Tech at Night: Amazon punishes CA, More on the FCC's ideological lies, Marsha Blackburn: Tech Hero

Tech at Night

Amazon’s not kidding one bit about punishing states that attempt to punish it. After Amazon sent a last ditch warning to Associates that all California Associates would be terminated in the event Governor Brown signed the budget with the Amazon Tax in it, the Governor went ahead and did it.


So, every Amazon Associate in California just got terminated, including countless small businesses scraping by in a lousy economy (11% unemployment in CA, thanks to Brown, Obama, and the ARRA). I was one of them. I got the notice at 9:45pm. For the email’s contents, see below the fold.

Democrats: Killing jobs since 1861.

Contrast with Republicans who are embracing new technologies like Skype, shunned by the Nancy Pelosi era House.

Amazon’s notice of termination:


Unfortunately, Governor Brown has signed into law the bill that we emailed you about earlier today. As a result of this, contracts with all California residents participating in the Amazon Associates Program are terminated effective today, June 29, 2011. Those California residents will no longer receive advertising fees for sales referred to [ ], [ ], MYHABIT.COM [ ] or [ ]. Please be assured that all qualifying advertising fees earned before today will be processed and paid in full in accordance with the regular payment schedule.

You are receiving this email because our records indicate that you are a resident of California. If you are not currently a resident of California, or if you are relocating to another state in the near future, you can manage the details of your Associates account here [ ]. And if you relocate to another state in the near future please contact us [ ] for reinstatement into the Amazon Associates Program.

To avoid confusion, we would like to clarify that this development will only impact our ability to offer the Associates Program to California residents and will not affect your ability to purchase from [ ], [ ], MYHABIT.COM [ ] or [ ].

We have enjoyed working with you and other California-based participants in the Amazon Associates Program and, if this situation is rectified, would very much welcome the opportunity to re-open our Associates Program to California residents. As mentioned before, we are continuing to work on alternative ways to help California residents monetize their websites and we will be sure to contact you when these become available.


The Amazon Associates Team


Unfortunately what hasn’t been entirely terminated is Lulzsec. The 4chan and Anonymous-associated group folded up as some members were arrested and others got scared. Others though are continuing their criminal activities: Some reportedly joined a gang called AntiSec while others have (re?)-joined Anonymous. Not that it matters: Investigations of Lulzsec crimes will continue, and arrests will surely continue as well. Frogmarch! Frogmarch! Frogmarch!

It wouldn’t be Tech at Night without FCC news. You got my opinion on Monday of the FCC’s wireless competition report: it’s an ideological statement designed to further an agenda of greater regulation, despite all facts. If you’re like more though, here are a couple more options to read.

First we’ve got Mike Wendy’s at Media Freedom. His conclusion:

By not affirmatively finding that the market is effectively competitive (which the FCC had done until the last two reports), the pro-regulatory agency just adds to its tool chest, allowing it to better feint and manipulate its captures when needed down the road.

And you know it will “find” a need.

Also weighing in is AT&T with a statement heavy on facts. Look, we all know that AT&T has two very good reasons to promote the idea that the wireless market is competitive, but it’s simply lazy to dismiss the fact-heavy reports the firm puts out. Consider:

  • 89.6% of Americans had 5 or more mobile voice providers available in 2010, up from 72.8% in 2009.
  • Margins are shrinking. Revenue per voice minute is down. Price per text is down. Price per megabit of data is down.
  • Sprint and Clearwire together have better spectrum than anyone else in the industry.
  • Mobile broadband Internet is booming.

Guess what? All these facts AT&T cites are not AT&T’s own research: they’re cited chapter and verse from the FCC’s own report. So anyone who dismisses AT&T’s facts is calling the FCC’s own report a lie.

Funny that conclusion we draw: FCC’s facts contradict FCC’s conclusion. Just more evidence that the report’s conclusion is ideological, not factual.

Hopefully the Republican who joins Robert McDowell in the FCCwill be as outspoken for an open Internet as he is.

For all that the Obama-dominated FCC claims to be For the People™, it will be interesting to see whether the FCC maintains the cable blackout rule the NFL wants, effectively subsidizing the NFL with federal regulations. I say let the market decide and keep government out. Repeal the regulations entirely, and the Sports Broadcasting Act with it.

Meanwhile, Astroturf continues at the FCC as the radical PIGs continue to spend George Soros‘s money on an anti-freedom agenda of a government-run mass media.

At least House Republicans are staying on top of the Fairness Doctrine, keeping the pressure on to ensure the Obama FCC keeps its word and repeals it.


And one last FCC note: Democrats are worried about Net Neutrality defunding efforts. It’d be interesting to see what would happen in a House/Senate showdown over this. Then again, since when do Democrat-controlled Senates actually pass budgets? An inability to get work done seems to be going around, even, as The FCC’s months-long delay in actually publishing Net Neutrality regulations continues.

Marsha Blackburn is so incredibly on top of tech issues. Certain names come up in Tech at Night over and over again. Most do because they’re critical Committee or Subcommittee chairmen. Marsha Blackburn? She’s on Energy and Commerce, but as a backbencher. And she’s louder on the FCC and tech issues than most anyone in the House. She’s such an asset in the House.

Not to say the whole Committee isn’t doing some good work. Hearings continue on spectrum policy, which is so important as America’s wireless data use booms. Privacy hearings also continue. I’m hoping Republicans will see to it that market forces and innovation allow the industry to respond to the public’s needs on privacy. See, for example, the launch of Google+, a new competitor to challenge Facebook, long hated by privacy advocates.


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