back to article Awkward! Bernie tells Bezos-sponsored event he'd break up Amazon and other tech titans

Bernie Sanders will "absolutely" look at breaking up Facebook, Google and Amazon if he becomes president. Speaking at an event run the Jeff Bezos-owned Washington Post on Tuesday, the Democratic presidential hopeful offered his strongest position yet when it comes to taking action against Amazon, Facebook and Google, …

  1. bigtimehustler

    Well, I think we have just found out which two candidates will not be becoming president. For one, how much of the average US population actually cares about breaking up big tech enough to support a candidate leading with that theme? Secondly, the media resources these companies control, basically ensures constant negative press and leaks.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Tech is today's bogeyman

      Funny how none of them want to break up Boeing or GE.

      Boeing can kill people all day and the FAA can't say anything because without Boeing the USAF would be reduced to sitting on the ground watching Top Gun videos

      1. Earth Resident

        Re: Tech is today's bogeyman

        How would the Sherman Act apply? Boeing hardly has a stranglehold on the aircraft industry. Who knows if the law still requires that no weapons contract be single-sourced. I know that used to be the case.

        Rather than break up McDonnell Douglas Northrup and Boeing, we can just starve them by electing representatives who severely cut the Pentagon's budget and close the overseas bases.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      He isn't 'leading' with that theme

      It isn't like he's running ads with that as a message. I presume someone asked him a question about it and he answered. If someone asked him about the China/Japan dispute over that fake islands and he answered it wouldn't mean that was what he was going to run on.

      1. Psmo

        Re: He isn't 'leading' with that theme

        He leads with what the reporters lead with.

        It's far easier to focus on the sound-bite rather than the message, so you have to be very careful what sound-bites you give.

  2. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

    Just words

    Just because a candidate swears an oath on the bible every day for a month does not mean he has any ability or intention to implement a campaign promise/threat. You have to look at what they have actually done in the past and base your decision whether more of the same is likely or even a remotely sane idea.

    1. stiine Silver badge

      Re: Just words

      I don't know. Which is scarier to you?

      But back to the matter at hand. He wasn't stumping for Jeff Bezos' vote, but those of Amazon's underpaid, overworked, god-i-cant-wait-until-more-capable-robots-arrive, warehouse workers.

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Just words

      "You have to look at what they have actually done in the past and base your decision whether more of the same is likely or even a remotely sane idea."

      Recent Presidential elections seem to be based almost entirely on which side can dig up the most dirt, real or imagined, on the other side. It has little to do with actual policies they claim they will enact. And voters in many of the world democracies seem to vote based on what was said in the last 10 minutes rather than the past record of the candidate.

  3. Psmo

    Dance with who brung ya

    I seem to remember a previous president (GWB if memory serves) giving that advice.

    If you really want to be president, don't spit on the guys who give you a platform.

    At least while they're right there.

    1. Kabukiwookie

      Re: Dance with who brung ya

      If you really want to be president, don't spit on the guys who give you a platform.

      That's only true if you're happy being the presidential sock puppet of the corporate oligarchy.

      If you actually want to change things for the betterment of the general population, this is exactly what you should be doing.

      1. Psmo
        Alien

        Re: Dance with who brung ya

        If you actually want to change things for the betterment of the general population, this is exactly what you should be doing.

        Pissing a bunch of people off and gambling that your guys are still standing when the dust settles worked for a certain other president, so who knows?

        If you're playing to win, I wouldn't consider that a model to follow, though; power is a game where you need chips on the table to play, and that's why Hilary won the nomination.

        But then what do I know, I'm just a commentard looking to get off the merry-go-round.

        1. Kabukiwookie

          Re: Dance with who brung ya

          power is a game where you need chips on the table to play

          You're completely correct. The only thing is that there is no way to ever win the game if you let the major players dictate the rules of the game.

          You either give up and move to Mars or you try to play by a different set of rules.

          1. Psmo

            Re: Dance with who brung ya

            You either give up and move to Mars or you try to play by a different set of rules.

            Not all of us can be billionaires...

      2. Eddy Ito

        Re: Dance with who brung ya

        The problem is only Machiavellian megalomaniacs run for president, or even congress for that matter.

      3. Carpet Deal 'em
        Stop

        Re: Dance with who brung ya

        If you actually want to change things for the betterment of the general population, this is exactly what you should be doing.

        But how do you get support for your change if nobody hears you? Yes, there are rivals to YouTube, Facebook and Twitter, but none have anywhere near the reach Big Tech(and even traditional media) does.

    2. Ordinary Donkey
      Joke

      Re: Dance with who brung ya

      Far be it for us to question the wisdom of such an erudite political genius as George W Bush.

      1. Psmo

        Re: Dance with who brung ya

        Far be it for us to question the wisdom of such an erudite political genius as George W Bush.

        He made it to the other side of the Oval Office desk, which makes him a better authority than most.

        Remember the days of innocence when we thought he was the worst president?

        1. Ordinary Donkey

          Re: Dance with who brung ya

          Some of us still do think he was the worst president.

  4. codejunky Silver badge

    Ha

    Socialist control freak wants the government to not just pick winners but now to bring down winners. Its not about raising people up but bringing people down.

    1. Kabukiwookie

      Re: Ha

      Fake capitalist control freaks prefer monopolies over a free market and completely ignore that even Adam Smith warned that a regulated free marjet is necessary to prevent monopolies from forming, because monoplies are the death of the free market.

      Instead they just call the monopolies 'winners' and pretend they're capitalists instead of corporate socialists.

      1. codejunky Silver badge

        Re: Ha

        @Kabukiwookie

        "Fake capitalist control freaks prefer monopolies over a free market"

        Thats where the government picking winners is the problem. They cant know the best solution and often back a dud. Left and right are fighting over control but that is the problem, they are both authoritarian fighting for control and we need more libertarian options. More regulated free market and less government stifling the market.

        1. Kabukiwookie

          Re: Ha

          The government backs whoever spreads around the most money when lobbying.

          Corruption is apparently fine if done in the open and called 'lobbying'. Since most politicians in the US take corporate money, it's safe to say that it's essentially a corporate state.

          1. codejunky Silver badge

            Re: Ha

            @Kabukiwookie

            "The government backs whoever spreads around the most money when lobbying."

            This bugs me too. Rules and regulations often get thrown up to protect those who have already succeeded at something and want to stop others following. And its easier to bribe those few at the top than the many lower down.

            What shocks me is the cries for more government when the problems can typically be attributed to government in the first place. Instead the focus is left or right.

        2. jelabarre59
          Happy

          Re: Ha

          Ah, you used the word "libertarian" in your comment, that's gonna get you downvotes. People just don't like us being right...

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Ha

      "Socialist control freak candidate wants the government to not just pick winners but now to bring down winners. Its not about raising people up but bringing people down.

      FTFY

      1. codejunky Silver badge

        Re: Ha

        @John Brown (no body)

        I dont think the comment needed fixing. Both the left and right candidates generally want to pick the winners and funnel the money to their favourites, but it takes socialist leanings to want to drag the successful down to the level of mediocre.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Ha

          "I dont think the comment needed fixing. Both the left and right candidates generally want to pick the winners and funnel the money to their favourites, but it takes socialist leanings to want to drag the successful down to the level of mediocre."

          I think you missed the point. That's not a socialist trait. It's a trait of all politicians. Just look at Trumps personal attacks on anyone who doesn't agree with him, or, the horror, criticises him, and he's not a socialist, is he? He even used "socialist" as an insult just the other day. Then look at the partisanship over the alleged racist tweets. There seems to be no thought or consideration from the Dems and Reps. Both sides have kneejerk voted along party lines.Whether you agree or not that his tweets were racist, is it not surprising to you that the vote went the way it did? Party members no longer believe in their party, but in their leaders, who may or may not follow the accepted party beliefs.

          1. codejunky Silver badge

            Re: Ha

            @John Brown (no body)

            "I think you missed the point. That's not a socialist trait. It's a trait of all politicians."

            I have the bad feeling we are talking about two different things. When I said- "it takes socialist leanings to want to drag the successful down to the level of mediocre." I am discussing economic successes. I think it requires a socialist to think they could run better a brilliant economic success story like Amazon providing the people exactly what they want cheaply and efficiently.

            I do agree with you that his comments against political opponents were likely to drag them down. That being a very interesting subject on its own with plenty analysis already being done.

  5. ratfox
    Paris Hilton

    moderates vs extremists

    Last time, the Republicans chose the far-out extremist rather than the same-old moderates, and the Democrats chose the same-old moderate rather than the extremist. According to all logic, the moderate should have grabbed the center and won, but it seems like logic does not always apply.

    Now that extremists seem to be doing well in the Democrat primaries, people are worried that their candidate will be too extreme to be elected. I'm wondering if being prudent rather than bold is really the right strategy here. Maybe people just don't want to vote for somebody who says that nothing should change.

    On the other hand, on a strategic point of view, it could be very good for the Democratic to have extremists proposing insane plans, even if they get rejected.This might well open the Overton window.

  6. fishman

    The Irony

    Half the time politicians want to split up "big tech". The other half the time they are coming up with laws that make it hard or impossible for a newcomer to break into the field.

  7. ocflyfish
    Facepalm

    I don't think that means what you think it means - Adam Smith on monopolies

    “The interest of the dealers [referring to stock owners, manufacturers, and merchants], however, in any particular branch of trade or manufacture, is always in some respects different from, and even opposite to, that of the public. To widen the market and to narrow the competition, is always the interest of the dealers. To widen the market may frequently be agreeable enough to the interest of the public; but to narrow the competition must always be against it, and can serve only to enable the dealers, by raising their profits above what they naturally would be, to levy, for their own benefit, and absurd tax upon the rest of their fellow-citizens.”

    - Adam Smith, Wealth of Nations (Amherst, New York: Prometheus Books, 1991), pages 219-220)

    What Adam Smith was referring to was a situation where a monopoly raises prices above what they should be because they are the only game in town. Consumers are harmed because they are forced to pay exorbitant prices for goods because they cannot be sourced elsewhere.

    Last time I checked Amazon is usually the lowest priced vendor our there. And every single person is able to search hundreds of sites with the click of the button to find the lowest price available. Consumers can literally buy anything they want at any store, at any time.

    So, no, Adam was not describing this situation at all. Nice try though.

    1. Kabukiwookie

      Re: I don't think that means what you think it means - Adam Smith on monopolies

      Perfect example of knowledge without understanding.

      To widen the market and to narrow the competition, is always the interest of the dealers.

      This is exactly what Amazon is doing. Lowering prices to a point were competition is destroyed.

      What Adam Smith was referring to was a situation where a monopoly raises prices above what they should be because they are the only game in town.

      Wrong again.

      Please note that Adam Smith is talking about profit not price in that particular paragraph.

      to narrow the competition must always be against it, and can serve only to enable the dealers,

      The goal of a 'free market' is to encourage competition. Amazon has become the gatekeeper to the market taking a cut off of every transaction where suppliers are only tolerated to exist as long as they're not interesting enough to absorb. Adam Smith is arguing against companies like Amazon, it's not some sort of exception.

      Your argument only holds water as long as your logic is faulty.

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