31 août 2014

Quelle est cette haine dirigée contre Lisée?

Je connais Jean-François Lisée depuis au moins 20 ans. Pas personnellement, malheureusement, mais je l'ai jadis découvert en lisant son livre Dans l'oeil de l'aigle. Je sortais de l'adolescence à l'époque et je crois qu'il s'agit du premier ouvrage d'histoire et de politique que j'ai lu. J'avais absolument adoré et j'avais été très impressionné par l'extraordinaire travail de recherche qui avait servi à documenter le bouquin.

Mon respect pour Lisée n'a fait qu'augmenter au cour des années. Ses ouvrages massifs et magistraux sur Robert Bourassa, encore une fois appuyés sur une montagne de travail, de recherche et d'entrevues, sont une oeuvre colossale et inattaquable. Son travail à propos de Bourassa est si blindé que ses ennemis n'arrivent pas à l'attaquer de front, ils préfèrent l'ignorer ou le balayer du revers de la main en prétendant qu'il ne s'agit que d'une guenille de propagande séparatiste. Or, il s'agit d'un document exceptionnel qui lève le voile sur un moment charnière de notre histoire récente avec une transparence, une honnêteté et une intégrité désarmante. Bref, j'adore Lisée et ce, depuis l'époque où la plupart des gens, particulièrement ceux de mon âge, ignoraient tout de lui.

J'étais évidemment fou de joie lorsque j'ai appris qu'il se lançait en politique. Ce type-là a une très, très solide tête sur les épaules et on a besoin de plus d'intellectuels en politique pour faire contrepoids aux esti d'avocats! J'ai suivi sa courte carrière politique de près et il ne m'a jamais déçu. Je l'ai trouvé intelligent, articulé, conséquent, intègre et tout à fait admirable dans tout ce qu'il a entrepris.

Mais voilà, pour des raisons que je ne comprends tout simplement pas, il semblerait qu'une profonde animosité à son endroit se soit lentement installée dans la population. Les gens n'aiment pas Lisée et plusieurs ne se gênent pas pour le mépriser ouvertement. Ils sont toutefois totalement incapables de donner des exemples concrets de ce qu'il aurait fait de mal, ils se bornent à dire qu'il est pédant et prétentieux.

Les bras m'en tombent. Parce qu'en 20 ans, je n'ai jamais senti ça une seule seconde. Et je suis très sensible au mépris que dégage certaines personnes publiques. C'est principalement pour cette raison que je trouve Denise Bombardier complètement insupportable, par exemple. Mais Jean-François Lisée? Je ne l'ai jamais trouvé prétentieux dans ses gestes ou dans ses paroles.

J'en suis venu à me dire que cette antipathie était, au fond, de l'anti-intellectualisme. Il semblerait que, même en 2014, les Québécois n'aiment pas les intellectuels. Ils n'aiment pas que quelqu'un en sache plus qu'eux. Ils ont honte de leur propre ignorance et plutôt que de tenter de la réduire, ils s'en prennent farouchement aux gens qui osent leur faire réaliser l'ampleur de ce qu'ils ne savent pas. C'est la seule explication qui me vient à l'esprit.

Et ça me décourage.

Évidemment, il ne faut pas s'étonner que l'une des personnes qui s'attaque le plus violemment à Jean-François Lisée est l'indigeste et insupportable Jean Lapierre. Peut-on imaginer deux types plus dissemblables? Lapierre est un bousier. Alors qu'un homme comme Lisée s'intéresse aux grands enjeux et à l'analyse exhaustif de l'histoire et de la politique, Lapierre est une petite verrue opportuniste qui ne voit dans la politique que l'incessant jeu des alliances de coulisses et des petitesses d'hommes et de femmes obnubilés par le pouvoir et l'argent. La réflexion est complètement absente des propos de Lapierre. Il n'est donc pas étonnant de voir ce petit mécréant dénué de principes s'en prendre à un gars comme Lisée.

Et les propos qu'il tient à son égard sont ahurissants. Lorsque Lapierre parle de Lisée, le masque de journaliste impartial tombe et on le voit pour le petit microbe propagandiste libéral qu'il est, volant au secours de ses petits amis libéraux.

Je suis donc fou de joie de voir que Lisée a décidé de lui répondre, à ce petit cafard! Le résultat, comme toujours, est savoureux:

J’étais heureux de constater ce jeudi que l’opinion que Jean Lapierre a de moi s’améliore. En effet, sur les ondes radiophoniques et télévisuelles, il m’a qualifié de «cheap, petit, mesquin, pas de classe».

J’insiste: c’est une amélioration! Au printemps, il préférait le terme «chien sale» pour me décrire en ondes.

Cette fois-ci, il était très fâché que j’aie osé rappeler, au lendemain de la désignation d’un Boulevard-Robert-Bourassa, que l’ancien premier ministre libéral a 1) emprisonné 500 personnes dont cinq poètes pour délit d’opinion pendant la crise d’octobre 1970; 2) lancé le formidable chantier de la Baie James et 3) conduit tout le Québec dans un cul de sac après l’échec du Lac Meech.

Toutes choses que j’ai dites, écrites et répétées depuis des années, et encore sur ce blogue en juin dernier. (Voir: En flânant sur l’avenue Robert Bourassa.) Selon Jean Lapierre, il serait incorrect de critiquer un ancien premier ministre «18 ans après sa mort». Cela s’applique-t-il aussi à Duplessis, mort depuis encore plus longtemps?

Est-ce que parce que je suis candidat présumé pour le poste de chef de parti que je devrais m’interdire d’avoir des opinions? Que ça se sache: je ne suis pas un adepte de la langue de bois. Et laissez-moi prendre un engagement assez facile à exprimer: quelle que soit ma fonction, je ne cesserai jamais de croire, et de dire au besoin, qu’il est inexcusable d’avoir suspendu les libertés civiles et d’avoir emprisonné des poètes.

Il arrive qu’on demande pourquoi Jean Lapierre parle régulièrement de moi avec un mépris proche de celui qu’il utilisait toujours pour parler de Jacques Parizeau (je dis «proche», car il réservait une hargne encore plus profonde pour Monsieur). Un ami m’affirma récemment que le chroniqueur n’avait jamais digéré un billet de blogue que j’ai écrit à son sujet, un jour où la mémoire lui avait flanché en ondes.

Je ne sais pas si c’est vrai. Mais je suis allé le relire. Il s’agissait encore de Bourassa. Il me fait plaisir de le citer en entier. Je vous reviens ensuite:

Les trous de mémoire de Jean Lapierre (22 février 2012)

Il m’est arrivé de prendre la défense de Jean Lapierre, l’ex-libéral-bloquiste-commentateur-libéral, maintenant commentateur. Mais j’ai rarement été plus estomaqué que lorsque je l’ai entendu, un soir de 2004, lors de sa réentrée en politique fédérale, en entrevue télé. Paul Arcand, qui l’interviewait, a demandé à la nouvelle vedette libérale fédérale quel avait été son vote lors du référendum de 1995.

Lapierre a répondu (cramponnez-vous) qu’il ne s’en souvenait pas!!!

Les problèmes de mémoire de Jean Lapierre me sont donc revenus en tête lorsque je l’ai entendu, lors d’une chronique avec Paul Houde ce lundi, affirmer qu’entre 1990 et 1992, Robert Bourassa ne lui avait jamais laissé entendre qu’il pourrait tenir un référendum sur la souveraineté.

Le problème avec cette déclaration est que j’ai longuement interviewé Jean Lapierre en 1992, devant un magnétophone, et qu’il m’a expliqué en détails chacune de ses rencontres avec Bourassa où ce dernier l’assurait que, s’il n’y avait pas de réforme en profondeur du fédéralisme, il appliquerait la loi 150 qu’il avait votée et qui prévoyait, précisément, ce référendum.

Lapierre, dont la mémoire semblait excellente, m’expliquait que son engagement de souverainiste-libéral au sein du jeune Bloc québécois tenait spécifiquement à cet engagement réitéré par son vrai chef — Bourassa. Au printemps 1992, lorsque Lapierre se rend compte que Bourassa ne tiendra pas parole, il démissionne du Bloc. Et il a, devant mon micro, cette phrase très dure:

«Il [Bourassa] nous a tous fourrés quand même. Il nous a tous menés en bateau.»

Pour lui rafraîchir la mémoire, cette citation apparaît en page 291 du Petit Tricheur, en librairie. Je lui en ai fait envoyer une copie, pour ses archives et, peut-être, un jour, ses « Mémoires ».

Maintenant si Jean pouvait aussi se souvenir de son vote référendaire de 1995, sa crédibilité en serait encore rehaussée.

***

Voilà donc ce que j’écrivais lorsque j’étais blogueur. Aujourd’hui député et candidat tenté par le leadership, je me vois effectivement contraint de prendre un peu de hauteur et de m’excuser auprès de la famille Bourassa pour avoir reproduit ci-haut le propos, disons, ordurier, utilisé par M. Lapierre pour décrire les agissements de l’ex-premier ministre. Je n’ai jamais utilisé ce langage et je ne compte pas commencer aujourd’hui. (Je précise qu’il ne m’arrive jamais, non plus, de traiter qui que ce soit de «chien sale», en ondes ou en privé. Chacun son style.) Mais je ne me sens pas autorisé à trafiquer la citation. L’exactitude a ses droits.

Il n’est pas de tradition qu’un élu critique un commentateur. Encore moins lorsque celui-ci a eu, selon une évaluation, davantage de temps d’antenne pendant la dernière campagne électorale que n’importe lequel des chefs de partis.

Mais, il faudra s’y faire, je ne prétends pas être un politicien traditionnel. D’autant qu’en ce cas, M. Lapierre fait clairement campagne contre moi. Alors, qu’ai-je à perdre?

À bien y penser, j’aurais davantage à perdre si M. Lapierre m’était favorable dans la course au leadership. Il n’y a qu’à voir le sort réservé aux candidats qu’il a soutenus dans sa carrière. Le premier s’appelait John Turner, et se fit manger tout rond à la seule  aux deux élections qu’il a menée. Le second s’appelait Paul Martin et son court règne fut catastrophique, même s’il était admirablement soutenu par son lieutenant québécois, un certain… Jean Lapierre.



Le désir de se gouverner soi-même

L'Écosse gagnera-t-elle son référendum ou pas? Pour Bock-Côté, le résultat n'est pas ce qui est intéressant. Extraits:

On spécule beaucoup sur le résultat à venir du référendum en Écosse. Les sondages donnent le Non victorieux, et même si on souhaite le contraire, il se pourrait bien qu’ils disent vrai. Même si les événements ne sont jamais donnés à l’avance, même si la politique est le domaine par excellence où surgissent de petits miracles et des belles surprises. La tendance ne joue pas pour le camp du Oui, mais il se pourrait bien, néanmoins, que l’Écosse devienne un pays indépendant. Qui sait ce qui se passera dans les semaines à venir.

Mais l’essentiel est ailleurs, dans la simple tenue de ce référendum. Au cœur d’un grand pays développé, qui ne connait ni la guerre, ni la pauvreté, la question nationale est au cœur de la vie politique. Autrement dit, quoi qu’en pensent ceux qui s’imaginent qu’on ne devient un pays que pour sortir d’une tyrannie coloniale épouvantable, le peuple écossais se demande s’il ne devrait pas se gouverner lui-même, librement, pleinement maître de ses institutions, en recouvrant son indépendance depuis longtemps perdue. Il n’est pas nécessaire de souffrir pour gagner le droit d’être politiquement libre.

Évidemment, la question nationale écossaise se formule en partie en termes économiques, mais il n’y a que les obsédés de l’argument comptable qui ne voient pas ce qui se joue à travers ces chiffres. Derrière l’argument économique se trouve un idéal que les Québécois devraient être les premiers à comprendre: maîtres chez nous. Cela suppose l’existence d’un peuple, d’une histoire, d’une identité. Et une volonté d’agir selon son propre intérêt national, sans interférence étrangère. Et faut-il rappeler que le nationalisme économique est d’abord et avant tout un nationalisme? Ce qui se trouve au cœur de l’argumentaire des nationalistes écossais, c’est le désir de se gouverner soi-même.

Autrement dit, nous sommes loin de cette vision terne de la politique qui voudrait la réduire à la gestion quotidienne de l’existence ordinaire. Les nationalistes écossais disent plutôt: le cadre dans lequel notre nation se trouve est inadapté à nos intérêts les plus fondamentaux. Nous nous développerons mieux, nous gérerons mieux nos intérêts, si nous nous en occupons nous-mêmes. Ils disent aussi : notre identité, au fil de l’histoire, a évolué, mais nous conservons ce sentiment très vif, à partir duquel nous fondons notre programme politique: nous ne sommes pas Anglais. Nous sommes un autre peuple.

Cela nous ramène aux limites de la philosophie libérale, qui peine à poser d’elle-même la question du cadre politique puisqu’elle peine d’abord à reconnaître l’existence des nations, sinon à la manière de résidus qu’il sera possible un jour de liquider. La philosophie libérale idéalise l’individu mais oublie aisément qu’il ne flotte pas dans le ciel des idées pures. Évidemment, bien des penseurs libéraux s’ouvrent à la question nationale, mais alors, ils doivent sortir des limites étroites du libéralisme et ajouter à leur doctrine un trait d’union, qui les pousse à réinscrire l’individu et ses droits dans une perspective plus vaste, indispensable à la compréhension du monde. Le libéralisme n’est intéressant que lorsqu’il avoue ses propres limites.

L’Écosse se pose la question de son indépendance, la Catalogne se la pose aussi. La question des petites nations révèle certaines nuances oubliées de l’ordre politique en Europe occidentale. Les adversaires de ces petites nations ont une réponse rapide: il s’agit de régionalismes ethniques, antimodernes et antidémocratiques. Elles seraient en droit de conserver leurs coutumes, mais pourquoi diable voudraient-elles s’autodéterminer? On comprend le message: il ne s’agit pas de vraies nations, et leur permission d’exister aurait bien des limites. Les Écossais peuvent bien jouer de la cornemuse, mais qu’ils ne s’imaginent pas être une nation à part entière.

On peut voir les choses autrement: qu’on souhaite ou non l’indépendance de ces petites nations, ou qu’on leur souhaite un statut particulier, leurs revendications nationales prouvent que l’existence des peuples vient des profondeurs de l’histoire, et qu’on ne saurait fonder un pays à la manière d’une simple association légale et administrative, sans tenir compte de la part existentielle qui traverse toute citoyenneté. On peut oublier un peuple longtemps, mais s’il conserve au fond de lui la certitude de son existence, il peut renaître et chercher à renouer avec l’existence politique.

La mondialisation, qui prétend pousser à l’unification du monde, ne parviendra jamais à effacer cette réalité humaine fondamentale: l’homme appartient à l’humanité par la médiation d’un groupe humain, d’une culture, d’une histoire, d’une identité. S’il devait les sacrifier, il se perdrait dans une immensité terrifiante, qui entrainerait en plus la liquidation de la diversité humaine. Celui qui prétend aimer le genre humain sans aimer la diversité des cultures nous confesse en fait qu’il n’apprécie l’homme que privé de tout ce qui donne du sens à sa vie, à la première d’un individu sans parents ni descendants, sans mémoire ni cité.

Et dans la mesure où j’appartiens à ce groupe humain particulier, à ce peuple, ne dois-je pas souhaiter qu’il s’autodétermine le plus possible? L’autodétermination des peuples n’est-elle pas consubstantielle à l’idéal démocratique. Pour avoir une emprise sur leur propre vie, les hommes se rassemblent en communautés, et la nation est la forme moderne et démocratisée de cette aspiration au monde commun. Ceux qui s’en prennent à la nation s’en prennent pratiquement aux conditions mêmes de l’expérience démocratique. Car pour qu’un peuple se gouverne lui-même, d’abord doit-on lui reconnaître le droit d’exister.

On comprend une chose: la question nationale n’est pas à la veille de disparaître. Que l’Écosse devienne ou non un pays indépendant dans l’année à venir, le simple fait que la question se pose et mobilise les énergies politiques de cette nation développée, prospère, heureuse et bien installée dans la modernité occidentale et démocratique devrait inquiéter les ennemis déclarés du nationalisme, qui n’y voient qu’un malheur frappant les hommes et qui  ne comprennent pas la vertu civilisatrice des frontières. Ils devraient chercher à comprendre pourquoi un peuple se pose une telle question, plutôt que de leur offrir leur souverain mépris.




Accommodement déraisonnable

Le Friendly Atheist critique le plus récent accommodement religieux des autorités canadiennes:




La terreur d'être traité de raciste

Le récent débat québécois à propos de la Charte de la laïcité a bien illustré le phénomène: toutes les personnes qui ont OSÉ prendre la parole en faveur de cette charte ont été qualifiés de RACISTES et de XÉNOPHOBES. Dans la mentalité du multiculturalisme, toute personne qui OSE critiquer une croyance ou une pratique propre à une communauté ethnique risque d'être diffamé, ostracisé et censuré. Regardez Jacques Parizeau qui est encore à ce jour vu comme un raciste intolérant pour avoir simplement dit quelque chose qui est essentiellement vrai (à un moment mal choisi, je vous l'accorde).

Cette tyrannie du multiculturalisme et de la tolérance-à-tout-prix a des conséquences sociales extrêmement néfastes et ce qui vient d'être révélé au Royaume-Uni tient carrément de l'horreur:

Fear of being branded racist and Islamophobic prevented British officials from prosecuting Muslim gangs engaged in the rape and sexual trafficking of children in the northern English town of Rotherham.

A scathing report recently issued by the Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council chronicles the systematic rape and sexual exploitation of children by gangs of Pakistani Muslims, and the abysmal failure of government officials to prosecute the guilty and protect the innocent.

The report, entitled “Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Exploitation in Rotherham (1997 – 2013)” documents the sexual abuse and exploitation of more than 1400 children over a 16 year period, mainly by Muslim men of Pakistani heritage.

Attempting to explain why local officials ignored and denied the ongoing abuse, Professor Alexis Jay, author of the report commissioned by the Rotherham Borough Council, said:

"Several councillors interviewed believed that by opening up these issues they could be ‘giving oxygen’ to racist perspectives that might in turn attract extremist political groups and threaten community cohesion."

About the victims, Jay notes:

"It is hard to describe the appalling nature of the abuse that child victims suffered. They were raped by multiple perpetrators, trafficked to other towns and cities in the north of England, abducted, beaten, and intimidated."

The report indicates victims were often gang raped, while others were groomed and trafficked across northern England.

When children attempted to expose the abuse, they were threatened with guns, warned that their loved ones would be raped and, in one case, doused in petrol and told they would be burnt alive.




L'existence des femmes est contraire à la volonté de Allah

Les délires des théologiens ne cesseront jamais de me fasciner, et ceux-ci battent des records:

The Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) concluded their 192nd meeting on Thursday with the ruling that women are un-Islamic and that their mere existence contradicted Sharia and the will of Allah. As the meeting concluded CII Chairman Maulana Muhammad Khan Shirani noted that women by existing defied the laws of nature, and to protect Islam and the Sharia women should be forced to stop existing as soon as possible. The announcement comes a couple of days after CII’s 191st meeting where they dubbed laws related to minimum marriage age to be un-Islamic.

After declaring women to be un-Islamic, Shirani explained that there were actually two kinds of women – haraam and makrooh. “We can divide all women in the world into two distinct categories: those who are haraam and those who are makrooh. Now the difference between haraam and makrooh is that the former is categorically forbidden while the latter is really really disliked,” Shirani said.

He further went on to explain how the women around the world can ensure that they get promoted to being makrooh, from just being downright haraam. “Any woman that exercises her will is haraam, absolutely haraam, and is conspiring against Islam and the Ummah, whereas those women who are totally subservient can reach the status of being makrooh. Such is the generosity of our ideology and such is the endeavour of Muslim men like us who are the true torchbearers of gender equality,” the CII chairman added.

Officials told Khabaristan Today that the council members deliberated over various historic references related to women and concluded that each woman is a source of fitna and a perpetual enemy of Islam. They also decided that by restricting them to their subordinate, bordering on slave status, the momineen and the mujahideen can ensure that Islam continues to be the religion of peace, prosperity and gender equality.

(...) The CII meeting also advised the government that to protect Islam women’s right to breathe should also be taken away from them. “Whether a woman is allowed to breathe or not be left up to her husband or male guardian, and no woman under any circumstance whatsoever should be allowed to decide whether she can breathe or not,” Shirani said.

Gardons espoir, chers amis... privés de leurs femmes, ces sombres crétins cesseront de se reproduire et c'est uniquement de cette façon qu'ils arrivent à faire progresser leurs croyances débiles!

La photo provient de cet article dans lequel ce Conseil affirmait que le fait d'interdire les mariages avec des enfants était anti-islamique.


Quand l'Allemagne planifiait d'envahir l'Amérique

Avant la première guerre mondiale, l'Allemagne avait élaboré des plans pour envahir et neutraliser les États-Unis:

Nearly two decades before the onset of World War I, Kaiser Wilhelm II set his imperialistic sights on the Americas. But to establish a presence there, Germany would have to put the U.S. in its place. To that end, it devised not one, but three plans to attack and invade America. Here's how history could have unfolded very differently.

The plans for Imperial Germany's invasion of the United States only came to light after the documents were found in 2002 at the German military archives in Freiburg. It was a remarkable and disturbing discovery, one which demonstrated the extent to which the Kaiser was willing to exert Germany's presence onto the world — an urge that would continue well into the 20th century with the invasion of France in 1914 and the rise of Hitler's Third Reich.

(...) he Kaiser, intent on defying the Monroe Doctrine, had plans to set up a major naval Caribbean base in Cuba or Puerto Rico. From there, Germany could have access to South America, Central America, and the Panama Canal, which it planned on taking over once complete. Germany was clearly thinking big; it wanted nothing less than unhindered access to the Pacific Ocean.

But to achieve these goals, Germany would have to deal with the United States. To that end, Kaiser Wilhelm II had his military thinkers sketch out plans to attack and invade the American mainland. The intent was never to take over the U.S., but rather to force the country's leaders to bargain from a weak position.

Plan I: Attack and Blockade

Germany's first plan, which was devised by Naval Lieutenant Eberhard von Mantey in 1898, was a scheme to attack U.S. naval power on its east coast in order to gain easy access to a planned German naval base in the Caribbean.

The scheme would have seen a great German fleet to sail across the Atlantic to engage and defeat the U.S. Navy's Atlantic Fleet in a major battle. In addition, German naval artillery attacks were to be directed on the Norfolk Naval Shipyard, the Newport News Shipbuilding center, and other naval resources in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia. Lieutenant von Mantey believed this was the "most sensitive point" of American defenses, and once reduced, would have allowed the Germans to establish a naval blockade. At that point a German negotiating team would have been sent in armed with with the Kaiser's demands.

But this plan was never meant to be. Germany simply didn't have the required ships. What's more, the start of the Spanish-American War resulted in increased American activity in the Caribbean, along with the establishment of a (soon-to-be) independent Cuba under American economic influence.

Plan II: Land Invasion

If the first plan wasn't ambitious enough, the Kaiser's second plan certainly made up for it. The Kaiser had von Mantey revise the scheme in 1899 — but this time he had to provision for a two-pronged land invasion of New York City and Boston. The unprecedented invasion would have required 60 warships and a massive supply chain of at least 60 cargo and troopships carrying 75,000 tons of coal, 100,000 soldiers, and a large amount of artillery. The invasion force would have required 25 days to cross the Atlantic.

Here's how it would have unfolded: After a major naval battle to acquire superiority over American ships, German troops — armed with artillery — were to make an amphibious landing at Cape Cod. These grounds units would then advance to Boston and fire shells into the city. For its attack on New York, German troops were to land on the island of Sandy Hook, New Jersey, while warships pounded away at harbor fortifications, including Fort Hamilton and Fort Tompkins. Following this, the warships would advance to shell Manhattan and other areas of New York in an effort to induce panic among civilians. It would have been absolute pandemonium.

Alfred von Schlieffen, the author of the famous World War I plan that bore his name, refused to believe that such a plan would work. It would take a lot more, he argued, to take a city like New York, a metropolis that boasted some 3 million people.

By 1900, the Kaiser realized that an invasion force launched from Germany was unfeasible. He once again set his sights on a land base in Cuba from which such an invasion could be launched.

From 1902 to 1903, German planners, including naval staff officer Wilhelm Büchsel, made minor changes to their tactics. But this time they took global politics into consideration. Seeking to gain a political advantage, they sought to establish a naval base in Culebra, Puerto Rico from where they could threaten the Panama Canal.

At the same time, however, Germany did not waiver from its initial strategy of seeking to immobilize the United States. As von Mantey noted in his diary, the "East Coast is the heart of the United States and this is where she is most vulnerable. New York will panic at the prospect of bombardment. By hitting her here we can force America to negotiate."

A Different Course of History

But world events would preclude Germany from ever embarking on such schemes. An invasion of the United States would have only been feasible if two conditions were met: (1) the absence of a major conflict in Europe and (2) an unprepared United States. By the first decade of the 20th century, these variables were withering away.

First, with the advent of the Entente Cordiale by Britain and France and the subsequent shifting of power in Europe, Germany suddenly had other things to worry about. Now best-buddies, Britain and France could shift their forces elsewhere — much to the chagrin of the Kaiser. Compounding this was Germany's inability to leapfrog ahead of Britain in the naval arms race of the time.

Meanwhile, the United States began to assert itself in its part of the world. The Venezuela Crisis of 1902-03 demonstrated that the U.S. was willing to use its naval strength to impose its viewpoint on the world — a crisis that led to President Theodore Roosevelt's "Roosevelt Corollary" to the Monroe Doctrine, a policy whereby the U.S. made its intentions clear to intervene in conflicts between European and Latin American countries (a policy that positioned the U.S. as a "police power" — the reverberations of which are still being felt today).



Premiers pas hors de l'eau

Un dino-babysitter


Extrait de la fascinante découverte:

This slab of Cretaceous rock contains the remains of 30 dinosaur infants and one older individual – possibly a babysitter.

Discovered in the Yixian formation in north-eastern China, all 31 fossilised dinosaurs were members of a herbivore species called Psittacosaurus lujiatunensis. This fossil specimen was originally described in 2004, but researcher Brandon Hedrick of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia was inspired to investigate it further after seeing a photo of the find.

Hedrick and his colleagues found that the gathering of young dinos was preserved in such exceptional detail by being suddenly engulfed in material flowing from an erupting volcano. The lack of heat damage on the fossilised bones suggests that this flow was a slurry of water, rock and other debris, rather than lava.

Judging by the size of its skull, the older dinosaur was probably around 4 or 5 years old. This species is not thought to have reproduced until it was 8 or 9 years old, so it seems likely that this older companion was not the parent of the infants it was found with. Hedrick's team believe this could be evidence of babysitting, a behaviour also seen in some modern-day birds.



Le feu et la gravité

J'aurais pensé qu'une flamme n'aurait pas été affectée par l'absence de gravité... et je me serais trompé:


Jaime Jasso

Brian Kesinger

Hellstern II

ionen

29 août 2014

La vie à partir de "rien"!

Extrait de la remarquable découverte scientifique:

One of the most challenging questions in basic biology and the history of evolution and life stems from the unknown origin of the first cells billions of years ago. Though many pieces of the puzzle have been put together, this origin story remains somewhat murky. But a team of researchers from the University of Cambridge believe they've accidentally stumbled on an answer, and a very compelling one at that.

The discovery: Through routine quality control testing, a researcher working with Markus Ralser, who would eventually become the lead researcher for the project, stumbled upon signs of the metabolic process where, for all intents and purposes, there shouldn't have been. Until now, much of the science community has generally agreed that Ribonucleic acid, or RNA, was the first building block of life because it produces enzymes that could catalyze complex sequences of reactions such as metabolic action. However, Ralser's lab found the end products of the metabolic process without any presence of RNA. Instead, the findings indicate that complex and life-forming reactions like these could occur spontaneously given the right, but surprisingly simple, conditions.

"People have said that these pathways look so complex they couldn't form by environmental chemistry alone," Rasler told NewScientist. "This is the first experiment showing that it is possible to create metabolic networks in the absence of RNA."

Testing: Because Rasler's team basically stumbled upon their initial findings, they repeated the process several times and were pleasantly surprised with repeat successful outcomes. So, taking things to the next level, Rasler began working with Cambridge's Earth sciences department to determine if these processes could have occurred in the Archean Ocean, the oxygen-free world, predating photosynthesis, which covered the planet almost 4 billion years ago.

"In the beginning we had hoped to find one reaction or two maybe, but the results were amazing," said Ralser. "We could reconstruct two metabolic pathways almost entirely."

If these metabolic pathways were occurring in the absence of RNA in conditions rich with iron and other metals and phosphate, it seems increasingly likely that life could have literally started from nothing and spontaneously formed in ways until now believed impossible. 

So what? "I think this paper has really interesting connotations for the origins of life," says Matthew Powner at University College London. "For origins of life, it is important to understand where the source molecules come from."

Rasler's team has been the first to show that life could literally come from nothing. Of course, in the scientific community, this could be a major advancement, albeit one that is still only a part of an overall picture that's still forming through years of continuing research. However, these findings could also potentially play into the creationism versus evolution debate. One of the holes often poked by creationists is the complex and hard-to-explain idea of life started from nothing at all, and for the most part scientific explanations have been somewhat lacking. However, these findings indicate that something from nothing might not be as far-fetched idea as it seems. 



Jésus a-t-il vraiment existé?

Bien peu de gens croient encore aux miracles, mais Jésus est encore généralement considéré comme un personnage historique véritable. Or, rien n'est moins sûr. Le site AlterNet dresse la liste de 5 indices qui démontrent que Jésus est probablement un personnage complètement fictif:

The notion that Jesus never existed is a minority position.  Of course it is! says David Fitzgerald, author of Nailed: Ten Christian Myths That Show Jesus Never Existed at All . For centuries all serious scholars of Christianity were Christians themselves, and modern secular scholars lean heavily on the groundwork that they laid in collecting, preserving, and analyzing ancient texts. Even today most secular scholars come out of a religious background, and many operate by default under historical presumptions of their former faith.

(...) A growing number of scholars are openly questioning or actively arguing against Jesus’ historicity. Since many people, both Christian and not, find it surprising that this debate even exists—that credible scholars might think Jesus never existed—here are some of the key points that keep the doubts alive:

1. No first century secular evidence whatsoever exists to support the actuality of Yeshua ben Yosef.  

In the words of Bart Ehrman: “What sorts of things do pagan authors from the time of Jesus have to say about him? Nothing. As odd as it may seem, there is no mention of Jesus at all by any of his pagan contemporaries. There are no birth records, no trial transcripts, no death certificates; there are no expressions of interest, no heated slanders, no passing references – nothing. In fact, if we broaden our field of concern to the years after his death – even if we include the entire first century of the Common Era – there is not so much as a solitary reference to Jesus in any non-Christian, non-Jewish source of any kind. I should stress that we do have a large number of documents from the time – the writings of poets, philosophers, historians, scientists, and government officials, for example, not to mention the large collection of surviving inscriptions on stone and private letters and legal documents on papyrus. In none of this vast array of surviving writings is Jesus’ name ever so much as mentioned.” (pp. 56-57)

2. The earliest New Testament writers seem ignorant of the details of Jesus’ life, which become more crystalized in later texts. 

Paul seems unaware of any virgin birth, for example. No wise men, no star in the east, no miracles. Historians have long puzzled over the “Silence of Paul” on the most basic biographical facts and teachings of Jesus. Paul fails to cite Jesus’ authority precisely when it would make his case. What’s more, he never calls the twelve apostles Jesus’ disciples; in fact, he never says Jesus HAD disciples –or a ministry, or did miracles, or gave teachings. (...)

3. Even the New Testament stories don’t claim to be first-hand accounts. 

We now know that the four gospels were assigned the names of the apostles Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, not written by them. To make matter sketchier, the name designations happened sometime in second century, around 100 years or more after Christianity supposedly began. For a variety of reasons , the practice of pseudonymous writing was common at the time and many contemporary documents are “signed” by famous figures.  The same is true of the New Testament epistles except for a handful of letters from Paul (6 out of 13) which are broadly thought to be genuine.  But even the gospel stories don’t actually say , “I was there.” Rather, they claim the existence of other witnesses, a phenomenon familiar to anyone who has heard the phrase, my aunt knew someone who . . . .

4. The gospels, our only accounts of a historical Jesus, contradict each other. 

If you think you know the Jesus story pretty well, I suggest that you pause at this point to test yourself with the 20 question quiz at ExChristian.net.

The gospel of Mark is thought to be the earliest existing “life of Jesus,” and linguistic analysis suggests that Luke and Matthew both simply reworked Mark and added their own corrections and new material. But they contradict each other and, to an even greater degree contradict the much later gospel of John, because they were written with different objectives for different audiences. The incompatible Easter stories offer one example of how much the stories disagree.

5. Modern scholars who claim to have uncovered the real historical Jesus depict wildly different persons.  

They include a cynic philosopher, charismatic Hasid, liberal Pharisee, conservative rabbi, Zealot revolutionary, nonviolent pacifist to borrow from a much longer list assembled by Price . In his words (pp. 15-16), “The historical Jesus (if there was one) might well have been a messianic king, or a progressive Pharisee, or a Galilean shaman, or a magus, or a Hellenistic sage.  But he cannot very well have been all of them at the same time.”  John Dominic Crossan of the Jesus Seminar grumbles that “the stunning diversity is an academic embarrassment.” 

For David Fitzgerald, these issues and more lead to a conclusion that he finds inescapable :

Jesus appears to be an effect, not a cause, of Christianity. Paul and the rest of the first generation of Christians searched the Septuagint translation of Hebrew scriptures to create a Mystery Faith for the Jews, complete with pagan rituals like a Lord’s Supper, Gnostic terms in his letters, and a personal savior god to rival those in their neighbors’ longstanding Egyptian, Persian, Hellenistic and Roman traditions.

In a soon-to-be-released follow up to Nailed, entitled Jesus: Mything in Action, Fitzgerald argues that the many competing versions proposed by secular scholars are just as problematic as any “Jesus of Faith:” Even if one accepts that there was a real Jesus of Nazareth, the question has little practical meaning: Regardless of whether or not a first century rabbi called Yeshua ben Yosef lived, the “historical Jesus” figures so patiently excavated and re-assembled by secular scholars are themselves fictions.

We may never know for certain what put Christian history in motion. Only time (or perhaps time travel) will tell.


Pourquoi les historiens ont-ils si peur du sexe?


Mark Hay de VICE s'interroge à propos de cette étrange frilosité des historiens:

Last month, archaeologists on the Greek island of Ithaca found a couple of dicks etched into a cliff face at the Bay of Vathy. The dongs, as well as an inscription on another rock written in ancient Greek that read “Nikasitimos was here mounting Timiona,” are estimated to be 2,500 years old. The press scrambled to label it among the world’s oldest and most fascinating erotic archaeological finds, but that’s not quite true. Erotica is everywhere in the historical record, and archaeologists have come across sexual displays and descriptions far older and more fascinating than this. What made this particular finding unique was that—in addition to what the scribbles taught them about literacy during the time of Acropolis—the archaeologists were happy to talk about sex, and willing to acknowledge that the inscriptions suggested gay sex wasn’t just an upper-class affair practiced in limited social settings. Academics have only very recently become comfortable discussing sexual aspects of history, and many still avoid it. That's unfortunate, because there's a whole lot of ancient, instructive, and revolutionarily important smut out there.

Not counting the stylized and lumpy Venus of Willendorf and her female nude counterparts, the oldest archaeological find on sexuality may be a small figurine of a male bending over a further bent female, both with recognizable genitalia, aged 7,200 years and found in Germany in 2005. But that’s hardly an isolated find. Anywhere you go in the world, from possible pansexual orgies on cave walls in Xinjiang in Central Asia, to pocket-size clay tablets of 4,000-year-old Mesopotamians engaged in doggy, anal, and possibly a stylized form of buzzed-out fellatio, to Ramesses’s Playboy scroll from about 3,000 years ago, the ancient world was full of fuckin’. Any reading man throughout recorded history has been confronted with the bawdy and naughty thoughts of his predecessors, from the lewd and crude in Boccaccio to Chaucer to Sappho to Shakespeare, from The Perfumed Garden to The Plum in the Golden Vase, to the roots of Japanese tentacle porn in Japanese woodblock shunga prints. History is undeniably porny, yet many of us tend to think of it as austere and scrubbed clean.

The key to our image of a clean and starched history is largely a result of a mixture of active destruction and strategic ignorance. Although there was no real systematic (or at least no thorough, well-defined, and long lasting) suppression of dirty materials before the invention of the term “pornography” and development of anti-obscenity laws around 1857 with the British Obscene Publications Act, our ancestors made every effort to stomp out whacking material in their own times using a Justice Stewart Potter–style know-it-when-you-see-it approach. In the 1520s, the church arrested an Italian engraver for printing a pamphlet on better sex positions, and in 1748 the first English-language porn novel, Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure, also known as Fanny Hill, faced staunch censure.

But some historical works, like the tawdry lines from Roman authors such as Juvenal or the dirty doodles in the margins of medieval monks’ books of hours, were already established parts of historical traditions and widely dispersed. “Of course,” writes the late Walter Kendrick, author of The Secret Museum and still a seminal authority on the history of porn and its suppression, “they could not be destroyed... Any relic of the ancient world possessed, merely thanks to its survival, a value that overrode the nature of the relic itself.”

By the end of the 18th century, however, many English speakers had accepted the Edward Gibbons Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire idea that depravity crumbled the West’s ideological and cultural ancestors, so evidence of or engagement with that licentious imagery was considered more dangerous than ever. So, just as history started to expand its audience thanks to the advent of mass printing and the expansion of education, a massive project to whitewash it kicked into gear. In one famous case, academics found it unseemly to deal with an insult in the Roman author Catullus’s Carmen 16, roughly rendered “I will bugger you and I will fuck your mouths, / Aurelius, you pathic, and you queer, Furius.” So instead, until 1970, no one even tried to offer a translation, often just deleting the line from manuscripts and claiming that the poem was a fragment, the rest of which was lost to time. It took just as long for scholars to admit that the Turin Papyrus, a 3,000-year-old Egyptian scroll, had an erotic segment showing a great orgy of actions, known by scholars in the 1820s, but kept a secret until the 1970s. Perhaps most egregiously, a number of 18th-century editors committed something known as bowdlerization, the deletion of crude elements, on Shakespeare and other classic authors, at times rewriting whole scenes to work around the absent sexual jokes. As recently as the mid 20th century, the translators of Sufi poet Jalal al Din Muhammad Rumi’s now immensely popular Mathnawi decided to leave the naughtier poems in Latin. Rumi’s stories of donkey-fucking noblewomen and servants and impotent Caliphs remained unavailable to English readers until 1990, when Coleman Barks finally translated 47 omitted poems and published them as Delicious Laughter: Rambunctious Teaching Stories from the Mathnawi.

Around the same time, scholars were grappling with the lasciviousness of classical art, too. While excavating Pompeii in the mid 18th century, high society types discovered a vast array of graphic-to-hardcore murals, statues of fauns fucking goats, and a particularly amusing depiction of a gladiator wrestling his own cock transfigured into a raging beast. Unable to destroy the effigies, the Franco-Italian nobles in control of the region created the proto-moral category of pornography and tucked the artwork away in locked rooms in the local museum, later known as the Secret Museum, where only a handful of individuals deemed proper and prepared were allowed to access them. The secret museum idea caught on, and throughout the 19th-century museums around the world started forming their own secret wings and rooms to blot out their more graphic collections from the public eye.

Still, the preservation of these tawdry tableaus for study meant that the secret keepers were obligated to release images of their collections for those unable to visit. Many prefaced their works with introductions warning the reader of the explicit contents within, and enjoined them to be serious and detached critics, to try to desexualize the figures with aggressive theory. Others attempted to protect the young, female, and poorly educated by fogging out the genitals in sexual scenes, or turning them into odd geometric shapes, in their reproductions of the images.

Periodic attempts were made by revolutionaries and libertines to undo the redactions and ferretting of contemporary scholars. In a fit of liberalism, Giuseppe Garibaldi threw open the doors of Naples’ Secret Museum to usher in a new, united, free Italy in the 1860s. Meanwhile Sir Richard Burton attempted in 1883 to introduce the Kama Sutra to the West. But ultimately the more squeamish won out again and again. “Until the 1990s,” explains Roman sexuality-in-art expert Professor John Clarke of the University of Texas–Austen, “academics avoided working on ‘obscene’ Greek and Roman texts or ‘pornographic’ painting and sculpture, letting hack writers publish sensational and highly inaccurate picture books.”

What changed, Clarke goes on to explain, was the slow development of a very recent academic consensus that the past ought to be considered on its own terms, and by its own rules. “Well into the 20th century,” wrote Kendrick in The Secret Museum, “…the emphasis fell on the opposite side,” encouraging people to evaluate art in terms of their own social mores. But now it’s agreed that we can analyze the social importance of sexual items in history, distancing ourselves from our current notions and perceptions of them. “Moments of sexual shame,” wrote Barks in Delicious Laughter explaining his views on the eroticism in the Sufi poetry he was translating, “erections and their sudden droopings, a clitoral urgency that admits no limit, the mean impulse to play a sexual trick on one’s mate—these are recognizable behaviors and Rumi does not so much judge them as hold them up for a lens.” It was this spirit that, in 2000, finally saw the Secret Museum of Naples opened to the general public, permanently.

But even in this new age of theoretical openness to sexuality in history, practice often falls far short. “Once I discovered how underworked this topic was in academe,” says Clarke, “I had no qualms about pursuing it. I did of course have tenure and a chair at the point. I remember discussing with [a colleague] how difficult it was for her to get her first job with a dissertation on Roman sexual humor.” Often, it seems, academics (if not moved by subtle personal prejudices or cautions) just fear what the wider public might think.

In 1991, the Biblical Archaeology Review had a minor crisis about whether to publish photos of a ceramic oil lamp depicting a couple fucking, and polled their readership about what to do. They decided to print the image on a page with perforation so those who didn’t want to see it could remove it, and even then a few readers still canceled their subscriptions. And of course the tendency of newspapers to run headlines like “The Earliest Pornography” and “Prehistoric Pin Up,” about the 2009 excavation of a Neolithic female nude a la the Venus of Willendorf, but 10,000 years older, scares off some scholars who would prefer to avoid sensationalism.

More than all of this, though, it’s just hard for most people to take what we now deem pornography seriously as an academic discipline. “It’s hard to justify to people that, ‘hey, I need money to go watch porn,’” says University of California Berkeley Fellow Matthew Kirschenbaum, who currently teaches a course on contemporary pornography called “Critical Sex Studies and Pornography. He’s one of many academics across America trying to study modern forms of erotica, and says that many feel the need to dress modern pornography up in theory or history to give it a little legitimacy. The study of modern pornography is, to Kirschenbaum, important because it’s a massive and influential modern industry that, while flying under the radar, can affect the way we talk and think about important issues like STDs and, of course, sexuality. But for many it’s hard to hack past the awkwardness of studying something that might turn them on, whether historical or modern, and then to deal with public perception and entrenched moral values before getting down to the social import or historical relevance of erotica.

There are bastions of scholars who are more than comfortable talking about and dispassionately studying sexuality. And with every day we get to chip away at a bit more of the taboos that make something like the announcement of a find of Greek erotic graffiti so headline snatching and provocative. But, at the end of the day, says Kirschenbaum, “it can get awkward showing someone in a class your favorite porn.” That applies often to historical erotica as well. So while we’re no longer actively redacting and hiding our sexual pasts, it’s still odd to see that history, openly discussed, can still make academia squirm.




“Girls are Smart, Boys are Stupid”

Extrait de ce billet de Jonathan Taylor:

Along with that has arisen a new culture that says girls are not just the intellectual equals of men; on the contrary, they are their superiors. Here is an image the Facebook page “Boys vs. Girls” has broadcast to the 88,000+ people who “like” their page:



(...) There is another page specifically set up with the unambiguous title “Girls are Smarter than Boys.” Here are two gems from that page:



That page has over 35,000 “likes.”

And who could forget the “Boys are Stupid, Throw Rocks at Them” controversy in which girls wore shirts to school bearing this logo:


People magazine ran an article on the controversy:

Erika Kaminer is only 10, but she already knows how to make a provocative fashion statement: Her T-shirt reads, “Boys Are Smelly;” her watch says, “Boys Are Stupid, Throw Rocks at Them!” Says the Hewlett, N.Y., fourth grader of her garb: “I want to make boys feel bad because it’s fun.” Mission accomplished.

“This is something very harmful and disrespectful to our boys,” says Glenn Sacks, 41, a Los Angeles-based radio talk show host who last year led a campaign that convinced several large chains, accounting for more than 1,000 retail locations, to stop selling the Boys Are Stupid items. “I’ve heard from many boys and their families who feel this is very hurtful.” Carri Venable, 41, a Seattle mother of a 2-year-old boy, agrees. “If there was a ‘Girls Are Stupid, Throw Rocks at Them’ line,” she says, “imagine the outcry.”

Our culture, over the past several decades, has done much to throw stumbling blocks in the path of male students.

We have marginalized or banned the literature that most appeals to boys: adventure stories that involve an element of physical conflict, or stories with subversive humor (humor that is (“inappropriate,” though not obscene). We have eliminated recess, ignoring the fact that boys’ psychosocial development often best allows the formation of social bonds indirectly through participation or competition with others in a project, task, or game – what Dr. Michael Gurian calls “mediating objects.”

We have removed from their midst – whether through due-process-be-damned hysteria over sexual misconduct or the the rapacious family court system - male teachers and fathers who might otherwise act as role-models for lifelong learning and character-building. We have introduced a culture of misandry into academia. We have showered women with special programs and funding. Instead of launching investigations into the root causes of the boy crisis, we have constructed largely-artificial “disorders” that treat boyhood as a disease to be medicated.

We have broadened in-house definitions of sexual misconduct to the extreme, to the point that boys are suspended for commenting that a teacher is “cute” (among other things) while failing to punish false accusers. Instead of employing traditional methods of counseling and detention for problematic students, schools have moved to utilize suspension, expulsion, and law-enforcement intervention, increasing the physical and psychological distance between boys and the school community and limiting their means of re-integration. And lastly, in a few cases, our schools have employed barbaric forms of restraints and punishments – such as solitary confinement and even “electric shock” therapy – that many of us would not feel comfortable applying to animals.

When considered in its totality, played out across the lives of millions of boys and young men across the West, the sitauation is nothing short of appalling.
But despite the many areas where we might use this opportunity to display the better elements of our humanity – that of compassion and understanding – some use it as an opportunity for the rationalization of their misguided prejudices, and to kick boys when they are down.

As a former instructor and someone who cares for kids, I cringe whenever I hear some parents tell their kids they are stupid. These words are psychological daggers to kids, who internalize these labels and learn to doubt, degrade, and have low expectations of themselves. Too often these psychological afflictions follow them through life, becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy.

How much more deserving of our concern are such messages when they are part of a broader culture, target people based upon their membership in a particular birth-group, and are motivated – at least in part – by an established political animus?


Arrêté et soupçonné de pédophilie... pour avoir fait une promenade avec son fils!

Une autre victime innocente de la paranoïa des pédophiles:

No 11-year-old child should have to see his parent treated like a criminal for no reason whatsoever. And no Englishman enjoying a ramble with his son should face examination by police at the roadside on suspicion of being a sexual predator.

Astonishingly – and I find it difficult, some days after the event, to comprehend that I am writing this now – this is what has just  happened to my son and me.

(...) Dressed in full rambling gear and boots and with my boy carrying his special walking staff, we’d left in the teeth of the heatwave and headed up the Lee Valley, then through Hertfordshire and Cambridgeshire to Huntingdon, then on to Peterborough.

(...) All went well until in the late afternoon we reached Bishop Burton near Beverley, and, looking at the map I saw that we might save ourselves a half mile or so – and a weary trudge along a main road – if we cut through the grounds of the agricultural college. 

We approached the security guard on the main gate, and while my 11-year-old hung back – the rain had cleared by now, it was a hot afternoon and he was understandably tired – I explained the situation.

The guard was entirely unsympathetic. He said it was private property and there was no public right of way.  

I said this was fair enough, but I could see from the map that there was a track leading right across the grounds, it would help us a lot, and obviously we weren’t the sort of people – being long-distance walkers – to bother any livestock. But the guard stuck to his guns, and staring me straight in the face said that it was out of the question: There were under 18-year-olds at the college. The insinuation that I might pose some sort of threat to young people – in a word, that I might be a paedophile – was underscored by his eyes then sliding to my drooping son. He was being absurd and offensive.

I began to remonstrate, saying I was with my own child, and moreover I also teach at a university. But when I saw another guard coming over to back up his beleaguered colleague I thought: life’s too short to argue with jobsworths in high-vis jackets. And so my son and I went on.

Two hours later, we were toiling along the verge of the B1248 about five miles north when we were passed by a police car and police van in convoy. They did a U-turn and swept up beside us. The male officer got out and asked me to step into his vehicle and answer a few questions. Shocked, I told him I’d rather not. I said we were walking all the way from London to Whitby and that stepping into his car would rather ruin the purity of the experience.

He said he understood, but that he still had to ask me some questions because they had been called by a ‘concerned member of the public’, who had said that he was ‘worried’ about the child that was accompanying me. 

It immediately occurred to me that the security guard at Bishop Burton College was responsible for this, for here it was again: the insinuation that a man out walking with an 11-year-old must have abducted him.

I soon finessed from the officer the information that yes, indeed, it was the Bishop Burton jobsworth who had put in the call, an alert that necessitated the calling out of a woman officer from over 30 miles away in order to attend, since there was a presumption that a child might have to be taken into custody. The officer took my photo ID – a press card, as it happens – and phoned my details into the Police National Computer. He had already recognised me from the television: he’d seen me on Shooting Stars, and he saw the absurdity of the idea that I would deliberately approach a security guard, in full walking equipment, while abducting a child.

(...) As if to underscore this, his radio squawked at that moment. He listened for a moment then said that there was a man armed with a knife threatening people in a pub a few miles away. The woman officer in the van had already left, and understanding fully where his real priority lay, the male officer bid us good evening and departed.

We went on, and in due course we reached North Dalton – but the half-hour we spent thanks to the security guard’s call had cost my child his supper, while his refusal to let us walk through the college grounds (I noted as we passed that the northern entrance was completely unguarded), had meant exposing the child to the real danger in the countryside: not rambling paedophiles, but speeding cars.

Far from acting as some sort of local hero, the guard had abused a child himself, in particular by exposing my son to the spectacle of his father – who was guilty of nothing – being grilled by the police on the roadside as if he were engaged in a perverse activity. 


La Galère portugaise



L'un des êtres vivants les plus fascinants du monde:

APART from its wondrously alien look, the coolest thing about the Portuguese man-of-war is that it is not an individual animal at all. Nor is it a jellyfish.

It is a siphonophore – an entity formed of a colony of tiny animals called zooids. These creatures are so closely integrated with one another that they can't survive on their own. The zooids form at least three specialised types of polyp. There are polyps dedicated to digestion and to reproduction. Then there's the dangerous type – the tentacles that can trail up to 50 metres below the surface, making it one of the longest "animals" on Earth. These tendrils carry venom that can kill small animals, like the unlucky fish in the photo. Although desperately painful for humans, the sting doesn't usually kill us.

Above the water, the most visible part of the siphonophore is the gas-filled bladder, said to resemble an 18th-century Portuguese warship (to me, the shot below looks more like Godzilla emerging from the ocean). The bladder contains carbon monoxide, generated from a gas gland. It can be deflated in the event of a turtle attack, allowing the colony to sink out of harm's way.

Marine-life photographer Norbert Wu, based in Pacific Grove, California, took this shot in Bermuda. While the man-of-war favours tropical and subtropical waters, unusual currents can bring it to temperate shores.

D'autres infos ici.



Mecuro B Cotto

Jaroslav Wieczorkiewicz II

Yilvyna

MystikFever

26 août 2014

TA YEULE!

Comme ça a été le cas l'an passé, ma nouvelle directrice a profité de la première réunion de l'année pour nous parler du "code d'éthique" des employés de la commission scolaire. La plupart des trucs qui y sont mentionnés sont des évidences qui concernent l'intégrité, l'honnêteté et l'équité, comme si on avait besoin de se faire dire que voler ou accepter des pots de vin, c'est pas bien.

À mon avis, ce code d'éthique a été créé uniquement pour faire mieux passer une clause de "loyauté" dans laquelle on peut lire que l'employé doit:

- Respecter l'autorité hiérarchique

- Éviter tout comportement ou attitude pouvant causer du tort ou discréditer l'organisation

- Travailler dans l'intérêt de la commission scolaire et éviter de critiquer l'employeur.

Tout comme l'an dernier, cette clause n'a fait réagir personne. Moi, je n'en reviens tout simplement pas. Je trouve ceci scandaleux principalement pour trois raisons.

Premièrement, cette clause me prive de ma liberté d'expression qui constitue l'un de mes droits les plus fondamentaux. Déjà là, c'est ahurissant.

Deuxièmement, c'est de l'intimidation pure et simple.

Troisièmement, si ce genre de clause pourrait se justifier dans le cas d'une entreprise privée, les commission scolaires sont des organismes publics. Ils sont financés à même les fonds publics et donc, théoriquement, appartiennent à tout le monde! Or, ce qu'on me demande de faire ici, c'est de sciemment participer à une opération de camouflage afin d'éviter que le public sache ce qui se passe à l'intérieur de l'organisme. On me demande d'être complice de leurs manigances et de leurs cachotteries afin de préserver L'IMAGE de l'organisme.

C'est scandaleux parce que les gens ont le droit de savoir ce qui se trame à l'intérieur des organismes publics qu'ils financent et que leurs enfants fréquentent.

C'est scandaleux parce que la réalité des faits devrait toujours avoir plus d'importance que L'IMAGE qu'on essaie de projeter.

C'est scandaleux parce que rien n'est mis en place à l'interne pour recevoir les critiques et les plaintes des employés à propos de la CS. En d'autres termes, on se fiche de ce que j'ai à dire à l'interne et en m'ordonne de fermer ma yeule à l'externe pour rester loyal envers l'organisme. Donc, je suis complètement muselé.

Évidemment, il n'est pas difficile de voir qu'il s'agit encore une fois de commissions scolaires qui dépensent du temps, des fonds publics et des ressources humaines pour protéger leur gros cul. Avec un parti comme la CAQ qui réclame leur abolition, elles s'investissent non pas dans leur mandat d'éduquer les enfants et de venir en aide aux élèves en difficulté, mais elles se dédient plutôt à leur propre préservation. C'est à ça que servent les taxes scolaires.

Lorsqu'elles coupent, c'est dans les services aux enfants. Jamais dans leurs équipes d'avocats qui servent à préserver leur jolie image de marque, à réagir correctement aux crises médiatiques et à chier des clauses de loyauté pour museler les employés.