Jeff Bezos is the CEO, Executive Chairman, and largest shareholder in Amazon.com Inc. The second largest Amazon shareholder with 90,231 shares pales in comparison to Bezos' 78.88 million shares of Amazon stock. Bezos founded Blue Origins, a space flight company and aerospace manufacturer in 2000, established Bezos Expeditions to manage his venture capital investments in 2005, and bought the Washington Post in 2013.
Table of Contents
- THE AMAZON MONOPOLY AND ACQUISITIONS
- DOING BUSINESS WITH THE GOVERNMENT
- MEDIA CONFLICTS OF INTEREST
- TAXES AND OTHER AMAZON CONTROVERSIES
- PUBLIC POLICY LOBBYING AND POLITICAL DONATIONS
SummaryFew, if any, people have impacted the daily life of Americans more than Jeff Bezos in the last 20 years. From a modest start selling books online, Amazon has morphed into a retail behemoth, changing the way Americans shop and forcing scores of retailers, large and small, out of business. Bezos and Amazon have done this through a combination of innovation and prices so low that they often sell merchandise at a loss. Amazon dominates the sale of media online, and Bezos personally controls many media properties. It's basically impossible to successfully sell a book if Amazon doesn't carry it.
Amazon is the largest distributor of online books giving them significant power to suggest and recommend titles that support their liberal agenda. Furthermore, Amazon can use this monopolistic control of the market to influence the popularity (or lack thereof) for specific books. It doesn't stop there however, Amazon's creative destruction has brought the brick and mortar bookstore industry to its knees (this is essentially how they have gained so much control of the market).The ability of Amazon to corner markets with its e-commerce platform is significant. As Bezos continues to acquire more and more businesses under the Amazon umbrella it becomes necessary to monitor his and Amazon's activities on a more skeptical level. This is particularly true with his media purchases; recent analysis found that the Washington Post gave excessively favorable coverage of Amazon. Can the media cover large companies if the large companies own the media? (This is a particularly timely question after Marc Benioff's recent purchase of venerable Time magazine). We live in a strange world when a newspaper owned by Amazon's CEO is writing about whether Amazon has grown too big. And when a publication in which Jeff Bezos helped finance writes about how half of all Americans will become Amazon prime customers. The liberal priorities of such an influential organization as the Washington Post, and its owner, cannot help but become entwined with the services and products provided by Amazon a means of influencing society. The recent manipulation of cities and states across America in the great HQ2 folly is a perfect example of how Amazon has become too powerful, and abuses that power. In addition to subsidizing the world's richest man, American cities sank so low as to change public policies having nothing to do with employment or business; one of meetings that resulted in Arlington, Virginia "winning" half of the great HQ2 prize was held at a restaurant flying a Gay Pride flag - and that's not an accident.
THE AMAZON MONOPOLY AND ACQUISITIONS
- Monopolistic Qualities of Amazon
- Amazon controls almost 50% of the U.S. printed book market and a staggering 75% of 90% of all online e-book sales.
- But what's really scary is that Amazon publishes it's own books under it's own imprint, and isn't acting only as a intermediary, but is has the power to make best sellers out of any book it decides to publish, in direct competition with all the other books on the site.
- Amazon has been accused of squeezing publishers by delaying the delivery of books when they have disagreed with Amazon's attempts to level e-book prices to $9.99.
- In 2017, the Yale Law Journal published a 24,000-word "note" by Lina Khan titled "Amazon's Antitrust Paradox." The article laid out with remarkable clarity and sophistication why American antitrust law has evolved to the point that it is no longer equipped to deal with tech giants such as Amazon.com, which has made itself as essential to commerce in the 21st century as the railroads, telephone systems, and computer hardware makers were in the 20th.
- Noteworthy Personal Investments of Jeff Bezos
- An early angel investor in Google, In 1998, before Googles' IPO, Bezos invested $250,000. While he has not currently disclosed the number of Google shares he still owns, if he had kept them all, it would translate to 3.3 million shares when Google went public in 2004. Based on a stock quote of$ per share (), 3.3 million shares in Google would currently be worth more than $ billion.
- Bezos owns the Washington Post, 3% of Business Insider, and is an investor in Twitter.
- Noteworthy Amazon Acquisitions
- Amazon recently made its second largest acquisition ever when it purchased Ring for $1.8 billion, the doorbell camera security company. With this new technology (that is now compatible with Alexa) Amazon will now see when you come and go (in addition to the eavesdropping that already occurs with Alexa).
- Amazon owns Alexa, IMDB, and Thinkbox Software (a media design and content creation solutions software that works on the cloud). So if you're reading a glowing review of a movie that happens to be available for sale on Amazon.com, you may not realize that IMDB is simply promoting its own products. Amazon also owns many third-party services that you may not realize including Alexis (an internet ranking service), and many sub-domains through Amazon Registry Services (e.g., .book, .buy, .wow, .free, .pay, .tunes).
Most importantly, Amazon owns Amazon Web services, which is the largest provider of web connectivity in the United States. AWS provides basic web connectivity for many startups, including media startups.
Thus, no media company can afford to alienate Jeff Bezos or Amazon. If they did, these are the sorts of ways that Amazon can punish them:
- Cutting off basic web connections through Amazon Web Services
- Poor reviews on IMDB.com.
- Refusal to carry their product on amazon.com.
- Manipulation of web ranking numbers on Alexis.
- Poor coverage in The Washington Post, Business Insider, or many other publications that cover the media.
- Cronies and Competitors
- Now Amazon users may link their Facebook account to their Amazon account. At the outset, this will allow Amazon to show you recommendations based on your Facebook interests and activity. Some have argued that Amazon is trying to take ad revenue from FB, as well as Google, but this partnership may be related or preemptive in segregating from Google. But the important point here, from our point of view, is that as big as Amazon and Facebook are by themselves, they still combine forces to overwhelm any potential competition.
- No company, including media companies, can survive without cash flow, and big tech may soon control this. Many big tech companies may begin to have banking services: In 2018 the banks will concede customer mindshare to the GAFAMs (Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft) and the BATs (Baidu, Alipay, Tencent). Banks are notoriously slow-moving to adopt new technology, weighed down by massive legacy tech systems, cumbersome regulations, and the cost of maintaining a huge physical branch network. If Big Tech takes over the financial system their control of media, politics, and ideas will only be cemented.
- Amazon is already providing small business loans, competing relentlessly against prepaid card issuers.
DOING BUSINESS WITH THE GOVERNMENT
- U.S. Military Defense Innovation Advisory Board
- Bezos was invited to sit on the Defense Innovation Advisory Board with three other executives in the tech industry including:
- Alphabet Inc. - Eric Schmidt (DIAB Chair)
- Instagram - Marne Levine
- LinkedIn Reid Hoffman
- Bezos was invited to sit on the Defense Innovation Advisory Board with three other executives in the tech industry including:
- Government Contracts and Partnerships
- A government defense contract in 2016 for $46.6 million, awarded to both Bezos owned Blue Origin and United Launch Alliance. Their partnership and the contract are intended to develop Blue Origin's BE-4 rocket engine by 2019.
- Additional funding was provided by NASA's commercial crew program $3.7 million in 2010, and $22 million in 2011.
- A June 2017 Government Accountability Office Report revealed that Amazon won a $600 million contract to build cloud computing services with the CIA. (This may conflict with his ownership of a newspaper that covers the activities of the CIA). If you're scared about how much information Big Tech has about you, you should be terrified when they start working with the CIA.
- The Obama Administration tapped AWS to host portions of HealthCare.gov. AWS currently has a large list of government contracts both at the state and federal level.
- Amazon is drooling over a potential Pentagon cloud contract that is currently accepting proposals. The Defense Department insists that its new $10 billion JEDI (Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure) contract be with a single company and many consider Amazon the front runner.
- HQ2"New York's governor jokes he'll change his name to 'Amazon Cuomo' to win the HQ2 bid"
- When Amazon announced it had outgrown its Seattle headquarters location and would conduct a public search for a secondary headquarters, cities and states across America went into a frenzy offering incentives to land the promised 50,000 high paying jobs.
- Some of the 238 offers from cities and states around the country (aimed at convincing Amazon to bring its supposed 50,000 jobs to their locality) are astounding to say the least. One of the applicants offered to name a separate city Amazon.
- Newark, New Jersey tax incentives worth $7 billion! California - $300 million to $1 billion in tax incentives!
- Maryland promises a "blank check" for transportation improvements that Amazon deemed necessary. Maryland's transportation secretary Rahn is on record as saying, " we'll provide whatever is necessary to Amazon when they need it."
On 4/4/18, Maryland's House adopted an incentive package worth over $5 billion to push Amazon to choose them as the HQ2 State.
- But those bids are nothing compared to disclosed this week through a public-records request: more than $22 billion over 99 years from Dallas-Forth Worth International Airport and nearby cities, for HQ2.
- It's interesting that most of these bids are cloaked in secrecy, despite the fact that taxpayers have to pay for them. The nonprofit news site Muckrock found that 124 of the Amazon bids were completely secret. Both of the winning bids, from New York and Virginia, were secret. Bidders for projects like Amazon and Apple expansions always say the benefits of attracting such marquee employers are worth the costs. But the careful analysis doesn t bear this out. Virginia s own analysis of its film incentive program found that of every $1 in tax credits yields only 20 cents in tax revenue. In fact, most reviews of such programs call for ending economic incentives or dramatically changing them, for the simple reason that most companies would have come to the same location without any incentives; a charge that appears to be true in the case of Amazon s choices.
- But don t think this sort of extortion by the rich only takes place for big glamorous projects that bring lots of high paying jobs. Amazon also managed to extort $70 million each from Illinois, Kentucky, and Missouri to place fulfillment and distribution centers in those states.
- While many seem excited at the prospect, others have several valid concerns about allowing Amazon into their towns and cities. This process dragged on for over 14 months while politicians across the country licked Amazon's boots. At the end, of course, no one won but Amazon. Despite Amazon's endless manipulation of the choices, they somehow missed an opportunity to combine two of Bezos's interests.
- In a time when cities and states are almost uniformly complaining about the cost of meeting existing basic obligations, like transportation improvements and public employee pensions, these same entities fall over themselves to lavish huge cash-rich corporations with subsidy packages. For instance, many stakeholders are trying to form a coalition to fund a Gondola to move people from Arlington County across the Potomac to notoriously traffic-plagued Georgetown. But Arlington County, in which Rosslyn is located, turned down any participation in the project. "Arlington County currently faces significant budget pressures and does not have the capital at this time to invest in the project," the more recent letter, signed by board Chair Katie Cristol stated, Right. But somehow even with those significant budget pressures the county and the state of Virginia were able to come up with a lavish incentive plan for Amazon.
- Quote from Bloomberg Tech: "The contrarians say their communities are thriving as is, and that's why Amazon is interested in the first place. They look at the downside of winning: diverting money from schools and other services, making housing more unaffordable and clogging roads and straining transit."
- Some believe this is an unfortunate opportunity for Amazon to amass a significant amount of data about participating metro areas including data on their labor forces, access to mass transit, and quality of life in addition to what kinds of incentives they have to offer.
- This process dragged on for over 14 months while politicians across the country licked Amazon's boots. In the end of course, no one won but Amazon.
- Dealings with Hillary Clinton
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Bezos announced the global launch of the Kindle Mobile Learning Initiative on June 20, 2012 at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C. When Jeff Bezos and Hillary Clinton form a partnership, you can be sure it will reflect their shared left leaning values: extreme political correctness, gay friendly, and a world vision where the rich and powerful dominate society and impose their personal values on everyone else.
- This public-private partnership with Amazon.com and the U.S. government created a global e-reader program that introduced aspects of U.S. society and culture directly to young people, students, and international audiences in new ways and expanded English language learning opportunities worldwide.
- Hillary Clinton has made several positive comments about Jeff Bezos and his purchase of the Washington Post:
- "Hillary Clinton and Jeff Bezos to speak at HRC National Dinner" MetroWeekly [10/23/17].
- Clinton spoke at the annual Code Conference in Rancho Palos Verdes, California. She hinted that more tech billionaires should buy media companies and fund investigative journalism, the way Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos bought The Washington Post and Mark Benioff bought Time magazine.
- "Hillary Clinton Believes Jeff Bezos saved the Washington Post'". The Verge [5/31/17].
- Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Bezos announced the global launch of the Kindle Mobile Learning Initiative on June 20, 2012 at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C. When Jeff Bezos and Hillary Clinton form a partnership, you can be sure it will reflect their shared left leaning values: extreme political correctness, gay friendly, and a world vision where the rich and powerful dominate society and impose their personal values on everyone else.
- International Governments
- Working with the Russian Government
- The Washington Post refuses to disclose how much money they are receiving from the Russian government to publish "native advertising" referred to in this article as propaganda.
- Slate: "Hail to the Return of Motherland-Protecting Propaganda! The Russians and their unintentionally hilarious Washington Post ad supplement", has a picture of one of the propaganda articles.
- Amazon also has contracts with Bahrain, Chile, the Danish Ministry of Taxation, the European Commission, the state of the Cear , the United Kingdom, Mexico, Canada, and France.
- Why does this matter? Because Amazon gets a lot of money from governments around the world. Yet one of the primary purposes of media - which Amazon heavily influences - is to analyze and criticize government actions. How can Amazon publish media critical of governments when those same governments are a massive source of income? As the old saying goes, 'If you take the king's shilling, you do the king's bidding'.
- Working with the Russian Government
- President Trump Holds Amazon Accountable
- While then-presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was busy cozying up to Amazon, Trump was attacking against the company's questionable business tactics.
- President Trump has called out the Washington Post, labeling it a lobbying tool for Amazon. Trump would like to see the Washington Post register as a lobbyist.
- After the Washington Post misrepresented Trump in an article about North Korea talks Trump fought back. He often refers to both entities as the Amazon Washington Post to highlight the level of bias favoring Amazon and Bezos.
- In April of 2018, President Trump said he's going to be taking a "serious look" at policy options with respect to Amazon.
- While then-presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was busy cozying up to Amazon, Trump was attacking against the company's questionable business tactics.
MEDIA CONFLICTS OF INTEREST
- Amazon and Google
- Amazon spent $157.7 million on Google U.S. search ads in 2013, topping Ad Age's list of Google's 25 largest U.S. search advertisers. In comparison, other retailers like Walmart and Sears spent $59.7 million and $59.2 million, respectively.
- Recently Amazon has been accused of gearing up to its own ad product that would essentially compete with Google for retail ads. This idea was based on Amazon's decision to stop purchasing Google Shopping ads and overall Google Ad spending is down to just $50 million as of 2017.
- As we've noted elsewhere, the industry dominance of the individual companies within Big Tech is overwhelming. But even so, the companies we've focused on here often work together, which means that the entire media ecosystem is essentially closed off to new entrants.
- And did Amazon buy ads on Google because, as noted above, Jeff Bezos was a personal investor in Google? Does he still own Google shares? The relationship between Big Tech companies is much more akin to incest that legitimate competition, as the CEOs of these companies often share the same early stage investments. Within the Big Tech companies, none of the people running them really want to see the "competition" go under, as they are often invested in or partnered with those companies.
- The Amazon-Washington Post
- The Washington Post signed a contract to sell web publishing tools mostly hosted by Amazon.com Inc.
- Amazon offers a monthly subscription via Kindle services to The Washington Post.
- Amazon Prime subscribers may receive The Washington Post online for free for 6 months with activation.
- According to a FAIR survey published in a Salon.com article titled, "Jeff Bezos is Untouchable: Jeff Bezos escapes scrutiny from his own paper - and from its media rivals", The Washington Post published 44 articles between July 20, 2016 and July 19, 2017 related to Amazon and its dealings. Of these publications:
- None were categorized as "investigative or critical"
- 2 were categorized as "leaning negative"
- 19 were categorized as "straight reporting/neutral"
- 23 were categorized as "leans positive/press release"
- The Washington Post has also been accused of spreading fake news: "Embarrassment as Washington Post corrects its 'scoop' about Obama, Facebook and Russia" [Fox News, 9/26/2017].
- The Washington Post has to write about Amazon's competitors and partners, but that means there is always a potential conflict of interest
in articles about Google, Microsoft, Yahoo or any other big tech company. It also means there are potential conflicts of interest in writing
about the myriad start up tech and media companies in which Bezos is a personal investor. Or those companies which compete with his investments.
The list of potential conflicts of interest is virtually endless in the case of The Washington Post. And given that, can the Post really write
articles criticizing government officials or others for their conflicts of interest?
The following are just a few samples of articles appearing in the Post about competitors or partners, but we could have listed hundreds of such articles with a potential conflict of interest vis a vis Bezos and/or Amazon.
- Netflix stock plummets after streaming video company misses subscriber target
- Why the pot-infused 'Cooking on High' is the worst food show on Netflix
- Most people forget how easy it is to abuse power and information for poliitical ends, and how often the Washington Post has done it, even in an age when mush less information was available. For instance, the Pentagon Papers were basically stolen documents, and the Washington Post published them. We've had a contentious hearing for a Supreme Court nominee very recently, but most people don't know that 30 years ago the Washington Post was able to dig up records of what videos Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork had rented - supposedly completely private information having nothing to do with his work - and the Post published them.
- Of course Amazon knows not only what movies you've rented, but what books you're read, what music you've listened to, and what magazines you've subscribed to.We've had a contentious hearing for a Supreme Court nominee very recently, but most people don't know that 30 years ago the Washington Post was able to dig up records of what videos Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork had rented - "Sometimes the lead review on Amazon comes from The Washington Post. In those cases does the user realize that both Amazon and the Washington Post are controlled by the same man? The Washington Post Review is presented as an independent review, but, in reality, it's not.
TAXES AND OTHER AMAZON CONTROVERSIES
- Tax Controversies
- Like most liberals, Jeff Bezos believes everyone - except of course he and his own companies - should pay more in taxes. In fact, tax avoidance was at the very heart of Amazon's strategy when it was first founded. The reason that Bezos moved to Seattle and located Amazon there was that Washington State was a small market and he would be able to avoid charging sales taxes on purchases from larger states like California and New York, since the law at that time only required the payment of sales taxes on purchases made in states in which the company had a physical presence. This strategy, which Amazon pursued for many years, gave it a huge competitive advantage as compared to conventional brick and mortar retailers, which were required to charge sales tax.
- In August 2010, a 4-year tax audit resulted in Amazon being ordered to pay over $250 million by a Texas State Controller Auditor. Amazon appealed, sued, and lobbied, insisting it had no physical presence in the state (even though there was a giant distribution center). When nothing worked, they closed the facility and fired 119 employees.
- In 1997, Amazon hypocritically argued that Barnes & Noble, by not collecting tax on Internet sales, was exploiting an "unfair method of competition." In fact, Amazon has become a dominant force and Barnes and Noble has teetered on the edge of bankruptcy for years, having lost a huge percentage of its sales to Amazon.
- In 2008, Bezos complained that local tax collection was so "horrendously complicated" that it imposed "an undue burden" on his company.
- By 2008, Amazon had bricks and mortar mostly distribution centers in 17 sales-tax states. Yet it collected in only four: Washington, Kansas, Kentucky, and North Dakota. State tax administrators declined to lift a finger against the company. Indiana went even further. To lure an Amazon warehouse in 2007, public officials there cut a special deal to exempt the company from collecting the state's 7% sales tax. Amazon now has five warehouses in Indiana, where it has also received more than $11 million in economic development incentives.
- In March 2017, Amazon won a $1.5 billion tax case against the Internal Revenue Service related to the company's operations in Luxembourg.
- In 2017 Amazon raked in a whopping $5.6 billion, but paid zero in federal taxes.
- In 2017, Amazon was ordered by the European Commission to pay nearly $300 million in back taxes dating back to 2003.
- A major focus in the HQ2 hunt was tax incentives, and Amazon ended up getting billions in various subsidies from Virginia and New York, the "winning" bidders. So rather than pay taxes, like most companies, states pay Amazon to do business there.
- Patent Hypocrisy
- As of 9/12/2018, Amazon holds 992 Trademarks, 8,477 Patent Grants, and 957 Patent Applications.
Amazon has been accused of patent infringement a myriad of times from a variety of different
- IBM sued Amazon for patent infringement. Then Amazon fired back with countersuits.
- Recently, Alexa's calling feature has also come under scrutiny and is facing a potential infringement lawsuit.
- After suing Barnes and Noble over patent infringement, Bezos hypocritically criticized the patent process as stifling innovation:"Patents are supposed to encourage innovation and we're starting to be in a world where they might start to stifle innovation. Governments may need to look at the patent system and see if those laws need to be modified because I don't think some of these battles are healthy for society. I love technology, I love invention, I like rapid change, and really it's the golden age of wireless devices and mobile devices." [Interview with the UK publication Metro].
- Bezos "Wants to Help People" (unless those people are his employees)
- After Jeff Bezos sent a tweet out asking for advice on helping others with his vast fortune and how he should begin donating to more charitable organizations, several criticisms were lodged regarding his new found desire to help others while forgetting his employees.
- A detailed and troubling expose of Amazon's treatment of its workers was reported by the New York Times in 2015.
- "Jeff Bezos Wants To Give More Money To Charity. He Should Pay His Workers First: The Washington Post owner wants to make it easier to get rid of workers and cut severance pay." HUFFPOST Media [9/1/2017].
- "Jeff Bezos Screws over Workers at Amazon. Now He Wants To Do The Same At The Washington Post: Can Silicon Valley's anti-labor attitude survive actual contact with a labor union?" HUFFPOST Politics [10/12/17].
- "Peeing in trash cans, constant surveillance, and asthma attacks on the job: Amazon workers tell us their warehouse horror stories." Business Insider [5/5/2018].
- Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, was announced as the winner of the world's worst boss at the 3rd International Trade Union Confederation World Congress in Berlin. The ITUC representing 180 million workers, is meeting in Berlin with over 1500 delegates from 161 countries.
- Employee opinions haven't gotten better in 2018. "Protesters greet Amazon's Jeff Bezos in Germany." KFGO.com [4/24/2018].
- Third Party SellersMore than half of all Amazon sales are made through the third party marketplace, which uses Amazon's systems to sell a wide variety of small merchant's goods. Amazon has gotten huge by selling many items as loss leaders, as the stock market has been willing to pay huge premiums for fast growing companies. But that strategy doesn't work for small sellers, and they're basically being forced to adopt Amazon's tactics for which small sellers pay the price, and Amazon reaps the reward.
- Amazon has recently implemented changes to third-party seller return policies that will negatively and directly impact their ability to ship their own merchandise. Some have argued this move all but forces third-party sellers to use Amazon warehouses for their merchandise.
- Amazon also rolled out a new payment policy that's got third-party sellers worried: "Some Amazon sellers are outraged over a new payment policy designed to attract more corporate buyers". CNBC [8/21/2018]
- Amazon's Selective Merchandise Hypocrisy
- Amazon has been under fire in the past for its selective offerings of merchandise. Amazon.com does not offer confederate flag merchandise, because, that would be, you know, racist, although it is a historical item of interest and represents certain cultural values that have nothing to do with racism. (We all believe in multi-culturalism, right?)
- But Bezos has been on record defending Amazon's right to carry the book The Pedophiles Guide to Love and Pleasure; you can also buy on Amazon songs by rappers with the most disgusting offensive, misogynic lyrics possible. Big tech being Big Tech, the same song is available on Google Play and Apple's streaming service.
- Amazon's Review Deletions Controversy
- In what many have dubbed a flagrant intervention by Amazon, the Telegraph first reported, and subsequently many others observed first hand, that Amazon monitored and deleted 1-star reviews of Hillary Clinton's book "What Happened".
- Clinton's new book is not the only one affected by Amazon's biased control of product reviews: "Amazon Deletes Reviews of Conservative Authors with No Explanation". PJ Media [3/16/2018].
- Amazon has also intervened to "adjust" the ratings of its products - in November negative comments under a book by anti-Trump broadcaster Megyn Kelly appeared to be removed by the retailer.
PUBLIC POLICY LOBBYING AND POLITICAL DONATIONS
- Amazon's Corporate Political Dealings
- Amazon, for its part, has been aggressively lobbying Congress since 2011 on multiple issues. Amazon has quadrupled its spending on lobbying efforts since 2014 and doubled its lobbying staff since 2016 (when Trump was elected.)
- Telecommunications, Net Neutrality and (SOPA)
- Amazon, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Netflix, Twitter, and many others formed the lobbying group called the Internet Association. IA was started mostly in response to the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). IA is also heavily involved in the legal battle on net neutrality.
- IA's Site: https://internetassociation.org/our-members/.
- Amazon is just not on an even playing field, They have a tremendous lobbying effort, in addition to having The Washington Post, which is as far as I'm concerned another lobbyist. But they have a big lobbying effort, one of the biggest. After extensive lobbying and protests from companies like Amazon and the IA, the SOPA bill was dead in the water and has yet to be resurrected by Congress. Basically, Big Tech was allowed to continue its blatant ripoff of copyright holders. Big Tech is very aggressive about protecting its own patents but they have an extremely casual disregard for the intellectual property rights of writers and artists.
- In 2015, the FCC passed a bill that prevented internet service providers from slowing or blocking access to internet content or from charging fees to access certain internet content. Telecommunications industry lobbying jumped 71% overall to prepare for the FCC s scheduled vote to possibly repeal the initial passing of the net neutrality bill.
- In April of 2018, the FCC repealed net neutrality to the delight of companies like Amazon. Ever since attempts have been made by Congress to restore the previously enacted legislation. It appears the current Senate-approved Congressional Review Act (CRA) to restore net neutrality will fall short of the 218 signatures required in the House by the end of December 2018.
- Copyright Laws
- Amazon may be one of the largest beneficiaries of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) as the number of copyright infringements resulting from its third-party seller practices is unmatched. Amazon also regularly sells counterfeit goods through its third-party marketplace, and those sellers regularly sell used books as new .
- Amazon is consistently accused of taking too long to address copyright infringements on its website, but nothing ever seems to come from these accusations.
- Lobbying to sway the copyright law conversation in Washington is vital to Amazon s current business model.
- Internet sales tax, the proposed Marketplace Fairness Act of 2013 and Nexus Laws Amazon has built its business model on tax avoidance. Amazon reported $5.6 billion of U.S. profits in 2017 and didn't pay a dime of federal income taxes on it.
- Amazon has spent its share of lobbying funds on fighting the internet sales tax in the past. Due to Amazon s lack of a physical presence in many states, they were able to avoid these taxes for a long time.
- Now that Amazon has warehouses in many states and is moving toward same-day shipping, they have changed tactics and are supporting an internet sales tax likely to ensure other online vendors with less of a physical presence are held to the same tax laws as Amazon. Amazon is a firm believer that laws should change to accommodate whatever Amazon s current needs are; when then they began the HQ2 search part of the official announcement was that states and cities might have to pass new laws in order to accommodate all the subsidies and tax breaks Amazon was requesting.
- The term nexus is used in tax law to describe a situation in which a business has a "nexus" or tax presence in a particular state or states. Nexus describes the amount and degree of business activity that must be present before a state can tax an entity's income or for taxes on sales within the state A new bill broadening Nexus rules was passed in California in June 2011. And Nexus laws related to the collection of internet sales tax continue to be an issue as the Supreme Court recently heard.
- As a result of this law, Amazon immediately terminated its 10,000 affiliates in California, urging them to besiege legislators. When that didn't work, the company put up $5 million to launch a statewide referendum to overturn the measure.
- The Supreme Court heard South Dakota v. Wayfair in 2018 ruling that states did have the right to tax businesses without a physical presence. But Amazon had bought enough time so that by this point they were already a dominant retailer, having forced many brick and mortar retailers who had always paid sales tax out of business.
- This issue continues to be contested in congress, even though the Supreme Court ruled that states have the right to require an online sales tax as congress continues to work on federal solutions to this ruling.
- Bezos' Personal Political Dealings
- Washington State Politics
- Microsoft was on the opposite side of a ballot measure to impose state taxes on incomes over $200,000 in the state of Washington, Amazon founder Bezos opposed this measure and privately donated $100,000 to defeat it.
- $2.5 million to a political action committee in support of legalizing gay marriage in Washington in 2012. See "Jeff Bezos Receives the HRC National Equality Award" on YouTube [10/28/2017]. The HRC award recognizes the outstanding efforts of those who stand up for the LGBTQ community and commit their time and energy to advancing equality for LGBTQ Americans. So its very important to Bezos that gays can get married, but apparently not so important to him that the straight workers at his warehouses can afford to feed their children.
- Personal support for candidates both federal and state offices:
- Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.)
- Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.)
- Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.)
- Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.)
- Then-Sen. Spencer Abraham (R-Mich.)
- E-bay CEO, Meg Whitman (R) lost in 2010 CA Governor's race
- In 2015, he backed Rep. Jason Chaffetz's (R-Utah) re-election effort to defeat Stephen Tryon, a former executive of Amazon's long-time rival Overstock.com.
- In May 2017, Bezos donated $1 million to the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press a philanthropic interest in keeping with his business interests; Bezos owns The Washington Post. It's the largest donation they have received in their entire 46 years of existence.
- Bezos' Personal Political Leanings
- Early Amazon investor Nick Hanauer has described Bezos as a libertarian, as have many others. But his political leanings seem to have taken a hard left turn as Amazon has grown, he has become personally richer, and his companies do so much business with the government.
- In December 2015, Bezos wise-cracked that he'd like to send Trump into space on rocket, though his mood has changed dramatically since then. In May, he noted that Trump needed to "develop a thick skin" and last month, he said "Trump's behavior wasn't fit for someone hoping to lead the country".
- Bezos recently donated 33 million dollars to fund college scholarships for Dreamers. The subsequent scholarship grants will go to 1,000 undocumented high school graduates with DACA status.
- Bezos made what many consider his first major political donation in 2018 when he and Makenzie Bezos gave 10 million to a PAC that works to elect Veterans. Cynics might assume that his interest in vets has something to do with currying favor with the American military industrial complex, given Amazon's bid for the $10 billion dollar pentagon JEDI cloud contract. We'd also note that the new Amazon HQ in Arlington, Virginia is within walking distance of the Pentagon. That's not a coincidence.
- Washington State Politics
"fuck a whore with a knife"
When The Music Stops [feat. D12] [Explicit]
From the Album: The Eminem Show
Bezos, Allen, Trump – The Weird World of Modern Media
You’ve already heard that Amazon founder Jeff Bezos is accusing the National Enquirer of extortion for threatening to publish nude pictures he sent to his girlfriend. But this is a much bigger story than just the usual idiocy of the rich and famous.
At first glance, it seems like this is just the tawdry tale of another celebrity acting like a college sophomore. I mean Bezos is 55 and his girlfriend is 49. C’mon people, grow up. Men (and women) really need some help in acting like adults these days.
How can you own the Washington Post, and many other media responsible for reporting the news, when the owner IS the news.
This screenshot from CNBC.com in early February, 2019 shows 3 pictures of Bezos related to 3 different stories about him and his companies. Media entities related to Bezos, like the Post, will have blantant conflicts of interest in reporting all of these stories.