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Amazon demonetizes conservative website (us) [Updated]

Amazon demonetizes conservative website (us) [Updated]

Our participation in Amazon Associates terminated without warning, with false and shifting explanations.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JROFIBGh1lI

For as long as I can remember, Legal Insurrection has participated in Amazon Associates, a way for websites to earn fees when readers shop at Amazon.com via links from our website.

It was an important source of revenue to us, and paid for some of the operating expenses readers never see.

On Saturday morning, April 28, 2018, I woke up to an email in my inbox from Amazon Associates telling me our participation in the program was terminated, our account closed, that the decision was final and there was no appeal. On top of that, Amazon was holding back any accumulated money it owed us.

There was no prior indication of a problem, or chance to cure. It’s always been our intent to comply with the program requirements. I detail what happened, including all the email communications, below.

In isolation, it’s just a website cut off from a source of revenue by an internet behemoth because the internet behemoth could. But if there was an anti-conservative ideological angle to it, either at inception or during the review process, it would be consistent with what is happening at high tech companies more generally. The problems Prager U and others have had with video restrictions and demonetization at YouTube, the exposure of Twitter shadow-banning, and the intolerance revealed at Google are just a few of the examples of an anti-conservative bias among internet giants.

We have not been immune to such problems, YouTube removes influential conservative website’s channel.

Amazon does not perform the same gatekeeper role as other internet giants, but it is not just a shopping site. Its cloud computing service plays an increasingly important role in access to information, potentially including such giants such as the Department of Defense.

Now that the month-long futile process of seeking reinstatement is over, it is clear to me that someone at Amazon wanted us gone. Amazon Associates came up with false explanations as to our alleged violation of the Operating Agreement, then additional false explanations, and at the very end a new explanation that was previously resolved 5 months ago to Amazon’s satisfaction.

As I was going through this process, the proverbial light bulb went on when when I saw an article at The Daily Caller about a problem at a different Amazon program, Prominent Christian Legal Group Barred From Amazon Program While Openly Anti-Semitic Groups Remain.

False and Shifting Reasons for Termination

The reason given in the April 28 termination email was that we violated the Operating Agreement as follows:

“You are promoting your Special Links in an offline manner, such as printed material, mailing, or oral solicitation.”

Over the following weeks I repeatedly explained to Amazon on the phone, through its Amazon Associates portal, and by email, that we did not do any of those things, and that this termination explanation made no sense.

I asked Amazon to provide me with evidence that we did any of those things, but was told they could not tell me because it was proprietary. As I pressed the issue, Amazon began to add new reasons why we were terminated:

“You are incentivizing others to visit the Amazon Site via your Special Links by offering rebates, cashback, discounts, points, donations to charity, or other incentives, or by stating that customers can support you by shopping through your Special Links.”

Again, this was bizarre. We didn’t do any rebates, cashback, discounts, points, donations to charity, or other incentives. Moreover, as I explained in writing to Amazon, stating that a customer can support us does not actually violate the Operating Agreement, which permits disclosure that we earn a fee. I wrote:

We DO NOT offer rebates, cashback, discounts, points, donations to charity, or other incentives. We DO state that readers can help us by using our links, but that is NOT PROHIBITED anywhere in the Operating Agreement. To the contrary, the Operating Agreement, paragraph 5, specifically permits us to inform customers that we are helped by purchases: “As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.”

Accordingly, we do not do any of the things of which we have been accused except for indicating that we are helped by purchases, which we are permitted to say under the terms of the Operating Agreement.

Please have this reviewed by a Supervisor since we are not in violation of the Operating Agreement and our account has been incorrectly terminated.

Similar language has been permitted in the prior version of the Operating Agreement as well, which permitted the following:

“We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.”

So we didn’t do any of the things in the termination email, or most of the things in the appeal decision. The one thing we did do, let readers know that purchasing through our links helps us, is expressly permitted under the current and prior versions of the Operating Agreement.

A Supervisor at Amazon did respond further, repeating the same alleged Operating Agreement violations addressed above, and declining to tell me what it was we did that was a violation:

After diving into the account it seems our account specialist with associates has provided you with the correct information. Due to the proprietary nature of the process, we can’t share the criteria by which the process for decision of termination was made.

In another effort to understand what it was we did, I emailed again:

You say that you cannot share the criteria, but can you provide me with any specific examples where we have violated the operating agreement in the manner suggested in the termination emails? I also wonder why if there are such an examples we are not given an opportunity to cure the problem.

I also emailed both Amazon Associates and Amazon media relations seeking comment on this bizarre situation, and asking why we were targeted:

We are a popular conservative politics and law website which has been a participant in Amazon Associates for several years.

On April 28, 2018, we received a notice shutting our account without any advance notice or ability to cure, and most important, without telling us specifically what we did that allegedly violated the Operating Agreement. We have communicated several times (see email chain below) with Amazon Associates, and while they have cited two broad provisions of the Operating Agreement, they refuse to tell us what we did that would be a violation (we deny violating the Operating Agreement).

Given concerns about Amazon and other major internet players shutting down and demonitizing conservative political websites and media properties, and since Amazon will not give us examples of what we allegedly did that violates the Operating Agreement, we find it likely that someone at Amazon determined to shut us down and the citations to broad provisions of the Operating Agreement were just a pretext.

I never heard from Amazon Media Relations, but I did hear from Amazon Associates again, and this time they added a completely new justification for the termination, that we used Amazon links in emails:

As stated in our previous communications, our decision to terminate your Associates account is final. Any further requests to review your account for reinstatement will not receive a response.

Because you are not in compliance with the Operating Agreement, Amazon will not pay you any outstanding fees related to your account. Amazon exercises its right under the terms of the Operating Agreement to withhold fees based on violations, which include the following:

-You are promoting your Special Links by including them in emails to your customers.

-You are incentivizing others to visit the Amazon Site via your Special Links by stating that customers can support you by shopping through your Special Links.

This is the first time during the termination communications that Amazon Associates raised the issue of emails. That was an old issue resolved to Amazon’s satisfaction 5 months ago. We used to include an Amazon link in our Morning Insurrection newsletter. We were contacted by Amazon in early January 2018, and given five days to fix the use of the link in emails, which it claimed violated the Operating Agreement. It’s not clear that that even is a violation, but it didn’t matter, we complied with Amazon’s request, and they were satisfied. I included the screenshot in my response regarding the termination:

Now you are raising the email issue, but this was addressed with Amazon last January. When it was called to our attention, we removed the link and have not included the link in our newsletter since then, and Amazon acknowledged that:

So why has this issue been raise now 5 months after it was remedied within the timeline required by Amazon?

We also are permitted, under the express terms of the Operating Agreement, to inform readers that we earn a fee (we don’t go even that far, just say they can help us), so you are inventing an Operating Agreement violation that is not in fact a violation of the Operating Agreement.

You say you will not respond further, but someone at Amazon is not applying the Operating Agreement correctly. You should reinstate us.

No further response from Amazon.

Clearly someone wanted us gone. The first and second lists of violations were either things we didn’t do or were not in fact violations of the Operating Agreement. In the last and final communication, Amazon raised an issue which may not even be a violation, but in any event was resolved to Amazon’s satisfaction 5 months ago and never before given as a reason for termination.

None of this passes the smell test.

Timeline and Emails

Here is the timeline and emails:

***********************************

Amazon Associates
Apr 28

to me

Dear Sir or Madam,

We are writing to tell you that, effective as of today’s date, Amazon is terminating your Associates account and the Operating Agreement that governs it. Under the terms of the Operating Agreement (https://affiliate-program.amazon.com/help/operating/agreement), we may terminate your account at any time, with or without cause. This decision is final and not subject to appeal.

Because you are not in compliance with the Operating Agreement, Amazon will not pay you any outstanding advertising fees related to your account. Amazon exercises its right under the Operating Agreement to withhold fees based on violations, which include the following:

-You are promoting your Special Links in an offline manner, such as printed material, mailing, or oral solicitation.

It is important that you immediately stop using the Content and Amazon Marks and promptly remove from your Site(s) and delete or otherwise destroy all links to the Amazon site, all Amazon Marks and all other and any other materials provided or made available by or on behalf of us to you under this Operating Agreement or otherwise in connection with the Program.

Please be aware that any other accounts you have, or may open in the future, may be closed without payment of any fees. Amazon reserves all other rights and claims.

Want to help the Associates team improve our emails? Please take minute to take a three question survey. Click here

Warmest Regards,

Amazon.com
http://www.amazon.com/associates

****************************

Appeal submitted via Amazon Online Portal (no copy available to me) disputing any conduct that would violate the cited provision of the Operating Agreement, and also in phone call to Amazon Associates customer service, who told me it would be referred for review. Such review normally takes 2 business days, but when no response was received after several days, I called again. Was told that it was under review and I should hear in a couple of days. When no response received, I called a third time and was was told it was under review, and taking longer than usual for reasons the person  was not aware of. Finally received the email below.

********************

Amazon Associates
May 9

to me

Dear Sir or Madam,

We received your appeal regarding the termination of your Associates account. A specialist has reviewed your account and the decision to terminate your account was found to be correct. As stated previously, under the terms of the Operating Agreement (https://affiliate-program.amazon.com/help/operating/agreement), we may terminate your account at any time, with or without cause. This termination is final and not subject to appeal.

Because you are not in compliance with the Operating Agreement, Amazon will not pay you any outstanding fees related to your account. Amazon exercises its right under the terms of the Operating Agreement to withhold fees based on violations, which include the following:

-You are promoting your Special Links in an offline manner, such as printed material, mailing, or oral solicitation.

-You are incentivizing others to visit the Amazon Site via your Special Links by offering rebates, cashback, discounts, points, donations to charity, or other incentives, or by stating that customers can support you by shopping through your Special Links.

It is important that you immediately stop using the Content and Amazon Marks and promptly remove from your Site(s) and delete or otherwise destroy all links to the Amazon site, all Amazon Marks and all other and any other materials provided or made available by or on behalf of us to you under this Operating Agreement or otherwise in connection with the Program.

Please be aware that any other accounts you have, or may open in the future, may be closed without payment of any fees pursuant to our rights under the Operating Agreement. Amazon reserves all other rights and claims.

Warmest Regards,

Amazon.com
http://www.amazon.com/associates

****************************

Legal Insurrection <[email protected]ection.com>
May 9

to Amazon

I request that this be escalated to a Supervisor. The decision to terminate the account is not supported by any facts as to what we do.

The original reason given in the original termination email was:

“You are promoting your Special Links in an offline manner, such as printed material, mailing, or oral solicitation.”

In my appeal, I pointed out that we don’t do any of those things. We are strictly online.

In the response to my appeal, you have added an additional reason:

“You are incentivizing others to visit the Amazon Site via your Special Links by offering rebates, cashback, discounts, points, donations to charity, or other incentives, or by stating that customers can support you by shopping through your Special Links.”

We DO NOT offer rebates, cashback, discounts, points, donations to charity, or other incentives. We DO state that readers can help us by using our links, but that is NOT PROHIBITED anywhere in the Operating Agreement. To the contrary, the Operating Agreement, paragraph 5, specifically permits us to inform customers that we are helped by purchases: “As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.”

Accordingly, we do not do any of the things of which we have been accused except for indicating that we are helped by purchases, which we are permitted to say under the terms of the Operating Agreement.

Please have this reviewed by a Supervisor since we are not in violation of the Operating Agreement and our account has been incorrectly terminated.

Thank you,

William A. Jacobson

***********************************

Hello William,

This is [name redacted] a member of the leadership team with Amazon.com. I am glad I was able to assist you with providing you the information you requested regarding your Amazon Associates account. I completely understand your frustration with this issue. After diving into the account it seems our account specialist with associates has provided you with the correct information. Due to the proprietary nature of the process, we can’t share the criteria by which the process for decision of termination was made. However I can confirm the information provided to you was correct and can be found below:

A specialist has reviewed your account and the decision to terminate your account was found to be correct. As stated previously, under the terms of the Operating Agreement (https://affiliate-program.amazon.com/help/operating/agreement), we may terminate your account at any time, with or without cause. This termination is final and not subject to appeal.

Because you are not in compliance with the Operating Agreement, Amazon will not pay you any outstanding fees related to your account. Amazon exercises its right under the terms of the Operating Agreement to withhold fees based on violations, which include the following:

-You are promoting your Special Links in an offline manner, such as printed material, mailing, or oral solicitation.

-You are incentivizing others to visit the Amazon Site via your Special Links by offering rebates, cashback, discounts, points, donations to charity, or other incentives, or by stating that customers can support you by shopping through your Special Links.

It is important that you immediately stop using the Content and Amazon Marks and promptly remove from your Site(s) and delete or otherwise destroy all links to the Amazon site, all Amazon Marks and all other and any other materials provided or made available by or on behalf of us to you under this Operating Agreement or otherwise in connection with the Program.

Please be aware that any other accounts you have, or may open in the future, may be closed without payment of any fees pursuant to our rights under the Operating Agreement. Amazon reserves all other rights and claims.

I hope this information helps, please understand we do not have any further insight on this matter but we will be more than happy to assist with any further Amazon related questions or concerns outside this issue.

Best regards,
[name redacted]
Amazon.com

*******************************

Legal Insurrection <[email protected]>
May 9

to customer-servi.

You say that you cannot share the criteria, but can you provide me with any specific examples where we have violated the operating agreement in the manner suggested in the termination emails? I also wonder why if there are such an examples we are not given an opportunity to cure the problem.

*****************************

Legal Insurrection <[email protected]>
May 12
to amazon-pr, amazon-ir, Amazon

We are a popular conservative politics and law website which has been a participant in Amazon Associates for several years.

On April 28, 2018, we received a notice shutting our account without any advance notice or ability to cure, and most important, without telling us specifically what we did that allegedly violated the Operating Agreement. We have communicated several times (see email chain below) with Amazon Associates, and while they have cited two broad provisions of the Operating Agreement, they refuse to tell us what we did that would be a violation (we deny violating the Operating Agreement).

Given concerns about Amazon and other major internet players shutting down and demonitizing conservative political websites and media properties, and since Amazon will not give us examples of what we allegedly did that violates the Operating Agreement, we find it likely that someone at Amazon determined to shut us down and the citations to broad provisions of the Operating Agreement were just a pretext.

We are considering writing about this shut down on our website, possibly as early as Sunday night, May 13, and would like to provide Amazon an opportunity to comment. Accordingly, please send me any comment by 3 p.m. Eastern on Sunday, May 13.

Regards,

William A. Jacobson

Here is the email chain:****

****************************

Amazon Associates
May 14
to me

Dear Sir or Madam,

As stated in our previous communications, our decision to terminate your Associates account is final. Any further requests to review your account for reinstatement will not receive a response.

Because you are not in compliance with the Operating Agreement, Amazon will not pay you any outstanding fees related to your account. Amazon exercises its right under the terms of the Operating Agreement to withhold fees based on violations, which include the following:

-You are promoting your Special Links by including them in emails to your customers.

-You are incentivizing others to visit the Amazon Site via your Special Links by stating that customers can support you by shopping through your Special Links.

It is important that you immediately stop using the Content and Amazon Marks and promptly remove from your Site(s) and delete or otherwise destroy all links to the Amazon site, all Amazon Marks and all other and any other materials provided or made available by or on behalf of us to you under this Operating Agreement or otherwise in connection with the Program.

Please be aware that any other accounts you have, or may open in the future, may be closed without payment of any advertising fees pursuant to our rights under the Operating Agreement. Amazon reserves all other rights and claims.

Warmest Regards,

Amazon.com
http://www.amazon.com/associates

************************************

Legal Insurrection <[email protected]>
May 20
to Amazon

Now you are raising the email issue, but this was addressed with Amazon last January. When it was called to our attention, we removed the link and have not included the link in our newsletter since then, and Amazon acknowledged that:

So why has this issue been raise now 5 months after it was remedied within the timeline required by Amazon?

We also are permitted, under the express terms of the Operating Agreement, to inform readers that we earn a fee (we don’t go even that far, just say they can help us), so you are inventing an Operating Agreement violation that is not in fact a violation of the Operating Agreement.

You say you will not respond further, but someone at Amazon is not applying the Operating Agreement correctly. You should reinstate us.

UPDATE 5-25-2018 8 p.m.

The Daily Caller News Foundation tried to get answers from Amazon and found “Amazon’s claim that Legal Insurrection used language that implied Amazon supports Legal Insurrection is dubious at best” and Amazon “would not provide TheDCNF … with details” as to the alleged email linking violation.

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Comments


VaGentleman | May 25, 2018 at 3:17 am

RObert Spencer at Jihad Watch has a piece comparing LI’s Amazon experience to his very similar experience.

https://www.jihadwatch.org/2018/05/amazon-demonetizes-jihad-watch-is-it-hate-to-oppose-jihad-mass-murder-and-sharia-oppression

An interesting point he brings up is the involvement of the SPLC in all of this.

    JusticeDelivered in reply to VaGentleman. | May 26, 2018 at 12:02 am

    I turned off renewal of my amazon account today, Come November, I will no longer have a Prime account.

    Over the past year there have been lots of problems with their service. I was already considering dumping them, LI’s problems were the last straw.

    My message to Amazon:

    For nearly a year now I have had a steady stream of problems with Prime, orders not shipped in a timely manner, one order was pending from before Xmas last year for nearly three months, I finally canceled it. I have repeatedly notified you that USPS will not deliver to my address, yet again and again you send large packages by USPS. This has cost me lots of time, both to address the issue and to order replacement items from other vendors.

    Now, the latest issue is Amazon suspending Legal Insurrection account and stealing their funds. It is really bad business to try and impose your political beliefs on any customer or vendor. That was the last straw, and I have set my Amazon Prime account to not renew. There are plenty of other sellers willing to match your prices, or sellers that actually have better prices, ready to take the business.

    Be aware that there is a movement afoot to drive business from Amazon to less arrogant sellers.

      JohnSmith100 in reply to JohnSmith100. | May 26, 2018 at 10:28 am

      Wikibuy.com

      When you setup an account, tell them you have Amazon Prime, even though you may not. When you search for prices they will show both Amazon’s price and others. Then send a request for a price match if Amazon has a better price.

      Wikibuy is a great tool for undermining Amazon’s business. When you get a price match, send a short note to Amazon thanking them for helping you get a better price from another vendor, and mention that this is what happens when a business is stupid enough to play political games with organizations like LI.

      Cat Herder in reply to JohnSmith100. | May 31, 2018 at 11:31 am

      Thanks for the link. I just made a purchase from Alibris, and it looks like I may be buying most of my books from them in the future.

    Meantime, learn about big-business getting those two obama goats into netflix:

    Ted Sarandos, a major campaign contributor for Obama and the streaming giant’s creative-content chief who oversees an $8 billion budget, helped to broker the deal:
    https://nypost.com/2018/05/26/campaign-contributor-helped-obamas-score-netflix-deal/?utm_campaign=iosapp&utm_source=mail_app

    Who is Ted Sarandos:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ted_Sarandos

    Sarandos lives in Malibu, California with his wife, Nicole Avant, daughter of former Motown Chairman Clarence Avant:
    http://variety.com/2017/dirt/real-estalker/ted-sarandos-malibu-encinal-bluffs-1202575370/

VaGentleman | May 25, 2018 at 3:23 am

Robert Spencer at Jihad Watch has a piece comparing LI’s Amazon experience to his very similar experience.

https://www.jihadwatch.org/2018/05/amazon-demonetizes-jihad-watch-is-it-hate-to-oppose-jihad-mass-murder-and-sharia-oppression

An interesting point he brings up is the involvement of the SPLC in all of this. I don’t see you personally or LI on their lists, but who can be sure? What about other lists pf alleged haters maintained by true haters?

    JohnSmith100 in reply to VaGentleman. | May 26, 2018 at 10:42 am

    It seems like I read somewhere about Soros giving SPLC a boatload of cash. So fan out and start posting wherever SPLC is being mentioned that they really have no need for donations from individuals. Also, lookup what the brass is being paid, they are probably living very high on the hog.

I just had another SJW experience with a purported business.

I bought a small amount of stock in a marijuana fund, because I know that, regardless of what I think, the market is going to grow. My broker hired some sort of holding company to handle its portfolio, and at the last minute, the holding company informed them that it was not going to deal in bitcoin and marijuana stocks.

I told my broker to go ahead and sell the stock, that this was a once funny, and if I ever heard anything more about this alleged business firm making business decisions based on their political leanings, I would drop them immediately. I asked him to pass that information on.

There are ‘way too many people drinking koolaid, these days.

PersonofInterests | May 25, 2018 at 1:30 pm

Now that Disqus has obviously joined the juggernaut to censor and render opposing voices with opposing views neutered and silent like others; given the appetite for the Fake News Alphabet Networks and PressTaTutes to avoid truth and facts, our First Amendment Rights have been seriously eroded. I suspect that like a volcano with a cauldron of hot lava boiling just below the surface and out of view, it’s not going to take too much more of the suppressive tyranny to produce a very undesireable result.

    assemblerhead in reply to PersonofInterests. | May 25, 2018 at 2:42 pm

    Yup. Disqus is now policing for “Hate Speech”. They have gone full SJW.

      Disqus seems to censor commenters for using certain words rather than censoring whole thoughts…

      You can say, “He was screwing around on his phone” and be censored…but you can say, “He was messing around on his phone” and not be censored…

      It’s not what you say…but how you say it! 🙂

4th armored div | May 25, 2018 at 2:09 pm

with all the conservative lawyers on the ethernet –
why can’t a class action lawsuit be brought on Bezon & co
charging restraint of trace and violation of 1st amendment guarantee ?

    Tom Servo in reply to 4th armored div. | May 26, 2018 at 8:15 am

    Because Amazon is not a government agency, so first amendment doesn’t apply. Similarly, no restraint of trade – they’re just refusing to let people handle their service. The only possible would be to try to get something going under the Civil Rights Act of 1965 – but that only bars discrimination on race, creed, and color. (roughly speaking)

    The only real answer is for those who oppose this to find and build commercial alternatives to these corporate behemoths. It is sad to say, but we are moving towards a world in which we are going to need at least two parallel but separate sets of social and commercial institutions – one which only wants to serve the left, and one which will be open to the rest of us.

      meyou in reply to Tom Servo. | May 26, 2018 at 9:14 am

      You’re probably correct. Things are working out just like the filthy Communists bho & wife planned. Pray, hang on tight, and pray some more.

Several contributions on this site have positively gloated over others’ misfortunes, most notably when minimum-wage workers lost their jobs to robots. Regulars here gush over the prospect of sending fighter aircraft to massacre illegal immigrants, and make vulgar posts about HRC’s private anatomy, and her supposed sexual relations with Huma Abedin. So, there are legitimate reasons (as well as the bogus ones given by Amazon) why a business might not want its name associated with LI.

    Amazon might not want to be associated with LI ?

    You’re right, moonmoth….I can see why Amazon, a shopping site where one can log on and purchase a vibrating butt plug…wouldn’t want to be associated with LI, a conservative site where someone said something mean about Hillary….

    (Makes perfect sense)

    Henry Hawkins in reply to moonmoth. | May 25, 2018 at 9:36 pm

    Sure, ignore the actual LI articles and focus only on comments made by commenters, 99% of which do not post as you claim they do.

      Tom Servo in reply to Henry Hawkins. | May 26, 2018 at 8:18 am

      Moonmouth and those like him go to sites like LI and intentionally make comments of the kind he just described just so their political allies can then go use the comments that THEY themselves made as a justification to condemn the entire site.

      Close The Fed in reply to Henry Hawkins. | May 26, 2018 at 10:58 am

      Re: Henry Hawkins and the leftie bean bag:

      I disagree with Henry H. that Bezos is unjustified because 99% of the comments aren’t what Mr. Leftie Bean Bag described.

      We have freedom of speech, and if Mr. Leftie Bean Bag doesn’t like it, he should move to, uh, North Korea, Cuba, Venezuela and enjoy those workers’ paradises.

      American political discourse has ALWAYS been rough and tumble, accusations flying back in forth in far more colorful terms than the present day right uses.

      Matter of fact, I think we’re far too restrained and concerned about kindness and politeness here. Too much politeness enabled Obama to deconstruct America and make Americans ashamed of themselves. Unacceptable to any decent human being.

      The truth is, bullies will push you as far as you let them, so its better to push back. What did Obama say? They bring a knife to a fight, we bring a gun?

        Henry Hawkins in reply to Close The Fed. | May 26, 2018 at 11:27 am

        You really need to sharpen up your reading comprehension skills.

        1) I said nothing about Bezos or Amazon. I said the commenter Moonmoth was unjustified in condemning LI based on a very small minority of comment section entries that meet his stated critiria for offensiveness.

        2) “We have freedom of speech….” Which is protected in our Bill of Rights only if government in some way infringes upon it. Amazon is a privately held business and is not required by law to respect freedom of speech in the way our government is. Amazon can ban anyone it chooses for whatever reason it wants.

        3) “Too much politeness enabled Obama to deconstruct America and make Americans ashamed of themselves.” Yeah, that’s what it was – too much politeness. Um, no. It was a combination of a go-along-to-get-along GOPe unwilling to take the risk of fighting back and a news media fully vested in covering up for Obama by minimizing, spiking, and, when required, flat out lying. I personally know of not one single American who was made to feel ashamed of America due to the Obama administration. There is, of course, about 20-30% of Americans who feel ashamed because they believe America is the source of much of the world’s ills. They felt this way before Obama and continue to feel that way now. To Obama, these were merely members of the choir.

          Close The Fed in reply to Henry Hawkins. | May 26, 2018 at 4:32 pm

          Dear Henry:
          We’re on the same side.

          That said, you wrote, “it was a combination of a go-along-to-get-along GOPe unwilling to take the risk of fighting back…” which means “too nice and too polite.”

          As for feeling ashamed, we have very impressionable children in our schools and colleges who have been convinced America is a bad country.

          But I agree with you, sort of.

          Henry Hawkins in reply to Henry Hawkins. | May 26, 2018 at 4:51 pm

          You wrongly reassigned the target of what I’d posted in my first post and now you’re editing out half my reasons for a basically unopposed Obama administration – the fawning, cover-his-ass-at all costs news media. Further, you’ve taken the GOPe’s calculated political decision not to risk angering any voters and relabeled it as being ‘too nice and polite’ solely to vindicate your inane reply.

          If achool children are hating America, it’s the fault of parents and nobody else.

          I can’t stop people like you from rewriting my posts into something they can better refute, but know it won’t go uncorrected. I am not on your side. I’m not on anybody’s side.

    You may want to head on over to Amazon and order some pearls to clutch.

      Maybe try affiliate marketing with somebody else?
      The two reasons to stay with Amazon are 1)they have a large enough selection to have the various products your site visitors might buy, and 2)they have enough traffic so that somebody going directly there, but with your cookie active, earns you the commission even if they did not find the goods through your site.

      Can’t do anything about 2), but Walmart has Jet that has an affiliate program, and as other commenters have noted, Walmart has a large selection.
      https://jet.com/affiliates

      As soon as LI is reinstated.

      YellowGrifterInChief in reply to Leslie Eastman. | May 26, 2018 at 10:01 am

      This site spends all day, everyday clutching pearls.

      I assume that Amazon’s Terms of Service allow them to do as they have done. I suggest that this article be allowed to roll off the 1st page lest people start to notice that large entities behave in unfair ways and practice discrimination. The smaller parties often has no practical redress.

      LI’s attitude is usually tough sheet, it isn’t true or pointing out liberal hypocrisy. So I surprised that the good Prof seems to be arguing that since he played by the rules, he should be treated fairly. Yes, people of darker skin tones, who play by the rules, are treated exactly like white people.

      LI’s commentators often celebrate with schadenfreude, hatred, denial, rationalizations, legalisms, lies, innuendo, rumors, fallacies and platitudes.

      Leslie, any preference for which I should use?

      BTW, I am not unmindful of the fact that my ID has not been deleted in a long time despite my contrarian positions.

        JohnSmith100 in reply to YellowGrifterInChief. | May 26, 2018 at 4:22 pm

        From what I have seen, people of of darker skin tone are far less likely to play by the rules, for example blacks crime rate running over seven fold higher than average. Of course, most of those crimes are by black males.
        Rather than address parenting and cultural issues driving such a high crime rate, they scream racism. Everytime one of their violent young men has to be put down, they lie about the circumstances. This has happened so often that people are now very skeptical of any claims of racism.
        Blacks, actually anyone today has opportunity to succeed. But, to do so they have to be willing to study and work hard, they must sacrifice for the future. Unfortunately, most are either not smart enough or lack the gumption to do so.
        It is time to stop whining and scheming for a free ride. Perform well and live the good life, fail to do so and suffer the consequences.

        Regarding the “pearl clutching” comments, I think you and several others need to draw a distinction between the LI writers and the LI commentors. I haven’t seen Prof Jacobson making any ridiculous claims about the 1st Amendment and the Bells/Amazon Death Star. Others commenting have.

        Until viewpoint discrimination is discovered as being a penumbra found in the Commerce Clause, we are stuck with the question of how to deal with a service business that is not in line with our individual political beliefs. Unlike most Progressives, we conservatives should be the last to try to use the power of government to punish a business for political purposes.

        YGnC, I imagine the page is still front and center because the subject is hot and it’s still generating comments…

        If you don’t get comments…you don’t have a blog…

    JusticeDelivered in reply to moonmoth. | May 25, 2018 at 11:19 pm

    Minimum wage earners decided they were worth $15 an hour, and at $15 an hour it is worthwhile to further automate. That was their choice, now they own it.

    As to Hillary, what is there to like? She is a schemer, a liar, a whiner and as far as I can tell she never accepts responsibility for anything.

    As to illegal CRIMINALS, I would not advocate using a fighter plane to stop their entry, that would be a huge waste to taxpayer money. I do advocate using automated small drones, including those designed to use lethal force and automated guns covering a no mans land which is clearly labeled. Those illegals can chose to stay out of the kill zone. Lets be clear, we owe them nothing.

      Tom Servo in reply to JusticeDelivered. | May 26, 2018 at 8:22 am

      I only take issue with what you said in that I do not think minimum wage workers actually asked for that, or wanted that. In fact, wealthy liberals asked for that because it made them feel good about themselves, and then they financed a few clueless workers to go out and agitate for their own self-destruction. (Tom Steyer is particularly active in those types of things)

      I think most minimum wage workers know that demanding $15 is a guarantee of unemployment for them – but the wealthy urban progs that push for this couldn’t care less about that, since the entire movement suffers from a severe case of Malevolent Altruism. (the urge to seemingly do good while in fact destroying all of the subjects of ones attention)

        JohnSmith100 in reply to Tom Servo. | May 26, 2018 at 4:33 pm

        Tom, You may be right, but once all the noise was made about $15 an hour, businesses started developing automation in earnest. Designing and debugging the first machines is expensive, once the tech is developed prices rapidly fall. The genie is out of the bottle. Automation does not cost more over time, people tend to cost more. Machines don’t complain, they are always on time, they never pull nooners, they don’t have domestic problems. They do not steal or intentionally sabotage.

    rdmdawg in reply to moonmoth. | May 26, 2018 at 11:57 am

    If a website can be held accountable for every moronic poster that graces its pages then you aren’t helping here, posting your moronic rantings.

    Shane in reply to moonmoth. | May 26, 2018 at 4:05 pm

    Please link said comments.

    I have not seen you comment here before so I am guessing you are a shill making generic statements to piss off the rednecks because you had a bad day at Starbucks.

I wrote to Jeff Bezos on your behalf telling him that if this is not corrected, I will not renew my Prime membership and wean myself away from Amazon – and tell my friends to do the same. Bigotry against conservatives is not acceptable. [email protected]

Urgh.

Engaging in the search for non-Amazon alternatives. Groceries first because I’m only mildly satisfied with Amazon there, and that only because they’ve had an excellent refund policy.

    DCP in reply to ecreegan. | May 25, 2018 at 9:52 pm

    Try Walmart.com. They have an online grocery order that delivers the groceries to your car. They also have free two shipping on most non-grocery items and many grocery items. The stuff they won’t ship for free is mainly low-cost, high weight items and fresh or frozen items. They also have a free pick-up for most items. You buy them online and they pull them and put them in a cart for you.

    I use the grocery pick-up regularly. I usually buy $100 – $150 worth of groceries and am usually gone from the store, with my food, in 5-10 minutes.

    DCP

      ray in reply to DCP. | May 25, 2018 at 10:58 pm

      I have been buying grocery type items from Walmart for several months now. If you buy at least $35, they include free two-day delivery. Their prices are usually less than Amazon’s. This means you lift everything only once, instead of five times.

      ecreegan in reply to DCP. | May 26, 2018 at 7:59 am

      I’ve used walmart.com a little for years — they have long been better than Amazon for things much of the country needs, like inexpensive decent-quality socks and school supplies. It’s one of the things I’m looking into doing more of, and the website does seem to have improed.

      ecreegan in reply to DCP. | May 26, 2018 at 8:07 am

      There’s no walmart near enough to us to use on a regular basis for grocery shopping. (Well, none that participate in grocery pickup, that is.) Best I’ve been able to find is one on the route home from my mother-in-law’s. Well worth using, since Walmart tends to have good prices on staples we use a lot of, but not something I can rely on.

      I have an order at Peapod.com for next Wednesday (delivery deal for that day.) Their prices are a little better than Amazon’s, if you shop carefully, and they have a lot more variety. FreshDirect has been advertising, but I recall their prices as being high.

      elle in reply to DCP. | May 26, 2018 at 11:12 am

      I’ve been using Walmart for about a year now. I often shop in amazon but then buy from Walmart. I would open both windows and compare shop at the same time, and sometimes I still do, but there were times it seemed like the searching became limited and I wondered if Walmart and Amazon had some sort of agreement to discourage people like me from doing that. Probably my imagination, but it would make sense for them to do that, so I usually shop one or the other, close out and then buy from (now) Walmart.

      One point that you learn quickly, if you use Walmart for purchasing, is to be careful, because they will sell you just about ANY item that exists. But for example, I can find an off brand of tea that I can buy at a store for $5.00. Walmart will find it and make it available to me, but at $35. Hey if you want it – they’ve got it, but be sure to google and check the prices to be sure it’s in line with reality. I’ve seen many items with ridiculous prices because they are not something they normally carry.

      Also, if you don’t have a Walmart store for pickup and you are having items mailed to you the prices are frequently higher on the item itself. So a box of soymilk at the store is $2.50 and the same online product is $4.50 (or somesuch). The heavier the item, the higher the markup. So it’s not really “free shipping”.

        elle in reply to elle. | May 26, 2018 at 11:21 am

        Very interested in the wikibuy. If LI gets new affiliates, be sure and let us know, so I can be better about making an effort to use your links.

        It is a little concerning how bold these giants are becoming. They’ve completely dropped the mask. I guess when you have Bezillions, you get bored and power becomes the drug of choice.

          elle in reply to elle. | May 26, 2018 at 11:31 am

          hmmm…I suppose I’m not really being very helpful. I hope they restore your amazon affiliate status, and if they do, I’ll be sure to log in when I’m buying from amazon.

          I think it will be full speed ahead between now and election day to silence all conservative thought. They are going for broke. But I hope that something happens to force them to correct this situation for you. Good luck.

Sorry – free two DAY shipping.

DCP

Dear Professor Jacobson, This might just be a minor speculation, but I’m sure you recall your righteous and effective battle concerning the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement.

Sir, is it possible that this could be a “payback” from the Palestinian supporters at Amazon? Just recently Israel welcomed the American Embassy into Jerusalem and from everything I can see, the Palestinian factions are not doing very well. Attacking Israel’s supporters would be a logical move on their part, and people on your blog are strong Israel supporters. A half-dozen progressive activists in minor management roles in Amazon could think up some reason to sabotage your income… Anyway,just a thought.

    JohnSmith100 in reply to C. Lashown. | May 26, 2018 at 5:36 pm

    I spent many years in management, where you get results and make happy customers, or you are unemployed.

    It does not matter if this is caused by lower level people, everything which reflects poorly is the fault of management.

There is no reason other than the fact Amazon doesn’t want you on their platform any longer.

YellowGrifterInChief | May 26, 2018 at 10:34 am

No you are not. But you should be. The references were not gratuitous. They involved how wrongs can be redressed.

The CFPB would certainly be interested in withheld funds. The EU believes that regulations are necessary to balance great power.

I wouldn’t usually bother to explain myself to someone who fixated on the minutia of my post. But this abuse is an object lesson; as well as being ironic. Perhaps this will help to open your eyes – although I sincerely doubt it.

Just how does this wrong done by a private organization compare with a wrong done by the police to a black man? Write me after you are subject to a traffic stop and tasered. Better yet, write me when you have been subject to a traffic stop and shot dead.

    When people providing a free service alert the people using their free services that they have been wronged by a third party, it’s generally not a good time to say “well, other people have been hurt worse; think about them.”

    Because Amazon didn’t have a gun when they did it. Is it really that hard for you to understand the difference between private and government? I don’t do what Amazon wants and I am inconvenienced. I don’t do what the government wants and I am dead or incarcerated. I think that it is pretty clear.

    Also because the government wields the power of force (unlike private entities) there are processes to follow. That so many people don’t know those processes is sad and deadly. Most police are pretty tolerant of ignorance and will make clear the process, but some don’t really seem to get that the processes aren’t made by the police officer and should not be addressed with him. They think that they can bully, cajole or lie their way out. The police don’t care, their job is to start the process. So resisting and fighting a police officer is pointless and dangerous some need to learn this.

    Dear YellowGrifterInChief,

    Thanks for the response…I didn’t have time to properly answer till now…hope you see this.

    First of all, yes…I was impressed. Your comment got 30 down votes and 1 up vote…and that 1 up vote was from…..me!

    I get what you’re saying…I just don’t agree. But I do admire how you’ve taken a post about LI’s hassles with Amazon and shaped a response that’s, “Well what do you expect in the Age of Trump? The Republicans and Big Bizz are conspiring to keep a brother down!” Throw in a EU reference and you have some kind of left wing gumbo…

    Nowhere in the Prof’s post did he advocate changing the law, joining a class action lawsuit, joining the EU or burning down the Amazon HQ…He’s just telling us about the frustrating saga of trying to get answers and money back from Amazon…a company that’s not only giant…but run by computer nerds/geeks….

    I don’t think it makes any difference who the president is…about 4 yrs ago I was running a blog and had a similar screw-over by the Big A, except Obama was the Commander and Chief.

    The EU? Or as they’re also known, The Dictatorship of the Bureaucrats…They are good at passing regulations…like the amount of bend you can have in a cucumber…But mainly, high paid un-elected bureaucrats like telling peons what to do.

    My pay out in a gazillion dollar class action lawsuit was a check for $2.25…(the check is framed and on my wall)

    I don’t know about you, but I was a poor white kid who grew up in a bad neighborhood. (mid-western industrial town)
    I got stopped/harassed by the cops almost every day…
    In the 70’s I was a long haired hippy with a black girlfriend AND I played in a soul band…that led to a few tense situations with the law.

    One thing I did learn from close observation…sometimes the guy who gets his ass beat by pissed off cops, is also the guy who can’t keep his F’ing mouth shut! I promise if I ever get shot dead in a traffic stop…I’ll come haunt ya….

I thought the left was opposed to discrimination of any sort.

    Henry Hawkins in reply to TeeJaw. | May 26, 2018 at 1:04 pm

    Well, social discrimination is favoring one entity over another when they are otherwise equal. The left does not consider anything or anyone on the right to be equal, therefore, no discrimination.

The words “arbitrary and capricious” come to mind, but their agreement states that they can do so without explanation. Usually, this means they don’t have a valid one.

Similarly, I can drop my Prime membership and donate some or all of the funds to LI.

It’s a little reminiscent of the antitrust case against Microsoft back in 1998 for using its marketplace dominance to abuse others. There also might be some tortious interference going on by particular individuals within the organization.

Henry Hawkins | May 26, 2018 at 10:05 pm

O/T

Great news! Looking to refute allegations that their network is biased towards the left, ESPN has re-signed the ultra-conservative Keith Olbermann to hosts shows starting this fall! Yay!

It is a small thing, but I am doubling my monthly contribution to Legal Insurrection.

No new updates, eh?

In view of this, I have cancelled my recurring orders with Amazon, and will seek alternative vendors if Amazon does not reinstate, reimburse, and apologize.


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