Thursday, August 21, 2014

Wait a Minute! The WMD Spiel Was All a Lie by Dubya, So Stop Bringing Unpalatable Facts Into the Equation

Obama is currently meeting privately with his cabinet to discuss the news from Iraq that ISIS has discovered scores of Weapons of Mass Destruction that Saddam Hussein had hidden before the start of the US Invasion in 2003
reports Political Ears.
Buried in various spider holes and underground bunkers, the WMD stores were found in areas east, west, south and north around Tikrit and Baghdad. The existence of the WMD stores, unknown since 2003, have now become known. Now, known unknowns include ISIS’ specific plans for the WMDs and the expediency with which they will rain death on what they consider western infidel regimes.

 …  Proving that the past was not predictable at the time of the US Operation Iraqi Freedom invasion, the events of the past few months have definitively raised the level of unpredictability for the future. Jihadists now control nuclear, chemical, and biological WMD, creating a global crisis of the highest order.

 … With the success of un-American foreign policy enacted by the Obama Administration to remove support for the troops, elements of the American far left are unable to explain why their efforts to undermine the cause of freedom in Iraq was an intelligent decision.

 … With the success of un-American foreign policy enacted by the Obama Administration to remove support for the troops, elements of the American far left are unable to explain why their efforts to undermine the cause of freedom in Iraq was an intelligent decision.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

President Obama complained last week in an interview with the New York Times’ Thomas Friedman that American politics is increasingly dysfunctional for a number of reasons including the “Balkanization of the media.”
Thus writes Benny Huang.
The Balkanization of the country as a whole is just fine, as evidenced by his lawless illegal immigration policy, but the media have to be united. It’s clear that he does not value a diversity of viewpoints. According to the president, “people just watch what reinforces their deepest biases” and that’s a real problem.

Liberals have always been able to watch what reinforces their deepest biases. It’s called the network news. They can have their deepest biases confirmed in print as well, in the New York Times, the Washington Post, and nearly every other newspaper.

 … I’m glad that President Obama opposes the so-called fairness doctrine in radio and television which would mandate “equal time” to differing points of view on controversial subjects. There is, however, some evidence that his position is a sham like his previous opposition to same-sex marriage. His FCC even proposed a pilot program to monitor newsrooms for “balance.” They backed away from that one after considerable outrage. In any case, the traditional leftist position on the issue is supportive of the doctrine. Liberals just want to hear “both sides” and all that stuff.

Have you ever met a liberal who really wanted to hear both sides of an issue? I haven’t. There’s a reason they insist on campus speech codes, criminalize policy differences, fire conservatives from their jobs, and shout down opposing speakers. Surely it isn’t because they’re worried that the other guy won’t be allowed to speak his piece. They even complain that there’s too much balance on stories about, for example, global warming. Since November of 2013, the Los Angeles Times has even had a policy that prohibits all letters to the editor that dispute the theory of anthropogenic global warming. You can’t make this stuff up!

What President Obama is really complaining about with his “Balkanization” remark is that people are allowed to hear differing viewpoints, though not in equal proportions, of course. FOX News may be the behemoth of the cable news market, but its influence is a not an equal counterweight to the combined forces of MSNBC, CNN, the networks, and print media. What he really wants is total domination of the narrative factory that influences so of much public opinion. The fact that someone else gets to speak every once in a while, on one cable channel, is intolerable.

 … Their journalistic good old days peaked in 1974 when the legendary Woodward and Bernstein duo took down a president named Richard Nixon. I don’t blame the two Washington Post reporters because they uncovered true malfeasance which precipitated a coverup, which in turn precipitated abuses of presidential power. They did their job in keeping politicians honest.

Yet it should not be ignored that previous presidents—FDR, JFK, and LBJ—pulled similar shenanigans. Why couldn’t the Washington Post be bothered to investigate those presidents? Because they were liberal Democrats, of course. They got a pass. The fact that Carl Bernstein was the son of card-carrying communist parents, and that he sought to weaken a president who was trying to salvage a war that Bernstein didn’t want America to win explains a lot too.

Forty years later there’s at least one network that will cover similar abuses by a leftist president. I’m speaking of FOX News, of course.

 … The media in this country aren’t “Balkanized” enough. They’re still absurdly biased to the Left, making no pretenses of covering issues such as same-sex marriage, illegal immigration, abortion, or global warming with any degree of even-handedness. 
Conservatives have managed to find a very modest toehold in the journalistic world, but we shouldn’t be deluded into thinking that any kind of sea change has occurred. We’re still losing the media wars. Yet the fact that we’re even allowed any voice at all—a cable network, a few talk shows, half a newspaper—is an existential threat to this president, his administration, and the movement he represents.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Police Officers Love To Say That They Are at War, But There Is No Excuse For Abusing Language That Way

Re the petition to stop the “national militarization” of police departments (thanks to Instapundit):

Police officers like to say that they are in a war, a war on drugs, etc…

There is no excuse for abusing language like this (not even being a fan of over-the-top Hollywood movies): in a war (a real war), a soldier has reason to fear and reason to fight, as well as a reason to be heavily protected, as he is opposed to a (large, armed, and well-trained) force whose main objective is to win by shooting at you and bringing about your death.

The police officer fits in no category like that one, as the main object of (the rare, few, and usually disorganized) criminals is to get rich by breaking the law and, insofar as possible, avoiding any contact with the law (i.e., with any member of the police force whatsoever) and certainly avoiding a policeman's harm or death (which they all know can do nothing but make their main objective much harder).

In the civilian world, we are innocent until proven guilty, and the police officer, who is supposed to come from our "ranks", is supposed to reflect that by treating us as an equal.
The police are the public and the public are the police (1829)
What it all amounts to is that police officers who like to say that they are in a war are play-acting, a little more seriously certainly than Civil War reenactors, but play-acting (as tough gung-ho macho men) nonetheless as there is almost no way that a Hollywood film scenario will occur in real life.

Indeed, when things have truly gone bad, what has usually happened is that a police officer was shot by an entirely honest and law-abiding citizen awoken in the dark of night who — with good reason — thought that the over-the-top police action could only be the doing of criminals, say a home invasion by gang members, and reached for a weapon of defense. But more often, police-related deaths have been that of a basically harmless, run-of-the-mill civilian killed by one or more overeager cops.

With a misconceived sense of benevolence, progressive socialists make the populace believe they truly care, when in all actuality this is about the subjugation and destruction of the individual will

 … this is how liberal government works
explains Allen West:
A program is begun with good intentions, then politicians realize they can leverage the benefit for votes. It is the ultimate bribery scheme. Subsequently, fear and coercion is used against opposition – as we saw Republican Senator Thad Cochran do to his opposition in Mississippi — to scare blacks into believing these benefits will be taken away by those “mean ol’ Conservatives.”

The safety net has truly become a hammock, all at the expense of hardworking American middle-income families who are watching their wages dwindle and small business owners who were told, “you didn’t build that.”

To paraphrase Lady Margaret Thatcher, “The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money.” With a misconceived sense of benevolence, progressive socialists make the populace believe they truly care, when in all actuality this is about the subjugation and destruction of the individual will. Why work? After all, as the singer says, “all you gotta do is ooh-ooh and nine months later, you got the big bucks.”

This is one of the fundamental differences between progressive socialists and constitutional conservatives: economic enslavement vs economic empowerment.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Europe's Disunity in the Face of Putin's Russia: “Old Europe” is not threatened, and so it can focus on its own economic interests, while “New Europe” is reminded of the nightmares of its past

Eastern Europe, which beginning with Poland is celebrating its 25th anniversary of freedom from Communism, has suddenly awakened from a beautiful dream about the end of history
writes Slawomir Sierakowski.
No less an authority than Adam Michnik, the legendary Polish anti-Communist dissident, recently announced that 2014 marks the end of the best period in Poland’s history in three centuries.

 … Now, faced with the powerlessness of the West before Vladimir V. Putin’s Russia, the countries of Eastern Europe are suddenly confronted with the need to reflect on their foreign policies — and no country more so than Poland.

The primary problem for Eastern Europe is not so much Mr. Putin’s aggression, but rather the disunity in the region’s response.

 … Nor can Eastern Europe depend on its Western allies. European weapons manufacturers, foremost among them German and French companies, are arming the Russian military, while Russia pays Europe with the money it earns from supplying gas, making Europe energy-dependent on Russia. Meanwhile European firms are signing multibillion-dollar energy contracts with the Russian energy companies Gazprom and Rosneft. 

As a result, Europe, the largest economy in the world, finds itself helpless in a confrontation with a country that, in economic terms and excluding the energy sector, belongs in the global third division.

The swirl of opinions, analyses and interests can be bewildering, especially in contrast to an essentially simple calculation by Russia. Unlike the West, it values geopolitical expansion, not economic conditions. Otherwise, Russia would invest the money it earns from oil and gas in economic development, and not in its military, which according to projected spending will account for well over a quarter of the national budget by 2015. 

This situation casts a dark shadow on the place where the Iron Curtain used to be. “Old Europe” is not threatened, and so it can focus on its own economic interests, while “New Europe” is reminded of the nightmares of its past. The fact that Ukrainians were willing to die in order to open the door to the European Union, which is now unwilling to bear the economic costs of a confrontation with Russia in order to protect them, is hardly comforting.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

False Friends in English-French Discourse

 … some of the Google translations previously used by the owners were somewhat off the mark. For example, their starters included crudités (raw vegetables) translated as “crudeness”, and salade aux deux magrets as the mind-boggling “two breast salad” instead of “roast and smoked duck breast salad”. We also found mignons de porc (pork fillet) became “cute pig”, but the final straw had to be crottin de chèvre chaud (warm goat’s cheese) which was unappetisingly described as “warm goat dung”. 
From Neuville de Poitou, a small market town in western France, the Daily Telegraph's Duncan Webster broaches 'the thorny subject of “false friends”.'
What is a false friend? Well, in recent years, many Anglicisms have been adopted into the French language but they are not always used in ways we would expect. For example, a French town may have several parkings (not car parks), people erect tents on a camping (not a campsite) and may communicate by talkie-walkie.

Other uses of English words are less obvious. A French person having a makeover is going for a "relooking". They wear baskets (not trainers) on their feet, and use Scotch (tape) to seal a parcel. In English, too, we have misappropriated French words. For example, the French sit on canapés (their word for sofas), but would not sit on a commode, because that means a chest of drawers. It is, of course, necessary to explain these strange uses of our two languages and the resulting discussions are often a source of great amusement. 

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Britain’s Family Doctors Call for End to Free Treatment

Britain’s family doctors have decided to press for an end to free treatment for patients under the socialized health service
reports the Herald Tribune.
The decision, announced by the British Medical Association, is intended to reduce overcrowding in consulting rooms and ease the burden of the country’s doctors. The BMA council’s chairman, J.R. Nicholson-Lailey, said that the BMA did not want these payments collected by the doctor. Mr. Nicholson-Lailey’s statement indicated that the payments might be used to keep persons with frivolous complaints from monopolizing the doctor’s time.  

Friday, August 15, 2014

Mingling With the Crowds

Serguei's take on the Assad bathtub in Syria — replete with sarin, mustard, and chlorine…

Thursday, August 14, 2014

“Everything — everything — stems from Algeria”: France's unavowed forgetting of the Algerian war

Benjamin Stora arrived in Paris in the summer of 1962, a boy exile swaddled in as many layers of clothing as his parents could fit on his little body
writes Scott Sayare in the New York Times.
He came amid a flood of refugees, one million French colonists, Arabs and Jews fleeing the murderous tumult of revolutionary Algeria.

His family, suddenly destitute, brought with them as much of their homeland as they could. But Mr. Stora learned quickly not to speak of Algeria, he said. To do so would make him a reminder of France’s national disgrace, he feared, an emblem of the brutal, failed war to keep Algeria under the yoke of the receding French empire.

He trundled off to school and, with a sense of isolation and resentment that he was then too young to understand, set about forgetting.

France did the same. The forgetting of the Algerian war, a campaign begun in 1954 that left at least 400,000 Algerians and 35,000 French dead, in fact began well before the fighting ended in 1962. The conflict was inglorious in both aim and execution — the French made routine use of torture, for instance — and censors hid much of it from the populace, seizing newspapers, books and films deemed dangerous to national morale.

Only in 1999 did France officially recognize the fighting as a war at all, and only since then has the conflict entered school textbooks here. Though more than two million French soldiers were sent to fight, memorials are scant.

Mr. Stora, 63, has made a life of remembering, at first despite himself, later by conviction. A prolific historian, he is perhaps France’s foremost chronicler of the Algerian war, of its unavowed forgetting, and of the ways in which it continues to shape modern France: in the country’s discomfort over immigration and Islam, in its nostalgia for a more triumphal past, in its confusion over national identity. If France has begun a more honest reckoning with its colonial era, it is due in no small part to Mr. Stora, to his three dozen books and films and to his dogged belief that Algeria remains a toxic force here.

 … Mr. Stora studied Algeria well before such work was considered desirable; at the time, in the 1970s, open discussion of collaboration during the Nazi occupation was only just beginning. Now a pleasantly rumpled man with a round belly and a grave brow, he has helped train a generation of researchers. His best-known work, “Gangrene and Forgetting,” published in 1991, was among the first books to address the unspoken memory of the war. “Denial” was “eating away like a cancer” at France, he wrote.

 … The “pieds noirs,” the French inhabitants of colonial Algeria, were met with disdain in mainland France. Many were poor to start, and had fled Algeria with even less. Their resentment toward Algerians, but also toward the French government, which they felt had betrayed them, is deep even now.

SO, too, is that of the Harkis, Algerians who fought for the French. Perhaps 80,000 Harkis and family members fled to France in 1962, by Mr. Stora’s estimation, only to be held for years in internment camps. Many more were left behind; thousands, if not tens of thousands, were slaughtered as “traitors.”

Meanwhile, the French government excused itself and its soldiers of any possible wrongdoing, with a succession of amnesties.

“The French had to forget in order to live,” Mr. Stora said.
It is certainly easier to criticize Americans for conflicts involving America, like the Iraq war, when you know (or when you sense) that the wars that your own nation was involved in will not be a subject for discussion until 40-50 years down the road…

(This also applies to the wars your own nation was not involved in, like Sweden, the "neutral" country which lashed out at the American "fascists" during the Vietnam War era, and whose more or less passive collaboration with Hitler during the 1940s — the export of iron ore to the Nazis, allowing German troops through Sweden to the Finnish and Russian front — was not revealed, or talked about, until much later…)

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Robin Williams: Good-Bye, Friend

Art by Dan Greenberg

The Day During the Iraq Crisis in 2003 When Le Monde Came Under Fire and Became Its Own Main Subject

 … une mauvaise nouvelle : « L'Express a avancé sa parution de vingt-quatre heures et publie demain les bonnes feuilles du livre de Pierre Péan et Philippe Cohen sur Le Monde. » Il est donc prêt, ce livre que la rumeur annonce déjà comme un brûlot !
France's daily of reference came under fire in February 2003, writes Raphaëlle Bacqué in (and about) Le Monde, when a book on "the hidden side of Le Monde" was published, La Face cachée du “Monde”.
Jean-Marie Colombani … a prévenu : « Il faudra choisir son camp. On sera pour ou contre. Je n'admettrai pas qu'on soit neutre. » 
Being either for us or against us, of course, was what all Frenchmen deplored as gravely as possible when such words were uttered by clueless Americans like George W Bush (whose attack on Iraq was to start only weeks later).

As it happens, the publication of the book will lead to a poisonous atmosphere at the newspaper, to charges of treason, to censorship, and to the ombudsman's admission that at the editorial offices, La Face cachée du “Monde” has become a more compelling subject than the Iraq crisis…

 … Biographe d'Hubert Beuve-Méry, Laurent Greilsamer n'ignore pas que Le Monde a déjà été violemment attaqué. Son indépendance, ses prises de position politiques, « son arrogance ! », disent ses détracteurs, ont presque toujours dérangé. Une longue suite de libelles jalonne son histoire. En 1951, L'Humanité l'accusait d'être « le journal de la grande bourgeoisie capitaliste ». L'année suivante, l'historien antistalinien d'origine russe Boris Souvarine voyait en Beuve-Méry « un agent du communisme ». Des quotidiens concurrents ont été lancés pour réduire son influence. On a tenté de le racheter ou de peser sur ses créanciers. En 1976, invité par Bernard Pivot sur le plateau d'« Apostrophes », un ancien de la rédaction, Michel Legris, vient raconter “Le Monde” tel qu'il est (Plon). Face au rédacteur en chef André Fontaine, outré, Legris pourfend un journal « inquisiteur », « jésuitique », « de mauvaise foi », lui reprochant sa « tartufferie » et dénonçant notamment sa complaisance pour les Khmers rouges en 1975.

Il y a des traîtres parmi nous »
 … Dans les bureaux du Monde, rue Claude-Bernard, le poison du soupçon a atteint, bien au-delà de ses trois cibles, l'ensemble de la rédaction. Partout on cherche des coupables. Certains parlent de complot, d'autres – souvent opposés au duo Colombani-Plenel – jugent qu'on a bien le droit de critiquer un journal lorsqu'il commet des erreurs. « Il y a des traîtres parmi nous puisque des journalistes ont pu prendre connaissance du livre avant qu'il sorte », dénonce sur LCI le chef adjoint du service politique Hervé Gattegno, en apprenant que deux membres de la Société des rédacteurs ont été conviés à lire le manuscrit, quarante-huit heures auparavant, dans les locaux de Mille et Une Nuits, la filiale de Fayard éditrice de l'ouvrage. Une assemblée générale, réunie en urgence, cinq heures durant, sous la lumière verdâtre des sous-sols de l'immeuble sans âme qui abrite Le Monde, menace de virer au règlement de comptes. Le chef des grands reporters, Eric Fottorino, longuement cité dans le livre, se voit contraint à une justification de ses liens avec Pierre Péan qui prend les allures d'une autocritique. 

Une joie mauvaise

Le Monde ne s'aime plus. Le Monde n'est plus aimé. « Le plaisir de le voir à terre a été général, constate l'éditorialiste Gérard Courtois. Des décennies d'agacement silencieux et de haines multiples, d'acrimonie et de jalousie ont soudain dégorgé. » On en rit dans les dîners du Tout-Paris. Au bureau national du PS, les éléphants du parti, dont beaucoup n'ont digéré ni les attaques contre François Mitterrand ni la révélation du passé trotskiste de Lionel Jospin à la veille de la présidentielle de 2002, ricanent sur les mésaventures du quotidien.

A l'Elysée, Jacques Chirac, maintes fois exaspéré par les révélations sur le financement du RPR, a placé le livre bien en évidence sur son bureau, afin que ses visiteurs le remarquent. Les « Guignols de l'info », experts en dérision des pouvoirs établis, agitent chaque soir sur Canal+ une marionnette moustachue d'Edwy Plenel aux manières de commissaire politique. Pierre Péan et Philippe Cohen sont conviés partout, sans jamais trouver en face d'eux la contradiction : le trio des dirigeants mis en cause refuse de répondre sur les plateaux télévisés.
 … Dans son petit bureau de médiateur, au septième étage de la rue Claude-Bernard, Robert Solé croule depuis huit jours sous une avalanche de courriers et de mails de lecteurs compatissants, ironiques ou inquiets. A quelques jours de l'engagement de la coalition menée par les Etats-Unis dans la troisième guerre du Golfe, « La Face cachée du “Monde”, note le médiateur, a pris le pas sur l'Irak, c'est tout dire. » Diplomate subtil, cet ancien élève des jésuites au Caire a fait toute sa carrière au Monde. Ce journaliste modéré et courtois en connaît les arcanes, les traditions et les susceptibilités. Solé constate, lui aussi, que « jamais dans son histoire, Le Monde n'a été mis en cause de manière aussi globale ».

Comme il le fait chaque fois qu'il prend la plume, le médiateur a envoyé directement sa chronique au secrétariat de rédaction, parce qu'il est d'usage que cette conscience morale ne soit jamais amendée, même par la rédaction en chef. Elle se termine ainsi : « Le journal ne peut, me semble-t-il, s'en tenir à une réponse générale, une réfutation en bloc de La Face cachée du “Monde”. Il faut faire la lumière sur quelques accusations graves, qui risquent d'affecter durablement sa réputation et de resurgir à la moindre occasion. Car cette machine infernale est aussi une bombe à retardement. Une recension des “erreurs, mensonges, diffamations et calomnies” contenues dans le livre a commencé à la rédaction en chef. Elle devrait se traduire, tôt ou tard, par une publication. Le plus vite serait le mieux. Mais les éclaircissements que Le Monde doit à ses lecteurs ne sauraient se limiter à l'édition d'un catalogue d'erreurs. »
J'ai coupé le dernier paragraphe de ta chronique… »
Faut-il que les esprits soient chavirés pour rompre avec les règles sacrées du journal ! Une heure après le bouclage, Edwy Plenel prévient Robert Solé par téléphone : « J'ai coupé le dernier paragraphe de ta chronique… » Coupé ! La censure, inédite dans le journal de Beuve-Méry, met le « sage » Solé hors de lui : « Jamais, en huit ans de médiation, cela ne m'était arrivé ! » Une semaine plus tard, Le Monde doit publier le paragraphe caviardé et Plenel faire amende honorable. Mais, désormais, sa marionnette, aux « Guignols de l'info », est affublée d'une grande paire de ciseaux…

  … La Face cachée du “Monde” reste une obsession. Elle n'a pourtant pas encore montré tous ses effets dévastateurs.

Elle va bientôt faire une série de victimes. En octobre 2003, Daniel Schneidermann est licencié, après avoir contesté, dans un essai intitulé Le Cauchemar médiatique (Denoël), l'attitude de la direction du Monde. Un an plus tard, dans une des tours du Palais de justice qui abrite le bureau du premier président de la Cour de cassation Guy Canivet, une médiation met fin au procès en diffamation du Monde contre Pierre Péan et Philippe Cohen. Claude Durand renonce à tout tirage supplémentaire du livre, déjà vendu cependant à 204 416 exemplaires. L'effet de souffle de ce qu'Edwy Plenel appellera « un attentat éditorial » entraîne pourtant à son tour, en 2005, le départ de ce dernier, un an après qu'il eut réclamé en vain à Jean-Marie Colombani la direction du journal. La même année, Josyane Savigneau, dont la direction du « Monde des livres » avait eu droit à un chapitre entier du brûlot, doit céder la place. Le 22 mai 2007, Jean-Marie Colombani, qui sollicitait un troisième mandat à la tête du directoire du groupe, n'est pas reconduit par la Société des rédacteurs. Moins d'un an plus tard, Alain Minc devra à son tour se retirer. Comme un château de cartes, le trio s'est effondré devant une bombe en papier.

Jewish Commando Boldly Infiltrates Bradford's Israeli Free Zone

After George Galloway declared Bradford an Israel Free Zone (where no Israeli services, goods, scholars or tourists are welcome), an Isreali commando (Mossad?!) infiltrated the MP's home town.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

British MP Galloway Declares His City an "Israel-Free Zone"

Remember George Galloway?

The QMI Agency (merci à Carine) reports that the
pro-Palestinian British MP has declared a northern city in England an "Israel-free zone."

During a talk in Leeds, George Galloway said Israeli tourists are not welcome in Bradford. Both cities are about 325 km north of London. 
"We have declared Bradford an Israel-free zone. We don't want any Israeli goods, we don't want any Israeli services, we don't want any Israeli academics coming to the university or the college, we don't even want any Israeli tourists to come to Bradford even if any of them had thought of doing so," Galloway told the group.
Update: Israelis react

Monday, August 11, 2014

The Le Monde Editor During the Iraq War Is a Former Stalinist and Trotskyist

Judith Perrignon has an article in Le Magazine du Monde on a former editor of the newspaper of reference.
[Adolescent à Alger, Edwy Plenel] rejoint la France, la JCR, jeunesse antistalinienne de la Ligue communiste révolutionnaire, néglige les études qui s'annoncent brillantes, lâche Sciences Po, se lance à corps perdu en politique. C'est à un congrès de la LCR à Rouen, qu'il rencontre sa femme, Nicole Lapierre, elle a pour pseudo "Emmanuelle", elle lui fait grand effet lorsqu'elle discourt à la tribune. Elle est aujourd'hui sociologue et anthropologue, directrice de recherche au CNRS et un personnage pilier de son existence. Ils ont une fille. Elle se souvient avoir, dès leur rencontre, mesuré l'empreinte laissée par l'histoire paternelle. "Son père n'avait pas encore été totalement réhabilité, il travaillait pour l'Unesco en Inde. S'il était ailleurs, c'est qu'il n'avait ni statut ni travail en France." L'avocat Jean-Pierre Mignard le rencontre à peu près au même moment, dans les cercles étudiants, il se rappelle "quelqu'un de brûlant, inquiet, curieux, anxieux, méticuleux et obsessionnel". Brûlant, inquiet, curieux, anxieux, méticuleux et obsessionnel. Autant de mots qui reviendront au fil de sa vie dans la bouche de ceux qui l'aiment comme dans celle de ceux qu'il insupporte.


 "Trotskiste un jour, trotskiste toujours", disent certains à son sujet, pour résumer la suite de son parcours, comme une bonne vieille entreprise d'entrisme chère à l'extrême gauche. Il y a appris la dialectique, rencontré la femme de sa vie, des amis qu'il a gardés, la figure de Daniel Bensaïd qui lui a donné à lire et découvrir, et il revendique encore un "trotskisme culturel". Mais le trotskisme n'était finalement que l'instrument d'une enfance revancharde et l'expression d'une jeunesse de son temps. "Ce n'était pas un tribun, un homme de meeting, mais un meneur discret et déjà une plume acerbe et astucieuse, qui restait proche des Antilles et traitait à Rouge l'éducation. Quand il nous a quittés, ce n'était pas comme une rupture", se souvient Alain Krivine.

C'était en 1979. "J'avais trouvé en chemin un métier qui était le journalisme. En 1970, je vendais Rouge dans la rue. Je criais : "Demandez ! Lisez le seul journal qui annonce la couleur !" Un journal, c'est chercher le lecteur", affirme Plenel. Il était le crieur qui tient aujourd'hui lieu d'emblème à Mediapart. Il avait trouvé sa voie, son arme. Sa cible : "Le cerveau reptilien de l'Etat." Il emploie souvent l'expression, c'est un homme à formules. On dirait un long fleuve poisseux au bord duquel il aurait grandi.

Tout commence vraiment à l'été 1982 : il n'y a pas grand monde à la rédaction du Monde où il travaille depuis deux ans, il se retrouve à couvrir en catastrophe l'attentat antisémite de la rue des Rosiers. Ce fils de vice-recteur avait jusqu'alors traité l'éducation, le voilà qui côtoie la police, l'enquête. "Je suis passé de gommes et crayons à casques et matraques." Il n'en sortira plus. La police a ses passages souterrains vers le cerveau de l'Etat. Le voilà qui met à nu la guerre police-gendarmerie, surveille la cellule antiterroriste de l'Elysée, et révèle que les trois militants irlandais arrêtés à Vincennes n'ont rien à voir avec les dangereux terroristes que l'Elysée a donnés en pâture aux journaux. "Il faudra tout de même qu'on sache qui est vraiment ce M. Plenel", aurait alors dit Mitterrand.


En ces années-là, au Monde, on peut encore croiser le fondateur, Hubert Beuve-Méry, dans l'ascenseur, Plenel a 30 ans, des chemises noires déjà, sa moustache déjà, il fume le cigare, il a l'air d'un Sud-Américain, reconnaissable entre tous, physiquement pas le genre de la maison. Il n'est pas un séducteur de femmes, il ne s'adresse bien souvent qu'aux hommes, mais il a l'aura de la conviction, du secret, et la virilité de ceux qui cherchent les coups. Il rend ses papiers à la dernière minute, ce qui évite que son chef de service ne lui demande trop d'explications et de retouches.

Il est comme le joueur de poker, et c'est sur la foi d'une seule source qu'il offre au Monde, avec Bertrand Le Gendre, l'un de ses plus beaux scoops en 1985 : le Rainbow Warrior, bateau de Greenpeace coulé par une troisième équipe de la DGSE, dont la "une" est encore affichée dans le hall du journal. Et il bluffe quand on le freine.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Unlucky people miss chance opportunities because they are too focused on looking for something else

Wanting to examine "the impact on people's lives of chance opportunities, lucky breaks, and being in the right place at the right time", a decade ago, The Daily Telegraph's Richard Wiseman set out to investigate luck.
After many experiments, I believe that I now understand why some people are luckier than others and that it is possible to become luckier.

Take the case of chance opportunities. Lucky people consistently encounter such opportunities, whereas unlucky people do not. I carried out a simple experiment to discover whether this was due to differences in their ability to spot such opportunities.

I gave both lucky and unlucky people a newspaper, and asked them to look through it and tell me how many photographs were inside. On average, the unlucky people took about two minutes to count the photographs, whereas the lucky people took just seconds. Why? Because the second page of the newspaper contained the message: "Stop counting. There are 43 photographs in this newspaper." This message took up half of the page and was written in type that was more than 2in high. It was staring everyone straight in the face, but the unlucky people tended to miss it and the lucky people tended to spot it.

For fun, I placed a second large message halfway through the newspaper: "Stop counting. Tell the experimenter you have seen this and win £250." Again, the unlucky people missed the opportunity because they were still too busy looking for photographs.

Personality tests revealed that unlucky people are generally much more tense than lucky people, and research has shown that anxiety disrupts people's ability to notice the unexpected. In one experiment, people were asked to watch a moving dot in the centre of a computer screen. Without warning, large dots would occasionally be flashed at the edges of the screen. Nearly all participants noticed these large dots.

 … The harder [the anxious people] looked, the less they saw.

And so it is with luck - unlucky people miss chance opportunities because they are too focused on looking for something else. They go to parties intent on finding their perfect partner and so miss opportunities to make good friends. They look through newspapers determined to find certain types of job advertisements and as a result miss other types of jobs. Lucky people are more relaxed and open, and therefore see what is there rather than just what they are looking for.

My research revealed that lucky people generate good fortune via four basic principles. They are skilled at creating and noticing chance opportunities, make lucky decisions by listening to their intuition, create self-fulfilling prophesies via positive expectations, and adopt a resilient attitude that transforms bad luck into good.

 … In the wake of these studies, I think there are three easy techniques that can help to maximise good fortune:
  • Unlucky people often fail to follow their intuition when making a choice, whereas lucky people tend to respect hunches. Lucky people are interested in how they both think and feel about the various options, rather than simply looking at the rational side of the situation. I think this helps them because gut feelings act as an alarm bell - a reason to consider a decision carefully.
  • Unlucky people tend to be creatures of routine. They tend to take the same route to and from work and talk to the same types of people at parties. In contrast, many lucky people try to introduce variety into their lives. For example, one person described how he thought of a colour before arriving at a party and then introduced himself to people wearing that colour. This kind of behaviour boosts the likelihood of chance opportunities by introducing variety.
  • Lucky people tend to see the positive side of their ill fortune. They imagine how things could have been worse. In one interview, a lucky volunteer arrived with his leg in a plaster cast and described how he had fallen down a flight of stairs. I asked him whether he still felt lucky and he cheerfully explained that he felt luckier than before. As he pointed out, he could have broken his neck.