is the kind of transparency responsible journalists provide, and which the Intercept refuses to this day to provide regarding their conduct in the Reality Winner story). This draft obviously would have gone through one more round of proof-reading and editing by me — to shorten it, fix typos, etc — but it’s important for the integrity of the claims to publish the draft in unchanged form that Intercept editors last saw, and announced that they would not “edit” but completely gut as a condition to publication:

Publication by the New York Post two weeks ago of emails from Hunter Biden’s laptop, relating to Vice President Joe Biden’s work in Ukraine, and subsequent articles from other outlets concerning the Biden family’s pursuit of business opportunities in China, provoked extraordinary efforts by a de facto union of media outlets, Silicon Valley giants and the intelligence community to suppress these stories.

One outcome is that the Biden campaign concluded, rationally, that there is no need for the front-running presidential candidate to address even the most basic and relevant questions raised by these materials. Rather than condemn Biden for ignoring these questions — the natural instinct of a healthy press when it comes to a presidential election — journalists have instead led the way in concocting excuses to justify his silence.

After the Post’s first article, both that newspaper and other news outlets have published numerous other emails and texts purportedly written to and from Hunter reflecting his efforts to induce his father to take actions as Vice President beneficial to the Ukrainian energy company Burisma, on whose board of directors Hunter sat for a monthly payment of $50,000, as well as proposals for lucrative business deals in China that traded on his influence with his father.

Individuals included in some of the email chains have confirmed the contents’ authenticity. One of Hunter’s former business partners, Tony Bubolinski, has stepped forward on the record to confirm the authenticity of many of the emails and to insist that Hunter along with Joe Biden’s brother Jim were planning on including the former Vice President in at least one deal in China. And GOP pollster Frank Luntz, who appeared in one of the published email chains, appeared to confirm the authenticity as well, though he refused to answer follow-up questions about it.

Thus far, no proof has been offered by Bubolinski that Biden ever consummated his participation in any of those discussed deals. The Wall Street Journal says that it found no corporate records reflecting that a deal was finalized and that « text messages and emails related to the venture that were provided to the Journal by Mr. Bobulinski, mainly from the spring and summer of 2017, don’t show either Hunter Biden or James Biden discussing a role for Joe Biden in the venture. »

But nobody claimed that any such deals had been consummated — so the conclusion that one had not been does not negate the story. Moreover, some texts and emails whose authenticity has not been disputed state that Hunter was adamant that any discussions about the involvement of the Vice President be held only verbally and never put in writing.

Beyond that, the Journal’s columnist Kimberly Strassel reviewed a stash of documents and « found correspondence corroborates and expands on emails recently published by the New York Post, » including ones where Hunter was insisting that it was his connection to his father that was the greatest asset sought by the Chinese conglomerate with whom they were negotiating. The New York Times on Sunday reached a similar conclusion: while no documents prove that such a deal was consummated, « records produced by Mr. Bobulinski show that in 2017, Hunter Biden and James Biden were involved in negotiations about a joint venture with a Chinese energy and finance company called CEFC China Energy, » and « make clear that Hunter Biden saw the family name as a valuable asset, angrily citing his ‘family’s brand’ as a reason he is valuable to the proposed venture. »

These documents also demonstrate, reported the Times, « that the countries that Hunter Biden, James Biden and their associates planned to target for deals overlapped with nations where Joe Biden had previously been involved as vice president. » Strassel noted that « a May 2017 ‘expectations’ document shows Hunter receiving 20% of the equity in the venture and holding another 10% for ‘the big guy’—who Mr. Bobulinski attests is Joe Biden. » And the independent journalist Matt Taibbi published an article on Sunday with ample documentation suggesting that Biden’s attempt to replace a Ukranian prosecutor in 2015 benefited Burisma.

All of these new materials, the authenticity of which has never been disputed by Hunter Biden or the Biden campaign, raise important questions about whether the former Vice President and current front-running presidential candidate was aware of efforts by his son to peddle influence with the Vice President for profit, and also whether the Vice President ever took actions in his official capacity with the intention, at least in part, of benefitting his son’s business associates. But in the two weeks since the Post published its initial story, a union of the nation’s most powerful entities, including its news media, have taken extraordinary steps to obscure and bury these questions rather than try to provide answers to them.

The initial documents, claimed the New York Post, were obtained when the laptops containing them were left at a Delaware repair shop with water damage and never picked up, allowing the owner to access its contents and then turn them over to both the FBI and a lawyer for Trump advisor Rudy Giuliani. The repair store owner confirmed this narrative in interviews with news outlets and then (under penalty of prosecution) to a Senate Committee; he also provided the receipt purportedly signed by Hunter. Neither Hunter nor the Biden campaign has denied these claims.

Publication of that initial New York Post story provoked a highly unusual censorship campaign by Facebook and Twitter. Facebook, through a long-time former Democratic Party operative, vowed to suppress the story pending its “fact-check,” one that has as of yet produced no public conclusions. And while Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey apologized for Twitter’s handling of the censorship and reversed the policy that led to the blocking of all links the story, the New York Post, the nation’s fourth-largest newspaper, continues to be locked out of its Twitter account, unable to post as the election approaches, for almost two weeks.

After that initial censorship burst from Silicon Valley, whose workforce and oligarchs have donated almost entirely to the Biden campaign, it was the nation’s media outlets and former CIA and other intelligence officials who took the lead in constructing reasons why the story should be dismissed, or at least treated with scorn. As usual for the Trump era, the theme that took center stage to accomplish this goal was an unsubstantiated claim about the Kremlin responsibility for the story.

Numerous news outlets, including the Intercept, quickly cited a public letter signed by former CIA officials and other agents of the security state claiming that the documents have the “classic trademarks » of a “Russian disinformation” plot. But, as media outlets and even intelligence agencies are now slowly admitting, no evidence has ever been presented to corroborate this assertion. On Friday, the New York Times reported that “no concrete evidence has emerged that the laptop contains Russian disinformation” and the paper said even the FBI has “acknowledged that it had not found any Russian disinformation on the laptop.”

The Washington Post on Sunday published an op-ed — by Thomas Rid, one of those centrists establishmentarian professors whom media outlets routinely use to provide the facade of expert approval for deranged conspiracy theories — that contained this extraordinary proclamation: « We must treat the Hunter Biden leaks as if they were a foreign intelligence operation — even if they probably aren’t. »

Even the letter from the former intelligence officials cited by The Intercept and other outlets to insinuate that this was all part of some “Russian disinformation” scheme explicitly admitted that “we do not have evidence of Russian involvement,” though many media outlets omitted that crucial acknowledgement when citing the letter in order to disparage the story as a Kremlin plot:

 

Despite this complete lack of evidence, the Biden campaign adopted this phrase used by intelligence officials and media outlets as its mantra for why the materials should not be discussed and why they would not answer basic questions about them. “I think we need to be very, very clear that what he’s doing here is amplifying Russian misinformation, » said Biden Deputy Campaign Manager Kate Bedingfield about the possibility that Trump would raise the Biden emails at Thursday night’s debate. Biden’s senior advisor Symone Sanders similarly warned on MSNBC: “if the president decides to amplify these latest smears against the vice president and his only living son, that is Russian disinformation. »

The few mainstream journalists who tried merely to discuss these materials have been vilified. For the crime of simply noting it on Twitter that first day, New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman had her name trend all morning along with the derogatory nickname “MAGA Haberman.” CBS News’ Bo Erickson was widely attacked even by his some in the media simply for asking Biden what his response to the story was. And Biden himself refused to answer, accusing Erickson of spreading a « smear. »

That it is irresponsible and even unethical to mention these documents became a pervasive view in mainstream journalism. The NPR Public Editor, in an anazing statement representative of much of the prevailing media mentality, explicitly justified NPR’s refusal to cover the story on the ground that “we do not want to waste our time on stories that are not really stories . . . [or] waste the readers’ and listeners’ time on stories that are just pure distractions.”

To justify her own show’s failure to cover the story, 60 Minutes’ Leslie Stahl resorted to an entirely different justification. “It can’t be verified,” the CBS reporter claimed when confronted by President Trump in an interview about her program’s failure to cover the Hunter Biden documents. When Trump insisted there were multiple ways to verify the materials on the laptop, Stahl simply repeated the same phrase: “it can’t be verified.”

After the final presidential debate on Thursday night, a CNN panel mocked the story as too complex and obscure for anyone to follow — a self-fulfilling prophecy given that, as the network’s media reporter Brian Stelter noted with pride, the story has barely been mentioned either on CNN or MSNBC. As the New York Times noted on Friday: « most viewers of CNN and MSNBC would not have heard much about the unconfirmed Hunter Biden emails…. CNN’s mentions of “Hunter” peaked at 20 seconds and MSNBC’s at 24 seconds one day last week. »

On Sunday, CNN’s Christiane Amanpour barely pretended to be interested in any journalism surrounding the story, scoffing during an interview at requests from the RNC’s Elizabeth Harrington to cover the story and verify the documents by telling her: « We’re not going to do your work for you. » Watch how the U.S.’s most mainstream journalists are openly announcing their refusal to even consider what these documents might reflect about the Democratic front-runner:

These journalists are desperate not to know. As Taibbi wrote on Sunday about this tawdry press spectacle:  » The least curious people in the country right now appear to be the credentialed news media, a situation normally unique to tinpot authoritarian societies. »

All of those excuses and pretexts — emanating largely from a national media that is all but explicit in their eagerness for Biden to win — served for the first week or more after the Post story to create a cone of silence around this story and, to this very day, a protective shield for Biden. As a result, the front-running presidential candidate knows that he does not have to answer even the most basic questions about these documents because most of the national press has already signaled that they will not press him to do so; to the contrary, they will concoct defenses on his behalf to avoid discussing it.

The relevant questions for Biden raised by this new reporting are as glaring as they are important. Yet Biden has had to answer very few of them yet because he has not been asked and, when he has, media outlets have justified his refusal to answer rather than demand that he do so. We submitted nine questions to his campaign about these documents that the public has the absolute right to know, including:

  • whether he claims any the emails or texts are fabricated (and, if so, which specific ones);
  • whether he knows if Hunter did indeed drop off laptops at the Delaware repair store;
  • whether Hunter ever asked him to meet with Burisma executives or whether he in fact did so;
  • whether Biden ever knew about business proposals in Ukraine or China being pursued by his son and brother in which Biden was a proposed participant and,
  • how Biden could justify expending so much energy as Vice President demanding that the Ukrainian General Prosecutor be fired, and why the replacement — Yuriy Lutsenko, someone who had no experience in law; was a crony of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko; and himself had a history of corruption allegations — was acceptable if Biden’s goal really was to fight corruption in Ukraine rather than benefit Burisma or control Ukrainian internal affairs for some other objective.

 

Though the Biden campaign indicated that they would respond to the Intercept’s questions, they have not done so. A statement they released to other outlets contains no answers to any of these questions except to claim that Biden “has never even considered being involved in business with his family, nor in any business overseas.” To date, even as the Biden campaign echoes the baseless claims of media outlets that anyone discussing this story is “amplifying Russian disinformation,” neither Hunter Biden nor the Biden campaign have even said whether they claim the emails and other documents — which they and the press continue to label « Russian disinformation » — are forgeries or whether they are authentic.

The Biden campaign clearly believes it has no need to answer any of these questions by virtue of a panoply of media excuses offered on its behalf that collapse upon the most minimal scrutiny:

First, the claim that the material is of suspect authenticity or cannot be verified — the excuse used on behalf of Biden by Leslie Stahl and Christiane Amanpour, among others — is blatantly false for numerous reasons. As someone who has reported similar large archives in partnership with numerous media outlets around the world (including the Snowden archive in 2014 and the Intercept’s Brazil Archive over the last year showing corruption by high-level Bolsonaro officials), and who also covered the reporting of similar archives by other outlets (the Panama Papers, the WikiLeaks war logs of 2010 and DNC/Podesta emails of 2016), it is clear to me that the trove of documents from Hunter Biden’s emails has been verified in ways quite similar to those.

With an archive of this size, one can never independently authenticate every word in every last document unless the subject of the reporting voluntarily confirms it in advance, which they rarely do. What has been done with similar archives is journalists obtain enough verification to create high levels of journalistic confidence in the materials. Some of the materials provided by the source can be independently confirmed, proving genuine access by the source to a hard drive, a telephone, or a database. Other parties in email chains can confirm the authenticity of the email or text conversations in which they participated. One investigates non-public facts contained in the documents to determine that they conform to what the documents reflect. Technology specialists can examine the materials to ensure no signs of forgeries are detected.

This is the process that enabled the largest and most established media outlets around the world to report similar large archives obtained without authorization. In those other cases, no media outlet was able to verify every word of every document prior to publication. There was no way to prove the negative that the source or someone else had not altered or forged some of the material. That level of verification is both unattainable and unnecessary. What is needed is substantial evidence to create high confidence in the authentication process.

The Hunter Biden documents have at least as much verification as those other archives that were widely reported. There are sources in the email chains who have verified that the published emails are accurate. The archive contains private photos and videos of Hunter whose authenticity is not in doubt. A former business partner of Hunter has stated, unequivocally and on the record, that not only are the emails authentic but they describe events accurately, including proposed participation by the former Vice President in at least one deal Hunter and Jim Biden were pursuing in China. And, most importantly of all, neither Hunter Biden nor the Biden campaign has even suggested, let alone claimed, that a single email or text is fake.

Why is the failure of the Bidens to claim that these emails are forged so significant? Because when journalists report on a massive archive, they know that the most important event in the reporting’s authentication process comes when the subjects of the reporting have an opportunity to deny that the materials are genuine. Of course that is what someone would do if major media outlets were preparing to publish, or in fact were publishing, fabricated or forged materials in their names; they would say so in order to sow doubt about the materials if not kill the credibility of the reporting.

The silence of the Bidens may not be dispositive on the question of the material’s authenticity, but when added to the mountain of other authentication evidence, it is quite convincing: at least equal to the authentication evidence in other reporting on similarly large archives.

Second, the oft-repeated claim from news outlets and CIA operatives that the published emails and texts were “Russian disinformation” was, from the start, obviously baseless and reckless. No evidence — literally none — has been presented to suggest involvement by any Russians in the dissemination of these materials, let alone that it was part of some official plot by Moscow. As always, anything is possible — when one does not know for certain what the provenance of materials is, nothing can be ruled out — but in journalism, evidence is required before news outlets can validly start blaming some foreign government for the release of information. And none has ever been presented. Yet the claim that this was « Russian disinformation » was published in countless news outlets, television broadcasts, and the social media accounts of journalists, typically by pointing to the evidence-free claims of ex-CIA officials.

Worse is the “disinformation” part of the media’s equation. How can these materials constitute “disinformation” if they are authentic emails and texts actually sent to and from Hunter Biden? The ease with which news outlets that are supposed to be skeptical of evidence-free pronouncements by the intelligence community instead printed their assertions about « Russian disinformation » is alarming in the extreme. But they did it because they instinctively wanted to find a reason to justify ignoring the contents of these emails, so claiming that Russia was behind it, and that the materials were « disinformation, » became their placeholder until they could figure out what else they should say to justify ignoring these documents.

Third, the media rush to exonerate Biden on the question of whether he engaged in corruption vis-a-vis Ukraine and Burisma rested on what are, at best, factually dubious defenses of the former Vice President. Much of this controversy centers on Biden’s aggressive efforts while Vice President in late 2015 to force the Ukrainian government to fire its Chief Prosecutor, Viktor Shokhin, and replace him with someone acceptable to the U.S., which turned out to be Yuriy Lutsenko. These events are undisputed by virtue of a video of Biden boasting in front of an audience of how he flew to Kiev and forced the Ukrainians to fire Shokhin, upon pain of losing $1 billion in aid.

But two towering questions have long been prompted by these events, and the recently published emails make them more urgent than ever: 1) was the firing of the Ukrainian General Prosecutor such a high priority for Biden as Vice President of the U.S. because of his son’s highly lucrative role on the board of Burisma, and 2) if that was not the motive, why was it so important for Biden to dictate who the chief prosecutor of Ukraine was?

The standard answer to the question about Biden’s motive — offered both by Biden and his media defenders — is that he, along with the IMF and EU, wanted Shokhin fired because the U.S. and its allies were eager to clean up Ukraine, and they viewed Shokhin as insufficiently vigilant in fighting corruption.

“Biden’s brief was to sweet-talk and jawbone Poroshenko into making reforms that Ukraine’s Western benefactors wanted to see as,” wrote the Washington Post’s Glenn Kessler in what the Post calls a “fact-check.” Kessler also endorsed the key defense of Biden: that the firing of Shokhin was bad for Burima, not good for it. “The United States viewed [Shokhin] as ineffective and beholden to Poroshenko and Ukraine’s corrupt oligarchs. In particular, Shokin had failed to pursue an investigation of the founder of Burisma, Mykola Zlochevsky,” Kessler claims.

But that claim does not even pass the laugh test. The U.S. and its European allies are not opposed to corruption by their puppet regimes. They are allies with the most corrupt regimes on the planet, from Riyadh to Cairo, and always have been. Since when does the U.S. devote itself to ensuring good government in the nations it is trying to control? If anything, allowing corruption to flourish has been a key tool in enabling the U.S. to exert power in other countries and to open up their markets to U.S. companies.

Beyond that, if increasing prosecutorial independence and strengthening anti-corruption vigilance were really Biden’s goal in working to demand the firing of the Ukrainian chief prosecutor, why would the successor to Shokhin, Yuriy Lutsenko, possibly be acceptable? Lutsenko, after all, had « no legal background as general prosecutor, » was principally known only as a lackey of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, was forced in 2009 to « resign as interior minister after being detained by police at Frankfurt airport for being drunk and disorderly, » and « was subsequently jailed for embezzlement and abuse of office, though his defenders said the sentence was politically motivated. »

Is it remotely convincing to you that Biden would have accepted someone like Lutsenko if his motive really were to fortify anti-corruption prosecutions in Ukraine? Yet that’s exactly what Biden did: he personally told Poroshenko that Lutsenko was an acceptable alternative and promptly released the $1 billion after his appointment was announced. Whatever Biden’s motive was in using his power as U.S. Vice President to change the prosecutor in Ukraine, his acceptance of someone like Lutsenko strongly suggests that combatting Ukrainian corruption was not it.

As for the other claim on which Biden and his media allies have heavily relied — that firing Shokhin was not a favor for Burisma because Shokhin was not pursuing any investigations against Burisma — the evidence does not justify that assertion.

It is true that no evidence, including these new emails, constitute proof that Biden’s motive in demanding Shokhin’s termination was to benefit Burisma. But nothing demonstrates that Shokhin was impeding investigations into Burisma. Indeed, the New York Times in 2019 published one of the most comprehensive investigations to date of the claims made in defense of Biden when it comes to Ukraine and the firing of this prosecutor, and, while noting that « no evidence has surfaced that the former vice president intentionally tried to help his son by pressing for the prosecutor general’s dismissal, » this is what its reporters concluded about Shokhin and Burisma:

[Biden’s] pressure campaign eventually worked. The prosecutor general, long a target of criticism from other Western nations and international lenders, was voted out months later by the Ukrainian Parliament.

Among those who had a stake in the outcome was Hunter Biden, Mr. Biden’s younger son, who at the time was on the board of an energy company owned by a Ukrainian oligarch who had been in the sights of the fired prosecutor general.

The Times added: « Mr. Shokhin’s office had oversight of investigations into [Burisma’s billionaire founder] Zlochevsky and his businesses, including Burisma. » By contrast, they said, Lutsenko, the replacement approved by Vice President Biden, « initially continued investigating Mr. Zlochevsky and Burisma, but cleared him of all charges within 10 months of taking office. »

So whether or not it was Biden’s intention to confer benefits on Burisma by demanding Shokhin’s firing, it ended up quite favorable for Burisma given that the utterly inexperienced Lutesenko « cleared [Burisma’s founder] of all charges within 10 months of taking office. »

The new comprehensive report from journalist Taibbi on Sunday also strongly supports the view that there were clear antagonisms between Shokhin and Burisma, such that firing the Ukrainian prosecutor would have been beneficial for Burisma. Taibbi, who reported for many years while based in Russia and remains very well-sourced in the region, detailed:

For all the negative press about Shokhin, there’s no doubt that there were multiple active cases involving Zlochevsky/Burisma during his short tenure. This was even once admitted by American reporters, before it became taboo to describe such cases untethered to words like “dormant.” Here’s how Ken Vogel at the New York Times put it in May of 2019:

« When Mr. Shokhin became prosecutor general in February 2015, he inherited several investigations into the company and Mr. Zlochevsky, including for suspicion of tax evasion and money laundering. Mr. Shokin also opened an investigation into the granting of lucrative gas licenses to companies owned by Mr. Zlochevsky when he was the head of the Ukrainian Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources. »

Ukrainian officials I reached this week confirmed that multiple cases were active during that time.

“There were different numbers, but from 7 to 14,” says Serhii Horbatiuk, former head of the special investigations department for the Prosecutor General’s Office, when asked how many Burisma cases there were.

“There may have been two to three episodes combined, and some have already been closed, so I don’t know the exact amount. » But, Horbatiuk insists, there were many cases, most of them technically started under Yarema, but at least active under Shokin.

The numbers quoted by Horbatiuk gibe with those offered by more recent General Prosecutor Rulsan Ryaboshapka, who last year said there were at one time or another “13 or 14” cases in existence involving Burisma or Zlochevsky.

Taibbi reviews real-time reporting in both Ukraine and the U.S. to document several other pending investigations against Burisma and Zlochevsky that was overseen by the prosecutor whose firing Biden demanded. He notes that Shokhin himself has repeatedly said he was pursuing several investigations against Zlochevsky at the time Biden demanded his firing. In sum, Taibbi concludes, « one can’t say there’s no evidence of active Burisma cases even during the last days of Shokin, who says that it was the February, 2016 seizure order [against Zlochevsky’s assets] that got him fired. »

And, Taibbi notes, « the story looks even odder when one wonders why the United States would exercise so much foreign policy muscle to get Shokin fired, only to allow in a replacement — Yuri Lutsenko — who by all accounts was a spectacularly bigger failure in the battle against corruption in general, and Zlochevsky in particular. » In sum: « it’s unquestionable that the cases against Burisma were all closed by Shokin’s successor, chosen in consultation with Joe Biden, whose son remained on the board of said company for three more years, earning upwards of $50,000 per month. »

The publicly known facts, augmented by the recent emails, texts and on-the-record accounts, suggest serious sleaze by Joe Biden’s son Hunter in trying to peddle his influence with the Vice President for profit. But they also raise real questions about whether Joe Biden knew about and even himself engaged in a form of legalized corruption. Specifically, these newly revealed information suggest Biden was using his power to benefit his son’s business Ukrainian associates, and allowing his name to be traded on while Vice President for his son and brother to pursue business opportunities in China. These are questions which a minimally healthy press would want answered, not buried — regardless of how many similar or worse scandals the Trump family has.

But the real scandal that has been proven is not the former Vice President’s misconduct but that of his supporters and allies in the U.S. media. As Taibbi’s headline put it: “With the Hunter Biden Exposé, Suppression is a Bigger Scandal Than the Actual Story.”

The reality is the U.S. press has been planning for this moment for four years — cooking up justifications for refusing to report on newsworthy material that might help Donald Trump get re-elected. One major factor is the undeniable truth that journalists with national outlets based in New York, Washington and West Coast cities overwhelmingly not just favor Joe Biden but are desperate to see Donald Trump defeated.

It takes an enormous amount of gullibility to believe that any humans are capable of separating such an intense partisan preference from their journalistic judgment. Many barely even bother to pretend: critiques of Joe Biden are often attacked first not by Biden campaign operatives but by political reporters at national news outlets who make little secret of their eagerness to help Biden win.

But much of this has to do with the fallout from the 2016 election. During that campaign, news outlets, including The Intercept, did their jobs as journalists by reporting on the contents of newsworthy, authentic documents: namely, the emails published by WikiLeaks from the John Podesta and DNC inboxes which, among other things, revealed corruption so severe that it forced the resignation of the top five officials of the DNC. That the materials were hacked, and that intelligence agencies were suggesting Russia was responsible, not negate the newsworthiness of the documents, which is why media outlets across the country repeatedly reported on their contents.

Nonetheless, journalists have spent four years being attacked as Trump enablers in their overwhelmingly Democratic and liberal cultural circles: the cities in which they live are overwhelmingly Democratic, and their demographic — large-city, college-educated professionals — has vanishingly little Trump support. A New York Times survey of campaign data from Monday tells just a part of this story of cultural insularity and homogeniety:

Joe Biden has outraised President Trump on the strength of some of the wealthiest and most educated ZIP codes in the United States, running up the fund-raising score in cities and suburbs so resoundingly that he collected more money than Mr. Trump on all but two days in the last two months….It is not just that much of Mr. Biden’s strongest support comes overwhelmingly from the two coasts, which it does…. [U]nder Mr. Trump, Republicans have hemorrhaged support from white voters with college degrees. In ZIP codes with a median household income of at least $100,000, Mr. Biden smashed Mr. Trump in fund-raising, $486 million to only $167 million — accounting for almost his entire financial edge….One Upper West Side ZIP code — 10024 — accounted for more than $8 million for Mr. Biden, and New York City in total delivered $85.6 million for him — more than he raised in every state other than California….

The median household in the United States was $68,703 in 2019. In ZIP codes above that level, Mr. Biden outraised Mr. Trump by $389.1 million. Below that level, Mr. Trump was actually ahead by $53.4 million.

Wanting to avoid a repeat of feeling scorn and shunning in their own extremely pro-Democratic, anti-Trump circles, national media outlets have spent four years inventing standards for election-year reporting on hacked materials that never previously existed and that are utterly anathema to the core journalistic function. The Washington Post’s Executive Editor Marty Baron, for instance, issued a memo full of cautions about how Post reporters should, or should not, discuss hacked materials even if their authenticity is not in doubt.

That a media outlet should even consider refraining from reporting on materials they know to be authentic and in the public interest because of questions about their provenance is the opposite of how journalism has been practiced. In the days before the 2016 election, for instance, the New York Times received by mail one year of Donald Trump’s tax returns and — despite having no idea who sent it to them or how that person obtained it: was is stolen or hacked by a foreign power? — the Times reported on its contents.

When asked by NPR why they would report on documents when they do not know the source let alone the source’s motives in providing them, two-time Pulitzer Prize winner David Barstow compellingly explained what had always been the core principle of journalism: namely, a journalist only cares about two questions — (1) are documents authentic and (2) are they in the public interest? — but does not care about what motives a source has in providing the documents or how they were obtained when deciding whether to reporting them:

The U.S. media often laments that people have lost faith in its pronouncements, that they are increasingly viewed as untrustworthy and that many people view Fake News sites are more reliable than established news outlets. They are good at complaining about this, but very bad at asking whether any of their own conduct is responsible for it.

A media outlet that renounces its core function — pursuing answers to relevant questions about powerful people — is one that deserves to lose the public’s faith and confidence. And that is exactly what the U.S. media, with some exceptions, attempted to do with this story: they took the lead not in investigating these documents but in concocting excuses for why they should be ignored.

As my colleague Lee Fang put it on Sunday: « The partisan double standards in the media are mind boggling this year, and much of the supposedly left independent media is just as cowardly and conformist as the mainstream corporate media. Everyone is reading the room and acting out of fear. » Discussing his story from Sunday, Taibbi summed up the most important point this way: « The whole point is that the press loses its way when it cares more about who benefits from information than whether it’s true. »

Voir enfin:

My Resignation From The Intercept
The same trends of repression, censorship and ideological homogeneity plaguing the national press generally have engulfed the media outlet I co-founded, culminating in censorship of my own articles.
Glenn Greenwald
Oct. 29, 2020

Today I sent my intention to resign from The Intercept, the news outlet I co-founded in 2013 with Jeremy Scahill and Laura Poitras, as well as from its parent company First Look Media.

The final, precipitating cause is that The Intercept’s editors, in violation of my contractual right of editorial freedom, censored an article I wrote this week, refusing to publish it unless I remove all sections critical of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, the candidate vehemently supported by all New-York-based Intercept editors involved in this effort at suppression.

The censored article, based on recently revealed emails and witness testimony, raised critical questions about Biden’s conduct. Not content to simply prevent publication of this article at the media outlet I co-founded, these Intercept editors also demanded that I refrain from exercising a separate contractual right to publish this article with any other publication.

I had no objection to their disagreement with my views of what this Biden evidence shows: as a last-ditch attempt to avoid being censored, I encouraged them to air their disagreements with me by writing their own articles that critique my perspectives and letting readers decide who is right, the way any confident and healthy media outlet would. But modern media outlets do not air dissent; they quash it. So censorship of my article, rather than engagement with it, was the path these Biden-supporting editors chose.

The censored article will be published on this page shortly (it is now published here, and the emails with Intercept editors showing the censorship are here). My letter of intent to resign, which I sent this morning to First Look Media’s President Michael Bloom, is published below.

As of now, I will be publishing my journalism here on Substack, where numerous other journalists, including my good friend, the great intrepid reporter Matt Taibbi, have come in order to practice journalism free of the increasingly repressive climate that is engulfing national mainstream media outlets across the country.

This was not an easy choice: I am voluntarily sacrificing the support of a large institution and guaranteed salary in exchange for nothing other than a belief that there are enough people who believe in the virtues of independent journalism and the need for free discourse who will be willing to support my work by subscribing.

Like anyone with young children, a family and numerous obligations, I do this with some trepidation, but also with the conviction that there is no other choice. I could not sleep at night knowing that I allowed any institution to censor what I want to say and believe — least of all a media outlet I co-founded with the explicit goal of ensuring this never happens to other journalists, let alone to me, let alone because I have written an article critical of a powerful Democratic politician vehemently supported by the editors in the imminent national election.

But the pathologies, illiberalism, and repressive mentality that led to the bizarre spectacle of my being censored by my own media outlet are ones that are by no means unique to The Intercept. These are the viruses that have contaminated virtually every mainstream center-left political organization, academic institution, and newsroom. I began writing about politics fifteen years ago with the goal of combatting media propaganda and repression, and — regardless of the risks involved — simply cannot accept any situation, no matter how secure or lucrative, that forces me to submit my journalism and right of free expression to its suffocating constraints and dogmatic dictates.

From the time I began writing about politics in 2005, journalistic freedom and editorial independence have been sacrosanct to me. Fifteen years ago, I created a blog on the free Blogspot software when I was still working as a lawyer: not with any hopes or plans of starting a new career as a journalist, but just as a citizen concerned about what I was seeing with the War on Terror and civil liberties, and wanting to express what I believed needed to be heard. It was a labor of love, based in an ethos of cause and conviction, dependent upon a guarantee of complete editorial freedom.

It thrived because the readership I built knew that, even when they disagreed with particular views I was expressing, I was a free and independent voice, unwedded to any faction, controlled by nobody, endeavoring to be as honest as possible about what I was seeing, and always curious about the wisdom of seeing things differently. The title I chose for that blog, “Unclaimed Territory,” reflected that spirit of liberation from captivity to any fixed political or intellectual dogma or institutional constraints.

When Salon offered me a job as a columnist in 2007, and then again when the Guardian did the same in 2012, I accepted their offers on the condition that I would have the right, except in narrowly defined situations (such as articles that could create legal liability for the news outlet), to publish my articles and columns directly to the internet without censorship, advanced editorial interference, or any other intervention permitted or approval needed. Both outlets revamped their publication system to accommodate this condition, and over the many years I worked with them, they always honored those commitments.

When I left the Guardian at the height of the Snowden reporting in 2013 in order to create a new media outlet, I did not do so, needless to say, in order to impose upon myself more constraints and restrictions on my journalistic independence. The exact opposite was true: the intended core innovation of The Intercept, above all else, was to create a new media outlets where all talented, responsible journalists would enjoy the same right of editorial freedom I had always insisted upon for myself. As I told former New York Times Executive Editor Bill Keller in a 2013 exchange we had in The New York Times about my critiques of mainstream journalism and the idea behind The Intercept: “editors should be there to empower and enable strong, highly factual, aggressive adversarial journalism, not to serve as roadblocks to neuter or suppress the journalism.”

When the three of us as co-founders made the decision early on that we would not attempt to manage the day-to-day operations of the new outlet, so that we could instead focus on our journalism, we negotiated the right of approval for senior editors and, especially the editor-in-chief. The central responsibility of the person holding that title was to implement, in close consultation with us, the unique journalistic vision and journalistic values on which we founded this new media outlet.

Chief among those values was editorial freedom, the protection of a journalist’s right to speak in an honest voice, and the airing rather than suppression of dissent from mainstream orthodoxies and even collegial disagreements with one another. That would be accomplished, above all else, by ensuring that journalists, once they fulfilled the first duty of factual accuracy and journalistic ethics, would be not just permitted but encouraged to express political and ideological views that deviated from mainstream orthodoxy and those of their own editors; to express themselves in their own voice of passion and conviction rather stuffed into the corporatized, contrived tone of artificial objectivity, above-it-all omnipotence; and to be completely free of anyone else’s dogmatic beliefs or ideological agenda — including those of the three co-founders.

The current iteration of The Intercept is completely unrecognizable when compared to that original vision. Rather than offering a venue for airing dissent, marginalized voices and unheard perspectives, it is rapidly becoming just another media outlet with mandated ideological and partisan loyalties, a rigid and narrow range of permitted viewpoints (ranging from establishment liberalism to soft leftism, but always anchored in ultimate support for the Democratic Party), a deep fear of offending hegemonic cultural liberalism and center-left Twitter luminaries, and an overarching need to secure the approval and admiration of the very mainstream media outlets we created The Intercept to oppose, critique and subvert.

As a result, it is a rare event indeed when a radical freelance voice unwelcome in mainstream precincts is published in The Intercept. Outside reporters or writers with no claim to mainstream acceptability — exactly the people we set out to amplify — have almost no chance of being published. It is even rarer for The Intercept to publish content that would not fit very comfortably in at least a dozen or more center-left publications of similar size which pre-dated its founding, from Mother Jones to Vox and even MSNBC.

Courage is required to step out of line, to question and poke at those pieties most sacred in one’s own milieu, but fear of alienating the guardians of liberal orthodoxy, especially on Twitter, is the predominant attribute of The Intercept’s New-York based editorial leadership team. As a result, The Intercept has all but abandoned its core mission of challenging and poking at, rather than appeasing and comforting, the institutions and guardians most powerful in its cultural and political circles.

Making all of this worse, The Intercept — while gradually excluding the co-founders from any role in its editorial mission or direction, and making one choice after the next to which I vocally objected as a betrayal of our core mission — continued publicly to trade on my name in order to raise funds for journalism it knew I did not support. It purposely allowed the perception to fester that I was the person responsible for its journalistic mistakes in order to ensure that blame for those mistakes was heaped on me rather than the editors who were consolidating control and were responsible for them.

The most egregious, but by no means only, example of exploiting my name to evade responsibility was the Reality Winner debacle. As The New York Times recently reported, that was a story in which I had no involvement whatsoever. While based in Brazil, I was never asked to work on the documents which Winner sent to our New York newsroom with no request that any specific journalist work on them. I did not even learn of the existence of that document until very shortly prior to its publication. The person who oversaw, edited and controlled that story was Betsy Reed, which was how it should be given the magnitude and complexity of that reporting and her position as editor-in-chief.

It was Intercept editors who pressured the story’s reporters to quickly send those documents for authentication to the government — because they was eager to prove to mainstream media outlets and prominent liberals that The Intercept was willing to get on board the Russiagate train. They wanted to counter-act the perception, created by my articles expressing skepticism about the central claims of that scandal, that The Intercept had stepped out of line on a story of high importance to U.S. liberalism and even the left. That craving — to secure the approval of the very mainstream media outlets we set out to counteract — was the root cause for the speed and recklessness with which that document from Winner was handled.

But The Intercept, to this very day, has refused to provide any public accounting of what happened in the Reality Winner story: to explain who the editors were who made mistakes and why any of it happened. As the New York Times article makes clear, that refusal persists to this very day notwithstanding vocal demands from myself, Scahill, Laura Poitras and others that The Intercept, as an institution that demands transparency from others, has the obligation to provide it for itself.

The reason for this silence and this cover-up is obvious: accounting to the public about what happened with the Reality Winner story would reveal who the actual editors are who are responsible for that deeply embarrassing newsroom failure, and that would negate their ability to continue to hide behind me and let the public continue to assume that I was the person at fault for a reporting process from which I was completely excluded from the start. That is just one example illustrating the frustrating dilemma of having a newsroom exploit my name, work and credibility when it is convenient to do so, while increasingly denying me any opportunity to influence its journalistic mission and editorial direction, all while pursuing an editorial mission completely anathema to what I believe.

Despite all of this, I did not want to leave The Intercept. As it deteriorated and abandoned its original mission, I reasoned to myself — perhaps rationalized — that as long as The Intercept at least continued to provide me the resources to personally do the journalism I believe in, and never to interfere in or impede my editorial freedom, I could swallow everything else.

But the brute censorship this week of my article — about the Hunter Biden materials and Joe Biden’s conduct regarding Ukraine and China, as well my critique of the media’s rank-closing attempt, in a deeply unholy union with Silicon Valley and the “intelligence community,” to suppress its revelations — eroded the last justification I could cling to for staying. It meant that not only does this media outlet not provide the editorial freedom to other journalists, as I had so hopefully envisioned seven years ago, but now no longer even provides it to me. In the days heading into a presidential election, I am somehow silenced from expressing any views that random editors in New York find disagreeable, and now somehow have to conform my writing and reporting to cater to their partisan desires and eagerness to elect specific candidates.

To say that such censorship is a red line for me, a situation I would never accept no matter the cost, is an understatement. It is astonishing to me, but also a reflection of our current discourse and illiberal media environment, that I have been silenced about Joe Biden by my own media outlet.

Numerous other episodes were also contributing causes to my decision to leave: the Reality Winner cover-up; the decision to hang Lee Fang out to dry and even force him to apologize when a colleague tried to destroy his reputation by publicly, baselessly and repeatedly branding him a racist; its refusal to report on the daily proceedings of the Assange extradition hearing because the freelance reporter doing an outstanding job was politically distasteful; its utter lack of editorial standards when it comes to viewpoints or reporting that flatter the beliefs of its liberal base (The Intercept published some of the most credulous and false affirmations of maximalist Russiagate madness, and, horrifyingly, took the lead in falsely branding the Hunter Biden archive as “Russian disinformation” by mindlessly and uncritically citing — of all things — a letter by former CIA officials that contained this baseless insinuation).

I know it sounds banal to say, but — even with all of these frustrations and failures — I am leaving, and writing this, with genuine sadness, not fury. That news outlet is something I and numerous close friends and colleagues poured an enormous amount of our time, energy, passion and love into building.

The Intercept has done great work. Its editorial leaders and First Look’s managers steadfastly supported the difficult and dangerous reporting I did last year with my brave young colleagues at The Intercept Brasil to expose corruption at the highest levels of the Bolsonaro government, and stood behind us as we endured threats of death and imprisonment.

It continues to employ some of my closest friends, outstanding journalists whose work — when it overcomes editorial resistance — produces nothing but the highest admiration from me: Jeremy Scahill, Lee Fang, Murtaza Hussain, Naomi Klein, Ryan Grim and others. And I have no personal animus for anyone there, nor any desire to hurt it as an institution. Betsy Reed is an exceptionally smart editor and a very good human being with whom I developed a close and valuable friendship. And Pierre Omidyar, the original funder and publisher of First Look, always honored his personal commitment never to interfere in our editorial process even when I was publishing articles directly at odds with his strongly held views and even when I was attacking other institutions he was funding. I’m not leaving out of vengeance or personal conflict but out of conviction and cause.

And none of the critiques I have voiced about The Intercept are unique to it. To the contrary: these are the raging battles over free expression and the right of dissent raging within every major cultural, political and journalistic institution. That’s the crisis that journalism, and more broadly values of liberalism, faces. Our discourse is becoming increasingly intolerant of dissenting views, and our culture is demanding more and more submission to prevailing orthodoxies imposed by self-anointed monopolists of Truth and Righteousness, backed up by armies of online enforcement mobs.

And nothing is crippled by that trend more severely than journalism, which, above all else, requires the ability of journalists to offend and anger power centers, question or reject sacred pieties, unearth facts that reflect negatively even on (especially on) the most beloved and powerful figures, and highlight corruption no matter where it is found and regardless of who is benefited or injured by its exposure.

Prior to the extraordinary experience of being censored this week by my own news outlet, I had already been exploring the possibility of creating a new media outlet. I have spent a couple of months in active discussions with some of the most interesting, independent and vibrant journalists, writers and commentators across the political spectrum about the feasibility of securing financing for a new outlet that would be designed to combat these trends. The first two paragraphs of our working document reads as follows:

American media is gripped in a polarized culture war that is forcing journalism to conform to tribal, groupthink narratives that are often divorced from the truth and cater to perspectives that are not reflective of the broader public but instead a minority of hyper-partisan elites. The need to conform to highly restrictive, artificial cultural narratives and partisan identities has created a repressive and illiberal environment in which vast swaths of news and reporting either do not happen or are presented through the most skewed and reality-detached lens.

With nearly all major media institutions captured to some degree by this dynamic, a deep need exists for media that is untethered and free to transgress the boundaries of this polarized culture war and address a demand from a public that is starved for media that doesn’t play for a side but instead pursues lines of reporting, thought, and inquiry wherever they lead, without fear of violating cultural pieties or elite orthodoxies.

I have definitely not relinquished hope that this ambitious project can be accomplished. And I theoretically could have stayed at The Intercept until then, guaranteeing a stable and secure income for my family by swallowing the dictates of my new censors.

But I would be deeply ashamed if I did that, and believe I would be betraying my own principles and convictions that I urge others to follow. So in the meantime, I have decided to follow in the footsteps of numerous other writers and journalists who have been expelled from increasingly repressive journalistic precincts for various forms of heresy and dissent and who have sought refuge here.

I hope to exploit the freedom this new platform offers not only to continue to publish the independent and hard-hitting investigative journalism and candid analysis and opinion writing that my readers have come to expect, but also to develop a podcast, and continue the YouTube program, “System Update,” I launched earlier this year in partnership with The Intercept.

To do that, to make this viable, I will need your support: people who are able to subscribe and sign up for the newsletter attached to this platform will enable my work to thrive and still be heard, perhaps even more so than before. I began my journalism career by depending on my readers’ willingness to support independent journalism which they believe is necessary to sustain. It is somewhat daunting at this point in my life, but also very exciting, to return to that model where one answers only to the public a journalist should be serving.

* * * * * * * *

LETTER OF INTENT TO RESIGN

——– Forwarded Message ——–

Subject: ResignationDate: Thu, 29 Oct 2020 10:20:54 -0300From: Glenn Greenwald <xxxxxxxx@theintercept.com>To: Michael Bloom <xxxxxxxxx@firstlook.media>, Betsy Reed <xxxxxxx@theintercept.com>

Michael –

I am writing to advise you that I have decided that I will be resigning from First Look Media (FLM) and The Intercept.

The precipitating (but by no means only) cause is that The Intercept is attempting to censor my articles in violation of both my contract and fundamental principles of editorial freedom. The latest and perhaps most egregious example is an opinion column I wrote this week which, five days before the presidential election, is critical of Joe Biden, the candidate who happens to be vigorously supported by all of the Intercept editors in New York who are imposing the censorship and refusing to publish the article unless I agree to remove all of the sections critical of the candidate they want to win. All of that violates the right in my contract with FLM to publish articles without editorial interference except in very narrow circumstances that plainly do not apply here.

Worse, The Intercept editors in New York, not content to censor publication of my article at the Intercept, are also demanding that I not exercise my separate contractual right with FLM regarding articles I have written but which FLM does not want to publish itself. Under my contract, I have the right to publish any articles FLM rejects with another publication. But Intercept editors in New York are demanding I not only accept their censorship of my article at The Intercept, but also refrain from publishing it with any other journalistic outlet, and are using thinly disguised lawyer-crafted threats to coerce me not to do so (proclaiming it would be “detrimental” to The Intercept if I published it elsewhere).

I have been extremely disenchanted and saddened by the editorial direction of The Intercept under its New York leadership for quite some time. The publication we founded without those editors back in 2014 now bears absolutely no resemblance to what we set out to build — not in content, structure, editorial mission or purpose. I have grown embarrassed to have my name used as a fund-raising tool to support what it is doing and for editors to use me as a shield to hide behind to avoid taking responsibility for their mistakes (including, but not only, with the Reality Winner debacle, for which I was publicly blamed despite having no role in it, while the editors who actually were responsible for those mistakes stood by silently, allowing me to be blamed for their errors and then covering-up any public accounting of what happened, knowing that such transparency would expose their own culpability).

But all this time, as things worsened, I reasoned that as long as The Intercept remained a place where my own right of journalistic independence was not being infringed, I could live with all of its other flaws. But now, not even that minimal but foundational right is being honored for my own journalism, suppressed by an increasingly authoritarian, fear-driven, repressive editorial team in New York bent on imposing their own ideological and partisan preferences on all writers while ensuring that nothing is published at The Intercept that contradicts their own narrow, homogenous ideological and partisan views: exactly what The Intercept, more than any other goal, was created to prevent.

I have asked my lawyer to get in touch with FLM to discuss how best to terminate my contract. Thank you –

Glenn Greenwald

Voir par ailleurs:

Trump Is Testing the Norms of Objectivity in Journalism

Jim Rutenberg
The New York Times
Aug. 7, 2016

If you’re a working journalist and you believe that Donald J. Trump is a demagogue playing to the nation’s worst racist and nationalistic tendencies, that he cozies up to anti-American dictators and that he would be dangerous with control of the United States nuclear codes, how the heck are you supposed to cover him?

Because if you believe all of those things, you have to throw out the textbook American journalism has been using for the better part of the past half-century, if not longer, and approach it in a way you’ve never approached anything in your career. If you view a Trump presidency as something that’s potentially dangerous, then your reporting is going to reflect that. You would move closer than you’ve ever been to being oppositional. That’s uncomfortable and uncharted territory for every mainstream, nonopinion journalist I’ve ever known, and by normal standards, untenable.

But the question that everyone is grappling with is: Do normal standards apply? And if they don’t, what should take their place?

Covering Mr. Trump as an abnormal and potentially dangerous candidate is more than just a shock to the journalistic system. It threatens to throw the advantage to his news conference-averse opponent, Hillary Clinton, who should draw plenty more tough-minded coverage herself. She proved that again last week with her assertion on “Fox News Sunday” that James Comey, director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, had declared her to be truthful in her answers about her decision to use a private email server for official State Department business — a grossly misleading interpretation of an F.B.I. report that pointed up various falsehoods in her public explanations.

And, most broadly, it upsets balance, that idealistic form of journalism with a capital “J” we’ve been trained to always strive for.

But let’s face it: Balance has been on vacation since Mr. Trump stepped onto his golden Trump Tower escalator last year to announce his candidacy. For the primaries and caucuses, the imbalance played to his advantage, captured by the killer statistic of the season: His nearly $2 billion in free media was more than six times as much as that of his closest Republican rival.

Now that he is the Republican nominee for president, the imbalance is cutting against him. Journalists and commentators are analyzing his policy pronouncements and temperament with an eye toward what it would all look like in the Oval Office — something so many of them viewed as an impossibility for so long.

You can see it from the minute the television news day starts, on the set of “Morning Joe” on MSNBC. A few months ago media writers were describing a too-cozy relationship between Mr. Trump and the show’s hosts, Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski.

Yet there was Mr. Scarborough on Wednesday asking the former Central Intelligence Agency director Michael V. Hayden whether there were safeguards in place to ensure that if Mr. Trump “gets angry, he can’t launch a nuclear weapon,” given the perception that he might not be “the most stable guy.”

Then Mr. Scarborough shared an alarming conversation he said he had with a “foreign policy expert” who had given Mr. Trump a national security briefing. “Three times he asked about the use of nuclear weapons,” Mr. Scarborough said, describing one of the questions as “If we have them, why can’t we use them?”

Speaking with me later, Mr. Scarborough, a Republican, said he had not contemplated sharing the anecdote with the audience until just before he did.

“When that discussion came up, I really didn’t have a choice,” Mr. Scarborough said. “That was something I thought Americans needed to know.”

Mr. Trump has denied Mr. Scarborough’s account. (He told The New York Times in March he would use nuclear weapons as “an absolutely last step.” But when the MSNBC host Chris Matthews challenged him for raising the possibility he would use them, Mr. Trump asked, “Then why are we making them?”)

Mr. Scarborough, a frequent critic of liberal media bias, said he was concerned that Mr. Trump was becoming increasingly erratic, and asked rhetorically, “How balanced do you have to be when one side is just irrational?”

Mr. Scarborough is on the opinion side of the news business. It’s much dodgier for conventional news reporters to treat this year’s political debate as one between “normal” and “abnormal,” as the Vox editor in chief Ezra Klein put it recently.

In a sense, that’s just what reporters are doing. And it’s unavoidable. Because Mr. Trump is conducting his campaign in ways we’ve not normally seen.

No living journalist has ever seen a major party nominee put financial conditions on the United States defense of NATO allies, openly fight with the family of a fallen American soldier, or entice Russia to meddle in a United States presidential election by hacking his opponent (a joke, Mr. Trump later said, that the news media failed to get). And while coded appeals to racism or nationalism aren’t new — two words: Southern strategy — overt calls to temporarily bar Muslims from entry to the United States or questioning a federal judge’s impartiality based on his Mexican heritage are new.

“If you have a nominee who expresses warmth toward one of our most mischievous and menacing adversaries, a nominee who shatters all the norms about how our leaders treat families whose sons died for our country, a nominee proposing to rethink the alliances that have guided our foreign policy for 60 years, that demands coverage — copious coverage and aggressive coverage,” said Carolyn Ryan, The New York Times’s senior editor for politics. “It doesn’t mean that we won’t vigorously pursue reporting lines on Hillary Clintonwe are and we will.”

You can fairly say about Mrs. Clinton that no presidential candidate has secured a major party nomination after an F.B.I. investigation into her use of a private email server for, in some cases, top-secret national security information. That warrants scrutiny, along with her entire record. But the candidates do not produce news at the same rate.

“When controversy is being stoked, it’s our obligation to report that,” said the Washington Post managing editor Cameron Barr. “If one candidate is doing that more aggressively and consistently than the other, that is an imbalance for sure.” But, he added, “it’s not one that we create, it’s one that the candidate is creating.”

Some of it was baked into the two candidacies. Mrs. Clinton has been around so long that voters can more easily envision what her presidency would look like. And to say she hasn’t been amply scrutinized is to ignore the fact that there are more “gates” affixed to her last name — Travelgate, Whitewatergate, now Emailgate — than there are gates in the Old City of Jerusalem.

Mr. Trump is a political novice who has spent his career running a private company and starring in a hit reality show. He’s hardly an unknown, but there is so much we still don’t know about his views and his familiarity with the major issues. His positions would be big news even if they didn’t so often seem to break with decades-old policy consensus (which they do).

The media reaction to it all has been striking, what The Columbia Journalism Review called “a Murrow moment.” It’s not unusual to see news stories describe him as “erratic” without attribution to an opponent. The “fact checks” of his falsehoods continue to pile up in staggering numbers, far outpacing those of Mrs. Clinton. And, on Sunday, the CNN “Reliable Sources” host Brian Stelter called upon journalists and opinion makers to challenge Mr. Trump’s “dangerous” claims that the electoral system is rigged against him. Failure to do so would be unpatriotic, Mr. Stelter said.

While there are several examples of conservative media criticism of Mr. Trump this year, the candidate and his supporters are reprising longstanding accusations of liberal bias. “The media is trying to take Donald Trump out,” Rush Limbaugh declared last week.

A lot of core Trump supporters certainly view it that way. That will only serve to worsen their already dim view of the news media, which initially failed to recognize the power of their grievances, and therefore failed to recognize the seriousness of Mr. Trump’s candidacy.

This, however, is what being taken seriously looks like. As Ms. Ryan put it to me, Mr. Trump’s candidacy is “extraordinary and precedent-shattering” and “to pretend otherwise is to be disingenuous with readers.”

It would also be an abdication of political journalism’s most solemn duty: to ferret out what the candidates will be like in the most powerful office in the world.

It may not always seem fair to Mr. Trump or his supporters. But journalism shouldn’t measure itself against any one campaign’s definition of fairness. It is journalism’s job to be true to the readers and viewers, and true to the facts, in a way that will stand up to history’s judgment. To do anything less would be untenable.


Présidentielle américaine: Quels débats biaisés et déséquilibrés ? (What if for a change questions were NOT primarily aimed at asking Trump about things that paint him poorly, then asking Biden how he would fix it ?)

24 octobre, 2020

Rukmini Callimachi interviewée par MSNBC en 2017The 1619 Project | 1APolitical Cartoons by Bob Gorrell

Soudain, Norman se sentit fier. Tout s’imposait à lui, avec force. Il était fier. Dans ce monde imparfait, les citoyens souverains de la première et de la plus grande Démocratie Electronique avaient, par l’intermédiaire de Norman Muller (par lui), exercé une fois de plus leur libre et inaliénable droit de vote. Le Votant (Isaac Asimov, 1955)
Yes. The media is biased. Biased against hatred, sexism, racism, incompetence, belligerence, inequality, To name a few. Jim Roberts (New York Times, 2016)
The first episode of Caliphate appeared on April 19, 2018, marking a major step toward The Times’s realization of its multimedia ambitions. It was promoted with a glossy marketing campaign that featured an arresting image, with the rubble of Mosul on one side and Ms. Callimachi’s face on the other. The series was 10 parts in all, including a new, sixth episode released on May 24 of that year detailing doubts about Abu Huzayfah’s story and The Times’s efforts to confirm it. The presentation carried an obvious, if implicit assumption: the central character of the narrative wasn’t making the whole story up. That assumption appeared to blow up a couple of weeks ago, on Sept. 25, when the Canadian police announced that they had arrested the man who called himself Abu Huzayfah, whose real name is Shehroze Chaudhry, under the country’s hoax law. The details of the Canadian investigation aren’t yet public. But the recriminations were swift among those who worked with Ms. Callimachi at The Times in the Middle East. “Maybe the solution is to change the podcast name to #hoax?” tweeted Margaret Coker, who left as The Times’s Iraq bureau chief in 2018 after a bitter dispute with Ms. Callimachi and now runs an investigative journalism start-up in Georgia. The Times has assigned a top editor, Dean Murphy, who heads the investigations reporting group, to review the reporting and editing process behind Caliphate and some of Ms. Callimachi’s other stories, and has also assigned an investigative correspondent with deep experience in national security reporting, Mark Mazzetti, to determine whether Mr. Chaudhry ever set foot in Syria and other questions opened by the arrest in Canada. The crisis now surrounding the podcast is as much about The Times as it is about Ms. Callimachi. She is, in many ways, the new model of a New York Times reporter. She combines the old school bravado of the parachuting, big foot reporter of the past, with a more modern savvy for surfing Twitter’s narrative waves and spotting the sorts of stories that will explode on the internet. She embraced audio as it became a key new business for the paper, and linked her identity and her own story of fleeing Romania as a child to her work. And she told the story of ISIS through the eyes of its members. Ms. Callimachi’s approach and her stories won her the support of some of the most powerful figures at The Times: early on, from Joe Kahn, who was foreign editor when Ms. Callimachi arrived and is now managing editor and viewed internally as the likely successor to the executive editor, Dean Baquet; and later, an assistant managing editor, Sam Dolnick, who oversees the paper’s successful audio team and is a member of the family that controls The Times. She was seen as a star — a standing that helped her survive a series of questions raised over the last six years by colleagues in the Middle East, including the bureau chiefs in Beirut, Anne Barnard, and Iraq, Ms. Coker, as well as the Syrian journalist who interpreted for her on a particularly contentious story about American hostages in 2014, Karam Shoumali. And it helped her weather criticism of specific stories from Arabic-speaking academics and other journalists. Many of those arguments have been re-examined in recent days in The Daily Beast, The Washington Post, and The New Republic. C.J. Chivers, an experienced war correspondent, clashed particularly bitterly with Mr. Kahn over Ms. Callimachi’s work, objecting to her approach to reporting on Western hostages taken by Islamic militants. Mr. Chivers warned editors of what he saw as her sensationalism and inaccuracy, and told Mr. Slackman, three Times people said, that turning a blind eye to problems with her work would “burn this place down.” Ms. Callimachi’s approach to storytelling aligned with a more profound shift underway at The Times. The paper is in the midst of an evolution from the stodgy paper of record into a juicy collection of great narratives, on the web and streaming services. And Ms. Callimachi’s success has been due, in part, to her ability to turn distant conflicts in Africa and the Middle East into irresistibly accessible stories. She was hired in 2014 from The Associated Press after she obtained internal Al Qaeda documents in Mali and shaped them into a darkly funny account of a penny-pinching terrorist bureaucracy. But the terror beat lends itself particularly well to the seductions of narrative journalism. Reporters looking for a terrifying yarn will find terrorist sources eager to help terrify. And journalists often find themselves relying on murderous and untrustworthy sources in situations where the facts are ambiguous. If you get something wrong, you probably won’t get a call from the ISIS press office seeking a correction. “If you scrutinized anyone’s record on reporting at Syria, everyone made grave, grave errors,” said Theo Padnos, a freelance journalist held hostage for two years and now working on a book, who said that The Times’s coverage of his cellmate’s escape alerted his captors to his complicity in it. “Rukmini is on the hot seat at the moment, but the sins were so general.” Terrorism coverage can also play easily into popular American hostility toward Muslims. Ms. Callimachi at times depicted terrorist supersoldiers, rather than the alienated and dangerous young men common in many cultures. That hype shows up in details like The Times’s description of the Charlie Hebdo shooters acting with “military precision.” By contrast, The Washington Post’s story suggested that the killers were, in fact, untrained, and noted a video showing them “cross each other’s paths as they advance up the street — a type of movement that professional military personnel are trained to avoid.” On Twitter, where she has nearly 400,000 followers, Ms. Callimachi speculated on possible ISIS involvement in high-profile attacks, including the 2017 Las Vegas shooting, which has not been attributed to the group. At one moment in the Caliphate podcast, Ms. Callimachi hears the doorbell ring at home and panics that ISIS has come for her, an effective dramatic flourish but not something American suburbanites had any reason to fear. Ms. Callimachi told me in an email that she’d received warnings from the F.B.I. of credible threats against her, and that in any event, that moment in the podcast “is not about ISIS or its presence in the suburbs, but about how deeply they had seeped into my mind.” Her work had impact at the highest levels. A former Trump aide, Sebastian Gorka, a leading voice for the White House’s early anti-Muslim immigration policies, quoted Ms. Callimachi’s work to reporters to predict a wave of ISIS attacks in the United States. Two Canadian national security experts wrote in Slate that the podcast “profoundly influenced the policy debate” and pushed Canada to leave the wives and children of ISIS fighters in Kurdish refugee camps. The haziness of the terrorism beat also raises the question of why The Times chose to pull this particular tale out of the chaotic canvas of Syria’s collapse. “The narrative her work perpetuates sensationalizes violence committed by Arabs or Muslims by focusing almost exclusively on — even pathologizing — their culture and religion,” said Alia Malek, the director of international reporting at the Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY and the author of a book about Syria. That narrative, she said, often ignores individuals’ motives and a geopolitical context that includes decades of American policy. “That might make for much more uncomfortable listening, but definitely more worthwhile.” Ms. Callimachi told me that she has been focused on “just how ordinary ISIS members are” and that her work “has always made a hard distinction between the faith practiced by over a billion people and the ideology of extremism.” Mr. Baquet declined to comment on the specifics of Ms. Callimachi’s reporting or the internal complaints about it, but he defended the sweep of her work on ISIS. “I don’t think there’s any question that ISIS was a major important player in terrorism,” he said, “and if you look at all of The Times’s reporting over many years, I think it’s a mix of reporting that helps you understand what gives rise to this.” (Mr. Baquet and Mr. Kahn, I should note here, are my boss’s boss’s boss and my boss’s boss, respectively, and my writing about The Times while on its payroll brings with it all sorts of potential conflicts of interest and is generally a bit of a nightmare.) While some of her colleagues in the Middle East and Washington found Ms. Callimachi’s approach to ISIS coverage overzealous, others admired her relentless work ethic. “Is she aggressive? Yes, and so are the best reporters,” said Adam Goldman, who covers the F.B.I. for The Times and has argued in favor of the kind of reporting on hostages that alienated Ms. Callimachi from other colleagues like Mr. Chivers. “None of us are infallible.” What is clear is that The Times should have been alert to the possibility that, in its signature audio documentary, it was listening too hard for the story it wanted to hear — “rooting for the story,” as The Post’s Erik Wemple put it on Friday. And while Mr. Baquet emphasized in an interview last week that the internal review would examine whether The Times wasn’t keeping to its standards in the audio department, the troubling patterns surrounding Ms. Callimachi’s reporting were clear before Caliphate. (…) Last month, that same cloud of doubt descended on Caliphate. And Ms. Callimachi now faces intense criticism from inside The Times and out — for her style of reporting, for the cinematic narratives in her writing and for The Times’s place in larger arguments about portrayals of terrorism. But while some of the coverage has portrayed her as a kind of rogue actor at The Times, my reporting suggests that she was delivering what the senior-most leaders of the news organization asked for, with their support. Ben Smith
La reporter Rukmini Callimachi, spécialiste de Daech, voit sa déontologie journalistique contestée. Son employeur, le New York Times, lance une enquête interne. (…) C’est un article d’un format très rare, que publiait hier le grand quotidien new-yorkais, puisqu’il émet des doutes sur certains articles et podcasts de Rukmini Callimachi, une pointure dans le journalisme international cette dernière décennie, particulièrement réputée pour sa couverture du groupe Etat islamique en Syrie et en Irak. « Il y a bien un problème Callimachi, et c’est un problème qui met en cause directement le New York Times », reconnaît donc son collègue Ben Smith qui signe l’article d’hier dont on sent bien que chaque mot a été savamment pesé. Rukmini Callimachi est contestée suite à l’arrestation au Canada d’un homme, un Canadien, qui prétendait avoir été combattant de Daech en Syrie et dont le témoignage avait alimenté le podcast de la journaliste du Times diffusé depuis deux ans, 10 épisodes de reportage audio intitulé « Califat » centrés justement sur des récits d’anciens djihadistes. Sauf que la justice canadienne a de bonnes raisons de croire que l’homme qu’elle a arrêté est un mythomane, qui n’a jamais mis les pieds au Moyen-Orient ni combattu pour le groupe Etat islamique. A partir de là, la question se pose : « Comment une journaliste censée avoir documenté d’aussi près l’horreur de Daech, et connaître son idéologie, son fonctionnement dans les moindres détails, a-t-elle pu se faire piéger par un faux terroriste ? » Cette question est formulée par Jacob Silvermann, dans The New Republic. Loin de conclure que Callimachi a sciemment fait confiance au Canadien malgré les zones d’ombres assez évidentes que présentait son témoignage, il s’interroge sur son rapport à ses sources et à ces histoires, vivantes, humaines, cette quête des récits incarnés au cœur du chaos qui a fait la signature et la gloire de la journaliste ces sept dernières années. Depuis l’arrestation du soi-disant djihadiste au Canada, le New York Times a lancé une enquête interne confiée à l’un de ses plus prestigieux enquêteurs qui va donc disséquer tout le travail de Rukimini Callimachi pour déterminer si elle a pu manquer de prudence et de déontologie sur d’autres reportages. Et si aucune conclusion n’est encore tirée de cette enquête, le quotidien peut faire autrement que d’entendre ce qu’il avait essayé d’ignorer jusque-là, les critiques émises depuis des années déjà par d’autres journalistes spécialistes du Moyen-Orient sur les méthodes de sa reporter-vedette : critiques sur sa quête effrénée et parfois « agressive » de l’histoire la plus édifiante ; critiques pour avoir sorti discrètement d’Irak, en 2018, des tonnes de documents récupérés dans les archives de Daech ; doutes sur le fait qu’elle ne maîtrisait pas la langue arabe ; sur l’hyper-personnalisation de ses reportages qui la mettaient très souvent en scène pour accentuer l’aspect sensationnel des sujets. Autant d’alertes qui n’avaient pas réussi à égratigner à l’époque l’aura de Rukmini Callimachi, mais qui trouvent, forcément, un écho à présent. La réaction du New York Times, qui ne cache rien aujourd’hui de cette crise, nous montre à quel point le journal prend la chose au sérieux et accepte de se remettre en question et notamment sur les travers de ce « journalisme narratif » qui s’impose depuis quelques années mais qui pose de vrais défis en terme de vérification des sources, sur des terrains de conflits complexes et dangereux, face à des personnages et des organisations aux motivations troubles, et connaissant l’habileté perverse avec laquelle Daech détourne nos codes et nos fantasmes journalistiques occidentaux. « Le travail de Rukmini Callimachi perpétue un récit qui sensationnalise la violence commise par des Arabes et des Musulmans, en mettant l’accent presque exclusivement, et maladivement, sur les dimensions religieuses et culturelles de cette violence » : c’est la responsable d’une prestigieuse école de journalisme new-yorkaise qui formule ainsi les reproches fait à la journaliste-star… laquelle, reconnaît enfin le New York Times, a « toujours travaillé avec l’approbation totale de son employeur ». Voilà au moins un quotidien qui n’élude pas (mais certes, a posteriori) sa part de responsabilité dans la tourmente. France Culture
Octobre 2020 restera dans l’histoire du « New York Times », fondé 169 ans plus tôt, comme l’un des mois les plus éprouvants pour la crédibilité de cette institution de la presse américaine. Shehroze Chaudhry, un Canadien de 25 ans qui prétendait avoir combattu dans les rangs de Daech en Syrie sous le surnom d’Abou Huzayfa, a en effet été arrêté par la police fédérale, non loin de Toronto. Mis en examen pour « incitation à craindre des activités terroristes » sur la base d’informations fabriquées (hoax), il risque jusqu’à cinq ans de prison pour ses affabulations. Or Abou Huzayfa a été, avec ses récits glaçants de décapitation et ses témoignages « de l’intérieur » de Daech, une des sources principales de reportages du « New York Times » sur l’organisation alors dirigée par Abou Bakr al-Baghdadi. Rukmini Callimachi est depuis 2014 la spécialiste des enquêtes du « New York Times » sur la mouvance jihadiste. Journaliste expérimentée, elle a débuté sa carrière comme freelance en Inde en 2001 et a, entre autres, dirigé le bureau de l’Associated Press pour l’Afrique occidentale (son travail sur des documents internes à Al-Qaida au Maghreb islamique (AQMI), découverts à Tombouctou en 2013, lui avait alors valu une nomination au prix Pulitzer).  En 2016, elle avait été la première à publier une investigation approfondie sur l’Emni, le service de « sécurité » de Daech, chargé entre autres d’organiser des attentats sur le continent européen. Deux ans plus tard, le podcast « Caliphate » de Callimachi, diffusé sur dix épisodes, est une des émissions-phares censées marquer le tournant du « New York Times » vers de nouveaux supports multimédias. Shehroze Chaudhry, alias Abou Huzayfa, est l’un des témoins les plus retentissants de cette série sur les horreurs perpétrées par Daech. Il est vrai qu’il fournit complaisamment tous les détails qui permettent à l’auditeur américain de mieux se figurer une telle barbarie. L’importance accordée à cette seule source avait conduit la direction du « New York Times », peu avant le lancement de « Caliphate », à mobiliser des ressources conséquentes pour s’assurer de la fiabilité d’Abou Huzayfa. C’est ainsi que le journaliste indépendant Derek Henry Flood fut envoyé dans la ville de Manbij, pourtant libérée de l’emprise jihadiste par les forces kurdes dès 2016, et qu’il y prit la photo ci-dessus. Ni Flood, ni les autres journalistes sollicités ne purent confirmer l’engagement effectif de Chaudhry dans Daech, ce qui n’empêcha pas la série « Caliphate » d’être diffusée et de recueillir un grand succès. Deux ans et demi après le lancement de cette série, la mise en examen de Chaudhry a conduit la direction du « New York Times » à diligenter une enquête interne, toujours en cours. Elle a par ailleurs publié un sévère exercice d’introspection, confié à Ben Smith, un des spécialistes média du quotidien. Smith ne cache pas que « toutes sortes de conflits d’intérêt » sont ouverts par une telle investigation sur son propre journal. Il révèle que des vétérans du terrain moyen-oriental au « New York Times », dont les correspondantes à Beyrouth et à Bagdad, avaient alerté leur hiérarchie sur les méthodes de Callimachi. Un journaliste syrien qui fut son interprète en arabe pour un reportage sur des otages de Daech témoigne: « elle recherchait quelqu’un pour lui dire ce qu’elle croyait déjà ». Forte de ses 400.000 abonnés sur Twitter, Callimachi laisse ainsi planer le doute sur la responsabilité de Daech dans la tuerie de Las Vegas, en 2017, alors que cette revendication est à l’évidence mensongère. Certes, l’officier canadien chargé du suivi de la « déradicalisation » de Chaudhry avoue avoir été, lui aussi, dupe de son imposture. L’immersion du pseudo-repenti dans les réseaux sociaux a apparemment entraîné un tel dédoublement de sa personnalité que le mythe d’Abou Huzayfa en est sorti conforté. Les macabres affabulations de Chaudhry ont même pesé dans le débat public au Canada, où le gouvernement a décidé de refuser tout rapatriement de ses ressortissants liés à Daech au Moyen-Orient, y compris les femmes et les enfants.  Mais c’est bel et bien le « New York Times » qui a permis à Abou Huzayfa d’acquérir une aussi formidable aura médiatique. Et Ben Smith conclut son enquête en refusant de tenir Callimachi pour seule responsable d’avoir « produit (deliver) ce que les plus hauts dirigeants (du « New York Times ») demandaient, avec leur soutien ». Qu’une telle polémique éclate dans la dernière phase d’une campagne présidentielle où Donald Trump et ses partisans ont banalisé les « fake news » n’en est que plus troublant. Jean-Pierre Filiu
Peu d’événements façonneront le monde à venir plus que le résultat de la prochaine élection présidentielle des États-Unis. Pour souligner ce moment historique, qui est sans doute une décision comme n’importe lequel d’entre nous l’a jamais prise dans les urnes, nous avons pour la première fois en presque 100 ans remplacé notre logo sur la couverture de notre édition américaine pour faire comprendre qu’il est impératif pour nous tous d’exercer le droit de vote. Edward Felsenthal (rédacteur en chef et président du Time)
Je suis désolé d’être le porteur de mauvaises nouvelles, mais je crois avoir été assez clair l’été dernier lorsque j’ai affirmé que Donald Trump serait le candidat républicain à la présidence des États-Unis. Cette fois, j’ai des nouvelles encore pires à vous annoncer: Donald J. Trump va remporter l’élection du mois de novembre. Ce clown à temps partiel et sociopathe à temps plein va devenir notre prochain président. (…) Jamais de toute ma vie n’ai-je autant voulu me tromper. (…) Voici 5 raisons pour lesquelles Trump va gagner : 1. Le poids électoral du Midwest, ou le Brexit de la Ceinture de rouille 2. Le dernier tour de piste des Hommes blancs en colère 3. Hillary est un problème en elle-même 4. Les partisans désabusés de Bernie Sanders 5. L’effet Jesse Ventura. Michael Moore
Je vous préviens presque 10 semaines à l’avance. Le niveau d’enthousiasme pour les 60 millions de la base de Trump FAIT EXPLOSER TOUS LES COMPTEURS ! Michael Moore (Aug. 28, 2020)
The polls are badly skewed for several reasons. Once adjustments are made for oversampling Democrats and polling ‘all adults’ instead of ‘likely voters’, the polls are actually much closer than the published results. The second part is that polls are a snapshot. We watch the movie. Where we are today does not necessarily bear much resemblance to where things will end up in November. (…) The same is true in the favourability ratings. (…) The Democrats do look stronger in the national average polls. They had a 4.3-point lead in 2016 and today that lead is wider at 7.6 points. Still, it’s important to bear in mind that national polls don’t matter because the US does not have national elections. Instead, it has 51 separate elections in the 50 states, plus the District of Columbia. The national poll lead reflects huge voter support for Biden in states like California and New York. Hillary Clinton beat Donald Trump by four million votes in California in 2016. Biden may beat Trump by an even wider amount in California in 2020. The problem is you can’t win California twice. You can only win it once, no matter how many extra votes you receive. Every vote for Biden in California over 50.1% is a wasted vote; the same is true in New York. It does seem highly likely that Biden will win California and New York, but the huge excess popular vote in those states won’t do him any good in battlegrounds like Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. That’s why national polls don’t matter while battleground state polls matter a lot. Looking just at the battleground states, Trump is polling better today than he was at this stage in the 2016 race. That’s a very good sign for Trump. The other aspect of the polls that is good news for Trump is that the gap between Biden and Trump is narrowing and moving in Trump’s direction. While Biden maintains a lead by most measures, Trump is gaining and is within the margin of error in many of the battleground states where Biden is ahead. This trend towards Trump has been noticeable in the past two weeks. Polls will likely move more in Trump’s favour because polling works with a lag. (…) a well-constructed and valid poll can take two weeks from start to finish. The results may be solid, but they are out of date by the time they are final. This means that polls we are seeing today may have been conducted weeks ago. If the trend was moving in Trump’s direction two weeks ago, don’t be surprised to see much better results for Trump a week or two from now. (…) in October and early November 2016, I predicted Donald Trump would defeat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election. (…) My forecast came at a time when Hillary was ahead in all the polls, when betting markets were giving her a 90% chance of winning, and when pundits like Nate Silver and those at The New York Times were giving Hillary odds of winning at 93%. The TV anchors would turn pale or gasp for breath when I gave my predictions, but they were kind enough to give me time to explain why the polls were skewed, why betting markets are not good predictors of political outcomes, and why anecdotal evidence — which I had gathered on road trips in Spokane, Washington, and the Ozark Mountains — all pointed in Trump’s favour. Jim Rickards
Les jours sont comptés pour les sondages politiques traditionnels en Amérique et la divergence entre les votes réels de mardi et ce qui était attendu dans les sondages semble indiquer qu’ils ont probablement fait leur temps. Le fait que les sondages n’ont apparemment pas réussi à repérer les préférences d’une grande partie de l’électorat américain indique un problème plus vaste et plus systématique, qui ne sera probablement pas réglé de sitôt. Le problème fondamental – et la raison pour laquelle les sondeurs sont inquiets à propos de ce type d’échec des sondages à grande échelle – vient des faibles taux de réponse qui ont affecté même les meilleurs sondages depuis l’utilisation généralisée de la technologie d’identification des appelants [dite « présentation du numéro » en France]. L’identification de l’appelant, plus que tout autre facteur unique, signifie que moins d’Américains décrochent le téléphone lorsqu’un sondeur appelle. Cela signifie qu’il faut plus d’appels pour qu’un sondage atteigne suffisamment de répondants pour constituer un échantillon valide, mais cela signifie également que les Américains s’auto-sélectionnent avant de décrocher le téléphone. Ainsi, même si notre capacité à analyser les données s’est améliorée de plus en plus, grâce à l’informatique avancée et à une augmentation de la quantité de données disponibles pour les analystes, notre capacité à collecter des données s’est détériorée. Et si les données d’entrée sont mauvaises, l’analyse ne sera pas non plus bonne. Cette auto-sélectio est extrêmement problématique pour les sondeurs. Un échantillon n’est valide que dans la mesure où les individus atteints sont un échantillon aléatoire de la population globale en question. Il n’est pas du tout problématique pour certaines personnes de refuser de décrocher le téléphone, tant que leur refus est motivé par un processus aléatoire. Si celui-ci est aléatoire, les personnes qui décrochent le téléphone seront toujours un échantillon représentatif de la population globale, et le sondeur devra simplement passer plus d’appels. De même, ce n’est pas un problème sérieux pour les sondeurs si les gens refusent de répondre au téléphone selon des caractéristiques connues. Par exemple, les sondeurs savent que les Afro-Américains sont moins susceptibles de répondre à une enquête que les Américains blancs et que les hommes sont moins susceptibles de décrocher le téléphone que les femmes. Grâce au recensement américain, nous savons quelle proportion de ces groupes est censée être dans notre échantillon, donc lorsque la proportion d’hommes, ou d’Afro-Américains, est insuffisante dans l’échantillon, les sondeurs peuvent utiliser des techniques de pondération pour corriger le déficit. Le vrai problème survient lorsque les répondants potentiels à un sondage refusent systématiquement de décrocher le téléphone en fonction de caractéristiques que les sondeurs ne mesurent ou ne peuvent ajuster pour correspondre à la population. (…) Rien de tout cela ne poserait de problème si les taux de réponse étaient au niveau où ils étaient dans les années 80, voire 90. Mais avec les taux de réponse aux sondages téléphoniques modernes stagnant en dessous de 15%, il devient de plus en plus difficile de déterminer si on a même affaire ou non à des problèmes de non-réponse systématiques. Mais ces problèmes deviennent carrément inquiétants lorsque les caractéristiques qui poussent les gens à s’exclure des sondages sont corrélées avec le principal résultat que le sondage tente de mesurer. Par exemple, si les électeurs de Donald Trump étaient plus susceptibles de décider de ne pas participer aux sondages parce qu’ils sont truqués, et ce d’une manière qui n’était pas corrélée avec des caractéristiques connues comme la race et le sexe, les sondeurs n’auraient aucun moyen de le savoir. Bien sûr, si la non-réponse non observée entraîne des erreurs de sondage, il est nécessaire de se demander comment les sondages se sont si bien déroulés jusqu’à présent. Après tout, les taux de réponse ont été tout aussi bas au moins lors des quatre dernières élections présidentielles, et les sondages se sont assez bien comportés dans ces élections. Une partie du problème, et ce qui rend cette élection différente, est un échec apparent des modèles d’électeurs probables. L’une des tâches les plus difficiles auxquelles doit faire face tout enquêteur électoral est de déterminer qui votera et qui ne votera pas le jour du scrutin. Les gens ayant tendance à dire qu’ils vont voter même quand ils ne le feront pas, il est donc nécessaire de poser plus de questions. Chaque grand institut de sondage a sa propre série de questions pour repérer les électeurs probables, mais elles incluent généralement des éléments sur l’intérêt pour l’élection, le comportement de vote passé et la connaissance de l’emplacement d’un bureau de vote. Utiliser ces questions pour repérer qui votera et qui ne votera pas est une affaire délicate; l’échec d’un modèle d’électeur probable complexe est la raison pour laquelle Gallup a quitté les sondages électoraux. (…) Il se peut que les techniques standard d’échantillonnage et de pondération soient capables de corriger les problèmes d’échantillonnage lors d’une élection normale – une élection dans laquelle les modèles de participation électorale restent prévisibles – mais échouent lorsque les sondages n’arrivent plus à repérer des parties de l’électorat susceptibles de participer à une élection mais pas aux précédentes. Imaginez qu’il existe un groupe d’électeurs qui ne votent généralement pas et qui sont systématiquement moins susceptibles de répondre à un sondage. Tant qu’ils continuent de ne pas voter, il n’y a pas de problème. Mais si un candidat arrive à mobiliser ces électeurs, les sondages sous-estimeront systématiquement le soutien au candidat, ce qui semble s’être passé mardi soir. Dan Cassino (2016)
Alors que Joe Biden est le favori des sondages dans la course à la Maison-Blanche, les commentateurs politiques rivalisent de prudence quatre ans après la victoire surprise de Donald Trump. Pour le Time, l’enjeu est d’abord de préserver la démocratie américaine en appelant au vote et à l’unité nationale. Quatre lettres qui n’avaient pas bougé depuis près de cent ans. “Time”, ancré en haut de la couverture du prestigieux hebdomadaire américain depuis 1923, a été remplacé par “Vote”, quatre autres lettres qui se veulent un rempart à l’effondrement démocratique tant redouté aux États-Unis. Dessous, un immense portrait de femme, bas du visage masqué, regard inquiet, humblement tourné vers le passé. (…) Pour illustrer ce numéro “historique”, le magazine a choisi l’artiste Shepard Fairey. Connu sous le nom d’Obey, il est notamment célèbre pour son affiche Hope, réalisée pour la campagne de Barack Obama en 2008 ou pour sa Marianne réalisée en hommage à la France après les attentats de 2015. Il propose cette fois un portrait de femme aux yeux légèrement bridés, un clin d’œil à l’électorat issu de l’immigration, déterminant dans l’élection en cours. Elle est vêtue d’un débardeur rouge étoilé et masquée d’un bandana bleu. (…) Après plusieurs mois de pandémie, la rédaction du Time présente le moment comme “une occasion de changer de cap comme cela n’arrive qu’une fois tous les vingt ans” et de faire société. Dans une tribune, le journaliste politique Molly Ball espère que “le 3 novembre (ou peu après, espérons-le), nous saurons enfin ce que signifiaient ces quatre années incompréhensibles […] Désireux de se montrer rassembleur en cette période de crise sanitaire et politique, le Time évacue le nom des candidats et des partis pour n’incarner la république qu’à travers son expression démocratique. “Vote” donc, tout simplement. Courrier international
L’heure est grave pour les États-Unis à l’approche de l’élection présidentielle qui aura lieu le 3 novembre prochain. À tel point que pour la première fois en près d’un siècle d’existence, le célèbre magazine Time a décidé de changer son titre en remplaçant « TIME » par « VOTE ». Créé en 1923, le magazine généraliste est devenu une véritable institution dans le monde entier grâce à ses articles fouillés et ses reportages particulièrement bien documentés, mais aussi pour sa Une son titre charismatique. De nos jours, le prestigieux hebdomadaire est également ancré dans l’inconscient collectif pour l’imposant cadre rouge qui entoure sa photo de couverture. Et pour la première fois donc, la rédaction a fait le choix symbolique de changer son titre dans l’objectif d’inciter chaque Américain à voter le mardi 3 novembre prochain, soit dans moins de 10 jours. Si au premier abord cet appel au vote peut sembler dénué de toute orientation politique, à lire entre les lignes, on se rend rapidement compte du candidat que soutient le magazine. En effet, la réponse se cache derrière l’artiste qui a réalisé le visuel présent en couverture. Il s’agit d’une création originale de l’artiste Shepard Fairey, le même qui avait dessiné la très populaire affiche « HOPE » de la campagne d’un certain Barack Obama, candidat démocrate à l’élection présidentielle américaine de 2008. On y voit une femme porter un bandana orné d’une urne accompagnée du message « VOTE! » en guise de masque. Subtilement, le Time affiche donc sa préférence envers Joe Biden (Parti démocrate) qui affrontera le président sortant : Donald Trump (Parti républicain). Pour l’occasion, les lecteurs de ce numéro une édition spéciale sur les derniers rebondissements de cette campagne présidentielle 2020 et un guide pour voter en toute sécurité à l’heure du coronavirus. Démotivateur
Le fait même de poser une question peut inventer un résultat car elle fait appel à l’imaginaire du sondé qui n’y avait pas encore réfléchi. Alain Garrigou
D’après les journaux, les sondages montrent que la plupart des gens croient les journaux qui déclarent que la plupart des gens croient les sondages qui montrent que la plupart des gens ont lu les journaux qui conviennent que les sondages montrent qu’il va gagner. Mark Steyn
Une fois de plus, les médias ont péché par une couverture triviale des débats et une crédulité manifeste face à la propagande de John McCain. La tactique des républicains consiste à taper sans relâche sur la presse sous prétexte qu’elle pencherait « naturellement » à gauche. Cette stratégie d’intimidation explique l’obséquiosité de certains journalistes face à McCain, même si une petite lueur d’espoir est apparue récemment avec les reportages d’investigation publiés sur Sarah Palin, la colistière du candidat républicain. (…) le journalisme bien compris est un militantisme ! En clarifiant le monde, il construit une image sur laquelle les citoyens pourront agir. Todd Gitlin (ancien gauchiste et professeur de sociologie et journalisme à l’université Columbia)
La polarisation sur les sondages est dangereuse. Les sondages ont cet impact insidieux du goutte-à-goutte quotidien. L’effet cumulatif est de créer autant que refléter l’opinion publique. C’est d’ailleurs pour cette raison que certains pays interdisent les sondages dans les deux dernières semaines qui précèdent une élection. (…) Les médias essayent de prouver qu’Obama est tellement en avance que cela l’aide à récolter de l’argent, à obtenir plus de soutiens et démoralise les conservateurs. Ce qui se passe, c’est que les journalistes se servent maintenant des sondages pour conforter leurs articles comme pour dire aux gens: Regardez, 52% du pays votent pour Obama, pourquoi pas vous ? Allez-vous voter contre un homme de couleur ? Allez-vous voter pour un vieux type ? Pourquoi n’êtes-vous pas dans l’air du temps? (…) Ils vous demandent de réagir à une phraséologie bien-pensante au lieu de sonder votre idéologie fondamentale. Ainsi ils posent des questions comme, Etes-vous pour ou contre l’amélioration de la qualité de l’éducation publique ? Etes-vous pour ou contre des soins de santé universels ? Etes-vous pour ou contre la protection de l’environnement? Et vous voyez ces sondages qui indiquent 88 % d’Américains pour la protection de l’environnement. Mais bigre, qui peuvent bien être les 12 autres pour cent ? Autrement dit, qui ne veut pas que tous les enfants aient une éducation de qualité et mangent à leur faim? Et que l’air et l’eau ne soient pas pollués ? Mais alors ces gens-là regardent ces résultats de sondage et disent : vous voyez? Le réchauffement climatique est le problème numéro un. Vous voyez? (…) ACORN et Wright sont des questions plus pertinentes pour les gens qu’Ayers, parce que ACORN, c’est ici et maintenant. Les gens ont vu les images de Wright dénonçant l’Amérique. Les gens seraient incapables de reconnaitre Ayers dans une file de suspects. Les gens n’apprécient pas trop l’idée d’être privés par qui que ce soit de leur droit de vote. La campagne de McCain a gaspillé trois semaines sur Ayers, au lieu de chercher à toucher les électeurs sur l’économie. L’impôt est toujours un gros mot. (…) Joe le plombier et Sarah Palin étaient des moments inattendus et imprévisibles pour la campagne d’Obama. Mais ce que Joe le plombier et Sarah Palin ont en commun, c’est qu’ils ont ce lien intangible avec la plupart des gens qui n’est pas facile à surmonter. Et ils représentent également la classe moyenne qu’Obama dit représenter, mais au sein de laquelle il n’a pas vécu depuis des années. Je crois que cette élection est beaucoup plus serrée que certains dans les médias sont disposés à l’admettre. Les ouvriers blancs, qui tendent à aimer Joe le plombier et Sarah Palin, seront décisifs. Si les conservateurs ne sont pas contents du manque d’équité et d’objectivité de la couverture médiatique, pourquoi regardent-ils ces sondages ? Pourquoi leur permettent-ils de dicter ce qu’ils pensent de l’élection présidentielle avant qu’un seul vote soit déposé dans l’urne? Kellyanne Conway
Comme je l’ai dit depuis le début, notre campagne n’en était pas simplement une, mais plutôt un grand mouvement incroyable, composé de millions d’hommes et de femmes qui travaillent dur, qui aiment leur pays, et qui veulent un avenir plus prospère et plus radieux pour eux-mêmes et leur famille. C’est un mouvement composé d’Américains de toutes races, de toutes religions, de toutes origines, qui veulent et attendent que le gouvernement serve le peuple. Ce gouvernement servira le peuple. J’ai passé toute ma vie dans le monde des affaires et j’ai observé le potentiel des projets et des personnes partout dans le monde. Aujourd’hui, c’est ce que je veux faire pour notre pays. Il y a un potentiel énorme, je connais bien notre pays, il y a potentiel incroyable, ce sera magnifique. Chaque Américain aura l’opportunité de vivre pleinement son potentiel. Ces hommes et ces femmes oubliés de notre pays, ces personnes ne seront plus oubliées. Donald Trump (2016)
Je suis désolé d’être le porteur de mauvaises nouvelles, mais je crois avoir été assez clair l’été dernier lorsque j’ai affirmé que Donald Trump serait le candidat républicain à la présidence des États-Unis. Cette fois, j’ai des nouvelles encore pires à vous annoncer: Donald J. Trump va remporter l’élection du mois de novembre. Ce clown à temps partiel et sociopathe à temps plein va devenir notre prochain président. (…) Jamais de toute ma vie n’ai-je autant voulu me tromper. (…) Voici 5 raisons pour lesquelles Trump va gagner : 1. Le poids électoral du Midwest, ou le Brexit de la Ceinture de rouille 2. Le dernier tour de piste des Hommes blancs en colère 3. Hillary est un problème en elle-même 4. Les partisans désabusés de Bernie Sanders 5. L’effet Jesse Ventura. Michael Moore
L’effet Bradley (en anglais Bradley effect) (…) est le nom donné aux États-Unis au décalage souvent observé entre les sondages électoraux et les résultats des élections américaines quand un candidat blanc est opposé à un candidat non blanc (noir, hispanique, latino, asiatique ou océanien). Le nom du phénomène vient de Tom Bradley, un Afro-Américain qui perdit l’élection de 1982 au poste de gouverneur de Californie, à la surprise générale, alors qu’il était largement en tête dans tous les sondages. L’effet Bradley reflète une tendance de la part des votants, noirs aussi bien que blancs, à dire aux sondeurs qu’ils sont indécis ou qu’ils vont probablement voter pour le candidat noir ou issu de la minorité ethnique mais qui, le jour de l’élection, votent pour son opposant blanc. Une des théories pour expliquer l’effet Bradley est que certains électeurs donnent une réponse fausse lors des sondages, de peur qu’en déclarant leur réelle préférence, ils ne prêtent le flanc à la critique d’une motivation raciale de leur vote. Cet effet est similaire à celui d’une personne refusant de discuter de son choix électoral. Si la personne déclare qu’elle est indécise, elle peut ainsi éviter d’être forcée à entrer dans une discussion politique avec une personne partisane. La réticence à donner une réponse exacte s’étend parfois jusqu’aux sondages dits de sortie de bureau de vote. La façon dont les sondeurs conduisent l’interview peut être un déterminant dans la réponse du sondé. Wikipedia
The phenomenon of voters telling pollsters what they think they want to hear, however, actually has a name: the Bradley Effect, a well-studied political phenomenon. In 1982, poll after poll showed Tom Bradley, Los Angeles’ first black mayor and a Democrat, with a solid lead over George Deukmejian, a white Republican, in the California gubernatorial race. Instead, Bradley narrowly lost to Deukmejian, a stunning upset that led experts to wonder how the polls got it wrong. Pollsters, and some political scientists, later concluded that voters didn’t want to say they were voting against Bradley, who would have been the nation’s first popularly-elected African-American governor, because they didn’t want to appear to be racist. (…) In December, a Morning Consult poll examined whether Trump supporters were more likely to say they supported him in online polls than in polls conducted by live questioners. Their finding was surprising: « Trump performs about six percentage points better online than via live telephone interviewing, » according to the study. At the same time, « his advantage online is driven by adults with higher levels of education, » the study says, countering data showing Trump’s bedrock support comes from voters without college degrees. « Importantly, the differences between online and live telephone [surveys] persist even when examining only highly engaged, likely voters. » But Galston says while the study examines « a legitimate question, » the methodology is unclear, and « it’s really important to compare apples to apples. You need to be sure that the online community has the same demographic profile » as phone polling. « It may also be the case that people who are online and willing to participate in that study are already, in effect, a self-selected sample » of pro-Trump voters, Galston says. (…) Ultimately, Trump’s claim « is more of a way to try to explain poor polling numbers. Trump is losing at the moment and he’s trying to explain it off, » Skelley says. « This doesn’t really hold up under scrutiny. » US News & world report (July 2016)
Silicon Valley these days is a very intolerant place for people who do not hold so called ‘socially liberal’ ideas. In Silicon Valley, because of the high prevalence of highly smart people, there is a general stereotype that voting Republican is for dummies. So many people see considering supporting Republican candidates, particularly Donald Trump, anathema to the whole Silicon Valley ethos that values smarts and merit. A couple of friends thought that me supporting Trump made me unworthy of being part of the Silicon Valley tribe and stopped talking to me. At the end of the day, we choose our politics the way we choose our lovers and our friends — not so much out a rational analysis, but based on impressions and our own personal backgrounds. My main reason for supporting Trump is that I basically agree with the notion that unless the trend is stopped, our country is going to hell … The Silicon Valley elite is highly hypocritical on this matter. One of the reasons, I assume, they don’t like Trump is because on this area, as in many others, he is calling a spade a spade. I believe Trump is right in this case. … supporting Trump only offers [an] upside. Electing Hillary Clinton would keep the status quo. If Trump wins, there’s a whole set of new possibilities that would emerge for the nation. Even if it remains socially liberal, it would be good for it if the president were to be a Republican so that the Valley could recover a little bit of its rebel spirit (that was the case during the Bush years for instance). I believe that the increased relevance in national politics of companies like Google (whose Chairman [Eric] Schmidt has been very cozy with the Obama administration) and Apple (at the center of several political disputes) has been bad for the Valley. A Trump presidency would allow the Valley to focus on what it does best: dreaming and building the technology of the future, leaving politics for DC types. Silicon valley software engineer
Many people are saying to maybe their friends while they’re having a sip of Chardonnay in Washington or Boston, ‘Oh, I would never vote for him, he’s so – not politically correct,’ or whatever, but then they’re going to go and vote for him. Because he’s saying things that they would like to say, but they’re not politically courageous enough to say it and I think that’s the real question in this election. Trump is kind of a combination of the gun referendum, because he’s an emotional energy source for people who want to make sure that they’re voicing their concerns about all these issues – immigration, et cetera – but then I think there’s this other piece. They don’t find it to be correct or acceptable to a lot of their friends, but when push comes to shove, they’re going to vote for him. Gregory Payne (Emerson College)
Donald Trump performs consistently better in online polling where a human being is not talking to another human being about what he or she may do in the election. It’s because it’s become socially desirable, if you’re a college educated person in the United States of America, to say that you’re against Donald Trump. Kellyanne Conway (Trump campaign manager)
They’ll go ahead and vote for that candidate in the privacy of a [voting] booth But they won’t admit to voting for that candidate to somebody who’s calling them for a poll. Joe Bafumi (Dartmouth College)
Trump’s advantage in online polls compared with live telephone polling is eight or nine percentage points among likely voters. Kyle A. Dropp
It’s easier to express potentially ‘unacceptable’ responses on a screen than it is to give them to a person. Kathy Frankovic
This may be due to social desirability bias — people are more willing to express support for this privately than when asked by someone else. Douglas Rivers
In a May 2015 report, Pew Research analyzed the differences between results derived from telephone polling and those from online Internet polling. Pew determined that the biggest differences in answers elicited via these two survey modes were on questions in which social desirability bias — that is, “the desire of respondents to avoid embarrassment and project a favorable image to others” — played a role. In a detailed analysis of phone versus online polling in Republican primaries, Kyle A. Dropp, the executive director of polling and data science at Morning Consult, writes: Trump’s advantage in online polls compared with live telephone polling is eight or nine percentage points among likely voters. This difference, Dropp notes, is driven largely by more educated voters — those who would be most concerned with “social desirability.” These findings suggest that Trump will head into the general election with support from voters who are reluctant to admit their preferences to a live person in a phone survey, but who may well be inclined to cast a ballot for Trump on Election Day. The NYT (May 2016)
Les analystes politiques, les sondeurs et les journalistes ont donné à penser que la victoire d’Hillary Clinton était assurée avant l’élection. En cela, c’est une surprise, car la sphère médiatique n’imaginait pas la victoire du candidat républicain. Elle a eu tort. Si elle avait su observer la société américaine et entendre son malaise, elle n’aurait jamais exclu la possibilité d’une élection de Trump. Pour cette raison, ce n’est pas une surprise. (…) Sans doute, ils ont rejeté Donald Trump car ils le trouvaient – et c’est le cas – démagogue, populiste et vulgaire. Je n’ai d’ailleurs jamais vu une élection américaine avec un tel parti pris médiatique. Même le très réputé hebdomadaire britannique « The Economist » a fait un clin d’oeil à Hillary Clinton. Je pense que la stigmatisation sans précédent de Donald Trump par les médias a favorisé chez les électeurs américains la dissimulation de leur intention de vote auprès des instituts de sondage. En clair, un certain nombre de votants n’a pas osé admettre qu’il soutenait le candidat américain. Ce phénomène est classique en politique. Souvenez du 21 avril 2002 et de la qualification surprise de Jean-Marie Le Pen, leader du Front national, au second tour de l’élection présidentielle française. Dominique Reynié
Biden now has gone full-circle: last year bragging about banning fracking and ending fossil fuels, then in the general campaign denying that, and now reaffirming it. Biden also hurt himself with his base, by blaming Obama for not getting more crime reform for drug sentencing while accusing Bernie Sanders of pushing a socialist health plan and suggesting his own opposition to it had boosted him over his leftwing rivals in the primaries (perhaps true, but not wise to ensure the base turns out). Americans know by now that treatments are improving on COVID-19, that death rates are declining, and that it is true that about 99.8 percent of the infected under 65 will survive the virus. Trump did well in pointing all that out. (…) Trump, then, after four years in the White House, nonetheless successfully returned to his role as the outsider cleanser of Biden’s Augean insider stables. His theme was can-do Americanism, Biden’s was timidity and caution and worries that there is little hope anywhere to be found, an attitude consistent with his own hibernation. Final thoughts on the debate: The moderator Kristen Welker was far better than the prior debate and town-hall moderators, in avoiding the scripted stuff like the Charlottesville distortions and ‘when did you stop beating your wife’ questions. That said, she interrupted Trump far more than she did Biden, and focused more on Biden-friendly questions. But most importantly, Trump kept his cool, was deferential to Welker, and was tough but not cruel to Biden. The final question is not whether Trump won and will be seen to have won bigly by next week, but to what degree Biden’s suicidal talk of ending fossil fuels and denial of the Hunter Biden evidence that cannot be denied implode his campaign early next week or not until Election Day. Victor Davis Hanson
Robert Cahaly, stratège principal du groupe Trafalgar, s’est fait un nom en 2016  pour avoir été le seul sondeur à correctement repérer l’avance de Donald Trump au Michigan et en Pennsylvanie – deux États clés qu’il a emportés – à l’approche du jour du scrutin. (Il n’a pas sondé le Wisconsin, une autre victoire surprenante pour Trump.) Cahaly a également repéré l’avance de Trump en Caroline du Nord et en Floride, qu’il a toutes deux gagnées, assurant sa victoire improbable 304-227 au collège électoral sur Hillary Clinton. Après avoir demandé aux électeurs qui ils soutenaient en 2016, le sondeur a poursuivi en leur demandant qui, selon eux, leurs voisins soutenaient, Trump ou Clinton. Cahaly a constamment constaté un degré élevé de variance entre les personnes pour lesquelles les répondants ont déclaré voter et celles pour lesquelles ils pensaient que leurs voisins votaient, ce qui suggère qu’il y avait en fait un «effet Trump » en jeu. Deux ans plus tard, la méthode de Cahaly s’est une fois de plus révélée solide. Dans l’une des courses les plus sondées du cycle, Trafalgar était la seule société de sondage à montrer correctement une victoire au poste de gouverneur de Ron DeSantis en Floride – ainsi que Rick Scott y remportant la course au Sénat. Real Clear politics
L’enquête est conçue pour être représentative des électeurs inscrits qui ont regardé le débat de mardi, elle ne représente pas les vues de tous les Américains. Les électeurs qui ont regardé le débat étaient plus partisans que les Américains dans leur ensemble – 36% se sont identifiés comme indépendants ou non-partisans contre environ 40% dans le grand public, et le groupe d’observateurs du débat était plus démocrate qu’un sondage typique de tous. adultes, avec 39% s’identifiant comme démocrates et 25% comme républicains. (..) Le sondage post-débat de CNN a été mené par le SSRS par téléphone et comprend des entretiens avec 568 électeurs inscrits qui ont regardé le débat du 29 septembre. Les résultats parmi les observateurs du débat ont une marge d’erreur d’échantillonnage de plus ou moins 6,3 points de pourcentage. CNN
Vous savez quoi? Je suis blanc. Je suis juif. Quand j’étais enfant, ma mère avait aussi « La Conversation » avec moi: ‘Dov, tu dois toujours montrer du respect à un policier, même quand il a tort. Ne leur réponds jamais. Fais ce qu’ils te disent. S’ils se trompent, nous pourrons le dire au juge plus tard. Mais ne t’énerve jamais avec un flic. » Trente ans plus tard, j’ai également eu cette conversation avec mes enfants: ‘Si jamais vous êtes arrêté par un flic dans la circulation et qu’il ou elle vous demande votre immatriculation ou votre assurance auto, n’ouvrez tout simplement pas la boîte à gants ou ne mettez pas la main dans votre veste pour la chercher. Le flic est peut-être fou, peut-être même antisémite, sait-on jamais et peut penser que vous allez chercher une arme. Alors, demandez d’abord au flic: « Officier, puis-je fouiller dans ma poche ou ma boîte à gants parce que c’est là que se trouvent les papiers? » Et puis laissez le flic vous dire quoi faire.  » Si un flic vous dit de rester assis dans la voiture, restez assis. Si un flic vous dit de vous taire, alors taisez-vous. (Il ne m’est jamais venu à l’esprit d’ajouter, comme il faut l’ajouter en cet « Age de Ferguson et de Michael Brown: «Ne luttez pas contre un flic pour son arme. Ne tirez pas avec un pistolet Taser sur un flic.») Dov Fischer
President Trump, before the terrible COVID pandemic arrived from China, you had created the strongest economy with the lowest unemployment numbers in history for Blacks, Latinos, and Asian Americans. How will you return us to the economic powerhouse you brought about before the plague? President Trump, can you share with us how in the heck you ever got two Arab Muslim countries to sign peace deals with Israel, the first in a quarter century, and are any more coming in soon? President Trump, how did you feel when New York’s Governor Cuomo praised your leadership in helping New York fight the coronavirus? What was it like getting those military hospital ships to New York and California, and how did you ever manage to turn our peace-time economy into a war-time footing that got more ventilators manufactured than we ever needed? President Trump, polls are showing that your approval numbers among Black and Hispanic voters are the highest that any Republican president has seen in recent memory. How do you explain that turn-around? President Trump, since you already have fulfilled your pledge to build 400 miles of border wall so far, how has that impacted the efforts to control immigration? Vice President Biden, do you have anything you would like to say to Black voters to apologize for calling their school districts a “jungle,” for working with former Ku Klux Klan Exalted Cyclops Robert Byrd, for saying that Black mothers do not give their children a working vocabulary, and for telling African Americans that, if they do not vote as you want them to, then they “ain’t Black”? Vice President Biden, the President has released all his medical records. When will you disclose to the American people the state of medical assessment of your cognitive functions and whether you are being treated medically for that purpose? And will you be disclosing to the American people all pharmaceuticals and other medications you take or that have been injected into you during the past twelve months? Dov Fischer

Et si, pour changer, les questions ne visaient PAS principalement à interroger Trump sur des choses qui le montrent sous un mauvais jour, puis à demander à Biden comment il réglerait le problème ?

En ces temps étranges …

Où avec l’aide de la censure ouverte des réseaux sociaux

A l’image du magazine Time qui pour la première fois de son histoire bientôt centenaire

Fait pour sa couverture de la semaine de l’élection une entorse à sa règle et change en « VOTE » son légendaire logo

Via, on ne peut plus subtilement, le portrait par le créateur des célébrissimes affiches « Hope » et « Change » de la première campagne Obama d’une jeune membre des minorités dûment encagoulé d’un bandana à la antifa

Ou du prétendu quotidien de référence américain, réécrivant, entre un faux reportage et un dessin antisémite, rien de moins que l’histoire américaine

Le journalisme bien compris est, désormais ouvertement, devenu un militantisme

Et au lendemain, après le premier débat très controversé que l’on sait, d’un brillant débat du Président Trump …

Où, surprise selon un sondage d’après débat CNN repris par la plupart de nos médias …
Si Trump améliore son score de 11 points (de 28 à 39), Biden est à nouveau donné large gagnant et améliore même son score …
Comment ne pas s’étonner que personne ne semble s’étonner …
Sans compter leur effet « ventriloque » par leur goutte à goutte permanent tout au long de la campagne …
Que de tels sondages puissent être repris comme véritable information par tous les médias américains comme internationaux …
Quand on sait que comme le précise la chaine elle-même en bas de ses articles que personne ne lit …
Ils sont fondés sur une surdistribution de Démocrates dans l’échantillon (39% contre 25%) …
Et que leur marge d’erreur sur un échantillon de moins de 600 personnes, dépasse, excusez du peu, les 6% pour le  premier et 5% pour le dernier …
Comment ne pas s’étonner …
Que parmi les prétendus historiens ou spécialistes des Etats-Unis invités d’une émission d’information dite de qualité comme C dans l’air composée …
Tous étrangement, quand une rare vraie professionnelle comme Laure Mandeville n’est pas disponible, alignés à gauche …
Personne ne tique quand l’une d’entre eux observe cette remarquable continuité de résultats entre les deux débats …
Que bien sûr personne ne prenne la peine de mentionner ces problèmes d’échantillon …
Que, relayant allègrement les accusations démocrates de prétendues tentatives de suppression du votre noir par les Républicains, personne ne rappelle que nombre d’états américains n’exigent même pas de pièce d’identité avec photo pour voter …
Que, dénonçant régulièrement le système du Collège électoral, personne ne signale que sans celui-ci, les candidats n’auraient même plus besoin de se déplacer dans les petits états …
Que, ramenant systématiquement les accusations démocrates de non-paiement d’impôts du président Trump, personne ne tente non plus d’expliquer, notamment dans l’immobilier, le système des impôts pré-payés  …
Que, minimisant tout aussi systématiquement les inquiétudes républicaines par rapport au vote massif par correspondance, personne ne mentionne que l’autorisation, par la Cour suprême,  des dépouillements de votes plusieurs jours APRES le jour du scrutin dans nombre d’états, ne peut qu’augmenter les risques de contestations …
Que, nous rebattant les oreilles avec des écarts invraisemblables dans les sondages offiiciels (de 0 à 14 points !) …
Malgré les avertissements à nouveau du réalisateur Michael Moore
Personne ne rappelle même l’existence d’instituts de sondage moins connus (Zogby, Trafalgar, Democracy Institute ou Rasmussen) mais qui notamment en 2016 s’étaient beaucoup moins trompés …
Et qui aujourd’hui ont des écarts bien plus raisonnables (mais qui prendra la peine d’expliquer l’effet Bradley, autrement dit, dissimulation d’intention de vote pour cause de pression sociale oblige, de la question des « électeurs cachés » de Trump ?) voire pour certains une prédiction de victoire du président américain …
Et enfin, sans parler le silence radio sur l’immense mensonge de Biden sur la fracturation hydraulique …
Que personne ne s’inquiète, sans compter l’éviction pour le moins inhabituelle de la politique étrangère, de l’incroyable biais, la plupart du temps, des questions du débat elles-mêmes …
Alors qu’il suffirait d’imaginer pour s’en convaincre …
Comme le fait brillamment l’avocat Dov Fischer dans l’American Spectator …
Ce que pourraient donner des questions comme les suivantes :
– Président Trump, avant l’arrivée de la terrible pandémie COVID de Chine, vous aviez créé l’économie la plus forte avec le taux de chômage le plus bas de l’histoire pour les Noirs, les Latinos et les Américains d’origine asiatique. Comment allez-vous nous ramener à la puissance économique que vous avez créée avant la peste?
– Président Trump, pouvez-vous nous dire comment diable vous êtes-vous arrivé à ce que deux pays arabo-musulmans signent des accords de paix avec Israël, le premier depuis un quart de siècle, et que d’autres arriveront bientôt?
– Président Trump, qu’avez-vous ressenti lorsque le gouverneur de New York Cuomo a salué votre leadership pour aider New York à lutter contre le coronavirus? Comment était-ce de déplacer ces navires-hôpitaux militaires à New York et en Californie, et comment avez-vous réussi à transformer notre économie en temps de paix en une base de guerre qui a fabriqué plus de respirateurs que nous n’en avions jamais besoin?
– Président Trump, les sondages montrent que votre taux d’approbation parmi les électeurs noirs et hispaniques est le plus élevé que tout président républicain a jamais vu de mémoire récente. Comment expliquez-vous ce revirement?
– Président Trump, puisque vous avez déjà rempli votre promesse de construire jusqu’à présent 600 km de mur frontalier, comment cela a-t-il eu un impact sur les efforts de contrôle de l’immigration?
– Vice-président Biden, avez-vous quelque chose à dire aux électeurs noirs pour vous excuser d’avoir qualifié leurs districts scolaires de « jungle », d’avoir travaillé avec l’ancien chef exalté du Ku Klux Klan, Robert Byrd, pour avoir dit que les mères noires ne donnent pas à leurs enfants un vocabulaire fonctionnel, et pour avoir dit aux Afro-Américains que s’ils ne votent pas comme vous le souhaitez, alors ils « ne sont pas noirs »?
– Vice-président Biden, le président a publié tous ses dossiers médicaux. Quand allez-vous divulguer au peuple américain l’état de l’évaluation médicale de vos fonctions cognitives et si vous êtes traité médicalement à cette fin? Et allez-vous divulguer au peuple américain tous les produits pharmaceutiques et autres médicaments que vous prenez ou qui vous ont été injectés au cours des douze derniers mois?
For the first debate, the question was whether Joe Biden is now so senile that he would implode on stage. Would he call Blacks people of “the jungle” as he has before? Would he speak derisively of people from India as he has before? Would he forget why he was on the stage: Running for U.S. Senate? Trying out for a school play? Lost in space? To his credit, he made it through very coherently, partly because he was not allowed to speak for four minutes straight, his usual implosion point. That ostensible coherence alone boosted his numbers. The thing is, now that he established at the first debate that his senility has not left him unable to speak in two-minute sound-bites, his appearance at the second debate was not as impressive. We knew he could make it through two minutes. And he did have moments of brief faltering, but nothing to move the dial.
By contrast, the President came in with a different question mark lingering on his head: Can this guy engage in a debate with a gentlemanly etiquette? Is he even capable of controlling himself — ever — and especially when insulted? Besides being a so-called blustering blowhard who tries to mow down his opponent, does he have it in him, if push comes to shove, to debate masterfully, to pause, to contemplate, to abide by rules … and nevertheless to beat his opponent by mastering data, history, facts, and polemic — all in a charming tone? If so, can he maintain a focus on the big stuff and not get side-tracked on the petty? That was President Trump’s task, and he could not have done better.
Yes, he missed inserting one or two unplanned solid zingers he might have thrown in, but every debater misses something. I have been in debates and on TV panels for thirty years, and no matter how well I have prepared I always kick myself afterwards for missing something. So when Biden, towards the end, spoke of “growing up in Delaware,” I wanted Trump to ask: “But Joe, I thought you told the Pennsylvania union workers whose jobs you shipped overseas, and whose high-paying energy jobs you have promised to kill, that you grew up in Pennsylvania? So where was it, Joe — Delaware or Pennsylvania? — or are you still changing your life’s fables every day like the time you stole the biography of that Labour Party leader in England and were forced to withdraw from a presidential race because of your constant plagiarizing?”
But Trump was great. I loved that he asked Biden: “Who built the cages, Joe?” And when Biden would not respond, I love that Trump asked it again: “Who built the cages, Joe?” And a third time. And when Biden just would not respond, I loved that Trump asked the moderator to ask Biden who built the cages.
Of course she was not going to put Biden on the spot. Like all the “moderators,” she is a leftist Democrat. But Trump got the point in. As he did, again and again, reminding viewers that Biden had 47 years in Washington to perform the initiatives he now says he will undertake. And Trump likewise pounded in, again and again, that Biden was just recently Vice President for eight years. Just very recently. Indeed, not only did Biden fail to do any of the things he now promises to do, but Trump even brought home that he sought the presidency in 2016 out of disgust over Biden’s failures.
Trump got in that Biden failed on H1N1, a much less devastating illness. He got in that, on the issue of taxes, he may have paid $750 in the last phase of tax filing because he previously had paid tens of millions of dollars in advance tax payments. Americans can understand that; we just had not heard it before. As Biden went after Trump on Putin and on whether Trump profits from hotels in China, the door was opened for Trump to get into the Biden Family Criminal Enterprise: the son and siblings who all have profited in the many millions by leveraging their Biden Family Enterprise connections to extort millions implicitly from China and Russia and Ukraine. He had Biden lying all over the place — denying they had made millions from the wife of the Moscow mayor, from China, and even from Burisma. I listened carefully as Biden denied that he benefited corruptly from Burisma, but did not deny as explicitly that Hunter did. Trump even got Biden to lie about his oft-repeated pledge to kill hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”).
Biden was good and at times strong, too. He was prepared. He did not shoot whoppers. But Trump had more to prove this time, and Trump aced it. That is why this debate moves the needle in Trump’s direction.
Sure, the debate was tilted and imbalanced. A darned shame, but that is going to happen forever until the GOP standard bearer pays more attention in advance to getting the debates conducted fairly. So the questions primarily were aimed at asking Trump about things that paint him poorly, then asking Biden how he would fix it. And the topics — climate change? Y’know what? If you are so concerned about heat, how about California’s annual forest fires that result from crazy and irresponsible liberal Democrat forestry practices that ban removal of dead leaves, dry branches, and that ban lumber companies from clearing out wide swaths of trees — both to reduce fire spread and to allow sufficient width for emergency fire-fighting vehicles to reach hot points? If you are concerned about heat, what about Antifa and Black Lives Matter riots that see whole neighborhoods set ablaze? That was not on the agenda. Instead, the President was asked what he would tell Black parents who have “The Talk” with their children.
Y’know what? I am White. I am Jewish. When I was a boy, my Mother had “The Talk” with me, too: “Dov, you must always show respect to a police officer, even when they are wrong. Don’t ever talk back to them. Do what they tell you. If they are wrong, then we can tell it to the judge later. But don’t ever start up with a cop.” Thirty years later I had that talk with my kids, too: “If you ever get stopped by a cop in traffic, and he or she asks you for your auto registration or insurance, do not just open the glove compartment or reach into your jacket to get it. The cop may be crazy, maybe even a Jew-hater for all you know, and may think you are going for a gun. So first ask the cop: ‘Officer, may I reach into my pocket or glove compartment because that is where the papers are?’ And then let the cop tell you what to do.” If a cop tells you to stay seated in the car, stay seated. If a cop tells you to shut up, then shut up. (It never occurred to me to add, as should be added in the Age of Ferguson’s Michael Brown: “Don’t wrestle a cop for his gun. Don’t shoot a taser gun at a cop.”)
But this is the Left media, and Trump was asked. He answered exceptionally well. He has done more for Blacks than have most presidents other, maybe, than Lincoln. Could be. Prison reform. Criminal reform. Enterprise zones. Ten-year grants to Historically Black Universities and Colleges. Lowest Black unemployment numbers — ever. Compare that to Biden’s 47 years of incompetence and mediocrity. When Biden responded that he had been hampered by a Republican Congress, I wanted Trump to say: “You had complete Democrat control of the House, the Senate, and the White House for two whole years — how about that, Joe?” But Trump still retorted well: I got criminal reform done by negotiating with the other side; that’s how it’s done, Joe.
Finally, I was glad that, by my count, Trump repeated three times that he will guarantee covering pre-existing conditions in any health-insurance program that emerges. He always says that, just as he always says that he opposes racism, White Supremacists, and neo-Nazis. Indeed, it was refreshing to hear an entire debate go by without a single lie about — or even reference to — Charlottesville.
Sure, I would have loved some questions like these:
President Trump, before the terrible COVID pandemic arrived from China, you had created the strongest economy with the lowest unemployment numbers in history for Blacks, Latinos, and Asian Americans. How will you return us to the economic powerhouse you brought about before the plague?
President Trump, can you share with us how in the heck you ever got two Arab Muslim countries to sign peace deals with Israel, the first in a quarter century, and are any more coming in soon?
President Trump, how did you feel when New York’s Governor Cuomo praised your leadership in helping New York fight the coronavirus? What was it like getting those military hospital ships to New York and California, and how did you ever manage to turn our peace-time economy into a war-time footing that got more ventilators manufactured than we ever needed?
President Trump, polls are showing that your approval numbers among Black and Hispanic voters are the highest that any Republican president has seen in recent memory. How do you explain that turn-around?
President Trump, since you already have fulfilled your pledge to build 400 miles of border wall so far, how has that impacted the efforts to control immigration?
Vice President Biden, do you have anything you would like to say to Black voters to apologize for calling their school districts a “jungle,” for working with former Ku Klux Klan Exalted Cyclops Robert Byrd, for saying that Black mothers do not give their children a working vocabulary, and for telling African Americans that, if they do not vote as you want them to, then they “ain’t Black”?
Vice President Biden, the President has released all his medical records. When will you disclose to the American people the state of medical assessment of your cognitive functions and whether you are being treated medically for that purpose? And will you be disclosing to the American people all pharmaceuticals and other medications you take or that have been injected into you during the past twelve months?
In the end, Trump occasionally had to grab an extra moment or two, but he did it properly. His mike never had to be cut off. There were falsehoods that had to be corrected. Biden did it also, and that was fair.
Finally, I continue to resent how, every time the two candidates really get into a serious substantive disagreement, laying out two contrasting visions, the moderator always intercedes and says: “I have to get to new questions on a new topic.” Frankly, I suspect that most Americans do not give a rat’s patootie about what next topic the moderator wants to move to. They want to let the two guys talk, debate, and lay out their plans. One of these days…
Voir aussi:

Twitter et Facebook accusés de censurer un article gênant pour Biden, Trump monte au créneau
Depuis mercredi matin, la campagne est agitée par les révélations du New York Post qui publie des emails qu’aurait écrits Hunter Biden, le fils du candidat démocrate Joe Biden.
Julie Cloris
Le Parisien
15 octobre 2020

À chaque élection son affaire de piratage… Quatre ans après la publication de mails de Hillary Clinton, piratés par des hackers russes et diffusés par WikiLeaks – une bourde dont son adversaire Trump avait fait son miel -, c’est au tour de Joe Biden d’être au cœur d’une polémique, à deux semaines et demi de l’élection présidentielle. Des mails qu’aurait écrits son fils ont été publiés par un journal et ils relancent l’affaire ukrainienne, qui a été le cœur de la tentative d’impeachment contre le président Trump.

L’affaire ukrainienne

Pour comprendre, il faut remonter un peu le temps. Été 2019 : Donald Trump s’entretient avec son homologue ukrainien et il conditionne le versement d’une importante aide financière à l’Ukraine de Volodymyr Zelensky : Trump lui demande de trouver des éléments peu reluisants sur Hunter Biden, le fils de Joe Biden, que tous les pronostics annoncent comme son rival de la présidentielle de 2020. Hunter Biden, membre du conseil de surveillance du groupe gazier ukrainien Burisma pendant cinq ans, aurait permis au groupe d’échapper à des enquêtes pour corruption. Les leaders démocrates lancent une procédure de destitution contre le président Trump.

Devant le Congrès, le président est mis en accusation pour abus de pouvoir et entrave à la bonne marche du Congrès. Les auditions de diplomates se succèdent, elles révèlent le fonctionnement de Trump en matière d’affaires étrangères, s’appuyant sur un cercle ultra-restreint, dont son avocat personnel Rudy Giuliani. Début février, le Sénat, en votant contre la destitution, clôt l’affaire.

Le New York Post publie des messages du fils Biden

Mais l’histoire a donc rebondi ce mercredi à l’aube. Le New York Post publie des e-mails récupérés illégalement sur un ordinateur présenté comme celui d’Hunter Biden. Ces messages proviennent du disque dur d’un ordinateur portable saisi en décembre dernier par le FBI chez un réparateur. Il contient des messages, des photos et des vidéos personnelles de Hunter Biden. Un courriel prouverait, selon le quotidien conservateur, que le jeune homme a présenté à son père un responsable du groupe gazier Burisma. Dans un courriel daté du 17 avril 2015, Vadim Pojarskïi, un membre de la direction, remercie Hunter Biden d’une invitation à Washington lui « donnant l’occasion de rencontrer votre père et de passer du temps ensemble ».

« Dear Hunter, thank you for inviting me to DC and giving me an opportunity to meet your father and spent some time together. » Vadim Pozharzkyi

L’ancien vice-président a toujours nié avoir discuté avec son fils de ses activités à l’étranger quand il était en poste. Mercredi, un porte-parole de Joe Biden a démenti les allégations du tabloïd, affirmant qu’aucune rencontre avec M. Pojarskïi n’avait eu lieu, selon son programme officiel de l’époque.

Le NY Post raconte aussi avoir découvert que le disque dur contient aussi une vidéo de 12 minutes dans laquelle on voit Hunter Biden fumer du crack tout en ayant une relation sexuelle, et d’autres documents explicites. Il explique aussi comment il a récupéré la copie du disque dur : selon le quotidien, le propriétaire du magasin de réparation d’ordinateurs qui a sollicité le FBI avait, avant de transmettre l’ordinateur, copié le disque dur et donné la copie à Robert Costello, l’avocat de l’ancien maire Rudy Giuliani. Steve Bannon, ancien conseiller sulfureux du président Trump, a parlé au Post de l’existence du disque dur fin septembre et Giuliani en a fourni une copie dimanche.

Twitter bloque le partage de l’article

L’article a été très lu et partagé sur les réseaux sociaux. Mais de nombreux internautes se sont retrouvés sous la menace d’une fermeture de leur compte Twitter. La responsable des relations presse de la Maison Blanche, Kayleigh McEnany, a ainsi été exclue mercredi de son compte Twitter personnel pour avoir partagé l’article. Pour déverrouiller le compte, elle devait supprimer son tweet renvoyant vers le Post. Le compte de Kayleigh McEnany est suivi par plus d’un million d’abonnés.

Après une journée de tempête médiatique, Twitter a expliqué dans la soirée avoir bloqué le partage de l’article parce qu’il contient des documents qui enfreignent deux de ses règles : ne pas publier de données personnelles (e-mails, numéros de téléphone) et ne pas publier d’éléments piratés. « Nous ne voulons pas encourager le piratage en autorisant la diffusion de documents obtenus illégalement », a expliqué l’entreprise via son compte dédié à la sécurité, rappelant que discuter de l’article n’était pas interdit, seulement le partage.

L’un des dirigeants de Facebook, Andy Stone, a mis en doute la véracité des mails publiés et annoncé que les informations du quotidien allaient faire l’objet d’une vérification. En attendant ses résultats, leur visibilité serait réduite sur la plateforme.

Le New York Post et Trump crient à la censure

Dans un éditorial, le journal, l’un des quotidiens les plus lus dans le pays, dénonce ce jeudi la « censure de Facebook pour aider la campagne de Joe Biden ». « Censurez d’abord, poser les questions après : c’est une attitude scandaleuse pour l’une des plateformes les plus puissantes aux Etats-Unis », poursuit l’éditorial, accusant Facebook d’être devenu « une machine de propagande ».

Cette histoire sert le camp Trump qui peut, dans un même élan, dénoncer les « mensonges » de Joe Biden et la connivence des « médias mainstream » avec lui, deux arguments qui font mouche auprès des partisans de l’actuel président.

« Affreux que Twitter et Facebook aient retiré l’article sur les courriels […] liés à Sleepy Joe Biden et son fils, Hunter, dans le New York Post », s’est indigné Donald Trump sur son réseau favori, avant d’y consacrer de longues minutes lors d’un meeting dans l’Iowa.

« Joe Biden doit immédiatement divulguer tous les courriels, réunions, appels téléphoniques, transcriptions et documents liés à sa participation aux affaires de sa famille et au trafic d’influence dans le monde entier – y compris en Chine », a-t-il martelé.

« Notre communication sur nos actions concernant l’article du New York Post n’a pas été super. Et bloquer le partage de l’adresse Internet de l’article avec zéro contexte expliquant pourquoi : inacceptable », a reconnu Jack Dorsey, le fondateur de Twitter, mercredi soir, pour tenter de calmer l’incendie. Mais les flammes brûlent encore.

Chinese citizens watched President Xi Jinping deliver an important speech this week not far from Hong Kong. Well, not the whole speech: Xi apparently is ill, and every time he went into coughing spasms, China’s state media cut away so that he would be shown only in perfect health.

Xi’s coughs came to mind as Twitter and Facebook prevented Americans from being able to read the New York Post’s explosive allegations of influence-peddling by Hunter Biden. The articles cited material reportedly recovered from a laptop; it purportedly showed requests for Hunter Biden to use his influence on his father, then-Vice President Joe Biden, as well as embarrassing photos of Hunter Biden.

Many of us have questioned the sketchy details of how the laptop reportedly was left by Hunter Biden with a nearly blind computer repairman and then revealed just weeks before the presidential election. There are ample reasons to question whether this material was the product of a foreign intelligence operation, which the FBI apparently is investigating.

Yet the funny thing about kompromat — a Russian term for compromising information — is that often it is true. Indeed, it is most damaging and most useful when it is true; otherwise, you deny the allegations and expose the lie. Hunter Biden has yet to deny these were his laptop, his emails, his images. If thousands of emails and images were fabricated, then serious crimes were committed. But if the emails and images are genuine, then the Bidens appear to have lied for years as a raw influence-peddling scheme worth millions stretched from China to Ukraine to Russia. Moreover, these countries likely have had the compromising information all along while the Bidens — and the media — were denying reports of illicit activities.

Either way, this was major news.

The response of Twitter and Facebook, however, was to shut it all down. Major media companies also imposed a virtual blackout on the allegations. It didn’t matter that thousands of emails were available for review or that the Bidens did not directly address the material. It was all declared to be fake news.

The tech companies’ actions are an outrageous example of open censorship and bias. It shows how private companies effectively can become state media working for one party. This, of course, was more serious than deleting coughs, but it was based on the same excuse of “protecting” the public from distractions or distortions. Indeed, it was the realization of political and academic calls that have been building for years.

Democratic leaders from Hillary Clinton to Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) have long demanded such private censorship from social media companies, despite objections from some of us in the free speech community; Joe Biden himself demanded that those companies remove President Trump’s statements about voting fraud as fake news. Academics have lined up to support calls for censorship, too. Recently, Harvard law professor Jack Goldsmith and University of Arizona law professor Andrew Keane Woods called for Chinese-style internet censorship and declared that “in the great debate of the past two decades about freedom versus control of the network, China was largely right and the United States was largely wrong.”

It turns out traditional notions of journalism and a free press are outdated, too, and China again appears to be the model for the future. Recently, Stanford communications Professor Emeritus Ted Glasser publicly denounced the notion of objectivity in journalism as too constraining for reporters seeking “social justice.” In an interview with The Stanford Daily, Glasser insisted that journalism needed to “free itself from this notion of objectivity to develop a sense of social justice.” He said reporters must embrace the role of “activists” and that it is “hard to do that under the constraints of objectivity.” Problem solved.

Such views make Twitter and Facebook’s censorship of the Post not simply justified but commendable — regardless of whether the alleged Biden material proves to be authentic. As Twitter buckled under criticism of its actions, it shifted its rationale from combating fake news to barring hacked or stolen information. (Putting aside that the information allegedly came from a laptop, not hacking, this rule would block the public from reviewing any story based on, say, whistleblowers revealing nonpublic information, from the Pentagon Papers to Watergate. Moreover, Twitter seemingly had no qualms about publishing thousands of stories based on the same type of information about the Trump family or campaign.) Twitter now says it will allow hacked information if not posted by the hacker.

Social media companies have long enjoyed protection, under Section 230 of the federal Communications Decency Act, from liability over what users post or share. The reason is that those companies are viewed as neutral platforms, a means for people to sign up to read the views or thoughts of other people. Under Section 230, a company such as Twitter was treated as merely providing the means, not the content. Yet for Twitter to tag tweets with warnings or block tweets altogether is akin to the telephone company cutting into a line to say it doesn’t like what two callers are discussing.

Facebook and Twitter have now made the case against themselves for stripping social media companies of immunity. That would be a huge loss not only to these companies but to free speech as well. We would lose the greatest single advance in free speech via an unregulated internet.

At the same time, we are seeing a rejection of journalistic objectivity in favor of activism. The New York Times apologized for publishing a column by a conservative U.S. senator on using national guardsmen to quell rioting — yet it later published a column by a Chinese official called “Beijing’s enforcer” who is crushing protests in Hong Kong. The media spent years publishing every wacky theory of alleged Trump-Russia collusion; thousands of articles detailed allegations from the Steele dossier, which has been not only discredited but also shown to be based on material from a known Russian agent.

When the Steele dossier was revealed, many of us agreed on the need to investigate because, even if it was the work of foreign intelligence, the underlying kompromat could be true. Today, in contrast, the media is not only dismissing the need to investigate the Biden emails, but ABC News’s George Stephanopoulos didn’t ask Biden about the allegations during a two-hour town hall event on Thursday.

This leaves us with a Zen-like question: If social media giants prevent the sharing of a scandal and the media refuses to cover it, did a scandal ever occur? After all, an allegation is a scandal only if it is damaging. No coverage, no damage, no scandal. Just deleted coughs lost in the ether of a controlled media and internet.

Jonathan Turley is the Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University. You can find his updates online @JonathanTurley.

Voir aussi:

Google whistleblower says the company IS politically biased and says bosses’ claims that they are neutral are ‘ridiculous’ as he warns ‘algorithms don’t write themselves’

  • Greg Coppola, who says he has worked for Google for five years, spoke to Project Veritas 
  • Coppola has worked for Google since 2014 and he says it was fine until the 2016 presidential election when the site turned against Trump  
  • He says he ‘just knows how algorithms are’ and said it was ‘ridiculous’ to suggest that Google is unbiased
  • He says there are people whose jobs are dedicated to promoting certain sites 
  • Coppola works on Google Assistant which he insists has no bias 
  • He however wanted to speak out, he said, after listening to his company deny that it influences what people see 
  • He said it had made his job less ‘fun’ because he does not ‘buy’ that it’s unbiased  

A Google whistle blower has spoken out to expose the company’s ‘biased’ algorithms and insist that it is politically motivated despite bosses’ repeated claims that it is neutral.

Greg Coppola spoke to Project Veritas to share his views and said that while he ‘respects’ his manager, Google CEO Sundar Pichai, his comments on bias are inaccurate.

He claims to be based in New York and says he has worked for Google since 2014.

Coppola said that there were a ‘small number’ of people whose jobs were dedicated to promoting certain news sites over others and that the bias is left-leaning, favoring CNN and The New York Times.

‘A small number of people do work on making sure that certain new sites are promoted.  And in fact, I think it would only take a couple out of an organization of 100,000, you know, to make sure that the product is a certain way,’ he said.

Coppola added: ‘I think it’s, you know, ridiculous to say that there’s no bias.

‘I think everyone who supports anything other than the Democrats, anyone who’s pro-Trump or in any way deviates from what CNN and the New York Times are pushing, notices how bad it is,’ he said.

‘I’m very concerned to see big tech and big media merge basically with a political party, with the Democrat party. I know how algorithms are.

‘They don’t write themselves. We write them to do what we want them to do,’ he said.

‘I look at search and I look at Google News and I see what it’s doing and I see Google executives go to Congress and say that it’s not manipulated. It’s not political. And I’m just so sure that’s not true,’ he said.

‘We are seeing tech use its power to manipulate people…. it’s time to decide – do we run the tech or does the tech run us?

 ‘We are seeing tech use its power to manipulate people…. it’s time to decide – do we run the tech or does the tech run us?’

‘Are we going to just let the biggest tech companies decide who wins every election from now on?’ he said.

Though he works on Google Assistant – which he insists truly does not have a bias – he said he ‘just knows’ how the algorithms work.

For the last 10 years, he said, the company operated on a fairly unbiased basis however that has changed recently.

‘I started in 2014. 2014 was an amazing time to be at Google. We didn’t talk about politics. No one talked about politics.

‘You know, it was just a chance to work with the best computer scientists in the world, the best facilities, the best computers and free food.

‘I think as the election started to ramp up, the angle that the Democrats and the media took was that anyone who liked Donald Trump was a racist…

‘And that got picked up everywhere. I mean, every tech company, everybody in New York, everybody in the field of computer science basically believed that.

‘I think we had a long period, of ten years, let’s say, where we had search and social media that didn’t have a political bias and we kind of got used to the idea that the top search results at Google is probably the answer.’

He said what was worrying, given the company’s history for being unbiased, was that now people had come to trust what it pushes to the top of its search results as the most likely to be true.

‘And Robert Epstein who testified before Congress last week, um, looked into it and showed that, you know, the vast majority of people think that if something is higher rated on Google Search than another story, that it would be more important and more correct.

‘And you know, we haven’t had time to absorb the fact that tech might have an agenda.

‘I mean, it’s something that we’re only starting to talk about now,’ he said.

Coppola’s credentials could not be immediately verified by DailyMail.com.

He claims to have started working for Google as an engineer in 2014.

His LinkedIn page says he worked before that for Business Objects, in Vancouver.

He studied in the UK in London and Edinburgh, it says.

Google has come under intense scrutiny in recent months over its algorithms and how they select what people see.

CEO Sundar Pichai has been questioned by members of Congress over the company’s systems and insisted that despite what critics say, it does not promote left-leaning, Democratic news over that of more Conservative outlets or merely outlets it does not rate.

In December, he painstakingly testified before Congress that the algorithms were driven by the popularity of things on the internet and not engineers or employees’s personal beliefs.

The company is under a magnifying glass, along with other tech giants, and is facing an antitrust investigation which will examine whether they have too much power.

Voir également:

Mr. Flood didn’t know it at the time, but he was part of a frantic effort at The New York Times to salvage the high-profile project the paper had just announced. Days earlier, producers had sent draft scripts of the series, called Caliphate, to the international editor, Michael Slackman, for his input. But Mr. Slackman instead called the podcast team into the office of another top Times editor, Matt Purdy, a deputy managing editor who often signs off on investigative projects. The editors warned that the whole story seemed to depend on the credibility of a single character, the Canadian, whose vivid stories of executing men while warm blood “sprayed everywhere” were as lurid as they were uncorroborated. (This scene and others were described to me in interviews with more than two dozen people at The Times, many of whom spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive internal politics.)

The Times was looking for one thing: evidence that the Canadian’s story was true. In Manbij, Mr. Flood wandered the marketplace until a gold merchant warned him that his questions were attracting dangerous attention, prompting him to quickly board a bus out of town. Across the Middle East, other Times reporters were also asked to find confirmation of the source’s ties to ISIS, and communicated in WhatsApp channels with names like “Brilliant Seekers” and “New emir search.” But instead of finding Abu Huzayfah’s emir, they found that ISIS defectors had never heard of him.

In New York, Malachy Browne, a senior producer of visual investigations at The Times, managed to confirm that an image from Abu Huzayfah’s phone had been taken in Syria — but not that he had traveled there.

Still more Times reporters in Washington tried to find confirmation. And one of them, Eric Schmitt, pulled a thread that appeared to save the project: “What two different officials in the U.S. government at different agencies have told me is that this individual, this Canadian, was a member of ISIS,” he says on the podcast. “They believe that he joined ISIS in Syria.” But Mr. Schmitt and his colleagues, Times journalists told me, never determined why those government officials viewed him as part of ISIS, or if indeed they had any evidence of his ISIS connections other than the professed terrorist’s own social media pronouncements.

A month later, The Times’s audio team moved forward. The first episode of Caliphate appeared on April 19, 2018, marking a major step toward The Times’s realization of its multimedia ambitions. It was promoted with a glossy marketing campaign that featured an arresting image, with the rubble of Mosul on one side and Ms. Callimachi’s face on the other. The series was 10 parts in all, including a new, sixth episode released on May 24 of that year detailing doubts about Abu Huzayfah’s story and The Times’s efforts to confirm it. The presentation carried an obvious, if implicit assumption: the central character of the narrative wasn’t making the whole story up.

That assumption appeared to blow up a couple of weeks ago, on Sept. 25, when the Canadian police announced that they had arrested the man who called himself Abu Huzayfah, whose real name is Shehroze Chaudhry, under the country’s hoax law. The details of the Canadian investigation aren’t yet public. But the recriminations were swift among those who worked with Ms. Callimachi at The Times in the Middle East.

“Maybe the solution is to change the podcast name to #hoax?” tweeted Margaret Coker, who left as The Times’s Iraq bureau chief in 2018 after a bitter dispute with Ms. Callimachi and now runs an investigative journalism start-up in Georgia.

The Times has assigned a top editor, Dean Murphy, who heads the investigations reporting group, to review the reporting and editing process behind Caliphate and some of Ms. Callimachi’s other stories, and has also assigned an investigative correspondent with deep experience in national security reporting, Mark Mazzetti, to determine whether Mr. Chaudhry ever set foot in Syria and other questions opened by the arrest in Canada.

The crisis now surrounding the podcast is as much about The Times as it is about Ms. Callimachi. She is, in many ways, the new model of a New York Times reporter. She combines the old school bravado of the parachuting, big foot reporter of the past, with a more modern savvy for surfing Twitter’s narrative waves and spotting the sorts of stories that will explode on the internet. She embraced audio as it became a key new business for the paper, and linked her identity and her own story of fleeing Romania as a child to her work. And she told the story of ISIS through the eyes of its members.

Ms. Callimachi’s approach and her stories won her the support of some of the most powerful figures at The Times: early on, from Joe Kahn, who was foreign editor when Ms. Callimachi arrived and is now managing editor and viewed internally as the likely successor to the executive editor, Dean Baquet; and later, an assistant managing editor, Sam Dolnick, who oversees the paper’s successful audio team and is a member of the family that controls The Times.

She was seen as a star — a standing that helped her survive a series of questions raised over the last six years by colleagues in the Middle East, including the bureau chiefs in Beirut, Anne Barnard, and Iraq, Ms. Coker, as well as the Syrian journalist who interpreted for her on a particularly contentious story about American hostages in 2014, Karam Shoumali. And it helped her weather criticism of specific stories from Arabic-speaking academics and other journalists. Many of those arguments have been re-examined in recent days in The Daily Beast, The Washington Post, and The New Republic. C.J. Chivers, an experienced war correspondent, clashed particularly bitterly with Mr. Kahn over Ms. Callimachi’s work, objecting to her approach to reporting on Western hostages taken by Islamic militants. Mr. Chivers warned editors of what he saw as her sensationalism and inaccuracy, and told Mr. Slackman, three Times people said, that turning a blind eye to problems with her work would “burn this place down.”

Ms. Callimachi’s approach to storytelling aligned with a more profound shift underway at The Times. The paper is in the midst of an evolution from the stodgy paper of record into a juicy collection of great narratives, on the web and streaming services. And Ms. Callimachi’s success has been due, in part, to her ability to turn distant conflicts in Africa and the Middle East into irresistibly accessible stories. She was hired in 2014 from The Associated Press after she obtained internal Al Qaeda documents in Mali and shaped them into a darkly funny account of a penny-pinching terrorist bureaucracy.

But the terror beat lends itself particularly well to the seductions of narrative journalism. Reporters looking for a terrifying yarn will find terrorist sources eager to help terrify. And journalists often find themselves relying on murderous and untrustworthy sources in situations where the facts are ambiguous. If you get something wrong, you probably won’t get a call from the ISIS press office seeking a correction.

“If you scrutinized anyone’s record on reporting at Syria, everyone made grave, grave errors,” said Theo Padnos, a freelance journalist held hostage for two years and now working on a book, who said that The Times’s coverage of his cellmate’s escape alerted his captors to his complicity in it. “Rukmini is on the hot seat at the moment, but the sins were so general.”

Terrorism coverage can also play easily into popular American hostility toward Muslims. Ms. Callimachi at times depicted terrorist supersoldiers, rather than the alienated and dangerous young men common in many cultures. That hype shows up in details like The Times’s description of the Charlie Hebdo shooters acting with “military precision.” By contrast, The Washington Post’s story suggested that the killers were, in fact, untrained, and noted a video showing them “cross each other’s paths as they advance up the street — a type of movement that professional military personnel are trained to avoid.” On Twitter, where she has nearly 400,000 followers, Ms. Callimachi speculated on possible ISIS involvement in high-profile attacks, including the 2017 Las Vegas shooting, which has not been attributed to the group. At one moment in the Caliphate podcast, Ms. Callimachi hears the doorbell ring at home and panics that ISIS has come for her, an effective dramatic flourish but not something American suburbanites had any reason to fear.

Ms. Callimachi told me in an email that she’d received warnings from the F.B.I. of credible threats against her, and that in any event, that moment in the podcast “is not about ISIS or its presence in the suburbs, but about how deeply they had seeped into my mind.”

Her work had impact at the highest levels. A former Trump aide, Sebastian Gorka, a leading voice for the White House’s early anti-Muslim immigration policies, quoted Ms. Callimachi’s work to reporters to predict a wave of ISIS attacks in the United States. Two Canadian national security experts wrote in Slate that the podcast “profoundly influenced the policy debate” and pushed Canada to leave the wives and children of ISIS fighters in Kurdish refugee camps.

The haziness of the terrorism beat also raises the question of why The Times chose to pull this particular tale out of the chaotic canvas of Syria’s collapse.

“The narrative her work perpetuates sensationalizes violence committed by Arabs or Muslims by focusing almost exclusively on — even pathologizing — their culture and religion,” said Alia Malek, the director of international reporting at the Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY and the author of a book about Syria. That narrative, she said, often ignores individuals’ motives and a geopolitical context that includes decades of American policy. “That might make for much more uncomfortable listening, but definitely more worthwhile.”

Ms. Callimachi told me that she has been focused on “just how ordinary ISIS members are” and that her work “has always made a hard distinction between the faith practiced by over a billion people and the ideology of extremism.”

Mr. Baquet declined to comment on the specifics of Ms. Callimachi’s reporting or the internal complaints about it, but he defended the sweep of her work on ISIS.

“I don’t think there’s any question that ISIS was a major important player in terrorism,” he said, “and if you look at all of The Times’s reporting over many years, I think it’s a mix of reporting that helps you understand what gives rise to this.” (Mr. Baquet and Mr. Kahn, I should note here, are my boss’s boss’s boss and my boss’s boss, respectively, and my writing about The Times while on its payroll brings with it all sorts of potential conflicts of interest and is generally a bit of a nightmare.)

While some of her colleagues in the Middle East and Washington found Ms. Callimachi’s approach to ISIS coverage overzealous, others admired her relentless work ethic.

“Is she aggressive? Yes, and so are the best reporters,” said Adam Goldman, who covers the F.B.I. for The Times and has argued in favor of the kind of reporting on hostages that alienated Ms. Callimachi from other colleagues like Mr. Chivers. “None of us are infallible.”

What is clear is that The Times should have been alert to the possibility that, in its signature audio documentary, it was listening too hard for the story it wanted to hear — “rooting for the story,” as The Post’s Erik Wemple put it on Friday. And while Mr. Baquet emphasized in an interview last week that the internal review would examine whether The Times wasn’t keeping to its standards in the audio department, the troubling patterns surrounding Ms. Callimachi’s reporting were clear before Caliphate.

Take, for example, one story from 2014.

The article, which led the front page on Dec. 28, describes a Syrian captive of ISIS, who was going by the name of Louai Abo Aljoud, who “made eye contact with the American hostages being held by the Islamic State militant group” at a prison at an abandoned potato chip factory in Aleppo and tried to report them to an indifferent American government.

“I thought that I had truly important information that could be used to save these people,” Ms. Callimachi quoted him as saying. “But I was deeply disappointed.”

The story is told with verve and confidence. As a reader, you feel as if you were there.

But elements of the story were shaky: By the time, in Mr. Abo Aljoud’s telling, that he was trying to alert the U.S. government that he had seen the hostages, the Islamic State no longer controlled the area the prison was said to be in. Mr. Abo Aljoud had told The Wall Street Journal the same story, and The Journal passed on it because journalists there didn’t believe him, two of those involved told me. And the Syrian journalist who assisted Ms. Callimachi on the story and interpreted the interview, Mr. Shoumali, told me that he “warned” her not to trust Mr. Abo Aljoud “before, during and after” the interview, in vain. (Ms. Callimachi said that she didn’t recall the warnings before publication, and noted that they don’t appear in correspondence between her and Mr. Shoumali before publication.)

Mr. Shoumali said he came away from the experience alarmed by her methods.

“I worked for so many reporters, and we were seeking facts. With Rukmini, it felt like the story was pre-reported in her head and she was looking for someone to tell her what she already believed, what she thought would be a great story,” said Mr. Shoumali, who was a reporter for The Times from 2012 to 2019 and had a freelance byline this August. He spoke to me by phone from Berlin, where he is now working on a project for a think tank.

Eight days after the story was published, Mr. Shoumali wrote to Ms. Callimachi and other Times reporters, in an email exchange I obtained, saying that “Syrian contacts are raising more and more questions about the credibility of one of our sources” and that Mr. Abo Aljoud had changed details of the story in a conversation the two men had after the story was published.

Ms. Callimachi emailed back that details of the prison scene were “confirmed independently by European hostages held in the same location or else by the State Department” — a response that seems puzzling, given that the story presented Mr. Abo Aljoud’s observations as his eyewitness account.

The Times was worried enough about that 2014 story to send a different reporter, Tim Arango, back to southern Turkey soon after it was published to re-interview Mr. Abo Aljoud, who gamely repeated his story to him and Mr. Shoumali. I tried again in early October. Like Ms. Callimachi, I don’t speak Arabic and hired another Syrian journalist to ask Mr. Abo Aljoud my questions. In that interview, he told a version of the story that appeared in The Times, but with elements that muddied the clean narrative. He said he had only seen one hostage, not the three The Times suggests. And he said he didn’t realize until after his release that he’d seen any of them — contrary to the impression left by The Times article.

Ms. Callimachi said in an email that she wished that the story had been clearer about the “limitations” of reporting on terrorists. “Looking back, I wish I had added more attribution so that readers could know the steps I took to corroborate details of his account,” she said.

Mr. Kahn, the International editor at the time, continues to stand by the story.

“Questions that were raised about a source in a story Rukmini wrote about American hostages in Syria were thoroughly examined at the time by reporters and editors on the International desk and by The Times’s public editor, and the results of those reviews were published,” he said in an email. “I am not aware of new information that casts doubt on the way it was handled.”

Those questions aside, the article arguably had an impact in Washington, pushing the United States government to reconsider its ban on paying ransom. But the piece itself now rests under an uncomfortable cloud of doubt. It remains on The Times website, with no acknowledgment of the questions surrounding the opening anecdote. The only correction says that the story, when first published, did not make clear that Mr. Abo Aljoud had used a pseudonym.

Last month, that same cloud of doubt descended on Caliphate. And Ms. Callimachi now faces intense criticism from inside The Times and out — for her style of reporting, for the cinematic narratives in her writing and for The Times’s place in larger arguments about portrayals of terrorism.

But while some of the coverage has portrayed her as a kind of rogue actor at The Times, my reporting suggests that she was delivering what the senior-most leaders of the news organization asked for, with their support.

Mousab Alhamadee contributed reporting.

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