Donald Trump

Donald Trump's Petty Authoritarianism Is Driving His Vendetta Against Amazon

To serve his own insecurities, Trump is waging a bellicose war on Americans who work, buy, and invest.

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YURI GRIPAS/REUTERS/Newscom

Over the last week, the president of the United States has tweeted no less then five attacks on Amazon and its owner, Jeff Bezos, who also owns The Washington Post. He has called the Post a "lobbyist" for Amazon, and arguing that the online retailer is exploiting the U.S. postal service and doing harm to American businesses. "You have retailers all over the United States that are going out of business," Trump said Tuesday. "If you look at the cost that we're subsidizing, we're giving a subsidy to Amazon."

The answer to the question of whether Amazon receives a subsidy is no, not really, and even if Amazon's packages are priced in a way that is advantageous to the company, it is not exactly a subsidy for Amazon to ship packages through the mail at the price the mail service chooses to charge.

But the question of whether Amazon is subsidized or not is largely irrelevant. Trump is almost certainly attacking Amazon because of its connection to Bezos, a self-made billionaire whose business acumen is widely admired, and The Washington Post, which frequently publishes accurate but unflattering reports about the dysfunctional inner workings of the White House.

A little more than a year into Trump's presidency, it is clear that he has no particular ideological outlook: He's not a hardline conservative, or a secret New York liberal, or even much of a true-believing populist, despite the presence of a rolling cast of advisers who might more accurately fit these labels.

Instead, Trump governs through muddled instinct, unconstrained by legal precedent or policy advice, always seeking attention, conflict, and personal dominance. Trump isn't an ideologue, but a petty authoritarian whose main pursuit is brutish self-aggrandizement. And while his authoritarian impulses have not born out the worst fears of his critics, they are far from harmless.

In the case of the vendetta against The Washington Post, we can be confident about Trump's motivation because his administration is not proposing any particular policy change to address the alleged postal subsidy, and because his repeated criticisms of Bezos, Amazon, and the Post long predate his current complaints about mail subsidies. Trump has been attacking the trio as a single unit since at least 2015. On the campaign trail, he directly tied his criticisms of Bezos and Amazon to his irritation with reporting by the Post. "Every hour we're getting calls from reporters from The Washington Post asking ridiculous questions," Trump said in May 2016, before complaining that the Post was a "toy" that Bezos used to maintain power in the nation's capital. (Disclosure: My wife works for The Washington Post.)

Trump may not be proposing any direct action against the company at this point, but his attacks aren't a sideshow. Amazon lost more than $50 billion in market value earlier this week following one of Trump's tweets, helping to send stock indexes spiraling. Trump is unlikely to win his battle with Amazon, but either way, the rest of us are already losing.

Presidents rarely have as much control over the economy as they take credit for, but in this case, Trump appears to have directly impacted the fortune of both a specific American business that is responsible for tens of thousands of jobs as well as the general performance of the stock market—all in service of pursuing a pointless personal vendetta.

Trump's simmering trade war with China, meanwhile, is another presidential project that only makes sense as a display of jungle dominance. "Trade wars are good, and easy to win," he declared last month. This is a view shared by essentially no reputable expert on the subject: That free trade is broadly beneficial and trade wars harm the economy is one of the most widely held belief amongst economists. But that doesn't matter, because Trump isn't really pursuing anything that resembles a policy agenda in the traditional sense. Instead, as with Bezos, Amazon, and the Post, he views China as a rival, but on the national scale. And rivals must always be dealt with via the performance of aggression.

As with Trump's war on Amazon, the trade standoff is another battle he is likely to eventually lose. In the meantime, the cost to ordinary Americans is already apparent.

The stock market took a dive yesterday as China and the U.S. announced tit-for-tat tariffs, and China's response appears to deliberately target Trump's own voters. The price of everything from automobiles to beer is certain to rise. Moody's Analytics yesterday projected that Trump's trade policies could cost 190,000 American jobs. To serve his own insecurities, Trump is waging a bellicose war on Americans who work, buy, and invest.

The same sort of petty authoritarian instincts can be seen, in various ways, in Trump's repeated expressions of crude anti-immigrant sentiments, in his demands to deploy National Guard troops to the border in what looks like a mostly symbolic show of force, in his appointment of Jeff Sessions to run the Department of Justice, and the DOJ's moves to empower federal prosecutors to go after pot businesses in states where marijuana is legal. It is apparent in his Twitter feuds and his rambling speeches, in the endless stream of reports about White House chaos, in his every word and deed.

With any luck, Trump's authoritarian impulses will be checked, at least somewhat, by both the American system and his own shiftlessness.

In the meantime, however, he has succeeded in one way, by making himself and his federal office the focus of so much attention. The presidency has long played a starring role in modern life, but in Trump's America, there is no escaping the notion that it is all Trump's America, no avoiding the centrality of Trump and the presidency to our cultural conversation, our national neuroses. Since Trump's election, Americans increasingly think about politics in ways that resemble an obsessive-compulsive disorder.

To the extent that anything Trump does is the result of an intentional plan, this is by design. The goal of so many of Trump's actions is not to pursue a any particular policy or ideological agenda or public good, but to put himself at the center of the story, to bask in the spotlight, even if the glare is largely negative.

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  1. So much of the criticism against Trump is based on a flimsy narrative that he is a budding authoritarian when the simpler explanation is that he is very much an ignorant man. I don’t know why people have to jump to the authoritarian conclusion which is supported by little to no evidence when the ignorant thesis is staring you right in the face.

    Trump: Bezos is subsidizing the Washington Post’s work

    Kelly: Well, yeah, he owns Amazon and newspapers don’t really make much money any more so he’s probably subsidizing the Washington Post

    Trump: And the post office is subsidizing Amazon’s business model

    Kelly: Well, no. I mean everyone who uses as much shipping as Amazon probably gets a discount, but that doesn’t mean they’re subsidizing…

    Trump: Stop the post office from subsidizing Amazon

    Kelly: So much of what you just said is really dumb

    1. Case in point:

      “Trump’s repeated expressions of crude anti-immigrant sentiments, in his demands to deploy National Guard troops to the border in what looks like a mostly symbolic show of force”

      I’ve never heard of an authoritarian regime being concerned with people immigrated into their country. They are usually trying to prevent people from leaving their country. And the National Guard troop thing was done by President Obama and Bush. This is absolutely normal and within precedent.

      1. I disagreed with it before, but I swear this was a talking point a bit back. That Amazon had an unfairly cheap postage deal with USPS. Well before Trump was spouting this I swear this was a common point of argument.

        My biggest point though is, who cares? If they made a bad contract then the USPS needs to renegotiate it. If they are fine with it, who cares? There isn’t a magical correct amount of money they should be making. It’s all hashing out between the parties.

        1. Trump is mad jealous of Bezos’ skills in negotiating great big beautiful deals. This is the guy who, when criticized for not paying any taxes, boasted that that made him smrt.

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        2. Congress already passed a law in 2006 requiring the post office to make a profit on every package delivered. Amazon is getting no more of a break then some other distributor sending out millions of parcels.

          But, every time Trump says something stupid, others have to assert that they are just as stupid by bringing out the “authoritarian claim” on a president who wields less authority than his two immediate predecessors and is disliked within his own party.

          1. But, every time Trump says something stupid . . .

            his supporters declare it is brilliant. Some of them appear to be gullible enough to believe it.

            1. Shhhhh….grown-ups are talking here

        3. “but I swear this was a talking point a bit back. That Amazon had an unfairly cheap postage deal with USPS.”

          From whom? FedEx? UPS?

          1. No, more generally I heard people discussing it. Maybe a year or so ago.

        4. I CARE. USPS operate at a loss, they keep raising OUR rates (I mean, we the common guy on the street) every year, and WE TAXPAYERS end up bailing out USPS operating losses.

          COngress pass a law saying they can’t charge less than it costs, but who cares in COngress? USPS continue to work in the red. And Bezos’ company are riding that SUBSIDY. When gummit don’t charge eough for a service to cover actual costs, and dips the taxpayer for the difference, that IS a subsidy by definition.

          And Trump ain’t EVEN gettin close to how Amazon shaft those who sell product on there. I know, as I’ve been selling on there for a few years. Amazon are NOT ethical.

          1. COngress pass a law saying they can’t charge less than it costs,

            Already true. (smirk)

            but who cares in COngress?

            who cares about the truth in Trumpland?

            USPS continue to work in the red. And Bezos’ company are riding that SUBSIDY. When gummit don’t charge eough for a service to cover actual costs, and dips the taxpayer for the difference, that IS a subsidy by definition.

            1) Depends WHAT is being subsidized
            2) If Trump wasn’t such a MASSIVE failure as a businessman, he’d ask himself what USPS losses would be if ALL: large shippers switched to UPS and Fedex,
            3) Can you even comprehend point #2?

            I know, as I’ve been selling on there for a few years. Amazon are NOT ethical.

            So why are you too STUPID to use E-Bay instead?
            I ask AGAIN for a link to your store.

            And since you are TOTALLY clueless on fixed vs incremental costs ,. who does your pricing, J Fred Mugs?

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      2. I’ve never heard of an authoritarian regime being concerned with people immigrated into their country.

        This muddles the whole argument. A nation that wasn’t authoritarian but slides into authoritarianism doesn’t always lose large numbers of citizens, and if they eventually do, it isn’t instant–citizens leave as the authoritarian pressure builds. Venezuela and Nazi Germany are good examples. People didn’t leave Germany the moment Hitler was elected. (I’m not calling Trump a “Hitler,” just to be clear.) Venezuela is still bleeding people and the government isn’t doing much to stop it.

        And to merge your own two points, being dumb doesn’t preclude you from being an authoritarian. Trump is dumb. But he’s used to being a CEO and having his (dumb) decisions followed without question. What is a CEO if not “authoritarian?”

        1. Well, maybe people don’t leave right away, but those countries certainly don’t continue to see a surge in new immigration. And again there is zero evidence to support Suderman’s contention other than feelz.

    2. authoritarian
      ignorant man

      These things aren’t mutually exclusive, you know.

      1. Then make the damn case, because Suderman does a terrible job here. Show what this administration has pursued that is authoritarian and without precedent. You can’t just make such a bold accusation with nothing other than feelz

    3. My understanding is that Amazon gets a discount because they bring in the packages pre sorted and short distance delivery.

      That is all BS anyway. This is all about Trump using his power to get Bezos because of WaPo.

      Just as he is doing with the ATT/ Time Warner merger because of CNN.

  2. The president is free to use the bully pulpit to preach his message, just like Bezos is free to drive the tenor of WP’s articles.
    The limitation is action, not words. Until Trump pushes administrative action, who cares?

    Bezos is not innocent in all this. The WP has taken a noticeably hard turn to anti-Trump and far too many articles are so blatantly biased that it is no longer worth reading. No one really needs another NYT spouting proggy propaganda. and the pretentious “Democracy dies in darkness” motto is absurdly arrogant. to hell with them all.

    1. You fucking morons always say this. Then Trump does follow up with actual administrative actions, and all we get are yokel crickets.

      1. Example? I honestly can’t think of any other than his attempt to ban bump stocks, which is the only action that he’s taken that I would consider authoritarian.

        1. When he started talking about tarrifs, all I heard from the Trumpalos was about how it was just a negotiating tactic.

          1. Tariffs is a good point. You’re right there were a lot of people who said he’d never go through with it. But, again, there is very much precedent for tariffs from his two immediate predecessors.

            You’re right that he has bad policy, but Suderman’s point that he is a budding authoritarian is a leap of faith that isn’t supported by evidence.

          2. I never said he wouldn’t really go through with tariffs. What exactly is Trump going to do to Amazon and Bezos?

          3. Uhhh, although he has followed through with his threat, they ARE negotiating tactics. He’s literally in the middle of talks trying to rework the whole NAFTA deal, and has said outright that if they get a deal he’s happy with he will remove them permanently on Mexico and Canada. He’s also trying to get China to change policies, with the carrot hanging there that he will remove new tariffs if they make him happy.

            How is that not a negotiating tactic? You HAVE to follow through with threats if you don’t get what you want, otherwise people will call your bluff in the future. So I’d say it is fair to call them tactics still, even if he has to actually put them in for a period of time to twist arms.

            Other than tariffs though he’s mostly just talked smack. Outside of stuff every admin has done, none of his shit talking has amounted to anything crazy or authoritarian. He’s certainly no worse than Obama or Baby Bush on being an authoritarian asshole.

            1. And has said outright that if they get a deal he’s happy with he will remove them permanently on Mexico and Canada

              Did you beleeb his bullshit on DACA? Paying off the debt in 8 years? A thousand other lies and broken promises?

        2. which is the only action that he’s taken that I would consider authoritarian.

          You could ask a libertarian for obvious help in that regard.

    2. Democracy dies in fucking darkness, bro. What don’t you understand?!

      1. What part? The part that the WP is not doing anything to shed light on the supposed darkness. In practice they are masking and hiding some of the most critical things for our democracy from the light, shoveling propaganda as fast as they can.

        1. That makes me sad. I do not mean to trample on your opinion.

          I have always believed in freedom of expression. That means that you or I can post whatever we want without fear. It also means that government cannot interfere with our liberty to do so.

          I can still read Mother Jones or Alex Jones for now. When the government starts to use its power to limit that I have a problem.

          Trump is clearly using executive power to get back at WaPo and CNN.

          1. How? All he’s doing is shit talking companies that very clearly are nothing more than left wing propaganda outfits. He hasn’t tried to pass any laws against them. Until he does he’s perfectly within his rights to talk shit about their bullshit way of doing business, just like anybody else. The fact that his words carry more weight than others is beside the point.

            1. THIS is Trumpian facsism

              >How? All he’s doing is shit talking companies that very clearly are nothing more than left wing propaganda outfit

              You are TOTALLY ignorant on WaPo columnists
              Now tell us how George Will is SO progressive. (snort)
              And Charles Krauthammer (pees pants laughing)
              Two others, lesser known, not on cable

              And you just SHIT on freedom of the press, which he has repeatedly threatened, in a variety of ways.

              If you keep your nose buried in the rightwing propaganda mill you have NO CLUE what the others are doing … and THAT makes you easy manipulation bait … in an opaque tribal bubble.

              Google for Nicole Wallace. Six years as Communications n Director for George W, Bush White House and his 2004 campaign, and for the McCain-Palin campaign. She’s a host at ….wait for it …

              MSNBC … THE most liberal major cable news site!! Plus a frequent contributor on Brian William and Morning Joe.

              Name ONE official for a DEMOCRAT Administration now hosting at Fox. JUST ONE

              EVERY MSNBC panel has both liberals or Democrats AND Republicans or conservatives.
              Fox has NONE

              CNN also has the same balance.

              YOU are the one owned, controlled and manipulated by a THE MOST (period) BLATANTLY (period) PARTISAN (period) cable media. A snowflake and doesn’t know it.

              Left – Right = Zero

              1. LOL

                I’ve never said Fox isn’t biased! And you should know by the fact that I read Reason that I am NOT some Fox-bot, I read/watch all kinds of sources.

                You DO know that Tucker Carlson has Democrats on EVERY SINGLE EPISODE of his show right? He rails on them the whole time, but they’re there… Just like all the CNN anchors do to conservatives!

                CNN is left wing biased, anybody who isn’t blind can see this. The same can be said for most major news papers, other TV networks, most magazines etc. There are some conservative ones too like The Wall Street Journal or whatever, but the media leans heavily left. I don’t see how anybody can dispute this.

                As far as calling them on their bias, Trump is free to do that just like anybody else. I mean Obama even railed on conservative outfits when he was in office, so why can’t Trump? As long as he’s not passing laws or using the power of the government to fuck with them he’s within his rights as a citizen of this country to talk smack.

      2. I don’t understand why they didn’t change the slogan to ‘orangeness’

    3. “blatantly biased” – you mean the WP tells the truth and you don’t want to hear it.

      1. Contards think Charles Krauthammer is a proggie!
        And George Will!

        Manipulated puppets of a political elite.
        Must clarify: Left – Right = Zero.

    4. Agreed. You don’t lose your 1st amendment rights when you’re elected President. Wake me when Trump actually does something authoritarian, instead of just mouthing off.

      1. Yeah, back to sleep, Brett.

        1. Transgenders are subhuman anyhow
          DEFENDED nazis and white nationalist in Charlottesville, with MASSIVE bullshit that it was the counter-protesters who charges, swinging clubs. SICK.

    5. MikeP says George Will is a progtard … Charles Krauthammer!
      That means he known NOTHING about WaPo, and is thus a manipulated puppet.

      If you keep your nose buried in the rightwing propaganda mill you have NO CLUE what the others are doing … and THAT makes you easy manipulation bait … in an opaque tribal bubble.

      Google for Nicole Wallace. Six years as Communications n Director for George W, Bush White House and his 2004 campaign, and for the McCain-Palin campaign. She’s a host at ….wait for it …

      MSNBC … THE most liberal major cable news site!! Plus a frequent contributor on Brian William and Morning Joe.

      Name ONE official for a DEMOCRAT Administration now hosting at Fox. JUST ONE

      EVERY MSNBC panel has both liberals or Democrats AND Republicans or conservatives.
      Fox has NONE

      CNN also has the same balance.

      YOU are the one owned, controlled and manipulated by a THE (period) MOST (period) BLATANTLY (period) PARTISAN (period) cable media. A snowflake but doesn’t know it.

      Left – Right = Zero

  3. C’mon man, don’t do me like that. He may be a petty authoritarian, but he won’t back down. You don’t know how it feels, so don’t come around here no more.

      1. A lesser man would have made a comment about not having to live like a refugee.

        1. Only if the walls came down, all the way to hell, never saw them when they’re standing, never saw them when they fell.

    1. I’ve given you credit up till now because it’s pretty evident you were born a rebel.

      But it seems that lately the quality of your commenting has been free fallin’

    2. He may be a petty authoritarian, but he won’t back down

      THAT IS THE DEFINITION OF AN AUTHORITARIAN.

      Stalin didn’t back down.
      Hitler didn’t back down.
      Mussolini
      POL POT

  4. Is it just me or does this word ‘authoritarianism’ seems to be cropping up alot within the last 24 hours or so.

    So authoritarianism is the new poll tested buzz word to be used against Trump?

    1. Well duh. Authoritarianism is a fascist, right-wing, ugly sounding word. So the progs fling it at Trump and hopes it sticks.

      1. “FASCISM” defined: government control of private means of production.

        If Mr. Trump WERE fascist he’d be using his assumed (and illegal) power to CONTROL Amazon, and WaPo. Along with a few other outfits.
        When he commenses ORDERING Jeffie Boy to do/not do certain things with either enterprise, THEN we might try and attach the “fascist” label to him.
        But he’s also a businessman and HATES government interference.

        1. SMASH THE TROLL, TIONICO
          (This is a paste-in of my original response to this same bullshit)

          “FASCISM” defined: government control of private means of production.

          WRONG.
          It’s state control of ALL businesses and can include non-business property. ANY government regulation, as opposed to government ownership. Did you ignore retail intentionally?

          If Mr. Trump WERE fascist he’d be using his assumed (and illegal) power to CONTROL Amazon, and WaPo. Along with a few other outfits.

          More bullshit .. like your lies about Amazon shipping costs elsewhere on this page,

          He CANNOT force anything, because this NATION is not fascist,. DUH.
          But he IS blatantly fascist and/or authoritarian, on damn near anything. Plus a psycho liar.

          FascISM is a form of government. A facIST supports and/or threatens fascism. He has RANTED about laws against a free press. And he’s LOBBYING for state control of Amazon — which is all he’s allowed in America — as long as you authoritarians are restricted by our Constitution.

          Everyone EDUCATED person sees you don’t know what fascism is. ,… OR a fascist

          How many times can you publicly humiliate yourself … trolling the same IGNORANCE … on the same page.

    2. So authoritarianism is the new poll tested buzz word to be used against Trump?

      It began during the campaign. You must have your nose stuck in Fox/Beirnart/Infowars — or live on another planet.

  5. “Instead, Trump governs through muddled instinct, unconstrained by legal precedent or policy advice, always seeking attention, conflict, and personal dominance.”

    I don’t think even a person who supports “Trumpism” (e.g. protectionism, building a wall etc.) can honestly contradict this, although they can certainly claim that Trump is playing 3D chess and we are just too dumb to understand him.

    1. “playing 3D chess”

      It was always a fanciful notion to even contend that Trump ever knew how to play chess

    2. Although that is all clearly meant in a derogatory way, it is more or less true. He goes with his gut, which doesn’t line up with neat “party lines” or strict ideology of any particular variety. He also sometimes changes his mind.

      The thing is though, I don’t think he is SEEKING conflict… The fact that the entire establishment is more or less against all the things he tends to like is why there is so much conflict. The thing is though, on many of those issues there is HUGE popular support, it’s just all the elitist morons in DC who hate some of those ideas.

      The majority of the US population thinks illegal immigration is a problem, and even that legal immigration rates should be lowered and policy altered to be mostly only skilled workers. Does that make Trump crazy for supporting stuff most people like, just because elitists in Washington don’t like it??? I think not.

      1. 80% oppose him on DACA. Shame on you for picking and choosing only the con-veeeeeen-yent data.

        Pay attention.
        The United States has had negative replacement birthrates for the past several years. What’s that mean?
        With no immigration, our population would be declining. So what?
        You’re FUCKING your own children and grandchildren, on the FICA taxes they must pay for YOUR Social Security and Medicare. THAT is what happens when we have a babbling ignoramus in the White House.

        This has been known since … 1982. There was concern at the time that Social Security and Medicare would have only two workers per retiree. Reagan’s Assistant Treasury Secretary ridiculed the notion, which killed.it. The economy could not function with that ratio, he said. Longe before that happened, we’d … INCREASE immigration.

        Anything else?

        1. Yeah, because importing people that are NET NEGATIVE TAXPAYERS is really going to help pay for government. LOLOLOLOLOL

          Look you fucking moron, there are different KINDS of immigrants we can let it. There are those with an average 8th grade education, that make 20 to 30 something thousand dollars a year washing dishes or cutting lawns, have broods of children who mostly grow up to be blow it cases like their parents, who end up being net negative tax payers because our system has so many socialized costs… Let us call these types “Mexicans.”

          Then there are the kind that have college degrees in useful fields, make 100K+ a year doing valuable jobs, pay more than their fair share in taxes, and maybe have a couple kids that will do well in life. Let us call them “People from Europe and/or Asia.”

          There’s a BIG difference between the two in terms of their usefulness to the economy and current inhabitants of the USA. Trump, wrongly IMO, wants to cut the DACA twats some slack. He’s a softie. I’d boot all of ’em, even though I’m part Mexican myself. We should not be shooting for population growth, but maybe just maintaining and not shrinking. The gap we need to fill should be 100% highly educated people. The 21st century doesn’t need grunts, it needs engineers.

  6. The fact that Trump feels the need to criticize Bezos is a testament to just how free this country is. If Trump really were an authoritarian, he would have no need to criticize Bezos. Bezos would have long since fallen in line or been whacked by the security forces.

    Bezos is a billionaire who owns a major newspaper that acts as a propaganda arm of the opposition party. That is all well and good. It is a free country. But, the President has every right to criticize him.

    The media are not above criticism. In fact, being a journalist is about the most loathsome profession one can pursue. Acting like the media is some pretorian guard that is above criticism just shows why people hate the media so much.

    1. In fact, being a journalist is about the most loathsome profession one can pursue.

      This is a predictable statement from a disaffected, fringe-dwelling right-winger waiting for the rest of his political aspirations to be crushed by American progress.

      1. I think about that tonight when I am driving home from work in my Porsche. I am a real fringe dweller alright.

        1. I just hope to god you pronounce it correctly.

          1. +1 Portia

        2. The political fringe . . . the bigoted, backward, disaffected, right-wing fringe.

    2. He didn’t criticize Bezos. He THREATENED him,, and has REPEATEDLY threatened the free press. ASKING FOR LAWS.

      THIS is the mentality of a Trumpster. We praise freedom by THREATENING IT. Good grief.

      Are you also IGNORANT of how many top CONSERVATIVES are published by the WaPo?
      George Will? Charles Krauthammer? Jennifer Rubin?

      The odds are: you NEVER read or scan the Post, just trust THE most based media in America (Fox) to do ALL your thinking.

      This is why we fear Trump.
      And ridicule his cult of puppets.

  7. The Washington Post, which frequently publishes accurate but unflattering reports about the dysfunctional inner workings of the White House.

    How can you discern the accurate stories amongst the heaping piles of full-on lies they publish? And BTW, third-hand accounts don’t count as “accurate”.

    1. How does Suderman know that are accurate? He doesn’t. You have to chalk this up to Suderman not wanting to foreclose the possibility of someday working at the Post. It is absolutely unthinkable that he would side against a potential employer as important to his field as the Post.

      1. Anonymous sources have told us that WaPo is accurate…

        1. Nardz, who does George Will write for? Charles Krauthammer? Michael Gerson? Jennifer Rubin?

          Nicole Wallace was Communications Director for President Bush for 6 years, and for his 2004 campaign, and for the McCain-Palin campaign.

          She’s a cable news host. Guess where, BEFORE you scroll down

          DID YOU GUESS?

          Wait for it …

          Didja guess …. MSNBC, the MOST liberal cable channel? Name a Democrat White House official hosting at Fox. EVERY MSNBC panel is BALANCED left and right. Name ONE at Fox.

          The MOST liberal cable news is more “fair and balanced” on COMMENTARY … than Fox today.

          Like the vast majority of libertarians, I have ALWAYS read left-to-right, the ONLY way to learn the bullshit in BOTh sides. I agree with the General who quit Fox after many years, sating it was no longer a legitimate conservative voice. It’s not even a Pravda. it’s now literally a hate machine.

          That lies a lot … per their own JOURNALISTS, Shep and Wallace. Their own hard news reporters — who the goobers call treasonous.

          Reality Taste some.

  8. So here’s a logical inconsistency I can’t figure out.

    Walmart is bashed constantly in the media, etc, as being a huge powerful entity that destroys local mom and pop businesses and treats their employees like crap (primarily by paying them poorly).

    Amazon also is a huge, powerful entity that destroys local mom and pop businesses (along with some large national ones) and treats its employees like crap (working in an Amazon distribution center is supposedly similar to working in an Indonesian sweatshop). But Amazon is covered as an edgy, futuristic wonderkid.

    Why the difference?

    1. Lowly unfashionable people shop at Wall Mart while respectable people of the right class use Amazon. That is the difference. It is always about class and status with these people.

    2. Two factoids about WalMart (I am NOT a fan of that outfit, but must speak up at the innaccuracies you push).
      First, nearly all their employees make above Min wage, Yes they play games with shifts and hours, more to appease the rule enforcers for things like OhBummerTax. They also employ a LOT of part timers who are unable for various reasons to work full shifts, generally rendering them unemployable elsewhere.

      Second, tell me why, then when WalMart enter a new market area within two or three years the general standard of living rises about fifteen percent. I can, but wonder if YOU know……

      1. Yes, it is common for struggling Mom n Pop retailers of various sorts to finally gasp their last and slip under the waves once WalMart arrive. I live in an area that is well established and growing, WalMart first entered this market about fifteen years ago with one mid sized store 25 miles away. First in this half of the state, the most populated half. Now there are quite a few in that same radius. Some smaller stores folded.. they were on the way out anyway. WM just hastened the fall. Many other well run retailers have not lost one bit of commerce since WM arrived. WHY? Smarter businessmen, know how to run a business well. One would think WM’s grocery side would dominate the market in this area. NOT EVEN CLOSE!!!! Yeah, some Safeway and Albertson’s closed…. in result of their recent merger. No need for two stores of the same chain to be two miles apart.
        WalMart aren’t the monster they’ve been portayed to be. That was a left wing socialist camp meme that has lost its steam because far too many people see it just ain’t true.

        1. I don’t think he was implying either was necessarily evil because of their dominance and taking out smaller competition, more just pointing out the silly double standard. They both do things more efficiently than other businesses, that’s just the way stuff works.

        2. WalMart aren’t the monster they’ve been portayed to be. That was a left wing socialist camp meme that has lost its steam because far too many people see it just ain’t true.

          Apply the same principles to Amazon, and we see right-wing fascist camp. Yours

          Left – Right = Zero

    3. Why the difference?You lied.

  9. Mr. Bezos gains or loses enough money to buy or sell Mr. Trump — whether measured by what Mr. Trump is worth, what he thinks he’s worth, or what he says he’s worth — through common market fluctuations on a regular basis, sometimes before lunch.

    I gather this aggravates The Man With The Tiny Hands.

    1. After Pres. Trump leaves office, perhaps Mr. Bezos could crush the Trump Organization for the sheer sport of it.

    2. When your P/E ratio is over 300 you have a lot of leverage.

      By comparison Apple has a ratio of around 16.

      1. Amazon is WAY overvalued IMO. Even if you factor in insane growth over the next saaay decade, they’d STILL not catch up to where their valuation is now… And imagining another decade of staggering growth is not even close to a guaranteed thing. But whatever. I don’t own any of their stock, so whether they do awesome or flounder in the next several years is no skin off my ass.

        1. Amazon is WAY overvalued IMO

          Based on what?

          Does Bezos have a TOTAL loophole on the corporate income tax, like Trump.

          Did Trump campaign on a 60% tax cut for HIMSELF? A billionaire with a top tax rate of 20%? What’s YOUR tax bracket, sucker? (lol)

          1. Based on their Purchase to Earnings ratio and any reasonable projection of future growth?

            You do know that just because the stock market shoots some stocks value to X dollars doesn’t ACTUALLY always mean it is worth X right? Amazon is a big, valuable company… So is Microsoft. Bill Gates net worth was higher in 1999 before the dot com bust than it is NOW almost 2 decades later. MS is still valuable, but they were over hyped a TON during the dot com bubble. All I’m saying is so is Amazon by all their numbers. They’re not going to go under, and they’re probably going to be major players for the foreseeable future, but they’re NOT worth what the market says they are. Maybe in 10 years they’ll catch up to the current valuation, but in order to make a positive return 10 years from now that would mean they’d have to STILL be wildly overvalued then too!

            I live in Seattle, I know a ton of people who work for them, I do business with them with my company. It’s a big giant cluster fuck of a company where the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing. They keep increasing their GROSS income, but their net has always been awful. The market get stupid sometimes, but usually things get sorted out eventually and go to a reasonable value… When that happens Amazons share price will go down.

  10. I wish people in the media had been as harsh on Obama, when he bailed out Wall Street, nationalized GM, killed more children than Adam Lanza with drone strikes, forced nuns to pay for their employees to fornicate, or forced us all to eat broccoli.

    I guess that kind of authoritarianism isn’t so petty.

    But, yes, Trump is criticizing someone he doesn’t like, and that is petty.

    Oh, after Trump tweeted about Amazon ripping off the Post Office and the taxpayer, Amazon closed that day up more than 1%. That’s probably a pretty good indication of how seriously we should take Trump’s “threats” against Amazon.

    “Petty” means small, right? Like the same root as “petite”.

    Trump’s authoritarianism isn’t the only petty thing around here.

    1. To be fair, President Obama also made the Koch brothers into boogeymen while he was in office. So, yet again, Trump’s tirade has precedent.

      1. NO comparison.

        And Left -Right = Zero

    2. Typical conservatard … the bailouts were Dubya. So was GM. And MORE of your typically crazy bullshit

      I wish people in the media had been as harsh on Obama, when …. killed more children than Adam Lanza with drone strikesDid Fox brainwash you on THAT too?

      forced nuns to pay for their employees to fornicate

      Your bullshit is endless.

      andr forced us all to eat broccoli.

      That was SARCASM … by Scalia

      Oh, after Trump tweeted about Amazon ripping off the Post Office and the taxpayer, Amazon closed that day up more than 1%.

      Add horse shit you your bullshit.

      1. You need some etiquette lessons.

        1. But no lessons on integrity. How about my FACTS?
          Let me guess what causes your tolerance for pro-Trump bullshit.

  11. The Post Office lost the benefit from its monopoly and a great deal of support when a Republican Congress changed the law to make the letter carriers responsible to manage its business and return a profit to the General Fund. But that has never happened because the NIMBY Senators and Representatives will not permit work force reductions in the face of a 40% (and climbing) reduction in First Class Mail volume due to electronic mail.

    So with little change in headcounts, and now a responsibility to pay for their own pension and benefit plans, USPS became a money-losing operation. But the same problem that reduced First Class and Third Class (advertising) mail suddenly found the likes of internet-derived sales increasing many-hundreds of times. Package delivery was now King of the Hill, but FedEx and UPS owned that business largely driven by the miracle of Amazon.

    So the Post Office cut deals with major players to grant volume discounts to the likes of FedEx. UPS, Amazon, Walmart, et al. And in the spirit of the Law of Large Numbers, final-mile mile delivery on the worn soles of mail delivery personnel and broken-down mail trucks provided the income velocity to begin the turnaround of the Post Office. Central Planning decisions always result in price increases but cost reductions and sales velocity talways urn cash inflow positive.

    Since Donald didn’t cut this deal, it is obviously not a good deal. “Stupid is as Stupid does”, said his Mama.

    1. Donald is clearly incompetent as a businessman — with all his failures, bankruptcies. and Russian financing. when US banks cut him off entirely. He’s too fucking dumb to realize a USPS with NO large shippers.

      A family business is rarely an actual business. His is actually a real estate investor. Every one of his actual businesses failed and/or went bankrupt, over a dozen, many with outright fraud like Trump University

  12. It’s interesting to see Donald Trump taking on increasingly progressive views. It’s fun watching both conservatives defend him, and even more fun watching progressives recant previous positions they’ve held, or just get really, really quiet.

    1. What increasingly progressive views?

      He’s acting like a garden variety fascist.

        1. Sorry I don’t get it.

          1. It was fashionable for liberals to trash free trade and big tech. The fringe in San Francisco really hated Google for gentrification, even though they would be halfway to Puerto Rico if that company ever left.

            Chuck Schumer literally said “We don’t agree on a lot of things, but we agree on tariff on China”. Bernie Sanders argued that gift shops in museums shouldn’t have stuff made in China.

            Trump was always a soft progressive on the economy, especially on the trade. But you know, he didn’t push for treaties and subsidies without congressional authorization, so he’s not quite Obama yet. Trump did bomb Syria by himself, so he’s taking steps there.

          2. It was fashionable for liberals to trash free trade and big tech. The fringe in San Francisco really hated Google for gentrification, even though they would be halfway to Puerto Rico if that company ever left.

            Chuck Schumer literally said “We don’t agree on a lot of things, but we agree on tariff on China”. Bernie Sanders argued that gift shops in museums shouldn’t have stuff made in China.

            Trump was always a soft progressive on the economy, especially on the trade. But you know, he didn’t push for treaties and subsidies without congressional authorization, so he’s not quite Obama yet. Trump did bomb Syria by himself, so he’s taking steps there.

        2. The Progressive Era introduced the fascist tendency to America. Mussolini was quite complimentary of the New Deal.

          1. Hitler was a right-winger. Fascism can be left or right. And we all know WHY you deny that.
            Hitler was corporatist in economics,
            Mussolini’s was was called Guild Socialism. Guild = Labor Union.

      1. FASCISM is government control of private means of production.

        If Mr. Trump were acting like a fascist he’d be FORCING Amazon to jig to his fiddle, and WaPo as well.

        I see NO fascism going on here.

        1. FASCISM is government control of private means of production.

          WRONG.
          It’s state control of ALL businesses and can include non-business property. ANY government regulation, as opposed to government ownership. Did you ignore retail intentionally?

          If Mr. Trump were acting like a fascist he’d be FORCING Amazon to jig to his fiddle, and WaPo as well.

          More bullshit .. like your lies about Amazon shipping costs elsewhere on this page,

          He CANNOT force anything, because this NATION is not fascist,. DUH.
          But he IS blatantly fascist and/or authoritarian, on damn near anything. Plus a psycho liar.

          Fascism is a form of government. A facsist supports and/or threatens fascism. He has RANTED about laws against a free press. And he’s LOBBYING for state control of Amazon — which is all he’s allowed in America — as long as you authoritarians are restricted by our Constitution.

          I see NO fascism going on here.

          Everyone EDUCATED person sees you don’t know what fascism is. And the charge here was fascIST. so you don’t know the difference either.

          1. Everyone EDUCATED person sees you don’t know what fascism is.

            Yes. For example, although your ramblings are generally pretty incoherent, basically, you seem to be a fascist.

            1. Trump’s cock-slurper is even MORE stupid here than his MASSIVE fuckup on the post office

              (my tone is self-defense from aggression by a crazy dumbfuck who thinks I support government control of business … when it’s TRUMP threatening it).

              Now he’ll say I’m a Hillary supporter!

      2. What increasingly progressive views? He’s acting like a garden variety fascist.

        That statement makes no sense, since progressives are actually “garden variety fascists”.

        Furthermore, there is nothing “progressive” or “fascist” about a politician criticizing a progressive propaganda rag like the WaPo or criticizing a money-losing publicly funded agency.

        1. Why do you Trumpsters INSIST on showcasing your TOTAL ignorance of EVERYTHING outside your bubble.
          George Will. Charles Krauthammer. Michael Gerson, Marc Thiessen and Jennifer Rubin are among the most highly revered conservative columnists.

          Here’s what you’ve PROVEN. You know NOTHING about the Post, TOTAL ignorance. But you call it a progressive rag … because your puppet master has you dancing ion a string..

          But even that is mild, compared to your MASSIVE blunder on USPS pricing!

          This is why we fear Trump.
          And ridicule his cult.

  13. Amazon’s business model and success are predicated on taxpayer subsidized shipping and the state and local sales tax moratorium on interstate internet sales.

    Reason goes pro Crony Capitalism, because TDS

    Sad

    1. Taxpayer subsidized shipping? Is that why they ship so much through FedEx and UPS, that is when they aren’t delivering packages themselves? And if the USPS didn’t negotiate a good contract, it’s on them, not Amazon.

      1. We have an Amazon center not far away. Most of our deliveries come from local contractors. One I talked with was an Uber driver. She makes more money with Amazon and has the ability to choose which shifts and how much she works.

        Not a bad job at all.

      2. And if the USPS didn’t negotiate a good contract, it’s on them, not Amazon.

        escept that we the taxpauers pick up the shortfall from USPS. With FedEx and UPS we do not.

        I sell product on Amazon and can assure you for anything above First Class package size, a year ago UPS were generally the cheapest. That changed radically about a year plus back… now USPS are lower by around 25%. Sellers have the option of riding Amazon’s coat tails on their negotiated volume discounts.. I cannot come anywhere near touching my costs to ship when I sell on Amazon anywhere BUT through Amazon. Not even eBay’s negoatiated rates are as low for same weight same zone. And eBay beat any other available rate I can find.. except Amazon’s. I KNOW who is making up that difference….. and it ain’t a subsidy from WaPo. Look in the mirror, that’s who.

        1. I sell product on Amazon

          Tell us about the SALES TAX you collect! (snort)

          Look in the mirror, that’s who.

          SHAME ON YOU. You have NO idea if there’s any subsidy. Show us a link to your Amazon page.

          And fess up… describe the Sales Taxes you collect on shipments outside your state.

        2. You overlook that Fedex does work for USPS, so one can argue that it benefits from subsidization.

          1. You overlook that Fedex does work for USPS, And that the world is flat.

            so one can argue that it benefits from subsidization.

            (sigh)

      3. Taxpayer subsidized shipping? Is that why they ship so much through FedEx and UPS, that is when they aren’t delivering packages themselves?

        USPS isn’t just subsidized, it’s also slow and unreliable. So many people prefer not to use them, in particular for high value items.

        And if the USPS didn’t negotiate a good contract, it’s on them, not Amazon.

        It’s on the taxpayer. And as head of the executive branch, it’s also on Trump. Which is why, mirabile dictu, Trump actually criticizes the bad contract that previous administrations have made with Amazon and wants to renegotiate it. You know, that’s the kind of thing Trump said he was going to do on behalf of the American taxpayer, and he’s actually doing it.

        1. That’s ALMOST as wacky as your you massive screwup on Post Office pricing.

          Trolling Trumpsters are as laughable as he is,

    2. Shame on you, bubuydandavis … another lying Trumpster

      You’re MANY years out of date. Amazon collects sales taxes in almost every state.
      I paid it myself last month, when I bought a Kindle version of Declaration of Independents for a friend.

      Here’s a screenshot of the receipt. Suck it up. http://hihn.net/AmazonReceipt.jpg

      So. you’re either a liar or a dweeb who doesn’t buy online.

      Amazon has a negotiated contract with USPS, as does EVERY large shipper. And USPS is REQUIRED to make a profit on ALL such contracts. But, don’tt worry, Judge Janine will still give you the cookie.

      Now I’ll teach you. Sales taxes are paid to the SELLER’s state of residence .. for ALL products. In southern Washington State, residents go to Oregon to buy cars and other big-ticket items, because Oregon has no sales tax, and Washington cannot tax a seller in a different state. AMAZON DOES NOT SELL CARS!

      Amazon has a presence in, I believe 40 states, and charges sales tax in all. BUT, Amazon also lists items sold by third-party sellers. (Do you know THAT?) THOSE sellers collect the tax only where they have a presence — which is mostly a single state. But that’s not Amazon.

      So E-BAY is FAR more likely to have NO sales taxes added, because I believe all their sales are by third parties.

      So spare us the shameless bullshit. If you must French-kiss Trump’s ass, do it in private.

      1. And USPS is REQUIRED to make a profit on ALL such contracts.

        It’s impossible to determine whether the USPS is making a profit on any particular contract. So any such requirement is pointless propaganda.

        1. Trumptard knows NOTHING about pricing. Or ….
          neither do Fedex and UPS.

          You people are hysterical!

  14. Thanks, Peter, for being one of too few libertarian voices, in today’s alt-right and contard Reason
    Thanks also for defying the authoritarian right!

  15. Is there an unbellicose war?

  16. To serve his own insecurities, Trump is waging a bellicose war on Americans who work, buy, and invest.

    (1) Trump is criticizing Amazon, consistent with his politics. That’s not authoritarianism.

    (2) Trump is not “serving his own insecurities”, the WaPo has been a propaganda organ for leftist causes since long before Trump.

    (3) Trump’s argument on Amazon and the Post Office has some merit.

    (4) Bezos buying a newspaper and then using that newspaper to argue, effectively, that all corporations other than newspapers and television stations should be denied free speech rights is outrageous. And it should outrage not just Trump or conservatives, but also progressives, who keep complaining about “billionaires unduly influencing politics”.

    With any luck, Trump’s authoritarian impulses will be checked, at least somewhat, by both the American system and his own shiftlessness.

    With any luck, Americans will see Bezos for the hypocrite that he is. With any luck, the post office will be privatized. And with any luck, WaPo will become irrelevant; without Bezos’s purchase, they would be bankrupt or broken up by now. None of that requires, or has anything to do, with “authoritarianism”, but it has everything to do with politicians and public figures standing up and criticizing those responsible.

    1. You’ve already PROVEN you know NOTHING about the post office.
      Which NECESSARILY means you;re knowingly lying about Amazon alaos.

      You people have NO shame. Even Trump said so, when he said his Trumptards would stand by him even if he shit somebody to death, on Times Square, in broad daylight, with witnesses. If HE says you’re THAT lacking in morals on MURDER, why should ANYONE believe you on this.

      Most of us know better anyhow.

  17. This is where Trump fucking pisses me off, his economic message is mixed, while I love his tax cuts and stripping of the regulatory book, he turns around and tries to punish what is driving our economy and his economy, E commerce and Amazon. His tariffs are fucking stupid also, he cuts taxes but then puts tariffs on steel which is a fucking tax. The economy is booming and his putting the brakes on his number one success, its as if a track runner is in first place and decides to shoot himself in the foot.

    1. This LONG AGO distance runner is gonna steal your runner metaphor … without giving you credit.
      It’s not copyrighted is it?

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