Descendants of Freed Slave’s Land Taken for Amazon Data Center? Time to Radically Rethink Property Rights

This is a story about property: real and imagined, legitimate and illegitimate. It’s a story about who gets to decide who can own what … and whom. It’s a story of reality, both physical and virtual. It’s a story that begins with humans in chains, moves through Disney’s desire to make a theme park out of our most painful history, and ends with the descendants of slaves dispossessed by a company owned by one of the richest people in the world, a company named for a river.

That river runs through the churning electrical heart of the American internet.

It’s also the story of eminent domain gone wrong. We live in a nation that seizes the property of working people while helping the wealthiest among us to carry out some of the greatest property grabs in history.

The moral of the story is this: we need to radically rethink our approach to property rights.

The Virginia Turnpike

The state considered Livinia Blackburn Johnson another human being’s property when she was born into slavery, two years before the end of the Civil War. The Civil Rights Act of 1866 gave freed slaves like Johnson the ability to own property. In 1899, under the provisions of that law, Livinia Johnson purchased a plot of land along Carver Road in what eventually became the town of Haymarket, Virginia.

Now the Dominion of Virginia is seizing the land Johnson purchased, in order to build an Amazon data center. Her descendants have lived in Haymarket for the last 118 years. They are required by law to sell their land to Dominion Virginia Power, which will use it to build towers that will bring power to Amazon’s facility.

The area has been threatened by the march of progress before. The Disney Corporation bought up land around Haymarket in the 1990s in order to build a Civil War theme park, but objections put an end to their plans. Author William Styron wrote in a New York Times op-ed:

“I have doubts whether the technical wizardry that so entrances children and grown-ups at other Disney parks can do anything but mock a theme as momentous as slavery. To present even the most squalid sights would be to cheaply romanticize suffering.”

Disney’s project was blocked and a developer bought up the land it had purchased, building high-end homes for a subdivision he called Somerset Crossing. Here, where stagecoaches once stopped to change horses on a turnpike established in 1812, where the railroad arrived in 1852 and warring armies passed by a few years later, its new five-bedroom McMansions are described without any apparent sense of irony as “colonial.”

The well-to-do residents there managed to block any eminent domain efforts on their property. So Amazon’s agents turned their sights to Haymarket, where Livinia Blackburn Johnson’s descendants presumably have less political pull.

Amazon Highways

A turnpike, according to Merriam-Webster, is a “road (such as an expressway) for the use of which tolls are collected.” There’s a through-line between the horse-drawn turnpikes that crisscrossed Northern Virginia in the 1800s and the more than 100 data centers dotting its landscape today. Those centers carry most of the world’s internet traffic—as much as 70 percent, according to local officials. An unknown but substantial share of that traffic flows through the electronic highways in Amazon’s data centers.

Twenty years have passed since Disney’s failed bid for Haymarket. Disney’s animatronic robots and 3D simulations were state-of-the-art in 1996, when the internet was still in its infancy. Today’s web brings artificial realities into almost every home—and almost every pocket—as words, images, GIFs, videos, and sound. It takes lots of physical energy to churn all that data. Internet promoters speak of the “cloud,” as if these transactions took place in some ephemeral and immaterial dimension. But to invert the words of William Blake, data centers are a “cloud inside a fiend.” Servers need electricity to cool the space around them and keep the data engines moving.

The digital universe runs roughshod over the environment, from the toxic byproducts of chip manufacture to the destruction and disease caused by discarded equipment. Dominion Virginia Power, which received permission from Virginia to seize the Johnson land, says each data center uses enough electricity to light 5,000 homes. To power Amazon’s data center, they’ll need to install 100-foot tall towers carrying 230,000 volts of power on the Haymarket land.

The Power and the Powerful

In these data centers, which are sometimes called server farms, the primary crop is you: your searches, clicks, likes, purchases, movements, habits, and by inference, even your thoughts.

If corporations are mining our lives through “data refineries,” Northern Virginia is its Gulf of Mexico. Computer scientist and author Jaron Lanier writes, “All the computers that crunch ‘big data’ are physically similar. They are placed in obscure sites where they can radiate heat into the environment, and they are guarded like oil fields.”

Lanier argues that individuals should receive “micropayments” for the use of their own data, but that’s not how today’s internet works. Instead, “ordinary people” get the immaterial benefits of an informal economy, while the material wealth flows to the top. As Lanier writes:

“Social media sharers can make all the noise they want, but they forfeit the real wealth and clout needed to be politically powerful. Real wealth and clout instead concentrate ever more on the shrinking island occupied by elites who run the most powerful computers.”

That “wealth and clout” fuels the political and economic processes that are dispossessing these ancestors of slaves. The need to serve Amazon’s profit-making turnpike is usurping the property rights Livinia Johnson’s descendants have enjoyed for more than a century.

Amazon itself is no respecter of community or shared property. It maintained the tax breaks that fueled its initial growth by arm-twisting politicians at the state and local level, robbing government treasuries of the funds needed to preserve and expand our public wealth. It has mistreated warehouse workers, exposing them to 100-degree temperatures and grueling working conditions. Electronic devices track their every move and force them to keep up a brisk pace or face the consequences.

Now, thanks to Virginia’s use of eminent domain, Amazon’s electronic turnpike is about to grow even bigger. How will Big Data use its new processing power? As Nathan Newman points out in a white paper, the industry’s practices include predatory individualized pricing, invasion of privacy, the marketing of subprime mortgages, and the promotion of unethical scams.

Supreme Lordship

The way our country thinks about ownership is, in a word, strange. You do not own your own data, because you have given it away to corporations like Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Google (sometimes known by the acronym FANG). The federal government doesn’t own the valuable drug patents it paid for, because it gave them away to corporations. Most of us don’t own our homes or cars, because we have mortgaged them to fundamentally dishonest financial institutions.

All of these property rights—FANG’s ownership of your data, Big Pharma’s exclusive rights to government-financed patents, Wall Street’s ownership of mortgages and pink slips—exist because we as a nation choose to enforce them.

The term eminent domain comes from the Latin dominium eminens, which means “supreme lordship.” Sometimes homes must be taken through eminent domain in order to serve the public interest, for dams to protect the land and provide electricity, or for new roadways to open a city. But eminent domain is also used to benefit corporations like Amazon. The rationale is that communities need economic development just as much as they need highways and waterways, because it brings jobs and economic growth.

But in times of extreme economic inequality like these, most of the wealth from development goes to the already wealthy.

Whose Domain?

The fact that Amazon’s Haymarket story has received so little attention is a measure of our stunted political vision and bleak moral landscape. Apparently our politicians and pundits find it unremarkable that homes passed down from a freed slave can be seized to help a corporation the government created and nurtured.

Yet, the same politicians and pundits would be horrified if we thought differently about eminent domain—or for that matter, the government’s ability to seize assets when the owner is suspected of committing a crime—and chose to use them to correct corporate injustices and right longstanding wrongs.

Attorney General Jefferson B. Sessions III recently reinstated a much-abused policy that allows law enforcement officials to conduct civil asset forfeitures and take the property of individuals they suspect of breaking the law, even if those individuals are never charged with or convicted of any crime.

Civil asset forfeiture can be used against companies as well as individuals. What if civil asset forfeiture was used to seize the assets of corporations that have been proven to break the law, not once, but over and over? The list includes all the country’s biggest banks, as well as corporations like General Electric.

The list also includes Amazon, which has reportedly broken both antitrust and employment laws in the U.S. (It has also allegedly violated European Communityand German laws.) Yet instead of seizing its assets, the assets of others are being seized to maximize its profits. Not that Amazon needs any help. For a brief moment this week, Jeff Bezos was the richest man in the world. He probably will be again.

Rethinking Property

British elites were shocked and horrified when Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn proposed taking over unused luxury apartments in London to house some of the people made homeless by the Grenfell Tower fire. But the public understood. A national poll showed that 59 percent of British adults agreed with Corbyn. City officials, reading the public’s mood, quickly took Corbyn’s suggestion.

There is compelling evidence that pharmaceutical corporations knowingly and criminally encouraged the spread of opioid addiction in this country. Why shouldn’t their executives’ country homes be used to provide drug treatment to addicts? If there is unused investment property in this country (at, for example, One Central Park West), why shouldn’t it be used to help people recover from the ravages of opioids?

It’s clearly time to take back some of the Big Pharma’s patents. Patents are a form of government protection that they have abused, letting people die so they can maximize their profits. It’s time to take those patents away, especially since so many of them were developed at government expense.

It’s time to ask ourselves what kind of country takes property purchased by a freed slave to enrich a corporation, especially one like Amazon, which grew by exploiting a government invention—the internet—and a government loophole—tax-free online sales.

The people gave FANG its enormous wealth and power; it now has the ability to make or break careers and companies. These corporations should be regulated like public utilities. Data should serve the people. And the Dominion of Virginia should leave the descendants of Livinia Johnson alone. The community she created should be allowed to live in peace, while we all work to strengthen our sense of the nation as a community, where property rights are valued, but where human beings are valued even more.

RJ Eskow is a senior fellow with the Campaign for America’s Future.


Amazon to Buy Whole Foods for $13.4 Billion

Amazon agreed to buy the upscale grocery chain Whole Foods for $13.4 billion, in a deal that will instantly transform the company that pioneered online shopping into a merchant with physical outposts in hundreds of neighborhoods across the country.

The acquisition, announced Friday, is a reflection of both the sheer magnitude of the grocery business — about $800 billion in annual spending in the United States — and a desire to turn Amazon into a more frequent shopping habit by becoming a bigger player in food and beverages. After almost a decade selling groceries online, Amazon has failed to make a major dent on its own as consumers have shown a stubborn urge to buy items like fruits, vegetables and meat in person.

Buying Whole Foods also represents a major escalation in the company’s long-running battle with Walmart, the largest grocery retailer in the United States, which has been struggling to play catch-up in internet shopping. On Friday, Walmart announced a $310 million deal to acquire the internet apparel retailer Bonobos, and last year it agreed to pay $3.3 billion for and put Jet’s chief executive, Marc Lore, in charge of Walmart’s overall e-commerce business.

“Make no mistake, Walmart under no circumstances can lose the grocery wars to Amazon,” said Brittain Ladd, a strategy and supply chain consultant who formerly worked with Amazon on its grocery business. “If Walmart loses the grocery battle to Amazon, they have no chance of ever dethroning Amazon as the largest e-commerce player in the world.”

The idea of Amazon, a company founded 23 years ago on the premise of shopping from the comfort of a computer screen, moving forcefully into the crowded field of brick-and-mortar retail, with its limitations on selection and lack of customer reviews, once seemed ludicrous. But in the past several years, the company has dabbled with stores, opening or planning more than a dozen bookstores around the country.

Amazon Is Trying to Do (and Sell) Everything

The company’s $13.4 billion deal for Whole Foods is the latest signal of Amazon’s ambitions to have a hold on nearly every facet our lives — like the computer servers that power our favorite websites and the food we eat.

In Seattle, it recently opened two grocery drive-through stores where customers can pick up online orders, along with a convenience store called Amazon Go that uses sensors and software to let shoppers sail through the exits without visiting a cashier.

The addition of Whole Foods takes Amazon’s physical presence to a new level. The grocery chain includes more than 460 stores in the United States, Canada and Britain with sales of $16 billion in the last fiscal year. Mikey Vu, a partner at the consultancy Bain & Company who is focused on retail, said, “They’re going to be within an hour or 30 minutes of as many people as possible.”

Founded in 1978 in Austin, Tex., Whole Foods is best known for its organic foods, building its brand on healthy eating and fresh, local produce and meats. It has also long been caricatured as “Whole Paycheck” for the high prices it charges for groceries. That conflicts with a core tenet of Amazon, which has made low prices part of its mission as a retailer.

Analysts speculated that Amazon could use its $99-a-year Prime membership service, which gives customers free, two-day shipping and other benefits, to offer Whole Foods customers a better price on groceries, as it does for books in its bookstores. The stores could also serve as an advertisement to get more customers to sign up for Prime; in September the financial firm Cowen & Company estimated that Prime had 49 million subscribers in the United States, representing about 44 percent of households.

Amazon has been on a multiyear offensive to open warehouses closer to customers so it can deliver orders in as little as two hours, and Whole Foods stores will further narrow Amazon’s physical proximity to its shoppers. The stores could become locations for returning online orders of all kinds. Amazon could also use them to cut delivery times for online orders.

The $13.4 billion deal, which does not include net debt, immediately raised questions about whether Amazon’s experiments with automation, like the cashier-less checkout technology it is testing in its Amazon Go store, could eventually lead to job losses at Whole Foods stores.

“Amazon’s brutal vision for retail is one where automation replaces good jobs,” Marc Perrone, president of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, said in a statement. “That is the reality today at Amazon, and it will no doubt become the reality at Whole Foods.”

Drew Herdener, a spokesman for Amazon, said it has no plans to use the Amazon Go technology to automate the jobs of cashiers at Whole Foods and no job reductions are planned as a result of the deal. Whole Foods workers are not unionized.

The move to buy Whole Foods is a further sign of the outsize ambitions of Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s chief executive and founder, who came under fire from Donald J. Trump during the presidential campaign last year, when Mr. Trump said Mr. Bezos had a “huge antitrust problem because he’s controlling so much.”

Nicole Navas Oxman, a spokeswoman for the Justice Department, declined to comment about whether its antitrust division saw any issues with the proposed acquisition. Law professors who specialize in antitrust said it was unlikely regulators would block the deal.

“One question would be, does an online seller of groceries compete with a brick-and-mortar grocery store, and I think the answer is ‘yes, at some level, but that overlap is probably not terribly great,’” said John E. Lopatka, a professor of antitrust law at Penn State University.

If the deal goes through, Amazon and Whole Foods will still only account for about 3.5 percent of grocery spending in the United States, making it the country’s fifth-largest grocery retailer, according to estimates by John Blackledge, an analyst at Cowen & Company.

Groceries are purchased five times a month on average by shoppers, compared with the four times a month Amazon Prime customers typically shop on the site and two times for people who do not have Prime memberships, Cowen estimates.

“If you open up groceries, it could increase the frequency,” Mr. Blackledge said.

For Whole Foods, the deal represents a chance to fend off pressure from activist investors frustrated by a sluggish stock price as it has faced fierce competition from Costco, Safeway and Walmart, which have begun offering organic produce and kitchen staples, forcing Whole Foods to slash prices. Money managers, unhappy with the pace of the turnaround effort, have pushed for more, taking aim at the board, its grocery offerings and its pricey real estate holdings.

In response, Whole Foods has revamped its board and replaced its chief financial officer. Gabrielle Sulzberger, a private equity executive, was named the company’s chairwoman. Ms. Sulzberger is married to Arthur O. Sulzberger Jr., the chairman and publisher of The New York Times.

Investors are betting there may be other buyers interested in Whole Foods, and by late Friday the company’s shares rose above Amazon’s $42 a share offer, nearly 30 percent higher for the day. Amazon closed at $987.71 a share, up 2.4 percent.

Even with the bigger physical presence Amazon will gain through Whole Foods, it will have far less reach than Walmart and its Sam’s Club warehouse chain, which together account for about 18 percent of the grocery market. Walmart has almost 10 times the number of stores as Whole Foods does.

“We feel great about our position, with more than 4,500 stores around the country and fast growing e-commerce and online grocery businesses,” Greg Hitt, a spokesman for Walmart, said in a statement.

Why Amazon decided to offer an even cheaper version of Prime

Now that more than 70% of households that earn more than $112,000 annually are Amazon Prime members, Amazon (AMZN) is focusing its attention on the rest of the country.

On Tuesday, the behemoth announced a 45% discount to its Prime membership for those on food stamps. Anyone who has an electronic benefit transfer (EBT) card can join Amazon Prime for $5.99 per month rather than $10.99.

Somewhere between 64 and 69 million households — or around 60% of all American families — are Prime members, according to Piper Jaffray estimates.

Though the company does not share total number of Prime customers, Amazon spokeswoman Julie Law confirmed it has “tens of millions of Prime members,” which it first disclosed this February. She added that the company added 20 million new members in 2016 alone.

But now it’s trying to tap into the rest of the country that might find Prime’s $99 annual fee or $10.99 per month financially burdensome.

Of course, the latest discount is not an altruistic move on Amazon’s part, as the company gains to benefit from tapping into the 45 million people who are eligible for the discounted membership.

How the $5.99 offering came to be

A little over a year ago in April 2016, Amazon Prime launched a monthly payment option in addition to its annual membership. The service costs $10.99 a month for all Prime offerings, including free two-day shipping on most items, unlimited streaming of movies and TV shows, and the Kindle book borrowing program (or $8.99 a month for Prime Video only).

Even though it’s ultimately more cost effective to opt into the annual model, most individuals think about budgets on a short-term basis (for better or for worse), said Law.

“This past year helped us identify that there’s a customer need for an affordable, monthly offering. Customers often budget monthly for video and music streaming services and find that it’s actually easier to sync and plan monthly rather than annually. Since then, our thinking around the monthly service has evolved. There’s great consumer need for this option,” she said.

Amazon investors like Tim Ghriskey, chief investment officer of Solaris Asset Management, said while he’s pleased that the move gives Amazon a perception of goodwill, it will ultimately help the company’s bottom line.

“The cost of Prime, while it’s certainly a material positive cash flow for the company, is something that they can afford to partially give away in exchange for more market share. The more people that get used to buying purely over the internet, the more long-term sales they’re going to have. Giving a little bit on the front end or a little bit annually to capture those sales is a good thing for the company,” said Ghriskey.

And, it turns out, there is actually a market opportunity. Sixty three percent of new subscribers are coming from the 4th and 5th quintile of income earners in the US, while penetration advances among 2nd and 3rd quintile earners has slowed, said Piper Jaffray analyst Michael Olson.

“If the 2nd-4th quintiles of US income earners ultimately adopted Prime at a comparable rate to the 5th quintile, it would add ~25% to total Prime households in the US,” he points out.

No car, no problem?

Beyond offering a lower Prime membership fee, this offering has larger implications for the low-income population it’s trying to attract.

“There’s a fundamental human need to have certain necessities that we all need to buy. The foundation of what Amazon offers is price, selection and convenience. Our hope is maybe not to be altruistic but a customer needs things and we’re trying to help them do it in the most convenient way possible for products that they’re already shopping for,” said Law.

The No. 1 gamechanger — not needing a vehicle to do your shopping.

“If you’re on government assistance, you might not even have a car to go shopping. If you go rurally, a big supermarket might be harder to get to. It’s a lot easier and more economical to have things delivered for free — and saving money on a car and gasoline,” said Ghriskey.

And for those who don’t live in doorman buildings, Amazon also offers self-service lockers where customers can pick up their packages. There are currently around 1,800 kiosks across 50 cities.

Just one piece of the puzzle

Despite the price discount for users, the glaring obstacle that users have to deal with is that users can’t actually use their EBT cards or food stamps to pay for their Prime memberships or delivery charges.

Amazon has also teamed up with the USDA in an effort to enable low-income individuals on government assistance to take advantage of the vast offerings and convenience of online shopping.

Amazon is among 10 retailers (which includes FreshDirect, ShopRite, Thrive Market and Wal-Mart), that are teaming up with the Food and Nutrition Service’s SNAP pilot. The program is expected to launch in early 2018 “after all system enhancements are complete.”

The pilot will take place across seven states in both rural and urban areas.

In another attempt to cater to the low-income consumer, the e-commerce giant launched Amazon Cash, a service that lets you add cash to an Amazon balance at 10,000 physical locations around the country, earlier this year. It’s part of the company’s attempt to target those who don’t have a debit or credit card to use on Amazon.

Citing AT&T’s Access, which offers low-cost wireline home internet service and Sprint’s prepaid Assurance Wireless phones, Law said Amazon is hoping to provide affordable solutions for those in need.

Yes, the wealthy American is already a captive audience for Amazon Prime, but now Amazon is striving to become the everything store to everyone.

Amazon still selling ‘Free Palestine’ clothes

Amazon website sells many items with "Free Palestine" logo, June 7, 2017. (Screen capture:


Online sales giant Amazon continued to sell shirts and other clothing items calling to “Free Palestine,” after Sears and Walmart removed similar items from their websites.

The items were offered by various third parties, and included shirts, hats and pins, some bearing the Palestinian flags and many featuring a fist symbolizing resistance. One shirt demanding freedom featured a drawing of the entirety of Israel.

Sears said Wednesday it had removed a line of clothing featuring the slogan from its website. The clothing was offered for sale by another company, Spreadshirt Collection, and included tank tops, T-shirts and hoodies featuring a variety of pro-Palestinian messages. The clothing was offered for sale through Sears Marketplace, which offers a platform for third-party sellers to offer their wares through websites managed by Sears.

The designs included a clenched fist in the colors of the Palestinian flag and statements opposing the Israeli occupation.

Ynet news reported that Walmart was also selling the shirts and featured a screen capture of them for sale, but by later Wednesday they were no longer available.

According to a statement from a Sears spokesman, the apparel was pulled from the site based on feedback the company received.

“These items were being sold by a third-party seller via the Sears Marketplace,” said the statement, which was sent to JTA Tuesday afternoon. “Given the feedback we’ve received, they are being removed.”

The statement added that Sears felt it had been “unfairly singled out on this issue,” as similar items were available for purchase from other companies, such as Amazon and Walmart.

Amazon website sells many items with "Free Palestine" logo, June 7, 2017. (Screen capture:

The Sears statement noted that the company serves “a broad base of customers around the country and around the world,” and that it has 200 employees in Israel.

Amazon has also been under fire recently for selling Holocaust-denying books on its website.

The books included “Did Six Million Really Die?” by Richard Harwood; “The Six Million: Fact or Fiction?” and “The Myth of the Extermination of the Jews.”

After receiving complaints the company initially removed the texts only from its websites in nations where Holocaust denial is illegal, including Italy, France and Germany. The books remained available for some time on Amazon’s US and UK stores, though they appear to no longer be available.

Cramer: How Wal-Mart is giving Amazon a run for its money

Wal-Mart gives Amazon a run for its money

Wal-Mart gives Amazon a run for its money  8 Hours Ago | 03:17

For so long, it seemed like no company could rival e-commerce colossus Amazon, but Jim Cramer thinks one up-and-coming online competitor could give it a run for its money: Wal-Mart.

“You might think this comparison sounds crazy, even after the excellent quarter Wal-Mart just reported [on Thursday], but when you take a step back, it’s pretty clear that these two companies have a lot more in common than you might expect,” the “Mad Money” host said.

Before the rise of Amazon, Wal-Mart’s scale and massive array of merchandise shuttered countless smaller stores because they could not compete.

“Wal-Mart was the great destroyer of retail, the great disruptor, laying waste to mom and pop stores all over the country by offering more products and undercutting them on price,” Cramer explained.

Watch the full segment here:

Cramer: How Wal-Mart is giving Amazon a run for its money

Cramer: How Wal-Mart is giving Amazon a run for its money  8 Hours Ago | 08:57

Amazon employs a similar strategy, using its scale to sell items online at their lowest available prices. Most retailers cannot compete, but Wal-Mart’s breadth and ability to negotiate with its suppliers enable it to keep pace with Amazon’s prices.

Wal-Mart CEO Doug McMillon also set a goal for the company to become a major player in online retail, gaining approval from the Walton family, which owns just over half of the business.

With a good balance sheet, the company can afford to spend the money to challenge Amazon, but Cramer said the family’s approval was key for moving the process forward.

“As long as he’s got the backing of the family, he can afford to take some short-term hits in order to grow the company’s e-commerce presence. That’s a real rarity in this game,” Cramer said. “At most publicly traded companies, the shareholders tend to rebel when management starts promising near-term pain. And you better believe that declaring war on Amazon is painful.”

While Wal-Mart may not unseat Amazon as the top dog in e-commerce, the “Mad Money” host does believe it could become a serious competitor, with its online sales business up 63 percent in the latest quarter.

On Wal-Mart’s earnings conference call, the company touted its offering of 50 million products, up from 35 million last quarter and 10 million just one year ago.

Wal-Mart’s come-up in the online space started when the retailer announced plans to restructure in early 2015. The first step was closing 269 underperforming stores. Then, later in the year, McMillon announced a big boost in e-commerce spending — $900 milion in 2015 and $1.1 billion for the following year.

In response, the stock got pummeled, dropping from the mid-$80s to the mid-$50s, but with the backing of the Walton family, McMillon had permission to continue his agenda.

In the summer of 2016, Wal-Mart acquired one of the world’s fastest growing online retailers,, for $3.3 billion.

“The idea behind Jet is that they can offer customers tremendous bargains by giving you extra discounts if you order merchandise from the same distribution centers. Plus, the deal gave Wal-Mart access to a new cohort of wealthy, young, urban shoppers who might not otherwise be Wal-Mart shoppers,” Cramer said.

After a number of smaller acquisitions that expanded Wal-Mart’s online offerings, the company announced in March 2017 it would start its own incubator to invest in ideas and technologies that would change the future of retail, a new venture for the once-traditional company.

Finally, there’s one area where Wal-Mart does have a leg up over Amazon: fresh food. Ordering most things online is easy, but delivering perishables is more complicated.

“Wal-Mart’s grocery business is going strong, and once they get you in the door to buy that food, you might make impulse purchases — or if you know you’re going there, you can order stuff online, then pick it up in the store [to] save on shipping,” Cramer said. “Fresh food is Amazon’s Achilles heel, people.”

At the end of the day, Amazon is still the reigning king of e-commerce, but with 69 percent growth in online gross merchandise volume, Wal-Mart is easily second-best.

“Can Wal-Mart beat Amazon? Doubtful. But who says they need to? They just need to go toe-to-toe with Amazon and make money doing it, wipe out everybody else in bricks-and-mortar, and that’s entirely likely from what I’ve seen from this amazing quarter,” the “Mad Money” host said.

The stocks are completely different animals, however. Amazon’s powerful technology and web services arm puts its stock, which trades at 85 times next year’s earnings estimates, in a class above the rest.

Wal-Mart’s stock, a more old-school brick-and-mortar name, sells at only 17 times next year’s earnings.

“Here’s the bottom line: if you like owning high-flying fast growing tech stocks, Amazon’s great. OK? It’s for you. However, if you want more of a value play, I think Wal-Mart has done an incredible job of expanding online. They’re not going to take the lead in e-commerce anytime soon, but for the first time in ages, this business is actually a two-horse race,” Cramer said.

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Bill Gates (White Freemason) told new grads to read this book. Now it’s surging on Amazon.

Since stepping down as Microsoft’s chief executive in 2000, Bill Gates has seen his reputation transform from that of a hard-nosed businessman intent on shutting out the competition — which produced comparisons to oil magnate John D. Rockefeller — to that of a wise, inspiring philanthropist seeking to solve some of the world’s toughest social challenges.

Now, Gates regularly dispenses the wisdom he’s gained over the years in an effort to get people to dream bigger, think more positively and be a force for good. He’s even willing to give all this advice for free.

On Monday, Gates delivered what seemed like an entire graduation speech in the span of 14 tweets.

Like the best commencement speeches, Gates’s tweetstorm is a personal reflection on the ways he’s grown since he was a young adult. He admits that it took him “decades” to learn about inequality, and he says he no longer believes there is only one way to measure intelligence. He also articulates a philosophy that drives what he does: the notion that the world is steadily getting better, not worse.

The argument for that, Gates said, is laid out in a 2011 book called “The Better Angels of Our Nature.” Written by Harvard psychology professor Steven Pinker, the book attempts to explain why, as the New York Times put it, “our era is less violent, less cruel and more peaceful than any previous period of human existence,” despite headlines that may scream to the contrary.

“That matters,” Gates tweeted, “because if you think the world is getting better, you want to spread the progress to more people and places.”

So it’s probably no surprise that, in light of Gates’s recommendation, “Better Angels” is surging on Amazon. As of Monday afternoon, it had risen in Amazon’s sales rankings by more than 6,000 percent in the previous 24 hours.

“If I could give each of you a graduation present, it would be this — the most inspiring book I’ve ever read,” Gates tweeted.

New grads or otherwise, many people appear to be taking his advice.

The Amazon Book Burning


It was bound to happen sooner or later.

It happened sooner.

Amazon began its book-burning campaign this month by banning seventy titles.

Books promoting deviant sex? No.

Books on Satan worship? Nope.

Books blaspheming Jesus Christ? Not a chance.

But books proving that ’six million’ didn’t die; that no gas chambers existed, Zyklon B was not used for murder, but delousing…and even books engaged in scholarly discussion…those books got banned.

Jeff Bezos, owner of Amazon, apparently caved to pressure from Jewish money and influence.

For after four years of whining from World Jewish Congress CEO Robert Singer, looks like Bezos broke down.

In a ‘post-mortem’ letter to Bezos, Singer offered his assistance in flagging other “offensive” material in violation of “Amazon’s standards.”


Blasphemy, deviancy, and witchcraft flies? But whatever offends the Jews, that dies.

Jews got this first batch of books banned not because they might be factually incorrect but because Jews have real trouble with facts.

Historical and forensic facts like those presented in these books that expose the Holocaust as a hoax.

I grew up as a Jew in the 50’s and we knew nothing of a “holocaust.”

It was one of our own, Jewish historian Jacob Marcus, who stated in the Encyclopedia Brittanica that “thousands”—NOT “six million”—of Jews perished in German work camps.

It wasn’t until the sixties, that the ‘Holocaust Industry’ emerged, with Elie Wiesel, the high priest of the lie, touting that “six million” died.

‘Jewish babies,’ he wrote in his book “Night,” ‘were thrown into a fire pit at Auschwitz.’

Never mind that the camp was built on a swamp, and no such fires could have been lit.

But there’s something larger at work here.

Start banning Holocaust Truth books, what’s next?

Already the Jews call you an “anti-Semite” if you question the genocidal policies of Israel.

Will Jimmy Carter’s, “Peace Not Apartheid,” be next on the chopping block?

Any book veering off the Jewish script gets a shave and a haircut.

Look, if the Holocaust narration is true, it can pass through the fires of critical examination.

Jews call this examination, “Holocaust denial.”

Fine. Let people deny the earth is round.

But talk about denial.

Jews deny the Resurrection of Christ.

But Orthodox Christians laugh at them, and still worship the Risen Christ.

Ban the books, Amazon. Go ahead.

But there’s nothing covered that shall not be revealed.

Amazon’s Virtual Burnt Offering to the Jew World Order: Truth-Telling Books Banned


(GLARING Hypocrisy) Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center, has called the thought police shots at Amazon. More than 70 books on the subject of the Jewish holocaust and World War II were suddenly removed from Amazon on March 6 following discussion with the British Board of Deputies and a letter from Robert Rozett, Yad Vashem’s director of libraries, to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. In the letter Rozett reportedly offered to help Amazon “curb the spread of hatred”.

The 70+ banned books are published by Germar Rudolf’s company, Castle Hill Publishers, and are still for sale on the Holocaust Handbooks website. Some of the titles are available to download free in a variety of formats. We also have a dozen titles in PDF format that you can download from the Jewish Holocaust resource page on GLARING Hypocrisy.

In bowing to Jewish pressure, Amazon’s Orwellian move is yet another step on the path towards the fulfilment of the Jew World Order plans for a one world government, a one world religion, and a one world currency, as was prophesied in The Book of Revelation (17:12-13; 13:3-4 and 13:12; 13:16-17). But, before this can come to pass we must live through the ultimate Hegelian dialectic, the bloody endgame in which chaos reigns and humanity is divided against itself. This division takes many forms, one strand of which cuts between those who follow truth wherever it leads — places guaranteed to be uncomfortable and leading to persecution — and those who not only accept the official narratives but also defend passionately the very lies that are leading us all to destruction. A sub-strand of this division separates the Jew-wise from the propagandised, and the more powerful Jewish organisations become, the more the former are vilified and criminalised.

In the first step, Jewish organisations zealously hang the anti-Semite label on anyone who questions or criticises Jews, Judaism or Israel. In particular, questioning the Jewish holocaust, a major part of 20th century history, is verboten. Also off-limits are the subjects of Jewish control of banking and economies, the legal system and the courts, the media, Hollywood, the music industry, publishing, psychiatry, education, governments, and so on. The second step is the silencing of those who don’t adhere to the official narrative, through such methods as threatening livelihood, general intimidation, incarceration, and good old-fashioned censorship and book burning.

If you don’t want a man unhappy politically, don’t give him two sides to a question to worry him; give him one. Better yet, give him none.

~ Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

Bradbury’s 1953 dystopian novel is set in a time in which books are illegal and any found are burned by firemen. The tagline explains the title: “the temperature at which book-paper catches fire, and burns”.

In a world of electronic and on-demand publishing it’s easier than ever to not only burn books, but also to remotely remove them from Kindles and Nooks. We’ll no longer need physical fires to deal with the problem of forbidden knowledge — just toss everything down the special F451 Memory Hole and the offending books will be holocausted in seconds.

Every autumn The American Library Association promotes Banned Books Week. This is how the ALA describe their mission:

By focusing on efforts across the country to remove or restrict access to books, Banned Books Week draws national attention to the harms of censorship. The books featured during Banned Books Week have all been targeted with removal or restrictions in libraries and schools. While books have been and continue to be banned, part of the Banned Books Week celebration is the fact that, in a majority of cases, the books have remained available. This happens only thanks to the efforts of librarians, teachers, students, and community members who stand up and speak out for the freedom to read. Banned Books Week is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read. Typically held during the last week of September, it highlights the value of free and open access to information. Banned Books Week brings together the entire book community — librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and readers of all types — in shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular.

Banned Books Week 2016

Robert F. Doyle, in the 2015-2016 list of books challenged or banned, echoes this sentiment.

Banned Books Week 2016 continues more than thirty years of celebrating — and protecting — the freedom to read. This freedom to choose what we read from the fullest array of possibilities is firmly rooted in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, the amendment that guarantees freedom of speech and freedom of the press. Even as we enjoy a seemingly limitless and expanding amount of information, there is always a danger in someone else selecting what is available and to whom. Would-be censors come from all quarters and all political persuasions and threaten our right to choose for ourselves.

It all sounds good. The underlying sentiment defends the right to read, an act which, itself, is predicated on the right to write and publish. However, when looking at the 45 books included in the 2015-2016 list, mainly challenged or banned by schools, the majority of synopses include reasons for the challenge or ban described with the following words or phrases: sexually explicit; masturbation; graphic; homosexuality; transgender; same-sex marriage; rape; mature content; too much information about sexual issues for middle school students; violent; offensive language; scary images; profanity; obscenity.

So, let me get this straight. Books that examine the Jewish holocaust narrative and the German side of the World War II story are hateful and anti-Semitic; while books that normalise such things as sexual promiscuity, perversity and violence are okay for children and young adults. But, given the opposite of hate is love, is it not reasonable to assume that because we love our children we should raise them accordingly? In this upside-down, back-to-front, inside-out world the actual response from many parents is to allow and encourage their children to be exposed to whatever books, television, movies, and music they choose. Even when the content clearly corrupts and degrades.

Yes, the words sound good, but the defenders of the right to read are concerned with those books that become classics, win literary prizes and adorn the shelves of every so-called thinking man and woman. These books might be banned or challenged but they are celebrated by the press and literary bodies. The books that matter, those that delve into forbidden historical and political territory, are the truly dangerous ones, not to we the people but to the powers-that-be that are the Jew World Order.

For anyone who would like to contact the ALA about these 70+ banned books, and to request they be included in the 2016-2017 list, you can do so via their online challenge form. As you can see from their response to my tweet, they’ll be happy happy to hear from you.

@OIF Do you have a formal submission process for folk who’d like to submit books to be included in the list of banned books 2017? Thanks!

@mufidah Our list is based on challenges we record from the media, & confidential reports we receive from educators. 

Banned Books Q&A

The American Library Association (ALA) promotes the freedom to choose and the freedom to express one’s opinions, even if that opinion might be considered unorthodox or unpopular. ALA stresses the…

@mufidah If you know of a challenge, please report it using our new form: 

Challenge Reporting

Since 1990, the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom has maintained a database on challenged materials. ALA collects information from two sources: media reports and reports submitted by individuals.

As with last year, Amazon will no doubt continue to support Banned Books Week. However, it’s clear that Amazon’s participation only exists as propaganda to fool folk into thinking Amazon actually cares about our right to read. And, of course, to justify their raison d’être: to promote book sales for the maximisation of profits and shareholder value.

The #glaringhypocrisy of Amazon promoting Banned Books Week.

It should come as no surprise that Jeff Bezos is working for the Jew World Order. Not only does he own The Washington Post and have a $600 million contract with the CIA, now produces and sells the Orwellian smart speaker, Amazon Echo. This is how Amazon describes the Echo:

Amazon Echo is a hands-free speaker you control with your voice. Echo connects to the Alexa Voice Service to play music, provide information, news, sports scores, weather, and more—instantly. All you have to do is ask.

Echo has seven microphones and beam forming technology so it can hear you from across the room—even while music is playing. Echo is also an expertly tuned speaker that can fill any room with 360° immersive sound. When you want to use Echo, just say the wake word “Alexa” and Echo responds instantly. If you have more than one Echo or Echo Dot, Alexa responds intelligently from the Echo you’re closest to with ESP (Echo Spatial Perception).

A couple of months ago Sean and I stayed in house peppered with Echoes and we can both vouch for their creepiness factor. Not only are the microphones super-sensitive, they record any questions that follow the wake word. Of course, we’re told that the recordings are brief and that we can delete them, but as is the case with televisions that have the capacity to record audio and video, we’d be unbelievably naive to think that such devices are not being used to record much, much more in the case of people who are under surveillance. And in our increasingly dystopian world those worthy of surveillance are not the cartoon terrorists that have been trained by our own governments, but the same people who were targeted by the East German Stasi and the Russian KGB — ordinary people who refuse to toe the party line. The other sinister aspect of the Echo is its database of sanctioned answers and rebukes. When we asked Alexa about various historical events the answers were all be firmly rooted in the false narrative of history.

No wonder Bezos has a $600 million contract with the CIA — The Washington Post and the Amazon Echo both disseminate propaganda, and the Echo has the bonus feature of being able to keep tabs on certain people to find out whether the propaganda is working or not.

From this, it’s clear that Amazon’s virtual book burning is only part of the equation to control thought and silence dissent. We can be sure that all sanctioned channels of information, very much including The Washington Postand the Amazon Echo, are working overtime to push the message that questioning or criticising any Jewish-related subject is anti-Semitic hate speech. Not only does this further divide us, one from another, it also deflects from the real story that the longstanding edict to silence truth is— like the Jew World Order itself — far advanced.

Amazon’s Massive Own Goal


The Amazon book-burning fest has caused consternation and in some cases despair. As a consequence of Amazon sticking two fingers up at the public’s right to access freedom of information I will suffer financially. Yet, today I celebrate the hole that these on-the-ropes last resort book burners are digging themselves into.

It is a mistake to think that Amazon Books and Amazon Kindle are omnipotent. They are not; they have many publishing rivals. These challengers are now partying at Amazon’s expense. Anticipating Soviet-style censorship most dissident publishers are already spreading their book selling bets across a wide number of online book publishers.

Amazon’s denial of the public right to access information will lead to the book publishers losing much of their market and their credibility to rivals. Will the Jewish lobbyists, who coerced the online publishers, make up for Amazon’s massive financial losses?

There are many other ways to expose international holocaust related fraud. Amazon is small fry. It wasn’t Amazon (or the Russians) that was pivotal in the US presidential elections; it was alternative and social media. The relatively uncontrolled internet has got the mainstream media in a panic; they too are on the ropes.

The book burners can interrupt progress but an interruption is never going to stop the free flow of information. Holocaust fraud is taking place on an international scale. Such fraud is in defiance of every country’s laws. Holocaust fraud has got to stop and it will be stopped at whatever cost.

Bans never stopped booze production during prohibition, bans don’t stop crime, sex, drug taking, and bans don’t stop the truth seeping out and becoming a torrent.

I have made a number of positive points and recommendations in my hour long Spingola Speaks radio broadcast. I hope that in listening to the broadcast the spirits will lift and inspiration will flower.

Jewish omnipotence is an illusion; the international Jew does have great power but they are few in number. In an awakening world comparatively few who are active in waging a war for domination are more vulnerable today than they have been.

If they don’t succeed in their aims to once and for all crush and dominate one billion ethnic Europeans and subjugate the world’s 6.4 billion non-Jewish ethnic communities then this tiny insignificant group of swindlers will fight and lose their last battle. The Jewish tail will not be wagging the Gentile dog for very much longer.

Amazon Decides That the Jewish “Holocaust” Cannot Stand Up to Critical Scrutiny

And so, under pressure, censors and removes historical works of which Jews disapprove; how large will their “banned list” get? What are the Jews hiding? Truth does not fear investigation.

Editorial Note by Kevin Alfred Strom: Giant, oligopolic sites such as Amazon are de facto public utilities and should be treated as such: They should not be permitted to censor public debate on ideas of significance. We should immediately put public pressure on Amazon to reverse this decision.

A FEW DAYS AGO, a lunatic Israel-first group calling itself “United With Israel” urged its mostly Christian dupes to participate in the Jewish pressure campaign to intimidate Amazon to stop sales of books that “deny the Holocaust” — that is, books which historically examine Jewish WW2 atrocity claims and find them wanting. Their boilerplate is copied almost word-for-word from that issued by many Jewish organizations in the past week or two in a tightly-orchestrated campaign.

The online retailer Amazon caved in to the pressure and has stopped selling three “Holocaust denial” books after Jewish groups insisted that they stop selling any books of which Jews disapproved on the topic.

Jews have demanded such censorship for years, but the recent Jewish campaign to convince the world that “anti-Semitism” is an exploding, out-of-control “crisis” prompted Robert Rozett, a senior official at Jewish “Holocaust remembrance” group Yad Vashem, to orchestrate the latest pressure campaign on Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos — in which hundreds of Jewish and Christian groups called for “immediate action” to censor historical works that dispute Jewish claims.

On Wednesday morning, the three titles that Mr Rozett had mentioned in his campaign were suddenly unavailable for purchase. Two were not showing up in searches, and one was listed but with a note saying that it was “under review” and could not be bought. This was the case for both US and UK stores.

Mr Rozett said the company had taken a “positive first step” which showed that they were listening to him and other Jewish groups that echoed his demand, such as the World Jewish Congress.

The titles in question were: Holocaust: The Greatest Lie Ever Told, by Eleanor Wittakers; The Hoax of the Twentieth Century: The Case Against the Presumed Extermination of European Jewry, by American professor Arthur R. Butz and Did Six Million Really Die? by Richard Harwood.

Amazon did not answer a request to comment for this article, and did not inform Mr Rozett that the books were being taken down.

Mr Rozett said the real test will be whether it takes related steps to stop feeding antisemitism.

“It’s a complex problem because Amazon is selling books, carrying reader reviews which defend them, and then Amazon recommends related titles to people,” he said.

Mr Rozett wants to know that Amazon will ensure that no Holocaust denial titles are sold, that no review sections on its site are used to propagate denial, and that people who bought denial books in the past are not being recommended books “that are likely to strengthen anti-Semitic beliefs based on their purchase history.”

Jewish Board of Deputies Vice President Marie van der Zyl indicated that this censorship is just the first step, saying, “Should any member of the public find further offending works, please get in contact with us and we will report them using the appropriate channels.”

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Source: National Vanguard correspondents

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