Democracy Now On Amazon and Jeff Bezos

August 14th, 2013

Disclosure: I have an affiliate relationship with Amazon.

The Democracy Now discussion below contains some legitimate gripes about Amazon, which I’ve covered on here in the past.

The most disturbing thing about Amazon (to me) is their work with CIA to build the agency’s new cloud computing infrastructure (news circa March 2013). That’s bad. But for a real thrill, let’s ask: Which U.S. companies with large footprints on the web aren’t colluding with U.S. intelligence? *silence* Learn from Lavabit. So what’s going on with the likes of Google and Facebook, etc.? A lot of ankle grabbing is my guess. I wouldn’t, however, be expecting splash pages to show up on those sites explaining how they’re shutting down because they refuse to collaborate with feds.

With the Bezos-buys-The Washington Post situation, in effect, we have a CIA contractor buying an old time CIA rag. *meh* People who talk about the Washington Post in reverential tones are just sad. It’s like the Hope and Change crowd. Give me a break. In the Democracy Now discussion, Jeff Cohen says, “The Washington Post has really been a newspaper of the bipartisan consensus.” That’s it.

If you want to make a point of criticizing Amazon’s labor practices, you better make the most of it while you can. Here’s where Amazon is headed; in a word, robots:

As for the bleating about the death of the traditional publishing model—It needs to die, and I’m glad that it’s dying. For all of the romantic talk about the age of local bookshops and publishers’ real or imagined appreciation of books and reading, etc. the publishers decided what was published! Sure, anyone could self publish, assuming that they could afford it, but that was not a trivial task in the old days. Selling those self published books would be another non trivial matter. With Amazon’s direct publishing model, many new authors, who would have never been published under the traditional system, are experiencing great success. This is a very positive development (for authors, not so much for publishers) and the fact that it wasn’t mentioned at all in the Democracy Now piece is incredible.

While we’re on about the big bad Amazon, let’s not forget about Amy Goodman: “Her silence about 9/11 is stunning.”

For people concerned with purity in their associations, the world as it is today is going to present one disappointment after another. I don’t know of any area where this is more true than with alternative news. Yep, Amazon is building computer systems for the CIA. That’s bad. What’s worse, if you ask me, is that one of the biggest figures in “alternative news” can’t deal with 9/11.

Thinking outside the box is good, as long as you understand that the “box” is really a Matryoshka doll.

Now, as for me earning money from being an Amazon Associate, I continue to be amazed that they even allow you guys to support Cryptogon in this manner. Here is a small selection of companies who have explicitly refused to allow Cryptogon to participate in revenue sharing programs:

Sierra Trading Post
Dell Small Business
New York Mint

I’m sure there are many others, but this is a list that was easy to pull.

The following companies initially allowed Cryptogon to participate in their revenue sharing programs, but subsequently terminated the relationships:

Google – Reason for termination: Bogus invalid-click explanation (look it up), and they held onto the earnings I’d accumulated. They get away with this hilarious fraud every day. I advocate the use of adblock+ because it’s bad for Google. I don’t even care that it blocks ads on my own site, by all means, use it!

Tradeking – No explanation for termination.

Swanson Health Products – They seem to want only want U.S. based affiliates now.

So, as for the claim in the piece below that Amazon is endangering, “The marketplace of ideas,” I’m living proof that this assertion is bullcrap.

But this CIA cloud business… *sigh*

So it goes.

Via: Democracy Now:

The Washington Post announced on Monday the paper had been sold to founder and CEO Jeff Bezos for $250 million. Bezos, one of the world’s wealthiest men, now controls one of the most powerful newspapers in the country. Some critics of the sale have cited Bezos’ close ties to the U.S. government. In 2010, Amazon pulled the plug on hosting the WikiLeaks website under heavy political pressure. Earlier this year, Amazon inked a $600 million cloud-computing deal with the CIA. Independent booksellers and publishers have also long complained about Amazon’s business practices. We host a roundtable on the history of Amazon and the future of the newspaper industry. “Monopoly newspapers, especially The Washington Post in the nation’s capital, while it might not be a commercially viable undertaking, it still has tremendous political power,” says Robert McChesney, co-founder of Free Press. “What we have is a plaything for these billionaires that they can then use aggressively to promote their own politics.” Media critic Jeff Cohen notes that while The Washington Post notably published reports on Watergate and the Pentagon Papers decades ago, he thinks concerns that Bezos will ruin its journalistic tradition is unfounded, saying that in recent years, “The Washington Post has really been the newspaper of the bipartisan consensus.” We also speak to Dennis Johnson, publisher of Melville Books. “Amazon is a company that feels no pain. They’ve, as far as I can tell, never made money. … So, when you see him taking over The Washington Post and you wonder is he going to be able to monetize it, is he going to make it profitable, he probably doesn’t care,” Johnson says.

Research Credit: conceptualdecay

2 Responses to “Democracy Now On Amazon and Jeff Bezos”

  1. quintanus Says:

  2. Kevin Says:

    Like the quote says: Silence.

    For a journalist, when something cannot be said, the silence is the most important story. Many people believe that Amy Goodman, host of the popular public radio and TV show Democracy Now!, is among the best when it comes to confronting people in power and asking hard questions. She may be one of the best, but her silence about 9/11 is stunning. For example, she has yet to tell her audience or her readers that nearly 2,000 architects and engineers – all verified and vetted – are calling for a new investigation of the destruction of the three World Trade Center skyscrapers on 9/11, citing evidence of controlled demolition. That should be headline news for a journalist whose self-described role is to report on alternative voices excluded by the mainstream media.

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