• Mydylarama #podcast - The Staircase

    In this episode, we discuss our picks of the fortnight and focus on true crime #Documentary The Staircase and the issues that it brings up. The Dark finale was definitely a highlight, a truly gripping series, with twists and turns as bonkers as those in Lost, with none of the incoherence and sheer wackiness. Palestinian filmmaker Sameer Qumsieh’s doc Walled Citizen, in which he explores travelling with the world’s lowest ranking passport was screened as part of the Galway FF selection. You (...) #Screen_Extra

    / #Black_cinema, Documentary, Social issues , #Palestine, podcast



  • Edward #Snowden publie ses Mémoires : « Nous – moi, vous, nous tous – étions trop naïfs »

    L’ancien sous-traitant de l’agence américaine du renseignement, qui a révélé, en 2013, le vaste système de surveillance établi par les Etats-Unis dans le monde, raconte son parcours de lanceur d’alerte dans « Mémoires vives » (Le Seuil), à paraître en France le 19 septembre. Extraits.

    Bonnes feuilles. Etant donné le caractère américain de l’infrastructure des communications mondiales, il était prévisible que le gouvernement se livrerait à la surveillance de masse. Cela aurait dû me sauter aux yeux. Pourtant, ça n’a pas été le cas, principalement parce que les autorités américaines démentaient si catégoriquement se livrer à ce genre de choses, et avec une telle vigueur, dans les médias ou devant les tribunaux, que les quelques sceptiques qui leur reprochaient de mentir étaient traités comme des junkies complotistes.

    #Edward_Snowden #surveillance #big_brother

  • Uber And Lyft Take A Lot More From Drivers Than They Say

    Das Magain Jalopnik hat in einer längeren Untersuchung die erste, einzige und beste Untersuchung der Fahrerverdienste bei Uber durchgeführt. Dieser Artikel beschreibt die Ergebnisse.

    Dhruv Mehrotra, Aaron Gordon, 26.8.2019 - In July, an Uber driver we’ll call Dave—his name has been changed here to protect his identity—picked up a fare in a trendy neighborhood of a major U.S. metropolitan area. It was rush hour and surge pricing was in effect due to increased demand, meaning that Dave would be paid almost twice the regular fare.

    Even though the trip was only five miles, it lasted for more than half an hour because his passengers scheduled a stop at Taco Bell for dinner. Dave knew sitting at the restaurant waiting for his fares to get a Doritos Cheesy Gordita Crunch or whatever would cost him money; he was earning only 21 cents a minute when the meter was running, compared to 60 cents per mile. With surge pricing in effect, it would be far more lucrative to keep moving and picking up new fares than sitting in a parking lot.

    But Dave, who was granted anonymity out of fear of being deactivated by the ride-hail giant for speaking to the press, had no real choice but to wait. The passenger had requested the stop through the app, so refusing to make it would have been contentious both with the customer and with Uber. The exact number varies by city, but drivers must maintain a high rating in order to work on their platform. And there’s widespread belief among drivers that the Uber algorithm punishes drivers for cancelling trips.

    Ultimately, the rider paid $65 for the half-hour trip, according to a receipt viewed by Jalopnik. But Dave made only $15 (the fares have been rounded to anonymize the transaction).

    Uber kept the rest, meaning the multibillion-dollar corporation kept more than 75 percent of the fare, more than triple the average so-called “take-rate” it claims in financial reports with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

    Had he known in advance how much he would have been paid for the ride relative to what the rider paid, Dave said he never would have accepted the fare.

    “This is robbery,” Dave told Jalopnik over email. “This business is out of control.”

    Dave is far from alone in his frustrations. Uber and Lyft have slashed driver pay in recent years and now take a larger portion of each fare, far larger than the companies publicly report, based on data collected by Jalopnik. And the new Surge or Prime Time pricing structure widely adopted by both companies undermines a key legal argument both companies make to classify drivers as independent contractors.

    Jalopnik asked drivers to send us fare receipts showing a breakdown of how much the rider paid for the trip, how much of that fare Uber or Lyft kept, and what the driver earned. (https://jalopnik.com/we-think-uber-and-lyfts-new-surge-fares-screw-drivers-a-1835952856)

    Link: We Think Uber and Lyft’s New Surge Fares Screw Drivers and Riders. Help Us Prove It. https://jalopnik.com/we-think-uber-and-lyfts-new-surge-fares-screw-drivers-a-1835952856

    Link: Uber changed how its surge pricing works last year. Not for riders, but for drivers. The changes… https://jalopnik.com/we-think-uber-and-lyfts-new-surge-fares-screw-drivers-a-1835952856

    In total, we received 14,756 fares. These came from two sources: the web form where drivers could submit fares individually, and via email where some drivers sent us all their fares from a given time period.

    Of all the fares Jalopnik examined, Uber kept 35 percent of the revenue, while Lyft kept 38 percent. These numbers are roughly in line with a previous study by Lawrence Mishel at the Economic Policy Institute which concluded Uber’s take rate to be roughly one-third, or 33 percent. (https://www.epi.org/publication/uber-and-the-labor-market-uber-drivers-compensation-wages-and-the-scale-of-uber)

    Of the drivers who emailed us breakdowns for all of their fares in a given time period—ranging from a few months to more than a year—Uber kept, on average, 29.6 percent. Lyft pocketed 34.5 percent.

    Those take rates are 10.6 percent and 8.5 percent higher than Uber and Lyft’s publicly reported figures, respectively.

    Graphic: Jim Cooke — G/O Media

    In regulatory filings, Uber has reported its so-called “take-rate” is actually going down, from 21.7 percent in 2018 to 19 percent in the second quarter of 2019 (Uber declined to offer U.S.-only figures for a more direct comparison to Jalopnik’s findings).

    Business Insider has previously reported Lyft’s take rate for 2018 was 26.8 percent, although Lyft claimed it does not publicly share their take rates and declined to do so with Jalopnik.

    When asked for comment, Uber and Lyft disputed Jalopnik’s findings as flawed and not representative of their overall business. But neither company agreed to Jalopnik’s request to provide statistically significant data sets of anonymized fares for independent verification, continuing their longstanding pattern of data secrecy. (https://www.citylab.com/transportation/2019/08/uber-drivers-lawsuit-personal-data-ride-hailing-gig-economy/594232

    The findings “support the argument that their business model is built on large scale labor exploitation.”

    Trips like the $65 Taco Bell run only highlight inequities between the multibillion dollar companies and drivers earning at or below minimum wage. When asked about that fare, an Uber spokesman acknowledged, “For all the pain points new surge helped solve, it has its challenges: top among them is the fact that drivers may earn comparatively less on longer surged trips, even if they earn surge more frequently.”

    The spokesman added that “To better serve drivers, we often increase surge payments on longer trips with added amounts that vary based on the length of a trip. Drivers are able to see this additional amount on their trip receipt after the trip is over.” Dave received no such increase.

    Trips like Dave’s also expose inconsistencies in the very logic under which these companies operate. Drivers like Dave are technically independent contractors, but they have no control over many aspects of their work life, including the price of their own services.

    “This is really fascinating and troubling,” said Sandeep Vaheesan, legal director of the Open Markets Institute, a nonprofit studying corporate concentration and monopoly power, when briefed on Jalopnik’s findings. Vaheesan went on to say the findings “support the argument that their business model is built on large scale labor exploitation.”

    “This is, as far as I know, the most convincing data that we have at the individual driver level about the share that Uber takes of every driver’s gross earnings,” said Marshall Steinbaum, an economist at the University of Utah who studies labor markets, “and in that respect it moves the ball a lot forward in terms of understanding how these labor markets work.”

    He added that “if their [Uber and Lyft’s] response is this is not representative of all the drivers, it is representative of other people who have tried to verify their claims and found them wanting.”

    To be sure, Jalopnik’s data set is not perfect. The sample of 14,756 fares is a tiny fraction of the millions of trips Uber and Lyft complete each day in the U.S. alone; it would be impossible for any independent researcher to get their hands on an adequate data set without Uber and Lyft’s cooperation (or, in theory, more nefarious methods such as hacking or data breaches).

    And there is almost certainly some degree of selection bias in Jalopnik’s data acquired via the web form toward drivers who are unhappy with their share and would therefore be more likely to take the time to submit their fare. Along those lines, the fares Jalopnik received through the web form were disproportionately from outside of Uber and Lyft’s major metropolitan markets and during surge times, indicating a possible selection bias in our findings.

    “While 8,926 fares is a large increase from the 175 you had before,” (https://jalopnik.com/we-think-uber-and-lyfts-new-surge-fares-screw-drivers-a-1835952856) an Uber spokesman said, “it is still not a statistically representative sample, given Uber completes approximately 15 million trips per day around the world.”

    But there are also reasons to believe our findings are more representative of the individual driver experience than Uber and Lyft would care to admit. Even the complete fare records Jalopnik received showed a higher take rate than previously reported (https://www.businessinsider.com/uber-lyft-strike-why-take-rate-is-so-important-2019-5). And these drivers, Steinbaum observed, may present a selection bias in the other direction.

    By keeping diligent records, “they’re probably the savviest drivers and therefore the ones that the companies are least able to fleece, so to speak, so you might be getting an underestimate of their take from them.”

    Lyft disputed this as well. A spokesman told Jalopnik, “Even if the investigation looked at every ride for a handful of drivers, the sample pool of drivers needs to accurately reflected [sic] a cross section of all Lyft drivers, and not just a specific subset (i.e., did that sample size have enough diversity to say it represents the average experience for Lyft drivers across the board).”

    In regulatory filings, court cases, and their terms of service, Uber and Lyft claim to merely be facilitators between the rider and driver, not a transportation service. They claim their actual customers are drivers (https://jalopnik.com/uber-s-twisted-logic-means-this-isnt-a-strike-its-a-bo-1834598838). And drivers pay Uber and Lyft a cut of their earnings for connecting them with their customers, the riders. This echoes a common Silicon Valley refrain: they are just technology companies, and therefore should not be subject to the regulations of the industries they are disrupting.
    Article preview thumbnail

    Link: Uber’s Twisted Logic Means This Isn’t a Strike. It’s a Boycott https://jalopnik.com/uber-s-twisted-logic-means-this-isnt-a-strike-its-a-bo-1834598838

    Link: Today, many Uber and Lyft drivers in major cities across the country are striking to protest their… https://jalopnik.com/uber-s-twisted-logic-means-this-isnt-a-strike-its-a-bo-1834598838

    But in recent years, in efforts to stem the tide of their multi-billion dollar losses, both ride-hail companies have separated what riders pay from what drivers earn, moving away from a strict percentage-based commission.

    Using what it calls Upfront Pricing, first instituted in 2016, Uber tells riders exactly how much they will pay before the trip begins based on their own algorithm’s prediction (as is often the case, Lyft instituted the same policy shortly after Uber). It then compensates drivers based on the trip’s actual time and distance.

    According to both companies, the change to Upfront Pricing was made in response to rider and driver feedback; riders didn’t want to be surprised with a higher bill, and drivers wanted to be compensated for the work they actually performed.

    This common-sense policy has potentially profound legal implications. In practice, Upfront Pricing decouples the rider’s payment from the driver’s earnings; one price is set before the ride based on an estimate, the other after the ride is completed based on reality.

    This change is most evident with how Uber and Lyft now handle high-demand periods. Along with the move to Upfront Pricing, both companies also changed the way their high-demand pricing model, often known as Surge or Prime Time works (Lyft has since changed the brand name to Personal Power Zones for drivers).

    Instead of drivers receiving a multiplier on their earnings, as Dave did for the Taco Bell run, most now get a flat fee bonus, typically only a few dollars per ride. Uber and Lyft will sometimes kick the drivers a couple extra bucks if the surge is particularly high or the ride especially long, but there seems to be little rhyme or reason for when this happens. Riders, meanwhile, still pay the multiplier, meaning riders are often paying far more than drivers are earning on those rides.

    “It shows that they are a firm that is charging consumers and then making decisions with that money, including how to pay a labor force.”

    An Uber spokesman explained this dynamic to Jalopnik as follows: “While driver- and rider-side surge are both tied to real-time imbalances in supply and demand, what a rider pays in surge and what a driver earns from surge on a given trip isn’t always the same. This is due, in part, to the fact that new driver surge is based on the driver’s location, not the rider’s. What this means is that a driver may receive surge on a trip even if the rider doesn’t pay anything extra.”

    Similarly, a Lyft spokesman said, “Lyft continues to pass the rider Prime Time onto the drivers, via PPZs, at the same rate in aggregate. There are differences on a ride-level but these differences cut in both directions,” in that sometimes drivers earn an usually higher or lower percentage of the fare.

    In other words, Uber and Lyft say they are taking all the surge charges riders pay and spreading the proceeds among all the drivers in the area, whether their particular passenger pays a surge fare or not (both companies deny they merely pocket the difference).

    This, according to Wayne State University law professor Sanjuka Paul, who has written extensively on the ride-hailing industry, is a new wrinkle in the independent contractor debate, because it doesn’t align with the arguments the companies make that they merely facilitate interactions between two independent actors in a market.

    “The economic reality is they, Uber and Lyft, are collecting the fare from the consumer and then making a capital firm decision which, in this case, doesn’t sound like a very bad decision— actually making quite a sensible decision,” she said. “But it shows that they are a firm that is charging consumers and then making decisions with that money, including how to pay a labor force.”

    Or, as Steinbaum put it, “what they’re doing is exactly what employers do with their workers.”

    In addition, the companies can, and have, changed the base time-and-distance rates drivers earn whenever they want. And there have been many pay cuts.

    In recent years, driver forums have been flooded with angry comments about hastily announced pay cuts in markets around the country. This, despite drivers already making near (or sometimes below https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/mar/22/uber-lyft-ipo-drivers-unionize-low-pay-expenses) minimum wage. These cuts have led to some drivers who spoke with Jalopnik on the condition of anonymity curtailing their own hours, or exiting the ride-hail business entirely, because it’s no longer worth their time after accounting for expenses like fuel, insurance, and car payments.

    Uber and Lyft both deny that driver earnings have declined. “While not every driver has the same experience,” an Uber spokesman wrote to Jalopnik, “that’s not what we see when we look at trends in drivers’ average hourly earnings over the last couple of years, which have increased.”

    A Lyft spokesman told Jalopnik the number of drivers on their platform is increasing and that driver earnings increased over the past two years. The company claims drivers make “more than $30 per booked hour nationally,” although that figure only accounts for the time from when a driver accepts a ride request to when the passenger is dropped off and does not include expenses.

    Some drivers didn’t even realize the extent of the changes in the company’s take rates, both for high-demand trips specifically and across the board, until they compiled their records to send to Jalopnik. One driver, who has been working for Uber in Texas for three years, sent us almost 500 surge fares.

    “Kind of depressing to know that Uber used to take 20 percent when I started and now gets on average 31 percent, with some fares up to 50 percent,” he said.

    A former full-time driver from Iowa said that prior to the pay cuts that ultimately slashed his per-mile rate more than half, he estimates about 30 percent of the fares he picked up were, after Uber and Lyft’s cut, not worth his time. After those changes, from 2018 onward, he says the number of undesirable fares is now closer to 70 or 80 percent, which is why he stopped driving full-time.

    (It’s tricky to compare ride-hail take rates with the taxi industry in any meaningful way, where drivers are on the hook for fixed expenses such as dispatching services, leasing the taxi and/or paying off the cost of a medallion. Taxi drivers have to pay those fees regardless of how much money they earn. In fact, many taxi drivers switched to ride-hailing because percentage-based commissions—along with the hefty sign-up bonuses Uber and Lyft once offered—sounded like a better deal.)

    The drivers’ frustrations with pay cuts and Uber and Lyft’s rising take rates are compounded by other inequities of the ride-hail industry.

    Uber and Lyft argue that drivers are not employees, but independent contractors, since they are allowed to set their own schedules. Both companies lean heavily on this arrangement in advertisements and promotions to recruit drivers, using phrases like “be your own boss” (http://ourweekly.com/news/2015/may/07/becoming-your-own-boss-uber) to describe the arrangement.

    But the reality is much more complicated. In fact, drivers don’t have the power to make many of the decisions that typically come with self-employment. Chief among them is the ability to set prices—or even negotiate—for the services they provide.

    In driver agreements, both companies state that drivers accept their new rates simply by continuing to drive for the company. In other words, the only recourse drivers have to a pay cut is to quit; a familiar arrangement for any employee, but not for anyone who is their “own boss,” and thus would not have income determined by another company’s ever-changing set of rules.

    “It’s really crazy how companies have carte blanche to deprive us of our rights through contract,” Vaheesan wrote in a follow-up email after Jalopnik showed him the contract language. “Courts and Congress have basically accepted this regime as normal.”

    Furthermore, drivers have the option to decline or cancel rides, but there is widespread belief among drivers that if they do it too often, they risk being put in “timeouts” where they receive no requests at all for a certain amount of time, a phenomenon that is frequently documented in driver forums and blogs.
    Drivers don’t have the power to make many of the decisions that typically come with self-employment. Chief among them is the ability to set prices—or even negotiate—for the services they provide.

    Both companies deny they punish drivers in any way for declining rides, but Lyft acknowledged some incentives are only available to drivers with high ride acceptance rates.

    In another bid to increase revenue, Uber is rolling out Comfort Mode (https://www.theverge.com/2019/7/9/20686640/uber-comfort-extra-legroom-quiet-mode-temperature-air-conditioning-ac), which provides riders amenities such as a car with extra legroom, the option to set a desired temperature, or request the driver to be quiet for an extra fee (drivers for Comfort rides get a few cents extra added to their mile-and-time rates).

    Uber says this is merely a request to the driver rather than a requirement, but riders are unlikely to be pleased if a driver refuses to comply with a request they paid extra for. Should a driver not follow the instructions, it is likely they would at the very least receive a lower rating.

    Taken together, rather than being their own bosses, drivers often feel as if they are being governed by algorithms, as Alex Rosenblat wrote in her deeply reported book Uberland: How Algorithms Are Rewriting the Rules of Work. (https://www.amazon.com/Uberland-Algorithms-Rewriting-Rules-Work/dp/0520298578) This algorithmic “boss,” which sets pay rates in opaque ways and governs work rules through carrot-and-stick arrangements, not only removes any accountability but results in drivers having to guess what the algorithm wants. In her book, Rosenblat wrote:

    An algorithmic manager enacts its policies, penalizes drivers for behaving in a manner unlike what Uber “suggests,” and incentivizes them to work at particular places in particular times…When I ask drivers if they are their own boss, they usually pause and remark that it’s sort of true, and that they set their own schedule. But an app-employer provides a type of experience that differs from human interactions, and it can be challenging to identify the fault lines of autonomy and control within its automated system.

    In an interview for this story, Rosenblat, who spoke to hundreds of drivers researching her book, added that drivers had different reactions to rides where they thought they didn’t get a fair cut.

    “Some drivers were pissed, and they would say, if I’m an independent contractor you should give me the information I need to make an informed choice,” Rosenblat said. “But other drivers rationalize taking bad fares with the idea that taking a bad one is kind of like karma… If you only take a passenger a couple of blocks on this ride, you might get compensated for a better ride later.”

    Rosenblat added that the karmic realignment theory is a direct result of the lack of transparency from the ride-hail giants. She characterized it as a “magical thinking [drivers] wouldn’t have to resort to if Uber and Lyft gave them the actual facilities to make informed decisions, or to better understand how they might be treated, or rewarded and penalized, for their work performance with valuable or less valuable dispatches.”

    A full-time veteran driver from New Orleans told Jalopnik that she somewhat subscribes to the karmic realignment theory on the take rates, although recent cuts have changed her attitude a bit. She has seen her earnings drop roughly 20 percent this year due to a combination of factors, including an expanding of the driver pool as a result of the companies allowing older vehicles than prior years. As a result, she is considering a job change, even though an occasional health issue makes the flexible hours of ride-hailing especially appealing.

    Even though she prefers driving to her previous jobs in the service industry, she said she has come to believe Uber and Lyft’s take rates ought to be capped, perhaps at 25 or 30 percent, and said she would get behind a driver organizing campaign to make the profession more sustainable.

    But for now, she still avoids looking at individual fare breakdowns. “It just annoys me,” she said, “and there’s nothing I can do about it.”


    Discussion, Community (492)
    Sort by: Popular

    Dhruv Mehrotra
    8/26/19 12:18pm

    So this is an at-will gig where you pick your own hours, have no barrier to entry besides owning a car, have no interview process, and can quit whenever you want with no repercussions and you make $30/hour. What exactly are people complaining about?

    If you don’t like it, go get an actual job and quit driving. Hell, get your CDL and go be a delivery driver. Clearly drivers are willing to work for the pay here since the companies are having no issue covering demand (financial issues aside). If you have an issue with the way they do business, don’t drive for them and don’t use their services.
    Give Me Tacos or Give Me Death
    8/26/19 12:36pm

    I can’t comment on the average hourly wage an Uber/Lyft driver makes because it almost certainly varies with geography.

    But the entire time you’re driving, you’re burning fuel, wearing out tires and such. Those cost money. They could PROBABLY be deducted from one’s taxes, but I’m not sure the average person knows if that’s true, or keeps their receipts, or has an accountant who can answer the question with any authority.

    So the real wage is almost certainly going to be considerably lower.
    8/26/19 12:37pm

    I drove for Uber for 6 months in a major market. I never saw the $30 they claim. Actual take home after expenses was closer to $12-$17/hr depending on when it was. Tipping was almost nonexistent.

    How would you come up with a number of $30/hr? Well you would have to ignore all the expenses the driver incurs (taxes, insurance, gas, etc) plus disregard all of the idle time waiting for the next time you are paired up with a driver. There is an airport lot near me where drivers sit for over 2 hours waiting for a single fare (and you don’t know if they are going 40 minutes away or 2 minutes away when you finally DO get it because they don’t tell you in advance). I guarantee none of that time was factored into their calculation.

    I killed an hour just waiting in a lot making $0 once. I’ll never sit in an airport lot again.
    Cash Rewards
    8/26/19 12:37pm

    You’re right in a lot of what you’re saying, but when I put off cdl school to do this gig because they say they only take 20% or so, then stiff me another 10-15%, then I’ve wasted time and money because they lied about how they do business. That’s shitty
    Big Block I-4
    8/26/19 12:40pm

    You don’t make $30/hr. That is only if you are constantly booked, if you do 6-10 min. trips over three hours you will make $30 in a hour of work time, but it will have taken you 3 hours to work an hour. Their $30/hr booked rate is a useless stat unless you can work non-stop, which is impossible since you are never dropping off and picking people up at the exact same time a place ride after ride after ride.
    Show more replies in this thread
    Dhruv Mehrotra
    8/26/19 12:25pm

    So the companies are ripping off drivers and still losing a metric shit ton of cash. It seems nobody is making any money in this scheme except the investors and executives, ohhhhhhhhhh.
    For Sweden
    8/26/19 12:58pm

    How are the investors making money?
    Illustration for comment
    Left Lane is for Passing
    8/26/19 1:06pm

    They are the only ones loosing money. Drivers get paid, passenger get cheaper than should be rides.
    8/26/19 1:07pm

    I really don’t get how they lose as much money as they do, unless they are heating their buildings by burning $100 bills.

    Somebody is making money here, but it is neither the drivers nor the investors.
    For Sweden
    Left Lane is for Passing
    8/26/19 1:11pm

    “Billionaires are going bankrupt subsidizing my Uber ride and that is bad.”

    Show more replies in this thread
    Dhruv Mehrotra
    8/26/19 12:35pm

    This is a lot of words dedicated to a fundamentally broken statistical analysis of a non-random survey of an insignificant sample size and some anecdotal stories.
    8/26/19 1:52pm

    Well go ahead and do an article on the data you wish you had, so you can compare it to the article Jalopnik did on the data they do have, and then we’ll see whose article is better.
    ZHP Sparky, the 5th
    8/26/19 1:58pm

    What alternative are you suggesting? The rideshare companies are notorious for keeping their ridership data close to the vest...so that leaves you needing to try gathering what you can from the drivers.

    If you’re willing to fund a larger and more scientific study perhaps you should reach out to the author?

    Or are you suggest some form of regulatory filing requirement for ridership data? Excellent idea, I’m sure Uber and Lyft will be thrilled!
    Sean Bond
    8/26/19 2:04pm

    I don’t want to say “well, they got your click,” but aside from the informational aspect of this piece (and it does give some insight into Uber/Lyft even if it’s not an incredibly significant sample size), they also are getting traffic on the piece (no pun intended), even by people who don’t think the story matters. So, mission accomplished.
    8/26/19 2:40pm

    Your comment is entirely anecdotal.
    Show more replies in this thread
    Hayden Lorell
    Dhruv Mehrotra
    8/26/19 12:10pm

    Uber and Lyft ripping off drivers?
    Illustration for comment

    Seriously, I started to notice these discrepancies within 3 months of driving for Lyft.

    I did it at the time because my contract job was up, and I was in-between jobs looking for new work. I’m happy I didn’t have to do it for more than the year that I did do it. While it’s a fun and amusing side-gig, driving people around, it’s by no means sustainable with the current structure.

    It was good, quick cash to help me in a rough spot but truly this was never meant to be long term. I don’t see a [regulated] situation where it is any more sustainable than a cab business. In which case, cab companies are you listening?

    If you upgrade to digital dispatching, payment, ride-hailing, etc. on a universal system, and maybe vacuumed a fucking cab more than once a year, you could easily overtake these apps.

    Because as a driver? Fuck these guys. But as a rider? What the fuck is a better option when public transit is a joke, cabs are....cabs, and owning a vehicle is nothing but a headache in urban areas.
    ZHP Sparky, the 5th
    Hayden Lorell
    8/26/19 2:00pm

    OK that’s a very reasonable take, but I object to your statement that “this was never meant to be long term”.

    Sure, that’s the companies’ PR spin on things – but the reality is they need rivers to stay with them for as long as possible, and to drive as many hours as they can entice them in to.

    Grandmas trying to make knitting money and college kids in between classes aren’t going to make up the ridership volume they’re looking for in the large markets they’re trying to dominate.
    Sean Bond
    Hayden Lorell
    8/26/19 2:07pm

    Yeah, it really sucks because in some ways, Lyft and Uber have revolutionized people getting around (especially in metro areas). It’s so much more convenient than it used to be, response time is insane (4 minutes is about as long as I typically have to wait around my neighborhood), and in general the whole user experience is great for riders.

    But for drivers, and for traffic (and yes, for cabbies), it just blows.
    Hayden Lorell
    ZHP Sparky, the 5th
    8/26/19 2:41pm

    My argument to that would be that these “driver incentives” that they use for new drivers are just made up through this price gouging, especially when the driver is out of that probationary period and they’re no longer entitled to driving incentives. I would argue they absolutely can deal with constant driver turnover as it’s not like they have anything invested in the drivers besides giving them a free LED “pill” (after they’ve done over 250 rides). As long as they keep getting desperate people, with or without 4 wheels, who need money, they will keep this shit up.
    ZHP Sparky, the 5th
    8/26/19 2:59pm

    I look at it like when I worked retail during college at REI and tried to make a living off of it afterward. As a society, we honestly don’t really need the benefits offered by having full-time long-term employees in areas like retail and cab driving, and companies are recognizing this and moving away from it. This isn’t to say I agree with this practice, as I wish we do still had knowledgable long-term full-timers in specialized retail, but I think this is what’s going on:

    Think of the retail experience prior to the internet. You were going to a store to talk to someone with experience and knowledge (albeit biased) in a field you were less familiar with and had less information available to you about. The long-term full-time retail worker would have been to trade shows and the like to increase their product knowledge, on top of years in the field working with those products. Now that we have review blogs/vlogs, and product reviews on product pages, we kind of don’t need them except for the few specific items that are body fit specific. We can find out more seemingly unbiased information online than they can tell us in-store, so what’s the incentive to keeping them around as they become more expensive for a company to retain? I just don’t think there is one from a business perspective, which is a monetary one, but I wish they’d rethink that since I think there is a less tangible benefit felt by customers in terms of trust and what not.

    Same goes for driver professions. Prior to everyone having GPS on their phone, who was the best source of navigation in a local area? AAA and cab drivers. Well, cab drivers got greedy and people got smart and saw they were being ripped off considering the information is now widely available in your handheld devices. I experienced this in London too when my company booked a black cab from city back to Heathrow. Not exaggerating, it was 3 times more expensive than the Uber I took from Heathrow to the city and there was absolutely zero advantage that I could discern. The black cab driver didn’t say squat to us that would indicate they gleaned something from their supposedly rigorous knowledge test they have to take, and it was just a really typical taxi when it comes down to it.

    I don’t know, it’s just my .02 but I think that’s why we’re seeing these companies try to make it hard to stick around. They just don’t want us to.

    #Uber #Lyft #USA #Ausbeutung #surge_pricing

    • On Amazon, a Qanon conspiracy book climbs the charts — with an algorithmic push

      The book, “An Invitation to the Great Awakening,” is currently No. 9 in all books about politics, and No. 1 in all books about “Censorship,” one slot ahead of Ray Bradbury’s “Fahrenheit 451,” and immediately followed by classics “Lord of the Flies,” “The Handmaid’s Tale,” and “Of Mice and Men.”

      The paperback, which cost $17 at press time, features outlandish claims, sometimes written in rapid succession with no evidence. On one page, the book baselessly claims that the United States government created AIDS, polio, Lyme disease, some natural disasters, two Indiana Jones movies and the Pixar movie Monsters Inc.

      Amazon declined to answer questions about the book’s placement in the algorithmic recommendations carousels, including about whether the book might have been recommended to users on other sections of the site.

  • DÉMISSION par Badia Benjelloun - 29 Novembre 2018 - Librairie Tropiques


    La présentation de la Programmation pluriannuelle de l’énergie a été l’occasion pour le président Macron de mécontenter à la fois les #escrologistes et les protestataires de la France d’en bas pour désigner en une périphrase gentillette, ceux qui n’en peuvent plus de vivre avec un découvert bancaire souvent dès la moitié du mois. Autrement dit, les prolétaires, ceux que leurs salaires ne nourrissent plus. L’insuffisance des ressources concerne deux Français sur cinq qui sont contraints de payer entre 8 à 16% le #crédit http://www.leparisien.fr/espace-premium/fait-du-jour/jackpot-pour-les-banques-12-07-2016-5960487.php à très court terme que constitue l’autorisation de ‘découvert’ aux particuliers. Les banques engrangent ainsi un bénéfice de plusieurs milliards d’euros annuels extorqués justement aux plus ‘démunis’.

    Le report à l’échéance de 2035 de la réduction à 50% de la part du nucléaire au lieu de 2025 comme prévu dans la programmation antérieure s’additionne aux incertitudes sur les filières alternatives aux énergies polluantes. De quoi indisposer la petite fraction de la population sérieusement préoccupée de dégradations irréversibles des conditions de vie sur la planète. L’ensemble des observateurs a pu noter l’absurdité de la proposition technocratique de la mise en place d’un Haut Conseil sur le climat, il existe déjà pléthore de commissions et de comité pour cela. Ce dit Conseil aurait la charge d’évaluer l’impact des réformes et mesures environnementales décidées par le gouvernement, c’est-à-dire de mesurer si les prochaines taxes seront acceptables, ce que devraient savoir les fonctionnaires préposés au budget ainsi que les députés censés représenter le peuple. Faire dépendre l’avenir des prochaines centrales nucléaires type #EPR de la réussite du site de Flamanville, le réacteur devait démarrer en 2012 puis 2016 et maintenant 2020, devrait laisser présager de leur abandon. Le prototype est très coûteux, plus de trois fois le coût initial il a été mal budgétisé et de nombreuses malfaçons l’ont retardé, #Bouygues en particulier y a mal encadré des #travailleurs_détachés et des non déclarés.

    Le verbiage inconsistant mouliné à l’adresse des Gilets jaunes a ben sûr raté sa cible. La taxe sur le diesel n’a été que le godet de plus qui a fait déborder la piscine. Elle pénalise surtout le travailleur pauvre pour qui la voiture est une extension nécessaire de son être de travailleur. Elle n’allait pas alimenter des programmes de transition énergétique mais plutôt permettre à la province française de l’#union_européenne de respecter les limites imposées du déficit budgétaire. En décidant de supprimer l’#ISF, l’État s’est privé d’une rentrée fiscale de près de 5 milliards http://www.perdre-la-raison.com/2017/10/suppression-de-lisf-enfumage-de-bercy.html d’euros. La cohérence aurait été d’adopter comme l’ont fait les Usa une imposition universelle, où qu’il vive un citoyen étasunien doit envoyer une déclaration de revenus au pays. La rigueur aurait dû imposer une lutte efficace contre l’évasion fiscale, 3500 ménages https://www.marianne.net/economie/suppression-de-l-isf-quelques-arguments-pour-ne-pas-avaler-la-soupe-de-mac français cachent plus de 140 milliards dans les #paradis_fiscaux.

    Une solution écologique honnête aurait été de renforcer les #transports_publics, les améliorer et non de supprimer des lignes ‘peu rentables’ comme cela s’est pratiqué ces vingt dernières années. Cet abandon du service public, les transports en commun en sont un, au même titre que l’enseignement (et non pas l’éducation) et la santé, a été dicté justement par l’Union européenne et son dogme de concurrence non faussée.

    Les Gilets jaunes à défaut d’avoir un programme politique ou économique précis ont en revanche un slogan dépourvu d’ambiguïté ‘#Macron, #démission’. Ils ne semblent pas vouloir déposer les armes ni raccrocher leur gilet. Le cynisme du personnel mis au pouvoir par des manœuvres de ‘communicants’ a eu raison de la crédulité des plus crétins d’entre eux. Les difficultés des retraités, des travailleurs précaires et des temps partiels forcés sont concrètes. Elles ne sont plus solubles dans les traitements psychoactifs des troubles de l’humeur et des dépressions ni supportées par des addictions. Elles s’épanchent dans la rébellion et l’espoir qu’elle aboutisse.

    La culture catholique (et ouvrière) de ce pays est incompatible avec l’acceptation de la grâce et de l’élection de certains par le Seigneur comme c’est le cas chez toutes les variantes du protestantisme. Elle est à même de contester les inégalités et les injustices. Quand #Jésus a voulu chasser les marchands du Temple, il voulait le rachat certes des péchés mais surtout des dettes de ses coreligionnaires. La Maison de Dieu était à la fois une boucherie (sacrifice des bêtes organisé par des ministres à fonction héréditaire) mais aussi un lieu de prélèvement d‘une dîme religieuse et sans doute aussi une banque. C’est ce qu’a montré Michael Hudson dans son dernier ouvrage ‘Efface leur dette’ fondé sur le travail d’archéologues spécialisés dans l’Age de bronze en Mésopotamie.

    Ce Mouvement macronien n’est structuré sur rien d’autre qu’une direction, celle de ce capitalisme embourbé dans des dettes de toute nature qui asservissent soit par l’exploitation de leur travail, soit par leur exclusion du travail la majorité.

    Incapable de percevoir que ce système est depuis longtemps en ééquilibre métastable, il se montre décontenancé par le rappel de cette réalité. Son talent, rapprocher par des négociations un vendeur et un acheteur de gros secteurs de l’économie, pouvait s’exercer sans aucun risque sinon celui d’empocher de grosses commissions une fois réalisée la transaction. Il ne peut en faire un capitaine par gros temps quand les atteintes des droits des travailleurs ne sont plus endiguées dans des défilés normalisés les samedi ensoleillés entre République et Nation.

    La diversion tentée vers la voie trop souvent empruntée de cellules terroristes découvertes et désamorcées n’a pas fait recette. Elle a vite été étouffée sous l’avalanche des déclarations d’un Sinistre de l’intérieur qui ne voyait sur les Champs Elysées que séditieux et extrême droite nauséabonde.
    Lundi, on apprenait l’arrestation de #Benoît_Quennedey, http://www.lefigaro.fr/actualite-france/2018/11/26/01016-20181126ARTFIG00322-un-haut-fonctionnaire-du-senat-interpelle-pour-de un haut fonctionnaire du Sénat, suspecté d’espionner pour le compte d’une puissance étrangère. Cet énarque, d’une érudition rare, est en charge du patrimoine et des jardins au palais du Luxembourg, fonction qui ne l’expose pas à accéder à des informations ‘sensibles’. La transmission de plans de palais ou de jardins à la Corée du Nord ne risquerait pas de mettre en danger la sécurité de l’Etat français. Car Benoît Quennedey est en effet président de l’association d’amitié franco-coréenne qui a connu trois présidents avant lui, toutes personnalités honorables et d’obédience politique différente. Quennedey appartient depuis longtemps au parti des Radicaux de gauche qui n’a pas pour vocation d’entreprendre une révolution bolchevik. Les entrefilets que la presse dominante a consacrés à cette interpellation sont plutôt prudents. Circonspects, ils n’excluent pas l’hypothèse que lui soit simplement reprochée son admiration pour un pays ‘totalitaire’ dans lequel il a voyagé plusieurs fois, comme tous les membres de cette association. On sait qu’à son arrivée à l’Elysée, Macron a voulu refonder les renseignements et s’est attaché une unité anti-terroriste mise sous son contrôle direct. Il est difficile de comprendre la teneur politique de cette garde à vue (loufoque et tragique) pour suspicion de crime très grave de haute trahison.

    Diversion médiatique offerte par la #DGSI quand la rue conteste avec une ampleur inattendue le chef de l’Etat.
    Mise à distance (désaveu ou critique discrète) de Trump qui a procédé à un rapprochement spectaculaire avec la République populaire et démocratique de Corée du Nord quand celle-ci a montré sa capacité à se protéger grâce à son programme balistique intercontinental ?
La France est le deuxième pays à ne pas avoir de représentation diplomatique avec la RPDCN après l’Estonie.

    Complaisance vis-à-vis du Japon liée à l’arrestation et la détention humiliante de #Carlos_Ghosn, toujours patron en théorie de #Renault ? Le rachat de titres Renault en 2015 par le ministre de l’économie Macron avait permis de réduire à zéro https://bfmbusiness.bfmtv.com/entreprise/emmanuel-macron-a-l-origine-de-la-guerre-entre-renault-et-nissan- les voix #Nissan dans le Conseil d’administration gros actionnaire de Renault en raison de l’application de la loi Florange.

    S’agit-il d’installer et de conforter un climat de répression de toute opposition réelle ou seulement probable, supposée ou à peine soupçonnée ? Dans la droite ligne de la mise en examen de Fillion et des perquisitions à l’encontre de la France Insoumise dans un contexte de régime d’exception institué depuis l’état d’urgence après les attentats de 2015. Les 5000 perquisitions ordonnées dans la foulée de supposés radicalisés fichés S n’avaient abouti à quasiment aucune mise en détention. L’arrestation d’innocents sans motif sérieux est le premier pas qui conduit à la perte de la personne juridique. La non protection par la loi du commun induit une insécurité et constitue l’arbitraire. Le régime de l’arbitraire est l’argument constitutif du totalitarisme qui se définit par la destruction, ici subtile, de l’opposition et par la détention d’innocents qui ignorent leur délit et la nature de leur peine.

    Quennedey serait alors victime d’une de ses raisons ou d’une combinaison de certaines d’entre elles. Peut-être l’est-il d’une raison plus triviale, une bourde potache de la DGSI ?

    Pour chacun de ces raisons, les #Giletsjaunes auraient raison de continuer à scander leur slogan. Démission. En Tunisie et en Egypte, les mêmes sans gilets criaient ‘Dégage !’.
    A peine un an et demi après l’élimination de rivaux qui n’étaient pas assez déterminés à prendre le pouvoir, confortablement installés dans une position d’éternels opposants, Macron avec moins 25% d’approbation de son public, lassé de son mépris, est sinon démissionnaire, d’ores et déjà démis.
    Badia Benjelloun.

    1. http://www.lefigaro.fr/societes/2018/11/27/20005-20181127ARTFIG00004-emmanuel-macron-devoile-le-futur-de-la-politique-
    2. http://www.leparisien.fr/espace-premium/fait-du-jour/jackpot-pour-les-banques-12-07-2016-5960487.php
    3. http://www.perdre-la-raison.com/2017/10/suppression-de-lisf-enfumage-de-bercy.html
    4. https://www.marianne.net/economie/suppression-de-l-isf-quelques-arguments-pour-ne-pas-avaler-la-soupe-de-mac
    5. https://www.marianne.net/economie/les-3-520-menages-les-plus-riches-de-france-planquent-140-milliards-d-euro
    6. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Hudson_(economist)
    7. https://www.amazon.com/Forgive-Them-Their-Debts-Foreclosure/dp/3981826027
    8. Un haut fonctionnaire du Sénat interpellé pour des soupçons d’espionnage
    9. https://www.lemonde.fr/police-justice/article/2018/11/27/un-haut-fonctionnaire-du-senat-soupconne-d-espionnage-au-profit-de-la-coree-
    10. http://www.lefigaro.fr/international/2017/09/06/01003-20170906ARTFIG00181-quelles-relations-la-france-entretient-elle-avec-
    11. https://bfmbusiness.bfmtv.com/entreprise/emmanuel-macron-a-l-origine-de-la-guerre-entre-renault-et-nissan-

  • PRE-ORDER: Build the Wall (#MAGA building blocks toy)

    We are pleased to announce the launch of a brand new line of toys: MAGA building blocks! This set comes with more than 100 pieces including President Trump in a MAGA hard hat!

    A mob of 10,000 Central American migrants is marching through Mexico and heading toward El Paso, Texas. Mexican border agents attempted to stop them at the Mexican border, but to no avail.

    We understand why they want to flee Honduras and live and work in America. After all, we are the greatest nation on earth.

    In the interest of national security, however, we cannot allow just anyone and everyone to cross our borders. While there are good people attempting to enter our nation, there are also gangs, criminals, and terrorists. Everyone who wants to enter our country must enter legally for the safety of all.

    The wall must be built. The wall will keep America safe and strong. Only then will we be able to help those in need.

    We are pleased to announce the launch of a brand new line of toys: MAGA building blocks! This toy makes a great Christmas gift for your kids and grandkids!

    101 Pieces
    Includes President Trump figurine w/ a MAGA hard hat!

    #légo #enfants #enfance #jeu #jeux #murs #frontières #barrières_frontalières #fermeture_des_frontières #jouet #jouets

    • Children were told to ‘build the wall’ at White House Halloween party

      A Halloween party on Oct. 25 at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building featured candy, paper airplanes and — concerning for some attendees — a station where children were encouraged to help “Build the Wall” with their own personalized bricks.

      Photos of the children’s mural with the paper wall were provided to Yahoo News.

      The party, which took place inside the office building used by White House staff, included the families of executive-branch employees and VIP guests inside and outside government. Even though many of the attendees were members of President Trump’s administration, not everyone thought the Halloween game was a treat.

      “Horrified. We were horrified,” said a person who was there and requested anonymity to avoid professional retaliation.

      The Eisenhower Executive Office Building stands across from the White House and houses a large portion of the West Wing support staff and is home to the vice president’s ceremonial office. The “Build the Wall” mural was on the first floor, outside the speechwriter’s office and next to the office of digital strategy and featured red paper bricks, each bearing the name of a child.

      Large letters on the display spelled out “Build the Wall.” Kids dressed as superheroes and ninjas were given brick-colored paper cards and told to write their name with a marker and tape them to the wall. Alongside the paper wall were signs including one that read “America First,” a slogan often used by President Trump that had been criticized because it was previously employed by the Ku Klux Klan.

      Earlier in the week offices inside the EEOB had been instructed to put together kid-friendly displays for trick-or-treaters. The displays were supposed to be interactive and inspiring, and all were supposed to address the party’s theme: “When I grow up I want to be…”

      Photos posted on social media show Vice President Mike Pence was present for the Halloween party at the EEOB. However, a spokesperson for the vice president said he did not go beyond his office, which is on the second floor.


    • Triple wow !!!

      Si les paroles sont générales, le clip est clairement anti-Trump

      L’album entier semble intéressant :

      Songs Of Resistance 1942-2018

      Portions of the album’s proceeds will be donated to The Indivisible Project, an organization that helps individuals resist the Trump agenda via grassroots movements in their local communities. More info on The Indivisible Project can be found at www.indivisible.org.

      #Musique #Musique_et_politique #Tom_Waits #Marc_Ribot #USA #Bella_Ciao

    • Wow, les paroles de Srinivas :

      Dark was the night
      Cold was the ground
      When they shot Srinivas Kuchibhotla down

      It was in Austin’s Bar and Grill
      But it could’ve been most anyone
      A madman pulled the trigger
      Donald Trump loaded the gun
      My country ’tis of thee

      Srinivas was an engineer
      Sunayana was his wife
      Like so many here before them
      They come here to build the life
      They were plannin’ their first child
      But it was not to be
      But a stranger shot Srinivas down
      Screamin’ “Get out of my country!”
      My country ’tis of thee

      I was born in America
      And it’s right here I intend to stay
      But my country’s hurtin’ now
      There’s a few things I need to say
      If you fly a flag of hate
      Then you ain’t no kin to me
      And to Srinivas Kuchibhotla’s surviving family

      My country ’tis of thee
      My country ’tis of thee
      My country ’tis of thee
      My country ’tis of thee

      My country ’tis of thee
      My country ’tis of thee
      My country ’tis of thee
      My country ’tis of thee

      My country ’tis of thee (Kuchibhotla!)
      My country ’tis of thee (Eric Garner!)
      My country ’tis of thee (Heather Heyer!)
      My country ’tis of thee (Susie Jackson!)

      My country ’tis of thee (Tywanza Sanders! Ethel Lee Lance!)
      My country ’tis of thee (Freddy Gray! Tamir Rice!)
      My country ’tis of thee (Frankie Best! Amadou Diallo!)
      My country ’tis of thee (Michael Brown! David Simmons!)
      My country ’tis of thee (Myra Thompson! Sharonda Singleton!)

      #Black_Lives_Matter #Srinivas_Kuchibhotla #Eric_Garner #Heather_Heyer #Susie_Jackson #Tywanza_Sanders #Ethel_Lee_Lance #Freddy_Gray #Tamir_Rice #Frankie_Best #Amadou_Diallo #Michael_Brown #David_Simmons #Myra_Thompson #Sharonda_Singleton

    • A propos de la chanson Rata de dos patas, il précise :

      Due to the fears that Trump regime retaliation would threaten her visa status, the vocalist on this recording of Rata De Dos Patas has requested that we delete all reference to her identity. We believe her fears are entirely justified, and have complied with her wishes.

      We thank her for her wonderful performance, and for her great courage in making the recording at all. And we look forward to a day when political and artistic expression is no longer under the shadow of such vindicative and racist repression. Venceremos!

      Italian traditional; Arranged by Marc Ribot
      & Tom Waits; Translated by Marc Ribot

      One fine morning / woke up early
      Bella ciao, bella ciao, goodbye beautiful
      One fine morning / woke up early
      To find a fascist at my door
      Oh partigiano, please take me with you
      Bella ciao, bella ciao, goodbye beautiful
      Oh partigiano, please take me with you
      I’m not afraid now anymore.
      And if I die a partigiano
      Bella ciao, bella ciao, goodbye beautiful
      Please bury me up on that mountain
      In the shadow of a flower
      So all the people, people passing
      Bella ciao, bella ciao, goodbye beautiful
      All the people, the people passing
      Can say: what a beautiful flower
      This is the flower / of the partisan
      Bella ciao, bella ciao, goodbye beautiful
      This is the flower / of the partisan
      Who died for freedom

      [based on FISCHIA IL VENTO]
      Written by Marc Ribot (Knockwurst Music);
      Inspired by the Italian traditional

      The wind it howls, the storm around is raging
      Our shoes are broken, still we must go on
      The war we fight, is no longer for liberty
      Just the possibility / of a future.
      Underground, the militant ecologist
      Like a shadow emerges from the night
      The stars above, guide her on her mission
      Strong her heart swift her arm to strike
      If, by chance, cruel death will find you
      Know your comrades will revenge
      We’ll track down the ones who hurt you
      Their fate’s already sealed.
      The wind is still, the storm is finally over
      The militant ecologist blends back into the shadows
      Somewhere above, the earth’s green flag is flying
      We don’t have to live in terror
      Somewhere above, the earth’s green flag is flying
      The only flag that matters now
      Somewhere above, the earth’s green flag is flying
      And if its not...
      there’s nothing more to say.

    • Son premier texte, où il se pose des questions sur la possibilité de résister en tant que musicien :

      My grandparents lost brothers, sisters, cousins, aunts and uncles in the Holocaust, and I’ve toured and have friends in Russia and Turkey: we recognize Trump, and it’s no mystery where we will wind up if we don’t push back.

      Its not that things before Trump were any picnic: the many victims of racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, and war under earlier presidents – some of them Democrats—are not forgotten; and even among the politicians for whom I voted, few were willing to address the structural causes of these problems.

      But even the most pissed off of my activist friends knew right away that Trumpism was seriously wrong, and that resistance—not just protest, which by definition acknowledges the legitimacy of the power to which it appeals—had to be planned.

      I’m a musician, so I began my practice of resistance with music.

      Normally, I practice by studying the past (“Ancient to the Future!” as the Art Ensemble of Chicago put it—and as Hannah Arendt might have if she’d been a jazz musician), and then blowing on or reconstructing or simply misreading those changes until they become useful in the present.

      So, I went back to archives of political music known for years and listened again—trying to find what was useful now. I found songs from the World War II anti-Fascist Italian partisans (“Bella Ciao,” “Fischia il Vento”), the U.S. civil rights movement (“We’ll Never Turn Back,” “We Are Soldiers in the Army”), a political song originally recorded by Mexican artist Paquita la del Barrio, had disguised as a romantic ballad (“Rata de Dos Patas”).

      I also wrote songs: things I heard at demonstrations, and newspaper and television stories that I couldn’t process any other way wound up as lyrics. I changed these found texts as little as possible: much of “Srinivas” is a metered version of news articles on Srinivas Kuchibhotla a Sikh immigrant murdered in February 2017 by a racist who mistook him for a Muslim. And “John Brown” really did “kill... five slaveholders at the Pottawatomie creek”).

      By March 2017, I had the material for Goodbye Beautiful/Songs of Resistance.

      I make no claims of historical “authenticity” about the arrangements of archival songs on the record— although I hope they work on more than one level, the arrangements and composition songs on this CD were written and performed, without apology, as agitprop. I borrowed from, referenced, and quoted public domain song as much as I could, wanting to harness the power of our rich traditions to the needs of the current struggle wherever possible. For the same reason, I altered texts and arrangements freely, as political song makers have always done.

      The underlying politics of this recording is that of the Popular Front: the idea that those of us with democratic values need to put aside our differences long enough to defeat those who threaten them.

      Although this approach has its frustrations, it worked last time around (1942-45).

      Coordinating a multi-artist recording like this wasn’t easy: although the artists involved were without exception enthusiastic and helpful.

      But the madness of the past year kept us moving when things got bogged down: we recorded Justin Vivian Bond’s “We’ll Never Turn Back” literally while Donald Trump was delivering a friendly speech to anti-gay hate groups in Washington DC. Tom Waits’ “Bella Ciao” was recorded near Santa Rosa, in the haze of smoke from 1,500 homes destroyed by wildfires attributed partly to global warming.

      Not a day goes by that I don’t think about the fact that we’re living through what may be the last years of possibility to lessen the degree of catastrophic climate change which will be experienced by our kids.

      And what I think is that thinking isn’t enough.

      The same can be said of singing.

      Profits from this CD will be donated to The Indivisible Project, a 501c4 organization creating a political response to Trump. They now have chapters in EVERY congressional district, and work to build the local and national networks we need. I have a lot of friends who think that ANY kind of politics isn’t cool. I appreciate the sentiment, but: we need to get over it, roll up our sleeves and get our hands dirty if we’re going to survive this thing.

      I want to thank all the Artists and musicians who sang or played on this cd, not only for their time and great performances, but for their critiques and insights, musical and political, that shaped this recording at every stage.

      Although my intention in organizing this recording has been to express solidarity with everyone victimized by the current regime, finding a way to express that solidarity without repeating old patterns of oppression is not easy. I hope the dialogue and spirit of solidarity begun among the performers on this recording will continue with its listeners and spread even further...

      M Ribot

      Son deuxième texte, où il se pose des questions sur les défauts de la musique engagée :

      Post Script:

      The question of ‘the good fight’—how to fight an enemy without becoming it—hangs over “political” art (as the question of truthfulness hang over art claiming to have transcended the political). Indeed, Left and Fascist song do share musical commonalities. (Armies fighting for causes good and bad all need songs to march to).

      This recording won’t resolve that question.

      But I’ve noted a difference between the marching songs of fascism and those of the partisan and civil rights movements: a willingness to acknowledge sadness:

      “We are soldiers in the army...
      We have to fight, we also have to cry.”

      “And if I die a partisan,
      Goodbye beautiful, goodbye beautiful, goodbye beautiful,
      Please bury me on that mountain, in the shadow of a flower.”

      “I am a pilgrim of sorrow, walking through this world alone.
      I have no hope for tomorrow, but I’m starting to make it my home.”

      “...a thousand mill lofts grey
      are touched by all the beauty
      a sudden sun exposes
      Yes it is bread we fight for, but we also fight for roses.”

      These songs’ acknowledgement of human frailty, of the fact that “we have to cry” even as “we have to fight”, is for me a sign of enormous strength. Their vision of a beauty beyond victory is for me a sign of hope, a reminder that we at least have something worth fighting for.

      M Ribot
      November, 2017

  • Un père horrible - le fils de Hunter S. Thompson raconte

    Who Was Hunter S. Thompson? His Private Life - Biography (2016)

    Hunter Stockton Thompson (July 18, 1937 – February 20, 2005) was an American journalist and author, and the founder of the gonzo journalism movement.

    Hunter Stockton Thompson (July 18, 1937 – February 20, 2005) was an American journalist and author, and the founder of the gonzo journalism movement. About the book: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/030... The film Where the Buffalo Roam (1980) depicts heavily fictionalized attempts by Thompson to cover the Super Bowl and the 1972 U.S. presidential election. It stars Bill Murray as Thompson and Peter Boyle as Thompson’s attorney Oscar Zeta Acosta, referred to in the movie as Carl Lazlo, Esq. The 1998 film adaptation of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas was directed by Monty Python veteran Terry Gilliam, and starred Johnny Depp (who moved into Thompson’s basement to “study” Thompson’s persona before assuming his role in the film) as Raoul Duke and Benicio del Toro as Dr. Gonzo. The film has achieved something of a cult following. The film adaptation of Thompson’s novel The Rum Diary was released in October 2011, also starring Johnny Depp as the main character, Paul Kemp. The novel’s premise was inspired by Thompson’s own experiences in Puerto Rico. The film was written and directed by Bruce Robinson.[77] At a press junket for The Rum Diary shortly before the film’s release, Depp said that he would like to adapt The Curse of Lono, “The Kentucky Derby Is Decadent and Depraved”, and Hell’s Angels for the big screen: “I’d just keep playing Hunter. There’s a great comfort in it for me, because I get a great visit with my old friend who I miss dearly.”[78] Fear and Loathing in Gonzovision (1978) is an extended television profile by the BBC. It can be found on disc 2 of The Criterion Collection edition of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. The Mitchell brothers, owners of the O’Farrell Theatre in San Francisco, made a documentary about Thompson in 1988 called Hunter S. Thompson: The Crazy Never Die. Wayne Ewing created three documentaries about Thompson. The film Breakfast with Hunter (2003) was directed and edited by Ewing. It documents Thompson’s work on the movie Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, his arrest for drunk driving, and his subsequent fight with the court system. When I Die (2005) is a video chronicle of making Thompson’s final farewell wishes a reality, and documents the send-off itself. Free Lisl: Fear and Loathing in Denver (2006) chronicles Thompson’s efforts in helping to free Lisl Auman, who was sentenced to life in prison without parole for the shooting of a police officer, a crime she didn’t commit. All three films are only available online.[79] In Come on Down: Searching for the American Dream[80] (2004) Thompson gives director Adamm Liley insight into the nature of the American Dream over drinks at the Woody Creek Tavern. Buy the Ticket, Take the Ride: Hunter S. Thompson on Film (2006) was directed by Tom Thurman, written by Tom Marksbury, and produced by the Starz Entertainment Group. The original documentary features interviews with Thompson’s inner circle of family and friends, but the thrust of the film focuses on the manner in which his life often overlapped with numerous Hollywood celebrities who became his close friends, such as Johnny Depp, Benicio del Toro, Bill Murray, Sean Penn, John Cusack, Thompson’s wife Anita, son Juan, former Senators George McGovern and Gary Hart, writers Tom Wolfe and William F. Buckley, actors Gary Busey and Harry Dean Stanton, and the illustrator Ralph Steadman among others. Blasted!!! The Gonzo Patriots of Hunter S. Thompson (2006), produced, directed, photographed and edited by Blue Kraning, is a documentary about the scores of fans who volunteered their privately owned artillery to fire the ashes of the late author, Hunter S. Thompson. Blasted!!! premiered at the 2006 Starz Denver International Film Festival, part of a tribute series to Hunter S. Thompson held at the Denver Press Club. In 2008, Academy Award-winning documentarian Alex Gibney (Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room, Taxi to the Dark Side) wrote and directed a documentary on Thompson, titled Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson. The film premiered on January 20, 2008, at the Sundance Film Festival. Gibney uses intimate, never-before-seen home videos, interviews with friends, enemies and lovers, and clips from films adapted from Thompson’s material to document his turbulent life.

    #USA #littérature #journalisme #famille #violence

  • Strange Company: The Year of the Witch

    The fame that has grown around the “Mary Celeste” mystery tends to obscure the fact that there have been other cases where a ship’s crew inexplicably disappeared. Similarly, the notoriety of the Salem Witch Trials of 1692 makes it easy to overlook the numerous “witch crazes” that blighted American colonial history. Hartford, Connecticut does not have the sinister reputation of Salem, but in 1662 and 1663, that town went through an episode—enshrined in history as “The Year of the Witch”—that easily rivals its more well-known counterpart.

    The grim saga found its origin in a tragic, but hardly uncommon event—the death of a little girl, eight-year-old Elizabeth Kelly. The child had been suffering from a strange illness. The doctors were unable to diagnose her ailment, but her father, John Kelly, had no doubt what had killed his child. He was convinced that a neighbor, Judith Ayres, had put a spell on Elizabeth.

    Goodwife Ayres had long been rumored to be a witch, and, it must be said, this reputation was largely of her own doing. If you go around telling your neighbors anecdotes about how you used to go out on dates with Satan, people will talk. On a more prosaic note, both Judith and her husband William were evidently quarrelsome, difficult people who were constantly rubbing everyone the wrong way. Plus, William had what modern-day police would call “form.” He had been arrested several times for theft and other misdemeanors.

    Among those who had reason to dislike Judith Ayres was John Kelly. He claimed that one day, Judith happened to come across his daughter walking home from church. She followed Elizabeth into the Kelly kitchen, where she took some broth out of a pot boiling on the stove, and insisted the child eat it. No sooner had Elizabeth obeyed this odd command that she collapsed with agonizing stomach pains and became feverish. That night, Elizabeth awakened the household with screams of “Help me! Help me! Goody Ayres chokes me!” For the next five days, the girl suffered terribly. She moaned that Goody Ayres was choking her, pinching her, pricking her with pins, sitting on her stomach so that she feared her bowels would break. She begged her parents to have Ayres arrested. “Oh, father,” Elizabeth cried, “set on the great furnace and scald her! Get the broad axe and cut off her head. If you cannot give me a broad axe, get the narrow axe, and chop off her head!” Instead, for whatever reason, the Kellys hired Judith to nurse the child. Perhaps they hoped that being confronted with the girl’s torments would cause the “witch” to feel some pity and release Elizabeth from the “curse.”

    Later that same day, after Judith had left, Elizabeth told her father that Ayres had said to her, “Betty, why do you speak so much against me? I will be even with you before I die, but if you will say no more of me, I will give you a fine lace for your dressing.”

    If Judith thought this might placate the girl, she was very much mistaken. The very next day, Elizabeth died. Her last words were “Goody Ayres chokes me!”

    After all this, it is not surprising that John Kelly insisted that Judith Ayres had murdered his child. An Inquest Committee was soon formed to investigate Elizabeth’s peculiar death. These men examined the little body. They noted that her arms were covered in bruises, which they took as confirmation that the “witch” had indeed attacked the child. Judith was brought in, as the committee wished to see if her presence had any effect on the corpse.

    It did indeed. When Judith entered the room, “we saw upon the right cheek of the child’s face, a reddish tawny great spot, which covered a great part of the cheek, it being on the side next to Goodwife Ayres where she stood, this spot or blotch was not seen before the child was turned.” When a physician conducted an autopsy on Elizabeth, he ruled she had died of “preternatural causes.” All this was considered to be more than enough proof of Judith’s guilt, and she was promptly arrested for witchcraft. Just for good measure, her husband William was arraigned, as well.

    Judith and William were subjected to that indispensable part of any good witch trial: the “water test.” The couple were bound hand to foot and tossed into a pond. If they floated, that was proof positive they were witches. If they sank, well, at least Judith and William would have the satisfaction of knowing that they would die vindicated.

    To no one’s real surprise, the pair floated like a pair of corks. A ghastly death at the gallows awaited them.

    Luckily for the Ayerses, there were a few people in town who had not come down with the prevailing hysteria. These supporters managed to arrange a jailbreak, and the couple fled to Rhode Island, leaving behind their two sons, ages five and eight. One wonders what sort of lives those boys went on to have.

    Unfortunately, the departure of Judith and William did not signal the end of the Hartford witch panic. In truth, it was just getting started. Next to be victimized was another couple, Nathaniel and Rebecca Greensmith. Like the Ayerses, the Greensmiths were unpopular local figures. Rebecca was described as “lewd, ignorant, and considerably aged in years,” Nathaniel was a liar and a thief, and they both enjoyed squabbling with their neighbors.

    Elizabeth Kelly’s “preternatural” death had inspired several other Hartford girls to declare that they, too, were being bewitched. The girls would gather at the meeting house, where fascinated townsfolk would watch them throw fits, make strange cries, and display all the usual signs of demonic torment. It was like a Girl Scout gathering from Hell. One of these girls, Ann Cole, declared that there was a whole coven of witches in Hartford, and one of the worst of the lot was Rebecca Greensmith. She claimed the witches were out to ruin her reputation, so that no man would ever want to marry her. (Why her love life would be of any interest to the coven was never explained.) A man named Robert Stern then added his two cents, stating that he had seen Rebecca and her fellow witches dancing around two large, sinister dark figures while cooking something evil-looking in a kettle. Rebecca was immediately tossed into jail to await her fate.

    Ann Cole was the clear star of this Satanic show. Leading clergymen from all over the region came by to interview her—or, rather, to interview the group of devils that spoke “through” her. The chatty demons delighted in forcing Ann to speak unintelligibly, or with a heavy Dutch accent. Naturally, the demons also confirmed that Goodwife Greensmith was a witch.

    When Rebecca was confronted with this testimony from the Dark Side, she readily, even eagerly, confessed to being in league with Satan. She was quoted as boasting that “the devil first appeared to her in the form of a deer or fawn, skipping about her, wherewith she was not much affrighted, and that by degrees he became very familiar, and at last would talk with her, moreover she said that the devil frequently had carnal knowledge of her body and that the witches had meetings at a place not far from her house and that some appeared in one shape, and others in another, and one came flying amongst them in the shape of a crow.”

    Not content with tales of demonic sex and crow witches, Rebecca readily ratted out a number of local names as being part of her coven. Chief amongst the people she accused was her husband, Nathaniel. Rebecca noted that Nathaniel, despite being a small man, had great physical strength—too great to be anything other than supernatural. “When my husband hath told me of his great travail and labor, I wondered at it how he did it; this he did before I was married, and when I was married I asked him how he did it, and he answered me, he had help that I knew not of.”

    Not convinced yet? Hold on, there’s more. Rebecca went on to say, “About three years ago, as I think it, my husband and I were in the woods several miles from home, and were looking for a sow that we lost, and I saw a creature, a red creature, following my husband, and when I came to him I asked him what it was that was with him, and he told me it was a fox...Another time when he and I drove our hogs into the woods beyond the pond that was to keep young cattle, several miles off, I went before the hogs to call them, and looking back I saw two creatures like dogs, one a little blacker than the other; they came after my husband pretty close to him, and one did seem to me to touch him.” When Rebecca asked Nathaniel what the creatures were, he again deadpanned, “foxes.” She added the suggestive words, “I was still afraid when I saw anything, because I heard so much of him before I married him.” She explained her readiness to condemn Nathaniel: “I speak all of this out of love to my husband’s soul, and it is much against my will that I am now necessitated to speak against my husband, I desire that the Lord would open his heart to own and speak the truth.”

    I’m sure that was a great consolation to him.

    Rebecca gave a full description of a typical night out with the girls witches: “I also testify, that I being in the woods at a meeting, there was with me Goody Seager, Goodwife Sanford and Goodwife Ayres. And at another time there was a meeting under a tree in the green by our house, and there was James Walkley, Peter Grant’s wife, Goodwife Ayers, and Henry Palmer’s wife, of Wethersfield, and Goody Seager; and there we danced and had a bottle of sack...It was in the night and something like a cat called me out to the meeting, and I was in Mr. Varlet’s orchard with Mrs. Judith Varlet, and she told me that she was much troubled with the marshal, Jonathan Gilbert, and cried; and she said if it lay in her power she would do him a mischief, or what hurt she could.”

    Rebecca and Nathaniel spent the last month of their lives lodged in the jailer’s home while they waited execution. There is no record of how the couple spent their last few weeks together, but I can imagine Mr. Greensmith had much to say to his wife. The couple, along with another condemned witch, Mary Barnes, were hanged on January 25, 1663. On an unknown date somewhere around this time, another “witch,” Mary Sanford, also met the hangman. Increase Mather wrote triumphantly that “After the suspected witches were executed...Ann Cole was restored to health, and has continued well for many years.”

    Ann’s subsequent history furnishes an interesting sequel to this story. After the Greensmiths were hanged, their farm was seized by the court. The home was sold to an Andrew Benton, who moved in with his wife and children. Shortly afterward, Mrs. Benton died. The young widower soon remarried...to none other than Ann Cole. She spent many years raising a large family of children and stepchildren under the roof built by the couple she had sent to the gallows.

    I’d like to think it gave her an unpleasant dream or two, but I somehow doubt it.

    [Note: In October 1993, the “Journal of the American Medical Society” published an article about the Hartford witch trials, focusing on the seminal event of the case, the death of Elizabeth Kelly. The autopsy of Kelly was described as “a bunch of screwups.” All the “preternatural” features of Kelly’s corpse were easily explained by the normal process of decomposition. Her death, it is now believed, was caused by a combination of pneumonia and sepsis. The latter ailment likely caused delirium, leading the girl to feverishly accuse Judith Ayres of tormenting her.]

  • Quelques références trouvées dans le livre Violent Borders de Reece Jones (excellent, par ailleurs), sur les #statistiques des décès de migrants (certains, voire beaucoup déjà signalés sur seenthis):

    Humanitarian Crisis: Migrant Deaths at the U.S.-Mexico Border

    This report is the result of a cooperative agreement entered into by Mexico’s National Commission of Human Rights and the American Civil Liberties Union of San Diego and Imperial Counties to explore and use binational strategies to protect the human rights of immigrants in the border region. The report describes the unacceptable human tragedy that takes place daily in this region. The study was conducted and written by immigration and border policy advocate Maria Jimenez who resides in Houston, Texas.


    Fatal Journeys: Tracking Lives Lost during Migration

    In October 2013, over 400 people lost their lives in two shipwrecks close to the Italian island of Lampedusa. While these two events were highly publicized, sadly they are not isolated incidents; the International Organization for Migration (IOM) estimates that in 2013 and 2014 nearly 6,500 migrants lost their lives in border regions around the world. Because many deaths occur in remote areas and are never reported, counts of deaths fail to capture the full number of lives lost.

    Despite recognition that actions must be taken to stop more unnecessary deaths, as yet there remains very little information on the scale of the problem. The vast majority of governments do not publish numbers of deaths, and counting lives lost is largely left to civil society and the media. Drawing upon data from a wide range of sources from different regions of the world, Fatal Journeys: Tracking Lives Lost during Migration investigates how border-related deaths are documented, who is documenting them, and what can be done to improve the evidence base to encourage informed accountability, policy and practice.

    Regionally focused chapters present most recent statistics and address a number of key questions regarding how migrant border-related deaths are enumerated. Chapters address: migration routes through Central America to the United States, with a focus on the United States–Mexico border region; the southern European Union bordering the Mediterranean; routes from sub-Saharan Africa to North Africa; routes taken by migrants emigrating from the Horn of Africa towards the Gulf or Southern Africa; and the waters surrounding Australia.

    Numbers have the power to capture attention, and while counts of border-related deaths will always be estimates, they serve to make concrete something which has been left vague and ill-defined. In a way, through counting, deaths too often invisible are given existence. More complete data can not only serve to highlight the extent of what is taking place, but is also crucial in guiding effective policy response.


    Beyond Walls and Cages: Prisons, Borders, and Global Crisis

    The crisis of borders and prisons can be seen starkly in statistics. In 2011 some 1,500 migrants died trying to enter Europe, and the United States deported nearly 400,000 and imprisoned some 2.3 million people―more than at any other time in history. International borders are increasingly militarized places embedded within domestic policing and imprisonment and entwined with expanding prison-industrial complexes. Beyond Walls and Cages offers scholarly and activist perspectives on these issues and explores how the international community can move toward a more humane future.Working at a range of geographic scales and locations, contributors examine concrete and ideological connections among prisons, migration policing and detention, border fortification, and militarization. They challenge the idea that prisons and borders create safety, security, and order, showing that they can be forms of coercive mobility that separate loved ones, disempower communities, and increase shared harms of poverty. Walls and cages can also fortify wealth and power inequalities, racism, and gender and sexual oppression.As governments increasingly rely on criminalization and violent measures of exclusion and containment, strategies for achieving change are essential. Beyond Walls and Cages develops abolitionist, no borders, and decolonial analyses and methods for social change, showing how seemingly disconnected forms of state violence are interconnected. Creating a more just and free world―whether in the Mexico-U.S. borderlands, the Morocco-Spain region, South Africa, Montana, or Philadelphia―requires that people who are most affected become central to building alternatives to global crosscurrents of criminalization and militarization.


    The Human Costs of Border Control (2007)

    This article outlines the relationship between irregular immigration, increased border control, and the number of casualties at Europe’s maritime borders. The conclusion is that the number of fatalities is increasing as a result of increased border control. The author argues that States have a positive obligation under international law to address this issue, and formulates concrete proposals to monitor the number of border deaths.


    #migrations #asile #réfugiés #chiffres #décès #morts #rapport #USA #Etats-Unis #frontières #Mexique

  • #Amazon Meal Kits, #Falafel Patties with Tomato & Sumac Salad, Serves 2: Amazon.com: Grocery & Gourmet Food

    About the product
    – Middle Eastern chickpea fritters with a tomato and sumac salad, a Yemeni hot sauce, and pita bread
    – Easy-to-follow, chef-designed recipe
    – Includes perfectly portioned fresh ingredients
    – Quick to cook—from box to table in about 30 minutes
    Serves two people


    Currently unavailable.
    We don’t know when or if this item will be back in stock.

    Avisse aux intéressés (@nidal, @george, @gonzo, @orientxxi,…)

    Have one to sell? -> Sell on Amazon

  • Ella Fitzgerald aurait eu 100 ans : l’occasion de réécouter six concerts mythiques - Radio - Télérama.fr

    Née le 25 avril 1917, Ella Fitzgerald aurait eu 100 ans ce mois-ci. L’occasion de revenir sur cette artiste à l’incroyable tessiture et au sens inné de l’improvisation, qui révolutionna le jazz vocal. Après avoir fait ses preuves comme chanteuse d’orchestre, Ella Fitzgerald s’est illustrée comme reine du be-bop et a mené une carrière solo qui lui valu treize Grammy Awards. Jusqu’à son dernier souffle, elle a chanté avec une voix sensuelle la liberté de swinguer. Pour cet anniversaire, le présentateur Sébastien Doviane, qui lui consacre une émission spéciale, commente pour Télérama six prestations mythiques d’Ella Fitzgerald.


  • Lily Pad Roll, parGaither Stewart en 2012.


    With his new ’spy novel’, Lily Pad Roll-a sequel to The Trojan Spy-Gaither Stewart reinforces his claim to join the distinguished ranks of authors like Graham Greene and John le Carré who are not only great storytellers, but whose stories burn with a passion for truth and justice. The ’political’ thriller plays an important role in today’s world, filling a gap left by the near-total demise of investigative journalism. Stewart “tells it like it is”-and not yesterday’s news, but the here and now: in this case, the surreptitious spread of Western neo-imperialism across the planet, and in particular its agenda of encirclement and attempted emasculation of the “old enemy”, Russia.


    Stewart marshals his sometimes unruly cast of engaging characters with consummate skill. In that manner, Lily Pad Roll offers a fresh perspective on world events, unraveling layer after layer the deceit concealed in the imposition of “democracy” on a recalcitrant world. Georgia, Syria, Serbia and Iran may not seem to have much in common, but all four are influenced by the same forces. When a young journalist travels through Eastern Europe to investigate America’s new military presence among post-communist countries torn between fragile democracy and a shifting geopolitical situation, he himself falls into the murderous sights of US secret services. The author’s deep understanding of the region enables him to present the story behind the story, from the perspective of local people, without ever losing sight of breaking events and the reality that the US continues its century-old containment of Russia by any means necessary, even at the risk of a true cataclysmic global war.

  • « United States of Bigotry »

    • Kristen Simons, Article 5, Tor Teen, 2012, 561 p.

    Ember, 17 ans, n’a jamais connu son père, c’est avec sa mère Lori qu’elle a échappé à la guerre déchirant les Etats-Unis. Si la paix est revenue, le pays est désormais une théocratie régie par les Moral Statutes, cinq articles de loi pour extirper le péché du sein de la nation. Née hors mariage, Ember tombe sous le coup de l’Article 5. Lori est arrêtée tandis que Ember est internée. Secourue par un allié inattendu, elle fera tout pour retrouver sa mère.

    Personnages. Une directrice sadique, une grand-mère isolée, des chasseurs lubriques, une famille d’agriculteurs confrontés à des pillards, un ex-petit ami devenu tortionnaire, les relations humaines sont toujours marquées du sceau de la méfiance et de la brutalité dans Article 5. L’intensité des rencontres que fait Ember contraste avec son manque de substance à elle : Ember a survécu à une guerre, a su naviguer dans une société totalitaire, mais devant le lecteur elle se montre naïve, hésitante, comme si elle n’avait jamais été confrontée à la violence de son environnement. Nombre de ses décisions sont absurdes. La vraisemblance de l’action en prend un coup.

    Ambiance. La société dans laquelle vit Ember rappelle furieusement ces régimes islamiques du Golfe et de Mésopotamie, même puritanisme, même police des moeurs. On est saisi par ce monde dépeuplée, aux paysages toujours sombres et dangereux que nous soyons emportés dans une ville ou dans une forêt. Deux images reviennent régulièrement dans la narration : le drapeau américain sur lequel on a superposé la Sainte Croix, symbole du nouveau pouvoir ; la route que parcoure notre héroïne, la seule infrastructure maintenue en état par le gouvernement, stratégique pour déplacer les troupes et les prisonniers, mais aussi symbole de voyage, de fuite, de liberté. Deux souvenirs d’un rêve américain ruiné. Comme un avertissement de l’auteur.

    Kristen Simons signe un « road novel » énergique. Cet univers oppressant, totalitaire, a un gros potentiel, mais a peut-être été sur-développé aux dépens du personnage principal. Une lecture sympathique pour un public adolescent.


    #lecture #dystopie #Kristen_Simons #Etats-Unis #théocratie