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Friday, July 27, 2012

I'm Still Not Shopping at Amazon

Posted by on Fri, Jul 27, 2012 at 11:13 AM

Not sure what others are thinking in the office, but I for one am not celebrating Jeff Bezos' $2.5 million contribution to the marriage equality campaign. Sure, I hope the campaign puts the money to good use, and I'd rather Bezos spend his money promoting marriage equality than defeating it, but quite frankly I'm simply fed up with the oversized role the super wealthy are playing in our initiative process, and in politics in general.

One of the rallying cries of the progressive movement is that "there are more of us than there are of them." Yeah, true. But they have more money. And as money increasingly becomes the determining factor in politics (as it clearly already is in the initiative process) it basically means that the rest of us are fucked.

 

Comments (49) RSS

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balderdash 1
Well fuckin' stated, Goldy.
Posted by balderdash http://introverse.blogspot.com on July 27, 2012 at 11:16 AM · Report this
Simply Me 2
I am celebrating, but maybe because I know our opponents have an unlimited supply of money from the Catholic church. We need and welcome every fucking penny.
Posted by Simply Me on July 27, 2012 at 11:19 AM · Report this
Simply Me 3
P.S. Approve 74!!!
Posted by Simply Me on July 27, 2012 at 11:20 AM · Report this
4
Hollow gesture from crazy clownface.
Posted by WenWino on July 27, 2012 at 11:23 AM · Report this
5
Until the day arrives that money no longer determines the outcome of elections, I welcome wealthy allies and thank them for their support.
Posted by Meat Weapon on July 27, 2012 at 11:24 AM · Report this
danindowntown 6
Good lord. Do you ever dial back the puffed up outrage, you insufferable scold? You would add more to the political debate if you could articulate an opinion without coming off as some bitter old man. Try taking a step back once in a while. This donation is a good thing and doesn't hold water as an example of the corrosive influence of money in our politics.
Posted by danindowntown on July 27, 2012 at 11:24 AM · Report this
DowntownTaylor 7
Okay, yes, but this is not the initiative process. It's a referendum.
Posted by DowntownTaylor http://www.digitaltaylor.com on July 27, 2012 at 11:24 AM · Report this
Kinison 8
Hay Toby!! Your basically in line with all the bigots who are now boycotting Amazon over the donation, you should invite those bigots over for a bbq now that your frenemies!
Posted by Kinison http://www.holgatehawks.com on July 27, 2012 at 11:25 AM · Report this
danindowntown 9
And @ 7 is correct this is a referendum on a law passed by the legislature not an initiative. Take a breath, blow-hard.
Posted by danindowntown on July 27, 2012 at 11:27 AM · Report this
10
"One of the rallying cries of the progressive movement is that "there are more of us than there are of them"

Which is why I1098 only got 34% of the vote. Thanks for the laugh.
Posted by Sugartit on July 27, 2012 at 11:28 AM · Report this
11
Good news for Darcy!
Posted by gloomy gus on July 27, 2012 at 11:33 AM · Report this
MacCrocodile 12
Well, since someone didn't follow through on his part of the bloody uprising, Goldy, we're still beholden to the interests of the wealthy and rely on their whims.

In this case, the wealthy whim in our direction, and I'm pleased. It's outrageous that this is how it works, but in the absence of another working system, this is how it works.
Posted by MacCrocodile http://maccrocodile.com/ on July 27, 2012 at 11:34 AM · Report this
MacCrocodile 13
@7, 9 - Don't be pedantic. What you call the specific vote doesn't change how the money works on the system.
Posted by MacCrocodile http://maccrocodile.com/ on July 27, 2012 at 11:35 AM · Report this
Teslick 14
And when was this Golden Age when money didn't have a huge influence in American politics?
Posted by Teslick on July 27, 2012 at 11:38 AM · Report this
this guy I know in Spokane 15
And as money increasingly becomes the determining factor in politics


Becomes?
Posted by this guy I know in Spokane on July 27, 2012 at 11:38 AM · Report this
Cato the Younger Younger 16
Goldy, Until you are ready to overthrow the wealthy from their positions of power (and guess what they, won't go peacefully) just be happy a lot of money was put to good use.
Posted by Cato the Younger Younger on July 27, 2012 at 11:39 AM · Report this
17
I know what you're talking about, Goldy. Our democracy, or what used to be a democracy, has been sold to the highest bidder. That has been true for decades, but now every little vestige or pretense of restraint has been removed by Citizens United (what a name). And it all started with Bush getting "elected" in 2000, because he appointed Alito and Roberts, with Roberts in charge. And it's only going to get worse. (And if Romney get elected, or "elected", forget it.) So it's wonderful when one of the plutocrats deigns it worthwhile to help some minority, for whatever selfish or personal reason, but this only ignores the larger point that we are now at the mercy of the wealthiest, like Greeks at the sway of dysfunctional gods. Sometimes the results are benevolent but, more often than not, they're not.
Posted by floater on July 27, 2012 at 11:42 AM · Report this
danindowntown 18
@ 13 You do know there is a difference between an initiative and a referendum, right? A fairly large difference. Pedantry doesn't come into play when you are talking about two completely different functions of our political process. Also, if Mr. Goldstein is going to be journalist he should strive for accuracy in his reporting.
Posted by danindowntown on July 27, 2012 at 11:43 AM · Report this
MacCrocodile 19
@18 - Then explain, asshole. How does the process differ in such a way that the super-wealthy don't have undue influence on the process?
Posted by MacCrocodile http://maccrocodile.com/ on July 27, 2012 at 11:45 AM · Report this
20
You can both cheer the contribution and also decry huge gaps between rich and poor. You can do both.
Posted by cgd on July 27, 2012 at 11:49 AM · Report this
Gay Dude for Romney 21
Note that Goldy's earlier "Meet Rob McKenna's Boobs" post was pulled after being deservedly raked over the coals by commenters.

Having an article pulled is very rare for Slog. Very rare indeed.

Now Goldy, dear sweet Gody, did you come to your senses and plead to have it pulled, or did management have it pulled? Being an optimist, I trust it is the former.
Posted by Gay Dude for Romney http://mittromney.com on July 27, 2012 at 11:50 AM · Report this
raisinghellforagoodcause 22
Re: the progressive rallying cry, "There are more of us than there are of them":

In theory, "more of us" could offset "their" money power. But only if enough of us actually exercise our right to free speech (while it is still sorta free). Exercising this right requires more than voting and signing online petitions. Our challenge is to get our progressive friends to join us at candidates' forums, protests, town hall meetings, etc.
Posted by raisinghellforagoodcause http://www.lisaarnoldconsulting.com on July 27, 2012 at 11:56 AM · Report this
23
I'm not them and I'm not you, so where does that leave me?
Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://www.you-read-it-here-first.com on July 27, 2012 at 11:57 AM · Report this
Gay Dude for Romney 24
@17: Yes, W appointed Roberts and Roberts saved Obamacare with a constitutional blessing. Funny how those things work out, isn't it?
Posted by Gay Dude for Romney http://mittromney.com on July 27, 2012 at 11:57 AM · Report this
25
If "they" have more money than "us" and therefore more power to influence elections, why not try to get "them" on our side? Coming up with a very negative reaction to a very positive action by one of "them" is not going to help do that. Just because you don't like the system (and who does?) doesn't mean you have to dump on a gesture that could very well swing the referendum to the result that we want. Maybe just be grateful that the money this time came down on the side of good. No one says not to work to change the system, but while you do that (and just how ARE you doing that?) don't look a proverbial gift horse in the mouth.
Posted by Grrrwlr on July 27, 2012 at 12:01 PM · Report this
Goldy 26
@21 Management had it pulled. I would never pull a post for any reason other than libel, even a post in which I rightly or wrongly invited ridicule and reproach upon myself. As a blogger, I consider post-pulling to be cowardly and revisionist. If I said something wrong, readers should be free to have at me in the comment threads, and if others at The Stranger were offended they should have felt free to castigate and humiliate me elsewhere Slog.

That is the nature of the medium.
Posted by Goldy on July 27, 2012 at 12:01 PM · Report this
Goldy 27
@7 @9 Hair splitting. My wording was shorthand for the initiative and referendum process. Both produce ballot measures.
Posted by Goldy on July 27, 2012 at 12:03 PM · Report this
28
Bezos is pro gay marriage but then he's also screwing over the teachers with the charter school support. The problem with letting rich people run things is that they get to put their idiosyncratic stamp on a culture. Unfortunately, that would be ours.
Posted by Why are there cars? on July 27, 2012 at 12:12 PM · Report this
Eli Sanders 29
@Goldy: R-74 is a referendum, not an initiative, and it comes as a result of a law passed by the legislature earlier this year extending marriage rights to same-sex couples.

Given this, I see Bezos's money as being spent to support the democratic process. He's not trying to buy a new law here with this $2.5 million. He's trying to defend a law that came into existence after decades of work finally paid off via the slow grind of representative democracy.
Posted by Eli Sanders http://elisanders.net/ on July 27, 2012 at 12:15 PM · Report this
Matt from Denver 30
@ 19/27, the difference is that initiatives can be drawn up by wealthy interests without any of the legislative process involved. That increases the chances of the law being poorly written.

The reason it matters is because you've got two things going on. The initiative process is broken because it's how powerful interests circumvent the legislature and get exactly what they want, with no vetting by people who know how to write legislation* and with no input from the representatives and lobbyists who can ensure that other people aren't being fucked over.**

Referenda are submitted by the legislature basically to get the people's okay on the law. It may be little more than ass covering, but such bills at least were drafted with the input of people who don't directly and solely benefit from them.

Perhaps this means very little to Goldy's point, but it's still important to understand the distinction.
Posted by Matt from Denver on July 27, 2012 at 12:21 PM · Report this
McGee 31
@23 That leaves you as the general sweaty fat loser you have always been.
Posted by McGee on July 27, 2012 at 12:22 PM · Report this
Matt from Denver 32
Crap, forgot my footnotes. Here they are.

* It should be understood that being drafted in the legislature is no guarantee that a law will be well written, or not be a complete clusterfuck of a bill. But the pros still usually do an okay job.

** It's also understood that the legislature serves powerful interests much more than they do the people as a whole, but there are still at least opposing powerful interests represented on every committee.
Posted by Matt from Denver on July 27, 2012 at 12:24 PM · Report this
Matt from Denver 33
Regarding the larger point about money in politics, let me ask if one is supposed to never buy anything from large companies? Because I know of no major corporation that doesn't have it's own lobbying unit, and doesn't donate to key legislative, congressional, gubernatorial and presidential candidates.

It sucks, but it's truly impossible to live without supporting some of these businesses. Even if you do all your food shopping at the farmer's market and all your retail from the handful of independent merchants left around, they're all doing business with those big companies.

You can't keep your money from ending up with causes you don't support. If you're avoiding Amazon because Bezos can afford to drop $2.5M on a single race, you're only addressing the symptom. The issue is that campaign finance is virtually unregulated. That's what needs to be addressed.
Posted by Matt from Denver on July 27, 2012 at 12:31 PM · Report this
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn 34
I can't keep track of which billionaires and coroprations Goldy likes and which ones he hates. Up with Big Beer and Chris Hansen. Down with Amazon and Costco. Yet Goldy could easily be an enemy of Big Beer and Hansen and a friend of Jeff Bezos and Costco without any apparent change in his values. If any. No rhyme or reason.

It's just blog about stuff Goldy likes and other stuff that rubs him the wrong way. Like a Livejournal.
Posted by Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn http://youtu.be/zu-akdyxpUc on July 27, 2012 at 1:37 PM · Report this
danindowntown 35
@ 27 Your wording was sloppy and incorrect as your colleague @ 29 rightly points out.
Posted by danindowntown on July 27, 2012 at 1:54 PM · Report this
Goldy 36
@35 Lazy trolling. Have fun defending the right of billionaires to influence and control our elections.
Posted by Goldy on July 27, 2012 at 2:21 PM · Report this
37
I think it's very nice that Mr. Bezos has given a pot of money to the cause, but I still will not be an Amazon customer any time soon. His pro-marriage position almost seems to be a fluke, when compared to his business practices, which may be good for Amazon but are not good for the communities where Amazon has its physical operations, and are predatory and unethical in the case of his scan-and-report pricing policy. Will we still be thanking him when he has succeeded in putting the last brick-and-mortar bookstore in North America out of business? Or will that be the day we realize that a contribution like this is just a diversion, after all?
Posted by Calpete on July 27, 2012 at 2:39 PM · Report this
38
Billionaires will stop controlling our elections when people stop voting for people who are willing to do the bidding of billionaires.

"Go Obama 2012!" he yelled facetiously.
Posted by LJM on July 27, 2012 at 3:20 PM · Report this
39
What Eli said @29. Truth.

Posted by kerri harrop http://generalbonkers.com on July 27, 2012 at 3:30 PM · Report this
40
I think instead of either an initiative or a referendum Goldy would rather have the legislature just draft all laws directly with no further input from the citizens in the form of a vote. But exactly how do those legislators get elected? Well, from campaigns financed with the money from the rich people that he decries as having hijacked the and referendum processes.
Posted by WestSeven on July 27, 2012 at 3:39 PM · Report this
41
Considering that NOM stated that they are ready to throw $4M at the referendum to defeat it who gives a shit where it comes from. Would you have been happier if the Bazos couple gave 2.5M to the defeat R-74 forces? Really! Get off your high horse.
Posted by Weekilter on July 27, 2012 at 4:34 PM · Report this
Free Lunch 42
@24 - Yes, thank God Bush won that election, because both justices appointed by Gore would have decided against the ACA.
Posted by Free Lunch on July 27, 2012 at 7:44 PM · Report this
watchout5 43
Amen. You don't get to vote on clearly constitutional issues.
Posted by watchout5 http://www.overclockeddrama.com on July 27, 2012 at 7:58 PM · Report this
lark 44
Goldy,
I completely agree with your statement. I rarely shop at Amazon anyway. But, your second paragraph is spot on.
Posted by lark on July 27, 2012 at 9:54 PM · Report this
45
This is ridiculous. So because money has too much influence in politics, we shouldn't celebrate when for once the progressive side gets some of it?! This donation does not make it any less likely that Citizens United will be repealed and money will be removed from politics someday. Your argument is a non-sequiter and makes no sense.

And what does this have to do with whether you would shop at Amazon or not?
Posted by ML77 on July 27, 2012 at 10:38 PM · Report this
46
Ok Goldy has now past Charles M for what Stranger staffer is the most annoying slog poster. Congrats Goldy. I'm assuming that you're straight Goldy based on previous posts about your ex-wife. It's easy when a law doesn't affect you and the bigots in the state are going to overturn it to "not celebrate" when someone donates a shit ton of money to fighting those bigots. But it just makes you look a bit douchy to those who will be affected. Why don't you stop hating on those who support gay marriage and go back to hating on McKenna.
Posted by j2patter on July 28, 2012 at 8:39 AM · Report this
w7ngman 47
Are you going to boycott AWS, too? You shop at Amazon basically all day.
Posted by w7ngman http://userscripts.org/users/89370 on July 28, 2012 at 8:58 PM · Report this
Goldy 48
Eli @29, It never should have come before voters. The bulk of ballot measures, initiatives and referenda, come before voters simply because wealthy individuals, corporations, and unions have the money to buy the signatures. It's a corrupt system, period, and I'm not going to celebrate a selfish libertarian dick like Bezos for spending money on a cause I like while ignoring the money he spends defeating fair taxation and promoting public-education-destroying the charter schools.
Posted by Goldy on July 29, 2012 at 12:50 PM · Report this
49
Glad to see that someone at what otherwise seems to be a very liberal publication is standing up for what everyone knows is right. Kudos!
Posted by polarcat on August 7, 2012 at 11:11 AM · Report this

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