Trump’s War Against Amazon / Bezos: Here Comes the Grift!

Grant Trump this very specific talent: Not many people could get monopoly-suspicious liberals and technology-suspicious conservatives *all* cheering for Amazon’s further success. Gabriel Sherman, in Vanity Fair:

For the first time in Donald Trump’s presidency, the West Wing soap opera appears to be in hiatus… Currently, there’s one star—a situation Trump is obviously enjoying—and his new freedom is used to focus ever more closely on his perceived enemies and obsessions. Amazon, whose owner, Jeff Bezos, also owns The Washington Post, is currently the main target. Trump has ripped into Amazon in recent days, claiming in a series of tweets that Jeff Bezos’s tech giant benefits from billions in subsidies from the U.S. Post office while skirting sales taxes. “Unlike others, they pay little or no taxes to state & local governments, use our Postal System as their Delivery Boy (causing tremendous loss to the U.S.), and are putting many thousands of retailers out of business!” Trump tweeted. On Monday, he wrote: “Only fools, or worse, are saying that our money losing Post Office makes money with Amazon. THEY LOSE A FORTUNE, and this will be changed. Also, our fully tax paying retailers are closing stores all over the country . . . not a level playing field!” The tweets caused Amazon’s stock to plunge 5 percent on Monday.

Now, according to four sources close to the White House, Trump is discussing ways to escalate his Twitter attacks on Amazon to further damage the company. “He’s off the hook on this. It’s war,” one source told me. “He gets obsessed with something, and now he’s obsessed with Bezos,” said another source. “Trump is like, how can I fuck with him?”…

Advisers are also encouraging Trump to cancel Amazon’s pending multi-billion contract with the Pentagon to provide cloud computing services, sources say. Another line of attack would be to encourage attorneys general in red states to open investigations into Amazon’s business practices. Sources say Trump is open to the ideas. (The White House did not respond to a request for comment.)

Even Trump’s allies acknowledge that much of what’s fueling Trump’s rage toward Amazon is that Amazon C.E.O. Jeff Bezos owns The Washington Post, sources said. “Trump doesn’t like The New York Times, but he reveres it because it’s his hometown paper. The Washington Post, he has zero respect for,” the Republican close to the White House said. While the Post says that Bezos has no involvement in newsroom decisions, Trump has told advisers he believes Bezos uses the paper as a political weapon. One former White House official said Trump looks at the Post the same way he looks at the National Enquirer. “When Bezos says he has no involvement, Trump doesn’t believe him. His experience is with the David Peckers of the world. Whether it’s right or wrong, he knows it can be done.”…



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“Trump 2020” campaign manager and Mueller/EU target chips in:






198 replies
  1. 1
    FlipYrWhig says:

    I’m assuming that someone has explained to Trump that the Postal Service doesn’t get money from the US Treasury or count against the budget, but that he doesn’t believe it, on account of being extremely stupid.

  2. 2
    rikyrah says:

    Fox & Friends is airing a segment right now blaming Amazon in part for years of losses at the U.S. Postal Service and encouraging someone (maybe a certain loyal viewer?) to “make the tough decision” to privatize Postal Service.

    — Philip Rucker (@PhilipRucker) April 2, 2018

    Why let phucking FACTS get in the way.

    The USPS got into serious financial trouble WHEN THE GOP FORCED THEM FUN PENSION MANDATES FOR 75 YEARS IN A 5 YEAR SPAN.
    SIGH.

    AS IF, they cared about the Pensions of USPS workers…when has the GOP ever given two shyts about the pensions of government workers.

  3. 3
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Donald is a dotard.

    Film at 11.

  4. 4
    LAO says:

    Fuck Trump for putting me in the ridiculous position of “supporting” Amazon! Up is down, black is white, and I just want off this roller coaster.

  5. 5
    eclare says:

    Isn’t it in the Constitution to maintain a postal service? Could it legally be taken private?

  6. 6
    swiftfox says:

    I order from others when I can but this will change that process until this attack stops.

  7. 7
    eclare says:

    @LAO: 1000X this….I hardly ever order from Amazon, and now I want to sign up for Prime!

  8. 8
    rikyrah says:

    Ok, this just made me LOL.

    Do not forget to mention that @amazon has probably 10x the data on every American that @facebook does. All that data and own a political newspaper, The @washingtonpost. Hmm… https://t.co/1eRVpUNnqG

    — Brad Parscale (@parscale) March 29, 2018

    Now say it in Russian. https://t.co/uYjvcnDVS6

    — Rick Wilson (@TheRickWilson) March 29, 2018

  9. 9

    Aren’t all the USPS’s problems mostly Newt’s fault?

  10. 10
    Brachiator says:

    Advisers are also encouraging Trump to cancel Amazon’s pending multi-billion contract with the Pentagon to provide cloud computing services, sources say.

    Which advisers? Fox News hosts?

    Goddam, except for his grudges, Trump is the president who is not there. No substance whatever.

  11. 11
    Josie says:

    I know we are not supposed to like Amazon, but in many ways they have made my life better. As for the damage to mom and pop stores, I think WalMart and other big box stores have already taken care of that. Turn abouts, fair play.

  12. 12
    Gin & Tonic says:

    Trump is the past waging war against the future.

  13. 13
    Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism says:

    @Josie: Wal-Mart doesn’t compete with Fifth Avenue.

  14. 14
    Roger Moore says:

    It’s almost as if hiring a complete ignoramus for the most important job in the country wasn’t such a good idea.

  15. 15
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    I wish Postmaster General Brennan would do some kind of highly public fact offensive against all this Trumpian bullshit.

  16. 16
    Barbara says:

    @Brachiator:

    Advisers are also encouraging Trump to cancel Amazon’s pending multi-billion contract with the Pentagon to provide cloud computing services, sources say.

    When I read things like this I am instantly suspicious that someone else who wanted that contract is whispering in the ear of someone who is whispering in Trump’s ear or in this case, blaring in his ear from the tv screen. Someone this susceptible to manipulation just should not be in a position of power over other people, ever.

  17. 17
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @eclare: The Congress shall have Power: …To establish Post Offices and post Roads;

  18. 18

    @Roger Moore: nah, it couldn’t be that. It’s the Democrats’ fault. Trump would be Great if they’d just let him Be Trump. Besides, they’re the ones that made us elect him by trying to foist that nasty lady on us anyway.

    @Gin & Tonic: you would have to maintain some sort of franking service.

  19. 19
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @rikyrah: The USPS is also a place where a lot of non-white people get jobs with good benefits and a pension. Clearly that must not stand.

  20. 20
    jl says:

    There are problems with everything. Every damn thing has an upside and a downside. A large part of good policy is figuring out how to balance upsides and downsides of every damn thing on the planet. Or how to find win-win solutions that get a better mix of upsides and downsides. Those things include the FBI, Amazon, fuel efficiency.

    Trump doesn’t know what he is doing, he is mindlessly manipulable by corrupt forces, and his motives are corrupt. So, no reason to fret whether one is ‘taking sides’ on various issues where Trump babbles corrupt nonsense. There are only two sides, Trump on the one hand and good policy on the other.

  21. 21
    Procopius says:

    Grant Trump this very specific talent: Not many people could get monopoly-suspicious liberals and technology-suspicious conservatives *all* cheering for Amazon’s further success.

    I’m sorry to say you seem to be right. I’m not among them, but a rampant hysteria is abroad in the land, and it makes people stupid. I suppose I’m being stupid in other ways, but at the very least I would like to see Bezos lose his shirt and be forced to go to work in one of Amazon’w warehouses. He’s done more than Sam Walton to advance the cause of The Oligopoly. Oh, and the USPS was nearly destroyed under Clinton/Bush/Obama because Congress mandated that they fully fund all possible contingent liabilities for pensions and health care for seventy-five years. There was never any revenue shortfall to cause their problems and I’m angry that Neither Clinton nor Obama ever complained, much less pushed back.

  22. 22
    Eural Joiner says:

    @Gin & Tonic: Best sunmary of the man and his supporters ever. 😎

  23. 23
    Josie says:

    @Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism: True, but I am not convinced that Amazon is in competition with 5th Avenue either. Maybe their problems have another cause.

  24. 24
    Barbara says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    Trump is the past waging war against the future.

    It seems like this would have become more obvious by now. He won because he appealed to just enough voters who desperately want to resurrect their past lives because they have no clue how to claim the future. We talk about coastal cities sucking up prosperity, but it doesn’t have to be coastal — my own hometown, Pittsburgh is more than six hours from any beach and it has managed to rise from the ashes, but it took planning and a willingness to accept new industries, and of course, not everything is rosy, especially on the public school front, because of the benighted Republican party in Pennsylvania, which has used gerrymandering to double down on vicious policies that affect the whole state. But still, whether it’s Columbus, OH or Madison, WI, or even Wichita, KS, there is a lot of potential for someone with the imagination to see it and seize the opportunity.

  25. 25
    ascap_scab says:

    Let’s get serious here, faxing, eMail and texting is what killed the USPS. Amazon delivery is the lifeline that the USPS needed and IS the profitable arm of what remains.

    Trump doesn’t use eMail so why not kill that? Asshole.

  26. 26
    rikyrah says:

    Why Trump thinks he’s winning his war on media
    April 3, 2018 at 8:41 am EDT

    Nothing helps President Trump more — or tightens his hold on his base more securely — than his cozy, mutually beneficial relationship with conservative TV. Trump’s feedback loop, including cable-news coverage, and mainstream media squawking, convinces the president that he’s winning his war on media.

    The mainstream media’s skeptical-to-sneering coverage of Fox and Sinclair just endears those outlets to Trump, and causes his diehard supporters to dig in even deeper.

    How it works: “Trump demands instant gratification and the quickest way to do it is to kick a shared enemy of his media allies (WaPo being the one this week). He’ll get instant feedback, phone calls from cable hosts and approving coverage on their shows. It’s the modern version of call and response: his tweets, their chyrons.”

  27. 27
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Brachiator:
    It seems like every move Trump makes is calculated to do the most possible damage to America and Americans. (And everyone else, too.) I am more and more inclined to think him an active saboteur rather than a blunderer.

  28. 28
    Roger Moore says:

    @FlipYrWhig:
    This isn’t about facts. This is about a pretext for his war against Bezos and the Washington Post.

  29. 29
    Kay says:

    He is a petty thug. But who stops the petty thug? He can really do this? Target this company like this?

  30. 30
    Roger Moore says:

    @Brachiator:

    Goddam, except for his grudges, Trump is the president who is not there.

    You forgot the grift. He’s definitely there for that.

  31. 31
    rikyrah says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    @rikyrah: The USPS is also a place where a lot of non-white people get jobs with good benefits and a pension. Clearly that must not stand.

    Always thought that was a given as to why it’s hated.

  32. 32
    Kay says:

    I don’t have any particular love for Amazon but anyone who cheers this on is a moron. This is fucking crazy.

    He’s coming for your business next.

  33. 33
    MattF says:

    @rikyrah: I’m tired of agreeing with Rick Wilson. But I’ll do what I must. And, I’m particularly amused by the notion that The TrumpSons have shorted Amazon. Probably on a suggestion from the Orange One.

  34. 34
    sherparick says:

    @FlipYrWhig: Again, as Rick Wilson says, Trump thinks like a thug, especially as he courted and was courted by all those New York “goodfellas” over the years, he has always operated as an unholy combination of Sammy Glick and J.J. Hunseker and Putin. I wonder if his idea to go after Bezos comes from Putin, who consolidated power, and put the fear of God in the oligarchs, when he went after Mikhail Khodorkovsky in 2003–04. He is trying to engage the Republicans in a prosecution of Bezos and Amazon. Murdoch and David Smith of Sinclair have Trump’s back in this as as the late, likely terminal stage of the Republic continues. (There is many things wrong with Amzaon, but as Josh Marshall says, supporting Trump on this is supporting the end of our Republic and its transition to autocratic rule, with Trump as the autocrat.)

  35. 35
    kindness says:

    Trump thinks acting like a mafia capo is how this President thingy is done. The problem is, Trump’s notions of mafia Capo come from movies and TV and they aren’t real. Which fits the Reality TV President wonderfully. He can fantasy anything he wants and as far as he’s concerned, it’s true….because he’s Capo.

  36. 36
    tobie says:

    @Gin & Tonic: The USPS is also the lifeblood for a lot of rural communities which are too small to support larger carriers. Even UPS and FedEx will farm out package distribution in small communities to the USPS. Trump may have his biggest following in the country, but if there’s one govt institution rural Americans love, it’s the Post Office. Privatization of the postal service is DOA with this segment of the population.

  37. 37
    Roger Moore says:

    @eclare:
    And you know who would be screwed worst by privatizing the Post Office. It wouldn’t be big city liberals, who are the cheapest people in the country to deliver mail to. No, it would be rural customers, who would suddenly discover that the only way they could get mail would be by paying an exorbitant rent on a PO box in a city three counties away that the Post Office determined was the most economical place to operate.

  38. 38
    LAO says:

    O/T: I can’t wait!

    brace for Federal Sentencing Expert Twitter— CurseYouJeffBezosHat (@Popehat) April 3, 2018

    It’s Alex van der Zwaan’s sentencing day! First Mueller target to be sentenced.

  39. 39
    The Dangerman says:

    Rick Wilson: And I’d bet either his sons or friends shorted Amazon…

    And here I thought I was being paranoid yesterday for thinking such a thing…

    Martha Stewart: Don’t fuck with the SEC Donald.

  40. 40

    @Gin & Tonic: Not just him but his base and the party that he is the titular head of.

  41. 41
    dmsilev says:

    @Procopius: The problems with the Post Office come from the “Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006”, which was passed by a Republican Congress and signed by a Republican President. How on Earth is that the Democrats’ fault?

  42. 42
    JMG says:

    Canceling the DoD contract would mean instant litigation. Amazon is a very popular company that employs, unlike other big tech firms, hundreds of thousands of people all around the country. Amazon is also as important to rural customers as is the USPS. For once Trump has chosen to punch up, not down. He’ll be sorry.

  43. 43
    LAO says:

    @kindness: Trump wouldn’t make it make it five minutes in any of the NY families. But you raise an interesting point, I think that Trump conflates power with respect, ie. I’m powerful why don’t you respect me? It’s would be sad, if he wasn’t president and in a real position to hurt millions of people.

  44. 44
    MattF says:

    @The Dangerman: I mean, if you’re going to short Amazon… you might as well just shred the money and put a ribbon on your trash can saying “Yes, I’m an idiot”.

  45. 45
    Roger Moore says:

    @tobie:

    Even UPS and FedEx will farm out package distribution in small communities to the USPS.

    It’s not just small communities. Almost any time I get a small FedEx or UPS package, it winds up being delivered by the Post Office, and I live in the LA area. That’s why FedEx and UPS have lobbied Congress not to screw with the Post Office.

  46. 46
    Mandalay says:

    Our failed media is doing an outstanding job of not mentioning this tidbit:

    the 2006 Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act made it illegal for USPS to price parcel delivery below its cost

    But it’s not just the media who are helping out Trump: Amazon and USPS declined to comment on Trump’s tweet Monday morning.

    I have no idea who runs USPS, but failing to refute Trump’s lie is a sure sign that there is something very wrong at the top.

  47. 47
    eclare says:

    @Roger Moore: Absolutely. My postal worker delivers my mail on foot.

  48. 48
    Gelfling 545 says:

    @Josie: By the time I was in my 20s ( and I’m closing in on 70) the numerous independent retailers that lined the main street in my part of the city as well as the actual Main Street downtown were gone except for the few hanging on by a thread downtown to be finally closed when the original “mom & pop” who kept them going out of sentiment passed on. They have all been gone for decades as people headed to the big box stores and the malls in the suburbs. These stores were gone before the internet was ever conceived of for civilian use.

  49. 49
    Roger Moore says:

    @dmsilev:

    How on Earth is that the Democrats’ fault?

    Because they A) failed to stop the Republicans from passing it and B) didn’t repeal it during the brief, busy interval in 2009 when they could actually get stuff done without the Republicans blocking anything substantive. Obviously the Democrats’ fault for not being perfect, not the Republicans’ fault for being evil.

  50. 50
    Thoughtful David says:

    @MattF: I would think that would be the easiest insider-trading prosecution ever.

  51. 51
    gratuitous says:

    I thought Trump was in favor of businesses paying as little tax as legally possible, that it shows how smart the business owner is. Confusing!

  52. 52
    Ksmiami says:

    @Kay: we could of course not consent to this and just admit that the USA is in a real civil war now

  53. 53
    MattF says:

    A little poking around shows that Amazon’s ‘cloud’ contract with DoD is through a partner (REAN)– illustrating that an obsession to hurt Amazon will cause damage to a big section of the tech world. Trump probably doesn’t know about the importance of AWS. MAGA!!

  54. 54
    Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism says:

    @Josie: And the EPA didn’t close the coal mines. But a lot of people think it did.

  55. 55
    cmorenc says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    I am more and more inclined to think him an active saboteur rather than a blunderer.

    Both of these things can be simultaneously true – Trump serially focuses on sabotaging various things, but his frequent blundering inflicts widespread damage on everything, intended or unintended. Trump’s despotic vindictiveness combined with corruption and incompetence is potently toxic, amplified by his admiration of Putin as a role model for how Trump would like to rule the US.

  56. 56
    Roger Moore says:

    @MattF:

    I mean, if you’re going to short Amazon… you might as well just shred the money and put a ribbon on your trash can saying “Yes, I’m an idiot”.

    That depends on whether you have inside information. Shorting Amazon in general would be foolish, but shorting Amazon when you know Twittler is going to temporarily drive their stock down with another tweetstorm and promptly covering when it does its job could be very profitable.

  57. 57
    Josie says:

    @Gelfling 545: Exactly. That is one of the arguments, however, that Trump is using to convince his base that his war on Amazon is a righteous one. It’s ridiculous, but they will probably buy it.

  58. 58
    Gelfling 545 says:

    @dmsilev: Because it’s always the Democrats’ fault. Somehow.

  59. 59
    sherparick says:

    @Procopius: Amazon, Bezos, the FBI, their sins and failings are irrelevant. Trump does not give a darn about monopoly, he just hates the Washington Post and Bezos is a target because he owns the Washington Post. The FBI is a target because it is investigating his crimes and his connections to Putin and has to be destroyed or turned into a political instrument to persecute Trump’s enemies. This guy is an autocrat. The only thing stopping him are courts and the civilian and military bureaucracy loyal to the Constitution. For what will happen when you bet a bureaucracy Trumpified, and what they will do, see ICE. Read this article and you will understand the reason for panic. https://talkingpointsmemo.com/edblog/mccabe-amazon-and-defending-the-republic-from-donald-trump

  60. 60
    PVDMichael says:

    I guess I don’t understand the end game here.

    Wouldn’t a for-profit postal service probably mean higher prices for rural folks. Urban and suburban areas have good scale for a delivery business while going out into the sticks with one box is not a great business model. I think — even today — the big private parcel businesses use the USPS for the “final miles” for many rural deliveries.

    This would seem to hurt his constituents the most… again.

  61. 61
    MattF says:

    @Roger Moore: I see your point. And one assumes the SEC does too.

  62. 62
    Roger Moore says:

    @gratuitous:

    I thought Trump was in favor of businesses paying as little tax as legally possible, that it shows how smart the business owner is.

    Not at all. Trump is in favor of him paying as little tax as possible because it shows how smart he is. He’s in favor of businesses owned by his political allies paying as little tax as possible. But businesses owned by people he doesn’t like are wrong by definition.

  63. 63
    JMG says:

    @Roger Moore: Very illegal, too.

  64. 64
    Barbara says:

    @tobie:

    Privatization of the postal service is DOA with this segment of the population.

    When USPS retrenches to meet Congress’ insane health care accounting demands, it does so by closing rural post offices. Which, predictably, raises the ire of red geography politicians. When it is pointed out to them that USPS makes money in densely populated communities and loses money in rural geographies, then they start going all socialist on USPS. It’s just like Amtrak. When push comes to shove, it’s the rest of us who are subsidizing the reddest locations in America and they wouldn’t have it any other way, which would be okay with me except that they won’t ever admit it and just keep braying about how they are subsidizing us or others (and ITYKWIM).

  65. 65
    Roger Moore says:

    @PVDMichael:

    I guess I don’t understand the end game here.

    The end game is that privatization unleashes the innovation of capitalist industry, which revolutionizes the industry and drives down prices. If you just clap louder, the magic of the market will solve every problem.

  66. 66
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    @LAO: He also isn’t Capo; Trump can’t order Bezos killed and what Trump isn’t seeing one day he is not going to be president.

  67. 67
    burnspbesq says:

    @MattF:

    The biggest cloud on Amazon’s horizon is the IRS’ appeal to the Ninth Circuit, but even that is less than $3 billion including interest. It would be entirely in keeping with the Trump family’s history of business “acumen” to short the stock.

  68. 68
    tobie says:

    @Barbara: I hear ya. I think Jeffro once proposed that Americans could be sent a “Makers and Takers” report annually. I like the idea. Rural America would not exist without massive state and federal subsidies. They need to know that and to own their moocher-dom.

  69. 69

    Can you imagine if we had the same bullshit rules and ideas for, like, libraries? They would only be placed in high-circulation areas, you’d be charged time and postage for interlibrary loans, and late fees would have to be jacked up to cover the cost of the whole enterprise. The entire institution would collapse in five years.

    Complaining that the post office costs money is as sure a sign you’ve lost the plot as …well, anything else stupid people do. It’s stupid.

  70. 70
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @tobie:

    and to own their moocher-dom.

    Will. Never. Happen.

  71. 71
    Jeffro says:

    @Kay:

    [Trumpov] is a petty thug. But who stops the petty thug? He can really do this? Target this company like this?

    I’d think that there is some X number of (inaccurate/lying) tweets about Amazon + some Y number of witnesses who’ve heard Trumpov saying malicious things like, “How can I fuck with [Bezos]?” that will cause shareholders to ask (petition?) for a cease and desist order and/or damages. Being president* doesn’t mean this ass gets to lie like this and damage a company (any company).

  72. 72

    @MattF: fuck, the government is already one of AWS’s biggest clients. Changing to a new cloud provider would be… stupid. There’s that word again.

  73. 73
    Smedley Darlington Prunebanks (formerly Mumphrey, et Al.) says:

    Resentment and anger and envy and self pity. That’s all there is to this guy.

  74. 74
    Yarrow says:

    @rikyrah: I disagree with Rick Wilson’s politics, but he sure can be funny on Twitter and also on cable news shows.

  75. 75
    JMG says:

    Amazon stock (and all other stocks) bouncing back nicely this morning.

  76. 76
    geg6 says:

    @LAO:

    I know. One of the most infuriating things about that fat orange fuck is the fact that he’s got me cheering on the FBI, the CIA and goddam Amazon. That alone is enough to make me hate him and his spawn forever.

  77. 77
    tobie says:

    @Gin & Tonic: If we ever have more equitably drawn Congressional districts, we could draw some attention to the flow of state and federal dollars in this country. In general, though, I agree that ritual humiliation is not a winning strategy if you actually want to govern.

  78. 78
    burnspbesq says:

    @gratuitous:

    Amazon has mostly caved in to the states on both income tax and sales and use tax. It’s still fighting with the IRS over the value of the IP it transferred to a subsidiary in Luxembourg.

  79. 79
    Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism says:

    @Josie: He may believe it himself. One or more of the retail shops that’s closed in his properties likely told him that they’ve lost too much business to Amazon. People are buying jewelry and clothes from them now, and Amazon has been moving into higher-end goods.

    The companies renting space from him are the closest things to mom-and-pop stores he’s ever known.

  80. 80
    Barbara says:

    @Jeffro: I suppose if he keeps saying that Amazon doesn’t pay state and local taxes they could sue for business libel or some applicable tort based on damaging a company by making false statements. In most cases, even opinions based on false information are still opinions and not actionable, but where the statement is clearly intended to convey factual information and that information is false, then it might give rise to civil liability. “Don’t use Amazon because unlike local stores it pays no state and local taxes” is based on a false statement even if it’s your opinion that people should shop locally. It’s easier to make this kind of suit if you are an individual: “Don’t use Dr. Smith because he performs abortions” would clearly be actionable if Dr. Smith actually did not perform abortions. At any rate, the point would be to f*ck with Trump by tying him up in litigation that would make him have to consider the consequences of his words. And the bonus is that whether it could be brought in Washington State or Washington D.C., Amazon would have the advantage.

  81. 81

    @PVDMichael: Higher delivery charges for Amazon would hurt the customer too. They pass that cost along.

    Trump = malice+ignorance+power.

  82. 82
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Major Major Major Major: I haven’t kept track of that aspect of the business, but is there anyone else who has an infrastructure on AWS’ scale?

  83. 83
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    Off topic,

    Housemate’s girlfriend’s dad died, so they go down to Mexico were dad had retired to clean his place out. Apparently for Easter everyone in the State of Sonora takes their ATV to the beach and drives it back and forth, while partying. His impression was almost every Mexican he meet drives some big Americun’ truck, owns an ATV for the weekend and lives in a dirt floor house because, hey it’s Mexico. So apparently they have disposable income there.

  84. 84
    Jeffro says:

    @Barbara:

    where the statement is clearly intended to convey factual information and that information is false, then it might give rise to civil liability.

    Right. Which is where the “how can I fuck with [Bezos]?” part comes in. He’s using his power to try and tank a company, and whether some of the info shared is factual or not, the fact that it’s the president* of the US going after the company is causing the company’s stock to tank. Fortunately that’s only temporary…for now…

    Someone needs to hurry up and do the right thing for the country here. This fraud-at-best/traitor-at-worst has no right to abuse our democracy and its citizens and their livelihoods & savings like this.

  85. 85
    trollhattan says:

    @dmsilev:
    They were given ten years to fund seventy-five years of retiree healthcare benefits. Now doesn’t that sound like a tasty privatization target?

    “Hey look, y’all are now on 401ks and Medicaid. Pension fund? Never heard of it.”

  86. 86

    @Gin & Tonic: no.

    Maybe something in China. (Unless they use it too.)

  87. 87
    Roger Moore says:

    @tobie:

    Rural America would not exist without massive state and federal subsidies. They need to know that and to own their moocher-dom.

    I hate this take. Rural America doesn’t exist without Urban America, but the opposite is true, too. Our cities would be in really bad shape without food grown in those rural areas, and our industry would be in trouble without the raw materials they supply. Those subsidies help to keep agricultural, forest, and mining products cheap, which benefits people in cities and suburbs far more than those living out in the rural areas.

  88. 88
    different-church-lady says:

    Not many people could get monopoly-suspicious liberals and technology-suspicious conservatives *all* cheering for Amazon’s further success.

    Au contraire: if he takes down Amazon it will be the only worthwhile thing he’s ever done in his useless life. Because Amazon will be the next Facebook — the next thing where we say, “How did we let this one gigantic corporation have all this power over us?”

  89. 89
    The Moar You Know says:

    Fox & Friends is airing a segment right now blaming Amazon in part for years of losses at the U.S. Postal Service and encouraging someone (maybe a certain loyal viewer?) to “make the tough decision” to privatize Postal Service.

    Jesus. It was privatized in 1974. The “years of losses” are wholly due to Congressional interference, insistence on keeping junk mail cheap, and an insane demand to fund healthcare for all retirees for the next 75 years – right now.) How fucking stupid are these people?

    (I am aware of how stupid they are, it’s a rhetorical question)

  90. 90
    trollhattan says:

    @different-church-lady:
    Missing from a lot of the discussion is the unseen Walton hand. Those Trump supporters have the most to gain from taking Amazon down a notch.

  91. 91
    West of the Rockies (been a while) says:

    I truly loathed Bush and Cheney and Rumsfeld and Rice…

    But Trump and his ring wraiths are ever so much destructive. They cannot end fast enough or badly enough for me.

    Remember when Bush appointed Christy Todd-Whitman to the EPA and there was much liberal dread (I know I felt it)? Pruitt makes her look like Joanie Appleseed by comparison.

  92. 92
    different-church-lady says:

    @trollhattan: [sigh] It’s a Tarintino film — none of the characters are the good guy.

  93. 93
    Roger Moore says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    I haven’t kept track of that aspect of the business, but is there anyone else who has an infrastructure on AWS’ scale?

    I think Google and Microsoft both have infrastructure on a similar scale; they could certainly build up if they won a big contract. Honestly, though, I think it makes more sense for the government to bring that kind of thing in-house.

  94. 94
    Tim C. says:

    @Josie: Truth. I was living in a little town called La Grande Oregon in the early-mid 90s. Walmart just destroyed the local commercial sector. It’s certainly worth arguing about what can be done, but this isn’t Amazon as a company as it is something that has multiple causes and effects over the last 25 years. Also, does anyone think that if WaPo was acting like the Washington Times there would be any problem?

  95. 95
    Citizen Alan says:

    @rikyrah:

    It was always the GOP plan to privatize the USPS at some point. That was WHY they made it build up such a cash reserve in pensions — to make it more profitable for vulture capitalists.

  96. 96
    different-church-lady says:

    @Josie: Exactly: Big box killed Main Street, and now on-line is killing big box. Big box is reaping what it sowed.

    But on-line is going to have its own problems. I hate to even imagine what’s lousy thing is going to kill that.

  97. 97

    @Roger Moore: Microsoft’s infrastructure is IIRC mostly specialized for Azure. Google’s offerings are similarly sandboxed. Amazon has the most generalized and specialized.

    Amazon’s market share is roughly twice that of google and Microsoft and ibm combined.

  98. 98
    JMG says:

    Oddly enough, if the Postal Service ever was privatized, Amazon would be its most logical buyer and operator.

  99. 99
    Lapassionara says:

    @The Moar You Know: Yes. I thought it already was a corporate entity, separate from the government. Same with Amtrak, I think.

  100. 100
    But her emails!!! says:

    @rikyrah:

    The USPS got into serious financial trouble WHEN THE GOP FORCED THEM FUN PENSION MANDATES FOR 75 YEARS IN A 5 YEAR SPAN.
    SIGH.

    This. This also grease for the privatization push. Those prefunded pensions and healthcare expenses are a massive kitty that any buyer is almost certainly going to liquidate and pocket.

  101. 101
    Barbara says:

    @Roger Moore: Well gosh, I hate that take too, but the point is I am willing to acknowledge the symbiotic nature of rural and urban America and they are mostly not. That, and not trashing rural America, is the point.

  102. 102
    Ohio Mom says:

    @Josie: I suspect 5th Avenue’s retail issues probably have in good part to do with astronomical rents. The higher rent the district, the higher the rents. Eventually, even luxury goods purveyors get out priced. Empty storefronts are epidemic in all areas of NYC and the cause is greedy landlords.

    I will add in regard to the USPO: I have a lot more faith in the privacy of my snail mail than in any of my electronic correspondence. That isn’t to say that I don’t use email, I do, except for the occasional birthday present or condolence card.

    But you can’t keep a democracy without the free exchange of ideas, and I am still wedded to the idea that the mail system is an important support of communication among the citizenry. Even if it is currently somewhat on hold as a primary conduit.

  103. 103
    El Caganer says:

    @JMG: For which Trump will take credit, not mentioning that they tanked yesterday.

  104. 104
    Brachiator says:

    @Barbara:

    Advisers are also encouraging Trump to cancel Amazon’s pending multi-billion contract with the Pentagon to provide cloud computing services, sources say.

    When I read things like this I am instantly suspicious that someone else who wanted that contract is whispering in the ear of someone who is whispering in Trump’s ear or in this case, blaring in his ear from the tv screen. Someone this susceptible to manipulation just should not be in a position of power over other people, ever.

    Trump is like an evil Chauncey Gardner, the character from Being There. Trump’s braggadocio about his intellect hides a disturbing fact. Trump is not intimidated by smart advisers; he has no clue what they are talking about. He is incapable of making use of the information they provide him.

    It’s as though Republicans elected a dull, angry 9th grader to be president of the United States. When he needs advice, Trump invariably calls on people who are as dumb, ill-informed and nasty as he is. They are the only people he can comprehend.

    Trump is emotionally and intellectually unable to adequately perform the duties of president of the United States. And instead of growing into the job, he is moving to reinforce his ability to operate from his very narrow comfort zone.

    @PVDMichael:

    I guess I don’t understand the end game here.

    Wouldn’t a for-profit postal service probably mean higher prices for rural folks.

    Trump doesn’t have an end game. There is no coherent agenda or ideology attached to his free floating grudges. Trump cannot even be said to believe in (or understand) markets. There is only good deals and bad deals, and his grudges (and grift). It’s all Hulk-Trump: “Trump hate Bezos. Bezos bad. Bezos hurt our post office. Trump smash Bezos!”

  105. 105
    GregB says:

    Thank God Washington is run by conservatives who believe the market should remain unmolested by the heavy hand government.

  106. 106
    J.A.F. Rusty Shackleford says:

    @Josie:

    I know we are not supposed to like Amazon, but in many ways they have made my life better. As for the damage to mom and pop stores, I think WalMart and other big box stores have already taken care of that. Turn abouts, fair play.

    I’m a big fan of Amazon. I have Prime which includes video (I love Fire TV), music (listen every day on the train commute) and Twitch (free games every month now). I also get a discounted subscription to the Washington Post. I have two small kids and having Amazon delivery is wonderful.

    I have a 5 port switch, a mounting bracket, (2) 3′ cat5 cables and a Logitech headset due to arrive tomorrow.

  107. 107
    West of the Rockies (been a while) says:

    @Barbara:

    I get tired of the POV of many rural folk that they (and only they) work hard, have values, grit, integrity.

    But similarly there are urban dwellers who regard everyone else as ignorant bumpkins deserving of ridicule.

  108. 108
    But her emails!!! says:

    @ascap_scab:

    Let’s get serious here, faxing, eMail and texting is what killed the USPS. Amazon delivery is the lifeline that the USPS needed and IS the profitable arm of what remains.

    Trump doesn’t use eMail so why not kill that? Asshole.

    Eh. These were struggles for the Postal service, but they didn’t really kill it. What’s killing it is
    1. Being required by Congress to prefund pensions and medical costs 75 years out. Literally nobody does this.
    2. Congress’ failure to expand the Post Office’s mandate to include things like providing nationwide internet service.

  109. 109
    The Moar You Know says:

    I suspect 5th Avenue’s retail issues probably have in good part to do with astronomical rents. The higher rent the district, the higher the rents. Eventually, even luxury goods purveyors get out priced. Empty storefronts are epidemic in all areas of NYC and the cause is greedy landlords.

    @Ohio Mom: I’m seeing this all throughout coastal California now. First it was SF (while I was living there, no fun, mid 1990s), then the entire Bay Area (started in 1998 and went gangbusters in the early 2010s), and now most of the entire state. The few survivors bought their buildings back in the 1980s or earlier. The rest are getting forced out, businesses that have been there for fifty years or more. It’s not taxes, not regulations, not minimum wage, not Democrats, not any of the usual bullshit excuses, just greedy landlords. Or in two cases I can think of off the top of my head, not the original landlord but their kids, who assured everyone it would be business as usual even as the real estate agents were already actively hunting buyers.

  110. 110
    d58826 says:

    @eclare: ok mark me down as dumb a a rock but are there other equivalents to Amazon. I know for clothes there is Lands End, etc. But Amazon seems to have just about anything I might want and a whole lot of things I didn’t know I ‘really’ needed

  111. 111

    @The Moar You Know: my neighborhood in SF has many vacant storefronts, and at least three of them have remained that way because the only interested tenants were local chains who couldn’t afford the fees, bribery, and cajoling requited to circumvent the anti-chain laws. Only big chains can afford those.

  112. 112
    d58826 says:

    @But her emails!!!:

    Let’s get serious here, faxing, eMail and texting is what killed the USPS’

    I think that applies to just the first class/letter/credit card stmts type of mail.

  113. 113
    Skippy-san says:

    Somehow, you just can’t say the words, “Trump is evil” enough.

  114. 114
    SFAW says:

    @Procopius:

    Oh, Thank FSM you’re BACK!!!!

    The moron-density in this joint had been dropping of late, but fortunately you’re back to pr(oc)op it up!!!

  115. 115
    Barbara says:

    @But her emails!!!: Right, just as Congress won’t permit the USPS to offer rudimentary banking services that could take the place of piratical check cashing entities.

  116. 116
    d58826 says:

    @J.A.F. Rusty Shackleford: I’m old enough to remember when the shopping malls killed the mom and pop corner stores. Things change. We can’t go back to the Waltons (TV show) Gotzy general store.

  117. 117
    Barbara says:

    @The Moar You Know: They all seem to think that there will be an infinite number of Apple Stores (or if not Apple, more realistically, Starbucks or Peets) ready and willing to rent their location.

  118. 118
    eclare says:

    @d58826: I only order from Amazon if I can’t find what I need in a bricks and mortar store. Porch pirates are a real concern (I’ve had windchimes stolen off of my porch), and I am the laziest person in the world at returning items if they don’t work/aren’t what I expected. So I’m probably one of the few for which ordering on-line is more of a hassle than regular shopping (full disclosure: I don’t have kids, I can see how ordering would be a lot more convenient then).

  119. 119
    KithKanan says:

    @The Moar You Know: I’ve certainly watched that here on the central coast. Some of it was other factors – a majority of the stores in downtown SLO moved or closed during the decade or so after the San Simeon quake of 2003 and subsequent mandatory retrofit or demolition of ~120 unreinforced masonry buildings – but a lot of it was also tenants finding out the rent had tripled or worse when it was time to negotiate a new lease.

  120. 120
    SFAW says:

    @Brachiator:

    It’s all Hulk-Trump: “Trump hate Bezos. Bezos bad. Bezos hurt our post office. Trump smash Bezos!”

    Fuck that shit. At least the Hulk didn’t try to enrich himself on the backs of everyone else, and also had an ethos* (more or less).

    *No, that’s not an invitation for “Say what you will about …”

  121. 121

    @Barbara: I don’t understand the decision chain that leads to a landlord leaving a place vacant for years hoping for a high-rent client, instead of renting it out for at least short-term popups in the meantime.

    ETA perhaps they are stupid.

  122. 122
    JR says:

    Bezos is the Duc D’Orleans in this timeline?

  123. 123
    WereBear says:

    I am in a very lightly populated area with all “normal” shopping an hour away, and not that appealing, anyway. Online is all my shopping if I can’t get it (in stock or ordered) locally. We fought back against Wal-Mart several years ago and kept some of our mom & pops, like our local music store. This in a place that once had three different department stores downtown.

    I’m not happy with a lot of Amazon practices, but I also don’t have much in the way of other choices, either. There is no way a brick and mortar store can come near the prices of website and warehouse stores. Simple economics.

  124. 124
    eclare says:

    @Barbara: Good point, when I lived in London, you could bank, pay bills, at their equivalent of a post office. Don’t know if it is still that way, but it made sense to me.

  125. 125
    The Moar You Know says:

    my neighborhood in SF has many vacant storefronts, and at least three of them have remained that way because the only interested tenants were local chains who couldn’t afford the fees, bribery, and cajoling requited to circumvent the anti-chain laws. Only big chains can afford those.

    @Major Major Major Major: Congrats on remaining. I left in 2000. Was right on the border between Inner and Outer Sunset (19th Avenue). Over the intervening years I was at least able to take my wife to most of my old hangouts (Inner Sunset and Cole Street). Last trip (last year) literally every one of them had closed. I told her I’m not sure I’m going to be able to go up there again. I find it oddly, fundamentally sad. The only places left that I recognize are some liquor stores and all the shitholes selling garbage to tourists on Market.

    I know the bribery and fees thing is a real problem there (I used to manage a retail guitar shop) and I expect that’s only gotten worse. I’ve never lived in what I’d call a well-run city, but SF is remarkable in just how badly it’s run.

  126. 126
    JR says:

    @Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism: Neither does Amazon (directly). There are a number of luxury online retailers that probably contract Amazon logistics, though.

  127. 127
    WereBear says:

    @d58826: LL Bean has been my Far North goto for decades. But now they have gone for absolute crap at the same prices. We returned vitally needed clothes for store credit, (because we used gift cards) and combed the site for stuff that still had the quality.

    Amazon is at least a known quantity, and an outlet for other businesses.

  128. 128

    @The Moar You Know:

    Congrats on remaining.

    Oh, I’m leaving as soon as I can.

    I’ve never lived in what I’d call a well-run city, but SF is remarkable in just how badly it’s run.

    It’s really astounding.

  129. 129
    Ohio Mom says:

    @The Moar You Know: There is a NYC- based blog on this topic, Jerimiah’s Vanishing New York. His focus includes (among other things) mom-and-pop diners and stores, and it is a depressing read.

    And yes, kids of the original owners looking to cash in is one (relatively small) part of it; he also constantly reminds his readers that what survives are the soulless national chains (@Major Major Major Major: ).

    To go back to the original topic, what ails Trump’s retail tenants ain’t Amazon, it is real estate development in overdrive.

  130. 130
    d58826 says:

    @eclare: Back in my younger days we would eat out on a Sat. night and then wander the mall window shopping. Well, the knees won’t put up with the walking and most of the mall is now empty. I buy clothes at Lands end, and books thru History book club. Used to buy CD’s (yes I’m that old) thru Columbia Record club but they no long exist. So Amazon and Wal-mart online it is.

  131. 131
    Brachiator says:

    @The Moar You Know:

    It’s not taxes, not regulations, not minimum wage, not Democrats, not any of the usual bullshit excuses, just greedy landlords.

    I see aspects of this in Southern California. Not just empty storefronts, but storefronts that stay empty for longer periods of time. But the thing is, the landlords are not just greedy, they are stupid, since there is not a stream of prospective tenants jumping to get into these properties. But taxes and wages have an impact as well. I’ve also seen a sad death spiral, where a business relocates to a less desirable location in the same general area, but then loses its regulars and finds that the new location has bad parking, less foot traffic or other negative factors.

  132. 132
    MattF says:

    @The Moar You Know: Well, back in the medieval era of my youth, 5th Avenue was a hodge-podge of well-known shops and luxury institutions towards the north and lower priced random (somewhat touristy) shops towards the south– twenty years before that, 57th Street was a center for jazz clubs and that street was kind of a dividingng line between the well-off and the real luxury neighborhoods. There were a dozen bookstores north and south on 5th, and some of them (e.g., Rizzoli and Doubleday) were simply magnificent. There was also the Donell Library (for the commoners who arrived by subway) and MOMA.

    Now, -all- the bookstores are gone, there’s Trump Tower, and a few ultra-high end shops, and that’s about it. Rents have gone so high that only ‘showcase’ stores survive, and not for long. It’s a pity– used to be a nice neighborhood.

  133. 133

    @d58826: Amazon saved my sanity after we moved here and the closest bookstore was 50 miles away. I will always be grateful to them for that.

  134. 134
    The Moar You Know says:

    – a majority of the stores in downtown SLO moved or closed during the decade or so after the San Simeon quake of 2003 and subsequent mandatory retrofit or demolition of ~120 unreinforced masonry buildings –

    @KithKanan: Same thing happened in Santa Cruz after the 89 Loma Prieta quake. Including the demolitions. The replacement downtown was no small factor in my decision to leave SC and move to SF, because it sucked.

    I was not aware that the San Simeon quake was that bad.

  135. 135

    When Teddy Roosevelt went after the big businesses and banks, he used the LAW in the form of antitrust regulations to hurt them. To my knowledge, he never ran smear campaigns against them to ruin their value. He just wanted them to play by the rules.

  136. 136

    @Ohio Mom: it’s sad that well-intentioned anti-chain laws just lead to more and worse chains. But then, it seems like regulation that can be captured, will.

  137. 137
    Vor says:

    @Enhanced Voting Techniques: a right leaning columnist for the St. Paul Pioneer press published pieces for years complaining about seeing school buses everywhere, that obviously the schools waste a ton of money buying buses. Finally, he sat down with the head of the local school district’s transportation department who explained that we was seeing the same set of extremely busy buses driving around on tight schedules. Hasn’t complained about buses since then.

  138. 138
    Barbara says:

    @Major Major Major Major: I think it depends on what kind of tenant will lease the space. If it’s a restaurant, leases tend to be long-term because of the significant capital investment for most eateries, so if you sign a lease for less than you think you could get, you will be in that lease for a long time. A big space for a big restaurant will not be rented out on a short-term basis. The revenue is probably not even worth the casualty risk.

  139. 139
    d58826 says:

    @Ohio Mom: When I was growing up you could get most of what you needed on Garrett Road – a 2 block long strip of mom and pop stores. What you could not get there you could take the trolley into 69th street and hit one of the 3 department stores or one of the specialty shops . At Xmas you would go downtown to the main store to see the Christmas decorations. Of course those where the days where you had two options for sneakers – black/white and high/low. You had a choice of 12 inch B/W TVs and any number of radios with vaccum tubes.

  140. 140
    The Moar You Know says:

    Oh, I’m leaving as soon as I can.

    @Major Major Major Major: I don’t blame you. After a couple of years of dealing with insane homeless people living in the doorway of my apartment, I saw the value in paying far more taxes just to deal with those folks. But as you know, the city would take the money happily, and then do literally nothing.

    There’s so many people there to be angry at that I can’t list them all and wouldn’t even try. The city has failed every single one of its residents, and will continue to fail them.

  141. 141
    d58826 says:

    @Vor: Hopefully he also explained that in modern suburbia most schools are NOT within walking distance. And schools close early for snow because of transportation issues and for most kids Mom works so you can’t just close the schools mid-day. For better or worse we don’t live in the golden 50’s (which wen’t really so golden).

  142. 142
    The Moar You Know says:

    I see aspects of this in Southern California.

    @Brachiator: That’s where I am now, home again (born and raised here). I’m seeing everything you are. I find the willingness to let a building in a good location to just sit and rot for five to ten years incomprehensible. And I see that a LOT.

  143. 143
    Joyce H says:

    @J.A.F. Rusty Shackleford:

    I’m a big fan of Amazon. I have Prime which includes video (I love Fire TV), music (listen every day on the train commute) and Twitch (free games every month now). I also get a discounted subscription to the Washington Post. I have two small kids and having Amazon delivery is wonderful.

    Count me as a fan, too. As a retiree with bad knees living in a rural community, if I want some items, my options are to drive 15 miles to Walmart and do a great deal more walking than is comfortable for me, and then haul the items home and into the house – or order from Amazon and wait for them to arrive on my front porch.

    And as a writer, well! I know darn well I never would have been published if it weren’t for the advent of ebooks and self-publishing. (Genuine self-publishing, for free – not the vanity presses that used to, and in fact still do, prey on the desire of writers to see their books in print.) There are plenty of writers making darn good livings off of indie publishing, who never would have gotten a foot in the door at the traditional publishers, as well as traditionally published writers who wrote for peanuts before they went indie. Whole genres that the trad publishers declared dead have made comebacks and found readers.

    But whether you like or dislike Amazon, the fact remains that the President of the United States is attempting to damage or destroy a private business by telling objective, demonstrable lies against it. Isn’t that grounds for a lawsuit? (Of course, it’s also a very clear abuse of power, but I know better than to think THIS Congress will do anything about it.)

  144. 144
    Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism says:

    @JR: That was more “Why Amazon and not Wal-Mart when Wal-Mart is the real mom-and-pop killer”. I can easily see Amazon (or Amazon Marketplace) being blamed for an upscale department store closing shop. They’ll never blame Wal-Mart.

    But Saks and Macy’s are definitely feeling pressure from Amazon. Not everything they sell is aimed at the $1k handbag crowd.

  145. 145
    cosima says:

    @eclare: Yes, you can still do this. Where we live (approx. one hour from a ‘big’ city) the small bank branches have almost all closed between us & the city, and most people now do their banking at the post office, or via the banking vans (like a mini-RV) that do regular village routes (for example, XXX bank would be here on a Tuesday at 10-1030, YYY bank here on a Thursday from 10-1030.)

    I have deleted my FB (have to walk the talk) and back to trying to get my daughter to use the ancient form of communication called email. Next on my list was writing Amazon to get them to drop the NRA channel streaming, then deleting them if they continued to host that garbage. I’ll still write them about that garbage, but as long as they are under siege from the OFC I’ll stick with them. Amazon is my lifeline for food items that I could nip to the Kroeger/Safeway/Albertsons/Whole Foods/etc to get when in the US. I made a Mexican barbacoa dish not long ago, and got my chiles in adobo via amazon. There is no way I would ever find them here in this corner of Scotland at any shop. No way in hell. And that goes for lots of food that is completely taken for granted in the US. My mum asked what I wanted her to send me — I asked for baking cinnamon chips (for an excellent English muffin bread recipe I have). I can get them on Amazon — for £12/bag.

    Yesterday I got a few groceries from our local mom & pop shop, and some things from our local tiny pharmacy/chemist, birthday gifted myself a Le Creuset pan from a local shop (that was heaps cheaper at Amazon), and get Mr some whisky from a local shop. But I also ordered a ton of things from Amazon that I cannot find in any shop in our village or any city nearby — some I’d never find even if I went all the way to London. It would suck to cancel Amazon prime, but I’d do it. The OFC has made it that much less likely.

  146. 146
    Ohio Mom says:

    @Major Major Major Major: When I go back to my birthplace to visit, I am always struck by how much Manhattan especially has turned into an Any Town, Any Where shopping mall. One big chain after another.

    Some, especially newcomers and tourists, must find it comforting that everything is so familiar — they don’t know what they are missing.

  147. 147
    KithKanan says:

    @The Moar You Know: I grew up in Santa Cruz, was in 3rd grade during the ’89 quake. I will definitely remember 10/17/89 17:04 for the rest of my life.

    The San Simeon quake levelled several old buildings in downtown Paso Robles (not as bad as Santa Cruz, but bad enough), and what happened to that town is dramatic. Paso rebuilt into a trendy wine tourist town, which has been great for business but seems utterly soulless to me compared to the cozy small town feel it used to have.

    SLO wasn’t hit very hard by the quake, it was the mandatory retrofitting afterward (90%+ of the buildings are still there after reinforcement, but the tenant leases weren’t renewed and they were kicked out during the construction. When the expensive construction was done, naturally rents were higher). The retrofitting was required by a 1986 state law, but compliance had been dragged out for decades – after seeing the collapses in Paso, local authorities stopped resisting. All the required plaques on local buildings warning they were unreinforced masonry subject to collapse in an earthquake and you should enter at your own risk were, it was decided, dangerous not just for the tourists/customers but the local tourist industry as a whole.

  148. 148
    ruemara says:

    These rich motherfuckers better start learning that the puppet they think they got is actually a saboteur here to destroy the whole economy. And the funny thing is, he’s so bad at everything besides being an egomaniac, he’d be just as willfully destructive even if he wasn’t a Russian asset.

    @Ohio Mom: Last time I went back, I couldn’t stand it. I missed NYC. This felt too touristy, too crowded and too generic.

  149. 149
    Tim C. says:

    @Roger Moore: Yup. But that’s been the story for a lot rural areas for the last 50 years or so. They think they pay for the decadent cities when in fact it’s 100% the other way around. Rural areas usually can’t even afford roads or much in the way of any services with the big cities.

  150. 150

    One factor of this is the power rush and Trump’s raging insecurities. Everything he has tried has failed. Everything. From his perspective, even the ICE stuff has failed, because the courts have slapped him a couple of times and limited his authority. Plus, he’s not getting publicly praised for it. Trying to be a military hotshot failed first. Trying to beat the courts failed, trying to put down the Russia thing failed, his budget demands have failed – he’s feeling powerless. Here he badmouthed someone he didn’t like, and their stock dropped! WOO! What a rush! He’s the president! Suck on that, everybody! He can destroy a company with mere words!

    Amazon is going to win this fight with ease, and that will be another miserable failure on the list for the man who should have everything.

    @Roger Moore:

    I hate this take.

    Liberals believe in pulling everyone up, not just the deserving, so you’re right there. However, the ‘takers and makers’ myth is one of the central lies conservatives use to prop themselves up. As long as they use it, the public needs to know that conservatives are the actual moochers.

    Also, what goods and services are provided where is irrelevant to this topic. It is specifically about where tax money goes. That is what conservatives harp on, and where their hypocrisy needs to be made public.

  151. 151
    The Moar You Know says:

    I will definitely remember 10/17/89 17:04 for the rest of my life.

    @KithKanan: Damn. I was 23, downtown, in the Long’s Drugs right across from the mall. I thought I was going to die. I thought as the years went by I’d forget or at least it wouldn’t be quite so vivid. That has proven not to be the case.

    Well met, survivor.

  152. 152
    d58826 says:

    As much as we bemoan the loss of the mom and pop shop how many of us would give up the convenience and selection of a Home Depot for the corner hardware store. All other issues aside the mom and pop hardware store could not stock all of the home improvement items that Home Depot does. Of course you could order them from Amazon :-).
    When I was a kid there was a mom and pop store that sold ‘consumer electronics’ i.e TVs in 12/16/20 inch screen size b/w or color. plus some radios and record players. The TV section at Wal-Marts covers a larger footprint than the entire mom and pop store.

  153. 153
    KithKanan says:

    @The Moar You Know: My personal experience wasn’t so dramatic – I was inside doing homework, couldn’t see much. I think the constant aftershocks traumatized me far more than the quake itself. I’m still occasionally a bit jumpy when a particularly heavy truck rolls by unexpectedly.

    My dad must have had a hell of a ride though – he was up on the 5th (top) floor of the County building. I know he had to go to urgent care to get glass out of his back from fluorescent light fixtures that shattered and fell.

  154. 154
    Jak says:

    I’m a big fan of Amazon (and other online sites as well). We live 25 miles from the city with a few big box stores including Costco. It is a city of 40k + people. Driving 25 miles to get hardware (from poorly stocked stores), or electronics (again from poorly stocked stores) is time consuming, hazardous, and frustrating because the items aren’t available. For many items I can order before noon and they are delivered by 10a the next morning, 430p if they hand the package off to the post office. Paying taxes on these items (amazon collects for the state) is no burden. Not having to make a 3 hour round trip driving is where the savings accumulate. And Amazon pretty much always has the item. Streaming video (we cut the cable) is another Prime bonus.

  155. 155
    🌷 Martin says:

    Amazon is large enough that their delivery contracts are quite different than other sellers. Generally there isn’t a per-parcel cost assessment to Amazon. The reason is that the transactional cost for individual packages is relatively high (itemizing, auditing, billing, etc.) and for the USPS, that’s a big part of their costs because they deal in so many individual parcels. Amazon’s volume means that their contracts look a little bit more like a flat rate per route, because what Amazon really pioneered is the ‘2 day anywhere’ delivery model. So Amazon is paying for UPS or USPS to drive a truck to any location in the US daily, whether there is one parcel or 30 in the truck. So they’re paying some fraction of the marginal infrastructure costs for the carrier (fuel, salary, depreciation) as a flat rate and then they can effectively cram as many packages in that truck as possible. Amazon pays more if they need to run another truck, etc. The carriers like this model because it’s a guaranteed revenue stream. Amazon likes it because their shipping costs are easier to predict based on the data that Amazon has. And it’s why Prime works as well as it does for Amazon, and why they have no qualms about splitting your package up across 3 deliveries, because they aren’t really paying per-parcel like the rest of us would. And they don’t need to worry so much about per-parcel costs for damage, refunds, etc. That gets negotiated in the contract and averages out and they get a lower per-parcel rate overall. Makes billing a lot easier. It’s a very efficient way of doing things. Every carrier uses the USPS as a carrier of last resort, so everyone has similar contracts with USPS, and though Amazon may start the delivery with UPS or FedEx, it’ll sometimes get handed off to USPS. Overall, it’s a system that works well for all.

    But that model also means that when Amazon so dominates a delivery route, where a large fraction of parcels originate from Amazon, it becomes cheaper for Amazon do deliver it themselves, and that’s what they’ve been getting into the last few years. And that makes sense when they do fulfillment for so many other businesses. The threat from Amazon to the carriers is that Amazon did the work of warehousing everybody’s stuff and using their scale to dramatically improve the logistics end of things, and they did that before the carriers really filled that role. And because Amazon has contracts with everyone, they can always choose the cheapest option – USPS, UPS, or themselves. It’s a tough model to beat.

    Ultimately, Amazon is going to get the warehouses fully automated. The articles from a few years ago profiling warehouse workers that were sprinting through the warehouse are outdated now – the shelves come to the workers. Not that the warehouse jobs aren’t still pretty shitty jobs, but ultimately those will go away too, and the reason is that there’s no value-add there. There’s nothing the warehouse worker at Amazon can do to make my order better when the only goal is ‘get me this things ASAP’. Instead, we want those worker reallocated to things that have value-add goals – a better meal or service at a restaurant, better care at the doctor, better teaching of our kids, etc.

    As for the retail situation, yeah, rents are a bit of a problem, but the bigger problem is that buying patterns have changed. My wife is a good example – she find a standard size shoe to be a bit uncomfortable and prefers a wider shoe. She would go to a shoe store, find something she likes, only to discover they don’t have her size, or have it in a wide. She might settle for the non-wide, and then be unhappy with how it feels, but at least she got shoes. Conventional retail works great in a one-size fits all world because of the issue of warehousing, and a LOT of people put their preferences aside to fit into that world. Carrying every shoe style in every size was impractical, so you either needed to constrain your styles or constrain your sizes. Retail then broke apart to accommodate this, with plus-size stores for women and big and tall shops for men, etc. But my wife can go online and get any style she wants in exactly the size she wants. No compromises to warehousing realities because she’ll get it from some million square foot warehouse rather than a 5000 sq ft storefront.

    Further, what we spend our dollars on has shifted. Apparel makers started getting clobbered about 7 years ago, and the analysts struggled to figure out why. The answer was the iPhone. Teens cared more about having a nice phone than nice clothes, and so they shifted their budgets en masse. The result was consumer spending for apparel dropped across the board and instead moved into consumer electronics. But consumer electronics are more fungible than apparel is. It’s easier to warehouse and it doesn’t have the high transaction costs associated with trying on clothes, and whatnot. It was an easier retail operation to sustain and it was one that similarly worked better online.

    The retail space is beginning to respond, but too slowly. MTailor and ThirdLove are good examples, but they come from outside the traditional retail space. The problem that retail fell into is that consumers didn’t see the value add in the retail location. When I worked retail in highschool we offered in-house tailoring, and concierge services, and so on. You could walk into a mid to high end department store and say ‘I have an event and I need something to wear’ and they’d guide you through it – day/evening, formal/semiformal, will you be accompanying someone, what are they wearing, etc. It was useful. It was worth paying for. It added value. But it’s not worth paying for someone to just ring up an item and send me on my way, and increasingly retail pushed toward efficiency thinking that’s what people valued (I blame WalMart) rather than figuring out what people valued and the asking them to pay for that value. (If anyone wonders how Apple keeps growing despite lower cost offerings, this is why). MTailor at least had a retail counterpart, at least in large cities, but it would cost a lot. MTailor shirts start at $50, which is more than you’d pay off the rack, but is quite a bit cheaper than a custom tailored shirt. It’s something a college student could conceivably afford to buy for interviewing. ThirdLove seems to be even more unique. The market for custom-made bras must have been even smaller than for custom dress clothes. Levis got into custom jeans maybe 6 years ago or so.

    These are the trends that are really killing traditional retail – consumer dollars shifting to other segments, and consumer dollars going away from mass market goods to custom or artisan ones. And if you look, that part of retail is doing well. It’s a generational transition, though, so its slow.

  156. 156
    Roger Moore says:

    @The Moar You Know:

    It’s not taxes, not regulations, not minimum wage, not Democrats, not any of the usual bullshit excuses, just greedy landlords.

    This makes me think of the shopping center just down the street from me. When I moved it, it was anchored by an Albertson’s, which was the only place to buy groceries for about a mile. They were driven out by the landlord demanding higher rent, and the place is still empty coming on 5 years later. My gut feeling is the landlord wants to make the place such a nuisance that the city will give up and let him knock the thing down and replace it with condos. If I understand correctly, SB827 would allow him to do just that.

  157. 157
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @Procopius:

    Clinton/Bush/Obama

    Dead thread, but who controlled Congress during these times?

  158. 158
    Roger Moore says:

    @Major Major Major Major:

    I don’t understand the decision chain that leads to a landlord leaving a place vacant for years hoping for a high-rent client, instead of renting it out for at least short-term popups in the meantime.

    I sincerely wonder how much of this is a property market bubble. They’re looking for high-rent clients, but their real hope is to hold onto the building while it appreciates and then sell it for a tidy profit. In my area, there’s also a worry about foreign investors buying stuff up as a way of parking their money in America and not worrying too much about profit. There’s certainly a lot of luxury housing near me that’s being bought up by Chinese business people. For them, it’s a mix of wanting to park their money in America and wanting to be able to stay in their own home rather than a hotel when they come to the US for business.

  159. 159
  160. 160
    Aleta says:

    @Major Major Major Major: If they own a number of buildings, a loss on one may let them shelter the income from the others. (A vacancy tax could change that, if it is allowed.)

  161. 161
    different-church-lady says:

    @LAO: What ever happened to rooting for injuries?

  162. 162

    @Aleta: what we really need is a land value tax.

  163. 163
    satby says:

    @Frankensteinbeck: @Roger Moore:

    Also, what goods and services are provided where is irrelevant to this topic. It is specifically about where tax money goes. That is what conservatives harp on, and where their hypocrisy needs to be made public.

    If I had a penny for every time I heard my rural neighbors and customers complain about the “city people” and how they suck up all the tax dollars supporting their lazy, violent lifestyles I could have retired wealthy. The majority of these people were saying these things while collecting SS and SSDI, getting Medicaid or healthcare at the VA, getting food stamps or getting agricultural subsidies for their farms…And on and on. Anecdotes aren’t data, but the sheer hypocritical gall of these people requires a clue by four to the head, repeatedly.

  164. 164
    ellie says:

    @J.A.F. Rusty Shackleford: I do too. I run a small business, like thousands of others, on Amazon’s sales platform that gives me access to all of Amazon’s customers. It is part of my livelihood. But who gives a shit about that huh? It’s all let’s destroy Amazon, the big monster. I am so fucking sick of people and their tunnel vision.

  165. 165
    JAFD says:

    @d58826: Greetings from another former Upper Darby resident !

    Don’t especially like buying from Amazon, but have used it in past year for a few big and small things I couldn’t find at local retail – clothespins with hooks (checked a couple of ‘dollar stores’) and a 400 sqft – big-room size – HEPA air filter (checked local appliance, big-box stores). Find searching for things on their webpages very frustrating (don’t approve their labor practices, either)

    But looking at ‘things to get list’ – not much on that list which can be gotten from Amazon. But maybe if half-hour to waste at computer finding if what they mean by ‘valet bar’ is what I thot …

  166. 166
    Mark's Bubbie says:

    Amazon Caused Donald Trump to Lose $400 Million in Net Worth, Says Forbes

    http://fortune.com/2017/10/17/.....th-forbes/

  167. 167
    🌷 Martin says:

    @Major Major Major Major:

    I don’t understand the decision chain that leads to a landlord leaving a place vacant for years hoping for a high-rent client, instead of renting it out for at least short-term popups in the meantime.

    ETA perhaps they are stupid.

    Well, I won’t discount your latter explanation, but I do know that because so many of these properties are consolidated among a relatively few retail property managers, they have a longer and broader view than just that individual store. We see this constantly where I live (much to our annoyance) where they will evict a tenant that we know wants to stay (because we talked to them) and then the space sits idle for a few years. The reason they do that is that the lease rates are interconnected across stores – not unlike home prices across a neighborhood. (BTW, researching commercial lease rates for the area you are looking to buy into is a pretty reliable way to predict if housing prices are going to climb or not.)

    Anyway, in my area triple-net (lesee pays real-estate taxes, maintenance, and building insurance – basically all the marginal costs associated with owning the space) lease rates for retail is about $35/sq ft. which is pretty high nationally. They get that by carefully managing what gets leased and to whom. If you want a clothing store, there’s only certain locations you can lease at, which are deemed to be apparel focused. That creates destinations for consumers but also competition among retailers. If there’s a vacancy in one of those locations, they will only fill it with an apparel focused store. In the past this sort of thing happened more organically, but it’s much more engineered now. If overall demand for that category drops, they’ll kick everyone out, renovate, and put a new focus in that area.

    Now, that doesn’t work so well in places like NYC where there are a LOT of landlords, but in most other markets this is how it works now. It’s also worth noting that sort of centralized management tends to be slower to respond to market changes. It’s also a dynamic that a lot of people find extremely distasteful, as you don’t get the quirky hipster donut shops and whatnot. Those almost always go into low-rent areas that are prime for gentrification, and then once the neighborhood recovers, the NIMBYs take over and insist that you can’t build low-income housing because it’ll cause the lines at the kombucha bar to get too long.

  168. 168
    J R in WV says:

    @rikyrah:

    The GOP is deliriously involved in pension funds of all types, everywhere. They love to force people to gather huge amounts of money, which they have every intention of stealing ASAP, just like all teh coal miners’ pensions.

    It is a crime that people who worked for an organization all their lives come dead last in the line at bankruptcy proceedings, while a guy who sold the company a truckload of material last week is first in line to be repaid. Dead last workers as in “They gonna starve to death without a pension!”

  169. 169
    🌷 Martin says:

    @Aleta: There’s that. There’s also the problem of things like REITs that own these properties not wanting to make investments into the property. That’s why the triple-net is so important – the lesee pays for everything.

    I think there is some similarity to the housing bubble in that the focus shifted from servicing and owning mortgages as a revenue stream to trading them, which decoupled the risk associated with offering a mortgage with the risk of holding one. You could write a shitty loan and then just pawn it off on some other sucker by getting it rated better than it was. The REITs are just investors, not landlords. Their risk/reward calculation is very different.

  170. 170
    different-church-lady says:

    @🌷 Martin: Someone front-page Martin’s comment, please!

  171. 171
    TenguPhule says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    I’m assuming that someone has explained to Trump that the Postal Service doesn’t get money from the US Treasury or count against the budget, but that he doesn’t believe it, on account of being extremely stupid.

    Presumes that someone he listens to is not a moron.

    Evidence lacking.

  172. 172
    Roger Moore says:

    @d58826:

    As much as we bemoan the loss of the mom and pop shop how many of us would give up the convenience and selection of a Home Depot for the corner hardware store. All other issues aside the mom and pop hardware store could not stock all of the home improvement items that Home Depot does.

    My experience is that Home Depot is awful compared to the Mom-and-Pop hardware store. Home Depot has selection the same way your local supermarket does. It focuses on having a wide range of brands and qualities for some kinds of goods, but has no selection at all once you get outside their comfort zone. The specific example I remember was a 3/16″ open end wrench. Home Depot had several brands of wrench for sale, but the smallest they had in every brand was 1/4″. When I went to my local hardware store, they apologized because they only had one brand in stock when they’d usually have several.

  173. 173
    MCA1 says:

    @The Moar You Know: It’s tax driven. In most of those situations there’s a landlord with multiple properties using loss at the semi-intentionally vacant one to offset revenues at others. They also get to book the market value lower because it’s been vacant for 3 years so must not command as much rent as used to calculate the cap rate they priced it at when purchasing. An owner could then can sell it at a loss and use that loss to offset gains elsewhere in a portfolio, or book greater depreciation than anticipated on a straight line. It’s nutty in a vacuum for a landlord to consider intentionally insist on exhorbitant rents and just leave a property vacant if no suckers show up instead of dropping the rent, but sometimes it’s a rational strategy if one property can impact tax treatment across a portfolio of holdings.

  174. 174
    TenguPhule says:

    @Major Major Major Major:

    I don’t understand the decision chain that leads to a landlord leaving a place vacant for years hoping for a high-rent client, instead of renting it out for at least short-term popups in the meantime.

    Many commercial property landlords are actually corporate or financial entities who demand top dollar returns from their investment.

    Just like how banks refused to unload their housing inventory at lower prices, they want their cake and to eat it too.

  175. 175
    different-church-lady says:

    @TenguPhule: Why is everything that’s shitty about our society driven by people who don’t actually do anything but move money around?

  176. 176
    Kathleen says:

    @Gin & Tonic: Boom. Plus Rethugs want their slimy tenacles on that pension because The Browns should not have it.

  177. 177

    @different-church-lady: Provided you are okay with letting the President of the United States use his Executive privilege and power to target a single (perceived) enemy. Who needs that whole democracy thing anyway! Amiright?

  178. 178
    different-church-lady says:

    @ellie: I don’t want to destroy your livelihood. But I do want to live in a world where everyone isn’t dependent on a single mega-corp for their livelihood. Wouldn’t it be great if you have six good platforms to choose from, instead of just Amazon? (Who we’re also buying all our cat food and movies from and maybe at some point doing our banking with and…)

    Economic monocultures are no better than the biological ones.

  179. 179
    different-church-lady says:

    @Ms. D. Ranged in AZ: Well, as a side effect. Let’s say he destroys Amazon and then gets put in jail for it, for example. Win-win!

  180. 180
    Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism says:

    @🌷 Martin: This, this, this. I’ve never understood people who enjoy shopping, so I can’t speak to that part of the equation. But I would rather spend an hour on Amazon looking for something than four going to a big box store only to eventually learn that they will have to order it and have it shipped to me. (Had this happen with Best Buy recently. They really couldn’t grasp why I refused to have them order a cable for me, that their ONLY advantage over Amazon was the ability to get something RIGHT THEN.)

    It’s to the point where I rarely shop places where I can’t check their stock on their website.

    No one ever carries shoes in my size. Or clothes. I don’t even bother to hit retail stores for them.

  181. 181
    J R in WV says:

    @different-church-lady:

    Big box killed Main Street, and now on-line is killing big box. Big box is reaping what it sowed.

    But on-line is going to have its own problems. I hate to even imagine what’s lousy thing is going to kill that.

    No one living under a bridge has an IP address, nor even electric. More like living in the woods before plows were invented. That will kill off on-line vendors, but I wonder — will it make Republicans as happy as they think it will?

  182. 182
    TenguPhule says:

    @different-church-lady:

    “How did we let this one gigantic corporation have all this power over us?”

    Who is this we, Kemo sabe?

  183. 183
    mapaghimagsik says:

    @cmorenc: He’s a floor wax *and* a dessert topping!

  184. 184
    The Moar You Know says:

    But on-line is going to have its own problems. I hate to even imagine what’s lousy thing is going to kill that.

    @J R in WV: Thought about this. I’m probably wrong. But what could kill it would be a lethal combo of massive recession/deflation and skyrocketing gas prices, killing demand and making delivery unaffordable.

    Energy costs are going to be an issue. Amazon, Failbook and Google all run massive worldwide server farms and their utility bills are insane. A good energy shock could make running a lot of that infrastructure unaffordable.

    But I suspect it will be something I cannot even imagine.

  185. 185

    @different-church-lady: Ummm, no. It sets a bad precedent and it should be completely unacceptable no matter what you might think about Amazon.

  186. 186
    Roger Moore says:

    @The Moar You Know:

    Thought about this. I’m probably wrong. But what could kill it would be a lethal combo of massive recession/deflation and skyrocketing gas prices, killing demand and making delivery unaffordable.

    I have a hard time seeing it. If a massive recession causes one side of the business to collapse, I expect it to be the brick-and-mortar side that’s already in deep trouble, not the on-line side that’s doing OK. And unless the recession is triggered by an energy shock, it’s likely to come with falling energy prices as businesses that would otherwise be using energy use less.

    I’m also not at all sure about delivery costs favoring brick-and-mortar businesses over on-line. It’s not as if brick-and-mortar businesses are free from delivery costs; we just don’t see them as much because they’re behind the scenes. And one of the huge things Amazon has going for it is a massively optimized logistics network. A big chunk of their business is stocking their warehouses in bulk using the cheapest possible transportation, which their scale lets them do more efficiently than conventional retailers. And it may very well be more energy efficient to move purchases from their warehouse directly to customers using a truck that can stop at dozens of customers on one delivery run than it would be to move stuff in bulk to local stores and then have customers driving individually to the store and returning home with their purchases.

    Energy costs are going to be an issue. Amazon, Failbook and Google all run massive worldwide server farms and their utility bills are insane. A good energy shock could make running a lot of that infrastructure unaffordable.

    There’s a reason those companies have been investing in renewable energy. It’s not just greenwashing; they want to be in control of their own energy supply so they won’t get shut down by high fuel costs.

  187. 187
    TenguPhule says:

    @different-church-lady:

    Wouldn’t it be great if you have six good platforms to choose from, instead of just Amazon?

    Capitalism is an iron plated bitch/bastard.

    Inevitably there was ever going to be only one.

  188. 188
    Roger Moore says:

    @TenguPhule:

    Capitalism is an iron plated bitch/bastard.

    Inevitably there was ever going to be only one.

    Which is why we need to actually enforce anti-trust law.

  189. 189
    BroD says:

    “Having earned significant goodwill from consumers, we do not think attacking Amazon will be popular,” one [ED: grammatically challenged] analyst says”

  190. 190
    Denali says:

    @Martin,
    Thank you for your comments. I learn so much from this blog.

  191. 191
    J R in WV says:

    @Roger Moore:

    Yes, this. Anti-Trust rules about combinations are and should still be illegal.

    Plus, no one has mentioned eBay, which can be a great source for odd stuff, parts for anything from trucks and cars to dishwashers, electronic bits, camera accessories, etc. You do need to be careful about who is selling what, but it really is access to worldwide sales of interesting stuff.

  192. 192
    father pusbucket says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    Trump is the past waging war against the future.

    “Toxic nostalgia” is the phrase I use.

  193. 193
    Death Panel Truck says:

    Abuse of power is an impeachable offense. They tried to nail Nixon with that, but the slimy weasel resigned before they could. Trump’s actions are clearly abusive, but Congress will do nothing, of course.

  194. 194
    TenguPhule says:

    @different-church-lady:

    Why is everything that’s shitty about our society driven by people who don’t actually do anything but move money around?

    Because the people drawn to that profession are all assholes.

  195. 195
    stinger says:

    Online killed big box, malls killed mom-and-pop, railroads killed the carriage trade, invention of the wheel killed the sledging business. I don’t know what the Pony Express killed, but probably something.

    That all disturbs me less than a President of the United States publicly singling out and trying to destroy one company.

  196. 196
    The Moar You Know says:

    I don’t know what the Pony Express killed, but probably something.

    @stinger: Didn’t have much of a chance. Was in business for only nine months, and was killed deader than dead by the completion of the transcontinental telegraph.

  197. 197
    debbie says:

    John Aravosis is right. I was sure my tracking statement was wrong, but an Amazon shipment in fact showed up yesterday!

  198. 198
    Original Lee says:

    This is what Trump is doing. The problem is (and IANAL, so I could be wrong), nobody has been prosecuted for using Twitter to accomplish stock manipulation yet. I know there have been suits about blog posts and FB posts, as well as message board posts, but nothing about tweets, that I know of. That said, even if the SEC has the ba11s to make a case, the DOJ has to take the case to court. As if that would ever happen in this administration. They might be successful going after any Spawn that have shorted Amazon, though.

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