How The Amazon Web Hosting Crackdown Threatens Patreon, Substack, And You

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Last week, Reuters reported based on two anonymous sources that Amazon Web Services, which controls 40 percent of web hosting in the world, “plans to take a more proactive approach to determine what types of content violate its cloud service policies.”

“Over the coming months, Amazon will hire a small group of people in its Amazon Web Services (AWS) division to develop expertise and work with outside researchers to monitor for future threats, one of the sources familiar with the matter said. It could turn Amazon, the leading cloud service provider worldwide with 40% market share according to research firm Gartner, into one of the world’s most powerful arbiters of content allowed on the internet, experts say.”

Amazon declined to comment to Reuters for the story, then after the article published sent a statement insisting the report was “wrong,” claiming, “‘AWS Trust & Safety has no plans to change its policies or processes, and the team has always existed.’”

“We’ve always reserved the right to police who is allowed to speak on our internet” is not a very comforting response to an article alleging a coming content crackdown. In addition, to this post-publication claim from Amazon, “A Reuters spokesperson said the news agency stands by its reporting.”

Don’t forget the context: The Biden administration revealed a few weeks ago that they, mafia-like, pressure big tech entities like Facebook and Twitter to remove information that contradicts their political goals. (“That’s an, um, ‘misinformed’ piece of content over there on your platform. Sure would be a shame if the super-touchy Democrats controlling the entire federal government decided it was a reason to regulate and legally harass you.”)

The reported Amazon Web Services crackdown also comes in the wake of news that the Jan. 6 congressional committee subpoenaed the cell phone records of GOP lawmakers, including the House minority leader, from their service providers, which already help the federal government spy on Americans through routinely recording the contents of everyone’s texts and calls.

Don’t forget, either, that leftist pressure on big tech companies is a big reason they are economically and socially persecuting the left’s enemies. As Glenn Greenwald notes, “The extraordinary destruction of Parler in January by three Silicon Valley monopolies — Apple, Google and Amazon — occurred after leading Democrats, including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) — publicly demanded the platform’s removal from the internet. And Democratic-led Congressional committees continue to summon Silicon Valley executives to demand they impose greater degrees of political censorship against their political adversaries or else face legislative and regulatory reprisals.”

Amazon is obviously not immune to any of this, and Jeff Bezos is ideological kin to those demanding their political opponents be shut out of their livelihoods, ability to speak publicly, and financial services. That’s why Amazon cut off America’s Frontline Doctors from web hosting, for another example, but hosts Netflix despite its promotion of child pornography and donates on users’ behalf to mass-murder machine Planned Parenthood. Their biases are clear.

Now, both Patreon and Substack reportedly use Amazon Web Services for hosting “most of their data.” These platforms bill themselves as a way for creators to be independent and cut out the middlemen. But when infrastructure services like web hosts and banks get political, it turns out these “independent sites” just replaced the middlemen with themselves.

Patreon has a history of allowing leftist politics to moderate its platform. Famously, Jordan Peterson and David Rubin left it in 2018 to create their own crowdfunding platform, Locals, after Patreon selectively banned a creator with evidence it was due to political animus. Patreon has continued that bias to the present day, most recently banning investigative journalists for not parroting shifting government claims about COVID-19.

Locals also uses Amazon Web Services, though, or did as of earlier this year, making them also vulnerable through their host to the kind of crackdown Peterson and Rubin created the site to repudiate. The big domain name and hosting outfit GoDaddy uses AWS servers, and has also repeatedly defenestrated people on the right, from gun sites to, just over the weekend, Texas Right to Life in the wake of that organization’s successful push for a bill protecting unborn babies after their heartbeats are detectable.

On that note, who could possibly be Amazon’s “outside researchers” who determine what they host? Not “independent factcheckers” like those Facebook pays to give them cover for blocking politically incorrect ideas, right?

Or what about lucrative leftist smear machines like the Antifa affiliate-supporting and violence-inciting Southern Poverty Law Center, which already partners with Amazon to block mainstream Christian and conservative organizations from Amazon Smile? Or how about the left-leaning Anti-Defamation League, which influences on a partisan basis whom PayPal will bank with? The prospects look pretty dim indeed.

If servers like AWS will shut you down, that inherently threatens the economic independence of anyone who dares have different ideas than their speech monitors and whose livelihood is in any way routed through the Internet — and whose isn’t? Even meatspace-focused jobs like farmers and plumbers have to have websites and email addresses. Unless they happen to have a storefront on a busy intersection, they have to have at least a Google Maps shingle up, so enough people can find their services to keep food on their tables.

There can be no personal independence, no entrepreneurship, no social creativity if you’re not allowed to use the roads, the phones, the banks, or the internet unless you publicly burn pinches of incense to the leftist gods. In a world like that, we are all slaves to the pagan religion of leftism and, more importantly, its priests.

This entire dynamic is also another example of the “build your own infrastructure” asymmetric warfare the new left is deploying, with increasing depth and force, against their opponents. Its endpoint is clearly, as Federalist Senior Contributor Nathanael Blake observed to me in an email, “build your own government.”

That’s because American governments essentially control who is allowed to start businesses — you need building permits, and to follow health code, and to offer certain benefits, and to file your taxes a certain way, and on and on and on, all of which are potential chokepoints for a militant bureaucrat motivated by a woke mob to squeeze.

Previously, these kinds of administrative functions were seen as neutral and available to all, but especially since the Obama years, these bureaucrats have unmasked themselves like never before as blatantly partisan actors. Remember Lois Lerner? So people who want to start competing and alternative infrastructure better as hell have political patrons all the way up the ladder, plus a big group of funders and lawyers, who will block for them.

In other words, today even building private infrastructure requires government permission, at some level, and typically at many. The massive size of our government and the multitudinous duties it has assumed have multiplied the pressure points that partisan activists can apply to anyone they see as their political enemy. Fixing this private infrastructure problem requires fixing the big-government problem that weaponizes it.

“You wouldn’t believe how many people come up to me and they say, ‘Hey, Martin, you got to start a bank.’ And I’m like, ‘Well, what I’ll do is I’ll stand up a bunch of server infrastructure so that bank won’t get pulled by the internet provider,’” Right Forge CEO Martin Avila told The Daily Signal in June. “And then we’re talking to people who are starting banks. We’re talking people that are thinking about Stripe and how much power it has, or Square, like point of sales. And there’s entrepreneurs that are just beelining to create solutions because they see the enormity of the market. And what RightForge can do is support those things where they won’t be taken down.”

And who is going to bat for RightForge if IRS bureaucrats decide its taxes need some extra scrutiny? Or if politically motivated hackers wage an attack? Or… come up with your own speculation, because let’s not give bad guys any ideas.

When Sen. Tom Cotton gets asked next time what he can do about cancel culture, he and every other Republican candidate should be able to whip out a list of painful legal and other penalties their legislative assistants have written up that will be applied to entities that abuse the public trust in any of these ways. Democrats got big business to be their lapdogs, not just because big business leaders are catechized in the leftist religion in college, but also because big business isn’t afraid of Republicans but they are of Democrats.

That needs to change, or Republican voters will be increasingly banned from basic infrastructure and subjected to economic insecurity in America, based entirely on their politics. Even more than in 2016, that will have them pondering why in the blazes do they even come out to vote for such a freaking useless political party that has no idea what to do with power. People abandon leaders who don’t bring home the bacon, and that’s exactly what this issue is all about.

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