USA – Russie: dure dure les relations

Economist Is VLADIMIR PUTIN a man with whom Barack Obama can do business? During his first term, the American president invested much time and effort in seeking a positive answer to that question. The White House’s announcement, on August 7th, that Mr Obama was cancelling a Moscow summit with his Russian counterpart, shows how far the Americans have drifted towards concluding that the answer may, in fact, be mostly negative.

The immediate cause of the cancelled bilateral summit—which will not prevent Mr Obama from attending a meeting of G20 leaders in St Petersburg on September 5th and 6th—was Russia’s grant of temporary asylum to Edward Snowden, the ex-spook on the run after leaking details of spying on global phone and e-mail records by America’s National Security Agency. Congress, not to mention public opinion, would have been outraged had Mr Obama carried on with summitry-as-usual.

But the White House set its decision in a wider context, listing frustrations predating the Snowden crisis, from a lack of progress on missile defence and trade wrangles to the treatment of Russian civil society. There was offsetting talk of areas where Russia has been helpful: over Iran and North Korea, and in granting access to Afghanistan through its territory.

But a final grumble on the list, “global security issues”, hinted at a large dispute of the moment: Russia’s defence of the Assad regime in Syria, and threats to deliver an advanced air-defence system to Syria that would gravely complicate future Western or Israeli air strikes or no-fly zones over Syria.

Mr Obama has spent years tolerating anti-American rhetoric from Russia, including harassment of his diplomats and American-funded projects. Growing political repression and anti-gay campaigns prompt revulsion among Obama supporters back home. Yet a day before the summit’s cancellation Mr Obama called Mr Snowden’s asylum merely “disappointing”, adding that “a lot of business” can still be done with Russia.

Alas, Mr Putin is not in the mood for serious business, and Mr Obama has no time for small talk.

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Ex president : America does not have a functioning democracy at this point in time

Huffington. Former President Jimmy Carter announced support for NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden this week, saying that his uncovering of the agency’s massive surveillance programs had proven « beneficial. »

Speaking at a closed-door event in Atlanta covered by German newspaper Der Spiegel, Carter also criticized the NSA’s domestic spying as damaging to the core of the nation’s principles.

« America does not have a functioning democracy at this point in time, » Carter said, according to a translation by Inquisitr.

No American outlets covered Carter’s speech, given at an Atlantic Bridge meeting, which has reportedly led to some skepticism over Der Spiegel’s quotes. But Carter’s stance would be in line with remarks he’s made on Snowden and the issue of civil liberties in the past.

Original de l’entrevue

La trahison d’Obama

Observer. From hope to fear: the broken promise of Barack Obama

Over the last two weeks, the world has seen an extraordinary series of revelations about the scale, size and activities of the National Security Agency under Obama’s administration. Though he came to power decrying the secret actions of Bush, Obama has embraced and extended many of the same activities. His NSA uses a secret court system to get permission for its shadowy work, hauls out “metadata” on millions’ of Americans’ phone calls, taps into the biggest and most powerful internet companies of the Information Age – Facebook, Skype, YouTube, Yahoo, Google – to monitor and snoop. Its tools have names like Prism and Boundless Informant, as if their inventors were all too aware that they resembled dystopian science fiction.

Yet Obama has flippantly dismissed the controversy. Resorting to the worst tactics of the Bush years, his message is: “Trust us. We’re the good guys.” And then Congress is briefed – in secret, of course – about the “dozens” of terrorist plots such industrial-scale espionage has stopped.

How on earth did we get here from Boston, 2004? Bush – a cipher of a politician whose only belief was in his right to rule – surrounded himself with Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, John Bolton and an army of whispering neocons. Obama does not have that excuse. When his staff meets to mull over the latest names in their killing programme – an event dubbed “Terror Tuesdays” – Obama himself is often present.

Neither is Obama ignorant of the law; he’s a constitutional law professor. In turning America into a national security state, the awful truth is that he knows full well what he is doing.

Le docteur Henry Morgentaler est décédé

LeDevoir. Ottawa — Le droit des femmes de contrôler leur fertilité comme elles l’entendent, même après coup, le docteur Henry Morgentaler y croyait. Tellement que l’homme aura mené des batailles juridiques épiques jusqu’en Cour suprême du Canada, mis sa vie en danger et même fait de la prison pour le défendre.

Cet immigrant arrivé à Montréal en 1950 aura transformé le paysage juridique et médical du pays, ce qui lui a valu d’être célébré des groupes pro-choix et encore voué aux gémonies par les groupes pro-vie. Devant l’éternité, son nom restera à jamais indissociable du déchirant débat sur l’avortement.

Malgré une vocation à haut risque, c’est finalement la force tranquille du temps qui aura eu raison du géant. Le Dr Henry Morgentaler est décédé d’une crise cardiaque à son domicile de Toronto. Il avait 90 ans. Son héritage, à n’en point douter, fera couler de l’encre bien des années encore.

Après Chávez

Guardian . Hugo Chávez showed that the west’s ways aren’t always best

Venezuela’s late leader demonstrated, however messily, that western democracy is not fundamental to development.

Economist . Mr Chávez proceeded to dominate his country for more than 14 years until his death this week from cancer. His secret was to invent a hybrid regime. He preserved the outward forms of democracy, but behind them he concentrated power in his own hands and manipulated the law to further his own ends. He bullied opponents, and encouraged the middle class to emigrate.

MondeDiplomatique . L’Amérique latine dit adieu à Hugo Chávez

Modernitudes .

steve jobs: discours de 1983

En 1983 Steve Jobs a donné un discours prophétique [MP3] où il parle de la techno d’aujourd’hui.

Gizmodo . Just listen to the speech Steve Jobs gave to the International Design Conference in Aspen in 1983. It’s like Jobs knew that Apple was going to make the iPad, that mobile was the future, that the App Store was necessary, that everything was going to be networked wirelessly and that things like Google Street View and Siri would star to take over our lives. It seems easy to predict this now but Steve Jobs made this speech in 1983. For context, the Macintosh hadn’t even been released yet. The best selling computer was the Apple II and the second most popular PC was made by IBM.