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Showing posts from July, 2013

Robert Fisk from Cairo......

Robert Fisk, writing for The Independent, from Cairo:

"Hundreds of thousands of people turned out outside Cairo’s Rabaa mosque yesterday to protest against the coup d’état in Egypt, while hundreds of thousands poured into Tahrir Square to support their favourite general, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, who staged the coup-that-we-mustn’t-call-a-coup.

Grotesque, unprecedented, bizarre. Call it what you like. But the helicopters swooping happily over Tahrir, and the line of visor-wearing riot police and troops standing opposite the Muslim Brotherhood’s barricades, told their own story. Journalists should not be merchants of gloom, but things did not look too good in Cairo last night.

The saddest thing – the most tragic, if you like – was that the crowds in Nasr City, close to the airport road where the mosque stands, were as cheerful and welcoming as the masses in Tahrir who regard their opposite numbers as “terrorists” rather than supporters of Mohamed Morsi, the legally and democratically el…

A note to climate-change naysayers. Read this.....

Climate-change deniers take note:

"The term 'climate alarmist' is usually reserved for high-profile activists, scientists or politicians — think Bill McKibben, Tim Flannery or Al Gore — who raise concerns about the catastrophic impacts of future global warming. But with the release of some frightening reports over the last 12 months, those who deny the scientific consensus on climate change will have to expand their list of 'alarmists' to include some unlikely suspects — the World Bank, PricewaterhouseCoopers and the International Energy Agency.

The Oxford Dictionary defines alarmist as 'someone who exaggerates a danger and so causes needless worry or panic'. The key point is that the alarm is raised without due grounds. On that basis, very few activists, scientists or politicians who warn about future calamities from climate change are actually alarmist because the dangers of global warming are well established and accepted by the overwhelming majority of …

Readers certainly aren't winners!

Credited to Milt Priggee, Cagle Cartoons

US "thinking" on display! Journalists MIA!

This piece by Max Blumenthal on Alternet is illuminating on at least 2 fronts.  Blumenthal reports on the recent Aspen Summit.    First, it reveals the thought processes of those in leadership roles in the USA.    That's appalling alone.    Secondly, it yet again demonstrates how journalists are really no more than lackeys, and useless, in situations where they could challenge policies of politicians and those who drive and influence government policies.

"Seated on a stool before an audience packed with spooks, lawmakers, lawyers and mercenaries, CNN’s Wolf Blitzer introduced recently retired CENTCOM chief General James Mattis. “I’ve worked with him and I’ve worked with his predecessors,” Blitzer said of Mattis. “I know how hard it is to run an operation like this.”

Reminding the crowd that CENTCOM is “really, really important,” Blitzer urged them to celebrate Mattis: “Let’s give the general a round of applause.”

Following the gales of cheering that resounded from the room, Mat…

The plight of women in Afganistan

True it is that the situation of women has improved in Afghanistan, but there remains the ever-present menace and presence of the Taliban as much as cultural norms and practices going back many years.  

With the pullout of Western forces the fear is that the position of women in the war-torn country will deteriorate.

Spiegel OnLine International reports in "Mazar-e-Sharif Suicides: Poisonous Freedom for Afghan Women" on the situation of women in just one Afghan town.     

"More than anywhere else in Afghanistan, women in Mazar-e-Sharif are torn between tradition and their newly won freedom, between family expectations and their own sense of self. They are trapped in a society that is at once deeply conservative but also offers just enough freedom for women to discover a modern, Westernized lifestyle. Girls can go to school, women can work, and both can surf the Web and watch cable TV. But forced marriages, domestic violence and many limitations continue to exist for many…

Don't laugh! The NSA can't search its own emails

This has to fall into "you gotta be kidding" category!

"The NSA is a "supercomputing powerhouse" with machines so powerful their speed is measured in thousands of trillions of operations per second. The agency turns its giant machine brains to the task of sifting through unimaginably large troves of data its surveillance programs capture.

But ask the NSA, as part of a freedom of information request, to do a seemingly simple search of its own employees' email? The agency says it doesn’t have the technology.

"There's no central method to search an email at this time with the way our records are set up, unfortunately," NSA Freedom of Information Act officer Cindy Blacker told me last week.

The system is “a little antiquated and archaic," she added."



Continue reading this piece from propublicahere.

Filtering the web - in a gargantuan way

The West has followed the revelations of Edward Snowden with considerable interest for some time now.     Needless to say the Chinese - already infamous for their hacking and snooping in all manner of ways - are filtering the web to see what their own citizens are up to.

From "Censoring the News Before It Happens" in The New York Review of Books:

"Every day in China, hundreds of messages are sent from government offices to website editors around the country that say things like, “Report on the new provincial budget tomorrow, but do not feature it on the front page, make no comparisons to earlier budgets, list no links, and say nothing that might raise questions”; “Downplay stories on Kim Jung-un’s facelift”; and “Allow stories on Deputy Mayor Zhang’s embezzlement but omit the comment boxes.” Why, one might ask, do censors not play it safe and immediately block anything that comes anywhere near offending Beijing? Why the modulation and the fine-tuning?

In fact, for China’…

Obama: No libertarian!

Before elected Obama claimed he wanted to see Washington engaged in transparency in its dealings.    He also vowed to take a more liberal approach to whistleblowers.   All too sadly once in office Obama has shown his true colours.   His White House administration has been the least liberal of administartions going back many years and has cracked down, severely, on whistleblowers - even more than George Bush.

Obama's latest disgraceful conduct...

"The White House is "concerned and disappointed" over the news that Yemeni Journalist Abdulelah Haider Shaye, who was kept in a Yemeni jail for three years per the request of the Obama administration after he exposed a deadly U.S. drone strike, was released Tuesday.

Following news of Shaye's release, journalist Jeremy Scahill, who has written extensively about Shaye's story, contacted the White House for a comment.

The White House's response was brief and alarming:

We are concerned and disappointed by the early rele…

Syrian refugees: A monumental problem

We have read about the 93,000 plus killed in the Syrian conflict and over 1 million people having escaped the country only to end up refugees in neighbouring countries.    What we probably don't really appreciate is the enormity of the problem confronting refugees and those attempting to deal with the issue - like these 115,000 in Jordan at the Zaatari Refugee Camp (above - and go here to see more photos).

Some stats:

115,000 refugees as at 18 July, 201316,500 container/shelters$2,500 cost per container 584 restaurants or food stalls 3000 shops or vendors15 babies born each day on average $1 million a day to run the camp.

Kerry's lost cause - aka talkfest about talks (that might, or might not, take place!)

Fanfare over nothing!     The US Secretary of State has secured a meeting in Washington between the Israelis and Palestinians to talk about having talks.   It's all rather farcical, as as the writer of the piece below suggests. Just part of an ongoing kabuki dance which has been going on for years.     Bottom line the talks are certain to fail.   How can they not?


"Here we go again, another round of Mideast peace talk kabuki.

A process in which Washington, Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization hold intense talks over holding talks, a ritual as stylized as the traditional Japanese dance. In the end, it’s the same empty, cynical ritual, year after year.

This past week, US Secretary of State John Kerry has been leading the dance in the latest attempt to restart peace talks between Israel and the Mahmoud Abbas’ PLO. As of this writing, the talks appear off. But they may be on again just as quickly. It depends on how much Washington offers its feuding clients, Israel and…

Tom gets his facts wrong!

One has to wonder why Tom Friedman is given so much credence.     He is almost the opposite of Helen Thomas, referred to in the immediately previous post here on MPS.

Tom F has, yet again, be shown to be totally wrong.    Fact-checking doesn't seem to play any part in his writing.    FromFAIR, a critical appraisal.

"The real head-scratcher is the fact that Friedman summons Winston Churchill to make his case.

"If Churchill Could See Us Now" is the headline, and Friedman's point is this:

Whenever we go into political drift as a country, optimists often quote Winston Churchill's line that Americans will always do the right thing, after they’ve “exhausted all other possibilities.” I don’t think that’s true anymore. Churchill never met the Tea Party, and he certainly never met today’s House Republicans, a group so narrow-minded and disinterested in governing — and the necessary compromises that go with it — that they’re ready to kill an immigration bill that is ma…

RIP Helen Thomas: Death of veteran journalist

They don't come much better than Helen Thomas, veteran journalist and one time doyen and dean of the Press Corp in Washington.  She died yesterday, aged 92.

"Trailblazing White House journalist Helen Thomas has died at age 92 after a long illness, sources told CNN Saturday.

Thomas covered 10 presidents over nearly half a century, and became a legend in the industry.

She was a fixture at White House news conferences -- sitting front and center late in her career -- where she frequently exasperated government spokesmen with her pointed questions.

Thomas began covering the White House for United Press International when John F. Kennedy became president in 1961 and was a fixture there until her retirement in 2010.

She was considered the dean of the White House press corps because she was the longest-serving White House journalist.

Thomas will be buried in Detroit, and a memorial service is planned in Washington in October, according to her family.

President Barack Obama said that it w…

Gee, what do they have to complain about?

There are many wealthy people - that is, those in the 1% of the population category - who do genuinely care for their fellow human beings.     However, one multi, multi-billionaire in the USA has more than a strange take on the position of the general populace.

"Charles Koch, the sixth richest man in the world with an estimated worth of $43.4 billion, has launched a campaign in Kansas to celebrate "economic freedom" and blast "all this cronyism, this avalanche of regulations, all these things that are creating a culture of dependency" that get in the way of that freedom," like minimum wage, food stamps and other elements of the safety net that in fact keep alive millions of those with considerably less than $43.4 billion. The punchline of the campaign: An annual income of $34,000 puts a worker among the wealthiest 1% - in the world, that is - so what's with the whining? Never mind federal estimates that a family needs from $45,000 - $54,000 to cover b…

It looks very much like blood money. Period!

Hypocrisy and deceit, at its best, on show in Great Britain.    Government caught out again for saying one thing and doing the total opposite.    No wonder Governments detest the likes of WikiLeaks and Edward Snowden.

"The Government has issued more than 3,000 export licences for military and intelligence equipment worth a total of £12.3bn to countries which  are on its own official list for human rights abuses.

The existence of one licence to Israel and the Occupied Territories has not been made public until today. Worth £7.7bn, it relates to cryptographic equipment, which has dual defence and civilian use.

The scale and detail of the deals emerged after a forensic investigation by a committee of MPs, who also discovered that strategically controlled items have been sent to Iran, China, Sri Lanka, Russia, Belarus and Zimbabwe – all of which feature prominently on the Foreign Office’s list of states with worrying civil rights records.

There are even three existing contracts for Syri…

America and its ally Egypt. Conflict of interest and hypocrisy on show

From The New Yorker on the hypocrisy and double standards driving America and its ally Egypt.

"American foreign aid has always been an awkward exercise in high-minded self-interest—humanitarian goals balanced uneasily with strategic calculations. Whenever these two come into conflict, Presidents inevitably find a way out of their loftier commitments."

****

"This history of double standards shadows the recent events in Egypt and Washington. When a country’s military sends tanks into the streets, deposes an elected President, suspends the constitution, shuts down television stations, and arrests the leadership of the ruling party, the usual word for it is “coup.” But, in the days since all this came to pass in Egypt, the Obama Administration has gone to great lengths to avoid calling it by its rightful name—Jay Carney, the White House press secretary, said that the events of July 3rd and afterward were under “review”—for the obvious reason that, under the law, it would mea…

A budget without providing for food or heating

One has to wonder!     Here is a wealthy corporation - none other than good ol' McDonalds of Big Mac "fame" - which pays its employees poorly and goes ahead to provide "advice" to its employees on how to properly budget.    Problem is, this gratutiuous "advice" omits to provide for food or the cost of heating.     The solution according to the Ronald McDonald people?   Get a second job.    Incredible!

"Disingenuously preaching “You can have almost anything you want as long as you plan ahead and save for it,” the Czars at Mcdonalds have teamed with Visa to launch a website to "help" its workers budget on their massive paycheck of $18,000 and change a year, or $8.25 an hour, because clearly the only reason their workers are having a hard time making ends meet is because they're clueless and irresponsible, not because they Just Don't Make Enough Money To Live. Their "calculations" include $20 a month for health care, $600…

"Collect it all"

Glenn Greenwald, in The Guardian, continues his formidable exposure of US surveillance - most of it unlawful.

"The Washington Post this morning has a long profile of Gen. Keith Alexander, director the NSA, and it highlights the crux - the heart and soul - of the NSA stories, the reason Edward Snowden sacrificed his liberty to come forward, and the obvious focal point for any responsible or half-way serious journalists covering this story. It helpfully includes that crux right in the headline, in a single phrase:


What does "collect it all" mean? Exactly what it says; the Post explains how Alexander took a "collect it all" surveillance approach originally directed at Iraqis in the middle of a war, and thereafter transferred it so that it is now directed at the US domestic population as well as the global one:

"At the time, more than 100 teams of US analysts were scouring Iraq for snippets of electronic data that might lead to the bomb-makers and their hidden …

And they wonder why they are hated

From CommonDreams:

"Israeli officials have cleared soldiers of wrongdoing when they detained a five-year-old boy in Hebron after he threw a rock at a settler's car - though later the kid said he was aiming for a dog - arguing they never formally arrested him. No, they just him grabbed as he screamed and cried, took the terrified kid to his home, handcuffed and blindfolded his father evidently for the crime of being his father, and handed them over to Palestinian Police, thus helping answer Israelis' oft-asked, unfathomably clueless question: Why do they hate us?"

When the system fails

"In a way, the not-guilty verdict in the trial of George Zimmerman for his killing of Trayvon Martin was more powerful than a guilty verdict could ever have been. It was the perfect wrenching coda to a story that illustrates just how utterly and completely our system of justice — both moral and legal — failed Martin and his family.

This is not to dispute the jury’s finding — one can intellectually rationalize the decision — as much as it is to howl at the moon, to yearn for a brighter reality for the politics around dark bodies, to raise a voice and say, this case is a rallying call, not a death dirge.

The system began to fail Martin long before that night.

The system failed him when Florida’s self-defense laws were written, allowing an aggressor to claim self-defense in the middle of an altercation — and to use deadly force in that defense — with no culpability for his role in the events that led to that point."


So begins an op-ed piece by Charles M Blow in The New York Times r…

Journalists.... and transparency?

An independent journalist and author, questions the position of present-day journalists and transparency.     All too sadly, the two concepts aren't all that evident.    Just think of the Murdoch media group.    Little evidence there of any transparency, let alone integrity and independence in reporting.   

From The Guardian's Comment is Free:

"Are mainstream journalists dedicated to journalism? This may seem like a strange question, especially since I’m a journalist myself, though independent and not tied to a corporate news organisation.

We are bombarded with details that claim to inform us about the world. From war and peace to politics and global affairs, reporters produce content that is consumed by the vast majority of the population. There are claims of holding power to account, questioning how governments, officials and businesses make decisions that affect us all. In reality, corporate and political interests too often influence what we see and hear.

Of course, p…

Restricting dissent...in the America of all places

It is hard to believe that there is now informed commentary in the USA - of all countries - about the increasing curb on free speech and the nature and extent of protest.    Chris Hedges, no radical, but a former Chief of a New York Times Bureau, takes up the issue on truthdig.

"The security and surveillance state, after crushing the Occupy movement and eradicating its encampments, has mounted a relentless and largely clandestine campaign to deny public space to any group or movement that might spawn another popular uprising. The legal system has been grotesquely deformed in most cities to, in essence, shut public space to protesters, eradicating our right to free speech and peaceful assembly. The goal of the corporate state is to criminalize democratic, popular dissent before there is another popular eruption. The vast state surveillance system, detailed in Edward Snowden’s revelations to the British newspaper The Guardian, at the same time ensures that no action or protest can …

Those (grossly?) overpaid executives

The New York Time'seditorial tackles the pay of those CEO.   Too much?   Worth the money?

"Major corporate filings for 2012 have now provided an updated portrait of executive pay. The median compensation of chief executives at 200 of the nation’s biggest public companies came in at $15.1 million last year, a 16 percent jump from 2011, according to Equilar, the executive compensation analysis firm. The pay packages — including salary, bonus, benefits, stock and option grants — ranged from $96.2 million at Oracle to $11.1 million at General Motors.

Is that excessive? One way to answer that question would be to look at the pay gap, the ratio of the pay of the chief executive to that of the company’s employees. But nobody really knows what the gaps are.

****

"But corporations don’t want any of that. To hear them tell it, computing the pay gap is too hard. Nonsense. The real obstacle is that many chief executives do not want to have to defend what are sure to be some indefensibl…

French malaise?

MPS is lucky enough to be travelling in Provence at the moment.    

As a visitor to France it is hard to get a reading of the pulse of the country, but certainly comment is made about the economy and employment difficulties.

Roger Cohen, op-ed writer for the IHT, writes about the French malaise in his latest column:

"Nothing surprises, nothing shocks (especially in the realm of marriage and sex), and nothing, really, disappoints. Far from morose, the French attitude has a bracing frankness. No nation has a more emphatic shrug. No nation is the object of so much romanticism yet so unromantic itself. No nation internalizes as completely the notion that in the end we are all dead.

Now, it is true that France lives with high unemployment in a depressed euro zone; that it is more vassal than partner to Germany these days; that it is chronically divided between a world-class private sector and a vast state sector of grumpy functionaries; that its universalist illusions have faded as its…

Noam Chomsky on the Arab World and the USA

From Information Clearing House:

"During his recent visit to Beirut, American thinker and philosopher Noam Chomsky met with a group of independent Syrian media activists, aid workers and individuals active in cultural and economic spheres. Chomsky had made it clear that he had come to listen to them; to lend an ear to their different views on the current situation in Syria.

Following the meeting I had the honour of holding an interview with him. At the outset of our discussion I stated that my motivation in talking with him was to encourage him to open up to Syrians, to address them directly with his evaluation of the situation in their country, following a series of interviews with Lebanese newspapers in which he had approached the subject through the filter of the papers’ own priorities and political biases. However Chomsky, now in his eighties, gently insisted that he was here to acquaint himself with the issue up close, rather than to offer fully formed conclusions of his own.

One solution to women!

The Arizona legislator has been debating the subject of abortion.   As is so typical in America it has polarised people and attracted much attention in the media....including a filibuster by one legislator.

In his inimitable style, Andy Borowitz, writing in The New Yorker, has come up with a solution.

"Republican lawmakers in the Texas State Senate are proposing a precedent-setting new bill that would make it illegal for women to live in the state.

Senator Harland Dorrinson, one of the many pro-life lawmakers backing the woman ban, crafted his bill after witnessing Senator Wendy Davis filibuster an anti-abortion bill last month.

“That was our moment to say, ‘Enough is enough,’ ” he said. “This comes down to a choice between life and women, and we choose life.”

Senator Dorrinson said his bill would call for a twenty-foot woman-proof fence to be constructed along the borders of the state.

“Women are great at talking, but not at climbing,” he observed.

But another G.O.P. state senator, C…

The realities of being a freelance journalist in Syria

The image of a free-wheeling freelance journalist is put to rest in this graphic piece in the Columbia Journalism Review.    Stick with reading the piece....

"He finally wrote to me. After more than a year of freelancing for him, during which I contracted typhoid fever and was shot in the knee, my editor watched the news, thought I was among the Italian journalists who’d been kidnapped, and sent me an email that said: “Should you get a connection, could you tweet your detention?”

That same day, I returned in the evening to a rebel base where I was staying in the middle of the hell that is Aleppo, and amid the dust and the hunger and the fear, I hoped to find a friend, a kind word, a hug. Instead, I found only another email from Clara, who’s spending her holidays at my home in Italy. She’s already sent me eight “Urgent!” messages. Today she’s looking for my spa badge, so she can enter for free. The rest of the messages in my inbox were like this one: “Brilliant piece today; brilli…

Isreal seeks to uproot and displace 70,000 Bedouins

Israeli misconduct - and lack of any degree of humanity - continues, this time in the displacement of some 70,000 Bedouins from the Negev, their homeland for well before the establishment of Israel.

"On June 24th the "Prawer Plan for the Arrangement of Bedouin-Palestinian Settlement in the Negev" passed its first reading in the Israeli parliament. If implemented, the Plan will constitute "the largest single act of forced displacement of Arab citizens of Israel since the 1950s", expelling an estimated forty thousand Palestinian Bedouin from their current dwellings.

The Plan’s ultimate objective is to Judaize the Israeli Negev. In order to do this, however, seventy thousand (out of 200,000) Bedouin who currently live in villages classified as ‘unrecognised’ by the Israeli government must be moved. The government already forbids them from connecting to the electricity grid or the water and sewage systems.

Construction regulations are also harshly enforced, and in …

Welcome to America's 1984.....2013 style!

Things have really gone from bad to worse a la George Orwell's 1984.

"Want to know what the NSA has on you? Think the Freedom of Information Act will get it for you? Think again. Clayton Seymour, a 36-year-old IT specialist, Navy veteran, Obama voter and "generally law-abiding citizen" from Ohio, curious about whatever data might exist on him, sent a FOIA request to the NSA. Their response to his request, and reportedly many more like it: We can't tell you, because it's classified. Meaning, the NSA is evidently classifying all its information on everyone, thus enabling them to argue in their Orwellian, Heller-esque way that if they gathered it covertly then it must be dangerous, and if it's dangerous then why would they give it to you, a lowly, non-classified if allegedly Constitutionally-protected citizen? His letter. Read it and weep"

"To the extent that your request seeks any metadata/call detail records on you...we cannot acknowledge the exi…

From Aleppo

It is hard to know to what extent this click from Aleppo on YouTube reflects an accurate "picture" - one suspects so - but even if half right it does provide an insight to what is happening on the ground in war-torn Syria.   Shamefully, the world twiddles its thumbs as the carnage continues inside the country and increasing numbers of Syrians become refugees in neighbouring countries.


George Bush has been awarded what?

With news just a few days ago that Iraqis soon to be convulsed with a civil war if things continue to go as they presently are, it is startling to read this from CommonDreams.


"Evidently believing that a former president, even a lying, murderous,  sociopathic one, is good for business, the University of Denver's Josef Korbel School of International Studies decided to give George Bush a humanitarian “Improving the Human Condition” Award, prompting outraged students and faculty to protest Bush's "legacy of human rights abuses, including the torture of detainees in extraterritorial jails, preemptive war, domestic surveillance programs and other egregious actions that deleteriously impact the human condition" in a petition. Even school officials were subsequently forced to concede they may have a point, announcing they would still give him an award but likely change its name - maybe to Worst Lying Murderous Sociopathic President, Ever?

“We urge you to choose an alter…

The Stasi arrives in the USA

The world made much of the terrible ways in which the Stasi, in the former East Germany, and the KGB, in the Soviet Union, worked.    The wide-scale spying, in a big way, including by neigbours, on the citizenry.

Now, the Stasi style spying has arrived in America courtesy of a so called liberal President.   Who would have thought it? - not only because it is happening in America, but also initiated by a president who spoke of protecting whistle-blowers when first elected.

"In an initiative aimed at rooting out future leakers and other security violators, President Barack Obama has ordered federal employees to report suspicious actions of their colleagues based on behavioral profiling techniques that are not scientifically proven to work, according to experts and government documents.

The techniques are a key pillar of the Insider Threat Program, an unprecedented government-wide crackdown under which millions of federal bureaucrats and contractors must watch out for “high-risk pers…

Force-feeding (at Gitmo) aka torture

When will the Americans learn?  

The latest horror coming out of Gitmo.....

"A new video (now seemingly no longer available)  further exposes the brutality of the force-feedings of prisoners on hunger strike at Guantanamo.

Yasiin Bey writhes in pain as he undergoes Standard Operating Procedure for force-feeding at Guantanamo
Twice a day, every day at the prison, over 40 of the more than 100 hunger strikers who are protesting their indefinite detention are strapped down and force-fed in a procedure widely denounced as torture.

The video by human rights charity Reprieve and director Asif Kapadia captures the horrifying cruelty of the Standard Operating Procedure for the force-feeding.

Yasiin Bey—the actor and rapper formerly known as Mos Def—undergoes the procedure in the video. He is shackled, strapped into chair, his head and hands belted back in restraints. A plastic tube is forced down his nostril, visibly causing pain.  He is held down.

Bey begs for the force-feeding to stop and …

France: The good and the not so good

MPS is fortunate enough to be spending time in Provence, France.  

Aaah....The countryside is delightful and what is there not to like about the cuisine and wine?     Wonderful fish and vegetables, olive oils and, of course, those wonderful rosé wines. 

Coincidentally, Maureen Dowd's latest column "Goodbye Old World, Bonjour Tristesse" in The New York Times reflects on the state of play in France.     Many of the stats she brings forward are troubling - and present a "picture" of the nation quite different to the general image of the country which seems to have it together so well.

"A 2011 BVA-Gallup poll conducted in 51 countries revealed that the French were even more pessimistic than Afghans and Iraqis. As the sociologist François Dubet told Le Monde, “If France doesn’t get all the Olympic medals and all the Nobel Prizes, the French consider it hopeless.”

*****

"The French have higher rates of taking antidepressants and committing suicide than most o…