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Some big corporations don’t want a free market. They want a protected market with barriers. Lawmakers seem hungry to regulate the Internet. It’s dangerous!
By Vin Armani
In this video, Vin Armani explains why you’ve been tricked into supporting net neutrality. Some big corporations don’t want a free market. They want a protected market with barriers. Lawmakers seem hungry to regulate the Internet. It’s a dangerous combination that infects most industries. Don’t let it happen to the Internet.
Vin Armani is the host of The Vin Armani Show on Activist Post, agorist entrepreneur and co-founder of Counter Markets. Follow Vin on Twitter and subscribe on YouTube. Get the weekly podcast on iTunes or Stitcher. Vin is available for interviews at email – Vin (at) VinArmani.com.
by: Ethan Huff
July 08, 2017
(Natural News) It’s not just that the e-commerce monopoly known as Amazon wants to control every element of the retail market, both online and off. The true aim of Jeff Bezos’ digital Frankenstein is to control every element of the entire economy, a sinister aspiration that, if consumers don’t start taking a stand with their wallets – and politicians with enforcing antitrust laws – could soon result in Amazon controlling virtually every transaction involving the buying and selling of goods.
Americans already spend nearly half of their online dollars at Amazon, even though the multinational corporation is hardly the most cost-effective option for purchasing consumer products. Apparently too lazy and/or shortsighted to consider the impact this is having on competition, Americans and their online buying habits are what’s driving Amazon to godlike status, the long-term implications of which are nothing short of deeply disturbing.
As recently as 2015, the majority of people looking to purchase something online now go straight to Amazon’s website rather than search for that item via a search engine. Further, nearly half of all online e-commerce now takes place through Amazon’s “Web Services” platform, including other companies like Netflix that rely on its cloud computing technology to distribute their offerings to customers.
So even when it seems like a customer is shopping online from an Amazon competitor, there’s a good chance that that competitor uses some type of Amazon product to conduct its business. The result of this is that Amazon is essentially seizing control over the entire market in some form or another, pushing true competitors out of the market and driving all consumer purchases to itself.
“With commerce rapidly moving online, Amazon has positioned itself as lord of the realm, which means that online commerce is no longer a market in any meaningful sense of the word,” writes Stacy Mitchell for VICE.
“It’s now a privately controlled arena where a single company sets the terms by which we may exchange goods with one another and decides which products – which new authors, which new innovations – get to find an audience.”
Almost immediately after putting in a bid to purchase Whole Foods Market, Amazon filed a patent for a ‘Big Brother’ technology that would not only allow it to keep digital tabs on consumers, but also block consumers from visiting competitors’ websites while inside one of its stores. This would include Whole Foods stores, should federal regulators grant Amazon’s request to acquire the grocery retailer.
All of this amounts to gross abuse of the system by Amazon, of course, and something that the people’s representatives should be fighting against in accordance with antitrust laws meant to protect healthy competition. What Amazon is essentially doing is creeping in on every facet of the infrastructure of the American economy, though often in ways that aren’t overtly obvious at first. But like the frog that’s slowly boiling in the pot as the heat gets turned up, Americans will soon realize the dire consequences of this hostile takeover, should they continue down the path of least resistance.
Adds Mitchell about the growing threat of Amazon’s commerce dominance:
Amazon’s bid to buy Whole Foods should be a wake-up call. Our anti-monopoly policies have fallen into disuse and today’s big tech monopolies have used that opening to seize too much power. As Senator John Sherman, co-author of the Sherman Antitrust Act, declared as his bill came up for a vote in 1890, “If we will not endure a king as a political power, we should not endure a king over the production, transportation, and sale of any of the necessaries of life.”
Sources for this article include:
“Some people like to blame all of the world’s problems on government. Others blame business for everything that ever goes wrong. I don’t fall into either of these categories. I think the greatest threat to humanity, freedom and our overall happiness comes down to concentrations of power.”
I’m sure all of you heard about the $2.7 billion fine imposed by the EU on Google as a result of its anti-competitive behavior, but not many of you probably know exactly what the search giant did to earn it. To shine some light on the topic, let’s take a look at a few excerpts from a recent article written by Silicon Valley antitrust lawyer Gary Reback.
Below are some choice excerpts from the piece, You Should Be Outraged at Google’s Anti-Competitive Behavior:
Before 2007, if a user searched for a product on Google, other sites listing prices for that product would appear among the general search results, ranked in the order of their quality to users. These “comparison shopping sites” were designed to identify merchants with the lowest prices. The more accurate and comprehensive their results, the higher they were ranked and the more traffic they generated.
But the more successful that comparison shopping sites became, the more they threatened Google’s business plan. Google makes money by selling ads placed next to its free search results, and merchants could not be expected to bid for ad placement if the listings in comparison shopping sites on the same search undercut their prices.
To address this, Google developed a cunning plan, the first phase of which was documented in a report by the FTC. Portions of the report were published by the Wall Street Journal more than two years ago.
Quoting internal Google documents and emails, the report shows that the company created a list of rival comparison shopping sites that it would artificially lower in the general search results, even though tests showed that Google users “liked the quality of the [rival] sites” and gave negative feedback on the proposed changes.
Google reworked its search algorithm at least four times, the documents show, and altered its established rating criteria before the proposed changes received “slightly positive” user feedback. Internal Google documents predicted that the proposed changes would reduce rivals’ user traffic up to 20 percent and subsequently reported producing the desired results once the changes were implemented.
At the same time, Google started putting the results from its own comparison shopping service at the top of search results. After these changes, the only source of low-price information readily available on Google’s search platform came from Google’s own comparison shopping service, known at the time as Google Product Search, which listed the lowest prices for products in its database at no charge to merchants.
Google’s conduct certainly hurt its rivals, particularly after a second round of search-listing demotions documented by the European Union. Many companies have been forced to lay off all of their employees and even shut down operations.
In 2012, Google took the extraordinary step to kill Google Product Search, replacing it with Google Shopping. This new service did not display the lowest price (or even a low price) in the general search results; rather, it displayed ads at the top of the search results page in response to the user’s search term. The ads were carefully placed by Google’s algorithms to minimize price competition among merchants, by, for example, showing ads next to each other that featured different product models at different price points.
Google Shopping also permitted merchants to purchase ads on a separate shopping page. Merchants — no longer promoted in search results for having lower prices — now must pay for better placement. Not surprisingly, they have raised prices to cover these costs.
Google’s competitors argued in a study, which I submitted to the European Commission a few years ago, that the prices in Google Shopping ads for specified products on search results pages were among the highest in Google’s database. Google’s displayed prices for everyday products, such as watches, anti-wrinkle cream and wireless routers, were roughly 50 percent higher — sometimes more — than those on rival sites. A subsequent study by a consumer protection group found similar results. A study by the Financial Times also documented the higher prices.
The Post’s editorial board claimed that the online availability of large merchant sites might restrain Google’s power over consumers. But those sites haven’t stopped Google from executing its plan so far. There is no denying that Google eliminated services showing the lowest prices, free to merchants, and replaced them with high-priced ads.
Some people like to blame all of the world’s problems on government.
Others blame business for everything that ever goes wrong.
I don’t fall into either of these categories. I think the greatest threat to humanity, freedom and our overall happiness comes down to concentrations of power.
Too much concentration of power within business or government ultimately leads to tyranny and oppression, and the best solution is for all of us to fight against concentrations of power in all its manifestations. Personally, I think Google has far too much power in a service as important to modern life as search, and it seems executives there are doing what always happens with concentrated power — abusing their position.
Vietnam, according to a recent GeekTime article, is the latest nation to begin encouraging local alternatives to the search engine and social media network in order to rebalance the monopoly over information both tech giants enjoy in the Southeast Asian country today.
Google and Facebook: More than Search Engines and Social Media
The two tech giants and others like them may have appeared at their inceptions to political, business, and military leaders around the world as merely opportunistic corporations seeking profits and expansion.
However, Google and Facebook, among others, have become clearly much more than that.
Both have verifiably worked with the US State Department in pursuit of geopolitical objectives around the world, from the collapse of the Libyan government to attempts at regime change in Syria, and using social media and information technology around the world to manipulate public perception and achieve sociopolitical goals on behalf of Wall Street and Washington for years.
The use of social media to control a targeted nation’s information space, and use it as a means of carrying out sociopolitical subversion and even regime change reached its pinnacle in 2011 during the US-engineered “Arab Spring.”
Portrayed at first as spontaneous demonstrations organized organically over Facebook and other social media platforms, it is now revealed in articles like the New York Times’, “U.S. Groups Helped Nurture Arab Uprisings,” that the US government had trained activists years ahead of the protests, with Google and Facebook participating directly in making preparations.
Opposition fronts funded and supported by the US State Department’s National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and its subsidiaries Freedom House, International Republican Institute (IRI), and National Democratic Institute (NDI) were invited to several summits where executives and technical support teams from Google and Facebook provided them with the game plans they would execute in 2011 in coordination with US and European media who also attended the summits.
The end result was the virtual weaponization of social media, serving as cover for what was a long-planned, regional series of coups including heavily armed militants who eventually overthrew the governments of Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, and Yemen, with Syria now locked in 6 years of war as a result.
It was during Syria’s ongoing conflict that Google would find itself involved again. The Guardian in a 2012 article titled, “Syria: is it possible to rename streets on Google Maps?,” would report:
In their struggle to free Syria from the clutches of President Bashar al-Assad, anti-government activists have embarked on a project to wipe him off the map. Literally. On Google Maps, major Damascus thoroughfares named after the Assad family have appeared renamed after heroes of the uprising. The Arab Spring has form in this regard. When anti-Gadaffi rebels tore into Tripoli last August, the name of the city’s main square on the mapping service changed overnight – from “Green Square”, the name given to it by the erstwhile dictator, to “Martyr’s Square”, its former title.
The internet giant’s mapping service has a history of weighing in on political disputes.
Google’s monopoly in nations without local alternatives ensures that public perception is lopsidedly influenced by these deceptive methods.
An interactive tool created by Google was designed to encourage Syrian rebels and help bring down the Assad regime, Hillary Clinton’s leaked emails have reportedly revealed.
By tracking and mapping defections within the Syrian leadership, it was reportedly designed to encourage more people to defect and ‘give confidence’ to the rebel opposition.
Clearly, more is going on at Google than Internet searches.
Nations would be equally irresponsible to allow a foreign corporation to exercise control over their respective information space – especially in light of verified, documented abuses – as they would by allowing foreign corporations to exercise control over other essential aspects of national infrastructure.
Vietnam Taking Control of its Information Space
The GeekTime article, shared by the US State Department’s NDI on Twitter titled, “Is Vietnamese campaign to build a Facebook alternative fighting fake news, or fostering censorship?,” claims (emphasis added):
During a parliamentary committee meeting earlier this month, Truong Minh Tuan, Minister of Information and Communications in Vietnam, said that the government is encouraging Vietnamese tech companies to build local replacements for platforms such as Facebook and Google (which are the most popular in their categories in Vietnam).
The article also reported:
It is part of a wider campaign to “strengthen cyber security” and the integrity of the country’s information. “The plan is to try and address the problem of how ‘fake pages’ with anti-government content grew uncontrollably on Facebook,” said Tuan. “Going further, we need social networks provided by local businesses that can replace and compete with Facebook in Vietnam.”
NDI’s mention of the article is meant to imply that the Vietnamese government stands to profit from the localization of search engines and social media – and it does. However, the localization of Vietnam’s information space is no different than the localization of Vietnam’s defense industry, energy and water infrastructure, schools, and healthcare institutions. They are the Vietnamese people’s to control, not Washington, Wall Street, or Silicon Valley’s.
Whether the Vietnamese government abuses that localization or not is the business of the Vietnamese people. The actual concern NDI has is that once the localization of information technology is complete in Vietnam, forever will these effective vectors of sociopolitical subversion be closed to the corporate-financier special interests driving US foreign policy and the work of fronts like NDI.
List of companies that uses Monsanto products.
In light of the recent public anger over the Monsanto Protection Act, here’s a simple, printable list of companies that use Monsanto products. By avoiding products made by companies on this list, you can help ensure your money isn’t going to Monsanto and also watch out for the health of your family and yourself.
If you wish to print, simply click on the list and choose “Print” from your browser’s menu (or press CTRL+P/CMD+P).
With permission from
by: Mike Adams
(Natural News) I recently published a rare interview with the founder of SGT Report, a popular independent media website that’s also featured on Censored.news. The topic of our discussion? Google’s “cheating” of its search algorithm to artificially penalize indy media websites, and YouTube’s demonetization assault on the independent media, now dubbed the “Adpocalypse.”
I quietly released the interview a couple of days ago (video below), and since then I keep hearing from people about how “powerful” the interview was, and why it gave them hope for the future of freedom of information across the ‘net. Unknown to me at the time, the person I was interviewing brought up something I hadn’t planned on making public, but since it’s now out there, I have no problem acknowledging it: YES, I have been financially supporting several smaller publishers by purchasing ad space on their websites as a means of helping to keep them financially afloat. (See details below.)
I’m looking to help more small publishers earn even more revenues, and we now have a solid revenue model through our online store affiliate system, which is earning real revenues for many publishers. If you’re reading this and want to add our affiliate revenue generation to your publishing site, just email us at “affiliate” at the domain HealthRangerStore.com to learn more details.
I’ve included the full video below, plus a few paragraphs of what All News Pipeline wrote about the interview. ANP is a very important independent media website that has done remarkable investigatory work and has suffered through its own attacks, smears and DDoS hacking waves. Like all of us in the independent media, ANP was built by resilient, determined SURVIVORS who have both the courage and the intellect to make enormous contributions to public knowledge through the practice of legitimate investigative journalism.
Here’s what they had to say about all this (video below):
Interestingly, as the MSM see each other as “competition,” and the Independent Media as “enemies to be destroyed,” those in the Independent Media that simply have an alternate point of view, willing to highlight things the MSM refuse to address or report on, view the Internet as big enough for everyone and have started to fight back against the attacks against us all.
There are people that have been in the Independent Media business far longer than many of us, such as Steve Quayle, that links to well researched, informative articles from Independent News websites, helping to negate the censorship practices by Google and YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and others.
…Then you have people like Mike Adams, from Natural News, who has been attacked by Google when they literally removed over 140,000 pages of his website from Google search engines with bogus excuses, not only highlighting the issue, but then despite his own personal loss of massive revenue, has continued to fight and highlight the war against Independent Media.
Adams published an article on April 5, 2017, titled “Google, YouTube waging ‘demonetization’ WAR on alternative media to bankrupt independent journalism,” where he put a spotlight on the censorship of Independent Media websites, including ANP, SGT Report, and Truth Stream Media, and highligting some of the technology being utilized to silence the truth “by any means necessary.”
Now let me tell you something Adams did not highlight in that post, probably because he didn’t want to toot his own horn, so to speak. Mike Adams has also been placing ads on younger sites that have been attacked, demonetized and censored, in order to help support them.
As can be heard in the interview below, where Adams speaks to SGT Report founder about censorship, who begins by informing listeners that Adams “stepped up, after you found out about our YouTube demonetization problems which hit in an incredibly powerful and dramatic way on March 31st, they literally turned off our advertising opportunities and shut down revenue, 95% of it, and its really remained that way ever since… and you stepped up out of nowhere to email and say you’d love to place an ad at SGT Report to support us. I just want people to understand how generous you are. You offered to pay two to three times market value……”
Adams, unaware that SGT Report founder was going to bring that up, admitted to quietly helping smaller Independent publishers behind the scenes saying he would continue to do so, basically as pushback against the corporate controlled system and the attacks against Independent Media.
ANP can attest and confirm from personal experience, what SGT Report founder stated, as days after Adams published his piece on the attacks and demonetization issues, we too received an email about placing an ad on our site, which you can see in the sidebar right now. Since we had communicated with Mike previously, linking to each other in areas where article content matched, we offered a colleague discount on placing the ad, to which his representative refused, and insisted on paying more than we quoted them, because the point was to “support” ANP.
Adams, like Quayle, who always and generously will take the time to answer questions and offer guidance, are actively helping fight back against the attacks, specifically helping those that are newer to the business, less established, and therefore more vulnerable to those attacks.
We are witnessing pioneers of Independent Media standing up actively helping newer members, something you will never see the establishment media do.
Listen below as The Health Ranger interviews the founder of the SGTreport (SGTreport.com) about the mainstream media’s attempts to destroy the independent media.