Jeff Bezos’s Politics

Eric Zuesse, originally posted at strategic-culture.org

Jeff Bezos is the owner of the daily newspaper in Washington DC, the Washington Post, which leads America’s news-media and their almost 100% support of (and promotions for) neoconservatism — American imperialism, or wars. This includes sanctions, coups, and military invasions, against countries that America’s billionaires want to control but don’t yet control — such as Venezuela, Syria, Iran, Russia, Libya, and China. These are aggressive wars, against countries which had never aggressed against the United States. It’s not, at all, defensive, but the exact opposite. It’s not necessarily endless war (even Hitler hadn’t been intending that), but it is war until the entire planet has become controlled by the U.S. Government, which Government is itself  controlled by America’s billionaires, the funders of neoconservatism — U.S. imperialism — in both of America’s political Parties, via think tanks, newspapers, TV networks, etcetera. Bezos is a crucial part of that, neoconservatism, ever since, at the 6-9 June 2013 Bilderberg meeting, he arranged with Donald Graham the Washington Post’s owner, to buy that newspaper, for $250 million, after he had already negotiated, in March of that same year, with the neoconservative CIA Director, John Brennan, a gigantic government-contract. This $600 million ten-year cloud computing contract transformed Amazon corporation, from being a reliable money-loser, into a reliably profitable firm, and therefore caused Bezos’s net worth to soar even more (and at a sharper rate of rising) than it had been doing while it had been losing money. He was now the most influential salesman not only for books, etc., but for the CIA, and for such mega-corporations as Lockheed Martin. U.S. imperialism has supercharged his wealth, but didn’t alone cause his wealth. Jeff Bezos might be the most ferociously gifted business-person on the planet.

Some of America’s billionaires don’t care about international conquest as much as he does, but all of them at least accept neoconservatism; none of them, for example, establishes and donates large sums to, anti-imperialistic organizations; none of America’s billionaires is determined to end the reign of neoconservatism, nor even to help the fight to end it, or at least to end its grip over the U.S. Government. None. Not even a single one of them does. But many of them establish, and donate large sums to, neoconservative organizations, or run neoconservative organs such as Bezos’s Washington Post, which is simultaneously a neoconservative and a neoliberal organ; i.e., it’s a Democratic Party type of neoconservative organ. That’s the way billionaires are, at least in the United States. All of them are imperialists. They sponsor it; they promote it and hire people who do, and demote or get rid of people who don’t. Expanding an empire is extremely profitable for its aristocrats, and always has been, even before the Roman Empire.

Bezos also wants to privatize everything around the world that can become privatized, such as education, highways, health care, and pensions. The more that billionaires control those, the less that everyone else does; and preventing control by the public helps to protect billionaires against democracy that would increase their taxes, and against governmental regulations that would reduce their profits by increasing their corporations’ expenses. So, billionaires control the government in order to increase their takings from the public.

He, through his Washington Post, is one of the world’s top personal sellers to the U.S. military-industrial complex, because he controls and is the biggest investor in Amazon corporation, whose Web Services division supplies all cloud-computing services to the Pentagon, CIA and NSA. And in April there was a headline “CIA Considering Cloud Contract Worth ‘Tens of Billions’,” which contract could soar Bezos’s personal wealth even higher into the stratosphere, especially if he wins all of it (as he previously did).

He also globally dominates, and is constantly increasing his control over, the promotion and sale of books and films, because his Amazon is the world’s largest retailer (and now also one of the largest publishers, producers and distributors) of those. That, too, can be a huge impact upon politics and government, indirectly, through promoting the most neocon works, and thus helping to shape intellectual discourse (and voters’ votes) in the country.

He also is crushing millions of retailers, by his unmatched brilliance at controlling one market after another, and is retailing, either as Amazon or else as an essential middleman for — and often even as a controller of — Amazon’s retail competitors.

He is a strong believer in ‘the free market’, which he has mastered perhaps better than anyone. This means that he supports the unencumbered ability of billionaires, by means of their money, to control and eventually absorb all who are less powerful than themselves. That’s called “libertarianism” (or “neoliberalism”); and, because he is so enormously gifted himself at amassing wealth, he has thus-far been able to rise to the global top, as being one of the world’s most powerful individuals. The wealthiest of all is King Saud — the owner of Saudi Arabia, whose Aramco (the world’s largest oil company) is, alone, worth over a trillion dollars. (Forbes and Bloomberg exclude monarchs from their wealth-rankings. In fact, Bloomberg is even so fraudulent about it as to have headlined on 10 August 2019 “The 25 wealthiest dynasties on the planet control $1.4 trillion” and violated their tradition by including on their list one monarch, King Saud, whom they ranked at #4 as owning only $100 million, a ludicrously low ‘estimate’, which brazenly excluded not just Aramco but any of the net worth of Saudi Arabia; and they didn’t even try to justify their wacky methodology, but merely presumed the gullibility of their readers for its acceptance.) That King, therefore, is at least seven times as rich as Bezos is. He might possibly be as powerful as Bezos is. The supreme heir is lots wealthier even than the supreme self-made billionaire or “entrepreneur” is. Certainly, both men are among the giants who bestride the world in our era. And both men are libertarians — champions of the belief that property rights (of which, billionaires have so much) are the basis of all rights, and so they believe that the wealthiest people possess the most rights of all, and that the poorest people have the least, and that all persons whose net worths are negative (having more debts than assets) possess no rights except what richer people might donate to or otherwise grant to them, out of kindness or otherwise (such as familial connections). This — privatization of everything — is what libertarianism is: a person’s worth is his or her “net worth” — nothing else. That belief is pure libertarianism. It’s a belief that many if not most billionaires hold, and most who don’t are simply less pure in it: partial libertarians. Billionaires are imperialistic libertarians. They seek to maximize the freedom of the super-rich, regardless of whether this means increasing their takings from, or ultimately impoverishing, everyone who isn’t super-rich. They have a coherent ideology. It’s based on wealth. The public don’t, but instead believe in myths that billionaires enable to be published and otherwise promulgated, because those ideologies pose little or no threat to their continued control over society.

Like any billionaire, Bezos hires and retains only employees and other agents who do what he/she wants them to do; and this is their direct power, but also they possess enormous indirect power, by means of their interdependencies upon one-another, as each large corporation is contractually involved with other corporations, especially with large ones such as they; and, so, whatever power any particular billionaire possesses is actually a shared power, along with those others. (An example was the deal that Bezos made with Donald Graham.) Collectively, they network together, even with ones they might never even have met personally, but only through their representatives, and even with their own major economic competitors. This collective power which billionaires possess is in addition to their individual power as hirers of employees and other agents.

Whereas Winston Smith, in the prophetic allegorical novel 1984, asked his superior and torturer “Does Big Brother exist?” —

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‘Next question,’ he [O’Brien] said. [And Smith replied] ‘Does Big Brother exist?’ ‘Of course he exists. The Party exists. Big Brother is the embodiment of the Party.’ ‘Does he exist in the same way as I exist?’ ‘You do not exist,’ said O’Brien.

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— this power is a collective of the billionaires and associated super-rich, and Bezos “embodies” it, as well as anyone yet does. He fully and unquestionably exists, as being part of the actual (not merely the formal) power-structure. Perhaps a few other billionaires embody it as well, or as much, as he does — such as, for examples, Bill Gates, and Warren Buffett, and Larry Ellison, and Mark Zuckerberg, and Charles Koch, and Sergey Brin, amd Michael Bloomberg, and George Soros, and  Jack Dorsey — and they compete against each other, and therefore they have different priorities for the U.S. Government to embody; but, all of them agree much more than they disagree, in regards to what the Government ’should’ do (especially that the U.S. military should be expanded — at taxpayer’s expense, of course, not of their own). Basically, Big Brother, in the real  world, is remarkably coherent and unified — far more so than the public are — and this is one of the reasons why they control the Government, whereas the public don’t.

Here is how all of this plays out, in terms of what Bezos’s agents have been doing to governments (other than, perhaps, taking them over):

His Amazon pays low to no federal taxes because the federal Government has written the tax-laws in order to encourage companies to do the types of things that Jeff Bezos has always wanted Amazon to do anyway. Amazon’s competitors can’t do those things — or at least not so much. So: the larger a corporation is, the more that it fits what the billionaires’ politicians have legislated. The U.S. Government consequently encourages megacorporations such as this, and thereby helps them to crush the small firms, which therefore makes it much harder for the small ones to grow — and that, in its turn, somewhat locks-in the existing aristocracy, to become more hereditary and less self-made (as Bezos himself was, but his children won’t be). Elected politicians overwhelmingly support this, because most of their campaign funds were donated by super-rich individuals and their employees and other agents. It’s all a self-reinforcing system. Super-wealth controls the government, which (along with the super-wealthy and their corporations etc.) controls the public, which reduces economic opportunity for the public. The end-result is institutionally reinforced extreme wealth-inequality, becoming more extreme over the decades — the super-rich as constituting wealth-siphons from everyone else (taking their cut from everyone including their smaller competitors). That’s the real  Big Brother.

Among the many unfavorable news stories about Amazon (none, of course, in the Washington Post), this one is typical:

https://www.newsweek.com/amazon-drivers-warehouse-conditions-workers-complains-jeff-bezos-bernie-1118849

AMAZON WORKING CONDITIONS: URINATING IN TRASH CANS, SHAMED TO WORK INJURED, LIST OF EMPLOYEE COMPLAINTS

BY NINA GODLEWSKI ON 9 December 2018 9/12/18 AT 4:42 PM

Rumors about the working conditions at Amazon warehouses and on the delivery routes have circulated for years. Time off around the holidays, adequate breaks on shift and appropriate wages are all reportedly missing from the lives of some Amazon employees.

Some workers for the company are allegedly on food stamps and receive other federal assistance, but Amazon, like other large companies, doesn’t cover the cost of that assistance, and Senator Bernie Sanders wants that to change.

Sanders introduced a bill on September 5 that would tax employers, like Amazon, when their employees need federal benefits, like Medicaid and food stamps, to help cover the cost of those services. The bill is called the “Stop Bad Employers by Zeroing Out Subsidies Act” or the “Stop  BEZOS Act,” just like the Amazon CEO’s last name.

The lack of a living wage—the multibillion-dollar company pays some employees as little as $11 an hour Sanders said—is just one of the working conditions employees have revealed about the company. …

However, for consumers, Amazon is terrific: low prices and unexcelled customer service.

So: what does Bezos aspire to do with his soon-to-be hundreds of billions of dollars? Does he intend to fund a way to avoid global burnout (euphemistically called ‘global warming’)? Does he intend to fund a way to make this a better planet, with a brighter future for the people and other animals to whom it is and will be home? Does he intend to alleviate suffering, and to promote lowered wealth-inequality? Does he intend to reduce, instead of  to increase, wealth-inequality? None of the above, and nothing like it. They all (regardless of what they say) represent the opposite of that.

He is so much of an imperialist so that he wants to become the founder of an interplanetary empire, bigger than just the Earth can support (even if global burnout — or else nuclear war — wouldn’t destroy the Earth). On 2 May 2018, Axel Springer’s U.S. subsidiary, Business Insider, headlined “Jeff Bezos, the richest person in the world, thinks it’s possible to blow through his entire $131 billion fortune — and he has one big purchase he plans to spend it on”, and reported:

“The only way that I can see to deploy this much financial resource is by converting my Amazon winnings into space travel,” Bezos said. “I am going to use my financial lottery winnings from Amazon to fund that.”

Bezos plans to spend his fortune — the largest wealth in the world — on space travel through Blue Origin, which he called his most important project.

“I get increasing conviction with every passing year, that Blue Origin, the space company, is the most important work that I’m doing. And so there is a whole plan for Blue Origin,” Bezos said in Berlin after winning the Axel Springer Award 2018.

While it may be unfathomable to spend over $100 billion on any venture, Bezos is confident that space travel can lighten his purse.

“That is basically it. Blue Origin is expensive enough to be able to use that fortune. …

“The solar system can easily support a trillion humans. And if we had a trillion humans, we would have a thousand Einsteins and a thousand Mozarts and unlimited, for all practical purposes, resources and solar power unlimited for all practical purposes.” Bezos said “that’s the world that I want my great-grandchildren’s great-grandchildren to live in.”

It is clear what Bezos thinks is the next step for Blue Origin and space travel. “We may put humans in it at the end of this year or at the beginning of next year. We are very close,” to human flight on Blue Origin shuttles, according to Bezos.

The company is also working on a large orbital vehicle that “will fly for the first time in 2020.” He plans on “having millions of people and then billions of people and then finally a trillion people in space.”

The 14 November 2017 youtube, “Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and brother Mark give a rare interview about growing up and secrets to success”, presents Jeff Bezos, at 33:30-34:50, saying, “Our children and grandchildren will live in a much better world if they can continue to advance and develop and use more energy. … I don’t even think that liberty is consistent with [restrictions] … all kinds of things that just aren’t consistent with liberty and freedom. So, in space, you have, for all practical purposes, unlimited resources. You could have trillions of humans in the solar system, and still it wouldn’t be crowded. …The most important work that I am doing is Blue Origin, and, you know, getting humanity established in the solar system.

Jeff Bezos is the archetypal billionaire — they “have been of immense value to the rest of us,” according to their agents. Billionaires actually believe that they should be our rulers. Not a single billionaire supports Bernie Sanders for President — that’s the ONLY American Presidential candidate whom NO billionaire supports. And isn’t this what any knowledgeable and rational person would expect?  It’s what would happen to any U.S. Presidential candidate who is sincerely committed to transforming the American system more into line with the democratic socialism that exists in the Scandinavian countries, and terminating the quest to produce an all-encompassing U.S. empire. Such a candidate as Sanders threatens the system that America’s billionaires have created — threatens the real  Big Brother — and will therefore not be supported by any of them. People such as billionaires, and their supporters, don’t support candidates who oppose the billionaires’ system, which is supremacism, contempt against the public and against rule by the public — against democracy itself. Where wealth rules, the public do not — cannot. It’s either the one, or else the other, that will rule, in any country. Either there will be more of Big Brother; or else there will be ending it, and establishing and expanding democracy — rule “of the people, by the people, for the people”, instead of  rule of the people, by the billionaires, for the billionaires (which latter is  Big Brother’s system). Any granting of more freedom to the public, will reduce the freedom of the billionaires — and billionaires are united  in opposing that. This is the basic fact, about politics.

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Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

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